"Deciding For The Lord"

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Rippon, May 11, 2006.

  1. Rippon

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    D.Martyn Lloyd-Jones lectured to Westminster theological students after he retired from the pulpit . The lectures were gathered in his classic " Preaching & Preachers . One of the chapters is : " Calling For Decisions " .

    That term 'decide ' has always seemed to me to be quite wrong . I have often heard people use expressions which have disturbed me , and made me feel very unhappy . They have generally done so in ignorance and with the best intentions . I can think of an old man who often used the following expression : ' You know , friends , I decided for Christ forty years ago , and I have never regretted it . ' What a terrible thing to say ! ' Never regretted it ! ' But that is the kind of thing people say who have been brought up under this teaching and approach . A sinner does not ' decide ' for Christ ; the sinner ' flies ' to Christ in utter helplessness and despair saying -- Foul , I to the fountain fly ,
    Wash me , Saviour , or I die . [ A. Toplady ]
    No man truly comes to Christ unless he flies to Him as his only refuge and hope , his only way of escape from the accusations of conscience and the condemnation of God's holy law .
     
  2. doulous

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    Rip - from a theological point of view Dr. Jones was correct. None of us decide or choose Christ. It is not like walking down the aisle of a grocery store and deciding on the Valencia Organges instead of the Naval Oranages. BUT...we do make decisions everyday in our Christian lives. We choose to sin, we choose to obey, we choose to read our bible, we choose not to read our bible etc. etc. Paul was in a quandray as to which way to choose (Phil. 1:22). Paul questioned the Corinthians as to whether they had one wise man to decide between them (1 Cor. 6:5). I have no problems with the words choose, chose, choice or decide in context of God's absolute sovereignty to order all things.
     
  3. J.D.

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    I too have a problem with the word "decide", but doulous is right, it's a good word if understood correctly.

    The problem I have with the whole thing around decisionism is it makes salvation appear to be a sort of business deal. A decision involves a choice between options. Salvation of God, esp. in regards to regeneration, does not involve a decision at all - it involves a CHANGE of heart, wich in turn changes our decisions.

    The method for gaining "decisions" in the average church today rules out the work of God (I didn't say it PROHIBITS the work of God). It's put this way:

    "You can go to heaven, and the "ticket" is free; or you can go to hell - what do you choose?"

    This method produces inumerable false professions. Who in their right mind, including the unregenerate, is going to choose to go to hell? I say they will gladly "choose" to go to heaven under the terms presented. But they will not truly beieve or repent.

    When a person has been born again by the spirit, he will not just "decide" to accept Christ, he will actually believe and repent by the power of God.
     
  4. ktn4eg

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    Saw this on a bumper sticker many years ago:


    HEAVEN OR HELL .... The choice is yours!


    Comments?
     
  5. Rippon

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    More from Dr. L-J's chapter :

    In the church where I ministered in South Wales I used to stand at the main door of the church at the close of the service on Sunday night , and shake hands with people as they went out . The incident to which I am referring concerns a man who used to come to our service every Sunday night . He was a tradesman but also a heavy drinker . He got drunk regularly every Saturday night , but he was also regularly seated in the gallery of our church every Sunday night . On the particular night to which I am referring I happened to notice while preaching that this man was obviously being affected . I could see that he was weping copiously , and I was anxious to know what was happening to him . At the end of the service I went and stood at the door . After a while I saw this man coming , and immediately I was in a real mental conflict . Should I , in view of what I had seen , say a word to him and ask him to make a decision that night , or should I not ? Would I be interfering with the work of the Spirit if I did so ? Hurriedly I decided that I would not ask him to stay behind , so I just greeted him as usual and he went out . His face revealed that he had been crying copiously , and he could scarcely look at me . The following evening I was walking to the prayer-meeting in the church , and , going over a railway bridge , I saw this same man coming to meet me . He came across the road to me and said , ' You know , doctor , if you had asked me to stay behind last night I would have done so . ' ' Well ,' I said , ' if what happened to you last night does not last for twenty-four hours I am not interested in it . If you are not as ready to come with me now as you were last night you have not got the right , the true thing . Whatever affected you last night was only temporary and passing , you still do not see your real need for Christ . '
    That is the kind of thing that may happen even when an appeal is not made . But when an appeal is made it is greatly exaggerated and so you get spurious conversions .
     
  6. Rippon

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    More from L-J .

    I have spoken of others who are criticised by their members because they do not make this 'call' at every service . The practice seems to have introduced a new kind of mentality , a carnality expressing itself as an unhealthy interest in numbers . It has led also to a desire for excitement , and to an impatience almost with the message because they are waiting for the 'call' at the end and the seeing of the results . All this is surely very serious .
     
  7. doulous

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    Rip - you do well at quoting Dr. Jones. What is your opinion?
     
  8. doulous

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    Theologically speaking that bumper sticker is correct. Of course it is only correct if considered in context of God's sovereignty. If considered within the context of free will, it would be theologically inaccurate.
     
  9. Rippon

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    Doulous , I am in agreement with the good doctor , speaking of whom ... here's more from that chapter .

    My contention is that [ a principle ] applies to this matter of calling for decisions , and that the tendency increasingly has been to put more and more emphasis on the 'appeal' and the taking of a decision , and to regard it as something in and of itself . I remember being in an evangelistic meeting in which I , and others , felt that on that occasion the Gospel had not really been preached . It had been mentioned , but it certainly had not been conveyed , it had not been preached ; but to my amazement a large number of people went forward in response to the appeal at the end . The question that arose immediately was , what accounted for this ? I was discussing this questin the following day with a friend . He said , " There is no difficulty about that , ' these results have nothing to do with the preaching . ' So I asked , ' Well , what is it, what was happening ? ' He replied , ' This is God answering the prayers of the thousands of people who are praying for these results throughout the world ; it is not the preaching .' My contention is that there should be no such disjunction between the 'appeal' and the preaching , any more than there should be between the sacraments and preaching .
    ... this method surely carries in it the implication that sinners have an inherent power of decision and of self-conversion . But that cannot be reconciled with scriptural teaching such as 1 Corinthians 2:14 , ' The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God : for they are foolishness unto him : neither can he know them , because they are spiritually discerned ,' and Ephesians 2:1, ' You hath He quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins ,' and many other statements .
    ... there is an implication here that the evangelist somehow is in a position to manipulate the Holy Spirit and His work . The evangelist has but to appear and to make his appeal and the results follow inevitably . If there were an occasional failure , an occasional meeting with little or no response , the problem would not arise ; but so often today the organisers are able to predict the number of 'results' .
    ... this method tends to produce a superficial conviction of sin , if any at all . People often respond because they have the impression that by doing so they will receive certain benefits .
     
  10. J.D.

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    I've got to get that book. Man, that really puts into words what I feel but couldn't express.

    Many, many, years ago, we had a "revival" meeting in the church I was in at the time, and I'll never forget how the altar filled with people supposedly repenting, even pouring out tears. The pastor, oddly enough, wet-blanketed the whole thing by saying it wouldn't last. Sure enough, NONE of those people on the altar ever came back to church, not even once.

    You see, they were emotionally driven people. They could only bear preaching of an "evangelist" that was skilled at rousing or tear-jerking speeches. The Gospel was virtually meaningless to those people. The week-to-week expository/exegetical preaching of the pastor was boring beyond toleration for them. What they wanted was pentacostoalism, or at best, "bapticostalism".

    As far as I'm concerned IMO folks like that are fakes. O.K. MAYBE they're saved, but everything else is fake about them. They cling to superstitions. I know these people.

    And you know what else? Have you ever tried to witness to one of these fakes? They cling tenaciously to their profession - they can show you the date and time that they wrote down when they said the sinner's prayer - and anything beyond that physical act of mouthing a prayer is foreign to them. They don't understand the new birth, the change, the new man.

    And for the god of bigness, the more professions the better. True conversion is a secondary matter - just see the thread on Mr. Floyd - he said so.

    Arminianism, pragmatism, human pride - they all work together to give us the average church of today - FAKE!

    Sorry if that was overly harsh words, just saying what I really think.
     
  11. Dave

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    I love the Toplady quote in the OP. How true it is. I wonder how many people would come forward if the invitation went like this -

    "Do you truly view yourself as foul, sin-stained, disgusting, vile before the Righteous Judge? Living dead to God and heading for hell? Do you see the need to fly to the only fountain that can cleanse? To give yourself totally and completely to the saviour that is the only one that can save you from an eternity of the hellfire you so surely deserve? Then please come forward; all others are dismissed."

    How many would come for an invitation like that, do you think?
     
  12. Dave

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    My point in the previous post was that anyone responding to an invitation like that would have to be more likely to be under the conviction of the Spirit.

    This type of invitation would not lend itself to easy believism, imho.
     
  13. Me4Him

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    Mt 16:24 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

    25 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

    26 For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

    Pretty worthless advise to people who don't have a choice, isn't it???
     
  14. Calvibaptist

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    Good misrepresentation Me4Him.
     
  15. doulous

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    Ditto
     
  16. Brother Bob

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    Sound good to me, Me4Him [​IMG]
     
  17. Brother Bob

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  18. doulous

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    Ummmm...Bob, Calvibaptist said, "Good misrepresentation." He was actually criticizing Me4Him's post.
     
  19. Brother Bob

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    I know but I was supporting him. [​IMG]
     
  20. doulous

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    Oh. Wasn't sure.
     

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