In the wake of Rick’s post about the error of the doctrine of limited atonement Mike Ratliff responds. The most interesting thing about his response is that, rather than exegete scripture, he posts a Spurgeon sermon.

Chris’ article about the failures of systematic theology are evident here. At some point the system takes over as authoritative. Every bit of scriptures is hammered until it fits the system, and individuals are measured against the system. The result is that if the systematic theology is flawed there’s no way to reform it as scripture is twisted to fit it, and individuals who disagree are labeled apostates, heretics, and hell bound.

Check out the comment by Paul on that post:

BTW, we read the sermon by Spurgeon and it is GREAT! There are a few that commented that need to read it word for word,slowly,and let it soak in.

He might as well have said, “turn in your Bibles to the 1st book of Spurgeon, 2nd chapter, 3rd verse.”

Every few generations there’s a “back to the Bible” movement. Calvinism, Lutheranism, Methodism, the Restoration Movement and many others started that way, then at some point tradition takes over as authoritative and in the next generation we start all over again. Today many of the independent evangelical churches that have started, as well as the e/e movements are breaking away from churches that have made their systematic theology authoritative. The real irony is that in the modern day reformation playing out the watchdoggies are playing the role of the Catholic church, and the people they despise are playing the role of Calvin, and Luther. Sort of makes you wonder if C?N was around in 1546 what names they would have called Luther (the odds seem to favor “Hollow man of the reformation”).

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81 Comments(+Add)

1   Tyler    http://tearingbooksapart.blogspot.com
September 21st, 2007 at 11:01 am

Ouch. As convicting as this post is to my own reliance on systematics, it’s also a good idea to point out that sometimes others have said it better than you can. I’m sure you’ve all done the same at one time or another.

Mike responds “second-hand,” instead of exegeting it himself, he directs one to another who also exegetes it, because, despite his reliance on the TULIP acronym in his original post on Election, he does open up to Romans 9. It’s not like his entire post amounts to “Geneva locuta est. Causa finita est.” Honestly.

2   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
September 21st, 2007 at 11:13 am

And two of the most troubling sentences are these:

“The lie says that we must always acknowledge that our doctrinal positions such as the doctrines of grace may be wrong. ”

and

“Therefore, when we write about and defend them we must do so with the hope that God will open the hearts of those in darkness who attack and deride and seek to discourage us.”

Even the suggestion that their “doctrines of grace” may be wrong is a lie.

And those who do not believe them are in darkness.

See, they use salvation terms to define doctrinal enlightenment. And Mike is one of the more humble Calvinists, some are even more sure. I may be wrong as an “Amrminian”, but I can only present what I believe. What is most disconcerting is thet many who subscribe to the “doctrines of grace” say they can never be wrong. Wow, and we wonder what spawned the emergent movement…

3   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
September 21st, 2007 at 11:13 am

Tyler,
I appreciate that point, and if this were more than a blog entry I probably would have presented a more balanced view of using “2nd hand exegesis”.

That being said I believe this is one example in a continuous trend among the watchdoggies. At some point you need to stop relying on 2nd hand analysis. And that includes allowing it to color your own view of the scriptures. Take a look at Sherry’s comment in the “Systematic Theology Leads to Failure” thread where she suggests that “all” doesn’t always mean “all”. The fact is that there are many scriptures that refers to God’s love is for the world, and that he wishes that none should perish. When verses like that are twisted and mashed to fit TULIP then I think we have an example where the system has become greater than the scriptures.

4   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
September 21st, 2007 at 11:16 am

Also, Tyler, I don’t exclude my own non-denomination denomination from falling into this. There have been times where our traditions have been allowed to circumvent scripture.

There’s always a danger that a church’s tradition will become an idol. After all, is there anything humanity can’t turn into an idol? Even the Bible itself has replaced God at times.

5   Julie    http://www.loneprairie.net/lp_blog/blog.htm
September 21st, 2007 at 11:17 am

Reformation only counts if it is at least a couple hundred of years old and we are well removed with rose-colored hindsight. And has an overweight beer-drinking preacher tied to it.

Only that reformation counts.

6   Timothy Bell    
September 21st, 2007 at 12:01 pm

To state that TULIP or Calvinistic systematic theology is being idolized by Reformed people such as myself is a cowardly way of using a Strawman tactic by people such as yourself, Mr. Tim Reed. Hey, I stated in another posting here that such are BASED on Scriptures and are not Scriptures itself. You are side-stepping the issue itself, which is “WHAT DOES THE SCRIPTURES SAY???” There is absolute truth and it’s apparent YOU CAN’T HANDLE IT!!! The Bible is God’s Word and you seem to be making a ultra-moronic statement that to study and examine the Word is to idolize it? If that is what you are saying, you speak with a forked tongue.

7   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
September 21st, 2007 at 12:06 pm

Hey there T-Bell. Unhinged much?

I doubt we can have any kind of serious conversation when you’re so obviously antagonistic. I’ve stated before that watchdoggies have no ability to understand anyone who isn’t also a watchdoggie, and you seem to be an exhibit of that here.

Perhaps after you calm down and drop the name calling we can have a conversation, until then feel free to abuse our commenting system and rant at me as much as you want. Just remember, that’s something you don’t get to do on watchdoggie sites.

8   Timothy Bell    
September 21st, 2007 at 12:11 pm

A serious conversation is never possible with you in any case. What possibility or ability do you have to know the truth? It is apparent from the thousands of posting since this blog began.

Again, answer the question, are you saying that studying and examining God’s Word is to idolize the Bible?

9   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
September 21st, 2007 at 12:17 pm

You asked a good question, Tim. We have minimized the parameters of doctrine. Not much discussion of the doctrine of gentleness or forbearance or esteeming others or things like that. Doctrine is just teaching what we believe the Bible is saying, but there must be some that are core and some that we can debate strongly without implying that the others are in darkness. Right?

10   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
September 21st, 2007 at 12:19 pm

T-Bell,
Where did I imply that at all?

11   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
September 21st, 2007 at 12:24 pm

So… what if you really do not care what Spurgeon has to say on the topic… he was a mere man and not infallible?

It seems that this is consistent to those of this persuasion… instead of turning to God’s Word; they turn to a man (tickling itching ears?) to prove their point.

Now I agree with Tyler that even I have probably done this… yet I rarely do so without scripture also… or that I have already or will back it with God’s Word.

That is the danger of submitting to a “system” instead of God. One then listens to men that they agree with only… and then forsake God’s word.

The statement is profoundly damning to those who even question “Calvin’s” doctrines of Grace… the issue is I know of no one outside the Calvinist camp say those that are truly teaching “works salvation” who disagree with the Bibles teaching of Grace.

So even to question is damning… which also leads them to be antagonistic against those of us who do question and dig deeper into our faith.

It seems, that to hold to the Calvinist view, stunts ones spiritual growth… that is just an observation.

Now, there are some that I have talked to that when I ask questions concerning what the Bible states in light of TULIP, seem to begin to fudge… RC Sproul changed “total depravity” to “Radical Depravity”, and on the CRN recommended White Horse Inn download, they went on and on about how man has NO free will… even saying man has NO will at all… yet other Calvinists state that man has a will but it is in bondage. So within the same camp there is no consistency.

Again, no one here that I know of is questioning the biblical doctrines of Grace, only Calvin’s teachings of those doctrines. I fear for those who check their own minds in and only seem to let others think for them… we are to have the Mind of Christ… not the Mind of Spurgeon…

Be blessed,
iggy

12   chris    http://agendalesslove.wordpress.com
September 21st, 2007 at 12:34 pm

Hopefully not a thread hi-jack…I would like to ask for prayer.

I’m taking my middle school group on retreat this weekend. Several ADHD kids. Please pray that the fruits of the spirit would be in abundance. Also that our discussions would be beneficial for those “non-knowing elected” :)

Thanks everyone! As I say to my students MAD LOVE YO!

13   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
September 21st, 2007 at 12:38 pm

Praying Chris.

Also T-Bell, perhaps it was lost on you but this entire post was meant to communicate that scripture should be authoritative and not systematic theologies. And yet the message you took away is that I think studying scripture is bad. Like I said, watchdoggies can’t understand anyone who isn’t a watchdoggie.

14   Timothy Bell    
September 21st, 2007 at 12:42 pm

Thank you, Rick, for your comment about that I asked a good question. And I agree that doctrine is merely teaching what we believe the Bible is saying. But I haven’t heard of the “doctrine” of gentleness and esteeming others. When we are accused of idolizing TULIP or certain doctrines when it should be apparent that we recognize these are only tools to understanding God’s Word, is it any wonder that strong or harsh words come back? I don’t think it is always wrong to do so. If you howl at a gentlemanly back-handed slap, I might as well give you a full-hand open palm drop-you-to-the-floor one!

I consider the doctrines espoused by the TULIP to be core, along with the Gospel itself. Debatable ones would be those of eschatology, infant baptism/dedication, and uh, I can’t think of any more right now.

15   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
September 21st, 2007 at 12:54 pm

Timothy Bell,

But I haven’t heard of the “doctrine” of gentleness and esteeming others

.

On esteeming others:

Philippians 2:3

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.

Romans 14:19

Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.

Ephesians 5:21

Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

On gentleness:

Philippians 4:5

Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.

Colossians 3:12

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.

1 Timothy 6:11
But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness

1 Peter 3:14-16
But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be frightened.” But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience, so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander.

At least as far as these being taught as “doctrine” that is what I find in scripture…

That is what I mean that we need to turn to Scripture for our doctrine…

Be Blessed,
iggy

16   Timothy Bell    
September 21st, 2007 at 12:57 pm

Tim, you made the statement at 11:16am “After all, is there anything humanity can’t turn into an idol? Even the Bible itself has replaced God at times.” That is where I got the impression that you considered reading and studying the Bible was idolatry because others in the Emergent movement made same accusations. If that wasn’t your intention then I apologize.

17   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
September 21st, 2007 at 1:02 pm

Tim B,

That is where I got the impression that you considered reading and studying the Bible was idolatry because others in the Emergent movement made same accusations.

HUH!? WHAT!? WHO!?

Back up this statement or retract it name one person who has stated “reading and studying the Bible was idolatry”.

This is the sort of lies I rant agaisnt… produce a quote or stop spreading the lie.

Be Blessed,
iggy

18   Timothy Bell    
September 21st, 2007 at 1:16 pm

Iggy, I couldn’t agree with you more that Scripture should be the basis of our doctrine. Thanks for those verses on esteeming others. But some others need somethin’ strooonger!

So what do you think about those who respond “We are not robots?” to the question of predestination? They didn’t respond with Scripture. I was really floored with an answer that Jesus himself was subjected to freewill/predestination because otherwise what was the 40 days in the wilderness to be tempted by Satan all about? Somehow that gives credence to the freewill side of the question in that person’s eyes. (Obviously, Jesus was God himself and did not have the sinful nature in him…..otherwise, what was the point of the virgin birth? Therefore, Jesus wasn’t subjected to the freewill/predestination issue.)

19   Timothy Bell    
September 21st, 2007 at 1:20 pm

Iggy,

***HUH? WHAT?? WHO??***

Well, doggone it, I’ll have to write their names down next time.

20   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
September 21st, 2007 at 1:27 pm

Timothy B,

How do you interpret Jesus; own prayer?

Luke 22:42

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but yours be done.”

It seems that in your wanting to express the deity of Jesus, you are negating that he was a man… he was God incarnate… God in Flesh.

Also, remember in Hebrews 5 we are taught:

7During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.

Jesus was God… we agree, yet he was also man… and in that though he He was perfect… it was not tested perfection until he “learned obedience unto death” “out of his reverent submission.”

So even though Jesus was God we find He “learned obedience” and prayed to the Father to the One who could save Him from death. In the end, he prays… “Not My will be done, but Yours.”

Be blessed,
iggy

21   nate    
September 21st, 2007 at 2:02 pm

So even though Jesus was God we find He “learned obedience” and prayed to the Father to the One who could save Him from death. In the end, he prays… “Not My will be done, but Yours.”

Mysterious. And that’s ok :-)

The embrace of mystery ends after the Trinity. Past that, we can understand anything about God.

Mystery — it’s only ok to embrace it when we say so :-D

22   Timothy Bell    
September 21st, 2007 at 2:10 pm

Jesus was our “2nd Adam” and like Adam, before the Fall, Jesus was without a sinful nature. Scriptures say that Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. (Hebrews 13:8)

2 Corinthians 5:21, “He [God] made Him [Jesus] who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteouness of God in Him” While Jesus was fully human, He was also fully God and God doesn’t sin.

It is not evident to me that Hebrews 5:7-10 is indicating that He had a sinful nature.

23   nate    
September 21st, 2007 at 2:24 pm

Timothy,
So did the first Adam have free will to sin or not sin? If so, then doesn’t that deny God’s sovereignty? If you’re trying to tie our lack of free will to choose correctly to our sin nature, then what do you do with the First Adam, pre-fall?

24   Timothy Bell    
September 21st, 2007 at 2:49 pm

I do believe that God allowed sin to enter into the Garden and Adam had no say in the matter. I believe in God’s sovereignity in Adam’s fall.

But Jesus was a better Adam for he was fully God too, for he had no choice too, for God doesn’t sin.

25   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
September 21st, 2007 at 3:02 pm

Tim – Jesus was the “last” Adam, the word “second” might suppose more.

26   Timothy Bell    
September 21st, 2007 at 3:05 pm

Rick- Oh, okay. I heard it both ways.

27   nate    
September 21st, 2007 at 3:12 pm

So did God “allow” sin, “ordain” it, or “cause” it?

28   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
September 21st, 2007 at 3:24 pm

Timothy B…

It is not evident to me that Hebrews 5:7-10 is indicating that He had a sinful nature.

Does one have to sin in oreder to have a “free will”? In deed we are more free now… as we are free to do what is right.

I think that is the core misunderstanding… Adam was free and innocent… then fell into sin… and though “free” was in bondage to death.

I am not sure how you connect free will with only sinning… can you unpack that as i see the scripture teaching otherwise.

be blessed,
iggy

29   Timothy Bell    
September 21st, 2007 at 3:47 pm

Nate, I believe it was God’s will that Adam sinned. To what extent did God make that happen? I don’t know.

30   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
September 21st, 2007 at 4:14 pm

If you believe that God has orchestrated everything in His own will and sovereignty, and if you still believe God is overseeing everything in His own will and sovereignty, and if God’s total sovereignty is your complete systematic theology, why does any one get all upset about anything? That just exposes your lack of trust in the sovereingty you say you rest in.

I can understand an Arminian rebuking and confronting and standing in the gap, but if you are trusting in God’s sovereignty without fear of man’s will doing anything, then THERE IS NO GAP! What gap, a gap in God’s sovereignty? Relax, it’s all going to work out.

But I happen to believe there is eternal consequences at stake. I’ll never understand the hand wringing and even the interest in opposing views and blogs, why do people care if God is in control, He doesn’t need you to help Him. The plan is in place, enjoy the ride. If I am wrong, so what, is that going to change anything in your theology? And according to that theology I cannot see unless God has opened my darkened eyes, so what good does it do to defend God’s truth especially in light of someone like me?

I have a view, you have a view, let’s move on.org.

31   Zan    
September 21st, 2007 at 5:00 pm

Tim B,

My jaw is on the floor at this comment: “I believe it was God’s will that Adam sinned.” That goes directly against what the bible says about the very nature of God. He despises sin. He desires not one to perish. Honestly…I really am asking earnestly…have you done a study on the nature, the attributes of God?

God DID allow sin in the garden in the form of the serpent, Satan. That doesn’t mean that He caused Adam and Eve to partake in/commit sin.

The other issue is with the idea that Jesus had no choice in the desert. If He was not capable of sinning, then he could not be tempted. It would then follow that He is not as Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin.” This idea that He had no choice but to be obedient cheapens the humility and righteousness of our Lord, Jesus. He chose to humble himself, took on the nature of a servant, became sin for us all, and died on the cross.

One of the most poignant visions of Christ is the idea that he chose…he made the conscious, determined choice to stay on that cross for me, for you, and for every person on earth in the hopes that they would choose to love Him in return so we can spend eternity with Him.

Zan

32   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
September 21st, 2007 at 5:05 pm

Zan,

that is called double speak… the same people that claim God’s wrath is on everyone who disagrees with them… then state God willed Adam to sin!

Now, how can a God that hates sin will someone to sin… have they not read James 1: 13-14?

When tempted, no one should say, “God is tempting me.” For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone; but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.

Yet if it is God who will all things to happen as Calvinist asserts then even our very own temptation is of God… and we are being tempted by evil from God… they contradict scripture.

Now the Bible states God’s plan of salvation was foreknown before Creation and in that God knew man would fall… but to say God willed it… insults the character of God.

Be blessed,
iggy

33   Timothy Bell    
September 21st, 2007 at 5:22 pm

Also, remember in Hebrews 5 we are taught:

7During the days of Jesus’ life on earth, he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death, and he was heard because of his reverent submission. 8Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him 10and was designated by God to be high priest in the order of Melchizedek.

Jesus was God… we agree, yet he was also man… and in that though he He was perfect… it was not tested perfection until he “learned obedience unto death” “out of his reverent submission.”

Let’s go back to that verse in Hebrews that you put forth as dealing with whether Jesus had a sin nature or not. You bolded the phrase “he [Jesus] learned obedience” and “Once made perfect.” Jesus was growing up, maturing in the faith, learning obedience. Are you saying that Jesus, before he learned obedience and was made perfect, had a sin nature? Was He disobedient and not perfect before and therefore that indicates He had a sinful nature? I’m trying to understand why you put forth these verses as in someway proving, or using a less strong word, indicating Jesus had a sinful nature? I don’t see that.

I am not sure how you connect free will with only sinning… can you unpack that as i see the scripture teaching otherwise.

Okay, can you list the scriptures so we can discuss them?

34   Timothy Bell    
September 21st, 2007 at 5:27 pm

Well, Rick, as long as wrong views keep being taught in churches spreading rot, then we keep battling it out. Yes, eternal consequences are at stake. If you guys only keep your views to yourself and not spreading it around in churches and in blogs, why, we wouldn’t be “wringing” our hands over this. It’s that simple.

35   Timothy Bell    
September 21st, 2007 at 5:42 pm

Zan, God hardened the heart of Pharaoh so that Pharaoh sinned against His people. Did Pharaoh have a choice? No.

Did God in heaven wring His hands, hoping mightily that Jesus would do the right thing? Jesus felt the temptation being fully human, He knows the trouble and strife we face in this life but that doesn’t mean that He had a sinful nature. He was also God! God cannot co-exist with sin! Jesus did not die for Himself but for the elect. Heaven did not hold it’s collective breath hoping Jesus wouldn’t sin. It was all foreordained Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection.

36   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
September 21st, 2007 at 5:46 pm

Timothy B,

I keep stating that I am not saying Jesus had a sin nature and do not see where you get I am saying that…. where have I stated this?

Jesus was fully human, yet born of Heaven… He was born fully alive. Again as stated at least twice, how do YOU conclude that having a free will means having a sin nature?
That to me is a logical leap…

Be Blessed,
iggy

37   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
September 21st, 2007 at 5:48 pm

T-Bell,
Can’t you see the contradictions created by your systematic theology? You demonstrated it in your back to back comments

Well, Rick, as long as wrong views keep being taught in churches spreading rot, then we keep battling it out. Yes, eternal consequences are at stake.

And:

Did God in heaven wring His hands, hoping mightily that Jesus would do the right thing?

Is God in heaven wringing his hands hoping mightily the “battle” you are fighting ends up going the right way?

On the one hand you tell us that God is so sovereign that there is no actual choices to be made. God has chosen certain people, and that’s that. On the other hand you tell us that the choices we make matter and have eternal consequences.

38   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
September 21st, 2007 at 5:48 pm

If it was God’s will that Adam sinned, it’s God’s will that all of us sin. And I Jn. says just the opposite. This is where Calvinists attempt to define a mystery to fit in their systematic theology.

39   Chris P.    http://jeremiahsquestion.bloghspot.com
September 21st, 2007 at 5:49 pm

Here’s a good discussion re: the issue of sin, Adam, and God’s sovereignty;
http://dead-theologians.blogspot.com/2007/09/sin.html

Rick you are right. God doesn’t need anyone to do anything for Him. Consider Uzzah. God requires obedience. he gave a task to the apostles and prophets. They deliver the Word. The outcome is not the responsibility of men. The prevailing attitude in the post-modern “church” is somehow the salvation of others hinges on us. It does not, and it never will.

Acts 2:47b
And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

40   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
September 21st, 2007 at 5:51 pm

OK, Zan. I am re-examining the concept that Jesus had a human nature, not just a human body. I’ve posted twice about this, I am now still unsure. As soon as I’m sure I will immediately condemn you.

Watch for it!

41   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
September 21st, 2007 at 6:01 pm

Ah Chris P shows up for his drive by comment. Note the previous verse in Acts 2:37-38:

37 Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”

And of course Peter’s response was, “you don’t do anything, God hasn’t elected you and you’re all going to hell”.

42   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
September 21st, 2007 at 6:09 pm

Jesus had two natures and that was fully human (Romans 1:3) and … in that though he was born of heaven. Yet also He was “…in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” Philippians 2:6-7

This was what split the Western church from the Eastern Church as the Eastern church taught Jesus had the view of Jesus two natures as joined… which seems more scriptural to me… and the western saw them as separate thus the God-man…

I see that the divine nature was that Jesus was as taught in 1 Cor 15:45-49

So it is written: “The first man Adam became a living being” ; the last Adam, a life-giving spirit. The spiritual did not come first, but the natural, and after that the spiritual. The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven.
As was the earthly man, so are those who are of the earth; and as is the man from heaven, so also are those who are of heaven. And just as we have borne the likeness of the earthly man, so shall we bear the likeness of the man from heaven.

All Life comes from God… here I see that it is that Jesus was born “a life-giving spirit” and of the Holy Spirit that here He had a ” divine nature” and that He was of Flesh… Jesus was of Human nature.

Now I see this… that the two natures became One in Christ… the only truly immortal Human and prototype (first-fruit) of the New Creation.

It is not a “mixing” but a all New Thing altogether.

Behold i make all things new!

Be Blessed,
iggy

43   Tyler    http://tearingbooksapart.blogspot.com
September 21st, 2007 at 6:50 pm

Hey Tim. Although I do affirm the Doctrines of (Particular) Grace, I’m embarrassed by the actions of CRN guys because, as you pointed out, they use salvation terms to describe doctrinal enlightenment, which pretty much ignore Sola Fide. Are we saved by Faith or by Doctrinal rigour? As N.T. Wright says, “The doctrine of justification is in fact the great ecumenical doctrine.” I really do think that Biblically-Faithful Arminians preach the Gospel, although I think that most of the controversy is about Semantics more than anything. So long as you don’t slide into Open Theology (like Clark Pinnock, Greg Boyd, etc) or Universalism, it is the Gospel. Election and Definite Atonement will never make sense until they are seen in light of our Inability.

Given that I don’t consider Calvinism vs. Arminianism to be a fellowship issue (we’re all on the same team, we’re all orthodox here), it pains me to have these doctrines driven down as spikes in anti-ODM sites like this, although it was the ODMs that “started it.” I believe wholeheartedly in “Limited” Atonement and Unconditional Election, yet I find division tactics in ODM sites over this issue repulsive. There must be a “third way” then to just draw a line in the sand with “Calvinists over there at CRN.com, Arminians on this side at CRN.info.” There must be a better way.

That said, although I dislike arguing over these doctrines (especially over the web), for the sake of dialogue, there are times when “all” does not mean “all.”

In Mk 1.5, “all Judaea” is said to have been baptized by John. Hardly everyone, such as the Pharisees, Zealots, Sadducees were baptized by John. The actual number that was baptized by John was probably but a very small fraction of the total population. It’s hardly a systematic oversight, but it’s something to think about.

But keep in mind I affirm your reading of John 3.16 also – world probably means…world there. The question isn’t world; the question is “whosoever believes.” Whosoever believes is saved, period. No qualification, to quote JPiper. Speaking of JPiper, if you’re at all interested in how I was convinced of the third petal, check out part2 of JPiper’s evening sermon at the 2004 Reformission conference. He gets right into the “Covenant Effectiveness of the Cross” at the start of the linked mp3. It’s fantastic exposition of scripture, in my estimation. Agree or Disagree with it; whatever. JPiper isn’t in good favour with the ODMs ever since he said “God sometimes has to kick our ass” once in a sermon. It didn’t go over well.

As for me, here is my best understanding of Limited Atonement:
(The Other) Limited Atonement
The Difference Between Being Healed and Being Made Whole

Peace Bru

44   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
September 21st, 2007 at 7:01 pm

Tyler – a very good and substantive addition to the discussion. We are at different views but worship the same Savior. I would not take offense to your boldly promoting your views, even finding fault with mine. And I would hope you would see my views in the same light.

If your view turns out in eternity to be correct then I will have been found to have espoused heresy, and vice versa. But I will never say you are in darkness or that I must never admit I could be wrong or as you noted define my coming to my views in salvation terminology. We are brothers in Christ who are genuinely pursuing Him.

Thank you, brother.

45   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
September 21st, 2007 at 7:05 pm

Tyler,

Given that I don’t consider Calvinism vs. Arminianism to be a fellowship issue (we’re all on the same team, we’re all orthodox here), it pains me to have these doctrines driven down as spikes in anti-ODM sites like this, although it was the ODMs that “started it.” I believe wholeheartedly in “Limited” Atonement and Unconditional Election, yet I find division tactics in ODM sites over this issue repulsive. There must be a “third way” then to just draw a line in the sand with “Calvinists over there at CRN.com, Arminians on this side at CRN.info.” There must be a better way.

To be fair, that is the dominant view here (including mine), and we do have at least one Reformed writer here (maybe more).

46   Mike Ratliff    http://http:mikeratlff.wordpress.com
September 21st, 2007 at 7:32 pm

All,

Why do I feel as if I have been tried, convicted and executed in absentia? I had no idea that I was supposed to respond to anything that “Rick” wrote. I do work for a living and I had a Bible Study last night that lasted until after 9pm. Today some friends told me to come over here and read what you guys are saying about me and what I wrote. I see that some were accusing me of being wrong about posting the piece on Spurgeon’s sermon. What? Why? I did it before I even knew of what was going on here. I also noticed that some of you are declaring Spurgeon irrelevant. Well, he was a servant of the Lord not our Messiah or anything like that, however, I would be careful making statements like that about someone who did far more for the Kingdom of God than all us put together and then some.

That being said. I also see no reason to write a new post addressing Rick’s post that addressed a post that I haven’t even written yet. So far, I have posted Total Depravity and Unconditional Election. I will post on Limited Atonement this weekend followed by Irresistible Grace and Perseverance of the Saints. You are welcome to comment on my blog, but I reserve the right to enforce the rules. :-)

In Christ

Mike Ratliff

47   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
September 21st, 2007 at 7:52 pm

Mike – I said nothing about you, I did quote two of your sentences that I thought were over the top. I have no problem with you or anybody else thinking Arminianism is heresy, I do have a problem with your assertion that people like me are in darkness.

I will say it again, although I feel strongly that the Bible teaches the Arminian position, I could be wrong. Can you make the same statement? The only thing I am eternally sure about is the Jesus is the only Savior and the only way to heaven, everything else I would not place my eternal salvation upon. And I have never questioned anyone’s salvation based on their reformed views.

I did write my post in anticipation of the “L” in tulip, not that I’m a prophet – I just can spell. It is how I feel and will not be offended if you or anyone else takes strong issue with it. I am sure I made some of the writers here a little uncomfortable with the post (It was never screened in any way) and even changed the “H” word in the intro, but I was allowed to post it anyway. I appreciate the parameters that are afforded me here.

48   Mike Ratliff    http://mikeratlff.wordpress.com
September 21st, 2007 at 8:15 pm

Rick,

The reason I reject the Arminian position is that it is nothing more than Synergism. I believe the Bible does NOT teach that Synergism has any part in Salvation. It does in our Sanctification, but not our Salvation. Therefore, when I see things in the Bible that are about Salvation such as, “Whosover will…” I know that that is talking about the free offer of the Gospel not the Effectual call to the Elect which is Irresistible. How can I be so sure? John 6 and Romans 8 & 9 and Ephesians 1. What I am saying is if you object to what these passages tell us then the burden of proof is in your court to show that these passages do not mean what we have exegeted. To come up with a passage like “Whosoever will” does not cancel out these passages. To use other passages that say something different is not proper exegesis. To refute what we say about them you must show us where we have erred in our exegesis. Are you able to do that?

In Christ

Mike Ratliff

49   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
September 21st, 2007 at 8:30 pm

Mike – I embrace that standard of dialogue. Of course there are many intricate arguments on bothsides. Greek and Hebrew scholars, Multiple book authors, theological seminary professors, all on both sides. Former Calvinits who changed and former Arminians who changed.

That is not my issue here, it is with the open assumption by some that Arminianism can never be true because the Calvinists use the Bible. Can you not see the pride in that? We all use the Scriptures and we all use our subjective thinking to interpret Scripture. And I exegeted many Scriptures in my present post but what will you say? You’ll say I didn’t exegete it correctly.

So it isn’t that people won’t exegete Scripture, it’s that MANY verses seem to lend themselves to free will and MANY verses seem to lend themselves to predestination. To pretend that the Scriptures are clearly iron clad in those areas is disengenous. Wesley and Calvin both had the Spirit, both were Bible scholars, and both were men of integrity and they came to different views.

We free will people haven’t yet made names for our view that indicate superiority. “Doctrines of Total Grace” or thing like that, wouldn’t that reveal an open pride about what we honestly thought about Scripture? And then to pray that God would open the eyes of the Calvinists to come into the fulness of the revelation of salvation would further seem to present a “clique” mentality.

That is what is offensive over and above any doctrinal discussions regardless of how confrontational. Like the charismatic people that treat their “baptism” as a superior Spiritual experience that everyone should have and are inferior until they get it. That is how many Calvinists come across.

50   Mike Ratliff    http://mikeratlff.wordpress.com
September 21st, 2007 at 8:55 pm

Rick,

I understand what you are saying, but you are saying we are being prideful when we are actually only defending the truth. At least that is how I look at. I take no pride in being a Calvinist. I do rejoice that my Sovereign God saved me. What a miracle!

You make several claims in your comment about “proofs” that go one way and “proofs” that go the other. However, I am in possession of books and sermons and Bible Studies that show that what you state here is not the case. You can take all of your “proofs” about free will and I can show you that it isn’t a “proof” for Syngergism at all. For instance Hebrews 2:9 which says, “But we see him who for a little while was made lower than the angels, namely Jesus, crowned with glory and honor because of the suffering of death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone.” If you look at that the word “everyone” seems to say that Jesus died for the whole world. How many times do we use words like “all” or “everyone” when we don’t mean absolutes? I do it all the time. :-) See? Well that means that you can’t use this passage to refute Limited Atonement. How can I be so sure? Who did Christ die for?

Christ died to make salvation possible for all people, but only effectual for those who believe. If we use this as our platform or starting place for all proof texts on each side do we have any problems then? See this is what I believe that REAL Calvinists believe and I believe those proof texts about free will point here. What do you think?

In Christ

Mike Ratliff

51   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
September 21st, 2007 at 9:04 pm

“Christ died to make salvation possible for all people, but only effectual for those who believe.”

Sure, everyone would believe that. As I unravelled it I felt that the Unconditional Election is what must be the backdrop of all the points. In the end Jesus aronement will only be effective through faith, but we will never come ta an agreement about our views.

The difference is that some Calvinits encourage others to stand up against the spread of Arminian lies, and there are some blogs that say the opposite, but they are mcuh, much lower in numbers. I’ve never encouraged people to band together against Calvinism even when I feel strongly against it.

I respect you, Mike, and you are usually fair minded in your approach. I cannot say the same for others. I believe you will be a good influence among those people.

52   Mike Ratliff    http://mikeratliff.wordpress.com
September 21st, 2007 at 9:08 pm

Thanks Rick, I think you got it. :-)

53   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
September 21st, 2007 at 10:20 pm

Mike,

All I will say is hi… and welcome.

blessings,
iggy

54   Mike Ratliff    http://mikeratliff.wordpress.com
September 21st, 2007 at 11:09 pm

Thanks iggy.

55   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
September 22nd, 2007 at 8:07 am

I may be a little late in jumping in here, but I’m interested in a couple of things:
1) Could someone give their interpretation of Mark 1:5–specifically the word all?
2) What is the meaning of the term whole world in Matthew 24:14?

Thanks.

Timothy Bell: Do you have a blog or website? If so, could you provide an address? You can send it to me at keithwhitfield[at]cox[dot]com if you prefer.

56   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
September 22nd, 2007 at 8:57 am

Keith,

As far as Mark 1: 5

From what I can tell the population of Judea was about 500,000 with 80,000 of those from Jerusalem. I do not think “all” went at the same time, yet I have no issue with all meaning “all” as a prophet had come to Judea and “all” would want to go see him. So, either the Bible is not infallible and inerrant or Mark means what he states under inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I believe all means that the whole of all the population of Judea and Jerusalem at some point in John’s ministry went out to see the strange prophet that had come to proclaim the coming of the Lord. 500,000 people seems like a lot of people but since no one know exactly how long John baptised… we can assume that since he started before Jesus it was at least 2 or 3 years…. I think it highly possible for all the people to pass by and take a gawk and even be baptised by him.

Matt 24:14

Again… either the bible is infallible and inerrant as a Calvinist asserts… or Matthew is lying.

I believe the whole world will hear and is hearing the Gospel even today. So I have not issue with all meaning all again.

Now all will hear, but not all will come to the calling of faith in Christ.

Now, then if all does not mean all then why are the writers lying… I think that is a bigger issue that all meaning simply all.

Now, I do not take the bible to be “infallible” and ” inerrant” as the definition of the Calvinist or fundamentalist… I do see that the Bible is the inspired word of God and the original manuscripts were without error… and that the bible is infallible in the sense that all we need to know for our salvation is perfectly taught in scripture… but not that there is not a error in the manuscript… yet, it seems I have more faith in the inspired word of God to take it at face value than the Calvinist who asserts infallible and inerrant to mean perfect and without any error in any way…. so how it that? LOL!

Be Blessed,
iggy

57   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
September 22nd, 2007 at 9:25 am

Iggy: re: Mark 1:5. Are you then also asserting that ultimately ALL not only came “to see the strange prophet that had come to proclaim the coming of the Lord,” but that ALL were baptized and confessed their sins?

Do you understand “the whole world” to mean EVERY last man, woman and child?

(I’ll be out of pocket for a couple of hours, so take your time.)

58   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
September 22nd, 2007 at 10:18 am

Keith,

First off we are talking the Jews… so yes all the Jews went to see John The Baptist and not only saw him but were baptized as THE BIBLE STATES… and you are asserting Mark was not writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit?

Secondly, why are you limiting God in that He cannot have all that live on the earth hear the Gospel…

Let’s see here is a verse in Revelations… are you saying Satan is more powerful than Jesus? Rev 12: 9. “The great dragon was hurled down–that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.” So has Satan been able to lead the whole world astray and God not able to do the impossible in our minds? Have you forgotten Matthew 19: 26. “Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” ?

So is Satan more powerful that God in the Calvinist view that God cannot do as the Bible states? If the Word of God states the “Whole world” why does the Calvinist think God cannot do this?

Be Blessed,
iggy

59   nate    
September 22nd, 2007 at 11:25 am

Mike,
With all due respect, it is the same old Calvinist drum beat:

Therefore, when I see things in the Bible that are about Salvation such as, “Whosover will…” I know that that is talking about the free offer of the Gospel not the Effectual call to the Elect which is Irresistible. How can I be so sure? John 6 and Romans 8 & 9 and Ephesians 1.

You have determined that Calvinism is true, therefore any verse you come across indicating “all”, no matter the frequency, is met with an alternate (some would say enlightened) interpretation of the word to mean “some” or “only a few”.

Well that means that you can’t use this passage to refute Limited Atonement. How can I be so sure? Who did Christ die for?

I for one don’t use them to refute anything. It’s a matter of healthy personal self-doubt. Perhaps they don’t magic bullet refute the doctrine of limited atonement, but they certainly make it a lot more hairy than before. And that’s the point, with Calvinists, there is NO doubt in their position. They have it figured out and any scripture, when read through the Calvinist glasses, no matter how seemingly contradictory, can be read to support your view.

Hence the trouble with being committed, without even the slightest possibility of an open mind, to a systematic theology, which are by definition synthetic theories (stitched together using proof texts by man).

60   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
September 22nd, 2007 at 11:38 am

And in all systematic theologies lurk the subjectivism of men. One man says “All means everyone”. The other man says”All only means the elect”. Both men accuse the other of shoddy exegesis.

Both agree that only by faith in Christ can a man be saved. But one man claims his view of the process is as inerrant as the gospel itself, as a matter of fact, it IS the gospel. The other man disagrees with his view of process but doesn’t elevate it to the same level as the gospel truth.

Subjectivism at work. And many Calvinists believe because people disagree with their views they are being attacked within the church and must defend their views at all costs. It is a different view of the sovereign process surely not the gospel and even they agree that it should not affect our evangelism in scope so waht is the big deal?

It comes from innacurately assessing more importance to certain issues than is appropriate.

61   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
September 22nd, 2007 at 11:52 am

nate,

Actually I had hoped to find Calvinism a rock bed foundation when I began to look at it… yet the more I studied it as with the “Rapture” the less faith I had in it… I just could not make things like “all” mean “many” or that as I keep asking when Paul states “first all have sinned” the later “For if the many died by the trespass of the one man,” I mean… I think here “all” died because of the trespass of the one man… yet Paul used “many” so it seems that many can also mean “all”… so the logic of “all” means only the “elect” were offered the gift of salvation would have to also mean the only “many” and not “all” died in their sins… it does not work out logically… it refutes itself… But then they jump to Mark and Matthew and … but not once acknowledging the logical flaw that exists…

So, I can’t accept the Calvinist view as a perfect flawless system…

I tend to just read the bible and accept that it is inspired and the writer used that word because God told them to write it… now we do have translations and transliterations to consider.. yet, I still see that the clear unfiltered reading means what it states… one may find the verse a mystery yet, God will reveal that mystery if one humbly asks… I also have to laugh a little as I am labeled as an apostate, who does not believe in the inerrancy and infallibility of scripture and does not take it literal… yet here i find I trust the inspired word of God means what it states and do not question words like “all” or “many”… it seems so much like, Colossians 2:6-8

So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in him, rooted and built up in him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.
See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the basic principles of this world rather than on Christ

.

Or Paul’s warning in 1 Timothy 6: 3-5

If anyone teaches false doctrines and does not agree to the sound instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ and to godly teaching, he is conceited and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy interest in controversies and quarrels about words that result in envy, strife, malicious talk, evil suspicions and constant friction between men of corrupt mind, who have been robbed of the truth and who think that godliness is a means to financial gain.

Now I do accept the Calvinist as brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus and believe one can learn much on many things from the Calvinist view, yet to me i also see them no different that much that is taught by other traditions… there is some truth and some error, so humility and love should be the main traits of those who hold the Truth.

Again, it is not the doctrines that we hold that save us, but Jesus… and it is His sound doctrines that lead us in His Life as New Creations. If we place doctrines over Jesus and His teachings we are in big trouble!

Be Blessed,
iggy

62   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
September 22nd, 2007 at 2:30 pm

Nate pretty much nailed my point. At some point Calvinism (at least as it is advocated in blogs) began shaping how people viewed scriptures instead of the other way around.

63   nate    
September 22nd, 2007 at 5:12 pm

iggy,
couldn’t have said it better myself.

64   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
September 22nd, 2007 at 6:08 pm

Iggy: We certainly see/interpret things differently. Thanks for taking the time to respond.

65   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
September 22nd, 2007 at 6:41 pm

Keith,

Why not give an answer for the hope that lies within you?

I do… and will always no matter who or what questions me of my faith.

Now, Keith, what if my view is the right one? What if you hold to traditions of men? What if your faith is built on the foundation of man made doctrine?

In that I always ask myself… how does that doctrine reflect Jesus and God’s character…knowing the all God’s work hinges on His compassion and Grace?

If there is one filter I will error on is the filter of God’s grace mercy and compassion…

Be blessed,
iggy

66   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
September 22nd, 2007 at 10:12 pm

Iggy:
1) I apologize. I wasn’t aware you had asked me a question.

2) I didn’t get the impression you were questioning my faith.

3) The few times I have attempted to “give an answer for the hope that lies within [me]” here on this site, I’ve basically been told I’m wrong. I don’t have to be hit over the head with a board to know that I am in the minority here. Since I know I haven’t changed my mind in the past month and it’s pretty apparent you have not changed yours–I didn’t see a need to rehash the topic (i.e. Calvinism/Limited Atonement) “A man’s gotta know his limitations.” –Clint Eastwood as Dirty Harry

4) You asked: Now, Keith, what if my view is the right one? I guess I could ask you the same question. How do you propose to “prove” that one this side of heaven? I’ll take my chances. I came out of an Stone-Campbell/Restoration Movement church because I sat down with my Bible and read it. I saw the “Doctrines of Grace” before I knew they had a label. I’ve been called a Calvinist, but I honestly don’t claim to be an expert on the man.

5) I see that “God’s work hinges on His compassion and Grace?” AS WELL AS His wrath and hatred of sin. Somehow, His wrath seems to be left out of the conversation.

6) Instead of worrying so much about what Calvin or Luther said (I’m not dismissing their work–just saying they don’t hold the same authority as Scripture for me) I try to focus on (and be amazed at) the fact that God saved someone like myself.

Gotta run. I need to read through the Sunday School lesson I’m teaching tomorrow at the heretical Reformed Baptist church I attend!
8^)>

67   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
September 22nd, 2007 at 11:23 pm

Keith,

I knew you would come through… how do I know your view is not the “right” one?

I read my bible and see too many things that go contrary to Calvinism that seem to not be answered by the Calvinist view… and without it I seem to have those questions answered… from what the bible simply states.

Now, I in no way will do as many Calvinist do and have done to me… and say that you are not saved if you are a Calvinist, but, I do warn you and others… that to place yourself under a banner… any banner other than that of Jesus Christ is a dangerous place to be… if one is a Follower of Jesus first and a Calvinist (or whatever) second… one is a much better place, yet I fear from many I have talked to and debated, Calvin, Spurgeon and such are quoted above or equal to Jesus… and that is a bit scary if you ask me. I know they deny that, yet I see it all over and time adn time again.

It seems more like itching tickling ears to me… as I see Jesus a bit more abrasive than Spurgeon or Calvin.

be blessed,
iggy

68   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
September 23rd, 2007 at 8:51 am

Iggy:
You said: I read my bible and see too many things that go contrary to Calvinism My response: I read my Bible and see too many things that support God’s choosing those He will save. I guess it’s a tie. You believe you are right; I believe I am right. Once we get to heaven…it ain’t gonna matter. And I doubt we’ll care –at that point– which one of us was “right.”

I said: I sat down with my Bible and read it. I saw the “Doctrines of Grace” I was not looking for something that supported “Calvinism.” There is no need to warn me. I am not a “follower” of Calvin.

I do wonder sometimes who these “Calvinists” are that you refer to. I don’t know anyone that espouses some of things you’ve stated.

69   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
September 23rd, 2007 at 10:05 am

Keith,

Now, I never stated ever, that God does not choose us… I just state that we “respond” by a “choice” to that calling… and one can reject it. Such as the rich young man did… and Judas for two…

So, I do not think you meant to misrepresent me… but please do not state things like that which I have never or would ever state.

Yet, I have no issue with free will and God choosing… God (the Father) draws men to Jesus… and Jesus will not turn anyone away… yet, as he never turned away the rich young man, some will see, hear, taste and appear as one saved, yet will not enter into salvation… the may get religion… they may serve and even “heal in your Name” yet Jesus will never know them… yet he never turned them away.

Another point is one can even believe… yet Jesus in John 2 had many believe in Him yet did not entrust himself to them…

” 23. Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in his name.
24. But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men.
25. He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man. ”

One must believe and receive… if they only believe what good is that? but one must receive the Life of Christ in order to be saved… believe on Jesus and receive His Life.

Be Blessed,
iggy

70   Timothy Bell    
September 23rd, 2007 at 1:16 pm

Okay, Iggy, it *sounds* like you do not consider it an issue whether the Bible teaches free will and/or predestination. You appear to believe the Bible provides proof of each.

So how do you approach evangelism?

If a church is of free-will persuasion, usually, not always, they tend to do altar calls and those altar calls tend to incorporate soft heart-tugging music, repeated calls to “come down and make a decision for Christ.” The person coming down is under the impression HE was the one making the decision FOR Christ, because he has free will. Now God does use this approach because a small minority of those who come down do indeed become Christians as evident in their lives over the subsequent number of years. I know this from the independent Baptist church I’ve attended in my youth.

Now days, the free-will churches go further to persuade non-Christians by changing over to contemporary music, casual dress, banner and flag flying, shofar-blowing, using state-of-the-art sound/computer/video equipment, lowering the average age of church leadership, etc. Such are those turning into seeker-sensitive churches.

Other free-will churches go further into changing how they “do church” on a organizational and philosophical basis. Usually they use the Purpose-Driven Life/Church materials for this. Surveys, market-analysis, demographics, business models are incorporated. Emphasis on God as a friend, less emphasis on the consequences of sin and hell, non-confrontational relationships with sinning ‘Christians’, less emphasis on learning the doctrines of the Bible, etc.

Yet again, other free-will churches are more into worldview changes, paradigm shifting, desire to “redefine” church and Christianity. Usually these are Emergent churches. These churches can be in a church building or in a bar. Your lifestyle as a Christian (or ‘follower of Christ’) is not questioned but if you do sin and feel guilty about it, you can just come back to Jesus again and again. Doctrine is considered old and dusty. No issues are considered too sacred to be discussed in the open such as your sexual life (especially your sexual life). This is not a comprehensive narrative of Emergent churches.

These various free-will approaches of churches all try to change church/Christianity in order to persuade, impress, attract non-Christians and some approaches go deeper to change the way Christians think of themselves, of God, and their relationships with God and the world.

In predestination churches, there is no pressure to try to “attract” non-Christians but to just merely preach and share the Gospel. God gives the gift of faith which in turn comes by hearing the Word of God. It doesn’t matter if the church sings accapella by men only or has a full-fledged contemporary set up. There is no need to de-emphasize learning doctrine based on the Bible, nor the wrath of God. God provides the harvest and we merely reap the harvest by proclaiming the Gospel to the ears of the people. Jesus said, “My yoke is easy, my burden is light.” They do not need to dress hip or change their style of church or invest thousands of dollars in various equipment.

Soooo…I believe how you approach evangelism would determine what you really believe about the extent of man’s ability to choose Christ.

71   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
September 23rd, 2007 at 1:30 pm

Tim – I agree with most of your perseptions, free will churches may have a tendency to “help” God out. Now here is a question I have for you.

Who cares if the non elect think they are saved? They don’t have an offer on the table for salvation anyway, so let them enjoy thinking they are saved while on their way to hell. Why does a true Calvinist become so concerned with false conversions, they do not matter in the end?

It’s impossible to make the non elect know he is, correct? So if he thinks he’s saved but never really can be saved, who cares?

72   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
September 23rd, 2007 at 3:28 pm

Iggy:
I never intended to represent (”mis” or otherwise) ANYTHING you said. I wasn’t trying to clarify, deny, twist, misrepresent, agree with, argue with, debunk, support, etc., etc., what you said. I simply stated “I read my Bible and see too many things that support God’s choosing those He will save. In saying “God choos[es], I’m saying the same thing I’ve said before: I believe God chooses some for salvation while passing over others. He does so according to “the kind intention of His will” (Eph 1:5).

We both understand the word “chooses” differently. That’s OK; it doesn’t make us bad people.

Like I said, that’s what I believe. You’ve stated what you believe. I just checked the weather channel: no cold-front forecast for Hades in the next five days. Looks like we STILL have a tie. I’m willing to accept that.

73   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
September 23rd, 2007 at 3:31 pm

Hey Keith, can I break the tie? I promise to be fair.

74   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
September 23rd, 2007 at 3:53 pm

Timothy B,

So how do you approach evangelism?

I see that we live out the Life of Christ in us… and as we live in Him and He in us… (living out the incarnation) we are about doing the Fathers work as Jesus also was and still is. It is living in total dependency and just as at time sought out one lost one and then at times did miracles that attracted a crowd I see that some seem too worried about one way being more right and another not right enough.

Instead should we not all be listening to what the Father is telling us to do in Christ and then letting Jesus do the Father’s work in and through us?

My view is that all “WE” do will burn, but all Christ does in and through us will remain. In that we only should build on the foundation of Jesus and in that not pray that God blesses our work but that we do what God has already blessed.

Now can we be “attractional”? Yes, at times… will it work all the time and is it the best way? No.

Do we need knock on every door in our town and hand out tracts? It might work if God is in it… but if you are doing it on your own, then it will probably just burn.

So, my view… listen to Jesus who is about doing His Fathers work and do likewise… if Jesus is saying be attractional then do so, if it be go door to door, then do so… if it be concentrate on teaching the word and He will bring them to you, then do so, if it be feed the hungry and bandage the sick and give water to those that thirst, then do it… in the end it is God and will stand… but to complain about our brothers because they are doing it different than me seems a bit lacking in trust that the Holy Spirit is working in the lives of others as He works and lives in me through Jesus Christ.

At least it works for me.

What scares me is that one might assume that those that are “elect” will just be saved without them having to do nothing… not even going aobut doing the work of the Father… It seems that many do just that.

Be blessed,
iggy

75   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
September 23rd, 2007 at 3:57 pm

Keith,

I hold not animosity toward you or anyone who is a Calvinist… yet it seems that is often not a two way street… I mean it seems that Sherry has yet to answer my questions and is quick to take offense of me…

I have yet to have taken offense of her… other than her tone now has gotten a bit frustrating to filter through…

Yet, I hope you are not settling for a tie… as i am not as is being implied “in a war of fight”, I am simply asking questions that seem to not be answered by Calvinist without them expanding their view out a bit more from the traditional Calvinist view.

Be Blessed,
iggy

76   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
September 23rd, 2007 at 5:13 pm

Iggy:
I’m kinda in a pinch for time here. Evening service starts in about an hour and I need to head that direction. Could you cut to the chase and tell me which specific question(s) you’ve asked of me that have gone unanswered? I’ve skimmed back throuh the thread and other than your comment, Why not give an answer for the hope that lies within you?, I’m not seeing a particular question directed specifically to me. (I “answered” your comment by acknowledging you assertion that my “view” is wrong. OK. You think I’m wrong: you’re entitled. That being the case, I didn’t see the need to pursue the topic any further. Did I read something incorrectly there?)

You continue to refer to the “traditional Calvinist view,” but I’ll be honest–I’m not that sharp on that particular topic. Again, I’m just trying to read the Bible and let it speak to me. I can’t quote a lot of “Calvin”…or Hobbes.

Gotta run. I’ll check back here later.

77   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
September 23rd, 2007 at 5:18 pm

Keith, the question that I asked that you’ve consistantly dodged is “Where did Cain get his wife?”.

78   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
September 23rd, 2007 at 5:33 pm

Keith,

Sorry I did not get to this sooner…

There are two questions in comment September 22, 2007, 10:18 am

Be Blessed,
iggy

79   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
September 23rd, 2007 at 9:48 pm

Iggy:
I’ll try to make this as concise as possible. I am only answering the two questions (actually three) you referenced, i.e telling you what I believe. This is in NO WAY an attempt to sway your thinking, attempt to convert you to Calvinism, convince you that you have the wrong view, etc.. Fair enough?

1) [Why are] you asserting Mark was not writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit?
I wasn’t aware that I was. You assume that because I interpret the word “all” differently than you? I believe the entire Bible was written/recorded under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. I believe the Bible we have today has been preserved for us exactly as God intended. I believe it is (to quote my own pastor), “the inerrant, infallible, all-sufficient Word of God.”

Re: the word “all”—when my son tells me “everybody’s going to be there”, I know that’s not true. SOME will be there, probably a LOT of people, but everybody’s not going to be there. How do I know? Because he’s not going to be there. Neither am I, his mother or his brother. There’s four people that definitely won’t be there. SO…”everybody’s (all) NOT going to be there.”

Comparing parallel passages Mark 1:5, Matthew 3:5, and Luke 3:3. Both Mark and Matthew use “all.” Luke doesn’t. The Pharisees (Jews) came to John, but Scripture doesn’t state they were baptized. Later in Luke 3, “some tax collectors” were asking questions—doesn’t say “all.”

In John 11:47-48, the chief priests and Pharisees were planning to kill Jesus and were saying: “If we let Him go on like this, all men will believe in Him…” I don’t believe THEY were going to believe in Jesus.

Sometimes “all” does mean everybody. Sometimes it means lots of people. That’s what I believe Mark – under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit– meant.

2) …why are you limiting God in that He cannot have all that live on the earth hear the Gospel
I assume this question is in response to my asking: Do you understand “the whole world” to mean EVERY last man, woman and child? I didn’t say He couldn’t. I have a finite brain, God doesn’t. If that’s His plan, He’ll pull it off. It does seem like a strange prerequisite for ushering in Christ’s second coming. But then again, talking to a rock to get water doesn’t make much sense—humanly speaking.

3) –BONUS– …are you saying Satan is more powerful than Jesus?
No. How could a created being become more powerful than the Creator? God and Satan are not in a contest to see who is the most powerful. I think the Victor has already been established.

Rick:
To answer your question: Where did Cain get his wife? After Cain moved to Nod (south of Blinkin and two miles down the road from Winkin’) he started his own business—”Cain’s Fruit and Vegetable Stand.” He did pretty good with it actually, ended up franchising the thing and retired with a tidy little nest egg, but I’m getting ahead of myself. It wasn’t long after his arrival in Nod that he ran into Vicky, his future wife. Vicky was actually a distant cousin, in fact—she and Cain had graduated from East of Eden High School several years back, but hadn’t seen each other in a while. (She was kinda stuck up, so they really didn’t run around in the same circles. She had been the Fig Leaf Queen their senior year and hung out with the cheerleaders. Cain was in Vo-Ag and didn’t have much to do with the “popular” crowd.)

Anyway, Vicky was shopping at one of Cain’s stores one day when he noticed her. They struck up a converstion, he asked for her tent number, they met at Abdullah’s Wine Skin Bar and Grill for dinner later that week…and before you they knew what hit ‘em, those two love birds were engaged. They were married in June the following year—less than a year later, little Enoch was born. You can read the rest of the story in Genesis 4:17ff. True story.

OK. OK. I made part of the story up! Her name wasn’t Vicky. I don’t know what her name was! But the rest of it is pretty accurate…I think.

80   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
September 23rd, 2007 at 10:10 pm

Keith,

“Comparing parallel passages Mark 1:5, Matthew 3:5, and Luke 3:3. Both Mark and Matthew use “all.” Luke doesn’t. The Pharisees (Jews) came to John, but Scripture doesn’t state they were baptized. Later in Luke 3, “some tax collectors” were asking questions—doesn’t say “all.””

Like I stated, John was baptising for about 2 to 3 years and with a population of around 500,000 (which some were also tax collectors) and 80,000 in Jerusalem… I still say all did come and get baptized as there was a prophet of God… the point in Luke is that EVEN tax collectors and Roman soldiers also came which seems to back my point more… pointing out that EVEN those not Jewish were also being baptised.

So, if Mark under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit states all I believe it… regardless to your son’s exaggeration I do not see God exaggerating. LOL! So not only so two out of the three state all… which again backs my point for I have two witnesses stating the same thing… it seems you are losing more ground with your understanding. (Are we still friends?)

For point 2. I am glad we agree God can pull His plan off… LOL!

And of the bonus round I am again glad to see that we agree God is greater than Satan… so I hope that my reasoning is based on biblical understanding that

1. God’s word being inspired, as told to the writers… was accurate in their word choice and that it is possible that “all” came and were baptised. This is backed by two witnesses and also points that those not even Jewish were also being baptised.

2. We are finite creators with limited views but God can do the impossible

3. Anything Satan can do God can out do him by infinity… plus one!

Be Blessed my friend,
iggy

81   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
September 23rd, 2007 at 10:24 pm

Iggy: Your “two witnesses” make your point for you…they make my point for me. Still a tie in my book. Half full; half empty. I appreciate you resolve, but honestly this is like arguing which color is better: red or blue? It’s been stated multiple times: we just don’t see it the same. Ain’t this a GREAT country when two people can disagree and still be civil?

Have a great week.