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philologos
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 Re:

Quote:
Dutch Reform is basically Arminianism,


This may be true doctrinally, but denominationally 'Dutch Reformed' (the denomination that Andrew Murray served in; Murray was Scot serving in the Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa) is/was strongly committed to Covenant Theology.
How do these fit together, Robert? Would Andrew Murray have thought of himself as an Arminian?


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Ron Bailey

 2004/12/19 4:19Profile
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 Re: The Lausanne Covenant

I was browsing through some creeds and happened on the The Lausanne Covenant. Knowing that people like John Stott was/is a very high profile participant in these things I wondered how they had addressed ‘hell’. The fact is there is no mention of ‘hell’ in the covenant, but I have found a reference to ‘eternal separation’. Note; not ‘eternal punishment’. The phrase ‘eternal separation’ is not inconsistent with annihilationism.

3. THE UNIQUENESS AND UNIVERSALITY OF CHRIST
We affirm that there is only one Saviour and only one gospel, although there is a wide diversity of evangelistic approaches. We recognise that everyone has some knowledge of God through his general revelation in nature. But we deny that this can save, for people suppress the truth by their unrighteousness. We also reject as derogatory to Christ and the gospel every kind of syncretism and dialogue which implies that Christ speaks equally through all religions and ideologies. Jesus Christ, being himself the only God-man, who gave himself as the only ransom for sinners, is the only mediator between God and people. There is no other name by which we must be saved. All men and women are perishing because of sin, but God loves everyone, not wishing that any should perish but that all should repent. [u]Yet those who reject Christ repudiate the joy of salvation and condemn themselves to eternal separation from God.[/u] To proclaim Jesus as "the Saviour of the world" is not to affirm that all people are either automatically or ultimately saved, still less to affirm that all religions offer salvation in Christ. Rather it is to proclaim God's love for a world of sinners and to invite everyone to respond to him as Saviour and Lord in the wholehearted personal commitment of repentance and faith. Jesus Christ has been exalted above every other name; we long for the day when every knee shall bow to him and every tongue shall confess him Lord.

[i]The Lausanne Covenant is a declaration agreed upon by more than 2,300 evangelicals during the 1974 International Congress to be more intentional about world evangelization. Since then, the Covenant has challenged churches and Christian organizations to work together to make Jesus Christ known throughout the world.[/i]


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Ron Bailey

 2004/12/19 4:38Profile
RobertW
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Joined: 2004/2/12
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Independence, Missouri

 Re:


Quote:
Murray was Scot serving in the Dutch Reformed Church of South Africa) is/was strongly committed to Covenant Theology.
How do these fit together, Robert? Would Andrew Murray have thought of himself as an Arminian?



Hi Bro. Ron,

Hmmm, I am not familiar enough with his writings to answer that. Personally, I do not believe in dispensationalism as it is frequently taught, but I have trouble with some of the aspects of covenant theology as well. I think it exposes the problem of trying to define ourselves in terms of standard (mainstream) theologies. There are anomalies in them that keep me borrowing from one and another to put together a tapestry that seems most biblical. It leaves some loose ends, but I don't mind. I guess I need to take my own advise here. :-?

God Bless,

-Robert


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Robert Wurtz II

 2004/12/20 8:35Profile
Svineklev
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 Re:

To respond to RobertW--

Many beliefs have commingled with or been derived from the Reformed /Presbyterian branch of the church, including Finneyitism and Dispensationalism, but these all diverge from actual Reformed doctrine. The Dutch Reformed (in the U. S., groups such as the Reformed Church in America, the Christian Reformed Church, and the United Reformed Church) are officially Calvinistic in theology.

Let me reply briefly to your understandings of TULIP:

First you say:

"That means I do not believe that man is so depraved (the "T" of tulip) that he cannot respond to God's grace when it appears unto him/her...."

Calvinists would say something quite similar, he can indeed respond to God's grace when it appears. We just say that this happens through the agency of the Spirit. We are drawn; we are regenerated; we are justified. It is the work of the Spirit and not of our own gentle will or intellectual brilliance. We do not believe the earthly man is "wired" in such a way as to be unable to respond, but that he is dead to Spiritual things and must be regenerated before he can respond.

On "U" you say:

"The 'U' is unconditional election. I hold to the belief that the emphasis of Paul and the Apostles for bringing up election or predestination is to show the Gentiles that they were not an 'afterthought' of God...."

I could possibly go along with you as regards Ephesians 1 (looking ahead to 2:11) but Romans 8 has no such context.

On "L" you say:

"The 'L' is limited atonement. I do not believe this at all. Jesus died for the sins of the whole world. It only adds to the guilt of a sinner to trod under foot the blood of Christ, etc...."

Calvinists also say that, at least in one sense, Christ died for the whole world (as in John 3:16). He died for every nation, for Gentile and Jew, i.e., the whole world. The Bible never says he died for each and every individual. Both Matthew 26:28 and Hebrews 9:28 say that Christ died for the sins of MANY.

on "I" you say:

"The ' I ' is grace. This means that God comes with irresistible force to turn a sinner to salvation. I believe the Spirit of Grace can and is resisted by man as He is the agent of God's grace...."

This is NOT what Irresistible Grace means. There is no coercion involved. And yes, the non-elect can resist the impact of General Revelation on their lives. The elect can likewise resist the guidance of the Spirit for a time. But a true sheep cannot NOT come when his shepherd calls. It knows his voice and instinctively responds. And that selfsame shepherd will come looking for it if it gets lost.

On "P" you say:

"The 'P' as it was formerly known is "perseverance of the Saints". It now means in modern Eternal Security circles " unconditional preservation." There are too many passages in Scripture that warn us against apostasy to ascribe to this…."

Perseverance includes preservation, but many in "Eternal Security circles" (Dispensationalists, by and large, including most Southern Baptists) forget the responsibility of the believer to "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." (Php. 2:12) and yet remember verse 13: "For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose."

The believer IS responsible to PERSEVERE in avoiding apostasy (and thus the reprimands). But we believe it is a command much like that of a protective parent who scolds his child not to play in the street, never intending to let the toddler sufficiently out of his sight or grasp so as to encounter any real risk from passing motorists.

No Scripture can be successfully interpreted to adjudge a genuine believer to have fallen from the faith (including Hebrews 6). And those who appear to be genuine--but in the final analysis fall away--are spoken of.

TULIP does not answer all questions. It was never intended to. (It was a response to the Remonstrants and took their ordering.) It holds much more in tension than Arminians usually see; it allows for mystery. It is not intended to take away from the notion of the Freedom of the Will, but to establish the absolute Sovereignty of God.

Humble yourself (and myself) in the sight of the LORD...and He will lift you (and me) up.

--Eric

PS: I've been meaning to mention Keith's remark that TULIP is not the best way to distinguish Calvinism, but that instead the five solas are. Nice try. Certainly, TULIP is in no way adequate to describe the intricacies of Reformed Theology. But the solas are Protestant distinctives and not the exclusive domain of Calvinism. Do you actually know of any Evangelicals who don't subscribe to Sola Scriptura? Sola Fide? Sola Gratia? Solus Christus? (Even Catholics fully agree to the last two, and have much less disagreement with the first two than is often recognized). That leaves Soli Deo Gloria. And whereas we may differ on the interpretation of this Latin phrase, few Christians are going to say they don't want all glory to go to God.


 2004/12/23 14:22Profile
KeithLaMothe
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Joined: 2004/3/28
Posts: 354


 Re:

Just a few questions that come to mind, more for the sake of precise understanding than debate:

Quote:
"That means I do not believe that man is so depraved (the "T" of tulip) that he cannot respond to God's grace when it appears unto him/her...."

Calvinists would say something quite similar, he can indeed respond to God's grace when it appears. We just say that this happens through the agency of the Spirit.

Upon whom does the Spirit work in such a way? Everyone? If not everyone, are the rest simply not recipients of God's grace? Or are they recipients of what is sometimes called "common grace" as opposed to salvific grace (or at least grace that enables him to respond)?

Quote:
It is the work of the Spirit and not of our own gentle will or intellectual brilliance.

Laying aside connotations of gentleness or brilliance, is the unregenerate's will or intellect involved in this stage [b]at all[/b]?

Quote:
We do not believe the earthly man is "wired" in such a way as to be unable to respond, but that he is dead to Spiritual things and must be regenerated before he can respond.

I think I understand the semantic difference, but it could appear slim, so: is the man "dead to Spiritual things" able to respond? If unable, as I think you might say, do you mean that the inability is present but not simply "wired" in to the man? In other words, regeneration is not a complete overturning of what it means to be human, but instead of what it means to be totally depraved? Or is the totally depraved man "able" to respond if he wanted to, but simply in such a state that he would never (apart from regeneration) want to respond?

Quote:
"The 'L' is limited atonement. I do not believe this at all. Jesus died for the sins of the whole world. It only adds to the guilt of a sinner to trod under foot the blood of Christ, etc...."

Calvinists also say that, at least in one sense, Christ died for the whole world (as in John 3:16). He died for every nation, for Gentile and Jew, i.e., the whole world. The Bible never says he died for each and every individual. Both Matthew 26:28 and Hebrews 9:28 say that Christ died for the sins of MANY.

I think the real area of disagreement here is not [b]whether[/b] the atonement is "limited", but in [b]which[/b] way it is limited (as I recall you pointed out to me earlier). Either the atonement is limited in [b]scope[/b] as the Calvinist would say, or the atonement is limited in [b]efficacy[/b] as the Arminian (and others, probably) would say. The only ones that really believe in an unlimited atonement are the Universalists, as we have discussed. Actually, the term "scope" may be insufficient, as the Calvinist would likely affirm that the scope is universal [i]in a sense[/i], but that it really only includes the elect, and that the universality simply means that one does not have to be of a specific ethnicity/nationality/etc to be among the elect. Is my understanding pretty close?

Quote:
This is NOT what Irresistible Grace means. There is no coercion involved. And yes, the non-elect can resist the impact of General Revelation on their lives.

Can they [i]not[/i] resist it? Could we say that they cannot resist resisting? Irresistible resistance? :-)

Quote:
The elect can likewise resist the guidance of the Spirit for a time.

But they always eventually cease resistance? What causes them to stop resisting? Or are you talking about the regenerate elect during sanctification, or the unregenerate elect before justification?

Quote:
Perseverance includes preservation, but many in "Eternal Security circles" (Dispensationalists, by and large, including most Southern Baptists) forget the responsibility of the believer to "work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." (Php. 2:12) and yet remember verse 13: "For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose."

I would agree with this assessment: There may be antinomians who call themselves Calvinists, but believing in the Perseverance of the Saints does not at all imply antinomianism; if anyone calls Charles Spurgeon, Jonathan Edwards, or Charles Finney antinomian, I think I might laugh too hard to be able to respond.

Quote:
The believer IS responsible to PERSEVERE in avoiding apostasy (and thus the reprimands).

Can a believer commit apostasy? If so, what exactly does that mean, and can it entail falling either fully or finally? If not, in what sense need he worry about avoiding it? I would expect that to be answered by something along the lines of "he cannot know whether he is actually regenerate", and I think this gets at the real disagreement (at least part of it); to reuse a structure from earlier:

Arminians (and other groups) affirm that regeneration is [b]knowable[/b].
Calvinists affirm that regeneration is [b]permanent[/b].
"Eternal Securists", meaning the antinomians, affirm [b]both[/b].

It may be possible to believe both and not personally slip into the errors commonly called "antinomianism", but I think it would be very difficult indeed to teach such doctrine and not produce a slew of people who do thus err.

Quote:
But we believe it is a command much like that of a protective parent who scolds his child not to play in the street, never intending to let the toddler sufficiently out of his sight or grasp so as to encounter any real risk from passing motorists.

No Scripture can be successfully interpreted to adjudge a genuine believer to have fallen from the faith (including Hebrews 6). And those who appear to be genuine--but in the final analysis fall away--are spoken of.

King David is the one scriptural example that stands most directly between me and Perseverance of the Saints. I take 1 John 3:15 to say that being a "murderer" is incompatible with having eternal life, and I've not been convinced otherwise by several attempts. I also believe that committing (or, in this case, ordering) a murder of a fellow covenant member, and not repenting for about nine months, qualifies one as being a "murderer", although I'm interested in hearing arguments to the contrary. Further, I believe David was regenerate before Bathsheba came on stage, although perhaps someone will say David wasn't really regenerate, or that regeneration was something different back then. Thus, I believe David transitioned from being regenerate to being a murderer and thus not having "eternal life abiding in him", though he did later come back (and, I suppose it could be said, was re-regenerated). "Once elect, always elect" is fine to me, it's "once regenerate (saved), always regenerate" that I cannot state with certainty. These conclusions cause tricky and undesirable (to me) complications in my theology, but (as I've seen it said) I'd rather be uncomfortable with my theology and comfortable with my Bible than comfortable with my theology and uncomfortable with my Bible.

There's also James 5:19-20, and there's a thread elsewhere in this forum where I fought this particular battle a few times, so I can recycle some ammo if need be, but I don't want to overly focus the discussion on this one part quite yet.

Quote:
I've been meaning to mention Keith's remark that TULIP is not the best way to distinguish Calvinism, but that instead the five solas are. Nice try.

I was just repackaging an observation from our friend that ranges from a 4.3 to a 4.9-point Calvinist.
Quote:
Certainly, TULIP is in no way adequate to describe the intricacies of Reformed Theology. But the solas are Protestant distinctives and not the exclusive domain of Calvinism.

Perhaps I was incorrect to speak in terms of definition, I don't think he intended the focus on the five solas to define Calvinism so much as defend it, or rather to show the problems with non-Calvinist positions.
Quote:
Do you actually know of any Evangelicals who don't subscribe to Sola Scriptura?

If Sola Scriptura is an Evangelical watershed, then obviously not (by definition), but I've run across professing believers (indeed, with convincing lives) who are more than slightly shaky on Scripture. The point isn't really about those who [b]conciously[/b] deny Sola Scriptura, however, or any of the other 4. The point is that it may be possible to demonstrate that a sotierology (or other doctrine) is inconsistent with these basic reformational truths. For instance, the insistence that synergistic regeneration/justification gives at least some small part of the glory to man ("If he had been justified by works, he would have whereof to glory..."), and thus that such a theory of regeneration/justification is not consistent with Soli Deo Gloria.
Quote:
few Christians are going to say they don't want all glory to go to God.

But is their theology consistent with that?

 2004/12/23 20:07Profile
philologos
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 Re:

Quote:
Laying aside connotations of gentleness or brilliance, is the unregenerate's will or intellect involved in this stage at all?


Hi Keith
This may also be a recycling of past comments but as Eric is newly with us I would like his comments on my comments.

One my objections to this kind of debate is that so often Calvinism sets the agenda. Well, I reject Calvinism. I have not the slightest interest in whether I am a one point Calvinist or not. I reject the language of the decrees. I reject Calvinisms confessions and catechisms. I reject its whole scheme from beginning to end. I will not start there. What does the Bible say?

In a earlier I raised the question of The Will. It seems to be the battleground for Calvinism and Arminianism. It is bound, is it free? I have a much more fundamentable question. Does it exist?

There is a common presumption in this frequent discussion that human beings have a faculty of the soul called the will, but do we? Rather than jump into the Calvinism/Arminianism debate half-baked lets enquire into revelation. As I recall Finney regarded the will as 'self-evident'. Well, not to me it isn't. So laying aside all speculation, from where, biblically, do we derive the concept of the will. Its ability or non-ability are of limited significance if it doesn't exist.

Now, just to make my question more clear. I know that God's will is spoken of, but as a decision/decree rather than a divine faculty. Christ said 'Not my will, but thine be done', but again we could substitute the word decision/decree and would not need a faculty called The Will.

We shall no doubt get into theleO and boulomai but let me hear where you get your doctrine of the will from.


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Ron Bailey

 2004/12/24 4:11Profile
KeithLaMothe
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 Re:

I'll go first with the stuff that comes immediately to mind, and perhaps (if the question isn't resolved) later give it a more concerted try:

Phillipians 2:13
For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

My usual understanding of this is that God is giving grace unto us both to [b]want[/b] to do, and the providence to actually be able to accomplish what He wants us to do. I imagine you have something clever in mind to turn my understanding on its head, but I've grown used to that.

Another kind of argument, which I find somewhat more convincing than choosing (albeit reasonably, I think) to read the above text in something like the way I do: because there are beings that sin, they must have the ability to choose something other than obedience to God. In more detail: some beings sin, and we know that God does not sin, and that He does not force beings to sin in the "come down there, pick you up, throw you on the grass, and hold you accountable for being on the grass" sense because (presumably) that would make Him morally responsible, so the only way a being could sin is to have a different "will" (or preference, or desire, etc) than God. Meaning that said will is not forcibly bound to God's will, "not forcibly bound" being another term for "free". It's essentially reverse argument from the problem of evil: if there were no "free will", God would [b]have[/b] to be the author of sin, as no one else could go against His will (the ability to do so would be "free will").

I might not be making sense, having been awake a bit longer than usual.

In any case, Nave's had a few verses that seem at least somewhat relevant:

Deuteronomy 30:19-20
19I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore [b]choose[/b] life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
20That thou mayest love the LORD thy God, and that thou mayest obey his voice, and that thou mayest cleave unto him: for he is thy life, and the length of thy days: that thou mayest dwell in the land which the LORD sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.

Joshua 24:15
And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, [b]choose[/b] you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.

Joshua 24:18
And the LORD drave out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land: therefore will we also serve the LORD; for he is our God.

1 Kings 18:21
And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.

 2004/12/24 7:52Profile
philologos
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 Re:

Quote:
My usual understanding of this is that God is giving grace unto us both to want to do, and the providence to actually be able to accomplish what He wants us to do. I imagine you have something clever in mind to turn my understanding on its head, but I've grown used to that.


As though I would! If my thinking is a little lateral its just that I don't have any fixed points that I have to steer around. I reject Calvinism, root and branch, as a system, but I am prepared to listen to Calvinists who want to give a reason for the hope that is in them.

Wesley's comment, though it sounds a little patronising is much the way I think. Wesley had come to know many believers in predestination whose [i]"real Christian experience"[/i] could not be denied, and adding that this fact stared him in the face and was clear proof that predestination [i]"is only an opinion, not subversive of the very foundations of Christian experience, but compatible with a love for Christ and a genuine work of grace. Yea, many hold it at whose feet I desire to be found in the day of the Lord Jesus."[/i]

No, this is my whole point. You have switched from the concept of The Will, which would be a noun, and a faculty, to a verb which is the expression of an action. We will need to look at the verbs thelO and boulomai, but if you trace its use through the NT you will find that there are elements of desire and of decision involved. However, as far as I have been able to ascertain no explanation as to what does the 'willing' other than the person.

Your references are all the ones I would have quoted. Do you not see that there is a difference between the process of choice and the ability (or otherwise) of a 'will'. I believe strongly in choice and its consequent virtue or sin; I hold the individual responsible for every choice. I believe that the word of God is empowering, so every command brings its own enabling. If I then refuse the grace of that enabling I am culpable. I am culpable, not Adam.


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Ron Bailey

 2004/12/24 8:46Profile
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 Re:

Quote:
If I then refuse the grace of that enabling I am culpable. I am culpable, not Adam.



I would say something similar to this; "If I resist the Holy Ghost I am culpable for each and every occasion of it." If I cease not to do despite unto the Spirit of grace I have in store a more sorer punishment than those who under Moses died without mercy. As it is written; Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace? For we know him that hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will recompense, saith the Lord. And again, The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

That includes the persons living in the deepest jungles of South America and the plush high rises of New York City. Each shall be accountable for the LIGHT they resisted. Light, being, the revelation of their Master's will. And yet, what is the finality of that resistance to revelation? What happens to men and women who do always resist the Holy Ghost? What happens to those who do not like to retain God in their knowledge? They are doomed to the path of perdition, that same end of Satan and his angelic followers; an unending flame filled with multiplied torments that no amount of tophim (drums of distraction) shall drown the screams thereof. They silenced the voice of both conscience and the Spirit and yet they will never silence the torments of such a place. Hell is as eternal as Heaven. Therefore knowing the terror of the Lord we pursuade men.

If the word aionos is used in John 3:16 to mean 'eternal' we dare not shorten aionos to mean something less than endless eternity for those being punished without reducing the “eternal life” of those who will be in Heaven. Yet, in Revelation 14:11 and 20:10, we find the emphatic forms eis aionas aionon and eis tous aionas ton aionon (through the ages of ages). And the smoke of their torment goes up to ages of ages, and they have no respite day and night who do homage to the beast and to its image, and if any one receive the mark of its name. (Revelation 14:11 Darby) We read the same thing basically in Revelation 20;10 And the devil who deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone, where [are] both the beast and the false prophet; and they shall be tormented day and night for the ages of ages. (Darby)

Let the Gospel be preached to every person under Heaven. Let them be warned that God hath appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness. May we warn men of the ho topos tou basanou, "The topos (place) of torment" that men seek to press to the deepest recesses of the mind must be flushed out. For[url=https://www.sermonindex.net/modules/newbb/viewtopic.php?topic_id=4048&forum=36&0]TOPHET[/url] is ordained of old and was prepared for the Lucifer and his angels.

God Bless,

-Robert


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Robert Wurtz II

 2004/12/24 14:18Profile
KeithLaMothe
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Posts: 354


 Re:

Quote:
No, this is my whole point. You have switched from the concept of The Will, which would be a noun, and a faculty, to a verb which is the expression of an action.

I highlighted "want" :-) I was trying to structure the part of the sentence referring to "and to do" so as to give the impression that I didn't consider it as dealing with the "will" but rather with the (mostly) external things that have to be in place for the believer to actually be able to do what it is God wants (e.g. if for some reason he needs to reach a book on a really high library shelf, he's going to need a ladder or something similar, regardless of how much he wants to do it). If those things were not in place, the action would simply not be possible, and the man would not be held accountable for not getting the book.

Quote:
We will need to look at the verbs thelO and boulomai, but if you trace its use through the NT you will find that there are elements of [b]desire[/b] and of decision involved.

(emphasis mine) I tend to focus on the "desire" part, saying that the man is quite free to attempt whatever he desires, although he may not succeed due to being a finite being (but not due to his moral depravity, that's in a different category)

Quote:
However, as far as I have been able to ascertain no explanation as to what does the 'willing' other than the person.

The person does the "willing", or "makes the decision", and that decision flows naturally from his desires, which in turn flows naturally from what I call his character, or nature. It is his nature that (if he is unregenerate) is utterly opposed to obeying God, and he has no power whereby to change that. A couple (non-rhetorical) questions regarding this: Can anyone change their own nature, and what would that look like? Would anyone desire to do so, or is that categorically impossible due to desires flowing from character? Or are there other sources of desire? Do you differentiate between nature and character, or are you going to send me scurrying off to Biblically define "desire", "character", and "nature"? :-)

Quote:
Your references are all the ones I would have quoted. Do you not see that there is a difference between the process of choice and the ability (or otherwise) of a 'will'.

I think I see it fairly clearly: an unregenerate man [b]can[/b], if he truly [u]desires[/u] do to so, obey God's moral commands, love God, etc (assuming God is providing the neceessary enabling grace, which you discussed later). Being unregenerate, however, such a desire will not arise from his selfish, God-hating nature (one might also use the word "heart").

Quote:
I believe strongly in choice and its consequent virtue or sin; I hold the individual responsible for every choice.

As do I. The unregenerate sins [u]because he wants to sin[/u], and the sin (edit: that sinful desire) is the fruit of the corrupt tree that is his heart.

Quote:
I believe that the word of God is empowering, so every command brings its own enabling.

As Bro. Robert mentioned earlier, this was a point of disagreement between Augustine and Pelagius; your side being with the latter in this case (though I do not think this particular distinctive to be an aspect of what makes Pelagianism heresy). I tend toward's Augustine's side, my position being along the lines of: God created man with all the enabling they needed to be able to obey Him, and man fell from that into a state where they need much more in order to obey, but was still held to the same standard of obedience, and God may or may not have mercy in an individual case and grant what the man needs in order to obey. A poignant responding question here is "are they morally culpable for what they cannot do?" and, subsequently, "if not, is the reprobate man culpable for his refusal of the Gospel?"

But I'm still not sure what you mean by "enabling", for if you mean the same as the ability to do it if they [b]wanted[/b], then I can hold the position that God always gives enabling grace for what He commands (sidestepping those two questions), and not cause problems with my earlier statements in this post. Or by "enabling" do you mean the necessary change in the unregenerate's nature that will actually make it possible (even likely, or perhaps even certain) that he will want to obey? If so, would you distinguish such enabling grace from regeneration itself?

Quote:
If I then refuse the grace of that enabling I am culpable.

If enabled, and you refuse, you are culpable, yes. I suppose the disagreement is over whether the first part (being able) is a prerequisite for moral culpability. I certainly see why one would say that it is, and I'm teetering towards the "God always enables when He commands" position, but whether or not that makes any difference with what I've already said depends on what kind of "enabling" you're talking about. Ability to do, or ability to want?

Quote:
I am culpable, not Adam.

Seeing as I don't believe men are held judicially responsible for what Adam alone did, it would be odd for me to believe that Adam is held judicially accountable for what [b]we[/b] do :-) I think I see what you're getting at, though: if our choices flow naturally from our desires, and our desires flow naturally from our nature, and our nature is such that it naturally produces sinful desires, and thus sinful choices, then the blame (it could be argued) falls on the one responsible for making our nature that way: Adam. If this is what you mean (please correct me if I'm wrong on any of my extrapolations of what you're saying, I just take stuff and run with it), then our point of disagreement would be on whether or not the one responsible for our nature being what it is would be morally responsible for the fruit (good or bad) of that nature.

(Bro. Robert posted while I was writing this)
Very sobering, Brother, thank you for the reminder. I don't see anything in there to disagree with, so you're probably not talking to me :-)

 2004/12/24 14:32Profile





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