Why the struggle with truth?

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by webdog, Feb 17, 2010.

  1. webdog

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    On the "why are you a calvinist thread", a common theme is the "struggle" (exact word fought) to accept the "truth" of TULIP, and then finally succumbing to it. Why is biblical truth hard for a spirit filled believer to accept? Shouldn't the Spirit within welcome immutable truth with open arms as we have spiritual life? I have changed my outlook on some doctrine over the years...but it was never with a struggle...it almost came as an excitement.
     
    #1 webdog, Feb 17, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 17, 2010
  2. Skandelon

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    Most, if not all, believers when first confronted with the Calvinistic dogma fight against it. Even Calvinists testify that they are "dragged kicking and screaming to the doctrine by the scripture." (ref. Sproul: "Chosen By God" and the thread you referred to)

    Calvinists often point toward this repulsion that we as believers have to their doctrines as being some kind of badge of honor. They often argue that the repulsion that humanity feels to such doctrines are warned about in scripture and therefore offer more validity to their claims.

    What is it about the Calvinistic dogma that believers hate so much? And does the scripture really ever warn us about such things?

    I remember when I first was confronted by Calvinism my objection had to do with RESPONSIBLITY. Who is responsible? How can God be in complete control of my choices and still hold me responsible? How can I be unable to respond and still resonsible for my response?

    This is a reasonable question and one I think Calvinists must answer. And they do...at least they THINK they do.

    They go to Romans 9 and quote, "God has mercy on who he wants to have mercy and he hardens who he wants to harden. Then one of you will say to me, then why does he still blame us, for who resists his will?"

    They actually believe that Paul is addressing the objection of Arminians concerning responsiblity in salvation, but I assure you he is NOT.

    The one making the objection is not a non-elect reprobate destined to hell saying, "Why do you still blame us.." Instead, it is a Jew who has been temporarily hardened. If you read Romans 9-11 that is made quite clear.

    Look at the previous verses. Pharoah is a perfect parallel. He was hardened in his rebellion so that he would'nt let God's people go. God didn't want one of the plaques to convince him before the Passover was accomplished. In the same way, Jews were hardened in their rebellion so that Jesus wouldn't be believed before the Passover sacrifice was accomplished on the cross. The scripture is clear that had they not been judicially hardened they might have believed and been saved (Acts 28, John 12 etc).

    Therefore, the very objection that would have kept most believers from ever becoming Calvinistic is never really answered, they just think it is. The objection still stands unanswered.
     
  3. Martin

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    ==I suppose for the same reason that people often resist change even when it is clear the change would be good for them. While as Christians we are born of God (etc) we still have that humanness about us. Therefore it can be hard to let go of traditions, long held views, etc. It is just being human. I assume this will not be a problem in heaven, but until then it will continue to be an issue.


    ==Once the new information is discovered as truth I am the same way. However when I am trying to figure things out it can be a struggle.
     
  4. TCGreek

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    It's time for Calvinists to realize that Calvinism is a HUMAN effort at understanding the doctrine of salvation.

    Calvinism is not the Gospel.

    Calvinism is not a primary issue,

    or those who don't hold to it would be considered heretics.

    The Spirit unites us around primary issues. My take.
     
    #4 TCGreek, Feb 17, 2010
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  5. Martin

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    ==People are "dragged kicking and screaming" to all sorts of doctrines (both true and false).



    ==That is actually not true. Calvinists provide answers but you are not satisfied with their answers. Big difference. That is why one person can listen to/read their answers and be convinced while you are not. You don't believe that Calvinists have answered what you consider to be the critical question on the issue of Calvinism. I, and other Calvinists, can make similar claims about Arminians (etc). This is an issue that will not be solved until heaven. We can have our discussions and debates, but the bottom line is that Calvinism is not something all Christians are going to agree on right now.


    ==I can assure you he was not also since Arminianism did not exist when Paul wrote Romans 9.


    ==It is obviously not as clear as you claim since careful, thoughtful, and prayerful Christians have come to different conclusions about Romans 9 (etc). If it was as clear as you claim it would not be a debatable issue.


    ==In your view it remains unanswered.
     
  6. AnotherBaptist

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    Precisely. The question I have always had is WHY do Calvinists care who does or doesn't believe their doctrines? If others are ignorant of what they believe is the Truth, then of all the people on this earth Calvinists should care the least...for the very reasons they defend their position(s) with.

    Easier way:

    1. Man repents
    2. God grants that repentance leading to Life
    3. God Alone Works Salvation in that person

    I don't see anything else that needs to be said. :type:
     
  7. Skandelon

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    Doesn't that go without saying? :wavey:
     
  8. Deacon

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    Q - How many Baptist does it take to change a light bulb?

    A - Change???

    Rob
     
  9. donnA

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    because people want to do it(everything in life, especially christianity, not just this topic) their way, man wants complete control, of even things of God. it isn't the only topic from scriptureman fights against God on.
     
  10. webdog

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    See, you are speaking of the flesh. Our spirit should embrace truth, and it is not self motivated. I have never had a struggle accepting any doctrine. I may have had a "huh?!?" moment before going to God's Word, but I never had to "fight" any doctrine.
     
  11. Theopolis

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    I can agree with that. I have come to believe that approximately 80% -90% of TULIP theology deals with non-essentials.

    "In the essentials of the faith unity, in the non-essentials liberty, but in all things charity"

    .
     
  12. GBC Pastor

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    Skandelon: You used this example, and a question came to mind. Did Pharaoh have opportunity to believe God before his heart became hardened?

    Prior to Moses being sent to Pharaoh in chapter 5 the Lord says in Exodus 4:21, "...When you go back to Egypt, see that you do all those wonders before Pharaoh which I have put in your hand. But I will harden his heart, so that he will not let the people go.

    This seems to indicate that Pharaoh's heart is not yet hardened, but that God in His foreknowledge is speaking to its future condition.

    Then Moses goes to Pharaoh in chapter 5 and Pharaoh responds in 5:2, "Who is the Lord, that I should obey His voice to let Israel go? I do not know the Lord, nor will I let Israel go. This is Pharaoh's initial rejection of God and His commands.

    However, in 7:3 the hardening of Pharaoh's heart is still spoken of as a future condition, "I will harden Pharaoh's heart, and multiply My signs and My wonders in the land of Egypt. It's not until 7:13 that we first find mention of Pharaoh's heart actually being hardened.

    I've always contended that Pharaoh had opportunity of his own freewill to accept God's command in 5:1, but rejected it and then as a result God chose to harden his heart having given him an opportunity to obey, even though God in His foreknowledge knew he would not.
     
  13. Skandelon

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    GBC,

    Yes, I believe all men have the opportunity to believe in God as explained in clear detail by Paul in Romans chapter 1. They are without excuse because they clearly see, understand and know God's eternal attributes and divine qualities. ONLY those who choose not to acknowledge him as God become defiled and hardened in sin. Throughout scripture we see that some do choose to acknowledge God and place their faith in him (Job, Enough, Noah, see Heb. 11 etc). Did they do this because they were unconditionally elected and effectually called to such faith? That is to be debated, but to suggest, as some do, that mankind is born unable to clearly see, understand and acknowledge God as God is unbiblical and gives man the very excuse that Paul clearly denies he has.

    I discuss in greater detail my views of judicial hardening and how they appear to contradict Calvinism's doctrine of Total Depravity here.
     
  14. Andy T.

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    Wow, your experience is quite different from mine, and I suspect most other believers. It sounds like you have no struggle between the old vs. new nature. Take the doctrine of hell as an example. I know of no Christian who is excited out the reality of an eternal hell. Almost every Christian I know has struggled with this doctrine. I still struggle with it and always will. To be frank, in my fallenness, I don't like it...even hate it. Until I reach that glorified/perfected state in heaven, I will always struggle with the doctrine of hell. That's just an example. Doctrines of Grace can be the same way to a lesser extent.

    I have to wonder out loud - why all the rancor and attacks on the Doctrines of Grace on this Board these days? I realize not all the Cal supporters on this board (including me) are always charitable and respectful, but man it seems like we've been taking a severe beating from our brothers/sisters in Christ these recent days.
     
  15. webdog

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    Who said I had no struggle between my sin nature and new nature? What does that have to do with accepting the truth? I understand God is just, and justice demands hell. What is there to struggle with that in regards? Does it sadden me most will go there, yes, but I do not struggle with it. My heart is open to biblical truths...I have nothing to fight. If it does not square with Scripture, I will question it...but I will not fight it.

    Why do you see this thread as an "attack" and "rancor" :confused:
     
  16. Andy T.

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    Like I said, your experience is quite different from mine, which is why we shouldn't try to debate the truth of this or that doctrine based on our experiences.
     
  17. webdog

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    ...but there should be a reason why one fights a doctrine before accepting it. I do not believe it can be said the sin nature is to blame.
     
  18. Andy T.

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    Why?

    Your position seems to be that everyone will eventually come to correct doctrine, since no true believer will fight correct doctrine. Obviously, that doesn't conform to reality, due to the myriad differences believers have all the time on doctrine.
     
  19. pinoybaptist

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    I know a little of what they are speaking about so I guess that entitles me to give an answer.
    The struggle comes from the native resistance to God's sovereignty in all things.
    It offended me that God made the decision for me, not me for him.
    It offended me that He had already created a roster of His citizens and not them applying for citizenship first.
    It offended me that there may be a possibility that I may not see my wife in heaven, or any of my children, even if I pointed them to Christ, and even if they make a vocal and visible assent to Christ as their Savior.
    It offended me that as a missionary I went through the almost getting murdered, having feces thrown into my quarters, rocks raining on our roof during services, cigarette smoke blown into my face, alcohol thrown to my face, and being made to look a spineless sissy by people who didn't know there was once a time in my life when I would've stuck a knife into their gut slowly to enjoy the sight of the blade breaking flesh, just so I can get souls saved for Jesus, and now it turns out He has already done it anyway.
    It offended me that I went to seminary for three years only to find out there were seminaries that taught the exact opposite of what we learned.


    Therein was my struggle.
    I humiliated the pastor who spoke to me of Sovereign Electing Grace because he clearly, from Scripture, showed me why my understanding of election, as I think I learned it with 15 minutes every Sunday of listening to radio, was wrong and bent out of shape.
    I thought, as somebody on this board, that the elect were the saved.
    I cursed the church that I went to.

    I swore NEVER AGAIN to step into any fr---kin' Baptist church and swore away all Baptists for their many different doctrines, many different music, many different practices, and swore to go only to non-Baptist churches, only to be confronted one more time with the doctrine of election in a non-Baptist church.

    Therein is the struggle.

    I had no struggle with accepting God's sovereignty as long as it did not mess with me.
    I had no struggle with Jesus being the only Savior, because it messed with the kind of Catholic life and upbringing I had.
    I had no struggle with being led by a non-priest.
    I had no struggle with justification, or the doctrine of separation, or the doctrine of the church, or the doctrine of blood atonement, fine, they all worked for me.
     
    #19 pinoybaptist, Feb 18, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 18, 2010
  20. Andy T.

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    Webdog, I am interested in continuing our conversation in this thread. No pressure, though. I understand time constraints.
     

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