The Highway
Posted By: carlos123 Biblically, what does the word "Church" mean? - Wed Jun 03, 2009 4:29 AM
Hi everyone,

Some of us have been discussing all kinds of things related to Church on another thread (don't quite know where it is around here but it's around here somewhere) and the thread in question got a bit tangled up in a discussion of all kinds of Church issues.

I thought it would be good to narrow the discussion down a bit and discuss just one aspect of what everyone brought up in that thread.

Namely the meaning of the word Church.

In the New Testament did the word Church mean a building of some sort? A group of people with leaders such as elders and deacons? Was a Church a group of people that was organized around what are commonly referred to as Sacraments today such that without those Sacraments it would not have been considered a Church?

What was a Church? What saith the Word?

If I may suggest...I think it would be good to further narrow our discussion by having us stick only to that which is written in the Bible. Without regard for Creeds and what learned Christian men have said since New Testament times.

I will post more shortly as I have time but I wanted to at least open this topic up if any were interested in discussing this further.

Thanks.

Carlos
Posted By: hisalone Re: Biblically, what does the word "Church" mean? - Wed Jun 03, 2009 12:49 PM
1. Belongs to God. 1Ti 3:15.
2. The body of Christ. Eph 1:23; Col 1:24.
3. Christ, the foundation-stone of. 1Co 3:11; Eph 2:20; 1Pe 2:4,5.
4. Christ, the head of. Eph 1:22; 5:23.
5. Loved by Christ. Song 7:10; Eph 5:25.
6. Purchased by the blood of Christ. Ac 20:28; Eph 5:25; Heb 9:12.
7. Sanctified and cleansed by Christ. 1Co 6:11; Eph 5:26,27.
8. Subject to Christ. Ro 7:4; Eph 5:24.
9. The object of the grace of God. Isa 27:3; 2Co 8:1.
10. Displays the wisdom of God. Eph 3:10.
11. Shows forth the praises of God. Isa 60:6.
12. God defends. Ps 89:18; Isa 4:5; 49:25; Mt 16:18.
13. God provides ministers for. Jer 3:15; Eph 4:11,12.
14. Glory to be ascribed to God by. Eph 3:21.
15. Elect. 1Pe 5:13.
16. Glorious. Ps 45:13; Eph 5:27.
17. Clothed in righteousness. Re 19:8.
18. Believers continually added to, by the Lord. Ac 2:27; 5:14; 11:24.
19. Unity of. Ro 12:5; 1Co 10:17; 12:12; Ga 3:28.
20. Saints baptised into, by one Spirit. 1Co 12:13.
21. Ministers commanded to feed. Ac 20:28.
22. Is edified by the word. 1Co 14:4,13; Eph 4:15,16.
23. The wicked persecute. Ac 8:1-3; 1Th 2:14,15.
24. Not to be despised. 1Co 11:22.
25. Defiling of, will be punished. 1Co 3:17.
26. Extent of, predicted. Isa 2:2; Eze 17:22-24; Da 2:34,35; Hab 2:14.

Torrey, R. (1995, c1897). The new topical text book : A scriptural text book for the use of ministers, teachers, and all Christian workers. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos research Systems, Inc.
Posted By: Pilgrim Re: Biblically, what does the word "Church" mean? - Wed Jun 03, 2009 1:50 PM
Originally Posted by carlos123
If I may suggest...I think it would be good to further narrow our discussion by having us stick only to that which is written in the Bible. Without regard for Creeds and what learned Christian men have said since New Testament times.
carlos,

I am perplexed by your suggestion and thus need help in understanding why anyone would or could entertain it for the following reasons:

1. IF the Bible itself is to be understood, i.e., interpreted... especially by those who have been given gifts specifically for that purpose by the Holy Spirit for the upbuilding of the saints, then are we not to value what these members of the Church, the body of Christ have contributed?

2. IF the Church consists of all those who have professed Christ from Adam to the last to come to Christ before He returns, why should those who lived in the past be excluded?

3. IF the insights of those in the past are to be excluded and that which is to be allowed is "only to that which is written in the Bible", then are we then not restricted to simply post Bible verses? aka: textproofing without comment?

4. IF comments/interpretation is to be allowed but only by us on this board, then on what biblical warrant are we to do so in exclusion for any other believer, past or present?

So, again I ask these questions because I am confused as how to proceed.

In His grace,

Posted By: Robert Re: Biblically, what does the word "Church" mean? - Wed Jun 03, 2009 4:43 PM
Pilgrim,
I agree with your concern about leaving out the opinions of the Church universal, past and present. That being said, we still have the responsibility to make judgements on the exegesis set forth by such men. We cannot decide ahead of time who we will give authority to (should there be disagreement among said men of God). We have to look at their points of view and decide what we believe. There is no getting around this responsibility!
Peace,
Robert
Posted By: Pilgrim Re: Biblically, what does the word "Church" mean? - Wed Jun 03, 2009 8:05 PM
Originally Posted by Robert
Pilgrim,
I agree with your concern about leaving out the opinions of the Church universal, past and present. That being said, we still have the responsibility to make judgements on the exegesis set forth by such men. We cannot decide ahead of time who we will give authority to (should there be disagreement among said men of God). We have to look at their points of view and decide what we believe. There is no getting around this responsibility!
Please allow me to iterate in response to what you and carlos123 have several times wrote in regard to the writings of "stalwart" men, sometimes with ridicule and disrespect; men indwelt by the Spirit of Christ and endowed by Him with gifts and offices in the body of Christ; the Church.

It hasn't been a few times that what was explained is that the writings of these men on the relevant subjects brought to the floor, e.g., the organization of the Church, the authority of the Church, the office bearers in the Church with their responsibilities, the sacraments, corporate worship, meeting on the Lord's Day, the NT Sabbath, etc., have been tested over time as to their faithfulness to Scripture. Some of these writings took the form of official denominational Confessions and Catechisms. Most all include biblical references to support them. In fact, e.g., the Westminster Confession makes it more than clear from the beginning that the Confession is only a secondary authority and that Scripture is the ultimate and final authority, e.g.,

Quote
Chapter I, Article VI. The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men.

Article X.X. The supreme judge by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture.
Secondly, I and others have pointed you to articles here on The Highway in which the authors have painstakingly studied the Scriptures and written what they have found the Scriptures to teach on a particular subject. The majority of us here have examined those writings and found them to be in accord with biblical truth and thus they serve as a means of expressing what we believe God has spoken and offered them to you as such. The vast majority of the Protestant churches, albeit until the last 100+ years have also been agreement on what these men wrote across denominational lines. Therefore, since these things are considered to be faithful to the Scriptures and thus "the faith once delivered unto the saints", the onus is upon you and others like you who hold views antithetical and/or contrary to them to show where these men erred in their understanding of their study of the Scriptures. To do this you need to READ them! [Linked Image]

Lastly, we have the right to judge who is to be given secondary authority ahead of time since this is our home, our churches, our denominations in which we have found unity world-wide regardless of our other minor differences. We belong to the CHURCH of the Lord Christ whose Spirit brought forth these godly men at sundry times when the Church was attacked as to its doctrines. The benefit has been ours. We see no reason to set ourselves above the wisdom of these men since we have already searched the Scriptures and found that these men spoke truth. Again, the onus is upon YOU, carlos123, hisalone (who has aligned himself in spirit with you too as being one of the 'opposition'), and any others who join with us here to show by sound exegesis, biblical hermeneutics using the Analogy of Faith that the official statements of faith found in the Creeds, Confessions, Catechisms and writings of the church doctors of theology are in error.

We are willing to let you give it a try. We are open to what you have to present from the Scriptures even though myriad others over centuries have done likewise and failed. We are more than confident that God's truth has and always will withstand any and all assaults. grin

In His grace,
Posted By: hisalone Re: Biblically, what does the word "Church" mean? - Thu Jun 04, 2009 1:13 AM
y
Originally Posted by Pilgrim
hisalone (who has aligned himself in spirit with you too as being one of the 'opposition'), and any others who join with us here to show by sound exegesis, biblical hermeneutics using the Analogy of Faith that the official statements of faith found in the Creeds, Confessions, Catechisms and writings of the church doctors of theology are in error.

Aligned myself with the opposition? I didn't align myself with anyone other than state the truth of the matter. I will not align with you either if that is what you expect of everyone on this discussion board. If that is the case, there is no discussion anymore, just patting each other on the back telling each other how great we are. I'm disappointed in a lot of what I have seen posted on this board, personal and unchristian comments that had no place here.

2 Tim. 2:23-26 NASB But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels.24 And the Lord’s bond-servant must not be quarrelsome, but be kind to all, able to teach, patient when wronged,25 with gentleness correcting those who are in opposition, if perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth,26 and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will.


I see now the majority opinion, that man could not possibly be incomplete with his interpretations of God's word. Don't you think God is continually unveiling more and more of Himself through His word through His Spirit as the last days approach? yet you choose to stay in the past. Isn't that what the Israelites did? The teachers were unwilling to accept a continuing unveiling of God's truth? There is a tenacity to protect the letter of the law here which is good, but be careful you aren't also protecting the Spirit from showing you more of Christ's glory. I have never said anything contrary to scripture, I just see it differently than you. I hold the reformed creeds concerning Christ and His church, salvation and man. I read the same things you do, none of them have the handle on the truth as you are aware, isn't it possible that also groups of individuals over the years also didn't see things completely clear? Israel was warned over and over but they held on to the truth as they were taught content to stay where they were. Much like Reuben and Gad who were content to stay on the opposite side of the Jordan instead of entering the promised land. Not only did they bring harm to themselves, but they became a discouragement to others. Are you as your name suggests a "Pilgrim" or are you a squatter? Some important questions we must each answer.
Posted By: Robert Re: Biblically, what does the word "Church" mean? - Thu Jun 04, 2009 2:02 AM
"Lastly, we have the right to judge who is to be given secondary authority ahead of time since this is our home, our churches, our denominations in which we have found unity world-wide regardless of our other minor differences."

Of course you have the right to do so. And I have the right to question it, as did the Bereans towards the Apostle The Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true Acts 17:11.
When did I treat your stalwarts with "ridicule and disrespect"?
Robert
As far as reading all the links, what's the hurry? Why rush through it? I would rather take time to really consider it. Might take awhile.
Posted By: Pilgrim Re: Biblically, what does the word "Church" mean? - Thu Jun 04, 2009 1:48 PM
Originally Posted by hisalone
Aligned myself with the opposition? I didn't align myself with anyone other than state the truth of the matter. I will not align with you either if that is what you expect of everyone on this discussion board. If that is the case, there is no discussion anymore, just patting each other on the back telling each other how great we are. I'm disappointed in a lot of what I have seen posted on this board, personal and unchristian comments that had no place here.
Methinks it is more than obvious that you are of a similar ilk with carlos123 and Robert, i.e., you "standalone" in regard to being aligned with the great tradition of the Church and its statements of faith as found in the Protestant confessions and catechisms and with its individual "stalwarts". I can't count how many times you sloughed off such men as William Hendriksen, Jonathan Edwards, etc., saying in essence you really don't care what THEY wrote because you have your Bible and the Holy Spirit to teach you.

Secondly, you would be hard-pressed to find in even 1 of my 11315 posts here where I even intimated that anyone should align themselves with me. Perhaps this is just a reaction which flows out of your insistent autonomy which finds associating oneself with any particular group repugnant? When I read the Bible, particular in the NT, I find myriad references to joining a group, becoming a member of a local assembly, people being excommunicated from a group, those who left the Church because they were not of the Church, i.e., those who are of one mind, having been brought to the same faith by the Spirit and those who are of a different mind who are either disciplined or leave. There is great respect in the Church for those who the Spirit has given for teaching. And this respect also exhibits itself in embracing those teachings, aka: the faith. Here's a germane article that you might benefit from: In Defense of Creedalism, by Kenneth Gentry, Jr.

Originally Posted by hisalone
2 Tim. 2:23-26 NASB [i][b]But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels...
I'm guilty as charged, e.g., entertaining your absolutely bizarre view, totally lacking in any biblical support re: demon angels propogating with human females who gave birth to some hybrid alien race which already existed at the time and who then it is alleged built the pyramids long before the Egyptians came into existence as well as the monolithic structures on Easter Island, et al. And, then asserting that the archaeological records found in Egypt which tell of how the Egyptians built these pyramids are all fabricated, lies, etc. I should have simply avoided that discussion entirely as the text says. I accept the rebuke and appreciate you doing so.

Originally Posted by hisalone
I see now the majority opinion, that man could not possibly be incomplete with his interpretations of God's word. Don't you think God is continually unveiling more and more of Himself through His word through His Spirit as the last days approach?
nope I do NOT think nor believe that God is continually revealing himself. Again, I stand firmly with the CHURCH in its belief that the Canon is closed, that ALL that God has revealed about Himself is found in the closed Canon, the Bible. There is no more "revelation" of God to be found outside of the Scriptures. Any further "insights" into this Word will be in harmony with those truths already revealed which the CHURCH has through the Spirit been teaching and preaching since the days of the Apostles. IF one comes with a "new teaching", which is contrary to what the CHURCH has always believed, then the author of that "new teaching" is under obligation to show where the CHURCH has gone wrong. This is what Luther did, what Calvin did, what all the Reformers and Puritans did...!

Originally Posted by hisalone
yet you choose to stay in the past. Isn't that what the Israelites did? The teachers were unwilling to accept a continuing unveiling of God's truth? There is a tenacity to protect the letter of the law here which is good, but be careful you aren't also protecting the Spirit from showing you more of Christ's glory. I have never said anything contrary to scripture, I just see it differently than you. I hold the reformed creeds concerning Christ and His church, salvation and man. I read the same things you do, none of them have the handle on the truth as you are aware, isn't it possible that also groups of individuals over the years also didn't see things completely clear?... Are you as your name suggests a "Pilgrim" or are you a squatter? Some important questions we must each answer.
Quote
Jeremiah 6:16-17 (ASV) "Thus saith Jehovah, Stand ye in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way; and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls: but they said, We will not walk [therein]. And I set watchmen over you, [saying], Hearken to the sound of the trumpet; but they said, We will not hearken."
I think that sufficiently answers your question about my choice to stand in the past and how my username, Pilgrim, is consistent with it.

Is it possible that entire groups, I'm assuming you are referring to those who wrote the WCF, Belgic, London Baptist, Thirty-nine Articles, Helvetic confessions, etc., were all in error? NO... It is NOT possible that they ALL where in error. To even suggest such is to charge that they all were void of the Spirit's guidance when they were ALL brought to agree on most everything doctrinal. IF that is what you truly think, then again the onus is upon YOU to show where all these hundreds of thousands of pastors, teachers, theologians and laity erred in their hermeneutics. And, then you will have to explain why it is that their lives were exemplary in holiness; far beyond what most of us here would ever claim for themselves. I'm not referring to differences on what kind of carpet or if any should be laid in the foyer, how often the Lord's Supper should be administered, etc. READ the great Confessions and Catechisms and you will see that ALL these different denominational statements of faith are essentially in agreement. This is a true testimony of God's working in the minds and hearts of Christ's disciples. If you choose to stand apart from them and revel in some "new revelation of God" which is contrary to what the Church has always believed, so be it. But you place yourself "outside the camp". As I see it, you have only two choices, 1) prove that which you disagree as being in error, 2) throw out your "new insights" and join the throng and rejoice in being a member of the Church, the "pillar and ground of the truth" (1Tim 3:15).

Important questions we must each answer. wink


Posted By: Johan Re: Biblically, what does the word "Church" mean? - Thu Jun 04, 2009 2:34 PM
Hisalone

Originally Posted by hisalone
Don't you think God is continually unveiling more and more of Himself through His word through His Spirit as the last days approach?

I am totally confused by what you REALLY mean with such a statement. scratch1 Can you provide an example where in recent times the Church came to new insights so that eg. it was necessary to make changes to creeds. Surely you must have some reason to say so. I agree 100% with Pilgrim that it is at least Robert who has to provide the evidence, but now I would say that you also have to do so.

Johan
Posted By: Robert Re: Biblically, what does the word "Church" mean? - Thu Jun 04, 2009 2:57 PM
Originally Posted by Johan
Hisalone

Originally Posted by hisalone
Don't you think God is continually unveiling more and more of Himself through His word through His Spirit as the last days approach?

I am totally confused by what you REALLY mean with such a statement. scratch1 Can you provide an example where in recent times the Church came to new insights so that eg. it was necessary to make changes to creeds. Surely you must have some reason to say so. I agree 100% with Pilgrim that it is at least Robert who has to provide the evidence, but now I would say that you also have to do so.

Johan

Wait a minute, what evidence are you asking for?
Posted By: hisalone Re: Biblically, what does the word "Church" mean? - Thu Jun 04, 2009 3:25 PM
Such as the doctrine of justification by faith alone. Yes, it was revealed fully in scripture (I'm not saying there is any "new" truth). However, our Lord allowed the truth of justification by faith to be lost and hidden for an extended period of time. It wasn't until individuals were willing to stand against the grain, against those teachers who were set in their beliefs, that the truth was finally regained. I don't doubt that those who were against the doctrine of Justification by faith were not fully convinced in their minds that they were defending God's truth, but in their desire to protect something from the past they became unteachable.

Whenever people stand against the majority, they are condemned and hated, but they must stand lest they sin against God. I plainly stated I have come to different opinions on things on this newsgroup, I'm not above being taught. I also do not force my opinions or become personal when someone doesn't agree (at least I try not to, but I am a sinner still). I think there was an opportunity to help Carlos123, he demonstrated from reading his posts that he loved the same Christ we do, but certain comments drove him away. Where was the gentleness? That is a big problem in the church today, I'm right you are wrong attitude. On some doctrines it is imperative we defend, non-negoiable, but other things are an issue of maturity and growth. People need to quit muscling their truth on people but allow the Spirit to speak. If a person is truly humble before God and willing to search scripture, we must not discouarge them by hammering our truth down their throats, when were we given the job of the Holy Spirit? A lot of trouble in the church could be avoided if we were more Christlike in how we relate to each other.

A good book concerning some of what I'm talkign about, the progress and regaining of truth is "Progress of Doctrine" by Bernard: It is on Google books

http://books.google.com/books?id=hocNAAAAQAAJ&pg=PR13&dq=progress+of+doctrine#PPA234,M1

I'm not saying the old is not true, but that there is a possibility of greater understanding, or as in the above example a renewed or recapturing of the truth. I am not satisfied accepting what "men" said in the past, but I question and search for what God is saying. As Robert said, becoming a Berean in spirit. I'm not looking for any new truth, but I'm looking to understand the old truth better.

As for creeds, this comes into issues that are divisive. The issue of baptism is one which it is fruitless to pursue on this newsgroup and each must be convinced in their own mind.

Some things I spoke of was the love of God, I don't deny that God rejects or accepts individuals by His own choosing, but I also say He loved the whole world, demonstrated in His sending Christ to die for sinners. I tried to show there is an objective love and a subjective love of God. None of which contradicts scripture other than it shows God's love for all and His predestination and love for only the elect. God is infinitely greater than our minds can fathom, but we need to think past our own experiences (thinking like finite beings) to understand Him more clearly. I thought this was a discussion board to discuss, not fight and belittle if someone doesn't agree.
Posted By: Johan Re: Biblically, what does the word "Church" mean? - Thu Jun 04, 2009 6:22 PM
Hisalone,

There is something in your statement/question

Quote
Don't you think God is continually unveiling more and more of Himself through His word through His Spirit as the last days approach?


that I simply don't understand. I just don't see how the fact that justification by faith alone was hidden for a long time is an example of God continually unveiling more and more of Himself through his word through the Holy Spirit. Same with the baptism example. It is not an example of God continually unveiling more and more of Himself in these last days. If God really continually unveil more and more of Himself and it can undeniably be shown from Scripture, then why would it be divisive? The issue of baptism is also not new!

You comment on attitudes etc. To some extent you are right but do not always blame the other side. Take your above statement. I don't think it is at all clear what you really want to say because further down in your post you say "I'm not looking for any new truth, but I'm looking to understand the old truth better". To me there is a contradiction in these two statements of yours. At the end of your post you say " God is infinitely greater than our minds can fathom, but we need to think past our own experiences (thinking like finite beings) to understand Him more clearly. Do you really mean what you say, namely that through thinking past our own experiences we can understand Him more clearly. I thought that He reveals Himself to us in Scripture and in that way we know Him. I thus find your last statement just as confusing as the one quoted above and feel that such vague statements is one reason for misunderstandings on a forum like this.

In Christ

Johan


Posted By: hisalone Re: Biblically, what does the word "Church" mean? - Thu Jun 04, 2009 6:53 PM
It is true that I have a hard time communicating via writing, and some will say speech also. I said God is continually unveiling more and more of Himself through His word, meaning, I hope this is clear, that we develop a clearer undertanding from the benefits of the saints who went before, such as Calvin, Manton, Owen etc. who spoke and taught His Word. Basically this means, standing on their shoulders (their doctrines) getting an even better glimpse of the Son of Glory.

We also limit our understandings when we approach everything from a man based view (our experiences which I mean by finite thinking), we must see things as God sees them. I'm not trying to be confusing intentionally. Christ is the truth, and in that respect their is only one truth, who is revealed in Scripture, but not necessarily comprehended.

As a side note, I often tell people when we look into scripture, we should see more and more of ourselves as we become more and more like Jesus Christ. It isn't a roadmap to life or a book of rules, but a mirror to the soul. When we first looked into it we saw vile miserable creatures in need of a savior, but as time goes on, we begin to see ourselves as we are being transformed into the image of Christ. I often believe people neglect their Bibles because they still see that vile person, not allowing the living Word to transform them. I treat the Word as a living, active powerful, transforming book that is more than just a set of doctrines. It is what the Spirit uses to translate us into the Kingdom of God taking on the appearance of the Son of God.

Again, I am sorry if I'm confusing, I honestly am not trying to be so, I don't know any better way to say things, and I apologize. Forgive me for my inadaquacies. I am doing the best I can.
Posted By: Pilgrim Re: Biblically, what does the word "Church" mean? - Thu Jun 04, 2009 8:31 PM
Originally Posted by hisalone
Such as the doctrine of justification by faith alone. Yes, it was revealed fully in scripture (I'm not saying there is any "new" truth). However, our Lord allowed the truth of justification by faith to be lost and hidden for an extended period of time. It wasn't until individuals were willing to stand against the grain, against those teachers who were set in their beliefs, that the truth was finally regained.
From what Johan asked you, this would be an example of a doctrine, view, teaching which would require a change in the Church's creed, confession, etc. Secondly, the doctrine of Sola Fide was not "new light" but OLD truth which was certainly believed long before Luther brought the matter before the then (and still continues to be) apostate. Even a cursory reading of the ECF will show that the doctrine of justification by faith alone was well established as the doctrine of the Church. Augustine surely held to Sola Fide in the 4th century. So, I think your example is irrelevant.

With great reluctance I would also mention that your view of the "universal love of God" DOES impact against the great Confessions and Catechisms of the Protestant Church which came out of the Reformation. The BIBLE and thus The Canons of Dordt are very clear that God does NOT love all men, for the love of God is inextricably consigned to those who were predestined to salvation in Jesus Christ. So, this would be another view, doctrine, teaching which you might call a "further revelation of God Himself" that is contradictory to what the Reformers and Puritans believed in regard to the very being, nature and attributes of God and the doctrine of predestination/reprobation. Again, it is NOT as if such things were never considered over the past two millennia. It is NOT as if men such as John Calvin or Jonathan Edwards or John Owen, or Charles Spurgeon, or Charles Hodge, or Louis Berkhof, et al never opened their Bibles and sought to find answers to such issues. They were Bereans! And some of us are likewise Bereans and have searched the Scriptures and found what they wrote as being true.

The way you come across at times is that you aren't willing to stand upon these men's shoulders but rather to step on their heads. Can you honestly say that when (if) you read the Westminster Confession of Faith you are awed by the wisdom of what the framers wrote? Do you feel inadequate in your knowledge of Scripture and of God due to the thoroughness found in each and every single article? Do you feel humbled when you see how their love of God and of His Word is handled? And, do you feel thankful and praise God for this incredible document? Personally, I must and will publicly profess I do as is likewise the case with similar Confessions and Catechisms that came out of the Protestant Reformation. Are they infallible? No. Are they authoritative? Yes as secondary authorities which the CHURCH has been blessed with to be used as summaries, guides and guardians of biblical truth. Those of us who have voluntarily and gladly joined with confessional churches consider ourselves most privileged to be the recipients of the Holy Spirit's work in the writers of all these historical church documents. We see God's hand in them and praise Him for His providential care in preserving them for our benefit and for raising up teachers who instruct us in them.

In His grace,

Posted By: Paul_S Challenges to several recent statements - Thu Jun 04, 2009 10:21 PM
hisalone,

You have just made several statements which at face value--and you gave no hint of their being intended in any other way--simply cannot be squared with the consensus of Christian thought.

First, you said:
Originally Posted by hisalone
Whenever people stand against the majority, they are condemned and hated, but they must stand lest they sin against God.

Did you even consider the implications of this statement? By using the term "whenever" and invoking the name of God, your statement is the equivalent of saying: "the majority is always wrong in God's sight, the minority is always right". Is that really what you believe?

Does that mean that you believe that, let's say, the Mormons, the Jehovah's Witnesses and the followers of Rev. Moon--which all would agree are still minorities--are right in the sight of God? Please clarify this and if necessary, restate your assertion in terms that are universally true.

Second, you said:
Originally Posted by hisalone
I also do not force my opinions or become personal when someone doesn't agree
followed closely by:
Originally Posted by hisalone
That is a big problem...
:
People need to quit ...
:
we must not ...

I don't know how you think anyone on a website can "force" their opinions on another. This is not a church, remember--even as loose and disorganized a thing as some have recently wanted to render that term--but rather a public interchange between willing participants under the terms of the site owners. The ordinary steps of church discipline, from private admonition through group admonition through excommunication, simply cannot operate in this environment, since by definition, and consented to in the terms of registration, this is a public forum.

Does that mean that slanderous attacks are appropriate? No, because the Lord forbids such. But because this is a public forum, every assertion made here falls under the greater scrutiny given to those who teach, that is, make public declarations about the truth of God:

"Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. (James 3:1)" and
"I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. (Matthew 12:36-37" and
"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15)

Have you considered that every statement you make here is in fact personal, both because you are making it, and because unknown numbers of people, ie "persons", will read it?

Back to your "not forcing your opinions", which for the reasons above I must take as, "not telling anyone too strongly what they may not want to hear", how do explain that you then feel free, after having said that you do no such thing, to go ahead and charge "persons" here to "quit x" or "must not x" or rebuke them by saying that "x is a big problem". On your own terms that would seem to be "forcing your opinion" on some of us.

The point, hisalone, is that you knew--and those you are defending knew--that this is a public forum when you entered it, and to claim that opinions--stated as assertive declarations--are merely private and therefore not subject to public scrutiny, is simply indefensible.

Third, you are simply wrong in your analysis of the fundamental error of Roman Catholics and Pharisees, and this shatters your usage of the "old/past" vs "new" distinction. You said:
Originally Posted by hisalone
in their (ed.: RC's) desire to protect something from the past they became unteachable.
:
yet you choose to stay in the past. Isn't that what the Israelites did? The teachers were unwilling to accept a continuing unveiling of God's truth? There is a tenacity to protect the letter of the law here which is good, but be careful you aren't also protecting the Spirit from showing you more of Christ's glory.

Hisalone, I am going to very blunt here and yes, hopeful to "force an opinion" into your head (as Bob Newhart said, you might want to take a pad and write down these 10 words):

YOU CANNOT KNOW ANYTHING EXCEPT WHAT COMES FROM THE PAST.

Everything you have ever said on this site, as "new" as it seemed to you at the time, is now in the PAST. Every reaction you have had to something anyone has said on this site, you were "choosing to stay in the PAST". Funny thing, finitude--but I'll have more to say on that in a minute, Dv. You CANNOT know ANYTHING except what comes from the past--get over it.

The error of the RCs and the Pharisees was not that they were trying to "protect the past"--and that is the crux of your using them as warnings against reference to church history, creeds, catechisms, stalwarts--but that they always INNOVATED--notice the Latin there, as in "making something NEW"--RATHER THAN HOLDING ONTO SOLA SCRIPTURA.

It started in Genesis 3. Satan innovated on the Word. It's old now, but it was new then.
Cain innovated with his offering. It's old now, but it was new then.
Nadab and Abihu innovated with their incense. It's old now, but it was new then.
Jeroboam innovated with his idols. It became old, but it was new at first.
The rabbis innovated, not by keeping the old Law, but by adding to the Law. It was becoming old in Jesus' time, but that was not its error--its error was that it circumvented the necessity of a pure heart.
The RCs innovated with all of the above. Not simultaneously, not immediately, but gradually, and every step seeming a reasonable innovation, a "progress of doctrine" which took them AWAY from, rather than TOWARD, the old ways. These became old--time seems to flow in only one direction for us--but they all began as something new at first.

So, you say you want to find something new from God? So have many before you.

Fourth, you said:
Originally Posted by hisalone
we need to think past our own experiences (thinking like finite beings) to understand Him more clearly

I see only two logical alternatives to your parenthetical statement.

Either
(A) not thinking like any being at all
or
(B) thinking like an infinite being.

Please tell me which you had in mind!

Fifth and finally, you said:
Quote
I thought this was a discussion board to discuss, not fight and belittle if someone doesn't agree.

Hisalone, if someone wants to "discuss" secondary or tertiary issues and agrees like gentlemen to enter and leave the ring as friends, no problem. If someone ignorant of primary issues demonstrates true humility by admitting their ignorance, studying answers given, and testing against the Word, and charitably assuming the good intent and maturity and wisdom of either current teachers here or those cited from the past, and responding with exegesis rather than experience (isn't that what the Bereans did?), I'm pretty sure they will not be "fought and belittled".

But if anyone comes, or remains, with an agenda clearly at odds with those attitudes, how can he hope to not be corrected? And what if he feels "belittled"? Haven't our fathers gladly gone to the fire--for the truth--with far less complaint than some here have made for being rebuked when they have turned, and are clearly intending to lead others, so far out of the narrow way?

===================

(And for those wanting to know:
"I" rate:
0.46% of words
40th in rank order)
Posted By: hisalone Re: Challenges to several recent statements - Fri Jun 05, 2009 1:13 AM
Originally Posted by Paul_S
You have just made several statements which at face value--and you gave no hint of their being intended in any other way
Whenever was meant to mean at any given time, not every time, so my apology of using poor, unclear English. I was thinking of the prophets of the O.T. when they brought a message that was not to the people’s liking, and when Luther stood at the Diet at Worms, and others who stood for truth and suffered, many dying for their testimony, so my mind was on them not going against conscience because of their Holy fear of God yet able to stand because of their infallible trust of God.
Originally Posted by Paul_S
I don’t know how you think anyone on a website can “force” their opinions on another.
As you must know, I’m talking about how individuals make personal judgments and belittle anyone in opposition to their beliefs; this is speaking solely of doctrinal beliefs. My x and x were about biblical/Christian ethics, not a matter of doctrinal belief. It was a statement with me included, my demeanor must constantly be kept in check. In this discussion group if a person is outside the general consensus, they are not made to feel very welcome some times.
Originally Posted by Paul_S
YOU CANNOT NOW ANYTHING FROM WHAT COMES FROM THE PAST
Again, this was my fault again for not being clearer. My point was that the RC’s and Pharisees were both confident that they had the absolute handle on the truth, that they comprehended God totally and there wasn’t anything that they needed to learn anymore. They basically built walls around their beliefs to keep everything out, including the Holy Spirit. You will notice I said to protect the “law”, meaning God’s Word is good, with full agreement, the loss of the authority of the word or its place in the church is the most devastating thing that happens, both in the O.T. and the N.T. However, we must not protect it so staunchly that we are unable to learn more from it through His Spirit.
Originally Posted by Paul_S
I see only two logical alternatives to your parenthetical statement
Or (C’) having the mind of Christ 1 Cor. 2:16
Originally Posted by Paul_S
If someone ignorant of primary issues demonstrates true humility by admitting their ignorance…
That sheds light on everything, instead of being treated as a brother in Christ, when there is disagreement, the opposing person is considered ignorant and unless the one who disagreed doesn’t admit to their ignorance, they will be treated and considered as such. That is why a person feels belittled. I honestly grieved over how Carlos was treated. Although I didn’t agree with what he was saying, he still came across as a brother in the Lord who was only excited about what God was doing in his life, yet the desire was to quench his enthusiasm. We didn’t even give him a chance to work through things showing patience and love.
I’m not a philosopher nor do I do any “I” ratings, I’m poor in English and not as learned as most in this group. However, I am a child of God who has sought to honor, be obedient and glorify Him, knowing full well the condemnation I bring on myself by teaching error.
"Not many of you should become teachers, my brothers, for you know that we who teach will be judged with greater strictness. (James 3:1)" and
"I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. (Matthew 12:36-37" and
"Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth." (2 Timothy 2:15)
I acquiescence to the verses above, and if I’m out of line with these, may the Lord rebuke me. I have always sought to be true to His word with the ability He has given me. I am seen as a standaloner which is not my intention, I am only stating what I believe to be truth, and until the Spirit convinces me otherwise, It’s impossible for me to agree just because people say I must due to the history of the past. It isn’t that easy to go contrary to conscience.

Originally Posted by Pilgrim
Can you honestly say that when (if) you read the Westminster Confession of Faith you are awed by the wisdom…
I’m awed and blessed also, with the spiritual understanding which God gave these giants of the past. After the Bible I find no greater joy than spending time with the saints of old. Additionally, they don’t judge me when I disagree with them either. They continue to kindly speak to me in spite of our small disagreements.
Posted By: CovenantInBlood Re: Challenges to several recent statements - Fri Jun 05, 2009 4:19 AM
Originally Posted by hisalone
That sheds light on everything, instead of being treated as a brother in Christ, when there is disagreement, the opposing person is considered ignorant and unless the one who disagreed doesn’t admit to their ignorance, they will be treated and considered as such. That is why a person feels belittled. I honestly grieved over how Carlos was treated. Although I didn’t agree with what he was saying, he still came across as a brother in the Lord who was only excited about what God was doing in his life, yet the desire was to quench his enthusiasm. We didn’t even give him a chance to work through things showing patience and love.

The desire was to quench his enthusiasm? What on earth are you talking about? Do you consider the contempt (yes, contempt!) Carlos displayed toward "Sunday churches" to be brotherly love? Was his constant characterization of "Sunday churches" as being "mute spectators" focused on gathering in a building once a week a knowledgeable characterization? Was his claim to the authority to baptize, speak aloud spontaneously in worship, serve communion himself at home, etc., evidence of humility? Or did his griping about the functionality of the board (a result of his own ignorance) advance discussion?

If you're going to make accusations of ill-treatment, you need to cite exactly what you think was ill-treatment (by whom!) & point to what scriptural principles you think were violated. Vague generalizations aren't acceptable.
Posted By: Paul_S Re: Challenges to several recent statements - Fri Jun 05, 2009 8:14 AM
Hisalone,

Thanks for responding.

About what you called your "poor, unclear English", I wasn't thinking in those terms at all. My home is in a neighborhood where English is certainly not the first language, and I have had 2 children who were nearly unintelligible to anyone but myself as toddlers, and a 3rd who spoke only Mandarin when newly in our family, so I have learned a few ways to get to the heart of what someone is trying to communicate. I would not have raised a challenge to your use of "whenever" if it might have been just a poorly chosen word; I did so because your use of it went along with other statements--your recent "opposition" line, earlier comments about having little trust in historical records (apparently accepted by majorities) come to mind--which make it seem that you have very little use for the consensus of the church.

Now that you have clarified yourself that the real issue for you is not minority vs. majority:
Originally Posted by hisalone
my mind was on them not going against conscience because of their Holy fear of God yet able to stand because of their infallible trust of God
please tell me this--

with regard to an essential doctrine of the faith, how do you resolve any conflict between your conscience and the overwhelming historical testimony of the church, when both yourself and the testimony of the church claim a biblical foundation for the doctrine?

About your expansion of the "forcing beliefs" issue, I would appreciate more about this statement:
Originally Posted by hisalone
My x and x were about biblical/Christian ethics, not a matter of doctrinal belief
because it sounds like you're saying that it's fine to tell someone what to do about biblical/Christian ethics, but it's not right to tell someone that they are personally wrong about a point of doctrine. I'm not sure that's what you're saying, though, and would appreciate clarification.

And since you clearly have the treatment carlos123 received in mind, specifics would be very appropriate since you have now made general charges about:
  • "belittl(ing)",
  • absence of "gentleness",
  • "muscling their truth on people",
  • not "allow(ing) the Spirit to speak",
  • "discourag(ing)",
  • "hammering our truth down their throats",
  • assuming we were "given the job of the Holy Spirit",
  • causing "trouble in the church",
  • not being "more Christlike in how we relate to each other"

These are very serious charges, hisalone. You must substantiate them or withdraw them.

Now onto the lessons you draw from the Pharisees. Here it was not lack of clarity, but that you were--in your original post--and continue--in your clarification--misrepresenting the clear exegesis of the Lord's rebuke of them, making your application--comparing the Pharisees' and Catholics' approach to tradition to the biblical Christian's approach to the consensus of the church--a strawman.

You err greatly in implying that the Pharisees were guilty of protecting the Law so much that they shut out the work of the Holy Spirit. This is a great error because it sets the Law and the Spirit--who breathed the Law!--in opposition. May it never be! The Pharisees, and all who remain under condemnation in their native self-righteousness, demonstrated rather, by their fruitlessness and hatred of Christ, that they DESPISED THE LAW OF GOD, always supplanting it with their own innovations, emendations, re-interpretations and self-aggrandizing misapplications, rather than embracing it, as intended, as it drove them to the cross--and they were doubtless quite secure in their consciences.

How can you have too much of the Law? Jesus cries through the Psalms "Oh how I love Thy Law!" and "I come to do Thy will!" Can He be accused of "too staunchly" protecting the Law? By thus misinterpreting the Pharisees, you are implying that the church can somehow have too much reliance on its own consensus with the Word of God, and that the individual conscience, led by a Spirit who is somehow not shackled by the Law, should be the ultimate arbiter of truth. Is that your intent?

About your 3rd alternative, please let me know--does "having the mind of Christ" cause any individual Christian's mind to become something other than finite? (If you are thinking of going into "know this love of Christ which surpasses knowledge", please understand that the distinction I am hoping to draw is not natural vs revealed knowledge or even varying degrees of knowledge, but simply this: can any human being have a mind which is other than finite?)

It looks like most of your remaining paragraphs have been addressed above. One last thing, however, since you said "I am not a philosopher". While Paul soundly whacks philosophy/philosophers in 1 Cor. 1:28 and Col. 2:8, in both verses he makes it clear that he is talking about those of this world system rather than philosophy in general (if that were not the case, he would be denying scholarship and wisdom as well, in contradiction to Scripture). Not knowing you personally, I am still quite confident in issuing a new challenge--against your denial of being a philosopher--because the word itself simply means:

"one who loves knowledge"

and I strongly doubt you would deny that characterizes you! I strongly exhort you, however, to value more highly the Berean-approved wealth of wisdom that has preceded you among those who cared more for the church of Christ they served than their own lives, not least by using all their powers to preserve that wisdom and truth intact and without innovation for our own generation.
Posted By: hisalone Re: Challenges to several recent statements - Fri Jun 05, 2009 12:58 PM
Paul, (first, you don't need to read this, it is long and boring, just an attempt to clear up some of my attitude on this whole issue of Carlos)

The whole tone of your response to me is much different than the tone that Carlos received. I think if Carlos would have gotten a more gentle response than that he needed to repent of his slanderous accusations etc, he might have hung around and possibly learned and even changed his views. I believe the regulars on this discussion board are planted well enough doctrinally that opposing views are not going to easily shake them. When opposing views come, they present opportunities to sharpen swords and make us stronger in doctrine. This is one of the reasons I like this group, it challenges me continually, and it gives me opportunity to think through things.

I guess I related to Carlos, because I was where he was, not the Pentecostal type tendencies, but the part where I had to sit below a pastor and elders who were dead spiritually. I finally got the chance to teach through the book of Romans and when I got to the doctrine of predestination, I was run out of the church. The pastor made the comment that from “HIS” pulpit, he would only teach the love of Christ. He also said that God never said we were to hate our brothers, sisters, wives and children and that I was teaching heresy. We stayed at the church because we thought we could have a positive impact on it and the church wasn’t all about how great it was. After that, my wife and I looked around for churches in our area. One we attended was legalistic and all they preached was how bad everyone else is and how great “they/we” were. Others were also dead spiritually, only teaching man centered messages, so at that period in my life, I would have made the basically the same comment Carlos did, not intending it to be inclusive of all churches. In older posts on this board, back in 2003 when I joined it was because of what we were up against. It was then I stumbled on to the highway and realized there still was a “remnant” and we weren’t alone. It may sound odd to someone who hasn’t experienced that.
Side note: shortly after we were run out, the pastor came under conviction that he could not stay there any longer. The new pastor they installed began teaching the whole counsel of God. People only wanting to hear about the “love” of Christ found that the teaching about the justice and wrath of God was distasteful and they left. I’m now back to teaching, leading prayer meetings and giving an occasional message from the pulpit, this is from a church group that 4 years ago forced me out. God is in control and we need to always be sensitive to His guidance and leading.

That said, I believe Carlos was led here by our sovereign God. It didn’t seem to me that he came here to intentionally disrupt things but to open up and quite possibly find that he isn’t alone. I suppose that is why I was so grieved about Carlos, I saw myself about 5 years ago.
Those are some of the reasons I made the comments I did. Belittling was making a snide remark about computer skills, not a big deal, but he was already struggling with his view of Christians, gentleness, again a rebuke and asking him to repent, not trying to understand why he was in the disheveled state he was in. Muscling the truth was just giving him a huge load of resources and telling him to read this or that instead of trying to dialog with him. I know he appreciated the links and we all do, but some times why not try discussing it? It is a little more personal instead of wham, here you go. The job of the Holy Spirit means let Him work, again, I believe Carlos was led here for a reason and doing the previous things I mentioned he might have seen more clearly what everyone was trying to say to him. Causing trouble in the church is again, episodes where individuals want to run the church instead of allowing God to run it, seeking to force their agendas instead of following the line of authority, and in doing that, seek the highest authority, Christ Himself by praying over things first. All the problems in our church are caused by the less than faithful who believe it is their job to run the church, and if we don’t do it their way, then we are out of the will of God. Being Christ like means that we are patient, longsuffering and attentive trying to see why the person is in the state they are and addressing that instead of snap judgments on the intentions and spirit of the person.

In response to the Pharisees, I am trying to say, they were protective of their false understanding of the “truth”. Over the generations, each generation was taught lies and these are what they protected. Sort of allowing sewage into the drinking water and then doing everything possible to keep it that way, not allowing means of purification to get in. As far as law, again, I don’t communicate very well, but an example is protecting the legalistic, moral aspect of the law and missing completely the spiritual in it. Something a majority of churches are guilty of today.
My comment about not being a philosopher was meant to mean I have a hard time holding everything together logically, in my mind I know exactly what I’m thinking but my comments and way of phrasing is completely scrambled. I just was thinking how philosophy goes from point a to point b in their arguments.
My love of knowledge is the spiritual knowledge I receive through the Bible, the saints of old and groups like this. I am poorly equipped with the knowledge of the world, but I do know my redeemer. I’m seen as one who contradicts the wisdom of the past, but I don’t know why, again, I see things a little differently, but I don’t deny what they have spoken in the past, I just have expanded on it looking at it from a different viewpoint.

Anyway, thanks for the gentle reply, if only we would always respond in such a manner, it defuses any defensiveness or irritation even if we have been provoked by others. The best thing is to understand why the rash comments were made which you did here, calling me out on my comments concerning the treatment of people on the discussion group and I answered why I made those statements.
Posted By: Pilgrim Re: Challenges to several recent statements - Fri Jun 05, 2009 2:17 PM
Originally Posted by hisalone
The whole tone of your response to me is much different than the tone that Carlos received.
That is entirely a matter of your opinion. From my vantage point, I see things totally opposite.

Originally Posted by hisalone
That said, I believe Carlos was led here by our sovereign God.
IF it was the Holy Spirit Who brought carlos123 here, which I heartily agree it was, then the same Holy Spirit would have opened his eyes, softened his heart and given him a mind to accept, at least for serious consideration those things which were said and/or linked to. The Spirit doesn't lead a man to water only to let those who are distributing it take over and ultimately determine whose thirst is quenched and who dies of thirst. This is not to deny human responsibility.

Originally Posted by hisalone
In response to the Pharisees, I am trying to say, they were protective of their false understanding of the “truth”. Over the generations, each generation was taught lies and these are what they protected. Sort of allowing sewage into the drinking water and then doing everything possible to keep it that way, not allowing means of purification to get in.
[Linked Image] It has been your repetitive contention that, at least in part, that the "stalwarts" and many of us here are to be considered like these Pharisees because we desire the "old paths" and have no shame in unwaveringly defending what was considered to be the truth of God which has been consistently believed, defended and even died for throughout history. By implication, whether you intend it that way or not, this comes across as saying that all of the above are defending a "false understanding of the 'truth'. Again, "each generation was taught lies and these are what they protected." Without question the statement on its face is undeniably true. But you have used it in such a way that it is applicable to men such as Calvin, Edwards, Owen, Hendriksen, et al, ... myself and others here. You have constantly stated that you do not and will not "align myself with you (Pilgrim) nor any man", thus making yourself logically as a "lone ranger"; one who stands alone and rests upon his own understanding because you have your Bible and the Holy Spirit. I need not tell you what this amounts to, right? Think about it!

Originally Posted by hisalone
I'm seen as one who contradicts the wisdom of the past, but I don't know why, again, I see things a little differently, but I don't deny what they have spoken in the past, I just have expanded on it looking at it from a different viewpoint.
It's unfortunate that at this time you cannot see how you show yourself as one who has little to no respect nor humility in regard to "the wisdom of the past". On the one hand you occasionally say you appreciate and even benefit from the "old writers of the past". But more often you denigrate them and even summarily dismiss them because they are "fallible men". Fallible men they were, but not as implied that they are not to be trusted at all... but your "insights" are to be trusted. rolleyes2 I'm sorry, but I also don't accept this euphemism from a different viewpoint. The "viewpoint" which these men of the past had and I pray most of us here have is one which is biblically based; 1) genuine humility toward God, 2) utterly dependent upon the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth of God's written Word, 3) prayerful and careful study of that Word with the hermeneutic (method of interpretation) which the Scriptures themselves regulate, 4) a love for the Church as it is "the pillar and ground of the truth." and thus great respect for those who have gone before and who were gifted by the Holy Spirit for teaching. Much more could be included, but these few things I think were foundational in these men. It was such men who produced by the providence of God the great Creeds, Confessions and Catechisms which we are blessed with.

The point of all this is that I have to wonder if you ever consider within yourself when you come across what you deem "new insights" from Scripture, particularly those which most of us here find problems with, that they haven't been presented before, they were scrutinized and were rejected? But you get upset when that happens to you here. I'll always remember the flippant way you dismissed William Hendriksen in a post where his "viewpoint" contradicted yours. I believe the topic was the "love of God" where you presented a "new viewpoint" on how to understand God's love to all men. Your "new insight" was challenged and I personally opposed you as did others because it isn't an "expansion" of what others have believe, but rather contrary to what they believed and what Scripture clearly teaches. But you dismissed all the statements of those in the past, all the statements found in the Confessions and the Canons of Dordt, all the Scriptural references shown you, etc. You deliberately chose to stand alone on the premise that "God continues to reveal Himself in these last days"... more than He has to others in the past. Can you appreciate how that appears to someone reading such things? Think about it! grin

Lastly, I would like to provide a quote from Martin Luther, that incredible man who had the tenacity and courage, thanks be to God, to stand up against the entire organized church of his day because he discovered that "truth once delivered to the saints" (notice not some "new insight"):

Quote
I am not permitted to let my love be so merciful as to tolerate and endure false doctrine. When faith and doctrine are concerned and endangered, neither love nor patience are in order.... when these are concerned, neither toleration nor mercy are in order, but only anger, dispute, and destruction - to be sure, only with the Word of God as our weapon.
In His grace,
Posted By: hisalone Re: Challenges to several recent statements - Fri Jun 05, 2009 3:01 PM
In everything said concerning my stance and your view of me is right as you and others see it, and maybe even as God sees it. As to the issues concerned, I am seeing things differently than everyone else and I can't help that. Just because others disagree does not change my convictions, it isn't that easy. Don't you think I would change my mind if I was convinced of what you are saying? I don't mean to be arrogant or give the appearance of stepping on everyone, I'm only pointing to what I've been convinced of, presenting it for others to consider, not necessarily to accept. If I'm under deception, which is possible, then I trust in time to be convicted of that, but I can't just change my view to go with the majority without the conviction I'm wrong. I know I'm poor at giving examples, and I'm not saying anything other than trying to show what I mean. A convinced Arminian will not be convinced about the doctrine of election until the Holy Spirit opens his or her eyes to understand the Sovereignty of God. They are appoaching the doctrine of election according to their human understandings, God could never reject anyone, He loves everyone. Or how about when you understood the doctrine of election, was there any way you would go back to the old way of thinking? Of course not, it would be counter to the truth. There is a people in our church right now that are staunch Arminians, after realizing that talking to them about the sovereignty of God was fruitless, I let it drop and just teach the truth not trying to change their views. They believe they are absolutely right and they use anger when defending their view. Not a very pleasent experience.

Again, keep in mind, I have taken everything you said about me and my views to heart, but until I have liberty to lay down the views I currently hold, I can't go back. I appreciate everyone's opinion and honesty and I do not mean any disrespect to anyone. As for what Martin Luther said, I still believe as scripture instructs, we must approach a brother in error with gentleness. I submit to your views concerning me, but not to the views concerning the differences in doctrine, not at this time.

BTW, the issue about the Armour of God I realized the view wasn't good but it took time. Just yesterday I heard David Jeremiah, who I appreciate, say "IT IS" putting on Christ, so now I disagree with him, previously I would have said yeah, that's true!!!
Posted By: Robert Re: Challenges to several recent statements - Fri Jun 05, 2009 3:21 PM
Originally Posted by Pilgrim
Originally Posted by hisalone
The whole tone of your response to me is much different than the tone that Carlos received.
That is entirely a matter of your opinion. From my vantage point, I see things totally opposite.

Originally Posted by hisalone
That said, I believe Carlos was led here by our sovereign God.
IF it was the Holy Spirit Who brought carlos123 here, which I heartily agree it was, then the same Holy Spirit would have opened his eyes, softened his heart and given him a mind to accept, at least for serious consideration those things which were said and/or linked to. The Spirit doesn't lead a man to water only to let those who are distributing it take over and ultimately determine whose thirst is quenched and who dies of thirst. This is not to deny human responsibility.

Originally Posted by hisalone
In response to the Pharisees, I am trying to say, they were protective of their false understanding of the “truth”. Over the generations, each generation was taught lies and these are what they protected. Sort of allowing sewage into the drinking water and then doing everything possible to keep it that way, not allowing means of purification to get in.
[Linked Image] It has been your repetitive contention that, at least in part, that the "stalwarts" and many of us here are to be considered like these Pharisees because we desire the "old paths" and have no shame in unwaveringly defending what was considered to be the truth of God which has been consistently believed, defended and even died for throughout history. By implication, whether you intend it that way or not, this comes across as saying that all of the above are defending a "false understanding of the 'truth'. Again, "each generation was taught lies and these are what they protected." Without question the statement on its face is undeniably true. But you have used it in such a way that it is applicable to men such as Calvin, Edwards, Owen, Hendriksen, et al, ... myself and others here. You have constantly stated that you do not and will not "align myself with you (Pilgrim) nor any man", thus making yourself logically as a "lone ranger"; one who stands alone and rests upon his own understanding because you have your Bible and the Holy Spirit. I need not tell you what this amounts to, right? Think about it!

Originally Posted by hisalone
I'm seen as one who contradicts the wisdom of the past, but I don't know why, again, I see things a little differently, but I don't deny what they have spoken in the past, I just have expanded on it looking at it from a different viewpoint.
It's unfortunate that at this time you cannot see how you show yourself as one who has little to no respect nor humility in regard to "the wisdom of the past". On the one hand you occasionally say you appreciate and even benefit from the "old writers of the past". But more often you denigrate them and even summarily dismiss them because they are "fallible men". Fallible men they were, but not as implied that they are not to be trusted at all... but your "insights" are to be trusted. rolleyes2 I'm sorry, but I also don't accept this euphemism from a different viewpoint. The "viewpoint" which these men of the past had and I pray most of us here have is one which is biblically based; 1) genuine humility toward God, 2) utterly dependent upon the Holy Spirit to reveal the truth of God's written Word, 3) prayerful and careful study of that Word with the hermeneutic (method of interpretation) which the Scriptures themselves regulate, 4) a love for the Church as it is "the pillar and ground of the truth." and thus great respect for those who have gone before and who were gifted by the Holy Spirit for teaching. Much more could be included, but these few things I think were foundational in these men. It was such men who produced by the providence of God the great Creeds, Confessions and Catechisms which we are blessed with.

The point of all this is that I have to wonder if you ever consider within yourself when you come across what you deem "new insights" from Scripture, particularly those which most of us here find problems with, that they haven't been presented before, they were scrutinized and were rejected? But you get upset when that happens to you here. I'll always remember the flippant way you dismissed William Hendriksen in a post where his "viewpoint" contradicted yours. I believe the topic was the "love of God" where you presented a "new viewpoint" on how to understand God's love to all men. Your "new insight" was challenged and I personally opposed you as did others because it isn't an "expansion" of what others have believe, but rather contrary to what they believed and what Scripture clearly teaches. But you dismissed all the statements of those in the past, all the statements found in the Confessions and the Canons of Dordt, all the Scriptural references shown you, etc. You deliberately chose to stand alone on the premise that "God continues to reveal Himself in these last days"... more than He has to others in the past. Can you appreciate how that appears to someone reading such things? Think about it! grin

Lastly, I would like to provide a quote from Martin Luther, that incredible man who had the tenacity and courage, thanks be to God, to stand up against the entire organized church of his day because he discovered that "truth once delivered to the saints" (notice not some "new insight"):

Quote
I am not permitted to let my love be so merciful as to tolerate and endure false doctrine. When faith and doctrine are concerned and endangered, neither love nor patience are in order.... when these are concerned, neither toleration nor mercy are in order, but only anger, dispute, and destruction - to be sure, only with the Word of God as our weapon.
In His grace,


As you said:
"IF it was the Holy Spirit Who brought carlos123 here, which I heartily agree it was, then the same Holy Spirit would have opened his eyes, softened his heart and given him a mind to accept, at least for serious consideration those things which were said and/or linked to."

Perhaps it would have taken some time but was underway. I think that plants take time to grow!
Not that I totally buy all your statements.
Posted By: Johan Re: Challenges to several recent statements - Fri Jun 05, 2009 3:48 PM
Hisalone,

In view of what you say about yourself having different views, even with some chapters in the WCF: Can you perhaps give an example of where you differ? Thus, with which chapter do you differ, what is your view on that particular "doctrine", and what is your justification for that view?

Johan
Posted By: Pilgrim Re: Challenges to several recent statements - Fri Jun 05, 2009 4:34 PM
Originally Posted by hisalone
Just because others disagree does not change my convictions, it isn't that easy. Don't you think I would change my mind if I was convinced of what you are saying?
Several times you have brought up the matter of "conviction". And it would appear that the only legitimate reason for someone to embrace a certain doctrine, teaching or practice when it is shown to be biblically evident is if one "experiences conviction" that it is so. Again, I sadly must take issue with this type of view. I remember vividly pointing out a sin in a brother's life, clearly showing him that what he was doing was sin according to the Scriptures. And his response was, "What you have shown me is true, but until the Holy Spirit convicts me of that sin, I will not repent." Now, I am going to presume that you would also find this brother's response fallacious, no? And why is it fallacious? Because it matters not if one "feels conviction" before one stop sinning. Perhaps another example on the matter of theological doctrine. Many of those embracing neo-orthodoxy and even Liberalism are more than knowledgeable concerning what historic Presbyterian holds to be true. In fact, many of the neo-Orthodox and even some Liberal denominations still give recognition to the Westminster Standards. But when pressed as to their hypocrisy and/or their unbiblical "views" they refuse to recant and embrace biblical Calvinism. Now, why is that? Yes, yes.... only the Spirit can bring one to faith, etc. That's a given. So, that isn't an issue here. What stands out is that EVEN when shown the truth they flatly reject it because it contradicts what they believe. The point here is that we must never bifurcate the head from the heart. The two are complimentary.

Jonathan Edwards was one who firmly held to the depravity of man as you well know. In fact, the world disdains some of his more well-known sermons, e.g., "Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God". He was aware that in his congregation there were unbelievers; unregenerate sinners who of themselves had no desire nor ability to repent and believe on Christ. Yet, this did not prevent him from rebuking them for not doing what they had no interest in nor ability to do. Was he nuts? Was he totally inconsiderate of their condition? Was he unkind? Was he unChristlike? nope not on your life. He was simply emulating his Lord and God. What he told these individuals is that even though they had no desire and no ability to convert they were still wholly responsible. For, what they could do is make use the means available to them, e.g., attend worship services where the Word of God was faithfully preaches, for faith comes by hearing the Word of God, they could read the Scriptures for in them Christ is found, they could pray that God would convict them of their sin and draw them to Christ. Am I making any sense here? One may not be "convinced" in his heart that a certain doctrine is true, but that doesn't relieve that person from the responsibility of embracing the truth. True doctrine can be and most often is comprehensible, for how else would one reject or accept it, right? And thus one can embrace something with the intellect even though it is not fully understood, tasteful, etc. If one can be shown that biblically, logically and reasonably that a particular view doesn't square with Scripture, then convicted or not, it is incumbent that one abandon the erroneous view even though there is no "conviction" that the other view is 100% correct.

Okay, this is my attempt to try and get you to understand that one is not excusable for embracing error just because they don't "feel convinced" that it is error. Again, this is NOT to say that conviction isn't relevant or even important, but rather it is not the all-and-all of why a believer embraces any particular teaching. You can believe something but still not like it! wink

In His grace,
Posted By: Pilgrim Re: the use of Quotes in replies - Fri Jun 05, 2009 4:44 PM
Robert,

I am going to ask you to please consider only including those portions of a quote from another source which are germane to what you are going to respond to. In the reply to which I am responding you have a lengthy quote most of which is irrelevant. If nothing else it would be a courtesy to those reading your replies if you would do this since some are still on dialup. Some other reasons are it needlessly uses bandwidth and it takes up space in the database, all of which I have to pay for. wink

So, put another way, how about providing "Cliff's Notes" rather than the entire book? giggle

THANKS!
Posted By: hisalone Re: Challenges to several recent statements - Fri Jun 05, 2009 5:18 PM
Pilgrim,

I agree 100% with what you said, I am not shirking my responsibility. I want to answer Johan's post later when I get the time. I will show where I disagree with the Westminster Confession and why. Most likely in a separate thread. Not to stir controversy but to try to be more clear. I want to take time to point to the scriptures that lead me to believe as I do. I also want to do a little searching to see if this view ever was presented, meaning the objective love of God versus His subjective love and the arguments against it. Until then, understand, I do take full responsibility for my view heretical or not, it isn't based on a like or dislike, it is simply my view of God. I fully accept that God chooses who He will and rejects others, my point is that God's Love is more extensive than we give it because we fail to see it objectively.

Thanks again for your posts, they have all been well received.
Posted By: Johan Re: Challenges to several recent statements - Fri Jun 05, 2009 5:53 PM
Originally Posted by hisalone
I want to answer Johan's post later when I get the time. I will show where I disagree with the Westminster Confession and why. Most likely in a separate thread. Not to stir controversy but to try to be more clear. I want to take time to point to the scriptures that lead me to believe as I do.

Good.

Johan
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