Regarding how we come to a correct belief…

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by humblethinker, Jul 29, 2011.

  1. humblethinker

    humblethinker
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,285
    Likes Received:
    0
    A recent discussion within a previous thread on the BB made me consider and question how we Christians personally arrive at and hold to any of our scriptural beliefs. How is it that we come to correct conclusions about what scripture teaches?

    It seems that we have a moral obligation to study the scriptures and to pray for guidance, instruction and enlightenment as we do. Especially obligated are those that have or project a dogmatic certainty as to scripture's interpretation. However, it seems reasonable that we should be able to become very certain about the interpretation of scripture.

    I am in the process of inquiring into Calvinism with the purpose of settling my opinion. Pursuant to this I have been given advice as to how to reach an accurate resolution:
    1. Bible Study
    2. Prayer
    3. Read scholars from both sides.

    By not coming to a settled opinioin about these two ideas I acknowledge that I am unable to come to much more of a certainty about the understanding of the correctness of this issue than Descartes did about the reality of his own existence. At least if I were to come to a settled opinion, I would, in the worst case, be only "wrong". Who is comfortable with that though? I am willing to change my belief in light of new understanding of scripture, knowing that it would basically overturn my entire understanding of reality that I've had my entire adult life. I have done this at least once, which happened in the past year.

    Have those who diligently pursued the three steps above made progress toward arriving at a particularly correct opinion? Does God illuminate our mind as through an epiphany such that we do not need to follow the three steps above? Regarding those that do have a correct view of the issue of Calvinism (or any subject for that matter), did they acquire that view by being more humble, spiritual, intelligent, persistent or is it simply that God chose to enlighten their mind in spite of following the good advice given above?

    It seems that, bound up in this question are the greater 'meta' questions of what is the best model of reality (Calvinism or some degree of radical freewill ). I am concerned that replies will simply be a reflexive parroting of the theology that we each already have and, if that be the case, then what's the use of you replying to this post (so please don't)?

    I think it is reasonable to presume that respectable men, in all aspects greater than myself, have undertaken such an endeavor with integrity of thought yet arrive at different opinions. Is it the case that man's attempt to understand or reason is not in the slightest bit significant and that only God imparts the understanding but not maybe just not immediately? Should I pray something to the effect that God would just mystically endow me with a correct confidence? If humans are not arriving at their conclusions based on their own God given ability of reasoning and judgment then how do we get to the correct conclusion?

    Thoughts anyone….?
     
  2. Benjamin

    Benjamin
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2004
    Messages:
    4,893
    Likes Received:
    112
    When I pray I give thanks and will often ask for positive change. I don’t pray as if all things in my life have been predetermined but to a Wise and Loving God to give me guidance and to bless me, not that I deserve it but because I know Him to be full of grace and love and truth and understanding of all things, what is right and good and I trust Him because I know of His Love. When I pray to understand Him/the Word better, to give me knowledge of what is good and right I always remember the words He wrote into my heart just shortly after the first time I asked to have a relationship with Him and to know the truth of Who He is and His purposes for placing me in this world. It is interesting that you mention if God would just “mystically endow one with the correct confidence” because the words I speak about that He wrote in my heart after I expressed my concerns about all the religious opinions in the world , which words seemed to miraculously appear in front of my eyes the next time I opened my Bible were:

    (Col 2:6) As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in him:

    (Col 2:7) Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

    (Col 2:8) Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
     
  3. glfredrick

    glfredrick
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    4,996
    Likes Received:
    0
    I think, that to be fair, one must start with an assumption of theology that is ALWAYS true:

    We come to theology with a worldview already in place, and all theology bounces off of that worldview.​

    That being said, in order to be objective, one should at the very minimum understand the underpinnings of his or her own belief. What are the absolutes that are a priori presuppositions and cannot or will not change no matter the evidence to the contrary? Are there these in one's life? List them.

    To some, my question above would seem simple -- just deny that there are in fact a priori presuppositions that will or cannot change -- but that is rather a denial of fact. Example, God is. I will not be moved on that fact, no matter what. Other issues are open for question, instruction, negotiation, nuance, study, reflection, etc., such as Calvinism versus Arminianism (or Amyraldism), timing of the return of Christ, issues surrounding creation, the exact nature of the church, etc.

    One other fact of theology is that most theology is nothing more than the pendulum swing from some other earlier theology. Bad theology begets other bad theology, and sometimes good theology begets other good theology, but with a sinful human race, an enemy that works against us continually, and a lack of total understanding, we often struggle to come up with as much "good" theology as we greatly desire or think possible.

    All that means that one's work is cut out for him or her in the study of any particular theological position, and the volumes of work written in that regard, on any theological tenet under the sun, is literally impossible for any one human being to digest in any one lifetime. Some have tried, myself included (I have read over 3000 theological works, and still miss the point once in a while), and failed. Others, by God's grace, are better at the subject than some, but all who are honest will allow the Berean test to be applied.

    Blessings as you study... :thumbsup:
     
  4. Benjamin

    Benjamin
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 6, 2004
    Messages:
    4,893
    Likes Received:
    112
    To be fair, I have addressed the philosophy of prior assumption before and will rest my argument on this statement:

    http://www.baptistboard.com/showthread.php?t=71728
     
  5. Skandelon

    Skandelon
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Messages:
    9,638
    Likes Received:
    0
    Here is a question to consider as you ponder this subject:

    If indeed Calvinism is true, in that God did supernaturally and effectually intervened to bring His elect to correct understanding of the gospel and belief in his Son, why didn't He likewise bring all his elect to the same correct and unified belief in these doctrines of His Grace?

    I believe the very fact that there are so many differences even within God's family gives great evidence of God's desire for mankind to have freedom to reason, deliberate and consider options when making choices about life, faith and obedience in our walk with him. That is one of the things that makes the journey so exciting, IMO. I think parents of multiple kids understand this dynamic, because they quickly realize that what works with one doesn't necessarily work with another. It forces relationship to reign over standardized rules and policies, which is not easy for some to accept (myself included). But, having lived in both worlds, I wouldn't trade in the former for the latter for all the treasure in the world.
     
  6. preacher4truth

    preacher4truth
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    Messages:
    8,121
    Likes Received:
    0
    I see, this is a continuation off of what I said to Skan according to the link in the OP.

    I was asked why some believers refuse to look at these issues, (not my fault) questioned if God is not Sovereign enough to bring all His children to a correct view of Him in truth &c. I find the attitude in this type of questioning a little bit hostile and pejorative toward myself to be honest, and similar to the lump/Potter discourse in Romans.

    Thus I said in response "You'll have to bring that up with God."

    The bottom line is some will never come to deeper understandings, or share and find such as some of us do, either dude to personality, ones calling, apathy, and many other reasons. God hasn't called each of us to the same exact levels, or understandings. No matter, salvation isn't dependent upon such anyhow. But pretty much I didn't like the tone of this coming at me, as if I am demanded to answer for each and every believer. Thus my "You'll have to bring that up with God."

    Can you now see why I said this? If not, well, I've been honest, and cannot help you any further.

    I take it that didn't sit well, thus this thread here. I apologize that this wasn't understood, but being somewhat interrogated, I gave my answer, and it is an honest answer.

    I'll try to answer further about some of my journey bringing me to my current beliefs. Keep in mind we won't come to any of this without seeking Him, Hebrews 11:6.

    Well, we all know Gods will is not the same for all people, neither His journey for them. He doesn't reveal things to the slothful. Is that fair to agree upon? Pride is also a factor, wherein one believes a certain way and is unteachable, one won't believe a thing no matter if you prove it 800 ways.

    I was that way a bit against calvinism (per se), but only out of ignorance and not reading the Scriptures used by such, and pretty much avoiding them, yet not purposesly doing so. It was just that within our circles this was not handled nor discussed except with short quips and matter-of-fact demeanor. Amid IFB fellowships, most preaching was reactionary, and very shallow theologically to be honest. I say this in love, it is and was true. However not all are this way.

    Then a myriad of circumstances came to fruition in my life, some borne out of a deep dissatisfaction of the theological view of God, and the shallow cliches held, lack of thougth, and in some cases hatred towards scholarly study. I was very disappointed with it, and I knew there was much more depth to who He is and my knowing Him. During this portion of my life (at it's close after many events helping me see these truths I would later learn), it was brought to my attention things about election and free-will that frankly irritated me, and I said "so and so" (a brother) was wrong, but God said wonderfully, and powerfully to me "Not so fast."

    I was humbled by my seekigni and it was a bitter toil. I began to seek it out, fought it through, was deeply disturbed by it, spent hours in prayer and searching Scriptures until God brought me, and gratefully so to full admitance of what He, and not man, had shown me. My whole entire view of God is enhanced, and I am learning more, and He has never been so huge and so beautiful to me.

    I won't go into it, but let me just say he did things in my life, where some seriously difficult things happened, and He and He alone orchestrated my life back to Him, wherein I questioned Him, being incapable of the process He put into motion, and seeing where He was ultimately leading me. And then I was hit me with this theology above that irritated me. But I began seeing Him not according to a theology I was taught, but by being broken and humbled under Him and to the accepting of Him in all His Glory in the Scriptures.

    I know people have trouble with this and attack and accuse, and all the rest, but that's OK. God bless them.

    One last thing here. I failed God in a similar way that Peter did, and He taught me some great lessons, and also His love, and His will, and that even when we've failed, He is there, and still has a work for us to complete.

    So here is a passage that may help, as His journey is not to be cookie-cutter for each of us. Please read and consider in love:


    So when they had finished breakfast, Jesus *said to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me more than these?" He *said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He *said to him, "Tend My lambs."

    He *said to him again a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" He *said to Him, "Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He *said to him, "Shepherd My sheep."

    He *said to him the third time, "Simon, son of John, do you love Me?" Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, "Do you love Me?" And he said to Him, "Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You." Jesus *said to him, "Tend My sheep.

    "Truly, truly, I say to you, when you were younger, you used to gird yourself and walk wherever you wished; but when you grow old, you will stretch out your hands and someone else will gird you, and bring you where you do not wish to go."

    Now this He said, signifying by what kind of death he would glorify God. And when He had spoken this, He *said to him, "Follow Me!"

    Peter, turning around, *saw the disciple whom Jesus loved following them; the one who also had leaned back on His bosom at the supper and said, "Lord, who is the one who betrays You?"

    So Peter seeing him *said to Jesus, "Lord, and what about this man?"
    Jesus *said to him, "If I want him to remain until I come, what is that to you? You follow Me!
    John 21:15-22


    - Peace and Grace to His
     
  7. glfredrick

    glfredrick
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2010
    Messages:
    4,996
    Likes Received:
    0
    Or perhaps, as Paul stated, "we all see through a glass dimly..." Or, perhaps that we are yet all sinners saved by grace alone!
     
  8. JesusFan

    JesusFan
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2011
    Messages:
    6,356
    Likes Received:
    0
    or could it be that NONE f our theological models/systems are 100 % accurate concerning how we view the doctrines of God...

    100% accurate in what God wrote in the Bible, but that even our best systems fail that measure ?

    That is why tend to say tht Dog better way to express doctrines of Sotierology, but I cannot hold "Their the Bible"
     
  9. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    29,402
    Likes Received:
    12
    Great question. God changed my soul when He regenerated me and I then repented/believed. Before that, controled by my fallen nature, I could not (and did not want to) repent or believe or anything else we put into the mix of "salvation". It was a supernatural intervention and work of His Spirit alone. Woohoo!!

    But

    When God gave me a new soul, God did NOT change my body or my brain/mind. So I have this old sin-bent flesh to battle with every day until it decays and quits and, at the return of Christ, it will be metamorphasized into a new perfect body. And I have have this old sin-bent mind that is constantly having 'stinking thinking'. I am daily trying to renew my mind by immersing it in a whole new way of thinking, in the Word of God. But until I die, my mind will still be corrupt and I will make wrong choices.

    But [glimmer of hope] I will also begin in this new born-again-life on each to make SOME right choices.

    Recognizing the doctrines of grace (shorthand for calvinism soteriology v man-centered religion) was one of those few "right choices" I have made. Using the Word of God I saw my utter incapability of salvation and threw myself on Him alone. I was 15, having become a student of the Word and was thrilled in the next few years to find that I was not alone; that this was the basis of historic reformation/christianity.

    So there is hope, even for my born-again brothers who believe they can lose salvation (basic tenet of arminian) or are even confused thinking somehow their own faith helped their salvation (basic tenet of semi-pelagian).

    Renewing the mind. In Rom 12:2 Paul BEGS fellow christians to do just that.
     
  10. Aaron

    Aaron
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2000
    Messages:
    15,680
    Likes Received:
    241
    If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him, James 1:5.

    I will say that it will feel like a revelation, even though spiritual, rational thought will be involved. And there's no time table on these things. Despite all your thought and analysis, you will either believe them or not, and that will be quite out of your control.
     
  11. Iconoclast

    Iconoclast
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2010
    Messages:
    13,381
    Likes Received:
    728
    yes....you should pray that you will hear Jesus in His word by the Spirit
    26But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.

    27My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

    1} pray to be kept in the truth

    2} do not look outside the bible for truth.....dreams, visions, etc.

    3]read all the scriptures

    4} God has given pastors and teachers to His church...do not despise them

    Let the clearer verses explain the less clear verses.
     
  12. quantumfaith

    quantumfaith
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2010
    Messages:
    6,890
    Likes Received:
    0
    :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
     
  13. humblethinker

    humblethinker
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Apr 7, 2011
    Messages:
    1,285
    Likes Received:
    0


    Will that be outside of my influence as well? If so, what is the use in analyzing then? What is the use in praying then?
     
  14. TCGreek

    TCGreek
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 12, 2006
    Messages:
    7,373
    Likes Received:
    0
    We come to correct belief when we preach the correct Christ. I say begin with Peter's sermon in Acts 2 and notice how people came to correct belief.

    Enough of the mumble jumble stuff.
     
    #14 TCGreek, Jul 29, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 30, 2011
  15. Skandelon

    Skandelon
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Messages:
    9,638
    Likes Received:
    0
    Ok, so you agree that it was a "right choice," but would you affirm that it was a free choice, in that any believer is able to receive it, or must you be graced by God to accept it in the same manner you are graced by God to accept the gospel?
     
  16. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    29,402
    Likes Received:
    12
    Great question, Skan. We are not talking salvation and the work of the holy Spirit regenerating. We are talking about growing/maturing in that faith and grappling with challenging doctrinal issues.

    God changed my nature when He regenerated me. To accept a theological construct is not related to this. God "graced" me in saving me. I then have a release from my old nature that controled my will and made me always choose wrong.

    Now I can "choose wisely" (sounds like a bad Indiana Jones line). This in no way implies God must work a second work in my life. The "renewing of my mind" is commanded for ME to do, not God's miraculous changing of the bondage of my will. No "I" can be obedient to the gracious commands of God.

    So no parallel between God changing my soul and then subsequent changes to the mind as I renew it in His Word.
     
  17. Aaron

    Aaron
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Sep 4, 2000
    Messages:
    15,680
    Likes Received:
    241
    God is the one who provides your daily bread. What is the use, then, in working? You have not, because you ask not.

    Calvinism may win the rational argument in your mind, but you won't be completely convinced until the word is quickened in your heart by the Spirit. My case was much like Luther's. I had been plagued with doubts about my salvation for years, and suddenly the Spirit spoke: By grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves. It is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast. I knew the verse well, but the power it had at that moment was beyond words.

    John Newton said it well: I once was . . . blind, but now I see.
     
  18. Skandelon

    Skandelon
    Expand Collapse
    <b>Moderator</b>
    Moderator

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2003
    Messages:
    9,638
    Likes Received:
    0
    So, you affirm contra-causal freewill of a believer, in that a believer has the ability to either accept or reject Calvinistic doctrine freely?

    In other words, assuming Wesley was a true believer, did he have the ability to willingly accept the Reformed doctrines of Grace? If so, isn't that an affirmation of Libertarian freewill? If not, what prevented him from being able to willingly accept them?

    It seems as if you and Aaron disagree on this point as he writes, "Calvinism may win the rational argument in your mind, but you won't be completely convinced until the word is quickened in your heart by the Spirit." That seems to say that God must quicken you to be convinced of Calvinism. Am I correctly understanding that?
     
  19. JesusFan

    JesusFan
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2011
    Messages:
    6,356
    Likes Received:
    0
    no one has a ''real" libertine free will though except for God!

    Think that the DoG are to be found in the Bible, and that one comes to that by careful study of the Bible, but NOT by the Holy Spirit "giving special revelation"

    All Christians have same amount of Illumination given by Holy Spirit, but we do have some preconceived notions and 'religious gridlock" to have worked through!
     

Share This Page

Loading...