1. The issue is decidedly not one of fairness. There is nothing fair in Arminian soteriologythose who are not sensitive and insightful by nature, those who have no access to the preaching of the Gospel, those who have had a hard life to embitter them, those who have had a luxurious life that contents them with this world, those who are extremely bright and have trouble grasping how the unscientific could possibly be trueall of these have a marked disadvantage. Things are not fair simply because one has a choice. A fourteen-year-old girl who chooses to go live with her mom and step-father rather than remain with her dad and is subsequently physically or sexually abused by that man cannot be said to have gotten a fair shake. Most people in this world dont have the slightest notion of who Christ really is
and youre just leaving it up to them to figure it out. When they end up in hell, theyll be glad to know you thought it was fair.
2. We all need to be exceedingly careful not to quote verses out of context. John 12:32-33 reads: But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself. He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die. Clearly the emphasis here is on the crucifixion, not on the extent of the applicability of the atonement. (The usual Calvinistic interpretation of all men passages is that they refer to the universalizing of Gods covenant with Man: no longer is it just for Jews, but for all men. In some contexts thats a bit of a stretch. For most passages, however, it fits in with the context perfectly well.) As regards Mark 8:34And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.Christ is saying these words as part of a rebuke of Peter (Peter doesnt want Jesus to have to die
Jesus lets him know that it is wrong to hang on to this life at all costs
this lesson is directed at those who are already followers of Christ
there is no Arminian message here.)
3. You asked, Is God glorified by a doctrine that sets the majority of mankind in a state of unconditional reprobation as though God sought man's damnation rather than his salvation? Well, let me ask a similar question about your selected soteriology: Is God glorified by a doctrine that sets the majority of mankind in a state of CONDITIONAL reprobation as though God sought man's damnation rather than his salvation? (After all, at least two-thirds of mankind presently alive is not Christian. Thats four BILLION people headed for hell under your system. It sounds to me as if God is not terribly upset by their demise--at least not enough to do anything about it. Universalists might claim that this makes God into Satan. God does not command the (nearly) impossible and then selectively administer (access to) grace to a few to enable them to keep the commandment. You can get out of the problem only by espousing universalism or Calvinism (you can ameliorate it some by pursuing pluralism or inclusivism). In Calvinism (at least that which is supralapsarian), God damns ALL of the evil borg clones (goats, tares, vessels of destruction) and saves ALL of the real people, as it were. (his beloved sheep) It almost sounds fair. (BTW, I have trouble envisioning the eternal conscious torment of anyone, be they Saddam, Osama, or Pol Pot, and I latch onto those verses that seem to imply annihilationism. I know its not a slam dunk by any stretch of the imagination, but my heart just cant embrace with any fondness the traditional option.)
4. I think you hit on something with the weeping of Christ. An inability to adequately explain the seeming Passibility of God (the notion that he is affected by his creatures and reacts emotionally) is a weakness of Calvinism. You must notice, though, that in Luke 19, as Jesus weeps over Jerusalem, he claims that the truth is hidden from them and that their destruction is sure.
5. If humility is a condition for receiving the grace, please explain to me the humility you see in Saul of Tarsus. Obviously, it cannot be an absolute condition, can it? But the real question is not whether humility is a prerequisite to faith, but whether or not we can of our own free will become humble and receptive to the Gospel. Arminians propose Prevenient Grace and we Calvinists, Sufficient Grace. Again, only Pelagius will say it just takes humility.
6. About the Red Heiferlook in your BDB and youll see that in Numbers 19:9, chattat is NOT properly translated as sin offering. Its not even an offering (the unclean person is doused, but nothing is offered to God). It doesnt matter what it is usually translated as. There are numerous occasions in Scripture where a particular word must be translated differently from its normal usage because of context. This is one of themand it is quite clear cutthere is no squabbling amongst scholars on this one.
7. Hebrews 9 seems to be saying that the OT sacrificial system offered a superficial purgation whereas the atonement of Christ is deep down. (The difference between the circumcision of the flesh
and of the heart.) In terms of the Holy Spirit, we must decide whether his presence is by invitation only or whether he enters of his own accord. Maybe YOU resist the Spirit of Grace but I have never been able to and cannot imagine even pursuing it. (Im not talking about the rebellion of sin; I have my fair share of that. Im talking about repudiation
I cannot bring myself to even consider it. C. S. Lewis was no Calvinist, but still spoke of himself as the most dejected and reluctant convert in all England.) Do you really have no attraction to the concept of the hound of heaven? (Or to the Good Shepherd leaving the ninety and nine
The Love of Christ be with you!
| 2004/12/15 19:27||Profile|
| Re: Just a note|
I' been reading the posts that all you guys are writting and am no professor so I won't take a side and comment on anything except to mention one point or two. Before Jersulem fell Josephsus records prophets going around the city proclaiming its fall, and that before Titus laid siege of it. God cared. In the book "Eternity in thier Hearts" the author makes a case for the "extra" activity of God on behalf what is called hidden groups of people and the salvation of thier souls, God cared. Romans also testifying to the ability of God to save without human agency or at least proclaim He is God. However , that doesn't excuse us from doing the Will of the Father in reguards to witnessing of Jesus Christ. Basically its a matter of how much Love we on an individual basis have and are willing to express in life. It seems that one camp doesn't get going and the other camp can't rest in and enjoy thier salvation for fear of falling or failing the grace of God. I love simple. Simple faith, simple obedience, simple devotion, and simply just following Jesus. i love all you guys and gleen alot from you all but when the days over I have real peoples problems I need to minister to in many times what are life and death situations. In thoughs moments I have no room to expound doctrine to them. They don't care. I rember what I heard a minister once say "chose wisely your battles " , some things aren't worth argueing about. God Bless , Love Brother Daryl
| 2004/12/15 22:56||Profile|
| Re: "Fairness"|
About the Red Heiferlook in your BDB and youll see that in Numbers 19:9, chattat is NOT properly translated as sin offering. Its not even an offering (the unclean person is doused, but nothing is offered to God). It doesnt matter what it is usually translated as. There are numerous occasions in Scripture where a particular word must be translated differently from its normal usage because of context. This is one of themand it is quite clear cutthere is no squabbling amongst scholars on this one.
It depends on how carefully you choose your 'scholars'. Please see my answer here.
| 2004/12/16 5:16||Profile|
i love all you guys and gleen alot from you all but when the days over I have real peoples problems I need to minister to in many times what are life and death situations. In thoughs moments I have no room to expound doctrine to them. They don't care. I rember what I heard a minister once say "chose wisely your battles " , some things aren't worth argueing about. God Bless
I think you are presuming that 'we guys' spend our lives in ivory towers. I don't know about my fellows, but I have preached the gospel in more than twently countries and was street preaching almost 50 years ago. All my theology is pastoral. An evangelist may get away without having to think through implications but a pastor will have to do so if he is to care for the flock. It is because I have spent my life in caring for people with 'real problems' in 'life and death situations' that I try to understand the way in which God is at work in their lives and mine.
| 2004/12/16 5:21||Profile|
| Re: "Fairness"|
Quoting from D.M.Lloyd.Jones, christian unity;
But in particular the Apostle is dealing with the way in which we speak to one another as believers in the church, and correct errors that may appear among us. The severity applies mainly to false teachers, to whom Jude describes as 'having crept in unawares', but among ourselves we are to speak the truth and hold the truth in love. The Apostle means that while we must emphasize the absolute necessity of definitions and creeds, we must never be hard and rigid, we must never be legalistic or self-righteous. We must never behave in such a manner as to give the impression that our one concern is to prove that we right and everyone else is wrong. We must never do so merely to win an argument or a dispute. Manyof us may have to plead guilty to this.
Similarly 'part spirit' is always wrong; labels are always wrong; a censorious spirit is always wrong. There are people who are controlled and animated by a part-spirit and by labels; and if you do not subscribe to their particular shibboleth you are condemned. I recall how a good friend once told me that he was somewhat disappointed, because in my exposition of the second chapter of this Epistle to the Ephesians i had not once mentioned Calvinism as i worked through the chapter. My simple reply to him was, The text does not mention that term. My friend was so much in the grip of a party-spirit that he was becoming doubtful of my position!
I have only just discovered this past month what Calvinism and Arminianism is. I have been reading what i can to understand these two groups but am still learning. What i have learnt though is the division they cause among us which is a sad thing. Although speaking on i believe baptism does not this scripture apply to division:
1 Corinthians 1
11.For it hath been declared unto me of you, my brethren, by them which are of the house of Chloe, that there are contentions among you.
12. Now this i say, that every one of you saith, i am of Paul; and i of Apollos; and i of Cephas; and i of Christ.
13. Is Christ divided?
| 2004/12/16 8:11|
| Re: "Fairness"|
1. The issue is decidedly not one of fairness.
Every person on earth is dealt with by God based upon their response to the light they are exposed to. Every man and woman has the light of conscience and the light of creation. They also have what we term 'natural law' with which to respond to. These things are used by the Holy Spirit to draw man unto repentance. If they respond rightly they will receive more light. If not, the light that they have will be taken away and they will be 'given over' to their sins. "Will not the Judge of all the earth do right?"
2. We all need to be exceedingly careful not to quote verses out of context. John 12:32-33 reads: But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself. He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die. Clearly the emphasis here is on the crucifixion, not on the extent of the applicability of the atonement.
I cannot agree with the interpretation you give in this passage. Moreover, the weight of scripture is clear on God's desire that all be saved.
It almost sounds fair. (BTW, I have trouble envisioning the eternal conscious torment of anyone, be they Saddam, Osama, or Pol Pot, and I latch onto those verses that seem to imply annihilationism. I know its not a slam dunk by any stretch of the imagination, but my heart just cant embrace with any fondness the traditional option.)
This position on Hell allows one to embrace unconditional election and yet sleep at night. The weight of Scripture is clear that Hell is a very real place. Annihilationism is contrary to orthodoxy in every sense and is a doctrine probigated by the "Jesus Seminar" and other highly liberal schools of theology. This leans to what Paris Reidhead said happened when the split between evangelicals and liberals took place.
Excerpt From "Ten Shekels and a Shirt":
Now religion then had to exist because there were so many people that made their living at it, so they had to find some way to justify their existence. So back about the time in 1850, the church divided into two groups. The one group was the liberals, who accepted the philosophy of the humanism and tried to find some relevance by saying something like this to their generation, "Ha, Ha
.we dont know theres a heaven; we dont know theres a hell. But we do know this that youve got to live for 70 years! We know theres a great deal of benefit from poetry, from high thoughts and noble aspirations. Therefore its important for you to come to church on Sunday, so that we can read some poetry, that we can give you some little adages and axioms and rules to live by. We cant say anything about whats going to happen when you die, but well tell you this, if youll come every week and pay and help and stay with us, well put springs on your wagon and your trip will be more comfortable. We cant guarantee anything about whats going to happen when you die, but we say that if you come along with us, well make you happier while youre alive." And so this became the essence of liberalism. It has simply nothing more than to try and put a little sugar in the bitter coffee of their journey and sweeten it up for a time. This is all that it could say.
When you have no real belief in hell it is impossible to ever have a real discussion on anything Christian. We are officially "OFF the rails."
Robert Wurtz II
| 2004/12/16 9:39||Profile|
My comments weren't directed at you presonally, however what I wrote seems to have struck a cord in you for some reason. Maybe you need to look again in the mirror of Jesus and check your heart. I neither corrected you or rebuked you personally or publically , as you have me directly in reference to evangelists not having to think through the implications of what they say or preach. I take seriously that which I minister for the Lord and have both an extended ministry(traveling and speaking as an evangelist) and local ministry(streets/hospital/shut-ins ect...) As to my comments , I have observed on this topic you as well as the 2 other guys seem to locked into a doctrinal war were there's little evidence of either love or grace especially on your part brother. It seems to me that to be right to you is the most important thing in all the world.
| 2004/12/16 18:02||Profile|
I neither corrected you or rebuked you personally or publically , as you have me directly in reference to evangelists not having to think through the implications of what they say or preach.
You were not in my mind when I wrote about evangelists. I know nothing about you. It was a genuine hearted comment. Evangelists do not need to delve into the depths of these things in the way that pastors do. You misinterpret me and misjudge my heart. God is my witness.
| 2004/12/16 19:09||Profile|
Brothers, I'm detecting a distinct edginess, particularly a somewhat diminished patience to see if a given comment was directed at oneself and/or intended in a negative fashion. God has given us this community, this normally very patient and loving community, and it is a very precious gift indeed.
Let us take care with it. I think a passage from the beloved 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians is worth a moment's re-examination:
1 Corinthians 13 (NASB)
4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,
5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,
6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
May the Lord give us understanding and true perception where it often lacks in forum communication, and give unto us to love with that same love that He is.
edit - as for "doctrinal war", I can understand why this looks this way (and perhaps there is some merit to the observation), but we're struggling with questions that almost inevitably will result in what at least appears to be such a war. Many people do not see the point of discussing these questions (i.e. what's commonly called the "Calvinism" debate), but to some of us (like myself) they are quite important, getting right at the heart of how we see God, ourselves, our neighbors, our enemies, and God's relationships with us all. In this forum we have a rare oppurtunity to hold a discussion with both (more than two, really) sides well represented by men who know well what they believe and are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and the accompanying love. I hope we won't alarm the rest of you to much while we hash this out :-)
| 2004/12/16 20:43||Profile|
"Pilgrim and Sojourner." - 1 Peter 2:11
After all, at least two-thirds of mankind presently alive is not Christian. Thats four BILLION people headed for hell under your system. It sounds to me as if God is not terribly upset by their demise--at least not enough to do anything about it.
The better question is what are you doing about it?
"IF every christian acted like a Christian for 1 day we would turn this nation around" - Leonard Ravenhill
SI Moderator - Greg Gordon
| 2004/12/16 21:43||Profile|