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#34690 - Thu Dec 21, 2006 5:21 PM Prevenient Grace  
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I was recently introduced to this term and realized that it is what seperated Reformed from every other Christian denomination on the planet.

You can get even most Roman Catholics & Arminians to admit we are spiritually dead but try to take away prevenient grace and there will be a battle.

This brings me to the frustration I experience (when witnessing the whole truth of scriptures) with the reactions I get of the mere mention of Free and Sovereign Grace.

Don't you guys get sick of being written off as fanatical justice-obsessed Christians who discriminate against the God who desires that 'none should perish' - maybe it's the company I keep but I'm getting burnt out by Calvinism or others rejection of it.

I go back to when I, and probably all those who did not grow up Reformed, was first introduced to the doctrine and found it uncomprehensible that God would simply leave sinners over to themsleves to eternal torment without any chance at salvation. I've had people tell me Calvinists are brainwashed to accept this kind of doctrine that goes against our human reason/carnal nature and sense of justice.

I guess the problem is we are giving a name and priority to the Biblical fact, that is not clear to many, that God is in complete control of our spiritual welfare/destiny regardless of what freedom we think we possess to respond to the Gospel.


Can you guys help me get motivated again because when I interact with other non-Reformed Christians I find myself either biting my tounge or simply nodding my head because I don't want to be rejected out of hand.

AC


The mercy of God is necessary not only when a person repents, but even to lead him to repent, Augustine

#34691 - Thu Dec 21, 2006 8:24 PM Re: Prevenient Grace [Re: AC.]  
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AJC I have been hit with that particular form of rebuttal a time or two what I usually do is ask them to show me in scripture where prevenient grace is taught. Typically the person that brings it up has no clue so it caught upon the horns of a dilemma and thus backs down. The others that do show me some text I take it into consideration but usually find that it is referring to common grace and not prevenient grace. When I point out that they too usually fall silent or go away mad.


Peter

If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don't like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself. Augustine of Hippo
#34692 - Thu Dec 21, 2006 9:44 PM Re: Prevenient Grace [Re: AC.]  
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AJC,

Here is a very good (relatively short) reformed rebutal by John Hendryx of the Arminian heresy of prevenient grace.

http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/onsite/prevenient.html

Denny

Romans 3:22-24


Denny

Simon Peter answered Him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life." [John 6:68]
#34693 - Thu Dec 21, 2006 10:45 PM Re: Prevenient Grace [Re: AC.]  
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AJC said:
Don't you guys get sick of being written off as fanatical justice-obsessed Christians who discriminate against the God who desires that 'none should perish' - maybe it's the company I keep but I'm getting burnt out by Calvinism or others rejection of it.

I go back to when I, and probably all those who did not grow up Reformed, was first introduced to the doctrine and found it uncomprehensible that God would simply leave sinners over to themsleves to eternal torment without any chance at salvation.

I'll skip over the "prevenient grace" part of your post since a couple of others have already responded to it and move on to these two other laments. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

1) Who is "discriminating against God" but those who refuse to allow Him to be God and to do that which is perfect and right? People who embrace the doctrines of sovereign free grace are the ONLY ones who have been humbled to the dust and who have been given the ability to accept both man's fallen condition and God's absolute sovereignty over all things. Now, all this cavilling you are confronted with is nothing new at all. In fact, the apostle Paul had to deal with such people in his own day. Just a quick read of Romans chapter 9 will bear this out. One can learn much from not only the doctrines which Paul teaches in that chapter concerning man's fallen nature, his deserving only damnation, God's electing grace and the comfort one derives from it knowing that redemption has been secured by God Himself in Christ Jesus. But further, one should take particular attention to the method and manner with which Paul deals with his detractors. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/wink.gif" alt="" />

2) Just a quick note about the phrase: "God desires that none should perish". Without exaggeration, this text taken from 2Pet 3:9 is most always ripped from its CONTEXT. I have often quoted the following truism: "A text out of context is nothing more than pretext!" <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/mad.gif" alt="" /> Without going into a boring exegesis of this passage, one can come to a right understanding of this passage if it is noted to WHOM Peter is addressing. (HINT: "you", "us-ward", etc., aka: believers). Without any wresting of the text, Peter is assuring believers that God desires that all of the ELECT should be saved and that none of THEM should perish. Truly, whatever God desires will infallibly come to pass. (cf. Psa 135:6; Isa 44:7; 46:9, 10; Dan 4:35; Rom 11:33-36; Eph 1:4-11; et al) For one of the best rebuttals against God's sovereignty, see here: Objections to God's Sovereignty Answered, by A.W. Pink. For a host of articles, books, etc., on the doctrine of Definite Atonement, it's defense and exegetical studies on various passages see here: The Atonement of the Lord Christ.

3) And lastly, you must always remember that ALL who you come into contact with are fallen sinners and thus their "reasoning" is by nature contrary to that which is right and true. What most feel is a sense of justice is antithetical to God's sense of justice. Why would leaving God-hating sinners to themselves to then face God's court and be found guilty of the most heinous rebellion and acts and finally sentenced to a just punishment be unreasonable? When Adam, who was appointed by God to act in behalf of the entire human race, sinned against God by transgressing His explicit command, we all sinned. And the punishment rendered to Adam was certainly just since it was told him right up front, "the day you eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil you shall surely die!" See Rom 5:12-21. Justice demands that ALL be cast into everlasting hell. And that cannot be diminished or annulled and thus the cross where Christ suffered the pangs of hell in behalf of all those whom God elected to salvation. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/ClapHands.gif" alt="" />

In His grace,


[Linked Image]

simul iustus et peccator

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#34694 - Thu Dec 21, 2006 11:06 PM Re: Prevenient Grace [Re: AC.]  
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Quote
AJC said:

Can you guys help me get motivated again because when I interact with other non-Reformed Christians I find myself either biting my tounge or simply nodding my head because I don't want to be rejected out of hand.


Don't get discouraged by those who reject Calvinism. This whole idea of a prevenient grace which removes human depravity and doesn't bring conviction which leads to repentance and faith is simply not supported by Scripture. As for Calvinism being offensive, well, Calvin himself took note, long ago, of the offensiveness of the truth that he taught, with reference specifically to total depravity.

Calvinism is offensive to men. It is offensive to proud man to hear that he is spiritually dead, totally devoid of anything pleasing to God, unable at all to save himself, nothing more than a child of wrath. But this is the judgment passed upon him in Calvinism - and in the Gospel. It is offensive to proud man to hear that salvation is exclusively God's free gift and sovereign, gracious work. But this is what Calvinism - and the Gospel - proclaim.

Defending Calvinism is simply a matter of defending the Gospel. Therefore, we do not defend it apologetically, or defensively, or even as if its fortunes were doubtful, dependent on our defense. As the truth of God, Calvinism stands, and will stand - victorious, invincible. God Himself maintains it; and God Himself sends it forth on an irresistible course of conquest throughout the world.


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
#34695 - Fri Dec 22, 2006 3:00 AM Re: Prevenient Grace [Re: AC.]  
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Speaking of "none should perish" aka 2 Peter 3:9 here's a little link to a video where these guys explain in simple terms just what it means 2 Peter 3:9 Cross T.V.


Peter

If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don't like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself. Augustine of Hippo
#34696 - Fri Dec 22, 2006 12:25 PM Re: Prevenient Grace [Re: Peter]  
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thanks everyone!!!

May God Richly Bless All of You!!!

Sincerely,

AC


The mercy of God is necessary not only when a person repents, but even to lead him to repent, Augustine

#34697 - Fri Dec 22, 2006 5:40 PM Re: Prevenient Grace [Re: AC.]  
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John Wesley a hero in some reformed camps <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/spin.gif" alt="" /> taught that God gives a non-saving grace to every person, and frees his will enabling him to accept or reject the offer of salvation.

Article IV of the Remonstrance drawn up by the followers of Jacabus Arminius treated the subject of resistible grace or at least tried to as follows.

That this grace of God is the beginning, continuance, and accomplishment of all good, even to this extent, that the regenerate man himself, without prevenient or assisting, awakening, following and cooperative grace, can nei­ther think, will, nor do good, nor withstand any temptations to evil; so that all good deeds or movements, that can be conceived, must be ascribed to the grace of God in Christ. but respects the mode of the operation of this grace, it is not irresistible; inas­much as it is written con­cerning many, that they have resisted the Holy Ghost. Acts 7, and else­where in many places.
Acts 7:51 "Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye."

The Canons of Dordrecht and the Westminster state

Canons of Dordt III/IV HEADS OF DOCTRINE

Article X But that others who are called by the gospel obey the call and are converted is not to be ascribed to the proper exercise of free will, whereby one distinguishes himself above others, equally furnished with grace sufficient for faith and conversions as the proud heresy of Pelagius maintains; but it must be wholly ascribed to God, who as He has chosen His own from eternity in Christ, so He confers upon them faith and repentance, rescues them from the power of darkness, and translates them into the kingdom of His own Son, that they may show forth the praises of Him who hath called them out of darkness into His marvelous light; and may glory not in themselves, but in the Lord according to the testimony of the apostles in various places.
Article XI But when God accomplishes His good pleasure in the elect or works in them true conversion, He not only causes the gospel to be externally preached to them and powerfully illuminates their mind by His Holy Spirit, that they may rightly understand and discern the things of the Spirit of God; but by the efficacy of the same regenerating Spirit, pervades the inmost recesses of the man; He opens the closed, and softens the hardened heart, and circumcises that which was uncircumcised, infuses new qualities into the will, which though heretofore dead, He quickens; from being evil, disobedient, and refractory, He renders it good, obedient, and pliable; actuates and strengthens it, that like a good tree, it may bring forth the fruits of good actions.

Westminster Confession,

Article 10 of Chapter 1 All those whom God hath predestinated unto life, and those only, he is pleased, in His appointed and accepted time, effectually to call, by His Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death, in which they are by nature, to grace and salvation by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds, spiritually and savingly, to understand the things of God; taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them an heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and by His almighty power determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ; yet so as they come most freely, being made willing by His grace.

#34698 - Sat Dec 23, 2006 7:46 AM Re: Prevenient Grace [Re: AC.]  
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Quote
AJC said:
Don't you guys get sick of being written off as fanatical justice-obsessed Christians who discriminate against the God who desires that 'none should perish' - maybe it's the company I keep but I'm getting burnt out by Calvinism or others rejection of it.

AC


This may be too simplistic, but I just don't get it when others criticize calvinism because God desires that none should perish. That is unless they are true universalists. If God is God He can ensure the salvation of all. The argument against an unloving God of the Calvinists holds true with them as well as their view holds that God sits idly by watching man perish.

Last edited by John_C; Sat Dec 23, 2006 7:50 AM.

John Chaney

"having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith . . ." Colossians 2:7
#34699 - Sat Dec 23, 2006 11:29 AM Re: Prevenient Grace [Re: John_C]  
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Dear John,
This may be too simplistic, but I just don't get it when others criticize calvinism because God desires that none should perish. That is unless they are true universalists. If God is God He can ensure the salvation of all. The argument against an unloving God of the Calvinists holds true with them as well as their view holds that God sits idly by watching man perish.


Ah, but you are forgetting that God is bound by the Prime Directive, the Law Above All Laws, the Eternal Covenant of FreeWill (on terms graciously offered to him by Adam), in which he has promised to always-be-nice-and-never-ever-ever-ever-interfere-in-anyone-else's-business-because-it-might-hurt-their-feelings, and this because he knows that the Most Important Thing In The Universe is for all his children to be happy all the time and do whatever they think is right and never be told or made to do anything different, since they are, after all, just like him.


In Christ,
Paul S
#34700 - Tue Jan 23, 2007 10:37 AM Re: Prevenient Grace [Re: Peter]  
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Boanerges said:
AJC I have been hit with that particular form of rebuttal a time or two what I usually do is ask them to show me in scripture where prevenient grace is taught. Typically the person that brings it up has no clue so it caught upon the horns of a dilemma and thus backs down. The others that do show me some text I take it into consideration but usually find that it is referring to common grace and not prevenient grace. When I point out that they too usually fall silent or go away mad.


Scripture speaks of the Holy Spirit going before the word to prepare the hearts of the elect to receive it as truth. If this is prevenient grace, I believe in it!!!!!!!


There never was a sinner half as big as Christ is as a Savior.
#34701 - Tue Jan 23, 2007 9:19 PM Re: Prevenient Grace [Re: Joe k]  
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Joe k

You said:
Quote
Scripture speaks of the Holy Spirit going before the word to prepare the hearts of the elect to receive it as truth. If this is prevenient grace, I believe in it!!!!!!!


That is not prevenient grace. Prevenient grace says Holy Spirit goes before the word to prepare the hearts of the everyone to receive it as truth.
Where as Scripture says Holy Spirit goes before the word to prepare the hearts of the elect to receive it as truth.

Tom

#34702 - Wed Jan 24, 2007 12:07 AM Re: Prevenient Grace [Re: Pilgrim]  
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I have internet access today <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/ClapHands.gif" alt="" /> so thought I'd drop by.

The idea of prevenient grace is quite silly really. After all if everyone had their hearts equally prepared by the Spirit, why on earth doesn't anyone receive the truth??? (I frankly don't know anyone who is EAGER to go to hell!?!) And why would some be willing to leave their sins and some not if all were equally prepared? Prevenient grace assumes that some people are better than others and so only they are saved....as they're the only ones willing to receive the truth.

BTW Pilgrim, I don't quite agree with you that humbled-to-the-dust people accept sovereign grace- there are people out there (not meaning anyone here) that accept these truths intellectually and therefore quite easily. I would wonder at anyone who accepts the sovereignty of God *easily* as it is a hard doctrine for depraved people to accept, because it requires being humbled to the dust!

#34703 - Wed Jan 24, 2007 12:10 AM Re: Prevenient Grace [Re: Joe k]  
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Joe k said:
Scripture speaks of the Holy Spirit going before the word to prepare the hearts of the elect to receive it as truth. If this is prevenient grace, I believe in it!!!!!!!


Joe K theopedia defines prevenient grace this way:
Quote
Prevenient grace refers to the grace of God in a person's life that precedes conversion (or salvation). The word "prevenient," considered an archaic term today, was common in the King James english and simply means to "go before" or "precede." Likewise, it is sometimes called "preventing" grace (from prevenient) with the same meaning.

* In Reformed Theology, it is the particular grace which precedes human decision -- a salvific grace prior to, and without reference to, anything we have done. See Irresistible grace, sometimes called efficacious grace or the effectual call.
* In Arminianism and Wesleyanism, it is a general universal grace that offsets the noetic effects of the Fall, restores man's free will, and thus enables every person to choose to come to Christ or not.
* In Romanism (i.e., Roman Catholic), it is an assisting grace which aids people who choose to co-operate in justifying themselves. See Council of Trent (Sess. VI, cap. v).


While the person that I was referring to would probably follow the Wesleyan/Arminian definition at the same time maintaining he was a Baptist he would also affirm Universal prevenient grace.
Quote
According to its adherents, universal prevenient grace is divine grace extended to all mankind, prior to and without reference to anything they may have done. This grace purportedly restores man's "free will" which was corrupted by the effects of original sin and enables him to choose or refuse the salvation offered by God in Jesus Christ.


Peter

If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don't like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself. Augustine of Hippo
#34704 - Wed Jan 24, 2007 12:23 AM Re: Prevenient Grace [Re: anna3b]  
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Anna:

Quote
After all if everyone had their hearts equally prepared by the Spirit, why on earth doesn't anyone receive the truth???


The Wesleyan/Arminian view of prevenient grace isn't everyone getting their hearts equally prepared but rather having the effects of the fall reversed to the point that their free will is restored. (see my reply to Joe K)

This isn't an inclination toward God but rather a restoration to a neutral state. The thing is I can't see anything in scripture that states we were ever in a neutral state.


Peter

If you believe what you like in the gospels, and reject what you don't like, it is not the gospel you believe, but yourself. Augustine of Hippo
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