The Necessity of the Gospel

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Baptist_Pastor/Theologian, Dec 4, 2006.

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  1. Baptist_Pastor/Theologian

    Baptist_Pastor/Theologian
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    In the thread where we were discussing the indispensable nature of the gospel, a point came up that justifies more debate. The point was that someone can respond to the light they have. I have offered a discussion on the difference between general and special revelation, that is God's part. What really could be hashed out more is man's part.

    So let me offer an analogy, and tell me what you think is the case. If a car cannot start on it's own because the battery does not have sufficient power to crank the car, then what role does the battery play in cranking the car if it gets a jump start? Now the possible range is the battery is completely void of power and offers no juice, all the way to the battery is almost there but needs a little spark to get the car going.

    It seems to me that apart from a jolt of power, ie the Word of God, the car is going no where.

    If we debate Calvinism, let's keep it surrounding the depravity of man, and try and stay away from limited atonement. This discussion is to debate the fact that man is either dead in his sin and therefore in need of revival from God or he is mortally wounded and in need only in need of assistance.

    One Scripture that I would offer for consideration is Eph. 2:8-9.

    It would seem to me that grace is the type of salvation, as opposed to merit and faith is the means of salvation, as opposed to works. In other words this is a salvation of grace that is not merited and it is through faith and not works that you are awarded salvation. Now if salvation is a gift that means that the grace as well as the faith are both apart of that gift. Therefore since this salvation is not of yourself the faith cannot be claimed as of yourself either. It is apparent that faith is a gift.

    Therefore I conclude that the battery is dead without hope of charging and the only way to crank the car is through replacing the battery.
     
    #1 Baptist_Pastor/Theologian, Dec 4, 2006
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  2. Tom Butler

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    The natural followup to the analogy is that the car cannot replace its own battery--that it has to be done by another. Unless and until the battery is replaced, the car will not, yes, cannot start.
     
  3. Allan

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    I think you will have a hard time with anyone other than Calvinists, to hold to the Calinist defintion of mans depravity. Why? Because though most would agree that man is dead in his trespasses and sin, most will not agree with your definition of dead means not able to respond at all.

    Secondly, which is and must be brought in (if we hold to the Calvinistic definition of dead - which I and many do not) you then HAVE to bring in the Calvinistic definition of regeneration before salvation because without THAT aspect of your doctrines you are stuck with everyone going to hell.

    So in truth you are not just speaking of the depravity of man but also regeneration before salvation AND hearing the gospel. Now it can be argued that maybe the regeneration wont happen until they at least hear the Gospel first. But if that is the case then you have a hard time explaining those who have never heard the gospel in foreign countries and distant lands that are looking for more than what they have. And when those missionaries who come to them they are surprized at the eagerness of these people and state how excited they were to hear about what they have been yearning so much to hear about and now have found that truth they were looking for.

    Yes, salvation is a gift and grace is freely given but faith is not a gift given (again a Calvinisticly held view).
    I don't agree so much with the whole car senario because we are not objects in need of a new battery but we are a people who have a car in need of a new CAR. No matter how much they try to fix their cars they will never work, they NEED a NEW Car (New Man) it must be replaced. The question is do they believe the New Car offered is what they really need? Will they accept the Truth revealed to them that God may change them. Scripture says some will and some wont.

    I do believe God can draw us to a point that we may want to know more through general revelation but that we CAN NOT know more with the Gospel of Jesus Christ which is the power of God unto salvation.

    Unfortunately you are about to get yourself into a C/A debate with no results as to your question.
     
    #3 Allan, Dec 4, 2006
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  4. drfuss

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    When you jump start a car, first you impose a charge on the battery and then the battery starts the car. Is this the analogy you want? This doesn't sound like Calvinism.
     
  5. J.D.

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    Grace is the word which is the simplist summary of Calvinism. Man has no merit within himself whereby he may attain to salvation. So God "favors" him. He (God) gives him (man) what he needs to be saved. And what is that gift from heaven? Saving faith. Natural, human-born faith will not suffice.

    Now the intersting thing is that so far, I've not said anything that an arminian would disagree with, but a Pelagian would.

    To make it an issue with an arminian, I would have to further assert that saving faith from heaven is given by God to only those whom he has chosen and not the rest.

    The arminian would say that yes, saving faith must come from God and no one can be saved without the supernatural work of the Holy Spirit.

    Which leaves the arminian with many scriptural and logical delimmas, not the least of which is the issue of how salvation can be the work of God but yet require some remnant of good in man in cooperating with his own salvation.

    And a near miss is still a miss, and so arminianism fails as badly as pelagianism to miss the mark.

    As far as the analogy, the power of salvation is the Holy Spirit. See 1 Thess 1 - "not in word only, but in power". "Word only" is a powerless word. While the word is not always effective in bringing about the conversion of the hearers, we know from scripture that the word is always effective in accomplishing the purpose for which God sent it. That leaves us with only one conclusion - that the word, in accomplishing that for which God sent it, is effective in saving the elect by the power of the Holy Spirit, and indicting the damned in the day of judgement.
     
  6. LeBuick

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    Try removing the battery all together and starting the car. I know you feel the battery servies no purpose if it's dead, the reality is it is still needed.

    Faith, no matter how little or weak it is still must exist. God has given each of us a measure of faith. How much is a measure, doesn't matter? Try removing it all together and see if grace still works.

    The more I ponder your analogy the more I realize it doesn't matter if one has enourmous faith or micro faith. Just like the battery, when grace will be sufficient when it is connected to the positive and negitive post. Even if grace has to abound a bit, eventually, .....
     
    #6 LeBuick, Dec 4, 2006
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  7. Allan

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    JD. Of course you are correct concerning the specifics about some of the Arminian beliefs. However I was not speaking specifically but generically concerning the debatable veiws. There are more veiws contrary to that of the Calvinistic one than the two you cite. I am refering however to that of the non-Calvinistic Baptist of whom neither view you cite is held by them in the majority.

    But as you can see BPT it has already begun!!
     
    #7 Allan, Dec 5, 2006
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  8. Allan

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    Why is it that people keep trying to say that faith is a work when scripturally it never has been considered such.

    There is no such thing as merit AND faith for "it is BY Grace you are saved THROUGH Faith...and not of yourselves." See how the scripture shows explictly that Faith IS NOT a 'Work', for it is BY faith they are saved.
    Whether it is something from God or something in Man - It is still something man that must use unto salvation. If man using faith is considered a works based salvation so it is also considered such when God gives man faith to be used that he may be saved. Man is still working for his salvation IF faith is considered a work.
    However the scriptures DO NOT bear this erroneous view out as shown above using the same scripture cited.

    NOTE:
    It does not say "it is by Faith you are saved through Grace..." Since salvation is the suject of this part of Pauls writting and that salvation was the result of Gods grace we need to keep this in the context of salvation and that THIS is the Gift. This verse shows that in Gods giving of grace the vehicle that brings forth the implimitation of salvation is THROUGH Faith. It is through Faith IN God that one attains the salvation of Gods grace as no man can of himself come to God. And, is the very reason Paul says it (salvation) is a gift of God because without God freely extending it to man, man would forever be lost. That gracious salvation is not of man (works) but OF/Though faith that will save because of His magnificent grace. If this were about the gift being Faith and not Salvation it would completely destroy the intent of Pauls writting here because the idea of Paul speaking of salvation then mid-thought speak of Faith, and then flip back over to Salvation again is ridiculous to say the least.
    Keep things in context...
     
    #8 Allan, Dec 5, 2006
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  9. webdog

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    Allan, this is the point I have made here in the past, only to be rejected. If cutting down a tree is work, it's work whether I already own the chain saw, or my neighbor gives me his. This is why, as you stated, faith is never a work.
    BP-T, is the receiving of a gift at Christmas considered "work", and the act of accepting it meriting the "earning" of that gift?
     
  10. npetreley

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    I resist analogies because you end up arguing about the analogy and not the issue, and analogies are always imperfect. But just as a matter of experience, I know that when a battery is fully dead, it's fully dead. You can't jump it. You can't charge it. It's dead. You have to replace it with a new one. I replaced the battery in my car just a few months ago for this very reason.
     
  11. psalms109:31

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    Work

    The work for our salvation is to obey the law we failed, now the wages of our sin is death.

    So salvation has to be a gift, becasuse we can't pay the price.

    We are saved by grace through faith.

    We are given this faith through His word, but any gift free or not we have to accept it in order to receive.

    We never thank ourselves for the gift we receive, but the giver.

    God wanted Israel to follow Him, even with all the miricles they rebelled against God and His word.

    They were stubburn and stiff knecked. We might not be able to reach this generation, but maybe the next generation can be reached.

    Jesus was given to the world, and yes if we trust in Him, He can save us from this body of death.
     
  12. DHK

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    I agree.
    The OP:
    1. All men have a sin nature.
    2. Because of that fact all men have sinned (Romans 3:23).
    3. The only solution to the sin problem is Jesus Christ.
    4. There must be faith in the sacrificial work of the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved. That is why I previously said that the atonement and belief go hand and in hand--a fact that BPT summarily dismissed.
    Belief in Christ is thus absolutely necessary to gain the gift of God, which is eternal life (Eph.2:8,9: Rom.6:23).

    Now what about the people who only have general revelation?
    Cornelius only had general revelation. God sent to him Peter.
    The Ethiopian Eunuch only had general revelation. God sent to him Philip.
    Others saved:were the thief on the cross and the centurion. Previous to the death of Christ, the only revelation they probably had was general revelation.

    John of Japan could no doubt help with some illustrations here, though I have many of my own. I know of tribal men (chiefs of their own tribes) pray: "God if their is a God reveal yourself to me." God answered that prayer, by sending a missionary to that tribe. Previous to that, that tribe only had general revelation.

    God does answer prayer. He even answers the prayer of the unsaved--out of His gracious mercy. If he didn't no man could be saved--including you or me. One needs to act upon the light that they have. It is not out of the question that the Holy Spirit may work in a person that wants to find the truth, though that person live in an area of deep spiritual darkness. Our duty is to obey the Great Commission, and go to those places where God directs us--in great measure we are the answers to the prayers of those individuals.
    I repeat what I posted before: The command of God is never to stay at home. The call of God is never to stay at home. Unless you have received a special call to stay at home, then God has called you to the mission field. That is his command, repeated in every gospel, and in the Book of Acts. What further evidence do we need to get the gospel out to the nations abroad. Islam is the fastest growing religion in America. That being true Christians ought to be ashamed of themselves.

    It was A.B. Simpson who said: "No one has the right to hear the gospel twice until all (in the world) has heard the gospel once. What part have you done in getting the gospel out to ohers, that they may hear of Jesus Christ, our Saviour?
     
    #12 DHK, Dec 5, 2006
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  13. drfuss

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    Not so. If the battery is dead (not damaged), you put a constant charge on it for 30 minutes and then it will start the car when you impose the voltage. Anyway, it is not important to this thread unless someone tries to use it to make a point.

    Let's drop this analogy.

    Peace.
     
  14. npetreley

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    Totally off the analogy, you must have better luck with batteries than I do. I've had several batteries of different types that get to a point where they simply won't take a charge anymore (including but not limited to my last dead car battery).

    That's one of the most frustrating things about the UPSes I buy (uninterruptable power supplies to keep your computer up for several minutes after the power goes out so you can shut down the computer gracefully). Those batteries are constantly charged as long as you have power. But after a couple years or so, I get a power outage and the UPS doesn't work because the battery in the UPS is stone dead. It doesn't matter that it has been "charging" for the past 6 months without a power interruption. It's dead, and the UPS is useless as a UPS anymore. I either have to replace the battery or the UPS. It's usually easier just to buy a new UPS.
     
  15. Baptist_Pastor/Theologian

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    You are imposing a hermenuetical approach that is foreign to the original meaning of the text. The fact is that salvation is by grace through faith. Grace is the type of salvation and faith is the means of salvation but both are equally important and both are interconnected. By saying that salvation is not of yourself that would have to extend to faith. If faith were of yourself then it would be a work. Therefore if you have faith it is a gift of God. Why is it a gift? You cannot have faith without God. Faith comes through the work of the Holy Spirit. Do you disagree?
     
  16. webdog

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    I'm not Allan, but I do. The fact that if faith came from ourselves being a work, is the same thing as saying if we hear with our ears, and read with our eyes (both coming from us), we are "working" or contributing to both our justification and sanctification. This is silly. We are saved by grace through faith and THAT (being saved by grace through faith) is the gift of God.
     
  17. Baptist_Pastor/Theologian

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    But you must also state that it is not of yourself webdog... therefore the faith is not of yourself or else it would be a work.
     
  18. psalms109:31

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    Came from ourselves

    If it came from ourselves we wouldn't need God.

    Our faith does not come from ourselves it comes from God's word.

    The work for our salvation did not come from us it came from the work of Jesus.

    Faith and work for our salvation did not come from ourselves, it comes from God.

    Accepting the gift is not the work required for our salvation. It is an offer to all men that has come from God and we are His messenger.

    This is a gift to all men, but any gift free or not you have to accept it in order to receive it
     
  19. Baptist_Pastor/Theologian

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    Here we go again. I did not dismiss the fact that you must believe in the atoning work of Christ. What I dismissed was your suggesting that pagans can respond to general revelation. What I also dismissed was the lack of sophistication in your method. You stated that you cannot separate faith from the atonement. I said that you indeed could separate faith from the atonement, because you believed in a universal atonement (do you not?) and therefore unless you believe all people are going to be saved (universalism), even you must recognize that you have to make a distinction in those who are atoned for and those who are saved through faith according to your own view. What I find ironic is the fact that I can show you how what you stated contradicts what you have also stated to believe. Yet, the further irony is that in fact if you were a Calvinist you could very well say there is no separation of faith from atonement. Yet in an Arminian view there is a distinction. I am not arguing what I believe verses what you believe, no, I am showing you that your own beliefs are contradictory.

    This is where I get frustrated with your contributions, because they are mostly off based. The Eunuch had Isaiah and was reading from the book and wanted help understanding what it meant. Isaiah is by definition special or direct revelation, wouldn't you say? The thief on the cross hung next to Christ the living God, the Word incarnate, and by definition Christ is the clearest revelation of God known to man. Therefore the thief also had benefit of direct revelation, wouldn't you say?

    You can say what you want but the fact remains that there has never been recorded one church that was founded and there has never been one conversion recorded that has any historical merit that occurred apart from the work of missionaries. There may have been cases where the missionaries work was preceded and supported by mysterious appearances of angelic heralds, but they still needed further explication and preaching from humans called to preach sent to preach and engaged in preaching.

    What light does one have that is sufficient to save apart from the gospel? NONE. This is where you need to debate the OP and not the General vs. Special OP. This thread argues that one of the reasons that general is not enough is due the lack of inherent ability on the part of the seeker. Though one can know there is a God, one cannot know what sort of God he is in fact. Though one can know that he is a sinner and in need of a savior, one cannot do anything to remove the blot of sin's stain that is all to effective and separating an unbeliever from the presence of God. People are not good and do not desire God. There is none righteous no not one, means something. All have sinned means something. Everyone has gone his own way and we like sheep go astray means something. The way that leads to destruction is wide and many go that way and the way that leads to salvation is difficult and narrow and few find it means something.
    No argument there.
    Again, I am the one who was arguing for the work of missionaries, supported by my belief that the gospel is indispensable for salvation. For the gospel to be essential, you must concede that those who do not have it are doomed to go to hell, something you have yet to do.
     
  20. webdog

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    No...the fact that we are saved by grace through faith is what is not of ourselves. This says nothing of faith not being an attribute of man. The faith is there for all men to use, as God has given this attribute to us.
     
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