Defining Terms (please read the first post)

Discussion in 'Calvinism/Arminianism Debate' started by JeremyV, Jul 14, 2014.

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  1. JeremyV

    JeremyV
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    The first thing I would like to do is make it clear that this thread is only for the purpose of defining terms. When that purpose has been met, I will ask the administrator to close this thread. This thread is not for arguing the merits of any particular position. Here we are only trying to lay the groundwork for later discussion.

    There are numerous terms that can help in a discussion on the nature of salvation and grace. They provide a way to greatly shorten the discussion by substituting a single word or small phrase for what might take several sentences to describe. If we are not working from the same definitions, however, the discussion will fall prey to misunderstandings, frustration, and eventually anger. None of which help us get anywhere.

    For the purposes of our discussion, there is perhaps no better example of this then the terms "Calvinism" and "Arminianism". It is generally presumed that everyone falls into one of these two camps when in reality the various positions held on this topic can be better understood as lying on a continuum with what many call "hyper-Calvinism" one side and Pelegianism on the other. Between is a wide range of thought. I myself fall somewhere between classical Calvinism and classical Arminianism (though closer to arminianism).

    The common two-camp approach tries to force this wide range of positions into one narrowly defined camp. It is no wonder there are so many misunderstandings and so much frustration in discussions on this subject. This is why it is so important to come to an agreement on terms.

    When trying to come to agreement we must look at each term and first decide if it is even needed or particularly helpful for our discussion. Then we must decide if it is likely for us to come to a general consensus on a definition. Some definitions have become so intertwined with a particular position that such consensus is impossible. In such a case we need a way to distinguish between the different uses of the term. If a consensus is possible, then by all means let us come to one.

    In order to keep this topic organized and on track I suggest the following:

    1) We first start with a period in which we only brainstorm words and phrases that will need to be defined. All we do in this period is list words that are often in contention in discussions over (for a lack of better words at this time) Calvinism/Arminianism. No definitions or discussion in this phase, just listing. Be reasonable, only words that actually come into contention in discussion.

    Obviously, this period will need a deadline. I tentatively suggest that this period last for one day: tomorrow, Tuesday, July 15, from midnight tonight to midnight tomorrow night.

    2) After the listing I will make a master list of terms and post it. If I miss anything that was mentioned in the listing phase, let me know.

    3) We go through the list word by word, not moving on to the next word until we generally agree on one of the three options listed above (exclude the term, divide the term, or define the term).​

    This will not be a quick process and will take time. This issue was been debated for centuries. We cannot go into this expecting to solve this issue much less doing so overnight. If we do it right, however, it will be worth it.

    If you see problems with the above suggested method for defining the terms, please let me know. The dates and times suggestion are just that, a suggestion. If you think we need more time discussing how we approach this, we can postpone the listing phase. If you think we need more time to brainstorm a list of terms, we can make the phase longer. If you think you know a better way to go about this, let us know; you might be right.

    In all of this, let us come together in an attitude of humility.
     
  2. kyredneck

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    The first definition should be the meaning of the word 'sozo', translated as 'saved'.

    The next one should be the meaning of the theological term 'regeneration' (not found in the scriptures).

    There has to be a clear distinction made between regeneration and conversion.
     
  3. JeremyV

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    Consider them added to the list.

    Do you have any thoughts on the proposals made in the original post?
     
  4. pinoybaptist

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    How about conversion as different from saved and regeneration or maybe also the three words relative to each other?
     
  5. Yeshua1

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    The problem is that from the perspective of the NT itself, those who are regenerated are saved/have been converted/raised from spiritual death to spiritual life in Christ!

    I cannot find anyone decribed in the NT as having coverted/been saved/regenerated without ALL of that happening to them at the same time!
     
  6. pinoybaptist

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    All due respects but you are wrong. lol.
    Seriously, that's why we first define, then we discuss.
    Let us not get ahead of the stated objective, friend.
     
  7. kyredneck

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    Jeremy hasn't told us 'what kind' of Baptist he is, he only provides a blanket statement of faith in his profile, so in the spirit of 'old schoolism' I'm working from terms used by 'old school' Southern Baptists rather than the 'Primitives':

    "James P. Boyce (first president of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, in Louisville, Kentucky): "It is not strange, therefore, that they [i.e. regeneration and conversion] are often confounded. Yet, after all, the Scriptures also teach that regeneration is the work of God, changing the heart of man by his sovereign will, while conversion is that act of man turning towards God with the new inclination thus given to his heart" (Abstract of Systematic Theology, p. 374)."

    "John L. Dagg (first writing Southern Baptist theologian; president of Mercer University in Georgia): "In our natural state we are totally depraved. No inclination to holiness exists in the carnal heart; and no holy act can be performed, or service to God rendered, until the heart is changed. This change, it is the office of the Holy Spirit to effect. . . . But, in his own time and manner, God, the Holy Spirit, makes the word effectual in producing a new affection in the soul: and, when the first movement of love to God exists, the first throb of spiritual life commences" (A Manual of Theology, pp. 277, 279)."

    [add]

    This distinction between regeneration and conversion is still made by [at least some] Southern Baptists today:

    Does regeneration necessarily precede conversion? by Tom Schreiner

    "The answer to the question is “yes,” but before explaining why this is so, the terms “regeneration” and “conversion” should be explained briefly."

    That's because you've never looked for it or thought outside of the box, you're perfectly content to parrot the 'new school' staus quo of the day.
     
    #7 kyredneck, Jul 14, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 14, 2014
  8. Van

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    When we were seeking an end to the Korean War, we spent years deciding the shape of the discussion table. I provided a definition of Calvinism, the five doctrines of the TULIP and I defined each of the five terms. Saved, regeneration, conversion and any other word or term will all fall under the umbrella of discussion of the TULIP doctrines.

    For example a person who is not spiritually "in Christ" is unsaved, spiritually dead, whereas a person who God has transferred into Christ is made alive together with Christ. This facet of salvation is referred to as positional sanctification, referring to God setting us apart in Christ, the sanctification by the Spirit.

    Regeneration refers to being originated again, born anew, made alive, and occurs when a person is spiritually placed in Christ and not before a person is placed spiritually in Christ. If you are not in Christ, you are not together with Christ, not alive, and therefore spiritually dead.

    Conversion refers not to repentance, the changing of our mind, but to the spiritual rebirth God causes when He transfers a person into Christ.
     
    #8 Van, Jul 14, 2014
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 14, 2014
  9. pinoybaptist

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    I think I will lurk in the the sidelines for now....just see how this thread pans out.
     
  10. JeremyV

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    Let's not jump the gun. I am not sure we are quite ready to delve into discussing definitions until we decide on how we are going to go about it. I realize that this may seem like a trivial thing, but in my experience, a discussion without order falls into anarchy. I made a suggestion in my first post. How do we feel about this suggestion? For the moment let's talk about this. If you feel like adding to the list of terms at this time, fine, but lets leave actual definitions for later.

    I understand your fear of getting bogged down in this and I do not plan on taking years to accomplish this part of the discussion either. On the other hand, if we simply start to present what definitions we want to use or that we think are best we likely get nowhere. Image how a church business meeting would proceed if there was no basic rule order.
     
  11. kyredneck

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    There is sooooo much synonymy within scriptures, you're gonna find it impossible to reach agreement with all on these terms.

    For example regeneration alone = born from above = born of God = circumcised in heart = the law written in the heart = flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee = made alive = etc., so many others that escapes me for now.

    Good luck to you, and I will participate and try to help if you want.
     
  12. kyredneck

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    Synergism: the doctrine that the human will cooperates with the Holy Ghost in the work of regeneration.

    Monergism: the doctrine that the Holy Ghost acts independently of the human will in the work of regeneration.

    I've already suggested these terms on the other thread. Good luck with reaching agreement with those also.
     
  13. JeremyV

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    This exactly why, in the original post, I suggest dividing the term when agreement cannot be reached. By dividing the term I mean to precede it with a qualifying term depending on how it may be used.
     
  14. The Biblicist

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    The words "draw" and "come" and "called" also need to be defined.
     
  15. RLBosley

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    I'm with you.
     
  16. JamesL

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    Here are the contentious words as I see them:

    Predestined

    Elect

    Chosen

    Regeneration

    Decreed

    Ordained

    Faith

    Will

    Works

    Draw


    But I'm not sure that simply pinpointing the contentious words will suffice. There is a philosophy behind each developed system, based usually on one scriptural premise. All other associated words are defined from that one premise, and that is where things run off the rails.
     
  17. JeremyV

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    Thank you for your input. I certainly see this as a possible problem but hope that we can find a way through it. If nothing else, we may just have to agree to disagree on certain definitions and be careful to make it clear what we mean while we discuss. The main thing is to avoid misunderstandings.
     
  18. convicted1

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    I gave my defintions inside you quoted post....bolded...
     
  19. RLBosley

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    LOL! Yeah like those definitions will be accepted. You're an optimist aren't you? :laugh:
     
  20. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    Ahhhhh ha ha ha ha......if I were a betting man:smilewinkgrin:

    Oh well....carry on...lol
     
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