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KingJimmy
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 Re:

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Dear brother, I'm not so sure it means exactly this, cut and dry. Many venerable men and women of God throughout history have spoken of an identical occurence;



Well, Ravenhill and to my knowledge most of the men you named that have reported these things believe in some variation of the "second-blessing" holiness doctrine as preached by Wesley and others. And indeed, such a thing is a common confession by many. Indeed, I would say it is a confession of mine as well. The denomination I am part of generally believes in this "order of salvation" in our doctrine: 1) saved 2) sanctified 3) baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Now, oddly enough, and to the frustration of some in my denomination, my pastor and I would personally testify that our "sanctification" experience came AFTER our having been baptized in the Holy Spirit. So we would switch steps 2 and 3 around from our personal experience. So I guess we would be more in line with Zac Poonen's experience (though I can't say I know too much about Zac Poonen, so I will refrain from further comparisons).

Exactly how one should interpret such a thing, be it called "absolute surrender" or "sanctification" is hard to say. For I believe I gave up all when I gave my life to Jesus when I got saved. I also believe I gave up my all the night I was filled with the Holy Spirit. As to this other breaking point in my life, what exactly to call it is hard to say. I know it did only come after I received a considerable rebuke from the Lord in regard to how I was living my life for a season. I think if we are to call it anything, it is simply growing in our faith. I think if we are to call it anything, it is simply being a disciple. For I know also that since after this originally happened in my life, that I experienced a very strong period of victory and growth in my faith. but then after a period, I fudged a little bit for a season, and was not as victorious, and did not experience as much growth. But then after that season was over, I'm back to walking in that victory again.

However, I would be very cautious in taking my personal experiences and invoking Biblical language to justify it. I don't by any means hold my experience in the faith to be normative for others. For the only thing I see as being normative is the pattern we see in Scripture. And the pattern we see in Scripture is that you simply grow in your faith, and "work out into" your life the realities of heaven that were yours by faith the moment you believed.


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Jimmy H

 2007/3/24 2:43Profile
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 Re:

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KingJimmy on 2007/3/24 3:20:28
Instead of seeing Christian perfection as something that occurs at regeneration, Wesley made it a post-conversion happening. A secondary experience.


I agree with you entirely but then we are going to need a very thorough definition of regeneration which distinguishes between decisions/conversion and life imparted.


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Ron Bailey

 2007/3/24 3:58Profile
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 Re:

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PaulWest on 2007/3/24 4:03:59
I don't believe man enters into a state of perfection where the prospect of sinning becomes impossible because the "old man" is now irretrievably slain.


This statement warrents some examination. Satan, the fallen angels and Adam and Eve all 'sinned' without any assistance from 'the old man'... and so, sadly, may many who have seen that 'the old man was co-crucified with Christ'.


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Ron Bailey

 2007/3/24 4:01Profile
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 Re:

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The denomination I am part of generally believes in this "order of salvation" in our doctrine: 1) saved 2) sanctified 3) baptism of the Holy Spirit.



If you heard my testimony you would probably conclude that my experience would parallel this but on reflection I have chosen to use different words to express my testimony.

I no longer use the term 'baptism in Spirit' to describe my 'pentecostal experience'. I don't believe the scriptures necessarily separate these three events.

I sometimes use the analogy of the river in Genesis 2:10; it separated into four heads. I can imagine a possible map of the area where to cross from East to West would necessitate 1,2,3 or even 4 separate experiences of that 'river'. The important thing is to know that you have crossed. I have no quarrel with the man who has 4 river-crossing experiences unless he makes it his doctrine. ;-)


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Ron Bailey

 2007/3/24 4:10Profile
PaulWest
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 Re:

Quote:
Exactly how one should interpret such a thing, be it called "absolute surrender" or "sanctification" is hard to say. For I believe I gave up all when I gave my life to Jesus when I got saved.



Brother, I wish I could say the same - and believe it in my heart - but I know it's not true in my case. I got saved when I repented of my sin and confessed I needed Christ and threw myself at the mercy seat with a wounded, sin-sick heart; all I was cognizant of at the time was the crime of my heinous, infinitely-offensive sin that the Son of God expiated on the cross.

But did I surrender "all" at the moment my spirit was quickened? If I did, I've taken back whatever self-sufficiency this "all" encapsulated at least a thousand times since! I know that my scarlett stains were washed white in a moment and my dead, separated spirit was quickened and reconciled to God, but I just can't bring myself to say I was completely surrendered at the moment of my conversion. I do, however, understand that that doesn't mean others couldn't be at theirs.

Brother Paul


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Paul Frederick West

 2007/3/24 6:33Profile
KingJimmy
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 Re:

I have a major theological beef with the notion that you first get saved by accepting Jesus as Savior, and then get "sanctified" or "become a disciple" when you later accept His total Lordship over every area of your life (the former being a Wesleyan notion; the latter being a Baptist notion). As common as an experience as this seems to be, it totally shows a misunderstanding of what it means to be saved, and how salvation comes about.

For Paul teaches, "that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved." (Romans 10:9) Sadly, we've made this into a cute little salvation formula. But if really look at what this verse says, it says that there is no salvation outside of receiving Jesus Christ as Lord. For Jesus can only be a savior when He is Lord. And as Ravenhill once said, "He is either Lord of all or not at all!" Or as Christ said, "Why do you call Me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?" (Luke 6:46)

Some people might get all huffy and say, "That's works based salvation!" But Jesus said elsewhere, "If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? For the Son of Man is going to come in the glory of His Father and with His angels, and will then repay every man according to his deeds." (Matthew 16:24-28)

Or again, "the kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid again; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field." And if that's not enough, "again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking fine pearls, and upon finding one pearl of great value, he went and sold all that he had and bought it." (Matthew 13:44-46)

You see, the Scriptures never depicts entrance into the kingdom of heaven by any means other than wholesale commitment to following Jesus Christ as Lord. For those wishing to have the best of both worlds, and for somebody wishing to save their life, such is an impossibility. But if one wishes to enter into eternal life, one must give up their entire life to possess it. Otherwise, your need to be worldly will forfeit this life.

And Jesus wants us to know that giving our everything up for the sake of the kingdom is worth it. So much so he told two stories back to back with the same meaning. Two men stumbled across something of great value, and went and sold everything they had so that they could possess this one thing. That is what the kingdom of God is like. Or you could compare it to the 1849 Gold Rush in America. Back in 1849 when folks on the east coast found out that there was gold out in the hills of California, people sold everything they had in order to finance the trip out there. And they didn't hop on a train or plane to get out there either. Instead they took a covered wagon and a horse, and traveled several thousand miles across largely undeveloped, unexplored, and very dangerous terrain to get there. All for the shot to obtain what was out in "them thar' hills." But, so long as you continued to live in New York or North Carolina, and so long as you valued your present life over the life you could have, you would never obtain what was awaiting out there. No gold for you!

And this is what salvation is like.


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Jimmy H

 2007/3/24 10:34Profile
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 Re:

If we must be fully surrendered and perfect when God regenerates us (for anything less might show that Jesus is not truly our sovereign Lord), what then happens if I take back an area previously surrendered? Is the Son of God no longer my Lord - for I have ceased to be fully surrendered in heart - and the unsurrendered believer once again stands in danger of judgment and hell fire (for not only repentance, but full surrender was also prerequisite for coming to Christ)?

I tend to think that if we are fully surrendered at conversion, what further growth need there be in the Christian life? A man who is absolutely and fully surrendered should ideally be perfectly and always compliant in all areas of life, and any "falling short" (no matter how small) would be considered a regression from this pinnacle of standard. So, in essence, after conversion, a believer would have nowhere to go but [i]down[/i] (in terms of inner obedience), since absolute surrender has been established at the get-go.

What do you think, brother?

p.s. The 1849 gold rush was a great illustration. Mind if I use it sometime? :-)

Brother Paul


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Paul Frederick West

 2007/3/24 12:00Profile
KingJimmy
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 Re:

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So, in essence, after conversion, a believer would have nowhere to go but down (in terms of inner obedience), since absolute surrender has been established at the get-go.



This goes back to that negative notion people have about salvation, that growth is measured in terms of sinning less and less. But such frankly, is not a Biblical notion of growth. For as mentioned in previous posts, we are not supposed to be sinning at all! Growth is measured in the same manner by which Jesus is said to have grown while He walked on earth, and that is in abundance of fruit. So, instead of having a negative notion about growth, whereby we sin less frequently, we should take upon the positive notion of growth, whereby we abound all the more in the fruit of the Spirit.

Quote:

If we must be fully surrendered and perfect when God regenerates us (for anything less might show that Jesus is not truly our sovereign Lord), what then happens if I take back an area I surrendered?



Actually, perfection is the result of regeneration, not the other way around. That is, because God has given me a new heart and a new mind, taken away my sin, I am now "perfect" or "complete" in Him. I have everything I need for life and godliness: a regenerated heart and mind. Where we Christians fail often and become "carnal" is when we allow worldly ways of thinking to creep back into our minds, take root in our hearts, and sin therefore manifest. Or as James says, "Each one is tempted when he is carried away and enticed by his own lust. Then when lust is conceived it gives birth to sin, and when sin is accomplished, it brings forth death." (James 1:14-15).

As the saying goes, the battleground for our soul begins with our mind. Satan will attempt to play with our heads through things that tempt us. For some this might be drugs, others alcohol, and others women. Then when such a thought is allowed to incubate in our head and make its way to our heart, sin is birthed and the old man that was crucified is now back on the throne. This is why Paul said in Ephesians 6 we must "put on the helmet of salvation."

And this is exactly why the Corinthians were carnal. It wasn't so much that the Corinthians weren't dedicated to Christ, and didn't have a genuine relationship with Him. In fact, Paul acknowledges from the opening chapter that they did. They were the very fruit of his ministry! But the reason they were carnal is because being the young babes that they were in the faith, they allowed worldly values and philosophies to occupy their minds. And as a result, they started acting like the world.

The modern equivalent of this would be Christians who do the things they do because of something they heard on Oprah or Dr. Phil. Instead of having the "mind of Christ" (1 Cor 2:16), and thinking the thoughts of Jesus, they think worldly thoughts. This is why in Romans 12:2 we read about how we need to be renewed continually in the spirit of our mind, so we can be a living sacrifice unto God. The work of God has already been done to us "to the uttermost" from the moment we believed. We have all that we need for pertaining to life and godliness. We need no further "zap" at to cause us to live right and have victory over sin. But what is rather needed is the continual taking up of the cross of Christ, being a committed disciple to the word of God, and obeying that through the power of the Holy Spirit that has been shed abroad in our hearts.

And so long as one does that, they will never stumble and fall short. Now as mentioned earlier, practically speaking, while we do have such a promise as to never stumble, we often do. But such is when we as a believer must refuse to lie in the mire that we once rolled around in, and get up, wash ourselves off, and continue on in the faith once and for all delivered to the saints.


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Jimmy H

 2007/3/24 12:43Profile
PaulWest
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 Re:

Actually, I agree with everything here - except the part about being fully surrendered at conversion as result of spirit generation. If this were true, our entire Christian life would be a matter of holding this already-attained [i]position[/i] in an inflexible state (with no allowance for increase, but certainly room for decrease). I just can't accept this, nor do I find reference to maintaining this somehow already fully-surrendered state of "spiritual homeostasis" in scripture. I see us rather growing in knowledge and truth and conviction and grace.

The old man is slain, but the deeds of the flesh require daily mortification and putting off. Our inner men must be renewed, and if there is any portion of surrender in our hearts, I feel it is a [i]progressive[/i] surrender to the voice of the Spirit of God, not only an immediate [i]positional[/i] surrender as what I seem to be gathering from this gracious discussion.

In any case, I think we are more or less on the same sheet of music here. I bless you for your kind replies and willingness to go through this with me, carefully, one step at a time.

Brother Paul


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Paul Frederick West

 2007/3/24 13:12Profile
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 Re:

Quote:
KingJimmy on 2007/3/24 15:34:51
I have a major theological beef with the notion that you first get saved by accepting Jesus as Savior, and then get "sanctified" or "become a disciple" when you later accept His total Lordship over every area of your life (the former being a Wesleyan notion; the latter being a Baptist notion).


Jimmy, coming from your background and with your interest in theology I'm sure you know that this issue was one of the first splits in the early 20th century pentecostal movement. I think it was Durham who finally expressed it has 'failing to see any biblical justification for insisting that it took two distinct works of grace to deal with sin'. (that is my recollection, not an exact quote)

The outcome was the split into the Pentecostal Church and the Pentecostal Holiness Church with the latter still insisting on 'two' such works of grace to be followed with an enduement with power to serve which they generally labelled as 'Baptism in the Spirit'. They complained that removing the 2nd blessing holiness experience would result in the emphasis dying away altogether. History tells its own tale.

I have some sympathy with Durham's statement above even though I generally align myself with Wesleyan Sanctification theology. I have to admit that this is a personal convenience as the Wesleyans seem to be the group which worked out a theology of Christian Perfection against a host of protest.

I came to the conclusion that my own personal experience of these things is incoherent! I am ready to give my testimony but not to use it as a basis for my theology. I could never get my experiences into a tidy order. I couldn't work out whether I needed to be holy to receive the Spirit or whether I needed the Spirit to be holy.:-(

Some modern charismatics have begun to use the language of inclusion saying that 'full initiation into Christ comprises faith, repentance, baptism in water and baptism in Spirit'. On the face of it some might think I would be happy in their company but they generally persist in identifying 'baptism in the Spirit' with the pentecostal enduement for power rather than the older 2nd Blessing emphasis on receiving the Spirit being the way our character was changed.

In all honesty I want to hold both together as I illustrated here once before with my theological algebra! I see there are so many personal ways in which men and women have to become 'in Christ' and I share heart fellowship, historically, with many who would spew out my theology. I 'feel' I belong with Wesley AND Whitefield, Spurgeon, Chambers, Tozer... the list would be long but with some notable omissions.

Some years ago I was in a missionary fraternal in Malawi. They folk went around the circle introducing themselves... I am with the Methodists... I am with the United Pentecostal Church... I am with... and so it went on. When it came to me I said "I'm with anyone who will have me." I still feel the same. :-)


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Ron Bailey

 2007/3/24 14:26Profile





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