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

Monday, April 13, 2009

A Comment that Resonated with Me

Do the words "resonated" and "reasonable" have similar roots? hmm...

A gentleman named Stan Nelson left this in the comments of the previous post and I want to highlight it for further discussion if anyone wants to discuss. So in a way, Stan Nelson has become the author of a new Guest Post. :~) It is well worth the read!!!

Hello Rose,

I haven't posted on your blog for quite a while. But, if I may, I'd like to share something that I've written on the subject of intellectual assent and trust in saving faith. I hold that trust as well as intellectual assent is required for saving faith.

It seems to me that if saving faith is defined only as intellectual assent to the truth of the Gospel message without the element of trust in Christ as ones own Savior for eternal salvation, then unsaved people who have such intellectual assent would become saved whether they want to be or not.

This relates to the additionally important matter of deliberateness in getting saved. Can a person intentionally receive (or reject) the gift of eternal salvation? I think so ( Rev. 22:17; John 12:48). It might even be argued that intentionally is the only way to receive it.

If the Bible presents the Gospel message as an invitation to believe in Christ for the purpose of getting saved, then both desire and volition on the part of the recipient would seem to be necessary. And if people are held accountable for their response to the offer it would also be reasonable to conclude that we have been given the ability to make a choice in the matter. For, unintentionally believing in Christ for the purpose of receiving the gift and getting saved doesn't make sense.

Requiring trust or reliance as part of saving faith is naturally compatible with the idea of salvation being an actual offer. Whereas, intellectual assent to the truth of the Gospel message doesn't, by itself, involve either wanting or acceptance of salvation.

I'm of the opinion that, although they may occur at the same time, intellectual assent and trust aren't identical. Believing that Christ saves versus believing in Him for salvation are separate things. Those who have trusted in Christ for eternal salvation, obviously, have also assented to the truth of the Gospel message. But people who have intellectually assented to the truth of the message have not necessarily trusted in Christ for eternal salvation.

Requiring trust or reliance as a part of saving faith is not ammunition for Lordship Salvation because trust is not a work. It's simply accepting the invitation to be saved by deliberately relying on Christ alone as ones Savior.

Agreement with the truth of the mechanics of how salvation is supplied and obtained isn't the same as actually accepting that salvation through faith in Christ as ones own Savior. The system of solitary intellectual assent also rings of cold academics. Requiring trust or reliance in not only the Gospel message but also in Him to Whom the message points is not only logical, it's also personal and satisfying. Deliberate trust in Christ for eternal salvation has the wonderful effect of cementing assurance of ones salvation, even in the face of trials or troubling and unanswered questions about Christianity.

If there is a circumstance under which intellectual assent, by itself, could be shown to be insufficient to save, then it would seem that requiring trust as a part of saving faith would be demonstrated as being necessary.

An article appeared some years ago in a GES newsletter (http://faithalone.org/news/y1989/89july2.html) describing a woman who believed herself to be unsaved because she believed she was not one of the elect. If such a person believed herself to be unsavable because of belief that Christ died and paid the penalty only for the sins of the elect but not for her, and if she also believed the Gospel message of Christ being the Savior, wouldn't this then be a case of someone having intellectual assent to the truth of how people are saved (that is, the Gospel message), and yet remain unsaved?

People with such a belief system couldn't accept the gift of salvation through faith in Christ as their own Savior because they don't believe He is their Savior; and yet, they do believe He is the Savior of believers in Him. In other words, they believe the Gospel message about how people (some people, in their thinking) obtain salvation but, thinking salvation is unavailable to themselves, they don't trust in Christ as their own Savior and, therefore, remain unsaved.

I suppose it could be argued that, since she didn't believe it applied to her that, therefore, she didn't really believe the Gospel at all. But, does the intellectual assent only position require beilef in the truth of the universal availability of salvation? It doesn't seem so. And, if not, wouldn't this be an example of having intellectual assent without receiving salvation? And wouldn't it therefore prove that intellectual assent to the truth of the Gospel message is not, by itself, saving faith? Again, acknowledgement of the truth of how people are saved is not equivalent to the acceptance of the salvation that's offered.

Another important point should be made. If people are saved only through intellectual assent to the truth of the Gospel message that Christ, because of Who He is and what He's done, saves sinners who believe in Him, then saving faith would carry the impossible idea that people are saved solely by believing that those who believe in Him are saved. Using the word "believe" (or its equivalent) twice within the sentence is what makes this riddle impossible.

Trying to define what it means to believe in Christ by saying that it means to "believe that" those who "believe in" doesn't define what "believe in" actually means. For if "believe in" is said to mean "to believe that those who believe in" it's then being used to attempt to define itself. It's doubletalk to say that believing in Christ is the same thing as "believing that those who believe in Him …" They aren't the same. Arguing that saving faith is sole intellectual assent to the truth of the Gospel message does this very thing.

This problem with the intellectual assent only viewpoint is compounded because, even though it claims that belief in the truth of the Gospel proposition is the same as direct belief in Christ Himself, as shown above, it's really not. Therefore, that viewpoint wrongfully allows for the belief in the truth of a statement as a substitute or alternate object of saving faith. It would be like saying that group number one gets saved by believing in Christ; but group number two gets saved by believing the mechanics of how group number one got saved.

Believing the truth of a statement that promises a benefit for believing in an object described in the statement is not the same as believing in the described object. People aren't saved by merely believing that the Gospel message is true. They are saved the way the message says to be saved; by believing in Christ (Acts 16:29-31).
-by Stan Nelson

75 Comments:

  • Hi Stan,

    EXCELLENT comments!!! I appreciated it.

    Intellectual assent is only saving if you mean by it that you believe the facts of the saving message - that Jesus Christ HAS given "ME" eternal life when I believed in Him for it. At that moment of belief you KNOW you are forever saved.
    Believing THAT is what I think you would call TRUST. It's what some in the free grace movement call intellectual assent to the facts of the gospel (saving message).
    Those are the only facts that save when believed. Believing in Him for your OWN eternal salvation.

    I remember Zane Hodges saying that he wished that free grace people would get away from using that phrase... intellectual assent.

    I would say it a little different than you, although I think we're saying the same thing?
    I would prefer to say it this way.... believe the message that saves.... believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.
    Eternally saved. Acts 16:31;
    John 3:16.

    I think there is a choice, but that choice comes before we believe. That choice comes to seek out truth..... to look into God's Word. God says if you seek me you'll find me. Because God is drawing all men to Himself, we are able to seek Him. Then comes the moment that you hear the truth and the Holy Spirit turns on the light for you and you find yourself believing in Him. You choose to seek Him, and He in return reveals the truth. You FIND yourself believing. You can't believe something that you're not convinced is true. Once you're convinced, you're saved.
    AND you're thrilled about it!!!

    I think we both agree? Don't we?

    Very glad for your comments!!!

    All because of his wonderful grace,
    Diane
    :-)

    By Anonymous Diane, at 4/13/2009 10:33 AM  

  • Hi Diane,

    Thanks for the kind reply. I think we might have a difference of opinion.

    Although I would agree that we can choose to seek out evidence and truth before coming to faith, I also think we can (with the drawing of the Holy Spirit) actually choose to believe in Christ as our Savior.

    Confining belief to just the acceptance of facts without believing in (trusting in) Christ as ones Savior, in my opinion, isn't saving faith. This is a major point of my previous post.

    Also, it sounds like you might be saying that in order to get saved unsaved people must believe they are saved. But an unsaved person couldn't believe he's saved until he actually is. Maybe I misread you on that, though.

    Stan Nelson

    By Anonymous Stan, at 4/13/2009 10:33 AM  

  • Stan,
    What a great post! I so much agree with what you have said. Now I have heard the term "intellectual assent" used in a different way over the years to describe what I would call saving faith. But the way you are using the term I would not call saving faith. I agree with you that an objective view of what Christ can do for others is not a receiving of the gift for myself.

    Some might find it hard to undersatnd how someone would know what Jesus can do, but want no part of it, but there are those. We have examples. I can't relate to it, but that doesn't prove it is impossible. Pride, among other things, could stop them from receiving what they know is a free gift. Or... some varieties "election" teaching as you pointed out in your very thought-provoking post!!

    Thanks so much!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/13/2009 10:40 AM  

  • Diane,
    Thanks for participating!!

    WHen I read your comment and then Stan's follow-up, a phrase came to mind that my husband used to say alot when we would discuss Calvinism: the "point of contact."

    It is interesting to wonder on. I think I look at it more like this: *you know you aren't saved
    *you receive Christ's gift purposefully
    *then you know you are saved.

    Does that gel?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/13/2009 10:43 AM  

  • Hi, Rose, this is a good subject.

    I think I agree with Stan as well. I know for me, I had two road blocks to reception - the first in thinking I was not a sinner, then once I did, thinking I could not accept salvation until I had "earned" it. That would have been an eternal project!

    By Blogger Missy, at 4/13/2009 10:49 AM  

  • Rose!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I'm at work & can't post much now, but I HAD to say thank you for posting this from bro. Stan! It RESOUNDINGLY resonates with me sister! This pinpoints the very issue I have had with FG recently! Thank You Jesus for eternal salvation in You alone, & for bringing it to me! Hopefully I'll say more later, & I believe I already know what my beloved (& I MEAN that) brothers & sisters (Diane has already, & I so appreciate her as well) will say in response, but this hits it with me. It is so Scriptural & just fills in a blank that I had in my spirit. Thank you bro. Stan for letting the Lord use you to encourage me today. Thank you Rose for posting this. God Bless.

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at 4/13/2009 10:52 AM  

  • Hi Dear Friends,

    Just a quick reply because I'm on my way out the door.

    The main point that I wanted to convey is that a person is not saved until they KNOW they have eternal life as Jesus promised. Their faith is in Him alone to save them and they know they have been eternally saved.

    We can't choose to believe something that we don't know for sure. It's God who turns that light on for us.

    James 1:18a.... Of His own will He brought us forth by the Word of truth

    The key word is "in".... believe IN Christ.
    When we believe IN Him we have taken that drink that springs up into everlasting life.
    AWESOME!!!!

    Isn't our God a glorious God!!!

    May your week be filled with the joy of learning and growing in Him. It's enjoyable to visit with all of you around the person of Jesus Christ.

    All because of His wonderful grace,
    Diane
    :-)

    By Blogger Diane, at 4/13/2009 1:56 PM  

  • This is a good post by Stan, and exposes, quite well, some of the confusion that has been created by some within FG.

    All Stan is appealing to, really, is the ancient 3-pronged articulation of the components of faith:

    1. Notitia Knowledge

    2. Assentus Assent

    3. Fiducia Trust (or John's belief).

    You can have #1 and #2, like the demons do; but without #3 there is no appropriation of eternal life. And to assert that Intellectual Assent is all that it takes to appropriate salvation (as so many do in the GES) --- as Stan adequately underscores --- is really an logical impossibility. If this was the case, indeed there are all kinds of people "unaware" who are saved (given the "universal scope" of the offer of salvation). There must be an component of actively placing one's trust in Christ (beyond assent) in order to appropriate salvation (the Woman at the Well illustrates this perfectly --- follow her progression [the 3 prongs are clear]).

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at 4/13/2009 3:58 PM  

  • Hi Rose,
    Hi Stan, and other friends,

    This will PROBABLY be my last comment. I must admit, I'm a little confused by what you're trying to clear up. It sounds like you think that we (GES, Zane, myself, Alvin, Gary, Antonio, and many others) are teaching that a person can be saved by just believing some facts about the gospel, but not personally believing it for ourselves?

    Stan, let me speak for myself. I probably shouldn't speak for others. I agree with your position. A person is not saved until they are personally relying upon Jesus Christ for their eternal salvation. The Bible uses the word "believe." I think that's a wonderful word. When you believe "THOSE" FACTS of the gospel, you ARE believing in Jesus Christ "personally" for eternal life. That's all I'm saying. I don't believe that "intellectual assent" is a good phrase because it doesn't define what you're assenting to. To believe "in a saving way" is to believe IN somebody. It's to believe IN Jesus for His free gift of everlasting life. When you believe "IN" Him, you KNOW you are forever saved at THAT MOMENT, and you are overjoyed about it. How could you be anything else???!!! It's impossible to believe THAT truth against your will.

    I THINK what Jim and Rose are saying is that they (or Rose's husband) believed the facts that Jesus saves those who believe, but they didn't yet believe IN Him for their own personal salvation AT THAT POINT. If they had, they would have known beyond a shadow of a doubt that Jesus saved them. They would have wanted that gift, and they would have been thrilled. They hadn't yet gotten to that POINT of relying on Jesus for the gift. You like to use the word trust. OK. They hadn't yet "trusted" in Jesus Christ alone for eternal life. They only believed that He gives it when believed. They didn't yet understand the saving message. The light had not yet been turned on for them by the Holy Spirit...... at that point.

    As I went through your post today I made some notes.
    Here's what the Bible has totally convinced ME of........

    If you want Jesus' gift, you will believe in Him. It is GOD who will turn the light on for you so that you SEE and BELIEVE.
    He alone is the revealor. (2 Cor. 4:6)

    If you don't want Him, you won't take His gift. You won't believe IN Him for it.
    Satan will keep you blinded until you're ready to see. (2 Cor. 4:4)

    The Bible no where teaches that God gives eternal life to those who don't want to come to Him HIS WAY.
    He never forces us to believe against our will. You can't find that in the Bible.

    We have a choice to seek truth and believe God's promise when we see it. Yes, that is our choice. But God won't force us to believe what He knows we don't want. He's God. He knows everything about us. If we want Him, He's going to show us the Way. But it's GOD who turns the light on so that we see the truth and find ourselves believing in Him for His gift of everlasting life. It's GOD'S work.
    (James 1:18a)
    If we want Him and seek for truth, the Bible says we will find Him.

    If we don't want Him, and we want to come "our own way," then He will never enlighten us to the truth that saves. We will not take that drink (believe) that springs up into everlasting life. Satan will keep us blinded to the truth. Remember, it is NOT God who keeps us from believing. It is Satan..... (2 Cor. 4:6)
    God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him...
    (Heb. 11:6)

    There are many unbelievers who have heard and read John 3:16. Some of them may understand that Jesus gives eternal life to those who believe, but they haven't yet believed "IN" Him for the gift He offers. That's what you call "trust." I agree with you on that. I just prefer to look at it the way God presents it in His Word. Believe. When we believe THOSE facts, we have "trusted" in Him (the way you mean it). We've relied upon Jesus to save us and we KNOW that we are forever secure in Him AT THAT MOMENT. Lots of doubting may come later due to bad teaching (or whatever), but at that moment assurance is present in the believer because that's what believing means..... persuaded of THAT truth...... that I AM PERSONALLY SAVED FOREVER because of Jesus!!! My faith is in Him alone!

    Our choice is to look to Christ. Then God WILL reveal the saving truth to us. When He does, we will find ourselves believing IN Him. That's God's grace. He alone is to be praised.

    I consider you all friends, and I hope I didn't come across argumentative. I didn't mean it in that way. I was just trying to make my point as clear as I could. I am one of those flawed people for whom Christ died. I will forever praise Him for it!!!

    Your friend because of Jesus,
    Diane
    :-)

    By Blogger Diane, at 4/13/2009 5:53 PM  

  • Diane,
    I think that sounds very reasonable :~)
    Please feel free to comment as long as you like.
    I certainly don't mean to be argumentative with you either.
    I wanted to go to the GES conference, but I had a husband/wife trip that I chose to do instaed, since a babysitter was made available.

    God bless you sister!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/13/2009 6:07 PM  

  • Thanks for this re-post, Rose.

    Stan, thanks for your (IMO) clear articulation of the distinctions. I so agree with David.

    Diane, thanks for your heart; one of the few I've seen consistently retain the grace we preach.

    I've been running around lately, but I am very interested in this and would like to make some comments in response to Diane's concerns about using the word "believe" because it's "biblical," and try to see how that fleshes out in John's range of use of the word in Greek versus our range of use of that word in English. They are not superimposable, and IMO this creates even more confusion than using the terms "trust" and "intellectual assent," such that opponents commonly accuse FGers of promoting the notion that belief in a mere proposition is enough to save one.

    I will post a proposal (hopefully tomorrow) for using clearer terminology.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 4/13/2009 10:00 PM  

  • I have discussed this at length in the past with Stan.

    I do not believe that this position can stand if looked at critically. Will post more possibly wednesday on my day off.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 4/13/2009 10:55 PM  

  • Dear Friends,

    I just want to add one other thing to my last comment.
    Before I do, I just want to thank you, Rose, for your kind words.
    Everybody's been very nice to me. I appreciate that. I really do intend to stay out of further discussions here because I think I've probably said enough..... EXCEPT I wanted to make this last point. Thanks for giving me that opportunity.

    Regarding "trust" being step 3 in the components of faith.....

    Think of it this way.

    STEP ONE.....You get information that explains that Jesus Christ came into the world to give believers eternal life if they believe in HIM alone for it. Some need lots of information to get to that point, and they get all that they need to believe.

    STEP 2.....You accept that information as true, understanding that Jesus will give it to you if you believe in Him for it, but you haven't yet gotten to that place of personal "trust." You just recognize that it is true.

    STEP 3.....You now need to make a "decision" (a choice) whether or not to trust Christ for His gift of eternal life.

    Question? How do you make that CHOICE to believe in Him (trust Him, rely upon Him)? Is it through a prayer? Is it asking Him to save you? Do you just think a thought that says, "Jesus now I choose to trust you." What is it? At what point in this formula does God see faith and birth you into His family?

    Do you see the problem? We can't choose to believe something that we already believe. We can't make ourselves believe something that we have doubts about. We can't TURN the light on. That's God's job!!! Our job is to look to Christ, and HE turns the light on for us. He births us when we find ourselves believing in Him!!!

    I once heard this excellent illustration. You walk into a lighted room from the darkness out side. Do you make a choice to "believe" that the light is on?
    NO! You just KNOW it's on. You believe it's on without ever deciding to believe it's on.
    But you had to come into the lighted room in order to see it.

    That's what happens, I think, at conversion. We choose to look into God's Word with an honest and open heart. God is drawing us to Himself into His Word where we hear the truth. If we are open and honest to hear Him, we will. That's where the choice comes in. The light goes on and faith happens. God doesn't MAKE us believe His Word. If we are seeking Him, we will find Him according to the Bible.
    Believing in Christ is the work of God. Seeking Him is our choice. God doesn't force us to be saved, but He never turns away those who want Him. The light will go on for them who seek Him.

    I've had Christians tell me before that they weren't seeking God, but He was seeking them and that's the only reason they are saved today.
    I agree that He was seeking them. The Bible tells us that. But it also tells us that if we seek Him we will find Him. Because He is drawing us to Himself, we can seek Him. We can respond to His drawing. Just like in the first chapter of Romans. God gave light, and they rejected it and worshipped the creation rather than the Creator. God gives light. We know that is true because no one will stand before God at the Great White Throne Judgment and say...... "It's not my fault. You never revealed your truth to me." Each person will be responsible to respond to the light God gave them.

    I hope that helps.

    Again, we are on the same page when we agree that we must rely on Jesus Christ alone to eternally save us. That's called believing according to the Bible.

    My prayer for all of you and myself is that the Lord will open our eyes to the truth that He has for us in His Word. I want to learn everything He has for me. I want to love my brothers and sisters in Christ as Christ loved us. I want to enjoy your friendship and together praise the Only One who gave us this wonderful, wonderful gift!!!

    I wish you all God's best as you journey with Him,
    Diane
    :-)

    By Blogger Diane, at 4/13/2009 11:48 PM  

  • Hello Rose,

    Hi again Diane,

    Thanks for your continuing interest in my post and for your gracious attitude.

    You covered a lot of territory in your last contribution. I won't try to to respond to everything. But If you don't mind continuing for a bit I'd like to ask you a question. Do you think it's possible for an unsaved person to deliberately get saved? I don't mean deliberately look at evidence or deliberately seek the Lord or deliberately seek for truth. I mean, do you think it's possible for an unsaved person to deliberately get saved?

    I know that sometimes I might be uncomfortable if pressed to answer certain direct questions, so, don't feel obligated to answer if you don't want to.

    If anybody else would like to answer that question, too, I would be interested in hearing your responses.

    Thanks for any reply.

    Stan Nelson

    By Anonymous Stan, at 4/14/2009 12:43 AM  

  • I think Jim is absolutely right! "Believe" in English and "believe" in NT Greek are not synonymous in usage or range. And yet I often see Christians, not just FG'rs, assuming this to be the case.

    Typically "belief" in English is tied to a philosophical construct known as: Libertarian Free Agency, which simply holds that in order to truly be able to "believe" something a person must have the ability to "deliberate" between two options (or more). But the real crux of this approach is the view that 'you have the ability to deliberate' (if not it is not 'free choosing or believing'). What this view flows from, by way of 'anthropology' (or what constitutes man as man), is 'rationalism'; and that is that man is the ultimate 'determiner' (or the one deliberating) of his or her 'beliefs' (man is autonomous in himself) of what is worthy to be 'believed' or 'unbelieved'. This is not the view that scripture subscribes to on what it means to 'believe'. And yet this is exactly the way I have heard it described by FG'rs so many times.

    I'll be interested to see what Jim proposes, lexically, for 'belief' or 'believe' from its NT usage.

    Sorry if this comment is a little to academic; but it should be noted, for purposes of clarity and coherence, the things that are being discussed here flow from some "deeper" underpinning assumptions. And if those aren't made clear, then the confusion and disagreement will remain (and at the wrong level --- a superficial level).

    In Christ

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at 4/14/2009 4:14 AM  

  • Diane, I think you make an excellent point, and I believe I understand you much better! Your illustration about walking into a lighted room makes it very clear. Thank you for sticking with it to help my understanding! For myself, I might describe that for a time I was walking down a long hall before I made it into that room, deliberately for a while - but once I made it to that room, I'll admit (and did!) that the truth was undeniable.

    I think it is timely to bring up that we may have different experiences in this - as God leads us in different ways here? To the same understanding of course, but by different paths based on needs, pasts, and sinful natures, etc.

    By Blogger Missy, at 4/14/2009 7:38 AM  

  • I enjoyed that post very much. I always had problems with the intellectual faith beliefs. Remember, just because the free grace movement is teaching that position doesn't mean that all free grace believers buy into it. I don't.

    I remember painting walls years back that had a sign that said, "Do Not Touch, Wet Paint." They might intellectually believe that sign but not enough to keep their hands off the walls.

    I can believe a sign that says, "Road Closed Ahead" but I have to stop the car and turn away.

    I believe all the time that a low carb diet will do me a lot of good but my love for pizza keeps me away. I can believe that Jesus died, was buried and rose again but clearly I have to believe that personally.

    I believe it was Dr Martin Lloyd Jones that said he can always tell who believes intellectually but not personally by asking, "Are you ready to call yourself a Christian?" He was able to get people to admit, "Yes, I believe Christ died for my sins and that works can never save." However, when he looks at them and says, "Are you ready to call yourself a Christian?" is when they often show their true inner thoughts. I think it is dangerous to tell anyone, "You nodded your head yes to the facts so that means that you are saved!!!!!!!!" Is the question of your heart, "What must I do to be saved? Then the answer to you is to "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ."

    Just like the man that claimed that he could walk a man across the Niagara falls on a tight rope in a wheel barrel. Everyone believed that he could do it but nobody wanted to volunteer.

    I've met people that claimed to believe the facts of the gospel but they want to have nothing to do with it. I witnessed Christ to a young man back in Greenville SC who believed everything we said but felt that church is for those that are ******* in the head, so "No Thank you." Should I tell him, "Sir, you have agreed to the facts so you are hereby saved for eternity"?

    I seriously doubt anyone is getting saved at the Super Bowl games when John 3:16 is being displayed by the fans every time someone kicks a field goal just because they believe the verse is true from a distance.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4/14/2009 3:59 PM  

  • Hi Rose, hello everyone

    Last night I stated I would post today what I hoped would be a clarification of the different, albeit overlapping, ranges of meaning between the Greek and English words for "believe," and cite some Biblical examples of what I hoped would help clear up the differences we seem to have on the nature and dynamics of saving faith.

    I have not changed my thinking on this but I don't believe it's worth the risk at this point, given the emotions flying so high all the way around. I have been in contact with a number of people by e-mail and phone since last night, and I am not willing to risk the relationships I have been trying to build with some very fine people.

    I apologize if that sounds hollow; I know of at least a couple of you who feel that way, but I have no axe to grind here, I really don't.

    Let me say for the record that I completely agree with Diane's attempts at clarification yesterday and with the substance of what she was trying to say. I understand and agree with the truth that she represented by what she said. I just think that the use of terminology is unfortunate and serves to confuse many who are not already fully conversant with GES terminology as defined and used by ZH, BW, and others. Stan,
    Anonymous, and Bobby are not using standard GES terminology; I fully respect that and believe we need to engage one another more safely at some point to further explore Stan's proposal and think about terms that might be less ambiguous and/or inflammatory on all sides.

    My heart on all this is that I believe there are still many FG areas that remain in need of growth, not only for GES but also for FG advocates in general. I reserve the right to be wrong, but my sense is that the current focal points of the conversation are not helpful for advancing FG theology, because we are stuck in "strategic defense mode."

    While it is incredibly inefficient to have to resort to e-mail at this point, my offer still stands until we can trust one another a bit more to return to the public forum.

    Again, I apologize for reneging on my proposed post today.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 4/14/2009 4:10 PM  

  • Rose, Jim, Diane, et al, I guess there's something underlying this that I just don't get?? God bless you in considering one another, even though I'm not quite understanding the tension on the tightrope.

    I'll just stay where you left me hanging. ;)

    By Blogger Missy, at 4/14/2009 5:01 PM  

  • There are so many things wrong with this post, Stan, that I truly don't know where to start.

    Trust and believe are synonyms.

    Trust denotes belief in a certain proposition having to do with the reliability of a thing or person. It is not some element beyond belief.

    For instance, if I were to say that I trust the babysitter I could equally state it in this propositional form:

    I believe that the babysitter is qualified and reliable to take care of my children.

    When we speak of trust, there may be some form of emotional element attached to it, but that is a secondary matter that comes by way of the results, not being part and parcel with the action of faith.

    First off, we must realize that believing the facts concerning Christ's passion, Person, and resurrection is not salvific! It is when one believes in Jesus that he has eternal life.

    But what does it mean to believe in Jesus? I guess we could both say that believing in Jesus is trust in Him.

    But in every realm where trust is mentioned, there is a context. I don't trust the babysitter to do my taxes nor do I trust the airline pilot to make a medical diagnosis.

    I trust the babysitter for the well-being of my children on my night out.

    I trust the pilot for my well-being during travel.

    Every belief or trust can be denoted by propositional language, and apart from belief in a proposition, faith/trust does not occur. Each instance of faith/trust can be expressed in propositional form.

    A) I trust in the airline pilot.
    A) I believe that the airline pilot is able and qualified to properly fly this aircraft and to get me to my destination safely.

    B) I trust in the babysitter.
    B) I believe that the babysitter is able and qualified to care for my children and keep them safe when I am out for the evening.

    C) I trust in Jesus (or equally, I believe in Jesus)
    C) I believe what Jesus has promised He is able, willing, authorized, qualified, and desirous to perform.

    The gospel message states that anyone who believes in Jesus has eternal life. The moment that one believes in Jesus (as in C above) he has everlasting life. Therefore, one knows if he has placed his reliance or trust in Jesus (in the sense of believing that Jesus is able, authoratative, qualified, reliable, desirous, etc.. to perform what He promised) and because he:

    1) Knows he believed in Jesus
    and
    2) Jesus promises eternal life to the one who believes in Him

    then

    3) He knows he has everlasting life.

    There is no "personal" act of trust beyond an act of faith. This is nonsense and unbiblical. There can be no case made to state that saving faith is a combination of belief + trust.

    Reliance is not an emotion and ethereal object. Reliance is faith in propositional truth.

    For instance, Let's say I have an infant who has never been babysat before: after several weeks of going through interviews and reading resumes and calling references, a single babysitter shines above the rest. Her credentials are impeccable, her experience is broad, her references all check out, etc...

    I now believe in that babysitter. But again, what do I mean about that? Let us break it down again.

    Based upon the persuading evidence of her credentials, experience, references, etc., I now believe that this babysitter is able and qualified to care for my children! Faith (or belief or trust) in the babysitter was the passive result of becoming convinced/persuaded as to the reliability of the babysitter.

    But something happens the moment I am convinced/persuaded of that proposition:

    1) I feel relief!
    2) This babysitter has impressed me and I can act upon my new found confidence and hire her
    3) A relationship initiates which makes the act of trust (which is the passive result of becoming persuaded as to the reliability of the babysitter) which makes with it a "personal" element.

    But we MUST NOT confuse the act of trust/belief/faith (they are all SYNONYMS, not one to be preferred over the other!) with the "feelings", emotions, and subjective mindsets that may result from the act of reliance upon another.

    When we do so we not only err, but we destroy objective assurance as well. How are we to determine how to guage this "personal" response to see if we have adequately met this extra step for salvation?

    Really, this kind of theology is based upon a pop-psychology and not on logic and the bible. If you all have never read Gordon Clark's wonderful book "Faith and Saving Faith" you ought to give it a read to save yourselves from this kind of ethereality when discussing faith!

    Notice this statement of Scripture:

    Rom 4:20-22
    20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. 22 And therefore "it was accounted to him for righteousness."
    NKJV

    What is the "therefore" therefore in verse 22?

    Because Abraham was fully convinced that what God had promised He was also able to perform it was reckoned to him as righteousness!

    Abraham was eternally saved because he was fully persuaded/convinced that what God promised He was able to perform.

    Can you get this?

    This is propositional material. This is the description of trust/faith/belief in God in propositional language. This is an act of reliance stated in propositional form.

    Abraham considered God able, reliable, authorized, desirous, and willing to perform His promise, THEREFORE it was accounted unto him as righteousness.

    Jesus says,

    "Whoever believes in Me has everlasting life"

    This is the promise of Jesus!

    When I believe that what Jesus has promised He is able to perform, the result is that I have everlasting life!

    Receiving everlasting life is a result of placing one's reliance upon Jesus. But again, I must drive home this point. How is that done!?

    It is by becoming fully persuaded/convinced of the reliablity of Jesus Christ. And again, this can be denoted in propositional language:

    I believe that what Jesus promises He is able to perform, therefore as a result I have eternal life.

    Lets not make it any more difficult than it really is.

    The gospel message is to be preached far and wide so that it may increasingly invite men and women to believe in Jesus for eternal life. The Holy Spirit uses the Word of God through the instrument of the evangelist to persuade and convince the lost to believe in Jesus for eternal life.

    Let us not balk at this, belief is the passive result of being persuaded, and this notion is biblical.

    Acts 28:23-24

    23 So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening. 24 And some were persuaded by the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved.
    NKJV

    By Blogger Antonio, at 4/14/2009 5:48 PM  

  • Jim,

    You know you're awesome material. Keep it up.

    :D Michele

    By Blogger Sanctification, at 4/14/2009 6:04 PM  

  • For those interested, I have 6 articles pertaining to the issue of "faith" on my blogs. Here on the severely un-updated Table of Contents to my blog I have the hyperlinks to these articles under the heading:

    "Articles Pertaining to 'Faith'"

    Table of Contents for Free Grace Theology BlogI have tweaked and sharpened my position somewhat since writing some of these articles, but I stand by them in substance. They will be helpful to read if this is a subject you are interested in further studying.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 4/14/2009 7:17 PM  

  • Hi Stan,

    I honestly meant to back off and let others comment, but since you asked me this specific question, I thought I should be polite and answer.
    :-)

    You asked me......
    Do you think it's possible for an unsaved person to deliberately get saved? I don't mean deliberately look at evidence or deliberately seek the Lord or deliberately seek for truth. I mean, do you think it's possible for an unsaved person to deliberately get saved?I don't know how to take your question. I THINK you are asking can a person read the gospel about Christ, recognize that Jesus is offering a gift, and then make a DECISION to either say "yes" or "no" to Him.

    I think that his answer comes BEFORE he can even utter the word.... YES!
    If the person is OPEN to hear God (and only God knows if he is), then his answer will be yes the moment the Holy Spirit turns on the light of that truth to his heart and he finds himself believing "IN" Christ for everlasting life..... even before he can utter the word YES.
    If the person rejects the free gift offered through Jesus Christ, then he made his decision BEFORE he could ever utter the word NO. His heart was NOT OPEN to receive it at that point.

    To us it may seem like a person has no choice in the matter of getting saved. But he does. The Bible says if you seek Me, you will find Me.
    I understand that this verse could also apply to a believer, but it's true for both believer and unbeliever. Anyone who seeks the Lord will find Him. That's how loving and gracious our God is. He loves the whole world and died for the whole world.

    Again, I go back to James 1:18a. It's God who reveals truth to our heart, but not against our will.

    Belief in Christ comes in an instant before any word or prayer can be uttered. The light goes on, the person finds himself believing just like walking into a lighted room.

    To all my friends here.......
    We may disagree on this point...... Do we actually make that decision as Stan says, or does the light go on when we seek truth? I happen to believe that God turns the light on and we find ourselves believing WHEN we are open to hearing Him.
    But even if we disagree on this point.........
    ***Do you agree that a person DOES HAVE eternal life the MOMENT he believes in Jesus Christ for it?***That's the question I would like to have answered by all of you. Just a simple YES, or NO.
    If you have qualifiers on that, then the answer is NO to the way I'm phrasing the question.
    I'm just interested to know of we're agreeing on that very important question.

    Thanks dear friends for the opportunity to comment AGAIN.

    May we all seek truth and find the joy of walking in the light with Him each day of our lives.

    Your friend because of Jesus,
    Diane
    :-)

    By Blogger Diane, at 4/14/2009 9:31 PM  

  • Diane, the answer to your question has to be Yes. He promises it, & He is as good as His word!

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at 4/14/2009 9:43 PM  

  • Hi Missy,

    I'm glad that my illustration helped..... about walking into a lighted room from the darkness outside.

    Whatever disagreements we all might have, one thing we can know for sure.....
    God gives us everlasting life when we simply believe in Him for it as promised in John 3:16.

    That's my verse. That's the verse where the light went on for me MANY years ago. I knew that verse long before the light went on. I believed it in a way that didn't take on any personal significance for me. It's not that I rejected Jesus. I just never really thought about it before the light went on.
    But the time came when I looked again, and I past from death to life even before I could utter a word. My eyes were open. I was in the light. I will forever praise Him for His love and grace!!!

    It's nice meeting you.

    In Jesus' love,
    Diane
    :-)

    By Blogger Diane, at 4/14/2009 10:07 PM  

  • Hi Rose

    First and foremost I want to apologize to Rose for disrespecting her Blog. And would ask for forgiveness concerning insinuations that were wrong and mean . . . .please forgive me.

    Then I want to apologize to Jim for being disrespectful to him by speaking past him and not giving him grace . . . . please forgive me. And Daniel not giving him grace and taking out my hate for Calvinism on you all.
    I have been given much grace in my life by the Lord and I’m deeply ashamed of myself that I don’t give others grace. Everyone that I have offended I’m sorry.

    Hi Rose/Stan/Jim
    I wanted to make a Clarification: Since I was the only one to use the term “intellectual assent” in the last thread I’m sure your response was to my post on 4/11/2009 12:49 PM.
    I think that is probably the only time I have used that term on the blogs because it carries negative connotations.
    But the reason for using that term was to be clear that I was saying just the opposite of Daniel’s definition of “believe” which was “Justification happens the moment one utterly surrenders control of their entire life to Christ.” 4/07/2009 1:42 PM
    One does not surrender anything in receiving a gift that can be taken freely (John 4;10; Rev 22:17).I think Ken Neff has summed up nicely what saving faith is and how it pertains to the on-going debate over content-of-faith that must be believed.
    Evidence That Can Lead to Saving Faith Is Not the Object of Saving FaithThe “content-of-faith” terminology is, in fact, a misnomer. Faith is only a persuasion. Faith is merely a realization of the truthfulness of a proposition that is proven by evidence. Evidence, therefore, is the basis of faith. Something must convince us that a claim is true (even if it’s simply the trustworthiness of the person making the claim).
    What particular evidences concerning Jesus must be believed in order to be saved?
    The “legalistic-gospel proponents argue the evidence that must be believed concerns Jesus, His work, and His promise of eternal life—though they have at least four different lists; while “crossless-gospel” proponents argue it doesn’t really matter what evidence convinces a person, but that anyone who believes in Jesus has eternal life. (Grace In Focus March/April 2009). Emphasis mine
    Note: by the way this man is a ex-Mormon who believed all the doctrine on their list except faith in Jesus alone to save him :)
    The Bereans exercised choice when searching the Scriptures but when they believed it was not by their volition but it was simply illumination.
    Anyone that believes that Jesus has guaranteed their eternal well-being has believed in Jesus as the Christ in the Johannian sense (John 11:25-27; 20:31; 1 John 5:1a).

    brother alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/14/2009 10:38 PM  

  • Hello Rose,

    Hello Antonio,

    Thanks for the interest in my post.

    In order to better know where you stand on certain items and so I might be better able to respond, I'd like to ask some questions. If you feel that the questions are loaded and might lead you into a trap and don't want to answer, that's okay. I know something about how that system works and might be leery of answering, too. But if you do answer, it would help me to better know where we might agree or disagree on this topic of assent and trust.

    1. Do you believe that the Bible presents the Gospel message as an offer of eternal salvation; that is, as an invitation for people to be saved? (I do.)

    2. If you do, do you believe that people have a choice as to whether or not they will accept the offer? (I do.)

    3. If you believe that people have such a choice, do you think they are accountable for that choice? (I do.)

    4. Do you believe that an unsaved person can deliberately get saved? (I do. But, of course, I don't think they can do so without the drawing of the Holy Spirit.)

    5. Do you believe that saving faith arrives in a person solely as something that's externally imposed and totally apart from any human volition? (I don't.)

    6. How would you define saving faith? (See below for my definition.)

    7. Do you believe that any part of faith can originate within the believer? (I do.)

    8. Do you think that if someone agrees with the method of how salvation is obtained that that agreement is saving faith? (I don't.)

    We probably don't need to discuss items upon which we agree. At least, not very much. That would leave more time for dealing with any of the disagreements, if we pursue the dialog.

    In defining saving faith I take the three part view which includes understanding, assent and trust. In this definition trust allows for people to intentionally respond to the offer of salvation and, therefore, to get saved on purpose. As I wrote in my original post, "trust" is accepting the invitation to be saved by deliberately relying on Christ alone as ones Savior.

    The two part version holds that saving faith only consists of understanding and assent. I understand Bob Wilkin to hold this view as in this 2005 article from the Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society (JOTGES). http://www.faithalone.org/journal/2005i/wilkin.html Scrolling about half way down the page will take you to short sections III. and IV. which are pertinent to this discussion.

    You mentioned Gordon Clark's book, "Faith and Saving Faith". I have that book. His writings on the topic have been influential to some today. This link is a short review of something he wrote. He was a Presbyterian and, interestingly, this critical review is from a Presbyterian website. http://www.opc.org/review.html?review_id=21

    Stan Nelson

    By Anonymous Stan, at 4/15/2009 12:44 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Hi Diane,

    You asked this question.

    "***Do you agree that a person DOES HAVE eternal life the MOMENT he believes in Jesus Christ for it?***
    That's the question I would like to have answered by all of you. Just a simple YES, or NO.
    If you have qualifiers on that, then the answer is NO to the way I'm phrasing the question."

    If by "believes in" you mean "trusts in" then my answer would be yes.

    Stan Nelson

    By Anonymous Stan, at 4/15/2009 1:47 AM  

  • Diane, it's very nice to meet you, too! I pray someday I can be as gracious and full of faith as you seem to be.

    By Blogger Missy, at 4/15/2009 7:05 AM  

  • I would really like to clarify that not all free grace believers believe what the GES defines as faith. This has been proving to be a royal thorn in my side because as soon as I tell someone that I believe in 'free grace' then that must mean that I subscribe to everything Zane Hodges and Bob Wilkin believes. Sorry, that is a big negative.

    I do not see the Bible through the eyes of the GES or the majority opinion that is out there. I see a verse that says:

    "This beginning of miracles did Jesus in Cana of Galilee, and manifested forth his glory; and HIS DISCIPLES believed on him" (John 2:11)

    Does "HIS DISCIPLES" mean all but one disciple? Is Judas excluded here? I also read verses that says:

    "For he knew who should betray him; therefore said he, Ye are not all clean" (John 13:11)

    and

    "But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him" (John 6:64)

    So now I am left with a choice concerning John 2:11. Judas believed or Judas did not believe savingly but only the miracles he was beholding. It appears that the faith of John 2:11 is not the faith Jesus was talking about in John 6:64. This seems to parallel John 2:23-24:

    "Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did.

    But Jesus did not commit (same Greek word for "believe") himself unto them, because he knew all men."

    Another story is about Simon the Sorcerer that Scripture says in Acts 8:13:

    "Then Simon himself believed also...."

    But the same verse also ends with:

    "(Simon) wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done."

    The words of Peter to follow strongly suggests that Simon was never saved. It appears that many FG will read verses that clearly do not connect with Peter's comments in order to make Simon a saved man. I just did a blog last week on Simon the Sorcerer and you can feel free to read my position:

    http://dave-osas.blogspot.com/2009/04/simon-sorcerer-and-eternal-security.html

    Again, it appears that Scripture teaches that Judas being one of the twelve believed on Him (John 2:11) but we read elsewhere a very different story about Judas. John 2:23-24 is debated but the faith seems to be in the miracles they observed. Simon too appears to be fixated on miracles and was said to have believed only after he lost his money making followers. We have faith healers that have followers all the time.

    I didn't come in here to create a debate or take away from Stan's post that I believe was a good post. You can agree or disagree but all I wanted to show is that not all free grace believers hold to "intellectual faith" as all a sinner must have. I believe that a sinner must recognize his need of a Savior and come to Him by faith to be saved. I would never give a person a scan tron and ask them to complete a series of questions and then grade their answers to see if they are saved simply because they have their facts right.

    It is a shame that we have to have such titles as "intellectual faith" but the reason we have them is to easily define what someone is teaching. It is a shame that my title 'free grace believer' has caused many to assume what I believe based on a few guys in the free grace movement.

    Again, I did not post this to start a debate as I will not engage in any. I just wanted the record set straight that not all free grace believers holds to the position that Stan talked about. Good post Stan!

    Thank you!

    By Blogger Dave, at 4/15/2009 7:16 AM  

  • p.s. Hi Rose!!!! Didn't mean to type all that and not acknowledge you. I hope all is well with you and your family!

    Take care,

    Dave

    By Blogger Dave, at 4/15/2009 7:37 AM  

  • This will be my last comment but I just want to agree with Alvin and Jim. I want to ask forgiveness from Rose, Jim, Daniel, Dave, Lou and any others I might have hurt from my time on the blogs. I'm sure I'm leaving some out, but you know who you are. I sincerely hope that God blesses each of you in these last days. One day we will all rejoice together when we see Christ face to face 1 Cor. 13:11-13.

    Gary

    By Blogger goe, at 4/15/2009 8:47 AM  

  • Gary,
    May the Lord encourage you in every way. Thanks for the forgiveness. I love this that my friend Matthew would say all the time (I miss him) and I want to say it toward you:

    Every Blessing in Christ

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/15/2009 9:10 AM  

  • I still have to read all these comments.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/15/2009 9:11 AM  

  • Antonio,
    Hey! I am glad you are participating. :~) I was thinking about your comment. (Oh and I want to tell you that every time I read some of these comments of yours, I remember that one time -years ago- when you made a comment about "believeing in Jesus" - you were pointing out that we have to believe in Him *for* something specific and you asked: "Well what are we believing in Him for? A pastrami sandwich???" LOL

    That really made an impression on me and helped me to see that these things to need to be analyzed a little more closely than I was doing.

    I want to use your babysitter analogy:

    A) I trust in the babysitter.
    B) I believe that the babysitter is able and qualified to care for my children and keep them safe when I am out for the evening.
    Let me expound on this a little if you would bear with me:
    I read online about a babysitter. She has references that lead me to believe she has satisfied many parents in the past. I view her picture. She looks like so much fun for my kids. I become convinced she is able and qualified to care for my children and keep them safe when I am out for the evening. I trust that she is able. I then look down the page and see that she lives in Kentucky. She is not a babysitter for me and my family. She can't be because she lives too far away. So in this analogy, there does have to be a personal element whereby I see that not only is the babysitter trustworthy, but that she is actually *available to me* for my use, otherwise it is a trust or a belief in her without a purpose.

    The same with the airline pilot. If I am convinced that he is able to take people from Toledo to San Diego, that trust does not really hold a purpose for me unless I am convinced that there is a seat on his plane available to me. It has to have a personal purpose and element or it is removed from me and not effective to me.

    I think this is part of what Stan was getting at with his look at the lady and her lack of faith in Christ personally because she didn't believe she was elect. She believed the babysitter was a great babysitter, but please, she says, get one that can come to my house and actually watch MY children. She believed the pilot was world class, but his flight was full.

    Does this help to convey my ideas of the personal component that I believe is essential to saving faith?

    I think there is a part of this faith that must be applicable in our own minds to US or else it has no purpose.

    I do love discussing this with you when everyone can be civil.

    God bless you my brother!!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/15/2009 9:32 AM  

  • Diane,
    Thank you for your willingness to discuss!!

    Missy,
    Thank you for your interest and for your kind and understanding comments.

    David,
    Thanks for the encouragement.

    Bobby,
    You sound like someone I know. :~) BTW, thanks for "getting technical." I don't think you were overly technical because I actually felt like I kind of grasped what you were saying.

    Jim,
    You are a great man and worthy of emulation. Thanks for standing by and forbearing.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/15/2009 9:35 AM  

  • Stan,
    Thanks again for the post (comment that turned into a post).

    You asked: Do you think it's possible for an unsaved person to deliberately get saved? That is an interesting question. YES.

    Anonymous,
    Who are you? If you don't want to say will you email me and tell me? I think I might know, but I am really curious!!

    Michele,
    I agree.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/15/2009 9:44 AM  

  • Dave,
    Hold the phone!

    First of all, thanks for the greeting. I appreciate you keeping the rules, haha :~)

    Secondly,
    I have a guest post coming up on Judas. So rather than anyone getting into a debate over Judas and Simon right here, how about you come back and get involved with that and your ides of Judas and Simon's "faith" when I do the guest opst regarding Judas. I will email you when I put it up - I would love it if you would particiapte.

    I do see that what you have said relates to the post and I thank you for your thoughts. I am not in complete agreement with you on your latest post, but so what??

    signed,
    Jerry Springer. :~)

    (just kidding!) :~) :~) :~)

    Thanks for visiting and please come back! :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/15/2009 10:01 AM  

  • Brother Alvin,
    Thanks for the forgiveness.

    I do like a lto about the quote you gave from Ken Neff. (I just read that somehwere but I can't rememebr where, is it the GES newsletter? I must be getting old.)

    Ken Neff: faith is merely a realization of the truthfulness of a proposition that is proven by evidence.I would want to add the clarification that I believe saving faith is realizing a proposition regarding Jesus and oneself, not a fact removed from oneself. I would also assume realizing includes receiving the same truth. (I just love the word 'receive' as used by the author of the 4th gospel). Thus, the 'personal' element that is referred to in the post that resonates with me.

    I think the fact that we all have a little different understanding of this presently is not a bad thing. If we all saw it the same way, what fun would that be??? There would be no challenge to think further. We would be like a cult.

    God bless you Alvin!!!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/15/2009 10:12 AM  

  • Then again, we are all supposed to be of the same mind....

    Well, someday, huh??

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/15/2009 10:13 AM  

  • Hello Jerry Springer! I'm mean Rose!! I see you read my blog comments.

    As for your comment here:

    "I am not in complete agreement with you on your latest post, but so what??"

    That's OK, it will be in the next life that your understanding will be made complete. HAHA...that was a joke.

    I am having a very bad week so I will not be online reading blogs or doing blogs for a while. My boss just collapsed the other day with spinal meningitis. I should have called 911 when I was on the phone with him because he was complaining of a severe headache unlike he ever had and was slurring his words (dummy I am). He is on a ventilator and is in the ICU in critical condition. I am the Operations Mgr. here and his family is coming here soon because my boss (the owner) has some paperwork that proves that a certain member has the power of attorney to call the shots if it comes down to taking him off of life support. If my boss dies then I will be unemployed along with my wife. This is causing so much stress on everyone here. We already downsized to save this company but without him we are finished.

    I hope that didn't sound selfish. I already made plans to do a plant shutdown for a week to cut cost. I have been goofing off on the Internet today to kill some stress since I don't have Internet connection at home. I hope you don't mind my telling you all of this. I'll be back in a week or so. I am going to the store right now to quickly pick up a Get Well Card for him so that we all can sign it here.

    Talk to you later!

    By Blogger Dave, at 4/15/2009 10:45 AM  

  • Thanks Rose :)

    I believe the "women at the well" shows how personal it is.

    She had to know what Jesus was offering her before she could ask Him for it.

    It's been said you can't believe something you don't understand.

    And with the women at the well once she knew what Jesus was offering was permenant all was left to know was who it was standing in front of her. When He gave her the knowledge of His person that He was the Christ the giving and receiving had already taken place. For to believe that Jesus is the Christ is to be born of God (John 20:31; 1 John 5:1a; Rev 22:17).

    God Bless You Rose :) Grace is always sweet :)

    By Blogger alvin, at 4/15/2009 10:55 AM  

  • Dave,

    I'll be praying for your boss (does he know the LORD?), as well as for you and your wife's situation (in fact I just prayed for you :-).

    In Christ

    By Anonymous Bobby Grow, at 4/15/2009 2:23 PM  

  • 1. Do you believe that the Bible presents the Gospel message as an offer of eternal salvation; that is, as an invitation for people to be saved? (I do.)

    Yes


    2. If you do, do you believe that people have a choice as to whether or not they will accept the offer? (I do.)

    They have a choice as to whether they will pursue the offer or not.


    3. If you believe that people have such a choice, do you think they are accountable for that choice? (I do.)

    God will judge the lost according to the light that they had. At any point in the lost’s rejection of God, they are accountable. Ultimately the lost will be consigned to hell because their names are not written in the Book of Life. Everyone, both lost and saved, are accountable before God. God’s command is eternal life and the reason one does not have eternal life is because they do not believe in Jesus Christ. They will be judged according to their works, but condemned because their names are not written in the Book of Life.




    4. Do you believe that an unsaved person can deliberately get saved? (I do. But, of course, I don't think they can do so without the drawing of the Holy Spirit.)

    Great question. When one is willing to pursue the offer of eternal life, they will most definitely be open to the communication of the Word of God. They will deliberate over the evidence, and at the moment the evidence convinces them, they believe as a passive result. So yes, those who are being saved are deliberately open and considering of the evidence. They are, in a sense, giving the evidence permission to persuade them. They are seeking the narrow gate deliberately.


    5. Do you believe that saving faith arrives in a person solely as something that's externally imposed and totally apart from any human volition? (I don't.)

    No. If we were in a discussion and the topic turned to something that I did not want to talk about, I am essentially be unwilling to consider your point of view. But the moment I deliberately set my mind into a subjective state of openness and consideration, I am in a sense giving you permission to change my mind, given that your communication persuades me as to your position. The volition is is definitely a part of someone coming to faith in Jesus. But we must not add the human volition, whereby one pursues truth and is open to communication, to what we mean by faith. One’s willingness is required in order to consider the evidence. But once someone has considered the evidence, and that evidence persuades him, he cannot do anything but believe.


    6. How would you define saving faith? (See below for my definition.)

    Saving faith is the passive act of the lost whereby they are persuaded to believe in Jesus for eternal life.


    7. Do you believe that any part of faith can originate within the believer? (I do.)

    Faith is the constitutional ability of man, having been created in the image of God, whereby we retain a degree of His communicable attributes. Faith is not a gift from God, it is something that human beings do.


    8. Do you think that if someone agrees with the method of how salvation is obtained that that agreement is saving faith? (I don't.)

    I do not particularly know how to address this question. I’ll put it to you this way: When a person is convinced that Jesus Christ is authoratative, able, willing, desirous, and reliable to make good on His promise he then:

    1) believes in Jesus (or expressed another way)
    2) trusts in Jesus

    for

    3) eternal salvation

    Jesus states that anyone who believes in Him has everlasting life. I know when I believe in someone, therefore I would know when I believe in Jesus. The moment I believe in Jesus I know I have eternal life, for it was in the consideration of Christ’s offer that He states whoever believes in Him has eternal life that I have placed my faith in Him.


    To end, we must not add what are logical requirements to faith into what faith is. When we do so, we garble its understanding and err. Some kind of understanding of that which we believe in is necessary for faith to occur.

    For instance, I don't know much about combustible engines, but I believe that my car will get me to my destination, for other factors have persuaded me that this is true. But there is some understanding there, based upon experience and other things.

    To say that faith is made up of trust is to traffic in a tautology. You say that faith is understanding, assent, and trust. That is like saying that a car is made up of glass, metal, and automobile. Trust is a synonym for faith, not a component of it.

    Assent is essentially a synonym as well, latin "assensus", which characterized Calvin's understanding of faith.

    No one is going to believe something that they have not been persuaded of, and no one can choose to believe something that they have not been persuaded of, and the moment that one is persuaded of something he believes it as a passive result.

    If anyone here does not agree or believe the last paragraph, do me all a favor for illustration purposes:

    For the next 24 hours, choose to believe in my position by an act of the will.






    You can't do it? Why not!? I thought that faith was a matter of choice!?






    The reason you can't do it is simple: you have not been persuaded that my position is right. But having now given you this little practical teaching moment, you may very well be on your way to becoming persuaded that my position is right.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 4/15/2009 6:15 PM  

  • Antonio, I really liked these particular points you made. They were helpful points for me. Thank you.

    ***They are, in a sense, giving the evidence permission to persuade them. They are seeking the narrow gate deliberately.

    ***But once someone has considered the evidence, and that evidence persuades him, he cannot do anything but believe.

    ***For the next 24 hours, choose to believe in my position by an act of the will.

    ***You can't do it? Why not!? I thought that faith was a matter of choice!?

    By Blogger Diane, at 4/15/2009 7:17 PM  

  • Rose,

    I want to dig into your post:

    ----------
    Hey! I am glad you are participating. :~) I was thinking about your comment. (Oh and I want to tell you that every time I read some of these comments of yours, I remember that one time -years ago- when you made a comment about "believeing in Jesus" - you were pointing out that we have to believe in Him *for* something specific and you asked: "Well what are we believing in Him for? A pastrami sandwich???" LOL

    That really made an impression on me and helped me to see that these things to need to be analyzed a little more closely than I was doing.
    ----------
    Thanks. Faith will always have a context, and the context will tell us what are the parameters of one's believing in someone or something.


    ----------
    I want to use your babysitter analogy:

    A) I trust in the babysitter.
    B) I believe that the babysitter is able and qualified to care for my children and keep them safe when I am out for the evening.Let me expound on this a little if you would bear with me:
    I read online about a babysitter. She has references that lead me to believe she has satisfied many parents in the past. I view her picture. She looks like so much fun for my kids. I become convinced she is able and qualified to care for my children and keep them safe when I am out for the evening. I trust that she is able. I then look down the page and see that she lives in Kentucky. She is not a babysitter for me and my family. She can't be because she lives too far away. So in this analogy, there does have to be a personal element whereby I see that not only is the babysitter trustworthy, but that she is actually *available to me* for my use, otherwise it is a trust or a belief in her without a purpose.
    ----------
    The one thing you are losing sight of Rose is that what you did essentially was trust that babysitter, even though you couldn't act upon that trust. You trusted her! Your ability to act upon your newfound confidence in this babysitter is not part of the issue of trusting the babysitter! I can trust a chair to hold me up and never ever sit on that chair. The issue is trust and not a further commitment, action, feeling, or emotion.

    And when we move over to the realm of the gospel offer, we see that Jesus states that whoever trusts in Him has everlasting life. We must take Him at His word, no? He says the moment that one trusts Him, he has at the very moment eternal life. This is the epitome of being "available to me". The availability is inherently explicit in Christ's promise, "He who believes in me has eternal life".

    If I take Jesus at His word, and believe in Him, I know I have eternal life.

    Your analogy that was a spin-off from my babysitter illustration does not exactly correspond, because the babysitter does not say:

    "Whoever believes in Me has that very moment their children cared for"

    You have the illustration state that this woman is not available. But, again, explicitly inherent in Christ's guarantee is the promise that the one who believes in Him has at the same moment eternal life.

    The moment faith is exercised one already has the gift!

    Furthermore, when you believe in that babysitter, there is a purpose. You believe that she is able to take care of your children. To believe that does not preclude that she could potentially not be available to do so.

    But in reference to Christ's promise, the guarantee of having eternal life is given to the one who simply trusts Jesus, that He is able, willing, desirous, trustworthy, reliable, and qualified to make good on His promise, and the moment I do, according to Jesus Himself, I have eternal life.


    ----------
    I think this is part of what Stan was getting at with his look at the lady and her lack of faith in Christ personally because she didn't believe she was elect. She believed the babysitter was a great babysitter, but please, she says, get one that can come to my house and actually watch MY children. She believed the pilot was world class, but his flight was full.
    ----------
    Rose,

    can we see that the woman who worried if she was elect did not believe Jesus when He said, "whoever believes in Me has everlasting life?" If she believed in Jesus, believing what He says here, she would know that she had eternal life! She is essentially calling Jesus a liar, Rose!

    She did not believe Jesus' words, for if she did, she would have known it wasn't an issue about who is elect, but an issue about who believe in Jesus.

    As a final note, I wish to talk about the practical results of this error can be. This is not just some exercise arguing how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

    This error opens the door to Lordship Salvation, the famous illustrations of the chair, elevator, and Blondin, to ambiguity, subjectivity, and a potential disastrous result to assurance.

    Lordship Salvation: the personal application of trust is to commit one's life to Jesus, to His lordship. I hope not to have to explain more on this.

    'trust' illustrations: Here is Celestial Fundie's good post on Blondin: Analogy with BlondinA step beyond believing is not necessary to trust something or someone. Any step beyond believing would be an issue resulting from one's trust/belief/faith and not part and parcel of faith itself.

    This understanding leads to absurd statements that have been made, one here being the example, Rose, made at one point by a blog friend of yours:

    "It amazes me that I could believe something to be absolutely true, and at the same time have absolutely no faith in it"This is the logical conclusion of Stan's position of faith. A person can believe something and yet still have no faith in it.

    Believing in something has to have a corresponding "I believe that" statement. There is no exceptions to this rule. Each instance of belief/faith/trust can be expressed in propositional form.

    The message presented by Christ explicitely states that the one who believes in Jesus has eternal life. If I believe in Jesus, believing what He says about the believer, I have eternal life, by His word and authority which He received from the Father!The personal element and availability you seek is not a part of our reckoning or an added step on our part. The personal element is part and parcel with Christ's promise itself! He made the rules concerning how a man might have eternal life. He wanted eternal life to be a gift to be simply received. He regards the passive instrumentality of our faith to be the receiving mechanism (like holding out an empty sack) appropriating eternal life. And the identification of the specific faith that brings eternal life, to paraphrase Romans 4:20-21

    A man is eternally saved when he is fully convinced that what Jesus promises He was also able to perform. At that moment "it [the faith resulting from being convinced] [is] accounted to him for righteousness."

    Believing in Jesus receives the benefit of His promise as per the conditions of the promise itself.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 4/15/2009 7:24 PM  

  • Dave,

    According to a 'Harmony of the Gospels' by A.R. Fausset, Jesus barely met Andrew and Simon, Philip and Nathaniel at the point of His first miracle at Cana (the point where some of His disciples are said to have believed in Him, John 2:11). This occurs between the inauguration of Christ's public ministry at His baptism and the first Passover.

    It isn't until over a year later that Jesus ascends a hill west of the lake, and after praying all night, does He choose the 12 whom He calls apostles! (Matt 10:1-42; Mark 3:13-19; Luke 6:12-19). This event happens between His second and third Passover.

    Of course He had disciples at the time of John 2:11, as the text demonstrates; but it is not at all certain that Judas was one of His disciples at this time, nor was there such a thing as "the Twelve" at this point either.

    Jesus had many disciples by the time he chose the 12. These were the pool in which He made His choices!

    Furthermore, concerning this of yours:
    ----------
    This seems to parallel John 2:23-24:

    "Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did.

    But Jesus did not commit (same Greek word for "believe") himself unto them, because he knew all men."
    ----------
    Context, context, context!

    This statement is sandwiched between two universal statements containing the same Greek phrase denoting believing in the name of Jesus:

    John 1:12-13
    12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:
    NKJV

    John 3:18
    18 "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
    NKJV

    Both the positive and the negative are shown here. These verses sandwich John 2:23-24.

    John 1:12 - In believing in the name of Jesus one is a child of God

    John 3:18 - Condemnation is his who does not believe in the name of Jesus

    It would be beyond all credibility to read from John that one who believes in Jesus's name is born of God, and then to read from him a few verses later that these people are lost who do that! Then to read that not believing in Jesus's name is a cause of condemnation.

    These people believed when they saw Jesus' signs. But the signs were so people would believe in Jesus (John 20:30-31)!

    Jesus didn't entrust Himself to them because they knew they weren't willing to become His disciples. Jesus does not manifest Himself to anyone who is not following His commandments (John 14:21). These people are saved, but He knew their present consistitution would keep them from the rigors of discipleship, so He did not manifest Himself to them.

    John 8:30-32
    30 As He spoke these words, many believed in Him.

    31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, "If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free."

    Discipleship is an issue beyond simply believing in Jesus. Jesus here encourages those who believed in Him (and thus had eternal life) to abide in His word. Why? Because when they did, He would manifest Himself to them in an intimate way!

    The believers of John 2:23-24 were not willing at that point to abide in His word, so He did not want to entrust them with further intimate knowlege. But if you insist that one must be willing to abide in His word, how is it, Dave, that you consider yourself a Free Grace believer? You rather are positing the #1 mantra for Lordship Salvation!

    As an end, there are many soils to which the word of God finds a resting place and germinates, creating life in an individual. But it is the type of soil itself which will determine what are to be the results of that life.

    Simon the Sorcerer believed, Luke says. When one believes, one is saved, so says Jesus in Luke's other book, Luke 8:12. Why must we put assumptions into the text that are not there? Do we not understand that the moment that one is born again that we are dealing with a babe in Christ, carnal? It does not surprise me that Simon was carnal in his desire to have the power that Peter had! Furthermore, as a total aside, wasn't Simon sorry and repentance after Peter's rebuke? This of course doesn't say that he was saved, but why must we do injury to a text that states he believed?

    Why must we consider someone saved by the things that they DO rather than by their faith? This is the epitome of Lordship Salvation and is NOT a Free Grace tenet.

    Some people being saved are going to be good soil believers, others will be thorny soil believers, and others will still be rocky soil believers. Doesn't mean that one cannot till the soil of his heart! But we must not assume that all true believers will start off on the same foot, have the same understandings, or the same desire to be disciples of Jesus!

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at 4/15/2009 7:52 PM  

  • Rose, with this giveth & taketh, I'll never get a chance to make an accurate centurion strike again. :( I hope that the sun is shining on you today!

    By Blogger Missy, at 4/16/2009 10:28 AM  

  • "But we must not assume that all true believers will start off on the same foot, have the same understandings, or the same desire to be disciples of Jesus!"

    Amen, Antonio!

    I would hope you apply this to those that still "work" in vain - but happen to be exactly where God has led them in their current understanding? ;)

    Peace to you, bro.

    By Blogger Missy, at 4/16/2009 10:35 AM  

  • RABBIT TRAIL UP AHEAD< PLESE AVOID!

    heehee - I just want to ask that we not get too bogged down in arguing about Simon the sorcerer.

    Not that we were going to, but it is a potentiality that I foresee.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/16/2009 10:56 AM  

  • I can't type.

    Antonio,
    Thanks for your response to STan and me.

    I noted that you sid:
    The personal element is part and parcel with Christ's promise itself!I will take that as an agreement with me! heehee :~)

    Wow, that was easy. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/16/2009 10:57 AM  

  • said

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/16/2009 10:57 AM  

  • I am dense, Missy - waht do you mean by "centurion strikes"?? :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/16/2009 10:58 AM  

  • Ah, this is transparent my dear Rose.

    A centurion is a Roman officer in charge of "100" and that is clearly Missy's calling in "life on the blog."

    By Blogger agent4him, at 4/16/2009 11:08 AM  

  • haha - oh she is referring to her 100th comment fetish. :~)
    I get it! duh!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/16/2009 11:28 AM  

  • Jim, I would hope that's not my only contribution, but certainly my calling! :)

    And Rose, if you were dense, then I would be the dregs of the deepest ocean bottom (comparatively).

    By Blogger Missy, at 4/16/2009 12:14 PM  

  • Rose, I believe Antonio's second comment was a fully adequate response to this post.

    Trust is essentially propositional.

    My truast that the bank will not give away the money I deposit with them is conceptually the same as my belief that they will not give away the money that my neighbours deposit with them. The only difference is that the first proposition directly affects me.

    I define trust as mental assent to the reliability of a thing. It is a proposition that a thing can be relied upon.

    Saving faith is the proposition that Christ guarantees to one eternal life.

    This is trust and, just as in the case of trusting the bank, it is assent to the truth of a fact.

    Of course hypothetically we can imagine a person who was persuaded that Christ has given her eternal life yet was indifferent about it.

    But it is hard to imagine a person being indifferent about having eternal life!

    Once we move away from treating faith as propositional, it becomes an entirely nebulous thing.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Celestial Fundie, at 4/16/2009 2:26 PM  

  • Hello Rose,

    Hello Antonio,

    Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions and for letting us know where you stand on those issues.

    I find myself getting weary and I don't want to remain in a debate mode. I'm not constitutionally well equipped for it. (I have found that it's an effective way to lose a few pounds, though.)

    So, I'll just plan to make some remarks and then let you have the last word if you wish. If I've anywhere misunderstood or misrepresented what you believe, I apologize. Please feel free to correct me on that.

    First of all, in arguing these and other issues I want it to be known that I don't believe people can come to faith in Christ apart from God's drawing (John 6:44). When I speak of deliberate trust and such things I'm simply talking about how we observe things in our limited and finite human understanding.

    In my original post I tried to make a case for the idea that if the Bible presents eternal salvation as an offer of a gift that can be accepted or rejected, then saving faith must have an element of deliberateness in it in the form of trust to receive that promised benefit; additionally, that trust is not synonymous with simple assent to the truth of a statement. I've tried to be Scriptural and logical and have stated it about as well as I'm able.

    From what I discern, you believe that assent and trust are the same thing; that there's a measure of deliberateness in arriving at that assent/trust but that it can't be directly chosen, it can only be bestowed on a willing mind. And that such willingness of mind is the limit of volition in this issue.

    If your understanding is that saving faith is simply this assent/trust in (or to) the truth of a statement that describes the way to be saved, then it would seem to be saying that one is saved by simply agreeing with the mechanics of how salvation is appropriated. I see a logical problem with that and described it in my original post.

    Also, if it's said that salvation is received through faith in Christ "for it", intentionality of belief (trust) is implied. To say that someone believes in Him "for it" but does not do it deliberately seems like a contradiction.

    "For it" also seems to imply something more than just a willingness of mind to allow a persuasion to be bestowed on us. It implies a definite directness in receiving the benefit of salvation.

    In my opinion, to define faith as "the persuasion or conviction that something is true" isn't satisfactory and tends to preload the issue in favor of the assent only viewpoint. First-hand knowledge on a particular matter is also "the persuasion or conviction that something is true". But such knowledge cannot properly be called faith.

    For example, I have "the conviction" of the truth that I have feet on the bottom of my legs. But it wouldn't be correct to say that I have faith that I have feet on the bottom of my legs. Faith occurs in the absence of first-hand knowledge, otherwise it's not faith.

    When the Lord stood before Thomas in John chapter 20 and spoke with him, Thomas didn't have faith that Jesus was standing there. He knew with first-hand knowledge certainty that He was standing there. And our Savior said, "Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." The Lord seems to draw a distinction, here, between believing something as first-hand knowledge and believing something as faith.

    The Psalms often speak of putting trust in God. And doing so implies deliberateness.

    You expressed concern that requiring trust as a third element in saving faith might lead to Lordship Salvation. Although Lordship Salvation might require deliberate trust, too, trust is nothing like the performance, behavior and other requirements of Lordship Salvation. In fact, trust in Christ alone as ones own Savior actually involves deliberately giving up all other imagined ways of salvation.

    I'd like to close with a personal note. Some years ago when my younger daughter was perhaps an early or pre-teen she expressed concern about having assurance of her salvation. At the time, I had come to endorse the assent only viewpoint.

    I tried to help her gain assurance of her salvation by telling her to answer "true" or "false" to a statement like this one. "Jesus Christ gives eternal life to all who believe in Him for it." If she could honestly answer "true" then that was supposed to clear up the whole matter. She could consider herself saved.

    From almost the very time I did this it bothered me. Something just didn't seem right. Over the years I wrestled with it and finally came to see that it's not right. I've subsequently corrected it with her. And, as I recall her telling me, she, too, came to see that it wasn't right.

    What I've presented here represents some of my wrestling. If what I've written has been helpful to any of you, I'm very glad.

    Stan Nelson

    By Anonymous Stan, at 4/16/2009 10:42 PM  

  • Hi Rose!

    Missy said,

    And Rose, if you were dense, then I would be the dregs of the deepest ocean bottom (comparatively).-- And Missy, if that's where you are I am the molten nickel of the planet's core (comparatively).
    (that's why I don't even own a comment #)

    :D Michele

    By Blogger Sanctification, at 4/17/2009 1:27 AM  

  • Stan,
    Thanks so much for your comment. It really got me thinking today when you mentioned the passage about Thomas. It is interesting that he was touching and handling the Lord and the Lord called that "believe."

    That really is something worth further thought!

    Thanks so much for all your contribution to what I think is a great discussion.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/17/2009 10:09 AM  

  • Matthew,
    You and I disagree. I miss you!!!
    God bless you brother!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/17/2009 10:09 AM  

  • Dave,
    I wanted you to know that I read your comemnt and I will pray for you about your boss and your company.

    Also, shifting gears, I appreciate your joke.

    JS :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/17/2009 10:44 AM  

  • Michele,
    How much further down can we go?? :~)

    This is the opppostie of one-upmanship!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/17/2009 10:45 AM  

  • How would you respond to what I said in that comment?

    By Blogger Celestial Fundie, at 4/17/2009 11:03 AM  

  • Hi Matthew,
    Do you want me to respond? :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/17/2009 11:05 AM  

  • I would say that agreeing that faith is the reception of a proposition is fine.

    I would also say that I think it nebulous as well to view faith as a feeling or a commitment etc...

    When I say that there is a personal element, I am just trying to say that I believe that part of the "proposition" must be understood to be in regards to one's own self.

    eg: "Jesus is the Christ and He can save me eternally and yes, I want that. I agree with the proposition and I receive it into my self."

    Believe into Christ.

    If I don't 'receive' this proposition that I deem as true and personalize it as having direct relevancy for something that I need, then what difference does it make to me and what is the purpose of knowing about it (believing it)?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/17/2009 11:20 AM  

  • "When I say that there is a personal element, I am just trying to say that I believe that part of the "proposition" must be understood to be in regards to one's own self."

    I totally agree.

    Saving faith is not merely believing that Christ gives people eternal life, but believing that Christ has secured it for oneself. One must believe that one is the recipient of eternal life.

    But this does not negate the essentially propositional character of faith/ trust.

    I would refer you to my bank analogy.

    My trust in the bank to not give away my money and my belief that the bank will not give away my neighbours' money is conceptually the same thing, though in the former it is a personal reliance and in the latter there is no personal implications for me.

    Both are mental assent to a proposition, but one affects me personally.

    Saving faith is assent to a proposition that has implications for the whole of my future existence.

    As I said, a person could hypotheticaLly believe it yet be indifferent to it (though maybe if you look at how many of us Christians live, perhaps this is not so hypothetical), but it is hard to see it not having some impact on how one views one's cosmic position.

    "eg: "Jesus is the Christ and He can save me eternally and yes, I want that. I agree with the proposition and I receive it into my self.""

    I think you have confused the issue by bringing in 'want.'

    I may want many things that I donb't believe that I will get and I may believe many things that I don't want.

    Faith and desire are two very different things.

    Yet it is faith that saves, not desire.

    Nowhere are we told that we receive eternal life by wanting it or that wanting eternal life is a condition of receiving it.

    I think it is very unlikely that a person would exercise saving faith while not wanting eternal life.

    Such a person proably has no interest in the things of God.

    Such a person is probably too hard hearted to receive the offer of eternal life.

    If such a person is lost, it is not because she did not want eternal life, but because she did not receive it by faith.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Celestial Fundie, at 4/17/2009 12:51 PM  

  • Thanks Rose! My boss still has not improved. If he pulls through this then there is still a possibility of brain damage. His family is here right now going through all the records. I'm waiting for the meeting in a little bit to hear their thoughts.

    Take care,

    Dave

    By Blogger Dave, at 4/17/2009 1:25 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    I went to see my boss this morning at the hospital and he was awake with his eyes open. We were sent to the waiting room as they removed the breathing tubes. The doctor came in later and told us that he is talking and that their doesn't appear to be any signs of brain damage but they are going to have to do a MRI to make sure. He was doing so good that he might be removed from the ICU tomorrow and have his own room. Thanks for the prayers!!!

    By Blogger Dave, at 4/18/2009 1:05 PM  

  • Praise God bro. Dave!!!!!!!! Just prayed this morning & still will continue. What a wonderful display of His GRACE!! Thank you for this wonderful report bro. Dave!

    Howdy Rosemeister!

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at 4/18/2009 1:43 PM  

  • Hey, David

    ....display...His GRACE...That's what I'm talkin' about!!

    By Blogger agent4him, at 4/18/2009 1:51 PM  

  • Amen bro. Jim! He displays it for us FAR MORE than we have eyes to see it, I'm certain! God Bless.

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at 4/18/2009 7:29 PM  

  • Hi peeps,

    I had my fill of theolgy and took a break. Started to read the travel blog of a young girl while looking up reviews of a destination. Reading accounts of the shoes she had just bought was better than watching TV, although as mind numbing . Midstream, she shocked me out of lurking mode with the announcement that she had accepted Christ! I was back in theology mode!

    I must thank Alvin for a resource I turned to very often while answering the new believer's questions:

    http://www.youtube.com/user/dreiher2

    Try to catch Zane teaching about the difference between Eternal Life which a believer has, and eternal life, which a believer enters into when his name is found in the Book of Life, in the series "Regeneration and the New Covenant". Believe me, you won't regret the time spent: hearing is such a blessing, even more than reading!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qW_6hO-t61g&feature=channel_page

    Here's the thing:

    You can receive Eternal Life without even understanding what it is. Here the disciples do not know that their names are written in the Book of Life, which is what happens when receiving Eternal Life is:

    Luke 10:20 "Nevertheless do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are recorded in heaven."

    Here is what it means to enter into eternal life:

    Revelation 20:15 And if anyone's name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.

    Matthew 25:46 "These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

    Hope this helped! And thanks again to Alvin!

    By Blogger anton, at 4/21/2009 1:33 PM  

  • Dave,
    I read about your boss's weekend and now his current situation. We are praying for him... you.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/22/2009 9:19 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    I'm so ashamed.

    I read the first few posts and then jumped to the end as the intervening posts were just back and forthing.

    I am with you all in your prayers for Dave and his boss. Dave is a great example for us all: I can see his concern about his boss outweighs the concern for his own future. Not an easy thing with the present economic scene.

    Anyway, Dave pray for your boss and we'll pray for you both...

    By Blogger anton, at 4/22/2009 11:43 AM  

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