Question for Arminians

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by ReformedBaptist, Sep 16, 2009.

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  1. ReformedBaptist

    ReformedBaptist
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    This question is related to ability. Let's not haggle about whether your an Arminian or non-calvinist, et. as that would simply derail the thread and take us off topic. So, let me define Arminian (in the scope of this pointed question) with regard that you ("arminian") believe that man has the innate ability in himself to come to Jesus.

    Please explain the following verses that speak directly to man's ability as it relates to believing in Jesus:

    I am highlighting these particular verses and underlining where they are speaking directly on ability. I could make this post longer and add all the context for the verses, but I want to be brief. These verses are not (so I contend) being taken out of context and made to speak about salvific issues when they are speaking otherwise in context.

    The context is coming to Jesus and believing in Jesus in a saving way. Therefore, the Son of God is telling these men:

    1. You cannot come to me unless the Father draws you.
    2. You cannot come to me unless it is granted to you by the Father.

    In both cases this speaks directly to man's ability. Notice I am speaking of man's ability, not responsability. Whether man has the ability to come to Jesus and believe on him or not, does not relieve man of his responsibility to obey God and the Gospel.

    I also want to clear one objection/response I have heard. When mentioning John 6:44 others have said, "But Jesus also said that if He be lifted up, He will draw all men to Himself." The implication being that all men are drawn at some point in their life.

    This does not work in light of the text itself because to go down that road is to beginning to teach universalism...i.e. everyone will be saved. This is a proper conclusion in light of the latter half of verse 44 that says "...and I will raise him up at the last day."

    Jesus uses this phrase several times in John and it is meaning salvation. So, if we say that yes, people must be drawn to come to Jesus, but God draws everyman, then we must be consistent with the text and conclude that everyone then will be saved.

    We know that this is not the case, so this response is not valid.

    Thanks.
    RB
     
    #1 ReformedBaptist, Sep 16, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 16, 2009
  2. Winman

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    Well, first of all, you could have titled your post "Question for non-Cals". I do not consider myself an Arminian. I think of myself as a Bible believer. Some of my views do agree with them, others not. For instance, I believe that once you accept Christ you are kept or preserved by him and cannot lose your salvation.

    These verses do not give me one bit of trouble. The way I understand these verses is this:

    Man, if left completely to himself would never imagine or conceive of the gospel. Unsaved men do seek God, we can see the many religions in the world. But man will always choose works. I heard a preacher once say there are only two religions in the world; Those who trust in Christ, and those who trust in themselves and their good works. And I agree with this. Even pagans on some desolate island will pray and sacrifice to their idols hoping to please their false god with works.

    The one and only reason any of us were saved is because of God's word. From the beginning God spoke to Adam and Eve. Even though there were no written scriptures, the word of God was passed down by mouth. Abel knew to sacrifice an animal (a picture of Christ) from his father Adam. We see later Noah also offering an animal sacrifice. After the flood, Noah's sons gave the word of God to their sons and the knowledge of God went into all the world. Yes, some men did pervert the message, but some kept it faithfully.

    With Moses we have the written scriptures. And the knowledge of these scritpures went into all the world. Have you noticed when Paul went on his missionary trips all over Asia Minor that he always entered a synagogue and taught? There were synagogues all over Asia Minor and the Old Testament scriptures.

    And man has been influenced by God's word from the beginning. Even unsaved people know the Ten Commandments and know and agree that it is wrong to lie, or steal, or commit adultery. If not for the influence of God's word, the world would be much worse than it is today.

    So, no man can come to God unless he first hear's God's word.

    Rom 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
    14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?


    Here it is right here. Paul asks how can any man call on Jesus Christ for salvation if that man has never heard of Jesus Christ? And how can a man know he is a sinner before God and the wages of sin is death without the word of God, either the written scriptures or preached?

    And it is the word of God that draws a man. I went to church one day when I was a boy. The preacher preached a sermon about Hell that absolutely terrified me. And then the preacher told how Jesus took my sins upon himself and died for me on the cross and rose from the dead. And he preached that I could receive Jesus and be forgiven and know that I would spend eternity in heaven.

    Did that draw me? You bet your life that drew me! At the invitation I nearly ran down to accept Jesus. I did not want to go one second more under the penalty of sin. And they showed me from the scriptures the Romans road. And they asked me if I wanted to accept Christ. I wanted that more than anything and prayed right then and there and sincerely asked Jesus to forgive my sins and come into my heart.

    And that was the best and greatest day of my life.

    Jesus said if he were lifted up he would draw all men to him. Not some, ALL.

    John 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.

    So, who gets the credit here? Not me. If not for hearing the word of God that day I might still be unsaved. But God was gracious and saved me that day.

    But unlike Calvinists, I believe God can speak to the spiritually dead.

    John 5:25 Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.

    John 11:25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

    In John 5:25 Jesus says the spiritually dead can hear his voice, and those that hear (believe) shall live. And in John 11:25 says that though a man were spiritually dead, if he believes "yet" shall he live.

    The Bible says the gospel is preached to the spiritually dead.

    1 Pet 4:6 For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.

    Because you approach the scriptures with a bias toward Calvinism, you cannot accept that the spiritually dead can hear Christ. But the scriptures say they can.

    And could Jesus speak to the physically dead? Yes. And could the physically dead hear Jesus? Yes. And I believe this is a picture of the power of the gospel to speak to the spiritually dead.

    John 11:43 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth.
    44 And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go.


    Can we speak to the dead? No. But can Jesus and the word of God (the gospel) speak to the dead? Yes. And can the dead hear the word of God, the voice of Jesus? Yes.

    The spiritually dead are not in a coma or deep sleep. They can hear and communicate. We see the story of the rich man who died and clearly communicated with Abraham in Luke 16.

    Luke 16:23 And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.
    24 And he cried and said, Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.
    25 But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime receivedst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things: but now he is comforted, and thou art tormented.
    26 And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.


    This rich man is spiritually dead, he is in Hell, but he can both speak and hear. We cannot communicate with him, but Abraham could, and we know Jesus can.

    And can the dead hear us? I think they can.

    Heb 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,

    Here, the writer (most likely Paul) says the dead are witnesses to what we are doing here on Earth. So obviously they can see us and hear us.

    I know this sounds strange, but this is what the scriptures say. I prefer to believe the scriptures, not what Calvin taught.
     
    #2 Winman, Sep 16, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 16, 2009
  3. ReformedBaptist

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    Winman,

    Thanks for your reply. I am going to pick out a few things from what you replied to and reply to those. These are the portions where I believe you have engaged the text/context of my OP.

    Perhaps my opening statement didn't come accross. The title of my thread was running the same vein as the one that asks questions of 'calvinists' I also consider myself a bible-believer.

    Taking this as a response to the text of Scripture, what you wrote seems/appears different from what Jesus actually said. The OP is concerning man's ability to come to Jesus and believe in Him. Jesus said no one can (doesn't have the ability) unless the Father draws Him. Among these same Scriptures Jesus said no one can come to Him unless it is granted to that person by the Father.

    It does not say, "unless he first hear's God's word"

    Again, this is not what Jesus said. He taught that it is the Father that draws men. While the reading or preaching of the Scripture may be the means by which the Father draws a man, it is the Father doing it.


    Since I already addressed this reply, I was expecting a reply to that...not simply re-stating the response I already anticipated. Would you care to reply to that?

    I also prefer to believe the Scriptures. As it concerns John Calvin's teaching, I believe he was correct in his expositions concerning election/predestination, et. But that is beside the point. My OP was not about John Calvin's teaching. My basis wasn't quotes from John Calvin, but the teaching of Christ Himself.

    While I appreciate your thought out reply, I am failing to see how it addressed the Scriptures I quoted, addressed the reply I anticpated, and stayed on topic in regards to man's ability.

    Thanks.
     
  4. Tom Butler

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    I have always held that the story of Lazerus' resurrection is a good picture of physical regeneration analagous to spiritual regeneration.

    When Jesus called out "Lazerus, come forth," did Lazerus hear him? Sure.
    I think it is interesting that Jesus did not call out "Lazerus, wake up!" So, we may ask, was Lazerus already alive when Jesus spoke? Or, was it Jesus' call that gave him life?

    Either way, Lazerus had no ability to wake up on his own; he had no ability to hear on his own. But given the ability to move, he willingly came out at Jesus call.

    Some do not see this analogy as valid. That's okay. I think it's pretty neat myself.
     
  5. Winman

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    The Bible clearly does say that men are drawn by the scriptures

    John 6:45 It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father,cometh unto me.

    I don't know how you heard and learned of God, but I learned of God and Jesus Christ from hearing the Bible.

    How did you hear and learn of God?
     
  6. ReformedBaptist

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    Winman,

    I mean this with the utmost respect, but your taking us off topic. What you have written here is certainly related to the OP, but the OP is concerning man's ability to come to Jesus and believe in Him, not concern the means God uses to draw men.

    So, getting back to the OP, "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day. "

    Would you agree that mankind does not have the ability to come to Jesus?
     
  7. Winman

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    Man has the ability to respond to God's invitation to accept Christ. If God did not provide the scriptures that teach us of Christ, we could not possibly believe in him. You can't believe in something you have never heard of, that is what Paul says in Romans 10:14.

    I have already provided scripture where Jesus himself said the "dead" shall hear his voice. So what are you asking me? Do you not believe Jesus when he said this?

    When Jesus said, "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear", does this not strongly imply that his words were said to everyone who has ears?

    Matt 11:15 He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.

    Whether a person chooses to sincerely listen and hear is within their own control, as shown by Jesus himself.

    Luke 8:18 Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.

    Why would Jesus tell us to take heed how we hear if we do not have this ability? Jesus clearly places the responsibility of hearing on the hearer.

    In the parable of the sower Jesus describes different hearers. The seed or the Word of God was the same to all. But those by the way side are hard and will not receive the seed, thus the birds come and steal it away. Those whose hearts are tender and seek truth receive the seed and produce much fruit.

    Mark 4:24 And he said unto them, Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given.
    25 For he that hath, to him shall be given: and he that hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he hath.


    This very thread is an example of what Jesus is saying. You do not want to hear what these scriptures say, because they clearly contradict the false teaching of Calvinism. You would rather cling to that.

    Calvinism is non-sensical. Jesus tells us to "take heed what ye hear" showing man has control over what he hears and believes. But you teach otherwise.
     
    #7 Winman, Sep 16, 2009
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  8. ReformedBaptist

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    Winman,

    Jesus said otherwise winman, and that is what I am trying to get it. I appreciate you directly responding to the teaching of Jesus on the matter, but it very apparant, at least to me, that you and Jesus are teaching exact opposites! Jesus says man cannot come to him. a.k.a, has no ability. Yet you say he does!

    This too I addressed in my OP. You make a link between ability and responsibility. The Scripture does not.

    In Jesus teaching on the parable of the sower, the parable is dealing with salvation. Are you of the belief that Calvinists are not saved? I have no problem with someone thinking that Calvinism is false teaching. I think the contrary. I think what is commonly called calvinism is the teaching of the Scirptures themselves on the subjects they cover.

    Saying calvinism is false teaching and non-sensical could be more of a reflection of your understanding than my skewed understanding.

    I addressed the ability/responsibility issue already, let me restate it.

    Just because man lacks the ability to come to Jesus and believe into Him, does not mean he no longer has the reponsibility to do so. The one does not negate the other. And this is also seen in Scripture. Consider:

    Jesus said in John 6:37 "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out."

    In this verse alone is seen:

    1. Sovereign election - The Father chooses and gives to the Son.
    2. Irresistable grace - Shall come, not might..not maybe...not if they choose, but shall come.
    3. Man's responsibility - And him that cometh...


    In this very verse is seen God's sovereignty over the salvation of mankind right along side of man's responsibility. It may be a tension we are uncomfortable with, but the Scripture is clearly not.

    RB
     
  9. Winman

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    I have to go to work, be back tomorrow.
     
  10. ReformedBaptist

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    Ok, God bless.
     
  11. Carico

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    Boy, according to the Arminian posts, God is pretty lucky to have someone like me around. :saint: Why, if it wasn't for my choices, then I wouldn't be saved, I'd be lost. Sure Jesus died for me but if wasn't for the righteous side of me that believed in him, his death would be meaningless to me.

    I feel sorry for those other poor slobs who didn't make the righteous choices that I did. By my own free will, I can do good. ;) So what do I need saving from? Nothing I guess since I have the ability to be righteous by my own free will. .:thumbs:

    So maybe Christ's death is for those others who aren't righteous enough to choose God. But since they're not righteous enough to choose God like I am, then Christ's death can't save them either. So then Christ died for nobody since he can only help the righteous but the righteous don't need saving. So if one believes in Arminianism, then Christ died for nothing. :tear:
     
  12. Carico

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    Boy, according to the Arminian posts, God is pretty lucky to have someone like me around. ;) Why, if it wasn't for my choices, then I wouldn't be saved, I'd be lost. Sure Jesus died for me but if wasn't for the righteous side of me that believed in him, his death would be meaningless to me.

    I feel sorry for those other poor slobs who didn't make the righteous choices that I did. By my own free will, I can do good. ;) So what do I need saving from? Nothing I guess since I have the ability to be righteous on my own.:thumbs:

    So maybe Christ's death is for those others who aren't righteous enough to choose God. But since they're not righteous enough to choose God like I am, then Christ's death can't save them either. So then Christ died for nobody since he can't help those who don't need saving. So if one believes in Arminianism, then Christ died for nothing. :tear:
     
    #12 Carico, Sep 16, 2009
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  13. webdog

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    Why couldn't the words of Christ regenerate him? The ability to "wake up" came when Christ called...in the same way the lost do upon hearing the Gospel.
     
  14. webdog

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    Congratulations! You were able to fit quite a number of strawmen in one post! :applause:
     
  15. Carico

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    Of course. It's the power of the Holy Spirit that changes one's mind and heart and opens his eyes. But the pride of man wants to take credit for what God does in our lives. That's not only blatant heresy, it's from Satan.
     
  16. Carico

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    So what part of man's nature "chooses" God? His sinful nature? :laugh: Wrong. The sinful nature cannot please God as Romans 8:8-9 says. So your claims are false. Only the Holy Spirit changes lives. But then Arminians would have to acknowledge a power higher than themselves to believe that and they don't want to do that any more than secular humanists do. ;)
     
  17. webdog

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    ...and the strawmen continue...
     
  18. Carico

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    Again, that's what atheists also say when they cannot prove us wrong. That's called slander unless you back up your statement.
     
  19. webdog

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    I don't disagree that the Holy Spirit is the one who does this...I disagree that Lazarus couldn't respond to Christ without first being regenerated by the Holy Spirit.

    I know of no Arminian / Non-cal on this board who takes credit for what God does in our lives...so please put that fallacy to rest once and for all.
     
  20. webdog

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    It's not slander...it's the truth. The things you are claiming I believe are not what I believe...that's a strawman.
     
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