Thanks for starting this thread. I love collecting quotes so I'm looking forward to see what others post!Here's 3 to start off with:William R. Newell (1868-1953) wrote: “to preach full surrender to an unsaved man as the way of salvation will just make a hateful Pharisee out of him.” Dr. Harry Ironside (1876-1951) wrote: “When anyone comes promising salvation to those ‘who make full surrender’ of all that they have to God, and who ‘pay the price of full salvation’ he is preaching another gospel, for the price was paid on Calvary’s cross and the work that saves is finished. It was Christ Jesus who made the full surrender when He yielded His life on Calvary that saves us, not our surrender in any way to Him.”Lance Latham (1894-1985) wrote: “Surely we must recognize WHO HE IS, or we will die in our sins (John 8:24). But this is vastly different from making Him your Lord in your life, in other words, promising to obey the rest of your life. This latter is preaching ‘works.’” In contrast, the Lordship position is that a person must make Christ Lord or Master of their lives in order to be saved. Newell, Ironside and Latham make it clear that position is contrary to the message of the gospel.
In L. S. Chafer’s Systematic Theology (Ch XX The Terms of Salvation) he addresses various requirements that people add to the gospel. The following excerpts are taken from the section entitled "Believe and Surrender":"... to impose a need to surrender the life to God as an added condition of salvation is most unreasonable. God’s call to the unsaved is never said to be unto the Lordship of Christ; it is unto His saving grace. ... The error of imposing Christ’s Lordship upon the unsaved is disastrous ...""The most subtle, self-satisfying form of works of merit is ... applying to unbelievers the Lordship of Christ. What more could God expect than that the creatures of His hand should by supposed surrender be attempting to be obedient to Him? In such idealism the darkened mind of the unsaved, no doubt, sees dimly some possible advantage in submitting their lives to the guidance of a Supreme Being—of whom they really know nothing. Such notions are only human adjustments to God and resemble in no way the terms of divine adjustment, which first condemns man and rejects all his supposed merit, and then offers a perfect and eternal salvation to the helpless sinner on no other terms than that he believes on Christ as his Savior. ...""The unregenerate person, because of his condition in spiritual death, has no ability to desire the things of God (1 Cor. 2:14), or to anticipate what his outlook on life will be after he is saved. It is therefore an error of the first magnitude to divert that feeble ability of the unsaved to exercise a God-given faith for salvation into the unknown and complex spheres of self-dedication, which dedication is the Christian’s greatest problem."
Quote from "How to Lead People to Christ," by Zane Hodges:In the light of what we have just said, should we preach the cross of Christ? The answer to that is emphatically yes. And the most obvious reason for doing so is that this is what Paul and the other Apostles did. According to Paul’s own statement, when he came to Corinth to preach, he was “determined not to know anything among [them] except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Cor 2:2). Later in the epistle, Paul describes his gospel as one that declared “that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (15:3).
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(Fourth attempt. I Am going to write a book called "Fun with Editing: Blog Comments".) William R. Newell (1868-1953) wrote: “to preach full surrender to an unsaved man as the way of salvation will just make a hateful Pharisee out of him.”I love that one! That was the one I wanted to post but I can't remember where it is (I know it's in one of the Position Papers books) A truer word could not be spoken!Here's a good one by John Nelson Darby regarding looking to fruit for assurance:"The moment we begin to rest our peace on anything in ourselves, we lose it. And this is why so many believers have not settled peace. How can you have settled peace? Only by having it in the Father's own way. By not resting on anything, even the Spirit's work within, but on what the Lord Jesus has done entirely outside you."And to counter the absurd notion that such teaching produces licentiousness we have this from H. F. Witherby:"The flesh in its pride would say, 'I can live to God by means of law-keeping and religious observances'; and the flesh in its lusts would say, 'I am safe for eternity and thus can live for myself.' The new life the Father has given us has no affinity for either the one or the other of these evils, and the Spirit of God opposes the flesh in each."JanH
Jan,While I do not agree with William R. Newell - for I believe that to be an "absurd notion" - I DO agree with Darby and Witherby here, Darby: "The moment we begin to rest our peace on anything in ourselves, we lose it. And this is why so many believers have not settled peace. How can you have settled peace? Only by having it in the Father's own way. By not resting on anything, even the Spirit's work within, but on what the Lord Jesus has done entirely outside you."And from H. F. Witherby:"The flesh in its pride would say, 'I can live to God by means of law-keeping and religious observances'; and the flesh in its lusts would say, 'I am safe for eternity and thus can live for myself.' The new life the Father has given us has no affinity for either the one or the other of these evils, and the Spirit of God opposes the flesh in each."Yes, I am paying attention to the claims and observations of the real Free Grace Movement. I may not always agree, but I am willing to listen to you folks. D.A. Carson and R.T. Kendall both suggest that Calvin's views on assurance were quite different than today's Puritan inspired views held among Calvinists. It took my exposure to true Free Grace Theology (as opposed to the GES version) to open the doors for me to see this fact. While I am L/S Calvinist yet I am still watching and "listening" to your side of this debate.Mark
Mark,Since you hold to a L/S Calvinist position, I can certainly see why you disagree with William Newell. Absurd? Well that's your opinion. Having "repented" and come out of a L/S background, I can attest to the validity of Newell's statement. Personally, I think that Newell's comment is right on the money. But that's beside the point.What Newell's comment demonstrates beyond a shadow of a doubt is the fact that "free grace" theology was around loooooong before Dr. Ryrie & Dr. MacArthur brought this discussion into the spotlight in the 1980s!Bob
Bob,Anyone reading the scriptures daily in order to know their God better, anyone in prayer in order to commune with their Savior on a regular basis cannot but come away with the ever-awareness of sins to be confessed and repented from. There simply is no time to become a Pharisee; at least I don't see that. Sorry, one desiring to walk in the light, desiring after the contrite heart that God esteemes just doesn't even want to be a Pharisee, let alone have time to be one. In my experience I cannot relate to what you have described in your previous L/S days.
As far as Free Grace Theology existing in seed form in earlier times, yes. Johann Agricola, and later, in the mid 1700's, Robert Sandeman. They too drew fire from their L/S contemporaries.
Interesting... I'll weigh in tomorrow!
Dr. Lybrand, sir,I'll be watching to see if the system of classic dispensationalism is employed to suggest that scriptures like Mark 8:34-38 were for that time period only, and should not used in evangelism today.
Historically Agricola (Free Gracer in seed form) was answered by Luther (L/Ser in seed form). And Sandeman (fger in seed form) was answered by Andrew Fuller (l/sser in seed form).
And again Chafer was answered by Warfield and Mauro. Ryrie was answered by Boice and MacArthur.
Brother Fred,This looks like a neat discussion. I haven't been keeping up but I will try to start up again.Kev
I shall be in and out running errands today. I'll answer when I can.
Mark-I'm glad to hear you agree with Darby and Witherby. Obviously, I disagree with you about Newell's comment being absurd. What I have found with those to whom Newell refers is that they become very self centered. This self centeredness will present as either an overly strong and harshly delivered condemnation of everything under the sun regardless of whether or not Scripture condemns it (sheep beating/hateful Pharisee), or else as an insufferable false humility. Sometimes both. I know of no exceptions. And they don't have to be Calvinistic to demonstrate these traits. Self is self regardless of the preferred system (I hope you are not the sort that would try to say Calvinism isn't a system. I take "Calvinism isn't as system" as code for "we are done having a discussion.")JanH
On another note, I have been reading R. T. Kendall's "Calvin and English Calvinism to 1649". It is most informative! I am almost but not quite done with it (another chapter, the conclusion, and a couple of important appendixes left) but what I have learned so far is stunning to me. One of the most astonishing things that had not occurred to me was what kind of trouble a minister could get into by preaching anything other than TULIP in early Northeastern America. John Cotton apparently fell prey to this factor. It seems that he preached something along the lines of an almost Charismatic experience of the Holy Spirit as assurance. Kendall did not make it clear whether Cotton did this because that is what he actually believed or because it was safer to preach this than to preach an unlimited atonement. Concerning that issue Kendall says, "Had [Cotton] seen it [that Calvin held to unlimited atonement], the need for a subjective experience of the Spirit could have been avoided. But had Cotton preached it, he would probably have been in greater trouble than ever." (p.1830 Interesting, interesting!JanH
Sigh. I'm not removing that comment. The last line should read "(p. 183)." Not "(p. 1830."JanH
Jan,Yes, Calvinism is a system. I do not deny that.On the other hand not all Calvinists hold the Westminster Confession of Faith so dearly as you think. Nor are they in complete agreement with earlier Dort. There were descenters in both cases. Even notable expositors of later times, J.C. Ryle comes to mind, as well as W.G.T Shedd, held views closer to 4 point Calvinism.Kendall's writing as well as D.A. Carson concerning Calvin's thinking deserves to be weighed in with the other Calvin historians. Apparently Calvin was more into objective assurance than were the later Puritans. I believe the Puritan's subjective assurance to be destructive. I believe where MacArthur invites people to "examine themselves", calling it "healthy" that he is wrong there. Using 2 Cor. 13:5 as he does is impossible to do exegetically. Riddlebarger and Gentry's L/S is closer to my own.
And Jan,Anne Hutchinson, Cotton's contemporary, is subject to more criticism than even Cotton. Her version of assurance takes Romans 8:16 very seriously. What you said of Cotton being almost Charismatic in his handling of assurance is too easily dismissing how they (Cotton and Hutchinson) viewed Romans 8:16.
Apparently Calvin was more into objective assurance than were the later Puritans.That is the point Kendall makes. He says the Puritan Calvinism isn't really Calvinism at all. It would seem things began to get subjective with Beza. Kendall thinks it is because of limited atonement, which he insists Calvin did not hold to. I think he is right (about LA. I'll take his word on Calvin. That seems to be something of a disputed point among theologians.) I believe the Puritan's subjective assurance to be destructive. I believe where MacArthur invites people to "examine themselves", calling it "healthy" that he is wrong there. That is good to hear. Kendall has some arresting accounts of people who were decimated by that teaching. He tells of one woman who wanted assurance one way or the other so badly that she threw her son in a well intending to kill him so she could at least be assured of damnation! That is rather extreme. But he has other more mundane accounts of people being basically psychologically and emotionally tortured for want of knowing.I know only what Kendall said about Ann Hutchinson. She apparently was exiled and was eventually killed by Indians. I would be interested to know what her position was concerning TULIP and whether that had anything to do with her views. For instance, if she had held to unlimited atonement would she have had to hold to the subjective experience of the Spirit (and anyway, isn't that still in the realm of subjective assurance?) Or did she hold that because she was a sensationalist who needed bells and whistles irrespective of any other doctrines? And who was the one in charge in that relationship anyway? Who was "pastoring" whom?But I do think Kendall's observation of Cotton is important and insightful. And his conclusion that the subjective experience of the Spirit could have been avoided if he had held to unlimited atonement is correct. Whether it would have been avoided is another question.JanH
Hey All,Nice discussion. I have a little different view on Luther, Calvin, Agricola, etc. I'm growing in a conviction that many of them had (or developed) an inherent contradiction in their thinking...so they were indeed Free Grace, depending when they were speaking / writing...and denying it, just as well, at other times.Here's an interesting note of Berkof's:But however Calvin may have differed from Luther as to the order of salvation, he quite agreed with him on the nature and importance of the doctrine of justification by faith. In their common opposition to Rome they both described it as an act of free grace, and as a forensic act which does not change the inner life of man, but only the judicial relationship in which he stands to God. They do not find the ground for it in the inherent righteousness of the believer, but only in the imputed righteousness of Jesus Christ, which the sinner appropriates by faith. Moreover they deny that it is a progressive work of God, asserting that it is instantaneous and at once complete, and hold that the believer can be absolutely sure that he is forever translated from a state of wrath and condemnation to one of favor and acceptance. [Louis Berkhof, History of Christian Doctrines (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1937), 220.]So both understood assurance apart from the proof (so called) of a changed life! It is the incongruence, that if resolved, restores lots of folks to 'free grace'...not violating the simple and clear nature of 'faith alone in Christ alone'.Grace,FRLP.S. Of course, this is the whole discussion I'll address in my next book (6 weeks away?)called Back to Faith: Reclaiming Gospel Clarity in an Age of Incongruence
Hey Fred,Dr. R.L. Dabney [1820-1898], another Covenant theologian, had an interesting comment regarding Luther & Calvin and their concept of assurance. Dabney claims that they were in error and that the Westminster Confession of Faith corrected their error. According to Dabney, Calvin and Luther taught that you can KNOW that God pardon's you based upon Christ's death for you. In contrast, the WCF teaches that you cannot know that Christ died for you since Christ only died for the elect. Therefore you can never know for sure if you are one of the elect in until you have persevered to the end and "die in faith."Dabney wrote:The cause of this error is no doubt that doctrine concerning faith which the first Reformers, as Luther and Calvin, were led to adopt from their opposition to the hateful and tyrannical teachings of Rome. These noble Reformers ... asserted that the assurance of hope is of the essence of saving faith. Thus says Calvin in his Commentary on Romans, “My faith is a divine and scriptural belief that God has pardoned me and accepted me.” Calvin requires everyone to say, in substance, I believe fully that Christ has saved me. Amidst all Calvin’s verbal variations, this is always his meaning; for he is consistent in his error ... for as sure as truth is in history, Luther and Calvin did fall into this error, which the Reformed churches, led by the Westminster Confession of Faith, have since corrected. (Discussions of Robert L. Dabney, Vol. I, pp. 215-16)
Mark,Dr. MacArthur wrote, "in a sense we pay the ultimate price for salvation (The Gospel According to Jesus; page 140)."In contrast Paul wrote, "the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 6:23)."I don't understand how the gospel can be a free gift and yet we have to pay the ultimate price for salvation. I thought that Jesus paid it ALL. It seems like L/S claims that Jesus did not pay it ALL since we actually pay the ultimate price.It kind of reminds me of these infomercials that promise to give you a free gift if you just buy such and such.
Dr. Lybrand,I cannot find the Spurgeon quote so I'll paraphrase: in regards to assurance Spurgeon said that the Bible taught him that he was a hopeless sinner. He believed that. Secondly the Bible taught that man is saved by faith alone in Christ alone. He believed that. Therefore he is saved unless the Bible teaches untruth. We know that is not true.
JanH,Could you please expound for me Romans 8:16?
Bob,The cost MacArthur talks about is that of believing in Christ. Doing so leads to obedience to Him, taking baptism, walking in obedience to His Word. This will cost you friends, the fellowship of relatives, your life's ambitions, your wallet. None of this cost has anything to do with your right standing before the God Who justifies you by faith alone. No, instead this cost flows from that right standing. Faith and repentance go hand in hand. When one repents (changes their minds about Christ) their attitude changes accordingly. Now they are to follow Him Who is "Head of the Chuch". And if we as witnesses are walking in obedience to the Savior then we should not walk away from a convert until we have begun the work of discipling him/her.
I think that MacArthur is very clear on this, my having read "TGATJ" twice, and "TGATTA" twice as well. One's lifestyle does nothing to affect their having been justified, neither good or bad. That standing is finnished once and for all the moment one believes in Christ alone for salvation. But the Bible is quite clear that the justified one is now indwelt by God Holy Spirit Who then begins the work of conforming that one to Christ. That and the chastening of the Father work together in the believer's life. As that convert grows his life begins to stink in the nostrils of the worldlings around him. He begins to see that his life is to be a living sacrifice. Hense the cost that MacArthur speeks of.
that's "God the Holy Spirit"
JanH,Could you please expound for me Romans 8:16? Mark-Hmm. I'm not quite sure why you are asking, to be honest. I'm not sure what there is to expound. It is a straight forward verse. The Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God. He is not going to contradict what the word of God says and give a false witness that we are not children when we are or that we are when we are not. Nor is His witness irrespective of or a replacement for the written word. In fact, I would dare say His witness cannot be given apart from the word of God for it is the word of God that we must believe and not a spiritual experience. Faith comes by hearing...It pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save... If I understood why you are asking I would know better how to answer. But in case you are wondering about my position on the Charismatic angle, I will say this:As you know, there are those who do not want to rely on the word itself- I might better say build their foundation on the word itself- but would rather rely on some sort of sensational experience. By this I mean they will not simply take the word as it is written unless there is some kind of emotional or other sensory type of witness to "prove" that word. The very idea of taking the word without an accompanying experience or sensation of some sort is anathema. That is what I oppose. It is like saying "give us a sign" when everything necessary has been abundantly given already and the person really should know that. There is no valid reason for this. Of course, if the person does have need of such an experience it will be given. I am talking about someone who really does not have such a need but insists on having it anyway. (You might want to think Vineyard/John Wimber at this point.)However, I do not think that there is never a sensational/experiential witness given, nor do I think there is always such a witness. There may or may not be, as the Spirit deems appropriate. If you want an example, the best I can think of is the contrasting witness that He bears to the unbeliever when he is told that he is a sinner under God's wrath. There is the conviction that it is a true statement. I suppose I would say that the Spirit's witness to our being children of God is a similar form of conviction. Sometimes these things are emotional and sometimes not. But God's point is to build an unshakable certainty built on the word of God rather than on a continual state of feeling our sonship, if you see what I mean.When I was saved this is how it went for me. I was told that man is sinful and separated from God and the Holy Spirit (I didn't know it was Him) made good and sure I understood in my inner being that that was a true statement- conviction. Yes, there was an emotional response (alarm). Then, when I asked Jesus to be my Savior there was also a feeling (sort of happy/good). But even then (I was 11 years old) these feelings were in response to hearing and believing and not the basis for believing. I didn't know they were true because I felt a certain way about them. I felt a certain way because such feelings were appropriate to the information. In the years since, I have found that such experiential witnesses become fewer and further between. The Lord weans us off them because He wants us to rely on His word irrespective of what we are feeling. Feeling is a form of sight, where He wants faith in His word and responsible maturity in our character. The course, then, is obvious. At this point I would say there is really no emotional/sensational conviction/testimony to this truth that I am a child of God and no lack in my assurance without it. I simply don't need it. The fact of Jesus death for me is firmly established and can hold its own weight. I suppose I might say at this point that the Holy Spirit bears witness with my spirit more by the lack of contrary testimony than anything else at this point. (I hope what I'm saying is not confusing to anyone reading this.)I think we all know the dangers of a feelings/experience based "faith". How many times have you heard someone claim the witness of the Spirit on something that completely contradicts the word of God? Just listen to Benny Hinn for 5 minutes. (No. Never mind. Don't.)All this is to say that, IMO, the Spirit's witness is concurrent with the truth of the word of God (which only makes sense) but no more the primary assuring factor than works/fruit are.I think I could probably go on for some time on this. That's actually a good question, Mark. What really does it mean for the Spirit to bear witness to our spirit of our sonship?However, back to the original point I addressed on this issue, I do think that a doctrine of limited atonement would actually complicate and confound the testimony of the HS to our sonship because the basis of our sonship becomes a question-has Christ died to save me?- rather than a known fact- Christ died for me and has saved me! I have never held to LA, but I know myself well enough to know that if I had been persuaded to that view no amount of bearing witness on the Holy Spirit's part would ever be enough to convince me I really had a Savior in Jesus. There would always be a "yeah, but..." on my end.Alright. I'm sure that's quite enough of an answer! :)JanH
Bob-You mentioned a while back that you had come out of a LS background. I would be interested in your testimony on that. What happened to convince you LS was wrong?JanH
JanH,That was a kinda going back and forth answer. On the one hand you afirm the Spirit's testimony to your heart when He first convicted you of your sin and of your need for the Savior. That happens to be what I believe Romans 8:16 is talking about. Then you seem to take it all back by saying that is not how the Spirit bears witness to us. You were in and out in your answer, if not down right self-contradictory. Does the Spirit directly witness to our hearts or not? You cited one of the occasions where His ministry can be "felt". Another instance would be 1 Thess.4:9. Yes, it is true that the older you get the more you believe the Word. You are preaching to the choir there. Nor am I suggesting that God the Holy Spirit would contradict His Word. That was a nonsequitur on your part. One having faith alone in Christ alone (a sola that came from the Reformation. The FGA and GES have no corner on that.) is inevitably going to have the Spirit's witness in their heart about being children of God.Yes, it is true that a Mormon or JW or even some Catholics can testify about that same witness. BUT, are they believing in Christ alone for Justification? Since the "witness" in their heart does not line up with the Word then it is obvious that witness to them is false.
Concerning your take on the affects of "limited atonement" on the heart of those who hold to it: I can honestly say that I have never asked that question of myself. I was saved in 1973 and began to embrace the "doctrins of grace" in 1978. In all the time since I have never once wondered if Christ died for me. Sure, you can quote from some Calvinists that have, but what you are yet to discover is that Calvinism is no monolith, just as Free Grace Theology is no monolith.
For the record - Justification is forensic. It is a positional standing before God. God is just, and the Justifier of that one who has faith in Jesus.
Mark,Dr. MacArthur is clear that the cost he speaks of is "in order to be saved" and NOT a cost "as a result of being saved!"The examples are numerous in The Gospel According to Jesus. Here are just a few:-------------------------------------He (Jesus talking to the rich young ruler) said, “Unless I can be the highest authority in your life, there’s no salvation for you.” Do we literally have to give away everything we own to become Christians? No, but we do have to be willing to forsake all... Saving faith is a commitment to leave sin and follow Jesus Christ at all costs. Jesus takes no one unwilling to come on those terms. p 87A person not willing to turn from sin, possessions, false religion, or selfishness will find he cannot turn to Christ in faith. p 88Thus in a sense we pay the ultimate price for salvation... It is total abandonment of self-will... And it denotes implicit obedience, full surrender to the Lordship of Christ. p 140Repentance “implies a change of mind, and some who oppose lordship salvation limit its meaning to that. But a definition of repentance cannot be drawn solely from the etymology of the Greek word. It is much more than a mere change of mind—it involves a complete change of heart, attitude, interest, and direction. As metanoia is used in the New Testament, it always speaks of a change of purpose, and specifically a turning from sin. Repentance is not merely being ashamed or sorry over sin, although genuine repentance always involves an element of remorse. It is a redirection of the human will, a purposeful decision to forsake all unrighteousness and pursue righteousness instead. A person not willing to turn from sin, possessions, false religion, or selfishness will find he cannot turn to Christ in faith. Salvation is for those who are willing to forsake everything.” p. 78-------------------------------------Now let me say this, and I don’t want you to panic when I say it. Saving faith is an adult issue. Saving faith is an adult experience. Saving faith is an adult decision. Am I saying that a child cannot be saved? I’m saying that salvation is a conscious turning from sin to follow Jesus Christ with an understanding of something of the sinfulness of sin, its consequences and something of who Jesus Christ is, what He has provided and that I’m committing my life to Him. At what point can a child understand that? I tell parents that salvation is an adult decision. There is no illustration in Scripture of childhood salvation. There is none. People want to throw in the Philippian jailer and his household; well, that’s talking about his servants, so there is no reference there about his children. So there is no such thing as a childhood conversion. [Source: Taped Message]-------------------------------------I can certainly see why Dr. MacArthur says that salvation is an adult decision. Who is going to tell a child that in order to be save they must stop being selfish!?Jesus said not to hinder the little children from coming to Him (Mt. 19:14).In contrast, L/S makes the gospel so complicated that a little child CANNOT understand it.So much for having the faith of a child. Jesus should have said that we must have the faith/understanding of an adult.Again, I ask how can the gospel be free and yet L/S (as ACTUALLY taught by Dr. MacArthur) requires that we pay the ultimate price.
Hey Jan,My “conversion” to free grace was definitely a process. One of the major factors was that I could not reconcile the idea that Jesus (according to L/S) taught that IN ORDER to be saved a person would have to “pay the ultimate price” whereas Paul taught that salvation is a free gift. In order for L/S to be true, then Paul would have to either be mistaken or he was being intellectually dishonest. When I was explained the free grace position that the cost of discipleship is indeed high where as salvation is a free gift, that made a whole lot more sense to me. Jesus presents the terms of following Him as a disciple not the requirements of being saved. That explanation was much more satisfying than what L/S teaches!Another problem I had was Dr. MacArthur’s definition of repentance base on English etymology rather than Greek etymology. Having had 3 years of NT Greek at Bible College, I saw Dr. MacArthur’s definition of repentance as a being a pathetic attempt to force his theology into a Greek word. A clear case of eisegesis!Bob
Bob,Those quotes in MacArthur's writings I will own. That taped message I will NOT own. I should like to know what tape he said that on so that I can hear it for myself.The call to salvation and the call to discipleship are one. See the WHOLE Great Commission plus John 8:12, 30-32, and verse 51. Only a system that came to be systematzed after 1830 would seek to divide the two.My pastor, an L/S proponent was saved in early childhood. So were a number of my other friends, L/S Calvinists one and all.If you see Acts 26:18-20. The message of repentance that Paul preached - repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance - was made possible BECAUSE of Christ's crosswork. People COULD have their eyes opened, be turned from darkness to light, be turned from the power of satan to God that they may receive forgivness of sins... again, BECAUSE of Christ's crosswork. Sorry but Christ's crosswork procured a changed life as well as Justification. Now please reread my previous answer to you in regards to whether or not MacArthur's statement has anything to do with our justification. He was talking about the high cost of believing in Christ - nothing to do about our justified standing before God. We are justified the moment we believe in Jesus BEFORE any good works issue forth. But, the fact is, they WILL issue forth if we are justified, thanks to the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Bob N.,From reading your Jan. 15, 8:12an comment it seems to me you are presupposing an unchanged unregenerate person coming to faith in Jesus Christ. However, the Bible does not present an unchanged person coming to faith based on human decision alone. No, the Bible in many places asserts that a beliver is a new creation in Christ. He has been made spiritually alive from a state of spiritual death. He has been born again. He is led by the Spirit. The free grace position presupposes a human decision to get a "get out of hell free card" and another later human decision to decide to be a disciple. This is simply not the Biblical story of salvation.The bible speaks of believers being given a desire to be disciples through the power of the Holy Spirit. From John 10, Romans 6-9, Eph. 2, the message is the same and that message is that sinners are saved by the power of God and not by human decision.Salvation is indeed the free gift of God, but it is not impotent or powerless.
Bob,MacArthur is not the sole voice of L/S. I dare say that 9 out of 10 Calvinists is L/S; each lining up behind a good number of voices in L/S. Would you like it if I said Wilkin and the late ZH are/was the voice of all FGT? Riddlebarger and Gentry, both L/S, were critical of MacArthur's L/S books. Is not Ryrie a tad different than Dr. Lybrand. You can't hope to knock out all of L/S by taking out MacArthur. It is no monolith.
Several times I;ve cited Gentry as being in disagreement with MacArthur in this meta. I was wrong. I meant Horton. Sorry.
“That was a kinda going back and forth answer. On the one hand you afirm the Spirit's testimony to your heart when He first convicted you of your sin and of your need for the Savior. That happens to be what I believe Romans 8:16 is talking about. Then you seem to take it all back by saying that is not how the Spirit bears witness to us. You were in and out in your answer, if not down right self-contradictory.” Mark-I was attempting to describe a growth process but apparently I failed miserably. Alas for my ineloquence!Let us then return to the quote from R. T. Kendall and deal with that, since he is quite clear and stable. Here it is again: "Had [Cotton] seen [that Calvin's conviction was that Christ died for all men], the need for a subjective experience of the Spirit could have been avoided."Was Kendall correct about this or not? What do you think?JanH
Bob-How did you get into LS to begin with? Were you initially discipled that way?JanH
JanH,I think that I DID answer you. I had begun to embrace the DoG as far back as 1978. I had NEVER wondered whether Christ had died for me in these 31 years. No, I do not think Kendall was right to say that. Subjective experience is what Romans 8:16 is all about. If subjective experience was not to be a factor at all - Calvin, according to D.A. Carson, viewed it as subsidiary, good to bolster objective assurance - then Romans 8:16 would not have been written.Mark
Mark,Here is Dr. MacArthur in his own words saying, "Now let me say this, and I don’t want you to panic when I say it. Saving faith is an adult issue."http://osvfyq.blu.livefilestore.com/y1pqHHtpRccXgRhJP1w7Gvv-pqP03k5VVm_iZPc_vojKIiRgq1QrDCS4ByheFZ5W9MuP3pUW6Y3mlppCBZHdqZ2jbxOscs_DyNt/John%20MacArthur%20Childhood%20Salvation.mp3?download
Mark,When did I say that Dr. MacArthur was the sole representative of L/S? So now I can't even quote from Dr. MacArthur because he only represents one voice in the discussion?
Bob:You notedDr. MacArthur wrote, “in a sense we pay the ultimate price for salvation (The Gospel According to Jesus; page 140).”
In contrast Paul wrote, “the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord (Rom. 6:23).”
I don’t understand how the gospel can be a free gift and yet we have to pay the ultimate price for salvation. I thought that Jesus paid it ALL. It seems like L/S claims that Jesus did not pay it ALL since we actually pay the ultimate price.Mark, you replied, The cost MacArthur talks about is that of believing in Christ. Doing so leads to obedience to Him, taking baptism, walking in obedience to His Word. This will cost you friends, the fellowship of relatives, your life's ambitions, your wallet. None of this cost has anything to do with your right standing before the God Who justifies you by faith alone.My take on the passage (excerpted from my book IDOTG) by MacArthur who wrote,“Thus in a sense we pay the ultimate price for salvation when our sinful self is nailed to a cross. . . . It is an exchange of all that we are for all that Christ is. And it denotes implicit obedience, full surrender to the lordship of Christ. Nothing less can qualify as saving faith.”The first and obvious error is that faith is the issue for salvation not surrender. Faith and believe appear many times in Scripture as the condition for salvation. MacArthur’s first error, therefore, is his import of the term “surrender” as a necessary co-condition with faith to be born again.Second, please note carefully that MacArthur speaks of paying “the ultimate price for salvation,” i.e. paying the price to become a Christian. Does the Bible call on the lost to, “pay the ultimate price for salvation?” Is receiving the gift of eternal life conditioned on an “exchange” of “obedience” and “full surrender?” Dr. MacArthur’s saving faith not only implies, it demands the “exchange” of a commitment to life long obedience and submission to the Lord, to receive His free gift of salvation. At salvation there only has to be surrender to what the Holy Spirit is convincing and convicting of at the moment. Future issues of discipleship may not even be on one’s mind.LM
Lou,When you say here, "Second, please note carefully that MacArthur speaks of paying “the ultimate price for salvation,” i.e. paying the price to become a Christian."-----------------You come to the table with completely different assumptions than an L/Ser would. To us scriptures like Mark 8:34-38, John 8:12, 30-32, and verse 51, plus others like Luke 14:25-35, all happened in evangelistic settings. In each case unbelievers were hearing him for the first time. He did not water down the message. He broadcast it for the whole gathering as we see especially in Luke 14:25. ----------------Lou goes on, "Does the Bible call on the lost to, “pay the ultimate price for salvation?” -------------------Yes. Please see my comment above.------------------"Is receiving the gift of eternal life conditioned on an “exchange” of “obedience” and “full surrender?” Dr. MacArthur’s saving faith not only implies, it demands the “exchange” of a commitment to life long obedience and submission to the Lord, to receive His free gift of salvation. At salvation there only has to be surrender to what the Holy Spirit is convincing and convicting of at the moment. Future issues of discipleship may not even be on one’s mind."--------------------What the Holy Spirit is convincing of at the moment of conviction (John 16:8) is that the person is a hopeless sinner in amongst a race of sinners who has who has sought to "break Their bonds in pieces, and cast away Their cords from us". Conviction can not be subjected to one system's scope. Why can't the sinner be convicted of the full range of sin, he being taught that his whole life is nothing but rebellion against God. Faith comes by hearing. When one is told that his whole life has been lived contrary to God's ways found exemplified in Christ they are convinced by the Spirit through the Word that that is so. Hence repentance, turning to God and faith in Christ comes about.LM
Oops forgot to put my own name at the bottom. Sorry Lou.
Bob,Thanks for the link. Quote MacArthur all you like. But in doing so you do not deal with the whole L/S perspective. Take MacArthur out and there are still a number of L/S teachers to deal with.
Bob,It says "web page cannot be found" in that link that you supplied.
Mark,I'm not sure why the link is not working for you. After I posted it, I copied the link into my web browser and it played just fine. I also ask Lou if he was able to listen to the audio file. He also heard it just fine.Sorry. I guess my only suggestion would be that when pasting it into your web browser make sure you paste all of the address and not just part of the address. Other than that, I don't know what to tell you.Is anyone else having a problem listening to the audio clip?Is there any way to post the URL in html code so that a person can just click on the link instead of pasting that looooooong address into their web browser?
Hi Bob,I copied the link into my browser and it did not work for me. Here are a couple of suggestions:1. Go to tinyurl.com and change your long link into a small one (as the name implies :-) ).2. Use < a href="your url here">whatever you want the link to say< /a > (remove the space between < and a at the beginning, and between < and /a at the end) Like this
Well,We are a bit off track, but it find a lot of this conversation helpful. I'm mostly intrigued with the idea that the call to discipleship is always a call to salvation (justification). I written a chapter arguing against that view in an upcoming primer on Free Grace (written with many others).Any quotes from folks who see the distinction between being a disciple and being a believer? Of course, "can be" distinct doesn't mean must be distinct.This also matches the issue of justification not being equal to sanctification. Quotes here would be nice too.Thanks,FRL
And,On another point, Mark has well stated that justification is forensic. I'm wondering if Mark or any others know how 'faith in Christ' is argued to be the same as 'submission to Lordship'...what is the LS standard view of what the CONTENT of their FAITH is?Thanks,FRL
Bob,of what you emailed me, https://www.blogger.com/comment.g?blogID=17392026&postID=5662887107475854190 is all that worked. It was only a couple of minutes long. How could he have been allowed to develope his thoughts there. He DID NOT say that childhood salvation is impossible. What HE DID say is that he would tell a child exactly what he would tell an adult - that salvation comes when one makes a conscious decision to turn from sin and to follow Christ. That IS the Word of God. Remember, faith comes by hearing the Word of God. What I gather MacArthur is coming against is the notion that somebody can come to salvation without a conscious turning from sin and coming to Christ. In other words some of the material in childhood Sunday-school classes is deficient. Again though the clip was way too short to give MacArthur time to develope his thoughts.
John_MacArthur_Childhood_Salvation.mp3 is the link that worked. Forget the other link, unless ya wanna se what's going on in GES-ville.
Dr. Lybrand,Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30 - "come to Me...Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me..." The result: "I will give you rest...you will find rest for your souls..."The salvation experience in view here? I say yes.
JanH,I think that I DID answer you. Mark- Thank you for answering again, then, even though I had not asked that question yet.Obviously I disagree with you that Kendall was wrong. For one thing he was not advocating an absence of subjective experience. He was petitioning against a subjective experience of the Spirit as the basis of assurance. Throughout the book he advocates Christ Himself as the basis of our assurance. In later passage than the one I mentioned he says (by way of complaint): "As seen earlier in the case of Beza and Perkins, a limited atonement prohibits making Christ alone the ground of assurance- at least by a direct act of faith." (p. 203) His chief concern is to defend assurance based on Christ Himself alone, not to militate against subjective experiences. He militates against subjective experiences as the ground of assurance, not against subjective experiences all together. Thanks for the interaction.JanH
JanH,Where Kendall says, "As seen earlier in the case of Beza and Perkins, a limited atonement prohibits making Christ alone the ground of assurance- at least by a direct act of faith." (p. 203)"The Beza-Perkins connection does, and I believe should, draw much fire. The Puritans have done much damage in the area of assurance. That said, however, it is the Beza-Perkins-Pink "introspection version" of Calvinism you have a problem with. I cannot see how the DoG in its unadulterated form (from Calvin directly) can mess up one's assurance.
Mark, Thanks so much for seeing the puritan issue! It seems many of my friends think puritan-Calvinism is the only kind. . .which is why they are grumpy with me!FRL
Mark,Sorry I didn't respond to this sooner...You said, Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30 - "come to Me...Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me..." The result: "I will give you rest...you will find rest for your souls..." The salvation experience in view here? I say yes. May 16, 2009 5:25 PM ----------------------------Actually, I believe the Lord had much more in mind than the salvation experience. He is offering a rest to the whole person...it must, of course, begin with 'salvation', but it surely had in view a faithful walk with the Lord of glory. We get a 'rest' when we are saved...but we only get a full 'rest' when we follow Him (and a fully realized rest in His presence).This is clearly how John understood this kind of emphasis:For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome. 1 John 5:3Following Christ is clearly a two-fold issue: (1) Become one of His, (2) Walk with Him.This might be the same kind of issue with His call to 'become fishers of men'...not exactly a salvation offer...but of course they must get saved.Thanks,FRL
Hey All,Here's is that link using tiny url:http://tinyurl.com/Mac-CH-SalvThanks Rachel!BTW Mark.The reason that this audio clip is so short is because this was a Q&A session in a church. If Dr. MacArthur wanted to wax eloquent on the topic, that was his prerogative. Apparently he said all that he wanted to say on the subject at the time.So heads up all you folks working in ministries for children. Part and parcel of your gospel presentation needs to include: "Boys and girls I have some REALLY good news for you. In order to be saved you need to stop being selfish! Because according to Dr. MacArthur 'A person not willing to turn from ... selfishness will find he cannot turn to Christ in faith.'"
Dr. Lybrand,I do not see how Matthew 11:28-30 can be exegetically broken up into two kinds of rest. That way of looking at that portion of scriture is system driven, not exegetically driven. Sorry, sir, I mean no disrespect. You have been most gracious with me, and I do appreciate that. Thank you.
Bob,I do not answer to the classic dispensational system, therefore I see Mark 8:34-38 as part of the evangelistic message. Again, the good news is that Christ's crosswork delivers those who believe from darkness to light, from the power of satan to God that they may receive forgiveness of sins. The believer is now in Christ's kingdom, under His rule.
Fred,You said...Following Christ is clearly a two-fold issue: (1) Become one of His, (2) Walk with Him.Do you believe a person can become one of his [be saved] and yet reject walking with him?wayne
Mark,No disrespect felt...however, I don't see your exegesis yet. What exactly makes this 'salvation only'? Doesn't Christ save the whole person? Also, doesn't the 'soul' represent far more (exegetically) than just the spirit-into-heaven?I am not actually using a system, though I do confess to the importance of reasoning in interpretation.What in the context makes it a relief from an eternal burden?Thanks,FRL
Mark,On your other point:"The believer is now in Christ's kingdom, under His rule."Does this mean the believer must obey...or...is there room in you understanding for rebellion / mistakes / etc.?Thanks much,FRL
Jazzycat,One may certainly 'reject' walking with the Lord for a minute or two...don't you think?If not, then no one is saved---or there are some who never sin.Or, are you getting at something different?Thanks much,FRL
The Beza-Perkins connection does, and I believe should, draw much fire. The Puritans have done much damage in the area of assurance. That said, however, it is the Beza-Perkins-Pink "introspection version" of Calvinism you have a problem with. I cannot see how the DoG in its unadulterated form (from Calvin directly) can mess up one's assurance. Mark-That is true. It is the Puritanism/introspectionism I object to, as well as LA. But I am by no means the first and only person to see a connection between limited atonement and the introspection necessary to gain assurance or the bankruptcy of trying to get assurance that way. I am glad you do not suffer from that. But I know I sure would and I know of others who stumble because of it for precisely that reason. The youth pastor at my old church has a brother who held to TULIP and was constantly in a state of anxiety about whether or not he was really saved. The youth pastor did not hold to LA. He would try to get his brother to settle the question once and for all by trusting Jesus "right now". It never worked.On the other hand I have also known 5 pointers who, like you, are perfectly confident in their salvation.I have another question for you, if you don't mind. You apparently do not hold to the Puritan form of Lordship Salvation that MacArthur holds to? Yet you do claim to hold to Lordship Salvation. How is your form different than MacArthur's?JanH
Dr. Lybrand, you ask,"Mark,No disrespect felt...however, I don't see your exegesis yet. What exactly makes this 'salvation only'? Doesn't Christ save the whole person?"----------------------------------------I must admit that I do not understand your question. Yes He saves the whole person. I do not understand why you would ask me that. My understanding of Him saving the whole person is seen in a verse I've alluded to several times in this meta. It is seen in Acts 26:18-20. Romans 6 gives us a fuller view. The Christian goes from having been a slave to sin to being a slave to righteousness, a slave to God.----------------------------"Also, doesn't the 'soul' represent far more (exegetically) than just the spirit-into-heaven?"----------------------------Yes it does mean more than spirit into heaven. And I believe that even MacArthur would agree with that. Who do you know that wouldn't?-------------------------------"I am not actually using a system, though I do confess to the importance of reasoning in interpretation.What in the context makes it a relief from an eternal burden?"----------------------------------------What is it that they are laboring over or are burdened about? Paul gives us a couple of glimpeses. One is his own experience in Romans 7. He was carnal and sold under sin in his days before Christ. His struggle was with his flesh, a struggle that would continue into his walk with Christ. See Gal. 5:17. His rest was found in Christ. Romans 7:25. The other glimpse was in Romans 10:1-13. The Jews mentioned there are going about to establish their own righteousness. Adain, Christ is the answer.------------------------"Mark,On your other point:"The believer is now in Christ's kingdom, under His rule."Does this mean the believer must obey...or...is there room in you understanding for rebellion / mistakes / etc.?Thanks much,FRL"----------------------There is plenty of room for rebellion; hence the chastening of the Father. The believer enters into the process of being conformed to the image of Christ. Jesus defined eternal life in John 17:3. Knowing God and being desirous to walk in His ways go hand in hand. See the life of King David. He longed after God but still got himself into situations wherein he had to be chastened. So it is with the NT believer.
JanH,I was saved at a church that was anti Calvinistic. There were a couple of people there who had doubts about their salvation; and they were never exposed to the TULIP. That is a problem that you will see no mater where you go to church. It is not limited to those TULIP churches.My L/S is different than MacArthur's in that I do not believe that the way he handles 2 Cor. 13:5 is proper. There is no way that you can exegetically arive at the conclusion there that all believers are commanded to examine themselves to see whether they are in the faith. I believe that to be a Puritan perversion. Long story short, Paul there was asking those folk to examine themselves so that he could vindicate his apostleship. Nothing beyond that.
Fred,You said.....One may certainly 'reject' walking with the Lord for a minute or two...don't you think?Certainly. I was wondering if you think it is possible for a saved Christian to reject being a disciple totally for an entire long life?Wayne
Mark,Let me try this from a little different entry. I was responding to your statement that I wasn't using good exegesis on the text...so I asked for your exegesis. You said:What is it that they are laboring over or are burdened about? Paul gives us a couple of glimpeses. One is his own experience in Romans 7. He was carnal and sold under sin in his days before Christ. His struggle was with his flesh, a struggle that would continue into his walk with Christ. See Gal. 5:17. His rest was found in Christ. Romans 7:25. The other glimpse was in Romans 10:1-13. The Jews mentioned there are going about to establish their own righteousness. Adain, Christ is the answer.........This is where the challenge really is concerning 'theology /systems'---you used Paul to explain Christ's words in Matthew...that really isn't good exegisis, though it might be great theology and biblical synthesis.The Matthew passage itself doesn't really offer us much in the way of knowing the nature of the burden...is it from their sin, their religiousity, the haranging from their religious leaders? The commentaries offer all of these.I see salvation (justification) as occuring at a point in time...so when Jesus say "learn from Me, etc." it has a much greater "walk with me / my burden (in living out a life in me) is light"--- just like I might say living the NT way is a much better (more peaceful and more useful) way to exist.I took it that your argument in the beginning was trying to say that the Matt 11 passage was an invitation to simply getting justified.Of course, my assumption may be misguided in that you do not see the distinction between justification and sanctification that I see in the text (though you rightly understand justification as forensic).Your reference to Romans 6 is very interesting because 6:12-14 matches Romans 12:1-2...addressed to believers, and yet calling them to offer themselves to Christ for slavery. How could that be that slavery is required for salvation (justification)...and yet...is called upon (it looks pretty optional [though not the right thing to do] in these passages) for the believer to accept/commit/decide to do.You also reference Romans 7 as being the experience of Paul prior to the his own justification...which is the super-minority view. I know at DTS Dr. Grassmick was the only prof who held Romans 7 was Paul before faith.Of course, who cares about majority views, the text is all that matters. The real problem is that Paul settled the justification issue in Romans 4 and 5. Romans 6-8 is clearly about our growth in Him as we reckon, present, etc.He ends Romans 7 with these words:"21 So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. 22 For I delight in the law of God, ein my inner being, 23 but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin." The Holy Bible : English Standard Version., Ro 7:21-25 (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001)..................The problem is that Paul holds on to this language as a present reality. How easy and clear would it have been for him to say, "I SERVED the law of God..." If it were a pre-salvific experience, I am confident with the way he writes...it would have been abundantly clear (and put in chapter 3).Of course, this is where our theologies come into play...I understand the Word to teach that a believer can truly fall into the experience of sin, rebellion, and that struggle of Romans 7 (and Gal. 5). Many (you Mark?) do not think such extended sinning is possible.So, when we come to a passage like "My yoke is easy"...we are at a point of temptation to read it with our own theology. That of course is neither evil...or...particularly unavoidable. What we can do is go back to the text and ask, "Does this really match my view of _______________ (fill in theology or passage)?"You were asking if the 'salvation experience' is in view in Matt 11---which I took to mean is the 'justification experience' in view? My responses have been entirely focused on the fact that Jesus (I believe) has much more for us than simply our forgiveness when he says "My yoke is easy...learn from me."Whew! Sorry,FRL
Wayne,Really good question.You said:I was wondering if you think it is possible for a saved Christian to reject being a disciple totally for an entire long life?..........I really have no idea. What we all do with such things is speculate / create theories that we cannot prove from the text or from experience. I'm sure one can fail in discipleship for a period of time...which, I think, could end in a sin unto death (so he might not end well).Is it theoretically possible scripturally for one to never finally reject the call to being a disciple? Yes.Is it theoretically possible scripturally for one to finally reject the call to being a disciple? Yes.How can we prove this? It is all speculation that is defended on the basis of certain texts we emphasize one way or the other. Anything unproved remains a theory...which means it is a matter of faith if we practice based on it. For my money...I'm seeing theories as pragamatically invalid (I'll explain this in my upcoming book, BACK TO FAITH).We cannot prove these sorts of things (e.g. works must follow and increase in a believer's life...works prove salvation...etc.). God is the one who will Judge (Rom. 14 / James 5).Does this help?Grace,FRL
Dr. Lybrand,I view the Bible as a unit. obscure passages can be interpreted by more easily read ones. I believe in scripture interpreting scripture. Each portion of scripture is a look at different portions of the unite. Some call this method "The Analogy of Faith".Now, a look at Matthew 11:28. "Come unto Me".Here is where justification takes place. A man is justified the moment he comes to Christ; or eats His flesh and drinks His blood; or believes Him - it all means the same thing, just different ways of saying believe in Him. "and I will give you rest". It is finished. Salvation rest - there is now no condemnation; that one has passed from death to life."Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me". Do you see a division here in the Lord's train of thought? I see it all as one thought of "coming to Him" and taking His yoke upon oneself. And this is where I believe your system gets in the way. In order to sustain your view of the "carnal Christian" one MUST see a division here. There is none . Coming to Him and taking His yoke upon us is all one action.Now, Romans 6. Romans 6 is positional truth, whereas Romans 12:1 and 2 is the admonition to live the reality of that truth. One who goes on to NOT live the reality has not experienced the reality. The ministry of God the Holy Spirit within the believer must not be down-played. Christ's kingdom is lived out in the lives of those indwelt by His Spirit. That, I believe, is the design of God in the Christian to begin with. Ephesians 2:10.
In other words, The rest in verse 28,received upon justification is the same rest spoken of in verse 29 when one takes the yoke upon themselves. I see no exegetical reason to divide the two.
JanH,I was saved at a church that was anti Calvinistic. There were a couple of people there who had doubts about their salvation; and they were never exposed to the TULIP. That is a problem that you will see no mater where you go to church. It is not limited to those TULIP churches.My L/S is different than MacArthur's in that I do not believe that the way he handles 2 Cor. 13:5 is proper. There is no way that you can exegetically arive at the conclusion there that all believers are commanded to examine themselves to see whether they are in the faith. I believe that to be a Puritan perversion. Long story short, Paul there was asking those folk to examine themselves so that he could vindicate his apostleship. Nothing beyond that. Mark-Thanks for the answer! Alas, it seems I keep coming up with more questions, though. Incidentally, I am not interested in using your answers to bait you or anything. I am genuinely curious.For the first part:What kind of church were you saved in? I remember a bit back in this thread you said you came to the Reformed view about 5 or so years after you were saved. What did you learn in your early Christian years and how did you decide to go Reformed?For the second part:I guess I should have asked my question differently initially. What I really want to know is, how does your LS view differ from the Puritan view (I take MacArthur as a good representative of that view)? Is it only on 2 Cor 13:5? Do you agree with them on everything else? Where do you draw the line?JanH
JanH,I was saved at a church that was originally part of The Assemblies of God. In other words full-blown Arminianism.Technically I am not Reformed. I am not a Sabbatarian. For me no one day is different than any other. Also, I differ from the Reformed in that I do not look to the Law of Moses for my sanctification. I look to Christ and the New Testament writers at what is called "The Law of Christ" as the rule of my life. This possition comes under constant fire from the Reformed. To them my kind of folk are antinomian.Back in 1978, 5 years after I was saved, a friend of mine and I took a hard look at Romans chapters 8 through 10. I went on to notice over time that Paul quotes many OT scriptures throughout those chapters but assigns different meanings to them than what they had in their original OT context. I later went on to be persuaded that one should use the NT to interpret the OT. That means a plain reading of Romans 8-10 will always lead one to the DoG.
Fred,That's interesting. How would you handle Romans 8 and particularly Romans 8:14 that seems to indicated that those who have eternal life [sons of God] are led by the Spirit of God? Being led certainly points to some conformity or obedience in discipleship. IOW, being led indicates that one is following. Therefore, wouldn't a person who does not follow Christ not be a son of God and not be saved? Certainly, this is something man cannot discern or judge. However, we know from the parable of the four soils, James 2:14-26, and Jesus himself that there are hypocrites who claim Christ but do not possess Christ in a saving relationship. Thus, wouldn't you say that Romans 8:14 closes the door on the so-called carnal Christian concept and exposes it to be a myth?Wayne
Wayne,Actually to 'close the door' on carnal Christian would require addressing it in 1 Corinthians 3 where it occurs...however. and for starters, Romans 8:14 uses hiuos rather than teknon; thus able to carry the meaning of 'full grown' son (one sharing in the family likeness and receiving the love of the parent/father). 1 Peter 3 does much the same as it refers to godly women as 'daughters' of Sarah are clearly not her offspring (in fact, Peter uses teknon!)but resemble her character. Romans 8 seems to clearly indicated that the believer is to set his mind on the Spirit, etc. (which means he 'could' set his mind on the flesh).My upcoming book has an entire chapter dedicated to James 2...and...you are right to call it the parable of the soils (many think it is about the sower). Why must it only be the last soil that is 'saved'? If it is not of works, they why would worldliness prove anything for sure? None of these prove anything in my own understanding regarding the issue.And, again, 1 Corinthians 3 clearly states that believers can live like mere men.This really does get down to an issue of whether or not a christian can sin...and for how long? If two minutes, why not three, etc. Which means ultimately we are caught looking at any particular work or patterns of works---we stand in God's place judging.Theoretically, works maybe MUST follow faith...but, really, what can I do with the theory since I can look at one's good works and not really know if he's just trying to work his way to heaven.Thanks,FRL
Dr. Lybrand, You say, "Romans 8:14 uses hiuos rather than teknon; thus able to carry the meaning of 'full grown' son (one sharing in the family likeness and receiving the love of the parent/father)."So are you saying that God will be a Father to us only if we "come out from among them And be separate..."? 2 Cor. 6:16-18. There it says we will be His hiuos only in that event. So are you separating our being "temples of God" (verse 16) from being Sons of God?Also it says "because you are hiuos, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying out, "Abba Father!" Gal. 4:6. Does that mean only mature sons have that experience? Wouldn't that mean that the mere teknon would be outside such an experience?
Also, the "carnal Christians" in Corinth... What is the standard? Christ Himself? Then wouldn't we all be "carnal" in comparison? Hodges and Ryrie suggest that one who once professed Christ can even lose faith and become hostile to the things of God for the remainder of their lives. Hmmm. Where in the Bible do they see such a model? Certainly not in Corinth. Even these folk "[came] behind in no gift" and were "waiting for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ". 1 Cor. 1:7. It says that Paul praised them because they remembered him in all things and kept the ordinances as he delivered them to them. 1 Cor. 11:2. What about that great chapter, 2 Cor. 7:7 where mwe read of their earnest desire, their mourning, their fervent mind toward Paul. What about the repentance mentioned in verse 9? For the Free Grace Theology proponent's definition of the "carnal Christian" well, he can't point to the Corintian Church.
Fred,I guess we all use filters to a certain extent when we read Scripture. I hope we can agree that when the Scriptures use the term "in Christ", it refers to a characteristic that all saved believers have. IOW all saved and redeemed people are in Christ. Certainly the Bible refers to infants in Christ, but the term "infants" points to a condition that is not permanent. When a word search of “in Christ” is done a very long list of passages in many different New Testament books reveal a lot about the attributes of those who are redeemed and in Christ. I will not go through them, as they are clear in their meaning. One theme is repeated over and over and that is those who are in Christ Jesus are changed people that have different attitudes and behaviors. They are certainly not sinless and I think you are mistaken when you say, ” This really does get down to an issue of whether or not a christian can sin...and for how long?” No, the carnal Christian issue really gets down to whether a saved redeemed person can remain unchanged after his regeneration and show no effects of the indwelling Holy Spirit for the rest of his life. Sin is not the issue. Good works are not the issue. A new creation is the issue as 2 Cor. 5:17 points out. The issue is can the Holy Spirit be a total failure in His ministry of regeneration and indwelling believers? If the Holy Spirit can totally fail in making a person a new creation in Christ, then Paul is wrong and some people are saved but remain the same people they were before being saved. This view denies the power of God and asserts that a regenerate person can thwart the will of God. It is one thing to assert through free will that God allows some to reject salvation although they have the ability to accept. However, it is quite another to suggest that God is powerless to change a persons’ heart when he clearly states that is exactly his intention in many places in the New Testament. Thanks for kindness and willingness to allow a friendly discussion.Wayne
For some reason I suddenly cannot copy and paste.Mark-Thanks for your response. I see now where you are coming from. It seems you have a good deal more in common with us than others in the LS camp inasmuch as the Reformed come against you for the same reasons they come against us.Glad you got out of AoG. Certainly folks there are uncertain of their salvation.JanH
JanH,While I attended that church the very people that led me to Christ tried to convince me that one could lose their salvation. I never once bought into that idea. One of the pastors there had me read Robert Shank's "Life In The Son". I found Shank's arguments were unconvincing. So there I was in an Arminian church and VERY CERTAIN of my salvation.
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