Programmed or not?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by npetreley, Oct 26, 2007.

  1. npetreley

    npetreley
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    Some on here have been making the outrageous claim that one cannot discover the doctrines of grace (nicknamed "Calvinism") without having been programmed by outside influences. I invite all sides to give their testimony as to how they reached their current conclusions. While some of us may have been "programmed" and do little more than regurgitate what we've been taught -- and perhaps even defend what we think we know only because we have too much pride to admit we're wrong -- I don't think that's always true. And I don't think that you can associate this with one view or another. I think this type of error is personal, not tied to Calvinism, Arminianism, or any other view.

    I've told my story a number of times, with more or fewer details. Again, even though my personal testimony includes having been "programmed" for free-willism, I do not make any claim that all free-willers have been programmed. Mine is a single data point, and that's all.

    I read C. S. Lewis' Mere Christianity around the time I was saved. I was extremely impressed with the book, and I wanted to emulate this "hero" by writing my own apologetics piece. One might say I was programmed for "free-will" by C. S. Lewis, because free-will was a crucial part of his argument. So, in keeping with Lewis' approach, I decided free-will would be the central part of my argument.

    So I set out to write this apologetics piece founded on the principle of free-will. But I could never finish it. Every time I explored a new avenue in drawing my conclusions, I was reminded of one or more scriptures that contradicted my reasoning. I finally gave up.

    The very fact that I could not write this piece bothered me so much that I had to keep searching scripture to find out what was really true. Over time, I was satisfied that my former ideas of free will were incorrect, and had settled into basically what is nicknamed "Calvinism". I had no idea who Calvin was at the time, and wouldn't discover Calvin or Calvinism for several years. I didn't know anything about Arminius, either. I recall someone saying a friend of mine was an "Arminian", and I had no idea what that meant.

    One day, I stumbled across a TV preacher who read the Gospel account where Jesus said that He spoke in parables so that "hearing they would not hear, seeing they would not perceive...etc.". The preacher said, "You see, He doesn't want all of you." I got that same impression from this passage, but that seemed pretty radical for a preacher to say to his audience, so I listened a little while longer. The preacher mentioned Martin Luther's book, Bondage of the Will. I bought the book and read it. There may have been some ideas in that book that were new to me, but I spent most of the time reacting to Luther's understanding of scripture by saying, "Yeah! Yeah! That's exactly how I read it!"

    So even when I brought in an "outside influence", it did nothing more than solidify the conclusions I had already drawn.
    .
     
    #1 npetreley, Oct 26, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 26, 2007
  2. reformedbeliever

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    I too was programmed to be free will. It was by God's sovereign grace that I no longer hold that theological view. When I say His sovereign grace.... I mean that litterally. I was born again by understanding that it was by His will I was saved, not my own.
     
  3. Andy T.

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    Was raised in and saved in the Nazarene denomination, which is ardently free-will in the Wesleyan-Arminian tradition. Was saved at 19 and began reading the Bible with my 'new creation eyes' and God took me down a path I did not expect. The rest is His-story.
     
    #3 Andy T., Oct 26, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 26, 2007
  4. npetreley

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    I was pretty stubborn about free-will at first. One of the factors in my giving it up may amuse you.

    I knew some animal activists at the time, and I was swayed at first by their views. That got me to wondering - why would God institute a sacrificial system that called for killing so many innocent animals? That seemed awfully unlike the God I wanted God to be. Then one day, I honestly believe God spoke to me. The message was, basically, "I'm God. I'll do whatever I please. You got a problem wit dat?"

    Obviously, that's not exactly how I got the "message" and there was more to it than that (I felt like I finally understood the point of the sacrifices), but that's the part of the message that mattered as far as free-will was concerned. All of my concerns about free-will were swept away with one simple concept: He's God. He can do whatever He wants with His creation.
     
  5. reformedbeliever

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    Except violate men's sovereign "free will." :laugh:
     
  6. skypair

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    npetrely, RB,

    I'm getting the strong impression that your first salvation experiences were not real enough -- not "born again" experiences as you thought they would be. Many people get involved in cults or, in your cases, sects (thankfully not "sex" :laugh:) -- anyway, carnal distractions ("in that you say 'I am of Cephas' are ye not carnal?"). I mean, we have people on this board that don't feel saved unless they are keeping the law and worshipping on Saturday. It's all just an effort to make their faith more real.

    Now you have something that is real, right? Like Rick Warren would probably say of your salvation, "It wasn't about you. It was about Him." Centering everything on Him takes the burden off of you to "manufacture" spiritual moments "It's all of God.") and moves you into the intellectual pursuit of knowing God.

    My own experience was of being saved and immediately thanking God for my salvation -- immediately witnessing to my best friend -- immediately understanding scriptures that I hadn't been able to understand before. I have never looked for another "explanation" for my free will salvation -- I said "I do" to Christ and eternity and I received that "earnest of the purchased possession" that I heard Adrian Rogers later call my "engagement ring" -- the Holy Spirit!! It was precisely what I heard about in scripture and I have never had to doubt it.

    I would say (as did Paul to the Galations) you need to reconsider how you first learned Jesus. Did Calvin die for you? Have you not made yourselves a whole difference sect of Christianity based upon his and Luther's and Reform teachings? Is the body of Christ divided?

    skypair
     
  7. npetreley

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    I suggest a course in reading comprehension.
     
  8. 2 Timothy2:1-4

    2 Timothy2:1-4
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    The accusation of being programmed is a cheap attempt to discredit those who hold a different view. Even the uneducated can make it.
     
  9. Andy T.

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    You've been here over a year and you continue to intentionally misrepresent other Christians with your hateful rhetoric. When will you repent of this evil?
     
  10. webdog

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    Amen :thumbs:
     
  11. skypair

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    I believe I made valid observations about others own testimonies and scripture. What particularly did you object to?

    skypair
     
  12. pinoybaptist

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    He has made it his life's mission, his "devotion", if you will, to prove to one and all, that Calvinists, Calvinism, and the Doctrine of Grace, are all spawns of hell, the scum and scourge of Christianity, and he only has the key to the Scriptures, and anyone who holds to a contrary view is anathema. The love of God for others who hold a view different than his, is not in him and his vocabulary.

    And when you confront him, he goes: huh ? what'd I say wrong ? what'd I do ? Boohoohoo, you're persecuting me, you Pharisee.
     
  13. Rippon

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    So Wd , I guess you won't be using anymore "programming" language with respect to Calvinists then ? ( It wasn't working for you anyway )
     
  14. npetreley

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    Um. You were the one who started the whole "Calvinism cannot be learned from scripture, only from other men" idea. Want me to quote your posts?
     
  15. webdog

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    I don't recall using "programming" language. Care to elaborate? I recall using "influence", but not "programmed"...
     
  16. Andy T.

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    Well, your whole post was uncharitable, but what I quoted in my post #9 is what I found to be most objectionable and a blatant misrepresentation - a lie.

    I call you to repent.
     
  17. npetreley

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    The whole thread was a testimony to finding the doctrines of grace apart from anything by Calvin (and, if anyone wanted to enter similar testimony, finding free-will apart from Arminius or Pelagius). And his response is basically -- stop following Calvin! What we have here is a massive reading comprehension problem.
     
  18. webdog

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    I stand by that...no need to quote it. Scripture teaches me about God...not man's systematic theology (calvinism).
     
  19. webdog

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    I see the ugliness is going to continue through today. So I don't get into the middle of it, I'm bowing out.

    I pray you guys have a great weekend :thumbs:
     
  20. reformedbeliever

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    You don't have a system for Bible study? You just blindly read? You do not practice exegesis or hermeneutics? You do not compare scripture with scripture? You don't study to show yourself approved? Did you know that not all systematic theology is by Calvin? Did you know that many of us (Calvinists) have never read any of Calvin's fantastic commentaries or institutes?
     

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