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#18158 Tue Oct 05, 2004 2:00 PM
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If you are like me you have had many people say so you, something similar to the following:
"If what you say about election is true, then proclaiming the Gospel is not necessary, in fact a waist of time."

I usually role my eyes when I hear this, because I know that proclaiming the Gospel is God's means of reaching His elect. However, I have yet to have anyone buy this argument when I say it.

Does anyone have something that they say, when they hear similar arguments that you have found to be helpful in making the hearer/reader understand?

Tom

Tom #18159 Tue Oct 05, 2004 2:09 PM
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Tom said:
Does anyone have something that they say, when they hear similar arguments that you have found to be helpful in making the hearer/reader understand?
Romans 1:16-17 (ASV) "For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is revealed a righteousness of God from faith unto faith: as it is written, But the righteous shall live by faith."

Proclamation of the truth will be accepted by those who have been given ears to hear. There is no such thing as a "silver bullet", i.e., a guaranteed method of convincing anyone of the truth. All we are required to do is to put forth the truth of God's Word. (1Cor 3:6, 7) I find this to be most assuring and comforting, knowing that I am not responsible to convince anyone of anything. The result is in God's hand and this too we know that ALL who are predestined to eternal life will receive the truth and rejoice in it.


Mark 6:11 (KJV) "And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment, than for that city."



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Pilgrim #18160 Tue Oct 05, 2004 4:40 PM
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Pilgrim

Just so you know, I realize that I can't convince anyone of anything (as you said: "I find this to be most assuring and comforting, knowing that I am not responsible to convince anyone of anything.)
However, there are sometimes ways that can be helpful to present truth that so the reader can understand it better.
Though I have never had a problem with this particular area, I must say that there were other areas that until it was put to me in a way I understood and could not argue against. I didn't believe it, or didn't know if it was true or not.
I ask my question in this context, for those who have ears to hear, but haven't as yet understood the matter.

Tom

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Another good point I like to bring up when faced with this challenge is that as Rom. 10:17 says, "Faith comes from hearing, and hearing from the Word of God." Without the Word, there is no faith, therefore no salvation. It is for this reason we are sent on the Great Commission, preaching the Gospel to all nations.
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Glory is but grace perfected!
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Tom #18162 Wed Oct 06, 2004 8:25 PM
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Tom,

Why should we preach the gospel? I know that some make the point that if God elects a person to salvation, it will happen regardless of whether I tell him today or wait until next week, or next year.

But it is better to learn sooner than later, and we see that even though God can decree our salvation ultimately, our free will can play a factor in the timing of our conversion.

We see this with Jonah and the great fish. In this story Jonah is told to preach to the Ninevites, but refuses God's decree. We know the story of the ship, the sailors, the curse, the expigation, the consumption, and the desperate prayer for deliverance. Jonah would preach as God decreed, but he undoubtedly been better off doing it sooner than later.

Or put another way, ought we to preach the gospel to a mother or father when their child is 3 years old and teachable, or several years later when the child is a rebellious teenagers swinging to the beat of the world?

How many ways can I state that sooner is better than later?

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

catholicsoldier #18163 Thu Oct 07, 2004 12:24 AM
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But it is better to learn sooner than later, and we see that even though God can decree our salvation ultimately, our free will can play a factor in the timing of our conversion.

We are commanded to preach the gospel urgently in all seasons (2 Tim 4:2) and to young and old alike (Mark 16:15). But the timing of conversion does not depend on our efforts. Before the foundation of the world, God determined how He Himself, by the power of the Holy Spirit, would produce and work, through the Word, everything that pertains to our conversion and how He alone would bring the elect to faith and preserve them. Rom 9:18. Thus, conversion is taken out of our hands and placed in the hand of the Almigthy God whose purpose and work can not fail.

Last edited by speratus; Thu Oct 07, 2004 6:23 AM.
#18164 Thu Oct 07, 2004 11:27 AM
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Speratus,

I thank your for your thoughts, but I believe them to be in contrast to scripture. Yes, God will ultimately bring those whom He has elected to salvation, but He allows us free will, and often our free will takes us further from the truth, in order to, eventually, embrace it.

Beside the example I already provided, perhaps an even stronger example was the unwillingness of Israel to trust God and enter the promised land. (Promised land being an Old Testament parallel to salvation) And, though they would eventually possess the land, they spent 40 years wandering in the wilderness, whereas they could have possessed it immediately.

You cannot convince me that God had preordained their sinful choice, in fact it angered Him deeply. So deeply, in fact, that He discussed with Moses the complete elimination of the people and starting afresh with Moses. Certainly God's fervent desire was for Israel to trust Him, and He didn't "will" otherwise.

The author of Hebrews alludes to this passage and offers us the same choice they were given:
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"Therefore as the Holy Spirit says: 'Today, if you will hear His voice, do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, in the day of trial in the wilderness, where your fathers tested Me, tried Me, and saw My works forty years.

Therefore I was angry with that generation, and said, "They always go astray in their heart, and they have not known My ways. So I swore in My wrath, 'They shall not enter My rest.'"'

"So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief."

Hebrews 3:7-11,19 NKJV

And yet another powerful demonstration of our free will contradicting the will of God is demonstrated by Israel's rejection of Christ, though God had willed his salvation to flow to all the world from out of the Jews. (John 4:22) But because of the unwillingness of the Jews who said, "We will not have this man rule over us," God's salvation was carried out by the Gentiles.

In this we see the contrast of that which was immutable, that Christ would build His church, and that which was subject to man's choices; that His church did not grow predominantly from out of Israel.

I think Calvinist often disparage the notion of free-will to the offense of the Bible and common sense. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/crazyeyes.gif" alt="" />

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

catholicsoldier #18165 Thu Oct 07, 2004 11:58 AM
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catholicsoldier,

I've been slowly getting back to my previous more active state here and still have some posts to reply to, one being the one you started on icons, etc... <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" /> But I thought I would type out a quick reply to this one as it seems easy enough to rebut.

In all the examples you have given thus far, they all involve people resisting God's preceptive will as opposed to His decretive will. If it were possible to subvert, alter or totally override God's eternal counsel, then this would of necessity deny the very definition and nature of God which He Himself has recorded for us in His inspired, infallible and inerrant written Word. Further, to hold to such a position results in a denial of the divine inspiration of Scripture. How? Because prophesy and its fulfillment would be impossible or at best a matter of incredible "chance".

All forms of semi-Pelagianism, Arminianism, and even paganism categorically deny the absolute sovereignty of God in relation to either authority and/or power; most often the former. As it has been posted in myriad places on this Board, the Scriptures teach incontrovertibly that man is "free" indeed according to his nature. Historically, this has been termed, "free agency". Secondly, God decrees the means as well as the end, which takes into account secondary causes, including the acts of men. (cf. Acts 2:23, 3:18; 4:26-28; also: Is 43:13; 44:7; 45:21; 49:9, 10; 55:11; Ps 33:11; 135:6; Prov 19:21; 21:30; Dan 4:35; et al)

For a more complete array of biblical declarations of the immutability of God's decree and of his sovereignty, see here: God's Indisputable Sovereignty.

In His Grace,


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catholicsoldier #18166 Thu Oct 07, 2004 8:45 PM
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Catholic Soldier,

You said

"I think Calvinist often disparage the notion of free-will to the offense of the Bible and common sense."


I see where you are coming from. Yes I have thought this way for 20 years myself just from having "arminian" teaching and have never really read about Calvinism and the Reformed belief until recently. Wow what an eye-opener for me. And really most it resonates to what I really already felt was true.

Now it's interesting that you bring up common sense. You should definately read the article by John Piper about the two wills of God. Maybe someone can put a link there because I'm not sure how to do that. But you can search for it and find it I'm sure. That explains nicely the dilemma you bring up and sure made me think. Yes it's God's will that he would like things a certain way - you brought up some good examples. Yes Jonah didn't do what God wanted him to do (at first). And that's the whole problem -- man's sin. We never do what God would like us to. I'm not sure why God didn't put it into Johah's heart to just go the first time (except that Jonah's example is referred to by Christ and seemingly used as an example to Christ's death and resurrection (sorry I do not have the verse reference here)- maybe that's the whole reason why right there). But God knew Jonah would act this way because of his sinful nature. God purposely didn't intervene with Jonah right away. Unless God intervened, Jonah would have never gone to Ninevah ever. Do you get it?? Unless God intervenes in ANY situation in anyone's life, salvation or whatever God wants will never happen to anyone. And God even intervenes in those who aren't His own - how about Pharoah heart being hardened, etc. How do you explain that? You are saying it's kind of up to us when God moves. It's not.

Anyways another common sense idea is this - How could God write down in His Word all of the prophesies and foretelling of future events if He weren't in control of situations??? It doesn't make sense. And if you say that He just knows the future and what decisions we will make, etc. well that doesn't really make sense either and you will have to go be an open theist who says that God doesn't really know the future because he's given us free will - and of course that's not biblical. If one really thinks about this free will issue really hard, the Calvinist ideas are the only conclusion that one can come to to be inline with Scripture.

catholicsoldier #18167 Fri Oct 08, 2004 6:31 AM
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Since scripture does not teach free-will, I would love to see your defense of it. Calvinism teaches mans free-agency.

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And yet another powerful demonstration of our free will contradicting the will of God is demonstrated by Israel's rejection of Christ, though God had willed his salvation to flow to all the world from out of the Jews.

Is God not omnipotent?


God bless,

william

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Janean,

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ!

I really enjoyed reading your response. You have a way of explaining your position while extending an olive branch and a warm invitation to consider your findings. This is a a work of grace I pray someday God will effect in me. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/yep.gif" alt="" />

I have felt the same resonation of truth in learning about 5 point Calvinism, and Romans 8:29,30 (the Reader's Digest of TULIP) confirms irrefutable the entire body of theology for me.

But beyond the 5 points, Calvinist doctrine becomes extreme and out of touch with the spirit and letter of scripture, particulary in the dogmatics about reprobation and free will.

To put things in perspective, John Calvin is not the author of Calvinism or any particular theology. He had a passion for expounding on only the Bible and all of the Bible. His discourse on the sovereinty of God came later in his ministry and in response to attacks on this doctrine. But his exposition on it was relatively brief.

His followers, however developed what is today called "Calvinism." Some of this was brilliant, such as the assembly of TULIP, but some of it really stretched the theology of John Calvin's teachings. I've been told by members here that I cannot use any of Calvinism, unless I embrace all of it, including tota scriptura, which I believe to be in error.

But much like yourself, (if I may be bold in assuming) I am amazed that God chose us before He even created the world, and loved us though there was nothing loveable about us, and will bring to the ultimate redemption through the storms of Satan's reign, the acts of men and angels, and even our own stubborn "free will". And as I have thoroughly studied this doctrine, I've found it does not contradict Catholic teaching, it transcends it. And Catholic teaching affirms it in its own way. I hope someday to write a post explaining this correlation.

"Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before His glory with exceeding joy, to God our Savior who alone is wise be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and forever. Amen." Jude 24,25

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

#18169 Fri Oct 08, 2004 6:54 AM
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William,

Sir, I invite you to take a few steps backward and look at an even bigger picture. Free will does not contradict the sovereinty of God, it makes it more glorious, mysterious, and wonderful.

You're imagination of the greatness of God will be significantly enlarged when you understand that God does indeed give freewill to men and angels and yet, even with all the variables this presents, maintains absolute control over the affairs of men and conclude them to His predetermined purpose to the glory of His name.

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

catholicsoldier #18170 Fri Oct 08, 2004 6:58 AM
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If only somebody would show me how. Could you? Saying so doesn't make it so, so now add some substance.


God bless,

william

catholicsoldier #18171 Fri Oct 08, 2004 11:52 AM
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catholicsoldier said:
William,

You're imagination of the greatness of God will be significantly enlarged when you understand that God does indeed give freewill to men and angels and yet, even with all the variables this presents, maintains absolute control over the affairs of men and conclude them to His predetermined purpose to the glory of His name.
I do think you have described perfectly the difference between true believers and all others; even those who claim to be so. The difference is that true believers bow before and accept as infallibly true, the self-revelation of God which He has graciously provided and preserves in His inspired written Word while all others rely upon and rest in their imaginations. (cf. Gen 6:5, 8:21; Deut 29:14-21; Ps 81:12; Jer 3:17; 7:24; 9:14; 11:8; 13:10; 16:12; 18:12; 23:17; et al) I realize that since you do not consider the Bible to be an absolute authority, it is not likely that you will bother to read those several passages. But I am confident that many others will. And, the Lord will impress His words upon their hearts with an indelible mark.

The fact is, that if you subscribe to this man-made, self-serving, man-exalting doctrine of "free-will", you of necessity deny the deity of God and make out of man an idol that transcends even God Himself. For not even the Almighty LORD God has a "free-will"; i.e., the ability to choose and do that which is contrary to His nature. How one can maintain that a man's estimation of God will be "significantly enlarged", when God is dethroned and man exalted is beyond my comprehension. As I have often done in the past, this view is akin to the story of the little Dutch boy who stood before the dike and desperately attempted to plug all the holes that appeared and keep back the impending waters. To envision God rushing around trying to come up with plan "B", "C", "D", ad infinitum as man changes his unfettered mind to do that which is contrary to His ultimate purpose is hardly, at least in my mind, a vision of "greatness". Neither golden calves, nor idols of wood, nor the vain imaginations of man can rival the true living God Who does all things according to His eternal counsel; when, where and how He has determined and for His own glory.

Paul's discourse to the Athenians at the Areopagus (Acts 17:17ff) is paradigmatic in that it isn't simply the Epicureans and Stoic philosophers who worship false gods; gods which are the product of man's imagination, but all men everywhere are guilty of doing likewise. The "gods" of men are but glorified clones of themselves which they are able to control for their own purposes. This is not the LORD God of the universe Who is exalted and dwells in ineffable holiness and is the divine Sovereign Who controls the very path of even the smallest particle of matter and Who has determined its end. I end here with a couple of marvelous quotes from two men who have been taken hold of by the sovereign God whom you would not have rule over you:


"They attribute to Free-will a very little indeed, yet they teach us that by that very little we can attain unto righteousness and grace. Nor do they solve that question, Why does God justify one and leave another? in any other way than by asserting the freedom of the will, and saying, Because the one endeavors and the other does not; and God regards the one for endeavoring, and despises the other for his not endeavoring; lest, if he did otherwise, he should appear to be unjust." - Martin Luther

"All men become like the objects of their worship. Our inward character is being silently moulded by our view of God and our conception of him. Christian character is the fruit of Christian worship; pagan character the fruit of pagan religion; semi-Christian character the fruit of a half-true understanding of God. The principle holds good for us all: we become like what we worship ­ for worse or for better. 'They that make them are like unto them' (Psa. 115:8)." — Maurice Roberts



In His Grace,


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catholicsoldier #18172 Fri Oct 08, 2004 12:33 PM
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Hi Catholic Soldier-

Thank you for your response in saying that I've extended you some grace. I'm not sure that's a gift I really have, I'm just am honest when I write something. Well I do have to be more honest with you though.
You said:

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I have felt the same resonation of truth in learning about 5 point Calvinism, and Romans 8:29,30 (the Reader's Digest of TULIP) confirms irrefutable the entire body of theology for me
It's pretty clear to me that you contridict yourself. You want to say you feel the same resonation of truth in learning the 5 points; but from what you have stated of your theology and beliefs in other posts that you are going to be forced to redefine the 5 points to fit your theology. You cannot have it both ways.
I know that John Calvin is not the "author" of Calvinism, etc.

You also said:

Quote
I've been told by members here that I cannot use any of Calvinism, unless I embrace all of it, including tota scriptura, which I believe to be in error.
I think you meant Sola Scriptura. Well yes you have to believe Sola Scriptura. I think an important thought here after reading some of your discussions on this board is that it's not Roman Catholism v. Calvinism. It's truth v. error. What is really the truth?? This is how I approach things. I guess I'm an apologist at heart and am looking for what is truth. Only the Holy Spirit will show you this. One of my favorite verses is Matthew 7:7 "Ask and it shall be given to you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you."

I hope you are reading all of the links and articles that you have been given in your discussions here. They just may make you re-think your beleifs. By the way here is that article I spoke of before by Piper http://www.desiringgod.org/library/topics/doctrines_grace/2wills.html

Janean

P.S. I thought all along that your name Catholic Soldier was you being a Soldier in Christ (like Onward Christian Soldiers hymn), but I see that you're a real Soldier!!!

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