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#30149 - Wed Dec 28, 2005 12:12 PM Common Grace  
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li0scc0 Offline
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li0scc0  Offline
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I know, I'm sure we have "been there, done that" before with this topic of Common Grace.

In another thread, the following statement was made:
"Common Grace is actually the general kindness or benevolence of God to all men without discrimination and has to do more with His providential care of the creation without reference to the end of that creation."


This is the Biblical view of Providence. So why call it Common Grace? Why ruin the concept of Grace? So many (CRC for example) have taken "Common Grace" into a salvific sense, as something that can lead to salvation. This is a clear problem, and we are right to divide over this. Those who HAVEN'T defined it so...simply call it Providence! I never understand why people demanded the phrase "Common Grace". It just seems like the invention of an intentionally misleading term to describe something that is already defined by a word - and this immediately causes confusion.
<img src="/forum/images/graemlins/ranton.gif" alt="" />

#30150 - Tue Jan 24, 2006 10:23 PM Re: Common Grace [Re: li0scc0]  
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Wes Offline
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Wes  Offline
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Quote
li0scc0 said:

Why ruin the concept of Grace? So many (CRC for example) have taken "Common Grace" into a salvific sense, as something that can lead to salvation. This is a clear problem, and we are right to divide over this. Those who HAVEN'T defined it so...simply call it Providence! I never understand why people demanded the phrase "Common Grace". It just seems like the invention of an intentionally misleading term to describe something that is already defined by a word - and this immediately causes confusion.


I don't believe the idea of common grace ruins saving grace any more than general revelation ruins special revelation. They are two different things. I disagree with those who propose the idea that common grace can lead to saving grace and I don't see how anyone can defend that from Scripture. That idea would probably be popular with Arminians because they view original sin differently than Calvinists and do not believe in total depravity.

The Protestant Reformed folks probably have had more to say on this topic than almost anyone else. As you probably know they are strongly opposed to the idea that there is anything common about grace much less that unbelievers can experience God's favor in any way since they are doomed to hell. However, God does give general favors to all mankind in various ways. I like the way Louis Berkhoff describes it.


Quote
Louis Berkhoff writes:

The origin of the doctrine of common grace was occasioned by the fact that there is in the world, alongside of the course of the Christian life with all its blessings, a natural course of life, which is not redemptive and yet exhibits many traces of the true, the good, and the beautiful. The question arose, How can we explain the comparatively orderly life in the world, seeing that the whole world lies under the curse of sin? How is it that the earth yields precious fruit in rich abundance and does not simply bring forth thorns and thistles? How can we account for it that sinful man still "retains some knowledge of God, of natural things, and of the difference between good and evil, and shows some regard for virtue and for good outward behavior"? What explanation can be given of the special gifts and talents with which the natural man is endowed, and of the development of science and art by those who are entirely devoid of the new life that is in Christ Jesus? How can we explain the religious aspirations of men everywhere, even of those who did not come in touch with the Christian religion? How can the unregenerate still speak the truth, do good to others, and lead outwardly virtuous lives? These are some of the questions to which the doctrine of common grace seeks to supply the answer.


We Christians benefit from how God works even in a pagan society. God restains sin for our benefit, he endows the natural man with a knowledge of the truth to a degree that they can even improve life in the areas of medicine, engineering, science, and art. You may choose to use a different word to replace it but then it becomes simply a matter of semantics.


Wes


When I survey the wondrous cross on which the Prince of Glory died, my richest gain I count but loss and pour contempt on all my pride. - Isaac Watts
#30151 - Thu Jan 26, 2006 12:58 AM Re: Common Grace [Re: Wes]  
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jmp Offline
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jmp  Offline
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We call those common gifts of God to man "common grace" because they are

(1) Common gifts among all humans,
and
(2) Freely given, unmerited gifts from God.

(1) corresponds to the "common" part of "common grace," and (2) corresponds to the "grace" part. Neither is an abuse of language. If somebody can't get their head around how there can be various kinds and degrees of grace, while all of these kinds or degrees are "grace" nonetheless, then they're not trying too hard.

John


"He that hath light thoughts of sin, never had great thoughts of God." ...John Owen

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