Positions on Assurance

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by IfbReformer, Aug 25, 2003.

  1. IfbReformer

    IfbReformer
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2002
    Messages:
    708
    Likes Received:
    0
    Hi all,

    About six months ago I got involved in some realy indepth conversations on assurance in this board. It really challenged me to examine the issue a little closer.

    Recently I order three books on the subject -

    "The Gospel According to Jesus" by John MacArthur(it is his revised 1995 edition)

    "So Great Salvation" by Charles Ryrie

    "The Race Set Before Us" by Thomas Schreiner and Ardel Caneday.

    I recently went on vacation and during the numerous hours of driving my wife and I would take turns driving. During my time off I was delving in into these books. I read them all by the end of the week.

    I am now in the process of going back more closely and re-reading them looking for extra tid-bits.

    I am in the process of writing an article for my website based on reviewing what I read from these three men. I will say that I come closest to Ryrie's position although I disagree with him on a few things which I will note in my article.

    But I was interested in hearing whatever feed back you guys have on these various books.

    Thanks

    IFBReformer
     
  2. Pete Richert

    Pete Richert
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2001
    Messages:
    1,283
    Likes Received:
    0
    It looks as if you asked too difficult a question to get much attention. I have been waiting all day for this one to get started but noone wants to jump in. I have only read one of those books, so I can't be of much help.

    First off though, you picked execllent authors. MacArthur, Ryrie, and Schreiner will be rarley do you wrong (though obviously they disagree on this point). They all believe in eternal secuirty. MacArthur and Schreiner however, will stress the perservance of the believer, indeed, the grounds for his security. Salvation is consummated in the future and I will need to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ ten years from now like I do today or I won't be saved. Ten years from now, if I don't believe on Jesus Christ, how can I be saved? Schreiner and MacArthur (both Calvinists) will be hasty to add that we have assurance because we are not the ones keeping ourselves, but God. God choose us, he saved us, he keeps us saved (keeps us depending on him for our lives) and ultimatly will bring it to conclusion but saving us completly.

    Ryrie I'm not so sure, which is funny because it isthe only book I have read above (just too long ago). I guess he is reacting to the Lordshipness of MacArthur (and Schreiner?) enough so that he simply doesn't like the way it is worded in MacArthur. I don't know what his final conclusion but I must say I agree with Schreiner 100%, for nowhere in the Bible is eternal security taught outside of perservance, (or much much better, preservation ((by God)) of the believer.
     
  3. massdak

    massdak
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 27, 2002
    Messages:
    1,271
    Likes Received:
    0
    who ever you read, hopefully they will point you only to Christ for your assurance. it seems that many will teach that a person will need to show obedience and a self examination of some kind. my view is that only looking unto Jesus will be the only true assurance. it is best to look outside of yourself and toward Christ.
     
  4. Gunther

    Gunther
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2003
    Messages:
    616
    Likes Received:
    0
    They are not books on assurance. They are about perseverence.

    Pete, Schreiner and Caneday are not Lordship in perseverence.

    Basically, it all goes like this:

    Ryrie: 4-point calvinist - believes that saving faith does not have to be more than mental ascent to basic, fundamental doctrines about Christ and man. No change has to take place.

    Those who fall away might be saved. If they are, they only lose reward. Warnings encourage us to seek a reward.

    MacArthur: 5-point calvinist - believes that saving faith will produce a change.

    Those who fall away never possessed. Warning demand that we look inwardly to see if we are part of the faith.

    Schreiner/Canedy: 5-point calvinist - believes that saving faith will produce a change.

    Those who fall away at the end never had saving faith. Warnings are to encourage the believer to incorporate good works into their life to replace the unfruitful works of darkness.

    ___


    The primary difference between Schreiner and MacArthur is that the Lordship position cause one to look inward, the means-of-salvation view encourages the believer to look toward the end of the race.
     
  5. Pete Richert

    Pete Richert
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2001
    Messages:
    1,283
    Likes Received:
    0
    Deleted my own post. Didn't make much sense after Gunther's reply. I started the post and then was on the phone for awhile.
     
  6. Pete Richert

    Pete Richert
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2001
    Messages:
    1,283
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gunther always brings the heat.
     
  7. IfbReformer

    IfbReformer
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2002
    Messages:
    708
    Likes Received:
    0
    I take it you have never read much of Ryrie's writings because what you said is exactly the opposite of what he says in his book "So Great Salvation".

    He correctly points out that Lordship proponents use the strawman argument that those who do not believe in the lordship salvation believe a person only has to give mental accent to the facts and no change or fruit has to happen.

    In fact if you read his book he says that change and fruit will happen with anyone who is a true believer. But how much change? And will it always be visible - does a person continue to become more and more righteous or can they stall in their growth - this is the real issue.

    I disagree with MacArthur and Schreiner but I think the Race Set Before Us is borderline heresey.

    Here are a couple of quotes to chew on from their book:

    “We believe that God’s promises have their own function, namely, to establish belief in the God who keeps his promises and to assure us the he is faithful to his people…Biblical warnings and admonitions are the means God uses to save and preserve his people to the end.” (“The Race Set Before Us”, page 40)

    “Persevering in godly behavior and sound teaching are necessary to obtain salvation…”
    (“The Race Set Before Us”, page 51)

    “Salvation is depicted as a future inheritance, not a present possession.”
    (“The Race Set Before Us”, page 51)

    “good works and following Jesus(Rom 2:6-7;Mk 10:29-30) are also necessary to obtain eternal life on the last day.”
    (“The Race Set Before Us”, page 67)

    “The Christian life is like a race, and we run to win a prize…Paul exhorts us in I Corinthians 9:24 to “run in such a way as to get the prize.”… To win the prize, believers must go into “strict training”(vs.25) and run diligently (vs.26). We must exercise discipline and perseverance so that we “will not be disqualified for the prize”(vs.27).”
    (“The Race Set Before Us”, page 46)

    “…the prize to be won is nothing other than eternal life itself, entrance into the heavenly kingdom and final redemption. Nothing less than our eternal inheritance is at stake, and thus the issue of perseverance is weighty indeed.”
    (“The Race Set Before Us”, page 86)

    “Without discipline one cannot be godly, and without godliness one cannot gain the eternal life of the age to come.”
    (“The Race Set Before Us”, page 108)

    “Belief in Jesus Christ entails denying oneself both gratification of sinful appetites and any pleasure, though not evil in itself, that steals affection for Christ. One who believes in Jesus Christ picks up one’s own cross, an instrument of death to sin, and follows after him. Apart from denying ourselves and putting sinful desires to death, we will lose our souls.”
    (“The Race Set Before Us”, page 135)

    have a nice day

    I will be reviewing MacArthurs book and Schreiners in much more detail later.

    IFBReformer
     
  8. Gunther

    Gunther
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2003
    Messages:
    616
    Likes Received:
    0
    Well, if you do take it that way, you would be wrong. I have several of his books and his study bible (NASB).

    I cut my teeth on the guy. I do know a bit about him.

    The primary difference between him and MacArthur is the fruit issue. MacArthur believes that if no fruit occurs, then neither did salvation. Ryrie does not agree with this. Alot of the old school Dallas profs believe that Lordship theology is borderline works salvation. They are wrong of course, but that is another issue.
     
  9. Gunther

    Gunther
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2003
    Messages:
    616
    Likes Received:
    0
    1. Well, as I am in full agreement with Schreiner (what a name to have :rolleyes: ), this ought to make for an interesting discussion.

    Just as an outside observer, you seem to already have some biases against JMac and Schreiner even before you have reread and rethought what they said. You will not produce an accurate review if you do not set aside previous ideas first.

    2. In other words, warnings and promises serve in the same kind of function. They both cause the person to focus on Christ, who is at the end of the race. They generate a growing faith in Christ as your Christian life moves forward.

    3. Same kind of idea. The mature are those who have sound doctrine and godly living. If you hold to bad theology, your growth will not be the same as others. Also, the ability to discern between good and evil will not be there (see Hebrews 5).

    4. Note the word "possession". You do not presently own all that salvation is at this moment. You own a part of it and will one day own it all. If you still sin at all, you are not fully saved from sin. Only in glorification will one be completely and totally saved in all aspects. Throughout the book, they realize the already/not yet tension that is in the Scripture.

    5. Again, the same idea exists here. As one runs the race of faith, he will start incorporating good works into his life to replace the unfruitful works of darkness (see Romans 7:4-6).

    6. What is wrong with this statement? Are you denying that it is important to strive to run well? Remember that Paul also said that only those who compete according to the rules can win. Anyone can run the race. True believers will run straight because of the promises and stay on the track because of the warnings.

    7. Note what he is talking about here. He is talking about FINAL redemption. He is talking about the END of the believer's life. Doesn't Peter exhort us to examine ourselves to see if we are in the faith? How exactly do you measure that if you are not on track?

    8. I think you are having trouble with this line of thinking because you do not understand where he is coming from. The author of Hebrews says that without holiness, none shall see the Lord.

    9. This statement reflects the confidence that Christ will change a believer into his image.

    I would defend all of these statements in more detail, but it is late, and I have work in the morning.

    I do look forward to a fruitful discussion.

    I would ask that you keep your posts shorter though. Perhaps we could deal with each one and then move on or something.
     
  10. IfbReformer

    IfbReformer
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2002
    Messages:
    708
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gunther,

    I look forward to a good discussion with you on this issue of utmost importance. I agree that we should take it one piece at a time.

    Your Statement:
    "The primary difference between him and MacArthur is the fruit issue. MacArthur believes that if no fruit occurs, then neither did salvation. Ryrie does not agree with this."

    My Response:
    Here are some direct quotes from Charles Ryrie that contradict you charge against him that he believes fruit does not have to occur:

    "Every Christian will bear spiritual fruit. Somewhere, sometime, somehow. Otherwise that person is not a believer. Every born-again individual will be fruitful. Not to be fruitful is to be faithless, without faith, and therefore without salvation." -Charles Ryrie
    ("So Great Salvation", page 41)

    "Fruit then, furnishes evidence of saving faith. The evidence may be strong or weak, erratic or regular, visible or not. But a saving, living faith works." - Charles Ryrie
    ("So Great Salvation", page 43)

    So it is clear from the evidence presented that Charles Ryrie does believe the a true believer will produce fruit - that is not the argument.

    It is how much fruit and will that fruit always be visible? He correctly asserts that all to often we assemble a man-made list of fruits that we must see from a professing believer or we automatically condemn that person as false professor.

    The difference between Ryrie and MacArthur on this issue is not whether true believers will bear fruit - but how much and will it always be visible.

    Here are some quotes from MacArthur to illustrate this difference:

    "If we are truly born of God, we have a faith that cannot fail to overcome the world(I John 5:4). We may sin(I John 2:1)-we will sin-but process of sanctification can never stall completely." - John MacArthur
    ("The Gospel According To Jesus", page 39)

    "The mark of a true disciple is not the he never sins, but rather that when he does sin he inevitably returns to the Lord to receive cleansing and forgiveness....He may occasionally turn back to his fishing nets, but ultimately he will be drawn again to the Master. When Christ confronts him, he will return to a life of service for the Savior." - John MacArthur
    ("The Gospel According to Jesus", page 111)

    The real and true difference between MacArthur's and Ryries positions(and thus yours and mine) is that Ryrie believes the process of sanctifacation may as MacArthur puts it, "stall". Some people produce fruit in small amounts and sometime this fruit is not always visible.

    MacArthur's position is that a true believer may sin, but this is only "occasionally" and at other places in his book "momentary" but cannot characterize the life of true believer.

    I will try and keep my posts as short as possible but sometimes when you are putting in evidence it takes up space - but you have to.

    IFBReformer
     
  11. Gunther

    Gunther
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2003
    Messages:
    616
    Likes Received:
    0
    IFB, MacArthur does believe that saving faith will produce visible evidence. That is more what I was getting at. Ryries, as evidenced by the above quote, does not believe that.
     
  12. Gunther

    Gunther
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2003
    Messages:
    616
    Likes Received:
    0
    Personally, I am of the same view as Schriener. I just happen to know what the others are (I used to be each of them).

    Perhaps we could get a Lordship guy to take up the mantle for that view. I dunno, maybe Pastor Larry?
     
  13. Sularis

    Sularis
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2000
    Messages:
    940
    Likes Received:
    0
    I wonder what their thoughts on 1 Cor 3:11-15 is
     
  14. IfbReformer

    IfbReformer
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2002
    Messages:
    708
    Likes Received:
    0
    IFB, MacArthur does believe that saving faith will produce visible evidence. That is more what I was getting at. Ryries, as evidenced by the above quote, does not believe that. </font>[/QUOTE]Gunther,

    We finally agree on what Ryrie really believes!

    Your first statement was a bit misleading(not that you necessarily meant it to be):

    "Ryrie: 4-point calvinist - believes that saving faith does not have to be more than mental ascent to basic, fundamental doctrines about Christ and man.No change has to take place."

    It is not that "no change" or "fruit" will happen, it how much and will it be visible. But since you are not a Lordship advocate I will move on to Schreiner's "Means of Salvation" position.

    IFBReformer
     
  15. IfbReformer

    IfbReformer
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2002
    Messages:
    708
    Likes Received:
    0
    Excellent point Sularis!

    "11For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12If any man builds on this foundation using gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay or straw, 13his work will be shown for what it is, because the Day will bring it to light. It will be revealed with fire, and the fire will test the quality of each man's work. 14If what he has built survives, he will receive his reward. 15If it is burned up, he will suffer loss; he himself will be saved, but only as one escaping through the flames."
    1 Corinthians 3:11-15(NIV)

    Both MacArthur and Schreiner both dance around that passage. They try and explain but do a really bad job of it so they mostly ignore it.

    IFBReformer
     
  16. Gunther

    Gunther
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2003
    Messages:
    616
    Likes Received:
    0
    11 For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
    12 Now if any man builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,
    13 each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it because it is to be revealed with fire, and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work.
    14 If any man's work which he has built on it remains, he will receive a reward.
    15 If any man's work is burned up, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.

    I know that Schreiner is not a dispensationalist. I am though. This passage might be taken differently depending on the eschatalogical position one holds. I will attempt to answer because I am in agreement with Schreiner.

    At face value, this passage says that Christ is the foundation. All building up must be upon him.

    Those works that burn, are all works not done by faith. Those works that are of value were done by faith and in obedience to Christ.

    At the judgment of believers, all works will be burned. Only the eternal will pass through.

    Those works that were not of value, will burn up.

    Now, here is where differences take place.

    What exactly is the reward? What exactly are Christians moving toward? I know some dispies will say the 5 crowns. That might or might not be the case. The reward might just be (and probably is - final salvation/redemption). The 5 crowns picture salvation. Note how Paul includes final salvation in the part about worthless works.

    The point about the works that burned is that they will not keep you from the reward (which is salvation). The fact that any eternal works are present prove that salvation already took place. These works are what the believer has incorporated into his life to replace the works of disobedience.

    There, have I made it more muddy?
     
  17. Gunther

    Gunther
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2003
    Messages:
    616
    Likes Received:
    0
    IFB, I didn't see your posts before mine. The last one I saw was Sularis'.
     
  18. IfbReformer

    IfbReformer
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2002
    Messages:
    708
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gunther,
    Actually you have presented Schreiner's position rather well.

    Schreiner equates "treasures in heaven" and "reward" with eternal salvation. He says throughout his book that they are synonomous.

    The faultiness of this position is shown by passages like the one we are discussing now.

    If it true as Schreiner proposes that treasures in heaven and rewards are synonmous with eternal life than what "loss" will he "suffer" but yet still be saved.

    You say that the works that are burned up are those that are not done by faith. Those done by faith will not burn up - ok. But what loss will he suffer - it says someone who is saved will loose something - what does he loose?

    If we all get the same reward, and there is no degree to rewards as my side(the loss of rewards) teaches what will he loose(it is clear he looses something yet is still saved)?

    We all get rewards and treasures in heaven - their is no difference in Schreiner's view - so what is the loss he will suffer when his works are tried on the last day?

    IFBReformer
     
  19. IfbReformer

    IfbReformer
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 24, 2002
    Messages:
    708
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gunther,

    After you explain what "loss" someone is saved will suffer here is the next question for you.

    The two most destructive elements of the "Means of Salvation" position from my own studies of scripture is the fluidness(like a process not settled) with which they represent salvation and making the "prize", "treasures in heaven" and rewards equal to eternal life.

    I want to pose some observations and then ask a question about Schreiner's "already -but no yet" view of salvation.

    "James also conceives of our salvation as future. He exhorts his readers to "humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you"(James 1:21 NIV). The idea is not that they are saved but that the Word is able to save them. Apparently, the work of salvation is not completed, since the Word planted in them must be given free rein so that they will ultimately experiance salvation."
    -Schreiner
    ("The Race Set Before Us", page 52)

    Lets look at the quote he gives in its full context:

    James 1:21-25(NIV)
    "21Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you.
    22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it--he will be blessed in what he does."

    What is Jame's point in this passage - the one who looks into the Law of God and incorporates it into his life "will be blessed in what he does". He is not saying he will finally be saved because he does it.

    He is in no way suggesting that they were not saved already. If anything the phrase "which can save you" refers to the power of God's Word and specifically the Gospel. The Gospel has the power to save us, but that does not mean we are not saved.

    The book of James has always been a difficult book to interpret when you don't interpret with rest of the New Testament.

    Martin Luther called the epistle of James the "straw man epistle". He placed in the back of his German translation without any Roman numerals.

    I believe Martin Luther was wrong in that, yet he was on to something that many could take statements made in James and construct "straw-man" arguments if they did not use the whole of the New Testament to understand Jame's inspired writings.

    I believe the clear teaching of the New Testament is that Salvation is an one-time event in the life of a believer - not a process(like Schreiner).

    Lets look at Ephesians 1:13-14:

    "13And 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, 14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession--to the praise of his glory."
    Ephesians 1:13-14(NIV)

    When we heard the Gospel and accepted "were included in Christ" - clearly past tense. At that time we were indwelled with the Holy Spirit who is "a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance". This is one of the clearest passages in Bible on the security of our salvation.

    When we believe we are indwelled with the Holy Spirit who is our guarentee of our inheritance.

    What is our inheritance? Among other things it is our glorfied bodies and being in the presense of the Lord for all eternity.

    So Gunther - based on passages like Ephesians chapter 1(because there are many others as well) isn't our salvation(including glorifaction and presense with Christ) settled in heaven the moment we believe?

    IFBReformer
     
  20. Pete Richert

    Pete Richert
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jul 6, 2001
    Messages:
    1,283
    Likes Received:
    0
    Gunther can answer for himself but I want to take a quick stab at this one. I agree with what you said, the glorifacation and presense with Christ are settled in heaven the moment we believe, guareenteed first off by the depost of the Holy Spirit. I think Schreiner would agree with that. But that doesn't take away from the fact that some of that salvation is still future, including glorification and presense with Christ that you grouped with salvation. "He who began a good work in you will complete it . . . (Philippians 1:6)" tells us three things. It is a certainty that it will happen, God is doing it, and it is still in the process of happening. In 1 Peter 1:3-7 our inheritance is labeled imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, but it is also future, being made ready to be revealed on the last day. But in the same breath we know we will reach it because we "are being protected by the power of God". Pretty good protection last time I checked.

    Adoption is also future for "...we ourselves, who have the first fruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly while we wait for adoption, the redemption of our bodies." But then again, the aspect of salvation is sealed by God, indeed, the very next verse says, "for in this hope we were saved" past tense. Oh sorry, Romans 8:23-24.

    I am indeed saved from hell, as that is no longer an option for my destination. But I am not yet saved completly from my sin as I continue to do so. And that is my number one hope for my eschotological future, to be completely free from sin so I can love God as I was meant to.

    Now that I read this post, I don't think any of these are good examples of future salvation. Let me find some better ones.
     

Share This Page

Loading...