"I went to Jerusalem to become acquainted (Gk. istoria) with Cephas" - Paul's words from Galatians 1:18.

Please Don't Call Me a Calvinist, But . . .

The following is a reprint of an article written by Wade Burleson, published in the Oklahoma Baptist Messenger in the June 1, 1995 issue. The editor of the Baptist Messenger asked Herschel Hobbs and Wade Burleson to write articles on Calvinism from differing perspectives to show how Southern Baptists can maintain friendship, cooperation and Christian unity though the Biblical doctrines of grace can be interpreted differently. Dr. Hobb's article, "God's Sovereignty and Man's Free Will," was posted Wednesday. Wade Burleson's article follows:

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When I was a kid I once became sick immediately after eating my first Fudgesicle. Not just sick, I mean really sick. For years I never ate a Fudgesicle because I thought, mistakenly so, that the fudge made me sick. It was only after much convincing and even greater personal courage that I again ventured to eat an ice cold Fudgesicle. Eureka! I loved it! My misconceptions had cost me years of immeasurable pleasure.

I remember the first time I can consciously remember hearing the word “Calvinism.” My youth director was attempting to explain what John Calvin had taught concerning salvation, and in looking back, it seems Calvinism to the youth pastor was like Fudgesicles to me - something to be avoided at all costs. I now believe that my youth pastor was teaching what he thought Calvin taught. In fairness, if Calvin had taught what the youth director said he taught, it was something to be avoided. Unfortunately, misconceptions about Calvinism may have led him to miss the joy of fully recognizing the wonderful love of God found in His grace for His people.

That’s why I don’t like to call myself a Calvinist. Spurgeon never hesitated to “avow myself a Calvinist,” but I’m living in an age when too many people have a distorted understanding of what Calvin taught. Besides, I don’t agree with many things Calvin did teach, such as infant baptism, church/state unity and church polity. Therefore, I only take the name “Christian” and point others to Christ.

But don’t misunderstand; many, many Baptists have never hesitated to call themselves Calvinists. James Boyce, founder of Southern Seminary; John L. Dagg, the fine Southern Baptist theologian of the 19th century, and Charles Spurgeon, the prince of Baptist preachers, were all fond of being called Calvinists. However, Spurgeon said, “We only use the term ‘Calvinism’ for shortness. That doctrine which is called Calvinism did not spring from Calvin; we believe that it sprang from the great founder of all truth (Jesus Christ). We would be just as willing to call them (the doctrines of Calvinism) by any other name if we could find one which could be better understood.”

With Spurgeon’s spirit in mind, and with my desire not to be called a Calvinist, I will use the nomenclature “Doctrines of Grace” to describe what Boyce, Dagg, Broadus, Manly, Mell, Williams and thousands of other great Southern Baptist evangelists, preachers and theologians have believed concerning salvation. Beside these men in the Hall of Faith stand men like Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, Whitefield, Knox, Carey and Spurgeon plus an innumerable company of others throughout history who have proclaimed Christ to the nations.

THE TOTAL DEPRAVITY OF MAN

First, the doctrines of grace rest on the bedrock truth called The Total Depravity of Man. This doctrine teaches that all have sinned and that everyone has sin in the totality of his person. For example, the will is sinful, the emotions are sinful, the thoughts of man are only evil continually and all the actions of man are tainted with sin. It’s not that every person is as bad as he could be, but that every person is sinful in all he or she is. Even the good someone does in the eyes of other people is like filthy rags before a holy God.

Worse, there is no one who seeks God, and as a result, every sinful person is separated from God and couldn’t care less about finding his or her way to God. Natural man is lost in his sin and he loves it. Self rules the heart and self is unwilling to change so that God rules the heart. Therefore, total depravity teaches that man is wicked and sinful in every part of personhood, and it is impossible for the sinner to embrace the Son and love the Lord Jesus Christ because the sinner is satisfied (in love) with selfishness and evil. The prophet asks, “Can the leopard change his spots? How can you who are accustomed to doing evil change your ways?”

God graciously commands all sinners to repent rather than striking them dead immediately and bringing them before Him in judgment. God even more graciously commands all men to embrace His Son, the only Savior ever given for sinners. But, no sinner ever will believe or repent. Not one sinner will obey God because the sinner loves his sin, hates God (or at least the true God of the Bible) and embraces self more than the Creator. The invitation to take up your cross and follow Christ is universally given, but unfortunately, it is also universally rejected by sinners.

UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION

God knows no sinful man will naturally choose to repent and believe on His Son. Therefore He takes other steps, by His grace, to ensure that His Son will "see the travail of his soul and be satisfied." In other words, God will not allow His Son to die in vain. So God “unconditionally chooses” to change the hearts of literally thousands upon thousands and ten thousand times ten thousand people, or what the Bible calls "an innumerable company." This doctrine of grace, often called Unconditional Election, simply teaches that God first loved us in order that we might love Him. If a man is to be justified through faith in Christ, and if no man can believe in Christ because his wicked heart desires no Lord but himself, then God must choose to perform spiritual heart surgery. Regeneration, the new birth and quickening are all synonyms for this heart surgery God performs. Before a man will ever repent of his sin and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, he must be born again. This miraculous act of God, called "the new birth," is a work that He chooses to perform, and it is without conditions. In other words, God does not choose to regenerate a sinner (make him spiritually alive) because of the sinners’s wealth, fame, skin color, nationality, sex, goodness (humanly speaking!) or any other conditions found within the sinner, for God is not a respecter of persons. God's choice to redeem and regenerate undeserving sinners is a choice based on pure grace.

You ask, “Why does He not choose to redeem and regenerate the heart of every sinner?” I respond, “Why does He choose to redeem and regenerate the heart of any sinner?” You ask, “Can a sinner believe on Jesus Christ without this work of grace in his heart?” I respond, Will a sinner believe on Christ without this work of grace in his heart?” If he will believe and repent, he will be saved, for the Gospel is a “whosoever will” gospel. But when we see a sinner who is willing to believe in Christ, we give God the credit, "for in the day of His power, His people are made willing."

I know some of you are saying, “But I thought God simply looked down through the ages and saw I would believe, and then He called me ‘elect’.” Frankly, it makes no difference to me if you believe God looked to the future and saw you would believe and then called you “elect,” or if you believe the traditional view that God graciously overcame your sin and stubbornness and enabled you to believe, as long as you believe the third doctrine of grace, which is the cardinal truth of Scripture: Christ died in the stead of His people. In other words, the death of Christ was a substitutionary death. Christ died as a substitute for sinners who will trust in Him. He died in their place, and the righteous and pure anger of God due their sins was poured out on Him at Calvary.

LIMITED ATONEMENT OR PARTICULAR REDEMPTION

Why is not everyone in Heaven? Because Christ did not die for the sinner who refuses to embrace Him. To believe that Christ died for “the goats” as well as “the sheep” negates the symbolism of the Old Testament sacrifices and the direct teaching of both covenants of Scripture. Only the believing sinner had a substitutionary sacrifice. Only the sinner who laid his hands upon the sacrifice had the anger of God placated. Christ died as a substitute for sinners who will trust in Him.

If a sinner rejects his Creator, if he refuses to embrace the Son and if he dies while spitting in the face of the only Savior ever provided for sinners, then that sinner bears his own sin in hell.

The sins of every man will be punished; either at Calvary or in hell. It is the historic position of most who hold to the doctrines of grace that Christ atoned for the sins of all infants who die in infancy and the mentally challenged who die in their retardation. Thus, infants who die in infancy and those without mental capacity are in heaven, not because they are innocent (death is only for the guilty, and all died in Adam), but because Christ died for them and the Holy Spirit graciously regenerates them.

With the exception of infants who die in infancy and imbeciles, the unbelieving sinner will be punished for his own sins in an eternal hell. But those who trust Christ will be delivered. Often times this doctrine is called “Particular Redemption” to emphasize that not all men will be redeemed (universalism), but that only the bride of Christ, the church of God, believers, those who trust Christ, are redeemed by the blood of the Lamb (i.e. "the death of Christ").

IRRESISTIBLE GRACE

Every sinner experiences the grace of God in some form or fashion, for the sun rises on the righteous and the wicked. The preaching of the Gospel is an act of grace, as is being born into a Christian family, as is living in a nation that is Christian. However, as we have already seen, sinners are so wicked that all of these advantages are null and void to them. The sinner hears the Gospel but he is deaf spiritually. The sinner is commanded to repent and believe but he is a rebel at heart. Therefore it takes a wonderful work of the Holy Spirit to change his heart and cause him to be willing.

This fourth doctrine of grace is usually called “Irresistible Grace.” A better adjective would be the word effectual rather than irresistible. God’s grace is often resisted, but the Holy Spirit is an effectual worker. He gets the job done. As the appendix to the 1646 London Baptist Confession of Faith states in Article VII, “The Spirit of God doth not compel a man to believe against his will, but doth powerfully and sweetly create in a man a new heart, and so makes him to believe and obey willingly.”

So if you have a loved one who is a hardened sinner, a rebel toward the things of God, the absolute most important thing you can do for him is pray. God can save our families and nation without our prayers, but it seems He chooses not to save unless we pray, lest we take credit for the salvation of the lost ourselves.

THE PERSEVERANCE OR PRESERVATION OF THE SAINTS

Finally, the fifth doctrine of grace is called “The Perseverance or Preservation of the Saints.” Perseverance simply means a graced person keeps on believing in Christ and keeps on repenting of sin until he dies. Preservation is the divine side of perseverance and simply means He who began a good work in you will carry it on until the day of Christ.

All five doctrines of grace, sometimes called “The Five Points of Calvinism” seem to stand or fall together. However, it must always be remembered that our fellowship is around Christ Jesus. His person, His work and His attributes, and not necessarily around our systematic theology, no matter how beneficial it may be to us. Wesley and Whitefield came from both sides of the spectrum on this issue, and Baptists have disagreed over Calvinism and Arminianism from the beginning.

That is not to say, however, that I believe the doctrines of grace are not important. They have transformed my understanding of the Christian life. But I am not in control of whether or not anyone else can see the love of God in these doctrines, so I love and accept every brother in Christ who disagrees with my interpretations of Scripture. But the reason I take time to elucidate the doctrines of grace to those who ask is because of a threefold transformation in my life through an understanding of these doctrines:

(1). When I came to an understooding of God's grace, the everlasting love of God became real to me in ways I never before imagined. It became a transformational knowledge. When I believed that Christ died for me personally, that He came with a mission to save me and would not fail in it, then His unconditional, personal and eternal love for me came alive. Like the shephered who leaves the ninety and nine and goes after the lost sheep until he finds him and brings him home, so Christ came for me, threw me across His strong shoulders, and is now carrying me home. I love Him because He first loved me.

(2). I came to a sense of peace and soul satisfaction, like Job, that my "salvation is of the Lord." Rather than trusting in a religious formula or mantra, rather than trusting in my faith (which is sometimes weak), and rather than believing in any commitment that I make, I simply trust Jesus Christ and His work on my behalf. If He doesn't save me by His work, then I will never be saved. Even my faith and repentance are gifts given to me by His grace. Thus, if I am weak in either, I ask Him for more grace. Thus, when I sing the song "Have Faith in God" I really mean it. I have no faith in myself.

(3). Understanding the doctrines of grace has empowered me to share Christ with confidence. I realize that the mysterious and divine work of regeneration is produced by the Spirit of God as He interacts with the good news I share with sinners. The Holy Spirit produces new life in the hearers of the gospel, and it is not up to my ability to articulate, my intellectual prowess, or my human abilities. Thus, I share Christ and pray for the soul of that one I have loved enough to personally share the gospel. I am also reminded of the words of my Savior, "If you ask for bread from your earthly father will he give you a snake or a stone? How much more shall your heavenly Father give to you that which you ask." My heavenly Father is delighted to do the very thing I am asking Him to do.

May my description of Christ in this article be understood by my fellow Southern Baptists. However, if what I have written is not understood by even one of my brothers or sisters in Christ, may each one realize my desire to fellowship with fellow believers is based solely on our love for Jesus Christ, and not our various understandings of why it is we have come to love Him.

220 comments:

1 – 200 of 220   Newer›   Newest»
Bob Cleveland said...

As good an explanation as I have seen.

In my mind, our big problem seems to arise when we get into the area of how God operates .. election, justification, the drawing of men unto Himself .. rather than focus on what He wants us to do. Something in us wouldn't want to "waste our time" witnessing to someone who wasn't elect .. even if God tells us to.

What's called Calvinism seems to attribute the greatest sovereignty to God, from where I sit, and that makes the greatest sense to me.

That old Adamic thing again ... wanting to be large and in charge.

Wade Burleson said...

Thanks Bob,

Coming from as wise of a Christian sage as you, that is a high compliment.

Danny said...

Calvinism doesn't adequately deal with the death of babies and children who do not have the maturity to respond to faith in Christ. Total depravity means that all persons all "born sinners" and this of course includes these little ones who would logically be excluded from heaven.

I know Calvinists would not verbalize the position in that way, but following the logic of Calvinism leads to this conclusion.

I lean on Jn 3:16 a great deal, and would go with Hobbs on this one. There are other issues of disagreement as well, as you know, but thanks for the comparison.

Kevin M. Crowder said...

I teach the doctrines of grace when and where Scripture dictates. I am a die-hard Calvinist who does not have to agree with everything that Calvin stood for. I am a Baptist who detests the idea of decisional regeneration, emotion laden revivalistic alter calls, and absolute congregational authority. I have no problem cooperating with those who do not hold to the 5 points, but get rather peeved at the anti-Calvinistic rhetoric in the SBC and the uncooperative spirit of the anti-Calvinistic Missouri Baptist Convention. And so I will always in the future, align myself with people and institutions who are at worst reformed-friendly. I have lost much respect for the men and institutions which sponsored the Conference that helped to make John 3:16 one of the most grossly misrepresented verse in Holy Scripture...but to another matter.
Wade, you wrote:

"Every sinner experiences the grace of God in some form or fashion..."

My question is do they really? You are, I am assuming, referring to common grace which is non-salvific. I have always been happy with the idea of common grace until a distinguished professor of mine suggested the use of another concept: that of "common goodness." Holding of course that grace is ONLY salvific in nature. This may seem off topic, but I have been pondering this for a semester now and this concept (indeed the idea of God's "goodness" is biblical) seems to me to elevate the grace of God to a singular and specific purpose of drawing in the elect and that nothing else but this grace alone can do the "drawing." I would be curious to know if you or any of your readership can punch a hole in this concept by giving biblical evidence of non-salvific grace, or a grace which does not achieve a salvific end either through a lack of quantity (e.g. ineffective grace) or receptibility (on the part of the impartee). Of course this then begs the question: are there some to whom grace cannot or will not be imparted?

Thanks,

Kevin

PS: "...for the sun rises on the righteous and the wicked. The preaching of the Gospel is an act of grace,"

Sun=goodness
Preaching is an act of grace [to those who believe only?]?

"However, as we have already seen, sinners are so wicked that all of these advantages are null and void to them."

Wade, are we to call this ineffectual grace? Or can we call this rejected goodness? If the sinner does not repent, grace was not imparted no?

"The sinner hears the Gospel but he is deaf spiritually. The sinner is commanded to repent and believe but he is a rebel at heart. Therefore it takes a wonderful work of the Holy Spirit to change his heart and cause him to be willing."

Wonderful indeed. But is that not simply grace which was withheld from the afore mentioned?

Kevin M. Crowder said...

"Total depravity means that all persons all "born sinners" and this of course includes these little ones who would logically be excluded from heaven."

Dr. Crisholm,

What is it then that separated mankind from God? Our sins? Or our sin nature?


PS: While my theology has taken me to a different side of the Missouri Baptist fence, I would like you to know that UHBC, the Olmsteads, the then Ed Minister, and a few others there were a gift from the Lord to me during my first year at Missouri State in the early 90's. I did not realize it then as much as I do now. I was assigned a wonderful watch-care family. But, while eating in their home one Sunday afternoon I almost dropped my spoon-full of corn when "she" said she was a "deacon." :) I soon found out the ABC was not my home denomination (ABA) God can be wonderful and funny at the same time. :) Blessings to you and yours...but we are gonna win the lawsuits ;)

Anonymous said...

Total depravity means that all persons all "born sinners" and this of course includes these little ones who would logically be excluded from heaven.

I know Calvinists would not verbalize the position in that way, but following the logic of Calvinism leads to this conclusion.


This one did.

WatchingHISstory said...

Anon(Mon Nov 10, 08:55:00 PM 2008)
ask, "What say the great theologians?"

The great theologians say: "Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation." BF&M- III Man

greater theologians said: "He was created in a state of holiness under the law of his Maker, but, through the temptation of Satan, he transgressed the command of God and fell from his original holiness and righteousness; whereby his posterity inherit a nature corrupt and in bondage to sin, are under condemnation."

According to the SBC "all have not sinned" only those who are actual transgressors.

anon said:
Place your doctrine in the simplest terms possible: the impact of it on a little child.

And then, see if your Doctrine still floats.

"I say the unelect baby sinks!"

Anon, you want to put the blame on God for not electing.

Put the blame on Adam for sinning.
God elects some babies. He doesn't have to at all. He remains gracious regardless. But he does elect some! How great is our God!

How dreadfully awful is man!

Tue Nov 11, 08:33:00 AM 2008

Anonymous said...

Excellent Article. The clearest I have ever read on the subject.
I have not, nor will I have, any work by Calvin, so not to be labeled as a Calvinist.

As to the argument on babies, what is not specified, is not required.

God has infinite mercy and grace.

Dr. Paul W. Foltz

Brandon said...

I do not label myself a Calvinist, nor do I care to be labeled an Armenian. I am a bible believing Christian. So with that said I have read both articles and the one before them(the reason for posting them) and quite frankly I am sick.

The whole debate over this topic is rather pointless in my mind. It is time we get back to exactly what Wade said about "working together" no matter what you believe about the manner in which God saves(talk about a borderline Calvinistic statement there :-P). We will never see people come to accept the Gospel as long as we let the Devil distract us around this Non-Essential doctrine.

My problem is with this....Calvinist claim that non-Calvinist want them out of the SBC and to Wade's point I understand how this could be taken however I would point out that Non-Calvinist claim that all Calvinist are trying to push them out of the SBC as well. For every article/blog post talking about some Calvinist being pushed out I can point you to a church where a Calvinist pastor has gone in a forced TULIP on non-Calvinist. The problem is from both sides not just one of or the other. The problem in my opinion is coming from our Seminary's. SBTS, for example, is churning out Calvinist pastors by the fist full(im speaking in general..not meaning ALL) and these pastors are going to churches that aren't and they are forcing a doctrine on people that they don't believe. All the while claiming that "if you only understood TULIP, or if only I could make this more clear for you" you would be a Calvinist too. I completely understand both sides of this non-essential doctrine and don't agree with either fully. That is not to say that I will "never" be changed but it would only be God speaking to me in a divine manner that would do so as I am "firmly convinced in what I believe" which is that neither fully encompasses the nature of God.

So take this from one Southern Baptist to another....lets put non-essentials behind us, cooperate, and do what we are called to do thru the Great Commission.

WatchingHISstory said...

Wade, do you equate the traditions of men with the ruling of scripture?

Can you recall the council that ruled the "infancy exception"?

Orange and Trent established the certainty of faith that ruled against the "infancy exception"

For this reason the Catholics baptize infants and the Pelagians of today insist the true Calvinst must do it as well!

So Wade you have a large problem with original sin. IMO a greater service will be to provide to your blog your position on original sin.

Failing to embrace Christ gets you into hell? Really!!! Actually it is NOT being embraced by God that gets you thrown into hell.

NativeVermonter said...

King David seemed quite certain that he would see his child again and if that's the closest we can come in Scripture then I'll hang my hat there! (And that was without baptism.)

BTW, you had a fudgesicle, I had broccoli & cheese, I still can't eat that stuff!

Kevin: I like the common goodness concept.

Anonymous said...

Adam's descendants: mankind, if you will, were all much impaired by Adam's sin. That is a 'given'.

The words 'total depravity': do they mean that all mankind has NO moral or religious leanings at ALL?
In Calvinism, does there still exist among all mankind some kind of 'moral compass' or 'conscience' that informs decisions people make?

Does Calvinism say that there is no 'free will' among mankind?

In the gift of grace, does a human have the freedom to accept it or reject it? Or is that choice non-existant in Calvinism?

If we were created in the 'image of God', did Adam's sin destroy us as creations, in God's image, completely or partially?

Lots of questions. Sorry. L's

Jon L. Estes said...

Not trying to debate the baby issue but let me ask a question that my simple mind raises...

If babies which die go to heaven, would not the support of abortion be the greatest way of assuring a child conceived and then aborted would spend eternity in heaven?

This is 100% assurance of their eternity. To support their being born drops the chances greatly.

Jon

* an anti-abortion, pro-life pastor who believes ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.

Sticky and uncomfortable issue, I know.

Bob Cleveland said...

Wade,


Isaiah 7:16: But before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste. (NIV)

Why on earth would God point out that there was a time in Jesus' own life, that even HE wouldn't know enough to reject the wrong and choose the right? Unless it was, and is, significant?

I've never seen the bible say specifically what happens to babies that die but it does point out that age thing; it must also be true that Jesus forgives original sin (which we cannot turn away from) when he forgives our willful sin. Couple those two thoughts, and I don't see infants not going to heaven if they die.

Anonymous said...

Just a thought: can people
WILLINGLY sin or is it simply a compulsion to sin brought on by a depraved nature?

Do people WILL to sin or not to sin?

Stephen said...

This may be slightly off-topic, but here goes: Many Christians buy into Calvinist thinking by believing that man is simply a puppet of God. Are the actions of men / women in history simply the actions of God? How many times have we heard "It is all in God's hands" or "It was God's will" when some have referred to events in history? I have trouble believing that man does not have total free will and that God calls and accepts ALL to repentance and salvation, and that man must make the choice as an individual.

Wade Burleson said...

Failing to embrace Christ gets you into hell? Really!!! Actually it is NOT being embraced by God that gets you thrown into hell.

Not so.

Hell is nothing more, nothing less, than experiencing the righteous and holy wrath of God. It makes no sense for God's wrath to be poured out on someone because of something God does (i.e. "refusing to embrace").

Hell is experienced because the sinner refuses to obey God. IF the sinner were to obey God fully and completely He would be embraced by God. This is Paul's argument in Romans 1-3. If we loved God, kept His commandments, and willinging embraced His Lordship over our lives, then we would be right with Him.

But . . .

All we like sheep have gone astray. Our throats are like an open, stinking grave. For all of us have rebelled.

We experience hell because we refuse to embrace God for who He is. So, if we are in hell, it is our fault, not God's.

If, however, we embrace the Savior who delivers His people from hell, then we have been redeemed by God from experiencing His wrath. So the fault for hell is our own. The credit for escaping it goes to God.

Darby Livingston said...

"The words 'total depravity': do they mean that all mankind has NO moral or religious leanings at ALL?"

No. Total Depravity isn't dealing with depth of depravity (though it's pretty deep), but the extent of depravity. No part of any person isn't unaffected by sin. There's no inner core of untarnished goodness somewhere inside of us. Everyone has religious leanings all the time - they're just bent.

"In Calvinism, does there still exist among all mankind some kind of 'moral compass' or 'conscience' that informs decisions people make?"

Yes. Everyone has a conscience. The problem is that the conscience is part of what's affected by our total depravity. Paul says our consciences can be hardened, defiled, etc. So our moral compass doesn't necessarily point north.

"In the gift of grace, does a human have the freedom to accept it or reject it? Or is that choice non-existant in Calvinism?"

Yes. The human has the freedom to accept or reject it, and Christians should love sacrificially in support of missions so that everyone has an opportunity to do so. The only caveat a calvinist would put on your question is that those who accept it were given that ability by God because God says that no one seeks him correctly in our natural state. Blind people don't give themselves sight.

"If we were created in the 'image of God', did Adam's sin destroy us as creations, in God's image, completely or partially?"

Partially. We are like the Mona Lisa with a coffee stain, or like those distorted faces in a hall of mirrors. The image isn't crisp, it's bent and freaky.

Wade Burleson said...

Stephen,

Not off topic at all. I love my wife enormously, but the amazing thing about my love is that it is drawn out from me because of her captivating, beautiful love for me. I choose to love her. I am not her puppet. My will to love her, however, has been swayed and overcome by her personhood and character. And, when I look at myself in the mirror, I wonder why she ever would choose to love me.

So it is with God. There is nothing that would cause Him to love me, but His love pours out from His heart because of who He is. His love for me has overcome my natural, selfish will. I love Him because He first loved me.

Now, some wish to say that the everlasting, unconditional love of God is upon every sinner. If it is, then I can guarantee you that everyone will be in heaven, because the love of God redeems, regenerates and restores that which is broken. In other words, universalism is based on the belief that God's redemptive love is upon everyone.

But the Scripture says that God has redemptive, eternal love for His people. "You shall call his name Jesus for he SHALL save His people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21). Now, the million dollar question is a simple one:

Who are His people?

The answer: Those who will embrace Jesus Christ, for the evidence of God's love is the willingness to kiss His Son.

If someone responds: "But you are saying I can't kiss Jesus unless God loves me enough to overcome my stubborn selfishness, my desires to sin and rebel against Him, and my naturally hard heart. You say I can't accept Christ unless God brings me to brokenness and gives to me the ability to love Him because I've come to the end of myself. Right?"

Right.

So I ask you. "Do you desire Him to break you of your self-love, your longing for sin, and bring to you a love for Christ and the things of God?"

If you say, "Yes! I want God to do that in my life." Then I say on the authority of God's Word, He will, because He never turns a deaf ear to a helpless sinner who calls to Him.

But if you say, "NO! I don't want that in my life!"

Then I say, "Why then, are you upset with God for not choosing to love and redeem you? He is simply doing what you desire of Him. He is leaving you alone."

I guess, Stephen, the answer to your question lies at the very heart of true salvation or deliverance. God does NOT violate your will, for "The Spirit of God doth not compel a man to believe against his will, but doth powerfully and sweetly create in a man a new heart, and so makes him to believe and obey willingly.”

Wade Burleson said...

Jon Estes,

I been the chairman of our Christian Life Commission in Oklahoma for two years. I have led the legislative efforts to protect the unborn, and I am pro-life.

Not one time have I ever opposed abortion because I believe the aborted infant goes to hell.

I oppose abortion for a multitude of other reasons - including the very real possibility that the mother who aborts her baby is the one on her way to hell unless God intervenes in her life.

Darby Livingston said...

"I have trouble believing that man does not have total free will"

You'd have an easier time believing it if you tried to order a hot dog from McDonald's. Man's will is only as free as 1) the choices offered at any given time, and 2) his ability to make a choice. I cannot get a hot dog if it's not on the menu, and I can't choose to see the menu if I'm blind. That's all a Calvinist is saying.

Wade Burleson said...

Good point Darby.

I, like Luther, think the better adjective for the will is "the bondage of the will" in the sense our wills are in bondage to the desires of our hearts.

I sometimes do an experiment with my people during Bible study. I ask how many are on a diet. After a show of hands, I make them a friendly bet. I tell them that I can, with 100% accuracy, tell them what they will choose next time they are tempted to eat a piece of cake or a bowl of ice cream. I will tell them, with 100% accuracy, whether they will choose to eat the goodies or they will choose to say no to the cake and ice cream.

Then I give them the punch line.

They will always choose what is the greatest desire in their hearts at the time. The chooser always follows the inclination of the heart. NOBODY forces the will - this is what theologians mean when they say we are "free moral agents." We choose what we desire.

The only fallacy with your McDonald's illustration is that God has set before a sinner how he can be right with God. He can fully, perfectly and eternally keep His laws.

The fact that the man or woman CHOOSES to violate those laws is an indictment on the desires of our hearts. We are in bondage to our sinful nature, and we need deliverance from it. Sometimes people choose to reform themselves, but "what thaws in the sun will once again freeze in the shade."

What is needed is a change of nature, and this is what God brings to the helpless sinner who cries out to Him.

Wade Burleson said...

And, when in our helpless state we cry to Christ, we are given a righteousness that does not come from OUR obedience to any law, but a righteousness that from God and is received by faith in Jesus Christ.

Anonymous said...

Anony - I would ask you to consider the arguments of others regarding babies.

To take the word of one person on the matter is a bad idea. And for you to take the word of one person that you apparently despise is down right idiotic.

If you really want to understand, then move away from your hatred towards Mr. History (even though you might feel that he deserves it) and listen to the argument put forth here by Wade and other clear thinkers regarding babies and salvation.

Why is it any more tragic that a baby dies and goes to hell than for an 80 year old grandma? Or a 35 year old mother of 4? Surely you don't think the baby is innocent and deserves heaven?

Having said that, I would submit that babies have less of a chance to get to heaven if they were required to make some sort of decision.

Please know this. My position and I think the typical reformed position is that all babies go to heaven. But NOT because they deserve it or because of any decision they have made. But because God has shown them mercy. Just like He has done for all of the elect, no matter how old they were when they died.

SL1M

Wade Burleson said...

Excellent point SL1M,

When people see the obedience, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is that which saves His people, then we can easily see that faith and repentance of gifts from God who, having given us His Son, will likewise give us all gifts associated with Him.

Babies who die in infancy and the mentally challenged are redeemed the same way all sinners are redeemed; through the obedience, death and resurrection of Christ for His people. God simply has chosen to redeem them without giving to them the gifts of faith and repentance for they lived short or challenged lives where those gifts could not be manifested.

Wade Burleson said...

And the adult sinner, who wonders whether or not he or she can be saved, we simply point them to Christ and say, "He is the only one who can deliver you. Ask Him, and He will."

Or ignore Him and He won't.

Benji Ramsaur said...

Wade,

I think this post illustrates what makes you unique.

You seem to be this combination of an edgy Arthur Pinkish Calvinism and a warm Billy Grahamish spirit.

Therefore, I think a lot of people do not know what to do with you.

If people try to call you a doctrinal indifferentist, then they run into the problem of your Calvinism.

If people try to call you a frozen chosen doctrinaire creedalist, then they run into the problem of your heart to evangelize and your openness to fellowship with others.

It's like you both study and smile.

What's wrong with you?

And then on top of all this, you have been sprinkled with some New Covenant Theology seasoning and, well, people don't know whether to taste you or not.

Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus, and Wade is from ?

What an idiot.

Grace

Benji

P.S. :)

Anonymous said...

Can I also add that I am thrilled that for the most part good questions are being asked by NON calvinists and good answers are being given by others - both reformed and non-reformed people from what I can tell.

I feel myself edifying as I read. :)

Thanks everyone!

SL1M

Byroniac said...

This is a great post.

Benji Ramsaur said...

OK, I'm feeling, well, not good about calling Wade an idiot.

I was playing around but sometimes I think my humor, if I may call it that, can take things a step too far.

Wade, I'm sorry and everyone else I'm sorry as well.

Don't let mye comment ruin a good discussion.

John Jenkins said...

Thank you so much for this post Wade. You have a gift to articulate profound truths with simplicity and with passion. That is a compliment.

Thy Peace said...

Thank you Pastor Wade. Doctrines of Grace seem to make more sense to me now. Just as in the field of Physics, Unified Field Theory is still not fully possible, Calvinism/Doctrines of Grace is not fully able to explain all things.

But when we get to heaven and behold the Lamb of God, we will have no questions then.

Lee Herring said...

Sir,

Thank you so much for this post and the one from Dr. Hobbs. With these two you have provided an excellent resource for starting a reasonable and sensible conversation on issues that too often are unreasonably discussed in the SBC.

And wasn't that an awesome game in Stillwater last Saturday?

Yours,
Lee

Stephen said...

Wade, so God's love is not for everyone to accept? God does not love all sinners? I am not a universalist, but does not John 3:16 say "whosoever?" Does that not mean that anyone can accept Jesus as savior? To use Darby's analogy - God's menu is not the same for everyone? If a group of people hear the gospel, does God condition some to accept Jesus and others to reject Jesus? Where is the free will in that scenario?

Anonymous said...

Wade:

I would never call you a Calvinist Butt.

Louis

Anonymous said...

Wade:

Thanks for this post.

I, too, am very uncomfortable calling myself a "Calvinist" or debating "Calvinsim."

We are using antiquated terms that miscommuncate. One has to be in the "initiated" to understand or even participate in such a debate or discussion.

I, also, just use the term "Christian."

Our church, though more reformed than many Baptist churches, has worked hard not to call ourselves "Calvinists" or a "Reformed" Baptist Church. Again, we do not find that is helpful in bringing people outside the congregation to Christ or ministering to those inside our church family.

Using labels like "Calvinism" and "Reformed" is helpful if one wants to attract people who explicitly identify themselves as such or to repel those who do not.

Have a great day.

Louis

Wade Burleson said...

Louis, your comment above the last one is hilarious.

Wade Burleson said...

Stephen,

God's love is a transforming, life-changing, redemptive love. Anyone who desires Christ as Lord and Savior can receive this transforming, life-changing, redemptive love.

Hard-hearted sinners do not want it . . . but if they are ever broken and come to the place of wanting it - they can have it.

The question is "How can those of us who are accustomed to our sinful ways ever want Jesus as Lord?"

The answer: God delivers us.

And if a person objects by saying, "But I will never want to be delivered unless He chooses me" I respond . . .

"Do you want Him to give you the 'want to' to be delivered?"

If the answer is honestly, "No, I love my sin too much," then I simply say to that sinner, "Then why are you faulting God for not giving to you the very thing you don't want.

You ought to thank Him for leaving you alone.

Blessings,

Wade

Les Puryear said...

Wade,

For those who think that unconditional election and irresistible grace means one is a "robot" or "puppet," I remind your readers of my post My Response to the "Robot" Argument.

Good post.

Les

Wade Burleson said...

Benji,

Honestly, no apology is needed because frankly your comment where you use the term, in my opinion, is probably the nicest thing I have ever had anyone say about me in writing - ever. I mean it.

In fact, if I could, I would use your words as a description of how I desire people to view my passion, my theology and my ministry.

Thanks,

Wade

Lin said...

Can I also add that I am thrilled that for the most part good questions are being asked by NON calvinists and good answers are being given by others - both reformed and non-reformed people from what I can tell.

I feel myself edifying as I read. :)

Thanks everyone!

SL1M

Thu Dec 04, 11:28:00 AM 2008

You articulated my thoughts, Sl1M. This has been a very edifying exchange.

Benji Ramsaur said...

"In fact, if I could, I would use your words as a description of how I desire people to view my passion, my theology and my ministry."

Go for it Wade--minus the idiot line please:)

Stephen said...

Wade,
I have been a Christian for over 40 years and I guess I just don't like labels. To most folks the term Calvinism means that God has chosen some for salvation and delegated everyone else to hell. Many people do not think beyond that. What I was referring to as possibly off-topic in my previous post was the extension of Calvinist-type thought to history. One example is our nation's so called Civil War - people from both sides blamed God for the war. It wasn't God. Abe and Jeff decided to go to war. I just hope that we as Christians do not wait on God to act to save those he has supposedly chosen. God has already acted!! All people need to hear / see the gospel and God has chosen us to deliver the message.

Lin said...

Wade, so God's love is not for everyone to accept? God does not love all sinners? I am not a universalist, but does not John 3:16 say "whosoever?" Does that not mean that anyone can accept Jesus as savior? To use Darby's analogy - God's menu is not the same for everyone? If a group of people hear the gospel, does God condition some to accept Jesus and others to reject Jesus? Where is the free will in that scenario?

Thu Dec 04, 12:20:00 PM 2008

Wasn't Jesus trying to explain this to Nicodemus? Can any of us make ourselves Born Again?

Anonymous said...

Wade:

Thanks.

Louis

Wade Burleson said...

Lin,

Absolutely the Bible says "Whosoever will." That is a Biblical truth, and whosoever will trust in Jesus Christ will be saved. The point I am making is we who are rebel sinners toward God love ourselves and our sin way to much to ever will to believe on Him. God must, by His grace, overcome us with His effectual love.

If a rebel sinner asks God for this redemptive love, and if a rebel sinner, in brokenness, comes to faith in the Savior, then that sinner, whosoever it may be, is saved.

The issue is simply, "Who gets the credit for the deliverance?"

The fault for not obeying God, loving self, and rejecting His Lordship is all ours.

The credit for our deliverance is all His.

If the rebel begins to fear he may never be delivered, just ask God, and He will bring it. That's how good God is . . .

But we never minimize the work of Christ at Calvary by acting as if He didn't accomplish what He said out to do. He SHALL save His people through His work at Calvary.

Wade

Stephen said...

Lin,

No, we can't make ourselves born again, but anyone who hears the gospel can accept it. Some have not been preemptively rejected by God.

Stephen said...

Wade,

Thanks for the way you have explained everything. God gets all the credit for saving us.

Benji Ramsaur said...

Always remember that John 3:16 says whosoever, not "anyone 'can' ever".

In fact, I think a more literal rendering is "'everyone' believing into Him..."

In other words, all believers in Jesus will not perish, but have everlasting life.

I think it's better to glory in its "simplicity" than overcomplicate it by trying to find "moral ability" in that verse.

John Jenkins said...

The idea that God premptively rejects is another misnomer of the doctrines of grace. The beautiful truth is God premptivley saves. All are born lost, depraved and unable to love and obey.

Robert I Masters said...

Louis,
Seems to me that that you are not a Calvinist based on what you have posted here.
I can understand why you would not like the label!
The real question is did Calvin teach the Bible?
Another question that needs to be asked is what is or has been taught in the SBC. I would argue semi-pelagianism.

I realize this proves your point about being self-identified. My point is that whether in silence or aloud; we embrace a position.
At the end of the day a local church must take a position on the Calvinism or any number of doctrinal issues. To not do so leaves a church double-minded. Is
your church double-minded?

From the Southern Baptist Geneva
Robert I Masters

ezekiel said...

Ok, to start off, I hate the whole calvinist/armininian debate. Both can quote scripture to support their beliefs. But in the end all scripture is true. So at some point, we have to get the calvinists married to the arminians....

Oh the horror...

A couple of points before I run for the hills.

1 The L in tulip appears to contradict:

1Jn 2:2 And He [that same Jesus Himself] is the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) for our sins, and not for ours alone but also for [the sins of] the whole world.

2 Usually the debaters always wind up on the baby issue, whether an innocent baby can go to hell. Some calvinists argue that they do and armininians are horrified. And well they should be.

Look at Romans 5, especially Rom 5:18 Well then, as one man's trespass [one man's false step and falling away led] to condemnation for all men, so one Man's act of righteousness [leads] to acquittal and right standing with God and life for all men.

Rom 11:11 So I ask, Have they stumbled so as to fall [to their utter spiritual ruin, irretrievably]? By no means! But through their false step and transgression salvation [has come] to the Gentiles, so as to arouse Israel [to see and feel what they forfeited] and so to make them jealous.

It doesn't say that salvation came to SOME gentiles...

If we look at this from the perspective that Israel was saved/delivered from bondage in Egypt, then ALL Israel was saved that day. Then down through time they turned away from God and were destroyed for their unbelief. They were destroyed in the wilderness, in Samaria, Judah and Jerusalem.

Jesus was sent to bring salvation to the whole world. The Jews were broken off (will be grafted back in) and salvation was provided to the rest of the world by the sacrifice on the Cross for the atonement for the sins of the world. The good news of the Gospel is that the whole world that day was saved. Just like Israel was. The problem comes when we do the same thing Israel did and turn way from HIM. When we do that, we are bound to die for our unbelief just like Israel did.

Because...Heb 10:26 For if we go on deliberately and willingly sinning after once acquiring the knowledge of the Truth, there is no longer any sacrifice left to atone for [our] sins [no further offering to which to look forward].

All the prophets, and all the apostles as well as Jesus himself came preaching "repent".

Act 2:38 And Peter answered them, Repent (change your views and purpose to accept the will of God in your inner selves instead of rejecting it) and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of and release from your sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

If we look at it from the standpoint that everyone was saved through the work of Christ on the Cross, realizing that the free gift was for everyone (the world) and understanding that many won't accept the gift (many in Israel didn't in the wilderness or in Canaan), then we begin to see why it is so important to walk in the newness of life we have been given. Refusal will simply result in swift judgement, just like it did for Israel.

Rom 6:11 Even so consider yourselves also dead to sin and your relation to it broken, but alive to God [living in unbroken fellowship with Him] in Christ Jesus.
Rom 6:12 Let not sin therefore rule as king in your mortal (short-lived, perishable) bodies, to make you yield to its cravings and be subject to its lusts and evil passions.
Rom 6:13 Do not continue offering or yielding your bodily members [and faculties] to sin as instruments (tools) of wickedness. But offer and yield yourselves to God as though you have been raised from the dead to [perpetual] life, and your bodily members [and faculties] to God, presenting them as implements of righteousness.
Rom 6:14 For sin shall not [any longer] exert dominion over you, since now you are not under Law [as slaves], but under grace [as subjects of God's favor and mercy].
Rom 6:15 What then [are we to conclude]? Shall we sin because we live not under Law but under God's favor and mercy? Certainly not!
Rom 6:16 Do you not know that if you continually surrender yourselves to anyone to do his will, you are the slaves of him whom you obey, whether that be to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience which leads to righteousness (right doing and right standing with God)?
Rom 6:17 But thank God, though you were once slaves of sin, you have become obedient with all your heart to the standard of teaching in which you were instructed and to which you were committed.
Rom 6:18 And having been set free from sin, you have become the servants of righteousness (of conformity to the divine will in thought, purpose, and action).
Rom 6:19 I am speaking in familiar human terms because of your natural limitations. For as you yielded your bodily members [and faculties] as servants to impurity and ever increasing lawlessness, so now yield your bodily members [and faculties] once for all as servants to righteousness (right being and doing) [which leads] to sanctification.
Rom 6:20 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.
Rom 6:21 But then what benefit (return) did you get from the things of which you are now ashamed? [None] for the end of those things is death.
Rom 6:22 But now since you have been set free from sin and have become the slaves of God, you have your present reward in holiness and its end is eternal life.
Rom 6:23 For the wages which sin pays is death, but the [bountiful] free gift of God is eternal life through (in union with) Jesus Christ our Lord.

It isn't so much a question of whether or not you have been saved. We all have been. It is more a question of who are you going to serve?

That baby was saved just like you were but he didn't get a chance to rebell like we have. The same goes for all the metally handicapped or youths that hadn't come to the knowledge yet.

We have. WE are without excuse.

Heb 10:27 [There is nothing left for us then] but a kind of awful and fearful prospect and expectation of divine judgment and the fury of burning wrath and indignation which will consume those who put themselves in opposition [to God]. [Isa. 26:11.]
Heb 10:28 Any person who has violated and [thus] rejected and set at naught the Law of Moses is put to death without pity or mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. [Deut. 17:2-6.]
Heb 10:29 How much worse (sterner and heavier) punishment do you suppose he will be judged to deserve who has spurned and [thus] trampled underfoot the Son of God, and who has considered the covenant blood by which he was consecrated common and unhallowed, thus profaning it and insulting and outraging the [Holy] Spirit [Who imparts] grace (the unmerited favor and blessing of God)? [Exod. 24:8.]
Heb 10:30 For we know Him Who said, Vengeance is Mine [retribution and the meting out of full justice rest with Me]; I will repay [I will exact the compensation], says the Lord. And again, The Lord will judge and determine and solve and settle the cause and the cases of His people. [Deut. 32:35, 36.]
Heb 10:31 It is a fearful (formidable and terrible) thing to incur the divine penalties and be cast into the hands of the living God!
Heb 10:32 But be ever mindful of the days gone by in which, after you were first spiritually enlightened, you endured a great and painful struggle,
Heb 10:33 Sometimes being yourselves a gazingstock, publicly exposed to insults and abuse and distress, and sometimes claiming fellowship and making common cause with others who were so treated.
Heb 10:34 For you did sympathize and suffer along with those who were imprisoned, and you bore cheerfully the plundering of your belongings and the confiscation of your property, in the knowledge and consciousness that you yourselves had a better and lasting possession.
Heb 10:35 Do not, therefore, fling away your fearless confidence, for it carries a great and glorious compensation of reward.
Heb 10:36 For you have need of steadfast patience and endurance, so that you may perform and fully accomplish the will of God, and thus receive and carry away [and enjoy to the full] what is promised.
Heb 10:37 For still a little while (a very little while), and the Coming One will come and He will not delay.
Heb 10:38 But the just shall live by faith [My righteous servant shall live by his conviction respecting man's relationship to God and divine things, and holy fervor born of faith and conjoined with it]; and if he draws back and shrinks in fear, My soul has no delight or pleasure in him. [Hab. 2:3, 4.]
Heb 10:39 But our way is not that of those who draw back to eternal misery (perdition) and are utterly destroyed, but we are of those who believe [who cleave to and trust in and rely on God through Jesus Christ, the Messiah] and by faith preserve the soul.

Bob Cleveland said...

God says a couple things in His word that are certainly compatible with the Doctrines of Grace, or whatever you'd want to call the whole deal.

He says in Proverb 16:4 .. He has made all things for His own purposes .. even the wicked for the day of evil.

And then He says...

".... "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion." It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: "I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth."

Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. One of you will say to me: "Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?" But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? "Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, 'Why did you make me like this?'"(Romans 9:15-20,NIV)

I ain't no expert on anything, but that seems pretty clear to me.

Wade Burleson said...

Ezekiel,

Good thoughts. I would just encourage you to see that the word "world" as used by Jews had an emphasis on ethnicity. In other words, "world" meant people without distinction. The Jews thought the Messiah was for Jews only, and John writes and says that he died not for our sins only (Jews) but for the sins of the whole world (Jews and Gentiles). He is truly the only Savior for people of every tribe, kindred, tongue and nation.

I realize that you interpret the word "world" as every sinner without exception, whether they believe in Christ or not, but since it is the work of Christ that saves, if Christ died for every sinner (regardless of their faith) and if Christ propitiated the wrath of God for every sinner (regardless of their faith), then every sinner will be saved - because it is the work of Christ that saves, not one's comprehension of it.

Faith in Christ and repentance from sin are the gifts that come to the sinner who realizes He is in a desparate straight and needs deliverance from God's righteous condemnation.


Blessings,

Wade

ezekiel said...

Good point Bob.

Rom 11:8 As it is written, God gave them a spirit (an attitude) of stupor, eyes that should not see and ears that should not hear, [that has continued] down to this very day. [Deut. 29:4; Isa. 29:10.]

As in the scripture you quoted, the hardening or the stupor to me is more a case of judgment or punishment for turning away or disobeying.


Rom 11:25 Lest you be self-opinionated (wise in your own conceits), I do not want you to miss this hidden truth and mystery, brethren: a hardening (insensibility) has [temporarily] befallen a part of Israel [to last] until the full number of the ingathering of the Gentiles has come in,
Rom 11:26 And so all Israel will be saved. As it is written, The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will banish ungodliness from Jacob. [Isa. 59:20, 21.]
Rom 11:27 And this will be My covenant (My agreement) with them when I shall take away their sins. [Isa. 27:9; Jer. 31:33.]
Rom 11:28 From the point of view of the Gospel (good news), they [the Jews, at present] are enemies [of God], which is for your advantage and benefit. But from the point of view of God's choice (of election, of divine selection), they are still the beloved (dear to Him) for the sake of their forefathers.
Rom 11:29 For God's gifts and His call are irrevocable. [He never withdraws them when once they are given, and He does not change His mind about those to whom He gives His grace or to whom He sends His call.]
Rom 11:30 Just as you were once disobedient and rebellious toward God but now have obtained [His] mercy, through their disobedience,
Rom 11:31 So they also now are being disobedient [when you are receiving mercy], that they in turn may one day, through the mercy you are enjoying, also receive mercy [that they may share the mercy which has been shown to you--through you as messengers of the Gospel to them].
Rom 11:32 For God has consigned (penned up) all men to disobedience, only that He may have mercy on them all [alike].
Rom 11:33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unfathomable (inscrutable, unsearchable) are His judgments (His decisions)! And how untraceable (mysterious, undiscoverable) are His ways (His methods, His paths)!
Rom 11:34 For who has known the mind of the Lord and who has understood His thoughts, or who has [ever] been His counselor? [Isa. 40:13, 14.]
Rom 11:35 Or who has first given God anything that he might be paid back or that he could claim a recompense?
Rom 11:36 For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. [For all things originate with Him and come from Him; all things live through Him, and all things center in and tend to consummate and to end in Him.] To Him be glory forever! Amen (so be it).

Lin said...

No, we can't make ourselves born again, but anyone who hears the gospel can accept it. Some have not been preemptively rejected by God.

Thu Dec 04, 02:20:00 PM 2008

But what makes us Born Again? What causes us to repent? What causes us to be convicted of our sin that we were not convicted of before? What causes us to hate our sin and have godly sorrow?

It isn't me...

Benji Ramsaur said...

Ezekiel,

Let's think about the broader literature that 1 John 2:2 finds itself a part of.

If you, like myself, believe that the Apostle John wrote the gospel of John, 1-2-3 John, and the book of Revelation, then there are some interesting things to take note of.

1. 1 John 5:19 also contains the words "whole world" and what does it say?

"...the whole world LIETH IN WICKEDNESS"

2. While John 1:29 does not say "whole world", it does say "Behold the Lamb of God, which 'taketh away' the sin of the world."

3. After Jesus reached out to a "nonJewish" woman, the Samaritans said "Now we believe, not because of thy saying: for we have heard him ourselves, and know that this is indeed the christ, the 'Saviour' of the world."

Therefore, could it be that the meaning of the word "world" in passages like John 3:16 & 1 John 2:2 is revealed in Revelation 5:9?

Grace

Benji

ezekiel said...

Wade,

I am basing my comments on scripture from Romans 5 among others. I have been trying to reconcile the Calvinist/Armininian arguments for quite a while. If we look at God's chosen people as Israel in Egypt and then again as the gentiles in the new convenant then the seemingly contradictory scriptures we war with in blogdom start lining up pretty well.

Rom 5:6 While we were yet in weakness [powerless to help ourselves], at the fitting time Christ died for (in behalf of) the ungodly.

It doesn't say some ungodly here. We have the acts verse saying that He was the atonement for not just us but the world. I read this to mean all the ungodly. Everyone.

Rom 5:7 Now it is an extraordinary thing for one to give his life even for an upright man, though perhaps for a noble and lovable and generous benefactor someone might even dare to die.
Rom 5:8 But God shows and clearly proves His [own] love for us by the fact that while we were still sinners, Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One) died for us.
Rom 5:9 Therefore, since we are now justified (acquitted, made righteous, and brought into right relationship with God) by Christ's blood, how much more [certain is it that] we shall be saved by Him from the indignation and wrath of God.
Rom 5:10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, it is much more [certain], now that we are reconciled, that we shall be saved (daily delivered from sin's dominion) through His [resurrection] life.

If we start from a point where Jesus delivers Israel from Egypt, we know that He delivered all of them only to later to destroy a bunch of them for unbelief.

I don't think God changed between the OT and NT regardless of what a lot of folks have taught.

We know that what happened to Israel was recorded as an example for us (Gentiles)

1Co 10:11 Now these things befell them by way of a figure [as an example and warning to us]; they were written to admonish and fit us for right action by good instruction, we in whose days the ages have reached their climax (their consummation and concluding period).

So rather than look at how the OT differs from the NT I try to find similarity all based on the idea that the God of the OT is the God of the NT and that He didn't change.

Hebrews 10:29 How much worse (sterner and heavier) punishment do you suppose he will be judged to deserve who has spurned and [thus] trampled underfoot the Son of God, and who has considered the covenant blood by which he was consecrated common and unhallowed, thus profaning it and insulting and outraging the [Holy] Spirit [Who imparts] grace (the unmerited favor and blessing of God)? [Exod. 24:8.]

If I make the argument that all are saved by the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross, this doesn't negate the consequences of some of the ones that were so "saved" then profaning the same blood. That is after all what Israel did only a matter of day after being "saved" from Egypt. The atoning blood in that case was sheeps blood that Moses sprinkled over the ark, and the people.

If we make this case, it solves the problem that a calvinist has to deal with when trying to justify why some people go to hell. The calvinist says they were not elect. I would say they profaned the blood of the covenant by which they were once saved.

Thanks for your patience! I love this discussion. The last think I want to do is teach anything that is false. The age old calvinist/armenian debate has to have some other answer than one or the other is wrong. Thanks for providing the forum to discuss it.

ezekiel said...

Benji,

Please forgive me if I am reading you wrong. But it seems that you are making a case for "world" to be limited or restricted in some sense to not include all souls.

This to me leads into all the gyrations that we have to go to then when trying to answer the question, "why me and not them?"

If on the other hand, we start with the world being all inclusive, all the ungodly and all sinners then the answer is "He died for me and you, all of us".

But we see in Hebrews and all over the NT as well as the OT where some folks end up in hell. This is easily then explained by Hebrews 10 and Jude. He destroys those that don't believe, rely on, trust in and obey.

God knows we are a hard hearted, stiff necked people and He still sent his Son to atone for our sins. The blood of our covenant can and is profaned on a regular basis and the end of those that do it is death.

Romans 6 and Hebrews 10.

2Th 1:8, 1Peter 4:17, 1 John 2:4

Cheryl Schatz said...

Wade said: "The issue is simply, "Who gets the credit for the deliverance?" "

If a benefactor gives you a gift of ten million dollars and you accept it, who gets the credit for the gift? Accepting a gift does not give you the credit for the gift itself. The credit goes to the benefactor alone.

I happen to think that I was preordained not to be a Calvinist :) However I do believe that there are some scriptural issues that Calvinists bring up that have been largedly ignored by non-Calvinists and they should not be ignored. I also believe that the texts in context show a middle ground. My next DVD project will be on Calvinism vs non-Calvinism. There are texts that need to be embraced and worked through that have been largely ignored by non-Calvinists like John 6, Romans 9 etc. These texts are very powerful when they are interpreted verse by verse in their context and then linked to their origin in the Old Testament. When the passages are opened up this way, they teach something other than what is typically called Calvinism.

I do credit Calvinism for helping us remember that all scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man (Greek anthropos or "person") of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

I also think that in the end, we are pre-ordained to come together in unity and to love one another because we are knit together into one body. We are "Christians" not Apollos-ites, or James-ies or Paul-ites. We belong to one master alone. I myself am honored and proud and humbled to be known as a Christian.

Only By His Grace said...

Wade,

My position is definitely a Calvinist position on the five points of grace.

1. Total depravity or Original Sin.
2. Unconditional election or Effectual Calling.
3. Limited atonement or Particular Redemption.
4. Irresistible Grace or Election.
5. Perseverance of the Saints or Security of the Believer.

I have some tremendous problems with a Calvin as a moral human being; I have tremendous problems with his interpretations of Church and State (he did not believe in a separation of religion and state); I have tremendous problems with his doctrines of Holy Communion believing that the elements were changed into the actual or real blood and body of Christ and Baptism (infant baptism, baptism necessary for salvation and the mode of baptism); however, my greatest disagreement is with the repugnant belief of Calvin's that he clearly enunciates in "The Institutes" concerning "double predestination" that God before creation chose some to Heaven and some to Hell knowing the very names of both angels and humans that he created to go to Hell and nothing can change their destination.

I say this and still call myself a Calvinist on the five points of grace.

Phil in Norman.

Only By His Grace said...

Excuse my typo, first sentence second paragraph should be Calvin and not "a Calvin."
Phil

Tim said...

Pastor Wade and other bloggers,

I have heard the Calvin-Arminian debates rehashed over and over again in evangelical circles ad nauseum. First, I think that the point that you are trying to make is that Calvinists and Arminians and traditional Folk Baptists (who are unfamiliar with the nuances of such positions) can all live under the same roof. I wonder if responders can agree?

Can we have in the same denomination some that believe that Jesus died for the elect only or that Christ died for all but all must respond? Can these camps exist under the same SBC label?

That is the issue. I think that it is an issue that is well worth stating. Where does doctrinal conformity eventually lead in SBC life?

I graduated from Beeson Divinity School, where Timothy George (a Calvinist) and Fisher Humphreys (a Traditional Baptist/Arminian leaning) both taught Theology and practiced a cordial friendship publically and privately. Both admired one another and never had a negative thing to say to one another though they differed on predestination.

Can it work in Baptist life? At the local church level? Denominational level?

greg.w.h said...

I write this with much fear and trepidation. I highly respect those that have gone before me in the faith, but I fear that we're reading more into this passage than we actually read FROM it. So I'm going to provide an alternative reading of John 3:1-21 in the hope of demonstrating this point. And if you follow the alternative reading, you might see why it is so necessary that we permit freedom of conscience in reading, interpreting, and discussing Scripture out loud with fellow believers:

===================================

Lin brings up an important point: Jesus is speaking to Nicodemus. John 3:16 occurs within the context of a conversation with a "teacher of Israel".

The term born again can also be rendered (alternately) born from above (or from a higher place) OR born from the first. A more colloquial rendering could be "born all over." The emphasis in Jesus's next description is on a spiritual birth v. a flesh birth in answer to Nicodemus's concern regarding re-entering his mother's womb.

I therefore have followed my dad's lead and emphasize the phrase "born from above" rather than "born again" or "rebirth", but in all honesty, we can have the same conversation with the same emphasis on a new beginning via a spiritual birth/rebirth with or without the "born from above" phrasing.

Now once you deal with the new birth concept--which was the point where Nicodemus struggled--you then see Jesus re-explain this new birth in terms of the Greek word phrase "ho pisteuon". In every single occurrence of that word where John 3 is referring to those that believe, it carries that definite article. In uses where the concept of belief is negated "me pisteuon" (we might render it "nonbeliever"), the negative particle me replaces the definite article ho.

It would not be unfair, therefore, to even treat these verses as visualizing a definite group of believers while the group of nonbelievers is "generic".

But wait, there's more: in 3:19-21, Jesus goes into an extensive explanation of what the verdict--or we might call it the moment of epiphany--is that leads to condemnation of the nonbeliever. The nonbeliever chooses darkness BECAUSE of evil deeds. And the believer chooses light so that "so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God" (or more accurately "en theos" which might be alternately rendered "in God".)

Now think through that passage. Those that are condemned are already not in God and those that are not condemened--"pas ho pisteuon" or "every the one believing"--are not condemned because they're already doing works "in God". The verdict is "in" because of whether we choose darkness or light because of our already existing works according to Jesus.

So the only thing left to determine is whether "ho" is truly definite or not. If it is definite, then Jesus speaks of a particular group of believers whose judgement is determined by whether they prefer darkness or light. In this interpretation of this passage, we see an extremely harmonious agreement with the Matthew 25 parable of the sheep and goats.

Belief is then signaled by works in God that literally select or filter whether the believer is a believer or not. Without those works, the nonbeliever chooses darkness due to evil works. With those works, the believer is already in God since his works are in God and he chooses the light because of those works.

My main point is not to argue the doctrines of grace position, by the way, but simply to read the Scripture as accurately as possible. So whether you read "born again" or "born from above", it is explicitly defined as a spiritual birth as opposed to the previous physical/flesh birth.

It is not "whoever" but "every the one (who is) believing." The definite article then is modified further by Jesus's own words as to what is the point of VERDICT of nonbelief/condemnation and belief/salvation: whether ther person prefers the darkness due to evil deeds or the light due to "works in God".

Now which soteriology--Arminian, traditional "modern"/landmark Southern Baptist, or TULIP-specific doctrines of grace anticipate that reading? I would argue that none of the three provides that outcome. Kevin's complaints about decisional regeneration don't line up with that picture, either. There is no decision (which is Kevin's point), but there is also no regeneration. There is only a verdict. And the verdict is determined by a choice of darkness or light.

Now factor back in Jesus's conversation with Nicodemus and his comment on spiritual birth. That is the mechanism that changes the verdict. There is absolutely ZERO process in the John 3:1-21 passage except the change that occurs when one experiences the "born again" or "born from above" change. No steps that anyone can take to become a believer.

At this point in time in Scripture (taking John as a "whole Gospel story" and treating its elementas as essentially if not actually chronologial), the only hint at how this is accomplished--that belief occurs--is in the phrase "ho de poieon tho aletheian erchetai pros to phos hina phanerotho autoi ta erga hoti en theos ectin eirgacmena." Essentially, the works manifest the source of the work--in God--and the choice of light indicates the self-awareness of the person of the good deeds.

This is more like the doctrines of grace than not, but those doctrines don't full explain this passage as it is presented.

That's why I'm very nervous when we focus so much attention on soteriology and when we use the soteriology to interpret what the Bible actually says. We're guaranteed to get it wrong when we do that. And in this case, the result is a dislocation between John 3, Matthew 25 (parable of sheep and goats) and the book of James that doesn't actually exist in the text.

Works are the PROOF of faith and of the existence of the spiritual birth. And you can't fake it because if you're choosing darkness in any way--to shape, spin, color, or nuance your deeds rather than simply and authentically moving towards the light so you can be judged--you are hiding your deeds and they're evil. Anything other than a child-like handling of your own deeds is the point of verdict, of judgment, of condemnation.

This reading isn't traditional in any way, shape or form. But it is VERY defendable and is more consistent with other passages than some of our other soteriological views on what John 3 says. If I were to draw any conclusion regarding the process of interpreting Scripture, it should be this: we can handle Scripture VERY CAREFULLY and be completely blind to our own prejudices in reading it.

What are we to do, then, to make the meaning of Scripture as absolutely clear as possible? "Let your light so shine before men that they see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven." (Matthew 5:16) And I don't believe that passage means "spend all your time arguing over exotic, unusual, or weird interpretations of passages."

Greg Harvey

Only By His Grace said...

For those who have not read Calvin's "Institutes" here is the exact quote which I should have included:

"By the decree of God, for the manifestation of his glory, some men and angels are predestined unto everlasting life and others foreordained to everlasting death".
"These angels and men, thus predestinated and foreordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed; and their number is so certain and definite that it cannot be either increased or diminished".
"The rest of mankind, God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of his own will, whereby he extendeth or withholdeth mercy as he pleaseth, for the glory of his sovereign power over his creatures, to pass by, and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of his glorious justice".

Benji Ramsaur said...

Ezekiel,

You said "This to me leads into all the gyrations that we have to go to then when trying to answer the question, 'why me and not them?'"

Why does this question have to lead to gyrations?

You seem to presuppose that one must have an answer to this question in order to defend one's doctrine.

However, if the Bible itself does not provide an answer, then I do not think one has to answer it in the first place.

I appreciate the spirit with which you write.

Grace

Benji

Anonymous said...

Robert:

You are correct. Since I am not convinced that the Bible teaches Particular Redemption or Limited Atonement, I would not be a "Calvinist."

But even so, I don't go around discussing or debating Calvinism because I don't believe that is what the church is called to be or not be.

The doctrines are important, and those should be taught and discussed or debated. But the label "Calvinism" or "Calvinist" is an antiquated label that belongs to another place and time. It is not helpful to people's lives today or really the propagation of the Gospel.

Again, I am not talking about specific doctrines and such that Calvin taught, but about labels. Many theologians other than Calvin taught all or some of these truths, too. We should be known for following Christ and not Calvin, Francis, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Luther etc.

So, even if I come to grasp the "L" in Tulip at some point, I would never want to identify myself as a "Calvinist."

Individuals do decide what they believe. That is correct.

Churches do, too. However, churches may decide to adopt a doctrinal statement that allows for individuals on two sides of an issue to be members of the church. A doctrinal statement that neither mandates nor excludes all of the various points of Reformed theology could be adopted by a church.

Our church has elders who believe in all of the five points, and some who believe less of the five points. The doctrinal statement of our church does not take a position as affirming all five points. I, along with two others, helped draft our church's doctrinal statement in 1992. It has not changed since then. It would take a unanimous agreement among the elders to change the doctrinal statement so that all five points are included. That will not happen because all of the elders do not agree on that. None of the elders have ever suggested that we do so and it has never been discussed. No person has ever been made an elder (which requires a unanimous secret ballot vote of the elders and then a congregational affirmation) based on whether he did or did not believe all five points. That has never even been part of the discussion regarding any of the elders who served or have ever served.

We also do not have an agreement about the Book of Revelation and eschatology, and have never discussed mandating a particular interpretation of that.

That is not being "double minded" as the Bible uses that term. In fact, from a practical standpoint, because of the various opinions on the elder board, we might even be triple or quadruple minded based on the different opinions on this issue.

I haven't found a passage in the Bible that warns against being "Triple" or "Quadruple" minded.

Say "hello" to everyone in Geneva.

Louis

ezekiel said...

Benji,

"However, if the Bible itself does not provide an answer, then I do not think one has to answer it in the first place"

I don't really think the Bible is silent as to the answer to the question. That, I think was the point that I was trying to make.

Rom 16:25 Now to Him Who is able to strengthen you in the faith which is in accordance with my Gospel and the preaching of (concerning) Jesus Christ (the Messiah), according to the revelation (the unveiling) of the mystery of the plan of redemption which was kept in silence and secret for long ages,
Rom 16:26 But is now disclosed and through the prophetic Scriptures is made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, [to win them] to obedience to the faith,
Rom 16:27 To [the] only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ (the Anointed One)! Amen (so be it).

Joh 16:13 But when He, the Spirit of Truth (the Truth-giving Spirit) comes, He will guide you into all the Truth (the whole, full Truth). For He will not speak His own message [on His own authority]; but He will tell whatever He hears [from the Father; He will give the message that has been given to Him], and He will announce and declare to you the things that are to come [that will happen in the future].

2Co 4:3 But even if our Gospel (the glad tidings) also be hidden (obscured and covered up with a veil that hinders the knowledge of God), it is hidden [only] to those who are perishing and obscured [only] to those who are spiritually dying and veiled [only] to those who are lost.

I seek answers not defense of doctrine. I am not trying to defend calvinism or arminianism becasue both have part of the gospel. I seek only the TRUTH. He is faithful and promises to answer the questions.

Jack said...

"My desire to fellowship with fellow believers is based soley on our love for Jesus Christ, and not our various understandings of why it is we have come to love Him."

-May more within the SBC embrace your words of wisdom.

In His Service,

-jack-

Wade Burleson said...

Cheryl,

I appreciate all you do, all you teach, and the advancement of the Kingdom of Christ through your efforts. I also appreciate your view of salvation, and understand how in your mind those who receive the gift of redemption are not credited with redemption.

The only struggle with your acceptance/rejection view of redemption is in the word "redemption" itself. I see redemption as propitiation (setting aside of God's wrath). You don't have to "accept" whether or not God is righteously angry with you. He either is, or He isn't.

If He isn't, you are redeemed. If He is, you are not. What is the evidence that He is not angry with the sinner?

Kiss the Son, lest God be angry.

You say it is the embracing of Christ that causes God to cease being righteously angry with the wicked. I say God eternally loved His people and sent His Son to die for them to propitiate His righteous anger due their sins, that "He might be just and the justifier of the ungodly."

The evidence that we have a Savior is our willingness to embrace the Son. The unwillingness to embrace Christ is evidence of the fact that one will bear his own sins before God, and you will experience God's righteous anger for those sins. So hell is nothing but experiencing the just and pure righteous indignation of a holy God without remedy.

That's why I simply don't understand why anyone would refuse to believe in the only Person who can propitiate a holy God. If someone says "But they can't believe because they don't have a Savior," I respond - hogwash.

There is only one name given among men whereby we must be saved, and that name is Jesus Christ.

The refusal to call on him for redemption is the sinner's fault, not God's.

BUT, and this is the big but - there is NO redemption, NO propitiaton, NO salvation for the person who refuses to believe in Christ.

Cheryl Schatz said...

Wade,

You said: "You say it is the embracing of Christ that causes God to cease being righteously angry with the wicked."

No, I don't think that. Jesus could have come down to earth and the disciples could have believed that he is the Son of God and still have been lost. It wasn't just that he came as God in the flesh or that he lived a sinless life - he had to die. It was the fact that he made a payment of infinite value that covered the price for my sin that allowed him to offer me the gift. When I accept the "gift" of Christ's death - the sinless Son of God who paid what I could not pay - I am then painted with his blood and God passes me right by when he comes with his righteous anger and I am safe because I am now hidden "in" Christ by being in his blood.

Do you remember the passover in the Old Testament? God required the Jews to kill the lamb and eat it. But if they did only that, they wouldn't have been saved. They also needed to have the blood applied to the door post.

We must believe in Jesus by putting our faith solely in him and in his death on our behalf. By accepting his sacrifice for us, we have the blood applied on our behalf and God can righteously walk right on by us without having to exact his punishment on our sin.

So the death of the lamb is sufficient for all, but that sacrifice will not actually be used to save until the blood is applied to the post of the door. We cannot boast in the blood of the lamb as if it is our righteousness or our good works. All we can do is accept the free gift and allow his precious blood to cover us. Those covered in his blood experience freedom and salvation by grace.

Cheryl Schatz said...

Wade,

I also appreciate that your heart is for the lost and in practice I don't think we are at all different. There need not be any division because in the body of Christ we are on the same side.

Anonymous said...

Judaism: are there elements of Calvinism in Jewish core values and beliefs.

Decide for yourself: descriptions are below for core Judaic values.
Does anything of Judaism's core remain in your present Christian beliefs? If so, does it reflect Calvinist thinking or not?
CORE JEWISH VALUES:

Equality

Judaism holds that all men are created in the image of God: And God created a human [being] in [God’s] image. In the divine image God created the human… And God saw all that [God] had made, and found it very good (Genesis 1:27, 31).
As such, all human beings are created equal in the eyes of God. Therefore, the taking of a human life is among the worst violations of God’s covenant: When one destroys a single individual, it is as if that person destroyed the whole world (Sanhedrin 4:5). Other human beings provide a pathway and a means to recognize God’s majesty in the everyday world.

Love and Kindness

The message of this value can best be described in the simple words of the Rabbi Hillel: "What is hateful to you, don't do unto your neighbor. The rest is commentary. Now, go and study."

If one must take away any singular thought from Judaism, this is it. In Judaism, one must do more than simply believe. An individual must take his spiritual experiences and put them to work in his society. True spiritual love is realized through actions and behaviors toward others. Compassion and empathy for every human being one encounters in one’s life validates and pays ultimate homage to God’s creations. If spiritual realization does not lead to changes in behavior, then the experiences are ultimately empty.


Justice and Mercy

Humans should seek justice for wrongdoing. However, the pursuit of peace is among the highest Jewish virtues.


Respect for Nature

Humans can also find God’s glory in the natural world. The beauty and harmony evident in every animal, plant, sea, mountain, and desert reminds one every day of a higher purpose and reason for being. Humans must honor this creative process through maintenance and reparations, not destruction.



Truth, Intellect, and Free Will

Our greatest likeness to God lies in our comprehensive capacities and understanding. As a result, humans have free will to pave their own choices and destinies in life.



Study and Prayer

Jews celebrate their spirituality through careful study and prayer. Studies include absorbing ancient texts (such as the Torah) which enlighten about Jewish history, prophecy, and traditions. However, study goes beyond the traditional sense of the word. Just as we find God within others, we also honor God through careful examination of ourselves and our actions. We may come to these discoveries through peak experiences—events which alter our lives and our understanding in some profound way. Such an experience may come in a dramatic flash of inspiration or as simply as a stroll along a serene mountain path.


In addition to Torah (study) and Gemilut Hesed (loving-kindness), Jews also keep in touch with their spiritual side through Avodah, or prayer.
Three prayers are conducted during the day in honor of three great Jewish patriarchs.

These are times to reaffirm faith and cleanse the heart and soul of any wrongs committed during the day. Prayer is no light matter. Rather, it is conducted with the whole spiritual being directed to heaven—a pure prayer.


The most enduring representatives of Jewish spiritual virtues are the three men who kept the Jewish prayer system alive for all who would come after them. Each of these patriarchs symbolized a set of everlasting Jewish values:


Abraham—kindness and love

Isaac—justice and reverence

Jacob—truth and mercy"


P.S. It is always interesting to see the relationships between present day Christian beliefs and values and those of the Jewish people of today whose religious values are now over five-thousand years old.
Does reading about these Judaic values and beliefs cast light on your own beliefs about Calvinism in the context of the First Testament (OT) and the Second Testament (NT) ?
Or not? :) L's

Wade Burleson said...

Cheryl,

I understand what you are saying.

The symbolism of the O.T. Passover sacrifice is excellent.

I think we are very close to saying the same thing, with just a very small twist that is of no consequence to me in terms of my fellowship with you or my appreciation of your orthodox, evangelical views of the atonement. The twist is this:

In my view of redemption, it is the atonement of Christ that propitiates the wrath of God, not faith in the propitiation. In my understanding of Scripture, faith and repentance are gifts that are given to those God redeems through Christ.

However, the command to "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ" is given to all sinners without exception, even to those for whom there is no propitiation.

The refusal to "believe," or as you put it, "to place the blood on the doorpost" is the fault of the sinner, not God, for there is a promise that "whosoever believeth on Him shall be saved." The promise of God is clear; any sinner - even that sinner upon whom the Spirit never performs the work of regeneration, even that sinner for whom Christ never propitiated the anger of God, even that sinner who is not chosen by God - if and when even THAT sinner humbles himself and believes on Jesus Christ, HE WILL BE DELIVERED FROM HIS SINS because God has promised deliverance to the sinner who believes on Christ.

But, I repeat, no sinner seeks after God and no sinner will ever believe on Jesus Christ - period (Romans 3).

So, when a hard-hearted sinner does believe on Christ, it is because God, in His grace, has regenerated the sinner's hard heart, and in His love for that sinner, He has overcome the sin and selfishness in the heart of that sinner. My point is that God does this in every heart of every sinner that He has chosen; He does this for every sinner for whom Christ has died, and He does this in every sinner in whom the Spirit is doing the eternal work of sanctification.

"You shall call His name Jesus for HE SHALL SAVE His people from their sins" (Matthew 1:21). Not that He "hopes" to save; not that He "makes possible" salvation, but "He SHALL save."

Again, sinners are so closed to Christ that NOBODY would trust Him were it not for God. NOBODY would "apply the blood to the doorpost" unless God miraculously moves in the hearts of His people to overcome their sin, to subdue their selfishness and transform the natural hardness in their hearts. He "regenerates" them; He takes their hearts of stone and turns them into hearts of flesh, and we, His People, fall in love with Jesus Christ. The fact that a hard-hearted sinner DOESN'T love Christ is NOT God's fault, it is the sinner's fault. But the fact that a hard hearted sinner falls in love with Christ is not to the sinner's credit, it is due to the grace and favor of God.

So, bottom line, my view of the cross and Christ's propitiation of God's wrath is so strong, that there is no "doubt" about who is being redeemed. God is redeeming His people; He is propitiating (turning aside His righteous wrath) through the gift of His Son Jesus Christ; and God will accomplish what HE sets out to do.

But, from our human perspective, God has promised the sinner who will trust in Christ that he WILL BE SAVED.

So we simply take God at His word and tell everyone we meet to trust Christ.

But we never doubt the ability of God to redeem those He sets out to save. He is saving His people from HIS WRATH.

Therefore, once He gives His Son as a propitiation, He will never withhold any gift from those from whom Christ propitiated the wrath of God (i.e "faith and repentance").


In His Grace,

Wade

Anonymous said...

Hi Cheryl,

Thank you for the positive tone to your comments. As I was reading your comments I had a thought that I am certain doesn't originate with me, but I also can't place where I may have first learned it.

You said that Christ's death was sufficient for all. However, would you agree with the position that Christ's death was potentially inefficient for no one?

In other words, if the efficiency of Christ's work at the cross was only realized pending a reaction coming solely from man to that sacrifice, what are your thoughts that theoretically we could have a God that sacrificed His son, potentially all in vain?

Thanks for considering this.

SL1M

Anonymous said...

After studying the account of Paul's conversion, I asked my SS class how many believe that Paul
'chose' Jesus Christ?

All, but one, said he 'chose' Christ.


RCS

Anonymous said...

JOHN JENKINS

writes "All are born lost, depraved and unable to love and obey."


I wonder if there were exceptions?
I'm thinking of the patriarchs and their relationship with God.

Throughout the Hebrew Bible the Almighty clearly declares that the children of Israel are to draw near to Him with intense love and faithfully keep His commandments. This is the desire of the Creator.

Moses beseeches the children of Israel,

'I command you today to love the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, and to keep his commands, decrees, and laws; then you will live and increase, and the Lord your God will bless you in the land you are entering to possess. (Deuteronomy 30:16)'

Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation, remained intensely loyal to God's commandments and, as a result, he is regarded in the Hebrew Torah as the first patriarch and the paradigm of faithfulness.

It doesn't sound like 'unable to obey' applies to Abraham. What are your thoughts on this? L's

debbiekaufman said...

I believe that the Bible, including the Old Testament, pointing to Christ. The New Testament interpreting the Old instead as some see the Old Testament interpreting the new. I could be wrong, but it's difficult for me to think so when so much more of the Bible becomes interpretable.

Darby Livingston said...

I don't know of any Christian who would say that Christ's atonement isn't potent enough for every person on earth to be saved. No one is suggesting that limited atonement means there's a limit to Christ's saving power. However, the problem as I see it is this: everyone limits the atonement in at least one of two ways.

"Mom, did Jesus die for all?"
"No, Son, he died for those who would believe in him."
"How do you know he didn't die for all?"
"Because not everyone is going to be in Heaven. We're not universalists."
"But that's because not everyone is going to believe in him, and that's what it takes to get into Heaven."
"True, but isn't Jesus' blood strong enough to pay for unbelief, Son?"
"Huh?"
"Unbelief is a great sin. If Jesus died for everyone's sin, that means he also paid the debt owed to God for everyone's unbelief. Are you saying that everyone will be in Heaven?"
"No Mom, only those who believe."
"But if Jesus died for all, he paid for their unbelief on the cross, they should be in Heaven."
"No, because they'd didn't choose to believe."
"So Son, you're limiting the power of Christ's atonement by saying he died for everyone's sin except for the sin of unbelief. That sin has to be paid for by each individual by believing?"
"No, no one but Christ can pay for sin."
"Exactly, which is why Christ couldn't have died for all or all would be in Heaven. Either Christ's atonement is limited to those who believe, or Christ's atonement is limited in its power to save those who refuse to believe. Which do you want - a limited atonement or an impotent one?"
"My head hurts, what's for dinner?"

Bob Cleveland said...

Random thought while taking my treatment today:

If Jesus died for me, but my salvation depends on another act following His substitutionary death, would it not be true that salvation wasn't exclusively of the Lord?

It would, however, be completely dependent on His actions, solely attributable to Him, if it ware He who drew me to Him, by His irresistible grace.

Hmmm....

Darby Livingston said...

"It doesn't sound like 'unable to obey' applies to Abraham. What are your thoughts on this?"

"Then Abimelech called Abraham and said to him, “What have you done to us? And how have I sinned against you, that you have brought on me and my kingdom a great sin? You have done to me things that ought not to be done” (Gen. 20:9).

"What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness” (Rom. 4:1-3).

davidbmclaughlin.com said...

What really troubles me about this article is...should it be "soley" or "solely"?

I'm gonna have to go look that up.

Shibboleth
;)

dm

Steve said...

If Bob Cleveland and you are right, then I see the first and fifth points as simply basic Christianity, and the three in the middle so different from how I understand Jesus that I can rest knowing I have made my mind up concerning the Doctrines of Grace. Either sinners come to Jesus or they don't.

Darby Livingston said...

Steve,

You make an excellent point - either sinners come to Jesus or they don't.

I don't know about you because you haven't elaborated, but it seems that many who have trouble with the "middle three" points haven't really agreed with the first one. I've seen where they'll put a nuance here or a caveat there that reveals they didn't actually agree with the first point as much as they thought they did. That's why when they get to the middle three, it looks wacko. And the last point actually flows from the first four, and I can't for the life of me figure out how one can consistently affirm it without affirming the others. One might say, "Because it's clearly in the Bible." But the places it's clearly in the Bible are usually in the same context as the other points that Calvinists will say are plainly in the Bible.

Anonymous said...

What really troubles me about this article is...should it be "soley" or "solely"?

Or "souly."

Benji Ramsaur said...

Ezekiel,

I don't think I communicated very well. Plus, I needed to think about it some more.

I believe the Bible teaches "that" Christ died for some only.

I do not believe the Bible teaches "why" God chose the particular people that Christ died for and not the others.

Therefore, I do not believe I have to have an answer to the "Why me and not them" question.

Anyone trying to place an "equality" standard on God is not biblical [Ex. 4:11 for example] and also not theological since God is the Creator and man is not.

God is always just. God is not always equal.

I would think Michael Jordan was born with more talent than I to play basketball.

If so [you may laugh at this point], that's inequality and it would be irreverent for me to shake my fist at God because of this.

Grace

Benji

WatchingHISstory said...

Wade
Hell is experienced because the sinner is a sinner. He is dead in trespasses and sins.

I suppose what bothers me is your use of the word "embracing." Though you don't mean a physical action it does imply a walking toward someone and placing your arms around them and clinging to them. It implies a work and an effort on the part of the sinner in accepting Christ. Clearly there is not a work of righteousness on our part. There is no cooperation on our part.

God chases and embraces! We kick and scream. We are straying sheep.

So, if we are in hell, it is primarily Adam's fault, not God's.
We sin by an insurmountable tendacy toward evil.

You are wrong in your assumption of Paul in Rom 1-3 You are using IF in a way Paul would never use. It is a futile and senseless argument.

There is no work of righteousness on our part that merits anything from God.

There is only one way into heaven and that is thru Christ's atonement. Every person in heaven will be a display of God's workmanship. Regardles if you are aborted in the womb or you are Billy Graham, you will get there the same way. There does not need to be an infancy clause based on God's compassion for the defenseless.

We all have sinned and fall short of the kingdom of God. The severely retarded need redeeming.

Actually God prefers us defenseless and like little children. From his perspective across the vast chasm that separates us he doesn't see Billy Graham he sees sinners. There is no distinction of persons. When he looks up close he sees only his own perfect handiwork sadly to the neglect of who we think we are in our own sight or the sight of others.

When it concerns infants we have a strong emotional urge to make God conform to our compassionate love of children. Our God has to love the children, we insist he does.

But I think we forget that God loves the children. Jesus personally demonstrated that. The children suffer the greatest from Adam's sin. Infact the defenseless suffer the greatest. The first in society to go are the defenseless. Believe you me this is true for us all. It is such a part of our nature that the fittest survive.

This is so far from God as day is from night. It is easier to get into heaven as a defeneless element of society than for a fully matured adult with his facultities for decision-making.

I am not ashamed to be a bold Calvinist who believes in particular atonement the way they did 200 years ago. Your loving baby has a better chance with my God than it has with your modern 'loving' God. Just and right is He!!!

Wade Burleson said...

WatchingHISstory,

I find your words articulate and in a sense profound. I realize I risk offending you with what I am about to say, but I am willing to bear any offense because of the desire I have to have your voice heard by others.

Sometimes when you write, your message is not received because you come across as abrasive. I now recongize that you are highly intelligent and able to communicate in ways that are quite persuasive. I do wish that you would, at times, be less abrasive and simply elucidate your thoughts.

You have the ability to convince and persuade, and when you write with grace, you can be quite charming.

I mean that as a compliment.

By the way, I understand completely what you are saying, and my use of the word "embrace" may not communicate what I feel. I am zeaolous that God receives all the credit for everything man does that is good and that man receives all the blame for everything that man does wrong.

Blessings,

Wade

Wade Burleson said...

david,

Solely, sorry!

Correcting it now.

WatchingHISstory said...

Wade

thanks and no offense taken

Anonymous said...

"The whole study of Calvin, who calls himself minister of a God of mercy, is to invent new crimes, in order undoubtedly, to resemble the Being, whom he presents to us in his book of predestination, impelling his creatures to evil, and afterwards smiting them, in order to display his justice.

The Genevan councils themselves, the pliant instruments of Calvin, grew weary of beholding the blood flow; they dreaded lest it should cry to God; and, on the 15th of November, 1560, they decided that the new decrees, "regarding debauchery, adultery, blasphemy, and contempt of God," added to his Draconian code, "seemed to some persons too severe, and ought to be revised and moderated, and afterwards be in general presented." The civil power was visited by a good thought, of which it should be proud; but it dreaded to proclaim it, for fear of offending Calvin, and attributed it to "some persons," as if it was afraid to accept the responsibility. . . "

Robert I Masters said...

Louis,
I think sometimes you try to impose your worldview on the fellowship you help found but I can tell that many people are not buying that marketing.
Instead they have email discussions between themselves or they go to Bible studies that like minded pastors from other churches lead.
They go to conferences like Ligonier or 2G4theGospel or they read blogs like Justin Taylor or TimmyBrister or Founders. They read Edwards or Piper or Martin -Lloyd Jones or Richard Baxter.

See being Reformed is like being pregnant...you either are or you are not Reformed.

I disagree strongly with you that Calvinism is antiquated and of no use today...the label. I see thousands and thousands of Young,Restless and Reformed drinking deeply of Gods Grace..ie Calvinism.
http://www.wscal.edu/bookstore/store/details.php?id=2184

Robert I Masters
From the Southern Baptist Geneva

Cheryl Schatz said...

Wade,

You said: "I think we are very close to saying the same thing, with just a very small twist that is of no consequence to me in terms of my fellowship with you or my appreciation of your orthodox, evangelical views of the atonement. The twist is this:

In my view of redemption, it is the atonement of Christ that propitiates the wrath of God, not faith in the propitiation. In my understanding of Scripture, faith and repentance are gifts that are given to those God redeems through Christ."

I think that in some ways we are closer than you think. The difference between our views, if I understand you right, is that you believe God applies the blood of Christ to your account without needing an act of your will to receive it. So in your view, salvation for the elect looks like this:

Payment (shed blood of Christ completely satisfies the wrath of God for all whom Christ died for) = salvation
+ gift (repentance comes as a result of salvation)
+ gift (faith comes as a result of salvation)

In this understanding the payment on the cross satisfies the wrath of God, and there is no need to receive because all is given without any conditions at all for the elect.

My understanding from scripture is this:

Payment for sin (shed blood of Christ on the cross)
+ repentance & faith (granted by God to all who will humble themselves and fear God)
= salvation (application of the blood on the mercy seat which satisfies the wrath of God)

My understanding is that it is the applying of the blood of the atonement onto the mercy seat that turns away the wrath of God. The payment has been completely made on the cross - thus Jesus can say "It is finished". But the payment must be applied to our account - onto the mercy seat. God applies the blood on the mercy seat through the work of the Holy Spirit by bringing us to repentance and faith. Those who fear God will not resist the work of the Holy Spirit and will freely chose to respond to the convicting work of the Holy Spirit by repenting of their sins. The Holy Spirit also grants those who fear God with the ability to believe and they will respond by freely choosing to believe in Jesus.

How does this then look for those who refuse to fear God?

Payment for sin (shed blood of Christ on the cross)
+ no repentance & no faith (not granted by God to those who will not humble themselves and fear God so the blood is not applied to their account on the mercy seat of God)
= The wrath of God is not passed over them because the blood is not applied because they are not "in Christ"

If the wrath of God is not satisfied by the blood of the cross until it is applied on the mercy seat on the person's behalf, then there is no problem in having Christ die for everyone yet not everyone is saved. We can say that everyone on whose account Jesus has placed his blood on the mercy seat has eternal life.

Wade, I do appreciate you a great deal and I value you as a true brother in Christ.

davidbmclaughlin.com said...

Ha! No need to apologize Wade. I was seriously wondering which it was. I couldnt figure it out in my head. (And I a former state spelling bee runner up.) That spell-check has caused me to lose my skills.

Souly yours,
dm

Cheryl Schatz said...

SL1M you asked:

"You said that Christ's death was sufficient for all. However, would you agree with the position that Christ's death was potentially inefficient for no one?

In other words, if the efficiency of Christ's work at the cross was only realized pending a reaction coming solely from man to that sacrifice, what are your thoughts that theoretically we could have a God that sacrificed His son, potentially all in vain?"

Since God knows the end from the beginning and since he has revealed to us in Revelation the great crowd in heaven from every tribe and nation, and since God grants repentance to those who fear Him, I do not think it was ever possible that Jesus would have died for no one.

I know for sure he died for me. How about you?

I also get great joy from telling any sinner that I witness to that Jesus died for them and for their sin. I understand that not all will be saved, but I do know that Jesus loved each one enough to pay the price for his/her sin. I pray to God that every Christian will some day have the confidence to boldly proclaim the price paid for all and God's love for all.

I hope this helps.

Wade Burleson said...

Cheryl,

Excellent analysis. Just one little tweak regarding my views.

If a sinner has no reverance for God, no faith in Christ, and no repentance of personal sin, then that sinner ought have no warrant to believe that Jesus Christ died for him. All the above are gifts of God to those whom He is redeeming.

Blessings,

Wade

Wade Burleson said...

Anonymous,

Your comment is deleted. If you should ask why, it is because I deleted the original post which you copy in your comment. If I deleted the orginal, I will not allow your comment to stand. Please stay on topic.

Anonymous said...

Stay on topic? I was only responding to your comment.

Wade said:

WatchingHISstory,

"I find your words articulate and in a sense profound. I realize I risk offending you with what I am about to say, but I am willing to bear any offense because of the desire I have to have your voice heard by others."

What's the matter? Mr. History was just being his usual "abrasive" self in that comment you (rightly) deleted. Amazing how you turned around and high-fived the devil.

As I said, you have been warned privately and publicly about this "bizarre" man. And you still want his voice to be heard? Shoot me now.

Irrelevant

Danny said...

It sounds like the next rift in SBC life will be over Calvinism. I can envision a Calvinist party within the denomination looking to get candidates elected with non-Calvinists doing the same thing.

I do think missions will be at the heart of the discussion.

Cheryl Schatz said...

Wade,

You said: "If a sinner has no reverance for God, no faith in Christ, and no repentance of personal sin, then that sinner ought have no warrant to believe that Jesus Christ died for him. All the above are gifts of God to those whom He is redeeming."

Okay, I can take that "tweak" but I am wondering how then you will handle the thief on the cross? Matthew 27:44 and Mark 15:32 give the account of both the thieves crucified with Christ as insulting Christ and hurling abuse at him. It appears at this time that both thieves did not have reverence for God, neither was displaying faith in Christ, and there was no evidence of repentance of personal sin. Yet apparently later one changed his mind because in Luke the scripture reads:

Luke 23:39-42 "One of the criminals who were hanged there was hurling abuse at Him, saying, "Are You not the Christ? Save Yourself and us!" But the other answered, and rebuking him said, "Do you not even fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? And we indeed are suffering justly, for we are receiving what we deserve for our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong." And he was saying, "Jesus, remember me when You come in Your kingdom!"

Would we then be able to say to the thieves on the cross that Jesus was not dying for them when both were not fearing God? Or could we say even while they were both reviling Jesus, that Jesus was indeed dying for both of them and we could add later that one of them would have God's wrath stayed because Jesus' payment was going to be applied to his account?

Just a thought and penny for yours.

Anonymous said...

Robert:

I love all the ministries and conferences that you mentioned. I think that Together For the Gospel is a great conference. Tried to go last year but couldn't make it. Al Mohler and Mark Dever are personal friends.

I also think that it is good that many young people in my church or other churches are going to these conferences. Why would I want to stop them?

But none of that changes a thing about what I said about the church's doctrinal statement or how the elders feel.

I mentioned tonight to some of our elders at our elders' meeting (it was not an agenda item since we don't talk about Calvinism at elders' meetings) about how I was having an on-line discussion on these points today.

The is strong agreement that our church not adopt a 5 point Calvinist position as part of the doctrinal statement, that we continue to appoint elders not on the basis of how they feel about the 5 points, and that we not use "Calvinist" or "Calvinism" to describe ourselves or our church.

We obviously don't try to control the people in the church on this issue or what they do.

As for calling oneself a "Calvinist" or talking about "Calvinism" as a defining term, people are free to do as they wish, obviously.

Louis

Anonymous said...

Hey Robert:

Here's a concept.

Instead of calling yourself a "Calvinist", you could call yourself a "Genevaean" or "Genevaite". This is even more obtuse and nuanced. It could become the nickname for the Calvinists that are truly, truly reformed. Though, as I have mentioned, I am not sure Baptist Calvinists really can be called Calvinists since they don't sprinkle infants.

Louis

Wade Burleson said...

Cheryl,

I'm not sure I fully understand your question, but let me take a stab at an answer.

You ask, Would we then be able to say to the thieves on the cross that Jesus was not dying for them when both were not fearing God?

We would say to BOTH thieves - "The man dying beside you is the Son of God, dying in the stead of sinners who will trust in Him. He is the only Savior that will ever be given to sinners and there is no other name under heaven whereby you can be delivered from the just judgment and anger of God that you deserve because of your sins. Trust Him - or die bearing your own sins and the anger of God coming your way."

That is what we would say to BOTH thieves. Obviously, however, nobody said anything like that to them. But they both heard the gospel. They heard Christ pray to His Father. They heard Christ - and the Spirit of God began doing a work in the heart of ONE of the thieves dying on the cross. His former hard heart was softened by the transforming, regenerative power of the Holy Spirit.

The change in ONE thief was dramatic. He who once cursed Christ now trusted Christ. He who once railed against Jesus, now asked for a blessing from Jesus. Why the change?

Obviously, God in His grace overcame the hard heartedness of the thief. Christ was redeeming Him, the Spirit was regenerating Him and God the Father was justifying him.

The repentant's thief faith in Christ was evidence of God's grace in His life.

So, to answer your question - our MESSAGE TO BOTH THIEVES WOULD BE THE SAME (read the first paragraph again), but one thief was redeemed for the praise of God's incredible grace, and one thief bore his own sins for the praise of God's righteous and holy judgment.

If you were to ask, "Why does God not redeem (deliver) both thieves from their sins if He is capable of changing the wicked heart by His love and grace?" I respond with two short statemnts.

(1). The greater miracle is that a holy God would choose to change the heart of any thief or any sinner, and

(2). The idea that God is OBLIGATED to redeem even ONE sinner makes salvation no longer a matter of God's grace and love, but God's duty and responsibility.

I believe He bears no responsibility to redeem a sinner who freely, willingly, and with passion hates Him - as both the thieves on the cross demonstrated.

In His Grace,

Wade

Benji Ramsaur said...

Anonymous,

Bringing up Calvin can be tricky.

On the one hand, he can be esteemed too highly.

On the other hand, he might not be esteemed highly enough.

Was Calvin a genius? Yes, I think he was.

Was Calvin inerrant? No

Can people learn from Calvin? Yes

Should people become slaves of Calvin's thought? No

Was Calvin, in a sense, a man of his times? I would think so

Are we, in a sense, people of our times? I'll let you answer that one for yourself

Do I, personally, have to depend on Calvin's thought to believe in the doctrine of predestination? No

Can I name doctrines I think Calvin got wrong? Yes

1. He affirmed the covenant of grace--I believe there is no such thing in the Bible.

2. He affirmed the threefold division [Civil, Ceremonial, Moral] of the Mosaic law--I believe the law of Moses is a package deal.

3. He affirmed infant Baptism--I believe in believer's baptism.

My summation--The brilliant Calvin had feet of clay indeed, but Calvin did not get up one night, take pen and paper, and say "Let's see, how can I create words that will cause division in the church...

ehhhhh....mmmmmmm.....aha!

E L E C T

P R E D E S T I N E D..."

These words are found in the "good" [B]ook.

Grace

Benji

ezekiel said...

Benji,

No problem on the communication issues. I will forgive you, please forgive me for the same problem.

If you don't mind, can you take a look at your latest comment (to me)in the light of Romans 5:14-18?

One of the things most of us believe in is man's condemnation through Adam's sin. In other words all men were condemned because of Adam's sin. Paul tells us that One Man's act of righteousness leads to justification for all men.

Rom 5:14 Yet death held sway from Adam to Moses [the Lawgiver], even over those who did not themselves transgress [a positive command] as Adam did. Adam was a type (prefigure) of the One Who was to come [in reverse, the former destructive, the Latter saving]. [Gen. 5:5; 7:22; Deut. 34:5.]
Rom 5:15 But God's free gift is not at all to be compared to the trespass [His grace is out of all proportion to the fall of man]. For if many died through one man's falling away (his lapse, his offense), much more profusely did God's grace and the free gift [that comes] through the undeserved favor of the one Man Jesus Christ abound and overflow to and for [the benefit of] many.
Rom 5:16 Nor is the free gift at all to be compared to the effect of that one [man's] sin. For the sentence [following the trespass] of one [man] brought condemnation, whereas the free gift [following] many transgressions brings justification (an act of righteousness).
Rom 5:17 For if because of one man's trespass (lapse, offense) death reigned through that one, much more surely will those who receive [God's] overflowing grace (unmerited favor) and the free gift of righteousness [putting them into right standing with Himself] reign as kings in life through the one Man Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).
Rom 5:18 Well then, as one man's trespass [one man's false step and falling away led] to condemnation for all men, so one Man's act of righteousness [leads] to acquittal and right standing with God and life for all men.

I look at it this way. Jesus' death on the cross reconciled everyone to God. In other words, blameless, walking before Him in the Garden, no law, only grace and mercy. But just like Adam, we have a choice to make. Are we going to serve sin or serve righteousness. The same choice Adam had.

Having said that, Hebrews 10:22-30 seems to say exactly that. By the blood of the covenant we are consecrated, cleansed. But if we then profane (disrespect) that blood then we will be judged for our own sins and rebellion. Not Adam's.

Cheryl Schatz said...

Wade,

I think one of the reasons why I was not predestined to being a Calvinist is because I am way too open to not be able to say it like it is. Also things that appear illogical make my head spin.

For instance I could not say to the dying thieves "Trust Him - or die bearing your own sins and the anger of God coming your way" because that sounds like two options when in the viewpoint of Calvinism there is only one option for each one of the dying thieves.

For the thief who did trust in Christ he had no option to die bearing his own sins since he was predestined to be one of the elect. For the one who did not trust in Christ, he had no option to trust since he was predestined to die in his sin.

Since we know that the thief who eventually did repent, did have Christ dying for his sins even while he was unrepentant, then it appears to me that this elect sinner would indeed have warrant to believe that Jesus Christ died for him even while he was unrepentant since he was one of the elect. The only unrepentant sinner who didn't have warrant to believe that Jesus was dying for him was the thief who was unelect.

In my view of the gospel, I would have no problem telling these two characters that Jesus was dying for them and he loved them even while they were still in their sins. I would also have no problem telling them if they repent of their sins and put their faith in Jesus, they will be saved. This gives both of them the same two options and these options really do exist for both of them. That I can handle in my head and I believe is also scriptural.

In the end we both still evangelize and I think we both refrain from telling people that Jesus didn't die for them. I just have an easier time if someone asks me if Jesus died for them. I can say yes with a clear conscience.

Anonymous said...

Hi Cheryl,

Thanks for replying. You said that you know Christ's death was not in vain because you are now a Christian, and that there are others. I am one too! :)

However, your implication is that our Christianity all came about after the cross by our decision made solely by us. I was speaking theoretically it could have all been in vain.

It sounds like it is fair to say that you believe God looked down through time and saw that there would be believers. Correct me if I'm wrong here.

I personally disagree with that and I think the bible says differently as well. But I do thank you for taking the time to respond and make your position clear.

Blessings to you.

SL1M

Rex Ray said...

At risk of not belonging, I’d like to say the wisest answer to all this discussion would be out of the mouth of a baby saying ‘Who’s Calvin?’

In that sense, there would be no question of NOT taking Paul’s advice of:

“Steer clear of foolish discussions which lead people into the sin of anger with each other—Again I say, don’t get involved in foolish arguments which only upset people and make them angry.” (2 Timothy 2:16, 23 Living)

Also:
“Beware of teachers of religion!” (12:38)
“Woe to you experts in religion!” “Beware of these experts in religion…” (Luke 11:52 20:46 Living)
“Everyone keeps telling me about the arguing that goes on in these meetings, [blogs?] and the divisions developing among you…but I suppose you feel this is necessary so that you who are always right will become know and recognized!” (1 Corinthians 11:19)

We should concentrate on Scriptures like:
“…Your care for others is the measure of your greatness.” (Luke 9:48 Living)
Then we would be obeying Christ’s warning: “…They teach their man-made laws instead of those from God.” (Matthew 15:9 Living)

This is from one that’s guilty of his own advice.

ezekiel said...

Rex Ray,

Your comment seems to indicate that you know enough and that you are comfortable in that knowledge.

However, I for one, and it seems like there are others here, want to have it all. The discussions don't seem so much driven by anyone knowing it all as much as they seem geared toward people wanting to know it all.

It seems to be a condition of being part of the Body. See 1 Cor 12-13.

1Co 13:9 For our knowledge is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect), and our prophecy (our teaching) is fragmentary (incomplete and imperfect).
1Co 13:10 But when the complete and perfect (total) comes, the incomplete and imperfect will vanish away (become antiquated, void, and superseded).
1Co 13:11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; now that I have become a man, I am done with childish ways and have put them aside.
1Co 13:12 For now we are looking in a mirror that gives only a dim (blurred) reflection [of reality as in a riddle or enigma], but then [when perfection comes] we shall see in reality and face to face! Now I know in part (imperfectly), but then I shall know and understand fully and clearly, even in the same manner as I have been fully and clearly known and understood [by God].
1Co 13:13 And so faith, hope, love abide [faith--conviction and belief respecting man's relation to God and divine things; hope--joyful and confident expectation of eternal salvation; love--true affection for God and man, growing out of God's love for and in us], these three; but the greatest of these is love.

ezekiel said...

Benji,

If I remember correctly, this discussion began around the idea that I think John meant everyone when he talked of the "World".

Paul apparently thought the same here...

Col 1:20 And God purposed that through (by the service, the intervention of) Him [the Son] all things should be completely reconciled back to Himself, whether on earth or in heaven, as through Him, [the Father] made peace by means of the blood of His cross.
Col 1:21 And although you at one time were estranged and alienated from Him and were of hostile attitude of mind in your wicked activities,
Col 1:22 Yet now has [Christ, the Messiah] reconciled [you to God] in the body of His flesh through death, in order to present you holy and faultless and irreproachable in His [the Father's] presence.
Col 1:23 [And this He will do] provided that you continue to stay with and in the faith [in Christ], well-grounded and settled and steadfast, not shifting or moving away from the hope [which rests on and is inspired by] the glad tidings (the Gospel), which you heard and which has been preached [as being designed for and offered without restrictions] to every person under heaven, and of which [Gospel] I, Paul, became a minister.

I just don't see limited atonement as being Biblical. The good news of the Gospel according to Paul here, was designed for and offered without restriction to every person under heaven.

It is however conditional and we all know that many don't meet the conditions...

"Col 1:23 [And this He will do] provided that you continue to stay with and in the faith [in Christ], well-grounded and settled and steadfast, not shifting or moving away from the hope [which rests on and is inspired by] the glad tidings (the Gospel)"

Not just a little conditional but a lot conditional...

Joh 8:24 That is why I told you that you will die in (under the curse of) your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He [Whom I claim to be--if you do not adhere to, trust in, and rely on Me], you will die in your sins.

WatchingHISstory said...

Eze

so you are NOT a calvinist.

You believe in universal atonement and conditional election.

so what does that leave?

some sort of Arminian. Wesleyan, Keswick, reformed Arminian, Keswick reformed?

No, you are a biblicist!

are you anti-Calvinistic biblicist or a non-Calvinistic biblicist?

NativeVermonter said...

As one person put it:

In regards to salvation, I did my part and the Lord Jesus did His part.

I did the sinning...He did the Saving.

WatchingHISstory said...

my JW friend is a biblicist. very good one at that!

Elisabeth said...

This post was enjoyable to read, as were the comments.

I don't take any really strong stance either way; God is God and the way His sovereign grace works in concert with our own free will is a mystery. I do think that it's not something to break fellowship about. My own opinion is to live for God, to witness to others, and to enjoy the mystery that is salvation!

Anonymous said...

From C.S. LEWIS' letters:

“I take it as a first principle that we must not interpret any one part of Scripture so that it contradicts other parts . . . . The real inter-relation between God’s omnipotence and Man’s freedom is something we can’t find out. Looking at the Sheep & the Goats every man can be quite sure that every kind act he does will be accepted by Christ. Yet, equally, we all do feel sure that all the good in us comes from Grace. We have to leave it at that. I find the best plan is to take the Calvinist view of my own virtues and other people’s vices; and the other view of my own vices and other peoples virtues. But tho’ there is much to be puzzled about, there is nothing to be worried about. It is plain from Scripture that, in whatever sense the Pauline doctrine is true, it is not true in any sense which excludes its (apparent) opposite. You know what Luther said: ‘Do you doubt if you are chosen? Then say your prayers and you may conclude that you are.’” C.S. Lewis

Benji Ramsaur said...

Ezekiel,

I actually have the most sympathy for the unlimited atonement doctrine than any of the other doctrines that conflict with the five points.

I understand that there are passages of Scripture that at first glance do seem to teach that doctrine.

However, one of the reasons I believe in particular redemption is because I think the Scriptures teach that the nature of the atonement is effectual.

It's the difference between looking at the cross as something that merely has the "potential" to result in eternal life verses looking at the cross as something that "necessarily" produces eternal life.

I think the basic point of Romans 5 is that through Adam, as head of the old humanity, comes condemnation and through Christ, as head of the new humanity, comes salvation.

I think Jesus teach the effectual nature of His death when He says "The hour is come, that the Son of man should be glorified [on the cross]" and then goes right into what this will "produce" by saying "Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone, but if it die, it [necessarily] bringeth forth fruit." John 12:23-24

Also, I think Isaiah 53:10-11 teaches the effectual nature of the cross as well when it says "when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall [necessarily] see his seed...by his knowledge shall my righteous servant [necessarily] justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities."

In other words, I think to say that the salvation benefit of the atonement is ultimately dependent upon the choice of man is to run contrary to what the atonement "effects" according to these verses.

I think it is reading into John's passage, for example, to think John is meaning "but if it die, it [might] bringeth forth fruit [if man responds in faith]".

I think John is saying "but if it die, it [actually] bringeth forth fruit"

And in getting back to Romans, I think Paul makes a "greater to the lesser" argument that necessarily leads to a particular redemption conclusion when he says in 8:32-33 "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all [the greater], how shall he not how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? [the lesser] Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect..."

In other words, if God did the greater act of delivering His Son for people, then there is no way in this world He will not also give those "same" people everything else pertaining to their salvation--the salvation, according to verse 33, of the elect.

Grace

Benji

Anonymous said...

'I never heard the word until I was a sophomore in college. Nonetheless, I embraced Calvinism wholeheartedly in a doctrine class at Covenant College after Dr. Krabbendam, who is a 6 foot 7 inch Dutchman, towered over me and esplained, "Cheer up, you are worse than you think. But God's grace is greater than you can imagine." I love Calvinism. I am a systematic thinker, and Calvinist doctrine ties scripture together so elegantly and faithfully in my opinion. Calvinism should produce humility. It should produce wonder. It should produce hope.

Unfortunately, the stereotype people have of Calvinists is there for a reason.

Mouw writes,

"I must also say up front that it isn't just in our conversations with unbelievers that I find many Calvinists lacking in gentleness and respect. I find these qualities missing in Calvinists' interactions with other Christians. Indeed, Calvinists are often not very gentle and respectful when debating fine points of doctrine with fellow Calvinists."

True statement.'

Wade Burleson said...

Cheryl,

I laughed at your joke about you "not being predestined to be a Calvinist." I love your sense of humor and your wonderful ability to communicate with clarity.

I also appreciate your love of logic. You and I are both evangelical, have a heart to share the good news of Christ to anyone and everyone with whom we come in contact, and we both have a desire to correct any injustices we see in the Christian world.

I'll leave our conversation with just a couple of thoughts. I am on my way to visit with a family that is having to turn off medical life support for a loved one at the counsel of doctors, and frankly, when you pray with people who are facing such traumatic decisions in life, blog conversations are not as pressing of ministry, as I know you would agree.

You said in your last comment, In my view of the gospel, I would have no problem telling these two characters that Jesus was dying for them and he loved them even while they were still in their sins. I would also have no problem telling them if they repent of their sins and put their faith in Jesus, they will be saved. This gives both of them the same two options and these options really do exist for both of them. That I can handle in my head and I believe is also scriptural.

I have absolutely, positively, not one problem with what you would say to the above to "characters" (i.e. "the two thieves on the crosses beside Jesus"). I would never, ever say to you "You are wrong, Don't say that to them because you don't know if Jesus died for them." I think the Calvinist who would say that to you is pressing too hard to change people's views to conform to our views.

I would just gently offer a thought for you. I think the struggle you may be having with the "logic" of what I am saying is a struggle within your own mind about God, and not about any desire to offer a "fair and legitimate offer" when you share the gospel. Let me illustrate.

I don't think the thief who died railing against Jesus, without repenting of it would have "changed his mind" because you articulated a "fair and legitimate" offer to him. His heart was locked in his sin. He loved himself far too much. He was his own god. Had you included "Jesus loves you and is dying for you, bearing your sins," would not have changed his mind at all. In fact, I'll go further. The thief who died on the cross in his sins had the SAME message given to him conveyed to him that the thief who trusted and believed in Christ had given to him.

I remind you - BOTH thieves saw the same things going on around them. BOTH thieves heard Jesus say the same things while he hung on the cross. BOTH thieves began their death process reviling Jesus, but only ONE thief repented of his sins and trusted Jesus Christ. In other words, your concern that both of them have the same two options and these options really do exist is a legitimate concern, but it is a concern already fulfilled by actual events.

They were both men dying in their sins. They both had an understanding that their was a Creator. They both had been commanded by conscience and by their Creator to live their lives in submission to Him. They both had the opportunity to live their lives in perfect, and complete obedience to God, and they both had failed. They were both free, rational moral agents who hated God, and according to the text, Jesus Christ too. For both of them were placed on crosses for purposes of capital punishment and BOTH of them railed against Jesus.

They both were dying for their crimes against humanity and would soon answer for their crimes against God and man. They both were dying right beside the only Savior ever given for sinners, Jesus Christ. They both heard Him. They both saw Him. They both began the death process reviling and condemning Him.

Then, miraculously, ONE thief changed.

The other thief continued in his sin, his hardness toward the things of God, his rebellion.

ONE thief stopped reviling Christ.

The other thief continued reviling Christ.

ONE thief called to Christ, the other thief continued loving himself more than God.

ONE thief was promised eternal life.

The other thief died in His sins.

The fault for sin in BOTH thieves was found within them. God was not to blame. The thieves are responsible for their sins, not God. But ONE thief was redeemed, forgiven, and justifed through faith in Christ, and the credit must go to God, who made the difference.

Again, what made the difference between the two thieves?

You seem to be saying to me "the free will" of the thief that believed. I simply ask, "what CAUSED the thief who believed to believe?" I know what CAUSED the hard-hearted thief to continue reviling Christ - it was his sin. But what CAUSED the ONE thief to repent and believe?

Let me ask the million dollar question this way. Both thieves were wicked. Both thieves were responsible for their own sins. Both thieves heard the gospel, saw the gospel played out before them, and had the same "opportunities" to repent of their sin and believe on Christ. NEITHER THIEF WOULD HAVE EVER BELIEVED BECAUSE THEY LOVED SELF AND SINS TOO MUCH.

But God made a difference in one of the thieves and by His grace, brought to that thief the gift of redemption, regeneration and eventual restoration.

Bottom line, the struggle you have seems to me to not be a struggle with logic in offering "options" to both thieves that legitimate. God Himself promises "whosoever believes on Christ shall have eternal life." We can't promise anything better than God already has.

The struggle in your heart, as it seems to me, is that God could truly have the power and authority to make a difference in the hearts of sinners that He chooses to redeem. In other words, the struggle seems to be with God's sovereign decision making to favor and grace those whom He chooses to grace and grace.

In your mind, God is only loving if He graces and favors everybody the same. In my mind, man's freedom, and his longing and love for his sin only greatly magnifies the love of God when a sinner repents and believes because it is all due to God's unconditional love for that sinner.

If we get to heaven, and we discover that God has unconditionally loved and redeemed every human being, and the gifts of faith and repentance are given AFTER death to those who die on earth in an unrepentant state, then I will apologize to you for elucidating what I believe is God's distinguishing love for His elect. I don't believer, however, that I am wrong about God's everlasting love for His elect. In my mind, I cannot take one ounce of credit for my faith, or one iota of credit for my change of heart, or even one smidgen of a pat on the back for my repentance, because I see all these things as gifts from God to His people whom He is redeeming.

As the Apostle Paul wrote <For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not? (I Corinthians 4:7)

I really enjoyed our conversation. God has definitely given you some great gifts.

ezekiel said...

Watchin,

I have a general policy that I don't as a rule communicate with persons that trade in vulgarity, and see visions.

You claim to be spirit filled yet the spirit or spirits you possess or that possess you allow foul language and visions of judgement and condemnation on persons sitting in heaven. On a chair in fact.

Being the Berean that I am, you may call that a biblicist all you want, then I want to see the scripture where Adrian Rogers is condemned and judged in heaven. This all in spite of the Bible containing sripture such as...

Joh 3:18 He who believes in Him [who clings to, trusts in, relies on Him] is not judged [he who trusts in Him never comes up for judgment; for him there is no rejection, no condemnation--he incurs no damnation]; but he who does not believe (cleave to, rely on, trust in Him) is judged already [he has already been convicted and has already received his sentence] because he has not believed in and trusted in the name of the only begotten Son of God. [He is condemned for refusing to let his trust rest in Christ's name.]

Rom 8:1 THEREFORE, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit. [John 3:18.]

Your "vision" tells us that these scriptures or either wrong or that Adrian Rogers was not in Christ.

So lets take a look at...

1Co 14:24 But if all prophesy [giving inspired testimony and interpreting the divine will and purpose] and an unbeliever or untaught outsider comes in, he is told of his sin and reproved and convicted and convinced by all, and his defects and needs are examined (estimated, determined) and he is called to account by all,
1Co 14:25 The secrets of his heart are laid bare; and so, falling on [his] face, he will worship God, declaring that God is among you in very truth.

1Co 14:26 What then, brethren, is [the right course]? When you meet together, each one has a hymn, a teaching, a disclosure of special knowledge or information, an utterance in a [strange] tongue, or an interpretation of it. [But] let everything be constructive and edifying and for the good of all.
1Co 14:27 If some speak in a [strange] tongue, let the number be limited to two or at the most three, and each one [taking his] turn, and let one interpret and explain [what is said].
1Co 14:28 But if there is no one to do the interpreting, let each of them keep still in church and talk to himself and to God.
1Co 14:29 So let two or three prophets speak [those inspired to preach or teach], while the rest pay attention and weigh and discern what is said.
1Co 14:30 But if an inspired revelation comes to another who is sitting by, then let the first one be silent.
1Co 14:31 For in this way you can give testimony [prophesying and thus interpreting the divine will and purpose] one by one, so that all may be instructed and all may be stimulated and encouraged;
1Co 14:32 For the spirits of the prophets (the speakers in tongues) are under the speaker's control [and subject to being silenced as may be necessary],
1Co 14:33 For He [Who is the source of their prophesying] is not a God of confusion and disorder but of peace and order. As [is the practice] in all the churches of the saints (God's people),

If you have scripture that supports limited atonement and refutes the scripture that I have quoted then bring it and bring all of it.

Our church here is full of spirit filled preachers and teachers that apparently want to hear what you have to say. So you have the floor. Just know before hand that I won't be deceived by doctrine or traditions of men.

Being the Berean/biblicist that you say that I am, then know that as long as you hold to your "vision" and use the language that you do I will not be involved in any discussion with you. I am making an effort to avoid wrestling with pigs. For whatever it is worth, I, like many before me call you to repent of your language and visions that are clearly not Christlike.

Anonymous said...

On Calvinism and other topics:
C.S. Lewis

"You and I have need of the strongest spell that can be found to wake us from the evil enchantment of worldliness.


"100 per cent of us die, and the percentage cannot be increased."


"This year, or this month, or, more likely, this very day, we have failed to practise ourselves the kind of behaviour we expect from other people."


"Reality, in fact, is always something you couldn't have guessed. That's one of the reasons I believe Christianity. It's a religion you couldn't have guessed."


"It is in the process of being worshipped that God communicates His presence to men."
--Reflections on the Psalms

"Who can endure a doctrine which would allow only dentists to say whether our teeth were aching, only cobblers to say whether our shoes hurt us, and only governments to tell us whether we were being well governed?"
--A Preface to Paradise Lost

"A great many of those who 'debunk' traditional...values have in the background values of their own which they believe to be immune from the debunking process."
--The Abolition of Man

"Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done...

"If the universe is so bad...how on earth did human beings ever come to attribute it to the activity of a wise and good Creator?"
--The Problem of Pain

"If we will not learn to eat the only food that the universe grows...then we must starve eternally."

"Everyone feels benevolent if nothing happens to be annoying him at the moment."


"God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is His megaphone to rouse a deaf world."

"[God] is not proud...He will have us even though we have shown that we prefer everything else to Him."

"Tribulations cannot cease until God either sees us remade or sees that our remaking is now hopeless.

"Be sure that the ins and outs of your individuality are no mystery to Him; and one day they will no longer be a mystery to you.

"God will look to every soul like its first love because He is its first love."

"No good work is done anywhere without aid from the Father of Lights."

"Christ died for men precisely because men are not worth dying for; to make them worth it."

"Surely what a man does when he is taken off his guard is the best evidence for what sort of man he will be.

"Nothing is yet in its true form."

"If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world."

"If you are really a product of a materialistic universe, how is it that you don't feel at home there?"

"The very nature of Joy makes nonsense of our common distinction between having and wanting."

"Joy is the serious business of Heaven."

"A young man who wishes to remain a sound Atheist cannot be too careful of his reading. There are traps everywhere--'Bibles laid open, millions of surprises,' as Herbert says, 'fine nets and stratagems.' God is, if I may say it, very unscrupulous."

"Until you have given up your self to Him you will not have a real self..."

"Atheism turns out to be too simple. If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found out that it has no meaning..."


"You would not call a man humane for ceasing to set mousetraps if he did so because he believed there were no mice in the house."

"Of all bad men religious bad men are the worst."

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. Those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience."

"History is a story written by the finger of God."

"Looking for God--or Heaven--by exploring space is like reading or seeing all Shakespeare's plays in the hope that you will find Shakespeare as one of the characters..."

"Odd, the way the less the Bible is read the more it is translated."

"The most valuable thing the Psalms do for me is to express the same delight in God which made David dance."

"We may ignore, but we can nowhere evade, the presence of God."

"No philosophical theory which I have yet come across is a radical improvement on the words of Genesis, that 'In the beginning God made Heaven and Earth'.

"Every story of conversion is the story of a blessed defeat."

Aim at heaven and you will get earth thrown in. Aim at earth and you get neither.

Can a mortal ask questions which God finds unanswerable? Quite easily, I should think. All nonsense questions are unanswerable.

Do not let us mistake necessary evils for good.

Don't use words too big for the subject. Don't say 'infinitely' when you mean 'very'; otherwise you'll have no word left when you want to talk about something really infinite.

If you look for truth, you may find comfort in the end; if you look for comfort you will not get either comfort or truth only soft soap and wishful thinking to begin, and in the end, despair.

There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, 'Thy will be done,' and those to whom God says, in the end, 'Thy will be done.' C.S. Lewis

Paul Burleson said...

Wade,

What a deightful comment section following a great post. This has been fun following from a distance.

I can't resist giving my two cents in this fashion.

One..I'm convinced that God is never unjust or unloving. If I'm correct i this He would never withhold something from someone who deserved it or force upon someone something they did not deserve. But He would choose to love and express that love but never at the expense of His justice which He will always express as well. He is also Righteous. [That is perfectly balanced.. or as He OUGHT to be in CHARACTER.. so said the old Puritans.]

However He works that balance out and connects the dots of Truth is something we may not FULLY comprehend until we are before Him in Glory.

Two..When I DO stand before Him in Glory to give an account for my responsibilities as a believer it will NEVER bring into question whether I shared the gospel with the elect or non-elect but with all people everywhere. For me to say to all people.."Whosoever WILL MAY come".. is as scriptural for me as the statement.."All that the Father gives me will come to me and He that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." Whether I can explain their connectedness or how they fit theologically is fun discussion but is never the basis for my fellowship with other believers. That is around the Person of Christ Himself as you folks have so wonderfully pointed out. MAN..has this been good.

Thanks Wade, Bob, Kevin, Louis, Lin, [and a host of guys.] Cheryl, Debbie, Elizabeth, [and fewer gals but may your tribe increase.]

One final thought. I saw last night a T-shirt that said "Hey Mack..Would you like a little cheese with that Whine?" :)

Wayne Smith said...

Rex Ray and Others,
This is when the Lamb's Book of Life was written,before the foundation of the world

ESV Study Notes
Eph. 1:4 He chose us in him means that the Father chose Christians in the Son (Christ), and this took place in eternity past, before the foundation of the world. This indicates that for all eternity the Father has had the role of leading and directing among the persons of the Trinity, even though Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are equal in deity and attributes. God's initiative in redeeming the believer from sin and death was not an arbitrary or whimsical decision but something God had planned all along “in Christ.” Since God chose his people in his love, they can take no credit for their salvation. God was determined to have them as his own (see note on 2:8). holy. God chose them with the goal that they be holy and blameless before him. This goal is not optional for Christians—it is the purpose of election. Holiness here expresses moral purity, while blamelessness expresses freedom from the guilt of trespasses and sins in which the Christian formerly walked (1:7; 2:1, 5). In love, at the end of 1:4, properly belongs to v. 5, describing predestination, though the esv footnote indicates that “in love” can also be taken with the preceding phrase (“that we should be holy and blameless before him in love”). Versification was introduced into Bibles in the sixteenth century a.d. for convenience and is not part of the original inspired text.

Eph. 1:5 predestined. Previously ordained or appointed to some position. God's election of Christians (v. 4) entails his predestining them to something—in this case to adoption as sons (see also v. 11; Rom. 8:29–30). Hence, election and predestination in this context refer to God's decision to save someone. All Christians, male and female, are “sons” in the sense of being heirs who will inherit blessings from their Father in heaven. Paul qualifies and stresses God's plan and initiation of redemption with the phrase according to the purpose of his will here and elsewhere in the passage (Eph. 1:9, 11). God cannot be constrained by any outside force, and his inexorable will for believers is to pour out his grace and goodness on them in Christ Jesus.
Eph. 1:6 God's ultimate purpose is not redemption as such but the praise of his glorious name through redemption. This theme is repeated at key junctures in the argument (see vv. 12, 14).

Wayne

Anonymous said...

Can it be true that God's purpose was not to redeem us?


Behold, the true Man of Sorrows presents himself before us:

"He had no form or comeliness that we should look
at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men;
a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows;
yet we esteemed him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.
But he was wounded for our transgressions,
he was bruised for our iniquities;
upon him was the chastisement that made us whole,
and with his stripes we are healed.
All we like sheep have gone astray
we have turned every one to his own way;
and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all"

From the book of
The Fifth Evangelist

Cheryl Schatz said...

SL1M,

You said:

"However, your implication is that our Christianity all came about after the cross by our decision made solely by us. I was speaking theoretically it could have all been in vain.

It sounds like it is fair to say that you believe God looked down through time and saw that there would be believers. Correct me if I'm wrong here."

No, I do not believe that Christianity came about by a decision made solely by us. It is the Holy Spirit's work that brings us to the place where we can even fear God.

I also didn't say one word about looking into the future, although there is a lot there that I could have said. What I did say was this:

Payment for sin (shed blood of Christ on the cross)
+ repentance & faith (granted by God to all who will humble themselves and fear God)
= salvation (application of the blood on the mercy seat which satisfies the wrath of God)

I hope that it is clear from this that we cannot just make a decision for God of our own accord without God. Our decision is a free-will choice, but it is never alone without the work of the Holy Spirit. He brings us to repentance. He convicts us of sin and righteousness. We merely respond to his work in our hearts. God is the one who gets the glory as he should.

Blessings in Christ,
Cheryl

ezekiel said...

Anon,

"Can it be true that God's purpose was not to redeem us?"


Isaiah 51:5My rightness and justice are near, My salvation is going forth, and My arms shall rule the peoples; the islands shall wait for and expect Me, and on My arm shall they trust and wait with hope.

6Lift up your eyes to the heavens, and look upon the earth beneath; for the heavens shall be dissolved and vanish away like smoke, and the earth shall wax old like a garment, and they that dwell therein shall die in like manner [like gnats]. But My salvation shall be forever, and My rightness and justice [and faithfully fulfilled promise] shall not be abolished.(

ezekiel said...

Benji,

Thanks for all the discussion. I am sure that I would greatly enjoy breaking bread with you any day!

As to your latest comment, I hope you are not offended if I just simply say that I couldn't really follow what you were saying. It isn't your communication but more my hearing.

When I start seeing words like "effectual" among others, I have a bad habit of sticking my fingers in my ears...I guess I am afraid of someone convincing me to acknowledge a man's doctrine like that of Calvin or Arminius.:)

It probably all boils down to me being hard headed. Don't tell anyone but Mom knew that a long time before you or I did.

Peace and Grace to you!

Benji Ramsaur said...

Ezekiel,

No offense at all. I can tell that you sincerely desire to be faithful to the Scriptures and I praise God in Christ for the work He has done in both of our lives.

Peace and grace to you as well,

Benji

P.S. First word of Gal. 6:1.

Anonymous said...

IS THIS TRUE ABOUT CALVINISM ?

"No one really had a choice or was invited.

No one came out of true love and devotion.

No one truly of their own free-will is in attendance.

The praise , worship, singing and celebration was all staged. God ultimately is adored and worshipped by creatures who were predetermined to do so.

He is declared to be holy, while a number as great as the sands of the sea, fashioned by Him to be unholy, look on from the flames of hell.

As the last great expression of His greatness, all of creation bow down and proclaim Him Lord, Him knowing full well He predetermined it all and no one ever had a choice in any of it!"

Please tell me that this is WRONG about Calvinism.

WORRIED

Anonymous said...

WHEW--OVER MY HEAD!

But seriously, I think I am somehow a calvinistic wesleyan armenian dispensational Biblicist.

Or something like that.

All I know is I don't remember not believing in the deity of Jesus, or not believing the historical facts about Him like virgin birth and resurrection.

But I knew I was not saved.

Around age 14 I started asking anyone and everyone if they were saved. Most looked at me like I was off my nut (fair assumption) but a few said yes. Then I would pester them with questions--how, when, what, etc.

One gave me the "plan of salvation". I read it and believed it...but I knew I was not saved.

Then one night in 1967 I watched a tv Billy Graham crusade. (Taped the repeat this summer--nothing spectacular.) When he gave the invitation I KNEW it was my time. Went to my room, knelt, repented, ask for salvation, and KNEW THE JOB WAS DONE.

Did I make a decision? Of course I did. Had I long sought salvation? Yep. But I could not make it happen--only JESUS saves, and when it was time He did. Both parts were needed--my seeking, repenting, yieldedness and His divine action.

Give it your best shot---what systematic theology does that sound like to you?


Linda

Wade Burleson said...

Anonymous,

No need to worry.

All those who truly love Christ love Him volitionally from the heart.

Blessings,

Wade

Anonymous said...

Worried,

Don't worry. Everything you said about Calvinism is indeed wrong. Keep studying! Perhaps even ask a question or two.

Cheryl,

I am sorry that you feel I misrepresented your position. I simply meant to wrap up what I think is your position in my own words. I didn't do it very well and I'm sorry.

The point I wanted to originally discuss was the theory that Christ's death could have been for no one. With your previous statements I concluded that you believe Christ's death was sufficient for all but potentially efficient for no one. His sacrifice was actually only made effective due to the actions of man at a later point in time. Benji addresses this somewhat above as well.

You said that it was impossible for His death to be in vain because Christ knew that some would believe. So I took that to mean that He looked ahead in time to, in fact, know that.

Again, no misrepresentation intended and please accept my apology.

I do think I understand your position and with all the respect I can muster for you, I think it is in contrast to what the bible teaches.

Having said that, I can't tell you how much I appreciate you and every other NON calvinist in this comment stream. Everyone is asking questions, taking in answers, agreeing and disagreeing, and doing it respectfully, with only a few exceptions.

For that I sincerely say thank you.

SL1M

Cheryl Schatz said...

SL1M,

No need to apologize because it is always a good idea to repeat back in our own words what we hear someone else say. It allows the other person to correct any misconceptions. I didn't take offense, but I do accept your apology.

You said: "With your previous statements I concluded that you believe Christ's death was sufficient for all but potentially efficient for no one. His sacrifice was actually only made effective due to the actions of man at a later point in time."

Thanks for your explanation of how you arrived at your conclusions, but I am not one of those who believe that Christ's sacrifice was potentially efficient for no one. To some I know this sounds logical, but it isn't biblical.

You said: "I do think I understand your position and with all the respect I can muster for you, I think it is in contrast to what the bible teaches."

Thanks! This actually made me laugh out loud, no offense intended by that laugh. I can see in my mind's eye someone trying really hard to muster up some respect for me. I know I don't deserve that respect, but I appreciate the muster :)

I do respect your freedom to test my understanding of scripture. I am just not sure how "payment for sin on the cross" "repentance & faith granted by God" and the "application of the blood on the mercy seat" could possibly be considered non-biblical. You don't need to explain. We can just leave it at that.

I too greatly appreciate the irenic tone of Christians who passionately disagree on issues of faith, but who can also passionately love the Lord Jesus and because of that love for the Lord, love our brothers and sisters in Christ enough to overlook things that might come across as offensive. The world's way is to love those who love them back and who are the same as they are. The way of the Master is expressing love to those who are different than we are. Love endures all things and love never fails.

For those who don't think we need to put love into practice, let me remind you all that God has a sense of humor. He is likely to put your mansion right next to the Christian who irritated you the most on this earth.

Anonymous said...

Dear CHERYL,

You wrote, "For those who don't think we need to put love into practice, let me remind you all that God has a sense of humor. He is likely to put your mansion right next to the Christian who irritated you the most on this earth."

NEXT to the Christian who irritated me the most on this Earth?

All Eternity spent living next door to MY OWN HUSBAND ???
That would be justice indeed.
Lord help us.
Thanks for the fun. :))))))))

Anonymous said...

What a blessing it is to read when everyone is getting along and there is no wicked fight going on. Well, maybe the Christmas Season has begun in people's hearts. I love everything about this Season. :)

I have read and tried to sort out Calvinism but am still muddled. I think it's because basic theological terminology means something different in my religion from what is means to the writers here. That would explain my difficulties. It is like reading something in one language and trying to translate it into my own language when there may not be a context to clarify the meaning.
Very confusing.

I hope tomorrow continues to be as peaceful and enjoyable for all of us. That would be wonderful.

Good Sabbath to everyone.
Love, L's

WatchingHISstory said...

Wade

You might find this interesting. I visited a Primitive Baptist Church here in Collierville, Tennessee several Sundays ago.
My wife was sick and I went on to Bible Fellowship Class and left to go to Walmart and pick up some dinner items.
I always pass this church and this Sunday abt. 11AM I just spontaneosly drove into the parking lot and went in to visit the Church. I have never been to a PBC and expected to see older men in dark suits and tieless white shirts buttoned all the way up. I slipped into the back pew and the pastor (elder) had just started his sermon (service started at 10:30 AM)

The sermon was from Rom chapter 8
particularly the portion dealing with our suffering. The elder was a young man. The sermon was a full hour. Not a single personal illustration or testimomial but a verse by verse exposition with many cross references. I had to ask myself, how many times has he preached from Rom 8? Yet he preached as if he had never spoke from it. Every person followed along with their own Bibles, underlining, highlighting and taking notes. The sermon ended with an invitation for baptisms and then a song was song. As they sung they marched around the sanctuary and shook hands with the young elder another elder read the financial report. The amazing part is that every person in the church shook my hand, except for the teenagers!

The elders stood around me aand we had a delightful conversation. I shared with them my appreciation for Calvinism. They ask me to stay and have lunch with them in the fellowship hall. I couldn't because I had to get home to my wife.

How many times have I gone to a new Church and no one hardly talks or shakes your hand.

There were no musical instruments, the decor was simple and the light fixtures look like they were from the 40's. It seem that I had gone back 100 years in time. It was a delighful time and broke the stereotypical view of their Calvinism. They have mission outreaches in foreign countries and i believe tey are evangelistic but not as we deem evangelism to be.

Thought that I would share that with you.

Anonymous said...

From Theopedia

"The extent of the atonement:

The issue with most non-Calvinists is the doctrine of a definite atonement (or limited atonement).

This is not so much a question of the "sufficiency" of Christ's death as it is a question of the design (or intent) of Christ's death.

Did Christ intend to accomplish redemption, propitiation and reconciliation for every man?

Did He intend to make salvation possible for all men?

Reformed theology maintains that, though Christ's death is of infinite value and is sufficient to redeem every man (had this been God's intention), the true intention of Christ's death was to accomplish effectively the full salvation of the elect, and the elect only.

Calvinism: The design of the atonement was to redeem the elect.



Definite atonement:

Arminianism: The design of the atonement was to make all men savable."

Anonymous said...

Effects of ORIGINAL SIN ?

'In the Old Testament, in the Book of Ezekiel, God's people are rebuked for suggesting that the children would die/suffer for their father's sins:

The word of the Lord came to me: "What do you people mean by quoting this proverb about the land of Israel: 'The parents eat sour grapes, and the children's teeth are set on edge'? As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, you will no longer quote this proverb in Israel. For everyone belongs to me, the parent as well as the child—both alike belong to me. The one who sins is the one who will die.
—Ezek. 18:1-4, TNIV

The Lord then gives examples of a good father with a bad son, of a good son with a bad father, etc. and states:

"Yet you ask, 'Why does the son not share the guilt of his father?' Since the son has done what is just and right and has been careful to keep all my decrees, he will surely live. The one who sins is the one who will die. The child will not share the guilt of the parent, nor will the parent share the guilt of the child. The righteousness of the righteous will be credited to them, and the wickedness of the wicked will be charged against them.
—Ezek. 18:19-20, TNIV
God concludes: "house of Israel, I will judge each of you according to your own ways … Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit" (Ezek. 18:30-31, TNIV).

Cheryl Schatz said...

Wade,

You said: "I laughed at your joke about you "not being predestined to be a Calvinist." I love your sense of humor and your wonderful ability to communicate with clarity."

Thank you for such kind words! It is really nice for me to have someone appreciate my quirky sense of humor. I think the biggest bone in my body is my funny bone. It is a rare day when I can't find the funny side of things and I believe that God also has a sense of humor that he freely shared with us. My pastor is concerned that people might not take me seriously if I let my funny side surface occasionally. Oh joy! Be myself or hold in all the things that tickle me...ahhhh!

I also wanted to give my appreciation for your respect. I do not take respect for granted. I have been called "the" enemy of the church by some who have expressed hatred towards me and I just shake my head at the audacity of those who choose to lump evangelical Christians who believe all the same essentials of the faith along with they do, yet identify them with satan. Surely this must break the heart of the Lord Jesus. This concerns me because it is divisive.

You said: "I would never, ever say to you "You are wrong, Don't say that to them because you don't know if Jesus died for them." I think the Calvinist who would say that to you is pressing too hard to change people's views to conform to our views."

Thank you! The problem that I see in this issue is the zealous young Calvinists over evangelizing of Christians and this tends to divide the flock. There are many who are convinced that everyone must believe as they do on the secondary issues of faith - especially the issue of Calvinism. This leaves no room for conscience or for the work of maturing a believer that the Holy Spirit does. Romans 14:4, 5 assures us that the Lord Jesus is looking after our "standing" before him and that we are to be fully convinced in our own minds. We should be willing to listen to all the evidence, but we should also be free to be convinced in our own mind. If the Holy Spirit doesn't force us against our will, neither should we take that attitude towards another believer.

You said: "I would just gently offer a thought for you. I think the struggle you may be having with the "logic" of what I am saying is a struggle within your own mind about God, and not about any desire to offer a "fair and legitimate offer" when you share the gospel."

I like that gentle thought. I would respond to this identification of my struggle with a yes and no. The bottom line is certainly about God's nature and his character but it is also about logical consistency. In all my years of helping ex-members of the Jehovah's Witnesses come to understand the essentials of Christianity and the differences between Christian faith and cult doctrine, I have come to understand that cults practice offering a "carrot" that keeps their followers striving to achieve something that is impossible to attain. The carrot is constantly moved ahead just out of the person's reach and although the reward is offered, it isn't a real offer because it is impossible to have any assurance that one has achieved or will be able to reach the goal. The goal is not real. Is it possible that God does this kind of thing? I do not see God as playing a trick on the lost. If God demands the unelect to do something that God has purposely withheld from the unelect the ability to do what he demands, for all intents and purposes it comes across as a taunt and not a command with a promise that is legitimate.

If an employer demanded that his employee do his job to receive his daily pay, but he gives him an impossible job to do like going to the moon and scrubbing it clean, and then getting back in time to punch out at 5 pm, the employer would be seen in less than kind terms. Unless one provides the means to obey the command, the command is not legitimate nor is any promise that comes from obeying the command a legitimate promise. I believe that if we removed this from the religious realm and took the same situation into a secular realm so we could examine it, we could clearly see the contradiction. In the secular realm that we all live in, it is unjust to command someone to obey and punish them for not obeying when you yourself knowingly withhold from them the ability to be obedient through no fault of their own but because of your own choice.

The question is does God withhold from some what is absolutely necessary to meet his demands?

Some can reconcile that with God's character revealed in the bible and with the sense of justice that he has graciously given each of us. Some cannot. But is logical inconsistencies the most important thing to base our efforts on to be fully convinced in our own mind? I believe that logic must bow to scripture as the final test. Yet in the end I believe that truth will not contradict logic.

It is also my belief that the main issue hurting dialog between Calvinists and non-Calvinists is not logic but the scriptures that seem to remain unanswered by the other side. While I have been dedicating myself to understand both sides of this issue, I see a recurring charge against non-Calvinists that they are not using scripture but mostly logical arguments. While the logical arguments may be compelling, we must boldly address the scriptures that appear to reveal a Calvinistic viewpoint in order for us to understand what God is saying. We cannot afford to ignore these passages.

This is the area that I will be working diligently on. It will be a project that will deal verse by verse with some very hard passages of scripture. My purpose will be to bring the two groups of Christians together in love. There is indeed a compelling answer to John 6 and Romans 8 & 9 that brings the two together.

I believe there is also a strong connection to the foundation of these doctrines in the Old Testament. This is the second witness. When the Bereans heard Paul teaching doctrine, they checked Paul out by the Old Testament. The truth of these scriptures has its foundation in the Old Testament. The two should not be separated but each supports the other. I believe that we can be Old Testament Bereans even in our day because the truth doesn't change with time.

I would like to encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ to test your understanding of the TULIP doctrines by finding a link to the foundation in the Old Testament. There is great value in having two testimonies, one in the New and the other in the Old. Those who are skilled in the Old will bring great wisdom to the fulfillment of these doctrines in the New Testament.

Mat 13:52 And Jesus said to them, "Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old."

My desire is to see the serious division in the body of Christ be done away with by all of us doing our part. I am encouraged by Paul's words in Romans 14:4 concerning the Sovereignty of the Lord Jesus. He is able to make us stand and he is able to make us stand together. What is impossible with man is possible with God.

Wade Burleson said...

Cheryl,

Amen, and amen.

You said it all.

Blessings to you.

Wade

ezekiel said...

Anonymous said...
Dear CHERYL,

You wrote, "For those who don't think we need to put love into practice, let me remind you all that God has a sense of humor. He is likely to put your mansion right next to the Christian who irritated you the most on this earth."

NEXT to the Christian who irritated me the most on this Earth?

All Eternity spent living next door to MY OWN HUSBAND ???
That would be justice indeed.
Lord help us.
Thanks for the fun. :))))))))

Fri Dec 05, 06:57:00 PM 2008

--------------------------------

Ok Anon, I need some ID. Your initials, maiden name or date of birth will work.....

Cheryl Schatz said...

All Eternity spent living next door to "MY OWN HUSBAND ???
That would be justice indeed.
Lord help us.
Thanks for the fun. :))))))))

Fri Dec 05, 06:57:00 PM 2008

--------------------------------

Ok Anon, I need some ID. Your initials, maiden name or date of birth will work..... "
-------------------------------------"

Tee Hee!!!!!!!!

ezekiel said...

Anon,

By the way, I plan to wrap your lump of coal, I know you like to keep the bows.

I would prefer you put mine in my stocking, it is closer to the fireplace and saves on paper.:)

Bob Cleveland said...

Something else jumped out at me while pondering this, this week:

When the two Mary's went to the tomb to anoint Jesus, and found it empty, the Angel said "do not be afraid" to them. He did NOT say it to the guards. I know it says that they were terrified, and became as dead men; I don't think that means they were unconscious, as they did go "..into the city and reported to the chief priests everything that had happened."

So I have to wonder why the Angel would not have told them not to be afraid, too.... except for the simple thought that God made that choice.

Thy Peace said...

Matthew 28:1-10 (New International Version)
The Resurrection

1After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to look at the tomb.
2There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow. 4The guards were so afraid of him that they shook and became like dead men.

5The angel said to the women, "Do not be afraid, for I know that you are looking for Jesus, who was crucified. 6He is not here; he has risen, just as he said. Come and see the place where he lay. 7Then go quickly and tell his disciples: 'He has risen from the dead and is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him.' Now I have told you."

8So the women hurried away from the tomb, afraid yet filled with joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9Suddenly Jesus met them. "Greetings," he said. They came to him, clasped his feet and worshiped him. 10Then Jesus said to them, "Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me."

ezekiel said...

Bob,

The way it reads to me is that the time of the gentiles hadn't started yet.

Act 13:46 And Paul and Barnabas spoke out plainly and boldly, saying, It was necessary that God's message [concerning salvation through Christ] should be spoken to you first. But since you thrust it from you, you pass this judgment on yourselves that you are unworthy of eternal life and out of your own mouth you will be judged. [Now] behold, we turn to the Gentiles (the heathen).

The offer to the guards would have been later by preaching.

Rom 10:9 Because if you acknowledge and confess with your lips that Jesus is Lord and in your heart believe (adhere to, trust in, and rely on the truth) that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.
Rom 10:10 For with the heart a person believes (adheres to, trusts in, and relies on Christ) and so is justified (declared righteous, acceptable to God), and with the mouth he confesses (declares openly and speaks out freely his faith) and confirms [his] salvation.
Rom 10:11 The Scripture says, No man who believes in Him [who adheres to, relies on, and trusts in Him] will [ever] be put to shame or be disappointed. [Ps. 34:22; Isa. 28:16; 49:23; Jer. 17:7.]
Rom 10:12 [No one] for there is no distinction between Jew and Greek. The same Lord is Lord over all [of us] and He generously bestows His riches upon all who call upon Him [in faith].
Rom 10:13 For everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord [invoking Him as Lord] will be saved. [Joel 2:32.]
Rom 10:14 But how are people to call upon Him Whom they have not believed [in Whom they have no faith, on Whom they have no reliance]? And how are they to believe in Him [adhere to, trust in, and rely upon Him] of Whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without a preacher?
Rom 10:15 And how can men [be expected to] preach unless they are sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of those who bring glad tidings! [How welcome is the coming of those who preach the good news of His good things!] [Isa. 52:7.]
Rom 10:16 But they have not all heeded the Gospel; for Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed (had faith in) what he has heard from us? [Isa. 53:1.]
Rom 10:17 So faith comes by hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the preaching [of the message that came from the lips] of Christ (the Messiah Himself).

God did make that choice. The choice to preach the gospel to the Jews first. Then the guards....

Bob Cleveland said...

Ezekiel,

Indeed, which demonstrates that God has always been a choosing God.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,
After reading this comment, you can see why I wrote “No” eleven times on your comment to Cheryl on Fri Dec 05, 12:24 PM.

According the Chicago Statement on Inerrancy of the three accounts written about the two thieves ‘dying’ with Jesus, one part of these accounts or two of these accounts will ‘one day’ be seen as an illusion.

You chose to believe Matthew, Mark and (Luke 23:40-43), but disregarded (Luke 23:39) which says in the Holman:

Verse 39: “Then ONE of the criminals hanging there began to yell insults at Him: ‘Aren’t You the Messiah? Save Yourself and us!’”

Verse 40: “But the other answered, rebuking him: ‘Don’t you even fear God, since you are undergoing the same punishment? We are punished justly, because we’re getting back what we deserve for the things we did, but this man has done nothing wrong.’”

Verse 41: “Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!’”

Verse 42: “And He said to him, ‘I assure you: Today you will be with Me in paradise.’”

Was it possible one thief believed in Jesus and his Kingdom BEFORE Calvary? I think it takes a ‘Cocksure attitude’ to argue he didn’t.

Wade, how do you automatically condemn the insulting thief to hell? I thought a person could change their mind and heart as long as they were alive. How do you know he didn’t change his? Did he not have the opportunity to repent and change his as others did?

“When the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they were terrified and said, ‘This man really was God’s Son!’” (Matthew 27:54)

“When the centurion, who was standing opposite Him, saw the way He breathed His last, he said, ‘This man really was God’s Son!” (Mark 15:39)

Seeing a man die sometimes portrays him better than seeing him alive.

Seeing the darkness, feeling the earthquake, and hearing Jesus dismissed his spirit, I’m sure would make anyone realize Jesus was no ordinary man.

This ‘lost’ thief may have believed Jesus was the Messiah and joined the other thief in paradise, and Calvin didn’t have a thing to do with it.

Anonymous said...

All great points but I keep thinking most importantly to the centrality of the cross to explain this. For example, atonement is limited to those who accept what Christ did on the cross. God loved all the world and died for all the world. The element of faith is about trust of God not necessarily in a belief of His existence. Romans 1 explains how those who continue to refuse to recognize the light they see of Him in His creation, He gives them over to further depravity. Total depravity is not entirely a correct construct in light of that passage. It is still in the grip of sin but I see that natural man at times trying to be set free from it. For example, if you look at the four nobel truths in Buddhism there is a recognition of sin.

Anonymous said...

Ever notice that Paul warns the Phillipians that there are those who live as enemies of the cross

Rex Ray said...

P.S.
People are judged by the company they keep. The person driving the ‘get-away car’ is as guilty as his buddy killing someone. “Birds of a feather flock together.”

If only one thief insulted Jesus, Matthew and Mark may have grouped the other thief with him. Maybe if they had told ‘the rest of the story’, they would have been more detailed.

ezekiel said...

Bob,

Yes, and it started way back when.

Deu 4:37 And because He loved your fathers, He chose their descendants after them, and brought you out from Egypt with His own Presence, by His mighty power,

Eze 20:5 And say to them, Thus says the Lord God: In the day when I chose Israel and lifted up My hand and swore to the offspring of the house of Jacob and made Myself known to them in the land of Egypt, when I lifted up My hand and swore to them, saying, I am the Lord your God, ff...


But then, He isn't the only one choosing either, Is He?

Isa 66:4 So I also will choose their delusions and mockings, their calamities and afflictions, and I will bring their fears upon them--because when I called, no one answered; when I spoke, they did not listen or obey. But they did what was evil in My sight and chose that in which I did not delight.

Praise be to God that His choices endure!

Eph 1:4 Even as [in His love] He chose us [actually picked us out for Himself as His own] in Christ before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy (consecrated and set apart for Him) and blameless in His sight, even above reproach, before Him in love.

ezekiel said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
debbiekaufman said...

Anonymous: The difference between Buddhism and Christianity however is that man cannot on his own power free himself from sin, Buddhism for example has a person doing more and more, where Christ is the only One who can free us. It's his righteousness we draw on, not ours, which we have none. All religions have a list of things we must do to be right with God or the gods. The Bible says there is no one righteous not one. Romans 3, I think. This is where I believe Total Depravity to be correct.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for interacting Cheryl. I too appreciate your spirit of NON calvinism as opposed to ANTI calvinism.

I didn't mean to mock your observations you were making with Wade. I am glad you laughed instead of getting angry though. Thank you.

I was simply trying to draw out that from what you are saying you must believe that the sole work of the cross was sufficient for all but efficient for none. In theory, Christ could have died for all, but no one would have received that sacrifice therefore making it ineffective.

Now we both know that this is not the case. PTL! But did God just get lucky as some did believe (not mocking here, I mean that sincerely), or did He have a purpose in mind with His work at the cross that would not fail...in spite of man, not because of man.

I know you disagree with my conclusion but that is what I hear you saying. Sufficient, but not efficient.

I will leave it at that and let you have the last word if you desire.

I really appreciate the interaction on a respectful level. Even when I feel secure in my position holding to the biblical view of an issue, I always learn something when I interact with those with a different view if it is done respectfully. Thanks again.

SL1M

WatchingHISstory said...

Wade
what is your position on original sin? Do we as Protestant Christians understand it? I believe that the reformers understood it and never departed from the Augustinian view. We on the other hand have reverted back to a semipelagian view for the most part. We will not admit the effect thay Pelagius has on us.

The Catholic opposition to Pelagius' teachings were articulated by Augustine in the fifth century and again in the sixteenth century they opposed a supposed renewal of Pelagianism in the prostestant reformers. They believed that Pelagius reduced the influence of Adam's sin to bad example. They acknowledged that the reformers recognized a transmission of influence upon Adam's descendants but there was no "death of the soul." They saw this shift as a threat to "orthodoxy" of the original teaching of scripture and so they opposed the threat of Pelagianism in organized councils.

Perhaps they were not just reacting to the specific writings of the reformed scholars but the overall observation of the people. They saw in this a threat to the importance they place on the salvation of infants. (and by my thinking all who are incapable of being able to decide for themselves.)

They were wrong about Luther but maybe they were right about the overall population and they saw where this would lead, the very situation we have in America today.
I'll bet that the scholars in the Vatican are very amused at our theology. We critize them and their popery and romanism but they have a side to tell as well.

The fall of Adam was the "sin of the world" Jn 1:29 and it gave the devil the power of death.
We are doomed to deadly destruction by our own hands, not the worst of us but the best of us, ie Rogers. He sits and watches the destruction of all he thought was good and weeps bitterly.
We have not yet seen the evil that will erupt when God finally lifs his hands off the world. There is no goodness in man only a mercy in God grace.

Do we have the courage to wake up and face this Pelagianism that is
destroying our churches? I doubt it, myself.

Perhaps it is not a battle between Calvin amd Arminius that really threatens but the battle between Augustine and Pelagius.

Bob Cleveland said...

Ezekiel ... yup, which is kinda like "always"......

Wade Burleson said...

WatchingHisstsory,

I've never heard it put any better.

I wholeheartedly agree with you, and A.W. Pink, a friend of my grandfather, was the first one I ever read that said something similar to what you have articulated.

It is very, very difficult for sinners to realize they are judged for Adam's one sin, but until you understand you can be condemned by the act of one man you will never be able to comprehend you are saved by the obedience of the last Man.

Wade Burleson said...

Rex,

I realize you wish me to say that there are various and different accounts of the thieves in Scripture. I believe that the accounts all represent the same truth, and there is no error or discrepancy in the gospels.

Wade Burleson said...

L,

I saw your question about the patriarchs and their ability to obey. You make a good point. I'm reminded of John the Baptist who was "quickened by the Spirit" in the womb of his mother, and Samuel, who as a young child said "Here am I."

Could it be that the Spirit of God can do His work of regeneneration at various times in His people? Could it be that some are quickened at a very young age, while others only well into adulthood?

You are asking great questions.

ezekiel said...

Why is it so easy to see original sin, it's effects (death to all men) and how it entered into the world but then be unable to see how the atonement of Christ then was for all men.


1Co 15:22ff For just as [because of their union of nature] in Adam all people die, so also [by virtue of their union of nature] shall all in Christ be made alive.

Rom 5:13 [To be sure] sin was in the world before ever the Law was given, but sin is not charged to men's account where there is no law [to transgress].
Rom 5:14 Yet death held sway from Adam to Moses [the Lawgiver], even over those who did not themselves transgress [a positive command] as Adam did. Adam was a type (prefigure) of the One Who was to come [in reverse, the former destructive, the Latter saving]. [Gen. 5:5; 7:22; Deut. 34:5.]
Rom 5:15 But God's free gift is not at all to be compared to the trespass [His grace is out of all proportion to the fall of man]. For if many died through one man's falling away (his lapse, his offense), much more profusely did God's grace and the free gift [that comes] through the undeserved favor of the one Man Jesus Christ abound and overflow to and for [the benefit of] many.
Rom 5:16 Nor is the free gift at all to be compared to the effect of that one [man's] sin. For the sentence [following the trespass] of one [man] brought condemnation, whereas the free gift [following] many transgressions brings justification (an act of righteousness).
Rom 5:17 For if because of one man's trespass (lapse, offense) death reigned through that one, much more surely will those who receive [God's] overflowing grace (unmerited favor) and the free gift of righteousness [putting them into right standing with Himself] reign as kings in life through the one Man Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).
Rom 5:18 Well then, as one man's trespass [one man's false step and falling away led] to condemnation for all men, so one Man's act of righteousness [leads] to acquittal and right standing with God and life for all men.

Put another way, how can we make the argument that Christ's death on the cross fulfilled the law for some...but not all.

Rom 10:4 For Christ is the end of the Law [the limit at which it ceases to be, for the Law leads up to Him Who is the fulfillment of its types, and in Him the purpose which it was designed to accomplish is fulfilled. That is, the purpose of the Law is fulfilled in Him] as the means of righteousness (right relationship to God) for everyone who trusts in and adheres to and relies on Him.

ezekiel said...

Rom 6:14 For sin shall not [any longer] exert dominion over you, since now you are not under Law [as slaves], but under grace [as subjects of God's favor and mercy].
Rom 6:15 What then [are we to conclude]? Shall we sin because we live not under Law but under God's favor and mercy? Certainly not!

This is where we usually see lots of comments regarding different types of grace, extended differently to different people. This I believe is an attempt to understand why some believe and are save and some don't and are lost.

But if we go at it from a point of view that Christ fulfilled the law for all men, that He atoned for the sins of all men and that all men are without excuse (Isaiah 40:21, Rom 1:20)then the reason for some being lost is pretty simple.


The reason people die in sin is because they spurned the grace of God. Not any particular type, simple THE GRACE OF GOD.

Heb 10:16 This is the agreement (testament, covenant) that I will set up and conclude with them after those days, says the Lord: I will imprint My laws upon their hearts, and I will inscribe them on their minds (on their inmost thoughts and understanding),
Heb 10:17 He then goes on to say, And their sins and their lawbreaking I will remember no more. [Jer. 31:33, 34.]
Heb 10:18 Now where there is absolute remission (forgiveness and cancellation of the penalty) of these [sins and lawbreaking], there is no longer any offering made to atone for sin.
Heb 10:19 Therefore, brethren, since we have full freedom and confidence to enter into the [Holy of] Holies [by the power and virtue] in the blood of Jesus,
Heb 10:20 By this fresh (new) and living way which He initiated and dedicated and opened for us through the separating curtain (veil of the Holy of Holies), that is, through His flesh,
Heb 10:21 And since we have [such] a great and wonderful and noble Priest [Who rules] over the house of God,
Heb 10:22 Let us all come forward and draw near with true (honest and sincere) hearts in unqualified assurance and absolute conviction engendered by faith (by that leaning of the entire human personality on God in absolute trust and confidence in His power, wisdom, and goodness), having our hearts sprinkled and purified from a guilty (evil) conscience and our bodies cleansed with pure water.
Heb 10:23 So let us seize and hold fast and retain without wavering the hope we cherish and confess and our acknowledgement of it, for He Who promised is reliable (sure) and faithful to His word.
Heb 10:24 And let us consider and give attentive, continuous care to watching over one another, studying how we may stir up (stimulate and incite) to love and helpful deeds and noble activities,
Heb 10:25 Not forsaking or neglecting to assemble together [as believers], as is the habit of some people, but admonishing (warning, urging, and encouraging) one another, and all the more faithfully as you see the day approaching.
Heb 10:26 For if we go on deliberately and willingly sinning after once acquiring the knowledge of the Truth, there is no longer any sacrifice left to atone for [our] sins [no further offering to which to look forward].
Heb 10:27 [There is nothing left for us then] but a kind of awful and fearful prospect and expectation of divine judgment and the fury of burning wrath and indignation which will consume those who put themselves in opposition [to God]
. [Isa. 26:11.]
Heb 10:28 Any person who has violated and [thus] rejected and set at naught the Law of Moses is put to death without pity or mercy on the evidence of two or three witnesses. [Deut. 17:2-6.]
Heb 10:29 How much worse (sterner and heavier) punishment do you suppose he will be judged to deserve who has spurned and [thus] trampled underfoot the Son of God, and who has considered the covenant blood by which he was consecrated common and unhallowed, thus profaning it and insulting and outraging the [Holy] Spirit [Who imparts] grace (the unmerited favor and blessing of God)? [Exod. 24:8.]
Heb 10:30 For we know Him Who said, Vengeance is Mine [retribution and the meting out of full justice rest with Me]; I will repay [I will exact the compensation], says the Lord. And again, The Lord will judge and determine and solve and settle the cause and the cases of His people. [Deut. 32:35, 36.]
Heb 10:31 It is a fearful (formidable and terrible) thing to incur the divine penalties and be cast into the hands of the living God!

If we go at it from the standpoint that the atonement was for all, the unmerited grace of God was extended to all gentiles and some are destined to spurn His Grace, Some are indeed made vessels of wrath....then it all starts fitting together.

This makes Peter's statement of "repent and be baptised" make sense. Repent from the same type of
rebellion that Israel committed over and over.

Baptists long have a history of asking the same question Elijah did. How long are you going to halt between two opinions. In this spirit, John the Baptist came preaching the same message Elijah did....REPENT. The same message that Christ preached.

Mat 17:10 The disciples asked Him, Then why do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?
Mat 17:11 He replied, Elijah does come and will get everything restored and ready.
Mat 17:12 But I tell you that Elijah has come already, and they did not know or recognize him, but did to him as they liked. So also the Son of Man is going to be treated and suffer at their hands.
Mat 17:13 Then the disciples understood that He spoke to them about John the Baptist. [Mal. 4:5.]

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous,

It is sometimes the 'imperfections' of others that impel us to seek to respond to them in ways that are more compassionate, if we are followers of Christ.

How do we respond to someone who does not measure up to our expectations for what ever reason.?

Our expectations of each other can be so great and so overwhelming, especially for those in trouble who need our understanding and our care instead. It is often better to pray for that in another which we may not understand. God will find a way to make things better.

Rejection of a person who is ill is easy to do, but it is not the only way. Pray about it and you will find a better way. L's

Cheryl Schatz said...

SL1M,

You said: "But did God just get lucky as some did believe (not mocking here, I mean that sincerely), or did He have a purpose in mind with His work at the cross that would not fail...in spite of man, not because of man."

God is the potter. He has chosen to create people for different purposes by his own Sovereign plan. Some he created would respond to the work of the Holy Spirit on their hearts by choosing to fear God.

In response to Rex regarding the different accounts of what happened when Jesus was crucified: I believe that all scripture is inspired of God. I believe that God inspired his Word differently through different vessels, yet all of it is without error in the original autographs. If we start with the worldview that God didn't make a mistake, then we have an opportunity to work hard to understand the verses that seem to be contradictions and God's word will be tested in the end as truth.

As I have researched into the gospels, I found that one author or another will highlight an aspect of the story and sometimes the author will ignore things that aren't as important to him. This allows God to be the author of the scriptures yet he uses different personalities so that the Word is truth, yet comes with different flavors and different perspectives. One of my favorite authors is Matthew. Matthew is all over the map as far as putting his story in an ordered time line. One cannot go by Matthew's account and follow through from one event after another, because this isn't Matthew's "style". He jumps back and forth from one event to another without regard to an orderly time line. I see Matthew as a bit of a space cadet, and I can relate to that. Yet Matthew brings out some details that others do not focus on and I really love Matthew for that. For example Matthew is the only one who gives the details of the rocks splitting and the veil being torn in two from top to bottom at Jesus' death. Some of the material in the account of Jesus' death I have successfully used with the JW's and sharing the gospel with them. Also Matthew brings out the detail about two demon possessed men even though only one of them was healed. I believe it is Luke's account focuses only on the one who got healed without even mentioning there was another demoniac. However Matthew who appears to specialize in details, accounts for both men. This detail has also been a great help to me.

I know that some do not see the scriptures as completely inspired even regarding the inspired words and the inspired grammar, but my confidence in the scriptures has allowed me to pay attention to some details that others miss. I consider myself a "Matthew" type. I am a space cadet in some areas, all over the map and not always very focused, but I am one who pays attention to the details. I praise God that he creates people that are different and in his own Sovereign plan he uses even "Matthew" types for his own good pleasure and for his own praise and honor.

Wade Burleson said...

Anonymous,

Honestly, I am more concerned about you right now than anybody. Your comment is deleted.

Wade Burleson said...

L,

Very nicely stated. Blessings,

Wade

Anonymous said...

Dear Wade,

I have been on the receiving end of comments from people myself, as the parent of a child with Down's Syndrome. I can understand what it feels like to be rejected by those who don't understand. I learned to forgive, first. And then, it was easy to try to help them to understand. God is good. He knows what He's doing. L's



You wrote,

"Could it be that the Spirit of God can do His work of regeneneration at various times in His people?

Could it be that some are quickened at a very young age, while others only well into adulthood?"

I think that the answers to your questions are YES, and YES, and YES again.

The Hebraic tradition has many ways of speaking of God. Among them, God is called the 'Breath of Life'. And when Jews breath and think of God in this way, they are praying without speaking.

I like to think of the Holy Spirit as the 'Breath of Life' and that God wills each beat of our hearts and each breath we take. In this way, we truly have our being in Him.

As for His Inspiration, we are given the ability to respond to others in ways that go so far beyond our own wisdom and our own strength. I often think of the Holy Book and the words of the prophet Isaiah in Chapter 40:

'He giveth power to the faint, and to them that have no might, He increaseth strength'

'and they that wait upong the Lord shall renew their strength . . '

REGENERATION: 'Come Holy Spirit'
and 'thou shalt renew the face of the Earth'. Amen.

Peaceful Sabbath is near.
Enjoy a well-earned rest.
Even shepherds must rest. L's

Anonymous said...

L's,

Your comments are always filled with grace, you ask interesting questions, and I have enjoyed reading what you have to say, but with all due respect, you have no idea who you're dealing with in "WatchingHISstory." As I warned Wade, do not play with fire.


Wade wrote:

"Honestly, I am more concerned about you right now than anybody. Your comment is deleted."

Why? Because I dared to warn you about a mentally unstable man whose only goals seem to be to destroy the reputation of Dr. Adrian Rogers (who was no closer to perfect than any of us) and his family and to cause further pain and embarrassment to a victim of childhood sexual abuse? Amazing! You've been repeatedly warned both privately and publicly. You yourself described Charles Page as a "bizarre man." He says he sees invisible black snakes and that he hears (and speaks in) angry, growling voices, and that he had a "vision" of Dr. Rogers in heaven (or some holding place akin to "purgatory," depending on which version of the story he tells) sitting in a chair (that God shoved underneath him) "watching his beloved Bellevue crumble." This must surely be the meaning of his chosen screen name - "Watching HIS story."

If knowing those things and after reading all the garbage he's written and all the profanity-laced comments of his that you've had to delete (which he says the Holy Spirit tells him to write), if after all that you're still more concerned about the people warning you than about what Mr. History is doing, then sadly you're no different than all the other men in the SBC who have covered up wrongdoing. I understand that's the rule now though. If you don't like the message, vilify the messenger.

I bid you farewell, Wade. Just remember this little conversation when Mr. History reaches the top of the roller coaster and drops the f-bomb on your blog again.

With that, I am...

Irrelevant (which is what people like me are to you). If you delete this I will repost it, just as your new "friend" Mr. History would do. Otherwise I will bother you no more.

oc said...

L's,
bless your sweet heart. But many have tried for two years to help. This person refuses any counseling. His arrogance is beyond bounds.


Wade,

you are worried about anon's posting? Are you ignoring the "F" bombs posted by WatchingHistory" and the beating of a dead preacher which he posted on this blog which you yourself deleted and I guess ignored?

And now you praise him and spank anon?

I'll guarantee you this much Wade. There are big numbers of Christians who have dealt with this person and who can attest to the perversion and evil of the one you now praise. Many of us have prayed for him and begged him to get help. We know his patterns, yet you decide that "anon" is the one who needs help. Yet you have no idea. Since you see the need to aocomodate this person's sin instead of calling it what it is, at least send a message of apology for your lack of discernment to Adrian Rogers widow for you being weak, and to any sexually abused victim for befriending one who hurts them further beyond reason. They deserve an explanation of why you praise him so. You have been told privately, and then when that didn't work, publicly. You wouldn't listen. You sow the wind... and the whirlwind was coming. Remember that we tried to tell you.

oc.

oc said...

PS. You negated any progress towards this person's repentence and sactification by jumping to your own judgment without studying the history of the situation.

You didn't check out his blog, did you?

WatchingHISstory said...

Jon said (Thu Dec 04, 09:47:00 AM 2008)
"Not trying to debate the baby issue but let me ask a question that my simple mind raises...

If babies which die go to heaven, would not the support of abortion be the greatest way of assuring a child conceived and then aborted would spend eternity in heaven?

This is 100% assurance of their eternity. To support their being born drops the chances greatly."

Wade caught this statement and posted: (one hour and fifteen minutes later) "Not one time have I ever opposed abortion because I believe the aborted infant goes to hell.
I oppose abortion for a multitude of other reasons - including the very real possibility that the mother who aborts her baby is the one on her way to hell unless God intervenes in her life. Thu Dec 04, 11:01:00 AM 2008

I read this astonishing statement and mistakenly thought that Anon wrote it. Anon is a very angry person and when I set him off he goes off saying things he must surely know he shouldn't say. Foolishly he leaves himself open for my amusement.

I never responded knowing it would just be more confrontation and Wade had corrected me for abrasive behavior.

As my practice has been the last year or so I go to work and discuss my theology with my co-workers. So I ask several today about this issue. Just the word "abortion" brings up replusion from seemingly hardened
urbanites! Infact the discussion became so intense that we had to stop because the boss was watching. After the boss left the young man came back to finish the conversation.

I repeated the comment to him still thinking that anon stated it. He couldn't believe it and again went into a rant against abortion. He is unmarried and has a child out of wedlock.

He said, "When I hear someone say something that stupid I refuse to even talk to them." "You should be careful who you are talking to on the internet", he warned me!!!

Imagine my surprise when I came home and went to Wade's blog to reread this statement and find it was not anon but Jon Estes! An SBC pastor!

This could be a good illustration of what happens when a man has abandonded orthodoxy and embraced semi-pelagianism, even though he
adds the disclaimer, "* an anti-abortion, pro-life pastor who believes ALL have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God."

He says his simple mind has raised this question.

No, Jon a simple mind would reject such a thought let alone tolerate, ponder and send the message to be typed to a blog and read by thousands.

Your thinking is the kind offered by atheistic professors teaching ethics and approving genocide. It is the elitist thinking and not the simple thinking of common men.

You need to do a real assestment of your theology and do some corrections. You have called on me to repent in the past now it is time for you to repent.

Rethink what the Bible has to say about Children. Children hold first place in the kingdom and adults attempt to keep up!

WatchingHISstory said...

wade
here are the posts that anon and oc wants you to read. This situation which comes from supernaturally revealed knowledge from God is growing in clarity. I have always said that I am attacking AR's theology and methodology and not his personhood.

My abrasive and crude language stems from the lack of many here in memphis to the tragic seriousness of this criminal sin.
it is a "moral failure" and it should be best left alone and silent. It is a lone battle and noone wants to "wade" in!!!


http://watchinghidtory.blogspot.com/2008/10/there-is-snake-on-path.html

http://watchinghidtory.blogspot.com/2008/11/suggested-response-by-bellevue-baptist.html

http://watchinghidtory.blogspot.com/2008/10/kicking-up-golddust.html

Anonymous said...

Wade,

I must agree with Anon 7:23 and oc, and I hope you will take their words to heart.

WHS said, "I have always said that I am attacking AR's theology and methodology and not his personhood."

It sounds very personal to me, but you can judge for yourself.

WHS said, "Is Adrian Rogers' gospel a part of the Antichrist's end time scheme?
He was a factor in the conservative resurgence. He played a major role. Could he have been a puppet for Satan to draw a denomination away from what it once believed? What the SBC once believed was not compatible with end time schemes. Rogers' stance on the Bibles as the Word of God was apparently compatible with the Antichrist's scheme."

"Rogers' "come to Jesus" theology was music in Satan's ears. He was lured and wooed toward a dysfunctional trinity and a unitarian appeal. Of course the untrained followers were lured by Rogers' boisterous support of the inspiration of Scripture. "If you have the word for a thing you have the thing itself." If you have God's Word then naturally you have His gospel formula. Satan didn't buy that mantra, though everyone else did!"

WHS said, "When Joyce Rogers demanded that her pastor publicly disavow any part her husband played in the debacle of Paul Williams the ugly head of Pelagianism was manifested. She demonstrated the "Pelagian Captivity" that held her husband to a false gospel."

"In the middle of this mess he has a silly widow asking to be excluded!"

"Joyce Rogers fled in shame to other churches. She is now a church hopper. Any pastor who preaches to her must preach anti-Calvinism or she will flee again. That is the way they do it."

"She is Adrian Rogers widow. She controls the reins of the SBC and they must comply. She would make a good SBC president!"

WHS said, "Perhaps as Dr Rogers sits in his chair watching the crumbling of "his" Bellevue and the rising of another Bellevue his greatest disappointment is the departure of his own family from the Church. Yes, his own wife has become the very thing every pastor despises, a "Church hopper"."

Grace

oc said...

I thought we were to help widows, not beat them up and try to disgrace them. I hope it makes you feel holy and graceful.

Still praying for the help you need.

oc.

Rex Ray said...

Wade,
Thanks for replying. I thought for a while you were going to pull a ‘Patterson’ in that his usual answer is silence.

Do you agree that (Luke 23:39-41) gives more detail of what the thieves said at Calvary?

“Then ONE of the criminals hanging there began to yell insults at Him: ‘Aren’t You the Messiah? Save Yourself and us!’ But the other answered, rebuking him: ‘Don’t you even fear God, since you are undergoing the same punishment? We are punished justly, because we’re getting back what we deserve for the things we did, but this man has done nothing wrong.’ Then he said, ‘Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom!’”

The disciples thought all was lost. Peter gave up; he said, “I go fishing”, but here’s a thief that believes Jesus is the Messiah and is going to HIS kingdom in heaven. WOW!
Now that’s faith. He had what Jesus had tried to pound into the heads of his disciples for years.

In the first place, I consider you a friend and shout hurray for your standing for truth.
Once, I was chastised by you for me saying you were my hero, and you were correct.
I remember a long time ago how much it hurt when you told a guy you thought he would be happier if moderates got their own convention.
In my opinion, our convention was stolen by Pharisees.

Here are your statements that I wrote ‘No’:

1. “I don’t think the thief who died railing against Jesus…”
[When his legs were broken, the Bible does not record his last words.]

2. “The thief who died on the cross in his sins had the SAME message given to him conveyed to him that the thief who trusted and believed in Christ had given to him.”
[How do you know the thief who trusted was not among the 5,000 fed by Jesus or many other events and preaching by Jesus?]

3. Both thieves began their death process reviling Jesus.
[Luke says only one.]

4. “They were both free, rational moral agents who hated God, and according to the text, Jesus Christ too…both railed against Jesus.”
[Luke says only one.]

5. “They both began the death process reviling and condemning Him.”
[Luke says only one.]

6. “Then, miraculously, One thief changed.”
[He didn’t change in Luke.]

7. “One thief stopped reviling Christ.”
[Luke said he never started.]

8. “The other thief continued reviling Christ.”
[Where is that verse? It’s not recorded after he was rebuked that he continued reviling Christ.]

9. “One thief called to Christ, the other thief continued loving himself more than God.”
[After one thief called to Christ, nothing else is recorded of the other thief.]

10. “The other thief died in his sins.”
[Where is that verse except in your thinking?]

11. “Neither thief would have ever believed…but God made a difference in one of the thieves and by His grace, brought to that thief the gift of redemption, regeneration and eventual restoration.”
[Yes, God provided John 3:16 that I believe one thief accepted before Calvary.]

Wade, are you saying God ‘zaps’ some people into heaven? If you are, you need some other Scripture to prove it besides the two thieves.

Now, I’m afraid you’ll pull a ‘Patterson’.

oc said...

"This situation which comes from supernaturally revealed knowledge from God is growing in clarity."

What does "calvinism" say about that?

Note that this comes from a man who had a "vision" which was devined from a dog named Roscoe.

WatchingHISstory said...

oc says: "Note that this comes from a man who had a "vision" which was devined from a dog named Roscoe."

When I was growing up in a Pentecostal church, a statement like this would have been blasphemy. Atributing to a dog the work of the Holy Spirit. I grew up in a church that respected the work of the Holy Spirit. Unfortunately oc has grown up in a church that respects the inspired preacher. The words of the pastor "excathedra" from the pulpit is all he knows about the Holy Spirit. Now when he sits in church he listens to his pastor who demands that oc be attentative to what he is saying. OC believes that he is hearing from the Lord.

When I went to Church the 'uneducated' pastor preached a sermon designed to exhort one another to good works. We were individually encouraged to participate in a free flow of the Spirit inorder to edify, comfort and exhort the body. It was not pastor centered but body centered.

Naturally from my own experience I know first hand what can happen when you have that in abundance. You have confusion and chaos. There had to be someone with the authority and experience to say "now honey, that was not of the Lord." That had to be said so gently, lest you destroy the spirit of the believer.

In that church an outsider would say you people are crazy and we heard it quite often. But we knew the moving of the Spirit was a beautiful symphony of thrilled worshippers.

When oc goes to church he is thrilled at the solo performance by his pastor. Fot the most part he has been entertained with a personal interpretation of a particular passage of scripture.
Occasionally he derives a certain feeling of being instructed.

But believe you me the combined solo artist does not bring about a symphony with a director but a indistinct sound of many instruments being tuned. None of these pastors are intune with the other. This leaves me to believe that there is not a common director leading the body!

These blogs with multiple participants show the lack of a central personality providing the leadership. We have a flurry of ideals and thoughts but we lack the supernatural element of revelation comming from a single source.

In my opinion the shallowest of participants is Ezekial He demonstrates what AW Tozer accused us of, "we have a word for a thing but not the thing itself!"

This fault I lay at the feet of Adrian Rogers. He exalts what Ezekial does day after day. You cannot cut and paste the word of God and then not interpret the meaning. Anybody can cut and paste but it takes a Spirit Filled person to give the interpretation.
That doesn't come from a SBC seminary but from the Holy Spirit.

I saw a snake in the path, my dog didn't take notice of it. He smells better than he sees and a snake smells nasty to an animal. I warned people on the path. There is a snake! No one saw though they were mere inches from it. He had his ugly head raised and he was watching me. I made eye contact with that snake. It was real. There is no way in the world I can convince you of that.

So I am saying I have heard from God about Adrian Rogers and Bellevue Baptist and this is indicative of judgment that is comming on American Christianity.

Friend, it is not a pretty picture.

Anonymous said...

Cheryl, you said, "God is the potter. He has chosen to create people for different purposes by his own Sovereign plan. Some he created would respond to the work of the Holy Spirit on their hearts by choosing to fear God."

Cheryl, the more we interacted the closer we get to agreeing. I understand your position and I think your quote above is a great way to finish our discussion. Thanks so much.

SL1M

Anonymous said...

THOUGHTS ON A SUNDAY MORNING:

'what is man, that Thou are mindful of him?'

From this, we learn that humans, are considered by their Creator.
That means we are important to Him.

We cannot control everything that happens to us.

Some people are unable to meet our behavioral expectations because of problems that may not be under their control. Because of their vulnerability, they are often at the mercy of others and at the mercy of us 'Christians'.

We cannot control what another does or says. But we can decide how we will respond to that person.
This includes our reactions to them AND our actions towards them.

1. What is important to you when
you RE-act toward another?

2. Can you shape your RE-action
in a way that does not harm
someone already in trouble?

3. How does your Christian faith
inform you of ways to RE-act,
in a Christ-like manner,
in cases where your 'human'
reaction might be negative
and unproductive or even
harmful to a vulnerable person?

4. Are there Christian guidelines
for the treatment of
those who present behaviors
are not under their
control? From the words
and actions of Jesus Himself,
what can we learn? Who are
the 'lepers' in your world?
The 'lepers' in your path?


'what is man, that Thou art mindful of him?'

Perhaps He watches to see how we treat the vulnerable.
Perhaps He watches this most closely of all.
Are we commanded to care for one another in His Name?

"And who is my neighbor? "

And what is my Christian response-ability to this neighbor?

Does obedience to Christ command
our compassion towards the suffering among us?
Do we abandon Him when we abandon His? Or do we follow another Way?


THOUGHTS ON A SUNDAY MORNING

Anonymous said...

oc

tell our neighbors the truth. You have a responsiblility to say it.

Stephen Pruett said...

The word choose is common in the Bible, and in many cases it is an imperative directed and a particular person or group (e.g., choose this day who you will serve). In some cases this choice we are told to make is a choice to follow God or not. If human beings have no role in this choosing, such statements would be nonsensical. You may as well say choose to grow a foot taller.

Human choice with regard to salvation does absolutely nothing to diminish or deny the sovereignty of God. On the contrary, because God is sovereign, He can give us the freedom to choose or reject him, if He wants to do so. This also does not diminish the power of the Holy Spirit. The New Testament teaches that the Holy Spirit convicts us and directs us toward God. Could we get to God without the Holy Spirit? I don't think so. We wouldn't even realize we had a need for Him. Can we reject the prompting of the Holy Spirit and choose to live without God? I believe we can and that this is consistent with scripture.

I also believe there is at least some merit and some scriptural support for all of the 5 points. I believe there are alternative interpretations that are just as defensible, so this is clearly an issue about which we should not even consider dividing.

Although I admit I could be wrong, I prefer an alternate view. I understand that God is not obliged to offer grace to anyone. However, it seems so contrary to His character as indicated throughout scripture for God to provide salvation to some but not to others that I have trouble reconciling some of the 5 points. The Old Testament repeatedly refers to conditional promises of God in which God's blessings result from our behavior and His salvation results from our faith. Behavior is a matter of choice, and I do not see faith treated any differently in scripture (choose this day...). I prefer the idea that we are fallen but the Holy Spirit calls us powerfully so that we all have an opportunity for salvation.

Who gets the credit if we choose to accept? It cannot be us, because we would not have even sensed a need for this choice without the prompting of the Holy Spirit. However, I am only an amateur theologian and biblical scholar, unlike many who post here, who are professionals. Even so, I can look to history and determine easily that this question has been disputed for hundreds of years (thousands maybe?) and each side of this issue can claim an amazing array of Christian thinkers and spiritual giants who support(ed) their view. This suggests to me that scripture is not entirely clear on this and that this is intended to be one of those mysteries that we understand now only in part. If there one side or the other was actually clearly favored in scripture, wouldn't one side have convinced the other by now? Wouldn't there be general agreement among most Christians as is the case for salvation by faith in Christ alone by grace alone? Although I have my preference as already stated, I am content to accept that this is an issue about which a different interpretation is possible.

Anonymous said...

The meaning of the word truth extends from honesty, good faith, and sincerity in general, to agreement with fact or reality in particular.[1] The term has no single definition about which a majority of professional philosophers and scholars agree, and various theories of truth continue to be debated. There are differing claims on such questions as what constitutes truth; how to define and identify truth; the roles that revealed and acquired knowledge play; and whether truth is subjective, relative, objective, or absolute.

oc said...

"oc

tell our neighbors the truth. You have a responsiblility to say it.

Sun Dec 07, 02:41:00 PM"


I tried doing just that right here. But the ones who I thought would be the most spiritually discerning would not even listen. I'm discouraged. I'm not so much worried about my immediate neighbors, but instead for his neighbors and those who are subject to his sick views. But what worries me most is the owner of this blog has shown no spiritual discernment concerning the subject, instead encouraging the sick in his sickness.

So I'm done trying here now.
Several have tried to warn the host both privately, and then when he would not listen; publically. We all failed. Now the sick person is going to be this blog's problem also. And this person still isn't getting any help. So now it's this blog's guilt too. I just hope you can get him to the Great Physician to get some help, help that others don't seem necessary. And yeah, that worries me too.

oc.

Anonymous said...

oc said, "I just hope you can get him to the Great Physician to get some help."

That's the idea, friend. Very powerful is the Great Physician.

People know about the troubles you speak of. Just remember: reject the sin, not the sinner.
Never reject those who are ill.
Trust Wade to know what's best.

oc said...

No, I don't trust Wade to know what's best. He's already shown himself faulty in this area. I only trust the Holy Spirit to do it.

Anonymous said...

oc said, "I only trust the Holy Spirit to do it."

Friend, you have chosen well.
The Holy Spirit can help the one you are concerned about and He can relieve you of your own worry about this situation. Read below.
The Mighty Couselor is on duty now. You may rest peacefully.


"The Holy Spirit is called "the Counselor."

John 14:26 But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

John 15:26 When the Counselor comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father, he will testify about me.

John 16:7 But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. "

Rex Ray said...

This is Pearl Harbor day. Have we forgotten?
My wife worried her 9 year-old birthday party might be cancelled in two days. She didn’t know there was a tapping for days from a sunken ship asking for help that never came.

At times we’re all like little children seeing only what we’re involved in.

Does anyone care of the small discussion of the two thieves? (Matthew 27:44 “The thieves…”KJ) and (Mark 15:32 “They that were crucified…” KJ) say ‘Plural’ while (Luke 23:39 “One of the malefactors…” KJ) says ‘Singular’.

One answer to this obvious discrepancy SHOULD be covered by Patterson Foreword to The Criswell Study Bible that says:

“(3) Harmonization of apparent discrepancies and explanations of passages thought by some to contain error are AFFORDED the reader.”

When I asked if “afforded” meant all the discrepancies, Patterson shouted to the crowd, “We got all of them!”, but in my ear he said, “We got all we could.”

So in the above discrepancy, “AFFORDED” in the Criswell Bible notes has nothing but silence.

Wade Burleson said...

oc,

I manage my blog quite nicely, thank you. People are expected to be respectful and kind, and anything vulgar will be deleted.

I do not base my relationships with people based on what others say about those people. I am happy to relate to individuals personally. I realize that you have had bad experiences for which you wish me to take up your offense. I will not do that, nor should I.

I have found that when you treat people with love and respect, most of them return the favor.

Blessings to you,

Wade

oc said...

Well, that's fine Wade. But it isn't only me. There are others who have testified, and others who will in the future. I tried, and so have many others. I tried to do the right thing, to get this individual some help, but you don't see that necessary I guess because of your more spiritually mature position. So you messed up now Mr. Burleson. Whatever he says from now on will be on your watch since you decided not to help him but instead further his sick agenda. Now whatever this individual will do from now on is on your hands.
I'm glad to be done with it. Thank you.

Wade Burleson said...

OC,

Honestly, and I say this with grace toward you, not intending to be offensive, and hope you do not take offense.

You can, at times, come across as abrasive as the person you seek to condemn.

Your post copying offensive language is deleted.

WatchingHISstory said...

oc

does the Holy Spirit provide direct healing influence today?

He guides me daily. I have sin to confess daily! That is not just a cliche to sound religious but it is a fact of my Christian life.

The Holy Spirit sets the bar and not you. You lower the bar for yourself and raise it for me!

You want to choose my mediators. You insist I have a flesh and blood physician. Why isn't the Holy Spirit enough?

Why is it that I say things about the Rogers' theology and methodoly and that is proof positive that the Holy Spirit is not with me?

Is the Rogers family responsible to the Holy Spirit? Can there be a possible discrepancy between Rogers and God?

Or answer this, is Steve Gaines subject to your same loyalty. Do your friends daily attack not just his theology (I don't recall ever reading that) and methodology but his character and his children and son-in-law. He is irreverently mocked and even his illness made fun of. If he gets a good deal on furniture he is questioned. I think that is none of your business.

Paul barely gets condemned but Steve's lapse of judgment will never be forgotten by you all. Steve's lapse was criminal negligence and I am convinced that Adrian Rogers would have mastered a cover-up and no one would ever know. This would be criminal and not negligent. Rogers' mantra is money will cover a multidude of sins. Money given by workers struggling to get by, spent without accountability to those who gave it!

Don't you think the Holy Spirit could be directed by an angry Father who now has Rogers in judgment. Could we be warned to not face an angry God with our delusions. Our delusions will melt in the fires of God presence.

oc said...

Wade,
I really don't know what you are talking about. I don't seek to condemn anyone. I was doing you a big favor, and this what I get for my efforts. But that's ok. You will understand in time.

And no. I didn't copy any offensive language. I would not do so. I have no idea what you are talking about here.
Clue me in.

Thy Peace said...

OC, please let it rest, brother in Christ.

How many places are there, where you can say your words in honesty to a pastor online? This blog is one of the few places. You know what I am talking about.

May Our Lord Jesus Christ shower His mercies on ALL of us.

oc said...

No Thy Peace. It's not here. I just got accused of something I did not do, by the very one you praise.

WatchingHISstory said...

thy peace

I caught that cheap shot at Steve Gaines. Shame on you!

Anonymous said...

Sometimes on a blog, a person will play two roles. Both roles are played to get attention. This may be such a case. ?

Anonymous said...

Sometimes on a blog, a person will play two roles. Both roles are played to get attention. This may be such a case!

ezekiel said...

Watchin,

"Don't you think the Holy Spirit could be directed by an angry Father who now has Rogers in judgment."

No, because your delusion is inconsistent with scripture.

Joh 3:18 He who believes in Him [who clings to, trusts in, relies on Him] is not judged [he who trusts in Him never comes up for judgment; for him there is no rejection, no condemnation--he incurs no damnation]; but he who does not believe (cleave to, rely on, trust in Him) is judged already [he has already been convicted and has already received his sentence] because he has not believed in and trusted in the name of the only begotten Son of God. [He is condemned for refusing to let his trust rest in Christ's name.]

Rom 8:1 THEREFORE, [there is] now no condemnation (no adjudging guilty of wrong) for those who are in Christ Jesus, who live [and] walk not after the dictates of the flesh, but after the dictates of the Spirit. [John 3:18.]

"Could we be warned to not face an angry God with our delusions. Our delusions will melt in the fires of God presence."

Now that you bring up your delusions, you may want to take a look at where you get yours. Folks have long been warning you not to face an angry God with your delusions. Hopefully, some day you will listen and repent.

9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, 10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. 11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, 12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Anonymous said...

Abide with me; 'tis eventide.
The day is past and gone;
The shadows of the evening fall;
The night is coming on.
Within my heart a welcome guest,
Within my home abide.
O Savior, stay this night with me;
Behold, 'tis eventide.
O Savior, stay this night with me;
Behold, 'tis eventide.

Abide with me; 'tis eventide,
And lone will be the night
If I cannot commune with thee,
Nor find in thee my light.
The darkness of the world, I fear,
Would in my home abide.
O Savior, stay this night with me;
Behold, 'tis eventide.
O Savior, stay this night with me;
Behold, 'tis eventide.

Abide with me; 'tis eventide.
Thy walk today with me
Has made my heart within me burn,
As I communed with thee.
Thy earnest words have filled my soul
And kept me near thy side.
O Savior, stay this night with me;
Behold, 'tis eventide.
O Savior, stay this night with me;
Behold, 'tis eventide.

WatchingHISstory said...

Ezekial

if you are contrite, humble and fear the word of God thoes passages of scripture apply to you. You have nothing to fear.

but if you are not, the Lord will judge HIS people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God!

Tim said...

After further reading on this thread, no one has really addressed the issue of the future of the SBC: "Can Calvinists and traditional Baptists continue to co-exist in the SBC?"

I think that this is important. I do not believe that a blog thread will convince Calvinists or Arminians to "switch."

The issue of differing theological perspectives also gets into questions like: Can premillinialists and amillinialists co-exist in the SBC?

Where do the narrowing of the theological parameters of the SBC end?

As for arguing theologically on blogs, here is a helpful hint. Please do not prooftext. Please do not quote scripture just assuming that your opponant interprets the passage exactly the way that you do.

If scripture said the same thing to all people, then there would have been no protestant reformation.

Blessings!

Rex Ray said...

Let’s see, is the subject of the two thieves on topic? Sheryl in discussing with Wade said, “It appears at this time that both thieves did not have reverence for God…just a thought and penny for yours.”

Wade replied on Friday Dec 5, 1:00 AM with over four hundred words. (She got a lot for a penny.)

Again, Sheryl discusses with Wade about the thieves, and on Friday 5, 12:24 PM, he talks of the thieves in his comment of over 1,000 words.

On Saturday Dec 6, 12:42 AM, and 1:01 AM, I disagree with Wade.

On Saturday Dec 6, 11:07 AM, Wade wrote: “Rex, I realize you wish me to say that there are various and different accounts of the thieves in Scripture. I believe that the accounts all represent the same truth, and there is no error or discrepancy in the gospels.”

Would it be fair to paraphrase Wade’s reply? ‘My mind’s made up; don’t confuse me with the facts’?

Hey! Should I yell sex discrimination, or am I just one of those in the 5,000 churches of the BGCT that will not accept ‘Inerrancy’, and therefore am not worthy of a decent reply?

I’ve made two more comments, and still no reply. I believe I received some good advice from Jo 1484 who wrote in the Baptist Standard on November 25, 2008:

“I’ve always admitted I might be wrong about any theological view. That’s why theology must be written in pencil because it is done by imperfect people.

Rex, I see what you’re saying but inerrantists will never be comfortable with weighing phrases differently. They reconstruct Scripture to make the whole Bible seem to say the same thing.

The truth is that the Bible does not say the same thing from beginning to end. We have to let the voices from each inspired author speak for themselves.

Paul thinks of salvation by grace alone while James thinks of it as done by works. No one can ever snatch us from Jesus’ hand in John, but in Hebrews it is impossible to be restored if we backslide.

Each voce in the canon has a relationship with God that shows us an aspect. Even in the entirety of Scripture, however, the full revelation of God is not present. God is bigger than the Bible.”

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