It all began with Tim Challies writing a book on discernment. Justin Taylor wrote a short blurb announcing it. In the comments following it Steve Camp opined:

My only prayer for Tim is that he is young, theologically immature, and untested in handling God’s Word. He also began writing this book by polling his own blog readers in helping him define what discernment is. That is a true sign of insecurity, lack of knowledge, and “a tell” that he really isn’t well-versed on this subject.

Tim Challies wrote a response in which Phillip Johnson of Team Pyro wrote:

It’s a fine book. (Even though you stepped on my toes in a couple of places.) And if people who haven’t even read the book are questioning whether a layperson like you (best known for being a Berean) has a right to write about the basic principles of discernment—well, in my mind that’s simply proof of how appallingly short of true discernment the church today is, and how desperately needed your book is.

BTW, I especially appreciate this from Phillip Johnson as Challies was the principle author in the blogosphere writing against Johnny Mac’s view that God does everything for the sake of his own glory. It shows the ability to put aside past disagreements in order to write in a fair minded way.

Edit: Oops, I mixed up BW3 with Tim Challies, somehow. Apologies all the way around. Still, admirable of Johnson to stick up for Challies.

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91 Comments(+Add)

1   Joe C    http://www.joe4gzus.blogspot.com
January 4th, 2008 at 12:51 pm

And if people who haven’t even read the book are questioning whether a layperson like you (best known for being a Berean) has a right to write about the basic principles of discernment—well, in my mind that’s simply proof of how appallingly short of true discernment the church today is, and how desperately needed your book is.

I think this was a great point that Phil made. If we can’t come to terms that discernment is everyone’s job, and everyone with the Spirit of God is capable of writing, teaching, and preforming on the matter of discernment, then we’ve really missed the boat. And we really do need more ‘laypersons’ stepping up to the plate and showing that it’s everyone’s job.

Joe

2   RayJr    
January 4th, 2008 at 12:59 pm

Wow, Steve Camp gets raked over the coals in the comments, and deservedly so. Like John MacArthur’s and Al Mohler’s endorsements aren’t enough, Steve (who hasn’t read the book) claims that Tim should get the thumbs up from his pastor, who most people don’t know from Adam.

3   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
January 4th, 2008 at 1:12 pm

I find it very ironic that so many in the Reformed camp seem to be so infatuated with one’s qualifications for being a pastor, writing, etc. It seems to me that this emphasis on hierarchy is missing one of the biggest themes of the Reformation – the Priesthood of the Believer.

I mean, for all intents and purposes, it seems that Johnnie Mac is the Protestant Pope to some of these people.

4   RayJr    
January 4th, 2008 at 1:21 pm

Phil,

That was my thinking exactly.

5   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
January 4th, 2008 at 1:26 pm

WOW, Steve Camp is so arrogant. If I didn’t already have a reading list that is way too long, I’d go out and buy it just because he used that vocal vomit to slap Tim around. Now, please excuse me why I go throw up.

6   Joe C    http://www.joe4gzus.blogspot.com
January 4th, 2008 at 1:27 pm

Phil,

After reading through the comments on Taylors site, I heartily agree with you about the obsession with qualifications. As if Peter, John, and James had been scribes, well studied, and not lower-class fishermen types!

Lest we forget God uses the least of these to do the greatest things in Scripture.

It’s simply amazing how a lot of those people in the comments could only think of “Man if a layman is writing books on theological issues now, where are all the pastors!?” Like pastors are the only ones who can understand the Bible well enough to teach it. Like the only people who can teach properly are those who went to seminary and got the ’seal of approval’ of MAN to teach God’s people. Please. God doesn’t care about that. A fisherman was His rock. A murderer was His writer of most of the theological doctrine of the New Testament. His SON, He Himself, was a poor carpenter, with no training, born in a filthy trough in a poor little town, later to be beat down, tormented, and crucified on a Roman Cross by God-haters.

Please. Go Tim Challies, go.

Joe

7   David C    http://davidcho.blogspot.com
January 4th, 2008 at 1:34 pm

I have been a bit curious about what appears to be a feud between the two factions within the “reformed” camp.

One side’s ringleader is Phil Johnson, and other Steve Camp, Silva and Ingrid.

Teampyro used to have slice listed on the blogroll and he bent over backward to defend slice.

Likewise, Ingrid used to have Teampyro prominently listed on her blog roll, and regularly linked to the pyro articles.

While both camps still pay their homage to John MacArthur, they seldom acknowledge each other. I think Jim from Oldtruth is the only commonality the two sides share.

So what’s the deal?

8   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
January 4th, 2008 at 1:35 pm

Yeah, its very gnostic in nature, “we have the secret knowledge that makes us clergy! You laity shut up!!”

9   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
January 4th, 2008 at 1:41 pm

David C,
I’d speculate that Team Pyro doesn’t like the hit pieces on individuals. Notice New Truth doesn’t put the hit pieces on the front page, instead they end up shuffled around to the back of the site with no links from the front page.

10   David C    http://davidcho.blogspot.com
January 4th, 2008 at 1:46 pm

You may be right, but have you read Phil Johnson’s rigorous defense of Slice I linked to? Slice has been doing hit pieces on individuals from day one.

So I am still trying to figure out what happened. How and when did the breakup happen? I am a fan of reformed soap operas :]

11   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 4th, 2008 at 1:50 pm

John MacArthur is that segments Pope.

1. What he says and teachings is infallible… no one can say anything against JM.
2. John is THE TEACHER that all must listen to get “truth.”
3. John has declared war against those he deemed heretical. This reeks of the pre-reform and reformation days.

Honestly, I agree with those so far saying that these people miss the point of the reformation. It is almost laughable to here them quote Luther or even Calvin… let alone how they slaughter Spurgeon with their modernist twist on his words.

iggy

12   Kyle in WI    
January 4th, 2008 at 2:01 pm

Iggy

How do they slaughter Spuregon. Side note Spurgeon never recieved formal training and stated preaching in his early 20’s. This shows God’s grace on a sinner and how anyone who takes the time and effort can be astute then most pastor in America!

Also God does not does everything for His glory??? Then why does He do it?

13   RayJr    
January 4th, 2008 at 2:02 pm

Iggy,

While John M is a fallible human like the reat of us, and although some of his disciples leave a bad tase in my mouth, I have yet to see a convincing rebuttal of “lordship salvation”, as outlined in The Gospel According to Jesus”. And I’ve listened to Grace To You and I think Dr. MacArthur is a lot looser and engaging than most people think.

14   Matt B    http://matbathome.blogspot.com/
January 4th, 2008 at 2:10 pm

Spurgeon also drank and smoked on a daily basis. You never hear that from the ODMs.

15   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
January 4th, 2008 at 2:13 pm

The ODMs make people want to drink on a daily basis. So there’s some similarity…

16   Kyle in WI    
January 4th, 2008 at 2:20 pm

Matt was it really on a daily basis?? I think pretty most people that follow Spurgeon or read him know that he smoked cigars and drank. I believe some of his drinking was for his aliments that he suffered from escpecailly later in life.

“BTW, I especially appreciate this from Phillip Johnson as Challies was the principle author in the blogosphere writing against Johnny Mac’s view that God does everything for the sake of his own glory.”

Could you point me to the stuff you referenced here? Becasue everything that God does is for His glory. It is clear seen in scripture and throughout church history. I would like to read their rebuttals of this. I assume Jonny M. is saying mostly the same stuff of Jonny P. on this subject so those rebutalls would be awesome?!

17   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
January 4th, 2008 at 2:54 pm

Kyle,
I’ll be happy to point you to the entire flare up in the blogosphere over teh issue, however, I will say if you can’t think of any other motivation God would have other than for his own glory, I doubt you’ll get much out of it.

Ask and ye shall receive

18   Kyle in WI    
January 4th, 2008 at 2:57 pm

Well I can think of a lot of reason’s. But the more important thing is what is the message found in the Bible. I see that throughout the bible everything centers around His glory. I will not debate this here though I will read the stuff you provided, thanks:)

19   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 4th, 2008 at 4:06 pm

Kyle,

They use Spurgeon who was anti modernism to attack post modernism… without realizing they are using many of the modernist tools in their own arguments. I have defended the biblical definition of “Truth” which is the person Jesus Christ, and have had them shove that I am a relativist in my face as I state Biblical truth does not need a qualifier (absolute truth) to be more true… a thing is either true or not… However, I am often having Spurgeon quoted to me as if he was a modernist and as I stated that is twisting his words to mean something they originally did not state.

Ray Jr,

I would very much disagree that Lordship Salvation has not been disprove… even the bible disproves that one must “commit to being a disciple before they can be saved” let alone the false idea that on can say “Lord” and be saved. The addition o the “make a commitment” is adding works to salvation and making repentance a work and condition for salvation, This then makes faith not a gift but something that is earned by our own commitment and obedience.

Jesus stated, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” and this will is to believe on the One He sent, Jesus.

Over all I have no real issue with MacArthur, though his followers seem to be rather aggressive and miss that Jesus, being Truth needs no protecting, and in fact, it is He that protects us. To turn that around is blasphemy if you ask me.

iggy

20   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
January 4th, 2008 at 4:21 pm

Iggy said: “The addition o the “make a commitment” is adding works to salvation and making repentance a work and condition for salvation…”

Been laying low lately, but where in the world does this reasoning come from???

The initial work of salvation is certainly not started because we are good, but after we have been welcomed into the family of God, are we not required to live according to Jesus’ commandments?

21   pastorboy    http://www.thedowngrade2007.blogspot.com
January 4th, 2008 at 5:05 pm

Since I have shared Spurgeon’s affinity for fine cigars, When I golf and I have one, I have dubbed them “Spurgeons”

That issue aside, Don’t the proverbs say that a foolish man stirs up strife? Why would you all enjoy a war between brothers and sisters in Christ, other than the fact that it seems to keep a few blogs in ‘business’?

22   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 4th, 2008 at 6:23 pm

Paul C,

The initial work of salvation is certainly not started because we are good, but after we have been welcomed into the family of God, are we not required to live according to Jesus’ commandments?

That is my contention against Lordship Salvation.

PB.

That issue aside, Don’t the proverbs say that a foolish man stirs up strife? Why would you all enjoy a war between brothers and sisters in Christ, other than the fact that it seems to keep a few blogs in ‘business’?

I agree, I see many that attack people like me unwarranted and make grand and verbose accusations against us that realy have not bearing in reality at all…

Also, remember John MacArthur declared the “truth Wars” and is defending his god… My God needs no defending. So it seems you contention should be with the guy who is declaring war with his brothers and not against those who he declared war with.

Saying that, I will not just stand and let some person abuse others or lie about them. I think that is what you are missing about this site, it tries to set the record straight from the lies, slander and misinformation spread by the so called discernment blogs that are really gossip blogs.

iggy

23   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.rethinkingchurchlife.org
January 4th, 2008 at 6:47 pm

Spurgeon is whatever you want to make him :)

Spurgeon drank and smoked
Spurgeon suffered from depression
Spurgeon was grossly overweight
Spurgeon was not a true calvinist (he denied double predestination)
Spurgeon never preached expositionally
Spurgeon believed Arminians were Christians
Spurgeon would never have let Steve Camp sing in his Church

What is the lasting legacy of Spurgeon besides the fact that we argue about him? :) What has happened to the Metropolitan Tabernacle and why?

Yet Spurgeon was used mightily of God. A 21 yr old boy saved in a Methodist Church while a layman was preaching.

I have read Spurgeon extensively. We share the same birthdate and we both were/are fat. I would not consider his separation from the Baptist Union as one of his finer moments. He over-reacted and I believe the body of Christ suffered as a result. But, he was a Baptist. What do you expect. The Baptist Church started in Genesis when Abraham said to Lot “you go your way and I’ll go mine.”

How do we KNOW God does everything for his glory? Maybe God does it because he wants to.

24   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.rethinkingchurchlife.org
January 4th, 2008 at 6:51 pm

I have read all of MacArthur’s books expect the last one. I found the books to be narrower and narrower over the years. Pretty soon only 144,000 will be saved.

His book on Lordship Salvation attempted to correct a problem in the Church;The “I’m saved but like like Hell” Baptists that fill the Church rolls. It was a needed corrective BUT he went way too far. The gospel of God’s grace has become a Reformed gospel of works.

25   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
January 4th, 2008 at 6:57 pm

Iggy, yet you seem to deny the necessity of “making a commitment” – what’s that about? Please explain. Isn’t repentance fully necessary?

26   Kyle in WI    
January 4th, 2008 at 7:00 pm

Bruce

A calvinist does not adhere to double predestination. God does not work evil in men to condemn them. We all deserve hell, Adam earned it for us and we have earned it personally. God instead of destroying everyone decided to give mercy. But we don’t need to debate this. Double predestination is not calvinism. The way we know that God does everything for His glory is because He says that is why. It is throughout the bible. Study that stuff some, J.Piper has the best stuff on it although you see it all throughout the history of the church.

27   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 4th, 2008 at 7:02 pm

Bruce,

When I was found by Grace, I became ultra sensitive to that is not of grace. I listened to JM for about a year and liked a lot of what I heard, but… every once in a while… I heard him say some pretty scary stuff that negated grace.

This is of course not only a JM problem, as it is found in many churches who mix Law and Grace…

Yet, not all of those churches have written books that attack other Christians… or declare war on them! LOL!

iggy

28   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
January 4th, 2008 at 7:05 pm

A calvinist does not adhere to double predestination.

I don’t see how you can logically say that predestining some to salvation isn’t automatically predestining some to not be saved. There’s really no way around it.

It’s like the old Rush song, even deciding not to decide is deciding…

29   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 4th, 2008 at 7:06 pm

Paul C,

Iggy, yet you seem to deny the necessity of “making a commitment” – what’s that about? Please explain. Isn’t repentance fully necessary?

there is a difference between demanding one to repent for salvation (works) and responding in repentance to the finished works of CHrist.

If one demands that one is “obedient” to be saved, then I will state they miss what obedience really is…

Romans 5: 19. For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.

Note that it is Jesus’ obedience that we walk in that makes us righteous, not our own obedience. To be obedient is to totally trust in Jesus for everything.

be blessed,
iggy

30   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
January 4th, 2008 at 7:15 pm

Iggy – that is dangerous false doctrine.

We are called specifically to obey Christ. Why did Jesus say:

“If you love me, keep my commandments.”

In another place…

“Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not the things that I say?”

There are countless admonitions to obedience in the NT. Also, Peter tells us to “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling” (after telling the saints to add to their faith and those who don’t are blind).

Jesus also tells us he will “reward every man according as his work shall be (his response).”

I understand that we can develop outwardly and thus become Pharisaical, but works are necessary nevertheless (see James 2 as well).

31   Kyle in WI    
January 4th, 2008 at 7:16 pm

Well you say you have faith, you do good. If you believe that Jesus is Lord then you are qualified to be a demon. I show you my faith by my works. It is evident my is not saved by faith alone! I really hate that! James the brother of our Lord man he preached Lord ship salvation! If your life has not changed at all then you are not a christian! Peter tells us to make sure of our calling and election by the way we act. Now we are not justified by faith then sanctified by the law. That is crazy and Paul dealt with that. Right now I am reading J.Owen on mortification, great book doing it on with Tim Challies on his blog, The christian life is own of constant growth and progress not that we have achieved but that we pressed onward.

Real quick. If we are all dead and enemies of God and all we deserve is hell, then it is not God who made us do that for God is not the other of evil. So God is love and displayed it by showing mercy instead of judgement against some. Did those sinners in hell not deserve it? Is mercy against justice? Unless you think you can save yourself(syngerism) then there is not point in arguing.

32   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
January 4th, 2008 at 7:39 pm

Kyle said: “If your life has not changed at all then you are not a christian!” Amen – very clear throughout the entire NT.

Iggy – what you seem to be arguing (if I understand you right) is completely erroneous and dangerous. We need to repent upon receiving Christ – and that entails a reorientation of our life, bringing ourselves under subjection to the principles He taught us. What’s so difficult about that?

33   Kyle in WI    
January 4th, 2008 at 7:48 pm

Here is my pastor’s analogy.

I live in Eau Claire, WI. We are going to Chicago so we need to go east. When we get on the road we are heading west towards the Twin cities. I don’t know I am going the wrong way when my

dad says “ummmm….you are going the wrong way.”

I tell him “no I am not I am going toward IL.”

He says again “NO you are going west.”

So I look at him with amazement and thankfulness for his advice and I say ” You know something you are right i am going wrong way.” Yet even though I know and he told me so if I do not turn the car around will I ever get to IL. No. I must say

“You are right I have been going the wrong way, I am sorry let me turn it around.”
Only when I turn the car around will I ever make it to Chicago.

Same thing with repentance. I can accept “yes Jesus is God and savior.” But if I never turn around then I will never make it to Chicago.

34   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.rethinkingchurchlife.org
January 4th, 2008 at 7:54 pm

Kyle,

I am going to say this kindly…..you don’t know what you are talking bout when it comes to Calvinism. I am smiling as I write this, having been a Calvinistic pastor for a fair number of years (contrary to what Phil and Team Pyro might suggest)

Double predestination is part and parcel of consistent 5 point calvinism. If God predestines some to eternal life, he predestines others to eternal damnation. I suppose we could have a discussion about pre,sub, and infralapsarian views but I reject them out of hand because they are philosophical statements not biblical ones.

Calvinists need to own their doctrine. God has decided where every person will spend eternity. We can talk about causation and influence and all the neat tricks in the Calvinistic bag but at the end of the day God chooses, end of story.

I tried for years to be a Calvinist like Spurgeon and Ryle. I tried to deny negative predestination was necessary. But according to the Calvinistic scheme it is. You can’t have positive predestination without negative predestination. It was at this point I realized that the God was the Bible was not a God who created men so he could damn them. I waved goodbye to Calvinism. This does not mean I am an Arminian. It does mean I am not a Calvinist. :)

Bruce

35   Kyle in WI    
January 4th, 2008 at 8:01 pm

What do you suggest i read.

I also reject any form of hyper-calvinism just like Andrew Fuller and William Carey! So we need to know the meaning of double predestination. This is what it means from what i understand that God works evil in people so they go to hell, just like God works good in people so they go to heaven. Calvinist would agree with the latter and call the form a heresy! Would you agree with this definition? Show me any calvinist that has held this view not people from the of shouts of calvinism.

36   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.rethinkingchurchlife.org
January 4th, 2008 at 8:01 pm

So how much does a man’s life have to change before he is considered “in?’ Please someone give me the definitive line? Anyone?

I want to make sure I have crossed the line. This talk of good works, changed life, etc. It sounds great. But how do we judge?

This seems to me to be a very subjective gospel by which a person is judged by a book a man authored.

MacArthur wrote a book HARD to believe. Think of the message that is being preached. Instead of the freeness of grace and openness of God’s love we find the God of Jonathan Edwards. A good who makes it hard to believe. Who makes it difficult for sinners to know his son.

37   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.rethinkingchurchlife.org
January 4th, 2008 at 8:07 pm

Fuller and Carey (and I have read their works) would not be considered consistent five point calvinists. Some even consider Fuller an Arminian.

Dropping the hypercalvinistic tag won’t fly. Hyper means to go beyond. Historically, a hypercalvinist was one who denied the free offer of the gospel. Many of the Dutch Reformers denied the free offer of the gospel. Most agreed on predestination. God chooses some and does not choose others. This is an act of the will by God. He chooses. It is double predestination, plain and simple. Once again, the various lapsarian views affect how someone views this matter.

It is no wonder Calvinists chafe at this. It makes their God out to be a pretty nasty guy. Hey, it’s your doctrine :)

38   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
January 4th, 2008 at 8:08 pm

Actually, Bruce, the Bible is quite clear that Christ will be the one to judge “the quick and the dead.” In fact, that is the purpose of the resurrection at the time of His return, as borne out scripturally. We are given His word so that we can obey it.

How would you (mis)translate Jesus’ teaching:

“Strive to enter in through the narrow gate, for many will try and shall not be able.”

Please explain (along with the other hundreds of references that make requirements of the true believer). We have been set free – to live our life according to Christ’s higher principles.

39   Kyle in WI    
January 4th, 2008 at 8:08 pm

Well you say you have faith? James how do you over come James?? I am not saying we are saved by works or sanctified by work? By what role do they have in a christians life??? That is there really good question.

Bruce
Please answer my previous post. Is that a good definition of double predestination?

40   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
January 4th, 2008 at 8:10 pm

Kyle,
Well, John Piper for one believes in double predestination. Look here. At least he’s intellectually honest.

41   Kyle in WI    
January 4th, 2008 at 8:13 pm

I understand what hyper-calvinism is thanks;} Also calling Fuller arminian is laughable at best. What he had to deal with in England. He fought for historic calvinism against the strong hyper-calvinism in england at his time. What from their works makes you see them as less then 5 pointers? What have you read of their work? i will reread those books to see where you see that if you can tell me which ones.

I just want to know what you define as double predestination?? This is what I said.
So we need to know the meaning of double predestination. This is what it means from what i understand that God works evil in people so they go to hell, just like God works good in people so they go to heaven. Calvinist would agree with the latter and call the form a heresy! Would you agree with this definition? Show me any calvinist that has held this view not people from the of shouts of calvinism.

42   Phil Miller    http://veritasfellowship.blogspot.com
January 4th, 2008 at 8:16 pm

Kyle,
Did you look at the link I provided?

This is what Piper defines double predestination as:

The “sixth” point, double predestination, is simply the flip side of unconditional election. Just as God chooses whom He will save without regard to any distinctives in the person (Ephesians 1:5-6; Acts 13:48; Revelation 17:8), so also he decides whom He will not save without regard to any distinctives in the individual (John 10:26; 12:37-40; Romans 9:11-18; 1 Peter 2:7-8). By definition, the decision to elect some individuals to salvation necessarily implies the decision not to save those that were not chosen. God ordains not only that some will be rescued from his judgment, but that others will undergo that judgment. This does not mean that someone might really want to be saved but then be rejected because they are on the wrong list. Rather, we are all dead in sin and unwilling to seek God on our own. A true, genuine desire for salvation in Christ is in fact a mark of election, and therefore none who truly come to Christ for salvation will be turned away (John 6:37-40).

43   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.rethinkingchurchlife.org
January 4th, 2008 at 8:18 pm

Paul,

You didn’t answer my question. Where EXACTLY is that line. Surely in a matter as definite as salvation there is a definitive line? Or is faith enough, a faith by which I follower after Jesus?

Why would you assume I would mistranslate? Following Jesus has always been a straight and narrow way? It is what his Church has made that straight and narrow into that I object to.

Kyle,

I would not consider what you wrote as a definition of double predestination.

From the all seeing, all knowing WIKI on predestination:

In common English parlance, the doctrine of predestination often has particular reference to the doctrines of Calvinism. The version of predestination espoused by John Calvin, after whom Calvinism is named, is sometimes referred to as “double predestination” because in it God predestines some people for salvation (i.e. Unconditional election) and some for condemnation (i.e. Reprobation). Calvin himself defines predestination as “the eternal decree of God, by which he determined with himself whatever he wished to happen with regard to every man. Not all are created on equal terms, but some are preordained to eternal life, others to eternal damnation; and, accordingly, as each has been created for one or other of these ends, we say that he has been predestinated to life or to death.”[1].

I guess John Calvin agrees with me :)

44   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.rethinkingchurchlife.org
January 4th, 2008 at 8:20 pm

Kyle,

Search out on the web Fullerites vs. Gillites.

Enjoy :)

45   Kyle in WI    
January 4th, 2008 at 8:26 pm

Guys I agree with both of those. That God choose not to give them mercy therefore he choose to give them judgement. Please try not to use wiki for definitions. That is real poor sourcing. This is the main part that I am trying to get you to understand. This is from the link. Notice God does not work evil nor does he unjustly condemn anyone. But with the Piper’s definition I could agree and Calvin. I could not agree that God is active in reprobation. By that I mean God works with through the Holy Spirit because of Christ in the elect to bring about salvation, this is active. In reprobation God is passive not working the evil and sin in them. Rather He judges them according to what they have done. I hope that clears it up some. But ultimately it is God you decides who is in heaven not man.

Here is the quote. I totally agree with the link.

So just as God doesn’t choose to save certain people because they are better than others (unconditional election), neither does he choose not to save certain people because they are worse than others (unconditional reprobation, or double predestination). Rather, everybody is lost in sin and no one has anything to recommend them to God above anyone else. And so from this mass of fallen humanity, God chooses to redeem some and leave others.

46   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
January 4th, 2008 at 8:27 pm

I’m getting in on this a little late, and admittedly I’ve only skimmed the thread, but: Who or what is “BW3?”

47   Tim Reed    http://churchvoices.com
January 4th, 2008 at 8:32 pm

Ben Witherington III.

48   Kyle in WI    
January 4th, 2008 at 8:33 pm

I am sorry all I can find is two sites?
“Search out on the web Fullerites vs. Gillites.”

What are you trying to point me to? Do have have any source material from their mouths not from those you follow them later?? I do enjoy reading anything and everything that is non-fiction so if you have anything that would be great?

49   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
January 4th, 2008 at 8:36 pm

Never heard of him, but thanks for clearing that up.

50   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.rethinkingchurchlife.org
January 4th, 2008 at 8:45 pm

Kyle,

God is not passive in reprobation. That is a Calvinist two step. God knows who will and will not be saved. He chooses one and by choosing that one he, by an act of volition, does not choose the other.

You might be surprised to know that there are many of the old respected Calvinists (particularly of the dutch school) that believed God caused man to sin. Let me ask you, if God is the first cause of everything than how is he not the cause of evil? And if he is not the first cause of evil what makes us think he is the first cause of salvation.

My google search brought up dozens of sites referencing Gillites vs Fullerites. I’l let you do your homework. Read Andrew Fuller’s works and then John Gill’s works. Focus on their soteriology and how they viewed the freeness of the gospel. You can’t help but to see the difference.

51   F Whittenburg    http://www.christiannewbirth.com
January 4th, 2008 at 9:36 pm

“Well you say you have faith? James how do you over come James?? I am not saying we are saved by works or sanctified by work? By what role do they have in a christians life??? That is there really good question.”

Yes, the Christian does “good works”, but are they a result of “us” or “Christ in us”? I have a question Paul C and Kyle, What responsibility do you see God has in the development of the Christian’s life?

Now the God of PEACE, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the evelasting covenant, MAKE YOU PERFECT in every GOOD WORK to do HIS WILL, WORKING IN YOU that which is WELLPLEASING in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen (Hebrews 13:20,21 KJV).

For we are HIS WORKMANSHIP, created in Christ Jesus UNTO GOOD WORKS, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10 KJV).

You will never get the victory over sin in your life by your sheer detemination and committment to quit sinning. That is the same error that Paul had to rebuke the Galatians over.

Are you so foolish? having begun in THE SPIRIT, are ye made perfect by the flesh? (Galatians 3:3 KJV).

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye THROUGH THE SPIRIT do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live (Romans 8:13 KJV).

“By what role do they have in a christians life??? That is there really good question.”

Answer: God’s “work” in us, thru the Holy Spirit results in the development of the Christian life, while our personal “good works” in the Christian life are associated with “rewards” in Heaven.

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such WERE some of you: but ye are washed, but ye ARE SANCTIFIED, but ye ARE JUSTIFIED in the name of the Lord Jesus, and BY THE SPIRIT of our God. All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any (1 Corinthians 6:9-12).

“Well you say you have faith? James how do you over come James??”

What James was referring to in “works” to show true faith is that “good works” would be the proof that God was actually doing the work thru you, as Jesus taught also.

Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, HE DOETH THE WORKS (John 14:10 KJV).

Hope this helps answer your question, Kyle. I have many more scriptures if you need them, but we will start with this. If you and Paul C would read Galatians it will explain this better than I can.

F Whittenburg
http://www.christiannewbirth.com

52   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 5th, 2008 at 12:17 am

Paul C,

Iggy – what you seem to be arguing (if I understand you right) is completely erroneous and dangerous. We need to repent upon receiving Christ – and that entails a reorientation of our life, bringing ourselves under subjection to the principles He taught us. What’s so difficult about that?

Then you see that one needs to do the works of repentance to be accepted by Jesus?

I think you missed the point as repentance in the response not a work and John MacArthur makes is a requirement as you seemed to have.

Will one repent as they come to Jesus… of course, but it is not always with tears of regret, but as in the women who washed Jesus feet with her tears, it is often out of thankfulness!

To place repentance as a “requirement” makes it a work… and we are not saved by works but by Grace through faith alone…

Now, also there is different types of repentance… one is what Jesus stated, “repent, and believe.”

In one sense this is simply turning around from one path to another, yet, it is also the acknowledgement of one’s inability to save themselves which leads to humility… yet, it does not stop there as it leads on also to transformation.

So say to one who is yet regenerated, “You can only be saved if you repent and believe in Jesus” is a biblical teaching, but the idea that repentance somehow makes one saves as if it is of us, misses the point.

For the humiliation, or humbling as I stated, is seeing one’s total inability and the need for total dependence on Jesus. Lordship Salvation makes one a disciple before one is even saved and demands that one (by God’s help) produce fruit of salvation. One cannot produce fruit, but only bear the Master’s fruit. We are fruit bearers not producers…

So when one goes around and judges someone else’s fruit, they will see it only stinks. If one in humble an honest their own fruit they produce will also stink of death. However, one who bears God’s fruit will smell of the aroma of Christ Himself as He is the one that did the producing in us.

If one’s focus is only to stop sinning, then they will never come to maturity. They need focus on Jesus and grow and bear His fruit and in that total dependence will grow in the Grace and Knowledge of our Lord Jesus.

If one follows Lordship Salvation, they seek to produce the fruit of God in their own works. They hope to prove their election sure by showing others that they produce fruit unto salvation. This is a lie and the game called “religion” that can and will only lead to death and Jesus stating “Away from me, I never knew you.”

Take some time to think about what I just wrote and in fact pray about it… I know it sounds off, but if you understand what true repentance is, then JM’s version will become repugnant and in fact is heresy. His theology is born out the the idea of “rugged individualism” in which the focus is “me getting saved and into heaven”, which is only a small part of what God is doing as far as His Kingdom is concerned.

Be Blessed,
iggy

53   pastorboy    http://www.thedowngrade2007.blogspot.com
January 5th, 2008 at 9:29 am

Iggy,
I love what you have written here. I only disagree in that you say that repentance (according to MacArthur) is a work, and thats not the way I see it, or, I think, he sees it (though it really doesn’t matter)

Heres what I mean: I can’t repent, and I have no desire to repent, unless God first does a work in me, like the work of regeneration you described above. Therefore, it is his grace that draws and does the work in repentance in me. If it is my repentance, then it stinks, is ineffective, and cannot work its way to salvation.

54   F Whittenburg    http://www.christiannewbirth.com
January 5th, 2008 at 10:14 am

Pastorboy said: Heres what I mean: I can’t repent, and I have no desire to repent, unless God first does a work in me, like the work of regeneration you described above. Therefore, it is his grace that draws and does the work in repentance in me. If it is my repentance, then it stinks, is ineffective, and cannot work its way to salvation. ”

I did a study once on the doctrine of repentence (page 64,65 When Faith Came). This is what I found in my personal Bible studies:

I have found two types of professing “Christians” with two separate ideas of repentance. Those that come to the foot of the cross, they haven’t been crucified with Christ (Galatians 2:20 KJV), they are still “alive” and “in control” of their lives. So repentance to them is trying to get the sin out of their life to restore fellowship with God. This is self-repentance. This is what Judas done after he betrayed Jesus. He knew he was under condemnation for betraying Jesus, and tried to give the money back to ease his conscience, but this still did not bring peace with God or peace with himself and he hung himself.

Then Judas, which had betrayed him, when he saw that he was condemned, REPENTED HIMSELF, and brought again the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders, Sayiing, I HAVE SINNED in that I have betrayed the innocent blood. And they said, What is that to us? see thou to that. And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself (Matthew 27:3-5).

But those that are truly crucified with Christ, their idea of repentance was a desperate desire to turn from their sin, but were powerless to get it out of their lives. They needed a Savior, and not just a forgiver, to take over their lives and get the victory over sin that they could not get themselves. Repentance for the Christian is a desire to turn from sin, but the true Christian repentance doesn’t come from the Christian! Like faith, it is a gift from God!

And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will GIVE THEM REPENTANCE to the acknowledging of the truth; And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will (2 Timothy 2:24-26).

For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world (Judas repentance) worketh death (2 Corinthians 7:10).

And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning. Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles GRANTED REPENTANCE unto life (Acts 11:15-18).

Paul wrestled with this same problem in Romans 7 before crying out “o wretched man that I am, who can save me from the body of this death”? In the next chapter of Romans, Paul turns the whole mess over to the Holy Spirit who wins the battle of sin for him.

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live (Romans 8:13)!

Some people have a form of godliness, but deny the power thereof. As you can see the power to live a godly life comes from God! The drug addict or the alcoholic is not wanting to know that there is someone that will keep forgiving them when they sin, or a church that will hold them “accountable” or some person or “cell or small group” to cuddle and cry with them. They want to know about a Savior that has the power to destroy the addiction that is destroying them and not just to keep forgiving them as they wallow in it.
The Christian overcomes sin only through the blood of Jesus and the power of the Holy Spirit and not through their own determination to quit sinning. That person’s spirit may be willing but their flesh is weak!

This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16).

Preachers are saying, turn from your sin and turn to Christ and then preaching on ten steps on how you can do it through your own self-determination and the power of your flesh. If our flesh had the power to overcome our sin, we wouldn’t need Christ! That’s like telling a drowning man to swim to shore to be saved, if he could swim to shore, He wouldn’t be drowning! The Bible says that it is Jesus that turns us from our sin.

Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities (Acts 3:26).

Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had BY HIMSELF purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high; (Hebrews 1:3).

But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore HE is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them (Hebrews 7:24,25).

Good discussion topic.

F Whittenburg
http://www.christiannewbirth.com/whenfaithcame.html

55   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
January 5th, 2008 at 11:45 am

F Whittenburg – thank you for outlining those scriptures. I would say that the reference you make to Galatians has to be taken in context: the problem there was that Judaizers were trying to convince them to basically become Jews by following the ceremonial law (hence the reference to the flesh). No where does Paul – or anyone else – exclude the importance of the moral law of God and the necessity of adhering to it.

To be honest, personally I have never heard anyone in modern times say that we are saved because we were good or that God was obligated out of our works.

However, once we have tasted of Christ, our desire to become His disciples should prompt us to repent (reorient our life).

This is what Peter means: work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. Jesus said we are to STRIVE to enter in through the strait (narrow) gate.

Of course, God is working through us and He gets all the glory, BUT we have a human responsibility to obey.

Do you agree with that?

56   F Whittenburg    http://www.christiannewbirth.com
January 5th, 2008 at 12:21 pm

Paul C said: “This is what Peter means: work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. Jesus said we are to STRIVE to enter in through the strait (narrow) gate.

Of course, God is working through us and He gets all the glory, BUT we have a human responsibility to obey.

Do you agree with that?”

Paul answered that question better than I could in Philippians 3:1-9.

Obedience to God is a fruit of salvation, not a condition for salvation. That is what Galatians is all about.

I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain (Galatians 2:21).

Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace (Galatians 5:4).

And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but OUR SUFFICIENCY IS OF GOD; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life (2 Corinthians 3:4-6).

page 204,205 When Faith Came

God understands that you cannot clean up your flesh and you were a sinner. That is why He sent Jesus to take your place! If you are under “condemnation of sin” then that means you still need to clean up the flesh (old man) or find an attonement. You can try to clean up your flesh, but it still has no inheritance in the kingdom of God.

For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: (Romans 8:3).

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such WERE some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God. All things are lawful unto me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any (1 Corinthians 6:9-12).

Remember that it was the sacrifice (Jesus) that was required to be without spot and blemish. Now your relationship with God no longer is conditional on whether you sin or don’t sin (as many think that sin breaks their fellowship with God), but your relationship with God is strictly based on the blood of Jesus alone. We are not justified by anything we have done or any commandment we have kept, but by who we have believed in!

For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: (Romans 3:23,24).

And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses (Acts 13:39).

In fact if you are disobedient, then God now steps in with correction and chastening, instead of rejection. As plainly taught in Hebrews chapter 12, if your fellowship with God is broken when you are disobedient until you repent, then you are correcting your own behavior, and if God is not correcting you but rejecting you when you are disobedient, then the Bible says God is not even your Father. How can you be chastened and rebuked by the Lord if you don’t do anything to be chastened and rebuked for?

And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons (Hebrews 11:5-8).

God now fellowships and takes pleasure in the believer because they no longer trust in the obedience of their flesh, but in the blood of Jesus as the atonement which was God’s sacrifice as the sole basis for securing eternal fellowship with Him. The obedience you seek will follow as a result of that relationship with your Heavenly Father and His chastening! Remember your sin is destroying you, not God. The reason why your sin cannot break your relationship with God is because (this will shock many in religion today) your relationship with God is not based on you! It is based on Jesus interceding for you!

My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous: And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world (1 John2:1,2).

But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood. Wherefore HE is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them (Hebrews 7:24,25).

I think many in religion may have forgotten this main simple truth, if it wasn’t for the sacrifice of Jesus, you would never be able to have a relationship with God no matter how good or obedient you are. That is why I cannot “embrace all faiths” as just different ways to God. If you want a joyous relationship with God, just except His sacrifice (Jesus)! He provided it for you to prove He desires a relationship with you (John 3:16)! When you come to God by the blood of Jesus alone not trusting in anything else, (law, sacrifices, etc.), then you are acknowledging that the sacrifice of Jesus was all sufficient to secure that relationship with Him for ever. Everything else (obedience, works, stewardship, etc.) that you desire will then come as a result of that relationship with God through Jesus Christ! The divine order is first relationship, then correction.

I have three questions for you.

What is your understanding of the source of righteousness in the life of a Christian? In your understanding of the gospel, what keeps you in fellowship with God? Repentence and obedience? What is your understanding of “justification of life”?

F Whittenburg
http://www.christiannewbirth.com/whenfaithcame.html

57   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
January 5th, 2008 at 1:09 pm

Please answer this: If I claim to be a follower of Christ and yet walk contrary to His commands/teachings, am I still “pleasing” (if I can use that word) to God. Is that acceptable?

The gospel is very, very simple: I hear the word, and because the Lord has touched my mind and given me the ability understand it, at which point I repent of my sin and my lifestyle (new creature), and embrace a new path of life in fellowship with God through Christ. We continue in this fellowship (John 8:32) as we walk in His ways, no longer enslaved to the world.

58   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 5th, 2008 at 1:46 pm

Paul C,

Please answer this: If I claim to be a follower of Christ and yet walk contrary to His commands/teachings, am I still “pleasing” (if I can use that word) to God. Is that acceptable?

If one is “in Christ”, Christ Jesus is pleasing to the Father.

The answer is whether that one truly believes if he is forgiven and a resurrected to new Life…
If so, then will such a one walk in a way that is unpleasing…

In other words, all we do in and of ourselves is unpleasing… all we do in Christ is all that pleased the Father…

So there is no way a person in their own strength can walk in a way that is “pleasing” to the Father…

I know you did not ask me this question, but so many do ask this and I hear such rubbish out there as “biblical” teaching… I wanted to share this as it is truth.

be blessed,
iggy

59   F Whittenburg    http://www.christiannewbirth.com
January 5th, 2008 at 2:02 pm

Paul C said: “Please answer this: If I claim to be a follower of Christ and yet walk contrary to His commands/teachings, am I still “pleasing” (if I can use that word) to God. Is that acceptable?”

I already answered that above, what is “wellpleasing” to God is what He does in you. Jesus said, I am the vine, you are the branches, no man can do anything except he abide in me. We abide in Christ thru the Holy Spirit, not obedience to the law. As I posted before with the explination also, obedience is a fruit of salvation, not a condition for it.

Now the God of PEACE, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the evelasting covenant, MAKE YOU PERFECT in every GOOD WORK to do HIS WILL, WORKING IN YOU that which is WELLPLEASING in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen (Hebrews 13:20,21 KJV).

For we are HIS WORKMANSHIP, created in Christ Jesus UNTO GOOD WORKS, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them (Ephesians 2:10 KJV).

You will never get the victory over sin in your life by your sheer detemination and committment to quit sinning. That is the same error that Paul had to rebuke the Galatians over.

Are you so foolish? having begun in THE SPIRIT, are ye made perfect by the flesh? (Galatians 3:3 KJV).

For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye THROUGH THE SPIRIT do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live (Romans 8:13 KJV).

The Christian covenant is after the Abrahamic covenant of faith, not after the Mosaic covenant of the law received on tablets of stone (Ten Commandments) as even Moses agreed!

Mosaic Covenant

And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep, and do them. The LORD our God made a covenant with us in Horeb. The LORD MADE NOT this covenant with our fathers (Abraham, Issac, and Jacob), but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day. The LORD talked with you face to face in the mount out of the midst of the fire, (I stood between the LORD and you at that time, to shew you the word of the LORD: for ye were afraid by reason of the fire, and went not up into the mount;) saying, I am the LORD thy God, which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage (Deuteronomy 5:1-6).

Christian Covenant

For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more: (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart: And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:) But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel. (Hebrews 12:18-24).

For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: (Romans 4:13,14)

“Paul C said: The gospel is very, very simple: I hear the word, and because the Lord has touched my mind and given me the ability understand it, at which point I repent of my sin and my lifestyle (new creature), and embrace a new path of life in fellowship with God through Christ. We continue in this fellowship (John 8:32) as we walk in His ways, no longer enslaved to the world.”

I heard the Gospel message and also believed and I was then given the Holy Spirit as a seal of that covenant.

In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possesion, unto the praise of his glory (Ephesians 1:13,14 KJV).

I am a Christian by being born again (i.e. born of the Holy Spirit), not by choosing one day to follow “the path of Jesus”. We are sons and daughters of God by the “spiritual newbirth”, not by obedience. The obedience comes as a result of the “newbirth” as I have already explained. The narrow path that I walk is laid out by the Holy Spirit not the law.

For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God (Romans 8:14 KJV)

In the Old Testemant, the law was “a light unto or feet” in the New Testament it is the Holy Spirit that does the leading, which results in the fulfillment of the laws you are trying to keep! The “tablets of stone” (i.e. God’s moral law) which guide you from the outside, are guiding me from the inside thru the Holy Spirit.

Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men: Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; not in tables of stone (Ten Commandments), but in fleshy tables of the heart. And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but OUR SUFFECIENCY is of GOD; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away: How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious. Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that which is abolished: But their minds were blinded: for until this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the old testament; which vail is done away in Christ. But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the vail is upon their heart. Nevertheless when it shall turn to the Lord, the vail shall be taken away. Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as BY THE SPIRIT of the Lord (2 Corinthians 3:2-18 KJV).

I STILL have three questions for you.

What is your understanding of the source of righteousness in the life of a Christian? In your understanding of the gospel, what keeps you in fellowship with God? Repentence and obedience? What is your understanding of “justification of life”?

I have another question now.

What is your understanding of the difference between “Jesus the WAY” and “the ways of Jesus” you are saying you follow?

F Whittenburg
http://www.christiannewbirth.com/whenfaithcame.html

60   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
January 5th, 2008 at 3:58 pm

The only source of righteousness is in Christ Jesus (reference John 15: root & branches). We can’t bring forth anything on our own, and therefore are dependent on the Lord for each day. Again, it is quite uncomplicated.

We must live a life worthy of the gospel (Phil 1:27, Eph 4:1, 2 Peter 1:10, etc). If we simply accept Christ and then do nothing at all we are like a barren branch (broken off and cast into the fire) or like the steward who did nothing with his talent.

So, God does not choose us because we have done something good. But once this work has started, there is an obligation for the believer to follow Christ.

After Jesus’ resurrection and the day of Pentecost, people were actually able to identify His disciples because of their lifestyle and manner (light) (Acts 4:13).

61   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
January 5th, 2008 at 4:46 pm

As a matter of “full disclosure,” I misspoke last evening (8:36 PM) when I stated I didn’t know “BW3.” After looking at his website, I remembered that he had responded to a post I had written re: the death penalty (I’m in favor; he’s not) some time ago. Just wanted to keep everything on the up-and-up.

Carry on.

62   Joe C    http://www.joe4gzus.blogspot.com
January 5th, 2008 at 4:55 pm

Paul C,

Do you think that when you become Christian by saving grace through faith in Christ, you have to stay obedient to stay in Christ?

63   F Whittenburg    http://www.christiannewbirth.com
January 5th, 2008 at 6:13 pm

Paul C said:

“So, God does not choose us because we have done something good. But once this work has started, there is an obligation for the believer to follow Christ.”

Paul of Tarsus said:

“Being confident of this very thing, that HE which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ (Philippians 1:6 KJV).

F Whittenburg
http://www.christiannewbirth.com/whenfaithcame.html

64   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 5th, 2008 at 6:27 pm

Paul C,

“So, God does not choose us because we have done something good. But once this work has started, there is an obligation for the believer to follow Christ.”

No… we are then indwelled by the Life of Christ and He live in and through us doing His good and perfect will… Paul stated to the Galatians.. “Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?”

Paul is stating that from start to finish is all Christ Jesus… We begin with the Spirit and attain our goal by the same Spirit. If we add human effort, we add works to salvation and negate grace. This is what many teach… and it is wrong.

blessings,
iggy

65   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 5th, 2008 at 6:32 pm

Paul C,

Iggy – that is dangerous false doctrine.

We are called specifically to obey Christ. Why did Jesus say:

“If you love me, keep my commandments.”

In another place…

“Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and do not the things that I say?”

And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us.

I think that you are missing this as your cornerstone to understanding the commands of God… for we are called only to believe and love… which are both responses to what God has already done. Anything more than that is adding works, which is not only dangerous, but heretical.

Be blessed,
iggy

66   F Whittenburg    http://www.christiannewbirth.com
January 5th, 2008 at 6:41 pm

Iggy said:”No… we are then indwelled by the Life of Christ and He live in and through us doing His good and perfect will… Paul stated to the Galatians.. “Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?”

F Whittenburg said: AMEN, IGGY!!!!

I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; YET NOT I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain (Galatians 2:20,21 KJV).

F Whittenburg
http://www.christiannewbirth.com/whenfaithcame.html

67   F Whittenburg    http://www.christiannewbirth.com
January 5th, 2008 at 6:48 pm

Iggy said:”And this is his command: to believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and to love one another as he commanded us. ”

I thought Jesus said something like that also:

Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent (John 6:28,29 KJV).

F Whittenburg
http://www.christiannewbirth.com/whenfaithcame.html

68   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
January 5th, 2008 at 11:37 pm

Joe C asked, “Do you think that when you become Christian by saving grace through faith in Christ, you have to stay obedient to stay in Christ?”

Put it this way, do you believe in backsliding? Isn’t this a reality? Jesus exhorted us to “endure to the end”. Obedience is a must which is why Paul also said, “If any man draw back my soul shall have no pleasure in him.” Of course, we all slip and are disobedient at times, which is why we can seek forgiveness (”Forgive us our trespasses” – daily). No one is perfect.

Iggy said: “Anything more than that is adding works, which is not only dangerous, but heretical.”

Well, I guess Peter was a heretic then when he told the church to “add to your faith” virtue (moral excellence), moderation, etc… (2 Peter 1).

Your (Iggy and F) references to Galatians are out of context: Paul was writing to a church which was penetrated with Judaizers who were trying to take them into ceremonial Jewish laws. I don’t advocate those obviously. Paul never disqualified the moral laws.

I am mystified about what is so complex here, honestly.

69   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 5th, 2008 at 11:56 pm

Paul C.

Well, I guess Peter was a heretic then when he told the church to “add to your faith” virtue (moral excellence), moderation, etc… (2 Peter 1).

You are either twisting my words or Peter…

In fact you are taking Peter totally out of context… so here it is.

3. His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.
4. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.
5. For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge;
6. and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness;
7. and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love.
8. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9. But if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.

1. Note that it is from His divine power we “everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” So it is not anything we produce as you are stating…

2. “Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the world caused by evil desires.” Note that again, “he as given us” and that becuase of what “he has given us” we “may now participate in the divine nature”… again it is all of Christ.

3. As Christ has given all we need and in that we may participate in the divine nature, we now can add the things you stated… but note… these are all of God and not produced from our own effort as you are asserting… that is heretical and bad theology and is works… it is as I stated above what the Galatians were doing when Paul rebuke them.

4. If one is not doing it this way they will be ineffective, as God cannot and will not use man’s efforts for our perfecting in Christ Jesus.

5. and lastly, if anyone does not have them, he is nearsighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins. In fact they have forsaken Christ and gone back to their own works for their righteousness…

If this is what you are being taught then you are under bondage of legalistic teachings and not under true biblical teachings. I hope that is not true.

Be blessed,
iggy

70   F Whittenburg    http://www.christiannewbirth.com
January 6th, 2008 at 12:59 am

Paul said: “Your (Iggy and F) references to Galatians are out of context: Paul was writing to a church which was penetrated with Judaizers who were trying to take them into ceremonial Jewish laws. I don’t advocate those obviously. Paul never disqualified the moral laws.”

He did as a means of justification in the sight of God since the cross of Christ provided a better way. That is exactly what Paul was saying to the church at Cornith because there is a better way to justification than thru the law, we now are justified by faith in Jesus Christ and joined to the Lord thru the Holy Spirit. Today, the correct use for the law is still to condemn the sinner and show them they need a Saviour, in that it is still in effect, but it is the ministry of death and will always be the ministry of death, but the ministry of the Holy Spirit is the ministry that gives life (Galatians 3:21 KJV).

Forasmuch as ye are manifestly declared to be the epistle of Christ ministered by us, written not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God; NOT IN TABLES OF STONE (i.e. Ten Commandments, moral law), but in fleshy tables of the heart. And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but OUR SUFFECIENCY is of GOD; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory WAS TO BE DONE AWAY: How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious? For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. For even that which was made glorious had no glory in this respect, by reason of the glory that excelleth. For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious. Seeing then that we have such hope, we use great plainness of speech: And not as Moses, which put a vail over his face, that the children of Israel could not stedfastly look to the end of that WHICH IS ABOLISHED: (2 Corinthians 3:3-13 KJV).

You have done this twice already so I am going to pin this down to specifics. Why do you keep saying that Galatians was talking about “cerimonial law” when the correct context of the discourse in Galatians is about the Ten Commandments law (Mosaic covenant) which you are calling the “moral law”? Moral law (Ten Commandments) also never disqualified salvation in Christ, as Paul taught the Galatians.

And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law (Ten Commandments), which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. For if the inheritence be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise (Galatians 3:17,18 KJV).

Paul C said: “Put it this way, do you believe in backsliding? Isn’t this a reality? Jesus exhorted us to “endure to the end”.

Backsliding in what? Relationship with God? Backsliding in salvation? Please clarify:

In the Bible the doctrine of “backsliding” is associated only with Israel while under the law. Israel gained “righteousness” through obedience and then slid backward through disobedience. This is just another form of requiring the Christian to attain “righteousness” through the law and provoking them to reject the gift of righteousness given then by true faith in Jesus Christ! “Backsliding” doctrine teaches you have to “regain” the ground that you lost through disobedience. My relationship with God is secured thru the blood of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, not the law.

I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain (Galatians 2:21).

Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace (Galatians 5:4).

And such trust have we through Christ to God-ward: Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God; Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life (2 Corinthians 3:4-6).

In fact, how do you know the true gospel is being preached if you hear it? One of the signs is it will be seen as being taught against the laws of Moses by people claiming you have to keep the laws of Moses!

And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people. Then there arose certain of the synagogue, which is called the synagogue of the Libertines, and Cyrenians, and Alexandrians, and of them of Cilicia and of Asia, disputing with Stephen. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spake. Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words AGAINST MOSES, and against God. And they stirred up the people, and the elders, and the scribes, and came upon him, and caught him, and brought him to the council, And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place, and THE LAW: (Acts 6:8-13).

And when Gallio was the deputy of Achaia, the Jews made insurrection with one accord against Paul, and brought him to the judgment seat, Saying, This fellow persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law (Acts 18:12,13).

And when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews which were of Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the people, and laid hands on him, Crying out, Men of Israel, help: This is the man, that teacheth all men every where AGAINST the people, and THE LAW, and this place: and further brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place (Acts 21:27,28).

I STILL have three questions for you. I have asked these questions in three comments now. Why will you not answer them?

What is your understanding of the source of righteousness in the life of a Christian? In your understanding of the gospel, what keeps you in fellowship with God? Repentence and obedience? What is your understanding of “justification of life”?

I STILL have another question.

What is your understanding of the difference between “Jesus the WAY” and “the ways of Jesus” you are saying you follow?

F Whittenburg
http://www.christiannewbirth.com/whenfaithcame.html

71   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 6th, 2008 at 2:04 am

F.W. & P.C.

The only backsliding is falling from grace to works…

iggy

72   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.rethinkingchurchlife.org
January 6th, 2008 at 3:42 pm

Here is a John Calvin quote I found today. It seems to show th ugliness of double predestination in all its glory:

This does not at all hinder that lower working of the Spirit from taking its course even in the reprobate. . . . Besides this, the reprobate never receive anything but a confused awareness of grace, so that they grasp a shadow rather than a firm body of it. For the Spirit, strictly speaking, seals forgiveness of sins in the elect alone, so that they apply it by special faith to their own use. Yet the reprobate are justly said to believe that God is merciful toward them, for they receive the gift of reconciliation, although confusedly and not distinctly enough. . . . For nothing prevents God from illumining some with a momentary awareness of his grace, which afterward vanishes

It seems from this that God tricks the reprobate into thinking that they are Christians and then he takes it away. That’ll sure preach on Sunday.

73   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
January 6th, 2008 at 6:58 pm

Backsliding?
Hebrews 6:1-6
1 Cor 10:1-11

Works as a part of Salvation?
> Strive to enter through the straight gate
> If any man will be myself, let him deny himself, take up his cross and follow me

We are admonished to remain faithful… to say there is no such thing as backsliding (except if you become a legalist) is plainly false.

Can’t a person backslide: you were once enlightened, but then turn back like a dog to your vomit? That is very simple to understand…take heed lest we fall.

74   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.rethinkingchurchlife.org
January 6th, 2008 at 7:25 pm

Either we are in grace or out of grace, are we not? There is no middle state?

Either we are followers of Christ or we are not.

I am neither a Calvinist or a classic Arminian. I subscribe to the stoeriology more popular among Mennonites, and other similar groups. All saved people are secure in Christ. People can and do walk away from Christ. Hebrews seems to imply that those who walk away can never again be renewed unto repentance.

My trouble with these discussions is that no one knows the line of in/out, saved/lost. We talk of works that accompany salvation. Well, what works? We are to follow Jesus? What does that mean?

Every poster in this thread has their own idea of what a TRUE follower of Jesus is. Their own standard. This is why it is so dangerous. We can ALL quote our own verses to prove our stand.

I have come to the place where I let God sort out the sheep from the wolves. If Iggy, Paul, Frank, Ken, Ingrid, John, Chris, Joe, Kyle, Becky,etal say with their lips I am a follower of Jesus I accept them as brethren. It is God who keeps the sheepfold not me.

It is too subjective otherwise.

Bruce

75   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
January 6th, 2008 at 7:50 pm

Bruce, I am full agreement with you and your line of reasoning. Thanks for the sobering statements.

I especially like what you said: of works that accompany salvation. In a nutshell, that really summarizes what I believe – without these accompanying works, we are empty shells. But even with them (Matt 7:21) we can become pompous and reliant on the flesh to carry them out and thus miss the point.

If a person comes to Christ, however, it would be foolish to say “once saved always saved.” Jesus did not teach this (he taught enduring to the end and striving to enter through the strait gate). We don’t war in the flesh as we’re continually dependent on God so that the righteousness is not of us.

If the apostles believed “once saved always saved” Peter wouldn’t have worried about the devil walking about as a roaring lion, or about encouraging the church to remain steadfast. Paul wouldn’t have warned the Corinthians about Jews not all enduring to the Promised Land. No?

76   F Whittenburg    http://www.christiannewbirth.com
January 6th, 2008 at 8:50 pm

Paul C said: Can’t a person backslide: you were once enlightened, but then turn back like a dog to your vomit? That is very simple to understand…take heed lest we fall. ”

Let’s look at this verse in it’s full context.

For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire (2 Peter 2:20-22 KJV).

This verse is just showing that you can clean up a pig, but as long as it is still a pig it will return to doing pig things. This verse never says that the sow or the dog is changed into a “new creature” like the Christian is changed by the transforming power of the Holy Spirit (i.e. spiritual newbirth)!

By the use of this verse in your response to my comments. I must ask you a question. Do you understand the concept of being “born again” (i.e. born of the Spirit)?

A Christian is joined to the Christ thru the Holy Spirit, thus becoming a “new creature”. A Christian is not someone that just chooses one day to “follow the ways of Jesus”. That turns the gospel from “Jesus is the WAY” to “Jesus showed the way” and turns Jesus into nothing more than a Heavenly inspired teacher that “shows us a way to God”. A way that we can embrace one day and reject one day, then embrace one day, then reject one day. That is why I have been asking you these questions you refuse to answer. To find out if you actually understood the concept of being “born again”. The following were my questions:

What is your understanding of the source of righteousness in the life of a Christian? In your understanding of the gospel, what keeps you in fellowship with God? What is your understanding of “justification of life”? What is your understanding of the difference between “Jesus the WAY” and “the ways of Jesus” you are saying you follow?

I cannot make you understand this, but I am going to explain the “spiritual newbirth” in this comment for someone else that may read this post later wondering just what it means to be “born again” (born of the Spirit). This explination is taken from my ebook (”Marriage: Till Death do We Part?”) that is free to download on my website. It gives many marriage tips and explains the marriage union between Christ and the believer as well as the one between husband and wife. The marriage ebook is also included in my ebook When Faith Came for free also.

http://www.christiannewbirth.com/marriageexplained.html

pages 4,5

Men and women are born incomplete in the flesh and need the other to become complete to reproduce. The Christian must become one Spirit with Jesus Christ to become complete and reproduce also.

Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should BE MARRIED to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should BRING FORTH FRUIT unto God (Romans 7:4).

For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. This is a great mystery: BUT I SPEAK concerning CHRIST AND THE CHURCH (Ephesians 5:29-32).

Notice how the Bible uses this discourse about marriage to describe the churches union to Christ. You can walk side by side “totally commited” to serving and “following” your wife or husband all day long, but you still will never be able to reproduce until you become one with them! In like manner you can “follow” Jesus in total “commitment” to His cause, but you can never reproduce fruit (Galatians 5:20,21) until you become one with Him. There is a huge difference between a Christian (joined to the Lord by the spiritual newbirth) and a Christ follower (commited to the cause of Christ)! I hear so many pastors and speakers preach on “commitment” to the marriage and to Christ. This is where I disagree with almost every pastor and teacher on marriage. Total “commitment” to your spouse is not true marriage, and total “commitment” to Jesus Christ is not true Christianity! There are people that are so totally “committed” to their religion, all the way to the point of blowing themselves up in a crowded market place, and still be in error!
What I see marriage reduced to today, is a vow made between two individuals to be together through a vow and a covenant before God and man, but they seem to try to remain individuals. This same school of thought has also been transferred to the Christian experience. Instead of an actual union of one Spirit with Jesus, Christianity is being taught as a covenant where you vow to be faithful to Jesus’ teachings and Biblical precepts, but you remain a separate individual. The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 6:17,

But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17).

What I am discussing here is the personal relationship that the believer experiences with Christ when they are “born again” and not the great end time event known as the Marriage Supper of the Lamb, where the church as a whole body is together with Jesus. Many people “know about” Jesus through reading the Bible, but unless you “know” Jesus in a personal spiritual union then no newbirth can result. No seed was ever planted in the person’s heart and no newbirth ever resulted in the person’s life. The same Holy Spirit that planted the seed in the virgin Mary for Christ to be born is the same Holy Spirit that plants the seed in our hearts for Christ to be birthed in us. Christianity is a spiritual newbirth experience.
When a woman is pregnant, then there are two separate beings and lives existing inside her body. The mother’s life and the life of her child. Even though they both exist in one body, the child is a separate creation from the mother and carries half of the father’s nature, which makes the child a totally “new creation” and a new life with a new future. In like manner the new spiritual man that is growing inside the Christian when they are joined to the Lord by the Holy Spirit, is manifesting the attributes of the Father also. Paul said in Galatians 4:19, I travail in birth again till Christ be formed in you.

My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed IN YOU (Galatians 4:19 KJV).

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ IS IN YOU, except ye be reprobates? (2 Corinthians 13:5).

And as Esaias said before, Except the Lord of Sabaoth had left us A SEED, we had been as Sodoma, and been made like unto Gomorrha (Romans 9:29).

Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to THY seed, which IS CHRIST (Galatians 3:16).

As Paul told the Galatians when he said I travail in birth again till Christ be formed in you, the Christian experiences travail during this spiritual new birth process.

One day Jesus will tell many that he never “knew” them.

Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity (Matthew 7:23).

The Bible’s use of the word “knowing” is used many times to describe the marriage union where a seed is planted.

And Adam KNEW Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD (Genesis 4:1).

And the damsel was very fair to look upon, a virgin, neither had any man KNOWN her: and she went down to the well, and filled her pitcher, and came up (Genesis 24:16).

Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I KNOW NOT a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God (Luke 1:34,35).

I can’t explain the “spiritual newbirth” any simplier. You have to experince what I am talking about or you will never understand it fully, so this is my last comment on this particular post. I will leave you with this verse…….

Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you (Acts 13:41 KJV).

Paul C said: Works as a part of Salvation?
> Strive to enter through the straight gate

Yes Paul C, I agree, the path to life is narrow (straight gate) and few there be who find it. By all means strive………

F Whittenburg
http://www.christiannewbirth.com/whenfaithcame.html

77   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 6th, 2008 at 8:51 pm

Paul C,

If the apostles believed “once saved always saved” Peter wouldn’t have worried about the devil walking about as a roaring lion, or about encouraging the church to remain steadfast. Paul wouldn’t have warned the Corinthians about Jews not all enduring to the Promised Land. No?

I see it that IF God begins His work in you, He is faithful to complete… so in that once you are started on the road to salvation, which is all of God, then He will finish that road or He is a lair.

Also, Jesus did state that no one can be snatched from His hands… I think that would include about every one… meaning, that I cannot snatch even myself out of His hands… as that would also imply that one must earn salvation if one can do something to lose salvation…

So it seems that there are “warnings” not to be presumptuous about one’s own salvation, that one may profess, but not yet possess salvation… until that person truly come to the saving knowledge of Christ. So a warning would be to not be arrogant stating that “since I am a gentile and the elect, then I am better than the Jews.”… It implies God giving favoritism which he does not.

Now, Paul, I have been on both sides of this argument and so far I had much better arguments for losing salvation than you have presented… It was when I was found by Grace I found I was eternally secure. I received the Life of Jesus which is eternal Life… not temporal life that will be taken away if I am bad or what ever… I received the same Life that raised Jesus from the dead and it I He that Lives in me.

One must remember, it is God that makes things grow… not anything man does. To state that man has a part in his own growth misses that truth. We are dead and only have the Life in the Son… it is when we are immersed in Christ, we then are part of His Body. If I am in Christ, I have no sin as Jesus was also without sin. If you study this out you will see it to be true.

SO, tell me how one can snatch themselves out of His hands… and that once how God will not be faithful to complete His works in us… then you might have a slight case to turning me from my security in CHrist and the clear view i have of my salvation.

I am a changed man becuase of Grace. I once saw it your way, but when confronted with the Truth, I found that way wanting and actually going against faith. If I was to go back, I would just walk away… for if a God cannot stay faithful to His word and finish what he started in me, then he is a lair and is not a god i would want to serve anyway. God is faithful…

Be Blessed,
iggy

78   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 6th, 2008 at 9:07 pm

Paul C,

Backsliding?

Hebrews 6:1-6

1. Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God,
2. instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.
3. And God permitting, we will do so.
4. It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit,
5. who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age,
6. if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance, because to their loss they are crucifying the Son of God all over again and subjecting him to public disgrace.

Once you realize what this is saying it is actually teaching against losing salvation…

1. We are not to lay the foundation of repentance again… meaning that once we truly repented, there is no need of further repentance. It is the U turn from death to life, from darkness to light, from the lie to the truth. Do not confuse repentance which is a one time action, with confession which is the walk of a lifetime with Jesus.

2. If one has tasted and partaken or the Holy Spirit it is impossible to repent more than they have… again it is a one time action… to repent over and over is not walking in faith that one is truly forgive. We must trust in that truth. Many in this time were confessing faith in Jesus and then going back to sacrifice a animal for their sin. They were not walking in the forgiveness of Christ but having a back up plan… it is impossible to re-repent if one has already as if we do we are crucifying Jesus over and over and subjecting Jesus to public sin again and again…

3. Yet, you miss the verses which wraps it all together…

9. Even though we speak like this, dear friends, we are confident of better things in your case–things that accompany salvation.
10. God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.
11. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure.
12. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised.

We are to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what is promised…

1 Cor 10:1-11

Again, this is talking of those who try to enter by works and those who enter by faith. Paul states in Romans that not all that were of Abraham were of the Seed of Abraham… so there are some that appear from the outside to have saving faith, and profess it, yet do not possess it as they are failing as the Jews did with the Law to obtain salvation by works and not faith and have stumbled over the Stone the builders rejected.

Again, if taken in the context these verses are meant to be taken in, especially the Hebrews on, you will find they speak quite the opposite and are a warning against those who add works to faith and thus negate Grace.

Read through the teachings of John and you will see that if one is in Christ, they are in the Light… they do not walk in and out of the Light, but even if they sin, it is in the Light and Christ Jesus is the mediator for us.

Be blessed,
iggy

79   Paul C    http://www.themidnightcry.com
January 6th, 2008 at 9:16 pm

F Whittenburg – thanks for your considerate comments. However, in your explanation of 2 Peter, it seems there is a slight mistake. Peter was speaking DIRECTLY to people who he assumed were saved. How do we know that?

2 Peter 2:20 “If they have escaped the corruption of the world by knowing our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and are again entangled in it and overcome, they are worse off at the end than they were at the beginning. 21 It would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than to have known it and then to turn their backs on the sacred command that was passed on to them.”

This is very plain speaking – it doesn’t get easier.

Iggy, I appreciate your view as well. I guess we differ in our view somewhat. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of God’s grace in my life. Without Him I am hopeless and I mean that will all sincerity.

But if what you say is true (that no man can backslide) then there is no need to be vigilant, there is no need to be alert to the snares of the devil. I guess Jesus’ warnings to the churches in Asia (Revelation 2-3) are irrelevant. You have refuted a single scripture I gave you (or even addressed it).

All the best in your walk with the Lord. May He continue to bless you.

Paul

80   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.rethinkingchurchlife.org
January 6th, 2008 at 9:23 pm

No one is calling God a liar here. Perhaps some of us can not easily dispense with some of the warnings in Scripture. Hebrews is filled with them. I John is a reminder of what it is to be a follower of Jesus. I John makes it pretty clear that there are certain general characteristics that make up the life of a believer.

To affirm the warnings and the characteristics of a believer in 1 John in no way negates God’s grace.

In general, I fear Calvinism is more deeply rooted in modern Christianity than we would like to admit. It seems some are arguing that man plays no part in his salvation. I am not saying a man saves himself but a man must believe. It is an act of the will. It is the man who must exercise faith. Unless we believe as Calvinists do that man is passive in salvation (and that regeneration precedes faith) then we must see man as being active in his salvation. (by accepting, receiving, believing, etc)

When each of us were saved did it take an active choice on our part? Unless we are arguing that God saves those who don’t want to be saved, we must admit that a man must be willing to be saved in order for God to save him.

In no way am I arguing against grace. I am concerned over the notion that man is this passive creature that through no act of his own one day just wakes up saved. God drew me. God called me. God wooed me. But…….I had to say yes.

81   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
January 6th, 2008 at 9:26 pm

Paul C, very nice tell him he’s on his way to hell:

But if what you say is true …I guess Jesus’ warnings to the churches in Asia (Revelation 2-3) are irrelevant.

Then wish him well on his journey

All the best in your walk with the Lord. May He continue to bless you.

Beautiful. Truly Beautiful

82   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.rethinkingchurchlife.org
January 6th, 2008 at 9:41 pm

I was born, raised, called and preached as a Baptist. I am well aware of the “eternal security” arguments. Preached them. Been there, done that. Yet, I have also watched hundreds of people walk away from the Christian faith. If I believe in eternal security I am forced into one of two conclusions:

1.Once people are saved they are saved no matter how they live. As one person said years ago”a person can come to altar and pray the sinners prayer and be saved. If they walk out of the Church and never profess God’s name again in their life they are still saved.”

2.Some people profess to be saved who were never really saved.

I opted for #2 for much of my ministry.

Yet, there are all the warning verses. Are they for real? Does God really mean what he says?

I read as people try and explain or explain away the warning verses. Their arguments become complex and often convoluted. I ask myself is that how a first century Church would have understood those verses?

I reject the typical in/out of grace notion that many Arminians believe. But, I refuse to ignore the warning passages. I refuse to ignore that John in 1 John makes clear that there are certain characteristics in the life of those who SAY they have eternal life. One such mark is the love of the brethren.

There seems to be a line a man can cross where he loses what he once professed. I make no pretense as to knowing what/where that line is. I just know it is there and I have seen a good number of people cross it. (as a dog returning to his vomit)

I can not see how this negates grace. Calvinistic grace perhaps. But for the rest of us…….it in no way negates grace. Why would God take to heaven people who don’t want to be there?

Bruce

83   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 6th, 2008 at 9:41 pm

Paul C,

My only prayer for you to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. In that no man can remove you from your secure position (this is not the same as salvation… but in that you have security in your heart and mind as to believe on can lose the salvation of God and God alone, leaves one insecure as to their position with God.)

I do have many friends that do not hold to eternal security… or rather the “Arminian” view… in that I hope we both agree that it is God who makes all things grow… and if we are in Christ we are growing as God states… for He is faithful… if one is perishing, then He need re-examine his life to see what error he is in… and come back to truth. Also, if one is asking if one can lose salvation I ahve found over the last many years, that that person has other issues and is struggling with other things that bring about insecure issues of the heart. In my life I have helped many come to a deeper faith as they find they can walk in a clear conscience and a new heart as the New Creation they are.

Be blessed,
iggy

84   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 6th, 2008 at 9:46 pm

Bruce,

There seems to be a line a man can cross where he loses what he once professed. I make no pretense as to knowing what/where that line is. I just know it is there and I have seen a good number of people cross it. (as a dog returning to his vomit)

I think it is that a man has not yet crossed the line from being a professor of said faith to a possessor of the Faith… meaning that some have not come to the full saving knowledge of truth. In that I do not see it as “losing” but that one must make sure they are not settling for less and have then been deceived and not attained to salvation.

It is not one who is that becomes one that is not… but one that is either deceived to think he already is, and is not, or one the is about to become and yet not is…

It is a warning to jump off the fence from death to life.

Be blessed,
iggy

85   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.rethinkingchurchlife.org
January 6th, 2008 at 10:00 pm

At the end of the day it seems God is saying each of us need to mind our own spiritual backyard. Lest there be in YOU an evil heart of unbelief.

I have never pronounced a sinner saved. I accept all who claim to be. I suspect when I get to the judgment bar some day I will be surprised at who is in and who is out.

As I get older I feel more acutely aware of my own spiritual condition. If man lives to 3 score and 10 that means I am 5/7ths gone. I am on the short side of the walk.

Bruce

86   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
January 6th, 2008 at 10:30 pm

Bruce,

Most the time I do not even get into the “debate” of eternal security… again, I see that if one is asking that question there are other issues in play that need to be dealt with. In that I have lost friends who professed faith in Christ and walked away… Yet, there was a time I also almost walked away… if not for that one last prayer… as if in desperation… I called out for mercy to be shown how to live as a New Creation.

I believe many are New Creations, but have rejected false teachings and Grace still applies to them… yet also suspect many who profess Christ are not truly saved… as the scripture describes them. I will not judge their salvation, yet if I see the “signs” like hating one’s brother, I will most probably avoid them as they will do most anything to drag one into works and make one fall from Grace.

Again, I have many friends on both sides… My arminian friends get all bent out of shape when I speak eternal security, and my Calvinist friends get all bent when I speak of Free Will and both cannot see how I hold both to be true… yet I see that they compliment each other and do not contradict… I think the real issue is the understanding of foreknowledge and predestination, yet that is another topic and debate…

Bruce you have been a blessing to me… and really I do not judge one by their views or just their doctrinal stance, but by how one loves their brothers and sisters in Christ and how they seek to uplift and edify others. I only wish i can attain to a portion that you and others have…

Be Blessed,
iggy

87   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.rethinkingchurchlife.org
January 6th, 2008 at 10:57 pm

Iggy,

Good spirit.

I am unwilling to die on this doctrinal hill. I see how the various camps come to their conclusions. I respect them and appreciate them. In my Baptist days I was not so kind. Arminianism was viewed as a sign of being unsaved.

We have the luxury in America to play the doctrinal games. I suspect when trial comes I won’t care what stripe a person is. Adversity and trial strips away all the stuff until we get down to whom it is really about ……Jesus.

I always remain your friend
Bruce

88   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.rethinkingchurchlife.org
January 7th, 2008 at 10:42 am

Someone asked for a reference on the Calvin quote I posted. For the life of me I can’t find the site I lifted it from. I do remember there being a reference on the page. I did search Calvin’s Institutes and the quote was not there.

If there is some reason to believe it is spurious then I would as that it be removed from the discussion thread.

Thanks

Bruce

89   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
January 7th, 2008 at 11:18 am

Bruce,

The reference is: Institutes III.2.11

90   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.rethinkingchurchlife.org
January 7th, 2008 at 11:35 am

thanks chris

91   Bruce Gerencser    http://www.rethinkingchurchlife.org
January 7th, 2008 at 12:18 pm

Here is the exact quote. It looks like wherever I got the quote it was several different passages connected together:

11. I am aware it seems unaccountable to some how faith is attributed to the reprobate, seeing that it is declared by Paul to be one of the fruits of election; and yet the difficulty is easily solved: for though none are enlightened into faith, and truly feel the efficacy of the Gospel, with the exception of those who are fore-ordained to salvation, yet experience shows that the reprobate are sometimes affected in a way so similar to the elect, that even in their own judgment there is no difference between them. Hence it is not strange, that by the Apostle a taste of heavenly gifts, and by Christ himself a temporary faith, is ascribed to them. Not that they truly perceive the power of spiritual grace and the sure light of faith; but the Lord, the better to convict them, and leave them without excuse, instills into their minds such a sense of his goodness as can be felt without the Spirit of adoption. Should it be objected, that believers have no stronger testimony to assure them of their adoption, I answer, that though there is a great resemblance and affinity between the elect of God and those who are impressed for a time with a fading faith, yet the elect alone have that full assurance which is extolled by Paul, and by which they are enabled to cry, Abba, Father. Therefore, as God regenerates the elect only for ever by incorruptible seed, as the seed of life once sown in their hearts never perishes, so he effectually seals in them the grace of his adoption, that it may be sure and steadfast. But in this there is nothing to prevent an inferior operation of the Spirit from taking its course in the reprobate. Meanwhile, believers are taught to examine themselves carefully and humbly, lest carnal security creep in and take the place of assurance of faith. We may add, that the reprobate never have any other than a confused sense of grace, laying hold of the shadow rather than the substance, because the Spirit properly seals the forgiveness of sins in the elect only, applying it by special faith to their use. Still it is correctly said, that the reprobate believe God to be propitious to them, inasmuch as they accept the gift of reconciliation, though confusedly and without due discernment; not that they are partakers of the same faith or regeneration with the children of God; but because, under a covering of hypocrisy, they seem to have a principle of faith in common with them. Nor do I even deny that God illumines their minds to this extent, that they recognize his grace; but that conviction he distinguishes from the peculiar testimony which he gives to his elect in this respect, that the reprobate never attain to the full result or to fruition. When he shows himself propitious to them, it is not as if he had truly rescued them from death, and taken them under his protection. He only gives them a manifestation of his present mercy. In the elect alone he implants the living root of faith, so that they persevere even to the end. Thus we dispose of the objection, that if God truly displays his grace, it must endure for ever. There is nothing inconsistent in this with the fact of his enlightening some with a present sense of grace, which afterwards proves evanescent.