Sproul's Semi-Pelagian Rant

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by skypair, Jul 8, 2007.

  1. skypair

    skypair
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    Hey all,

    I have now read many R.C. Sproul works and each time I read him find an issue that sounds foreign to scripture. This past week I have been reading his "The Holiness of God." And last night I came across a proposition that I can't believe that "doctrine of grace" people swallow. Sproul says that every unregenerate man HATES God -- that we each individually would have killed Christ ourselves knowing that He was God! He titles the chapter "God in the Hands of Angry Sinners!"

    "If God were to expose His life to our hands, He would not last one second. We would not ignore Him; we would destroy Him." says Sproul. (p181 pp 2)

    This is patently NOT true. In Jesus own day, there were many who flocked to Him for healing and teaching. And those that didn't come were happy enough to live their lives ignoring Him. But such is the imagery Sproul has to set up to sell his theology. Did you hate God before you were saved? Does the lost person not, rather, often call on or seek out God from the midst of his/her "crises?" I am truly ashamed that Sproul has to use such imagery as hate/bigotry and "dead people" (below) to conceal the way to salvation and to discredit Evangelicals.

    Even from my own experience this is not true. Evangelicals teach that man has a "god-shaped hole" that he tries to fill and thereby quite often he comes up with a god or The God. Truly, I did not hate God ever. I got mad at Him, I confess. I got frustrated at not hearing from Him if He was there.

    But you know what it boils down to for Sproul? That we have to have a change of heart (true) -- be born again -- and we would never choose Christ and receive it. So God's Spirit comes in indwelling us and suddenly we love God, not hate Him, and can see/enter His kingdom.* And here's what Sproul says about that "Semi-Peleganism ["most Evangelicals"] ... salutes the holiness of God and ... believes in God's sovereignty, [but] it still entertains delusions about our ability to incline ourselves to God, to make 'decisions' to be born again. It declares that fallen people ... can be persuaded to be reconciled even before their sinful hearts are changed. ... Christ made it clear that dead people cannot choose anything ... and that we must be born of the Spirit." (p182 pp 3)

    For me, this simply shows that Sproul (and Cavlinists) do not know how to be born again. Yes, it involves the change of "heart"/spirit. NO that does NOT mean that the Spirit indwells regenerating us before we believe -- before we have made a believing response to the gospel. And NO, we don't "see" or "enter" the kingdom before we believe, either.

    1Pet 1:23 makes it very clear as 1-2-3 -- "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever." God's Spirit or "mind" is IN the word and able to penetrate our heart (mind, emotions, and will) from outside. We don't "see" the whole kingdom but we see Christ (God does NOT reveal His "kingdom" to the unrepentant, 1Cor 2:7-8, 14, but to the "perfect"/saved, 2:6!

    With just that "incorruptible seed," scripture says we can be born again of the Spirit. But it is rebirth (the seed germinated in your heart) -- then repentance and reception of the truth -- then regeneration/rebirth and faith.

    Look at 1Cor 2:1-5 again. ALL Paul preached to the Corinthians at first was the gospel ("For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified."). It was predicated upon their salvation that he now could write them revealing the hidden wisdom of God's kingdom, 2:6-16!

    But Sproul would basically have is to believe that if we can understand the preacher ("see" the kingdom), we are "indwelt" and "elect" (= saved) already. Now we can begin the works of salvation just as if God had chosen us to be "elect." Well, God did it that way with Israel and look what became of it --- the whole kingdom was taken away from them and given to "them who were not a nation" because they didn't choose God!

    Simple gospel: Hear -- believe -- repent and receive -- saved/regenerated (1Cor 15:1-4)

    skypair

    *Earlier in the same book, Sproul tells us that when he it dawned on him in during philosophy class that God was the Creator, "it was like being born again a second time." So basically, are we to understand that being born again is merely a "day of discovery" to Sproul? Well, scripturally that is part of it but not all of it.
     
    #1 skypair, Jul 8, 2007
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  2. Martin

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    ==Actually lost man does hate Christ. O, don't get me wrong. They love "little Jesus" in the manger. They love a Jesus who they can feel sorry for. They love a Jesus who does whatever they want and whom they can treat as a great big bubblegum machine in the sky. O, the world LOVES that Jesus. However, as you well know, that is NOT the Jesus of Scripture. The Jesus of Scripture is KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS, He is LORD God Almighty, He is the final judge. He was those things before the incarnation, He was those things in the manger, He was those things as He walked the earth, He was those things on the cross, He was those things when He literally/physically arose from the dead, and He is still those things today (and will always be). The world, lost man, does indeed hate Jesus because they hate who He really is. He commands all men to repent, to deny themselves, and to give their lives to Him. They don't like that indeed they hate that! Don't forget lost men are enemies of Christ (Rom 5:10, Eph 2:3). These people are against God. They don't seek the true Christ (Rom 3:11). Lost people do hate Jesus. They may not act like it, they may not say so, but in their continued rejection of Him and His Law they show their hatred of Him. Before we were saved, btw, we were all in that dreadful boat (Eph 2:2-3). Lost, damned, doomed, with NO hope. However Christ died for us, He reached down and saved us and made us new creations. He did this not because we deserved it, not because we loved Him first and were friends of His, not because we begged Him to. No! He did those things because He loved us and knew us before the foundation of the world (Rom 5:6-11, 8:29).



    ==As Jesus Himself pointed out several times many who came to Him in His day were coming for all the wrong reasons. They were not seeking the true and living God. Rather they were seeking physical/material benefits (Matt 13:10-16, Jn 2:23-25, 6:26-29).

    ==Again Scripture teaches that the lost man is an enemy of God, a child of wrath, and living in lawlessness. If they loved Christ they would come to Him. However they don't love Christ, they hate Him. There is no middle ground here. Either a person loves Christ and is saved or they are enemies of Christ and are lost (Matt 12:30, 33-37).

    ==If you were ever a lost man, and I assume you were because you were not born saved, you were an enemy of Christ. As for a "god-shaped hole", well if that truly exists lost man does not try nor does he desire to fill it with the true God. Only when a person is drawn to the Son by the Father, only when God brings that person to Himself, will that person desire Christ.


    ==Hebrews 8:10, Jer 31:33, Ez 11:17-20.


    ==So you deny that God must first work in the heart of the person before the person comes to Christ?

    ==I don't know that you are understanding him correctly, but that is not important. Sproul is mortal and can err. Scripture is the final authority and it is clear that no man can/will come to Jesus apart from the drawing of the Father. How a person figures the "order of salvation" (etc) does not matter. Personally I think it all happens at the same time and trying to figure out some "order" is useless. God can, and does, bring about the actual salvation of a person in a moment. However God does give us a general order of how it works (Jn 6:37, Rom 8:29-30, etc) and that order has God at work in the life/heart of the person before that person can/will come to Christ.
     
  3. Jarthur001

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    "

    [disparaging reparks deleted.
    Jarthur you are entitled to your opinion, but you are not entitled to call those that disagree with you unsaved or as you said "do not know God" or "know little of the Bible," Be warned. People have been suspended for less. Questioning the salvation of other believers will not be tolerated!]

    Share your faith with non-believers and they will hate you. This is when I know I'm sharing the right God..for the world hates the God of the Bible..and they will hate you for sharing the truth.

    believe it or not...we are in a war

    Christ is our King..

    Satan is leader of the God haters...


    Sorry..that is the way it is
     
    #3 Jarthur001, Jul 8, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 10, 2007
  4. skypair

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    Touche' You're remembering that I called the god of Calvinism the "Greek god of Fate," right? And now you claim that I worship another god. All I can say is when I was lost, I wasn't looking to lock horns with God much less hate Him.

    I do have on correction though. Ex 20:5 says those who bow to and serve idols hate God (that would be by biblical definition and maybe that is what Sproul was thinking about --- though I don't know why he would continue by saying we would kill Him in one second????).

    Actually, I have not experienced this either. Perhaps you are sharing the god of condemnation (which Christ said He was NOT). But you know what? If you appear to be judging your listener, they will almost surely hate you. You will appear to be standing for a God that hates them and so they will respond in kind.

    RBC came out with a tract asking "Why do the lost hate us when we love them?" Simple -- they perceive our effort as self-righteous and judgmental if we aren't careful. Sure there will be those that are hardened to the gospel and you can detect that pretty quickly. So sneak in the back door on them by lovingly helping them with their spiritual hangups instead.

    Many people are hardened because God didn't do something they asked of Him. Your opportunity is to agree and explain and defuse that obstacle. Or maybe they see Christians as hypocrites. Again, agree, explain, and defuse. You needn't make enemies out of them. You're not at war with THEM!

    skypair
     
  5. Rippon

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    Actually SP , your title for the OP is wrong . It should be : R.C.Sproul's Rant Against Semi-Pelagianism . After all , he's not the semi-P here .
     
  6. TCGreek

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    Amen:thumbs: I think it is another futile effort by RC's opponents to prove him wrong. I think they should instead reckon with the Scriptures, those that have given the deathblow to Pelagianism, Semi-Pelagianism and Arminianism.

    Dr. Sproul is just a messenger and a good one, IMO.
     
  7. Jarthur001

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    believe it or not, I did not write this verse..

    As a free-willer...does all mean all? :)
     
  8. Dr. Bob

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    I've received 4 notifications about this short thread from both sides of the issue. Just encourage you to understand that because someone is confused on perspectives of grace, doesn't mean that a person is not saved.

    Salvation (in spite of what people might think) is of the praise of the glory of His grace.

    Be careful what you write.
     
  9. webdog

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    ...nor does it mean they are confused...
     
  10. Dr. Bob

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    :eek::eek: "Confused" is a kind word. I give the benefit of the doubt that they certainly could not believe THAT bad a theology!!
     
  11. webdog

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    I fail to see what's confusing about...

     
  12. skypair

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    As in "all men will hate you?" I am not finding your citation for "22All men will hate you because of me, ........." but I believe it refers to the 12 disciples and not to us specifically.

    But John 15:15 does say the world will hate us. That's another thing. The "world" system will surely hate us.

    skypair
     
  13. skypair

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    Webdog,

    I'm in a debate on another board trying to establish how that "efficacious calling" is really Calvinist wording for what free will calls "choosing" or "deciding." It is the part where God invites ALL to "come let us reason together; though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be white as snow."

    We've got to the point where even Calvinism doesn't see regeneration as coming without any knowledge of God in the elect. That they must hear the gospel which is the "trigger" for regeneration and faith as a result of the process of reasoning together with God. This 'hearing' and 'knowing' appears to precede faith and come during the 'efficacious calling.'

    Stay tuned. I hope others here will add their comments and help us understand one another. :jesus:

    skypair
     
    #13 skypair, Jul 10, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 10, 2007
  14. IveyLeaguer

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    I like R.C. very much and consider him to be perhaps the most talented teacher I've ever sat under. I mean, he would be a great math teacher. I am also Calvinistic but when it comes to soteriology R.C. and other Calvinists will often use poor language and imagery, IMHO, and that's what I think this is.
    Aer you sure? I've never heard him say that. Certainly regeneration is a spiritual change, much more than mere intellectual comprehension.

    :jesus:
     
  15. J.D.

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    I agree. One of my "heroes", Gorden Clark, taught that faith is "assent to the facts of the Gospel", and that mental assent is saving assent. As much as I appreciate some of his teaching, I think he sacrifices the "spiritual" nature of faith too much. I think that the "inner man" consists of both the mind and the heart, which are not the same, even though in some places in the Bible, mind and heart are used interchangeably. The Westminster and the 1689 support this.

    From Article 5: "...the full discovery it makes of the only way of man's salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God; yet, notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit, bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts."

    From Article 6: "...Nevertheless we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word;..."

    The confession speaks to both the understanding of the mind and the assurance of the heart.
     
  16. TCGreek

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    Anyone who is well schooled in Reformed theology knows that faith is composed of three parts, which are inseparable:

    1. Notitia (facts on which to base faith, Rom.10:17; data about Christ is this case);

    2. Assensus (assent to the facts of Notitia; but this is where the demons stop, Jas 2:19);

    3. Fiducia (this is the heart stuff; this is where you trust, having behold the sweetness of Christ through notitia and assenting to what notitia reveal about Christ, you then trust and commit).

    There is no saving, biblical faith with the right facts, assenting to those about Christ, and then trusting him, with the head and heart.
     
  17. skypair

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    Spiritual IS partly intellectual, Ivey. My premise above is that "efficacious calling" is interaction between the Holy Spirit and our spirit (mind, emotions, and will) such that we know something upon which we make a life-changing, eternal decision. All together, this constitutes for the Calvinist "efficacious calling" and for free will "conversion."

    That being considered, the "new birth" would certainly come at a point in time just like your physical birth only centered in your mind and will. One would notice a decidedly different "mindset" due to the reorientation of one's "command center" --- the soul.

    As I thought about my own "moment in time" (age 16) last night, I recall -- not a "Viola!" experience but a whole new life fully formed. And I recall giving my pathetic but entire life to Christ -- taking my hands off (though at that age we often don't have much life to take our hands off of, God is been faithful at every turn in one's walk! Hey, He's got my life now, right?). And afterward, I remember receiving all the Holy "new" Spirit that I was ever going to receive.

    skypair
     
  18. skypair

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    Yes --- I believe they are interchangeable and I like your next comment on this ~

    Yes --- When your soul is converted, your mind/heart acknowledges it ---- KNOWS it.

    The point that the WC makes about more than just persuasion, to me, speaks of the need not to just be persuaded but for the will to act on that persuasion. Many people believe but most "believe in vain" because there is no redirection of personal will. That is the whole point that "EFFICACIOUS will" tries to make -- that there is a persuasion and a commitment.

    Good comments, J.D. :godisgood:

    skypair
     
  19. skypair

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    WOW, TC! That's great!

    Would you agree that this is both "conversion" and "efficacious calling?"

    skypair
     
  20. IveyLeaguer

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    I think you're OK there.

    But I would quibble somewhat with your terminology. I would say the Holy Spirit interacts with our SOUL (mind, will, emotions) and then regenerates our spirit, which is then "sealed". Once regenerated, there is no undoing it, that work of The Holy Spirit is complete for eternity. But our soul is still fallen, a work in progress, which is why we are told to "renew our minds" with the Word, "think on these things", etc., etc.. Our soul is saved in the sense that it WILL BE SAVED, just as our bodies are still fallen and WILL BE SAVED. But the spirit of man is already saved, having been "born again" from above. Praise God.

    Here again, I believe you're on the right track. Regeneration does occur at a point in time, though I would caution that many regenerate Believers cannot point to a specific time when they were born again. I can, but John MacArthur can't. 'Reorientation', as you call it, can also seem sudden or can be so gradual it's barely noticed as it happens. Certainly, the Holy Spirit deals with the entire being during the process of regeneration but exactly how He works and when He does what will remain mysterious for at least this age, IMHO.

    I think I would agree that, as human beings, our self 'command center' is the soul (mind, will, emotions) but again I believe the terminology and distinctions are important. To think of the 'spirit' of man as the mind, will, & emotions can even be dangerous, IMHO. That's how the Kenneth Copelands, Joyce Meyers, and Paul Crouches of the world walk around saying that God talks to them all the time in plain English, etc.. They are hearing voices, but the source is their own soul, not their spirit or the Holy Spirit. Satanic forces can communicate with our souls as well, that's how we are tempted and deceived, but they cannot touch our regenerate spirit, which has been sealed by the Holy Spirit. And it is the Word of God, of course, that delivers us and divides the "asunder of soul and spirit".

    God is a Spirit, and I think scripture indicates that God the Holy Spirit communicates with our regenerate spirit. Before the spirit of man is regenerate, it "cannot know the things of God". It is dead, and must be born again. Generally, our regenerate spirit then communicates God's message to our minds by impressions and by other subtle communications to the soul. But it is also vital that our minds be filled with the Word of God, as that is the primary way the Holy Spirit communicates with us, as He often "brings to our remembrance" what He has said about this or that.

    All of that said, God certainly isn't bound by that and will communicate with us anyway He pleases. Once, in a emergency, He or His messenger woke me up with a loud, inner-voice command in plain English. That communication saved my life. So it is dangerous to put God in a box.

    I would still like to know if R.C.Sproul actually says in his book that if you can understand the preacher you are saved, or was that a paraphrase?

    :jesus:
     
    #20 IveyLeaguer, Jul 11, 2007
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