LOOKING TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP JESUS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. 18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].

Saturday, June 23, 2007

A Serious Question To Free Gracers About Rewards

Free Gracers, at least the ones who would still talk to me, please enlighten me concerning rewards. Does your view create a hierarchy in Heaven? Do you seek reward outside of love for Christ, that is, can your work for rewards surpass love for Christ? What is your motivation for rewards? What is the place that rewards should have in the life of the believer?

Please, my debate mode is off. Tell me all about rewards.

Thank you.

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29 Comments:

Blogger Antonio said...

Beginner's article by Zane Hodges:

We Believe in Rewards

I also wrote this once on your blog:

Hey Doug,

Just a quick note:

Free Grace theology states that the intimacy that you share with Christ in the present is proportionate/commensurate to that which you share with Him in the Kingdom.

Discipleship is a requirement for the superlative experience, honors, and glories of the kingdom.

But what is discipleship? It is following Christ in an intimate relationship. Jesus says, "Abide in My love" He says we abide in His love by doing His commandments.

We work for rewards for two reasons:

1) We love Christ and He commanded that we pursue rewards

2) We desire greater temporal and eternal intimacy with our Lord.

I think that your critiques of Free Grace theology rarely if ever show our motivations for pursuing rewards.

love --> obeying commandments --> being a disciple / abiding in Christ's love --> temporal and eternal rewards and intimacy with Christ

That Jesus commands that we pursue them should be enough.

Didn't you tell me that you were going purchase and read Zane Hodge's "Grace in Eclipse"?

I think that if you did, you could learn from a spirtual exegete what the grand picture is, rather than having us expend our efforts here on this thread.

You strike me as a man of your word. I fully believed that you intended to purchase and read Zane's book on rewards.

Antonio

June 23, 2007 9:15 PM

 
Blogger Gojira said...

Just gone through a quick glance here Antonio. Yes. That had to do with Ton's actually very good work. I have Hodge's book lined up to get. Although not on topic, and one I would like to get, you might find this one interesting:

http://www.amazon.com/Four-Views-Warning-Passages-Hebrews/dp/0825421322/ref=sr_1_1/104-3375526-9169508?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1182653582&sr=8-1

June 23, 2007 10:53 PM

 
Blogger Antonio said...

Hey Doug,

If you would read his book as soon as you get it, I would send one your way, free of charge.

Antonio

June 23, 2007 11:12 PM

 
Blogger Antonio said...

Oh, btw,

the book is like 120 pages.

Very easy reading. i am sure you could consume it in a few hours.

Antonio

June 23, 2007 11:12 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Antonio, what if someone were to embrace the idea of the kingdom, now and not yet - what does that do to your concept of rewards?

Just a friendly question, no harm intended.

June 23, 2007 11:20 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

The way I'm looking at this I wonder if the Free Grace concept of rewards could hold up with those who embrace either Postmil or Amil. Your response please, sir.

June 24, 2007 7:09 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

This is disappointing. I have long theorized that one can not arrive at FGT unless one first embraces that which is Classic Dispensationalism and its strange view of repentance as well as their eschatology. I was hoping to see whether my theory would pan out or not. But alas! no interaction. Maybe I was right... Maybe not. Now I'll never know...

June 25, 2007 8:23 AM

 
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Mark, I am happy to interact with you.

'Does your view create a hierarchy in Heaven?'

Yes, I suppose it does. There will be those who reign over 10 citiesm those who reign over five cities and those who do not reign at all.

'Do you seek reward outside of love for Christ, that is, can your work for rewards surpass love for Christ?'

We show love to Christ by seeking the rewards He offers.

'What is your motivation for rewards?'

The rewards bring us into a more intimate union with the divine, whereby we become deified ourselves. That is by taking a position of rulership over creation, we share in Christ's glorious heavenly position.

"I have long theorized that one can not arrive at FGT unless one first embraces that which is Classic Dispensationalism and its strange view of repentance as well as their eschatology."

I think one would have difficulty in denying that repentance is a condition of eternal life without taking a futurist view of prophecy and a broadly Premillennial view of the end times.

That is not to say it would be impossible.

The Free grace position is based on the premise that the offer of eternal life is nowhere attached to repentance. This of course, has nothing to do with prophecy.

It is possible that one could find a way of dealing with repentance from a Free Grace position that holds to a different view of prophecy.

Mark, you keep saying that it is all about Dispensationalism.

If you think this is really the case, the burden of proof ought to be on yourself to show that it is.

Why not explain exactly why you think Free Grace is so dependant on Dispensationalism? I would be really interested to read your thoughts.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

June 25, 2007 9:00 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Matthew says, "The Free grace position is based on the premise that the offer of eternal life is nowhere attached to repentance. This of course, has nothing to do with prophecy."

A bad premise. We look at Acts 26:15-20. The work of God in the life of those coming to Christ is to open people's eyes, turn them from darkness to light, from the power of satan to God, THAT they may recieve foregiveness of sins...

God does this when the message of repentance is preached to the lost. It is the work of God as the message is properly preached. See Acts 26:19-20. The message of repentance preached to the sinner is glorious because in it the sinner is exposed to the glorious news that he is freed from his enslavement to sin and is now, by God's working, a slave of God. See Romans 6. Message from Acts 26:15-20 - no repentance, no foregiveness. Acts 3:26.

June 25, 2007 10:13 AM

 
Blogger Rose~ said...

Matthew says: Why not explain exactly why you think Free Grace is so dependant on Dispensationalism? I would be really interested to read your thoughts.

Mark, I would be interested in that as well.

June 25, 2007 10:19 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Matthew, please carefully outline for me how one who holds that repentance is the changing of the mind, resulting in changed lifestyle, Acts 26:20, and also is Postmil or amil could arrive at FGT. I do not hold to Chafer's idea that there is such a thing as a state of carnal Christianity (was he not also influenced somewhat by Keswick teaching). How then does my theology allow me to embrace FGT? I hold that the Kingdom is both now and not yet, not entirely future as CD holds. Major road blocks to my embracing FGT, no?

June 25, 2007 10:21 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

I do not believe that it could be denied that Zane Hodges' system rests full weight on Chafer's shoulders. Matthew, do you deny that?

June 25, 2007 10:50 AM

 
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Mark, I think it is important to realise that our theology does not fall from heaven.

Most of us come to the Word of God from some perpsective that we have been taught.

This does not just apply to those who have been brought up in religious homes; a person who is converted by an evangelist is likely to pick up some basic Bible teaching (false or true teaching) before she spends time in serious or lengthy study of the Scriptures.

A person in an Assemblies of God church is unlikely to adopt the paedobaptist position simply by studying the Bible on her own, because the premise that infant baptism is agreeable to the Christian religion is based on a serious of theological premises that are not found within the theology of the Assemblies of God.

That is not to say that paedobaptism is false, or even that it is incompatible with Pentecostal theology.

Suppose that the young Pentecostal decided to go to Bible College. Having a Reformed friend, she decided to go, not to a Pentecostal Bible college, but to Covenant Theological Seminary in Kansas City, which is PCA.

The young lady, being very stubborn and headstrong is unconvinced by most of the theology she is taught at Covenant Seminary and remains a convinced Pentecostal.

However, she finds that some of the arguments she learns for Paedobaptism are quite good. She thinks hard about the issue, and decides that in fact Paedobaptism is compatible with her Pentecostal theology.

Although she would never have become a paedobaptist whithout being exposed to Reformed theology, she finds that her Pentecostal theology is compatible with paedobatpism.

So it is certainly true that Free Grace theology is an outworking of principles in Chafer's Dispensationalism. I would agree with that.

However, that does not necessarilly mean that only a person who is a Dispensationalist could hold to Free Grace theology.

Combining Free Grace theology with Covenant theology might present quite a number of difficulties, but it is by no means impossible.

You mention Keswick, but not everybody who held to Keswick teaching was Dispensational, despite its connection with the Brethren.

Graham Scroggie and F.B. Meyer were not Dispensational.

I am not aware of whether all Free Gracers hold that the kingdom is entirely future. I suspect some might hold to a present dimension. There might be some difficulties, but I do not see that a 'here but not yet' view would cause any real problems to the Free grace system for the most part.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

June 25, 2007 2:05 PM

 
Anonymous danny said...

Hi Mark. No, Free Grace is not limited to Dispensationalism.
Here is an article by a Free Grace Preterist, David B. Curtis.

http://ecclesia.org/truth/mat11.html

June 25, 2007 10:42 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Matthew, thanks. I actually enjoyed this conversation. Let's have many more like it.

Danny, a full preterist? (a small note: I once chased a preterist out of our church because I thought him an heretic. Oh the irony. Now I am willing to look at partial preterism for myself. Times, they are a changin'). Thanks, Danny, for your contribution.

June 26, 2007 7:28 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Now, a question: Does not preterism, amilism, postmilism require a Free Gracer to adjust his views of rewards, at least as they are presented by the dominant dispensational wing of FGT?

June 26, 2007 7:32 AM

 
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Mark, I am too.
Why would such a person need to do that?

If you think that is the case, please explain why you think so.

June 26, 2007 8:41 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Matthew, though I have not yet read it - right now I am reading "progressive Dispensationalism", "Lectures to My Students" and "The Story of Christianity" by Justo Gonzalez, all at one time - I have heard that "Reign of The Servant Kings", which is promoted by many in FGT, is very anti perseverance doctrine; while the preterist's, amils and postmils are all calvinist who hold to said perseverance doctrine and maintain that a truely regenerate person is moved by love to serve the Lord. The rewards are an after thought, to be honest.

June 26, 2007 10:32 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

This is for my own referance for later viewing....


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Higher_Life_movement

June 26, 2007 10:56 AM

 
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Mark, okay, so you think Amills/ Postmills downplay the importance of rewards and suggest that might be because of their eschatology. You may be right.

But surely another explanation might be that Amills/ Postmills are more likely to be Calvinist and their view of motivation might have nothing do with their eschatology.

What makes you think it comes down to eschatology rather than soteriology?

June 27, 2007 3:41 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

"What makes you think it comes down to eschatology rather than soteriology?"

My point for appealing to their eschatology was to show the likleyhood that they were Calvinists. In the postmil and amil scheme the idea of the "darkness outside" and other aspects of the Free Grace eschatology would have to undergo some serious restructuring to fit into and accomodate the amil/postmil view of the end-times.

Why is it that you seem to see that Calvinists have a different soteriology than you?

June 27, 2007 7:20 AM

 
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Mark, a soteriology is a theology of salvation.

While I have some things in common with Calvinists, I disagree with them about election, the extent of the atonment, imputed righteouness, sanctification and perserverance. Those are important differences.

"My point for appealing to their eschatology was to show the likleyhood that they were Calvinists. In the postmil and amil scheme the idea of the "darkness outside" and other aspects of the Free Grace eschatology would have to undergo some serious restructuring to fit into and accomodate the amil/postmil view of the end-times."

Mark, you are not being very specific.

Free Gracers see 'the darkness outside' as a parabolic expression of exclusion from privilege.

Amills believe that Christians will be judged for their works, they just do not believe this judgement will be chronologically separated from the final judgement of unbelievers.

Why could their not be some believers who face disgrace (the darkeness outside) at the end without any premillennial judgment seat of Christ?

June 27, 2007 10:08 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

"Mark, a soteriology is a theology of salvation."

Yes, Matthew, I was aware of that. I must take my dog to the hospital now. He is very sick. I hope to be back later.

Mark

June 27, 2007 10:18 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Matthew,
A quick check of my comentaries(R.T France; Matthew Henry; IVP; John MacArthur; William MacDonnald).

France says that Matthew 22:13 speaks of the final judgement; Mathtew Henry concludes that hell is spoken of here; William MacDonnald comes to similiar conclusions; John MacArthur concludes that hell is spoken of here; IVP Commentary states that there is no place (In the Kingdom of Heaven) for those who will take their privilage seriously.

Neither of these commentaries make mention of 'Parabolic language' and neither come to the same conclusion as FGT.

Matthew, Im curious, is there any other theology that comes to the same conclusions as that of FGT on this portion of scripture?

June 27, 2007 1:21 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Matthew, also I find Grudem's position that the Judgment Seat of Christ, and the sheep goat judgement are all looking at the great white throne judgment from other angles - see his systematic, pages 1140-1145.

June 27, 2007 1:51 PM

 
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

It is a minority view.

I dare say some liberal scholars might take the FG view. I dont know. I do not read many works of liberal scholarship.

Anyway, it makes sense to me.

July 01, 2007 5:19 PM

 
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

But we are digressing.

I was suggesting to you, Mark, that maybe an Amillennialist or a Posmillennialist could possibly agree with the FG view of rewards. What would be a problem with them doing so?

July 01, 2007 5:20 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Matthew, thusfar I am yet to see anyone outside FGT who suggests that we are commanded to seek them, at least as articulated by FGT proponents.

Regeneration supplies us with a new nature, a nature that seeks Him, rewards being secondary. The issue of seeking Him and the rewards, well the distinction between the two is not so pronounced. You just never see the emphasis on seeking reward in Calvinist teaching. For the most part Amil and Postmil are synonymous with Calvinism.

I've seen your offering of scriptures to support your view. It is just that serving Christ for love's sake is primary, rewards are the inevitable outcome.

That is why the FGT view is appalling to those outside FGT.

I used to compete in bench-press competitions. I've brought home many trophies. I lifted because I loved to. The trophies were incidental. Now my trophy winning days are over, but I still lift. Why? Because I love the sport, to see how much I can lift in this my old age. There are no longer trophies in my future. The love of the sport alone keeps me going.

July 01, 2007 6:29 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

If I love my enemies, I do so because the lover of my soul has commanded me. My speech, the way I conduct myself, even what I meditate on (though I often fail on this one) are controlled by love rather than seeking reward. Paul noted rewards that awaited him; does that mean he was teaching that they are to be sought rather than just teaching that they are there for the saint in the end?

Where I line up with Grudem here, the Judgement seat of Christ being another way of looking at the Great White Throne Judgement, how then will it be determined who will experience the "darkness outside"?

In the Postmil scheme, the millenium, the period where the darkness outside is experienced, will have already taken place when Christ comes to conduct the Bema Seat. How would it have been determined who is to experience the darkness outside? The Amil scheme has us in the Millenium now. Again, where in this scheme does the darkness outside occure?

July 01, 2007 6:47 PM

 

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