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Discussion Forum : Scriptures and Doctrine : Hell: did Jesus die for those burning..?

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RobertW
Member



Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re:

Quote:
We're on the same page but the terminology is difficult for a lay person. I recognize the terms but I doubt I could pronounce most of the words at this point.



I'm sorry brother. I can't hardly pronounce them either without getting tongue tied. :-?

I really had no intentions of entering these types of discussions here at SI, I wanted to focus on revival and Jewish Roots. These things are almost dead in the water in our generation and don't edify much; yet there is some good in it all. It helps us sharpen up for ministry in the public especially. Evangelism is greatly aided to certain folk by having a grasp of some of these issues. You will cross their paths from time to time. God directs the steps of the righteous into the pathway of those who are seriously seeking Him.

God Bless,

-Robert


_________________
Robert Wurtz II

 2004/12/7 11:25Profile
Gideons
Member



Joined: 2003/9/16
Posts: 474
Virginia

 Re:

I'm not upset Brother Robert, not in the least.

I've been reexamining my own beliefs in the light of scripture. It's been a harrowing experience and this is part of the ground being plowed.

I appreciate both your comments and those of Brother Ron and they have been immensely helpful to me.


_________________
Ed Pugh

 2004/12/7 11:35Profile
Delboy
Member



Joined: 2004/2/8
Posts: 199
Worthing UK

 Re:

Hi all,

Quote:
My official position is that I oppose supralapsarian double unconditional election.


Hey this is a line from Mary poppins not a slogan,
or am i thinking of supa-cala-fagelistic- exbe alli- dousious.
Anyway, on aserious note please remember there are us mere un-learned folk wishing to learn more,
the way you guys are handleing the current situation is great respect to you Mike Ron Robert keith and Greg. :-)


_________________
derek Eyre

 2004/12/7 14:20Profile
RobertW
Member



Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re:

Quote:
supa-cala-fagelistic- exbe alli- dousious



Hi Delboy,

What I meant by supralapsarian double unconditional election is that God did not create or desire for sin to exist in Heaven or Earth. Moreover, I do not believe that God predestines men and women to heaven or hell apart from any decision on their part. This confirms the good news of Jesus Christ as genuine good news and not a construct of pretense and lies.

The sticking point is in the very definition of God and what it means to be God. A coworker once said to me something like this, "If it happens it must be God's will or God would not be God." I countered by demonstrating that an omnipotent God was able to create a world in which finite man could exercise free will. That generally leads to a long discussion on the "problem of evil."

God Bless,

-Robert


_________________
Robert Wurtz II

 2004/12/7 14:31Profile
philologos
Member



Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

Hi to all Mary Poppins-es,
I am to blame for introducing the word infralapsarianism and Robert introduced the alternative. On my part it was a joke but with a serious intention.

Keith (please correct me if I am wrong) was saying not that God directly caused sin and intended its consequences (that would be supralapsarianism) but created conditions that knowingly allowed it (infralapsarianism). Keith, acknowledging that we are struggling with human words to understand how things are as they are, was suggesting that the views are pretty close. Calvinist explain these in terms of the Decrees; in a sense decisions that were made in the Godhead before creation. (before anyone protests, they don't imagine a council having convened but its more like God's axioms in the creation of mankind.) The question then is was it one of God's axioms that man would sin? or in Calvinist-speak 'was it in the Decrees or not?'

One of problems is that our race's fall was secondary and came through the agency of another race. The Bible however only gives 'need-to-know' data on the other race's fall. We have a couple of prophecies in Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 which seem to be giving us a little information; enough for our needs.

Keith mentioned that he was uncomfortable with the L of TULIP in the Calvinistic explanation. For new readers
[b]T[/b]otal Depravity
[b]U[/b]nconditional Election
[b]L[/b]imited Atonement (or Particular Redemption)
[b]I[/b]rresistable Grace
[b]P[/b]erserverance of the saints.

Folks who hold to all these points I called Five Point Calvinists (FPCs) In some ways Calvinism is very logical in that the whole scheme of things is very well integrated. I'm not going to go through the whole list, that's been done before in these threads, but [b]L[/b]imited Atonement/Particular Redemption means that atonement and consequently redemption has only been provided for the [b]U[/b]nconditionally Elect who will find grace [b]I[/b]rresistable. Keith may be a Four Point Calvinist; I am a 'one point and slippling' Calvinist.

This is the area of this discussion. Please read Keith's post again and with this mini-introduction lets see where we are up to so far.

Keith, there is nothing more frustrating that having someone else explain your theology so please correct any of the above.


_________________
Ron Bailey

 2004/12/7 16:45Profile
Delboy
Member



Joined: 2004/2/8
Posts: 199
Worthing UK

 Re:

Thanks guys, Ron, which part of the TULIP is slipping ?.... :-)


_________________
derek Eyre

 2004/12/7 17:29Profile
RobertW
Member



Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re:

Quote:
which part of the TULIP is slipping



Hi Delboy,

I can't speak for Bro. Ron, but for me I would have to answer that point by point.

So far, we have looked at the U and deemed "unconditional double election" to be completly in conflict with the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as it, in its finality accuses God of being what He is damning sinners to Hell for. The usual retort to this is, "God can do what He wants because He is God." That sounds pious, but again is a pagan concept of God, in that, it asserts that God will act contrary to His revealed personality and inconsistent with His revealed will. The 'nuclear button' that finally gets pushed is Romans 9:20, Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God. Again, this sounds pious, but I counter this with asking, "if Paul asked this question in this context, what would he ask a person who made God to become the Fathers of Lies?"

L or "limited atonement" is generally not debated these days by most. But we need only cite I John 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for our's only, but also for the sins of the whole world (Darby) again, most of these things are rooted in pagan philosophy and not God's Word. This is why you will read pages after pages of arguments with no scripture cited. It would be a good time to also remind all that, based upon my resources, noone can be cited before Augustine other than the Jews who believed in Unconditional Election.

P was dealt with in passing as it was once known as "perseverance" but now has come to mean "preservation." Those who held this doctrine believe that God has ordained the elect to eternal life and there is no possibility of them falling from grace. The new spin on this states that whosoever has accepted Christ as Savior is guaranteed to make Heaven, as their sins are forgiven, past, present and future. There is much disagreement with this, as some affirm that Christ must be Lord (Lordship salvation) in order to be genuinely 'saved' while others affirm a simple faith in Christ with no obedience necessary.

That leaves us with the T for "Total Depravity" and the I for "Irresistable Grace." Depravity has been discussed in threads concerning Original Sin. I would like here to build upon Bro. Ron's Red Heifer tractate to demonstrate that the agent of Grace is the Holy Spirit and we know that the Holy Spirit is resistable. You stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You do always resist the Holy Ghost. As your fathers did, so do you... (Acts 7:51). Moreover, in Genesis 6 God said that His Spirit would not always "strive" with man. Hebrews warns us not to do "despite" unto the Spirit of Grace. Why? Because He is the Divine agent of grace and the agent of appropriation for the blood of Christ. (See the beginning of this thread for info on Red Heifer). He can be resisted, defied, and disregarded.

Some would say that there are times when God's grace is "unresistable" and I would concur in part. There are times when the grace of God appears unto a man or woman by the agency of the Holy Spirit and that grace is suffecient to arrest their will and they respond rightly to God's leading. However, if their heart had been contrary they would have resisted that dealing though the measure of faith and grace dealt to the sinner were identical.

I'll stop for comments...


God Bless,

-Robert


_________________
Robert Wurtz II

 2004/12/8 8:05Profile
philologos
Member



Joined: 2003/7/18
Posts: 6566
Reading, UK

 Re:

Quote:
Thanks guys, Ron, which part of the TULIP is slipping ?....


T, the rest have already sunk.


_________________
Ron Bailey

 2004/12/8 9:59Profile
RobertW
Member



Joined: 2004/2/12
Posts: 4636
Independence, Missouri

 Re:

Quote:
I'll stop for comments...




Quote:
T, the rest have already sunk.




Well, I guess that says it.


_________________
Robert Wurtz II

 2004/12/8 10:03Profile
KeithLaMothe
Member



Joined: 2004/3/28
Posts: 354


 Re:

Lord, guide us, put Thine words in our mouths, Thine truth in our minds...

>Bro. Ron:
>Thanks for taking this slant.

I'm happy to, these questions are very important to me, and I've been wanting to discuss them with people who come up with different answers and can really articulate how they came to those answers.

>Having said the above, what are your feelings about infralapsarianism and the like? Is this the kind of territory that we are exploring?

I'm not sure the supra/infra distinction is central to the argument I presented, because even if the fall was not technically part of the decrees, God would have known it was going to happen if He chose this particular path, and thus chose that it would happen by not choosing any other path. What the argument leads to is not Calvinism, per se, but rather Theistic Determinism, regardless of whether God determined to use a Calvinistic, Arminian, or Pelagian (or whatever) method of saving people. I'm not sure I'd call myself a determinist (mostly due to connotations associated with the idea), but logic seems to lead inexorably in that path, given classical theology.

One of the points I'm wanting to get at here is "If not determinism, then what?" If something happens, and God did not previously determine that it would happen, then why did it happen? What caused it, if not God? An answer along the lines of "free moral agent(s) caused it" is not really satisfactory to me, because God has/had the "final say" in whether or not those moral agents would actually exercise their God-given freedom in such a way, and in granting that freedom and allowing the relevant circumstances to be as they were, God "set the process in motion" for that thing to happen. Unless there were some other decision maker involved that did not derive its existence and freedom from God, but I don't think anyone here would suggest such a thing.

Even if some form of "Open Theism" were true, where (as many open theists formulate, I understand) God intentionally chose to limit his foreknowledge of free moral actions, He still made that choice and thus accepted the consequences of that choice when He was under no compulsion to do so (because nothing can compel God except God Himself, whether directly by His character or indirectly through a covenant promise He makes or something like that). Even if He doesn't know what will happen (as hard as it is for me to understand how that could possibly be), He still would have understood the risk and would be accepting any or all of the possible outcomes.

On the note of "nothing can compel God except God Himself":

>Bro. Robert:
>Any decision that God makes must be in harmony with His revealed personality.

Of course, that's what I was getting at in terms of "restrictions". But it occured to me, who placed the restriction of His personality upon Him? He did, of course (I'm not saying there was ever a time that He was not so bound, since temporal terms are kind of meaningless in this context). Since He chose to accept those restrictions, He accepted the consequences of accepting those restrictions. Furthermore, since these are aspects of His character and personality, He would never [b]desire[/b] to violate them since (correct me if I'm wrong) His desires are simply the outworking of His character and personality. Thus, any consequences of His personality (i.e., perhaps, His character demanding that He allow the fall to occur so that His wrath and mercy might be exhibited to His creation) and the result of His desires, not contrary to them.

To re-phrase again: if God didn't want it to happen, why did it happen?

>Michael Severetus was killed by Calvin at Geneva

Yes, he was. It may be that there is no real defense of Calvin's character here (it's not quite open and shut, though), but on this issue I'm not really following Calvin, or Calvinism, but rather Western/"Classical Theology" presuppositions to their logical (in my view) ends. I'm not saying the results are true, that is to be tested by Scripture, but I hold that the results are logical, unless someone can demonstrate otherwise.

>Arminius was also of the Reform persuasion

Yep. Reading the initial Arminian Remonstrance leaves one (or at least me) with the impression that it's a rather Reformed-leaning position. James Arminius, at least in the questions section of vol.1 of his works, believed a form of Perseverance of the Saints. Wesley, perhaps most famous among Arminians, said that "Calvinism is within a hair's breadth of the truth" (I'm paraphrasing slightly, perhaps). Charles Finney, it is interesting to note, was an ordained Presbyterian and believed Unconditional Election, Reprobation, and the Perseverance of the Saints (though with his own modifications, I'm sure), and yet managed to not really believe Total Depravity, putting him more in the Pelagian camp than the Augistinian-Calvinist camp (and rather at odds with the Confession he had affirmed).

But, again, this particular argument is not so much for Reformed Theology, because it still must be reckoned with in every Christian Theism I know of. Open Theists get a bit farther away from it than most, but they still have to say (correct me if I'm wrong) that God freely chose to enter into the risk of starting something He couldn't see the particulars or end of, thus making the choice a step or so more indirect.

>Anytime you (anyone that is) start thinking that God saves one and damn another you are in danger of persecuting those who you feel are damned (reprobated). Soon any treatment is justifiable to the "wretched reprobates."

I suppose I see the danger, but I could not conceive of "persecuting" anyone even if I were a flat-out determinist and I knew for certain that they were going to Hell, if anything I would feel pity for them. In either case, I do not believe (nor do any of the Calvinists I know of) that we as humans can reliably discern God's decrees of election or reprobation.

>My official position is that I oppose supralapsarian double unconditional election.

Then I suppose that you would oppose the implication of the above, which is that [i]everything[/i] that happens was at some point chosen to happen by God. Or, as the Westminster divines rendered it, God foreordained whatsoever comes to pass. Once again, I'm not stating this as true, merely as logical (and, as you pointed out, we run into danger in philosophy). But I re-phrase again: If an event occured without God's foreordination, then how did it occur? Was He unable to prevent it? Did He not know it was coming? These questions aren't fully rhetorical, but it's difficult to imagine answers other than that He saw it coming, was able to prevent it, and freely chose to not prevent it.

Many take such ideas to necessarily imply that God is morally responsible for the results, or that God delights in the results, etc. I can easily see why such conclusions are reached, but I do not see them as necessarily the case. Is an author morally responsible for the actions of the characters in the stories he writes? Is a potter responsible to make all his pots glorious vessels for noble use, never to be destroyed? Again, not fully rhetorical, but I would appreciate explanations of any affirmative answers, and of course I expect objections to the implicit analogies.

If it is a crime to choose to create a universe that would (at some point) have sin in it, while knowing of that resulting sin beforehand, then is there any way at all that the God of the Bible can be exonerated of that charge? I contend that such a creation is not a crime.

>Bro. Ron:
>Keith mentioned that he was uncomfortable with the L of TULIP in the Calvinistic explanation. For new readers
>Total Depravity
>Unconditional Election
>Limited Atonement (or Particular Redemption)
>Irresistable Grace
>Perserverance of the saints.

The TULIP is a good summary of the Canons of the Synod of Dordt (the Calvinist response to the 5 articles of the Arminian Remonstrance), and somewhat helpful in defining Calvinism, but I find the 5 "solas" a better summary of Reformed Theology as a whole. Not that I'm Reformed, so I can't speak for them. Personally, if it matters, I believe the T, U, and I, but find the L unscriptural and there are Scriptures that make me unsure of whether we should affirm the P (which was the Arminian position in the Remonstrance, that they simply weren't sure enough to teach it, rather than that they were sure that Conditional Security was true). This makes for a theology with a lot of unresolved tension, but I'll get into that some other time.

I have to go shortly, otherwise I would respond to more, but I'll close with: the "determinism" argument isn't necessary tied to Calvinism and its particulars, as I've discussed, but I think we'd be better served by moving on to the Calvinism topic. I've asked one of my Calvinist friends to join us in our discussion here, partly because I think we need at least one genuine Calvinist to really conduct this discussion well, we'll see if he has the time.

Grace and peace, from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ,
-Keith

 2004/12/8 14:53Profile





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