Fishers of Men

Discussion in 'Calvinism/Arminianism Debate' started by thatbrian, Feb 4, 2015.

  1. thatbrian

    thatbrian
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2008
    Messages:
    174
    Likes Received:
    58
    "As Jesus was walking beside the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon called Peter and his brother Andrew. They were casting a net into the lake, for they were fishermen. “Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will send you out to fish for people.” At once they left their nets and followed him.

    Going on from there, he saw two other brothers, James son of Zebedee and his brother John. They were in a boat with their father Zebedee, preparing their nets. Jesus called them, and immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him." (Matt 4:19-22)

    I have two observations that I would like to offer to my not-yet-reformed brothers from the above text.

    1) Jesus found them; He called them; they came.

    Salvation found these men who were not even remotely looking for it. They were not seeking him, he sought them. Salvation came to them. Also, when he called they came. His call was irresistible. Not for everyone, only for his "sheep".

    2) Jesus promises to make them "fishers of men".

    From an early age we mislead our children with hand motions to a song that every good Baptist has sung: "I will make you fishers of men, fishers of men, fishers of me", the song goes. The lyrics are straight out of the Bible - but what's acted out is not. Children pretend to cast fishing lines into the water to lure a fish to bite a hook, and then reel them in, but that's not how the disciples fished, so that's not what Jesus was talking about.

    The disciples cast nets and hauled in fish. They did not lure them in; they dragged them in.

    Do you have an alternate explanation for the above text, or do you agree with mine?
     
  2. PreachTony

    PreachTony
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2014
    Messages:
    1,910
    Likes Received:
    0
    While this view fits well with your Reformed theology, the idea that salvation occurs completely independent from input by the person on which it is acting seemingly goes against several verses of scripture. The 'Romans Road' in Romans 10, which details how men must "call upon the name of the Lord" and how they must hear the preached Word, for salvation does not show us man sitting idle when saved, but instead shows us men participating in the events as led of the Spirit.

    Yes, Salvation still finds them. You won't find an Arminian or Free-Will believer anywhere who disagrees with the words of Christ when saying "Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you." (John 15:16a) We do believe that God chooses us, we just believe He also allows us the freedom to accept or reject Him. In your Reformed theology, man has no choice, but is instead pulled in against his own will. Scripture is filled with examples of God, in the form of the Son, Christ Jesus, giving those who came to Him the freedom to choose.

    Any time we try to apply modern thought and imagination to Biblical truth, we are going to find ourselves in some degree of disagreement with reality. As I said earlier, Reformed theology removes any ability of choice from man. I understand the theology, through study and discussion with several Reformed folks here, but I still don't agree with it. It's just not what I see in the scriptures, though I wouldn't call into question anyone else's understanding or salvation.

    Consider also this scripture:
    You provided scripture of people following Jesus, but here we see Christ making statements about His own nature and divinity, and the things those who follow Him would have to do. The passage ends with "many of his disciples" turning from Him and walking no more with Him. The Reformed might say these people were never His to begin with, and while there is a kernel of truth to that, the Bible also states that these that turned away were "his disciples." How does one become a "disciple" without hearing the teachings of the one they are following and showing some aptitude for those teachings? (Or does the Reformed assume the mentality of Calvin here and say that these are counted among those that God "illumines only for a time to partake of it; then he justly forsakes them on account of their ungratefulness and strikes them with even greater blindness?"

    I hope the above answers at least help to further discussion and debate. I don't really consider this an "alternate explanation," nor do I wish to claim agreement or disagreement with you. It's a good topic, and worthy of discussion.
     
  3. JamesL

    JamesL
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2013
    Messages:
    2,241
    Likes Received:
    75
    Jesus said: No one can come to Me except the Father "draw" him

    Draw is translated from Greek helkuo = literally drag


    Also used in:
    Acts 16:19 - Paul and Silas were DRAGGED out into the street


    Or maybe they were coaxed out to get a beating. Here fishy, fishy
     
    #3 JamesL, Feb 4, 2015
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 4, 2015
  4. just-want-peace

    just-want-peace
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 3, 2002
    Messages:
    5,502
    Likes Received:
    40
    IMHO, the "chosen" of God is every individual ever born!
    Being "chosen" does not force you to accept.
    Just because He knows who will/will not accept salvation does not mean He forces acceptance on anyone.

    Example; I was attending a Christmas show at the Alabama Theater in Myrtle Beach SC a few years back, and during the intermission one of the stage crew came out and asked me if I were willing to go on-stage for a bit part in a skit. I declined, so she looked elsewhere.
    Now I was offered the "part", and had the opportunity to be a part of the show but I had to accept/receive/take advantage of, the offer. Being chosen was useless unless I, I, accepted.

    So, unless you believe that God is going to FORCE one to trust Christ, then the individual DOES have a say in the process. Granted the ONLY say one has is either "YES, or NO", the decision is made by the individual.
     
  5. thatbrian

    thatbrian
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2008
    Messages:
    174
    Likes Received:
    58
    I have not found that to be the case, Tony.

    Also, I am not now, nor have I ever meant, that man is inactive. I'm simply saying that it is God who initiates. We do respond. That is in fact what irresistible grace means.

    We don't claim that man is in a robotic state, but that man reacts, and God acts.

    Look forward to further conversation.
     
  6. JamesL

    JamesL
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2013
    Messages:
    2,241
    Likes Received:
    75
    I was broadsided into the Christian faith.
     
  7. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2010
    Messages:
    18,912
    Likes Received:
    94
    Amen :applause:
     
  8. Reformed

    Reformed
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 27, 2012
    Messages:
    1,227
    Likes Received:
    57
    You will not hear a Monergist disagree with this. As another has said in this thread, "we do respond".

    This paragraph is inaccurate. No one is pulled in against his own will. The Holy Spirit regenerates the sinner, who then makes a free, volitional choice. The choice is irresistible because the regenerated heart is now free from the bondage of sin. There is nothing that heart wants more than Christ. There is no desire in those regenerated to choose anything else. Those in the Synergist camp do not believe regeneration precedes faith. That is not a minor disagreement because it is one of the things that separates Monergists and Synergists.


    And once again the Monergist believes man makes choices all the time, in concert with the will of God.
     
  9. PreachTony

    PreachTony
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2014
    Messages:
    1,910
    Likes Received:
    0
    Essentially, I believe the same way. God moves first and then man reacts to God. However, where we differ is the claim that, once regenerated, man has to accept God. This once again puts us in a place where man has no choice. There is only one option and man must take it. I, personally, have never seen that laid out as doctrine within the scripture.

    The steps, near as I can tell from discussion with those of a Cal persuasion, are that man has no ability, and therefore no desire, to choose God. God then "regenerates" the man, and man suddenly has no choice but to choose God. All the while man is left without ability. He is merely a cog in the bigger picture, no will or volition of his own. To say man has a will, but it can only be evil isn't really fair to say, as how can you say it's a person's will when it is the only way they can ever go?

    Same here, brother.
     
  10. PreachTony

    PreachTony
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2014
    Messages:
    1,910
    Likes Received:
    0
    Just curious, Reformed, but why would the Monergist even need to respond? My study, limited though it may be, showed me Monergism existing as a system in which God alone accomplished everything without and cooperation or input from the person. Why would the person need to respond at all. From what I can tell of Monergism, man's input is completely unnecessary. Perhaps I simply have not seen enough of the Monergist theology to know any better. But it seems to me, being a pure Monergist means Romans 10:9-10 are somewhat superfluous, as confession does not add to or take away from a work that God alone worked. Luke 12:8 takes on a much-diminished meaning.

    If the Grace is Irresistible, then it isn't really a "free, volitional choice." You can use the rhetorical argument of "there is a choice, but regenerate man will always choose God," but I still don't see that as a choice. Imagine a man dying of thirst. I come along and place before him a razor blade and a glass of water. Seeing as, in his thirst, he is going to take the water, then he he didn't really have a choice. The razor blade is a useless tool at that point, seeing as it cannot alleviate his thirst. While I may have presented him two option, he never really had a choice.

    I'm wondering if we have the same definition of "Monergism." :smilewinkgrin:
     
  11. thatbrian

    thatbrian
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Dec 29, 2008
    Messages:
    174
    Likes Received:
    58
    Tony,

    Thanks for being among the polite and reasonable people here.

    What we wrestle with is important, and both sides are passionate about their views. Both are defending gospel Christianity, so there is no reason for insults and foolish comments.

    Let's keep the dialog civil and productive, and please forgive me if I forget my own words here.

    Brian
     
  12. PreachTony

    PreachTony
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2014
    Messages:
    1,910
    Likes Received:
    0
    No worries, Brian. I can trip over my own words and become something less than civil myself. I may get heated in the discussion, but I love the discussion nonetheless. Thank you.
     

Share This Page

Loading...