Do you think God bluffs?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Skandelon, Feb 9, 2011.

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  1. Skandelon

    Skandelon
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    There a several passages which indicate that God threatens believers: For example, scripture says that:
    (1) He would "cut us off" if we do not "continue in his kindness." (Rm 11:22).
    (2) He would erase our names from the lambs book of life. (Rev. 3:5)
    (3) He would remove forgiveness from one who chooses not to forgive the lessor debt. (Matt. 18:34)

    It would seem that there are 2 possiblities:

    1. It is possible to have your name erased from the book of life (cut off), so you better strive to continue in the faith and not permit this to happen.

    2. It is not possible to have your name erased from the book of life and God was making an empty threat (bluff) to motivate believers to continue in the faith.

    If you choose #2 my question is this: Why would God strive to motivate the elect by telling them something that cannot happen? Is the effectually calling of God not enough of a motivation that they need Christ to threaten them with lies? Why would he lead them to believe the lie that their names might be erased if they didn't continue in the faith? This just doesn't make any sense whatsoever. Can you please explain?
     
  2. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
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    Why should he have to....he holds all the cards.
     
  3. preachinjesus

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    I think bluffs is the wrong word.
     
  4. glfredrick

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    Ah, another complex question along the lines of "describe a square circle" designed to make Calvinists look ignorant or worse.

    Why so rebellious against God?
     
  5. DHK

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    He that overcomes, *he* shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot his name out of the book of life, and will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. (Revelation 3:5)

    Concerning Rev.3:5 is there a "threat" involved?
    Here is what Barnes says:
    It should be looked upon as a promise.
    Those that are truly saved will confess his name before our Father; they are the overcomers.

    It is those that are not saved that are the frauds, and therefore will not confess Christ. Consider 1John 4:1-4

    And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. (1 John 4:3)

    However:
    For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. (1 John 5:4)
     
  6. glfredrick

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    The doctrine of the election solves all these issues. Only the names that are elect will be there.
     
  7. Skandelon

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    How would you word it?
     
  8. Skandelon

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    There is nothing uniquely complex about this question. It has been asked in different ways for centuries.

    You will have to draw the parallel to my question and the question, "describe a square circle," because I see no correlation whatsoever, except for the fact that you apparently can't answer either one of them.

    The inconsistency of the Calvinistic position does that. My questions just bring them to light.

    It's begging the question to presume rebellion against Calvinism is equal to rebellion against God.
     
  9. Skandelon

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    That doesn't address the other texts I presented or the many other IF/THEN statements of scripture which clearly teach: IF X THEN Y (i.e. if you don't continue in your faith you will not be saved). If ones doctrinal position suggests y is impossible don't they undermine the very heart of statement?
     
  10. Gabriel Elijah

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    While I’m aware that your anti-Calvinist—I haven’t personally read a lot of your posts—so might I ask—are you endorsing historical Arminianism & asking these questions to demonstrate that a true believer can lose his salvation?
     
  11. Gabriel Elijah

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    Not saying this completely answers your question—but the application of litotes, in which the negative is stated in order to stress the positive, is a common technique used in Greek grammar, & must not be over looked when attempting to answer these difficult topics. Like I said-- I’ not saying this clears up all the difficulties, but it does come into the equation when considering all the legitimate options.
     
  12. Skandelon

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    I agree with Arminius that it is a subject worthy of inquiry. He wrote:

    "With regard to the certainty [or assurance] of salvation, my opinion is, that it is possible for him who believes in Jesus Christ to be certain and persuaded, and, if his heart condemn him not, he is now in reality assured, that he is a son of God, and stands in the grace of Jesus Christ. Such a certainty is wrought in the mind, as well by the action of the Holy Spirit inwardly actuating the believer and by the fruits of faith, as from his own conscience, and the testimony of God's Spirit witnessing together with his conscience. I also believe, that it is possible for such a person, with an assured confidence in the grace of God and his mercy in Christ, to depart out of this life, and to appear before the throne of grace, without any anxious fear or terrific dread: and yet this person should constantly pray, "O lord, enter not into judgment with thy servant!"

    But, since "God is greater than our hearts, and knoweth all things," and since a man judges not his own self -- yea, though a man know nothing by himself, yet is he not thereby justified, but he who judgeth him is the Lord, (1 John iii, 19; 1 Cor. iv, 3,) I dare not [on this account] place this assurance [or certainty] on an equality with that by which we know there is a God, and that Christ is the saviour of the world. Yet it will be proper to make the extent of the boundaries of this assurance, a subject of inquiry in our convention."
     
  13. glfredrick

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    Here is the actual Article V of the Remonstrance:

    A true "classical" Arminian would say that one can loose their salvation, but the language is couched in such a way as to remove the blame for that from God and place it in the free-will actions of humans. Of course, that leads back to the debate we just had about actual free will of humans sufficient to overturn God's sovereignty. I would suggest that such has not yet been proven via the Scriptures, and that whatever it is that is higher or more able than God Himself, be worshiped instead of God. And, evidently, many do just that...
     
  14. Skandelon

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    So, glf, back to the OP. Are the warnings about believers falling away, not persevering to the end, not continuing in their faith, not forgiving others, becoming hardened etc, and the subsequent threats of being cut off, not being saved, being erased etc real or empty bluffs? Please explain.
     
  15. Gabriel Elijah

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    So your not saying it’s a certain truth that man can loose his salvation, but is a topic that must remain in the mind of the Bible student b/c of certain passages that seemingly give the idea credibility. If this is your conclusion, then I certainly agree that the subject is a difficult one that needs our attention, but one where we must not neglect genuine biblical systematics for the sake of a few difficult verses. I’ve personally gone down this road before & at one point early in my ministry was convinced that verses such as Heb 6:4-6; Rev 3:5, & other similar ones taught that it was possible to lose salvation. But after being required to translate Eph 1 for a Greek class—found myself in a dilemma when I arrived at Eph 1:14, where the Holy Spirit is said to be a guarantee or pledge of our inheritance. If we could truly lose salvation then this statement could not be made—b/c something cannot be guaranteed unless it is certain to come to pass. Now I know something as simplistic as this cannot clear up all problems—but this a topic I’d love to discuss with you when I have a little more time. Regardless, I appreciate your desire for legitimate biblical truth & wish all Christians put the time into their studies as you are doing (even if we reach 2 different conclusions on this matter) God Bless!
     
  16. Skandelon

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    I appreciate that. I actually tend to side on the more traditional baptist view of once saved always saved. I always like to word it as "once truly saved, always truly saved, because I think the real question is probably about who is truly saved to begin with. When asked I say, "If you persevere to the end you were truly saved along, and if you don't persevere to the end you were never saved to begin with....(i.e. those who have gone from us were never of us, etc)

    However, I think we do an injustice to the text when our doctrinal constructs remove the power of Christ's actual words by explaining away the implications of a particular threat. Matthew 18s parable of the debtor is a perfect example. The man is forgiven his great debt and later that forgiveness is recanted when the man refuses to forgive another a very small debt. What is Christ's conclusion? It is the same with your Father in Heaven.

    Who is he speaking to? Believers. What is the threat? If you refuse to forgive others then God will remove the forgiveness you have been given. The parable is supposed to invoke fear in their hearts so that they will not take their forgiveness from God for granted. Our dogma removes the power of that threat by suggesting that God couldn't really remove your forgiveness just because you choose not to forgive others. People start to think, "I was saved so I'm always saved, so it really doesn't matter if I hold this grudge on another person. I can't lose this forgiveness because by preacher and his doctrinal construct tells me so."

    I refuse to give people an excuse to continue in their rebellion and unforgiveness by suggesting to them that their salvation is secure even if they don't forgive others or continue in the faith. Now, if you want to take the time to explain that they may not have been saved to begin with I guess you can, but then you have to speculate as to whether a person is really saved or not. Why not just say it the way scripture does and say, "IF you persevere and if you forgive you will be saved?"

    It's like Francis Chan said in his book Crazy Love regarding the parables of the four different soils : "Don't assume you are the good soil."
     
  17. Gabriel Elijah

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    While I should be finishing my lesson for tonight- lol- I saw you responded & simply wanted to say—I don’t have a problem with viewing it that way. As you stated you don’t personally believe salvation can be lost by someone who is genuinely saved, which puts us in the same boat. I don’t even have a problem with making sure its worded in a way that does not give false assurance or the license to sin freely. So basically we agree at all points, the only thing I’d add is—if someone is truly saved they will have the Holy Spirit guiding them & convicting them when they are not conforming to the Father’s will. While they might not always conform to the Holy Spirit’s convicting power, thy will not lose salvation, but they will have Godly discipline to deal with (Heb 12:4-17). And being someone who has gone through this discipline before—I can honestly say no habitual sin is worth the hardship that God will put one of his children through if they do not conform to his will! So for Pete’s sake—just do what He says to do--& avoid the unnecessary suffering that you will bring on yourself if you don’t! ;)
     
  18. quantumfaith

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    If P, then Q implies If -Q then -P (Contrapositive)
     
  19. saturneptune

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    Always the catch 22 questions. Can God create a rock too big for Him to lift? Can God commit suicide? What purpose does this serve?
     
  20. The Archangel

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    The name says it all, I'm afraid (though the word is misspelled). His intent is to be a "stumbling block."

    The Complete Word Study Dictionary of the NT says: "Skándalon always denotes an enticement to conduct which could ruin the person in question." This definition is dealing with the LXX. In the NT, the statement is not much better: "In the NT skándalon is used figuratively in a moral sense. It is concerned mainly with the fact that it produces certain behavior which can lead to ruin"

    So, again and unfortunately, the name says it all. This is the reason he wants to define square circles and the like.

    I have seen no evidence from him that he is intending to be a "Barnabas"--an encourager. But, perhaps I've missed those posts, as I don't read every one.

    I, for one, would not want my moniker to denote what his does. But, to each his own. This is a debate forum and he is free to pick whatever moniker he chooses. I find it unfortunate that his persona goes hand-in-hand with his moniker.

    The Archangel

    PS. The preceding post is not meant in any way to be "attacking." I'm merely pointing out what the moniker "Skandelon [sic]" stands for.
     
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