The Doctrines of Grace and Evangelism

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Herald, Nov 1, 2011.

  1. Herald

    Herald
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    One of the oft heard criticisms levied against Calvinists is that they don't believe in evangelism. There is some truth to this charge when referring to a certain group that claims to be Calvinists, but who are not. Hyper-Calvinists have perverted the glorious Gospel of salvation in our Lord Jesus Christ by holding it captive. These are not Calvinists in any sense of the word. A true Calvinist understands that no one can be converted without first hearing, and then believing in, the Gospel.

    Yes. Calvinists believe that only the elect will come to faith. We have good reasons for believing so. It is, what we believe, the bible teaches. But the Calvinist who possesses a tender heart towards the lost will not wear his Calvinism on his sleeve. He does not walk up to a sinner and ask, "Are you elect?" No. The doctrine of election is not what saves. It is the power behind the Gospel message that saves (Rom. 1:16); the applied blood of Jesus Christ and His imputed righteousness into the account of the sinner. Armed with that knowledge there should be no greater evangelist than the Calvinist. God has ordained, not just the way of salvation (Christ), but also the means (the Gospel). There is no salvation apart from the Gospel. There is no such thing as spontaneous regeneration in the absence of the Gospel. If the Gospel is not preached there is no good news to proclaim. So, the Calvinist preaches it. He pleads. He almost begs sinners to believe. It is not his responsibility to ascertain whether a person has been chosen from eternity past.

    Here is a worthwhile article to read on Spurgeon and evangelism, written by Tom Ascol: A LESSON FROM SPURGEON ON EVANGELISM.
     
  2. convicted1

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    I concur with this, Brother Herald. We in the A camp tend to get lumped in with the Rob Bell's of the world.

    I really appreciate this well thought our post Brother. We all need to pray for the lost, that they be saved before its everlasting too late.
     
  3. Iconoclast

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    Thanks for this post Herald. The biblical pattern as seen in Acts echoes this truth very consistently;
    Paul having this direct knowledge of God having MUCH people in the city ,did not neglect the means of grace.....teaching and preaching to all men.
    Later on he would write;
     
  4. matt wade

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    So, as a true Calvinist you believe that man has power over God and can keep people from being saved? I.e., if all people withhold the telling of the Gospel then man is effectively more powerful than God.

    Hmm..I thought you Calvinists were all about my choice in accepting salvation gave me power over God. Guess that argument won't hold up for you so well anymore.
     
  5. Herald

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    Matt,

    With all due respect, I have no idea what you're saying.

    God has ordained both the way of salvation (Christ) and the means (the Gospel). In order for the Gospel to be proclaimed God uses human beings. The power does not rest in man, but in God.

    Jeremiah 1:6-9 6 Then I said, "Alas, Lord GOD! Behold, I do not know how to speak, Because I am a youth." 7 But the LORD said to me, "Do not say, 'I am a youth,' Because everywhere I send you, you shall go, And all that I command you, you shall speak. 8 "Do not be afraid of them, For I am with you to deliver you," declares the LORD. 9 Then the LORD stretched out His hand and touched my mouth, and the LORD said to me, "Behold, I have put My words in your mouth.

    We can say that the message Jeremiah preached was his, and that would be accurate. After all, it was Jeremiah who did the itinerant preaching. But was it really Jeremiah's message? It was God who put the words in Jeremiah's mouth; God working through a human vessel to deliver His message.

    And just in case the scenario you posited were to come to pass:

    Luke 19:40 40 But Jesus answered, "I tell you, if these become silent, the stones will cry out!"

    Matthew 24:14 14 "This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.
     
  6. Iconoclast

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    :thumbs::thumbs::thumbs::thumbs:
     
  7. Iconoclast

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    Matt.......I believe you and others are "thinking" things that are just not true. if you clarify your objection or thoughts here ,maybe progress can take place.
     
  8. webdog

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    One of the problems I have with your theology is the fact the Gospel preached to the "non-elect" is a mere lie and not sincere. If there was no atonement made for a particular person, and you tell them there was, how is this not a lie? I know the pat answer ("we don't know who the elect are"), but considering Scripture states the "elect" will be few compared to the many that perish, the Gospel is being presented to the many who had no provision made on their behalf.

    You cannot accept or reject a gift that was never purchased for you, and a call to do just that is dishonest, insincere and a cruel joke.
     
  9. matt wade

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    You've said that no one can be saved without evangelism. If no one can be saved without man doing something, then doesn't that mean man has power over God? I've simply reversed the argument that many Calvinists on this board use. They say that my belief that I have a choice on whether to be saved or not gives me power over God. I say that if man's salvation is dependent upon other men, then that also gives man power over God.

    This was a statement directly applying to the disciples that the time. In the verse prior Jesus was asked to rebuke his disciples.

    Yes, God foreknew that His Gospel would be preached to all the world. He knew that my scenario (all people stopping preaching) wouldn't play out.
     
  10. Herald

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    Matt,

    With all due respect you're hung up on nuances and presuppositions and are displaying a preoccupation with why Calvinists are wrong instead of being focused on the proclamation of the Gospel. I rejoice that the Gospel is proclaimed, even when it's proclaimed by a non-Calvinist. Why?

    Philippians 1:18 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in this I rejoice. Yes, and I will rejoice,

    In Luke 19 Jesus was, indeed, referring to His disciples; but the principle still applies. The disciples were charged with delivering a God-ordained message. The church is charged with that same message today. The church isn't made up of theoretical people; it's members are real. It pleases God to use man to proclaim the Gospel. You are fixated with making God beholding to man. Luke 19 proves that God is not shackled in that regard. His message will be proclaimed. That He uses man to do that is his prerogative. Don't elevate man beyond his servant role.

    I'm glad you agree with me on Matthew 24.
     
  11. Herald

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    Friend, it's much more than the so-called pat answer that you dismiss so casually. When I preach the Gospel I can plead with my audience to believe, and do so with a sincere and expectant heart. I don't concern myself with such cynicism as proclaiming an "insincere and...cruel joke." I save those accusations for those who have the time for them. I live in a world where sinners die every day and enter into a godless eternity. The question I don't ask myself is, "what if I had just preached to one more?" No. The petition I make is, "God, please use me to preach to one more. Use me as part of your divine plan."
     
  12. matt wade

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    With all due respect, I'm doing something called debating. It's what this forum is for. You need not be concerned with how I spend my time and whether I use it to be "hung up" on Calvinism or to proclaim the Gospel.
     
  13. Herald

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    Matt,

    I had an agenda in starting this thread. I wanted to see whether those who believe in the DoG and those who believe in Arminianism (as relates to soteriology) could put aside caricatures and agree that both sides have a love for the Gospel. The responses have been a mixed bag. If we cannot agree on something as basic as the Gospel then the rift between our camps is far worse than I ever imagined.

    You said:

    What I actually said was:

    Evangelism is the process by which the Gospel is proclaimed. The Gospel itself is the good news about Jesus Christ. That good news includes man's sinful condition, God's condemnation of man because of sin, the substitutionary atonement (by Christ), and the call for the sinner to repent and believe (by faith). I'm learning on this board not to take anything for granted, even the most basic tenets of the Christian faith; so if you want me to defend each part of the Gospel with Scripture, I will be happy to do so.

    I happen to believe it is a good thing that Calvinist and non-Calvinist churches remain separated in their association. The DoG permeate more than just soteriology. Conflict between disagreeing churches would, of necessity, divide us. However, if we can agree on the Gospel we can at least pray that God uses both camps in the building of His kingdom.
     
  14. quantumfaith

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    :thumbsup::thumbsup::thumbsup:
     
  15. jbh28

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    Webdog, I've explained it to you more than once. Please stop repeating this again. The atonement is sufficient to cover their sins.(It's powerful enough and sufficient) They don't believe, so it doesn't get applied to them. IF, and I mean IF ANYONE believes, they will be saved. That's why we must spread the gospel to everyone.

    So it's not a lie. That's a gross misrepresentation.

    Was the atonement ever intended to save unbelievers? No. It's always meant to save believers.
     
    #15 jbh28, Nov 1, 2011
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  16. webdog

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    Listen, repeating something over and over doesn't make it truth. I disagree with your assertation something can be sufficient for the non elect yet not intended for them. Thats circular talk.

    If I told you I had a gift for you if you just agreed to accept it, and I didn't really (even though I could afford it), that is an outright lie. This is what your side is essentially doing, pleading with people to accept a gift never bought...and worse yet, punishing them eternally for not accepting the unbought gift. My soteriology doesn't have that issue.
     
  17. jbh28

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    No it's not. Your lack of understanding doesn't make it circular. Do you think the atonement was intended to save one that doesn't believe? No, of course not. so unless you are a Universalist, you believe it's sufficient for all, efficient only for the believers.

    For God so loved the world(all of mankind), that he gave his only begotten Son(Jesus), that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. (Jesus was given to the believers, not the unbelievers.)
    No, the gift is there. The sufficient payment has been made. Again, your analogy fails.

    I tell a person that Jesus died on the cross. If they believe, they will be saved. That is a true statement. If they don't believe, then it will not cover their sins.

    I've asked, but you won't answer me.

    1. Christ's death is sufficient for all.
    2. Christ;s death is intended to only cover the sins of those that believe.
    3. Christ's death is not intended to cover those that don't believe.

    Do you disagree with anything there.
     
  18. psalms109:31

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    John 15
    The Vine and the Branches
    1 “I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. 2 He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes[The Greek for he prunes also means he cleans.] so that it will be even more fruitful. 3 You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. 4 Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.

    5 “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. 6 If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. 7 If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.

    1 John 2:
    Warnings Against Denying the Son
    18 Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour. 19 They went out from us, but they did not really belong to us. For if they had belonged to us, they would have remained with us; but their going showed that none of them belonged to us.

    20 But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth.[Some manuscripts and you know all things] 21 I do not write to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it and because no lie comes from the truth. 22 Who is the liar? It is whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Such a person is the antichrist—denying the Father and the Son. 23 No one who denies the Son has the Father; whoever acknowledges the Son has the Father also.

    24 As for you, see that what you have heard from the beginning remains in you. If it does, you also will remain in the Son and in the Father. 25 And this is what he promised us—eternal life.

    26 I am writing these things to you about those who are trying to lead you astray. 27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.

    1 Corinthians 15:2
    By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain.

    Philippians 2:16
    as you hold firmly to the word of life. And then I will be able to boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor in vain.

    Titus 1:9
    He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.

    Hebrews 3:6
    But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.

    Hebrews 4:14
    [ Jesus the Great High Priest ] Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.

    Hebrews 3:
    12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end.

    We are all going to have doubts and unbelief and downhill times in our life. Only in Christ will we be saved. We are to encourage one another to remain in the one who has been chosen before the foundation of the world Jesus Christ even in those difficult times, apart from Him and His word we have no life.

    God cannot disown Himself remain in Him and you will be saved.

    Hebrews 5 :
    Warning Against Falling Away
    11 We have much to say about this, but it is hard to make it clear to you because you no longer try to understand. 12 In fact, though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food! 13 Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 14 But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil.
     
    #18 psalms109:31, Nov 1, 2011
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  19. convicted1

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    :thumbs::thumbs::thumbs::thumbs:


    Plus, how can they answer this, "for there are many called, but few chosen??? This contradicts the very nebulous of their theology right here. If many are called, but few chosen, and the called of God will be saved, but few of them that are truly called are chosen, then something's missing. Huh??
     
    #19 convicted1, Nov 2, 2011
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  20. 12strings

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    Herald:

    Could you Elaborate on this a bit? (My context is that I am a 4-pointer C. in an SBC church right now. Our pastor is a C5, as is our counseling pastor, our children's pastor says "I'm really trying to be too reformed" that is, he believes the doctrines, but doesn't like the emphasis they get).

    I have seen what everyone else has seen in the SBC recently. Would it not be benificial for cals and non-cals to associate and cooperate in various ways, to dialogue about these issues without ramming cliche statements down each other's throats, and work together?


    So a 2-part question, I guess:

    1. Would you say it would be better if the respective churches that primarily lean one way or the other would have less association? (I can see some of the benifits of this, however, it leads me to another question).

    2. Most Baptist churches that were not started as reformed are going to have a mixed bag. Do I not have an obligation to work with those in my own church who do not hold to DOG, even while slowly and gently teaching what I believe to be a correct understanding of scripture?
    -We recently discussed some of these issues (Election, and then later Perserverance of the saints) in a Sunday school class, and had are pretty helpful, calm, Dialogue about them. We have several in that class who would take all the warnings from Paul about continuing in the faith, coupled with their years of personal observations, and believe a true Christian CAN abandon God and so lose their salvation (one of those who believes this also has no problem with unconditional election...go figure). Surely our role is to continue partnering with these godly men in missions and outreach, right?
     

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