Free offer of the Gospel?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by MorseOp, Oct 19, 2012.

  1. MorseOp

    MorseOp
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    I went out of town for a few days and lost traction on the "two calls" thread. I want to pick up a part of that thread for discussion.

    The free will position teaches that sinful man is capable of responding positively to the Gospel call because God has imparted the ability to do so. As a result it is the opinion of certain theologians (of which I am one) that this belief is contrary to the doctrine that man is completely fallen in his nature and incapable of any positive act of faith while in his fallen nature (Rom. 3:10; 3:23; 8:7; 1 Cor. 2:14; Eph. 2:1; Heb. 11:6).

    The doctrines of grace position is that man is completely fallen in his nature, and his will is in bondage to sin (Rom. 6). Sinful man is incapable of any positive response to the Gospel for reasons given in the previous paragraph. In order for man to exercise a positive response to the Gospel, God must first make man capable of such a response (Ezk. 36:26; Eph. 1:4-5).

    So, does the Bible teach that there is a free offer of the Gospel to sinners? We know that salvation is a free gift (Rom. 6:23) and offered without cost (Is. 55:1). But is the Gospel offer a free offer in that it is not only offered freely to all, but all are capable of freely receiving it? I will not answer for the free will position, but I will venture an opinion from the doctrines of grace perspective.

    The Gospel is, indeed, a free offer and is freely received by those who do receive it. The difference with the free will side is that the free offer of the Gospel is offered only to the elect (John 6:37); those whom the Father bequeaths to the Son. There are some within the doctrines of grace camp who believe that the Gospel is freely offered to all; elect and non-elect. That is a logical fallacy. You cannot offer something freely to those who cannot freely receive it. In order to keep us from pride we must remember that God has not revealed to us who makes up the rank of the elect. That knowledge remains with God alone (Deut. 29:29).

    It is important to point this out because it gets to the heart of the two call debate.
     
  2. WITBOTL

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    Morse,

    your position is perhaps the simplest and neatest way to harmonize particular redemption with the gospel call (ie. by making it not universal). However, I don't believe that position is necessary to consistently hold to the Doctrines of Grace. I believe in a universal outward gospel call. I also believe that the message and benefits of the gospel are indeed sincerely offered to all.

    There is a great fallacy in arguing that since there is no atonement made for all men then the gospel call cannot be sincere. However, the limitations in the atonement are there because the atonement is with purpose and design with particular elect in view. In other words there is no limitation in the hypothetical power or the hypothetical ability of the atonement to save any or every person. While we as men necessarily deal in hypotheticals and uncertainty, God is under no such limitations and therefore the purpose and design of the atonement is perfectly congruous with a universal offer of the gospel that will not be accepted. The atonement is not preventing the salvation of anyone.


    the gospel call is intended to be sent to all and there is an offer available to all.

    Acts 3:19 Repent ye therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out.
    Acts 13:38 Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.
    Mar 16:15 Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

    Yet still man will not believe because his heart is evil and desperately wicked.




    consider the words of A.W. Pink:

    "Unto the objection that to call upon the unregenerate to turn from the world and come to Christ is to inculate creature-ability and to feed self righteousness, we ask, Were Christ and his Spirit-taught apostles ignorant of this danger? Were men so mightily used of God as Jonathan Edwards, George Whitefield, and C.H. Spurgeon wrong, when , in promiscuously exhorting all their hearers to flee from the wrath to come, they followed the example of John the Baptist and the Son of God?"

    or Spurgeon:

    "A yet further charge against us is, that we dare not preach the gospel to the unregenerate, that, in fact, our theology is so narrow and cramped that we cannot preach to sinners. Gentlemen, if you dare to say this, I would take you to any library in the world where the old Puritan fathers are stored up, and I would let you take down any one volume and tell me if you ever rend more telling exhortations and addresses to sinners in any of your own books. Did not Bunyan plead with sinners, and whoever classed him with any but the Calvinists? Did not Charnock, Goodwin, and how we agonize for souls, and what were they but Calvinists? Did not Jonathan Edwards preach to sinners, and who more clear and explicit on these doctrinal matters. The works of our innumerable divines teem with passionate appeals to the unconverted. Oh, sirs, if I should begin the list, time should fail me. It is an indisputable fact that we have labored more than they all for the winning of souls. Was George Whitfield any the less seraphic? Did his eyes weep the fewer tears or his bowels move with the less compassion because he believed in God’s electing love and preached the sovereignty of the Most High? It is an unfounded calumny. Our souls are not stony; our bowels are not withdrawn from the compassion which we ought to feel for our fellow-men; we can hold all our views firmly, and yet can weep as Christ did over a Jerusalem which was certainly to be destroyed. Again, I must say, I am not defending certain brethren who have exaggerated Calvinism. I speak of Calvinism proper, not that which has run to seed, and outgrown its beauty and verdure. I speak of it as I find it in Calvin’s Institutes, and especially in his Expositions. I have read them carefully. I take not my views of Calvinism from common repute but from his books. Nor do I, in thus speaking, even vindicate Calvinism as if I cared for the name, but I mean that glorious system which teaches that salvation is of grace from first to last. And again, then, I say it is an utterly unfounded charge that we dare not preach to sinners."
     
  3. convicted1

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    When God calls sinners, He gives them ability to respond to it. Man, by himself, will never want to call out to Him w/o Him first calling them. Man has no desire to call out to Him unless first called by Him.
     
  4. psalms109:31

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    :thumbs: :thumbs: :thumbs:
     
  5. psalms109:31

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    We preach a finished work of the cross where Jesus crushed the head of the serpent and the serpent only bruised His heal. Jesus destroyed the work of the devil and Jesus is now glorified, so in Him we can share His glory to the world. He is on the right side of the Father making intercession for us. That through Jesus the Father will hear us and our pleas to Him. I praise God that Jesus and the Father is one as we should be. That we can preach these things without altering a verse.

    Hebrews 4

    4 Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 2 For we also have had the good news proclaimed to us, just as they did; but the message they heard was of no value to them, because they did not share the faith of those who obeyed.[Some manuscripts because those who heard did not combine it with faith] 3 Now we who have believed enter that rest, just as God has said,

    “So I declared on oath in my anger,
    ‘They shall never enter my rest.’”[Psalm 95:11; also in verse 5]

    And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world. 4 For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “On the seventh day God rested from all his works.”[Gen. 2:2] 5 And again in the passage above he says, “They shall never enter my rest.”

    6 Therefore since it still remains for some to enter that rest, and since those who formerly had the good news proclaimed to them did not go in because of their disobedience, 7 God again set a certain day, calling it “Today.” This he did when a long time later he spoke through David, as in the passage already quoted:

    “Today, if you hear his voice,
    do not harden your hearts.”[Psalm 95:7,8]

    8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God would not have spoken later about another day. 9 There remains, then, a Sabbath-rest for the people of God; 10 for anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from their works,[Or labor] just as God did from his. 11 Let us, therefore, make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish by following their example of disobedience.

    2 Peter 3:9
    The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. Instead he is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

    1 Timothy 2

    2 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. 7 And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.

    This is what our sovereign God says to prove their authenticity.

    Ezekiel 18 :
    25 “Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Hear, you Israelites: Is my way unjust? Is it not your ways that are unjust? 26 If a righteous person turns from their righteousness and commits sin, they will die for it; because of the sin they have committed they will die. 27 But if a wicked person turns away from the wickedness they have committed and does what is just and right, they will save their life. 28 Because they consider all the offenses they have committed and turn away from them, that person will surely live; they will not die. 29 Yet the Israelites say, ‘The way of the Lord is not just.’ Are my ways unjust, people of Israel? Is it not your ways that are unjust?

    30 “Therefore, you Israelites, I will judge each of you according to your own ways, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from all your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. 31 Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get a new heart and a new spirit. Why will you die, people of Israel? 32 For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!

    Does that mean all men will be saved no only those who repent and live and enter Christ rest.

    Malachi 4
    4 “Surely the day is coming; it will burn like a furnace. All the arrogant and every evildoer will be stubble, and the day that is coming will set them on fire,” says the Lord Almighty. “Not a root or a branch will be left to them. 2 But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its rays. And you will go out and frolic like well-fed calves

    2 Peter 3:
    17 Therefore, dear friends, since you have been forewarned, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of the lawless and fall from your secure position.18But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen.

    Colossians 1:
    9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives,[Or all spiritual wisdom and understanding] 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you[Some manuscripts us] to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
     
    #5 psalms109:31, Oct 20, 2012
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  6. MorseOp

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    I appreciate your comments, but I do not think we are far off. I believe the Gospel call is sincere to the elect. I also believe, that since we do not know who the elect are, we are to proclaim the Gospel with sincerity to all. As a preacher I do not know who the Father has given to the Son. So, through the human instrument (the preacher) the Gospel message is sincerely proclaimed to all. I think that is the impetus behind your quote from Spurgeon. He believed that the Gospel was to be preached with sincerity to all. He also believed that only the elect would be able to believe, but he never allowed that theological truth to impede his preaching of the Gospel.
     
  7. MorseOp

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    I believe the Scripture teaches that all whom the Father has given to the Son (John 6:37) are given the ability to positively respond to the Gospel call. I agree that man, by himself, will never want to call out to God, without God first calling man. In theological parlance that is the effectual call; those whom the Father gives to the Son will positively respond to the Gospel call. Where I would disagree with the free will position is that not all men have this ability to respond, but only those whom the Father has given to the Son.
     
  8. psalms109:31

    psalms109:31
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    ... "Ye will not come to me that ye might have life." There is no life in God the Father for a sinner; there is no life in God the Spirit for a sinner apart from Jesus. The life of a sinner is in Christ. If you take the Father apart from the Son, though he loves his elect, and decrees that they shall live, yet life is only in his Son. If you take God the Spirit apart from Jesus Christ, though it is the Spirit that gives us spiritual life, yet it is life in Christ, life in the Son. We dare not, and cannot apply in the first place, either to God the Father, or to God the Holy Ghost for spiritual life. The first thing we are led to do when God brings us out of Egypt is to eat the Passover—the very first thing. The first means whereby we get life is by feeding upon the flesh and blood of the Son of God; living in him, trusting on him, believing in his grace and power. Our second thought was—there is life in Christ...

    C. H. Spurgeon

    Yet following a crowd does not mean you are drawn by the Father. The crowd was not drawn to Jesus by the Father they were following the crowd. Jesus tells us who they are those who listen and learn from the Father comes to me. They did not listen and learn they were following the crowd. Peter listened and learned and said where can we go, you have the words of eternal life.

    When Jesus spoke the truth because they did not listen and learn they thought He was talking cannibalism.

    At the passover they had to eat everything of the lamb and not let one morsel go to waste, but it was the blood on the door that saved their eldest son from death, not what they did.

    We must be born again your old man will die you will perish and we are born again by the enduring word of God, the words of life eat and drink and be satisfied. The wise and learned God has hidden the truth from, we must come to Him as a child in the womb listen and learn and through His word we will be born again by. His word that is Spirit and life, His word is not His own but the Father who sent Him and the Father and Him is one. So when we are drawn by Jesus and His words of life we are drawn by the Father. We as Holy Spirit filled believers, the temple of the Holy Spirit is His messengers to the ends of the earth. The messenger is nothing, He can send a burning bush, a donkey, a worm as His messenger it is the one who sent the message and the message that is everything.

    If you don't have a qualifier of who they are you can make it into anyone you like. Jesus in that same chapter gives us the qualifier it is those who listen and learn, not those who already have the truth they don't need to be taught the wise and learned. The pride and proud of their own understanding.
     
    #8 psalms109:31, Oct 20, 2012
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  9. MorseOp

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    How does the doctrines of grace view of the Gospel call work on a practical level when the Gospel is preached in the local church?

    #1 You will notice an emphasis on the sinfulness of man, and God's impending, righteous judgment on sinners (Romans 1:18; 3:23).

    #2 Man's sinful condition, and God's response, will be followed by the message of the Cross; the person of Jesus Christ, His mediatorial work on the cross, His death, and resurrection.

    #3 Lastly you will hear the command to "repent and believe!" This is where the appeal is made to be reconciled to God.

    You will see less instances of personal testimonies and extra-biblical methodologies when the Gospel is presented. Most Reformed churches concentrate on one thing when it comes to the Gospel: the Word of God (Romans 1:16). I doubt anyone from the free will position would hear anything they would disagree with.
     
  10. percho

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    Acts 22:9 And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me.


    In all probability they were of the same opinion concerning Jesus as Paul when they left for Damascus that morning.

    Why? Why did they not understand what was being said? Do we have any record that they ever, "became," Christians, by believing and or having faith?

    Why was it only Paul of this group who was moved from unbelief unto belief?

    What kind of call went out that morning?

    Were they not also of the world of which God in Christ was reconciling unto himself?

    I know we also do not have record of them not having become Christians.
     
  11. psalms109:31

    psalms109:31
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    I do believe Paul did listen what Stephen said. He was going to Damascus for the reason he said in his mind, but in his heart he wanted to hear more. God stopped him on the road the crossroad and was shown which direction he should walk and him not like those before him he walked in it.

    God did use the situation for his purpose just like the bad that happen to Stephen to not keep the message in one place that it will go out. The persecution did one thing spread out the Gospel.

    1 Thessalonians 2:
    13 And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe. 14 For you, brothers and sisters, became imitators of God’s churches in Judea, which are in Christ Jesus: You suffered from your own people the same things those churches suffered from the Jews 15 who killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets and also drove us out. They displease God and are hostile to everyone 16 in their effort to keep us from speaking to the Gentiles so that they may be saved. In this way they always heap up their sins to the limit. The wrath of God has come upon them at last.[Or them fully]

    What they thought was stopping it was being used to spread it and God will use things man own evil desire for the good of those who love Him.

    God wants men to repent and live and God will use us to bring about His will.
     
  12. WITBOTL

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    I agree Morse, we are not far off in this at all. But I think there is a subtle difference that can have a practical impact. If you believe that the message of the gospel is not for the non-elect and that you only preach to everyone so that you might reach the elect amongst the rest I think there is a possibility of approaching the gospel message in a way that puts limits on how it is to preached that are not found in scripture. Not that this is necessarily the case but that it is a danger. Ultimately I believe from God’s perspective the primary purpose of sending out the gospel is as the beginning of his means of drawing the elect to him. I believe the effectual call is ultimately necessary because even the elect will not respond positively without it. You could argue that God’s purpose in the outward aspect of the call to the elect and the non-elect is similar in that even with the facts of the gospel communicated, and even with a way of escape provided, man will not turn from the sin which he most willingly embraces. Thus the effectual call is necessary. For the non-elect this rejection of the gospel has a further condemning effect upon them and I believe that God has purpose even in that.

    However, when looking at this from a human perspective, I believe that just as we believe and are taught in scripture that “the prayer of a righteous man availeth much” that the work of preaching and spreading the gospel availeth much. When you preach to a room full of unsaved people, in time they are all unsaved, under God’s wrath and in danger of hellfire; Even the elect. The effectual call and response of faith are necessary to change that state.

    When Nathan the prophet came to David and said: (2Sa 12:14) “Howebeit, because by this deed thou hast given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also that is born unto thee shall surely die.” These were the words of God and were absolutely true. David had enough experience with the words of God and the prophets of God to know that these words were absolutely sure. Nevertheless (2 Sam 12:16) David therefore besought God for the child; and David fasted, and went in, and lay all night upon the earth...” Before the child died David entreated the Lord with prayer and fasting and a contrite and broken heart. Did he know that the child was going to die? I believe he did. But he also knew that God was a merciful God and “who can tell if God will turn and repent and turn away from his fierce anger that we perish not?” I believe that David acted exactly how he should have acted. That though he knew the word of God was that the child would die he entreated him earnestly to turn from his word of judgement.

    Permit me a silly hypothetical. If God told you before you preached to a room full of people that there was not one of the elect in that room would you rightly preach to them? Would your message be half-hearted if you did preach to them? I suggest that your prayer for them should be even more earnest and more supplicating than ever. I believe your preaching should be more in power and more persuasive than ever. Why, if you know that there is no elect in the room? I say it is because as the example of David that even at the word of the Lord about what he was going to do, as men, we know that God is very merciful and who can tell if he will repent and turn away from his fierce anger etc.

    Does that make sense as to why I would say that the message of the gospel is not just for the elect. That from the preachers perspective all men should be seen as possible responders to the call, not as “the elect” (though we do understand that to be the case) but as all men, even the elect have the wrath of God abiding upon them and who can tell if God in his great mercy will not repent of that wrath and save them all. I think this should be the spirit of every preacher of the gospel when he entreats men to flee from their wickedness and the wrath of judgement to come into the arms of a saviour.

    And, as I stated, God has purpose sending the gospel to many who will not accept it because they love their sin more than they fear the prospect of eternal damnation. And even in this God will be the more glorified in the ones he did pluck out of the fire.

    (sorry for the book, I think my circuitous brain and fast fingers causes me to ramble a bit)
     
  13. MorseOp

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    Indeed. But that is a risk that every preacher faces whenever he proclaims the Gospel. It is apparent in Finneyism, which seeks to influence those receiving the message by means other than what are found in scripture.

    By God's grace, yes. God's word never returns void. There is a divine purpose to its preaching regardless of the human response.
     
  14. WITBOTL

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    If the preacher is concerned with counting nickels and noses more than leaving the business of conversion up to the Holy Spirit then there are all sorts of dangers involved including sending away unsaved people with a false assurance of eternal life. The fact is we can create all sorts of responses in man by various means and methods. If all that was required was some kind of response then sure, bring on bribery, psychoanalysis, emotional tricks and all sorts of circus atmosphere methods. Unfortunately, "a response" is not what is required. Faith in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ is what is required. putting your faith in the preacher does nothing. Putting your faith in a prayer does nothing. Making a "decision for Christ" does nothing. Committing does nothing, neither does confirming or reconfirming your commitment. Only faith the the shed blood of Jesus Christ and trusting in his righteousness does anything. That comes by the work of the Holy Spirit and the operation of God. That is not to say that the Holy Spirit does not use words of the preacher, emotion, reason, fear or understanding in bringing that man to faith but the point is that it is God's work not man's. The preacher is an instrument in the hands of God, not the other way around. Too many men want to be the hands and have God be the instrument.

    Nevertheless, our prayer should be that the entire world turn to God in repentance and faith. We should believe God could do even that if he chose to do it.
     
  15. MorseOp

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    Well said.
     
  16. HeirofSalvation

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  17. HeirofSalvation

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    Sigh....:tear: By definition......that IS, a "response". Calvinists have always been too smart by half...throwing out the baby with the bath-water, because you are so overly obsessed with the bath-water, as though God were impotent and with no power to save.....:rolleyes: Sheesh!!... God is far more in control and Sovereign than you give him credit for.

    It doesn't???? Choosing and accepting and throwing oneself upon the mercy of Jesus Christ does "Nothing"? What is the gospel then?

    Please define for us obvious ignoramusses the difference between "Making a decision for Christ" and "faith in the (sic) shed blood of Jesus Christ and trusting in his righteousness" is....I don't know what the difference is. I must assume you do.


    Who are these people? Pentecostals? Name names...don't be shy, the gospel is at stake no?
    No, we shouldn't...You are suggesting that people should believe a falsehood. No man should believe lies as you are suggesting. No one should be encouraged to believe anything other than the truth, and God has decidedly chosen otherwise...and could NOT....DO, any such thing as you suggest. You desperately want Arminianistic cover for the deterministic and fatalistic doctrine you espouse...You can't get it. It isn't there. You cannot steal pre-suppositions of Arminianism while you espouse Calvinism. That is intellectually dis-honest.
     
    #17 HeirofSalvation, Oct 20, 2012
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  18. WITBOTL

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    HoS, Seriously? did you even read what I said? I am not denying the necessity of a response, I am denying that any old kind of response is good enough...:BangHead::BangHead:
     
  19. HeirofSalvation

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    Yes..."Hos Seriously???"

    I read what you said...Incredulity is not an argument....please supply something other than an argument from incredulity....Seen it, it's elementary..... Calvinists need to give us WAY more than this....

    So, Yes..
    start responding to the multiplicity of statements and questions I posed in lieu of hiding behind..."Your stupid HOS!!!" and therefore, I won't have to respond to you....blah blahh....

    Yes, Hos is indeed serious...and I have obviously read your whole post....explain then, your post rather than pretend that it's detractor hasn't read it...I've read it word for word...numerous times...Did you read mine?????

    Should I have responded to you by saying:

    "WITBOTL, Seriously???" WITBOTL, Did you even read my post???"

    Or something similarly lame....no, I didn't...answer my posts...they are decidedly and pointedly on topic and relevant to every notion you posed...
     
  20. MorseOp

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    The semantics of a response can be argued, but the fact that God must make the sinner capable of a response is inarguable.

    Ephesians 2:4-5 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),

    Even (while) were dead in trespasses, God made us alive. It is God who prevails upon the sinner's heart during the effectual call (the call that is a result of the "giving" of the Father in John 6:37). That call does require a human response (faith/belief), but that response is a result of God's calling, not in lieu of it.
     

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