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#16556 Sat Jul 31, 2004 8:43 AM
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In the thread started by KoreaHog, I have returned, the belief that at some point all people come to a neutral position during their life was put forth. A moral equipoise, granted by God, where they choose from a clean slate. In this thread I would like to see the scriptures that uphold this.

The reformed view is against this assertion....

Total Depravity
The effect of the fall upon man is that sin has extended to every part of his personality -- his thinking, his emotions, and his will. The unregenerate (unsaved) man is dead in his sins (Romans 5:12). Without the power of the Holy Spirit, the natural man is blind and deaf to the message of the gospel (Mark 4:1). This is why Total Depravity has also been called "Total Inability." The man without a knowledge of God will never come to this knowledge without God's making him alive through Christ. (Ephesians 2:1-5). We believe that all are sinners (Romans 3:23) and unable by human performance to earn, deserve, or merit salvation (Romans 9:16). We believe that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23), and that apart from God's grace, no one can be saved (Ephesians 2:8-9). We believe that none are righteous, or capable of doing good (Romans 3:10-12), and that apart from the conviction and regeneration of the Holy Spirit, none can be saved (John 1:12-13; 16:8-11; I Peter 1:23-25). Mankind is clearly fallen and lost in sin. (John 6:44)

Any passages that teach a neutrality?


God bless,

william

#16557 Sat Jul 31, 2004 11:32 AM
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Hi Averagefellar. You said, “In the thread started by KoreaHog, I have returned, the belief that at some point all people come to a neutral position during their life was put forth.”

I didn’t say, “All people come to a neutral position during their life.” I think that some non-elect people do, and some don’t. Some non-elect people never hear the gospel and are never placed under the special conviction of the Holy Spirit. Elect people who die before reaching the age of accountability are never placed under the special conviction of the Holy Spirit.

You said, “A moral equipoise, granted by God, where they choose from a clean slate.”

Well, I didn’t say that either. For clarity, you might want to quote me rather than paraphrase me. I don’t think you are intentionally misrepresenting my position. (In fact, I think you are very well intentioned, and I enjoy discussing this with you.) Adam was in a “zero, zero” type of equipoise. In other words Adam did not have any evil inclinations before his first sin, and he did not have any good inclinations before he became biased toward sin. These days, when a non-Christian is under the special conviction of the Holy Spirit, he is allowed to form a bias from a “fifty, fifty” type of equipoise, not a clean slate by any means. In other words, before he forms a bias, his depraved, sinful inclinations are exactly balanced by the good inclinations worked through his conscience by the Holy Spirit during the time of special conviction. From this perspective, he can compare the clean with the dirty as Moses did, and like Moses, by faith and “as seeing Him who is unseen” (Hebrews 11:27) he can leave his old life behind. His depravity is temporarily counteracted during this special conviction (tasting) event, and if he is an elect non-Christian, he eventually makes an ultimate, final decision to surrender his life to Jesus in repentance and faith (to swallow the living bread). There may be several special conviction (tasting) events. A non-elect non-Christian eventually makes an ultimate, final decision to reject Jesus as Lord and Savior. This willful, unpardonable sin of rejection hastens a natural hardening process.

You asked for some Scriptures relating to equipoise.

1 Kings 18:21 – “And Elijah came near to all the people and said, ‘How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.’ But the people did not answer him a word.”

Hebrews 6:4-8 – “For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God, and put Him to open shame. For ground that drinks the rain which often falls upon it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.”

Hebrews 10:26-29 – “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain terrifying expectation of judgement, and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES. Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?”

Deuteronomy 30:19 – “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants.”

Joshua 24:15 – “And if it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

Hebrews 11:24-27 – “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin; considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen.”

Mark 10:17, 21-23 – “And as He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and began asking Him, ‘Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’. . . . And looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him, and said to him, ‘One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’ But at these words his face fell, and he went away grieved, for he was one who owned much property. And Jesus, looking around, said to His disciples, ‘How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!’ ”

John 5:24-25 – “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear shall live.”

Psalm 34:8 – “O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!”

John 5:39-40 – “You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life.”

Acts 17:11-12 – “Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so. Many of them therefore believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men.”

Acts 26:27-29 – “ ‘King Agrippa, do you believe the Prophets? I know that you do.’ And Agrippa replied to Paul, ‘In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian.’ And Paul said, ‘I would to God, that whether in a short or long time, not only you, but also all who hear me this day, might become such as I am, except for these chains.’ ”

2 Peter 2:1, 20-21 – “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. . . . For if after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment delivered to them.”

I would be glad to discuss the above Scripture passages with you. I have already talked about Adam being in equipoise. Let me repeat Augustine’s words about that equipoise:

“We should ask what the first man himself was like when he was created, rather than how his descendants have been propagated. [. . .] They speak as if it were impossible for human nature to be endowed with some intermediate state, besides folly and wisdom, which could be called neither folly nor wisdom.”
(Augustine, “The Free Choice of the Will,” trans. Robert P. Russell, The Fathers of the Church: A New Translation, ed. Roy Joseph Deferrari, vol. 59, Washington, D.C.: The Catholic University of America Press, Inc., 1968, pages 228-229)

Augustine believed that Adam’s rebellion from a position of neutrality (equipoise) brought a just punishment from God:

“Accordingly, if a man was created in a state where, though yet unwise, he could receive a command that he ought certainly to obey, it is neither surprising that he could be seduced, nor an injustice that he should suffer punishment for failing to obey. Neither is the Creator the cause of his vice, since it was not yet a vice for man to be without wisdom when he had not yet received the power to have it. Yet he did have something that would enable him to advance towards what he did not yet have, provided he was willing to make good use of it.”
(Ibid., pages 229-230)

Augustine repeated that there was a “middle state” (equipoise) from which Adam rebelled:

“This makes it clear that there is a middle state which cannot go by either name. So, too, when the first man passed from the heights of wisdom to folly, the transition was neither foolish nor wise. It is something like sleep and wakefulness, where falling asleep is not the same as sleeping and where awakening is not the same as being awake, but where there is a passing from one state to another. There is, however, this difference, that the latter generally happen involuntarily, while the former are always voluntary, which is why the punishments that follow are perfectly just.”
(Ibid., pages 231-232)

I’ll also repeat what John Calvin said about Adam’s equipoise:

“Adam could have stood if he would, since he fell merely by his own will, because his will was flexible to either side, and he was not endued with constancy to persevere. . . . Yet there is no excuse for man; he received so much, that he was the voluntary procurer of his own destruction; but God was under no necessity to give him any other than a mutable will, midway between sin and indefectibility (medium et caducam).”
(Calvin, Institutes I. xv. 8)

I’ll also repeat what Arthur Pink said about Adam’s equipoise:

“In unfallen Adam the will was free, free in both directions, free toward good and free toward evil. Adam was created in a state of innocency, but not in a state of holiness, as is so often assumed and asserted. Adam’s will was therefore in a condition of moral equipoise: that is to say, in Adam there was no constraining bias in him toward either good or evil, and as such, Adam differed radically from all his descendants, as well as from ‘the Man Christ Jesus.’ ”
(Pink, The Sovereignty of God, page 135)

You also discussed total depravity. Here’s an excerpt from my manuscript about total depravity that you may want to discuss:

Total depravity means that all human beings are born with an inclination to commit sin due to Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden (Romans 5:19), and that every part of their being is tainted by sin. They are spiritually dead people until God makes them alive at the time of the regeneration event. A totally depraved person never wants to embrace Christ more than he wants anything else. Notice the depravity described in Ephesians 2:1-5:

“And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly
walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the
power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of
disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our
flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature
children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because
of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our
transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been
saved).”

The fact that all non-Christians are depraved would seem to indicate that all non-Christians are like passive puppets, manipulated by their innate, sinful desires.

Many Arminians admit that all people are born totally depraved, but Arminians also say that God “enlightens every man” (John 1:9) and that God draws all people to Christ (John 12:32). Thus, Arminians believe that the effects of total depravity are negated by prevenient (preceding) grace and that all people have true free will and are not passive at any point during their conversion to Christianity. According to John 1:5, “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” John Calvin denied that prevenient grace was adequate for salvation; rather, he said that regenerating grace was necessary as he commented on the verse:

“Further, it ought to be clear that the Evangelist is speaking only of man’s natural endowments, and does not touch upon regenerating grace. [. . .] But since he has darkened the light which he retains by his stupidity and wickedness, it is necessary that the Son of God take on a new office, that of a mediator, and restore the ruined man by the Spirit of regeneration. Therefore, those who confuse the light of which the Evangelist speaks with the gospel and the doctrine which deals with our salvation, philosophize absurdly and in an irrelevant manner.”
(John Calvin, Calvin: Commentaries, ed. and trans. Joseph Haroutunian, 1958, page 132)

Most five-point Calvinists believe that non-Christians as free agents can freely choose to sin but cannot freely choose to surrender to Jesus in repentance and faith until God changes their will during the regeneration event. Many five-point Calvinists refer to John 3:3: “Jesus answered and said to him, ‘Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.’” They interpret the word “see” in the verse as “perceive” or “discern,” and they say that an unregenerated person cannot perceive the kingdom of God well enough to choose it. In contrast, Arminians and modified Calvinists interpret the word “see” in John 3:3 as “participate in” or “experience” as in the phrase “see death” found in Luke 2:26: “And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.”

Five-point Calvinists believe that unregenerated non-Christians cannot repent because their will is inclined toward sin. Therefore, they believe that non-Christians are totally passive during the event where they are regenerated (born again, given new life). They use John 1:13 to show that regeneration is totally a work of God: “Who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”

Many Arminians and modified Calvinists agree that the regeneration event is totally a work of God, but they believe that faith is required for regeneration. The modified Calvinist Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, described faith as a condition for regeneration: “In the fourth Gospel we read that faith is not only a sign but also a condition of the new birth: ‘To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God’ (John 1:12).”
(Danny Akin, “1, 2, 3 John,” The New American Commentary, page 189)

Arminians and modified Calvinists believe John 1:12 indicates that the receivers of Christ were believing in Christ at the time they were born again. Many five-point Calvinists use the concept of adoption to interpret the phrase “He gave the right to become children of God” in John 1:12, and this view can be traced back to the 1742 Philadelphia Baptist Confession of Faith, the nearly identical 1689 Second London Baptist Confession of Faith, and Calvin himself. Thus many five-point Calvinists say that the phrase refers to adoption, not the new birth, and they see God as adopting children (John 1:12) to whom He has already given birth (John 1:13).

In describing the order of events in the salvation process—especially in regard to regeneration, justification, faith, and repentance—it is important to distinguish between the logical order and the temporal order of events. Sometimes events seem to occur at exactly the same point in time in terms of a chronological/temporal frame of reference, but one of the events may be a logical precursor or requirement for another event that occurs at the same point in time.

In contrast to Arminians and modified Calvinists, five-point Calvinists believe regeneration is a necessary precursor to repentance and faith. The five-point Calvinist R.C. Sproul, founder and chairman of Ligonier Ministries and a theology professor at Reformed Theological Seminary, comments on regeneration:

“In regeneration, God changes our hearts. He gives us a new disposition, a
new inclination. He plants a desire for Christ in our hearts. We can never
trust Christ for our salvation unless we first desire him. This is why we said
earlier that regeneration precedes faith. Without rebirth we have no desire
for Christ. Without a desire for Christ we will never choose Christ.
Therefore we conclude that before anyone ever will believe, before anyone
can believe, God must first change the disposition of his heart.”
(Sproul, Chosen By God, pages 118-119)

Five-point Calvinists believe newly regenerated persons are capable of perceiving clearly God’s righteous standard, and as the conversion process progresses (often almost instantaneously), they surrender to Christ in repentance and faith. Five-point Calvinists also believe that repentance and faith are necessary precursors for justification (salvation from the penalty of sin) and receiving the gift of the permanently indwelling Holy Spirit.

On the contrary, both Arminians and modified Calvinists believe that repentance and faith are requirements for both the regeneration event and justification; thus, a spiritually dead person can repent and place his faith in Christ under certain circumstances. The modified Calvinist Millard Erickson, president of the Evangelical Theological Society in 2002, described his view of the order of salvation:

“We are not talking here about temporal succession. Conversion and new
birth occur simultaneously. Rather, the question is whether one is
converted because of God’s work of regeneration within, or whether God
regenerates the individual because of his or her repentance and belief. It
must be acknowledged that, from a logical standpoint, the usual Calvinistic
position makes good sense. If we sinful humans are unable to believe and
respond to God’s gospel without some special working of his within us,
how can anyone, even the elect, believe unless first rendered capable of
belief through regeneration? To say that conversion is prior to regeneration
would seem to be a denial of total depravity.
Nonetheless, the biblical evidence favors the position that conversion is
prior to regeneration. Various appeals to respond to the gospel imply that
conversion results in regeneration.”
(Erickson, Christian Theology, pages 944-945)

Many modified Calvinists believe a non-Christian is a totally depraved free agent with no true free will until the time God begins the conversion process and brings him under the special, illuminating conviction of the Holy Spirit. Such modified Calvinists believe the non-Christian has true free will during times of special conviction and is therefore not passive during the conversion process. They also believe the culmination of the conversion process is the regeneration event when the Holy Spirit permanently indwells the person after the person surrenders to Christ in repentance and faith.

#16558 Sat Jul 31, 2004 12:18 PM
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OK. Too much stuuf besides scripture. I am looking to avoid your philosophical ramblings and I can quote scholars also. I will address the passages you posted.

One other problem I noticed is that you uphold a age of accountability, an old baptist teaching also not found in scripture. But we'll concentrate on the passages and the dilemma at hand.

Give me a few days as I will be out of town tomorrow and am preparing for that today. Thanks for your understanding.


God bless,

william

#16559 Sat Jul 31, 2004 2:20 PM
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Quote
1 Kings 18:21 – “And Elijah came near to all the people and said, ‘How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.’ But the people did not answer him a word.”

Hebrews 6:4-8 – “For in the case of those who have once been enlightened and have tasted of the heavenly gift and have been made partakers of the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, it is impossible to renew them again to repentance, since they again crucify to themselves the Son of God, and put Him to open shame. For ground that drinks the rain which often falls upon it and brings forth vegetation useful to those for whose sake it is also tilled, receives a blessing from God; but if it yields thorns and thistles, it is worthless and close to being cursed, and it ends up being burned.”

Hebrews 10:26-29 – “For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain terrifying expectation of judgement, and THE FURY OF A FIRE WHICH WILL CONSUME THE ADVERSARIES. Anyone who has set aside the Law of Moses dies without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much severer punishment do you think he will deserve who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded as unclean the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?”

Deuteronomy 30:19 – “I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. So choose life in order that you may live, you and your descendants.”

Joshua 24:15 – “And if it is disagreeable in your sight to serve the LORD, choose for yourselves today whom you will serve: whether the gods which your fathers served which were beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you are living; but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”

Hebrews 11:24-27 – “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin; considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward. By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen.”

Mark 10:17, 21-23 – “And as He was setting out on a journey, a man ran up to Him and knelt before Him, and began asking Him, ‘Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?’. . . . And looking at him, Jesus felt a love for him, and said to him, ‘One thing you lack: go and sell all you possess, and give to the poor, and you shall have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’ But at these words his face fell, and he went away grieved, for he was one who owned much property. And Jesus, looking around, said to His disciples, ‘How hard it will be for those who are wealthy to enter the kingdom of God!’ ”

John 5:24-25 – “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear shall live.”

Psalm 34:8 – “O taste and see that the LORD is good; How blessed is the man who takes refuge in Him!”

John 5:39-40 – “You search the Scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is these that bear witness of Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me, that you may have life.”

Acts 17:11-12 – “Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily, to see whether these things were so. Many of them therefore believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men.”

Acts 26:27-29 – “ ‘King Agrippa, do you believe the Prophets? I know that you do.’ And Agrippa replied to Paul, ‘In a short time you will persuade me to become a Christian.’ And Paul said, ‘I would to God, that whether in a short or long time, not only you, but also all who hear me this day, might become such as I am, except for these chains.’ ”

2 Peter 2:1, 20-21 – “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. . . . For if after they have escaped the defilements of the world by the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and are overcome, the last state has become worse for them than the first. For it would be better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn away from the holy commandment delivered to them.”

I didn't see any of those passages explicitly teaching man can choose contrary to his nature. I never saw one explanation or even a hint of moral equipoise. Maybe you could elaborate?


God bless,

william

#16560 Sat Jul 31, 2004 4:13 PM
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This will be easier if we discuss one scripture at a time. I apologize if I misrepresent your true position. However, I still firmly believe you are a Wesleyan. I also disagree that Adam had no nature.

1 Kings 18:21 –
(KJV) And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, How long halt ye between two opinions? if the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.
(NASB) Elijah came near to all the people and said, "How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him." But the people did not answer him a word.

I honestly don't see anything in that passage to make me think the people chose from a neutral position. Because an offer is made does not necessitate the recipient have the ability to choose either correctly or at all, and they will still choose according to their nature.

John 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
John 3:20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.
(KJV)


God bless,

william

#16561 Sat Jul 31, 2004 9:13 PM
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Averagefellar, I think you have chosen a good method. Let’s interact with each passage one at a time. You said, “I honestly don't see anything in that passage to make me think the people chose from a neutral position. Because an offer is made does not necessitate the recipient have the ability to choose either correctly or at all, and they will still choose according to their nature.”

Well, they had not yet made a choice even though they had been faced with the choice for some time. If I am about to watch a pro football game on television and one of my sons says, “Who are you for”? I usually say, “I’m neutral.” I have a favorite college football team—the Arkansas Razorbacks (hence my name, Koreahog), but I have not made a choice among the pros. (Personnel changes are made too often on pro teams, and I cannot keep up with which players are on which team.) Sometimes when I am watching a pro game I become interested in a particular player who is making a valiant effort, and I “take sides.” Similarly, after the people tasted the power of God when the fire fell, they fell on their faces and said, “The LORD, He is God” (1 Kings 18:39). Usually when I watch a pro football game, however, I remain undecided, uncommitted to either team. I watch players on both sides and appreciate a good play when I see it.

Paul House, a professor at The Southern Baptist Seminary, commented on 1 Kings 18:21:

“The prophet challenges the people to stop limping (pasah, translated ‘waver’) between two opinions—to decide who is God and then act on that decision. . . . The people are non-committal at best. They ‘limp’ along without conviction, wanting to follow halfheartedly one god and then the other.”
(House, “1, 2 Kings,” The New American Commentary, pages 218-219)

Charles Spurgeon commented on this passage in a sermon:

“Now, we have these three classes here this morning. We have, I hope, a very large number who are on Jehovah's side, who fear God and serve him; we have a number who are on the side of the evil one, who make no profession of religion, and do not observe even the outward symptoms of it; because they are both inwardly and outwardly the servants of the evil one. But the great mass of my hearers belong to the third class—the waverers. Like empty clouds they are driven hither and thither by the wind; like painted beauties, they lack the freshness of life; they have a name to live and are dead. Procrastinators, double-minded men, undecided persons, to you I speak this morning—‘How long halt ye between two opinions?’ May the question be answered by God's Spirit in your hearts, and may you be led to say, ‘No longer, Lord, do I halt; but this day I decide for thee, and am thy servant for ever!’ ” . . . . ‘How long limp ye, wriggle ye, walk ye in an absurd manner, between two opinions?’ In adopting either opinion, you would at least be consistent; but in trying to hold both, to seek to be both one and the other, and not knowing which to decide upon, you are limping between two opinions. I think a good translation is a very different one from that of the authorized version—‘How long hop ye upon two sprays?’ So the Hebrew has it. Like a bird, which perpetually flies from bough to bough, and is never still. If it keeps on doing this, it will never have a nest. And so with you: you keep leaping between two boughs, from one opinion to the other; and so between the two, you get no rest for the sole of your foot, no peace, no joy, no comfort, but are just a poor miserable thing all your life long. IV. We have brought you thus far, then; we have shown you the absurdity of this halting. Now, very briefly, the next point in my text is this. The multitude who had worshiped Jehovah and Baal, and who were now undecided, might reply, ‘But how do you know that we do not believe that Jehovah is God? How do you know we are not decided in opinion?’ The prophet meets this objection by saying, ‘I know you are not decided in opinion, because you are not decided in practice. If God be God, follow him; if Baal, follow him. You are not decided in practice.’ Men's opinions are not such things as we imagine. It is generally said now-a-days, that all opinions are right, and if a man shall honestly hold his convictions, he is, without doubt, right. Not so; truth is not changed by our opinions; a thing is either true or false of itself, and it is neither made true nor false by our views of it. It is for us, therefore, to judge carefully, and not to think that any opinion will do. Besides, opinions have influence upon the conduct, and if a man have a wrong opinion, he will, most likely, in some way or other, have wrong conduct, for the two usually go together. ‘Now,’ said Elijah, ‘that you are not the servants of God, is quite evident, for you do not follow him; that you are not thoroughly servants of Baal either, is quite evident, for you do not follow him.’ ”
http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0134.htm

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koreahog,

I have already posted my interpretation and brief exegesis of 1Kg 18:21 and shown that the people to whom Elijah were addressing were not in any fictitious state of "moral equipoise", but rather they stood firmly in opposition to Jehovah God. Elijah's challenge was for them to repent of their dissimulation and return to the God of their fathers.

Secondly, C.H. Spurgeon, that great defender of historic biblical Calvinism never taught any such notion as "moral equipoise". He was a firm believer in the doctrine of Total Depravity and consistently taught that no man CAN choose Christ; more so, no man has the ability to incline himself to even consider "choosing Christ" lest he first be regenerated; born of the Holy Spirit. There is nothing in the quote you provided that even hints that Spurgeon was preaching "moral equipoise". <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/rolleyes2.gif" alt="" />

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#16563 Sat Jul 31, 2004 10:22 PM
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The football illustration is invalid. The Bible says mankind doesn't begin from a neutral position but a sinful one. One other problem is that I have repeatedly asked for the discussion of scripture and you seem bent on offering everything but. However, I did note that neither of your quotes mentioned equipoise either. neither quote claimed man chooses from anything else than from his nature. Now, please try to interact with the passages.

Calvinists uphold free-moral-choice. We do make decisions but never from a state of equipoise.


God bless,

william

Pilgrim #16564 Sun Aug 01, 2004 2:04 AM
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Pilgrim, Spurgeon’s comments about 1 Kings 18:21 differ markedly from yours.

On the “I have returned” thread you said, “In short, they had already made up their minds to hang on to Baal and Elijah was calling for them to repent of that vain and idolatrous worship and return to the pure worship of the God of Israel.”

In contrast, Spurgeon described them as “undecided.” You must admit that your conclusion about the people was quite different than that of Spurgeon.

#16565 Sun Aug 01, 2004 3:00 AM
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Averagefellar, you said, “The football illustration is invalid. The Bible says mankind doesn't begin from a neutral position but a sinful one.”

Actually, when I first began watching pro football games I was a fan of the Dallas Cowboys. When I played football on my high school team I wanted to be a Dallas Cowboy. Later, however, at some point after they won their last Super Bowl, I lost interest and became neutral. I do believe that a non-Christian is born as a depraved individual. Thus, he starts from a sinful position, not a neutral one. When he is irresistibly placed under the special conviction of the Holy Spirit, he can then form a bias from equipoise, and he can surrender his life to Jesus in repentance and faith.

You said, “One other problem is that I have repeatedly asked for the discussion of scripture and you seem bent on offering everything but.”

Okay, let’s discuss 1 Kings 18:21: “And Elijah came near to all the people and said, ‘How long will you hesitate between two opinions? If the LORD is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.’ But the people did not answer him a word.”

The meaning of the verse seems very simple to me. The people were hesitating between two opinions. Spurgeon said they were undecided. They had not committed themselves one way or the other. They had not made an ultimate, final decision about whom to serve. Dr. House from The Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville said that Elijah was challenging these non-committal people to make a decision. Spurgeon remarked that most people in churches are in this non-committal category. He said that some people are clearly committed to Christ, and some people are clearly committed to evil, but the third category is very large. In 1 Kings 18:38 the people experienced the power of God when the fire fell. In verse 39 they fell on their faces and said, “The LORD, He is God.” Their experience with the power of God caused them to make a choice. They were no longer undecided.

You said, “However, I did note that neither of your quotes mentioned equipoise either. neither quote claimed man chooses from anything else than from his nature.”

Neither quote mentioned equipoise, but the quotes described the people as non-committal and undecided. Regarding your comment about choosing from their nature, consider this: If they were choosing from their sinful nature, then why would they commit themselves to serve God and even be willing to seize the prophets of Baal for execution, knowing that those prophets were favored by King Ahab and Queen Jezebel? They fell on their faces to confess that the LORD was God in front of Ahab. They seized the prophets in front of Ahab. They took Elijah’s side in front of Ahab. Remember that Ahab wanted to kill Elijah. The people who experienced God’s power and confessed Him were obviously changed people. Ahab was not part of that group. He saw God’s power but did not commit himself to God. Ahab was already committed to evil. He had not been part of the group that was hesitating between two opinions. Ahab’s opinion was already formed.

The apostle Paul said that the gospel is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16). These days, when God puts a person under the special conviction of the Holy Spirit, it is certainly a powerful thing. The person tastes the good word of God and the powers of the age to come (Hebrews 6:5). By faith, like Moses (Hebrews 11:24-27), such a person can choose to endure ill-treatment with the people of God rather than enjoying the passing pleasures of sin.

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This question I'm about to ask may have been answered already, but here goes,
Why would GOD put imperfect peoples in the middle of his perfect plan? this neutrel state is like the tombs, that they whitewash, it looks good on the outside but when you go in it stinks to high heaven.

neicey

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In contrast, Spurgeon described them as “undecided.” You must admit that your conclusion about the people was quite different than that of Spurgeon.
Perhaps Spurgeon's comments were in regard to something totally different than mine? The issue is "moral equipoise", which has yet on your part to be shown even exists in Scripture. The point I was making was that the people addressed by Elijah were already guilty of idolatrous practices; externally expressing their corruption of heart. The worship of Jehovah had been corrupted by the combining of Baal worship with that of Jehovah. That is why Elijah asked the question he did; i.e., to choose either one or the other. The text says that the people remained silent; i.e., they were unwilling to give up their sinful worship because they desired to have what they considered to be the best of both "gods".

But regardless whether or not there is a difference in conclusions between Spurgeon and I, this has nothing to do with the topic at hand which Spurgeon's quote served for nothing in proving this imaginary "moral equipoise" of yours. As averagefellar has already stated, and which I have insisted upon, being in full agreement with historic Christianity and biblical Calvinism, men only have the ability to choose according to their natures and not contrary to it. There is not even a hint in Holy Writ about some "neutral moral condition" you call "moral equipoise" which is given temporarily as a means by which unregenerate sinners are able to incline themselves toward God and then create a saving faith within themselves and believe upon the Lord Christ. Sir.... the idea is pure fiction. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/rolleyes2.gif" alt="" /> What the natural man needs most is not some fictional "moral equipoise" but a radical change of nature; regeneration of the soul from which faith and the ability to exercise it originates.

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Pilgrim #16568 Sun Aug 01, 2004 12:50 PM
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Pilgrim, you said, “The point I was making was that the people addressed by Elijah were already guilty of idolatrous practices; externally expressing their corruption of heart.”

Ahab and Jezebel were obviously guilty of idolatrous practices (1 Kings 16:31-33), but how do you know that the other people there (1 Kings 18:19-21) besides Ahab and the prophets of Baal and Asherah were idolatrous? Who were the other people there? Was it every man, woman, and child of Israel, or was it heads and/or representatives? There were 7,000 people that were not idolatrous (1 Kings 19:18). Is the number 7,000 to be taken literally, or did it represent a very large number of people who formed a non-idolatrous remnant? I may be missing something here that you already know. I’m just wondering how you know for sure that everyone there besides Elijah was already guilty of idolatrous practices. I have seen no evidence of that.

As you know, Jesus said that no one can serve two masters (Matthew 6:24). In other words, one cannot be totally committed to two Lords at the same time. Some people obviously try to “have their cake and eat it too,” but they are eventually revealed as people who never ultimately, finally surrendered their lives to Jesus in repentance and faith.

You said, “The text says that the people remained silent; i.e., they were unwilling to give up their sinful worship because they desired to have what they considered to be the best of both ‘gods’.”

Again, the text doesn’t say that they were ever involved in sinful worship. The people in fact wanted to know who was the true God. When Elijah made his proposal, the people said, “That is a good idea” (1 Kings 18:24). If they had been unwilling to give up their sinful worship, then I don’t think they would have been so eager to see the true God identified. Paul House, a professor at The Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, commented on verses 22-25:

“Only Elijah and, ironically, the prophets of Baal have any conviction. Both Elijah and his counterparts believe their god to be the solution to Israel’s problems. . . . Elijah wants to eliminate Baal from consideration whenever Israel decides theological matters.”
(House, “1, 2 Kings,” The New American Commentary, page 219)

neicey #16569 Sun Aug 01, 2004 12:52 PM
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Hi Neicey. I think half of it stinks, and half of it smells really good.

#16570 Sun Aug 01, 2004 1:31 PM
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I've put some more thought into this, and it seems to me that the main issue is the commitment level of the people in 1 Kings 18. Ahab and the prophets of Baal and Asherah were committed to idolatry. Apparently they had made an ultimate, final decision to serve false gods. Elijah had made an ultimate, final decision to serve the one true God. The people who fell on their faces before God had been uncommitted to any god prior to their experience with God's power. I believe that when a person experiences the special, illuminating conviction of the Holy Spirit, he eventually has to make an ultimate, final choice about whom he will serve as his lord. Elect non-Christians will make an ultimate, final decision to surrender their lives to Jesus in repentance and faith. Some non-elect non-Christians will also experience the special, illuminating conviction of the Holy Spirit, and they will make an ultimate, final decision to reject Jesus. Such a rejection is an unpardonable sin (John 12:48; Hebrews 10:29).

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Well then Koreahog, with the part that smells good to you please answer my question.

neicey

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Actually, when I first began watching pro football games I was a fan of the Dallas Cowboys.

Still invalid. Were you born with an incurable disease for the Dallas Cowboys?

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The meaning of the verse seems very simple to me. The people were hesitating between two opinions. Spurgeon said they were undecided. They had not committed themselves one way or the other. They had not made an ultimate, final decision about whom to serve. Dr. House from The Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville said that Elijah was challenging these non-committal people to make a decision. Spurgeon remarked that most people in churches are in this non-committal category. He said that some people are clearly committed to Christ, and some people are clearly committed to evil, but the third category is very large. In 1 Kings 18:38 the people experienced the power of God when the fire fell. In verse 39 they fell on their faces and said, “The LORD, He is God.” Their experience with the power of God caused them to make a choice. They were no longer undecided.

You said, “However, I did note that neither of your quotes mentioned equipoise either. neither quote claimed man chooses from anything else than from his nature.”

Neither quote mentioned equipoise, but the quotes described the people as non-committal and undecided. Regarding your comment about choosing from their nature, consider this: If they were choosing from their sinful nature, then why would they commit themselves to serve God and even be willing to seize the prophets of Baal for execution, knowing that those prophets were favored by King Ahab and Queen Jezebel? They fell on their faces to confess that the LORD was God in front of Ahab. They seized the prophets in front of Ahab. They took Elijah’s side in front of Ahab. Remember that Ahab wanted to kill Elijah. The people who experienced God’s power and confessed Him were obviously changed people. Ahab was not part of that group. He saw God’s power but did not commit himself to God. Ahab was already committed to evil. He had not been part of the group that was hesitating between two opinions. Ahab’s opinion was already formed.

Why does anybody choose God? Regeneration and irresistable drawing. Not due to anything in man. Yes, they still made a choice, and you haven't provided one scripture that says man chooses apart from his nature. Only those regenerated by the Spirit turn to God truly. I also noticed you're still quoting other sources.


God bless,

william

neicey #16573 Sun Aug 01, 2004 9:28 PM
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Neicey, I’m not in equipoise anymore. I’m a free agent committed to Jesus, so I’m not in that “fifty, fifty” type of equipoise. My flesh, the smelly part, still influences me at times, but hopefully it won’t affect my answer to your question.

You asked, “Why would GOD put imperfect peoples in the middle of his perfect plan?”

I think you are asking how God could allow us to have any part in the salvation process, synergism versus monergism, or something like that. Again, we could ask the same question about Adam. Why would God put an imperfect person like Adam in the middle of His perfect plan? God did not directly cause Adam to sin. Adam was not entrapped by God. Adam’s free choice was foreknown by God. There was no doubt that Adam would choose to commit his first sin. As I mentioned earlier, Calvin, Augustine, and Pink have all said that Adam was in equipoise. Only Pink used the word “equipoise,” but Calvin and Augustine described Adam the same way. How could God allow Adam to make such a momentous decision when so much was riding on it? Well, God of course did allow Adam to make that free decision, and Adam was held responsible for it. We could say the same thing about Satan. God did not force Satan to form a bias toward evil. Satan’s self-generated bias also fit into God’s perfect plan. If God allowed Adam and Satan to make such freewill decisions, then certainly He can allow some humans to do the same thing.

#16574 Sun Aug 01, 2004 10:46 PM
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Hi again, Averagefellar. You said, “Still invalid. Were you born with an incurable disease for the Dallas Cowboys?”

Well, I was drawing an analogy. Analogies are rarely perfect.

You said, “Why does anybody choose God? Regeneration and irresistable drawing. Not due to anything in man. Yes, they still made a choice, and you haven't provided one scripture that says man chooses apart from his nature. Only those regenerated by the Spirit turn to God truly. I also noticed you're still quoting other sources.”

Is it bad to quote from other sources?

Why does anybody choose God? Why does anybody not choose God? Those are two good questions. We could ask these questions to Adam and Satan.

I agree that one necessity for our choosing God is irresistible drawing. John 6:44 says, “No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.” The ones who come to Jesus have been drawn to the Father. There is no debate about that. I believe in irresistible conviction. God coerces some people to taste Jesus. God does not, however, coerce them to swallow Jesus.

Gerald Borchert, professor of New Testament interpretation at The Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, commented on John 6:43-48:

“Debates have raged in theology concerning the significance of the ‘drawing’ power of God and the ‘learning’ from God in this text. Those who are persuaded of an Augustinian/Calvinistic interpretation emphasize the force of God’s supreme power in drawing persons to Jesus. Those who are committed to an Arminian interpretation emphasize that the drawing power of God is on individual persons and that persons need to believe (cf. 6:47). In this discussion the ‘you’ of the negative imperative in the text of v. 43 most naturally is addressed to the Jews who are the grumblers but goes beyond to address the reader as well. The ‘you’ of v. 47 is important here as well and introduces a general statement that relates believing to eternal life. The force of these texts, therefore, is really neither an affirmation of strict Arminianism nor Calvinism. The Calvinists attach this discussion to texts such as 10:25-29 whereas the Arminians unite this passage with other texts such as 12:32; 15:5-6. The solution to such problems normally is best found in a modified Arminian-Calvinistic position that maintains the biblical tension of the divine and human aspects of salvation found in this text. Salvation is never achieved apart from the drawing power of God, and it is never consummated apart from the willingness of humans to hear and learn from God. To choose one or the other will ultimately end in unbalanced, unbiblical theology. Such a solution will generally not please either doctrinaire Calvinists nor Arminians, both of whom will seek to emphasize certain words or texts and exclude from consideration other texts and words. But my sense of the biblical materials is that in spite of all our arguments to the contrary, the tension cannot finally be resolved by our theological gymnastics. Rather than resolving the tension, the best resolution is learning to live with the tension and accepting those whose theological commitments differ from ours.”
(Borchert, “John 1-11,” The New American Commentary, pages 268-269)

You said, “You haven't provided one scripture that says man chooses apart from his nature.”

I think you are saying that before a person is regenerated, all of their choices are determined by their totally depraved nature. Thus, you say that no person could ever ultimately, finally surrender his life to Jesus in repentance and faith because his nature would not allow it. Thus, God must do something to counteract the effects of depravity so that the person can surrender his life to Jesus in repentance and faith. I think you would agree with me that a person is not a Christian until he surrenders his life to Jesus in repentance and faith. Five-point Calvinists who hold the elongated view believe that regeneration happens before faith/repentance in both temporal order and logical order. Thus, they believe that a person can be regenerated before he is saved, before he becomes a Christian. An example of this is James P. Boyce, the first president of The Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville:

“V. The relation of regeneration to conversion will, therefore, appear to be one of invariable antecedence.

Wherever the appropriate truth is at the time present its relation is almost that of producing cause, for the prepared heart at once receives the truth. Hence, as this is so generally the case, they have been usually regarded as contemporaneous and by some even as identical. But that regeneration is the invariable antecedent is seen,

1. From the fact that the heart is the soil in which the seed, the word of God, is sown, and that seed only brings forth fruit in the good soil. The heart is made good soil by regeneration.

2. Regeneration (as in infants) may exist without faith and repentance, but the latter cannot exist without the former. Therefore, regeneration precedes.

3. Logically the enabling act of God must, in a creature, precede the act of the creature thus enabled. But this logical antecedence involves actual antecedence, or the best conceptions of our mind deceive us and are not reliable. For this logical antecedence exists only because the mind observes plainly a perceived dependence of the existence of the one on the other. But such dependence demands, if not causal, at least antecedent existence. Here it is only antecedent.

VI. There is not only antecedence, but in some cases an appreciable interval.

1. This is true even of conversion regarded as a mere turning to God. Between it and regeneration must intervene in some cases some period of time until the knowledge of God's existence and nature is given, before the heart turns, or even is turned towards that God.

(1.) This must be true of all infants and of all persons otherwise incapable of responsibility, as for example idiots.

(2.) There is no reason why it should not be true of some heathen. The missionaries of the cross have been sought by men, who knew nothing of Christianity, but whose hearts, unsatisfied with the religion of their fathers, were restlessly seeking for what their soul was crying out.

2. It is still more manifestly true of full Christian conversion.

(1.) The Scriptures teach this in many examples of persons pious, holy, and fearing God, yet unacquainted with the full truth which secures union with Christ.

Ethiopian Eunuch: Acts 8:26-40.

Paul: Acts, chapter 9, 22 and 26. Galatians, chapters 1st and 2d.

Cornelius the Centurion: Acts 10:2.

Lydia: Acts 16:14.

(2.) The experience of ministers in all ages with persons seeking and attaining salvation confirms this idea. The attainment of conversion may be marked by stages. The sinner is at first totally indifferent. The word produces on him no effect. Then (1.) There is an evident willingness to give serious attention to the truth of God. God has opened the heart as he did that of Lydia. (2.) There is conviction of sin, sense of its vileness, and of its dangerous effects. (3.) The soul, oppressed by these, strives to do something by which to attain salvation, but finds all in vain. (4.) At last accepting the truth of God's word it rests in trust of a personal Saviour.

VII. The term conversion is not technically applied to any change, except that which follows upon regeneration, and consists in the Godward turning of one heretofore turned entirely away from God. The return of men who have backslidden, or fallen into grievous sin, is also called ‘a return to God,’ and such a return is possibly what is called ‘conversion’ in Peter's case. Luke 22:32. But conversion is theologically used exclusively of the first act.”
http://www.reformedreader.org/rbb/boyce/aos/chapter32.htm

Five-point Calvinists who do not hold to the elongated view believe that regeneration precedes faith/repentance in logical order but not temporal order. I’m not sure which view you hold, but in any case five-point Calvinists say that regeneration counteracts depravity so that a person can ultimately, finally surrender his live to Christ in repentance and faith. My concept of the special, illuminating conviction of the Holy Spirit is somewhat similar to that of regeneration held by five-point Calvinists who favor the elongated view. I prefer not to use the term “regeneration” to describe God’s action to counteract our depravity because I think that term and the term “rebirth” imply salvation. I believe that salvation in logical order comes after faith/repentance, not before it. I believe we are saved at the moment we ultimately, finally surrender our lives to Jesus in repentance and faith. John 1:12 indicates that those who receive Him and believe in Him are given the right to be regenerated (to become the children of God).

Now, back to your question about choosing apart from one’s nature. I think 1 Kings 18:21, 38-39 is a passage that illustrates how people can make a freewill choice when their depravity is at least temporarily counteracted. Pilgrim and I earlier had a discussion about the composition of this group of people. They were not yet committed to Baal or Asherah, and they were not yet committed to God before they experienced God’s power. According to verse 19, “all Israel” had been gathered at Mount Carmel. This may have meant every man, woman, and child, or it may have meant people who represented every group in Israel. In any case, since every group was represented or present, the 7,000 who had not bowed to Baal (1 Kings 19:18) would also have been present or represented. I’m not sure what that phrase “bowed to Baal” means in 1 Kings 19:18. It could mean that they had never participated in Baal worship, or it could mean that they had never made an ultimate, final commitment to worship Baal. It is clear, however, that Elijah was committed to God, and the prophets of Baal and Asherah were committed to idols. The other people were not committed to either side. They were allowed to make a freewill choice between the one true God and idols. They were not forced to choose the idols by their depravity. They had been placed in a situation where they could make a freewill choice. In essence, they were being forced to make a choice, but the choice was theirs. Their freewill choice fit into God’s sovereign plan. The choice had lasting consequences. The prophets of Baal were seized by the people in front of Ahab, and the prophets were put to death.

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Just out of curiousity, why is a state of "moral" or "spiritual Equipoise" even necessary? It just seems to me that you are saddling the Bible with philosophical assumptions about mankind that are not genuinely supported by any text. I know you think they are, but does solid exegesis bear this out? I haven't been convinced solid exegesis has been done in the first place.

I can only assume it is important to you, KH, for few reasons:

1) some how, it makes men really responsible.

2) It protects God from the slur of electing people to sin.

3) It is false assumed that men need to have some neutral freewill inorder to be genuine humans.

Is that somewhere in the ball park?

Fred


"Ah, sitting - the great leveler of men. From the mightest of pharaohs to the lowest of peasants, who doesn't enjoy a good sit?" M. Burns
#16576 Mon Aug 02, 2004 10:49 AM
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Once again, nearly no scripture. Also, nothing you posted, NOTHING, claimed an equipoise.

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I agree that one necessity for our choosing God is irresistible drawing. John 6:44 says, “No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.” The ones who come to Jesus have been drawn to the Father. There is no debate about that. I believe in irresistible conviction. God coerces some people to taste Jesus. God does not, however, coerce them to swallow Jesus.

The only person using harsh connotations is you. Why would saving somebody by force be wrong? However, you are correct.........we are drawn irresistibly and I never mentioned force.

I think you are confusing regeneration and conviction.

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(2.) There is no reason why it should not be true of some heathen. The missionaries of the cross have been sought by men, who knew nothing of Christianity, but whose hearts, unsatisfied with the religion of their fathers, were restlessly seeking for what their soul was crying out.

Could you provide a passage showing where somebody was regenerated and wasn't saved? Could you show where somebody became illuminated to the truth aside from the Spirit's help? It is true that mankind recognizes a spirituality, but taking a quick look around shows your example to be fraught with error.

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I believe that salvation in logical order comes after faith/repentance, not before it. I believe we are saved at the moment we ultimately, finally surrender our lives to Jesus in repentance and faith. John 1:12 indicates that those who receive Him and believe in Him are given the right to be regenerated (to become the children of God).

The passage is correct, but you got it backwards. Those given the right to believe are those regenerated. Otherwise, it is God reacting and not enacting. This would also exclude those incapable of making such professions and those incapable of comprehending the gospel.

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Now, back to your question about choosing apart from one’s nature. I think 1 Kings 18:21, 38-39 is a passage that illustrates how people can make a freewill choice when their depravity is at least temporarily counteracted. Pilgrim and I earlier had a discussion about the composition of this group of people. They were not yet committed to Baal or Asherah, and they were not yet committed to God before they experienced God’s power. According to verse 19, “all Israel” had been gathered at Mount Carmel. This may have meant every man, woman, and child, or it may have meant people who represented every group in Israel. In any case, since every group was represented or present, the 7,000 who had not bowed to Baal (1 Kings 19:18) would also have been present or represented. I’m not sure what that phrase “bowed to Baal” means in 1 Kings 19:18. It could mean that they had never participated in Baal worship, or it could mean that they had never made an ultimate, final commitment to worship Baal. It is clear, however, that Elijah was committed to God, and the prophets of Baal and Asherah were committed to idols. The other people were not committed to either side. They were allowed to make a freewill choice between the one true God and idols. They were not forced to choose the idols by their depravity. They had been placed in a situation where they could make a freewill choice. In essence, they were being forced to make a choice, but the choice was theirs. Their freewill choice fit into God’s sovereign plan. The choice had lasting consequences. The prophets of Baal were seized by the people in front of Ahab, and the prophets were put to death.

And your thinking is all you have brought forth as the passage, as you admitted past post, says nothing of equipoise, nor of any man choosing outside his nature.

I am also going to ask once more to leave out the fluff. I am actually getting complaints about your misrepresentations and your continuing desire to fluff your answers. I have purposely constructed my questions for easy answers and you haven't shown one scripture that speaks of equipoise without eisogesizing it.


God bless,

william

fredman #16577 Mon Aug 02, 2004 11:35 AM
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Hi Fred. I enjoyed looking at your web site. I noticed that you are a graduate of the Master’s Seminary. I visited the campus before it was Master’s Seminary. At that time it was L.A. Baptist College. I was the youth minister at a church in Tucson, Arizona, from 1983 to 1986, and I took a group of high school seniors to visit various Christian colleges on the west coast including Biola and L.A. Baptist. Anyway, I am a big fan of John MacArthur, and I noticed from your web site that you also are a MacArthur fan. He spoke at my home church (Bellevue Baptist in Memphis) a few years back during a Bible conference. He preached on Romans 1 and did a great job.

You asked, “Just out of curiousity, why is a state of ‘moral’ or ‘spiritual Equipoise’ even necessary?”

We’ve already discussed Adam on this thread and the “I have returned” thread. As I said earlier, Pink, Calvin, and Augustine believed that Adam was in equipoise before he committed his first sin. Equipoise for Adam and Satan was necessary to preserve their responsibility for sin and to prevent God from being the author of sin. If both of them had been inclined toward good, there would have been nothing in their natures that would cause them to sin.

You said, “I can only assume it is important to you, KH, for few reasons.”

It’s really very simple. I studied my Bible and reached the conclusion that forming a bias from equipoise, making a true freewill decision, is very important in the conversion process.

You said, “It just seems to me that you are saddling the Bible with philosophical assumptions about mankind that are not genuinely supported by any text. I know you think they are, but does solid exegesis bear this out?”

I think solid exegesis does bear this out. Solid exegesis done by two people, however, does not always mean that the two people will agree in their interpretation of a passage. Of course, there is only one correct interpretation, so the one person’s correct exegesis will be more solid than other person’s incorrect exegesis. Let’s use MacArthur’s conclusions about Hebrews 6 as an example and contrast his views with yours.

On the “I have returned” thread you said, “Moreover, Hebrews 6 really doesn't have anything to do with a person's individual salvation. The comments are primarily aimed at the finality of the New Covenant now being the only means by which anyone can approach God. Thus, if those Hebrews who wish to return to the Old Covenant as means to come to God leave the New Covenant, they will find there is no more sacrifice for sin, because the OC is no longer enforce. However, if the typical Christian interpretation is correct, that this is a passage addressing those rejecting God's grace, it still does not prove this notion of a temporary ability you are advocating.”

In contrast, notice MacArthur’s comments on Hebrews 6:

“Eternal life comes from eating, not simply tasting, God’s gift of salvation in Christ. One of the presalvation ministries of the Holy Spirit is that of giving the unsaved a taste of the blessings of salvation. This is part of His ministry of drawing men to Christ. But tasting is not eating. The Holy Spirit will give us a taste, but He will not make us eat.”
(John F. MacArthur, Jr., “Hebrews,” The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Chicago: Moody Press, 1983, page 144)

“But Christians are not being addressed, and it is the opportunity for receiving salvation, not salvation itself, that can be lost.”
(Ibid., page 146)

“When one rejects Christ at the peak experience of knowledge and conviction, he will not accept at a lesser level. So salvation becomes impossible.”
(Ibid., page 148)

I assume that both you and John MacArthur did solid exegesis on Hebrews 6:4-6, but the two of you obviously reached different conclusions about the passage.

#16578 Mon Aug 02, 2004 11:59 AM
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Averagefellar, you said, “Could you provide a passage showing where somebody was regenerated and wasn't saved? Could you show where somebody became illuminated to the truth aside from the Spirit's help? It is true that mankind recognizes a spirituality, but taking a quick look around shows your example to be fraught with error.”

I was quoting James P. Boyce to show his elongated view of regeneration. Boyce said, “There is no reason why it should not be true of some heathen. The missionaries of the cross have been sought by men, who knew nothing of Christianity, but whose hearts, unsatisfied with the religion of their fathers, were restlessly seeking for what their soul was crying out.” I think you got his words confused with mine. This quote indicates that Boyce believed that a person could be regenerated before he became a Christian, before faith/repentance. I think a person is regenerated after faith/repentance. I think all spiritual illumination comes from the Holy Spirit.

You said, “Those given the right to believe are those regenerated.” That’s not what John 1:12 says. It says that those who received Him, who believed in Him, were given the right to become children of God.

Concerning my comments about 1 Kings 18 you said, “And your thinking is all you have brought forth as the passage, as you admitted past post, says nothing of equipoise, nor of any man choosing outside his nature.”

When I speak of equipoise, I am dealing with a number of issues. One is the fact that the person in equipoise has not made an ultimate, final commitment one way or the other. Thus, this passage is very relevant to a discussion of equipoise. The people truly did “hesitate between two opinions” (1 Kings 18:21).

You said, “I am also going to ask once more to leave out the fluff. I am actually getting complaints about your misrepresentations and your continuing desire to fluff your answers. I have purposely constructed my questions for easy answers and you haven't shown one scripture that speaks of equipoise without eisogesizing it.”

The difference between exegesis and eisegesis is important. I always try not to be guilty of eisegesis. I don’t think anything I have said has been “fluff.” That’s sort of subjective, isn’t it? You have not refuted anything I have said about the Scripture passages, except to say that you don’t see any equipoise there. I have gone into detail about the 1 Kings 18 passage. You have not. You only criticized my football analogy and my use of quotations. I suggest we leave off such caustic editorial comments about fluff and deal with the Scripture passages I have mentioned. Let’s maintain respect for each other and not criticize each other’s styles.

#16579 Mon Aug 02, 2004 12:39 PM
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I think a person is regenerated after faith/repentance.

<img src="/forum/images/graemlins/blush.gif" alt="" /> Please stop calling yourself Reformed or Calvinist. To say you are one and yet make the above statement is like a "Pentecostal" saying he believes tongues have ceased!

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You said, “Those given the right to believe are those regenerated.” That’s not what John 1:12 says. It says that those who received Him, who believed in Him, were given the right to become children of God.

John 1:12 does not disprove regeneration occurring before conversion (elongated view or not). I 've been taught that verse means that those who received/believed WERE given the right to become children of God. This is shown in Ephesians 1:

4 He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love
5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,
6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.


True godliness is a sincere feeling which loves God as Father as much as it fears and reverences Him as Lord, embraces His righteousness, and dreads offending Him worse than death~ Calvin
MarieP #16580 Mon Aug 02, 2004 2:01 PM
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Marie,

Couldn't agree more, in regard to what John 1:12 teaches, especially when grammatically, it is only part of a complete statement which includes the following verse, which reads:


John 1:13 (ASV) "who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God."



This verse explains HOW those who received Him were able to do so, or the reason why they were able to believe on His name. We have had several discussions on the interpretation of this passage here before and argued effectively, that it is impossible to make the text mean that those who received Him were consequently "born of God". One of the negative reasons given that those who did receive/believe on Him were able to do so is because of their physical birth. To say that one antecedently believed before one was actually born is ludicrous. Another reason rejected is that it was not due to one's "choice", i.e., "will of the flesh". That alone should dispel any notion that one receives Christ prior to regeneration.

Secondly, the language itself forces us to understand that one is first "born of God" before believing. When one compares such classic texts as Jh 3:3-8, 5:21; 6:37, 44, 45, 64, 65;Acts 16:14; Eph 2:1-5; Job 14:4; Matt 7:17, 18; 12:33; 11:25-27; 13:10-23; Lk 10:21; Titus 3:5; cp. Deut 30:6; Ezek 36:26, 27; Acts 11:18; 18:27; 1Cor 2:14; Phil 1:29; 2Tim 2:25, 26; et al., it is incontrovertible, that God is the One Who brings a dead sinner to life so that he is able and most willing to receive Christ, to believe upon His name.

In His Grace,


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simul iustus et peccator

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#16581 Mon Aug 02, 2004 8:01 PM
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I was quoting James P. Boyce to show his elongated view of regeneration. Boyce said, “There is no reason why it should not be true of some heathen. The missionaries of the cross have been sought by men, who knew nothing of Christianity, but whose hearts, unsatisfied with the religion of their fathers, were restlessly seeking for what their soul was crying out.”

And I quote Saint Paul
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Rom 3:10-11
As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.
(KJV)
And Jesus Christ
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Joh 6:44
No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.
(KJV)

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I think you got his words confused with mine. This quote indicates that Boyce believed that a person could be regenerated before he became a Christian, before faith/repentance. I think a person is regenerated after faith/repentance.

Emphasis mine.

Exactly.......standard Wesleyan dogma. How does man overcome his depravity?

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One is the fact that the person in equipoise has not made an ultimate, final commitment one way or the other. Thus, this passage is very relevant to a discussion of equipoise. The people truly did “hesitate between two opinions” (1 Kings 18:21).

Because a choice is presented does not necessitate that one be in any type of state, specifically; not perfect, fallen or equipoise. Choices are presented in life and because we "mull them over" doesn't necessitate man having an ability to choose against his nature. That's a typical arminian view of mans responsibility.


God bless,

william

MarieP #16582 Mon Aug 02, 2004 9:42 PM
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Marie, you said, “Please stop calling yourself Reformed or Calvinist. To say you are one and yet make the above statement is like a "Pentecostal" saying he believes tongues have ceased!”

Marie, I never called myself “Reformed.” I fully realize that some five-point Calvinists believe that only five-point Calvinists deserve to be called Calvinists. I think I read on another post that you work in the library at The Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville. You of course remember Danny Akin who was the dean of the school of theology at the seminary. He is now president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. I think some people refer to Danny as a four-point Calvinist. Danny, like me, believes that repentance/faith precedes regeneration:

“In the fourth Gospel we read that faith is not only a sign but also a condition of the new birth: ‘To all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God’ (John 1:12).”
(Akin, “1, 2, 3, John,” The New American Commentary, page 189)

I noticed on the “Choosen and Children” thread that you disagreed with what Drs. Mohler and Akin said about all children being saved and that you disagreed with the concept of an age of accountability. I’m guessing that you were not required to agree with the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message. It hints at the age of accountability and the salvation of all infants when it says, “Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation.” Oh well, let’s go back to John 1:12.

You said, “John 1:12 does not disprove regeneration occurring before conversion (elongated view or not). I 've been taught that verse means that those who received/believed WERE given the right to become children of God. This is shown in Ephesians 1:

4 He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love
5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,
6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved.”

Many Calvinists, including John Calvin himself, have seen adoption in the phrase “right to become children of God” in John 1:12. The Greek word translated in verse 12 as “children” is “teknon.” The Greek word for “adoption” is “huiothesia,” and the word for “son” is “huios.” If John had used the word “huios” rather than “teknon,” then you might be able to make a strong case for adoption in verse 12. Tom Nettles, a professor at The Southern Baptist Seminary, is an example of a strong five-point Calvinist who understands that adoption is not in view in John 1:12:

“In conformity with the birth figure, the interpreter should understand the word sons. This word is not an emphasis on adoption, as in Ephesians 1 and Romans 8, but focuses on community of nature (2 Peter 1:4).”
(Nettles, By His Grace and for His Glory, page 288)

Notice also the comment by Marvin Vincent, Baldwin Professor of Sacred Literature at Union Theological Seminary in New York in 1887:

“Except in Apoc. xxi. 7, which is a quotation, John never uses huios to describe the relation of Christians to God, since he regards their position not as a result of adoption, but of a new life. Paul, on the other hand, regards the relation from the legal standpoint, as adoption, imparting a new dignity and relation (Rom. viii. 15; Gal. iv. 5, 6). See also Jas. i. 18; 1 Peter i. 3, 23, where the point of view is John’s rather than Paul’s.”
(Vincent, “The Writings of John,” Word Studies in the New Testament, vol. II, Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1887, page 49)

Vincent continued:

“The present participle, believing, indicates the present and continuous activity of faith.”
(Ibid., page 49)

The people were believing in God when they were given the right to be regenerated.

#16583 Mon Aug 02, 2004 9:59 PM
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Averagefellar, you asked, “How does man overcome his depravity?”

Man cannot. God does it for him.

You said, “Because a choice is presented does not necessitate that one be in any type of state, specifically; not perfect, fallen or equipoise.”

It depends on what kind of choice it is. The Bible distinguishes between willful sins and unintentional sins, for example. F.F. Bruce, Rylands Professor of Biblical Criticism and Exegesis at the University of Manchester, England, and editor of The Evangelical Quarterly, commented on Hebrews 10:26-29:

“But the writer to the Hebrews himself distinguishes (as did the Old Testament law) between inadvertent sin and wilful sin, and the context here shows plainly that the wilful sin which he has in mind is deliberate apostasy. People who commit this sin, he says, cannot be brought back to repentance; by renouncing Christ they put themselves in the position of those who, deliberately refusing His claim to be the Son of God, had Him crucified and exposed to public shame. Those who repudiate the salvation procured by Christ will find none anywhere else.”
(Bruce, “The Epistle to the Hebrews,” The New International Commentary on the New Testament, page 124)

The Bible makes it clear that sins of ignorance (unintentional sins) can be forgiven. Notice the following passages:

Now when these things have been thus prepared, the priests are continually
entering the outer tabernacle, performing the divine worship, but into the
second only the high priest enters, once a year, not without taking blood,
which he offers for himself and for the sins of the people committed in
ignorance. (Hebrews 9:6-7)

And the priest shall make atonement before the LORD for the person who
goes astray when he sins unintentionally, making atonement for him that
he may be forgiven. (Numbers 15:28)

The apostle Paul said that even his blasphemy as a non-Christian could be forgiven because he “acted ignorantly in unbelief” (1 Timothy 1:13). He was not experiencing the special, illuminating, irresistible conviction of the Holy Spirit when he blasphemed. When Paul unintentionally sinned as a Christian, he said that he was not doing “what I would like to do” (Romans 7:15); rather, “sin which dwells in me” was responsible for his actions (Romans 7:17).

When Peter addressed the Jews in Jerusalem after the crucifixion of Jesus, he said that they “acted in ignorance” (Acts 3:17) when they put Him to death. Jesus said from the cross, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34).

Willful (defiant, intentional) sin, however, is an unforgivable type of blasphemy. Again, notice the following passages:

But the person who does anything defiantly, whether he is native or an
alien, that one is blaspheming the LORD; and that person shall be cut off
from among his people. Because he has despised the word of the LORD
and has broken His commandment, that person shall be completely cut off;
his guilt shall be on him. (Numbers 15:30-31)

“Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men, but
blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven.” (Matthew 12:31)

#16584 Mon Aug 02, 2004 10:14 PM
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Averagefellar, you asked, “How does man overcome his depravity?”

Man cannot. God does it for him.

So how can man receive Christ and place faith in Him without God overcoming His total depravity? Just what do you think total depravity is?

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Willful (defiant, intentional) sin, however, is an unforgivable type of blasphemy.

As a non-Christian, I sinned willfully and intentionally. I knew what God said in His Word, I just didn't want to do it. So I guess, in your theology, that's unforgiveable, then? <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/Eeeeeek.gif" alt="" />


True godliness is a sincere feeling which loves God as Father as much as it fears and reverences Him as Lord, embraces His righteousness, and dreads offending Him worse than death~ Calvin
#16585 Mon Aug 02, 2004 10:39 PM
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And all that shows what as far as equipoise goes?


God bless,

william

#16586 Mon Aug 02, 2004 10:49 PM
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koreahog2005,

There's an article here on the Highway which you might find helpful. It's called The New Genesis. It's written by R.C. Sproul and is a study of our Lord's conversation with Nicodemus in John 3. When Jesus says "you must be born again" He's not telling Nicodemus he must make a decision about who he's going to serve. He's telling him you need to be reborn spiritually. This supports the idea that regeneration comes before faith not after. If faith preceeds regeneration then we already have the ability and that would deny that we need to be reborn?

Because of original sin all mankind is dead in sin and trespasses. Dead men don't make choices. It will take a miracle, not a decision to be born again. The message Jesus is giving is that unless the Spirit gives life there will be no conviction, no regeneration, and no cleansing.

In another place R.C. wrote an article entitled Dead Men Walking. Here's an excerpt from the June 2002 issue of Tabletalk

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Grace alone...

Most Christians agree that regeneration is necessary for salvation. The debate rages over the question of how this necessary condition is met. Historic Semi-Pelagianism teaches that in order to be regenerated one first must have faith. In this schema, it is clear that faith precedes regeneration and that regeneration rests upon a prior response to faith. Thus, God is seen as offering salvation to whosoever will cooperate with His grace.

In contrast to all forms of Semi-Pelagianism, Augustianian and Reformed theology teaches that the grace of regeneration is a monergistic work that is done by God alone because it is a work only God can do. It is a work accomplished on us and in us by which our very natures are changed. It is at once a divine act of re-creation and of liberation. By re-creation we are quickened to spiritual life, or raised from the state of spiritual death.

Regeneration is not a joint venture. We do not cooperate in it because we will not cooperate in spiritual matters while we are still dead in our sins. Our hearts are totally disinclined and indisposed to the things of God. We love darkness and will not have God in our thinking. The desires of our hearts are enslaved to sin. We will never choose Christ until or unless we are liberated from that slavery. In short, we are morally unable to exercise faith until and unless we are first regenerated.

This is why the axiom of Reformed theology is that regeneration precedes faith. Rebirth is a necessary pre-condition for faith. Faith is not possible for spiritually dead creatures. Therefore, we contend that apart from spiritual rebirth there can be no faith.

Of course, once the divine initiative of regeneration has been wrought by the sovereign monergistic work of God, the rest of the Christian life is synergistic. But the transformation of the person from death to life, darkness to light, bondage to liberation is done by God alone, effectually and irresistibly. This is the Biblical basis for the church's confession Soli Deo Gloria.


May Jesus Christ be praised! He alone shall receive all the glory! "He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;" (Phil. 1:6)


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
MarieP #16587 Tue Aug 03, 2004 1:14 AM
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Hi Marie. You asked, “So how can man receive Christ and place faith in Him without God overcoming His total depravity? Just what do you think total depravity is?”

A man cannot receive Christ and place faith in Him without God overcoming His total depravity. That’s what happens when a man is under the special, illuminating conviction of the Holy Spirit. You asked about my definition of total depravity. I agree with the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message’s description:

“In the beginning man was innocent of sin and was endowed by his Creator with freedom of choice. By his free choice man sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. Through the temptation of Satan man transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original innocence whereby his posterity inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin. Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation.”

Marie, do you agree with the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message? It says that Adam had free choice and was innocent before his first sin. Adam was not inclined toward sin. His descendants, however, are inclined toward sin (depraved). They are under condemnation as soon as they are capable of moral action. This hints at the age of accountability and the belief that all infants who die in infancy go to heaven. I agree with every word of the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message. How about you?

You said, “As a non-Christian, I sinned willfully and intentionally. I knew what God said in His Word, I just didn't want to do it. So I guess, in your theology, that's unforgiveable, then?”

As a non-Christian you sinned because you were driven to do so by your depraved nature. Thus, your sins were unintentional and forgivable. Jesus died on the cross to pay for such sins. At the time when you became a Christian, you were under the special, illuminating conviction of the Holy Spirit. Your depravity was at least temporarily counteracted during that time of tasting Jesus so that you could make an ultimate, final freewill choice. At that particular time you were an enlightened partaker of the Holy Spirit, and you were tasting the heavenly gift, the good word of God, and the powers of the age to come (Hebrews 6:4-6). If you had spit out Jesus at that time, it would have been impossible to renew you again to repentance. It would have been willful sin after you received knowledge of the truth, and there would no longer remain a sacrifice for your sins because you would have been trampling under foot the son of God, regarding His blood as unclean, and insulting the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 10:26-29). Fortunately, you did not commit such willful sin; rather, you swallowed Jesus (the Bread of Life) by surrendering to Him in repentance and faith.

#16588 Tue Aug 03, 2004 1:19 AM
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Averagefellar, you said, "And all that shows what as far as equipoise goes?"

The discussion of willful sin is relevant because that is the type of sin that is committed when a person makes an ultimate, final, freewill decision to reject Christ (forming a bias from equipoise) while under the special, illuminating conviction of the Holy Spirit.

Wes #16589 Tue Aug 03, 2004 1:43 AM
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Wes, thanks for referring me to the Sproul article. He made a common mistake in his interpretation of John 3:3 when he interpreted the word “see” as “perceive”:

“Spiritually dead persons are incapable of seeing the kingdom of God. It is invisible to them, not because the kingdom itself is invisible, but because the spiritually dead are also spiritually blind.”

That is simply not correct. The word “see” in John 3:3 means “participate in” or “experience” as in the phrase “see death” found in Luke 2:26: “And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.” Another example is the phrase “see life” in John 3:36: “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

A.T. Robertson, a Greek scholar and former professor at The Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, commented on John 3:3:

“He cannot see the kingdom of God (ou dunatai idein thn basileian tou qeou). To participate in it as in Luke 9:27. For this use of idein (second aorist active infinitive of oraw) see John 8:51; Revelation 18:7.”
http://bible.crosswalk.com/Commentaries/...r=3&verse=3

You said, “Dead men don't make choices. It will take a miracle, not a decision to be born again.” Actually, dead men do make choices. Notice what Jesus said in John 5:24-25:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear shall live.”

Some people argue that the dead people mentioned in verse 25 refer to physically dead rather than spiritually dead people. The proximity to verse 24 and the clear reference to physically dead people in verse 28, however, seem to rule out that interpretation. The fact that dead men can make such a decision is a miracle. God initiates the conversion process by irresistibly putting dead men under the special, illuminating conviction of the Holy Spirit. That is a miracle. The dead men are allowed to make a freewill decision to respond to God’s initiative positively or negatively.

#16590 Tue Aug 03, 2004 8:42 AM
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Marie, do you agree with the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message? It says that Adam had free choice and was innocent before his first sin. Adam was not inclined toward sin. His descendants, however, are inclined toward sin (depraved). They are under condemnation as soon as they are capable of moral action. This hints at the age of accountability and the belief that all infants who die in infancy go to heaven. I agree with every word of the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message. How about you?

I believe Adam and Eve, left to the freedom of their own will, were innocent before the fall and neither inclined toward good nor evil. However, God did indeed decree the fall, though He is not the author of sin. I also believe their descendants are inclined toward sin.

The Baptist Catechism says:

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Q. Wherein consists the sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell?
A. The sinfulness of that estate whereinto man fell, consists in the guilt of Adam's first sin, the want of original righteousness, and the corruption of his whole nature, which is commonly called original sin; together with all actual transgressions which proceed from it (Rom. 5:12, to the end; Eph. 2:1, 2, 3; James 1:14, 15; Mt. 15:19).

Q. What is the misery of that estate whereinto man fell?
A. All mankind by their fall lost communion with God (Gen. 3:8, 10, 24), are under his wrath and curse (Eph. 2:2, 3; Gal. 3:10), and so made liable to all miseries in this life, to death itself, and to the pains of hell for ever (Lam. 3:39; Rom. 6:23; Mt. 25:41, 46).

As for the BFM2000 saying that "they are under condemnation as soon as they are capable of moral action," that does not necessarily mean an age of accountability. The question is when we say they are capable of moral action. I prefer how the Baptist Catechism put it in the above quotation.


True godliness is a sincere feeling which loves God as Father as much as it fears and reverences Him as Lord, embraces His righteousness, and dreads offending Him worse than death~ Calvin
#16591 Tue Aug 03, 2004 8:46 AM
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Still, not one thing you put forth has supported your position. That people willfully sin is definitely true. However, this also does not necessitate it be done from an imaginary state of mind that must be philosophized into passages. And you are not calvinist.

People have already formed a bias

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Joh 3:19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.
(KJV)

We are born with this bias

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Rom 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
(KJV)

Not one scripture you have posted has supported your view. Your view is Wesleyan and NOT reformed.


God bless,

william

#16592 Tue Aug 03, 2004 8:55 AM
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“In the beginning man was innocent of sin and was endowed by his Creator with freedom of choice. By his free choice man sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. Through the temptation of Satan man transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original innocence whereby his posterity inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin. Therefore, as soon as they are capable of moral action, they become transgressors and are under condemnation.”

DISAGREE. Moral action has nothing to do with it.......we are born sinners. We are born under wrath. Please, we also do not uphold an age of accountability, also not found in scripture, around here.

Hey, maybe you could move on to Baptism as your next subject? I think this subject is about to come to an end; without any evidence from you......and being it is against sound Biblical doctrine.

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Your depravity was at least temporarily counteracted during that time of tasting Jesus so that you could make an ultimate, final freewill choice. At that particular time you were an enlightened partaker of the Holy Spirit, and you were tasting the heavenly gift, the good word of God, and the powers of the age to come (Hebrews 6:4-6). If you had spit out Jesus at that time, it would have been impossible to renew you again to repentance. It would have been willful sin after you received knowledge of the truth, and there would no longer remain a sacrifice for your sins because you would have been trampling under foot the son of God, regarding His blood as unclean, and insulting the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 10:26-29). Fortunately, you did not commit such willful sin; rather, you swallowed Jesus (the Bread of Life) by surrendering to Him in repentance and faith.

Nope.......not reformed. Ummm.......could you show free will from scripture? NO! So please stop putting this forth as truth. Thank you.


God bless,

william

#16593 Tue Aug 03, 2004 9:13 AM
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KoreanHog,

Well you have truly surprized me. I thought you stated you were a modified-Calvinist, but you have shown yourself to be: (1) at best a modified Arminian (2) not Scripturally supported, and (3) ONLY pasting commentaries (out of context in some places) instead of using Scripture in its proper context (your commentary of 1 Kings lacked proper interpretation, etc.). Unfortunately, you are showing real signs of heresy and an unwillingness to learn IMHO. You are fully convinced you are right in the face of direct evidence revealed to you to the contrary. Unfortunately, I am still in Europe, but when I return I will enjoy entering into this a little deeper with you--that is if you last that long. Apparently, you never read the other articles posted in the I Have Returned thread.


Reformed and Always Reforming,
MarieP #16594 Tue Aug 03, 2004 9:59 AM
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Hi Marie. It’s interesting that you believe that Adam and Eve had free will before their first sin. You said that they were “neither inclined toward good nor evil,” so I guess that means you think they were in equipoise as Pink, Calvin, and Augustine indicate.

You said, “As for the BFM2000 saying that ‘they are under condemnation as soon as they are capable of moral action,’ that does not necessarily mean an age of accountability. The question is when we say they are capable of moral action. I prefer how the Baptist Catechism put it in the above quotation.”

I don’t see how it can mean anything other than an age of accountability. It indicates that they are not under condemnation from the moment they are physically born; rather, they are under condemnation when they are capable of moral action. The age when they become capable of moral action is the age of accountability. That age differs for each individual, and some people never become capable of moral action, such as infants dying in infancy and people who are severely mentally handicapped from birth.

#16595 Tue Aug 03, 2004 10:11 AM
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Averagefellar, you said, “Still, not one thing you put forth has supported your position. . . . And you are not calvinist. . . . Not one scripture you have posted has supported your view. Your view is Wesleyan and NOT reformed.”

Your continuing criticism is interesting, but I think it would be more edifying for you to interact with each passage in detail like I have done. I thought we had agreed at the beginning of this thread to interact with each passage in turn. You earlier said, “This will be easier if we discuss one scripture at a time.” We started with 1 Kings 18. I take it that you have said all you want to say about that passage. If you are ready to move on to Hebrews 6 and 10, I will be glad to do so.

You said, “People have already formed a bias.” They really didn’t form it. The depravity was there when they were born. You admitted that when you next said, “We are born with this bias.”

#16596 Tue Aug 03, 2004 10:28 AM
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Hi again, Averagefellar. Concerning the quote from the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message, you said, “DISAGREE. Moral action has nothing to do with it.......we are born sinners. We are born under wrath. Please, we also do not uphold an age of accountability, also not found in scripture, around here.”

You seem to be disagreeing with Marie about whether the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message teaches an age of accountability and whether it teaches that infants are born under condemnation. This is an important issue. Marie works at the library at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, so I’m sure she’s interested in your interpretation of our confession of faith. There are a lot of Southern Baptists in America, and our confession of faith influences important decisions, so maybe you should go into detail about how our confession of faith is in error. If our confession of faith is truly in error, and if you succeed in convincing us that our confession of faith is in error, then you will have performed a great service.

You said, “Hey, maybe you could move on to Baptism as your next subject? I think this subject is about to come to an end; without any evidence from you......and being it is against sound Biblical doctrine.”

As I said in my last post, I thought we agreed to discuss each one of the passages I mentioned earlier. By the time we finish, I think you will understand how they all fit together to explain how a person can form a bias from equipoise while under the special, illuminating conviction of the Holy Spirit.

You said, “Nope.......not reformed. Ummm.......could you show free will from scripture? NO! So please stop putting this forth as truth. Thank you.”

Again, I never claimed to be reformed. The word “reformed” these days means “five-point Calvinist.” Obviously, I am not a five-point Calvinist. Again, I think after we discuss each of the passages I mentioned at the beginning of the thread, hopefully you will see free will in the Scriptures.

So, are you ready to move on to Hebrews 6 and 10?

J_Edwards #16597 Tue Aug 03, 2004 10:40 AM
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Hi Joe. You said, “Well you have truly surprized me. I thought you stated you were a modified-Calvinist, but you have shown yourself to be: (1) at best a modified Arminian (2) not Scripturally supported, and (3) ONLY pasting commentaries (out of context in some places) instead of using Scripture in its proper context (your commentary of 1 Kings lacked proper interpretation, etc.).”

If you want to make accusations like these, that’s fine, but it would be helpful if you show how my commentary on 1 Kings lacked proper interpretation. In other words, what did I specifically say that was in error? If you convince me that I was in error, then I will be glad to admit I was in error. The Bible is inerrant, but I am not. I am willing to admit my mistakes and learn from them. I admitted to Fred that I had not fully understood Molina, for example. So, I think I’m still teachable. I hope you have the same teachable attitude. In other words, if I convince you that you are wrong about something, I hope you will also admit your mistake and learn from it. It’s okay for us to admit that we make mistakes.

You said, “Unfortunately, you are showing real signs of heresy and an unwillingness to learn IMHO.”

Ouch! That is a serious accusation. It might be helpful for you to define heresy as you understand it. Is anyone who is not a five-point Calvinist a heretic? I’m sure you know that not all five-point Calvinists agree with each other. Are some five-point Calvinists heretics? Are heretics people like the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses who deny the Trinity? When you make such a serious accusation, I think you should provide evidence. What have I specifically said that leads you to think that I am a heretic?

#16598 Tue Aug 03, 2004 11:09 AM
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KoreanHog,

Since, I am on-line (e-mailing my wife) I will take a few seconds to answer you briefly, but once AGAIN remind you I have a limited acess and thus my answer will be brief and hurried. At a 1.45 cents per 10 minutes this gets expensive....

As far as 1 Kings 18 (1) where does it say that the issue was individual salvation? (2) did anyone making a decision for God in 1 Kings 18 fall after their decision revealing they were not among the elect? If any fell then by your philosophy one may enter into Spiritual Equipoise and then deny Christ thus denying Irrisistible Grace, etc.--which is a lie from the depths of Hell itself... We could go on and on here......with questions.

As far as heresy: any who claims to be educated in the truth and who espouses false views and is willing to take Scripture from its original context on a continual basis IMHO is a heretic. Your doctrine is no better than that of the Mormons or JW as you have a man-made religion of which God has become a mere puppet in your salvation process. You have removed God and His Word to a place of subordination to your own philosphy and refuse to submit to the proper interpretation of Scripture--like Pilgrim's exposition of 1 Kings 18. You will of course 'claim' otherwise, but your use of Scripture reveals the truth of your plight!

Now, someone else will need to take this from here, as I have limited time. Please excuse the spelling....strange keyboards here...


Reformed and Always Reforming,
#16599 Tue Aug 03, 2004 11:33 AM
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koreahog2005 said:

Wes, thanks for referring me to the Sproul article. He made a common mistake in his interpretation of John 3:3 when he interpreted the word “see” as “perceive”:

“Spiritually dead persons are incapable of seeing the kingdom of God. It is invisible to them, not because the kingdom itself is invisible, but because the spiritually dead are also spiritually blind.”

That is simply not correct.

Well, we agree on one thing. Someone is not correct. However as has been pointed out in this thread to you by others you are subscribing to a man-centered theology. Man does not understand spiritual things unless he is born again by the Spirit of God. Paul tells us: "The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 CORINTHIANS 2:14)

J.I Packer has written: "The knowledge of divine things to which Christians are called is more than a formal acquaintance with biblical words and Christian ideas. It is a realizing of the reality and relevance of those activities of the triune God to which Scripture testifies. Such awareness is natural to none, familiar with Christian ideas though they may be (like “the man without the Spirit” in 1 Cor. 2:14 who cannot receive what Christians tell him, or the blind leaders of the blind of whom Jesus speaks so caustically in Matt. 15:14, or like Paul himself before Christ met him on the Damascus road). Only the Holy Spirit, searcher of the deep things of God (1 Cor. 2:10), can bring about this realization in our sin-darkened minds and hearts. That is why it is called “spiritual understanding” (spiritual means “Spirit-given,” Col. 1:9; cf. Luke 24:25; 1 John 5:20). Those who, along with sound verbal instruction, “have an anointing from the Holy One... know the truth” (1 John 2:20).

The work of the Spirit in imparting this knowledge is called “illumination,” or enlightening. It is not a giving of new revelation, but a work within us that enables us to grasp and to love the revelation that is there before us in the biblical text as heard and read, and as explained by teachers and writers. Sin in our mental and moral system clouds our minds and wills so that we miss and resist the force of Scripture. God seems to us remote to the point of unreality, and in the face of God’s truth we are dull and apathetic. The Spirit, however, opens and unveils our minds and attunes our hearts so that we understand (Eph. 1:17-18; 3:18-19; 2 Cor. 3:14-16; 4:6). As by inspiration he provided Scripture truth for us, so now by illumination he interprets it to us. Illumination is thus the applying of God’s revealed truth to our hearts, so that we grasp as reality for ourselves what the sacred text sets forth."

As many contributors to this thread have already advised you.... you've got the cart before the horse. As a matter of fact without the Spirit's work in regenerating the heart first there can be no faith. Regeneration is the spiritual change wrought in the heart of man by the Holy Spirit in which his/her inherently sinful nature is changed so that he/she can respond to God in Faith, and live in accordance with His Will (Matt. 19:28; John 3:3,5,7; Titus 3:5). It is an inner re-creating of fallen human nature by the gracious sovereign action of the Holy Spirit (John 3:5-8). This change is ascribed to the Holy Spirit. It originates not with man but with God (John 1:12, 13; 1 John 2:29; 5:1, 4). It extends to the whole nature of man, altering his governing disposition, illuminating his mind, freeing his will, and renewing his nature.

The idea that regeneration comes before saving faith is not always understood by evangelicals today. Sometimes people will even say something like, "If you believe in Christ as your Savior, then (after you believe) you will be born again." But Scripture itself never says anything like that. The new birth is viewed by Scripture as something that God does within us in order to enable us to believe.... if we are to use language that closely conforms to the actual wording of Scripture, it would be better to restrict the word "regeneration" to the instantaneous, initial work of God in which he imparts spiritual life to us.

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koreahog goes on to write:

You said, “Dead men don't make choices. It will take a miracle, not a decision to be born again.” Actually, dead men do make choices. Notice what Jesus said in John 5:24-25:

“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God; and those who hear shall live.”


These verses do not create a problem. They don't disprove the above teaching rather they support it. The point is that hearing comes from the Spirit's work within us, bringing new life, changing our nature, and enabling us to believe. As John Newton wrote so eloquently "Amazing Grace! how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now I'm found, was blind, but now I see.


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
J_Edwards #16600 Tue Aug 03, 2004 12:39 PM
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Hi again, Joe. You asked, “As far as 1 Kings 18 (1) where does it say that the issue was individual salvation?”

Well, it seems pretty obvious. Let’s try an illustration. Imagine that you are a non-Christian living in a theocracy founded on Christian principles. The president of your country is practicing Buddhism, and is putting pressure on others to do the same. You have not yet committed yourself to either religion. A Christian man who claims to be a prophet from God invites you to a contest between his God and Buddha. This contest is performed in front of the president. The Christian says that you cannot hesitate between two opinions. You must make a choice. If God is really the omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent Creator, then you must “follow Him” (1 Kings 18:21). If Buddha is really the spiritual force in the universe, then you must “follow him.” The Christian invites the Buddhist priests to go first in an attempt to show the power of Buddha. They fail. Then the Christian asks God to send fire from heaven. God does. You fall on your face and say, “The LORD, He is God; the LORD, He is God.” It seems apparent that you have made the choice that the Christian asked you to make. You have chosen to “follow Him” (1 Kings 18:21), and thus you have become a disciple (a follower). Then the Christian prophet commands you to seize the Buddhist priests, and he puts them to death. You obey the Christian. Thus, you have proven your commitment by your obedience. Obedience is the sign of faith. Remember what Jesus said: “If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me” (Luke 9:23). I admit that this illustration is not a perfect analogy. Elijah did not proclaim the gospel in the same way we would today, but the key phrase is “follow Him” in 1 Kings 18:21.

You also asked, “Did anyone making a decision for God in 1 Kings 18 fall after their decision revealing they were not among the elect?”

I assume that no one fell.

You defined heresy: “As far as heresy: any who claims to be educated in the truth and who espouses false views and is willing to take Scripture from its original context on a continual basis IMHO is a heretic.”

That’s the first time I have seen that definition. Your definition seems to be totally subjective. You did not mention any essential doctrines such as the Trinity that non-heretics hold. With your definition you could accuse some five-point Calvinists of being heretics. If they disagree with you on a certain theological issue, and if you feel that they have espoused false views and are willing to take Scripture from its original context on a continual basis, then you could accuse them of being heretics.

You said, “Your doctrine is no better than that of the Mormons or JW as you have a man-made religion of which God has become a mere puppet in your salvation process.”

Ouch again! You have put me in the same category as Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses. I don’t agree that I have made God a puppet. I have clearly stated that I believe in unconditional election. If we elect ourselves, then election loses its meaning. I don’t think we elect ourselves. I don’t think God’s election of us depends on any foreseen faith in us. I do think that His election of us is in agreement with our foreseen faith.

Joe, I love you in spite of your calling me a heretic. It might be more edifying, however, for us to discuss Scripture passages rather than making charges of heresy.

#16601 Tue Aug 03, 2004 1:16 PM
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Yes, I have interacted. You claimed the passage put forth a notion of equipoise and I showed how this must be read into the passage.

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We started with 1 Kings 18. I take it that you have said all you want to say about that passage. If you are ready to move on to Hebrews 6 and 10, I will be glad to do so.

Right after admit that this passage does not show equipoise.......


God bless,

william

#16602 Tue Aug 03, 2004 1:21 PM
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You seem to be disagreeing with Marie about whether the 2000 Baptist Faith and Message teaches an age of accountability and whether it teaches that infants are born under condemnation. This is an important issue. Marie works at the library at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, so I’m sure she’s interested in your interpretation of our confession of faith. There are a lot of Southern Baptists in America, and our confession of faith influences important decisions, so maybe you should go into detail about how our confession of faith is in error. If our confession of faith is truly in error, and if you succeed in convincing us that our confession of faith is in error, then you will have performed a great service.

I'm no longer a Baptist. Marie knows we differ. The confession is in error at least on baptism, but I haven't read it entirely as it doesn't pertain to me in any way.

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As I said in my last post, I thought we agreed to discuss each one of the passages I mentioned earlier. By the time we finish, I think you will understand how they all fit together to explain how a person can form a bias from equipoise while under the special, illuminating conviction of the Holy Spirit.

You are never going to convince me of your unscriptural position. Sorry. That's why I suggested a new topic, because this thread doesn't have much longer unless you produce something of weight.


God bless,

william

Wes #16603 Tue Aug 03, 2004 1:27 PM
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Hi again, Wes. You said, “Man does not understand spiritual things unless he is born again by the Spirit of God. Paul tells us: ‘The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned.’ (1 CORINTHIANS 2:14)”

I agree that a man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God. Five-point Calvinists believe that a non-Christian’s depravity must be counteracted by regeneration before he can accept the things that come from the Spirit of God. I believe that a non-Christian’s depravity must be counteracted by the special, illuminating conviction of the Holy Spirit before he can accept the things that come from the Spirit of God. I noticed in the quote by Packer that he used the word “illumination.”

You defined regeneration as “an inner re-creating of fallen human nature by the gracious sovereign action of the Holy Spirit.”

I believe that when a person is regenerated, the Holy Spirit indwells him and begins changing him. To regenerate means to rebuild. We are given new life, eternal life. This is salvation. The Bible tells us that in logical order, salvation follows faith and repentance:

“If God therefore gave to them the same gift as He gave to us also after believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” And when they heard this, they quieted down, and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.” (Acts 11:17-18)

For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation; but the sorrow of the world produces death. (2 Corinthians 7:10)

And he called for lights and rushed in and, trembling with fear, he fell down before Paul and Silas, and after he brought them out, he said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:29-31)

And He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” (Luke 7:50)

“I said therefore to you, that you shall die in your sins; for unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins.” (John 8:24)

“For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him, may have eternal life; and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.” (John 6:40)

For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Five-point Calvinists have regeneration preceding faith/repentance in logical order, if not temporal order (as I demonstrated when I quoted James P. Boyce). Thus, according to five-point Calvinists, at least in logical order, a person is not yet saved when they are first regenerated. In other words, the person does not yet have eternal life. Salvation, according to the verses I gave above, comes after repentance/faith in logical order. Eternal life is only received when faith/repentance occurs. That is also when the Holy Spirit permanently indwells the person.

I think the most powerful verse for showing that regeneration follows faith in logical order is John 1:12. Let’s look at the Greek:

“hosoi de elabon auton, edoken autois exousian tekna theou genesthai, tois pisteuousin eis to onoma autou.”

Let’s look at each of the words:

Hosoi – as many as
De – but
Elabon – received
Auton – him (accusative, singular pronoun)
Edoken – gave
Autois – to them (dative, plural pronoun – indirect object)
Exousian – ability, right, power, privilege
Tekna – children
Theou – of God
Genesthai – to become
Tois – to them
Pisteuousin – believing
Eis – into
To – the
Onoma – name
Autou – His

As I mentioned earlier, John used the word “tekna” (children) rather than the word “huios” (sons). The word for adoption is “huiothesia.” Notice the connection between “huios” and “huiothesia”? Regeneration, not adoption, is being referred to in John 1:12.

A.T. Robertson, a Greek authority and former professor at The Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville, commented on the verse:

“As many as received him (osoi elabon auton). Effective aorist active indicative of lambanw ‘as many as did receive him,’ in contrast with oi idioi just before, exceptional action on the part of the disciples and other believers. To them (autoiß). Dative case explanatory of the relative clause preceding, an anacoluthon common in John 27 times as against 21 in the Synoptists. This is a common Aramaic idiom and is urged by Burney (Aramaic Origin, etc., p. 64) for his theory of an Aramaic original of the Fourth Gospel. The right (exousian). In Luke 5:27 edwken (first aorist active indicative of didwmi) exousian means authority but includes power (dunamiß). Here it is more the notion of privilege or right. To become (genesqai). Second aorist middle of ginomai, to become what they were not before. Children of God (tekna qeou). In the full spiritual sense, not as mere offspring of God true of all men (Acts 17:28 ). Paul's phrase uioi qeou (Galatians 3:26) for believers, used also by Jesus of the pure in heart (Matthew 5:9), does not occur in John's Gospel (but in Revelation 21:7). It is possible that John prefers ta tekna tou qeou for the spiritual children of God whether Jew or Gentile (John 11:52) because of the community of nature (teknon from root tek-, to beget). But one cannot follow Westcott in insisting on ‘adoption’ as Paul's reason for the use of uioi since Jesus uses uioi qeou in Matthew 5:9. Clearly the idea of regeneration is involved here as in John 3:3. Even to them that believe (toiß pisteuousin). No ‘even’ in the Greek, merely explanatory apposition with autoiß, dative case of the articular present active participle of pisteuw. On his name (eiß to onoma). Bernard notes pisteuw eiß 35 times in John, to put trust in or on. See also John 2:23; 3:38 for pisteuw eiß to onoma autou. This common use of onoma for the person is an Aramaism, but it occurs also in the vernacular papyri and eiß to onoma is particularly common in the payment of debts (Moulton and Milligan's Vocabulary). See Acts 1:15 for onomata for persons.”
http://bible.crosswalk.com/Commentaries/...=1&verse=12

In John 1:11 some people did not receive Him. In John 1:12 other people did receive Him. Using Robertson’s explanation, “to as many as did receive Him” – to those people he gave the right to become children of God. In literal Greek it would be as follows: “As many as but did receive Him gave to them the right children of God to become.” The rest of the verse in literal Greek would be as follows: “To them believing into the name of Him.” “Received” (elabon), “gave” (edoken), and “become” (genesthai) are all aorist tense and indicative mood, indicating punctiliar action (action at a point in time) in past time. Two are active voice, and one is middle voice. (The imperfect tense has continuing action in past time.) One of my seminary textbooks (written by professors Vaughn and Gideon) says of the aorist tense: “In the indicative it expresses punctiliar action in past time.” (A Greek Grammar of the New Testament, page 144) “Believing” is a present participle, and this is significant for our discussion. My first Greek textbook was “An Introduction to New Testament Greek” by Huber Drumwright, a professor at Southwestern Baptist Seminary. Here’s what Drumwright said about present participles: “A present participle must be given time that is the same (contemporaneous) as the time of the leading verb with which it is associated” (page 106). Remember that Robertson said that the phrase with “believing” was in apposition with “them” (autois) who became children of God. So, at the same point in time that the people became children of God, they were believing. The people who believed were regenerated. The people who received Christ were given the right to become children of God at the point in time when they were believing in Him. In my belief system the logical order is first repentance/faith and then regeneration. But in chronological order they would be simultaneous.

#16604 Tue Aug 03, 2004 1:28 PM
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but it would be helpful if you show how my commentary on 1 Kings lacked proper interpretation.

I did. Next passage?

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If you convince me that I was in error, then I will be glad to admit I was in error.

We may never convince you of anything. This, however, does not necessitate you being correct.

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Ouch! That is a serious accusation. It might be helpful for you to define heresy as you understand it. Is anyone who is not a five-point Calvinist a heretic? I’m sure you know that not all five-point Calvinists agree with each other. Are some five-point Calvinists heretics? Are heretics people like the Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses who deny the Trinity? When you make such a serious accusation, I think you should provide evidence. What have I specifically said that leads you to think that I am a heretic?

1) You continuously put forth an unscriptural position.

2) You place man at the center of your philosophy.

3) You deny Total Depravity.

4) You aren't any type of calvinist, so, yes.

The arminian gospel is a different gospel. And while calvinists may disagree on some things, we all agree on soteriology.


God bless,

william

#16605 Tue Aug 03, 2004 1:32 PM
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KoreaHog......I am going to explain, for the last time, that your illustration means nothing. It does not prove a state of equipoise. You have not shown, not one time, that man chooses contrary to his nature. Please stop putting forth this position, as it is heretical.

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It might be more edifying, however, for us to discuss Scripture passages rather than making charges of heresy.

Yes, a new passage, because the 1Kings one doesn't uphold your position.


God bless,

william

#16606 Tue Aug 03, 2004 1:33 PM
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Averagefellar, you said, "This thread doesn't have much longer unless you produce something of weight."

Why have you changed your mind? Earlier you said, "This will be easier if we discuss one scripture at a time." I have only discussed one passage so far. Well, it's bedtime in South Korea. You can think about it and let me know what you want to do. If you don't want to discuss the other verses, then maybe someone else will. If not, that's okay. I'll check the thread tomorrow morning.

#16607 Tue Aug 03, 2004 1:52 PM
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KH,
I am not sure what more I could add to what others have stated in their posts in answer to your's in regards to Adam before the fall. I believe it is improper, let alone unbiblical, to try and equate our existence wtih that of Adam before his fall.

Be that as it may, I want to try and respond to at least two of your posts specifically addressed to me with just this one, because they are similar in content and argumentation.

This one paragraph is taken from the other post:

you write:
Lets look at Adam again. Adam's first sin was a very important event in God's sovereign plan for the universe. His sovereign plan was not based on His foreknowledge of Adam's free choice, but His sovereign plan was in agreement with His foreknowledge of Adam's free choice. That's not a contradiction. That's a paradox. God did decree the circumstances that influenced Adam's choice, but God did not directly cause Adam's choice. Thus, God is not the author of sin. God did not entrap Adam. Adam was held fully responsible for generating a sinful bias from a position of equipoise. No one forced him to commit the first sin.

(Fred) You still do not escape the problem of first cause with God and sin with this solution. God could still be charged as the author of Adam's sin in that he decreed the circumstances that brought Adam to sinning. If you acknowledge God's absolute exhaustive foreknowledge, Adam had to fall, there would be no choice about it, or God is proven to be mistaken. If your idea of "equipoise" is correct, then your scenerio would have to envision the potentiality that Eve could had rejected Satan's offer, Adam could had slapped the fruit out of Eve's hand, or any other number of reactions other than choosing to rebel. Yet, he did fall, and contrary to your last sentence, in your system God did force him to commit the first sin if he in deed decreed the circumstances that led to it. If your solution is correct, that God decreed the circumstances and knew full well how Adam would react, then God can rigthly be accused of being an accesory to the crime of Adam's sin. Your solution neither establishes equipoise or man's freedom.

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Equipoise for Adam and Satan was necessary to preserve their responsibility for sin and to prevent God from being the author of sin. If both of them had been inclined toward good, there would have been nothing in their natures that would cause them to sin.

(Fred) Both of these ideas about Adam and Satan are speculative at best. We know that Satan and Adam fell, but we do not know the nature of their will and how it would react to influences or how it is inclined. You are just assuming that they were opposite of being totally depraved as the Bible teaches how all men exist now post fall.

A second problem to your objection is your notion that their responsibility must be preserved. Why? Gordon Clark in his excellent little book Religion, Reason, and Revelation points out that many authors assert something like, "If we don't have free will we cannot be responsible for our actions," but no one bothers to prove it. Responsibility simply means answerability and it is not dependent upon a libertarian will or in the case of your position, moral and spiritual equipoise. Robert Reymond explains it as,

"[A] reference to the obligation to give a response or an account of one's actions to a lawgiver...Whether or not he has a free will in the Arminian sense of theat term is irrelevant to the question of responsibility. To insist that without free will a man cannot lawfully be held responsible for his sin completely fails to appreciate the meaning of the word. Freewill has nothing to do with the establishment of responsibility. What makes a person "responsible" is whether there is a lawgiver over him who has declared that he will require that a person to give an account to him for his thoughts, words and actions. Hence, if the lawgiver determined that he would require every human being to give a personal account to him for his thoughts, words and actions, then every human being is a "responsible" agent whether free in the Arminian sense or not. In other words, far from God's sovereignty making human responsibility impossible, it is just because God is their absolute Sovereign that men are accountable to him."

Further more, quoting from RK McGregor-Wright once more, he shows how the Bible grounds responsibility, not in man's freewill (or equipoise), but in four other areas:

1) God is our creator and we are his creatures.
2) God is our moral reference point for right and wrong, and not we ourselves.
3) We are answerable to God for the knowledge we have.
4) The purpose of creation is the glory of God, and we are responsible as stewards of God's blessings to fulfill the end or purpose of God in creating us in the world.

Now, you may detract from those points, but the burden is upon you to show us where in scrpture is responsibility dependent upon man's freewill or equipoise, and explain why such a position on man's part is necessary for him to be answerable to God. I would also ask why is it necessary for conversion as you insist. This was Pelagius's dilemma. He refused to acknowledge a sovereign and insisted that man cannot be charged with, and held guilty for, his sin unless he had this freedom. To do so would be unjust, argued Pelagius. The Bible knows nothing of this make believe problem.

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I think solid exegesis does bear this out. Solid exegesis done by two people, however, does not always mean that the two people will agree in their interpretation of a passage. Of course, there is only one correct interpretation, so the one person's correct exegesis will be more solid than other person's incorrect exegesis. Let's use MacArthur's conclusions about Hebrews 6 as an example and contrast his views with yours.

(Fred) If you believe solid exegesis bears this out, then why have you failed to provide any? You have listed several passages that you think support your position, but in all honesty, I see you reading more into those passages before you "exegete" them, rather than allowing the exegesis form your position. You presuppose that it is necessary for men to have this notion of "equipoise" in order for them to be held responsible and to be converted. You then pick passages that you believe proves your conclusion. What is even more annoying is that you have not provided reasonable answers to those who have shot holes in your overall argumentation. This is pretty serious.

True exegesis involves the breaking apart the passage grammatical and syntatically (that involves more than quoting a few Greek words in your post), making sure it is being interpreted according to the author's original intent, conforms to the overall context of what is being discusssed by the original author, and takes into consideration the whole of the Bible. The last point is significant, because you insist that faith/repentance preceeds any regeneration, but regeneration is consistenly taught through out all of the NT as a spiritual work by God that begets faith and repentance in the heart of the receipient. Your apologetic for what really is the Arminian/Weslyan notion of prevenient grace that brings a person into spiritual equipoise that then leads them to a place of being able to choose, then that belief is followed up with regeneration, is built upon verses that are stripped from the normal rules of exegesis I listed above.

On top of that, you have the bad habit of doing this with the quotes you provide from historic theologians. Your citation from MacArthur is a good example of this. Originally, when you mentioned Hebrews 6, you were claiming that it is an example of individuals brought into this equipoise you keep talking about. I stated that it is not, and I would argue that it is not even dealing specifically with the work of salvation, particularly in the sense regarding a man's will. That is not even being addressed or is even the overall point of the passage.
You then follow up by quoting from John's commentary on Hebrews. Hopefully you do not think he is supporting your position? If you read that chapter in its entirety, John is not arguing for this equipoise nonsense you are arguing for. In fact, he concludes quite the opposite. In sum, John holds to one of the main understanding of this passage, that being how there are lost people who have a knowledge of Christ, but are not saved. I believe your intention is to you use his comments as an example of how two Christians can do exegesis on a passage and come to opposite interpretations (though I do not believe John's and my conclusions are "that opposite" of each other, only only add one other factor to draw the conclusion I do), however, no solid exegesis is going to conclude that the author of Hebrews is speaking to moral equipoise. That is a belief absolutely foreign to the context and is being brought to the text to force it to support it. If you sincerely believe this passage is an illustration for what you are claiming, you are unique and alone in your take on Hebrews 6. Who else can you list that comes to the same conclusions about what you are saying that this passage represents?

Fred


"Ah, sitting - the great leveler of men. From the mightest of pharaohs to the lowest of peasants, who doesn't enjoy a good sit?" M. Burns
#16608 Tue Aug 03, 2004 3:40 PM
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Because, after no less than forty posts in this and other threads, you are still putting forth a view which several of us have shown to be false. This board has a standard.......it is reformed, holding the calvinist understanding of soteriology to be truth. What you teach isn't and will eventually become unwelcome here. I don't see you willing to admit you are eisegesizing the passages and I am definitely not willing to claim calvinism is wrong.......much less the other staff members. You may move on to a new passage, and please do, because the 1kings passage does not support your view, and you aren't convincing anybody here.
However, I cannot say how much longer the thread has left to be open, as consistently upholding a very questionable view will be eventually viewed as negatively affecting the board, which looks to uphold Biblical truth.


God bless,

william

#16609 Tue Aug 03, 2004 4:27 PM
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Hi again KH

You have lasted longer on here than I ever could have believed respectfully.I really must say you outdo yourself now by saying we are not All sinners but seeminly become sinners please explain this from the bible please. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/confused.gif" alt="" />

#16610 Tue Aug 03, 2004 8:17 PM
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Hi, GraceAlone. You said, "I really must say you outdo yourself now by saying we are not All sinners but seeminly become sinners please explain this from the bible please."

I never said that we are not all sinners. I agree with Romans 3:23: "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." I'm not sure why you have that impression. I have discussed willful sin, unintentional sin, and the unpardonable sin. Maybe you got the impression from one of those discussions.

#16611 Tue Aug 03, 2004 9:10 PM
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I never said that we are not all sinners.

<img src="/forum/images/graemlins/Banghead.gif" alt="" />

Ok, this is the last post I'm making in response to you. Quite honestly, you are dodging questions, twisting words, and trying to confuse the issues.

Let me just quote this from James P. Boyce's Abstract of Systematic Theology:

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(2.) Its early appearance in man's life is another proof that corruption is the effect of Adam's sin. Certain passages of Scripture are supposed to refer to young children as though innocent of guilt. These are such as Matt. 19:13-15; Mark 10:13-16; and Luke 18:15-17, "Of such is the kingdom of God." Also Matt. 18:3: "Except ye turn and become as little children." Also 1 Cor. 14:20: "Be not children in mind: howbeit in malice be ye babes, but in mind be men." [See Gill's Body of Divinity, I., 474.]

But these passages do not teach freedom from corruption. On the other hand, corruption in early infancy is plainly taught. "The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies," Ps. 58:3. "Behold I was shapen in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me," Ps. 51:5. "Foolishness (wickedness) is bound up in the heart of a child," Prov. 22:15.

(3.) The fact of this corruption. Before the flood it is said: "And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually," Gen. 6:5. "Every one of them is gone back; they are altogether become filthy," Ps. 53:3; see also Ecc. 8:11; Matt. 15:19; Rom. 1st chapter at length, as to the heathen, in connection with Paul's question, Rom. 3:9. Similar descriptions appear in Isa. 59:3-14; in Gal. 5:19-21; Titus 3:3; 2 Pet. 2:13-18.

(4.) This corruption extends to every affection of the heart and mind. Mr. Goodwin, in the Lime Street Lectures, p. 128, says: "The soul is corrupted with all its faculties; the mind with darkness and ignorance, Eph. 5:3; being subject to the sensitive part, and strongly prejudiced against the things of God, 1 Cor. 4:24; the conscience with stupidity and insensibleness, Titus 1:15; the will with stubbornness and rebellion, Rom. 8:7; the affections are become carnal and placed either upon unlawful objects, or upon lawful in an unlawful manner or degree, Col. 3:2; the thoughts and imaginations are full of pride, and vanity, and disorder, Gen. 6:5. And as for the body, that is become a clog, instead of being serviceable to the soul, and all its members and senses instruments of unrighteousness to sin, Rom. 7:19. It is, I say, in general a universal depravation of every part in man since the fall; and more particularly it consists in a privation of all good, in an enmity to God and the things of God, and in a propensity to all evil." See also Hodge, vol. 2, p. 255, and Gill's Divinity, vol. 1, p. 474. [Better proof texts than those referred to in the above quotation are Eph. 4:18 and Rom. 1:21 instead of Eph. 5:3; and Rom. 6:12; 7:24 and 8:5-7 instead of 1 Cor. 4:24.]

(5.) This corruption has not been equally developed in all. The doctrine of total depravity does not mean such equal development. The Scriptures recognize degrees of wickedness as well as of hardening of the heart, and even blinding of the minds of some. But they also represent that the lack of this development is due to differing circumstances and restraints by which some men are providentially surrounded.

(6.) This corruption does not destroy accountability or responsibility for present sins.

(a) The Scriptures universally recognize man's liability to punishment for all the thoughts of his mind, and the desires of his heart or the emotions of his physical nature, as well as for his acts. These are characterized by more or less of heinousness according to their nature and the circumstances under which they are committed. The more intense the corruption, the more guilty is the man regarded.

(b) The conscience of mankind approves these teachings of Scripture. We do not excuse men because of any state of moral corruption. The evidence of this is seen in the immediate difference which is made whenever physical compulsion or physical disease (insanity) leads to an act which otherwise would be regarded as sinful and blameworthy.

(7.) This corruption does not destroy the freedom of the will. This is the ground upon which men are held responsible by God and by human law and conscience. The condition of man is indeed such "that he cannot not sin," but this is due to his nature, which loves sin and hates holiness, and which prefers self to God. When man sins, he does so of his own choice, freely, without compulsion
Chapter 23: THE EFFECTS OF THE SIN OF ADAM


(I found it online, so I didn't have to type it out!) http://www.founders.org/library/boyce1/toc.html


True godliness is a sincere feeling which loves God as Father as much as it fears and reverences Him as Lord, embraces His righteousness, and dreads offending Him worse than death~ Calvin
fredman #16612 Tue Aug 03, 2004 9:35 PM
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Hi Fred. You said, “Yet, he did fall, and contrary to your last sentence, in your system God did force him to commit the first sin if he in deed decreed the circumstances that led to it.”

What I said was that God did not directly cause Adam’s choice and that God decreed the circumstances that influenced Adam’s choice. I think most five-point Calvinists would agree with me about God not being the direct cause and about God decreeing the circumstances that influenced Adam’s choice. Pilgrim has eloquently stated that Scripture does not give us all the answers about why and how Adam committed the first sin. That being said, Scripture plainly indicates that God does not directly cause any sin, and yet He has decreed all things that happen. That paradox leaves us with the dilemma that you have mentioned. I think there is only one way to solve the dilemma. We must first realize that we are not like mechanical robots. A robot’s actions can only be explained in two ways. First, the robot’s actions may be completely deterministic. In other words, everything the robot does is due to its programming. Every response to stimuli is pre-programmed. Second, the robot’s actions may be due to chance glitches in its programming (indeterminism). In other words, sometimes the robot does something unexpected because an outside force has somehow “mutated” its programming. I think you agree with me that these explanations are not satisfactory to explain the first sins of Adam and Satan. There was a mysterious spiritual dimension to Adam and Satan that mechanical robots do not have. I’m not sure that we will ever be able to fully understand this dimension, but it provides a third option. Adam and Satan self-caused their sinful bias, but God still influenced their choice by circumstances and was able to know in advance exactly what their choice would be. So, in some sense God decreed their fall just as He has decreed everything else that happens. Adam and Satan, however, are prime examples of the fact that God can utilize human freewill decisions to accomplish His sovereign plan for the universe. As previously stated, Pink, Calvin, and Augustine all stated that Adam was in equipoise. I think all three of them would agree with me that Adam’s equipoise was not a threat to God’s sovereign plan for the universe.

You said, “You are just assuming that they were opposite of being totally depraved as the Bible teaches how all men exist now post fall.”

The opposite of being depraved (inclined toward sin) would be “inclined toward good.” I don’t believe that Adam and Satan were inclined toward good before their first sins.

You said, “A second problem to your objection is your notion that their responsibility must be preserved. Why?”

God punished Adam because God held Adam responsible for his sin. If there had been no responsibility, then there would have been no punishment.

You said, “What makes a person ‘responsible’ is whether there is a lawgiver over him who has declared that he will require that a person to give an account to him for his thoughts, words and actions. Hence, if the lawgiver determined that he would require every human being to give a personal account to him for his thoughts, words and actions, then every human being is a ‘responsible’ agent whether free in the Arminian sense or not.”

I think that free will does impact responsibility. Imagine a scientist at a robotics factory who has always programmed all his robots to do bad things. After the robots do bad things, he punishes them. We would ask, “Why do you punish them? They are only doing what you programmed them to do. They were never allowed to have a choice in the matter. You are at fault, not them. They are not responsible for their pre-programmed actions.” On the other hand, if the first created robot had somehow made a true freewill decision to do a bad thing and represented all the future robots, then we could hold the other robots responsible for their bad behavior even though such behavior is pre-programmed.

You said, “You then follow up by quoting from John's commentary on Hebrews. Hopefully you do not think he is supporting your position?”

I fully realize that John MacArthur is a five-point Calvinist. I quote frequently from five-point Calvinists for a reason. When I post on a forum where I am the only non-five-point Calvinist, I fully realize that my lone voice carries very little weight. I’m a nobody in the eyes of five-point Calvinists. Some on this site have in fact called me a heretic. I have found nuggets of truth in the writings of famous five-point Calvinists. Since their writings have more credibility in the eyes of five-point Calvinists than do mine, it is only logical to quote them when I am in agreement with them on a certain point. Many times these nuggets in some way support my position, and I want to share them with five-point Calvinists to help build my case. I think it’s okay to quote them to make a certain point even though I don’t agree with them about all five points of Calvinism. I realize that John MacArthur does not agree with my concept of equipoise, but we are in agreement in regard to the points he made when I quoted him. He clearly related Hebrews 6 to salvation, and I am in agreement with the points he made in the quotes. I have simply been trying to clarify the pieces of the puzzle. At the end of our discussion of all the passages I mentioned at the beginning of this thread, hopefully all will understand how the pieces fit together to form the whole.

You said, “In sum, John holds to one of the main understanding of this passage, that being how there are lost people who have a knowledge of Christ, but are not saved.”

But what he said goes beyond that. Notice again what he said:

“Eternal life comes from eating, not simply tasting, God’s gift of salvation in Christ. One of the presalvation ministries of the Holy Spirit is that of giving the unsaved a taste of the blessings of salvation. This is part of His ministry of drawing men to Christ. But tasting is not eating. The Holy Spirit will give us a taste, but He will not make us eat.”
(John F. MacArthur, Jr., “Hebrews,” The MacArthur New Testament Commentary, Chicago: Moody Press, 1983, page 144)

“But Christians are not being addressed, and it is the opportunity for receiving salvation, not salvation itself, that can be lost.”
(Ibid., page 146)

“When one rejects Christ at the peak experience of knowledge and conviction, he will not accept at a lesser level. So salvation becomes impossible.”
(Ibid., page 148)

You had said the following about Hebrews 6: “Moreover, Hebrews 6 really doesn't have anything to do with a person's individual salvation.” I think you can see that there is a rather large difference. MacArthur’s comments indicate that the people were tasting salvation. He would probably agree with John Calvin that this “presalvation” ministry was common grace, not special grace, but it still helps me make my point that the passage is talking about non-Christians tasting salvation. He also said that this was part of the Holy Spirit’s ministries of “drawing men to Christ.” I doubt that all five-point Calvinists agree with that statement. Many of them see the “drawing” of John 6:44 as regeneration only. Finally, MacArthur made the point that rejection during this type of conviction is the unpardonable sin, and salvation thus becomes impossible. This statement, of course, is in agreement with my thinking. I know that I have zero credibility on this forum because I am not a five-point Calvinist. Thus, when a respected five-point Calvinist like MacArthur agrees with me on such crucial points, I think it makes sense to quote him even though he would not agree with my entire soteriological view.

#16613 Tue Aug 03, 2004 9:57 PM
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#16614 Tue Aug 03, 2004 10:07 PM
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Before I get into a detailed discussion of those two passages however, let me provide a summary of truths from 1 Kings 18 that are relevant to the discussion of how some people form a bias of equipoise:

1. The people had not made an ultimate, final commitment. They were hesitating between two opinions.
2. They were asked to make a commitment and become followers (disciples) either of God or Baal.
3. After a demonstration of God’s power they indicated that they had decided to follow Him.
4. They were obedient to their first command as followers of God.

Once again, you have failed to provide meaningful exegesis of the passage and have instead eisegesized it to include a condition not found within scripture. I have answered every one of those claims and so have others.

I also notice, despite my consistent pleadings, you continue to fluff your posts. I have no desire to read out of context quotes from men who would admonish your views. Please refrain from such in the future, and please stop putting forth a false gospel. Thanks.


God bless,

william

#16615 Wed Aug 04, 2004 1:09 AM
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Elijah did not proclaim the gospel in the same way we would today, but the key phrase is “follow Him” in 1 Kings 18:21

Though MANY may have followed God unto salvation where is your Scriptural evidence that ALL did? You failed to see the national-covenantal structure of what was happening here. A general reading of the rest of the O.T. reveals what? I would suggest reading the rest of the O.T. to see if in fact ANYONE did fall. Your definitive statement: ‘I assume that no one fell’ is contrary to Scripture.

Your assertion of ‘Spiritual Equipoise’ is a false doctrine. By your philosophy they ALL entered into Spiritual Equipoise and then SOME denied Christ. Thus you deny the doctrines of Irrisistible Grace, Salvation by Grace alone, etc.

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That’s the first time I have seen that definition. Your definition seems to be totally subjective. You did not mention any essential doctrines such as the Trinity that non-heretics hold.

This is the first time that I have seen an embracement of orthodoxy that did not accept salvation as an essential doctrine! We ‘still’ consider salvation an essential doctrine of the faith. One who asserts and teaches salvation by works embraces false doctrine! <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/igiveup.gif" alt="" />

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Titus 3:7-11 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men. But avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and vain. A man that is an heretick after the first and second admonition reject; Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.


Reformed and Always Reforming,
#16616 Wed Aug 04, 2004 2:58 AM
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Pilgrim, this is your board, and you can delete anything you want to delete. I'm wondering why you deleted this post. Was it too long? I don't see how it could be offensive. I was opening the discussion of Hebrews 6 and 10 by giving 6 common interpretations of the two passages. Why did you delete the post?

J_Edwards #16617 Wed Aug 04, 2004 3:29 AM
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Hi again, Joe. You said, “Though MANY may have followed God unto salvation where is your Scriptural evidence that ALL did? You failed to see the national-covenantal structure of what was happening here. A general reading of the rest of the O.T. reveals what? I would suggest reading the rest of the O.T. to see if in fact ANYONE did fall. Your definitive statement: ‘I assume that no one fell’ is contrary to Scripture.”

The Bible does not identify who was in the group or how many were in the group. It is speaking in general terms. The people were challenged by Elijah, and the people responded. How is my statement (“I assume that no one fell”) contrary to Scripture? Scripture does not definitively say what individuals in this group did after 1 Kings 18.

You said, “By your philosophy they ALL entered into Spiritual Equipoise and then SOME denied Christ.”

I never said that anybody in that group in 1 Kings 18 denied Christ. If all the people in the group ultimately, finally committed themselves to God, then all of them were saved.

You said, “Thus you deny the doctrines of Irrisistible Grace, Salvation by Grace alone, etc.”

I do deny the doctrine of irresistible grace, but I do not deny salvation by grace alone. I fully agree with Ephesians 2:8-9: “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.”

You said, “This is the first time that I have seen an embracement of orthodoxy that did not accept salvation as an essential doctrine!”

I do accept salvation as an essential doctrine.

You said, “One who asserts and teaches salvation by works embraces false doctrine!”

I agree, but I do not assert and teach salvation by works.

Joe, the heresy and false teaching issue were discussed on the Founders Baptist discussion board recently. Propadeutic, who has posted on the Highway board in the past, is a very intelligent and tactful five-point Calvinist student at The Southern Baptist Seminary in Louisville. You might find the following comments by Propadeutic helpful:

“Arminian views are false in the same sense that belief in a pretrib rapture is false, or that an exact 4004 B.C. date for creation is false, or that the pronunciation of YHWH as Jehovah is false. Arminianism is not true. However, we usually reserve the term ‘false doctrine’ for teaching that directly opposes the clear teaching of the Bible on matters of essential importance to the integrity of Christianity. The term ‘false teacher’ also implies that they are teaching it out of disrespect for the Bible, lack of love for God, and/or malicious intent toward their followers.

I find it helpful to break issues down into several categories:

Essentials - what no Christian with any understanding of the Bible will deny. [basic orthodoxy]
First-level issues - what churches need to agree on to cooperate in an association/denomination (‘like faith and practice’) [well-ordered churches]
Second-level issues - what a congregation should be agreed within a local church [important non-essentials]
Third-level issues - issues that should not be a barrier to cooperation on any level.

For example, I consider the deity of Christ an essential, believer's baptism a first-level issue, the plurality of elders a second-level issue, and the date of creation a third-level issue. Since Calvinism and Arminianism are entire systems, different stances within each system (and in the middle ground) may fall at different levels.

Also, within the SBC we see very few 5-point Arminians. (The only such pastors I've ever met are now CBF.) People who believe we can lose our salvation are not in accord with the BFM and can therefore not be missionaries or teach in our seminaries. If they slip through by dishonesty, they could do so just as easily in any denomination.

Do 1, 2, 3, and 4-pointers necessarily consciously deny the truthfulness of the Bible, the unique and infinite knowledge, power, and authority of one immutable, self-sufficient, transcendent, triune God, His moral righteousness, God as Father of His people alone and Creator of the universe, human moral responsibility, salvation by grace rather than by works, Jesus' deity, incarnation, atonement, and resurrection, or the promise of His physical return?

No. Not at all. As Calvinists, we argue that our answers to the 5 points are more consistent with the power of God, salvation by grace, and the biblical presentation of the atonement. I know from experience that misunderstandings of certain verses can blind people to the inconsistency in the Arminian positions. But to accuse SBC leaders, including those whose hearts I've gotten to know, and myself a few years ago, of teaching a different gospel or being false teachers by not being 5-pointers is extremely uncharitable and unbiblically divisive.”
http://p207.ezboard.com/fdiscussingrefor...t=1&stop=20

Propadeutic quoted Dr. Nettles, a five-point Calvinist professor at Southern (and my favorite professor when I was at Southwestern Seminary in the early 80s):

“Alas, too few theologians of any system have taken the care to prioritize doctrines. They deal with which doctrines are true, but they fail to say which doctrines are essential, which are important non-essentials, and which are of more nuanced consequence.

The only one that comes to mind is Tom Nettles of SBTS (also prominent in the Founders Conference). From my class in Baptist History, in response to a question of whether Arminian Baptists were heretics:

Nettles: I think we need to raise the bar for ‘heresy,’ reserve the word for essential matters like the doctrine of God or what a man must do to be saved. Otherwise you have people who are at the same time heretics and faithful preachers of the gospel, which is a contradiction. Smyth and Helwys were in error. Wesley was even more seriously in error. Arminianism is untrue; probably the best word to use is ‘aberrant.’ But I don't think its nature warrants calling it heresy, or calling Arminians false teachers. That hurts our credibility. It also deprives us of very useful words to identify anti-Christian teaching within the church.

Student: What about apostasy?

Nettles: Well, I...the Arminian teaching on apostasy may bring us pretty close to the line. But I do want to make clear that most of the more Arminian Baptists in our Convention don't believe in apostasy.”
http://p207.ezboard.com/fdiscussingrefor...t=1&stop=20

#16618 Wed Aug 04, 2004 4:33 AM
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Averagefellar, I find your criticism of my usage of quotations ironic since you tried to paraphrase me in the first post on this thread, and you unintentionally misrepresented my position. Quotations are much more accurate than paraphrases. It is required in research papers and dissertations to use direct quotations even when you disagree with the person you are quoting. You are permitted to quote a person to make a point, even if the person you are quoting may not agree with the point. If a quote is lifted out of context, that is a different matter. I have not intentionally lifted any quotes out of context. I actually agree with five-point Calvinists on some points. Some of my closest friends have been five-point Calvinists. It's fine for you to disagree with my theology, but your constant criticism of my style of expression is sort of strange. I love you anyway.

#16619 Wed Aug 04, 2004 8:47 AM
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To me, your methods are offensive. You message is offensive to the Gospel. The post was entirely too long, especially after repeated requests to stop fluffing your responses. We have been over your views and not one passage is ever going to support them, because they are a false gospel. It comes to a point where we have to decide how long to keep letting you oppose the truth on this board. Since you have been shown your error by no less than seven different people, you are nearly rambling in circles, and I personally suspect nothing new to come from you on this subject. Further posting of book-sized posts will be met with the same action, I assume. Given your decision to uphold a wesleyan view, I would also imagine that this thread might be closed rather soon, as I feel, and others as well, that we cannot allow heretical views to be consistently posted here. As I have suggested before, perhaps a new topic would be beneficial.


God bless,

william

#16620 Wed Aug 04, 2004 9:10 AM
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koreahog2005 said:
Pilgrim, this is your board, and you can delete anything you want to delete. I'm wondering why you deleted this post. Was it too long? I don't see how it could be offensive. I was opening the discussion of Hebrews 6 and 10 by giving 6 common interpretations of the two passages. Why did you delete the post?
If you want to publish a book of your heretical views, that's your business. But this Board is not going to be a substitute publisher for you. You might consider procuring your own webspace and put your musings online and then provide a link to them. Further, your prolific messages simply aren't worthy to be archived on my database. The message was deleted as will all such messages because they are contrary to the stated Forum Guidelines.

You have been given ample opportunity to express your views, which according to all the major Confessions of the denominations which came out of the Protestant Reformation, are heretical; e.g., Westminster Confession, Savoy Declaration, Belgic Confession, 39 Articles, London Confession, Canons of Dordt, et al., and the theological foundation of this Board, they are in opposition to biblical teaching. Perhaps you should consider another topic for discussion as I do believe that you have shown yourself to be unteachable as to the doctrine of soteriology.

In His Grace,


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#16621 Wed Aug 04, 2004 9:34 AM
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All that meant little to the topic, if anything. I am not concerned with the SBC definition of heresy. I quote Saint Paul the Apostle.......

Quote
Gal 1:9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.
(KJV)

The arminian gospel is heretical and the faculty at SBC seminary do not decide on that. You and arminians are guilty as charged. Here is the standard decided upon by the churches of the Reformation; Canons of Dordt. For a better understanding, perhaps this might help as well; Calvinism and Arminianism compared

You may also be interested in reading the Statement of Faith for this board. I definitely recommend you read the Forum Guidelines, especially paying attention to numbers 4 and 10. The Council of Orange also decided this entire matter, over a century ago. I quote Jesus Christ as my support.......

Quote
Mat 19:25-26 When his disciples heard it, they were exceedingly amazed, saying, Who then can be saved? But Jesus beheld them, and said unto them, [color:"FF0000"]With men this is impossible; but with God all things are possible[/color].
(KJV)


God bless,

william

#16622 Wed Aug 04, 2004 9:39 AM
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koreahog writes:

In my belief system the logical order is first repentance/faith and then regeneration.

While you do not deny the necessity of being regenerated, you maintain that the first steps towards the Christian life are ordinarily taken by the human will and that man cooperates with God. Ofcourse then the work of grace called regeneration which the Holy Spirit performs in the new birth follows only later. This view is called Semi-Pelagianism. While it is clear that Semi-Pelagianism has a different view of grace than Calvinists do one major difference is the characteristic called synergism. This view teaches that natural man has the capacity to believe in God, to respond to God, and work with God to turn away from their sin with genuine repentance before regeneration.

Reformed Theology by contrast teaches that the natural men may have common grace, common illuminations, and common affections that are from the Spirit of God. Natural men have sometimes the influences of the Spirit of God in His common operations and gifts, and therefore God's Spirit is said to be striving with them, and they are said to resist the Spirit, (Acts 7:51;) to grieve and vex God's Holy Spirit, (Eph. 4:30; Isaiah 63:10;) While indeed fallen men resist grace every day when the gospel is presented to them, for that is their nature and desire. But it is important to note that God can and does make His grace effectual or irresistible at a time of His sovereign merciful choosing (John 6:37, 39, 44, 63-65; John 3:8; Matt 11:27; 1 Corinthians 1:9; Paul's conversion in Acts 2:39, Acts 9; Rom 8:30 ROM 9:11-24; 1 Cor. 1:9-26; Gal. 1:6-15; 1 Thess. 1:5, 6; 1 Thess. 2:12; 5:24; 2 Thess. 2:14; Eph. 1:18; 4:1-4, 5; 2 Tim. 1:9; Heb. 3:1; 1 Pet. 2:9; 5:10; 2 Pet. 1:3-10). If this kind of effectual grace can be resisted, then faith is understood as a natural preparation for saving grace, as the fulfillment of a condition for receiving supernatural grace by the performance of something that is within man's natural capacity/desire to do. Man, in this scheme, cooperates with God's prevenient grace according to his native ability. But the Scripture teaches that salvation is not a faith-contribution or a principle standing ultimately independent of God's action of grace. Rather, it does not owe exclusively to man's natural endowment with a free will and does not arise out of an inherent capacity of the natural man. Rather, God acts unilaterally and exclusively, taking the sole initiative in a free act of sovereign grace—grace that is altogether prior to, and productive of, justifying faith.

There are two views of regeneration. You'll note your view which depends on man's free will is contrasted to the view which depends on God's grace alone. I think you'll be able to see where your view leads in contrast to where the monergistic view leads. The response of faith from the sinner is penultimate as it stands next to the ultimate sovereign grace of God in monergism. As the first act of a newborn baby is to breathe, so the act of faith is the first act of the regenerated sinner, in his/her new birth in Christ.


Wes

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Well, if my posts are going to be deleted, then I guess there's no point in my continuing to post, so this will be the last one. I love all of you, and I wish you well. We have had some stimulating discussions, and I feel like I have learned some things from them. Thanks for your input.

#16624 Wed Aug 04, 2004 12:37 PM
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koreahog2005 said:
Well, if my posts are going to be deleted, then I guess there's no point in my continuing to post, so this will be the last one. I love all of you, and I wish you well. We have had some stimulating discussions, and I feel like I have learned some things from them. Thanks for your input.
Now, that's par for the course! <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/laugh.gif" alt="" /> I said messages which are extremely long and which promote heresy and/or violate the stated Guidelines of the Board, which you were required that you agree to when you registered and to which you had to put a checkmark indicating that you have indeed read them, will be deleted. If, in your estimation, that means everything you intend to post here, then I guess you are right that there is no point in your continuing to post messages here. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />

In all sincerity, it is my prayer that the God of the Bible will give you eyes to see, a mind to comprehend and a heart to embrace the truth of the Gospel of grace.

In His Grace,


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#16625 Wed Aug 04, 2004 5:26 PM
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KoreanHog,

If you will read the N.T. you will note that there are 4 types of ground the seeds of truth are planted in (Matt 13). Not ALL were saved. Ask yourself, ‘Does this not apply to Israel in 1 Kings?’ Does this apply to KoreanHog?

Please look at the text of 1 Kings 18: Vs. 17 says, ‘Art thou he that troubleth Israel.’ Vs 18 says ‘have not troubled Israel.’ Vs. 20 says, ‘Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel.’ The noted Arminian John Wesley says, ‘All Israel — By their heads, or representatives, that they may be witnesses of all our transactions.’ The scope of ALL PEOPLE encompases ALL ISRAEL as represented by their heads, etc.

You assert that ALL the people (all Israel, as represented by their heads, etc.) had Spiritual Equipoise and assume that NONE fell. Thus, the O.T. should NOT mention another fallen Israelite in the O.T., as ALL should be saved..... As I asked you in the previous post look at the O.T and see if ANY Israelite falls after 1 Kings 18. If ONLY one falls your Spiritual Equipoise is revealed to be a sham, as it teaches the possibility of ‘regeneration’ without ‘salvation’—denying the very power of God in salvation.

If grace (God’s will, election, etc.) is resistible then man is not saved by grace alone, but solely by his own decision (plus, a little help = semi-plagianism), thus making man the author of his own salvation! Thus, your false philosophical concepts continues to be shown to be invalid, false, and heretical. May God give you a proper understanding of the Scriptures.


Reformed and Always Reforming,
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