Has anyone changed their mind?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by npetreley, May 23, 2006.

  1. npetreley

    npetreley
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    First, I want to say I think these forums serve a great purpose even if nobody ever admits to being mistaken or changes their minds based on what is said here.

    Second, my example (below) is not an attempt to pin a medal on myself. It's just the only example I can cite with confidence, because I know I've changed my mind. I can't claim that for anyone else since I'm not privy to their thoughts.

    Third, I am not suggesting that nobody else changes their minds based on what is written in these forums. I'm simply asking to see if anyone else has, in fact, been instructed and corrected by anything on these forums.

    My example: I used to believe that "this" in Eph 2:8 refers back to "faith" (this [faith] is the gift of God). Someone posted a terrific analysis based on the Greek and proved this could not be true. The inferred conclusion of that post was that "this" must refer back to the entire phrase "are having been saved by grace through faith", which is the gift of God. So I had to give up my former interpretation in favor of the one that was clearly accurate. Thanks to whoever posted the analysis -- I can't recall who it was.

    I know this doesn't amount to giving up Calvinism for free-willism, but it does amount to admitting my former position was wrong.

    Has anyone else here had a similar experience?

    Even though I think the forums are worthwhile otherwise, I would like to see the testimony of others who have changed their minds based on what someone has said or written.
     
  2. timothy27

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    8For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

    Npet, so what does the phrase "not your own doing" refer to? Even if "this" refers to the entire phrase "by grace you have been saved through faith" It turns that entire phrase into the work of God, it still says that "this is not your own doing" What is the subject and main point of the sentence?

    --You have been saved. How have we been saved? By grace. What means are we saved by... faith. So the "this" refers to the entire passage, it still does not make faith something apart from a gift from God. It just means that the whole process is a gift from God.
     
  3. timothy27

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    So according to your new understanding, the gift is not faith. I am okay with that. Your new understanding I think strenghthens the reformed position. It makes the entire process of God saving us by HIS grace through our faith HIS gift to us. It makes His grace and our faith both HIS gift.
     
  4. Hope of Glory

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    There's a thread on here somewhere, but if you diagram the sentence out, "grace" is the gift of God in that passage. I think there's a link to the diagram on that thread.
     
  5. Helen

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    I am aware of two people who read but do not post who have changed from being 'sort of' Calvinists to deciding it was totally wrong and that there is a much more accurate understanding of the Bible's message which is, by the way, NOT Arminian (either).

    I do not know them personally, but have only received PM's and emails from them asking more questions.

    By the way, although an increase of faith may well be a gift from God, faith itself isn't. We all have faith everyday ... in something or someone. It is the object of the faith which is the sticking point. Turn the faith you might have in yourself, or a guru, or education, or politics, or whatever, instead to God, and He will save you by grace through the avenue of that faith. The object of the faith you have in your everyday life is up to you, however. What you decide to have faith IN is up to you.
     
  6. npetreley

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    Correct. It does strengthen the reformed position, especially when you consider the Greek tense. It is "are having been". So "are having been saved by grace through faith" in its entirety is the gift of God.

    My interpretation was aligned with reformed doctrine either way, but I had to admit that "this" could not simply refer back to "faith".

    Like I said, it isn't as major a change of mind as it would be for a free-willer to become a Calvinist, or vice versa. But so often I see people here stick to their guns on even the most minor issue simply because they don't want to admit they're wrong. I was hoping I'd see some posts from people who weren't so stubborn and had examples of how they had to change their view on something, based on how they were instructed by another's post - even if it was just a minor change.
     
  7. npetreley

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    It's not just a matter of diagrams of the grammatic structure. That was my basis of assuming it had to be "faith", and I was wrong.

    The post that was so convincing showed that it could be neither faith nor grace based on the gender of the words "faith" and "grace". The word "this" would have to be the same gender as "grace" or "faith" in order for it to refer back to one or the other. But "this" is neuter, in which case it has to refer back to the entire concept. And the entire concept is "are having been saved by grace through faith".
     
  8. npetreley

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    Oh yeah? Well I've had 1,000 private messages from free willers who have come to the conclusion that free willism is an abomination and that election is true.

    Criminy, Helen. Your history of "evidence by private message" is getting tiring.
     
  9. npetreley

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    Funny how this thread was supposed to be about changing minds, yet it has instantly transformed into a discussion of Eph 2:8, with others defending their views.

    Oh well, I tried.
     
  10. timothy27

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    Npet...Great, I was worried from your OP that it had been a major change! You are a wonderful soldier for the TRUTH and I enjoy your posts. Keep up the good work.
     
  11. Helen

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    npetreley, I simply tried to answer your question in the OP. Your attitude in your response to me is something I have learned from painful experience is to be expected from a number of Calvinists, however.

    If you have received a thousand private messages regarding changes, that is truly amazing. I have received messages from two people and simply tried to respond to your question with that. I have not changed. I could only mention two I am aware of who have.

    I'm sorry to have bothered you with my response. I won't make that mistake again. I have -- if you have noticed -- refrained from the Calvinist posts for quite a while now. The anger and arrogance in them has passed even the point of my personal amazement and gone into "here's another same old same old."

    If you don't want answers, though, please don't aske the questions.
     
  12. npetreley

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    You didn't answer my question. I asked if anyone else HERE has had a similar experience. I didn't ask if anyone HERE heard from people in private messages.

    What is the point in telling us that you got such private messages, anyway? Do you think we're going to be persuaded that these forums tend toward shifting people from Calvinism to free will? These are private messages to you, a person who trumpets semi-pelagian views. Why would anyone who switched from free willism to election confide in you that the forums changed their minds? They wouldn't, of course, because you are the last person on earth who would understand.

    But if you think there's anything instructive in these message, produce them. Produce the private messages and then let us examine what it is they changed their minds about, and why they changed their minds, okay?

    No, you can't do that, because they were private. So your so-called evidence that people changed their minds because of these forums is totally meaningless and contributes nothing.

    Your so-called answer is nothing more than a "safe" way to criticize Calvinism, since you can't be expected to produce any real evidence to back up your claims.
     
  13. Magnetic Poles

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    npetreley,

    To get this thread more on topic, I have not changed my mind on issues based on any particular postings. I have revised my positions on a number of things over the years based upon perponderance of evidence and new information (at least new to me).

    I do think some people get stuck on pet ideas, particularly in areas where personal liberty should be dominant. One should always be open to processing new information and bouncing their beliefs against such data, which will either support, or refute, held positions.

    MP
     
  14. webdog

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    I don't want to turn this into a Eph. 2 discussion, but in all fairness the greek tense doesn't support a reformed position. Whether it's "have been" or "you are", it is only pointing to God's grace (through faith) as the His "gift", not HOW it's given.

    Anyway, I have had some changes in some areas. I used to think it was a sin to even look at a glass of wine or beer (do not gaze when it's red..., not for kings, yada yada), but after studying the 240 verses that mention wine and "other strong drink", I came to the conclusiong that not only did Jesus drink and make alcoholic wine, but that drunkeness and addiction are what's actually sinful, not it's consumption.
     
  15. Dr. Bob

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    Many have commented in the past 6+ years of being changed or brought into fuller understanding of doctrines/teachings with which they were not well versed.

    We have a half dozen or more who have come out of the "only" position, into a love for the KJV but only as a preference, not damning all others.

    Some others have come to a fuller understanding of God's grace, repudiating the 1-2-3-pray-after-me easy believism of Graham or Hyles.

    Both of those movements from darkness to light are an encouragement to me that there is a great benefit reaped from the BB, even the Versions forum!!
     
  16. Helen

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    You didn't answer my question. I asked if anyone else HERE has had a similar experience. I didn't ask if anyone HERE heard from people in private messages.

    They are members here. They don't post. That's all.
     
  17. Andy T.

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    Not necessarily a change in position, but I have tried to change my attitude and demeanor in my postings, after seeing people complain about "angry Calvinists" and what-not. I observed that some of my former posts could be construed as angry, judgmental, arrogant, etc., so I have since tried to be careful with how I construct my posts and wording to not unnecessarily offend someone. I'm sure I still fail at times, though.
     
  18. J.D.

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    Hello npetrely - to answer your OP yes, I have changed my mind about some issues - mostly I've been pulled back from true hypercalvinism by reading many of the posts of more orthodox calvinists on this board.

    But unlike yourself, I remain convinced that faith is "that" gift. I have always been and still am skeptical of arguments based on Greek grammatical structure. I probably speak out of turn on that because I have no formal training in bible languages, but I've always noticed how Greek experts will face off with their subjuntive indicatives and so forth and they rarely come to agreement. I believe in my own amaturish way that the key to proper interpretation of any language, whether Greek, Hebrew, Latin, or English, is primarily in the general context, and only secondarily in particulars of grammer. Let's look at the context a little.

    .....For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast. For ye are his workmanship....

    Perhaps the grammatical structure points to the whole phrase - so be it - but I think faith remains that focus of the passage.

    "That" points to an object - a noun - as does "of yourselves" - "of" indicates there's a source being cited. So what is not "of yourselves"?

    Also, "it" is the gift - what is the gift? Is it grace? I don't think so, because grace is the motive of giving, but not the gift itself. But grace CAN be a gift, for he gives grace to people. But this passage does not deal with the gift OF grace, but rather a gift BY grace (for BY grace are ye saved...) So then, if grace is the SOURCE of the gift, it can not be the gift itself.

    Now can "saved" be the object of "that" and "it". Well in a general sense it surely can be. But in this passage, it doesn't fit. Why? Because "and that not of yourselves" is a contraphrase to "for by grace are ye saved through faith". And why is a contraphrase necessary here? Grace and salvation has been the theme of the entire chapter. Paul has already established earlier in the chapter that "by grace are ye saved". So what is introduced into the theology in verse 8? FAITH

    So then "faith" can be the only true parallel to "that" and "it", and we see it confirmed in "not of works", here faith is clearly set off against "works", again, faith is the object of the statement.

    Now notice: "not of works" in v9 against "his workmanship" in v10. This contrasts the work of man from the work of God. How is it that we, that have been saved by grace through faith, are God's workmanship? God's working in us is the infusion of his spirit whereby saving faith is brought to light through the gospel. "This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent." "For it is God that works in you both to do and to will of his good pleasure".

    Also, as Paul continues his discourse, he lays open the gathering of the gentiles into the household of faith, showing how that God chose to bring both jew and gentile together by a common means - FAITH. Again, faith is the main theme and is the gift, since it is by faith that the gentiles are "grafted in". Acts 14:27 "Now when they had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them, and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles."

    Submitted for your kind consideration.

    J.D.
     
  19. npetreley

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    webdog: Thanks for sharing your change of view on wine. That is very interesting. I happen to agree with where you are on it now.

    Dr. Bob: It's nice to see that the discussions really have made a difference. I don't follow those other forums as much - maybe if I did I'd have seen the changes of mind.

    Helen: I'll take your word for it. The problem, Helen, is that you have a propensity to do things like point us to character assassination sites as "proof" that Calvinism is wrong. You're so angry at Calvinism that it seems to have clouded your understanding of the difference between criticizing Calvin and criticizing Calvinism. Given the above, it's hard to take anything you say about private messages seriously. If you could point us to something we could actually read, it would be a whole lot more meaningful. I'm sorry to be so harsh, but resorting to what you claim to have read in private messages is a cowardly defense of your position, since it guarantees that nobody can respond.
     
  20. J.D.

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    Sorry if I turned this into an Eph 2 discussion. Couldn't help myself!

    Any I agree with Andy, I've learned to tone down my rehtoric to be more effective. No, really, I have. [​IMG]
     

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