Why can't men believe this outrageous truth?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Skandelon, Feb 23, 2011.

  1. Skandelon

    Skandelon
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    I was talking to someone recently about the ability of men to willingly believe the gospel's appeal to be reconciled to God and he made the argument:

    "People can't just believe the outrageous claims of the gospel without help." (meaning the effectual work of regeneration)

    So here is my question: Why is an "outrageous" truth impossible to believe while an outrageous lie isn't?

    For example, why can someone believe Muhammed's lies, but not Jesus' truths? Why can people believe the Koran "without help" but not the Bible?

    Are lies more powerful than truth?

    Can someone explain?
     
  2. glfredrick

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    Do you want an answer or an excuse to argue?

    If you want an answer, the answer is wrapped up in the total depravity of humankind. We sin because we are sinners and "of our father the devil" who is called in Scripture "the father of lies." Makes perfect sense unless or until one tries to eliminate the concept of total depravity. The bigger question is "why not follow a lie instead of the truth?" The answer to that is that we cannot follow the truth unless God grants it. Even a good Arminian admits that!
     
  3. Skandelon

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    Depends on if you answer correctly or not. ;)


    Arminians historically have not affirmed the idea of total inability from birth to respond to God's appeal to be reconciled, but with all the modern seeker sensitive brands of "non-Calvinism" out there I could see how you might get confused. The "T" in TULIP was created by the first Arminians to list the areas of dispute with Calvinistic teaching.
     
  4. pinoybaptist

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    First the person you were conversing with doesn't appear to be a "believer", or he wouldn't call gospel truths "claims" and describe them as "outrageous".

    Second, whether you like it or not, men are "totally" depraved, they are fallen creatures who would rather believe a lie, and another fellow creature, than God Himself, or those He sends.

    Third, I am a bit confused with your statement: The "T" in TULIP was created by the first Arminians to list the areas of dispute with Calvinistic teaching.

    Are you saying the first Arminians were the ones who coined the anagram (right word ?) TULIP ?
     
  5. Skandelon

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    He just meant they are "too hard to believe without divine aid" not that they are untrue...give some slack and try to understand others perspective.

    Well, thanks for restating the point up for debate, but I'm not sure how that helps.

    "After Arminius’ death (1609), his supporters under the leadership of Simon Episcopius came to be called the Remonstrants ("remonstrant"- to oppose) after issuing the Remonstrantiœ in 1610, a document containing five points summarizing their divergence from certain aspects of accepted Dutch Reformed theology." These five points became what we now call "TULIP."
     
  6. saturneptune

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    If you are going to answer the question, why not paint the entire picture? While we are totally depraved unable to save ourselves or respond to God, the Lord did give us an ability in Romans 1 to recognize something higher than ourselves.

    1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness,

    1:19 because that which is known of God is revealed in them, for God revealed it to them.

    1:20 For the invisible things of him since the creation of the world are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made, even his everlasting power and divinity; that they may be without excuse.

    1:21 Because, knowing God, they didn't glorify him as God, neither gave thanks, but became vain in their reasoning, and their senseless heart was darkened.

    1:22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,

    1:23 and traded the glory of the incorruptible God for the likeness of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed animals, and creeping things.

    1:24 Therefore God also gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to uncleanness, that their bodies should be dishonored among themselves,

    1:25 who exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.

    1:26 For this reason, God gave them up to vile passions. For their women changed the natural function into that which is against nature.

    If you are going to talk about God's sovereignty, do so accurately.
     
  7. Skandelon

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    Where is this taught? After the fall Adam and Eve clearly could respond to God in the garden. Nothing is mentioned in the effects of the fall with regard to this inability.

    Where does it teach that the powerful Holy Spirit wrought gospel appeal to be reconciled to God is unable to be responded to by man apart from some inward irresistible working?
     
  8. Havensdad

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    UHHH...

    NO.

    The five points of Tulip were a result of the COUNTER Remonstrance (of the Calvinists), at the Synod of Dordt...actually the acronym was of later development, but was essentially the same as the points of the Counter remonstrance...

    The Five points of the Remonstrance did not even equate to TULIP; they were in a completely different order and formulation.

    Second, You are wrong on what you say they affirmed. The original Arminians were synergists, not Pelagian. They stated, in Article 3 of the Remonstrance:

    "man does not posses saving grace of himself, nor of the energy of his free will, inasmuch as in his state of apostasy and sin he can of and by himself neither think, will, nor do any thing that is truly good (such as saving Faith eminently is); but that it is necessary that he be born again of God in Christ, through his Holy Spirit, and renewed in understanding, inclination, and will, and all his faculties, in order that he may rightly understand, think, will, and effect what is truly good, according to the Word of Christ, John 15:5, “Without me you can do nothing.”

    So, wrong on all counts.
     
  9. saturneptune

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    So what did Adam and Eve respond to? They responded to the Lord telling them to get out of the garden. They responded to the Lord by blaming everyone else for their sin. The devil made me do it, or he did it, or she did it. They cringed as the Lord pronounced judgement on them for their sin. They were sorry the got caught, and sorry they had to pay the price.

    What does that have to do with coming to the Lord in faith through grace, believing, and repenting? Are you equating the conversion of Paul with Adam and Eve being punished for their sin? I thought the Gospel was about the forgiveness of sin? Apples and oranges.
     
  10. webdog

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    Let's go one step further in the family tree. Was Cain totally depraved, or not?

    The LORD said to Cain, "Why are you angry, and why has your face fallen? 7 If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must rule over it."
     
  11. saturneptune

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    In the verses you just quoted, point out one element of the salvation experience, either from an Arminian or Calvinistic (I hate that word) viewpoint. Is this a call to repentance through faith in Jesus Christ, or is this another "I am sorry I got caught?"
     
  12. Iconoclast

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    It is taught everywhere to those who are granted eyes to see,
    Some people will look but never see the grace of God.
     
  13. Skandelon

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    What specifically did I say that was wrong? Because I quoted directly from a history source and said nothing that most people here wouldn't acknowledge and affirm. Here is more. I'll let you go through a point by point correction of this historical account. It should be educational and interesting for us all:

    Calvinist theology is sometimes identified with the five points of Calvinism, also called the doctrines of grace, which are a point-by-point response to the five points of the Arminian Remonstrance (see History of Calvinist-Arminian debate) and which serve as a summation of the judgments rendered by the Synod of Dort in 1619.[5] Calvin himself never used such a model and never combated Arminianism directly. In fact, Calvin died in 1564 and Joseph Arminias was born in 1560, and so the men were not contemporaries. The Articles of Remonstrance were authored by opponents of reformed doctrine and Biblical Monergism. They were rejected in 1619 at the Synod of Dort, more than 50 years after the death of Calvin.
    The five points therefore function as a summary of the differences between Calvinism and Arminianism, but not as a complete summation of Calvin's writings or of the theology of the Reformed churches in general. In English, they are sometimes referred to by the acronym TULIP[6] (see below), though this puts them in a different order than the Canons of Dort.
    The central assertion of these canons is that God is able to save every person upon whom he has mercy and that his efforts are not frustrated by the unrighteousness or the inability of humans.
    "Total depravity": This doctrine, also called "total inability," asserts that as a consequence of the fall of man into sin, every person born into the world is enslaved to the service of sin. People are not by nature inclined to love God with their whole heart, mind, or strength, but rather all are inclined to serve their own interests over those of their neighbor and to reject the rule of God. Thus, all people by their own faculties are morally unable to choose to follow God and be saved because they are unwilling to do so out of the necessity of their own natures. (The term "total" in this context refers to sin affecting every part of a person, not that every person is as evil as possible.)[7]
    "Unconditional election": This doctrine asserts that God's choice from eternity of those whom he will bring to himself is not based on foreseen virtue, merit, or faith in those people. Rather, it is unconditionally grounded in God's mercy alone. Conversely, God has also chosen from eternity to withhold himself from the unelect, and condemn them to face his wrath. [8]
    "Limited atonement": Also called "particular redemption" or "definite atonement," this doctrine asserts that Jesus's substitutionary atonement was definite and certain in its design and accomplishment. This implies that only the sins of the elect were atoned for by Jesus's death. Calvinists do not believe, however, that the atonement is limited in its value or power (in other words, God could have elected everyone and used it to atone for them all, but for inscrutable reasons he has elected to provide efficacious atonement for only a portion of humanity), but rather that the atonement is limited in the sense that it is designed for some and not all. Hence, Calvinists hold that the atonement is sufficient for all and efficient for the elect.[9] The doctrine is driven by the Calvinistic concept of the sovereignty of God in salvation and their understanding of the nature of the atonement.
    "Irresistible grace": This doctrine, also called "efficacious grace," asserts that the saving grace of God is effectually applied to those whom he has determined to save (that is, the elect) and, in God's timing, overcomes their resistance to obeying the call of the gospel, bringing them to a saving faith. This means that when God sovereignly purposes to save someone, that individual certainly will be saved. The doctrine holds that every influence of God's Holy Spirit cannot be resisted, but that the Holy Spirit, "graciously causes the elect sinner to cooperate, to believe, to repent, to come freely and willingly to Christ."[10]
    "Perseverance of the saints": Perseverance (or preservation) of the saints (The word "saints" is used in the Biblical sense to refer to all who are set apart by God, and not in the technical sense of one who is exceptionally holy, canonized, or in heaven). The doctrine asserts that since God is sovereign and his will cannot be frustrated by humans or anything else, those whom God has called into communion with himself will continue in faith until the end. Those who apparently fall away either never had true faith to begin with or will return.[11]
     
  14. Havensdad

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    You said:

    "The "T" in TULIP was created by the first Arminians to list the areas of dispute with Calvinistic teaching."

    That is wrong. Neither the "T", nor the "Total Depravity" was created by Arminians.
     
  15. webdog

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    We weren't discussing the salvation experience, but total depravity which you initially stated
    How is that reconciled to what God said to Cain?
     
  16. Havensdad

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    You also said:

    "Arminians historically have not affirmed the idea of total inability from birth to respond to God's appeal to be reconciled"

    Which is also wrong. Arminians affirmed (From the Remonstrance) that men

    "of the energy of his free will, inasmuch as in his state of apostasy and sin he can of and by himself neither think, will, nor do any thing that is truly good (such as saving Faith eminently is)"

    Arminians did indeed affirm that man was unable to come to God, from birth, and were unable to "respond to God's appeal to be reconciled."

    However, they believed in Prevenient Grace: that is, that God overcame that inability, by giving men enough grace to bring them to a state of neutrality, where they could then make a decision to repent. Thus, they still affirmed man was unable in and of himself.
     
  17. Skandelon

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    That is not what I meant which is why when he asked for clarity I quoted: "After Arminius’ death (1609), his supporters under the leadership of Simon Episcopius came to be called the Remonstrants ("remonstrant"- to oppose) after issuing the Remonstrantiœ in 1610, a document containing five points summarizing their divergence from certain aspects of accepted Dutch Reformed theology." These five points became what we now call "TULIP."

    I didn't go through all the details of how they "became" known as TULIP because I thought that was general knowledge. I never meant to imply that Arminians created the doctrine, but only that the TULIP became the short list of the issues with which Arminians disagreed and wanted to adapt.
     
  18. saturneptune

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    Totally depraved is the inability of man to respond to the Lord on his own for the purpose of salvation. What on earth does that have to do with a physical manifestation of the Lord giving divine justice to a sinner here on earth? Yes, I suppose if you or I saw the Lord, saved or not, we would do what He said, and take the punishment He gave us, because He is God. What does that have to do with either our ability to respond or not respond (the question here) a call to faith in Jesus Christ for salvation?
     
  19. Skandelon

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    Correct, that is in reference to the fourth article, which, just like in the Calvinistic circles has differing variants and methods of explanation. It states: "That this grace of God is the beginning, continuance, and accomplishment of all good, even to this extent, that the regenerate man himself, without prevenient or assisting, awakening, following and cooperative grace, can nei ther think, will, nor do good, nor withstand any temptations to evil; so that all good deeds or movements, that can be conceived, must be ascribed to the grace of God in Christ. but respects the mode of the operation of this grace, it is not irresistible; inas much as it is written con cerning many, that they have resisted the Holy Ghost. Acts 7, and else where in many places

    Some understand the "mode of operation" as being the work of God in bringing the gospel of Christ. The work of the Holy Spirit in bringing the gospel is a work of grace, is it not? These are means God has chosen to "awaken, assist, etc." Which I have argued consistently.

    While some Arminians may insist on teaching that God does some separate extra inward working so as to make the gospel able to be believed, not all do, because what is the point if that work is resistible? The gospel appeal is resistible and its an act of grace wrought and carried by the Holy Spirit. It is the power of God unto salvation and there is no reason to suggest it is an insufficient mode/means to accomplish the purpose of enabling a free response.
     
  20. Ron Wood

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    It comes by revelation and no other way.

    (Mat 11:25) At that time Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.

    (Mat 11:26) Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight.

    (Mat 11:27) All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.


    (1Co 2:9) But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him.

    (1Co 2:10) But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.

    (1Co 2:14) But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

    (Mat 16:16) And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

    (Mat 16:17) And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.
     

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