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Featured A Biblical Defense of Synergism #3

Discussion in 'Calvinism & Arminianism Debate' started by Steven Yeadon, Sep 13, 2020.

  1. Steven Yeadon

    Steven Yeadon Well-Known Member
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    So far, there has been an apology for the doctrine of unlimited atonement. There has also been an apology for a doctrine that explains faith is not a work to boast of or that is due a wage. Now, I will explain an apology for a doctrine of Moral Ability.

    Infused in scripture are moral choices God gives us. Usually they are calls to repentance or absolute obedience to God's commandments. Each of these moral choices is contingent on the actions of those called to decide between obedience (life) and disobedience (death).

    Additionally, Jeremiah 18 even demonstrates an "if, then" structure to God's corporate judgments.

    Jeremiah 18:7-10

    7At any time I might announce that a nation or kingdom will be uprooted, torn down, and destroyed. 8But if that nation I warned turns from its evil, then I will relent of the disaster I had planned to bring.

    9And if at another time I announce that I will build up and establish a nation or kingdom, 10and if it does evil in My sight and does not listen to My voice, then I will relent of the good I had intended for it.

    These moral choices and "If, then" prophecies God gives us are not rare in scripture. They happen often, and the ultimate calls are to Israel to live by God's Torah, and later to believe in Jesus Christ and the Gospel. Now, of course, God knows all things. How is God knowing all things and mankind's moral ability possible? I will admit I do not know, His mind and ways are beyond me. However, this one paradox is not sufficient to deny mankind moral ability.

    Also, we are never told in scripture that these moral choices have been predetermined by God except a few times as with Pharaoh or Judas Iscariot. There are also special cases of being chosen for blessing. Isaac, Jacob, and the first believers in Christ. Yet these special cases of blessing are mentioned in scripture.

    So, why the so often repeated calls to choose morally and repent if it is impossible? The bible seems to assume moral ability to obey or disobey God. This goes all the way back to the Garden of Eden.

    Here I will argue that it is a logical and straightforward reading of the text of the bible to have the impression that mankind has moral ability in regards to God's commands.

    This does not mean the heart of mankind is good or any such malarkey. Man's will is not free. It is degraded, it is constrained by circumstances, and no one is saved except by God's mercy and grace to an individual.

    However, when the strong appearance of mankind's moral ability throughout scripture is combined with scriptures that emphasize God's desire to save all people and the reality that faith is not a work deserving a wage. I hope I have an apology for what I and other synergists believe and why.

    I believe I owe you one more thread to explain my position. I must explain how I interpret Romans 11 as referring to the first believers and the Jews of the day.
     
    #1 Steven Yeadon, Sep 13, 2020
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2020
  2. Steven Yeadon

    Steven Yeadon Well-Known Member
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    I will add something I struggle with. There are those before birth preordained to special blessing. Isaac vs Ishmael, Jacob vs Esau, and the earliest believers. There are those ordained to special wrath, though I do not know if it is from before birth. Pharaoh, the Canaanites, Judas Iscariot, the Beast and False Prophet. I wrestle with whether such are ordained to wrath from before birth. Or whether God ordained them to wrath after a time to repent.
     
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  3. Dave G

    Dave G Well-Known Member

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    Did you see what I just did, Steven?
    I once struggled with that as well.
    Then my eyes fell on these and the words began to sink in:

    " And Ham, the father of Canaan, saw the nakedness of his father, and told his two brethren without.
    23 And Shem and Japheth took a garment, and laid [it] upon both their shoulders, and went backward, and covered the nakedness of their father; and their faces were backward, and they saw not their father’s nakedness.
    24 And Noah awoke from his wine, and knew what his younger son had done unto him.
    25 And he said, Cursed [be] Canaan; a servant of servants shall he be unto his brethren.
    26 And he said, Blessed [be] the Lord God of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant.
    27 God shall enlarge Japheth, and he shall dwell in the tents of Shem; and Canaan shall be his servant."
    ( Genesis 9:22-27 ).


    " While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled." ( John 17:12 )

    " Men [and] brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.
    17 For he was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry."
    ( Acts of the Apostles 1:16-17 ).
     
  4. Steven Yeadon

    Steven Yeadon Well-Known Member
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    Those are interesting scriptures. The problem is God's character, as explained in scripture in my thread #1, seems violated. Why make someone to go to hell if God hates the death of the wicked and is not wholehearted in making men suffer? It seems the revelation of God in the Word is partially ignored.
     
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  5. Dave G

    Dave G Well-Known Member

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    Are you entirely sure that you've seen all that the Scriptures have to say about His character?

    There's quite a bit written from Genesis to Revelation...
    The book of Job alone shocked me the first time I read it.
    Yet, the God of the Old Testament is the same God of the New.

    If I may ask,
    How many times have you read the Bible from cover to cover in the 4 years or so that you've been a believer?
     
    #5 Dave G, Sep 13, 2020
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2020
  6. Dave G

    Dave G Well-Known Member

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    I don't know anywhere that Scripture says that He hates the death of the wicked, Steven.
    But I do know of places that it says that He takes no pleasure in it:

    " Have I any pleasure at all that the wicked should die? saith the Lord GOD: [and] not that he should return from his ways, and live?" ( Ezekiel 18:23 ).
    Add Ezekiel 18:32 and Ezekiel 33:11 to the above.

    In other words, He is not vindictive, sadistic, capricious or malicious.
    He rather takes pleasure in mercy:

    " Who [is] a God like unto thee, that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of his heritage? he retaineth not his anger for ever, because he delighteth [in] mercy." ( Micah 7:18 ).

    Yet,
    He is also willing to show His wrath and to make His power known ( Romans 9:22 ) to those He has created.
     
    #6 Dave G, Sep 13, 2020
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2020
  7. Dave G

    Dave G Well-Known Member

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    I agree.
    I see it being partially ignored by many today.

    Another question:

    Have you read the Psalms, 1 through 150?
    They reveal much about His character that is not found in the New Testament, except perhaps in Revelation and very briefly parts of Acts.

    Try Genesis and Exodus...

    Very interesting and revealing about much of His character,
    which does not deal mainly with His love ( like the New Testament does ), but rather His holiness.
     
  8. Steven Yeadon

    Steven Yeadon Well-Known Member
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    Cover to Cover? 0. I have read a lot of the bible in this time, though. I'm not so worried because before being a Christian I was a Christian theologian in seminary. I was a liberal Christian identifying with the Moderate Baptists.

    How do I put it, reading lots of the bible I have found is bad for me, because it is too much to understand in one sitting due to my knowledge of cross references and such. Going to all my pet scriptures and understanding them in context while talking on this Baptist Board for four years is very helpful. I have read things like the second half of the Book of Ezekiel for instance. I am well acquainted now with evangelical memory verses. I'm making progress...Although, I should read the Word more now that you mention it.

    In my church I know the bible about almost as well as one of my pastors, just not in context.
     
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  9. Steven Yeadon

    Steven Yeadon Well-Known Member
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    I'll use a different term if "hate" is too strong. I'll say "does not want" the death of wicked, but rather that they turn from their evil ways and live.

    Ezekiel 33:11
    Say to them, ‘As I live!’ declares the Lord God , ‘I take no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but rather that the wicked turn from his way and live. Turn back, turn back from your evil ways! Why then will you die, O house of Israel?’

    Thread #1 shows many verses that God desires life and repentance for all His children.
     
  10. Dave G

    Dave G Well-Known Member

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    I encourage you to sit down and begin a thorough reading of it.

    Perhaps starting at Matthew and going all the way through to Revelation.
    Then start at Genesis and go until Malachi.
    Back to Matthew through Revelation, then hit the epistles from Romans through Jude.

    No specific pattern to follow, but I find in my own studies that beginning and ending with whole books and letters is very profitable.
     
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  11. Dave G

    Dave G Well-Known Member

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    Believe it or not, I agree with your statement,
    and that leads me to a question...

    According to Scripture,
    Who are God's children, Steven?
    Can the devil's children "cross the line" and become God's children?
    Can goats become sheep, and vice versa?

    Maybe a study on Matthew 5-7, Matthew 25, John 8 and 1 John might be in the works for you someday. ;)
     
  12. Barry Johnson

    Barry Johnson Well-Known Member

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    Wasn't Jacob and Esau decided in the womb ?
     
  13. Barry Johnson

    Barry Johnson Well-Known Member

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    I would say ' before birth ' is still not before the foundation of the world .
     
  14. Barry Johnson

    Barry Johnson Well-Known Member

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    John 1.17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.
     
  15. Steven Yeadon

    Steven Yeadon Well-Known Member
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    Ah, but sir, you missedd an important scripture concerning who is a child of God.

    The Prodigal Son
    11 And He said, “A man had two sons. 12 The younger of them said to his father, ‘Father, give me the share of the estate that falls to me.’ So he divided his wealth between them. 13 And not many days later, the younger son gathered everything together and went on a journey into a distant country, and there he squandered his estate with loose living. 14 Now when he had spent everything, a severe famine occurred in that country, and he began to be impoverished. 15 So he went and hired himself out to one of the citizens of that country, and he sent him into his fields to feed swine. 16 And he would have gladly filled his stomach with the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was giving anything to him. 17 But when he came to his senses, he said, ‘How many of my father’s hired men have more than enough bread, but I am dying here with hunger! 18 I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, “Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.”’ 20 So he got up and came to his father. But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and felt compassion for him, and ran and embraced him and kissed him. 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 But the father said to his slaves, ‘Quickly bring out the best robe and put it on him, and put a ring on his hand and sandals on his feet; 23 and bring the fattened calf, kill it, and let us eat and celebrate; 24 for this son of mine was dead and has come to life again; he was lost and has been found.’ And they began to celebrate.

    25 “Now his older son was in the field, and when he came and approached the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 And he summoned one of the servants and began inquiring what these things could be. 27 And he said to him, ‘Your brother has come, and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has received him back safe and sound.’ 28 But he became angry and was not willing to go in; and his father came out and began pleading with him. 29 But he answered and said to his father, ‘Look! For so many years I have been serving you and I have never neglected a command of yours; and yet you have never given me a young goat, so that I might celebrate with my friends; 30 but when this son of yours came, who has devoured your wealth with prostitutes, you killed the fattened calf for him.’ 31 And he said to him, ‘Son, you have always been with me, and all that is mine is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and rejoice, for this brother of yours was dead and has begun to live, and was lost and has been found.’”

    The dead deserving wrath who are just "Lost sinners" are His children, even if they never accept His grace.
     
  16. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    All lost sinners have satan as their "father"
     
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  17. Steven Yeadon

    Steven Yeadon Well-Known Member
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    Where does it say that in scripture. Because I was a lost sinner once 4 years ago. Satan was my father back then, I know it. But I was always a prodigal son in need of my savior and God. My heavenly Father and His Son Jesus Christ.
     
  18. Yeshua1

    Yeshua1 Well-Known Member
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    Remember where Jesus told the lost Jews that because they refused to trust in Him as their messiah, was doing the works of their father, Satan?
     
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  19. Steven Yeadon

    Steven Yeadon Well-Known Member
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    Ah, but these same Jews heard the Gospel when the new covenant was established by Christ's death and resurrection. As Romans 9-11 explains they were provoked to jealousy by their obstinate actions, since even the Gentiles were entering the Kingdom before them. There repentance was still desired.
     
  20. Dave G

    Dave G Well-Known Member

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    Steven,

    Out of curiosity, did someone tell you this, or do you see this in the Bible somewhere?
    " The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked [one];" ( Matthew 13:38 ).

    " Why do ye not understand my speech? [even] because ye cannot hear my word.
    44 Ye are of [your] father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.
    45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.
    46 Which of you convinceth me of sin? And if I say the truth, why do ye not believe me?
    47 He that is of God heareth God’s words: ye therefore hear them not, because ye are not of God."
    ( John 8:43-47 ).

    " In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother." ( 1 John 3:10 ).
     
    #20 Dave G, Sep 14, 2020
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2020
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