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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Is the problem "unwillingness" or "inability" ?

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Oracio
Member



Joined: 2007/6/26
Posts: 1994
Whittier CA USA

 Re:

Thanks Marvin. It was actually this statement I had in mind though, but I appreciate the further clarification:

"How am I sanctified? Why it's by reason of giving God permission to sanctify me."


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Oracio

 2019/1/7 0:00Profile
Oracio
Member



Joined: 2007/6/26
Posts: 1994
Whittier CA USA

 Re:

Btw, I appreciate the fact that you brethren (Marvin, Robert and Ray) are willing to come on here and fellowship and bear with those of us who disagree with you on this issue, as it seems we may outnumber you brethren (at least when it comes to those who post regularly here).

I mention that because I have come across many reformed brethren who would have nothing to do with us "free-willers." Many see us as not being enlightened or biblically educated enough, as they are, and some see this as an essential issue over which to divide. Over the years I've had my share of rejection from certain reformed Christians (including a lead pastor at a Southern Baptist church where I was a member for some time) on account of my disagreement on this issue.

You say that some of us who believe in free will see your view as heretical, which is true in some cases (I sure don’t, and I’m sure others here don’t either); but many reformed Christians also see our view as heretical and seek to belittle us.

I think Romans 14 is applicable here as that chapter deals with disagreements among Christians regarding "non-essential" or "non-salvific" beliefs. I'll paraphrase verses 5-6a and change some of the wording to apply it to this discussion:

One person believes sinners can choose to either receive or reject salvation; another believes sinners do not have that kind of capability due to the fall. Let each be fully convinced in his own mind. He who believes that God has given sinners that capability, believes that way to the Lord; and he who does not believe sinners have that capability, to the Lord he does not believe that way.


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Oracio

 2019/1/7 0:52Profile
makrothumia
Member



Joined: 2005/5/19
Posts: 609
Texas

 Re:

Hi Robert, thank you for continuing to participate in the discussion.

First, I want to take the opportunity to say I do NOT oppose the reformed position. That is not my purpose or interest. I have come to realize that there are many sincere brothers, that call themselves reformed, who desire to see God receive the glory in every aspect of salvation.


From the opportunity I have had to consider the reformed position, I see it as systematic theology based upon select passages of scripture. I do not intend to demean or negate a single passage of scripture by categorizing it as select, rather I only mean that the passages that specifically delineate predestination, election, and foreknowledge, are limited by comparison to the volume of scripture in general. I hope this is not a point of contention.

I believe if I were to attempt, I could recall most of these select passages by memory. I don't believe typing all of them out would even require a great deal of space, especially if we disallowed certain passages where election is only implied but not explicitly stated. I have read some posts where brothers have typed out the bulk of these scriptures right here on the forum. It is worth stating that the fact that these passages are limited in volume does not mean they are not decisive in nature or importance.

It is not easy to analyze oneself, but your questions and those of others have provoked that attempt and I hope to benefit from the process. I have recognized that I do not place the same weight on select passages that brothers who call themselves reformed do. For example, Isaiah's prayer and confession regarding apostate Israel - "all our righteousness is as filthy rags". I do not believe God viewed the righteousness of Job, or Noah, or Enoch, or Abraham as filthy menstrual rags. That statement should be understood as addressing the condition of the people Isaiah was interceding for. I believe that when the record of scripture states a man or woman was righteous and God fearing, that this is how God viewed them.

Here is where our logic appears to diverge. You have adequately expressed why you believe select passages of scripture necessitates a prevenient action on God's part in any circumstance where a man or woman has been described as righteous. Thus, your view necessitates that the large volume of scripture be submitted to the scrutiny of the select passages that reformed theology is founded upon.

Like a child, I take it at face value that God desires all men to be saved and genuinely offers that salvation to them through the preaching of the Gospel. What happens to men and women who have never heard the gospel is a matter too high for me. I don't try to grasp it because I do not believe it wise to attempt to do so. That is why there is no conflict for me.

Like a child, I believe Jesus died for all men, and that God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish. I do not feel compelled to subject that statement to the scrutiny of "election". Like a child, I read our Lord's parable of the Wedding Feast and consider so tragic that the men who had been invited chose not to come. I have no desire to attempt to subject our Lord's words to Reformed theology.


When I read that Jesus wept over Jerusalem because He so longed to gather the people to Himself, I simply take His compassion as a beautiful expression of God's heart. Nothing compels me to introduce the idea of election into my appreciation of the passage.

I honestly do not wrestle with or even consider it a problem that God loves the world and yet so few are saved. If that makes me naïve, so be it - I am comfortable in my simplistic understanding.

In my own limited understanding, I have no need to attempt to apply a logic to God at all. I am able to enjoy the simplistic perspective that if God asked men to do something, He desired them to do it. I never want to lose that simplicity. My heavenly Father is blameless in regards to His judgments. My Father can do no wrong in my eyes. I do not claim to understand all of My Father's wisdom and decisions; they are too much for me.


Do children look for "internal logical consistency"? Maybe the prodigies do, but not this child. My Father will take care of His responsibility to communicate His message. He has some fascinating ways to do it. The heavens declare His glory, the skies proclaim the work of His hands every day. At night my Father's knowledge is displayed and every day is another speech. My Father's message reaches every place on the entire earth. My Father even has a lady named wisdom who He told me calls out to every man trying to get them to allow her to teach them about My Father's ways.

I can't explain how my Father does it, but He has told me that every day He attempts to make Himself known in every place on the earth and to all people. He told me that He looks down from heaven to see if there is anyone who understands Him. I will never be able to explain everything about My Father, but I can tell you that my Father is good and if He says that He wants everyone to be saved, that is what He means.


mak














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Alan and Dina Martin

 2019/1/7 6:53Profile
TMK
Member



Joined: 2012/2/8
Posts: 5136
NC, USA

 Re:

Beautifully stated Mak. Couldn’t agree more.


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Todd

 2019/1/7 7:17Profile
CofG
Member



Joined: 2017/2/12
Posts: 292
Cambodia

 Re:

Thanks Mak. What makes me so curious about these. differences is that
I view the reformed view as almost entirely thematic or Biblical theology and virtually devoid of systematic theology. The overarching theme of the Bible is that God rescues a people for Himself not based on what they do but on what He does. Remarkable to me that I see it simply as that and you see the reformed view as complicated.


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Robert

 2019/1/7 7:29Profile
makrothumia
Member



Joined: 2005/5/19
Posts: 609
Texas

 Re:

Dear Robert,

Please know that I did not intend to imply that the Reformed view is complicated.

Even Peter acknowledged that some things Paul wrote were "hard to understand." I tend to think that Romans 9 and other similar passages may have been what he had in mind.

mak



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Alan and Dina Martin

 2019/1/7 7:54Profile
Gloryandgrace
Member



Joined: 2017/7/14
Posts: 1009
Snoqualmie, WA

 Re:


Hi Mak:

I read your last posts, I don't buy it.

You are hardly the 'well it says what is says so that's all there is to it' kinda guy. No one reads greek and Hebrew, or digs into ancient languages because he is satisfied with the simplistic approach to things.

As a good student of scripture you're posts here demonstrate far more than simpleton thinking.

You have child-like faith and confidence in Jesus...may we all have that, but you do not have childlike understanding.

This is more befitting
1 Corinthians 14:20 (KJV)

20 Brethren, be not children in understanding: howbeit in malice be ye children, but in understanding be men.



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Marvin

 2019/1/7 11:30Profile





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