Not a Disciple, just a Believer?

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Internet Theologian, Jan 13, 2016.

  1. Internet Theologian

    Internet Theologian
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    A lady approached me after services to whom we have been preaching the Gospel. Recently in a town north of ours her brother attempted to murder his wife and daughter, and then shot himself and subsequently died. The woman who approached after church, who does not attend church by the way, asked if he were saved. She stated he had been saved sometime back, or said he was. She also mentioned that after he was found dead there was a great deal of child p0rn, among other types found on his computer and smart phone and was a long ongoing problem of his.

    I know some hold to a theology that would say he was a believer, just not a disciple and would then 'go to heaven' when he died.

    I shared some Scriptures with this woman to whom we still speak. What do you say? Better yet, what do the Scriptures say about this?
     
  2. Kevin

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    Only God knows/knew this mans heart. The truth is, it is to late for him, but she still has a choice to make, independent of what people say about her brother.
     
  3. Internet Theologian

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    Hi Kevin, thanks for your input.

    I believe the above to be of sentimental value at best, but not Scripturally accurate. Our hearts are wicked, Jeremiah 17:9 and out of its abundance comes what is within, resulting in actions, and a tree is known by its fruit; Matthew 12:33ff; 15:18-19; Luke 6:45. Also 1 Sam 24:13. Repentance was absent; note Revelation 9:21. Therefore people can be known as Scripture plainly teaches, 'a tree is known'.

    I also believe churches are paralyzed to ineffectiveness in dealing with the souls of men due to the popular misnomer you've mentioned. I do not believe it to be biblically based. Consider Simon Magus for instance. His heart was known, he was unconverted; Acts 8:23. The church need return to her rightful position.

    Yes, the door is shut for him.

    Her hope is only in Christ, in being converted by Him, not in choice; John 1:13, James 1:18, Romans 9:16. She made a choice a long while ago and is a drug addict among other sins. We're praying for her conversion, not another decision.
     
  4. Deacon

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    Remember righteous Lot (2 Peter 2:7).

    Rob
     
  5. Internet Theologian

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    Hi Deacon,

    Yes, I've witnessed this text used for such a scenario but it is used in a perfunctory manner and doesn't fit in most cases. A righteous man may dwell in the midst of sinners but this doesn't imply that he also wallowed in the mire as a lifestyle. He, Lot was oppressed by this lifestyle, not involved in it by practice. Note 1 Cor. 5:10ff. I'd say the text doesn't prove something for the case of a person who lived in p0rn, child p0rn aside. Lot and the case in the OP are two completely differing scenarios for the discerning eye. Thanks for the response brother.
     
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  6. Deacon

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    So you would draw the line somewhere between murder and incest. ;)

    I'd be inclined to agree with you that this man did not exhibit the fruit of belief

    But I've worked with enough people that are overwhelmed by the cares of the world, while still professing belief.

    How much of a disciple do you need to be?
    How many works to I need to perform to achieve the status of disciple?

    Kevin had it right:
    Rob
     
  7. Internet Theologian

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    Brother you've failed to prove your case with Scripture, so far it is all theoretical arguments from your theological position. I think I've offered adequate evidence your text falls well short of your intent.

    The Christ of God says we can know, you say we cannot. Scripture disagrees with your position brother, at least until you can disprove the others given. I've seen none of this to date. So far you've given a proof-text against some dogma. The proof text you've provided is completely different than the scenario given in the OP. I see you've also offered the 'how much of a disciple' and 'how many works do you need to perform' arguments It doesn't fit, it's non sequitor.

    But I will answer this to the inquiry of those questions; In order to become a disciple one must simply be born from above, so the questions 'how much of...' and 'how many works do you need...' are irrelevant and not according to sound doctrine or wordings.

    But this should suffice as an answer, there should be evidence that you are a follower of Christ, external, Matthew 12:33ff, and internal, Php. 2:13. A believer, who is a disciple follows Christ.

    You mention, with a 'but' being overwhelmed with the cares of this world/still profess to being a believer as an argument for your case. What does that have to do exactly with living in a practice of sin as in the OP? Then yo argue he maybe didn't bear fruit. So what if he professed to be a believer? I believe he can profess it all he wanted but it doesn't make him converted, but deceived by a false hope.

    Professing and possessing are two differing things, Matthew 7:21ff. I believe persons should be taken to Scriptures to examine their faith for evidence of true conversion.

    Well I'm off to work, working for a man who is lost, so prayers would be appreciated.
     
    #7 Internet Theologian, Jan 14, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2016
  8. thjplgvp

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    Good morning Theo,

    You stated that you shared some scriptures with this lady which implies that in your mind you have a sense of the situation but are looking for some biblical proofs to support your possible conclusion. To that end I have the following considerations which I am sure you have considered these at least in part.

    The woman has come to you indicating she is looking for answers and that she believes for what ever reason you have those answers. So the question may not be what of the man who is dead and will be buried but what of the woman who is dead in trespasses and sin who can still have eternal life? What is more important at this point my theology which I cannot prove absolutely if the man were saved or unsaved, or seeing this woman have the opportunity to come to Christ.

    I believe Deacon had the right thought when he pointed you to Lot not assuming that lot was participating in the wickedness but simply that he did not stand against the wickedness and thus lost his family. The key being that though he did lose his testimony, he did lose his family but did he lose his salvation (no) but by every account he was not a man who modeled a belief in God nor was his family God fearing. Scripture indicates Lot was righteous (assuming he was accepted as righteous) but nothing about his life style reflected that declaration.

    We know that any advice you will receive on the BB comes from our personal understanding of bible and our theology of POS or OSAS.

    The next question I would ask you to consider is this, Is eternal life eternal? Can Eternal life be lost? If we believe eternal life cannot be lost then regardless of the mans struggles with sin we must trust his personal testimony in this matter. If the family believes this man to be saved and I am not sure they do, allow them to have that comfort you cannot do anything for the dead.

    The roots of envy and bitterness defile many and sin can keep a hold on a person for many years taking that person where they would have never gone had they not played with fire. We have both seen preachers do abominable things in our years of life surely not all of them were wolves most if not all were caught up in sin and sin left unchecked brought them to their destruction. If God's men who know and understand God's word can fall into sin then is it not likely this man could have also walked the same path? Why are we constantly reminded to repent and ask forgiveness of our personal sin? And what would be our end should we hold unto that sin as King David did when he had Bathsheba's husband killed? Would we say that David were unsaved? What if David had not repented after such a long time would he have lost his salvation? I think not!!

    If the man's personal testimony was that he was saved, regardless of how I access the situation in my mind my, speech will agree with the opinion of his family for why should I take away their hope and close the door of ministry to the living.

    I am not sure this is what you were looking for my friend and I have not had my devotions yet :) but this is my not quite awake response.

    thjplgvp
     
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  9. Rob_BW

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    IT, I don't mean to derail your thread, but I am curious about your view on how the suicide factors in with the egregious sins this man committed.

    Does the doctrine on perseverance of the saints allow for a suicide to be a believer, or is that an impossibility?
     
  10. agedman

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    The OP has not proven that the statement of salvation from this man was invalidated by either his suicide or his addiction.

    Suicide and addiction can remove a person from salvation in the views of the Arminian folks (such as Hagee) or the papist folks (who consider they hold such keys).

    However, as one who embraces the D. of G. (with some personal modifications), there is no such ability in humankind who have been chosen by God and given to Christ. Christ is viewed as the author and finisher of the faith.

    It is not given to the believer to judge the salvation of another who professes (professed).

    A believer may look upon the "works" to determine the validity of the witness, the level of maturity, and other areas in which the Holy Spirit may manifest or be quieted. However, such things are not to be indicators of a person being redeemed or not. For, the greatest blessings that the enemy of the Christ has to give are not the original document (believers) but the copies standing the pulpits as fakers.
     
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  11. JonC

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    The only assurance Scripture offers us concerning our salvation (if we have been genuinely saved) is found in our present walk with God (discernable fruit). We are to test our faith. I cannot discern the heart of another, and thankfully we are not called to. But we are called to discern the fruit of others and act in that regard. Unfortunately, there is no assurance that such a man as described here was saved.
     
  12. thjplgvp

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    Hi Rob,

    This question brought up a discussion I had many years ago on how people circumvented the doctrinal stands of the church particularly we were discussing Jack Kevorkian and his assisted suicide propaganda. During this discussion I learned that there was time (and maybe some still use this method) if wanted to die he simply paid someone to kill him because there was no forgiveness if one committed suicide but if one committed murder he could be forgiven. So if one wanted to die they simply paid for it and had the best of both worlds, so to speak.

    Since we are well aware of how depression and lost of hope mixed in with the demonical influence of our age can cause anyone at anytime to go over the edge I believe that even a believer can commit suicide. As to your question I certainly believe sin and demonic influence can push people to suicide because they see no hope of overcoming their sin within their human reasoning.

    thjplgvp
     
  13. Internet Theologian

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    Address the Scriptural passages given since the OP. You've failed to do so, you're only offering what your opinion is of the OP with no Scriptural authority whatsoever. The OP only offered the details of the happenings so your indictment is non sequitor.

    For the record the act of suicide is not the issue here imo. It is the walk he had, to which his sister had great concern as there was no fruit of conversion as he carried on this lifestyle.

    You should have been there to tell that to Peter and others when they rebuked some for being false converts, right? Simon Magus for instance.

    Validity of conversion as well. A tree is known by it's fruit.

    You speak of maturity often. But this is nothing but your wonderful theorizing as usual agedman! Now what do the Scriptures say that were offered concerning evidence either way? A tree is known by it's fruit. Theorize all you want, try to divide this into camp issues all you want, I'm looking at the Scriptures instead. Actually, there are indicators whether you acknowledge these or not. There are always indicators. They're biblical and purposeful.

    Wait...what?
     
    #13 Internet Theologian, Jan 14, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2016
  14. agedman

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    That there was no "fruit" that the sister discerned is not an indication that the work of God is ineffective. The fact that he died is just as much an indication as the lack of fruit.

    Lack of fruit is NOT an indication of salvation, it is a lack of maturing as a believer. Some remain meatless their whole life, but that doesn't mean that they are not redeemed. Such judgment is reserved for God to make, not us.


    I really have a problem with folks thinking that Simon is in the flames. The Scriptures DO NOT make that presentation, and neither did Peter.

    Here is the statement from Scriptures with specific highlights that I added to help the reader understand the truth.

    13 Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.
    14 Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:
    15 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:
    16 (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)
    17 Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
    18 And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,
    19 Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.
    20 But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.
    21 Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.

    22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.

    23 For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.
    24 Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.
    25 And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.

    NOTE folks, there is no judgment made by Peter as to the person's salvation, rather to the "thoughts of the heart" were needing forgiveness by God.

    Yes, I am all for rebuking the believer who is found to be in a fault. But, I am not an Apostle, do not have the authority of the apostle, and am told by the Apostle Paul, that when one is found in error, that I gather two others and go to that person. That we must be VERY careful that the fault of that person does not become our own.

    It is not given to believers to judge a person as condemned or redeemed, but to take at face value that one who can proclaim belief, is in fact a believer.


    Having grown up with orchards of trees, I can tell you that not every tree bears the same fruit as all trees. Some are apples, some are oranges. A single fruit does not an unbeliever make. Sometime fruit is hidden and has to be "tapped" to be revealed. How I do enjoy maple syrup.


    Of course I speak of maturity, and often, for that is what most of the NT letters were about. The very charge given by Christ was that of making mature believers.

    That you seem offended by the emphasis is not showing a lack on my part.

    The discernment of fruit is to gauge maturity for service, and it is also an indicator of one who may have taken on error.

    NEVER is the fruit to be used as an indicator of one who is saved or not. That is God's business.

    The believer has no right to proclaim that a certain member of the family is no longer a family member.

    It matters very little what "camp" that thinking may come from, be it papist, Arminian, or Calvinistic. Such proclamations are not given to the believer to make.

    That some folks do not like that they cannot make such judgment does not detract from the truth of Scriptures, that such judgment is not within their sphere of influence. The ONLY time such was given was to Peter when He unlocked the doors (metaphorically speaking) for the Jews and the Gentiles. But even then Peter was not given keys over life and death, nor who would or would not enter redemption.

    This follows what Paul said to the Thessalonians
    Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober. For those who sleep do their sleeping at night, and those who get drunk get drunk at night. But since we are of the day, let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation. For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us, so that whether we are awake or asleep, we will live together with Him. Therefore encourage one another and build up one another, just as you also are doing.

    But we request of you, brethren, that you appreciate those who diligently labor among you, and have charge over you in the Lord and give you instruction, and that you esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Live in peace with one another. We urge you, brethren, admonish the unruly, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with everyone. See that no one repays another with evil for evil, but always seek after that which is good for one another and for all people. Rejoice always; pray without ceasing; in everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit; do not despise prophetic utterances. But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil.



    Sorry for your confusion. I did leave the "in" out. So, here is the statement, again, with the "in" in. :)

    For, the greatest blessings that the enemy of the Christ has to give are not the original documents (believers) but the copies standing in the pulpits as fakers.
     
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  15. Internet Theologian

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    That's a great question brother! I know of two suicides personally, and I think that it would make a good thread topic.
     
  16. Internet Theologian

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    Actually, no. Scripture already gave me my answer prior to her questioning so there was no going to it to back up or support my beliefs, so I had gone about it in that order.

    I really never gave her a definitive 'he's in hell', 'he's in heaven' answer. I did share Scriptures with her that relate to what a converted person looks like, and what it says about being deceived. I let her draw her own conclusions. Probably many here would have believed I would have done the opposite of this, but it isn't the case. I also shared with her the other side of the issue, that some state no matter what he is in heaven. She personally balked at that theory.

    Lot didn't participate in wickedness, and Deacon made no such distinction as you attempt to make yourself. There is a vast difference between actual participation of this gross sin personally, and of failing to stand against others who commit these sins, so the text provided doesn't follow and doesn't fit in this case. It is a poor and perfunctory proof text. I don't see any indication that he didn't stand against the sin either, so that seems an invalid argument as well. In fact, we all would be guilty of this ourselves today as none of us can avoid living among and around the lost, 1 Cor. 5:10ff. There is no sin for living around wicked people, and in order to not live around them we'd have to migrate to another planet altogether.

    The rest of your post goes down a lot of rabbit trails but I thought I would kindly answer you to this point. Thank you for reading.
     
    #16 Internet Theologian, Jan 14, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2016
  17. Deacon

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    I think that was wise.

    I think we are looking at the same thing from different angles.

    I see belief in Christ as a single event and discipleship as a process.

    If you believe in Christ, you are a believer.... If you follow him you are a disciple.

    John's whole gospel is centers upon belief rather than discipleship.

    “But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.” (John 20:31, NIV)​

    Only after believing does one become a disciple. Discipleship is a response to belief in Christ and not an entry point to salvation. Discipleship occurs after one believes.

    Discipleship is a process that is part of the Christian believer's journey and we each walk a different path.

    Scripture tells us about good disciples, poor disciples bad disciples and errant disciples; these are distinguished from false disciples.

    Rob
     
  18. SovereignGrace

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    If one can bathe without getting wet, then one can be a believer and not a disciple. Being a disciple is a characteristic of being a believer; just as being wet is a characteristic of bathing.
     
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