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#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

Quote
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:

Quote
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

Quote
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

Quote
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.

Quote
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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Quote
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.

Quote
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.

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