The 2 perspectives of Salvation..

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by IFB Mole, Feb 23, 2007.

  1. IFB Mole

    IFB Mole
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    I have been reading here on the BB many interesting posts on the Cal vs. non-Cal position. Perhaps I have it wrong but it seems to me that people simply are looking at God's eternal redemptive purpose from different perspectives. One side is God's outworking of his decree's in the life of his people and the other is that people are responsible for their choices, accountable to the Gospel and culpible for thier sin, For example depending if its night or day BOTH are true:

    1.) the sky is blue
    2.) the sky is black

    Can both be true? YES. Is predestination and God's control over all things true? YES! Will the events in Revelation happen with absolute certaintly no matter how mankind chooses and actually all of man kinds free will choices will in fact fulfill God's eternal redemptive purpose, though man chose freely to do as he will.

    From our reality it is clear we MUST turn to God and get saved. We can discuss man's part and God's converting Grace but the FACT is, man runs from God unless he is called and drawn from the preaching of the Gospel so we as Christians have a duty and obligation to tell all people everywhere that the FREE Grace of God is available to ALL. We must propogate the Gospel. Are they God's elect? We don't know and frankly it is really not our concern HOW God saves, or WHY He saves the fact is GOD SAVES SINNERS!!

    The sovereignty of God and the free will of man. It reminds me of a quarter. One side is heads (sovereignty) and the other side tails (human responsibility). You know if you grind one side completely off, it is still legal tender, because more than 50% is still "valid". Like Christians who lob mortar shells at one another on this issue. Both still saved but without the ever needed "other side of the coin".

    What binds both sides togther of a quarter to make it legal? The copper in the middle. What binds bother sides of this issue - FAITH. BOTH sides agree that faith is essential in salvation whether you believe it is the innate faith in man that is the "light" that lights all men (though man has perverted his God awareness into a lie) or you beleive it is a "gift" from God the fact is faith is essential.

    Here we can rest: preach the Gospel, witness to the lost, live a life to Christian precepts, don't hide the glorious light of the Gospel in our lives, tell ALL the lost that God saves sinners and keep our sight heavenly and not earthly

    Jesus came to save them that are lost - so let' tell the lost that Jesus saves sinners by free and mertiless GRACE.

    Am I missing something here? IS God sovereign and man responsible BOTH taught in the Bible?
     
  2. russell55

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    Actually, Calvinists believe both of these are true, and that they are compatible.

    This last statement is contradictory. The events can't happen no matter how mankind chooses, and at the same time happen because all of mankinds choices will fulfill God's eternal redemptive purpose.

    Calvinists, however, believe that the events God plans will happen with absolute certainty, and will be worked (at least in part) through the free choices of mankind. Of course, there will also be times when God directly intervenes in history to bring about his plan.

    This is pretty much the viewpoint of the Calvinist.

    Once again, Calvinists believe these are both compatible, at least as long as you don't define free will as a having a will that is free from God's sovereignty over it's choices. If you define free will as the ability to make choices undetermined by God's plan, then of course, the two can't be compatible, but would be contradictory.


    What you're missing, I think, unless I misunderstand your post, is that Calvinists do believe that that both "perspectives", as you call them, are compatible. They believe both things are true, and that there is no contradiction.
     
  3. MB

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    I disagree there is only one gate and only one very narrow path which is why few ever find it. To say both is true is to ignore the broad differences. Only scripture is true and man's own logic has never disproved it. Scripture alone is the only proof

    MB
     
  4. Andy T.

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    Are you trying to say that Calvinists are not saved?
     
  5. IFB Mole

    IFB Mole
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    MB and Russell,

    I group it in as a "paradoxalism". Can't be explained and it isn't contradictory. God can use man's "free will choices" to fulfill His eternal purpose. To say otherwise, is to say God is not God.

    Consider the story of Jospeph. His brothers of their own free will acted out against him and changed their minds of their own free will from throwing him in the pit to selling him to the passing Midianite trader. He too acted of his own free will that day to be there precisely at that time. That trader happened to go of his own free will to the exact slave selling place as the servant of Pharoah's household just happened to come by of his own free will to purchase Jospeph. All paries acted of thier own free will yet by the end of the story as Jospeh was raised up to #2 in all of Egypt he tells his brothers that THEY meant it for evil but GOD meant it for good. Everyone acted of thier own free will but it fit precisely as God intended - that only our God can do.

    Again is not the Book of Revelation going to occur EXACTLY as God said it's going to and is there anything man can do to change that? NO and in fact all that man will do of his own free will, will fulfil the prophacies of Revelation. In other words man's free will choices in fact will be as God intended from the foundation of the world. Our "free will" choices fulfil God's eternal redemptive purpose.

    No contradiction - a paradox, like explaining the Trinity
     
    #5 IFB Mole, Feb 23, 2007
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 23, 2007
  6. skypair

    skypair
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    IFB Mole

    Your sentiment towards unity is wonderful and I dearly wish it were practical. :D

    Here's the thing -- Calvinists, as MB asserts, would not presume to lead anyone to a decision to the narrow Gate -- to receive Christ by, say, a sinner's prayer. They're theology tells them that the prospective believer is perfectly passive in the process of salvation and regeneration unto faith. Post-regeneration, they are encouraged to do anything they please but at that point they wouldn't be asking/praying for salvation, now would they?

    Free will says the unbeliever needs to "choose you this day who you will serve." We ARE able to make such affirmative choices which affect our eternal destiny.

    I realize that not all Calvinists actually practice what they teach in this regard but if you went strictly by theology, we wouldn't even be "in the same Book," much less the same page, as to how to reach the world!

    skypair
     
  7. russell55

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    Actually, I didn't say that God using man's free will choices to fulfill his eternal purposes was contradictory, but I was simply quibbling with that the way you'd worded things, because your statement seemed to have an actual contradiction, not just something that was paradoxical, in it. People can't make any choice whatsoever, which is how I would interpret your statement "no matter how mankind chooses", and still fulfill God's eternal plan. For instance, to use your example of Joseph, if God intended (and the text says he did) for Joseph to be sold by his brothers into slavery, then they couldn't make any choice whatsoever and still be fulfilling God's plan. What if they'd decided to go ahead with their plan to kill Joseph? What if they'd decided, in the end, to pull him out of the pit and take him home with them? Neither one would fulfill God's plan, which Joseph says (God intended) was for them to sell him into slavery in Egypt.

    Did they make their choice freely? Yes. I agree completely with you on that. But as long as God intended for them to sell Joseph into slavery, that would, in the end, be their choice, albeit a free one.

    Absolutely.

    Once again, I agree completely. And I'm a Calvinist, and I suspect most Calvinists would agree with you, too. Actually (dare I say it?) you sound like a Calvinist.
     
    #7 russell55, Feb 23, 2007
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  8. russell55

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    This is absolutely untrue. Calvinists do not believe that people are perfectly passive in the process of salvation. People who are being saved repent. They believe. The choose to follow Christ. And we should call them to do those things.

    Uhmmmm. . . you make statements like that only because you don't acknowledge that Calvinists are compatibalists. What they preach, actually, is compatibalism, so when preach the gospel and want people to repent in response to it, they are practicing what they preach.
     
  9. IFB Mole

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    Russell,

    Looking backwards we can see that people had no choice BUT what they chose. At the time of Joseph, his brothers had the ablity of contrary choice -humanly speaking. They were not coerced to sell their brother, they CHOSE to. From a Divine perspective they had no other choice BUT to sell their brother and thus fulfilling Gods eternal redemptive purpose.

    I like an illustration I saw a preacher use one time on this issue. Seems we "grown ups" make a problem of biblical simplicity. He called a young lad up to the front of the church and he asked him, "Do you believe God brought your mom and dad together". "yes" the boy said. "Do you believe your mom could have said 'no' when your dad asked her to marry him" "Yes" was his response. So simply it is. Though she could have said no, she didn't of her own free will AND at the same time it fulfilled God's decree

    God's first and great cause - His eternal redemtive decree's establishes his second causes by which his plan unfolds through out time without violating the will of man or being the author of sin; preaching, witnessing, missions, prayer, calling sinners to repentance, man believing or rejectng are all part of God's plan.
     
    #9 IFB Mole, Feb 23, 2007
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  10. russell55

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    IFB Mole,

    I agree completely, and your explanation aligns perfectly with Calvinism. When people choose, they choose freely between whatever options there are, and they make their choices using their own reasoning, and from their own motives. Their choices are not coerced.

    Yet, whatever choice they make is the one God planned for them to make when he planned the course of human history.

    Are you sure you're not a Calvinist?
     
  11. MB

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    Hi Andy;
    I didn't say that at all. What I did say was that they are not both right only one is right and it has to line up with scripture or it's wrong. We are talking about doctrines not Salvation. Are you saying that both are right as well? I don't think you are so why should we place words in each others mouths?
    MB
     
  12. MB

    MB
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    There isn't one thing in scripture that I know of that suggest such a thing. To use and to bring them about by foreknowledge or predestination are two different matters where Salvation is concerned.

    Where was this prophesied, predetermined, or predestined in scripture to happen. Does scripture say that God caused this to happen or does it say that God allowed it to happen just as it did. Did God allow it to happen and use it to benefit them all. I believe He did but that does not mean He caused it to happen.
    Revelations is well know as prophecy. So does that mean that God had to control every single thought of men in order to bring about His purpose?. I don't think so. Prophecy does not mean that God has us under His thumb at every moment.
    Man's will isn't free any way. What man has is a voluntary will. Man can be willing but mans will doesn't bring anything about unless it's God's will that it be so.
    One person told me I was a Calvinist but that isn't true either. If it's God will that all men be saved then certainly if there are men who aren't saved it's because somewhere along the line they rejected Him. It's their responsibility they are lost.
    There isn't one person in scripture that was chosen over another for Salvation. There isn't one scripture that says man must be regenerated before he can believe. There isn't one scripture that says men cannot reject Christ.
    The atonement was for all men because, Christ died for the whole world. When we are saved we are sealed and even though we may not always be faithful He cannot condemn Him self. It's by His righteous faith that we are saved and not our own. Still we must believe in order to stand in His grace.
     
  13. IFB Mole

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    MB,

    IS God "allowing" anything to happen any different that Him decreeing it? Allowing is from a human perspective, decree from a heavenly perspective. By God "allowing" something to "happen" is no different than Him decreeing it. The fact that ANYTHING happens they way it does is by God's decree or else it wouldn't have happened they way it did!! God is in control of all things even though man acts of his own will. That is something only God can do!!

    Though man acts "freely" it, never the less fulfills His perfect Will and decree. To believe otherwise is to place man's will above God. I am not a "classic" Calvinist, but I do not deny God's soveriegnty, His control of all things as well as man's responsibility.
     
  14. skypair

    skypair
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    Merely quoting from Westminister Confession Chapt 10, russ.

    skypair
     
  15. russell55

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    No you weren't. You may have been giving your misreading of the WCF, chapter X, but you weren't quoting it.

    Chapter X of the Westminster Confession doesn't say people are passive in the process of salvation. It says people are passive in the effectual call until they are enabled to answer the call and embrace the grace offered . . .

    People answer the call and embrace the grace as part of the process of salvation. That's not passive, but active.
     
  16. MB

    MB
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    Hi IFB Mole;
    Look up the word in a dictionary then ask your question. A decree is a judgement. It isn't predestination. Allowing something to happen doesn't mean that God is responsible for it.
    Only to you it seems. Decree doesn't mean what you're trying to make it seem that it does.
    Sovereignty is authority. Not control. You'll not find "decree" or "Sovereighty" defined as you have defined them any where.
    MB
     
  17. skypair

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    The "effectual call" IS regeneration/faith/salvation. It is, according to the WC, being able to "understand spiritual things" which is regeneration/born again which is the true sign of salvation.

    What you describe the elect as "embracing" afterward is sanctification.

    1) Eternal life is not a "process" -- sanctification is of your spirit.

    2) "embracing grace" is receiving grace through baptism, communion, obedience, growing in grace, etc. Grace is NOT salvation in and of itself.

    Sanctification is ALSO active as is believing and repentance toward God unto salvation whereby we receive regeneration/faith/eternal life once for eternity.

    Here's where your theolgy missed out -- belief unto repentance toward God "fixes" the soul forever in the "book of life," in heaven.

    Having repented, we RECEIVE faith/regeneration in our spirit and begin the process of sanctification. Now this latter can be an "up and down" road as God tests and rewards us according to our obedience in this life. We may quench or deny the Spirit time and again in "unbelief" in some particular area but we don't thereby lose our salvation. These works are written in the "book of works."

    skypair
     
    #17 skypair, Feb 25, 2007
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  18. russell55

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    You may define it that way, but the framers of the WCF didn't.

    Yes, it's a sign someone is being saved. But the call is to salvation, it isn't salvation. People are saved through believing in response to the call.

    No, embracing the grace offered is called believing. It comes in response to the effectual call. That may not be how you define it, but it's how the framers of the WCF would. You can't shoe horn your definitions into their words, so that you make them say things they are not intending to say, and then pretend they believe something other than what they really believe. That's called straw man argumentation, or poisoning the well, or misrepresentation, and it's disingenuous.

    No one said eternal life is a process, not even the frames of the WCF. Yes, sanctification is a process. It's part of the process of salvation.

    That might be how you define it, but it wasn't how the framers of the WCF would. They would say embracing the grace is believing. Once again, you are misrepresenting them. Is your argument so weak that you have to resort to these tactics?

    Why do you think I would disagree with that? Why do you think the framers of the WCF would disagree?
     
  19. dwmoeller1

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    I love rhetorical questions :)
     
  20. Jeep Dragon

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    After studying the Bible and the views of Calvinism and free-will theology, I have come to a conclusion: "I don't know."

    Is it logically possible for everyone to get saved? I don't know.
    Does God control every choice in every life concerning salvation? I don't know.
    Does everyone make their own choice regarding salvation? I don't know.

    I do know that when God wanted some people to do something specific, He was serious about it.

    This is not an example of a salvation decision, but raises a question. Was it God's will for Moses to speak to the rock? We know that God's ultimate will of leading Israel into the promised land would be fulfilled, but the privilege of being the one who did so could have depended on his obedience.

    Sometimes we do know when God chose people for salvation:

    To think that Saul would have the slightest ability to reject Christ after He made such an appearance would seem ridiculous. How can one not believe in Jesus after He made a glorious physical appearance? Saul claimed under the inspiration of God that he was the chief among sinners. It would seem that Paul was directly chosen by God for a specific purpose. God must have seen the way He designed Paul as a great tool for His purpose. He killed two birds with one stone by stopping Saul from persecuting Christians and by have him become a zealous missionary.

    The problem I see with theological views is that they find incidents or ideas in Scripture and then try to formulate it to apply to everything or everyone. We cannot understand God's motives or completely distinguish what falls under His different categories of will. All we have is recordings of things that God said, how God reacted to things that people did, and some things that God supernaturally intervened. We can't make a tell-all formula out of such.

    I would be cautious in claiming that ALL men make the choice in choosing God. I would also be cautious in claiming that God directly controls ALL men in their decision to believe in Him. I would venture a guess that God in His foreknowledge knows who He wants to do what and will do whatever is necessary to make it happen. Some people he may influence to believe in Him while others (Paul for example) He may directly turn faith into irresistible sight and make them get saved.

    P..S. Balaam was allowed to go to Israel in his mission to curse Israel, but God refused to allow him to curse Israel.
     

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