My vision of what an IFB church should be

Discussion in '2004 Archive' started by IfbReformer, Jun 1, 2004.

  1. IfbReformer

    IfbReformer
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    Well folks, its been months since I posted to the BB. Things have been hectic to say the least. I have read many posts during that time, I just have not had the time to pipe in.

    Well I finally put an article together with my vision of what I think an Independant Fundamental Baptist church should be.

    Here are the topics I cover:


    What would a reformed IFB church look like?
    They would teach Soverign Grace Theology
    They would refute hyper-calvinists
    They would refute revivalism
    They would teach free-will giving
    They would evangelize in the proper order
    They would refute legalism
    They would use a modern english translation of the Bible
    They would worship the Lord with all manner of instrumentation
    What about Preaching?
    What about Prophecy?
    What about Door to Door evangelism?

    I am not going to post the article here because its way to big, but I hope at least some of you will take a few minutes look at it. I am curious to hear your take.

    Here are some excerpts:

    What would a reformed IFB church look like?
    When we say "reformed" in many theological circles they will think of the reformed church of John Calvin. There are also Reformed Baptist Churches out there. What these churches have in common is their holding to the teachings of Soverign Grace theology, otherwise known as Calvinism. I do hold to the main principles of Soverign Grace theology, but I think many churches have misdefined and overemphazied some parts of it though.

    I have yet to undertake a series on Calvinism on this site. This is because while I believe very similar to the typical Calvinist, I would define some things differently thus some people would not consider me a true Calvinist. If that is the case , then I plead guilty.

    We must understand that the doctrinal explanations of John Calvin as well as Martin Luther in these areas are not inerrant, but they are man's attempt at understanding the deep things of God.

    This area of Soverign Grace theology, affects the very heart of any local church. The pivotal point is whether we believe in unconditional election, or conditional election. All other issues fall under these and greatly affect how we structure our local churches.

    They would teach Soverign Grace Theology
    The reformed IFB church I envision would be one that teaches that God chose us before we chose him. Too many IFB churches have that concept backwards. I was visited a local IFB church a while back for a Baptism. In this church the Pastor, who believes in conditional election, said that election is "God looking forward through time and seeing those who he could win and would choose him. These are the ones he elects." This is completely backwards from what the scriptures teach in this area...

    The reformed IFB church I envision would also refute those hyper-electionists that teach belief is not necessary for salvation. There are some, especially among Primitive Baptists, who teach belief is not necessary for salvation. They say they are not Calvinist because they flatly reject some of the points of Calvinism. That is why it is more accurate to call them "hyper-electionists".

    In essense they teach that we are saved by election, as opposed to the scriptural teaching that we are elected to be saved by believing on the Son of God and taking him as our God and Savior. They teach that there are two kinds of salvation. The first kind is our "eternal salvation". This they say, is not dependent on our faith and trust in Christ, but we are simply eternally saved by election.

    The second type of salvation they teach is called "timely salvation". This is where someone who is elect, gets "timely knowledge" of their "eternal salvation". For this salvation the individual must believe, but it in no way affects their eternal salvation. Well I will just say that the Scriptures plainly condemn this teaching that we are not required to believe and that we are saved before we believe...

    They would refute revivalism
    The reformed IFB church I envision would refute "revivalism". "revivalism" teachings mainly find their origins in the teachings of a man name Charles Finney. In the early 1800's he was a former Presbyterian minister who was repulsed by much of the hyper-calvinistic teachings he was brought up with.

    Instead of just refuting hyper-calvinism, he refuted all the doctrines of soverignty all together and even came to deny the doctrine of original sin. He came to believe that people were not be saved simply because of bad methods of evangelism, not because of their fallen sinful natures. He introduced what would later be called his "new methods". One of these later became known as the "altar call". He believed the altar call was person's first step of faith, and was virtually equivalent to baptism in importance to God.

    He introduced the techniques we find very commonly in IFB churches of having people raise their hands and come forward to make "public decsions for Christ". His strategy was to use a combination of emotion and intellectual reason to bring people to a decision for Christ. His methods were later incorporated and further expanded by famous preachers like D.L.Moody, Billy Sunday and Billy Graham, while they were refuted by men like Charles Spurgeon...

    They would use a modern english translation of the Bible
    The IFB church I envision would want their congregation to understand the Word of God as its original receipients did more than 2000 years ago. The Bible was originally written in the common trade language of the Roman empire so that the common man could understand it. We should never loose site of this fact, and the IFB church I envision would not be afraid to used modern(common) translations to convey the Word of God...

    The article can be found at:

    http://www.ifbreformation.org/MyVision.aspx
     
  2. superdave

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    Interesting article, thanks

    I agree with much of what you wrote, and I am fortunate to be in an IFB church that would fit your description in almost every area.
     
  3. IfbReformer

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    SuperDave,

    Thats great! Where is this church you go to?
    Does your Pastor have relationships with other likeminded IFB churches?

    IFBReformer
     
  4. superdave

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    Its in Lake Orion, MI

    I have not visited another church in my area that is like our church, I sent you a pm with more details, there are a couple that would be close. Our pastor was an assistant at a church in the Detroit area that is similar in philosophy to our church.
     
  5. Sojourn(f)orTruth

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    Reformer,
    After reading the "vision", I must say I am quite intrigued. A church as you describe would be a welcomed blessing in my community! (I may just have to start one!)I agree with your positions, but have one small concern. I have found that there is somewhat of confusion to be had when everyone uses a different translation. Would you choose a standard, modern translation, and encourage that one in particular? And certainly one would have to be careful about attempting to provide too great an eclectic approach where doctrine is concerned.
     
  6. pinoybaptist

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    I would have let this pass, since I decided to lay off theological issues for a while especially since at the Arminian/Calvinism forum, there are those who have unabashedly admitted they can not treat one and the other as children of the same God though they may be of different persuasions, and so, one and the other tend to be ridiculing of one and the other's God and refuse to write the name down as God but instead insist on god.

    But since you mentioned Primitive Baptists, and have labeled us 'hyper-electionists', I will challenge you to prove also that what you said

    is even just a tad different from the conditional election of the classic Arminian which goes as you say to be:

    And then you went ahead and defined what you understand of what we believe about timely salvation.

    You said:

    First, you are wrong. The big, main body of Primitive Baptists do not even believe that every elect child of God will hear and believe the gospel, and will be gathered under the teaching of a gospel church.

    However, for those whom God does gather in a gospel church, and come under the hearing of gospel teaching, they hear about the if-then-else's in the Bible which God promises to His chldren, concerning timely blessings and protection, both in the spiritual and physical sense, for those who obey gospel commands.

    However, again, we do not dangle these blessings and protections to God's children the same way that Arminians dangle heaven as an incentive or reward for belief.

    The motivation is love, born out of an understanding of what Christ has done. You love the Lord ? The Lord said, do this, and He will in turn do that for you, else, if you don't, then this is the consequence. Read all about it in the Books of Law and in Paul's and Peter's letters. These are the passages which those of the 'raise-your-hand-and-come-forward-and-receive-Jesus' theology use to justify their teachings that man has the ability to believe and reject and therefore decide his eternal destiny if he wants to.

    Non-Primitive Baptist churches call it other names, but, essentially, the object is the same, to teach those whom they believe to be saved members of their church gracious living. Except that to many non PB churches, they look at gracious living as a proof of salvation.
     
  7. pinoybaptist

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    And then there's what you labeled
    salvation by election.


    PB's do not teach that salvation is by election. The Bible says this:

    </font>
    • Among other things, Jesus Christ is called the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world (Rev. 20:12), which is, that, both in principle and in fact, He was the sacrificial lamb even before time began for Adam and Eve and the rest of humanity. Therefore, God is able to consider Abraham, Job, the Patriarchs, Enoch, Abel, and the Old Testament saints righteous based on the atonement thru the blood of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world;</font>
    • This atonement became final and factual in the timely sense in Calvary. This atonement was not meant to cover the sins of the whole wide world and every single member of the human family. The blood was shed and meant for God's elect, and them only. It procured and secured their forgiveness and redemption. (Romans 3:25;Romans 5:9;Eph. 1:7; Col. 1:14; Heb. 9:12; Rev. 5:9; Rev. 1:5-6).</font>
    • Salvation is by grace thru faith, and those who are saved, are saved according to God's mercy and that alone, and God is the one who disposes of His mercy to whom He will. (Eph. 2:8-9;Titus 3:5; Romans 9:15).</font>
    God, then, foresaw the entire human history from eternity past, foresaw the fall, promised redemption and the need for a Redeemer, provided that Redeemer, decided whom He will adopt into His family and elected them from eternity past, typified this Redemption in many ways and had these types and figures of redemption written down in His book, a book which was meant for the instructions and learning of His people and them only, and in due time, came to be born of a woman, born under the law, and fulfilled all the requirement of His law, and did indeed redeem all He covenanted with Himself to redeem.

    All of God. None of man.

    Those who protest protest in essence and in truth, the lack of man's participation in God's plan of redemption.

    The Bible's description of God's sovereignty and of His electing mercy puts man at his rightful place - way below the feet of God, utterly helpless to save himself, and that is an affront to the humanistic theologies currently so in vogue.
     
  8. IfbReformer

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    Thanks for your interest. On the translations issue, certainly I would go for a standard translation, such a pew Bible and have a policy of ordering Sunday School material based off that translation.

    But I would not force people, or even discourage people from using other english translations. I believe it is actually a healthy thing for people to see more than one translation.

    Especially for people who are new Christians, and might not understand that there is more than one translation of the Bible. They need to understand that the Word of God is preserved for us in many translations, whether in English, or french or german and so on.

    IFBReformer
     
  9. IfbReformer

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    is even just a tad different from the conditional election of the classic Arminian which goes as you say to be:


    .....said that election is "God looking forward through time and seeing those who he could win and would choose him. These are the ones he elects."


    </font>[/QUOTE]Ok,

    I will show you that what I and most soverign grace advocates believe is different that Arminians and quite different from hyper-electionists like yourself.

    Just for clarification though, let me state where we and the Arminians agree:

    We both agree that Salvation is comes by believing on the Son of God, Jesus Christ. For there is no other name under heaven that we can be saved by. Christ is the THE WAY, THE TRUTH, and THE LIFE, no man, and that means no man, comes to father but by Christ.

    On this we agree 100% with Arminians, and while we disagree as to how we come to that belief, I would not say they are preaching a false Gospel, they are just in error as to how we come to the point of belief.

    But, I must say after reading your own posts for over a year now, and researching more on line after reading your posts, that what you are teaching is a false Gospel, plain and simple.

    You plainly, and unshamedly teach that men do not need to believe on Christ to be saved, they are simply saved by election.

    While you try to deny this, your own words admit this:

    So God save's people today who do not believe the Gospel? But they are saved inspite of there not believing simply because they his elect?

    I know the typical PB strategy at this point, so I will take the bull by the horns here. You will say, what about those in the Old Testament?

    Thats easy my friends, they "saw from a distance" - they were only responsible for what God revealed to them at any certain point. So yes salvation as always been by Grace through faith in the Son of God, even if they could not see it as clearly as us because God had not revealed everything from the begining.

    What about infants, this is very typical argument PBs throw out, again you are trying to use something the Bible does not speak of clearly to undermine something it does speak of clearly, that of salvation through Christ alone, belief in Christ alone.

    At first, it would seem that I or any other Calvinist would agree with the statement you made above. But upon closer examination, we do not see one thing, the central gateway to salvation through Christ, and that is belief.

    Yes Christ was the Lamb slain before the foundations of the world, yes God decided from eternity past whom he would elect(and thus save), but we believe, based on the New Testaments admonition that belief is a critical component of eternal salvation(thats the only kind of salvation there is):

    Ephesians 1:11-14
    "In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory. And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession--to the praise of his glory."

    You try and say that if we believe belief is critical to salvation, then man has some part in salvation. That is actually very false, I as a soverign grace advocate believe that man has no part in his salvation and that it is all of God.

    The difference between our positions(which is the difference between the true Gospel and a false Gospel) is that we believe God brings all his elect to belief. We don't believe as the Arminians do, that God has to win his elect, we believe he takes his elect, and causes EVERYONE OF THEM to believe. For there is no salvation in any other name but Christ.

    IFBReformer
     
  10. pinoybaptist

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    IFBR said:
    And where does this belief come from ? Are you saying, like the typical easy-believist, and the modern Arminian, that this belief is 'inherent' to man ? That it seems to be some dormant thing in man, hardened by a life of sin, but, somehow awakened in him as soon as he hears the gospel ?

    Your manner of portraying PB's is what I resented in the Calvinism/Arminianism forum. Both Arminians and Calvinists there use the same statements:

    "I know the typical PB strategy at this point"

    As if PB's, or Arminians vs Calvinists or vice-versa, depending on who's throwing out the statement, were emissaries of Satan and incarnations of devils, strategically and tactically out to blind people. Statements like that remove from intelligent discussion of Scriptures bounded by love.

    But, anyway. Let's go back to the subject at hand.

    If as you say, believing is a necessary component of eternal salvation, and if you agree that belief is not inherent in the fallen creature, then, it must come from God. If it did come from God, then it is not part of his being born again, since the term 'born again' implies a previously unborn state where action is absent, and faith/belief is an action. If this came from God, then, everything is absolutely God's action, and begins with His selection of whom He will regenerate.

    On the other hand, if you believe that faith is a dormant possession of the fallen creature and is activated by God's preached word, then this doesn't make you one who believes in sovereign grace, as you claim.
     
  11. pinoybaptist

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    And how were their dead spiritual eyes (I presume you were referring to their spiritual eyes) enabled to 'see from a distance' ? Again, if you answer, 'from God', then that answer itself points to a previous action, regeneration, and regeneration points to a previous action, which is election, and election stems from God's mercy, not on the individual's believing.

    Eternal salvation, man has no part of. God chose His own, predestinated His own, called His own, justified His own, and glorified His own. Read Romans 8:29, man has nothing at all to do in the entire process. What did Paul say, 'shall their unbelief make the faith of God of none effect' ?'

    The system of salvation you are describing makes it impossible for God to save a Buddhist, or a Taoist, or a Muslim, or a pagan, unless a preacher gets to them first.

    It makes it impossible for God to have mercy on the unborn, innocent infant aborted, or somehow killed, before birth, while it has committed no act worthy of condemnation, since the Bible says that the wicked shall be judged according to their works, written in the books, not according to their sinful nature inherited from Adam.

    Timely salvation, yes, man has a part in that.
     
  12. IfbReformer

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    I believe that faith and belief(really the same thing) come from God, there is nothing dormant or left in man, he is completely depraved.

    I also agree, as I have previously stated that salvation is all of God(that includes faith and belief as we have been discussing).

    However, your conclusion, that basically since faith and belief come from God(which we agree on), then belief really is not necessary - that is a false conclusion, unsupported by the New Testament.

    God causes all his elect to believe, please show me one elect person in the scriptures that did not place his faith and trust in God, at whatever era he lived in.

    Yes God gave them the faith, and God always revealed himself to his elect - Always.

    This is what you said in regard to Old Testament saints:
    Off course election does not depend on one's believing? Who ever said it did? But all those God elects he causes causes to believe, please prove otherwise from the scriptures.

    Here is an easy way to see this for our listening audience:

    Election is not the result of belief, but belief is the result of election.

    Romans 3:1-3(NASB)
    "1 Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision?
    2 Great in every respect. First of all, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God.
    3 What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it?"

    Your quote from Romans 3:3 has nothing to do with salvation, and everything to Jewish people. They as a nation were entrusted with the oracles of God, yet many of them did not believe, but because some Jews did not believe does this negate the promises of God?

    Of course not, but Paul explains throughout Romans that the promises were not made to all Jews, but only those Jews who those of the faith, who were cirumcised in the heart.

    IFBReformer
     
  13. pinoybaptist

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    Romans 5:6-8, the scripture quoted above, clearly states no requirement of faith for eternal salvation, either. What kind of saving faith, if such a term is true, does an ungodly man have ? Faith and belief necessarily implies life and strength. Where is life and strength in a spiritually dead person ? Is this not the same Paul who wrote to the Ephesians "And you hath he quickened, who were dead in sins and trespasses ?".

    Not that I am saying Faith has no place in the Christian life and experience, only that it is not a pre-requisite or a requisite to eternal salvation. If it were, then God is a God only of the Middle Eastern peoples during the Old Testament times.
    Can we safely say that ? Were there no Chinese, no Japanese, no Malays, no Indians, no Pacific Islanders during the Old Testament times ? If we agree there were these people, then do we have the right to put God in a box and say He only deals with those in the Middle East ? That He had no desire, no plan to save for Himself a people from those other countries during those times He first spoke directly to certain men ?
    If we put faith a requirement of eternal salvation (instead of a result of regeneration and as a gift from God to the quickened sinner), then are we not saying that God developed His desire to save men outside of the nation of Israel only after the cross ?
     
  14. IfbReformer

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    Why is impossible unless a preacher is sent to them? Could they not hear on a radio or tape? Could they not pickup some literature? There are many ways they could be exposed to the Gospel.

    In fact, God give them a vision and explain the Gospel if he wants to. The fact is, that all who are God's elect, he reveals the Gospel to, one way or the other, and he causes them to belief.

    Otherwise, are you saying a Muslim, whose very faith teaches him to reject Christ as God, and whose faith teaches him that the Christian concept of redemption and Christs death are horrible heresies will go to heaven without rejecting these beliefs and turning to the true God and true Gospel of Christ?

    Now yes we agree, that if he does reject the false muslim teachings and believes on Christ that God granted him this belief, yet it WILL occur if he is elect of God.

    I could say the same thing for others you have mentioned. Will those who believe in another Christ and another Gospel see God?

    As far as the infant thing goes, I leave infants and the unborn in the hands of God, where the scriptures are silent, I will be silent.

    I certainly would not try and turn clear scriptures on their ear for cases like these.

    IFBReformer
     
  15. pinoybaptist

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    Further, consider the words of Jehovah (and I am sure many and most on this Board will agree Jesus is Jehovah) in Ezekiel 37:

    Now, before anybody accuses me of being out of context, and say that this is pertaining to national Israel (I say it pertains to the true Israel of God, the spiritual Israel), look at verse 24. Do we have a David reigning in Israel today ?

    I do not see a synergism here. I do not see a cooperative venture here. Where one must have faith in order to become among Israel.

    Even in natural and national Israel, one born an Israelite has no choice in that matter. He is an Israelite, a Jew, of God's chosen nation in time, whether the Jew is American or Asian. He can trace his lineage back to the tribes of Abraham.

    So with the elect. One is born an elect, chosen unto salvation, predestined to be like Christ in due time. True, like everybody else, he is born in enmity with God, but, being elect, God will in His own time quicken Him and give him a measure of faith. He may not be in the right theology, or the right creed, but I sincerely believe that to God's children who were born and raised in the wrong theology, the words of the Apostle Paul truly applies:

    Again, this is not eternal salvation, but, timely in the sense of them being delivered from the wrong doctrines and creeds that they have been raised in and which they practice with a 'zeal for God, but not according to knowledge'.

    That is the reason one is sent out to preach the gospel, to instruct those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, who have a zeal for God but not according to knowledge, who have this belief in their hearts due to a quickened spirit within them but could not quite know where and to whom to direct such belief.

    I truly believe that is what Paul meant when he said about the gospel that it brings life and immortality to light .
     
  16. pinoybaptist

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    IFB:

    Me thinks the sum and total of our arguments goes this way:

    You contend that belief results in regeneration.
    I contend that regeneration results in belief.
    You contend that one must hear the gospel message in order to be eternally saved.
    I contend that the purpose of the gospel message is not to result in eternal salvation but to bring life and immortality (eternal salvation already possessed) to light.

    I do not, and never will say, that faith and belief has no part in the child of God's life, neither do Primitive Baptists say that. We do say that faith and belief's part in the child of God's life is of a timely sense, not eternal, and that is the very reason why the gospel must be preached, to instruct God's people, edify them, and to lift up Christ. One of the reasons we rejected missionism is because among their goals then became to eternally 'save' souls thru the preaching of the gospel.
     
  17. IfbReformer

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    Romans 5:6-8, the scripture quoted above, clearly states no requirement of faith for eternal salvation, either.
    </font>[/QUOTE]I don't see anywhere in Romans 5:6-8 where it clearly states " no requirement of faith for eternal salvation". Yes Christ died for us when we were ungodly, but how do you jump from that to and Christ decided he would save all his elect, but not cause all his elect to believe.

    Where does the Bible ever say there is salvation apart from belief on the one true God?

    Acts 16:31
    They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household."

    Romans 10:9
    That if you confess with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.

    John 1:12(NIV)
    Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God–

    John 3:14-16(NIV)
    14Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
    16"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

    John 3:18(NIV)
    Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because he has not believed in the name of God's one and only Son.

    John 5:24(NIV)
    "I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life.

    John 10:25-27(NIV)
    25Jesus answered, "I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father's name speak for me, 26but you do not believe because you are not my sheep. 27My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.


    Christ, in his own words makes it clear to us that those who do not believe "are condemned" and he says of those who do not believe "you are not my sheep". His sheep will always hear his voice, and will believe.

    I could have quoted you countless passages about the need to believe, and its not for "timely salvation" as you say, but for eternal life. There is no such thing in the scriptures as an unbelieving elect person.


     
  18. IfbReformer

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    I have never said anything like "You contend that belief results in regeneration."

    Regeneration, precedes and causes belief.

    You believe regeneration does not necesarily cause belief, that is what makes your belief a false Gospel. A Gospel without belief is no gospel at all.

    An unbelieving elect? Even a brand new convert could see the falseness of this teaching.

    IFBReformer
     
  19. IfbReformer

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    Romans 9:6-7
    "6It is not as though God's word had failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. 7Nor because they are his descendants are they all Abraham's children."

    Romans 2:28-29
    "28A man is not a Jew if he is only one outwardly, nor is circumcision merely outward and physical. 29No, a man is a Jew if he is one inwardly; and circumcision is circumcision of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the written code. Such a man's praise is not from men, but from God."


    Your analogy of one being born a jew and one being born a Christian, whether they like it or not, is not supported by the Scriptures.

    Only those who were true Jews, circumcised in the heart were those whom the promises were made to. And we were included with them, when we believed as Gentiles.

    Once again, our belief, and their belief, where results of the regenerating power of God in their and our lives, but he always brings in his sheep and they always hear his voice and follow him.

    IFBReformer
     
  20. pinoybaptist

    pinoybaptist
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    IFB said:
    Pardon me, but, the above scripture is above spiritual Israel. Paul is saying not all born in the chosen nation are necessarily of the chosen people, or of true Israel. I don't think we are on the same wave length here.

     

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