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Featured Does the Epistle to the Ephesians Prove the Reformed Are illogical & Unreason

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by JD731, May 25, 2024.

  1. JD731

    JD731 Well-Known Member

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    I would like to prove on this thread that it does.

    For starters, I say this letter was written by Paul to the Ephesian Church in the province of Asia where he spent a considerable amount of time and had much disputation with the Jews there. He wrote this letter in 60 AD and like all the epistles, it was written to explain the history and to reveal the mystery that is the New Testament church of Jesus Christ which was being formed at this time by both Jews and gentile members. This mystery has a God given name or title. It is the "mystery of Christ" which is the theme of the epistle and the one verse definition is in Eph 3:6.

    For some time frame references:

    Paul was converted in 37/38 AD
    The door of faith was opened to gentiles by Peter in Acts 10 in AD 40
    Paul received his apostolic commission in Acts 13:2 (42 AD?) along with Barnabas
    At the time and place Paul wrote this letter all but the letters to Timothy and Titus were written.
    God had been saving Jews for 30 years and gentiles for 20 years when this was written
    With Paul's final recorded sermon and appeal to the Jews in Acts 28 the church would take on a decidedly gentile character going forward because the gentiles would hear the gospel of Jesus Christ and the Jews would not.
    There is no Israel after 70 AD and the nation is dead and buried and time does not continue for them until their national resurrection by God himself.

    Ro 11:15 For if the casting away of them (Israel in context) be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?

    The Reformed need to answer the above question.

    If we could not go to the Acts of the apostles, the history of the beginning of the church, and read what has transpired between the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ until 60 AD, this epistle would be impossible to understand. But we have the book of Acts and we can read the history and there is no excuse for the ignorance that is displayed by those who call themselves Reformed Christians. I am at times amazed when I read their logic and reasoning from this epistle. One would expect better from educated people who say they are Christians.

    One must read the Acts, the history, to understand the epistles and one must read the epistles to understand what God is doing in the apostolic history era concerning advancing his cause and his gospel in the world.

    Ephesians seems to be devastating to the Reformed theology when properly understood by allowing the words to mean what they say and by not ignoring the context in which they are said.

    Are there any Reformed here who can discuss this epistle?
     
  2. Marooncat79

    Marooncat79 Well-Known Member
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    The answer is yes

    I believe exactly what Paul wrote in Ephesians chapter 1
     
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  3. JD731

    JD731 Well-Known Member

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    Do you believe Paul was addressing two distinct entities in his opening salutation to the Ephesians when he said these words?


    Ephesians 1:1
    Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:
     
  4. DaveXR650

    DaveXR650 Well-Known Member

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    JD. I think he was addressing two distinct entities, the saints who were at Ephesus, and everyone else who might read the letter later, like us today.
    If you read Romans 11:15 on through the end of the chapter you get a discussion of Israel being cast aside for the benefit of the gentiles and Paul's desire still, that some of his own kinsmen would be saved. There is talk of spiritual "blindness" being applied, which supports Reformed theology, and at the same time the promise that anyone who does respond, even Jews during the time of this blindness, will also be saved. And Reformed theologians like Owen were always careful to teach that aspect also.

    Maybe I'm missing something but I don't think there is any difference between Reformed and say IFB theology on the basics of salvation. Ephesians has some verses that the Reformed like to camp on, like Ephesians 2:8-9, about the origins of saving faith and so on but I don't know if that is really all that important.
     
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  5. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    How about a clear statement as to what the "Reformed" believe that is demonstrated illogical and unreasoned.

    Ephesians 3:6 "... , that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel,

    God temporarily hardened the hearts of disbelieving Jews to facilitate the spread of the gospel to the Gentiles. (Romans 11)

    Romans 11:15,For if their rejection proves to be the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?

    These verses indicate non-believing Jews were hardened, but later could be "moved to jealousy" and believe the gospel.

    Is the idea that Reformed believe in "Total Spiritual Inability" and therefore public ministry does not actual impact and alter the lives of those who accept the Good News. For example, there would be no need to "harden" the hearts of the unbelieving Jews as they would have no ability to accept the gospel because they have not spiritual ability?
     
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  6. JD731

    JD731 Well-Known Member

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    Where do you get that from the context of the epistle to the Ephesians?

    It is not reasonable to teach that God must blind someone he has never had any intention of giving light and sight. Reformed doctrine teaches a special elect class of sinners who alone were chosen before creation to be saved.All others were created dead, never to live, and their predestination is to populate Hell.

    The word respond is a verb. Verbs defines actions. The reformed teaches that men are dead like Lazarus in the tomb and dead men cannot do anything for their salvation. They must be given life to respond, as if being given life is not salvation. Taken to their ends the Reformed doctrines are foolishness.

    .

    DaveXR650, you need to go ahead and forsake this awful confusing Reformation religion. It is making you say foolish and silly things like above.


    I made the point in my op that Paul was addressing two distinct entities in this letter. Without going into any detail here he is addressing the second entity of his salutation in chapter 2: 8 and 9, the faithful in Christ Jesus. The pronouns and how he uses them in this chapter proves this, he being a member of the first entity, the saints.

    Why not look at the context without your dark Reformed glasses perched on your nose and you will be forced by language, logic, common sense, and reason to conclude what I have concluded.
     
  7. JD731

    JD731 Well-Known Member

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    The Jews when Jesus came were hardened by false religion and unbelief. It was perpetrated through her national leaders. This was the generation whose duty it was to recognize and accept their deliverer, the promised Messiah. The generation is 70 years (Psa 90:10).All prophecy would have been fulfilled in these 70 years had Israel received Jesus and he would have returned to rule but as it were, Israel was reckoned dead and was buried in the graveyard of the nations, and counted as gentiles. there is nothing left but to wait on the resurrection of the nation according to Eze 37/38. The church has taken on the nature of a gentile bride, keeping in context of the typology of the Jewish men of the OT who married gentile women.

    Since these rulers were under a curse of an unpardonable sin and God would not save them, he delayed the Kingdom Rest for 40 years just like he did in the days of Moses and for the same reason. You may read about it in He 3. God is consistent.

    Mt 1:1 The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
    Ac 8:33 In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.
    Mt 12:45 Then goeth he, and taketh with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first. Even so shall it be also unto this wicked generation.
    Ac 2:40 And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.
    1Pe 2:9 But ye (the strangers of 1 Pe 1:1) are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
     
  8. DaveXR650

    DaveXR650 Well-Known Member

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    I get it from the plain literal reading of the text itself. Those letters were circulated around for the benefit of everyone who read them.
    It's true that some branches of Calvinism teach that. I don't agree with that teaching so I would have to let one of those folks explain that. But I do think you are wrong to imagine a contradiction there because all the passage is doing is describing the the way that what they believe is happening.
    They do, and I do not believe that regeneration precedes faith. I do believe that there is some type of enlightening or quickening or awakening, describe it as you wish, that precedes faith and that is a work of the Holy Spirit. I believe it is more than just a moral persuasion too. Maybe I'm wrong but keep in mind that the Arminians believe that, as do Wesleyans, and most general Baptists.
     
  9. DaveXR650

    DaveXR650 Well-Known Member

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    You probably are right in the sense that once you get into the inner workings of how God goes about saving people we are probably getting into areas that we shouldn't be fooling with.

    Personally, I find an absolute impasse with Calvinism because there is a point you reach where there must be some kind of responsible choice involved in an individual's salvation, at least in my mind. And this is even more important. Even if you accept the fact that since we all start out as guilty, vile sinners who really do deserve hell, and God would be totally just in consigning all to hell, and therefore a decision to send most of the world to hell cannot be questioned - even if all that is true, do you really find in scripture, where the nature of God is revealed to us, that he really wants to do that? While you find both things taught, I would be really afraid to mischaracterize God himself and make a mistake here.

    But having said that, you guys always take things to the most extreme interpretation when judging Reformed theology. Yet, you can do that with any theology. Free will theology taken to it's extreme leaves God with no way to really accomplish the things that he clearly said he would accomplish. Instead he is constantly bound and waiting on our next, random move, that he then has to react to. Even the idea of praying for someone's salvation is silly because by definition you are asking God to manipulate their free will, which you claim is sovereign.
     
  10. Marooncat79

    Marooncat79 Well-Known Member
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    The natural man understands not the things of God
     
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  11. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    Sorry but I did not see where you addressed my question in my post.
    Is the idea that Reformed believe in "Total Spiritual Inability" and therefore public ministry does not actually impact and alter the lives of those who accept the Good News. For example, there would be no need to "harden" the hearts of the unbelieving Jews as they would have no ability to accept the gospel because they have not spiritual ability?​
     
    #11 Van, May 27, 2024
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  12. JD731

    JD731 Well-Known Member

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    Consider this;

    Rom 9:17
    17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.
    18 Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
    19 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?
    20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?
    21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
    22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
    23 And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,
    24 Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?


    Would you make the argument that God created Pharoah for the purpose stated? He did not say he created Pharoah for that purpose, he said he raised him up for that purpose. Obviously he is saying he managed the circumstances so that Pharoah would be KIng over Egypt in order to accomplish a purpose that was needful for God as he advanced his plan for Israel and established his typeology for future generations that they might learn the ways of God. God who knows all things knew how this man would respond and it would be interesting how God worked in his life to bring him into this position at just this time. God knowing how a man will act in certain situations is not the same as him sovereignly making him do it. Ultimately though, it was Pharoah who made the decisions to act in the manner he acted toward God and Israel and it was he who reaped the consequences for his actions.

    Now, when praying for someone to be saved, we are asking God to put circumstances and people in their lives that may not naturally occur that will force them to consider their eternity and the claims of the gospel. Maybe a sharp piece of metal will fall off the garbage truck and the person you are praying for runs over it and busts a tire. Then the service man is called, who is a faithful Christian, comes out to help and passes off a tract and and gives a witness while he is there. Maybe the metal would not have fallen off the truck if you had not prayed. This is called providence.

    A man cannot sin unless he acts in sovereignty because that is the definition of sin. Where there is no law there is no transgression. Thus sayeth the scriptures in Romans 5.
     
  13. DaveXR650

    DaveXR650 Well-Known Member

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    I don't see any real difference. Pharoah was probably there by heredity. And if so he was created for that position. Would he have been guilty of such obstinate sin had he just been born a servant? Who knows.
    Exodus 4:21 explicitly has God hardening Pharoah's heart which to me makes it hard to get around the aspect of Pharoah's will being in God's hands. I'm not saying he wasn't naturally a cantankerous pain already but the verse is there. I don't think God made Pharoah do anything more evil than he already was inclined to do but you still have that verse.
    I agree with that 100%. But you have to keep in mind that in the above case with Pharoah, all kinds of circumstances were manipulated to change Pharoah but to no avail. Eventually when he did finally let them go his heart wasn't changed and he went after the Israelites. I don't disagree with you here but I am still not sure whether circumstances and things like that are all that God uses. I think there is evidence that direct enlightening is also in play. Many non Calvinists believe this too and my only complaint is to those who have such a high view our our free will that they are afraid of any hint that God might act directly upon it. When, for me, I think our free will is our problem in the first place. That it is possible to resist God's grace to the point where he judicially withdraws I fully believe. Calvinists preach that but deny it in the confessions for the most part.
     
  14. Van

    Van Well-Known Member
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    "A man cannot sin unless he acts in sovereignty because that is the definition of sin"

    LOL, what an absurd unbiblical bit of nonsense!!!

    A man cannot sin unless God allows humanity to sin. That is a valid statement.


    Is the idea that Reformed believe in "Total Spiritual Inability" and therefore public ministry does not actually impact and alter the lives of those who accept the Good News. For example, there would be no need to "harden" the hearts of the unbelieving Jews as they would have no ability to accept the gospel because they have not spiritual ability?​
     
  15. Dave G

    Dave G Well-Known Member

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    I'm not "Reformed", but I do agree with them on how God saves a person...
    So, I'll answer it if that's permitted.

    The question asked is, " For if the casting away of Israel is the reconciling of the world ( see 2 Corinthians 5:19 for more ), what shall the receiving of them be?"
    JD, the answer is given in the text:

    " Life from the dead".
     
    #15 Dave G, May 28, 2024
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  16. Dave G

    Dave G Well-Known Member

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    By God's grace I understood the whole of the epistle, without ever having had to read the Book of Acts.
    In fact, I remember being given the passage below ( among 2 others ) to look up for myself some 20 years ago now, and didn't need any context to understand what it said, even at that early date in my growth as a believer:

    " Blessed [be] the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly [places] in Christ:
    according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
    having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
    to the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.
    in whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;"
    ( Ephesians 1:3-7 ).

    But having read the book of Acts also many years ago now ( and still do in my regular studies ), I recognize that there are vital things that God wanted me to know both from it and the epistles.
    So I do agree with you that much of God's word does not function alone, nor does it make any sense without the context...

    But to say that arriving at an understanding of the epistle to the Ephesians is impossible, without knowing the contents of the book of Acts?
    I cannot agree.
     
    #16 Dave G, May 28, 2024
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  17. Dave G

    Dave G Well-Known Member

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    Having grown up in IB and IFB circles ( since I heard the word of God during the preaching if His word at 12 years old in 1978 ), and having attended those churches for some 28 years of my now 46 years as a believer, I can say that there's quite a bit that's different between the two, Dave...
    Especially with regard to how they view the salvation of sinners.

    Here's some of what I know:

    Reformed ( and some others ) view salvation as entirely a work of God, start to finish.
    God, with no input whatsoever from men, saves whom He wishes, and God keeps those He saves for an everlasting relationship with Him and His Son.

    IB's / IFB's ( with very few exceptions ) view salvation as a cooperative effort between God and men.
    God essentially extends an invitation, and waits for men to take Him up on His offer of grace.

    He saves and keeps those who accept His offer.


    Reformed ( and some Baptists as well as some others ) believe that Christ died only for His elect ( alive, dead, or not yet born ), those that were chosen in Christ from the foundation of the world.

    IB's / IFB's believe that Christ died for every man, woman and child that ever lived and ever will live.


    In effect, the "Reformed" ( and those who are close to their beliefs ) agree with the "Calvinist" side of the chart in the link below, while most IB's and almost all IFB's agree with all but the last point on the "Arminian" side of it.

    Calvinism & Arminianism: comparison table
     
    #17 Dave G, May 28, 2024
    Last edited: May 28, 2024
  18. JD731

    JD731 Well-Known Member

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    Think Dave G. Why did I ask the Reformed specifically to answer the question? I cannot imagine a Reformed believer agreeing that the whole world can be reconciled while they hold on to a doctrine called "limited atonement," can you? Romans 5 and 2 Cor 5 both make the case that the world is reconciled to God by the death of his Son, who is Jesus Christ. Why don't they believe the scriptures there? I can imagine one of them having an answer, maybe something like your smug answer and pass it off with a big full face grin like he is the smartest fellow in the room and in the next breath say that God only saves the predestinated and that is just a few of many. What kind of logic would that be? Aren't you tired of these fellows thinking every one is as dumb as they are and never think? I say think! Think! Think!
     
  19. JD731

    JD731 Well-Known Member

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  20. DaveXR650

    DaveXR650 Well-Known Member

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    I think that you posted a fair and accurate description of the differences, especially when focusing on the underlying theology. I was thinking more just at the level of the individual non theology minded person's experience who gets saved. What I was thinking was that at that level, if it is true that you are saved completely as a work of God your first perception will be of believing and repenting of your sins, even though it is a result of you already being regenerated. If you are an IFB and hear preaching and come under conviction and realize your lostness, and need of Christ and in your mind at least decide to come to Christ, thinking that you made the decision and now have been born again - the perception in the mind of the person and what they did is the same.

    What got me thinking about this was that I read a lot of sermons and pamphlets from Puritans, most of whom were staunch Calvinists and I keep finding sermons where they basically say "Christ has died, the invitation has gone out, everything is ready, and the only thing lacking is your consent". It sounds to me like my IFB days also. But it's just an observation, not intended as a point of argument. I am seeing a lot of mixing and hybridization of these doctrines in churches in recent years.
     
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