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].

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Preach Repentance

by Mark Pierson

With sadness I enter this post. I have friends in the Free Grace movement whom I love and respect; but that does not mean I keep my mouth shut about this system.

I have watched how the proponents of this system present their views, how they make man-made divisions into the word. It seems to me that they are working from a false paradigm which supplies them with a false premise from which to build their case. Their system fails to provide Biblical information to the lost, spiritually dead, rebellious, sin-loving God-hater, who is walking according to the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience, that slave to sin who is by nature a child of wrath, who walks according to the weather vane of this world.

Consider this: the gospel of John begins in chapter 1 to present Christ as God, the Perfect Representative of the Father; the One Who unfolds the Father as a scroll to a world that has not retained God in its knowledge. Romans one through three is clear on this. The world has cast aside all knowledge of its Maker and has fully rejected His rightful rule. As a result mankind is completely under the devil's sway. To ignore what is before us in chapter one of John as we preach Christ is to ignore a major portion of Christ's mission to this earth. I repeat, He came to show us the Father as His only perfect representative.

We are saved by being in Christ the Person. Coming to Christ means taking His yoke upon us and learning of Him. Their system dichotomizes where the Bible does not authorize them. They have split faith and repentance which clearly belong together. In the Great Commission faith, (Mk.16:16) and repentance, (Lk.24:47) are to be preached together. If I believed the building I was standing in was on fire I would seek the fast escape. So it is with those who are told that they are in rebellion against their Creator and His Christ. That person is commanded by scripture to repent and believe the gospel - IOW, turn from following the spirit of this age, and take Christ's yoke upon him and so learn of Him.

That system, in all practicality, treats men as if there were no issue of original sin, no love of sin and hatred of God, no rebellion against the Creator. Calvinists and nonCalvinists alike agree that repentance flows from the genuine believer.

A couple of points:

1)No where in scripture does justifying faith happen without repentance also being evident. IOW, repentance always shows in the life of the believer. So, I say, nowhere in scripture do we see an unrepentant believer.

2) Let's look at Christ's accomplishments and their effects on the believer - Because of Christ's cross-work Paul was entrusted with a message that would "open eyes,turn people from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins... " Acts 26:18-20. The Father has "conveyed us into His Son's kingdom" where there is redemption (being bought back from Satan's dark rule)and forgiveness of sins. Col. 1:12-14. Also Romans 6 teaches that we were once slaves of sin, but now, because of Christ's accomplishments on the cross, we are slaves of righteousness and of God.

Because of Christ's cross-work, His telling people to repent, through those servants of His who preach His word accurately, is like His having commanded that man to stretch forth his crippled hand, and when he has done so it is whole. And so it is when one is commanded to repent. His life will straighten out because of the regenerating influences of the Holy Spirit, Whom the Father poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ as a result of His cross-work.

Justification is not the whole of the picture. Conformity to Christ is. This conformity, though not automatic, is inevitable, and begins at the moment of regeneration; hence the need to preach repentance to the unsaved. Christ is the One to be looked at for salvation. The world has rejected its Maker and His Christ. The world has thrown off God's rule in their lives. See the second Psalm. Faith and repentance result in the believer being brought into the Kingdom of God, and away from the rule of Satan.

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54 Comments:

Blogger mark pierson said...

Please also consider Susan's post just below this one. These posts compliment eachother nicely.

September 05, 2007 8:16 AM

 
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

We see no indication that the Samaritan woman at the well repented.

There are other examples of where a deficent commitment can be seen in converts; Joseph of Arimathea and other believers among the Pharisees kept their conversion secret, some of them because they loved the praise of men more than the praises of God.

It is possible that in Acts 19, some of those who burned their magic books were persons who had already been converted, but who had failed to renouce occult practices.


The argument you use here is like the argument that speaking in tongues is not important because Jesus never spoke in tongues. That is of course a fallacious argument because the fact the Bible never reports Jesus as speaking in tongues does not mean he never did.

The New Testament does not provide us with a description of the conversion of every Christian in the apostolic age.

The central question should be the conditions that are identified for justification.

John's Gospel consistently presents faith as the condition for eternal life, never repentance.

Likewise Paul's espistles repeatedly tell us that men are justified by faith. We see nothing of justification through repentance.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

September 05, 2007 9:12 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

"We see no indication that the Samaritan woman at the well repented."
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How are you sure she was saved? There is not enough evidence from the passage to draw a conclussion either way.
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"There are other examples of where a deficent commitment can be seen in converts; Joseph of Arimathea"
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I have never seen a deficencsy in Joseph's faith. Perhaps it was weak at first, as was the disciples, but that was before Pentecost. The power of the Holy Spirit was yet to come.
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"and other believers among the Pharisees kept their conversion secret,"
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I see people among that group who knew full well Jesus was the Messiah and proceeded to crucify Him and then pay the guard handsomely to promote the lie that His disciples stole the body. See Matthew 27:62-28:15. Even the guards believed and yet preserved the lie.
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"some of them because they loved the praise of men more than the praises of God."
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I do not see that their faith was that which justfies or else they would have either been like the disciples, or Joseph, who went to retrieve the body. I think the fact that it is mentioned that Joseph had become a disciple (Matt.27:57) is significant. It does not say so of those who loved the praises of men that you mention.
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"It is possible that in Acts 19, some of those who burned their magic books were persons who had already been converted, but who had failed to renouce occult practices."
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Sorry, that is reading into the passage information which is not there.
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"The argument you use here is like the argument that speaking in tongues is not important because Jesus never spoke in tongues. That is of course a fallacious argument because the fact the Bible never reports Jesus as speaking in tongues does not mean he never did."
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This statement of yours is a bit of a reach. I don't see where you are coming from with it.
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"The New Testament does not provide us with a description of the conversion of every Christian in the apostolic age."
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I love Colosians 1:3-6 where Paul delights to hear of the fruit of justifying faith in that church, marked by "faith" "love" and "hope" - see Col.1:4-6.

Note also that even the Corinthian Church became an epistle of Christ, written by the Spirit on tables of flesh, that is the heart. 2 Cor. 3:3. I also look at 1 Thess. 1:2-10. Wow! what a testament to the work of the Spirit in that chapter, again marked by faith hope and love; and how they became followers of Paul and of the Lord and examples to all who believe.

So you choose to build an argument from silence?! You don't have ANY information from the NT that justified believers failed to show evidence of saving faith.
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"The central question should be the conditions that are identified for justification."
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Yes, and Jesus lays it out in Matthew 11:28-29- "come to me...take my yoke upon you... learn of me"
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"John's Gospel consistently presents faith as the condition for eternal life, never repentance."
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John 8:51- "If anyone Keeps (observes my teaching, Amplified) my word he shall never see death". In this verse it is evident that discipleship flows from faith.
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"Likewise Paul's espistles repeatedly tell us that men are justified by faith. We see nothing of justification through repentance."
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There again is your false dichotomy. He preached that all men should repent. Acts 26:18-20. Note also how that opened eyes and turning from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God is intertwined with forgiveness of sins. Yea, my friend, you preach an incomplete message; not being informed by the WHOLE Bible.

September 05, 2007 11:27 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Joseph of Arimathea did not keep his conversion secret at a time when really it would have behooved him most to do so - at the death of Jesus, when Joseph approached Pilate for Jesus' body. At that time, right when the Lord was dead and everyone thought that may well have been the end (well, maybe not everyone thought that, but we don't know) - it was at that very time that Joseph revealed his faith in Christ. Joseph could well have kept his mouth shut - after all, what was he to gain by asking for Jesus' body - except maybe the same fate?? Joseph did not love the praise of men more than the praise of God. I think this very act of treating the Lord's body to burial in Joseph's own reserved tomb demonstrates that, particularly when Pilate could have handed Joseph over to the same fate as Jesus or turned Joseph over to the Pharisees as a "Jesus-follower." Or accused Joseph later of stealing the body or whatever.

What I don't understand is why John's gospel is consistently the drum pounded - not to the exclusion, but certainly to a far greater extent than any other NT writing. It's as though all the info needed for what one wants can be found that one book of John and that’s where the focus is kept.

I think your own argument regarding tongues is fallacious. The Bible never says Jesus remained single all his life or that Jesus never married, so maybe I could say “because the fact the Bible never reports Jesus as having taken a wife does not mean he never did.” You could take that logic anywhere – even to homosexuality, which many homosexuals do to justify their sin.

Re: faith and repentance, can we set aside John as the be-all and end-all of the Bible? What about other books that make up the entire canon of Scripture, which include verses such as:

“Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,” - Hebrews 6:1

“testifying both to Jews and to Greeks of repentance toward God and of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.” – Acts 20:21

Repentance is just so plain all over Scripture I’m incredulous that anyone would want to downplay it as “well, it’s important but not necessary.” That’s akin to saying, don’t worry about it, just “receive the free – absolutely free – gift” and yours is eternal life. Jesus said that a man doesn’t build a tower without counting the cost. There is a cost to following Christ – it’s our own lives.

September 05, 2007 11:37 AM

 
Blogger Jonathan Moorhead said...

It's funny that XFGers focus so heavily on this "having life" concept, while Scripture points to repentance as leading to life.

Acts 11:18 When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, “Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.”

I'm glad you mentioned the beginning of John's Gospel and its focus on doctrine. This is totally contra XFGers contention about doctrinal legalism.

September 05, 2007 1:28 PM

 
Blogger donsands said...

Solid teaching on repentance.


“Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.”

Jesus says a woman lost a coin, and she sought it and found it. And she rejoiced.
Jesus says in the same way as this finding of a lost coin brings joy, so repentance brings joy, when a sinner does so.

Of course faith would have to be included here.

Faith and repenting are two sides of the same coin.

September 05, 2007 2:29 PM

 
Blogger Scribe said...

Faith and repenting are two sides of the same coin

Amen! The twain shall always meet in a true conversion. To create a an false optional bifurcation of the two is like offering a brand new car without the engine...

September 05, 2007 5:33 PM

 
Blogger Scribe said...

It is possible that in Acts 19, some of those who burned their magic books were persons who had already been converted, but who had failed to renouce occult practices.

Your argument stems from textual silence as the text does not bear that out, thus making your objection speculatory in nature.

The argument you use here is like the argument that speaking in tongues is not important because Jesus never spoke in tongues. That is of course a fallacious argument because the fact the Bible never reports Jesus as speaking in tongues does not mean he never did.

Non-sequitur. Do you have textual support for such an assertion of Christ speaking in tongues? I do not argue for or against tongues, I am merely pointing out your fallacious philosophical flight of fancy which is also entrenched in speculation.

The New Testament does not provide us with a description of the conversion of every Christian in the apostolic age.

So are you doubting the suffciency of scripture in all matters that pertain to life and Godliness?

September 05, 2007 5:55 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

"Justification is not the whole of the picture. Conformity to Christ is. This conformity ... is inevitable ... hence the need to preach repentance to the unsaved."

Mark,
You're really got it here! If we are to be conformed to the image of Christ, how can repentance not be required? How can one just "receive the free gift" without ever conforming to the image of His Son? It just can't be.

September 05, 2007 5:59 PM

 
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

Mark:

I know you and I do not see eye-to-eye on repentance, but I also strongly disagree with the GES, Hodges, Wilkin view of repentance. They eradicate it entirely from the plan of salvation for the lost man.

That said...

I think your readers may be interested in this major development over the "Crossless" gospel debate with the Grace Evangelical Society and Bob Wilkin in particular.

Brother Ron Shea has issued an Open Challenge to Bob Wilkin to debate the GES interpretation of the Gospel.

Ron Shea posted his Open Challenge to Bob's attention from my blog. I gave Bob advance notice of a debate challenge coming his way, which he had already been made aware of.

I trust Brother Wilkin is pleased that he is going to get the debate on the Gospel that he has been calling for.

Your guests can read Ron Shea's Open Challenge to Bob Wilkin at my site.


LM

PS: Earlier today I sent Bob Wilkin an advance notification e-mail advising him of the pending announcement to him on the "Crossless" gospel debate he has been calling for.

Immediately after I gave Wilkin that heads up about the challenege coming his way, the GES shut down its blog site for further comments on the "Crossless" gospel.

They also deleted my post to the GES readers that the announcement to Bob Wilkin would be coming today. The timing of the deletion of my note, and shut down of the GES blog is noteworthy.

September 05, 2007 6:11 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Lou,
No sooner had I read your comment here than I hopped over to Unashamed of Grace. It's a fairly shameful post title I'd say:
“The Cowardice, Cultishness, and Childishness of Lou Martuneac and the Duluthian Antagonists, Not to mention Lou's Flip-Flopping and Duplicity”
I don’t repeat it here for any other reason than because comments and printed matter have a way of appearing and disappearing (deletions or otherwise) over there lately.

September 05, 2007 8:11 PM

 
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

Hi Susan:

The writer of that article appears to have some "issues" that I have prayed about for him this evening.

When, and it is rare that, I read that sort of article I remember this thought, "My reputation belongs to God, and God knows the truth."

Yours faithfully,


LM

PS: Did you read Shea's Open Challenge to Bob Wilkin?

September 05, 2007 9:19 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Lou,

By the way, please forgive me if repeating that title was in any way offensive. I truly only repeated it because I believe it says far more about the writer of the post than it does you.

With respect to your question, frankly, I didn't bother to read the post after I read the title. It's just childish and immature.

The very little I know about the Free Grace system or GES is enough to make me know I don't need to read more from or about them. I have little interest in whittling down the faith to a "free - absolutely free" offer to get into heaven and inherit eternal life.

When I finally came to the Lord on my knees, I was so broken by my own sin and wretchedness, that when He lifted it, it was - well, indescribable.

I didn't drop to my knees to receive eternal life or for some "free, absolutely free" offer; it was because the burden of my sin was too heavy for me to bear. He lifted it from me and has continued to extend grace to me as I continue to lay down self before Him.

Reading GES drivel does nothing to help me die to self - if anything, it allows self-life to be 'okay' so one can enjoy the blessings of eternal life forever with God without the humility repentance requires.

September 05, 2007 10:36 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

By the way, Lou, you are right to pray for the writer. Some of us here at bluecollar have as well. And must continue to do so.

September 05, 2007 10:37 PM

 
Blogger kangeroodort said...

jonanthan said,

"Scripture points to repentance as leading to life...“Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.”

An excellent point.

I also agree with donsands,

"Faith and repenting are two sides of the same coin."

Susan brings up the perfect verse which ties this tought together,

"...not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God,” - Hebrews 6:1

Repentance is a turning away from our sin and faith is our turning towards God. It is one motion and one act. Repentance and faith are two words used to describe the same act from different perspectives. Truly, you can't have one without the other.

Now here is where I become a bit of a pain to my Calvinist friends. If faith and repentance are essentially the same act [though looked at from different angles] and it is also true that "...repentance...leads to life.” then have we not just proved that faith [and repentance] must logically precede regeneration? If Calvinism is true then should not the passage read ...“Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the life that leads to repentance.”??

Am I the only one who sees a problem here?

September 06, 2007 9:26 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

faith and repentance are not the things that hostile sinners are interested in. Both are gifts -

faith - Eph. 2:8; 1 John 5:1

repentance - Acts 11:18

If you'll notice in the post I describe the effects of original sin. Also, there is no one who seeks God or even understands Him apart from regeneration. See romans 3:9-23.

September 06, 2007 10:49 AM

 
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

Susan:

Your remarks are very kind; thank you.

You wrote, "The very little I know about the Free Grace system or GES is enough to make me know I don't need to read more from or about them."

I'd like to make a point. The GES does NOT speak for the Free Grace community at large.

Most men who would identify themselves as FG in their theology are very distant from the extremes that Hodges, Wilkin and the GES have gone to.

The GES has and is losing membership over the "Crossless" gospel.

The "Crossless" gospel debate, if Wilkin does not back away from it, will further clarify the divide between the GES and those in the FG community who reject their doctrine on the Gospel.


LM

September 06, 2007 2:14 PM

 
Blogger kangeroodort said...

Mark,

Were your comments addressing what I wrote? It was a little hard to tell.

You wrote,

"faith and repentance are not the things that hostile sinners are interested in. Both are gifts -

faith - Eph. 2:8; 1 John 5:1

repentance - Acts 11:18"

I agree that faith and repentance are not things that hostile sinners are interested in. That is where the gracious working of the Holy Spirit comes in. The difference between my view and yours is not the necessity of God's work on the heart, but rather whether or not that work is resistible. The other difference is that you seem to believe the only thing that will bring a sinner to faith is regeneration. I find this doctrine to be plainly contradicted in Scripture. I think the above verse is just one such contradiction. Please explain how "repentance unto life" comports with your theology.

When you answer that question I will be happy to discuss Rom. 3 with you.

God Bless,
Ben

September 06, 2007 2:45 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Lou,

Thanks for the clarification. I confess I don't spend much time reading about FG or GES since there are only so many hours in a day and I need to grow in faith and grace in what I know to be true.

Can you help me out here? I'm not sure if that debate you mentioned will take place, so can you state (if possible in a comment) what the GES preaches by way of a "cross-less" gospel? I can't imagine they themselves would portray it that way and still consider themselves Christians.

Also, is that the only distinction between FG and GES?

September 06, 2007 3:52 PM

 
Blogger donsands said...

"The difference between my view and yours is not the necessity of God's work on the heart, but rather whether or not that work is resistible."

I'm not answering for mark, but I have a question, if you don't mind.

There are two sinners. Both hearts are dead in sin: bth are hard as stone.
God comes to both of these hearts with the Gospel, how do they come to faith and repentnace?

September 06, 2007 5:09 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Ben, fellow weight-lifter, (email me about your work-outs, accomplishments, etc.).

You say, "then have we not just proved that faith [and repentance] must logically precede regeneration?"... How do dead people repent? If we consider that Eph. 2:1-3 means spiritual death... meaning absent the life of God... slavery to sin, walking according to the course of this world, according to the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience - these are dead people, unable to move towards God for their desires are contrary. How do these people come to desire to repent while others go to their graves while in their hostility?

September 07, 2007 6:47 AM

 
Blogger kangeroodort said...

Mark,

My routines are a bit sporadic and, unfortunately, so is my weight traing at present. Probably my favorite work out is supersetting while working opposing muscle groups. I seem to get the best results from that routine.

I understand the that the metaphor "dead in sin" causes the Calvinist to embrace irresistible regeneration. I believe that the metaphor has been over strained and misapplied. For instance, why doesn't the Calvinist apply the same reasoning to being "dead to sin" and "slaves to righteousness"? That seems very inconsistent to me and demonstrates that we need to be very careful how we understand Biblical metaphor, and even more careful in trying to build entire theologies on them. I will be posting on this exact subject very soon.

Basically, I prefer to accept passages that seem to plainly indicate that faith precedes regeneration, than to base my theology on what may be a flawed understanding of Biblical metaphor. I believe my post "Does Regeneration Precede Faith" demonstrates some pretty significant Biblical and theological reasons for rejecting such a view.

I would still like to hear how you reconcile "repentance unto life" with your doctrines of regeneration preceding faith.

God Bless,
Ben

September 07, 2007 9:27 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

"For instance, why doesn't the Calvinist apply the same reasoning to being "dead to sin" and "slaves to righteousness"?

How don't we?

Let us check Eph. 2 some more:

"And you He has made alive"

Question:From what state is one made alive?

Notice also that HE took the initiative; I don't see us doing ANYTHING first.

Is "Made alive" a metaphore too? You say "dead" is a metaphore. Perhaps that is because that is the only way to preserve your system. The Bible makes no such claim. You assign it as a metaphore but have no Biblical grounds to do so.

"even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ..." There is the regeneration. Note again, HE took the intitiative; we did nothing first. The faith mentioned in 2:8 flows from this very regeneration experience.

Calvinist scholars disagree about whether faith is part of the "gift of God"... Boice said no, MacArthur says yes; D.M.L. Jones acknowledged the two schools of thought. Yet all agree that faith comes from the regeneration mentioned in 2:5.

I read your post and am unconvinced by your reasoning. As I said there, White's argument stands.

September 07, 2007 9:52 AM

 
Blogger kangeroodort said...

donsands,

I prefer to base my convictions on the teaching of God's words rather than on philosophical reasoning [not that I believe we should never consider philosophical questions, only that they should not be our primary source to build theology on]. It surprises me that Calvinists love this argument so much while also typically caliming that they base their theology on exegesis alone.

My most straight forward answer is to say that one chose to surrender to God's grace while the other chose to continue resisting. I do not believe that the one who chose to surrender was better in someway than the one who did not. Drawing from my own experience, I would say that the one who surrendered was more desperate than the other, or just got tired of resisting God's love. I don't see any merit in that, nor do I see any merit in faith, as faith is nothing more than complete trust and reliance on the merit of another, namely Christ (Rom. 3:27, 28).

I would like to pose a similar question to you. The Bible makes it plain that believers are given sufficient grace to resist temptation, resist the devil, and draw close to God (1 Cor. 10:13; James 4:6-8). Now why does one believer better resist temptation than another? Why does one stand strong while the other fails in the same area? Why does one spend hours in prayer drawing closer to God while another seems content to watch the Simpsons? What makes the difference? It can't be God's grace because God gives sufficient grace to both believers. So what makes the difference? Can the believer who better resists temptation and draws closer to God boast over the one who did not?

I believe that when you are able to answer these questions you will have the answer to the question you posed to me concerning the unregenerate. I know that there is a difference between the regenerate and unregenerate, but the basic question remains the same. Why do people respond differently to God's grace?

September 07, 2007 9:53 AM

 
Blogger kangeroodort said...

Mark,

You misundstood me and read the wrong post. The post I am referring to was written quite a while ago. You will have to scroll down to find it. It is called, "Does Regeneration Precede Faith". I also answered your comments concerning your belief that White's argument still stands.

When I say Biblical metaphor I am referring to the fact that we need to be careful not to draw direct parallels between the physical and spiritual. Christ is the "bread of life". This is absolutely true, but to draw a strict physical parallel will make us Catholics. Jesus said that we must be "born again" but there are significant differences between spiritual and physical birth.

When I say that Calvinists are inconsistant I am referring to the fact that they say one "dead in sin" cannot possibly respond to God's grace, while one who is "dead to sin" very often responds to the sinful nature and the influences of the world, as well as satanic influences. If being "dead to sin" does not mean it is impossible to sin, then why does "dead in sin" mean it is impossible to respond to God's grace? Why is a "slave to righteousness" able to commit acts of unrighteousness, while a "slave to sin" cannot respond to God's grace?

Not to be a pain, but you have still not explained how "repentance unto life" comports with Calvinism.

I only have access to the internet at work [and sometimes when I go the library], and I need to try to get some work done. I will try to respond to anything else you write on Monday. God Bless and keep pumping that iron.

September 07, 2007 10:09 AM

 
Blogger Susan said...

"For instance, why doesn't the Calvinist apply the same reasoning to being "dead to sin" and "slaves to righteousness"?

How don't we?

Good point, actually. Aren't we bondservants to Him/He who paid the price?

September 07, 2007 10:16 AM

 
Blogger donsands said...

"Yet all agree that faith comes from the regeneration mentioned in 2:5." -Mark

Good point and Good Scripture study Mark.

"Can the believer who better resists temptation and draws closer to God boast over the one who did not?" -kangeroodort


No. It's 100% pure grace.

And this same grace that empowers us to labor for the Lord, is the same grace that saves a child of wrath, which we all are. We all deserve hell. Sometimes I have a difficult time believeing nice people deserve hell, but they do.

God has mercy on whom He wants. Rom. 9

It's not to him who exherts himself, or to him who even wills, but it's God who decides to give mercy to whom He wants.
Not only that, but God can harden whom He wants.
It's all about His glory, and His mercy.
It's not about us. God doesn't owe any person salvation.
In fact He could save each and evry soul if He so pleased.

But here is the main question for me, and for any who are saved: Why would He save rebels, who don't want Him? We have evil hearts, and even callous and God-hating hearts.
How can a heart like this decide to "choose" God?

The only reason we come to Christ and love God is because He first loved us, and with His great mercy brought into His kingdom.

Of Him, For Him, and Through Him! Be all the glory. Amen.

September 07, 2007 10:16 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

"am referring to the fact that they say one "dead in sin" cannot possibly respond to God's grace, while one who is "dead to sin" very often responds to the sinful nature and the influences of the world, as well as satanic influences."

They CAN respond to God's grace. That is the point of regeneration.

When you say, "one who is "dead to sin" very often responds to the sinful nature and the influences of the world, as well as satanic influences."... That is the very definition of being dead in sin. They are slaves of it. See Ephesians 4:17-19 for a further look at the definition of dead in sin.

Also, I read Dave Hunt's "What Love Is This". He uses the same argument as you did... Very unconvincing... and comical.

September 07, 2007 10:38 AM

 
Blogger luke said...

Great reading these exchanges.

Mark: [When you say, "one who is "dead to sin" very often responds to the sinful nature and the influences of the world, as well as satanic influences."... That is the very definition of being dead in sin. They are slaves of it.]

I think kangeroodort was talking about the Christian there. The "dead to sin" person is the Christian. He is not a slave of sin, doesn't have to, but sometimes does. So does "dead" not mean "dead" there, when referring to the Christian?

September 07, 2007 10:54 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Luke, good catch. I misread my new friend's comment... Sorry Ben.

Yes the Christian does often fall pray to those influences; i've done so myself. It is when we are not walking in the Spirit when these things happen. Galatians 5 makes it clear that the Spirit and the flesh are contrary to one another "so that you do not do the things that you wish".

Christ has rescued us from the penalty of sin, the power of sin, and shall rescue us from the presence of sin at His coming.

When we do sin, as Solomon once said, "who doesn't?" we have an advocate with the Father. We need to confess all the time in order to come back into fellowship.

Over the long haul the Christian's slavery to God will bare out to anybody looking on. The slavery to God is also seen in that person having a contrite heart; one that is sensitive to sin and desires communion with God. Hence, confession of sin is another evidence of one's slavery to God.

September 07, 2007 11:08 AM

 
Blogger Marcian said...

Mark, your description just above is a very helpful definition of sin and the believer's relationship to it. I am a slave to SOMETHING at all times, whether to God or to the flesh. When I indulge in the flesh, I can get to the point of resenting God and His claim to me. But then I "come to my senses" (which is really what it feels like) and hardly able to believe what I just let myself become ensnared by, I see the loving yoke of the Master for what it is, and eagerly walk under it. Oh, how great His love must be, I marvel at His desire for me.

September 07, 2007 12:47 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Marcia,

look at the second half of Isaiah 66:2..."But on this one will I look:On him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, And who trembles at my word".

I believe this to be the very heart of the regenerated life. The Holy Spirit's work is seen in the lives of imperfect, yet contrite lives.

With the unregenerate it is not so. They love sin and hate God.

September 07, 2007 12:58 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

positionally we are slaves to God, always. See Romans 6. Now it is time for us to follow the Spirit, keeping in mind that, even when we sin, we feel the tug to confess and come back into fellowship with Him. Why? Because we are slaves of righteousnes and of God.

September 07, 2007 1:05 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

So Ben, my answer to you is that it all comes down to desires:

The unregenerate love sin and hate the Light - John 3:19-20. Hence I couple this verse together with Eph.2:1-3, and Eph.4:17-19. for my definition of dead in sin.

While the regenerate are contrite (because we do fall, yet being in the flesh) and tremble at God's word; as David did; who, BTW, serves as a great example for the Christian to follow.

September 07, 2007 1:20 PM

 
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

Susan:

You asked, "Can you help me out here? I'm not sure if that debate you mentioned will take place, so can you state (if possible in a comment) what the GES preaches by way of a "cross-less" gospel"

As briefly as I can put it:

1)They might present the cross, but

2)The "Crossless" gospel (CG) teacher says that all a lost man has to do is believe in the name Jesus and a promise of eternal life and he is born again.

They teach that a lost man does not need to know, understand or believe anything about the Lord Jesus Christ, the cross, His resurrection or deity and can still be born again.

They teach that a lost man does not even need to know he is a sinner and can be born again.

I could post several quotes from Hodges on this. Dyspraxic fundamentalist (df) who is posting in this thread holds to the CG.

I posted this question to CG men, "Can a lost man be born again, while consciously denying the deity of Christ, if he believes in Jesus for eternal life?"

df answered "Yes" to that question. He as not alone with a "yes" answer, but most CG men will not even acknoweledge that question.

Their position is that for example a JW while clinging to his heretical beliefs about the Lord Jesus Christ, can be born again by believing in the promise of eternal life.

The CG men have decided that the Lord's titles, "Christ" and "Son of God" do not mean or infer the the deity of Jesus Christ.

That is a sample of the egregious errors coming from Hodges, Wilkin and the GES.


Lou

September 07, 2007 6:28 PM

 
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

Susan:

As for the GES and Free Grace community.

There is a BIG difference between what is coming from the GES and what the vast majority in the Free Grace community believe about the Gospel.

The GES: Wilkin, Hodges, Myers, have reduced the Gospel to a point where it has little if any resemblance to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Just want to make sure many good men in the FG community, who have left the GES over what is coming from its leadership, are not painted with the broad brush.

In the opinion of most men in the FG community the GES no longer speaks for or represents them, and many of them have departed for safer doctrinal ground.


Lou

September 07, 2007 6:31 PM

 
Blogger Lou Martuneac said...

Mark:

Under your post, Lou Martuneac on Zane Hodges you wrote this, "Mr. Maruneac doesn't preach a crossless gospel, hereafter refered to on bluecollar blog as "The Crossless System", or TCS, in order to differentiate it from the REAL Free Grace Theology.

So there is the The Crossless System (TCS) and Free Grace Theology (FGT). On this blog there will always be that distinction.... On the other hand I have seen nothing from TCS that I have any respect for
."

I think I missed this from you at the other thread.

There is a BIG diferece between TCS and FGT. Thanks for pointing this out.


Lou

September 07, 2007 6:48 PM

 
Blogger Susan said...

Lou,
Wow. That's scary stuff. Unbiblical, that's for sure. Sounds like one can pick and choose from Scripture what s/he wants for the CG way of thinking.
But that's really scary.
I do see "eternal life" as the focus of some, as opposed to taking up one's own cross.
Thanks for taking the time to spell that out for me.

September 07, 2007 7:53 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

So Ben, upon your return Monday I will invite you to read ALL of my comments here, as well as the actual post itself; and then I want you to articulate back to me my position. If I am satisfied with your attempts to articulate my position back to me then the discussion will continue. If not, the discussion will close and I will bid you peace and then move on, never to interact with you again.

That's my way of doing things.

September 08, 2007 11:53 AM

 
Blogger kangeroodort said...

Mark,

You wrote,

"So Ben, upon your return Monday I will invite you to read ALL of my comments here, as well as the actual post itself; and then I want you to articulate back to me my position. If I am satisfied with your attempts to articulate my position back to me then the discussion will continue. If not, the discussion will close and I will bid you peace and then move on, never to interact with you again."

So I guess I need to perfectly describe your position or face bluecollar excommunication because that is the way you do things around here.

From what I have read you believe what most typical Calvinists believe. You believe that when the Bible says that sinners are dead to sin it means that they are as dead as a physical corpse and like a dead corpse have no ability to respond to the influence of the Holy Spirit unless they are first regenerated. You believe that when the Bible says sinners are slaves to sin, that it means they are incapable of putting faith in Christ unless first regenerated. You also believe that faith and repentance are results (gifts) of irresistible regeneration. You also seem to think that although the unregenerate are *truly* "dead in sin" and "slaves to sin"; believers, however, are somehow only "dead to sin" and "slaves to righteousness" in a positional sense. You base these beliefs on passages like, Eph. 2:1-3,5,8;4:17-19; 1 Jn. 5:1; Acts 11:18, and Rom. 3:9-23.

How's that?

Now I suppose I can finally expect to get a straight forward answer as to how Acts 11:18 comports with Calvinism since the passage says that repentance leads to life, rather than life [regeneration] leading to repentance, as you seem to plainly believe.

I would also still be interested to get your comments on my post "Does Regeneration Precede Faith" since then you will have a better understanding of my position. And again, the post you commented on at my blog was not the right one.

Thank you for your time, and assuming I have satisfied your criteria, I hope to hear from you soon.

God Bless,
Ben

September 10, 2007 12:13 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Faith and repentance go hand in hand in the salvation process. The sinner is hostile to God. I do not preach incapability, as you assert, nor did Spurgeon; but rather, I preach unwilling. Believe and repent are the word's of the faithfull preacher. The regenerate here and believe and repent. Acts 11:18 is not the full view of the process. In it we see from the vantage point of the results of regeneration, a person no longer led about by the spirit of this age, but now led by the Holy Spirit. We need to serch the whole Bible and not just one verse in order to have an informed position.

Again 1 John 5:1 who ever believes is born of God; just like I breath because I am alive; breathing is a sign of life. Believing and repenting are signs of life.

You say, "believers, however, are somehow only "dead to sin" and "slaves to righteousness" in a positional sense. You base these beliefs on passages like, Eph. 2:1-3,5,8;4:17-19; 1 Jn. 5:1; Acts 11:18, and Rom. 3:9-23."

Keep in mind that Christ's finished work is fully realised in the eternal state, when we are free from the presence of sin. Until then the flesh wars against the Spirit in this life... things I covered in the previous comments if you had read them. I don't see that you did, nor the post itself, did you?

September 10, 2007 1:36 PM

 
Blogger kangeroodort said...

Mark,

My initial comments had reference to some of the comments made concerning this post and were not directly related to the post itself. I should think that would be clear from the fact that I directly quoted those comments and never once quoted from your post.

As far as listening well or reading everyting you wrote, I did, but felt that most of it was not relevant to the points I was making, and certainly very few directly addressed my comments. All you did was fill up several comments with the presuppositions of Calvinism which I already know. I was not trying to discuss your pessupositions but was asking how you harmonize your presuppositions with passages that directly contradict them [like Acts 11:18 for starters]. This I believe you have still not adequately done.

I asked you to read my post "Does Regeneration Precede Faith" for more passages that contradict the Calvinist ordo salutis, as well as a fuller theological argument against the notion of regeneration preceding faith. My point is that all Calvinist pressupositions aside, the Bible itself teaches no such doctrine. You have chastized me for not reading you carefully, but you have yet to read the post I asked you to read, and instead left comments on two other posts that I did not direct you to. So who is not paying attention here? You even admitted misreading me at one point in our conversation. I am fine with your insistence that I read you carefully, but I think you should also try to adhere to those same rules. Here is a direct link to make things easier for you:

www.arminianperspectives.blogspot.com/2007/07/does-regeneration-precede-faith.html

I understand that I have other posts with similar titles, but then again the reason why it is important to read carefully. I believe I have read your comments carefully, but if I have not I apologize. It is a little frustrating, however, to be chided for not reading you correctly when it seems that you have not returned the favor.

September 11, 2007 11:41 AM

 
Blogger kangeroodort said...

donsands,

You posed the question as to why one unregenerated sinner responds to the gospel and another does not. I posed a related question to you regarding the regenerate: why does one believer better resist temptation and draw closer to God than the other, seeing as how they were both given sufficient grace?

You said that the one better resisted temptation based on grace alone. The problem with this answer is the same problem you would have pointed out had I answered your question in the same way. If the one Christian's response was due to "100% Grace", then why again did the other Christian not respond in the same way? They were both given sufficient grace so grace alone cannot be the difference. Isn't that what you were going to say to me had I answered the same way with regards to two unregenerates responding to God's prevenient grace in different ways?

So again, when you can explain why two believers respond differently to God's sufficient sanctifying grace, you will also be able to explain how two unregenerate sinners respond differently to God's previnient grace.

You made a good point when you wrote:

"And this same grace that empowers us to labor for the Lord, is the same grace that saves a child of wrath, which we all are."

Would you agree that to "empower" is quite different from irresistibly causing? Does not "empower" imply that we are left to choose how we will respond to that empowerment?

You then said,

"We have evil hearts, and even callous and God-hating hearts.
How can a heart like this decide to "choose" God?"

By the gracious empowering of the Holy Spirit as you mentioned above. However "empowerment" does not imply necessary action. That is the difference between your view and mine.

You also wrote:

"God has mercy on whom He wants. Rom. 9

It's not to him who exherts himself, or to him who even wills, but it's God who decides to give mercy to whom He wants.
Not only that, but God can harden whom He wants.
It's all about His glory, and His mercy.
It's not about us. God doesn't owe any person salvation.
In fact He could save each and evry soul if He so pleased."

I agree that God has mercy on whom he wills to have mercy and that he hardens whom he hardens. I also believe that God has made it quite clear who it is he wills to have mercy on and who he wills to harden. He wills to have mercy on believers (Jn. 3:16; 6:39, 40; Rom 9:30-33- Paul's very important conclusion to the subject matter of Rom. 9 that many Calvinists strangely ignore). He wills to harden those who persistently resist his gracious calling (John 3:18, 36; Rom. 1:18-32; 2:4-11; 9:32; 10:21 Acts 7:51; Heb. 3:7-11,15, etc.)

You conclude with:

"The only reason we come to Christ and love God is because He first loved us, and with His great mercy brought into His kingdom.

Of Him, For Him, and Through Him! Be all the glory. Amen."

I agree completely with this sataement as long as "brought into His kingdom" is not understood irresistibly.

Hope that at least helps you understand where I am coming from.

God Bless,
Ben

September 11, 2007 12:18 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Ben, sorry for again reading the wrong post. The titles are so similar.

Sorry also if you can not see how I have answered your question regarding Acts 11:18. See you are operating on a different paragigm than I.

Let me ask you something: Please describe for me your version of one's being unregenerate. Again hostile sinners will not be interested in faith and repentance. You keep playing off the idea of inability while I am coming from the sinner being hostile to the gospel. I addressed this a few comments up where I said that it is a matter of desires. The unregenerate desire to rid the world of the knowledge of God. They do not want to come to the light for their deeds are evil.

YOU are the one not engaging my thoughts as they are here, passing them off with the wave of the hand as you admit in the above comment.

Like I said, engage my thoughts or no more discussion.

September 11, 2007 12:26 PM

 
Blogger kangeroodort said...

Mark,

Please explain the conversions of Lydia and Cornelius within your "God hating prior to regeneration" paradigm.

The Bible says of Cornelius that he was "God fearing" and not "God hating" prior to putting faith in Jesus Christ. The Arminian would say that Cornelius was operating under prevenient grace while not yet being regenerated.

How about Lydia? Was she regenerated before or after God "opened her heart"? She was a God worshipper prior to this experience and not a God hater. Do you believe that the opening of Lydias heart is a reference to irresistible regeneration? If so, I have a few more questions.

Was the heart God opened the new heart you speak of, or the old one? If it was the new heart [and the text no where suggests this] then why the need for the Lord to "open" it? If it was the old heart that God opened to respond to the gospel, then we have a beautiful illustration of the Arminian doctrine of prevenient grace.

You earlier wrote,

"The unregenerate love sin and hate the Light - John 3:19-20."

Apart from the gracious working of the Holy Spirit, that is entirely true.

"Hence I couple this verse together with Eph.2:1-3, and Eph.4:17-19. for my definition of dead in sin."

A few thoughts on your Eph. proof texts.

1) The regeneration described in 2:4-7 is said to be "through faith" [verse 8] and not "to faith". Faith is how the sinner recieves or gains access to God's grace. Look at Rom. 4:16 and 5:1.

2) Paul is very careful to repeatedly note that all spiritual blessings [including regeneration] are only enjoyed by those who are "in Him [Christ]". Ephesians 1:13 makes it quite clear that we come to be in Christ after [logically speaking] believing the gospel, and not before.

Therefore, faith must precede regeneration because we cannot experience the life of Christ outside of vital union with Him, and that union comes by faith.

"In Him, you also, *after* listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation- *having* also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise."

The Greek is literally: "believing you were sealed".

This alone proves that your doctrine of regeneration preceding faith is fallacious.

So how does a sinner come to believe? God graciously enables the sinner though the power of the gospel and the inner working of the Holy Spirit. This is prevenient [enabling grace] which draws and powerfully influences the dying sinner to respond in saving faith. God, in effect, graciously overcomes the sinners hostility/inability, upon the sinner hearing the gospel. This enabling does not, however, guarentee a positive response.

So I believe that faith is a "gift" only in the sense that one could not believe if not for the prevenient and enabling grace of God. Faith is not a gift in the sense of being irresistibly caused by regeneration. Scripture nowhere says this, only the sophistry of certain theological systems.

Do you believe, in your system, that the regenerated sinner must in fact choose Christ [is caused to choose Christ], or do you believe that the sinner who is regenerated *freely* chooses Christ?

September 11, 2007 2:07 PM

 
Blogger Magnus said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

September 11, 2007 2:33 PM

 
Blogger Magnus said...

Sorry to get in the middle of this, seeing as I am new to all of this but I was struck with something Ben said.

"This is prevenient [enabling grace] which draws and powerfully influences the dying sinner to respond in saving faith."

I thought that Arminius believed in total depravity? The above quote seems to imply that the sinner is not dead, but sick. Again not knowing too much about this but I have been reading Billy at Classical Arminianism and he wrote that Arminius himself believed that a sinner is reborn before he can believe.Of course he says that he then can still resist, but I and even Billy would still struggle with that. So which did he, Arminius, believe? Total Depravity and unable to respond or not quite dead but very sick.

Speaking only of myself here, but being new to all of this it is hard for me to find a True Arminian that believes on these points as he did but it is easy to find the Calvinist that believes as Calvin did.

magnus

September 11, 2007 2:37 PM

 
Blogger donsands said...

"He wills to have mercy on believers"

This is where we need to part ways. I suppose.
Many of my friends agrre with you. So we can part as friends in Christ.

I see all people, no matter who it is, as dead in their sins.

And when God has mercy on one of these dead sinners, whether it's Cornelius, over time, or Paul, when he is fixed on murder instantly with a bolt of lightening, God quickens a dead soul, and that same soul will not resist, because, God loves that soul.
God loves. God has mercy. God quickens. God opens hearts.
God elects. God does not owe anyone salvation, and yet He saves.

I also believe God could save all dead sinners, but He doesn't.
If I were God, I would save them all. Or at least I think I would.

So the bottom line is: God makes a dead corpse that is walking around alive, and He makes that dead rebel His own, and He chooses whom ever He purposes to choose.



"So again, when you can explain why two believers respond differently to God's sufficient sanctifying grace,"

Born again believers are alive to God.
Unbelievers are dead.

God's children will be different in their sanctification and fruit bearing.
Some will bear 30, some 60, and some 100 fold.
Why don't they all bear 100 fold? I wish we all did.
Once we are alive to God, He works in us to will and to do for His purposes, but His grace is given in measures 9Rom. 12:3a).
And maturity also comes into play.

It's a different situation when one is born again.

September 11, 2007 2:40 PM

 
Blogger kangeroodort said...

Magnus,

Why do you believe that when the Bible says "dead in sin" it means as dead and incapable as a physical corpse? Why do you not believe the same about the believer who is "dead to sin"? How is it that those Jesus calls "dead" in Rev. 3:1 are called on to "Wake up! Strengthen what remains and is about to die"? If "dead" means "dead as a physical corpse", then how could Jesus say that there was something still "remaining"? For more on this see my latest post. To say that one is dead in sin means only that our sin seperates us from a life giving relationship with a Holy God. Arminians also believe that God must initiate this relationship through the enabling and convicting power of the Holy Spirit.

As far as Arminius' Billy had misunderstood him because Arminius did not always understand regeneration in the way we tend to today. Arminius did however believe that faith preceded regeneration as follows:

""Besides, even true and living faith in Christ precedes regeneration strictly taken, and consisting of the mortification or death of the old man, and the vivification of the new man, as Calvin has, in the same passage of his Institutes, openly declared, and in a manner which agrees with the Scriptures and the nature of faith. For Christ becomes ours by faith, and we are engrafted into Christ, are made members of his body, of his flesh and of his bones, and, being thus planted with him, we coalesce or are united together, that we may draw from him the vivifying power of the Holy Spirit, by which power the old man is mortified and we rise again into a new life. All these things cohere together with each other in a certain order,
and must thus also be considered, if any one be desirous of knowing them not confusedly but distinctly, and of explaining them well to others." [Works Vol.2 pg. 233, Wesleyan Heritage Collection].

September 11, 2007 3:29 PM

 
Blogger Magnus said...

Ben,

I have no idea about the corpse or any of that, as i stated here and to Billy i am new tothis stuff. i am a Methodist and if asked 6 mos. ago what is a Calvinist or Arminius I would have no idea.

They way i understand it so far, Total depravity means that we are separated from God and the void is to big for us to cross. That is why Jesus came, to be the mediator and fill the void for believers. I was always under the impression that i can come to God when I choose, only recently have I been learning that that is not the case.

My only struggle now is how prevenient grace works. The way it was explained to me was that God never gives up and he is always wanting us to come to him/ accept him and his work might be better to say. My problem is I see examples of God not doing that. i see him turning men over to their sin. If God wanted to save us i am sure he could, but right now i can not grasp prevenient grace. Jesus tells us that Sodom would still be standing if they saw the works that he did because the would of repented. My question to myself then is why didn't he if he truly wanted all to be saved? I mean he says that they, people in Sodom, would have repented if they had seen some of the works that he showed to the people of that time. That shows me that he did not do all that he could, i mean what is amiracle here or there if it brings people to repentance and faith?

Anyway, i am new and for the most part i will stay out of these things. I do enjoy reading all of you though and trying to make sense of it.

Peace to all

magnus

September 11, 2007 3:42 PM

 
Blogger donsands said...

" Total Depravity and unable to respond or not quite dead but very sick."

If a dead sinner can do something to help God save him, then he can boast.

God took away all boasting. God elect's. According to what?
According to His grace. Rom. 11:6

September 11, 2007 5:37 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

"Please explain the conversions of Lydia and Cornelius within your "God hating prior to regeneration" paradigm."
=====
Lydia and Cornelius were born in sin and shapen in iniquity like all others. It is said that they were dead in trespasses and sins, that they walked according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, conducting themselves in the lusts of their flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others.
=======
"The Bible says of Cornelius that he was "God fearing" and not "God hating" prior to putting faith in Jesus Christ. The Arminian would say that Cornelius was operating under prevenient grace while not yet being regenerated."-
-------
I see both God the Father and God the Holy Spirit working on Cornelius before a regenerating encounter:

The Father first gives to the Son those who are to be saved - John 6:37,39.

The Father draws that person - John 6:44

The Father teaches that person about Christ - John 6:45

Those granted by the Father come to Christ - John 6:65.

The elect are separated from the rest of the world, and unto Christ by God the Holy Spirit - 2 Thess.2:13; 1 Peter 1:2.

All of the above scriptures indicate that a working of Two of the Members of the Trinity are evident before a regenerating encounter. John 6 clearly shows that those whom the Father gives to the Son WILL come. Cornelius was at that stage between the beginnings of both the Father's and the Spirit's work, and regneration. IOW, we see in Acts 10 a man in whom God was already working, and irresistibly at that. (see John 6)
====
"How about Lydia? Was she regenerated before or after God "opened her heart"?"
=======
After. God the Holy Spirit ALWAYS acts in conjunction with His word, never apart from it.
---------
"She was a God worshipper prior to this experience and not a God hater. Do you believe that the opening of Lydias heart is a reference to irresistible regeneration? If so, I have a few more questions."
-------
She was in that same process as Cornelius above - that of being drawn and enabled by the Father; and separated from the world, and unto Christ by the Spirit. Irresistible? Yes. Regeneration at this point? No. God the Holy Spirit ALWAYS acts in conjunction with His word. See Romans 10:17;1 Cor.1:18; 2 Thess.2:14; James 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23.
------
"Was the heart God opened the new heart you speak of, or the old one?"
======
The old one. See above.
=====
"If it was the new heart [and the text no where suggests this] then why the need for the Lord to "open" it?"
======
It was the old heart.
=======
"If it was the old heart that God opened to respond to the gospel, then we have a beautiful illustration of the Arminian doctrine of prevenient grace."
======
Perhaps we are similar here.
======
"You earlier wrote,

"The unregenerate love sin and hate the Light - John 3:19-20."

Apart from the gracious working of the Holy Spirit, that is entirely true.

"Hence I couple this verse together with Eph.2:1-3, and Eph.4:17-19. for my definition of dead in sin."

A few thoughts on your Eph. proof texts.

1) The regeneration described in 2:4-7 is said to be "through faith" [verse 8] and not "to faith". Faith is how the sinner recieves or gains access to God's grace. Look at Rom. 4:16 and 5:1.

2) Paul is very careful to repeatedly note that all spiritual blessings [including regeneration] are only enjoyed by those who are "in Him [Christ]". Ephesians 1:13 makes it quite clear that we come to be in Christ after [logically speaking] believing the gospel, and not before."
========
I agree with all your above statements.
--------
"Therefore, faith must precede regeneration because we cannot experience the life of Christ outside of vital union with Him, and that union comes by faith."
=======
Why must it? Unregenerate man is hostile, loves sin, hates the light, doesn't understand the gospel, doesn't seek God. Left unattended man will not seek God. God the Holy Spirit, through the instrament of His Word brings about regeneration after the "prep period mentioned above.
=====
"In Him, you also, *after* listening to the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation- *having* also believed, you were sealed in Him with the Holy Spirit of promise."
=======
Amen to your above points.
=======
"The Greek is literally: "believing you were sealed".

This alone proves that your doctrine of regeneration preceding faith is fallacious."
======
I don't see that. Again, regeneration comes about through the Spirit's working through His word, the gospel message.
=======
"So how does a sinner come to believe? God graciously enables the sinner though the power of the gospel and the inner working of the Holy Spirit. This is prevenient [enabling grace] which draws and powerfully influences the dying sinner to respond in saving faith. God, in effect, graciously overcomes the sinners hostility/inability, upon the sinner hearing the gospel."
======
I whole heartedly agree!
========
"This enabling does not, however, guarentee a positive response."
=======
WRONG. See John 6.
=====
"So I believe that faith is a "gift" only in the sense that one could not believe if not for the prevenient and enabling grace of God."
===
Agreed.
======
"Faith is not a gift in the sense of being irresistibly caused by regeneration. Scripture nowhere says this, only the sophistry of certain theological systems."
=====
Faith is a gift. Eph. 2:8; 1 John 5:1.
=====
"Do you believe, in your system, that the regenerated sinner must in fact choose Christ [is caused to choose Christ], or do you believe that the sinner who is regenerated *freely* chooses Christ?"
=======
The sinner freely chooses Christ. It is his new nature to.

September 12, 2007 8:25 AM

 
Blogger donsands said...

"Faith is a gift. Eph. 2:8; 1 John 5:1."

Amen.

Also: Rom. 12:3 & Gal. 5:22.
The unregenerate cannot believe, because they are not His sheep. John 10:26

September 12, 2007 9:42 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Don, great points.

September 12, 2007 11:39 AM

 

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