This is an honest question for Calvinists...

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by Daniel David, Nov 8, 2002.

  1. Daniel David

    Daniel David
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    I am a Calvinist. I subscribe to the total depravity of man and God's free will in saving whoever he chooses to. Btw, I have no problem with double-predestination if it is true. TULIP is a good way to systematize my soteriology.

    Many calvinists insist that a person must be born-again in order to believe the gospel. Simply put, he is regenerated that he might be able to believe the gospel. Although I don't know of any specific text that demands this, the idea is built on a particular interpretation of John 3.

    In Romans 10:9-13, Paul says that one must believe in his heart in order to be saved. In Romans 1, Paul said that "their foolish hearts were darkened". He doesn't say that their hearts (obviously not physical) were dead. They are merely darkened.

    My question is this:

    Does the Bible ever explicitly say that a person must believe in his spirit in order to be born-again?

    If you are not a calvinist, do not post. If your post has nothing to do with the topic, it will be bombed like Kabul.

    [ November 08, 2002, 10:25 AM: Message edited by: Preach the Word ]
     
  2. npetreley

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    I have no problem with double-predestination, either. To resurrect a lousy analogy -- if we deliberately burned one slice of toast and made another one to perfection, would that be unfair to the toast? What rights does the toast have over my sovereign will to make it however I want it? I do not mean to make light of the situation (pun intended) but IMO that's precisely what God is saying in Isaiah 45 -- that when you teeny weeny men can create a universe out of nothing, then you'll have room to talk about what's fair and what's not. Until then, shaddap. ;)

    I'm not quite sure what you're asking here. Are you asking if it is God's Spirit within us that enables us to believe? I don't know of any Scriptures that plainly state the exact mechanism by which God enables us to see/believe. But IMO you can rule out certain assumptions by comparing several passages.

    For example, the following implies that one receives the Spirit because one believes, therefore one could come to the conclusion that one does not believe because one has received the Spirit. This doesn't rule out the possibility that the Spirit was involved in getting you to a point where you could believe, but it doesn't look like we actually receive the spirit until we have faith.

     
  3. Daniel David

    Daniel David
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    I appreciate the response. However, that wasn't my question.

    The spirit of a lost person is dead in trespasses and sins.

    The heart of a lost person is darkened.

    A person must believe in his heart in order to be saved.

    I am asking if there are any passages that explicity say that one must believe in his spirit.

    I have been considering all of this for awhile. I think I have come to a conclusion.

    The proclamation of the gospel (the power of God unto salvation) enlightens the heart of a person. When he repents and believes, his spirit is born again.

    He is born-again as an exclusive work of the Holy Spirit. I agree with that.

    I am addressing the role the "believe in your heart" plays.

    This seems to make sense regarding all the texts that speak of repentance and faith in order to be saved.
     
  4. npetreley

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    I think I understand now. I don't know of any that explicitly say so, but it has always been my assumption that this is true. I'm under this impression for many reasons, in part because the Scripture does say the truth of God is spiritually discerned, not intellectually discerned.
     
  5. Rev. G

    Rev. G
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    No.

    The Holy Spirit uses His Word to cause us to be born again. Our being born again has to do with His action - nothing of what we do preceding it (e.g., Jas. 1:18). I would recommend that for your consideration and study of this topic that you do some searching under "ordo salutis" (the order of salvation). That might prove to be helpful to you. [​IMG]

    Rev. G
     
  6. npetreley

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    Looks like maybe I still misunderstood the question. I assumed that just because we believe in our spirit doesn't mean we have that ability on our own. Perhaps I should have qualified that, but since we start from a position of being spritually dead, I didn't see how it could be on our own.
     
  7. Daniel David

    Daniel David
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    The heart of a lost person is darkened, not dead. That is what I am saying. You have to believe in your heart for salvation. The spirit is dead. A person believes in their heart for salvation, not their spirit.
     
  8. Siegfried

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    Preach,

    I haven't fleshed out all the salient points of your question, but I will mention a couple insights that may or may not help.

    First, I'm not aware of any passage that specifically teaches that regeneration makes faith possible; however, Titus 3:5 teaches that regeneration is the cause of salvation.

    Second, Ephesians 2 teaches that we are dead in trespasses and sins, not just our heart or our spirit.

    Third, when Romans 1 talks about darkening, the metaphor should not be mixed with life or death. I think the reference is to the degree to which the light of the gospel and the revelation of God's righteousness (context) has penetrated human hearts.

    Perhaps we should think about the light caused by the dynamite (power=dunamis=dynamite) of the gospel in Romans 1:16. [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
  9. Daniel David

    Daniel David
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    I would like to recommend a good book...
     
  10. Daniel David

    Daniel David
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    All joking aside, I think this makes sense out of every story and example I can think of.

    For example, Arminians always go to the example of Pharoah. He was already spiritually dead. However, the Scripture says that he hardened his heart. If heart is to be understood as spirit, that would be a bizarre statement. How exactly do you make him more dead?

    This makes total sense to me in regards to depravity and responsibility. When Jesus rebuked (he did not weep over) Jerusalem, he said they would not come. The Bible is plentiful with references to stubborn heart, willful heart, rebellious heart...

    I am not saying that a person can come to God on his own. In fact, a person will never want to come to God on his own.

    The Scripture does declare though that the gospel is the power of God unto salvation. Clearly, it is the means that God uses to enable a person.

    In the strict 5-point, regeneration precedes faith calvinistic theology, isn't the effectual call the power of God unto salvation?

    I am trying to sort this stuff out. If you disagree, please respond. I am not settled on this yet.
     
  11. Scott_Bushey

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    PTW,
    First of all, do I understand you as implying that Pharaoh was the "hardener" of his heart? If this is the case, I believe, if you research this, you will find that God hardened Pharaohs heart many times, well before scripture states that Pharaoh hardened his. In fact, scripture shows that God intentionally harded Pharaohs heart for HIS reasons alone; to bring Glory unto Himself! Pharaoh might have been spiritually dead as a door nail even before God hardened his heart, but for whatever reason , God continued to "harden his heart".

    Also, in regards to the heart unto confession: Ezekiel 36:25 shows God "giving" the new heart unto salvation. It must be the great (transplant)physician at work.

    I don't know if this is of any help......
     
  12. Daniel David

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    No.
     
  13. Siegfried

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    Preach,

    I understand your intention to explain some of the difficulties, but I think the result is that you're compartmentalizing people too much.

    My definitions will not be perfect, I'm sure, but hopefully they will illustrate my point.

    The spirit is the non-material person. It's really "who we are" in regards to personality, emotion, and the capacity for fellowship with God.

    The heart is merely one facet of the spirit. In Scripture it seems to refer frequently to the volitional aspect of the spirit. So when we say that Pharaoh's heart was hardened--by him or by God, either way--we're saying that his will was hardened. So where is the "heart" or "will" located? In his physical heart or brain? The brain is certainly involved, but I think it's fair to say that the heart/will is a function of the spirit.

    Concerning regeneration, I would argue that it is the regeneration of the spirit of a man that causes the change of his heart/will resulting in faith.

    Does that help?

    "No" is not an acceptable answer. :D
     
  14. russell55

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    I agree that you are trying to make distinctions that may not really be there in scripture. Heart/mind/spirit might not be really separate--just different ways to refer to the non-body part of us.
     
  15. Daniel David

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    No.
     
  16. Daniel David

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    Thanks, but I will decide on my thread what is and isn't acceptable.
     
  17. Scott_Bushey

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    PTW,
    Here, in it's simplest form, God regenerates a man. He refers to the centrality of this regenerative power to rest in "the heart". That is Gods focus and that is where he targets.
    It is apparent that to over examine the idea is to go above and beyond that which God has made clear...why would you want to?

    Ezek 36:25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.
    Ezek 36:26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh.
    Ezek 36:27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
    Ezek 36:28 And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.
    Ezek 36:29 I will also save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the corn, and will increase it, and lay no famine upon you.

    [ November 08, 2002, 01:44 PM: Message edited by: Scott_Bushey ]
     
  18. Siegfried

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    Heil, mein Fuhrer.

    [ November 08, 2002, 01:44 PM: Message edited by: Siegfried ]
     
  19. Daniel David

    Daniel David
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    Siegfried, Russell55, thanks for the input. I guess some this discussion would have to include the trichotomy/dichotomy debate.

    I don't want to minimize the issue, but some of the discussion revolves around theory and possible interpretation. When the Scripture doesn't explicitly say something, the sum of all the principles needs to be taken into consideration for a particular position. I am not saying that this is semantics.

    If the trichotomy view is correct, then some of what Siegfried said doesn't appear to have as much weight. On the other hand, if the dichotomy view is correct, it adds substance to Siegfried's view.

    I was just thinking about the issue and tried for further reconciliation with the command to repent and the inability on one's own to repent without becoming a heretic (arminian).

    I am not comfortable with writing off this discussion as an antinomy.
     
  20. Siegfried

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    Don't worry about reconciling stuff.

    Just let go and let God make you into the Calvinist he wants you to be.

    [ November 08, 2002, 01:50 PM: Message edited by: Siegfried ]
     

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