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How would you evaluate the following statement? #44350
Fri Mar 19, 2010 9:35 AM
Fri Mar 19, 2010 9:35 AM
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Pilgrim Offline OP

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The following is from the website of a newly formed church whose pastor allegedly studied at The Master's Seminary, thus one could assume that he would be Calvinistic. How would you evaluate this church's statement of faith?

- Is it biblically sound?
- Is it consistent with historic Calvinism's soteriology (doctrine of salvation)?

Quote
3. A biblical view of man
All men are totally depraved, unable to do any good to save themselves (Isa. 64:6; Rom. 3:10-26; Tit. 3:5). Man was created to glorify God, but because of sin, he seeks to glorify himself (Gen. 3:17-19, Rom. 1:18, 3:10-23). Due to his depravity and sin-tainted heart, man seeks fulfillment from the world's evil system (Jer. 17:9-10; Mar. 7:21; Eph. 2:3; 1 Pet. 4:2; 1 John 2:16).

About Man and Sin
We teach that God created man in His own image and likeness. Man was created free of sin with a rational nature, intelligence, volition, self-determination, and moral responsibility to God (Genesis 2:7, 15-25; James 3:9). Since the fall of man into sin, the image of God in man has been distorted, though not eradicated (Genesis 9:6; James 3:9). In Adamís sin of disobedience to the revealed will and Word of God, he not only fell from his state of innocence into one of separation and alienation from God, but as the representative for all mankind, he also plunged the whole race into sin and death (Romans 5:12-21). All mankind became inherently corrupt and subject to the wrath of God (John 3:36; Romans 3:23; 6:23; Ephesians 2:1-3). Fallen man is blind and helpless, wholly incapable of spiritual self-reformation or rescue and is wholly in need of Godís salvation (Isaiah 64:5-7; Jeremiah 13:23; 1 Corinthians 2:14; Ephesians 2:1-3; Colossians 1:21-22).

About Salvation
We believe that salvation is the gift of God through grace and is received by man only through personal faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, whose precious blood was shed for the forgiveness of our sins (John 1:12; Ephesians 1:7; 2:8-9). We believe that regeneration is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit by which the divine nature and divine life are given (John 3:3-7; Titus 3:5). It is instantaneous and is accomplished solely by the power of the Holy Spirit through the instrumentality of the Word of God (John 5:24), when the repentant sinner, as enabled by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2: 4-5), responds in faith to the divine provision of salvation. He passes immediately out of spiritual death into spiritual life; being justified, accepted before the Father just as Christ, His Son, is accepted, loved as Christ is loved and one with Him forever (John 5:24; 17:23; Acts 13:39; Romans 5:1; 1 Corinthians 3:21-23; Ephesians 1:3; Colossians 2:10; 2 Peter 3:18; 1 John 4:17; 5:11-12).

What say you all?


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Re: How would you evaluate the following statement? [Re: Pilgrim] #44351
Fri Mar 19, 2010 1:46 PM
Fri Mar 19, 2010 1:46 PM
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Robin Offline
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Quote
when the repentant sinner, as enabled by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2: 4-5), responds in faith to the divine provision of salvation, he passes immediately out of spiritual death into spiritual life; being justified, accepted before the Father just as Christ, His Son, is accepted, loved as Christ is loved and one with Him forever.


As punctuated above (unsure of the original as posted by Pilgrim), isn't it kinda sorta suggesting that conversion precedes regeneration? The Scriptures is very plain that the opposite is true (Gal. 1:15, Eph 1:4 2:5, 1st John 5:4). Only the regenerate hear (having been given ears to hear) and believe the truth (John 3:5).

First impressions-guess (if my change of punctuation idn't mess anything up).

Robin

Re: How would you evaluate the following statement? [Re: Robin] #44352
Fri Mar 19, 2010 1:57 PM
Fri Mar 19, 2010 1:57 PM
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Pilgrim Offline OP

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Originally Posted by Robin
Quote
when the repentant sinner, as enabled by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2: 4-5), responds in faith to the divine provision of salvation, he passes immediately out of spiritual death into spiritual life; being justified, accepted before the Father just as Christ, His Son, is accepted, loved as Christ is loved and one with Him forever.


As punctuated above (unsure of the original as posted by Pilgrim), isn't it kinda sorta suggesting that conversion precedes regeneration?

Robin,

The punctuation is exactly what appears on the church's website. I simply copy/pasted it as found.

Quote
We believe that regeneration is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit by which the divine nature and divine life are given (John 3:3-7; Titus 3:5). It is instantaneous and is accomplished solely by the power of the Holy Spirit through the instrumentality of the Word of God (John 5:24), when the repentant sinner, as enabled by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 2: 4-5), responds in faith to the divine provision of salvation. He passes immediately out of spiritual death into spiritual life;

I'll wait for other replies until either affirming or disagreeing with your assessment. evilgrin


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Re: How would you evaluate the following statement? [Re: Pilgrim] #44368
Sun Mar 21, 2010 6:14 PM
Sun Mar 21, 2010 6:14 PM
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Tom Offline
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In the part about salvation, I think the words need more clarification.
I agree with Robin, that the words do make it sound like regeneration precedes justification. But I am not completely sure this is what the author had in mind.
The main reason why I think this might not be what the author had in mind is because I doubt this would be the understanding of Master's Seminary.

Tom

Re: How would you evaluate the following statement? [Re: Tom] #44372
Sun Mar 21, 2010 9:22 PM
Sun Mar 21, 2010 9:22 PM
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Pilgrim Offline OP

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Originally Posted by Tom
I agree with Robin, that the words do make it sound like regeneration precedes justification.

But Tom,

That is NOT what Robin's assessment was, "...isn't it kinda sorta suggesting that conversion precedes regeneration?" Here, Robin see's the statement as saying that justification (which comes via repentance and faith, aka: conversion) precedes regeneration.

Sooooo, I for one need more clarity from you. wink Do you think the church's statement teaches:

1. regeneration precedes justification (faith & repentance)

OR

2. faith precedes regeneration

Lastly, one may study at a particular school or under a particular individual but that is no guarantee that the student will embrace all that the school or instructor teaches. wink


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Re: How would you evaluate the following statement? [Re: Pilgrim] #44376
Sun Mar 21, 2010 11:50 PM
Sun Mar 21, 2010 11:50 PM
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Oops, banghead I meant to say that the Churches statement seems to say.
Quote
2. faith precedes regeneration


Which sort of proves just how important it is to get clarification on matters like this.

Tom

Re: How would you evaluate the following statement? [Re: Tom] #44378
Mon Mar 22, 2010 12:24 AM
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rantonThe problem with this statement and indeed many of the statements of faith I see on church websites is that they are so ambiguous that you never really know exactly what they do teach. For example:

Salvation is a free gift from God and is not based upon anyone's merit or good works.(Rom. 6:23; Eph. 2:8-9) One may only be saved through Jesus Christ (John 14:6; Acts 4:11-12) After conversion you are adopted into a spiritual family. (Eph. 2:19) And an eternal home in heaven (John 14:3)

Statement of faith from Sufficent Grace Church

Because I am a glutton for punishment I contacted them and asked them about their church. From the response I got it seemed to be an emergent style church. When I thanked the pastor I told him that I thought I was too conservative (and old but I didn't write that) for the church. When he inquired as to why I explained that I was a Calvinist Baptist. He then told me he was also a Calvinist and that I had been mislead by the statement of faith.

Now I don't even want to get into the whole idea of statements of faith that are so blasť that you can't tell what people believe (well I do but my doctor warns me about my blood pressure)but seriously does that even sound Calvinistic at all? rantoff


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
Re: How would you evaluate the following statement? [Re: Peter] #44381
Mon Mar 22, 2010 6:01 AM
Mon Mar 22, 2010 6:01 AM
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I think they're deliberately vague, Peter, to avoid "offending" anyone. And of course, the only way to offend no one is to say nothing.

-R

Re: How would you evaluate the following statement? [Re: Robin] #44383
Mon Mar 22, 2010 8:33 AM
Mon Mar 22, 2010 8:33 AM
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Pilgrim Offline OP

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Originally Posted by Robin
I think they're deliberately vague, Peter, to avoid "offending" anyone. And of course, the only way to offend no one is to say nothing.

I agree 100% with you and Pete. I must read at least a dozen "Statement of Faith" pages on church websites every week and they are so ambiguous that nearly anyone could feel comfortable with them. They are deliberately evasive, IMHO, so it appears that they espouse a "Lowest Common Denominator Theology" so that ALL are welcome. Of course, the "ALL" is not indiscriminate for such statements are hardly satisfying to anyone who is Reformed, i.e., they believe in propositional, absolute truth which they also believe is only to be found in Scripture.

One of the most obnoxious statements for me, which is so often found on church websites, is the one that allegedly deals with sin and man's condition after the Fall. Invariably it is worded something like, all men are "separated from God"... that's it! There is no mention of Original Sin (imputed guilt and inherited corruption of nature) because of which all men are under the wrath and condemnation of God. It doesn't make a wit of difference if one is even born never mind committed some sin, be it ever so 'insignificant'. Thus there is no mention of the sinner needing a radical change of nature which can only come from the sovereign mercy of God and the secret working of the Holy Spirit in whosoever God wills.

Anyway... this particular church from which this small sampling came also opening rejects the "Regulative Principle of Worship" and states that the Bible nowhere directs us how to worship God. Doubtless you will all then guess that they have a "worship team" and practice a contemporary form of 'worship'. Boy how I hate even using the term "worship" when referring to such practice. [Linked Image]

There is no mention of the Sabbath, no inkling as to their eschatology and much more of the same in regard to other important doctrinal and practical matters. Yet, I suspect that the "leadership" would claim to be Reformed. What I see is simply another instance of the emerging "New Calvinism".

That's my [Linked Image]


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Re: How would you evaluate the following statement? [Re: Peter] #44388
Mon Mar 22, 2010 8:47 AM
Mon Mar 22, 2010 8:47 AM
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Peter,
It sounds as though the pastor might not have agreed with the statement if indeed he is a Calvinist.Is this a new church? Did the pastor have a part in the drafting of the statement?Does he have plans to change the statement? Just a few questions that came to mind after reading the pastors response to your questions.
No, it does not sound Calvinistic.


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Re: How would you evaluate the following statement? [Re: Pilgrim] #44390
Mon Mar 22, 2010 6:02 PM
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Tom Offline
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Master's Seminary is a ministry of John MacArthur and although I have my problems with him, I believe he speaks out strongly against Emergent thought.
That being the case, it appears that the Church in question has deviated from the teaching that is taught at Master's Seminary.
John MacArthur has his faults, but being afraid of saying something, lest it offend someone is not one of them.

Tom

Re: How would you evaluate the following statement? [Re: Tom] #44393
Mon Mar 22, 2010 10:08 PM
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Tom:

There are plenty of examples we can site about men who went to good schools that teach sound doctrine and once they are away from the school their true state is revealed. You can't blame the school for aberrations unless there is proof that the school is straying from the truth.


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
Re: How would you evaluate the following statement? [Re: Peter] #44395
Mon Mar 22, 2010 10:57 PM
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Peter

That is a very good point. But I want to state that my intention was not to blame Master's Seminary if there indeed is an aberration; which unfortunately it looks like there is one.

Tom

Re: How would you evaluate the following statement? [Re: Pilgrim] #44401
Tue Mar 23, 2010 1:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Pilgrim


One of the most obnoxious statements for me, which is so often found on church websites, is the one that allegedly deals with sin and man's condition after the Fall. Invariably it is worded something like, all men are "separated from God"... that's it! There is no mention of Original Sin (imputed guilt and inherited corruption of nature) because of which all men are under the wrath and condemnation of God. It doesn't make a wit of difference if one is even born never mind committed some sin, be it ever so 'insignificant'. Thus there is no mention of the sinner needing a radical change of nature which can only come from the sovereign mercy of God and the secret working of the Holy Spirit in whosoever God wills.



On the evening of March 7, our pastor preached from 1 Cor. 2. He referred to the hostility of the Jews and the Greeks to Gospel and said that one can compare it to a cocoon that is around someone. The Gospel has to penetrate the cocoon. The cocoon is a particular frame of mind or mindset.

Back home I noted this in my little notebook asking why did he not explicitly mention the rebellion of man against God. The rebellion now is nothing more than a particular frame of mind. Sin and man's total depravity was not mentioned at all. Hope to see him in a couple of weeks and will then ask him.

Johan

Last edited by Johan; Tue Mar 23, 2010 1:56 PM.
Re: How would you evaluate the following statement? [Re: Johan] #44403
Tue Mar 23, 2010 2:34 PM
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Johan,

This is yet another example of the "dumbing down" of what Scripture teaches concerning the noetic effects of the Fall, e.g., Original Sin with its depravity of nature. The Bible is VERY explicit in describing fallen man's condition in myriad ways and in myriad places. I won't take the trouble of providing all the relevant passages (don't have time nor the space here) but here are a few to show that this corruption of nature isn't simply a "passive condition", e.g., wrong thinking or a lack of proper knowledge:

Mark 7:21-23 (ASV) "For from within, out of the heart of men, evil thoughts proceed, fornications, thefts, murders, adulteries, covetings, wickednesses, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, railing, pride, foolishness: all these evil things proceed from within, and defile the man." (seems clear that there is more here than a 'frame of mind' problem. The very being of fallen man is corrupt and thus he does only wickedness.)

John 3:19 (ASV) "And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their works were evil." (both the emotions/affections and actions are corrupt and evil)

Romans 8:7 (ASV) "because the mind of the flesh is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be:" (There is a natural hatred, enmity expressed toward God.)

Ephesians 4:17-19 (ASV) "This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye no longer walk as the Gentiles also walk, in the vanity of their mind, being darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardening of their heart; who being past feeling gave themselves up to lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness." (The mind is certainly mentioned here and said to be futile in its thinking... BUT the reason/cause it is so is because of its ignorance and this ignorance is self-induced due to the hardness of heart, i.e., their total rejection of God and all that pertains to Him. cf. Rom 1:18ff)

Titus 1:15-16 (ASV) "To the pure all things are pure: but to them that are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. They profess that they know God; but by their works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate." (The natural man is defiled and unbelieving in BOTH their mind and conscience which is expressed in their wicked deeds.)

The natural man needs far more than a simple change of mind. He is in dire need of a radical transformation of the soul, aka: regeneration out of which the whole man is changed; a heart of flesh is created which effects the mind, affections and will.


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