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Biblical Universalism

Discussion in '2000-02 Archive' started by KenH, Nov 14, 2002.

  1. npetreley

    npetreley New Member

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    How about a single post that says, "You believe what you believe, and I believe what I believe, and neither of us is likely to change." That would settle it once and for all, I think. :D
     
  2. Yelsew

    Yelsew Guest

    Very short sighted of you.

    God invites you to His buffet where he set up all the selections. He does not however, go along the line with you and make you take his choices. He leaves you up to your own choices, you take what you want.

    God has placed the cross in front of you, along with the evidence sufficient for you to make a choice, but he does not make you understand or believe. He leaves belief up to you, so that if you choose His Son, it is because you make the choice, and not him. His desire is that none should perish!

    He does not coerce you with fear, but presents an image of both possible destinies and leaves the choice up to you of which you will receive. He told us to choose life, but does not make us choose life.

    He gives the same choices to all men. So how then can you say that this is God being a respecter of men?

    God would be a respecter of men if He did the choosing as in predestination. God himself declares that he is no respecter of man:
    He owes no man anything.
    He is impressed by no man
    He bows to no man
    No man can earn God's grace
    No man has privilege from God
    Virtually everything God does for man He does because he is God, and we are his creation.

    He commands us to choose this day whom we will serve! That is not being a respecter of man.
     
  3. Yelsew

    Yelsew Guest

    The non-haughty, the non-brazen, the non-flagrant, the non-egotistical, etc.
    my brother's recent widow mourns, but not from a sinful condition, but from the loss of her life mate (50 years). They truly were one flesh. She is being comforted by her Lord and Savior, by God the Father and the Holy Spirit. Sin was not the cause of her mourning for she and my brother had been made holy in their beliefs and actions.
    Meekness is not weakness, it is power under control.
    These are the ones who live in this world but who are not of this world. They see the sin all around them and long in hunger and thirst for righteousness.
    Your interpretation leaves a lot to be desired.

    The beckoning to come invites, no, demands the expression of free will. It is a command with the "you" implied. "You" who are weary come...is not an expression of free will, but the obedience of the one who does come is! For man can resist the invitation if he chooses to...Foolish, as that may be!

    Once again, God sets up the situation wherein man must choose life or the other option.
     
  4. npetreley

    npetreley New Member

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    You give me the perfect way to explain how it makes God a respecter of men when you add:

    I assume that, according to you, the "none" refers to all people - past, present and future. If God is not willing that any should perish, and God is not a respecter of men, then none will perish. For God not to be a respecter of persons, then His will cannot submit to man's will, because He does not respect man's will over His own.

    On the other hand, if He only saves those who meet a certain criteria -- belief, for example -- then He has placed His will that none should perish beneath man's decision to believe or not to believe. In short, God respects man's free will over His own will that none should perish. That not only makes God a respecter of persons, it elevates free will above His desire for none to perish. So when you speak of the love of God, I can only assume you understand that your image of God is one who loves your free will more than He loves your eternal destiny.

    How so? If God does all the choosing and it has nothing whatsoever to do with man, then that, by definition, is not being a respecter of persons.

    I suspect you are assuming that if God elects some and not others, then God must be doing so because He sees something within some that He favors over what He sees in others. Do you have scriptural support for such an assertion? Scripture says exactly the opposite.

    How much more clear can one be that God's mercy has nothing to do with what we "will"? It is only what He wills. Man's will (free or otherwise) is wholly excluded from the process.

    So what exactly is God's criteria for showing mercy? Here we go: Therefore He has mercy on whom He wills, and whom He wills He hardens. In other words, He has mercy on whomever he wants to have mercy. It has nothing whatsoever to do with what we want or what we decide. Period. I can't imagine a better way to describe what it means not to be a respecter of men.

    [ November 17, 2002, 01:58 AM: Message edited by: npetreley ]
     
  5. tyndale1946

    tyndale1946 Well-Known Member
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    Ken as one of the moderators on this forum that is all I've notice... You brethren have beat that dead horse to death :eek: ... Maybe my fellow moderators would like to address this issue or maybe beat him a little more [​IMG] ... Maybe with all our efforts will get him to cross the finish line... What do you think? :rolleyes: Brother Glen [​IMG] :D [​IMG]

    [ November 17, 2002, 02:14 AM: Message edited by: tyndale1946 ]
     
  6. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry <b>Moderator</b>
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    Of course not. No one has suggested that at all. Though all are weary and burdened, the non-elect will not come for rest. They do not believe that Jesus is the answer and they are not willing to come for him. See how easy that is when you don't isolate it from the whole of Scripture [​IMG]
     
  7. Pastor Larry

    Pastor Larry <b>Moderator</b>
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    And then respects those who choose more than those who don't by giving the former eternal life while giving the latter eternal death? That seems a textbook definition of respecting people.
     
  8. GH

    GH New Member

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    I think that God’s great loving grace is awesome. Paul knew about grace because he had a thunderbolt conversion, which imo is the model for all who come to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ’s all-sufficient work on the cross for all mankind.

    From one moment to the next Paul believed. He saw Christ and believed. He wasn’t even looking for Christ – he was bent on murdering Christ’s disciples. Paul knew that he couldn’t boast about his salvation. He knew it was a free gift by God’s mercy. He knew that he did nothing to bring about this conversion. He stood by and held the cloaks of those who STONED Stephen to DEATH as Stephen spoke of the love of God through Jesus Christ! He knew that he didn’t ask for salvation from Jesus – he HATED Jesus and His followers. He knew that he had murder in his heart and yet he was struck down by LOVE and was forever changed. In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye Christ revealed Himself to Paul and he was forever changed.

    Did anyone ever wonder why God chose the self-righteous, Pharisaical Paul as the apostle of grace? Paul KNEW he could do NOTHING to save himself. Paul was saved by grace.

    Did Paul have a choice when he traveled the road to Damascus with murder in his heart and saw the risen Christ whom he hated?

    Apparently some of us do NOT have a choice. Well, at least Paul didn't.

    Paul basically states that HE was the example of how people are really saved:

    16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his unlimited patience as an example for those who would believe on him and receive eternal life.
    1 Tim. 1:16

    Paul surely didn't believe on Jesus through his own "free will" as some would advocate. Paul believed AFTER Jesus manifested Himself and gave Paul faith to believe. "Jesus Christ, author and finisher of our faith." THAT is the example of true conversion. Those who do NOT follow that pattern will trust in THEIR decision thus become SELF-righteous and blind to the truth. They will create an image of god in their own hearts patterned after themselves. Any other god is a duplicate of the desires of the heart towards others. Self-righteousness will never see the truth unless Christ reveals it. If we believe our own "free will" brought about our salvation, it is a work of the flesh and God will NOT honor it. Lord, Lord I prophesied in your name, I, I, I......

    "For by grace through faith we have been saved, it is a gift of God, NOT of works lest we boast. All we hear from the free will camp is their boast in their decision to follow Christ. This boasting is a clear sign of spiritual blindness. Because anyone putting Eph 2:8 and Heb. 12:2 together would shut their mouth forever about their "free will" choice to follow Jesus. Paul's conversion is the example of true conversion. This kind of conversion brings a death to the flesh.

    Paul didn't choose Jesus as his personal Lord and Savior or make a decision for Christ.

    Christ REVEALED HIMSELF to Paul and Paul believed.

    Does anyone else see this?
     
  9. Helen

    Helen <img src =/Helen2.gif>

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    Of course not. No one has suggested that at all. Though all are weary and burdened, the non-elect will not come for rest. They do not believe that Jesus is the answer and they are not willing to come for him. See how easy that is when you don't isolate it from the whole of Scripture [​IMG] </font>[/QUOTE]Doesn't that make both irresistible grace and unconditional election a bit at odds with this, then? Why would Jesus say "Come" to ALL who are weary and heavy-laden when -- and if -- only the elect were allowed to come, or forced to come, or however you put it?
     
  10. GH

    GH New Member

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    "All are concluded in unbelief."

    Greetings again friends. I agree with Helen. Our Lord declares that He has concluded all creation in unbelief that He might have mercy upon all.
    "Gar Theos sugkleio pas eis apeitheia hina eleeo pas." Roman 11:32

    "For God hath concluded them all in unbelief that He might have mercy upon all." Rom. 11:32

    The context of these words flow from verse 5

    "But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of men's deeds; else grace were no longer grace."

    AND verse 15

    "For if their rejection (the Jews) means the reconciliation of the world, what will their reception be but life from the dead?"

    And verse 25

    "There is a secret, brethren, of which I do not wish to leave you in ignorance....partial blindness has fallen upon Israel until the great mass of the Gentiles has come in, and so all Israel will be saved, as is declared in Scripture..."

    "For God hath concluded"=

    Sugkleio=

    To shut up together/ enclose (as a shoel of fish in a net.)

    To shut up on all sides.

    To shut up completely.

    http://bible.crosswalk.com/Lexicons/Greek/grk.cgi?number=4788&version=

    Sugkleio Rooted In Kleio

    Kleio=

    To cause the heavens to withhold rain.

    To shut up compassion/ compassion inaccessible to one.

    To be devoid of pity.

    To obstruct the entrance to heaven.

    "Concluded all in unbelief"

    All=

    Each/ Every/ Any/ All/ The Whole/ Everyone/ All Things/ Everything.

    Sugkleio in unbelief=

    Unbelief= Apeitheia=

    Obstinancy/ obstinate opposition to the Divine will.

    http://bible.crosswalk.com/Lexicons/Greek/grk.cgi?number=543&version=

    Apeitheia Rooted In Apeithes

    Apeithes=

    Impersuasible/ not compliant/ disobedient/ contumacious.

    http://bible.crosswalk.com/Lexicons/Greek/grk.cgi?number=545&version=

    "That He might have mercy upon all."

    Mercy= Eleeo=

    To have mercy on.

    To help one afflicted or seeking aid.

    To help the afflicted/ to bring help to the wretched.

    To experience mercy.

    http://bible.crosswalk.com/Lexicons/Greek/grk.cgi?number=1653&version=

    "Mercy Upon All."

    All= pas=

    Each/ every/ any/ all/ the whole/ everyone/ all things/ everything.

    http://bible.crosswalk.com/Lexicons/Greek/grk.cgi?number=3956&version=

    "In order that in adoration of the Name of Jesus every knee of worshippers will bow themselves and openly acknowledge with joy, in celebration and praise, that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. This profession and confession of His Lordship shall be open and freely proclaimed, acknowledged joyfully by beings in the heavens, of those on the earth and those in the underworld." Phil. 2:10,11

    God has a plan and it will be accomplished without us.

    All glory and honor to You, Almighty Father.
     
  11. Helen

    Helen <img src =/Helen2.gif>

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    GH, If we are to understand what happened to Paul at all, we must take a look at his history before the trip to Damascus. He was already zealous for God. He was already dedicated in his heart to God. That is why he was a Pharisee. He seriously wanted to serve God.

    Now, he became aware of this upstart group following this presumably dead carpeter from Galilee and the group was saying this man was actually God and the Savior.

    Suppose this new group was wrong? We would all have applauded Saul/Paul for helping squash a bunch of heretics who were denigrating the name and character of the true God, right?

    The point is, that in his zeal for the God of Scripture that he knew of, Paul didn't know that this upstart group was quite right about the man from Galilee. And so, when Jesus stopped him on the way to Damascus and confronted Paul with the truth about Himself, Paul was stunned. THIS was truly right?

    But because he had already known Scripture since boyhood, and since he truly thought he was serving the God of Scripture in what he was doing, He WAS trying to serve the truth. It's just that he was wrong about where the truth was, and so he was persecuting followers of the truth.

    But when he was shown Who the truth was, he changed. It was not such an 'out of the blue' thing on God's part at all! Paul had already chosen God but didn't know how to serve Him because his heart was still darkened. He was as the other Pharisees, trying to 'save' himself via the law and perfect obedience to it.

    And then Jesus showed Paul the way, the truth, and the life. And Paul repented and followed.

    But Paul had already dedicated his life to God. That should be recognized.
     
  12. Yelsew

    Yelsew Guest

    God would only be 'respecting people' if he did not give to all the same image of the two possible destiny's, and allow them to choose.

    Why must God accept all, forgiven and sinners alike, into his Holy presence, when many refuse to acknowledge him and repent from sin and seek his forgiveness? You, yourself would never do that, so why do you demand that of God? You willingly choose to allow your "friends", those who have some form of commitment to you, into your "inner circle", while denying your "enemies" those who do not like or respect you. Why should God behave differently? God is holy and in him there is no sin because sin and holiness cannot cohabitate the same person. If you have one the other must go. Just like light and dark. Where there is darkness there is no total light, where there is light there can be no total darkness. God made a way, in the form of His only begotten son, that those who believe in him are made holy so that they can be in the presence of God. Those who refuse to believe remain sinners and cannot enter into the presence of God.

    That is not predestination, but rather a free will choice each and every individual must make for themselves, a choice that has consequences. This is the only exception that I have found to the long standing maxim that says, "you can choose your actions, but you cannot choose the consequences of your actions". In this case, however, the only action that man can take is believing and accepting, or not believing and rejecting the salvation that is a gift of God. It is in man's choice that God accepts or rejects each individual man into his presence or casts them into the lake of fire.
     
  13. GH

    GH New Member

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    Yes, Helen, I agree - to a point.

    Paul was BORN a Jew. No choice.

    Paul must have heard our Lord preach and teach in the Temple, on the by-ways and highways and fields of Israel. He stood and watched and heard Stephen speak of the glory of God down through the ages - from the beginning - before the law, through the law dispensation and he heard him speak of Messiah now present. No reaction but hatred filled his heart. (Heads up folks, if hatred is in your heart.)

    Nothing or no one even himself could not change his heart until the Risen One revealed Himself to Paul. That is very significant.

    We can know about Him and never really KNOW Him. This is true relationship. Away from Me I never knew you He says to those who worked for Him. It's about love. It's about worship and relationship with the Living God - from which flow good works. Not the other way around.

    I'm sorry to say that this is not preached today. Today we can save ourselves with our choices. I think many will have a rude awakening one day when they will be confronted with the most awesome love of God through Jesus Christ's finished work at Calvary - and yes, repent and believe.

    Paul is the model for a true conversion. A dramatic change occurs inside one.

    Peace to you in Christ.
     
  14. KenH

    KenH Well-Known Member

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    Something else about this is that the argument is really over two separate areas that need not be in conflict in one's soteriology. Election is indicative, the exercise of the will in repentance and belief is imperative. The indicative can, and should, be held without damage to the imperative, and the imperative can, and should, be held without damage to the indicative.

    Therefore, the debate is really unnecessary when taking the Bible as a whole. [​IMG] The debate is really only necessary because the free will side thinks the imperative is in danger because of the emphasis on the indicative taught by the free grace side, and because the free grace side thinks the indicative is in danger because of the emphasis on the imperative taught by the free will side.

    Ken
     
  15. Helen

    Helen <img src =/Helen2.gif>

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    GH, what makes you think Saul EVER personally hear Jesus speak before He ascended and then confonted Paul on the road to Damascus? Paul never indicates that and it is nowhere else written.

    Paul's hatred, as he seems to indicate it, was for those whom he thought were dragging the name of God through the mud. He was fighting for the truth as he understood it. The problem was, it wasn't the truth of God, but only of man. Many people are like that. And if they do want the truth, then God will lead them to Christ.

    I think this idea of 'free will' as expressed by Calvinists often seems to carry with it the concept of 'to will is to do.' It isn't. It is simply to want. It carries no ability intrinsic to it at all. Wanting the truth does not say anything about one's ability to get or find it. It comes from God.

    We are invited to seek, however. That does not mean we can save ourselves in the slightest. Please do not misrepresent what those who disagree with Calvinism are saying. The fact that people can want good and want to change and want peace and joy and love is evident all over the world. Ever so many will go about it in the wrong direction, thinking they can somehow achieve it themselves when, in fact, it is a free gift from God. But if you refuse that Gift, what else is there? Only yourself.

    One definition of hell is just that: "only yourself." Not a theological definition, granted, but one that is used by pundits and does cause one to think.

    God does everything to prepare for, achieve, and maintain a person's salvation. The person, however, can say yes, I want it or no, I don't want it. That is what free will means. It does not mean the ability to do anything about your own salvation. For instance, I could say 'yes, I want it,' and have it not available to me for some reason. That does not change my will -- simply the availability of what I want.

    One of the incredible messages of the Gospel is that if you simply want Jesus, believing in Him, He will not turn you away. He won't be just your 'fire insurance agent' saving you from hell. He will, instead, save you from yourself and be your Lord and God if you want. The way is open, it is just hard before it happens to think that you must give up everything you think you are for something unknown. But He won't move in on your life without your permission. This marriage is a mutual thing not, if you will excuse the term, please, a rape.

    But it is made possible ONLY by the Groom.
     
  16. GH

    GH New Member

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    Helen, have you ever fallen in love?

    One is a willing participant - there is no rape involved. You are looking at this outwardly - Paul says to consider these things inwardly in the inner man where Christ dwells.

    From Ray & Doris Prinzing:

    Ezekiel spoke a strong word to the people, when he said, "Thou hast also built unto thee an eminent place, and made thee an high place in every street." [Ezekiel 16:24].

    Groves, altars, temples, religious cathedrals, built, enlarged, springing up everywhere-- monuments to religion, but where is that personal BECOMING?

    "He is Lord of heaven and earth, and dwelleth not in temples made with hands." [Acts 17:24] Nay, but He dwelleth "also with him that is of a contrite and humble spirit."

    We would not build Him a temple, we would BECOME His temple. "What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the holy Spirit which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?" [1 Corinthians 6:19]. For truly He would DWELL in us, and He would BECOME in us, "the fullness of Him that filleth all in all." [Ephesians 1:23].

    There is no need to put on a facade, a pseudo image of spirituality. Paul writes, "Stop assuming an outward expression that does not come from within you and is not representative of what you are in your inner BEING but is patterned after this age; but change your outward expression to one that COMES FROM WITHIN and is representative of your inner BEING, by the renewing of your mind." [Romans 12:2, Wuest].

    How God has been stripping away all the falsity of the flesh, with its religious airs, etc. that we might face up to what we are, or are not, in Him, that we might in turn seek Him the more, to become as He is.

    Whatever uncoverings we pass through, they are not meant for our hurt, for the uncoverings do not change our state of being. "By the grace of God I am what I am." [1 Corinthians 15:10]. Incomplete at present time, yes, but the new inner life is HIS, and the more the cross brings to an end the old self-life, the more there will be an expression of HIS LIFE, which is to BE our new, genuine state of being. "That ye may BE, the children of your Father which is in heaven." [Matthew 5:45].

    In this instance, the Greek word for "be" is "ginomai" meaning: TO BECOME, for it signifies a process in becoming the children of our heavenly Father-- which process includes not only the conception of His life within, but all of the growing and development which brings us to full maturity in Christ. And then we have the next statement, Matthew 5:48, "Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."

    BE, and IS-- we are to BE what He already IS. No wonder it is qualified as a HIGH, HOLY, HEAVENLY calling! To share in His perfections, partakers of His divine nature, fully conformed to His image, that the expressions might be totally of HIS LIFE, redounding to His glory and praise.

    "The disciple is not above his master, nor the servant above his lord. It is enough for the disciple to be as his master, and the servant as his lord." [Matthew 10:24-25].

    Such oneness, this becoming AS He is! Fulfillment of the prayer, "That they all may be one; as Thou, Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may BE ONE IN US." [John 17:21]. There is no way that man can bring about such perfections, it is totally and sovereignly the handiwork of God.

    "Lord, Thou wilt ordain peace for us: for Thou also hast wrought all our work IN US." [Isaiah 26:12]. The Hebrew word "shalom" meaning: peace, is also the same root for the word completeness. Only HE can complete in us the work begun, until our state of being is perfect as He is perfect. Then the prophet goes on, (verse 13), "0 Lord our God, other lords beside thee have had dominion over us:" but none of these could ever work in us that which would change us-- all lesser realms come short of the glory of God.

    If man is your master, and you become as he is, you are still only a man. If an angel were to lord it over us, and we were to become as that angel, we still would be far short of the perfections of God. Only HE can ordain completeness for us, therefore the prophet concludes, "BY THEE ONLY will we make mention of Thy name."
    "The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me: Thy mercy, 0 Lord, endureth for ever: forsake not the work of Thine own hands." [Psalm 138:8].

    Yes, we are CALLED TO BE-- called to be saints, His set apart ones, set apart from the world, and set apart unto His glory. Called to BE perfect, because of His indwelling life. Called to "BE merciful, as your Father also is merciful." [Luke 6:36]. Called to show forth His love and grace to all. Filled with His peace, "to which also ye are called in one body; and BE ye thankful." [Colossians 3:15].
    What adoration and praise shall arise from hearts filled with thanksgiving, as He completes His work within, and we come into the maturity of that state of BEING to which we have been called.
     
  17. KenH

    KenH Well-Known Member

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    Helen,

    I know you are not accusing us Calvinists of saying that salvation is a "rape". You see, we all agree on the imperative to repent and believe - Calvinists and non-Calvinists alike. The only disagreement on this is whether the imperative by God, regeneration, must take place before the imperative by man, repenting and believing, or whether the imperative by man, repenting and believing, must take place before the imperative by God, regeneration.

    Ken
     
  18. Helen

    Helen <img src =/Helen2.gif>

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    NO, Ken, I am not accusing the Calvinist interpretation of saying that, only of trying to point out the idea that if it is not mutual between Christ and the believer then there is a forced issue involved, whether by design of the human (pre-programming) or whatever. Calvinists take the idea of the pre-programming to respond to God. That would make humans more robotic than anything else -- at least those who are considered elect.

    So no, there is a difference, certainly, but I disagree with both approaches which do not see men and women as being given the freedom to say yes or no.
     
  19. Helen

    Helen <img src =/Helen2.gif>

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    HI GH,

    I'm not going to take up the bandwidth by quoting your post, but I'll respond to it point by point as I go down it, OK?

    No, I have never 'fallen in love.' I don't believe it is something you can fall into. I have fallen into infatuation when I was a teenager, though! Love, however, is something I have chosen to do, not a feeling I feel. Lots of feelings involved, and not all of them are pleasant (one really does have to decide to get up three times a night to a restless baby! It's much easier to let them cry, especially if you can hardly hear them because your room is far enough away!). God DECIDED to sacrifice Himself for our sakes. He made the decision to create us as humans, capable of freedom of choice, and thus inevitably capable of rebellion against Him. Knowing the future entirely, I cannot imagine that He created us because we make Him feel good! How the Father felt when the Son was on the cross is beyond our comprehension, I am sure.

    Nor was I speaking about physical religious monuments, although they ARE monuments to man's DESIRE to be better than what he is. That is all entirely the wrong way, though, as you pointed out and I agree. The fact that they are wanting improvement does say something, though...

    I did disagree with your statement that we are to become as God is. This, to me, sounds too much like Mormonism. We are to be brought into maturity as part of His creation to be in the IMAGE of Him. We will reflect Him, but we will not BE like Him. If you want to think of it in terms of reflection, which analogy can go a ways here, it is as though we were cracked and distorted mirrors of Him now and that we are being fixed, bit by bit, by Him, so that we will reflect Him more and more accurately. I've never yet seen a mirror that could fix itself, by the way... [​IMG]

    [ November 17, 2002, 01:26 PM: Message edited by: Helen ]
     
  20. KenH

    KenH Well-Known Member

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    Helen,

    What is your take on the indicative and the imperative in soteriology?

    Ken
     
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