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

Thursday, December 10, 2009

My Simple Gospel

I have written out, in several other places on ths blog, my understanding of the gospel.  I just wrote the condensed version in a paragraph below for a "mock-up" I am doing for a publication... although I think it will probably be replaced :( 
But I wanted to post it here!

This is Good News!


Most of us wonder, at some point in our lives, "How can I be accepted by God?” Well, let us tell you: Jesus made a way! He took all our sins upon Himself on the cross, died with them, and removed the barrier between ourselves and God. He rose from the dead, proving his victory over those sins and the death they bring. All that remains is for us to receive Him as our savoiur, trusting Him in faith, that He has accomplished this on our behalf. Through this faith, we become God’s children, having eternal life which is the very life of God within us. This enables us to escape the torments of hell and live with God forever. We don’t have to perform any goodness to obtain this life, we simply must trust that what He has done is enough. He has done it all. Won’t you receive Him today and begin a relationship that will meet the most basic human need: being accepted by our Creator, God. Then, let’s talk about serving Him with our lives!

142 Comments:

  • I agree what you've written is good news. An attempt to summarize the key parts of Scripture. My simple gospel is shorter.

    "Jesus is Lord"

    I think this summarizes Jesus teachings on the good news of the kingdom of God (Mark 1:14-15, and elsewhere in the 'gospels').

    The power, wisdom, love, ... of the God of the universe is available to you, you can place Him as Lord or King in your life and allow Him to reign now and into eternity. As He reigns in your life he will direct you to understand the other key truths in Scripture, and how to live them.

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 12/10/2009 9:11 PM  

  • Rose,

    Your summary of the gospel is good as far as it goes. Would you consider, though, adding two things, even if only in a clause each, to make it complete?

    [i] Repentance towards God. This is how the Apostle worded his evangelistic summaries: Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. (Acts 20:31)

    [ii] That the salvation which Christ accomplished on our behalf includes salvation from the chains, as well as the curse, of sin. For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. (1 Thessalonians 4:7) Our mutual friend, J. V. McGhee repeats the story of the demonic counsel whose most intelligent demon persuaded his fellow demons that the best way to persuade men that God was non existent [a very serious object] was to tell everyone that there is a God, that there is Jesus Christ, and that believing in Him saves, but all that you have to do is profess faith in Christ, and then go on living in sin as you used to.” (Comments on James 2:14)

    Glad you’re back blogging again,

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 12/11/2009 6:39 AM  

  • Hi Rose!

    I wouldn't change it, Rose. What we "add" to the simple offer of life in Christ when we are introducing others to Christ depends on where they are. If they don't "receive" or "accept" Jesus with the simple offer of life on the basis of his death and resurrection alone, then we need to ask them what is holding them back and deal with their baggage, rather than placing additional burdens upon them that would make the offer seem even more impossible. It's absolutely free.

    Having said that, my own personal problem with "accepting Jesus" in 1978 was that I didn't want someone to be a Lord over my life, so I placed that obstacle myself. For me, it required a level of desperation over my own inability that finally made me forsake my own devices for getting "life." So, yes, some people will need to hear "Jesus is Lord" to freely receive him because of their own self-imposed baggage.

    While I agree with Jonathan that it is important to "place Him as Lord or King in your life and allow Him to reign now and into eternity" (Romans 5:21), no one is capable of doing that without the Holy Spirit. If people who simply receive Jesus are then connected in vital community, the words and works of Jesus should be manifest in those who are following the Spirit, and it is that modeling of His love that should "incentivize" people to want Him to reign in their lives.

    Colin, you open a can of worms with an unqualified citation from Acts---the word "repentance" is freighted in our current evangelical environment with all kinds of baggage that implies "good works" as a prerequisite for "salvation." Repentance involves a spectrum of acts of the human will that may or may not result in outward "measurable" works.

    JVM was simply dead wrong on James 2:14. The context is speaking of a three-dimensional salvation that goes beyond being "declared righteous"---it involves being vindicated as already righteous through faith in order to become a friend of God by adding works to faith after the fact, just like Abraham. JVM and many, many others have perverted this important passage by forcing us to view it through the lenses of a one-dimensional gospel. It is not.

    What Paul was preaching in Acts was a call to forsake depending on anything else for life than God through Jesus Christ; that call was intended to begin with faith in Christ and extend through their entire lives. (1) The repentance which would bring them into the Body of Christ as Jews or Gentiles involves no works whatsoever, because it merely reflects the need to forsake faith in idols in order to truly have faith in Jesus. (2) The repentance called for after they are baptized into the Body of Christ is repentance from dead works to serve the living (and reigning) God. Again, that can only come from the power of the Holy Spirit. We can't tie heavy loads on the shoulders of those who have no power.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 12/11/2009 12:15 PM  

  • Hi Jonathan,
    It *is* good news that Jesus is Lord. I htink if I told that to someone, how would they percieve that as good news for them? I guess that is what I was thinking - trying to relate how Jesus has good news for you and you and you and anyone I would talk to. Yeah - anyone!!!

    Thanks for visiting. :)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/11/2009 12:22 PM  

  • Colin,
    Thanks for visiting. It is always nice to see you.
    Do you know what I think of the word "repentance"? :)
    Let me put it this way: I was trying to write something up that would be clear. I think that word "repentance" is so vague and nebulous, especially to someone who is not familiar with Christian talk.

    Since you have given me a suggestion as to what I should add, how about you alter it a bit to be more simply understandable by the average unchurched Joe. (or Pat, as you might say it is Ireland, haha)

    IOW, don't use a word that has be defined, try to make it simple for me. thanks!

    BTW - I agree with Jim about JVM's comments on James. You know this. You just enjoy quoting him to me, don't you?? ;) :) :)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/11/2009 12:26 PM  

  • Jim,
    as always, thanks so much for your excellent comments!!! I am warming to your "three-dimentional" gospel concept quite a bit. :)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/11/2009 12:27 PM  

  • Ah, Rose, you are a gem. Maybe we should start calling you "Ruby."

    By Blogger agent4him, at 12/11/2009 12:39 PM  

  • Hi Rose/Jim etc.,

    You’re right, Rose. I must confess, I do love quoting JVM to you :o) It is not entirely mischievous though :o)
    I love quoting Ironside too and all the old paths, classic and basic Evangelical men. (BTW: Ironside takes the correct view in James 2 as well. I quote: In the same way [James] undertakes to show that faith that is divorced from works is dead, being alone. There is no work of grace in the heart where there are no acts of grace in the life.) They’re not even C-----ists (oops!) but they knew which side their bread was buttered on to use an Ulster phrase.

    I think we should let God be God when it comes to His own word. If we cannot mention repentance in stand alone verses, then should we mention faith which often is perceived to mean some kind of fuzzy, feel good feeling or mention receive Christ which (as you know) to a Roman Catholic may conjure up kneeling at an altar rail with the mouth open. Sins can often mean lack of self esteem or political incorrectness etc.,

    Sooner or later, the gospel is going to offend the carnal heart. Obviously, we should not come in breathing fire and brimstone from the first line, but neither can the natural man receive the things of the spirit of God until the Lord moves upon his heart. I see it as my job to deliver the facts of the gospel, explain them and answer questions etc., as they arise and plead with sinners to be saved. And pray that God will bless my feeble efforts to His glory. The duties truly are mine, but the consequences are God’s. I like that arrangement.

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 12/11/2009 1:18 PM  

  • Oh dear Colin, it is we who have buggered up what repentance means, as it was plainly understood by those whose only Bible was the OT. It is we who insist on fitting grace with a harness, lest sinful man play havoc with God's free gift.

    Yes, the duties indeed are ours and the consequences are God's---and he is a God who is loving and secure enough to handle rejection without our help in judging the hearts of those who have accepted his free gift but simply don't act the way we think they should.

    There are no such things as "stand alone verses." Scripture is the entire counsel of God, and we respect him as author when we respect the semantic range of the words human authors chose under inspiration to embed into particular contexts to meet the needs of sinful man. Repentance simply means turning, and we tender the author his due respect only when we look to the extended context to determine what kind of "turning" is in view.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 12/11/2009 2:26 PM  

  • Jim:

    I agree with you that there are no “stand alone verses” in the absolute sense of the word. I used “stand alone” in the sense of quoting some particular verse. Obviously you can’t put the whole Bible up on (say) a church billboard. I would be quite happy to display just one verse e.g. “Repent and believe the Gospel” (Mark 1;15) and let God take it from thee, as He sees fit.

    I suppose we could start swapping names of those who study Hebrew or Greek to see who translates the word “repent” as “a change of mind” or “a change of mind leading to a change of action.” I run with the latter. I notice that the Bible declares that the man that finds mercy before God is not the man who hides his sin, but who both confesses and forsakes them (Proverbs 28:13) The Evangelical Prophet himself words it powerfully: Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon. (Isaiah 55:7)

    We both agree, I assume, that these men are not teaching mercy and pardon by reformation of character. But they are teaching repentance and therefore the man who wants to hold unto his sins will not be saved.

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 12/11/2009 2:41 PM  

  • Colin,

    I reject your limited alternatives for the meaning of repentance. It simply means "turning," and context must determine what kind of turning is in view.

    The OT texts you cite speak of actually prove my point: The idea in view is "deliverance"; nearly every time that concept is used in the OT it is speaking of temporal deliverance---as of a nation in rebellion. Virtually every time wickedness or rebellion are mentioned as endemic in the nation Israel, she is addressed as the people of his name and choice. They are called to repentance---that is to turn from their sinful ways and do the kind of righteousness and justice he created them to do before a fallen world. These were already his and were being chastised through the mouths of his prophets for not acting the part of agents of his blessing. The consequences would be dire indeed, but nothing of eternal damnation is in view in the passages you cite.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 12/11/2009 3:11 PM  

  • Jim:

    Even if I run with your view (which seems to be, that these texts are for the Jews only) – yet they are significant for the meaning of the word repentance. It is clearly turning (as we both agree) and it is turning from sin to God. Therefore, when we address sinners, we exhort them to do likewise. If you were witnessing (say) to some high class “escort” who enjoyed her lifestyle (wined and dined etc., by young rich men) and could earn thousands every week by her sin, and she wanted to be “saved” (i.e. just avoid hell when she died) but continue to see her well paying clients every week, would you tell her that she could have that if that’s all she wanted? I wouldn’t. I would tell her, “Yes, you can be pardoned for past sins, no matter how vile, but the gospel call is to holiness and you cannot serve two masters. If you want to keep your sins, then you cannot have Christ.”

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 12/11/2009 3:32 PM  

  • Colin,

    In these cases you previously cited, yes it is turning from sins back to God. We are talking of a nation that was once redeemed and has turned away to worship false idols.

    But you illegitimately transfer the sense of repentance in the context of a chosen nation to a high-dollar (she's American), unsaved escort. For every one of your high-class escorts who is not willing to give up her "sins," I could probably show you 99 prostitutes who would gladly give up their livelihood if one could (in their eyes) provide them with a feasible alternative.

    The issue is not whether she's willing to give up her sins, because none of us can ever successfully do that in this life. If we are guilty of one we are guilty of all. Nothing whatsoever separates up from the high-priced whore in the eyes of God. In one sense, we are really all whores, but usually willing to "prostitute" ourselves for a lot lower price than the example you cited.

    The issue of relevance is, "My dear, you are loved by God; in what are you trusting for your eternal destiny?" (One would have to be dull indeed to think that they could get eternal life from prostitution.) The issue is, What will you do with Jesus?? He meets the escort exactly where she is; when she accepts from him his offer of eternal life---the life that Rose describes in her initial post, he delivers her from certain death and tells her to go and sin no more.

    Once she has eternal life, she may choose to return to her previous "profession," like we all do to one degree and at one time or another, but she will never be the same. He will ask her "Do you love me?" If she says, "Of course I love you, Lord." Then he would answer, "Why then do you continue to give what is valuable to dogs? Follow me and do not wallow with the pigs; s/he who loves me keeps my commandments."

    Now she's analogous to the nation Israel. Now she has the Holy Spirit and may grieve him bitterly. Now she may die a premature death in this life, because "the Spirit who dwells in us yearns jealously" (James 4:5). But she will never lose her new identity in him or her eternal destiny.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 12/11/2009 4:22 PM  

  • But, Jim, the one in my scenario just wants to wallow in her sin in this life but avoid hell when she dies. With an open Bible in your hand, could you accomodate her (so called) spiritual desires?

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 12/11/2009 5:19 PM  

  • Again, Colin, with your term accommodate you make out the issue to be one of offering someone an easy way to keep sinning with impunity. This is not what Jesus is offering. Paul does make it clear in Romans 6:1 and 14 that people are perfectly capable of twisting grace into a license for sin, so the scenario you pose is certainly plausible. BUT neither Paul, nor Jesus, nor I would accommodate it, we are called simply to endure that disappointment and unfailingly call them to turn back to God.

    If confronted by such a person, here is the approach I would take; I would seek to determine whether they are aware of three things:

    *Do you understand you are utterly dead in trespasses and sins?
    *Do you understand that God has offered life after death to those who believe in him?
    *Do you understand that God gave his Son as a ransom for your sin and that he rose from the dead to make eternal life possible for you?

    If she were to concede these three things, I would ask her if she has trusted in him for that life. If she answers "yes," then I would ask why she would rationally want to cling to the "wages of sin" and continue to experience a death-like existence in this life after God has given her eternal life in his Son? It simply makes no sense to receive the gift of eternal life and then suffer the present consequences of wrath against sin (Romans 5:8-10). I challenge you to show me a prostitute that doesn't in some sense know deep down inside that she is living a death-like existence if she hears the gospel and understands it. God has graciously given us a conscience for exactly this reason.

    Would I be able to know for sure whether she had truly trusted him for eternal life if she returned to her life of sin? I don't think so, but I'd want to look in her eyes and observe her body language, as strange as that may seem. I might want to revisit the whole scenario of what she really understands all over again if I sensed self-deception. If I was convinced she had trusted Christ for eternal life, would I be able to judge her as disqualified from an eternal destiny in Christ if she returned to her profession? Of course not. And you couldn't either, Colin.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 12/11/2009 6:52 PM  

  • Good morning Rose/Jim

    Jim: I was assuming that the "lady" had not already made any profession of faith at all, but was being witnessed to. Evangelicals (term used devoid of any inter church politics/implications) have always emphasised faith and repentance when dealing with the unsaved. If they are not willing to repent, then we conclude that they have no faith with which to savingly believe. If they are truly sorry for their sins, but not willing to trust Christ alone, then we conclude that they have remorse, but not repentance.

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 12/12/2009 5:20 AM  

  • Yes, Colin, exactly...someone who had not yet made a profession of faith.

    However, we need to think this through---what are the logical ramifications of your scenario? In your evangelistic scenario you posit that one would have to tell the woman, If you want to keep your sins, then you cannot have Christ. I don't believe it is legitimate to frame her dilemma in that way. The only issue at hand from an evangelistic perspective is whether the woman trusts her 'livelihood' for 'life' after death (in a 'three dimensional' sense).

    If this woman acknowledges that she is 'dead in trespasses and sins,' then she could plausibly indeed accept the offer of life yet still 'keep her sins' out of desperation in her dreadful circumstances. So, what would you conclude about her 'estate' at that point? My point is that a deliberate decision to 'keep my sins' as my source of 'life' is not compatible with acknowledging that 'I am dead in trespasses and sins' and trusting Jesus for life.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 12/12/2009 8:32 AM  

  • "Did you know God's power is available to you? You don't have to do everything in your own strength and wisdom. If you allow God to rule in your life (the Holy Spirit), instead of your selfish ambitions He will restore your life to what it was intended to be."

    I think this is in line with the good news message that Jesus and his disciples shared with people pre-cross. Whatever problems people had, they could surrender their lives to God. The reign of God was now available to them in a personal way.

    I don't think we need to start the conversation with talking about sin and Christ's death, and Jesus being a sacrificial lamb - Most people won't see how this connects to the problems in their lives. I think we can start with the simple good news of the kingdom of God, and the other truths can come later.

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 12/12/2009 9:34 AM  

  • I think you're right on target, Jonathan. I appreciate your clarification of "Jesus is Lord."

    By Blogger agent4him, at 12/12/2009 1:01 PM  

  • Hi Rose/Jonathan:

    Jonathan wrote: I think we can start with the simple good news of the kingdom of God, and the other truths can come later.

    The first application following the first mention of the Kingdom of Heaven/God in the NT is "Repent" as your own reference above (Mark 1:14-15) relates. It is "sinners" whom Jesus calls to repentance (Matthew 9:13)

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 12/12/2009 2:53 PM  

  • Hi again Rose/Colin,

    (Sorry Rose if I'm hijacking too much here - it's just a topic that I'm passionate about.)

    Repent can also mean "to completely change your mind about something". Some translations have Mark 1:15 saying "Turn back to God and believe the good news!"

    Sure repent could mean turning from sin to turning to God... But how do we define sin? Is sin breaking a list of do's and don'ts? Or is it not following the will of our Heavenly Father?

    The conversation can be had without the word 'sin'. Who is at the helm of your life? You and your self centered desires, or is Jesus? Change your way of thinking... Jesus is Lord.


    Another point to ponder. If a full understanding of Christ's work on the cross is required for salvation... you must make some large assumptions for everyone who was saved before Christ. There are also many descriptions of people being declared 'saved' during Christ's lifetime, with no indication that the salvation was based on their acceptance of His future work on the cross. Or even descriptions after the cross like Acts 16:29-31 "...what must I do to be saved? They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved". Did the early church even compile a list of essential beliefs into a summary gospel message? There is nothing in the Bible that looks like our 'sinners prayer'. I guess the Apostles creed may be the first such list... but it looks quite different than most current lists of essentials used in the presentation of the 'gospel'.

    God bless!

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 12/12/2009 4:29 PM  

  • Hi Jonathan,

    The Bible itself defines sin as the transgression of the law and since God's will is that we keep the law, then it is also (as opposed to "or") defined as breaking a list of "do and don'ts"

    Unsure as to why you want to avoid even mentioning the "sin" word. Sooner or later, you have got to get to it or you're just skirting the main issue and supplying something less than what Christ has provided i.e. salvation from *sin* (Matthew 1:21) If the Apostles preached in the pulpit as they wrote in the epistles (as safe assumption), then they didn't skirt the issue.

    Unsure, also, as to anyone who claims that a full understanding of the Cross is required for salvation. Who could ever claim that?

    Regards,

    Yes - thanks Rose for hosting these discussions

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 12/12/2009 5:08 PM  

  • Yes breaking the law in the OT was breaking God's will for His people. The law was all they had to go on. Luke 16:16
    "The Law and the Prophets were proclaimed until John. Since that time, the good news of the kingdom of God is being preached, and everyone is forcing his way into it."

    I'm not sure we are still under the Law. Your neighbor likely doesn't think he is. I'm not saying Christians should quit using the word sin. I just don't know if every presentation of the gospel needs to start with using language foreign to our culture.

    And I'm not sure Jesus used the word sin (let alone cross/death) every time he talked about the good news of the kingdom of God.

    Anyways... I don't need to win this debate. I'll sign off here. I'm impressed some of this made sense to at least one person. It's just part of the journey I've been on lately.

    God bless as you seek God's truths, and invite those truths into your life.

    By Blogger Jonathan, at 12/12/2009 6:16 PM  

  • Hi Rose

    Personally, I think you did a great job of trying to condense the Good News in as small a package as possible. And you did, in fact, include repentance when you said "then, let's talk about serving Him with our lives!"

    That really is part of the Great Commission in Matt 28 where the disciples are told to make disciples, baptizing them and teaching them to be obedient. That’s repentance. But Jesus wasn’t explaining the condition of eternal life. If that were the case, we could only be saved by “doing,” that is, becoming obedient disciples and being baptized. Faith in Christ for eternal life is only a part of the whole counsel of God for the salvation experience of believers. It is just the beginning. (Maybe that, in part, is what Jim is referring to by "3-D" salvation? I'm still a little unclear on that.)

    It seems that the general pattern is that repentance is often connected with forgiveness whereas faith/believing is connected with justification and eternal life. Repentance and forgiveness are broader categories than faith and eternal life. I believe faith is often implied in repentance. And when we turn to Christ in faith, that is a form of repentance (although I don't think "repentance" is used very often in that sense in the Bible). But repentance, in its broadest sense, goes beyond faith. Similarly, forgiveness is a part of receiving eternal life. When we believe, we receive positional forgiveness; our sins are not counted against us. But just as positional righteousness in Christ is different than our experiential righteousness, so too we should not confuse positional forgiveness with experiential forgiveness that maintains our fellowship with God (1 John 1). Both are effected by repentance in some sense of the word.

    Having said all that, in response to Colin's (Hi, Colin) reference to Acts 20:21 (not 31), Paul in his words “…testifying to Jews, and also to Greeks, repentance toward God and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ” is not giving the condition of salvation but rather was explaining how he carried out the Great Commission over a period of time in Ephesus, in my opinion. Bringing people to faith is only part of the commission to make disciples.

    By Blogger David Bell, at 12/12/2009 11:11 PM  

  • Well spoken, David. Yes, what you are saying is involved in my notion of 3-D salvation. The "third" dimension has to do with glory and our inheritance at the judgment seat of Christ which is at least in part contingent on what you are calling "experiential righteousness."

    By Blogger agent4him, at 12/12/2009 11:24 PM  

  • Hi Rose, Colin, Jim, David and all!

    Love the discussion! Colin, I respect that you put yourself into interesting situations, challenging us to re-examine our...gospel.
    I think I can quote you, or at least adequately paraphrase:
    Sin is all of man, and salvation is all of God.
    Well it seems to me that repenting (feeling bad for, turning away from, forsaking, ceasing from committing or whatever) of sins, is a pretty big...no, monumental work. An alcoholic whose personhood, as far as he is concerned includes that fluid chain of molecules that keeps him sane, would have to commit an act of repentance that would make your average minister look sophomoric. Some succeed to recover from alcoholism, many of those only, with God's help, (I suppose others substituting false gods). But if you told them it is not a hard work, requiring life-long commitment and exertion that they commit themselves to, they'd (politely) tell you you're stark raving mad.
    By contrast Paul has this:
    Even so there is ... a remnant according to the election of grace. And if by grace, it is no more of works, otherwise grace is no more grace....uh....you know the rest.

    A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.

    Your Brother

    By Blogger Duane WATTS, at 12/13/2009 1:00 PM  

  • Post Script:
    That's the King's English I think!
    ;D

    By Blogger Duane WATTS, at 12/13/2009 9:55 PM  

  • I think good works and repentance are what it takes to be saved; but that what is the touchstone for this is pressing the vicarious humanity of Jesus Christ. It is by the Spirit that we are united to Him by faith alone, and it is as we participate in Him alone that we experience the salvation that He alone could and did win!

    My question would be who's repentance? Can I do that, or did Jesus do that for me/us? My question is who's good works? Can I do those, or did Jesus do that for me/us? I see repentance and good works as integral; but they are only appropriated by faith (and Christ's faith for us, mind you; by the Spirit). In other words, Christ precedes all of this discussion; He did it all or none Jn 6.29. It is our union with Him that brings salvation; not "our repentance or good works." We echo His faith and trust to the Father for us (in His Spirit anointed Humanity for us). It's either all Him or none of Him.

    So in essence I agree with Rose and Jim; and disagree completely with Colin.

    By Anonymous Bobby Grow, at 12/13/2009 10:37 PM  

  • Rose, he's baaa-aaack...!

    By Blogger agent4him, at 12/13/2009 11:17 PM  

  • Yup,

    Like old times! Still agreein' for the most part with Jim and Rose; and still disagreein' with our brother Colin.

    Unfortunately I was only able to skim the exchange between Jim and Colin; but it seems like old times ;-).

    By Anonymous Bobby Grow, at 12/13/2009 11:45 PM  

  • Good morning Rose/all:

    Jim: The example that I gave you relates to someone who loves their sin but wants to avoid hell when they die. IOW: They want the Devil’s lie “Thou shalt not surely die” to be true. It seems to me that the necessity of repentance keeps such a still-want-to-be-rebel back from fulfilling their dream. They do not want the “salvation of God” which lifts a person out of their sins and makes them a new creature. They want a “salvation” that merely keeps them out of Hell when they die. By ignoring – nay, denigrating - the necessity of repentance, it seems to me that the FG message accommodates (sorry, no other word for it) such a view. Indeed, we must wonder why the Holy Spirit must first convict of sin at all, since it is something that may be dealt with afterwards, if at all.

    Duane: You wrote: But if you told them it is not a hard work, requiring life-long commitment and exertion that they commit themselves to, they'd (politely) tell you you're stark raving mad. Unsure as to where I said that it was “NOT a hard work” (Emphasis mine) It is certainly not a view that I hold. Have you read me right? I recognise, that even with God’s help, the recovery of a professing Christian from the effects of alcohol is usually long and painful.

    Bobby: Faith and repentance are the “channel” of salvation, but never ever the cause. I cannot in union with Christ and in union with sin at the same time. Therefore sin is to be forsaken in repentance and Christ embraced in faith because such union can take place.

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 12/14/2009 4:55 AM  

  • Hi Colin!
    Exactly my point: Salvation, by your description as I understand it, is a great work, wrought by God in concert with His subject. His subject participates in his own salvation, not by simple trust, but by great exertion, and faithfulness. Even if it is God working the work through the man, it is still the man's own blood, sweat, tears, and toil that effects his salvation.
    This I agree is part of the second dimension of salvation- being delivered from the purposelessness and wasting away of this life, and winning a life that will endure the fires of testing (1 Corinthians 3:14). Our whole temporal life may be frittered away, a shameful trampling of the gift of GOD. None-the-less it is just like the Love of Our creator
    GOD to waste His grace on many who will not even return with gratitude and say "thank you Lord for healing me". Note however that He healed those leapers, knowing (whether Jesus in the flesh knew, Father knew)that all but one would be ungrateful.
    I love you Colin; you really make me think about the love and grace of Father.

    Duane

    By Blogger Duane WATTS, at 12/14/2009 6:18 AM  

  • Duane,

    You're losing me here. Can you confirm that justification is by grace, through faith alone, without any works, either before or after we come to Christ?

    Regards

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 12/14/2009 6:55 AM  

  • Colin;
    You wrote:
    You're losing me here. Can you confirm that justification is by grace, through faith alone, without any works, either before or after we come to Christ?

    No fair, I asked you first!

    Duane


    o.k. I'll answer first. Yes, that is my tyrannus saurus rex bone of contention, that what you are proposing is a great work for salvation, while I maintain that there is no, not any work on our part. For if Abraham had whereof to boast, it was not before God, for what saith scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him for righteousness.

    By Blogger Duane WATTS, at 12/14/2009 7:17 AM  

  • Duane,

    I believe that justification before God is without works of any kind. The basis of justification is grace alone. The channel of justification is faith alone. The price of justification is Christ’s blood alone.

    Faith in Christ is not a work, but a trust. Repentance towards God is not a work, but an attitude that leads to a change of life.

    I believe that sanctification is an ongoing work of God in the soul of the justified one that positively requires effort on the part of the Believer.

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 12/14/2009 7:34 AM  

  • Colin,

    It seems to me that Duane makes exactly the relevant point here; you seem to be 'kicking against the goads' of the extravagance of God's grace in accepting all into His family who simply believe in Jesus for the promise of eternal life, even if they have nothing to show for it after the fact.

    You keep bringing up the issue of the hypothetical sinner who 'loves her sin' and seems to flout it in the face of the Saviour she is supposedly trusting for her eternal destiny; I've got to confess I just don't see people doing that in the way you suggest before the fact. You posit that someone who does this cannot possibly be saved because 'having sins' and having Christ are mutually exclusive. But the issue at stake in our justification is not whether someone 'loves their sin' before the fact; don't we all? The issue is whether they trust anything other than Christ for life after death---period.

    You seem to concede this in your last post when you speak about justification by grace through faith alone; so, pray tell, what does a woman who 'loves her sin' before the fact have to do with faith in Christ for eternal life? You are trying to eat your cake and have it, too, Colin; you can't preach grace and then require works after the fact. Grace that is really grace endures the choices that people make to presume upon that grace after the fact (Rom 6:1, 14), as Duane said about the ten lepers.

    Does that mean there are no consequences to presuming on that grace? Of course there are, but it says nothing whatsoever about one's eternal status as in Christ: Those who trust in him for their eternal destiny will have eternal life in Christ. Rather, these consequences have to do with loss of vitality and glory in God's present and future Kingdom; that is what Romans 6:23 is about: Sin always brings death in some form or other.

    Colin, you cannot ultimately control how a person will respond to the offer of eternal life by holding the club of 'loving sin' over their heads. If instead we more consistently preached a 3-dimensional gospel, you would worry a lot less about those you so deeply seem to fear will use their profession of faith as a license to sin. That is, if we more consistently preached what people are saved to (a life of full vitality and glory in the Kingdom of God, both now and in the age to come) as well as what they are saved from (eternal separation from their Creator), then we really could relax and get on with the work of the Kingdom of God, for 'my yoke is easy and my burden is light.'

    When we keep our sites on the goal of our salvation after the fact, then that is what makes abiding in him for abundant life so appealing: We look forward to more life now (Duane's 'second dimension,' which beats the pants off of what one can get from 'loving sins,' even if it entails present suffering) and greater glory with him in the age to come (the 3rd dimension of eternal life). As you can see from this construct, Colin, the second and third dimensions are indeed contingent on whether we obey Christ in this life. But like Jesus, you've first got to let people have their 'free ticket to heaven'---believe in him, period; absolutely free---in order for the rest of it to make any sense. 'Repentance' in the first dimension can have only to do with turning from anything besides Jesus as the object of our faith in order to secure life after death. 'Repentance' in the second and third dimensions has to do with turning from whatever we think is giving us life (= 'idols') and to keeping his commandments by faith whenever we are invited to participate in his Kingdom enterprise.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 12/14/2009 11:16 AM  

  • Jim,

    It seems to me that you are presenting to us half Saviour here in your books. You are presenting one who only justifies but the sanctification bit might or might not be. It does not seem to be an integral part of salvation, but an added extra for those who care to take the whole matter to a new height. Converts might be dead to sin, but on the other hand, they might not. Sin might not have dominion over them. On the other hand it might. This is not the language of the NT and subsequently not of the Evangelical people of God for 2,000 years.

    There is no real reason why this envisaged lady of the night should ever give up her sinful way. If she is satisfied to get in to Heaven by the skin of her teeth, then your message suits down to the ground. If she ever died (whether at 45 or 95) you could stand at her grave side and say: “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to bury our dear sister So & So. Twenty years ago down in the Red Light district, she told me that she was trusting Jesus for eternal life. Today, many of her past and present clients are here to pay their respects. Some of the other girls from the Escort Agency are here too. Some of them are saved as well and assured of eternal life. Let us sing her favourite hymn that meant so much to her on those rare occasions she did take time out from her busy schedule come to church. ‘Amazing grace, how sweet the sound/ That saved a wretch like me/I once was lost, but now I’m found/Was blind but now I see.’ Any one else want to trust So & So’s Saviour? Let me encourage you to come. We are not those preachers who preach repentance and faith. You can keep your sin and trust the Saviour. It need not make a button of difference to your present lifestyle whatsoever. I hope it does, but eternal life is yours no matter you do. Let’s pray…”

    Excuse the rough plaster job here. However, I am basically right in my analysis here, am I not?

    Here is how I would conduct the funeral. Bearing in mind that there are grieving relatives, I don’t think that it is for me to raise my voice and deliver a classic fire and brimstone sermon. I would probably proceed somewhat as follows:


    “Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today to bury So & So. What can I say? One verse that comes to mind is Isaiah 53:6 that tells us that all we like sheep have gone astray. It is not for me to rake over the unfortunate past life of the departed. What has been done has been done and there is now no way back. Choices were made and followed through.

    So and so came a few times to our church. She once told me that her favourite hymn was Amazing Grace. How we wish she had’ve been able to sing those great words (Quote) from her heart. Alas, it must be said that she left no testimony to that end. As family and friends grieve here today, let me tell you of one who assuage your grief. [Proceed from God’s care to those who grieve to the gospel.]


    OK. I would probably say a lot more as well. Perhaps the bereaved was a kind hearted person etc., I would probably mention that somewhere too. But there is absolutely no way that I am going to have her in Heaven if there was never any evidence that her life was changed. A good tree brings forth good fruit and if the good fruit isn’t there, then I am not going to contradict the Saviour.

    Sorry this post is long and esp. with two different types of funeral. At least, it should be easy read, even if ult. disagreeable to the FG view of the Gospel. No offence meant at any time in what I have written.

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 12/14/2009 12:21 PM  

  • Colin,

    Part of your problem is that ground all that you're saying on you (or the individual elect). If repentance and faith and everything else aren't first grounded in Christ's humanity then you end up with a salvation that as man-centered at a methodological level; which then has severe consequences for one's spirituality.

    You speak in transactional terms, Federal Calvinist terms; this is not trinitarian or christcentered. Salvation is loving response, not juridical demands. We respond out of God's love for us in Christ (I Jn 4:19). Sin is our problem, Christ answered that problem so that we could respond and reciprocate in the same terms that He responded for us to the Father (in trust and love).

    You're just off, Colin. And to be honest I really don't have much hope that you'll change your mind until heaven; but we can try ;-).

    We can quote scripture back and forth all we want; but you're aren't communicating through the categories of scripture, Colin. You're communicating through the thomistic categories you've inherited (it seems uncritically) from your Classic Calvinist heritage. I'm sorry . ..

    By Anonymous Bobby Grow, at 12/14/2009 2:37 PM  

  • Colin,

    I know full well that you mean no offense, but you are profoundly mistaken in your analysis. I must say that your gospel does not sound at all like mine and I am convinced you are in fact the one who has grievously misunderstood the Savior who made it his first priority to minister to "call girls" with no strings attached.

    We could drag out the various texts in Scripture about "fruit-bearing" and examine them in context together, but I fear our schism runs far too deep for it to make any ultimate difference. My estimate is that our basic differences consist in the nature of free will and the power of the flesh in response to that will.

    When one's primary identity is changed through belief in Christ they receive a new spiritual nature, but the flesh remains totally unredeemed---not one whit of it is redeemed this side of life-after-death. What is externally evident to others depends entirely on the extent to which people live according to the flesh or according to the Spirit. The 3-dimensional gospel you seem to have overlooked fully attends to the issues of sanctification you bring up. Not all FG advocates are comfortable preaching such, so don't put us all in the same petunia patch in that regard.

    You said, But there is absolutely no way that I am going to have her in Heaven if there was never any evidence that her life was changed. I am so relieved that you are not in fact responsible for making that judgment, and I sincerely hope at any funeral that you would leave it to Him.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 12/14/2009 2:50 PM  

  • Jim/Bobby,

    Bobby: I would regard my approach here as being very Biblical and in the matter at hand, in accordance with Classic Evangelicalism - Calvinist or otherwise.

    Jim: I accept, and rejoice, that our Saviour ministered unto harlots etc., and invited them (and indeed all sinners) to come to Him. Unsure as to what you mean “no strings attached” because if repentance is to be considered as a string, then we might consider faith to be a string also. The Bible itself puts faith and repentance together (Mark 1:15 etc.,) and I cannot do less.

    Ultimately you are right re: the judgement. It is not mine to make, but the One who does judge has given us guidelines so that we may have some idea. It is He who said that by their fruits we shall know them, and I don’t consider the life of our imaginary call girl to be the good fruit which the good tree brings forth.

    There must be very few “recommended books” on your shelf, Jim if what I am writing here is unacceptable to you as the gospel. The issue here, as indicated to Bobby above, is not Calvinism but Evangelicalism. Can you name me any who took the Evangelical name prior to 1970 who taught that saving faith does not necessarily lead to a changed life? Any non Calvinist commentaries I have in my library –Ironside, McGhee,Torrey etc., all rightly insist upon it.

    Regards,

    P/s Rose: Hi! I put JVM into second place to try and cushion the blow :o)

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 12/14/2009 3:52 PM  

  • Colin,

    You seem more comfortable quoting others' views than examining the texts in their native contexts. Bobby is much more in tune with past voices on these issues than I, so I will not 'match expositors' with you.

    However, I have defined my terms and explained how I see repentance involved in faith, yet you seem to apply a selective grid in reviewing my responses and continue to speculate on exactly what I mean. As to the 'guidelines' he left us, I believe you are misconstruing what these are intended for. My offer stands to discuss any texts of Scripture in this regard---whether 'fruit' or 'gospel' or 'repentance'---if you really think it would make any difference.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 12/14/2009 4:43 PM  

  • Colin,

    I'm not as concerned with if your view fits into Classic Evangelicalism; this really is only semantics. In my view, that's the problem. I appreciate Ironside and others, but in all reality all they do is parrot more fundamental voices that in fact are off base (like Charles Hodge and back further).

    In all honesty I don't think your view is biblical at all. If scripture is all about Jesus (Jn 5:39), and you are espousing a view of salvation that "starts" with man (which your's does historically) then ipso facto your view is not biblical.

    This discussion, in my view, is going to be fruitless; we've gone down these paths before, always ending up at the same spots. Like I said, I think this one will only end in Heaven for you, Colin; where you will come to the truth on this issue ;-).

    Sorry to be so terse, I appreciate you as a brother in Christ, Colin; we just disagree. I don't see you engaging your views critically, at all, from the vantage point of history; and until you start doing that, everything I'm trying to say we'll just be on deaf ears --- but I see this as a general problem with much of Christianity.

    By Anonymous Bobby Grow, at 12/14/2009 4:55 PM  

  • As far as a necessarily changed life; I think the only necessarily changed life is Jesus Christ's. The one that went from the cross (justification), from the grave (sanctification), to the throne (glorification). From justification, to sanctification, to glorification. There you go, Jim, a little analogy for your 3-D salvation, eh ;-).

    We aren't trying to prove our election, Colin; only Jesus' life has done that (that's what Heb 7:25 says). We grow in the grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ (sometimes that "looks" like an unchanged life though); Jesus Himself said man judges the outward appearance, He searches the heart. The Pharisees would've made great Christians in your book; but that's the point. Outward behavior is not at issue, a changed heart is (II Cor 3); the problem with your view is that it's all couched in a forensic view of the atonement, but unless Jesus penetrated the heart (which the Incarnation is all about, the assumption of humanity), then we are in trouble. This is the fundamental teaching of the New Covenant, and your view runs the opposite way. Trying to work outside in instead of vice-versa. Works are to bear witness to God's life as a testimony of His grace to a lost and dying world; they aren't intended to demonstrate that someone is elect or saved. You should read the bible and Martin Luther on this, as well as Calvin (and his thoughts on the mystical union). I'll pray that your heart will be open to these liberating realities, Colin. I'm sorry you burden under a weight that no person, except Christ, can bear --- worse than that, as a teacher I'm afraid you're putting a burden on others that Christ never has (and that is a scary thing).

    By Anonymous Bobby Grow, at 12/14/2009 5:08 PM  

  • One simple thing that so many people miss. The faith of whom? Is it our faith that saves us? I don't think so.
    Its the faith of Christ that saves. By this I mean that the relationship is between Christ and God. Not man and God and not Man and Christ. It is God and Christ.
    We receive the unmerited favor as proof of the faith of Christ. We are faithless where he is faithful. What is his faith in? The finished work that he preformed for the benefit of God so the alienation felt by mankind would end. God is love. The emnity is over. This is why I believe in universal reconciliation.....

    By Blogger heavenbound, at 12/14/2009 11:15 PM  

  • Heavenbound,

    I believe in universal reconciliation but not salvation. I believe all humanity in Christ is oriented to Him (or in carnal union); but that not all humanity is in spiritual union with Him. You've erred on the objective side of things; and given no place for the subjective otherness provided by the Holy Spirit (you have to deny the clear teaching of scripture to espouse the view that you are, and that is just not sound).

    By Anonymous Bobby Grow, at 12/14/2009 11:25 PM  

  • God is not a respecter of persons. What he has done for 1 he has to do for all. Religiosity is what puffs men up. So many miss the point of what the problem is with mankind. Sin is the problem, the only problem.
    God doesn't see sin now. He only sees the blood.
    The totality of redemption rests on Christ's head. To follow Christ's ministry while he was on this earth is totally wrong. To understand where Gentiles stood during his ministry is to look at the Temple. The wall of partition was still up. Read about what Rome did after the destruction of the temple. The apostle Paul's ministry is the beginning of the offering to the Gentiles. Something is definitely, wrong when we place ourselves into spiritual Israel. I have studied most of my adult life the knowledge of the mystery.
    Paul's ministry was looking in the face of Christ's return. Do yourselves a favor. Reread the gospels from the viewpoint of a Jew and NOT from your present viewpoint. It will be an amazing read.
    Especially the book of Revelation. You see my thought is that when Christ went to paradise he also took captivity captive as well. If you read about the early church fathers Origin, St Thomas Acquinas and St. Augustine you will understand that what we have today has been perverted.
    Anything written by man can't be used to justify
    any position. All truth begins and ends at the cross. As the apostle Paul states at the beginning of his letters, We have peace with God thru Christ Jesus..........

    By Blogger heavenbound, at 12/15/2009 9:04 AM  

  • One other point to chew on is this: If someone gives me a free gift I can accept or reject it, does the fact change that it was free? Does it change the fact that a free gift was set aside for me 2000 years ago? Whether I know it or not, it doesn't change the fact that the free gift was placed for me in the heavenlies. Now if I know about the gift, I can rejoice knowing that the gift has been given to me. If I don't know, it doesn't change the fact that its mine. I just don't know about it yet........

    By Blogger heavenbound, at 12/15/2009 9:20 AM  

  • Hello Rose

    Heavenbound, after your comment on Rose's previous post I submitted a comment on your own blog regarding your position. That was two weeks ago and you haven't responded.

    Are you interested in dialogue?

    By Blogger David Bell, at 12/15/2009 11:32 AM  

  • Hi Rose/Jim/Bobby

    Sorry for delay in getting back to you. I am currently away from home on an evangelist trip – thankfully, my guesthouse has an internet connection.

    Bobby: Your words: ”I believe in universal reconciliation but not salvation. look pretty awkward, to say the least. Do you want to rephrase?

    Jim: I am very happy to discuss any portion of scripture with you. You must forgive my tendencies to manifest my satisfaction in being part of the mainstream & historic Evangelical cause :o)

    Let’s think about this verse that I have quoted, I think, twice: The words of Jesus Christ when He said that very tree brings forth fruit after its kind – the good tree can only bring forth good fruit and the bad tree, bad fruit and that any tree that does not bring forth good tree is chopped down & destroyed. Among the various observations, we see this:

    1) An unsaved man (as represented by the bad tree) will only bring forth bad fruit and not good. There is none that doeth good…”

    2) Only a Christian (as represented by the good tree) will bring forth good fruit – Barnabas was a good man - Well done thou good & faithful servant

    3) The language is definite re: the bringing forth of fruit. The good tree will bring forth good fruit & failure to do so will result in that person being lost. No fruit means no root. Forgive my quoting again of HAI, but he (as a basic Evangelical) takes the same line. I quote:

    ““Every good tree…a corrupt tree.” The two are put in vivid contrast, as picturing men and women who are born of God and those who are still unregenerated. This is a parable from nature, designed to impress upon our minds the great truth that we are all like trees, either good or bad, and our behavior will betray or indicate our true character. Goodness and badness are used here, as throughout the book of Proverbs, in a relative sense (Prov. 12:2; 13:22; 14:14). Actually, there is none good until changed by regeneration (Rom. 3:12). The testimony of the lips indicates the state of the heart.
    “Evil fruit… good fruit.” A heart in rebellion against God cannot produce in the life that which brings honor to Him, even as one who is subject to His will cannot go on in sin, bringing discredit on His holy name.
    “Hewn down, and cast into the fire.” Though God has long patience, even with wicked men (James 6:7; 2 Peter 3:9), the day draws on apace for each one when judgment must fall on those who persist in their unrepentant course. This was what John the Baptist also proclaimed (Matt. 3:10).
    “By their fruits ye shall know them.” Whatever the professions men may make, it is the life that tells (1 Thess. 1:5; 2:10). Good men delight in purity and righteousness. Evil men grovel in that which is sinful and corrupt. Where grace operates in the soul, the good fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) will be manifest in the life. That which is really of God will produce godliness on the part of its recipients.


    If I am somewhat slow in responding to any reply that you might make, then I’m sure that you will understand. I can whizzon my desktop computer a lot quicker than with this notebook perched on my knee on top of a bed.

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 12/15/2009 2:28 PM  

  • David Bell: I looked at my blog and didn't see your comment. Please respond here if you like.

    By Blogger heavenbound, at 12/15/2009 2:30 PM  

  • Colin,

    and by Him to reconcile all things to Himself, by Him, whether things on earth or things in heaven, having made peace through the blood of His cross. ~Col. 1:20

    If scripture is awkward so be it. That's why I also used the language of orientation in the same context; Christ is supreme, as Creator and ReCreator over all creation (both life and death). Again, your stumbling here has to do with an insufficient view of the atonement that is grounded totally in a juridical framework.

    How would you explain the word reconcile in the context I provide above? I would say orientate is laudable, relative to Christ's supremacy. Of course if you're going to think through necessetarian metaphysics (as does Heavenbound on the opposite extreme from you) then I can see why you have a problem with the scriptures here; but then this only goes to demonstrate my point with your view not being grounded in scripture, and instead in an abstract philosophical system that has been used to subsume the clarity of scripture.

    By Anonymous icor22@hotmail.com, at 12/15/2009 2:39 PM  

  • Woops, icor22@hotmail.com is me, Bobby.

    By Anonymous Bobby Grow, at 12/15/2009 2:42 PM  

  • Bobby: I must, say that I believe in salvation, even if you adamantly say that you don't.

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 12/15/2009 2:50 PM  

  • Colin: As far as Christ is concerned when he talks of the fruit and trees bearing fruit he is talking about Israel. Remember he was dealing with a corrupt, religous system that plagued Israel. " Low I have come for the lost sheep of Israel". Why do we keep applying the things he talked about to us. Its not our mail. Its Israel's. Christ's ministry was for Israel. The only way for Gentiles to gain the blessings of Israel was to become a jew. We can only apply to the gentiles what was written to the gentiles, Paul's letters. Read the book of Romans about salvation and grace to get a clear understanding of where our standing really is.

    By Blogger heavenbound, at 12/15/2009 2:52 PM  

  • H/B: If HAI is a standard Dispensationalist, (something which I am not) then I must esp. reject your ultra Dispensationalist interpretation.

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 12/15/2009 2:59 PM  

  • Colin,

    You're the one who said what I said was awkward; I quoted scripture that said exactly what I said, and then I clarified on what I was saying. Are you going to respond to that, or not?

    The fact that you can't distinguish between your perspective and its history, and salvation in scripture is not surprising. I just think you need to do more work on the history of ideas in order for you to make that distinction. I don't hold out much hope in that direction, because you've been saying the same things on the blog here for years. I just want you to know that you aren't arguing scripture, but instead a philosophical system of logico/causal relations that have taken scripture captive.

    By Anonymous Bobby Grow, at 12/15/2009 3:08 PM  

  • Colin,

    In re: your response to me about the fruit, I categorically reject HAI on this topic.

    In re: your above premises 1-3:

    Premise 1 ("The [Matt 7] passage deals with distinguishing Christians from non-Christians"): false. Thus, I agree with H/B to a degree: The context of Matt 5-7 is clearly an OT framework, and Israel no doubt provides the paradigmatic negative example of fruit that should have been borne by a chosen nation but was not evident. Hence, the passage is not in fact discussing "saved" vs. "unsaved" mankind at all (in the "one-dimensional" sense you mean). The specific passage is addressing the test of reliable prophets---one can trust a prophet only by seeing righteous "fruit"; nothing whatsoever is to be adduced about their "position" in Christ. (In fact, the passage is even more applicable to believers.)

    Premise 2 (Good fruit exclusively from Christians): Depends on your definition of "fruit" (above), and "good" must also be qualified: Since unbelievers clearly can do "good deeds" by human standards, then Eccl 7:20 (and the NT gloss in Rom 3:12c) must be referring to the kind of righteousness (cf. Rom 3:10) that "exceeds" that of the Scribes and Pharisees, who did plenty of "good deeds" by some standards.

    Premise 3 ("Fruit/root"): false. What a "catchy" little phrase has wrought such havoc over the centuries. All the absence of spiritual fruit indicates is that the person being "observed" is not walking kata pneuma "according to the Spirit"---this in fact is the applicable "catchphrase" in the context of Romans 8 and it clearly refers to believers who can choose to walk kata sarka, "according to the flesh."

    I refer you back to my previous comments on unredeemed flesh, which all believers possess this side of life-after-death. Colin, it is obvious that you are reading your own preconceived notions into the Sermon on the Mount, which deals only with true righteousness intended by the Mosaic Law and not positional status in Christ.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 12/15/2009 6:36 PM  

  • Colin,

    I also wanted to say I'm sorry about the tone I've taken; this is not how I want to interact with you! Please forgive me for that. We obviously disagree, and have, over significant points. Nevertheless, we are still brothers in Christ; and I want to make sure that our communication is tempered by Christ's love. I will try and make even my pointed points in the future reflective of God's grace and not my flesh.

    In Christ,

    Bobby

    By Anonymous Bobby Grow, at 12/15/2009 7:11 PM  

  • Heavenbound,

    No, I'd prefer to continue at your blog rather than create another discussion here at Rose's.

    Hi Rose.

    By Blogger David Bell, at 12/15/2009 8:14 PM  

  • I am glad you mentioned the sermon on the Mount.
    It is so Jewish it defies any other conclusion.
    The lords prayer is also exclusively Jewish. So many people pull verses out of context and place a spin on what they think the verse should say and not what it actually says. Remember what the Jews called gentiles? dogs. Why do we not see this. The most important fruit that shows what a person is made of is love or as the bible puts it Charity....

    By Blogger heavenbound, at 12/15/2009 11:24 PM  

  • I honestly feel so [riveleged to have you all discussing these things on my blog.
    I appreciate you all.

    Jim, your comments are so excellent. You say things in a way that... explains the reason why I am so uncomfortable with certain teachings and I just think "wow, he put it into words." thanks for that!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/16/2009 11:37 AM  

  • Hi all,

    I'll not getting replying tonight, although I can see how wide the gap is between us. I can certainly see where the Dispensationalist line could ultimately lead :o)

    Maybe tomorrow, I'll get back again.

    Regards to all, esp. Rose! (It is your blog, after all. Just as a matter of interest, Rose, did our mutual friend JVM pass any significant comment of the said passage in Matthew 7?

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 12/16/2009 1:23 PM  

  • @ Rose,

    I don't know, Rose; many people on other blogs I've been involved in over the last year or two seem to have trouble understanding me (or maybe it's just tolerating me). Perhaps you and I were merely "separated at birth." :-)

    @ Colin,

    I don't see dispensationalism to be the basic issue between us at all. From even a Reformed perspective, all we have been discussing are the doctrines of grace at their most basic level. I personally believe that progressive dispensationalism does the best job of explaining some of the more difficult questions regarding the nature of salvation throughout the history of mankind by demonstrating better the continuity of God's grace and the "requirement" of faith. However, on that particular score I don't think I'm any closer to classical dispensationalist views than I am to modern covenant theologians.

    Considering the many theologians throughout history---and indeed the number of high-profile contemporary spokesmen holding to the perspective I would call "Lordship salvation" (not the same thing Jonathan was talking about), you certainly are in "good company." I just believe you and they are dreadfully, destructively off on the issue of the necessity of external works to attest the reality of salvation. Pushed to the extreme, such a position can ultimately only lead to a failed "slavery" of works sanctification that marginalizes the Holy Spirit of God.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 12/16/2009 4:35 PM  

  • Good points, Jim.

    I don't see this issue reducible to dispensationalism, at all. Btw, Rose, now you have at least two Prog. Dispys on your site here; don't you think it's time to come over to the "kingdom of light" on this ;-)?

    By Anonymous Bobby Grow, at 12/16/2009 5:14 PM  

  • Hey Rose!

    Quite a response!
    What (Who) we're really talking about is Jesus. Not my sin, not my glory (as if), not my commitment or lack thereof.
    We're talking about The WONDERFUL COUNSELOR, THE MIGHTY GOD, THE EVERLASTING FATHER, THE PRINCE OF PEACE.
    That's what keeps me coming back.

    Much Thanks,

    Your Brother

    By Blogger Duane WATTS, at 12/17/2009 12:20 AM  

  • Rose "My simple Gospel" is very simple and to the point. The problem is I have to read it to believe it.
    What about the 1 billion people who can't read in their own language. What about people who have never read the bible. The people who are born in poverty and never know about The creator? Could you expound on my comments? Or anyone who cares to.

    By Blogger heavenbound, at 12/17/2009 1:01 AM  

  • Heavenbound,

    At first blush your question on the 1 billion sounds very Pelagian. It's the same question agnostics use when questioning the fairness of a God who would condemn people to hell who "apparently" never had the opportunity to hear. It's an interesting question, but it's a non-starter. We have to go with what is revealed and work from there; not postulate on hypotheticals in order to relativize what we in fact know.

    I've read a bit at your blog; your approach appears to be very "rationalist" in orientation. I know other "universalists," but they are Barthian (follow the logic of Karl Barth's theology); your universalism seems to be very different --- and either brand is unfortunately mistaken, according to scripture.

    By Anonymous Bobby Grow, at 12/17/2009 1:37 AM  

  • Good morning Rose/all

    Jim and others re: Matthew 7 and the Sermon on the Mount. I hardly know where to start here with you all, esp .in a blog. I do think, however, that it is significant that where classic Dispensationalists like HAI can still come to passages like Matthew 7, make the applications that they do and find agreement with non Dispies like me (or, to be more humble about it, I find agreement with them.) I think to say, as Bobby, did that they were merely parroting Charles Hodge etc., is a bit of a put down on men whom the whole Christian constituency recognise as Bible scholars – even after we divide down some particular lines. To find agreement with another Christian Bible scholar should not necessarily seen as parroting. Is Jim parroting here Bobby here? Or is Bobby parroting Jim? It would be very dismissive to insist that they were.

    I would therefore say that your position must be viewed as extreme Dispensationalism, which (if followed) robs God’s people of some of the most precious verses in the whole Bible e.g. the Beatitudes etc., I tend to clutch my whole Bible rather tightly.

    Let us move on then to another passage that (surely) must lie outside this effective No go area for Christians, for the purpose of establishing my point i.e. that a truly born again person will invariably bring forth fruit.

    Let’s take the well known verse from 1 John 3:9 where we read: Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

    Here’s my take on this verse:

    1) It’s basic scope: It is speaking of the basic Christian experience. The subject is said to be “born of God” – not merely “walking with God” or some super or higher class of Christian. It is the basic Christian. Heightened by the use of the “whoseover” within this basic Christian frame work.

    2) He does not commit sin i.e. (to follow the basic Greek) He does not live in sin. Or “does not habitually sin” It is not that he has achieved sinless perfection on this earth (as 1:8-10) points out, nor will do (2:1) but that his life has been radically changed.

    3) The reason attached to this observation: It is because this basic Christian has a new principle within them (God’s seed of divine life)

    4) To emphasise the point again: The one born of God cannot live in sin because his basic experience i.e. that he is born of God.

    5) The use of the word “seed” gives us a clue as to the nature of this new life. It is not instantaneous. In sanctification (as opposed to justification which is instantaneous and effected 100% from the moment of faith) no one goes from being absolutely vile in their sinful habits to absolutely pure overnight. The Bible does not give us a timeline, but it does have us expect changes to be made. The language is definite. It is one of the glories of salvation i.e. that Jesus justifies and sanctifies (and glorifies too).

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 12/17/2009 7:43 AM  

  • You guys just stay up way past my bedtime.

    Using Bobby's response to Heavenbound as the backdrop for my own comments, I must say, H/B, that I have also struggled with the same dilemma; those who don't just aren't giving the problem due consideration (and I'm certainly not saying that Bobby hasn't; I think he's given this a lot of thought). I haven't read your blog and don't know all the nuances to your position on this, but to balance and/or add to what Bobby has briefly stated, Scripture is also very clear that judgment is according to light received and that this judgment takes place within the God-given consciences of his creatures (Gen 3; Eccl 3:11; John 3:16-21; 15:22; Rom 1:18-20; 2:14-16; 5:12-21; 7:7-13).

    It is obvious that the name of Jesus has not been known for the vast majority of human history; however, God's promise of life-after-death in response to faith has been revealed in some form since Gen 3:15-21. This certainly doesn't answer the question for any given individual throughout history, but from a progressive dispensational standpoint I think it paints a picture that holds everyone to the same conscience-based standard of accountability.

    I have tried to wrestle with this question in a recent series of posts using John 3:16 as a point of departure, starting here. I'd certainly be interested in your thoughts, if you have the time to explore mine on this topic.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 12/17/2009 8:19 AM  

  • Hi Rose, Jim, Colin HB and Bobby:

    I'm with Jim and probably Bobby on this:
    The Lord seeks brothers and sisters to share His glory in eternity (as Jim has said). The right of entry is as simple as possible. It's a free gift, so it may be as simple as non-rejection, or reception. The purpose of the sheep/goats distinction is so that no-one's will is violated. If one demands to make their own way, refuses to rely on God's provision, they have rejected God,the free gift and eternity. It's the antithesis of belief.

    So what purpose fruit inspection? Maybe the intended scenario is something like this:
    I'm sorry, I thought I had a simple scenario. If I inspect my fruit, I come up with bruises, worms and fungus. Especially, given that the Holy Spirit resides in me. My head says, "well if you really desired to do right (e.g. witness Christ, not my self, to my co-workers) you would just do it."
    Let every man examine himself, whether he be in the faith. My fruit doesn't pass my inspection. Well Lord, if I'm goiing to be saved, it's all you. Yes I trust in what you've done, and who you are. That, I believe is "in the faith".
    One who is self-assured in the soundness of his fruit, makes the rest of us ask "what's wrong with me"? Even the GES gospel "to believe nothing doubting": Well, what's wrong with me?
    HELP?

    Me

    By Blogger Duane WATTS, at 12/17/2009 2:47 PM  

  • Duane,

    We all come up with the bad stuff if we looking simply at ourselves. However, if we are looking at what God does in us, when He works in us, then we surely see the fruit of the spirit which is love, joy, peace etc., Surely we cannot describe that as bruises, worms and fungus?

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 12/17/2009 2:52 PM  

  • I don't mean to diminish Ironside, McGhee, et al. I respect these men, I'm just noting a reality. Remember Newton and Einstein, these men provided paradigmatic touchstone shifts in thought that others came along and either "parroted," and or built upon.

    Ironise, et al were "pastors," they didn't necessarily originate any original thinking (like through a PhD diss. or something); instead they "parroted" folks like Hodge (Hodge being like Einstein), et al.

    This is the problem I see with your approach, Colin. You don't seem to be critically aware of the "source" of ideas. You don't seem to realize the impact that Thomas Aquinas via Aristotle has had upon your interpretation of scripture. You don't seem to realize that the "categories" you're thinking through are foreign to scripture (and this is a well recognized fact by even Classic Calvinist scholars like: Richard Muller and Carl Trueman et al). The result is that most of what you say is of a "second order," and thus a parroting of sorts (like Ironside and McGhee) of ideas that were previously developed further down stream. That's why I'm challenging you to spend some more time understanding the "past" and your influences; at a "first order" level. Who were the fountainheads for framing the way you think about works and salvation? A few folks would be Caspar Olevianus, William Perkins, and the Westminster Divines for starters. You speak through their voices (apparently unbeknownst to you). These men engaged a doctrine of God that sees Him as the "divine lawgiver" (using thomistic categories like impassibility, etc), which must set up all of God's dealings with men through decrees. One of these decrees and/or cov. (the cov. of works) was that man must keep a starndar of good works in order to meet God's condition of salvation. The Westminter's framed through through the Mosaic Cov., making election dependent upon man (albeit through the power of the Spirit) and His persevering in "good works;" thus proving his/her election. One problem with this is that it grounds salvation in "man," instead of Christ --- so this is a anthropocentric (Hi Rose ;-) approach to salvation, it in effect starts with man. We haven't even discussed how your heritage speaks of "grace" and sin in substance and qualitative terms; instead of personal/Trinitarian terms. But this will have to suffice.

    You don't seem to evince any knowledge of the history and development of the views that you just assume to be "scriptural;" which is dangerous for you, and those you teach. Again, this is why I said "parrot;" I meant nothing patronizing by that, it just seems to be the case.

    Not to be too presumptuous (might be too late), have you spent anytime reading about the development of Reformed theology; from critical sources (I mean scholarly)?

    By Anonymous Bobby Grow, at 12/17/2009 3:25 PM  

  • Duane,

    The context of Mt. 7 and "fruit inspection," has nothing to do with "proving someone's" eternal life; read the context slowly. We want the Bible to be allowed to provide us with its own set of expectations and categories; this is one of the reasons to study dogmatic theology --- a bit negative --- so that we are aware of what is in fact biblical and what in fact is philosophical (to speak crudely). To read Mt 7 through the categories of the TULIP is not biblical, plain and simple; a simple course in hermeneutics 101 should clear this up for most.

    By Anonymous Bobby Grow, at 12/17/2009 3:33 PM  

  • Hi Bobby, Where does you ranalysis of my interpretation leave room for the fulfilment of the promise that God's people will be all taught of God? (John 6:45)

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 12/17/2009 3:35 PM  

  • In Eph. 4, that God would give His people teachers.

    By Anonymous Bobby Grow, at 12/17/2009 3:56 PM  

  • Bobby: It has been my experience that He has kept His word.

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 12/17/2009 4:33 PM  

  • Colin,

    Mine too! You've created a false dichotomy though.

    It is clear that you are where you are; you aren't going to move, and so it is what it is. I think our interaction has worn itself out; I just hope you'll start to study your heritage deeper, maybe then you'll begin to understand the informing voices that shapes the interpretive decisions that you make as you engage scripture. I've already read your script; I've read the experimental predestinarians, the Covenant theologians (the originals), and some of the Puritans --- and continue to. Your interps. are predictable, not because they're original to scripture; but instead original to a particular history in the church. Semper Reformanda

    By Anonymous Bobby Grow, at 12/17/2009 4:41 PM  

  • Colin,

    I am addressing your several posts back from this point, in which you last mentioned both the Sermon on the Mount and 1 John 3:9.

    Re: your "reattack" on dispensationalism, I am not saying that the Sermon has no relevance to the Church, simply because Jesus preached it in an OT context. In fact, I depart radically from classical dispensationalists that would deny any current relevance to the Church. You and I butt heads not on the relevance to the Church but rather on the relevance of the distinctions Jesus makes to one's positional status in Christ. Indeed, I firmly believe that the Sermon pictured for Jews who believed in Jesus exactly exactly what true righteousness was intended to "look like" in the people of God in all ages.

    Hence, my position is that the standards articulated in the Sermon are directly applicable to the Church, now (and I'm not sure if H/B would agree on this point). The Sermon thus comprises an authentic template for true righteousness to be acted out among his people, esp. the Church to whom the Spirit has been given. Hardly a "no go area" for Christians!!! The tenets of the Sermon simply cannot be applied as a test of positional status, as Bobby also has made clear above.

    I will respond to your 1 John 3:9 comments in the following post.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 12/17/2009 5:08 PM  

  • I will simply insert my own comments below each of your points on 1 John 3:9.

    1) It’s basic scope: It is speaking of the basic Christian experience. The subject is said to be “born of God” – not merely “walking with God” or some super or higher class of Christian. It is the basic Christian. Heightened by the use of the “whoseover” within this basic Christian frame work.
    On the contrary, the book is an amplification of abiding imagery in John 15. "Abiding" can only be sustained by remaining in the Vine; First John explains why abiding Christians have confidence (parresia) before God and the world.

    2) He does not commit sin i.e. (to follow the basic Greek) He does not live in sin. Or “does not habitually sin” It is not that he has achieved sinless perfection on this earth . . . but that his life has been radically changed.
    The notion that the Gk present tense necessarily implies "habitual" is dead wrong. The Gk present simply conveys the idea of an ongoing action or state of being
    at the time it is being observed. The most straightforward reading of the Gk present (pr) and perfect (pf) tenses in 3:9 would therefore be:
    Everyone who is birthed [pf] of God is not sinning [pr], because His seed is abiding [pr] in him; and he cannot sin [pr complementary infinitive] because he is being birthed [pr] by God.
    Christians therefore have two "paternities": One (via the flesh) is that of fallen Adam (who accepted Satan's offer of self-sufficiency); the other (via the Spirit---the "seed" or "anointing") is God. Christians are thus viewed as centers of volition who can choose to walk after the flesh or after the Spirit (= "abiding"). By his choices one manifests his current "paternity" as either in Adam or in God. As long as the "state of being" or "action" in view is rooted in paternity in God (by abiding in Christ), he "cannot sin." As long as the state or action is rooted in Adam (sinning through the flesh), his choices cannot be being "birthed" by God; hence, in that flesh state [the "seed" is not "abiding" in him as a center of volition---he is "doing" unrighteousness] he is not "born of God."

    3) The reason attached to this observation: It is because this basic Christian has a new principle within them (God’s seed of divine life)
    I have already answered this in my last comment in reply to your previous tenet. God's "seed of divine life" is not abiding in choices rooted in the Adamic disposition that walks after the flesh.

    4) To emphasise the point again: The one born of God cannot live in sin because his basic experience i.e. that he is born of God.
    This is true for the one who is abiding but not for the one who is walking after the flesh. The notion that all Christians are always abiding runs contrary to the entire thrust of the book; the repeated mandate for Christians (2:12-14) to abide is addressed to those who are not abiding.

    5) The use of the word “seed” gives us a clue as to the nature of this new life. It is not instantaneous. In sanctification (as opposed to justification which is instantaneous and effected 100% from the moment of faith) no one goes from being absolutely vile in their sinful habits to absolutely pure overnight. The Bible does not give us a timeline, but it does have us expect changes to be made.
    The seed imagery projects only the idea of where the "action" or "state of being" is currently rooted: From God's seed can spring only love and "doing" righteousness; whatever springs from the flesh "has neither seen him nor known him" and is certainly not "birthed" by him through the deposited seed of the Spirit.

    In sum, our fallen Adamic nature has not been birthed by God (pf), nor are the actions that spring from this nature.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 12/17/2009 5:42 PM  

  • Nicely said, Jim!

    Colin,

    It looks like you're out-quartered on all sides; both biblically and historically. Considering, why don't you just come over to the "other side?" Just like Rose, she'll be coming over to the Progressive Dispy side real soon ;-).

    By Anonymous Bobby Grow, at 12/17/2009 7:13 PM  

  • After reading all this rhetoric I must ask this question?
    When did you become Jewish. If you are putting yourselves in the 4 gospels you must be jewish.
    If you were gentiles in the day, you didn't get the blessings. You were set aside and you were turned over to your own reprobate mind,desires and will. I don't see how you would or could put yourselves under the law just like the Jews. I guess you want to be under the law, repent and be unsure of you salvation. Clearly you can be scriptural and in your defense you are. But you clearly are way off in how God is dealing with man today. With death, destruction, havoc that man plays on man it is clear that God is not particularly interested in the physicality of man. Since he is spirit and we are spirit I conclude that what we discuss here has no relevance with Our Lord. The flesh dies but the energy that does not die lives on. That is what we need to be concerned with. Romans 3: 9-12
    read it to understand God's view of the physical side of man

    By Blogger heavenbound, at 12/17/2009 9:21 PM  

  • Heavenbound,

    I want to be nice. But come on! You seem to pride yourself on the novelty of "your" reading of scripture; what you fail to recognize is that we have over 2000 yrs of church history and interpretation behind us. Your novelty has all been dealt with in the past. I think you should spend more time studying, with others, and quit assuming that "you" have seen the truth that others have failed to see throughout the centuries. Your approach has led to many cults.

    Sorry to be so harsh, but you're off; so far in everything you've said here. Jim and myself are both PROGRESSIVE Dispy, which you apparently know nothing of; if you did, you wouldn't have said what you just did.

    You need to read a good book on biblical interpretation. A good one to start with is called: How To Read the Bible For All ITs Worth by Douglas Stuart and Douglas Moo. Read that, take some of the principles seriously; and then I think you might have something fruitful to say.

    By Anonymous Bobby Grow, at 12/17/2009 10:28 PM  

  • Doug Stuart and Gordon Fee.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 12/18/2009 12:25 AM  

  • Thanks, Jim!

    Anything by Moo is typically good too ;-).

    By Anonymous Bobby Grow, at 12/18/2009 12:52 AM  

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    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 12/18/2009 6:32 AM  

  • Bobby: Biblical interpretation? Pleeaaaassseee
    You sound like the pope and all of his popery. I don't need to read someone else's comments on something I can read myself. Progressive dispensationalists, is that what you say you are? I am not into labeling, so I won't comment. Lets interpret, Puritanism, witch burning,fundamentalism, the inquisition, the crusades, Protestant reformation, Hitler's destruction of Jews,
    (he was catholic by the way) Slavery, Klu klux klan,
    How would you interpret these actions by so called christians all for the sake of Christianity. Looking back at church history doesn't need to be interpreted it needs to be described as shameful and despicable, How we forget that people who did these things were called church fathers......

    By Blogger heavenbound, at 12/18/2009 10:22 AM  

  • Hi Rose/all:

    I think we 'll have to agree to disagree here, folks.

    Thank you, Bobby too, for the kind invite but...um...er...well, thanks anyway :o) (I must admit, I loved your "...what you fail to recognize is that we have over 2000 yrs of church history and interpretation behind us." line to Heaven Bound. You're in some form! :o)x2

    I had to go up to Belfast today and called in at a thrift shop enroute home & picked up a few good books very cheap so the form's good here.

    Better run, on. Thanks all for the interaction. Until Rose introduces some other issue...

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 12/18/2009 1:23 PM  

  • Bobby: One more thing, study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed rightly dividing the word of truth. 2 Tim 2:15
    being scriptural is not necessarily always being dispensational......Understanding what God is doing now in this age of grace is exactly what I do know.
    I don't have to have initials behind my name to know this truth. Thank God I don't need a priest or minister telling me what I need to know either.....

    By Blogger heavenbound, at 12/18/2009 1:39 PM  

  • HB,

    You're not being coherent. Your points don't really require response. You seem to be a *mystic* in your approach (irrationalist, metheodologically), *anti-intellectual*; but worse, a *lone-ranger*.

    You completely misunderstand theological history; the Patristics were through the first four cent., and we call them this because they wrestled through many of the things we consider orthdox today. Take a class in logic 101, you were a teacher, right? Read some good church history books; realize that nobody is an island; realize nobody speaks out of a theological vaccum (even you); realize that you don't have a corner on anything; and quit making assertions about things you apparently have spent no time studying (this is the true American experience, isn't it?).

    It's interesting, I thought Jesus gave His church "teachers" for its edification; HB, again spend some more time thinking before speaking (you should know this as a former teacher [thankfully not Bible]).

    By Anonymous Bobby Grow, at 12/18/2009 3:29 PM  

  • Colin,

    I'm sorry. I get frustrated, obviously. It is frustrating to see folks stay in the same spots over years of time. In other words, the current discussion is exactly the same one that has been going on here for at least 4yrs. You would think that would've been enough time for folks to spend the time to read a few good books on the history of interpretation, for example. I just don't see any evidence of this; and I get frustrated.

    Ultimately, yeah, someone's eternal destiny does not hinge on if they read Steven Ozment's "The Age of Reform," but I would say that having some right perspective will have impact on how one understands God --- which then does have impact on eternity (not destination). I want to see people "grow," arrogance and self-surety get in the way of that (usually it's just laziness). Anyway, I'm venting, but I just want the best for all my brothers and sisters in Christ; and when I see people getting robbed (by themselves or others) I get noticeably ticked and frustrated . . . sorry.

    By Anonymous Bobby Grow, at 12/18/2009 4:28 PM  

  • Bobby: Your concern is commendable. I appreciate it and indeed share it. Blogs are good places to discuss it.

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 12/18/2009 5:13 PM  

  • Right, Missy, this is post #92. Are you waiting to pounce?

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 12/18/2009 5:14 PM  

  • Hi Rose and all!
    Make that 93! Yes, Missy, you're overdue to pipe up! ;)
    Reading, over at Bobby's, I remembered a ministry I was too briefly exposed to almost 20 years ago. So I found it yesterday in e-space.
    Hudson Taylor's (founder of China Inland Mission) story, inspired his son Howard Taylor to coin the term "exchanged life". According to the story at www.aelm.org, Missionary Hudson Taylor was working himself to death to be acceptable to God.
    "In a moment of divine insight, Hudson Taylor suddenly understood the Truth about his relationship with God. Jesus said, "I am the vine, you are the branches." (John 15:5, NJKV). He realized that the vine is not merely the root that provides nourishment to the branches, but is itself the whole plant - root, branches and leaves. Jesus is not merely our provider, but is a part of all who have called on His name. Fruitful labor was far more dependent upon an ever-deepening fellowship with Jesus than upon works designed to please Him. Consider Paul's statement: "I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself up for me." (Gal. 2:20, NJKV).
    I believe this is the praxis (practice) of our dogma (thanks to TF Torrance), of how to work out our 2nd dimension salvation in this life. This begins to wed what Jim says about 2nd d salvation, which having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect through the flesh? with Bobby's theology of Evan being wholey enveloped in the Holy person and ministry of Christ as our vicarious man.
    Where then is looking at our fruit to judge acceptance? We are accepted in Christ alone.

    Sound off!

    By Blogger Duane WATTS, at 12/21/2009 9:40 AM  

  • So, there's still some life out there...!

    I would certainly have to agree with Duane; my only issue is with the "dark side" of exchanged life theology. So, here's my current thinking on this: It is all too easy for some to eagerly embrace the legitimate reality of our new, redeemed nature as an "excuse" to overlook the ugly reality of unredeemed Adam within us. Those who are in the Vine are still "centers of volition" who can choose to walk according to the flesh.

    So, who do we "blame" for the ugly acts and words that betray the continuing presence of "Adam" whom we can choose to follow?

    Gal 2:20 depicts a man who has actively chosen to live out his Romans 6:1-4 identity by faith and present the members of his body as an "indentured slave" for Christ in him to bear the intended fruit of righteousness (6:16-19). I think this is exactly what Duane is saying in his other quote from Galatians, but some accept Gal 2:20 and the exchanged life as nullifying their individual identity and end up blaming Satan and his demons for their own choices to live in the world as Adam. They fail to see admit that their choices "disconnected" them from the life-giving Vine before Satan could ever gain a foothold in the flesh.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 12/21/2009 10:33 AM  

  • No disagreement here James :>
    I work with a "James"; I once as a lark called him "Jim" and he said "who is Jim?".

    The idea is that as we abide in Him with a focus on a living relationship with the living Christ, through the Holy Spirit, through prayer, study, and fellowship (just as we are doing here) focusing there, rather than "doing" through human effort, then He will bear fruit through us.

    Jim, you sound as though you have experience with this ministry?

    By Blogger Duane WATTS, at 12/21/2009 10:50 AM  

  • Good morning Rose/Duane,

    Duane: Two things here.

    First: I am not over familiar with the intimacies of Hudson Taylor’s life (although I remember reading a thick paperback account many moons ago) so unsure as to when you would place the experience: ”Missionary Hudson Taylor was working himself to death to be acceptable to God.” If this account is true and it relates to the situation before his conversion, then it is, of course, the words of a veritable Pharisee. OTOH, if it relates to the situation after his conversion, then charity would lead us to consider that it was the statement of an ill taught child of God who had lapsed into legalism.

    For my own part, I can definitely and firmly say that I do not work to be accepted with God, but work rather because I am already accepted of God. I am accepted in the Beloved (Ephesians 1:6) and indeed complete in Him (Colossians 2:10) and so rejoice in my justification which is 100% perfect in Jesus Christ.

    I am unsure, however, as to whether your quote here in any way diminishes the necessity for fruit to flow from the conversion experience. Insisting that sanctification flows from justification in the salvation plan of God does not negate justification in any way.

    Secondly, I have a copy of Hudson Taylor’s “Meditations upon the Song of Solomon.” (Available online here: http://bit.ly/5ZnsGN ) Taylor has much to say about fruitful Christian life in it. His closing remarks in the book are somewhat left of centre. He likens the “daughters of Jerusalem” to either those who near the Kingdom or only (and I quote) “half saved” - a phrase which is quite unscriptural. He suggests that they might be among the great multitude in Revelation 17, but not among the 144,000 and then suggests that they miss the rapture of the church. Which, as indicated, seems a strange thing to my ears. What are to make, though, of his final paragraph? ” We wish to place on record our solemn conviction that not all who are Christians, or think themselves to be such, will attain to that resurrection of which St Paul speaks in Phil. iii. 11, or will thus meet the LORD in the air. Unto those who by lives of consecration manifest that they are not of the world, but are looking for Him, “He will appear without sin unto salvation.”

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 12/21/2009 11:24 AM  

  • @ Duane,

    I don't have any extensive experience in this ministry, but I know of people who have read Neal Anderson and gone the route that I described.

    @ Colin,

    With all due respect---and out of genuine concern over the potential consequences to others of your repeated error---I think Taylor was probably a lot closer to understanding texts like Philippians 3 than you. To deny that someone could become a "veritable Pharisee" after faith in Christ is absurd. That is exactly what Paul was facing in Phil 3. The Church is crawling with "veritable Pharisees," as we have seen so recently in our own FG movement.

    Moreover, whereas Taylor may well have been confused in his thinking on the Rapture, you might not be so quick to chastise the man for using a phrase like half saved if you understood the 3D gospel, which I find---depending on what a person might mean by that---quite Scriptural.

    You run logically aground if you reduce the notion of "attaining to the Resurrection" in 3:11 to the equivalent of justification alone. The context of Phil 3 deals with maturing in Christ in an environment rife with legalism; it is not at all speaking of the hope of entering into Christ, which would be absurd for Paul in any way to doubt. Paul's "hope" of attaining to the Resurrection in 3:11 is akin to the hope in the face of suffering of a "better" resurrection in Heb 11:35: Indeed, the previous context clearly shows that he hoped to "rejoice on the Day of Christ that he would not have run or labored in vain" as he faced the prospect of even more suffering and "being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of [the Philippians'] faith" (Phil 2:16-17).

    The imagery clearly depicts the hope of glory at the Judgment Seat of Christ awaiting believers who will be recompensed for the deeds done in the body in the face of suffering (2 Cor 4:16-5:10) and it is not to be confused with what you are terming "salvation" in the reductionistic sense so typical of most Reformed theologians. Taylor may well have understood that and honestly tried to reconcile it with his flawed understanding of the Rapture. Frankly, in light of our extended exchange above, I don't see the same willingness on your part to really "examine the Sciptures."

    By Blogger agent4him, at 12/21/2009 12:46 PM  

  • Jim: Unsure as to where I (to quote your charge)"deny that someone could become a "veritable Pharisee" after faith in Christ is absurd."

    Regards,

    P/s I have quite a lot of respect for Hudson Taylor. He laboured quite happily with William C Burns, the Scots Presbyterian minister, who has left on record his adherance to the classic interpretation of the gospel which I espouse on these pages. I have no immediate evidence to hand, but I would be very surprised if the said HT took the overall FG line that you advocate.

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 12/21/2009 1:13 PM  

  • Colin,

    You said If this account is true and it relates to the situation before his conversion, then it is, of course, the words of a veritable Pharisee. That is where I "over-interpreted" your meaning. Mea culpa.

    You still haven't acknowledged the legalistic environment of the believers Paul addresses in Phil 3 as the background to Taylor's view of "attaining to the Resurrection." I never implied that Taylor held to a FG view. I simply acknowledged his honest grappling with texts that clearly teach attaining differing "levels" of salvation. My point was that his view of salvation appeared to me to be more appropriately nuanced than yours. I do understand that you have simply chosen not to respond to that "charge."

    By Blogger agent4him, at 12/21/2009 1:48 PM  

  • Just stopping by... to say howdy, y'all! ;)

    By Blogger Missy, at 12/21/2009 6:47 PM  

  • Hi Jim!
    That's the trouble with name dropping to lend gravitas to a proposal. Who is Paul and who is Apollos, who is Hudson Taylor?
    Actually I doubt if his son had anything to do with the ministry I was referring to. And who is Neal Anderson? Never heard of him.
    Jim you wrote:
    It is all too easy for some to eagerly embrace the legitimate reality of our new, redeemed nature as an "excuse" to overlook the ugly reality of unredeemed Adam within us.
    I don't get that, or rather, in what way is it easier for those who embrace the vicarious nature of Christ living out HIS life through us, or of us having died vicariously with Christ so that we are not bound (as with spiritual cords)to being enslaved to the sin that so easily besets us, than any poor brother who is struggling to show himself approved of God through his own strength?
    If someone chooses to be enslaved to sin, either by works righteousness (al la Galations) or by secret or open rebellion, they can blame only themselves. Those who have "bewitched" them into return to bondage as the case may be, will also have some 'splaining to do.
    In any case I rather regret opening this thread on this blog as it has taken us off topic. I mistakingly thought the topical discussion had run it's course.

    On 2nd thought, this is topical.
    20 years ago when this seminar came to our "Full Gospel" church, I was perhaps the only one there who believed in security of the believer. This seminar gave the opportunity to change all that, but the pastor only saw it as another tool to use for his control of the congregation. I'm sure he never got within a mile of the doctrine, but he could use the words.
    If one does not know he is secure, whether by reason of Arminianism or by reason of not knowing if he is elect, he will do all manner of works in his flesh to please God, or to show himself approved of God.
    If our Salvation, Came from Jesus Christ, Is In Jesus Christ, and will be Consumated In Jesus Christ, then there (In Jesus Christ) is the only place I will live to see His promise, even if I have a proper understanding of my initial salvation.

    Peace

    By Blogger Duane WATTS, at 12/21/2009 10:09 PM  

  • Sorry,
    Clarification:
    By saying "live to see His promise", I meant living a life of relatively consistent victory and fruit bearing, instead of a life running as it were on a hamster wheel faster and faster, getting more and more frustruated but the scenery never changes.
    The faith-ful servant will serve Christ only out of Love and Gratitude; out of relationship, not out of fear- true love casts out fear.
    and so,
    PEACE

    By Blogger Duane WATTS, at 12/21/2009 10:29 PM  

  • Sorry for the confusion, Duane. When you mentioned "exchanged life," that term also has a technical sense which recalls the soteriology of writers like Neal Anderson (The Bondage Breaker and Out of the Darkness) and David Needham (Birthright).

    While much of their writing speaks very accurately of the changed identity that characterizes those in Christ, it also tends to downplay the role of "the flesh" and the choices made to walk by the flesh as simply a matter of losing sight (or inadequate teaching) of who we really are, rather than willful Adamic self-sufficiency. While there are those who indeed lose sight of who they are (or whose they are), my cryptic comment that you quoted was referring to those who use that "excuse," while knowing full well what they are choosing, as you pointed out in your reference to Galatians.

    I was probably the one to overstep, so good on ya, Duane. Thanks for pulling me back to earth.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 12/21/2009 10:39 PM  

  • Cool!
    This season of the year is such an opportunity for us to look deeper into the Incarnation. This year I've learned stuff that gives me a stronger feeling about His condescention than I have ever had: Both the heights of His greatness and possibly the depth of His condescension*.
    I wish Bobby were here to help put together the vicarious nature of Christ's advent and how that applies to our daily walk.
    I can't remember if it was Tim's or where, or who said it, but the proposal was that Jesus lived out his life here as a man: He never ceased being fully God, but He did not grasp that(i.e.did not retain His divine powers); e.g. He was probably not omniscient in the flesh, but rather He was wholly dependent on the Holy Spirit for any supernatural work. He walked as any man, tempted in all ways like us, only without sin. He as any man, was utterly dependent upon the Holy Spirit and the Father. Then if true, and what I've written is not some heresy, then He lived the perfect life as the perfectSon of Man vicarious to all humanity, and for us to walk successfully, we would be...we walking in Him...We were the 1st Adam without Christ, now to live is Christ...........
    Oh help Bobby! I'm incoherent, falling asleep.

    Good night!

    By Blogger Duane WATTS, at 12/21/2009 11:43 PM  

  • Hey, I had David Needham for "Prophets" class in undergrad. But I agree, he over-pressed on the birthright stuff. And Neal Anderson is just plain ole' out to lunch!

    Hi Duane :-). I'll have to come back later and try to get into the vicarious stuff. I would just say that the vicarious point presupposes that we still have a sin nature; thus the need for Christ's vicarious life for us. I agree with, Jim; except with his anthropological language of volitional centers. I think the Bible, if anything, offers us with an anthropology that would better termed affective centers. Since motives in the Bible are what shapes our "choices" (volitions); and in fact what the LORD is concerned with (which is why He has given us His love, His motive center, His heart II Cor 3).

    By Anonymous Bobby Grow, at 12/22/2009 1:14 AM  

  • Good morning Rose/Jim:

    Jim: Obviously I have no problem pointing out that the Jewish legalists were posing a problem in Philippians 3. We are to beware of the Judaizers (vs2-3) who believed that circumcision was essential to salvation.

    I don’t think that any Believer will miss the resurrection from the dead, but I do believe that some will have a more joyful resurrection than others i.e. will have a greater reward.

    BTW: This reference to Philippians 3 has only come up incidentally in this discussion. The name of Hudson Taylor was being invoked by Dunane as if he (HT) endorsed the FG position. I quoted the last paragraph from his meditations on Song of Solomon to show that he appeared to hold that Christ would only appear without sin unto salvation for consecrated Christians. Perhaps we are falling here into the trap of working from a controversy (in our case: the controversy of supposedly justified but never sanctified ‘Christians’) and reading it in to comments made in another context. Hence I wrote: What are we to make of… I do try to pick my words carefully.

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 12/22/2009 4:43 AM  

  • Bobby, Who is David Needham?

    Hi Colin!
    Thanks for getting up sooo early just to engage me. Your a peach.
    BTW the name's Du-ane (hyphen added for pronunskiation). My middle name is Douglas, which if you consult the name etymologists, is "dark waters" in the gaelic or celtic or welsh-not sure, and Duane, from the same root is just "dark": "Dark dark waters". If accurate etymologies, my Christian names may have been prophetic. To adapt Charles Schultz' Linus Van Pelt:
    "Of all the Duane Douglasses in the world, you are the Charlie Browniest"

    I don't believe I was trying to make HT sound FG. but it does rhymn. I thought, no, hoped there was a practical side to this mountain of verbage-107 comments and counting.
    Look at my original comment yesterday (the 21st) at 9:40 am. I had just finished a 12 hour overnight shift at the miserable plastics manufacterer where I earn my living, with my fire breathing supervisor.
    I was excited at a possible practical connection from my sure salvation, to the walking out of that salvation in what began as my 2nd half century on the 14th of December. I was, for a brief shining moment excited that perhaps the Lord had given me an early Christmas gift. Your see, I won't be available on Christmas Day, as at 5:30 A.M., I will kiss my wife, my daughter and my 2 little granddaughters goodbye for another obligatory 12 hours with the afore mentioned fire breathing supervisor.
    The gift, would be the Lord Himself brandishing Himself against this demon of bitterness that chains my soul and lashes me with this same chain.
    The gift would be peace that passes understanding.
    The gift could be that I would look up and actually see the fields white unto harvest: My friends at work whom I love, ready to receive the good news of the gospel, and me not afraid to speak (actually yell over the scream of the machines). Maybe a family member similarly moved.
    I guess from what you-all are saying, or not saying, the only way to deal with these demons is to wrestle with them hand-to-hand until the redemption of our bodies.
    Now there's peace!
    I'm still holding out hope that Santa's bringing me something from the Lord.

    Peace and Love in "God With Us"

    Duane Douglas

    By Blogger DUANE DOUGLAS, at 12/22/2009 8:00 AM  

  • @ Duane: I've come to the same view of the Incarnation because I believe the NT conveys just that picture---I think you're right on target. RE: your dialogue with Colin, see my comments below.

    @ Bobby: Since I am unschooled in "Affective Theology" I'm unsure of the terminology and of all that it entails or how "affect" relates to the will. My use of the term "centers of volition" is not meant to be exclusive; all it is intended to convey is that man as created by God has authentic choice (free will) to turn or not in response to the voice of God. I suspect when all the "qualifiers" come out that you and I will again be more in agreement than not.

    @ Colin: I don't have nearly the experience that Bobby has had in jousting with you on these blogs, but I have to agree with him that you are intensely frustrating. We all have our theological "blinders"; I claim no exemption. But you have a maddening way of wiggling out of discussing the salient texts that are brought to bear on the topic (in this case the nature of the gospel) by resorting to the spokesmen for your tradition and simply ignoring the embarrassing practical and theological implications of your position in light of these texts.

    I think it is obvious that you do indeed "pick your words very carefully." The impression I get from this, however, is that you do so to avoid having to grapple with the messiness that results from clinging so tenaciously to your brand of Reformed theology. The "mess" is both logical, as attested by the dilemma created by your position in a text like Phil. 3:11 where even Paul cannot be assured of salvation as you define it; and practical, as it robs people of the very confidence they need to live sacrificially in Him when they cannot ever really be sure they are even in Him or He in them.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 12/22/2009 8:36 AM  

  • Jim,

    I think your frustration lies more in the fact that I simp,y do not agree with your interpretation of the Scriptures. This being the case, then you must find it somewhat frustrating to interact with the vast majority of Christians, very few of whom (comparitively speaking) hold your views.

    Furthermore, I think your frustration in my quoting spokesmen lies in the fact that you are unable to quote very few of your own, the reason of which is very obvious and suggested by the first frustration listed.

    Another part of the problem, I thinks, lies in the fact that you seem to believe your own propaganda. Having convinced yourself that Christians (Reformed and otherwise - for this is the issue here ) who believe that justification invariably leads to sanctification cannot know assurance of salvation, it does not do for some then to come and say: "Here! Wait! I know whom I have believed and I am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have comitted unto Him against that day.

    I am under the impression that this frustration and suspicion will continue until I finally say: "Yes Jim! I embrace your somewhat novel view of these matters and see the Classic Evangelical view that (under God) produced the great revivals of yore as (and I quote)'dreadfully destructive'."

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 12/22/2009 8:54 AM  

  • gosh I've been busy

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/22/2009 9:27 AM  

  • OK, so I was tlaking to John about my little paragraph here and he thought I could improve this part, and I agree:

    We don’t have to perform any goodness to obtain this life, we simply must trust that what He has done is enough. He has done it all.

    He thought it should rather say:
    We CAN'T perform any goodness to obtain this life, we simply must trust that what He has done is enough. He has done it all.

    Interestingly, for the time being anyway, the person in charge of the publication I wrote this for left it as is excpet removing those two sentences... so it is a moot point. I'm not sure what to make of that. Any thoughts?

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/22/2009 9:30 AM  

  • Missy, did you get the 100th comment? :)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/22/2009 9:30 AM  

  • Duane,

    Hey, bro, I pray that you get the "something from the Lord" your heart desires. As far as I can tell in this limited venue, your heart indeed beats with His!

    May he richly bless those desires!
    Ps 37:4-5

    By Blogger agent4him, at 12/22/2009 9:34 AM  

  • Yes, Rose, I did. It was sweet that there seemed to be a pause just for me. ;)

    Sorry I haven't commented on the subject itself. I know I should have this figured out after all the years I've been "listening" but I don't. But the statement seems more right than not.

    By Blogger Missy, at 12/22/2009 11:27 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    First, I think John's revision is a good one, Well made.

    Second, I largely agree with your statement, raising an eyebrow only over "removed the barrier between ourselves and God". In my mind, that opens the door to universalism (I'm not saying you are universalist, the rest of your statement makes it clear that you are not). Still, my purpose here is not to find fault or focus on disgreement, but rather to encourage you in your expression of the Gospel, especially with John's edit.

    And, of course, to wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas.

    By Blogger Stephen, at 12/23/2009 11:16 AM  

  • I Wish Youins a Merry ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ Christmas ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ I Wish Youins a Merry ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ Christmas ♥ ♥ ♥ I Wish Youins A Merry ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪ Christmas ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪...And A Happy New Year! ♪♫•*¨*•.¸¸♥ ¸¸.•*¨*•♫♪...God Bless!!!!

    By Blogger goe, at 12/23/2009 11:50 PM  

  • Garemo!
    Nice look! All you need is a puppy.

    Hey Rose!
    I k-now this is your house and it's not my place to request, but it is Christmas and all, and since you have folks here from halfway around the world, and we all love one another (I tink), I propose an armistice until after Christmas.
    Actually, I'm curious where everyone hales from (hails from?), What's the weather like where you are (hale)?
    I'm in semi-rural Pennsylvania, 3 hrs from NY City. Big Mennonite Farm as a back neighbor, Wave at the horses and buggies on our way to church. 6 Inches of snow the other day means we'll have a white Christmas for perhaps the 2nd time in the 12 years we've been here.
    Situate on a full acre, have a wee cottage which my wife and I share with our daughter and 2 wee granddaughters whom we adore, and 2 wee dogs (one is quite rotund) who adore us (mutual). We are blessed indeed, but still I forget at times.
    I really love that you all are here.
    Whether we agree or not, (mostly I think we do), if we did not care, I believe we would just "get lost".

    Thanks All! Especially Rose, and Jim and Colin, Bobby, Gary (and KC, I know you're out there somewhere).

    I am thankful that our Lord is knitting us together.

    Pray you all have a blessed Christmas, In The Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
    Remember, it's Christmas until Epiphany!

    where are you? tell us something we don't already know.

    By Blogger DUANE DOUGLAS, at 12/24/2009 12:45 AM  

  • Good morning Rose/goe:

    goe: Loved your music! I hope this one for snow works out online:

    ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø
    ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø ° „ º ¤¸ *. ¨¨„ .:' ø

    Have a happy Christmas, every one!

    Regards,

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 12/24/2009 4:17 AM  

  • Rose,

    From snow-bound Colorado Springs---good tidings and great joy!

    (Hi GOE!!! I really miss ya, but I understand your more pressing mission with Alvin to the Roman Catholic brainiacs. :-)

    I agree to the armistice, Duane; great idea.

    In 6 weeks I will be visiting my father in San Diego on his 91st birthday. He is a WW2 vet who went into France in the second wave of the invasion at Normandy and spent 1944 Christmas Eve in a farmhouse with some French underground. He never forgot that experience when they all drank wine together and sang Christmas carols. It's been probably 30 years since he told us that story, and although he is still an unbeliever he has always had a fondness in his heart for Christmas Eve and carols.

    I suppose I can sing carols with a stubborn Brit ;-)

    Did Santa bring you that present you were hoping for, Duane?

    By Blogger agent4him, at 12/24/2009 6:59 AM  

  • Stedfast.

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 12/24/2009 7:03 AM  

  • Whatever.

    By Blogger agent4him, at 12/24/2009 7:13 AM  

  • :o)

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 12/24/2009 7:25 AM  

  • Kansas City. It's mostly just wet and cold at the moment but Captain Weatherman says we'll be getting up to 6 inches of snow tonight (about as much as Colin's snow, on my monitor anyway) so I am really looking forward to a fluffy white Christmas morning with my family, in-laws, and brother-in-law's family from out-of-town. Colin's snow was easier to shovel though... one page-down and it was all cleared up... if only real snow were that easy.

    Jim, I'm seriously jealous. I have two brother's living in Colorado Springs and I love to visit. I also love to snowboard but haven't been able to make to CO in winter for several years. I've long told my wife that if I had to live somewhere else, CO would be my next choice.

    By Blogger Stephen, at 12/24/2009 9:35 AM  

  • Stephen,

    I'm not much of a skier, but we've got a guest room 4 u and Rachel any time, Bro.

    (Not rug-rat-proof, however.)

    By Blogger agent4him, at 12/24/2009 10:14 AM  

  • Stephen,
    Thanks for visiting and for your positive comments.

    51 Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom (Matthew 27)

    Merry Christmas to you and yours!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/24/2009 10:14 AM  

  • Hi Stephen!
    Pleased to meet you!
    I love snow too. We never get enough here, but it is beautiful presently.
    Jim and Colin: LOL.
    My Mom often called my Dad a "bullheaded Englishman", as my Great Great Grandfather came over on the boat, to Ontario, then settled in Kentucky and/or Ohio.

    I have peace that whatever the Lord wills will come to pass, which is good. Emotionally, I am
    compartmentalizing. The important thing is to not let the destroyer have more than he has been given.
    I'll enjoy my day until tomorrow morning. If work I must, I will trust the Lord to put a big hedge of holly around my heart.
    We have our health, We have employment. With such we should be content.
    And so I am delighting in spending time at Bobby's reading Torrance, and the others, trying to learn more about the incarnation. This I can carry with me along with the Carols and prayers.
    Thanks for asking,

    Peace

    By Blogger DUANE DOUGLAS, at 12/24/2009 10:21 AM  

  • Rose,
    Merry Christmas to you and your family.

    Goin' shopping for Misses Watts.

    By Blogger DUANE DOUGLAS, at 12/24/2009 10:30 AM  

  • Thanks, Duane, for so graciously edifying our guest Brit.

    I'm prayin' for that present from Santa, Bro! "But if not..." (with echoes of Dunkirk).

    By Blogger agent4him, at 12/24/2009 10:39 AM  

  • Rose and all,

    I've been enjoying your blog, Rose, even though I don't comment much.

    It looks like I'm just an hour and a half SE of Duane with the same amount of snow.

    Wishing everyone a very Blessed Christmas!

    By Blogger David Bell, at 12/24/2009 10:43 AM  

  • Duane,
    There is a light dusting of snow here that has been there for about a week. It is chilly - just below freezing, but windy. We are just outside the edge of the storm that pummeled Chicago - have not got any precipitation for days.
    I think I heard that we are getting a wintery mix or rain this weekend. I can always do WITHOUT SNOW. Hate the stuff. You don't have to shovel rain. :) But I livein NW Ohio, so I have to accept and embrace snow one of these days.

    Merry Christmas to all of you!!!!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/24/2009 10:49 AM  

  • gotten

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/24/2009 10:49 AM  

  • Thanks David :)

    By Blogger Rose~, at 12/24/2009 10:49 AM  

  • We're sitting here in snow since Monday. Minus 6 outside with fog as well. It was minus 11 this morning at 07.30 when our neighbour was going to work. It took her 3 attempts to get up the hill and out of the estate. She persevered to the end so she must be alright in her theology.

    Enjoying the truce. Will regroup, clean out the weapons for maximum fire power and plan for the next offensive.

    Love ya all.

    Fair fa' ye

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 12/24/2009 12:21 PM  

  • Merry Christmas Rose,
    Wow, you guys are really talented
    on the keyboard!
    I'd like to wish everyone here a
    very Merry Christmas from the
    foothills of the North Georgia
    Mountains.(Compared to Jim's
    Colorado mountains, they are like
    ant hills), but to us they are mountains. No snow, just cold.
    God bless you all.

    By Blogger Peggie, at 12/24/2009 1:57 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Been a long time since I've stopped in, hope you had a Merry Christmas!

    Paul defines the gospel in 1 Corinthians 15:1-5, and it includes four parts of meaning:

    1) Who is Jesus?
    2) Jesus died for our sins according to the Scriptures
    3) Jesus rose again on the third day according to the Scriptures
    4) He was seen, after His resurrection, by many witnesses.

    If you'll look in the Book of Acts at every example of the gospel being preached, you will always see those four elements present.

    Everyone tends to leave off the fourth part, about being seen by many witnesses.

    Anyway, hope you're doing well!

    Loren

    By Blogger Cleopas, at 12/28/2009 9:22 PM  

  • Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now keep it up!

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1/04/2010 7:11 AM  

  • Wow! Rose I just now stumbled on this post, & may I say it is awesome! I may say more later, but God has used your post to bless my poor old tired heart! God bless you!

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at 1/27/2010 7:27 PM  

  • Hi Rose.

    I surfed over from Duane's place and wanted to honor your request that visitors make themselves known.

    Interesting site :)

    Heather

    By Blogger Craig and Heather, at 2/12/2010 11:01 AM  

  • Thanks for visiting Colin, Peggie, Loren, David... and Craig and Heather.
    I don't blog much anymore but it is nice to know that you all visited. I do appreciate your coments.

    By Blogger Rose~, at 2/19/2010 10:33 AM  

  • Rose:

    FWIW, blogging was ultimately not good for you. It over-exposed you to the reductionist extremists. They played to your niceness and/or reasonableness to your detriment. Thankfully they seem to have isolated themselves and/or left the blogosphere entirely.


    LM

    By Blogger Lou Martuneac, at 2/20/2010 8:06 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    This must be the longest running Christmas truce in history.

    Happy Easter, next week.

    Fair fa' ye!

    By Blogger Colin Maxwell, at 3/26/2010 2:51 PM  

  • Colin Maxwell,
    So nice to see you! I have had that comment held and have meant to publish it for what? like a week now. Sorry I just get so busy and blogging obviously is not a priority anymore.

    I wouldn't call it a truce. haha You should see the comments that I have "REJECTED" yes, comment moderation is wonderful.

    Facebook is a very comfortable place because creepy stalkers cannot throw rocks at you there. :)
    You should do FB!

    I do have a post in mind and I have been thinking abot it on my morning walk this week. Maybe I will post it - who knows. :)
    Thanks for visiting!

    By Blogger Rose~, at 4/01/2010 9:39 AM  

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