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Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Pastor Larry, Jul 10, 2002.
... then what are you? Where do you find this middle ground between the common uses of these terms?
I'm a Biblical Christian.
What you're advocating on this board isn't in my Bible! If what you're teaching makes you a Biblical Christian, I don't want to be one!
[ July 10, 2002, 03:50 PM: Message edited by: Primitive Baptist ]
The vast majority of people who are serious about their relationship with the Lord have no discernible theology. I think that is sad as until about four years ago I was in the same boat, so I know how that feels.
Once I believed in the God who is absolutely sovereign the Scriptures came alive to me and verses that had little or no meaning to me before then became pregnant with meaning.
I wish that everyone who calls Jesus Lord would study deeply enough to actually arrive at a systematic method of studying the Scriptures as it makes for a much more solid foundation for Biblical exegesis and, I have found in my own case, a more trusting attitude toward God and much, much more security in His precious promises.
It also makes it much easier to discuss theological differences if both sides come at an issue in a systmatic way instead of basically "free lancing" it.
One redeemed by Christ's blood,
Were it not for grace...
[ July 10, 2002, 03:52 PM: Message edited by: Ken Hamilton ]
Im saved and therefore only follow the teachings of the bible.
I don't that is the issue. All of us as Christians do that.
I think the issue is how do you systematize your understanding of the Bible as a whole so that you are consistent as you communicate your faith with others.
The word christian is only mentioned three times in the scriptures:
Acts 11:26 And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people. And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
26:28 Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.
I Peter 4:16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.
So what is a Christian and what are the marks that identify one? In the Calvinistic forum the interpretation of a Christian is different then one found in the Arminian forum!... Brother Glen
[ July 10, 2002, 05:20 PM: Message edited by: tyndale1946 ]
The reason I ask is because a lot of people want to throw out Helen's response: I am biblicist.
For the life of me, I can't find this middle ground. It seems that one either believes that God is sovereign in the traditionally accepted sense or believes that he is not. This third view is non-existent. Helen, since she spoke up, has denied that God is sovereign over all things. She has omitted the will of man from the realm of God's sovereignty. Since this leads to a denial of unconditional election, Helen is an arminian in the traditional accepted sense.
However, Ken is right that most people have no discernable theology. Much of it because they are not taught and much becuase they do not study. Many never wrestle through the apparent conflicts to resolve them biblically. Thus you end up with a statement like I posted previously where it is admitted that no one can overcome the old nature unless God kills it but then goes on to assert that man can act in contrary fashion to his old nature to choose God so that God can implant a new nature.
People calls themselves "biblicists" because it sounds so pious. However, it is not useful in these discussions.
Pastor Larry, you have badly misrepresented me. Over and over again I have stated that God is sovereign. In fact He is sovereign enough to be able to encompass giving man a choice about whether to accept or reject Him. This is not a lack of sovereignty -- this is a choice our sovereign God has made. Over and over again I have presented Scriptures that support this, as in "Come let us reason together," says the Lord from Isaiah 1. There is no Calvinist response to this because God is talking to the unsaved here!
Please, please, disagree with me if you like, but don't misrepresent me. I have also stated that the choice is a mutual one: God and those who want the truth choose each other. It is a true marriage, not a shotgun wedding in reverse. God stands at the door and knocks; IF any man opens....
And when the door is opened, when that mutual choice becomes effective (and yes, over and over again I have agreed that God always knew who would choose Him!), there is a new life, a new hope, a new joy -- and that salvation can never, ever be lost. Believe me, that is a LOT different from Arminianism!
It is from the Bible I get "Choose this day whom you will serve"; "Seek and ye shall find"; "God so loved the world... that whosoever believes..."; "Behold, I stand at the door and knock, if ANYONE hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me."
It goes on and on. There is nothing there that denies God's sovereignty, and neither do I. So please don't misrepresent me by saying I do.
From what I can see, the difference is in what we think of sovereignty. You seem to think it means a dictatorship in which no man has any say at all. That is a petty and mean and small form of sovereignty! True sovereignty -- God's sovereignty -- is much bigger and more loving than that. He is far, far big enough and knowing enough and in control enough and wise enough and everything enough and more to allow us enough freedom to choose so that we can truly love Him when we have finally been changed so that we can receive His love.
I am totally in line with the Biblical doctrine that there is nothing a man can do to earn or keep or maintain or help with salvation. It is all of our glorious and holy Lord, Jesus Christ. But a man can reject it or accept it. This, too, is biblical.
I cannot separate out the verses which indicate predestination from the verses that indicate freedom of choice. They work together. I will say, however, that a good many of the verses Calvinists use to support the predestination doctrine are verses indicating the predestination of the person once saved to become the image of Christ through the power of God. In line with Philippians 1:6, God takes control and finishes the good work He started in us. That is the predestination I recognize the Bible as talking about.
Now, I do feel as if I was being baited here, and I must say I don't like that.
I don't like being told that someone does not want to worship 'my God' when we are all supposed to be brothers and sisters in the Lord. I don't like being misrepresented as to what I have said over and over again I believe from the Bible. I don't mind people disagreeing with me; they do it all the time! But could you folks please be a bit more agreeable about it?
I truly am your sister in Christ if you truly are Christian and belong to Him. That's a generic statement not aimed at anyone in particular, please.
Whether or not you find it 'useful' I am a biblical Christian. That is how I define my theology and my faith. The Bible, in totality, is my authority and guide in all matters to do with theology and faith. I don't know how to put it more plainly.
But if you will excuse me, I will now let all of you tear what I have said apart and mock it and decide that I might not be a Christian at all. That is your CHOICE.
In the meantime, I know I am firmly in the hands of my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I have read, studied, and taught Bible for about 25 years now. I am putting my neck on the line every single night with the Bible study here on Baptist Board, while you sit here and run me down. I am doing my best to be simply the glove in which the Hand of Christ operates. I am His and He is mine. And I know for sure I would rather spend time with Him than with your baiting and insults here.
So have at it. I have no reason to come back here saying the same things over and over again. It is a bad misuse of my time.
The interesting thing is that people who claim to be of one persuasion or the other don't even really know what they believe.
Being a sovereign grace man myself I find that the deciding factor is whether you believe in the depravity of man or you don't.
Having a system of theology is good until your system has more authority over you interpretation than does the scriptures.
Helen, its nice to see that you've finally admitted than you believe in the "Doctrines of Grace". Praise God!
Enabled by the Father(John 6:44)
John W Mergel
I am a Christian, Jesus Christ is my Lord and Saviour. Yes, I have studied, not as much as you, and I am not nearly as articulate as you. But I honestly think that neither Calvinism nor Arminianism can explain it all.
Christians in 1500 got along without either Calvin or Arminius. And most Christians in my personal acquaintance get along without them now.
It misrepresents people like me to claim that our views are not based on serious study, prayer, and reflection.
For eg., Pastor Larry, you and Chris Temple agree strongly on this. You disagree strongly on Dispensational issues, which by the way I agree with YOU on. So is Chris all of a sudden impaired just on disp. issues as a result of no study, and I am all of a sudden aglow with insight on just that one issue?
Honest Christians disagree on MANY things. And it can not be dismissed as unbelief or lack of study.
While I don't know what all you involve when you say "Doctrines of Grace" I will say that what I have said above I have repeated time and time again here in one form or another. There is no change in the above from what I have declared as my faith since coming onto Baptist Board.
A while back there was a thread (or perhaps a pole) on the "absolute soveriengty of all things". I do not think that many of the calvinists on this board would say that God is the absolute soveriegn (i.e. the direct cause) of everything. They would limit God's sovereignty by referring to direct causes and indirect causes. Your statement above seemed to view the issue of soveriegnty as the dividing line between calvinists and non-calvinists. But, you see, the divide is not so clear when you say that God is soveriegn but not absolutely sovereign. Many non-calvinists would agree.
Given that the five points of Calvinism T-U-L-I-P do not include soveriegnty per se, I question why you see that as the dividing line. The specific issues in my mind that make calvinism incorrect are limited atonement, spiritual death equalling total inability, and regeneration preceding faith. Secondarily, I think the system is woefully inadequate in its ability to explain the problem of evil, and I think it creates an ethical problem because I am required to love my neighbor even though God hates him. I might be able to think of more problems later but I'll leave it at that for now.
Excuse me, but I answered that with a quote from Dr. John Gill, D. D. All you want is someone to agree with you. The people God was talking to were not "unsaved" (the term itself is unbiblical).
"Come now, and let us reason, together, saith the Lord,.... These words stand not in connection either with the preceding or following, but are to be read in a parenthesis, and are thrown in for the sake of the small remnant God had left among this wicked people, in order to comfort them, being distressed with sin...not at the bar of his justice; there is no reasoning with him there; none can contend with him, or answer him, one of a thousand; if he marks iniquity in strict justice, none can stand before him; there is no entering the lists with him upon the foot of justice, or at its bar: but at the bar of mercy, at the throne of grace; there the righteous may dispute with him from his declarations and promises, as well as come with boldness to him; and at the altar and sacrifice of Christ, and at the fountain of his blood: here sinners may reason with him from the virtue and efficacy of his blood and sacrifice; and from the Lord's proclamation of grace and mercy through him; and from his promises to forgive repenting and confessing sinners: and here God reasons with sensible souls from his own covenant promises and proclamations to forgive sin; from the aboundings of his grace over abounding sin; from the righteousness of Christ to justify, his blood to cleanse from sin, and his sacrifice to atone for it; and from the end of his coming into the world to save the chief of sinners..." -Dr. John Gill, D. D.
I also agree with your paragraph which starts, 'Pastor Larry, you have badly . . . ' You are absolutely correct that God in His sovereignty has allowed for human beings to make a choice. That choice will determine their destiny. He in His sovereignty has allowed for the free will of man. Your theology is balanced. It really is a blessing.
Peace through Jesus.
[ July 11, 2002, 11:04 AM: Message edited by: Pastor Larry ]
I wake up this morning to find a diatribe that contributes nothing to the topic at hand. My first response was to delete since that is my practice on off topic posts. If you have personal issues with me, you know where and how to deal with it. However, since others have responded, I will respond publicly.
I didn’t misrepresent what you said. I quoted it. You apparantly don’t like people to use your words in any substantive way. You should be more careful with them. However, you have made a practice in this thread of misrepresenting what we say. Now you know how we feel. I am sick to death of it but that hasn’t stopped you. In fact, I have just quit responding to most of it because it has been so well answered, but you are not listening.
I know you have said this, but it is incompatible with other things that you have said. You cannot have it both ways. Either God is sovereign or he has given it up to man. If he was sovereign enough to give it up to man, that is fine. But he is no longer sovereign. Your definition is a little like saying, "I am pregnant because I had a child last night." If you had a child last night, you are no longer pregnant. It's that simple.
Scripture says that God is heaven doing whatever he pleases. You say that God is heaven doing whatever man lets him do. Scripture says that God works all things after the kind intention of his will. You say that God is responding that what man does. I think you have totally missed the boat. You have not yet shown your position able to deal with Scripture. Perhaps you can and just haven’t done it.
Now do you see why we point out the fallacy of your position? I have not misrepresented what you have said. I have left it completely intact, and in context. Yet you have expressly contradicted yourself. You cannot have it both ways. Either man can do nothing or man can do something. YOu say that it is all of our glorious and holy Lord, Jesus Christ. I agree. But then you put it in the realm of man so apparently it is not all of Christ, since Christ doesn't do the choosing. It is at least partly of man.
You made the choice to respond. I am trying to find out how people decline to accept one of two mutually exclusive options. You chose to respond. Don't get mad at me.
However, I have not doubted your salvation. I have expressly said that here on numerous occasions, both publicly and privately. I have thanked your for your work in other forums where I think you do a tremendous job. I do doubt your handling of the text on this issue. I am not sitting here and running you down. I wish you handled soteriology with the same care and concern that you handle creationism with.
Your accusing me of insults and baiting is somewhat humorous. You have offended, lied, misrepresented me and others of my position. You have accused us of twisting Scripture, having a small God, etc. You have refused to accept the things that I have said. Yet you are not offended when you do that. Why? You have a double standard because you think you alone have the truth. You were extremely offensive when you suggested that Calvinists should be kept out of the seeker’s forum. That was an inane and absurd suggestion. I don’t mind debate and heated discussion. But if you are going to make the kind of statements you make, you are going to have to deal with the results of it. There are a number of us here that will respond and will try to force the biblical issues to the fore.
I am a biblical Christian, Helen. Yet you and I disagree. That is why the designation “biblical Christian” is meaningless in this discussion. People have soft skins and big egos and can’t stand it when people point out an inconsistency with their position. You can define your theology and faith anyway you want to. What you will held accountable for is how God defines his theology and his faith.
Now, let’s get back to the issue. Since both sides claim to be biblical. That is not helpful. What are you if you are not arminian or Calvinist?
I once asked Henry Blackaby who wrote "Experiencing God" if he was a Calvinist. I remarked that a lot of people were accusing him of being one. His response was "I am a Biblicist".
I think a lot of people use that kind of response to avoid controversy especially denominational figures who are in the public arena.
Many people also avoid the labels because there is so much misinformation floating around about what a Calvinist or an Arminian really is.
Me? I am unashamedly a 5-point Southern Baptist Calvinist as were most of the messengers at Augusta, Ga. in 1845.
By the way, I heard that 1845 fact was brought out at the CBF annual meeting this year by Fisher Humphreys, my old Theology teacher from New Orleans Seminary.
On your comment, absolute sovereignty includes primary and secondary causation. I really do think the ultimate issue is sovereignty vs. non-sovereignty. Either God is working all things according to the kind intention of His will or he is not. For me, it is that simple.
As for your question, I think the dividing line is unconditional election.
Limited atonement has been beat up a lot and mostly becuase of a misunderstanding. The atonement is sufficient for all, efficient for the elect. Everyone limits the atonement in some way.
Spiritual death equaling total inability derives from passages such as Eph 2:1-3, Rom 8:4-11; Rom 3:10-13, Jer 17:9, etc. If depravity is total, then it must of necessity affect the will. If it does not affect the will, then it is not total. If there is a spark of spiritual life, than man is not spiritually dead.
As for regeneration preceding faith, the key issue is one of how do dead people who hate God and have no desire to pursue him respond? They can only do so by God's enabling, his giving or his drawing. We are told that this giving or drawing always results in coming. Therefore again, you have a mutual exclusivity.
As for the problem of evil, you are not required to love a neighbor that God hates. God loves your neighbor. God also hates your neighbor. Because God is infinite he can love and hate the same object at the same time. We cannot do that. The problem of evil is to me the most difficult. There have been a number of good things written on this and I am content to understand that God's ultimate decree does not compromise his holiness but rather demonstrates it. After all, he clearly ordained things that we would consider evil, such as the murder of his son. I am much less troubled by that than I am by a God who is not in control.
I find great comfort and hope in the doctrine of sovereignty. It's why I preach and witness and it's why I pray.