Devil's Advocate for Doctrines of Sovereignty and Grace

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by saturneptune, Jul 12, 2012.

  1. saturneptune

    saturneptune
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    Being a person who believes in Doctrines and Sovereignty and Grace, there is one verse that sticks in my craw. Most of the choice verses used by Arminians I can relate to God's sovereignty. However, in the book of Joshua, where he admonishes the people to "choose this day whom you will serve." If you can choose this day whom you will serve, and are regenerated, does not that make irresistable grace hard to explain? If you are not regenerated, does it not make it hard to explain total depravity? This is the only verse that bothers me, and would appreciate input.

    Would hypers answer this different than plain Calvinists? (I dispise that label)
     
  2. MorseOp

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    Joshua was speaking to the covenant people of God. Many of the promises made to the covenant nation of Israel were based on their obedience to the Law (go back to Deut. 28). It was quite possible for a non-regenerate Israelite to be in obedience to the Law (to the degree that any sinner can be obedient) and enjoy the benefits of God's blessings to the covenant nation. Therefore, Joshua 24:15 is really not a proof text for either Calvinism or Arminianism.
     
  3. OldRegular

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    I am in general agreement with the remarks of MorseOp. One thing is certain; the Bible does not contradict itself. There are ample Scripture to defend the Doctrines of Grace. One passage of Scripture that was instrumental in leading me from the error of freewillism is from the book of Acts:

    Acts 13:48. And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

    This passage also puts to sleep:sleep: the doctrine that God election was determined by those who believe!
     
  4. Alive in Christ

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    MorseOp...

    You do understand, dont you, that noncals are every bit as strong on the doctrines of grace, and Gods sovereignty, as Calvinists are, right?

    I say that because some on here in the calvinist ranks like to think that THEY and ONLY they have a grip on those great truthes.
     
  5. Alive in Christ

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    Old Regular...

    And of course there are just as many scriptures that support the free will view.
     
  6. MorseOp

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    A1C,

    I am a Calvinist (big secret, huh?). I try not to be an obtuse or contentious person, although I can debate rather passionately. That said, Calvinists do not use the term "doctrines of grace" to say that others do not embrace grace. They use it as a positive term to describe what they believe. It is only in places like the BB that people get in a tiff about the term. That is because this is a melting pot of sorts. I fully expect to be in heaven with a great number of people I did not see eye to eye with. They will probably be surprised that I made it! :smilewinkgrin:
     
  7. OldRegular

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    Only if you fail to interpret them in the context of other Scripture.
     
  8. HeirofSalvation

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    I would have to disagree with you here: More and more, I feel people are increasingly beginning to take umbrage at the term. I know personally places (outside of BB) where this miffs people. To argue AGAINST Calvinism automatically places one in the position of arguing AGAINST "Grace"....You have to be able to see how that could be problematic to many people. Most Calvinists probably do not think in these terms, or see it that way and use the term either out of habit or something else....I do think SOME do it for these reasons...but what would be new...that is humanity. I don't think most do.
     
  9. HeirofSalvation

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    That doesn't follow O.R. It is perfectly consistent with Calvinism....but also perfectly consistent with an Arminian or non-Cal POV....It would be a non-sequitor to say that that passage puts to "sleep" a foreknowledge view...taken alone..it simply doesn't.
     
  10. MorseOp

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    The term is not novel. Spurgeon used it as part of the vernacular in the 19th century:

    "Well can I remember the manner in which I learned the doctrines of grace in a single instant. Born, as all of us are by nature, an Arminian, I still believed the old things I had heard continually from the pulpit, and did not see the grace of God. When I was coming to Christ, I thought I was doing it all myself, and though I sought the Lord earnestly, I had no idea the Lord was seeking me. I do not think the young convert is at first aware of this. I can recall the very day and hour when first I received those truths in my own soul—when they were, as John Bunyan says, burnt into my heart as with a hot iron, and I can recollect how I felt that I had grown on a sudden from a babe into a man—that I had made progress in Scriptural knowledge, through having found, once for all, the clue to the truth of God. One week-night, when I was sitting in the house of God, I was not thinking much about the preacher's sermon, for I did not believe it."

    I think those who do no like that Calvinists use of the term are a bit thin skinned.
     
  11. MorseOp

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    And as far as it miffing people, well, they really do need to get over it. The term was never intended as a pejorative against Arminians or non-Cals. If Arminians were to use the term to define themselves, so be it. What they call themselves matters little to me.
     
  12. quantumfaith

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    OR, that is not precisely true. Those who acknowledge some degree of free will (differing from the definition provided by the reform position) interpret them differently and see quite often the context differently. They (we) just simply see things differently than do you and your colleagues.
     
  13. quantumfaith

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    Morseop, help me out. I am inclined to agree that using Joshua's speech and admonition as a "prooftext" coup de grace is a stretch. I think the message and intention was simple, a challenge to the nation to decide who the nation would serve, worship and acknowledge as God. Where in the old testament are we taught or instructed as to re-generate and non-regenerate hebrews?
     
  14. OldRegular

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    No! It is not consistent with Arminianism. The passage is very clear:

    Acts 13:48. And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

    as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.

    Nothing here fits the freewill's erronrous understanding of "foreknowledge" or election. Strange isn't it? Some freewillers who deny the omniscience of God are perfectly happy to apply it to their erroneous understanding of "foreknowledge".
     
  15. mandym

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    I appreciate your honest question. No one has yet to give a reasonable answer to it. I look forward to see if one comes along.
     
  16. Winman

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    This verse does not say a person was ordained to believe, it says those who believed were ordained unto eternal life.

    If your interpretation was correct, it should have said, "and as many as were ordained to believe had eternal life".

    You actually interpret this verse to say the exact opposite of what it is really saying.
     
  17. MorseOp

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    1 Kings 19:18 is wonderful passage of scripture that displays a difference between non-regenerate Hebrews and regenerate Hebrews.

    While this passage does not say that these 7,000 were regenerate, Paul quotes Isaiah, who wrote:

    In the Tanakh "remnant" is normally interpreted as true believers in Yahweh.

    We also know, again from Paul's writings, that salvation during the Old Covenant was granted just as in the New Covenant.

    So, really, it is similar to today. There were "religious" Hebrews just as there are religious people today; but they are no more saved than a bag of rocks (2 Timothy 3:5). It is the remnant, those on the narrow road (Matthew 7:14), that inherited eternal life under the Old Covenant and who inherit eternal life under the New Covenant.
     
  18. Winman

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    Very discerning SN, you hit the nail on the head. If Joshua was speaking to the regenerate, they could not possibly choose to follow false gods, and if Joshua was speaking to the unregenerate, they could not possibly choose to follow God (in the Reformed view).

    So, they must explain this scripture away as you see they attempt to do.

    Calvinism is always on the defensive like this, because so much Calvinism contradicts scripture, and even common sense. They are forced to make fantastic and illogical arguments, redefine words, etc... It is obvious to everyone except Calvinists themselves.
     
  19. quantumfaith

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    I guess my question is with the language of "re-generate" as I would think that would only apply to those following the advent of Christ. I completely agree that there were most certainly devout believing jews and of course non-participants, and everything in between. But myself, being of the "synergistic" bent, would say that this primarily is still within the realm of mans choices. Yes I agree, how could I not, that God says HE would keep 7000 who would not bow to baal, He is God and certainly capable and permitted to do whatever HE does, even so, in my mind it is in now way detrimental to man being obligated to choose to love, honor and follow YHWH.
     
  20. MorseOp

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    I guess I did not completely understand your question.

    If God is going to maintain a remnant, how can He be so confident in that assertion if the fulcrum of salvation is man's choice? God was not playing the odds, hoping that His planned remnant would survive. How could He know there would be a remnant unless it was something God decreed? If God decrees, "I am going to have a remnant, but it depends on some individuals choosing to be part of it" how is that really a decree?

    Isaiah 14:27 27 "For the LORD of hosts has planned, and who can frustrate it? And as for His stretched-out hand, who can turn it back?"

    Actually, this verse from Isaiah is a great proof-text against the argument that God changes His mind. But I digress.

    If God decrees something it must, by necessity, come to pass. If it must come to pass than no man can thwart it (Job 42:2). Yet, we know that man does play a roll in a godly remnant being preserved. Monergists agree with synergists that man chooses God with his free will. Where we separate with synergists is that we believe man's will has been liberated first by God (Eph. 2:4, 5). Once liberated man chooses God freely. Ergo, the integrity of God's decree is maintained.
     

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