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, November 12, 2008

Hey Free Gracer's, Gary (goe) and others...

Now is your opportunity to walk me carefully through this whole charge that Reformed folk preach a false gospel. Now is your chance to show me the error of my ways. I am opening up here.

Please keep in mind that your charges seem only to be a mantra to those of us on the receiving end. Please make every effort to clear this matter up. Please be as precise as possible.

49 Comments:

Blogger jazzycat said...

Mark,
I wish goe would bring that over here because he has totally turned me off to even debate him elsewhere! This is sincere offer just as yours. I will engage him here with kindness and gentleness and Scripture.

Ironically, it is free grace theology that asserts that one can be saved by a shallow mental assent faith and then go on to promote and believe false gospels or even deny God altogether.

Thus, what goe calls a false gospel is a saving gospel as long as it began with a mental assent faith!

Bring it on goe (Gary)! We will see what Scripture has to say about false prophets and false gospels in a "no spin zone"!

November 12, 2008 9:04 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

If you check out Rose's post on John 8:30-32 on her personal blog you'll be treated to some anonomous commenter there who insists that L/S is too similar to roman catholicism. But then again a system that guts the regeneration experience will indeed say such things.

November 12, 2008 11:16 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Wayne, lets leave this post up until Saturday. I want those brave souls to have enough time to muster the courage to come over here.

November 12, 2008 1:48 PM

 
Blogger goe said...

Mark,

For starters you can check out my most recent posts on Antonio's FREE GRACE THEOLOGY>the Unconditional Gift of God (Sept. 27, 08). I don't have time to type it twice.

Gary

November 14, 2008 11:50 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Gary, the Lord willing I shall check it out. Right now I must get ready for work, and don't have access to the internet while at work.

November 14, 2008 1:10 PM

 
Blogger goe said...

Mark,

You say: "...a system that guts the regeneration experience will indeed say such things."

I keep reading these kinds of statements on your blog, but this is not a fair assessment of what we believe.
If you don't mind, I am going to quote Zane Hodges on this and hopefully put this misunderstanding to rest.

"The reader of John's Gospel will note how often it is mentioned that the one who believes in Jesus has eternal life. Not once, however, does the inspired writer suggest that this guarantee can be disallowed if there are no good works in a believer's life. Of course, there is every reason to believe that there WILL be good works in the life of each believer in Christ. The idea that one may believe in Him and live for years totally unaffected by the amazing miracle of regeneration, or by the instruction and/or discipline of God his heavenly father, is a fantastic notion--even bizarre. WE REJECT IT CATEGORICALLY."
Two pages later, Zane writes: "We said earlier that we believe that all born-again Christians will do good works. We believe it, however, because it appears to be the only rational inference from the scriptural data. But, let it also be said clearly, it IS an inference. No text of Scripture (certainly not Jas. 2:14-26!) declares that all believers will perform good works, much less that they cannot be sure of heaven unless they do. NO TEXT SAYS THAT!"

What Zane is saying here is a fair assessment of what we believe, not what you have said above. But it is one thing to say what Zane says, and another thing to say, as you seem to believe, that it is IMPOSSIBLE for a true believer to fail in persevering in good works and faithfulness to the end of his life. Those are two different things. There is just too much scriptural evidence that failure to persevere is a POSSIBILITY. That's all we are saying Mark. It is overwhelmingly clear from the scriptures that this kind of failure is possible for a believer. Of course, the scriptures also clearly teach that there are nevertheless serious consequences for any believer who fails in this way. That is what the judgement seat of Christ is all about, and Paul placed a lot of emphasis in his teaching to believers on the their accountability for how they lived. However, if you will look carefully at his epistles, you will notice a general pattern in all of them. First, Paul clearly explains and affirms that the believer's position before God is totally unrelated to any works either before they were saved, or after the are saved. In other words, they are eternally secure regarding their justification and possession of eternal life. That is why his letters generally do not even contain any exhortations or commands regarding their behavior or lifestyle in the early portions of his letters. Only after he has laid out for them their unconditional standing in God's grace, based only on the finished work of Christ and their past faith, when they had heard and believed the gospel---only then does he begin exhorting and teaching them about how they should live in a way that pleases God. This is Paul's pattern of teaching everywhere, as it is also Peter's and John's. Another way of putting it is this: The absolute assurance of eternal security in Christ by faith alone, apart from works of any kind, was the very foundation of living the Christian life as it is laid out for us and explained in the epistles. Without this assurance and foundation, a believer cannot even begin to grow spiritually as God intended. He cannot even be properly motivated to do so.

Mark, this is why I am so opposed to L/S--because it confuses and subverts the assurance that God wants us to have by continually focusing on works as a requirement for having "true faith" and being "truly saved". It is impossible to read a book on L/S such as MacArthur's TGATJ and not see that his focus is almost entirely on works from beginning to end. It matters not that he believes these works are the "fruit and not the root." What matters is that for someone who is seeking salvation, he cannot help but come away from the reading of a book like TGATF and be anything but utterly confused, and thinking that his salvation is somehow dependent on his works and faithful perseverance in those works. To give that message to an unbeliever can actually be spiritually fatal for him, because it only reinforces the predisposition that most people already have--that "good" people go to heaven, and "bad" people go to hell. This is what most people already believe, and L/S only has the effect of confirming to them that this false belief is in fact TRUE after all! For a person to be saved, it must be made clear to them that salvation is truly a free gift paid for by the blood of Christ and received by faith alone with no strings attached. Only AFTER a person is saved and has the assurance of their salvation, should works or obedience be made an issue. Otherwise, the person will only be confused and unable to even to be properly motivated to love and serve God. They will only be mislead into thinking that works have some part in their salvation--something that is everywhere warned about and condemned in scripture. L/S garbles and confuses these issues so badly that it subverts not only the salvation of unbelievers, but the spiritual growth of believers who become confused by it as well.

The bible tells us to "rightly divide the word of truth". That means that things must be rightly distinguished and delineated. There are some truths in scripture that only apply to people who are already born again believers. If we don't realize this fact, we will end up preaching things to unbelievers that don't apply to them and which they are unable to rightly understand or respond to since they are spiritually dead. There is no single issue in scripture where more emphasis is laid on the importance of making these distinctions than the issue of grace and works, or faith and works as it relates to the reception of eternal life. I certainly acknowledge that there are many well meaning people who believe and teach L/S. I also realize there are differences in how it is presented by various people. But I nevertheless believe that any presentation of the gospel to unbelievers that even hints or gives the slightest impression that the reception of eternal life depends in any way on works is a false gospel. I believe that almost all of us are at times inconsistent and make mistakes in how we explain the gospel. But it is still wrong and we should be striving to avoid it as much as possible. I think that the tone of Paul's letter to the Galatians and his public rebuke of the apostle Peter, shows us how important this issue was to him, and should be to us.

Let me just add one thing about this issue of "mental assent faith." There is no such thing as different kinds of faith or different degrees of faith. To believe something only means to be persuaded that something is true. It is a conviction that something is true. One either believes something is true or they do not. There is no middle ground. Rom. 4:21 and Jn. 11:25-27, as well as the rest of scripture, tell us clearly what faith IS and what it is NOT. Rom. 4:5 tells us clearly and unambiguously what it is NOT. Jesus said to Martha: "Do you believe this?" This is a yes or no question with only two possible answers, and Martha knew that her answer was YES. Nothing could be more simple and uncomplicated that this. Only someone who has been thoroughly confused would try and make it complicated and obscure by using meaningless pejorative labels like "mental assent faith." That is one of the beauties of God's word as opposed to the vain and empty theology of men.

Hope this satisfies your request for me to "walk you through" my beliefs about L/S. May God bless.

Gary

November 14, 2008 4:51 PM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Goe,
I do not want to interfere with your discussion with Mark, but if you have time I would like some more information on some of your points.

You said……Only AFTER a person is saved and has the assurance of their salvation, should works or obedience be made an issue.

Jesus gives us the formula in the great commission where he says to go make disciples who are believers (baptize them) and teach them to obey everything I have commanded you. Since we agree that eternal life is by faith alone and we also agree on eternal security, would it not be O.K. to speak of the obedience immediately after someone comes to faith? BTW, eternal security is the proper term rather than perseverance. Perseverance is used to fit the “P” of tulip. However the reformed view is that eternal security is an act of God brought about by the indwelling Holy Spirit and not dependent upon man’s unilateral performance.

You said…..There are some truths in scripture that only apply to people who are already born again believers. If we don't realize this fact, we will end up preaching things to unbelievers that don't apply to them and which they are unable to rightly understand or respond to since they are spiritually dead.

We certainly agree that spiritually dead unbelievers cannot respond. When do you think unbelievers become spiritually alive and what is the cause and the consequences of becoming spiritually alive?

You said…….I believe that almost all of us are at times inconsistent and make mistakes in how we explain the gospel.

Do you think anyone can give a gospel presentation perfectly all of the time?

You said……There is no such thing as different kinds of faith or different degrees of faith. To believe something only means to be persuaded that something is true.

There is however a definition of saving faith and you just gave one! The debate is over the definition of faith and not asserting that a different definition is an additional requirement. This is simply a false charge.

You said……. There is no middle ground. Rom. 4:21 and Jn. 11:25-27, as well as the rest of scripture, tell us clearly what faith IS and what it is NOT.

Both of the verses you give clearly define faith as having a knowledge component and a trust component. IOW, I believe the promise of Jesus and I trust that he can do it.

November 14, 2008 10:51 PM

 
Blogger goe said...

I want to add one further thought about L/S and the impact it has on the ASSURANCE of salvation, because I believe it needs more emphasis than I gave it. John Calvin said that "assurance is of the essence of saving faith." In other words, assurance of salvation is something every believer should have from the very moment they first believe in Christ for eternal life. If eternal life is truly a free gift, which we know it is, and if Jesus Christ promises to give this gift to everyone who believes in Him apart from works (Rom. 4:5), as he promised Martha in Jn. 11:25-27, it logically follows from this that we can and will know that we have eternal life when we believe His promise. But L/S makes this assurance impossible. It does so by the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) introduction of works into the definition of faith itself. One this occurs, the freeness of God's offer of eternal life has been corrupted, the finished work of Christ has been nullified, and the very nature of the gospel has been radically altered. As a consequence of this, a person cannot know if he has "truly believed" and therefore cannot know he has eternal life. In other words, he does not and can not have the assurance of salvation, and without this assurance, he never has the conscious experience of reconciliation and peace with God (Rom. 5:1,2). The very foundation of all Christian experience has therefore been made impossible for the unsaved person, and destroyed for the confused believer.

jazzycat,

I just saw your questions. I don't mind at all if you want to join in and I think you have asked some good and fair questions. I wanted to post what I've written here about assurance before I go to bed. I will try to answer your questions tomorrow because its been a long day for me and I need some rest. Could I ask a favor of you and Mark? So that things won't get confusing, let's try to focus with one specific issue at a time. That way we won't get sidetracked and everything can be discussed in an orderly manner. I think that sometimes on these blogs, too many things get put on the table at one time by too many people and before you know it all you've got is chaos and lot of frustrated people. I'm sure you know what I mean. Things can start disintegrating pretty fast when that happens. Does that sound o.k. with you? since you have already asked several questions, I'll go down the list tomorrow and try to answer them all, but it might take some time because I've got some other things to take care of tomorrow also. I hope you're not still mad at me. I had a bad headache the other day and wasn't as gracious as I should have been. What I wrote about assurance is maybe not as clear as I would like, but I'm kind of exhausted right now.

November 15, 2008 12:04 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Gary,
I appreciate that you came by, and also your tone. Thank you.

A bit about me:
I was saved while involved with a church that held to the Assembly of God doctrinal distinctives - which means L/S, the Arminian version. The way the Gospel was presented to me was similar to what we see in Matthew 11:28-30. I was told that I was a lost sinner. I believed that. I was told that Jesus Christ was my only hope of salvation. I believed that. I was told that faith in Him alone, without works, just faith alone, believing that Jesus died for my sins and rose again was my only hope of salvation. I believed that. In keeping with scripture I was told that I was to take Christ as my Lord as well as my Savior. The Bible knows no one who is a Christian who is not also a disciple. i believed that.

I called on the Name of the Lord, knowing He was to be my Lord as well as my Savior. There was no confusion- not then, not now, some 35 years later. I must confess that I have been watching FGT blogs for 3 years now. I keep seeing how the L/S gospel presentation supposedly presents the sinner with confusion. I did not experience any confusion. All of my friends were presented the L/S Gospel - no confusion there either. I honestly don't know where that claim comes from. Seriously. I am really trying to follow your train of thought. If there were confusion in my life I would be the first to admit it. But there is none. Nor is there any in any of my friends. I cannot relate to the charge of presenting a confused gospel. It makes sense that He Who suffered and died for me should also be my Lord, right from the get-go. I was to take Jesus' yoke upon me and learn from Him, and in so doing I was going to find rest for my soul. He, the only wise God, is Lord of my life, and has been so since the day that He saved me.

No confusion here, never was.
I have complete assurance of my salvation. There are NO doubts at all. I know so because Christ paid for my sins and is my Savior. He is my only hope of salvation. Period.

November 15, 2008 12:34 AM

 
Blogger goe said...

jazzycat,

Question #1-yes, after a person has the assurance that they have eternal life, they should then be taught to obey his commandments. Obedience to the Lord's command to be baptized would be the first step in that obedience. But it is vital that the person have assurance, because without that they have not yet believed in Christ for eternal life.
I'm not sure what you meant in your comment about eternal security and perseverance.

#2--A person is made alive (born again) the moment they believe in Christ. I don't believe that regeneration precedes faith. Faith is the result of God's calling, teaching and drawing of the unbeliever through the work of the H.S.
Unbelievers are not capable of living the Christian life (walk in the Spirit) until they have the INDWELLING H.S.

#3--I don't believe that we are capable of doing anything perfectly all of the time, so that would include presenting the gospel. I wasn't totally accurate in how I stated that.

#4 and #5---I'm not totally clear on your point in these questions. Believe and trust are synonyms, there is no difference between them. If I believe the promise of Jesus, I also am believing that He can do it. Or, if I trust the promise of Jesus, I am believing that He can do it. You can interchange these 2 words any way you like and it still means the same thing. To believe the promise is to believe in (or trust) the One making the promise. I have no problem with the word "trust" but I prefer "believe" since it is the one scripture uses. Gordon Clark (a Reformed theologian) has written an excellent book on this and related issues called "Faith and Saving Faith".

November 15, 2008 8:39 AM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Goe,
Fair enough on the terms. You are correct that rabbit trails can pop up everywhere in these discussions. One thing I would like for you to keep in mind when discussing issues with us and especially me, please do not hold me accountable by what you read in a MacArthur or anyone else’s book. I have my own beliefs, and while I may agree with much of what others say, I may have strong differences on certain points. My theological foundation is based on a strong affirmation of the five sola’s and the five points of Calvinism. Therefore, the belief in unconditional election precludes any possibility of adding works to justification [being saved]. It is impossible to affirm God’s election and also works to justification. If you believe one you can’t logically believe the other. Since I believe that salvation [justification] is from the Lord, then human effort and works are totally eliminated in receiving the free gift of eternal life. This does not mean some do not get confused and incorrectly tie works of sanctification back to justification in thinking one must prove his salvation by works. It is perfectly legitimate for you and others to point to the error of this thinking. You may be surprised to learn that I have done that myself. Here is the point of distinction I would like for you to remember. If someone who claims to be Calvinist makes this error don’t assume, since I am a Calvinist, that I have the same view. I will discuss these doctrines, but I am not going to defend any views but my own. FOR EXAMPLE:

You said…… But L/S makes this assurance impossible. It does so by the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) introduction of works into the definition of faith itself.

If anyone does this, then they have incorrectly added to the correct definition in my view. Our debate is about the doctrine of sanctification. The Bible speaks extensively about sanctification and the role of regeneration and the indwelling Spirit as well as human responsibility in the process of sanctification. Certainly, one should be careful to incorrectly charge someone with works justification when they are discussing Biblical passages about sanctification. Jesus in John 17 prayed that God would sanctify believers in truth. Is it not reasonable to believe that the prayer of Jesus gets answered and all believers experience sanctification in truth? Paul said in speaking about believers Romans 6:22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life. Is it not reasonable to conclude that God sets believers free from sin and fruit that leads to sanctification results? 1 Cor. 1:30, 1 Thess. 4:3, 2 Thess 2:13, and 1 Peter 1:2 also discuss sanctification by name. Shouldn’t we explore the possibility that sanctification flows from God’s power and work in those whom he has exchanged their heart of stone with a heart of flesh?

I hope we be able to discuss the Biblical doctrine of sanctification without forcing it into the Biblical doctrine of justification. The Bible certainly discusses both.

November 15, 2008 9:48 AM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

goe,
Progress. We are essentially in agreement on the definition of faith! (To believe the promise is to believe in (or trust) the One making the promise.)

I also affirm that works of sanctification have no part in the definition of saving faith. Certainly one can have faith in other attributes of God such as his goodness and other promises like in Romans 8:28.

November 15, 2008 10:00 AM

 
Blogger goe said...

Jazzycat,

I'm glad we agree on some things. I'm sure there are lots of other things we would agree on. I appreciate what you say about making wrong assumptions about each other. That's part of the confusion that results on these blogs-everyone can get lumped together. I definitely don't think blogs are the ideal place for debates. It's way too time consuming to really accomplish much. What it takes 10 hrs to do on the blog you could probably easily discuss in 30 min or an hour in person. I do rejoice to hear that you are not in full agreement with MacArthur. That is encouraging to hear. He is probably who I think of and associate more with L/S than any other single person, so maybe you can better understand some of the things I have said.
I know something else we agree on. I love games that are "wrapped in maroon and white"! That's right! But you and I haven't had many of those since the "snow bowl" in 2000 have we! I haven't decided if I'm going to watch what happens tonight on ESPN or not. Have you?

Anyway. Wow! Sanctification. That's certainly a complex topic to take on isn't it. We could probably go on forever on that one. Just the word itself is used in various ways in scripture. There is past sanctification, present sanctification, and future sanctification. By my count there are at least 4 different types of past sanctification: pre-conversion, forensic, intrinsic, and positional. This could get pretty messy. Are you sure it would be worth your time to get into this?
As for Jn 17:17. That's an interesting passage. Of course, you'll notice that Jesus also prayed that believers would be as one, just as He and the Father are one. There is certainly not any evidence that this prayer has even come close to being answered in the past 2000 yrs. Yet we know that one day it surely will be answered, when all believers are without sin and in our glorified state. So I would have to put Jesus prayer for sanctification of believers in the same category as His other prayer. One day His prayer will be fully answered. But, there has never been a fully sanctified (experientially) believer and never will be in this life. Only when we die and are set free from this "body of death" will we finally and forever be set completely free from sin in our daily experience. But yes, at that time Jesus prayer will be fully answered.

Go dogs!

Gary

November 15, 2008 12:57 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Gary -
John 17:17 - Sanctify them by your truth. Your word is truth. See also Eph. 5:26

You'll note that this verse is in the midst of verses that dealt with the disciple's present state at the time ( verses 14-18). I can't agree with your handling of John 17:17.

I must get ready for work now, as I must work both today and tomorrow, and on to next Friday - 13 on, 1 off.

Good day, all

November 15, 2008 1:10 PM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Gary (goe),
Thanks for your response. Maroon and white for sure. I will watch some of the game tonight if we get back in time from our night out.

I don’t see how we can avoid sanctification as I think it is the heart of the debate between FGT and my view. I do not want to distract from your discussion with Mark so please give your main attention to him. Mark and I go back a couple of years and are in much doctrinal agreement.

By sanctification, I mean the period of time between justification and glorification. I guess this is also called progressive sanctification, growth in grace, Christian living, and many other things. The following are the definitions of sanctification that I got from Easton's Bible Dictionary and the Webster’s New International Dictionary (Please let me know if you are talking about sanctification in some other way) :

Involves more than a mere moral reformation of character, brought about by the power of the truth: it is the work of the Holy Spirit bringing the whole nature more and more under the influences of the new gracious principles implanted in the soul in regeneration. In other words, sanctification is the carrying on to perfection the work begun in regeneration, and it extends to the whole man (Romans 6:13; 2 Corinthians 4:6; Colossians 3:10; 1 John 4:7; 1 Corinthians 6:19). It is the special office of the Holy Spirit in the plan of redemption to carry on this work (1 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:13). Faith is instrumental in securing sanctification, inasmuch as it (1) secures union to Christ (Galatians 2:20), and (2) brings the believer into living contact with the truth, whereby he is led to yield obedience "to the commands, trembling at the threatenings, and embracing the promises of God for this life and that which is to come."

Perfect sanctification is not attainable in this life (1 Kings 8:46; Proverbs 20:9; Ecclesiastes 7:20; James 3:2; 1 John 1:8). See Paul's account of himself in Romans 7:14-25; Philippians 3:12-14; and 1 Timothy 1:15; also the confessions of David (Psalm 19:12, 13; 51), of Moses (90:8), of Job (42:5, 6), and of Daniel (9:3-20). "The more holy a man is, the more humble, self-renouncing, self-abhorring, and the more sensitive to every sin he becomes, and the more closely he clings to Christ. The moral imperfections which cling to him he feels to be sins, which he laments and strives to overcome. Believers find that their life is a constant warfare, and they need to take the kingdom of heaven by storm, and watch while they pray. They are always subject to the constant chastisement of their Father's loving hand, which can only be designed to correct their imperfections and to confirm their graces. And it has been notoriously the fact that the best Christians have been those who have been the least prone to claim the attainment of perfection for themselves.", Hodge's Outlines.

Noah Webster's New International Dictionary of the English Language

1. (n.) The act of sanctifying or making holy; the state of being sanctified or made holy;

2. (n.) the act of God's grace by which the affections of men are purified, or alienated from sin and the world, and exalted to a supreme love to God; also, the state of being thus purified or sanctified.

3. (n.) The act of consecrating, or of setting apart for a sacred purpose; consecration.

November 15, 2008 2:52 PM

 
Blogger goe said...

jazzy cat,

I agree with you that one aspect of the biblical teaching on sanctification is present (or progressive)
sanctification as is described in the Easton article you cited. I was just pointing out that the word itself is not always referring to present santification. It sometimes refers to the past or future aspect. Some passages of scripture are often misunderstood to be referring to progressive sancification when in fact they are referring to past or future sanctification. Rom. 6, for example, is a passage that refers to past sanctification (intrinsic) and is not about progressive sanctification. Only 2 of the passages you cited (Jn 17:17 and 1 Thess. 4:3) are dealing with the issue of present (or progressive sanctification. 2 Thess. 2:13 and 1 Pet. 1:2 are about past (pre-conversion) sanctification and 1 Cor. 1:30 is past (forensic) sanctification.

Mark, I'm not sure what it is you disagree with (about my handling of Jn 17:17) unless you believe moral perfection can be attained by the believer in this life. Do you?

If you and jazzycat would tell me specifically what it is you disagree with in the quotes I gave from Zane Hodges it would save a lot of time, because we all agree that the bible teaches the reality of progressive sanctification. No one is denying that or that it is the will of God for all believers. Please be specific.

November 16, 2008 10:07 AM

 
Blogger goe said...

Where I say "Rom. 6 ..." --I meant Rom. 6:22

November 16, 2008 10:11 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

"Mark, I'm not sure what it is you disagree with (about my handling of Jn 17:17) unless you believe moral perfection can be attained by the believer in this life. Do you?"

Gary, "moral perfection can be attained by the believer in this life."??? That is my point. This verse is *NOT* talking about that aspect of sanctification; but rather about that aspect that sets a person apart for service to Him. The verses Jn. 17:17 is surrounded by indicate that my take is true and so does the fact that these men were to be ambassadors in their time after this, (Jn.17:18), yea, they were to become reflections of Christ, spokesmen of Christ's heart to a lost world.

In short, I do not agree with you that Jn.17:17 is talking about that aspect of sanctification which all the redeemed will experience when we see Him.

November 16, 2008 11:49 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Gary,
All the aspects of sanctification have to do with the final aspect. The indwelling Holy Spirit is the agent. To be sure forensic sanctification cannot be divorced from experiential sanctification. The Bible no where teaches that it can. Walking in newness of life is because of the circumcision of Christ, the body of sins is put off. Romans 6 is pretty extensive on this-we were slaves of sin, now we are slaves of righteousness and of God.

November 16, 2008 12:00 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

That OT saints experienced regeneration I *do* agree; but let us deal with Jn.17:17. It is a prayer whose answer is forward looking. The discussion of OT saints can be the subject of another discussion. Again, Jn.17:17 was for these men, and all those who come to faith through their word.

November 16, 2008 12:07 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

The sanctification there is that of making one fit for God's usage in this world.

November 16, 2008 12:09 PM

 
Blogger goe said...

Mark,

As for your comments about L/S, it has become increasingly clear to me that you are indeed confused, but you just don't realize it. Michael Horton, another L/S advocate, certainly doesn't share your assessment of John MacArthur, and your "favorite books" by him. As you know, Horton equates MacArthur's L/S teaching with the teaching of the Catholic church, just as I, anonymous, and many others do. It is extremely disingenuous of you to imply that our thoughts about this are completely unfounded. On the contrary, it is your gross distortion of Zane Hodges and other FGr's beliefs at the beginning of this thread that is both unfounded AND disingenuous.

I just saw your last comment. Mark, I Clearly said that Jn. 17:17 is referring to PRESENT (PROGRESSIVE) SANCTIFICATION. This is also what you said when you compared it to Eph. 5:26.

November 16, 2008 12:11 PM

 
Blogger goe said...

I also said NOTHING about OT saints. Please stop muddying the water and answer my question about Zane Hodges or I'm through with this.

November 16, 2008 12:15 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

"Of course, there is every reason to believe that there WILL be good works in the life of each believer in Christ. The idea that one may believe in Him and live for years totally unaffected by the amazing miracle of regeneration, or by the instruction and/or discipline of God his heavenly father, is a fantastic notion--even bizarre. WE REJECT IT CATEGORICALLY."

========================
I agree with the above

====================
"Two pages later, Zane writes: "We said earlier that we believe that all born-again Christians will do good works. We believe it, however, because it appears to be the only rational inference from the scriptural data. But, let it also be said clearly, it IS an inference. No text of Scripture (certainly not Jas. 2:14-26!) declares that all believers will perform good works, much less that they cannot be sure of heaven unless they do. NO TEXT SAYS THAT!"

=================
This is where my point is proven that Zane Hodges guts the regeneration experience.

November 16, 2008 12:17 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Gary, you'll forgive me if I misunderstood this answer of yours here, and took it that you were saying that Jn.17:17 was about that final aspect of sanctification. This is what you said -
"As for Jn 17:17. That's an interesting passage. Of course, you'll notice that Jesus also prayed that believers would be as one, just as He and the Father are one. There is certainly not any evidence that this prayer has even come close to being answered in the past 2000 yrs. Yet we know that one day it surely will be answered, when all believers are without sin and in our glorified state. So I would have to put Jesus prayer for sanctification of believers in the same category as His other prayer. One day His prayer will be fully answered. But, there has never been a fully sanctified (experientially) believer and never will be in this life. Only when we die and are set free from this "body of death" will we finally and forever be set completely free from sin in our daily experience. But yes, at that time Jesus prayer will be fully answered."

Again, sorry for the misunderstanding.

November 16, 2008 12:24 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

As far as my doing a preemptive strike on the appeal to OT saints, and whether they were faithful to the end, well the comments at Rose's blog, addressed to me, the OT saints were used quite extensively you'll have to admit.

November 16, 2008 12:28 PM

 
Blogger goe said...

How does it prove your point? Zane says he "believes that all all born again believers will do good works."I don't even understand what your point is. Please tell me. I'm also not sure what your answer was about whether you think that believers can attain moral perfection in this life.

November 16, 2008 12:41 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

No, believers cannot achieve moral perfection in this life. Neither does MacArthur or any L/S advocate teach that.

The New Covenant brings about a new heart in the believer. The believer goes on to have a contrite heart which trembles at God's word - something he did not have before Christ saved him. This person *wants* to walk in God's ways. Paul typified this. Philippians 3 serves up both a glimpes of that contrite heart, and a challenge for believers to press toward that kind of heart. Regeneration is the driving force. It is inevitable in the life of each believer, but not automatic.

November 16, 2008 12:53 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

I must get ready for work now. I hope to see you tomorrow. Have a good day, Gary.

November 16, 2008 1:06 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

"No text of Scripture (certainly not Jas. 2:14-26!) declares that all believers will perform good works,"

THAT is where Zane guts regeneration

November 16, 2008 1:11 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

More tomorrow.

November 16, 2008 1:13 PM

 
Blogger goe said...

Mark,

So, let me get this straight. Zane clearly says that he believes all born again believers will perform good works, and says he bases this belief on the overall inference of scripture. He also believes in and teaches regeneration and all the other biblical truths that relate to the new life every born again believer has in Christ. He himself has lived a dedicated life of love and service to Christ and, like Paul, exhorts and encourages other believers to do the same. Yet, simply because he claims that no text of scripture says that every born again believer will perform good works, you say that he "guts" regeneration. Even if his claim were proved wrong, that is a bit of overkill on your part don't you think? This is fascinating. So, is there such a text Mark?

November 16, 2008 4:24 PM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Gary,
You asked where do I disagree with the Zane Hodges quote. You quoted the following as coming from Zane Hodges:

”The reader of John's Gospel will note how often it is mentioned that the one who believes in Jesus has eternal life. Not once, however, does the inspired writer suggest that this guarantee can be disallowed if there are no good works in a believer's life.”

This is true because once a person is justified by faith alone he cannot lose his salvation. We agree on this and that faith secures eternal life without works of any kind. However, it would be reading something into the gospel of John that is not there to conclude or assume that it possible for a believer to not have some obedience and good works in his life, and this seems to be what is being inferred by this quote. IOW, It is an error to say:

1) One who believes in Jesus has eternal life according to John (true statement)
2) No where does John say eternal life will be disallowed if there is no good works. (Assumes that is possible for a believer to not have good works when text does not state this as fact)
3) Conclusion of no good works being a possibility is based on the incorrect assumption in step (2) and is not a valid conclusion.

Bottom line: While the entire statement by Hodges is true, concluding that no good works is possible for believer from this statement is a logical fallacy.

While there are death bed or other special circumstances where time and circumstances do no allow any Spirit led fruit to be evident, can you cite any Scripture that plainly states that a regenerated Spirit led believer might possibly have no fruit even in a long life? I believe there are many passages that make it clear that believers always have Spirit led fruit that results from regeneration and the indwelling Spirit. If I understand your position correctly, you believe it is possible for a regenerated spirit led believer to live a long life with absolutely no obedience or fruit resulting from his regeneration and the indwelling Spirit. This is the debate. To assert, as I do, that some Spirit led fruit will result has nothing to do with adding works to faith by back loading or any other way. A person who is producing works in order to prove justification is not saved! A person who is inspired to produce fruit by the leading of the Spirit will do it because that is his new nature and he is following his new desires. Do you see the difference?

I think when Mark or I speak of the regeneration experience that is what we mean. God’s power results in sanctification as 2 Thess. 2:13 states clearly: But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth.

Since we agree that justification is by faith alone, and not by adding works, assurance, or anything else to this faith, we should debate the point of disagreement [sanctification] and not justification by faith alone. I am not going to debate any quote other than those that I have made in my extensive writings on this blog and my Jazzycat Blog. As I have said I will defend my views only!

November 16, 2008 5:46 PM

 
Blogger goe said...

Jazzycat,

I think you need to go back and carefully read the first quote I gave from Zane. You are making him say something he did not say. There is no logical fallacy except the one you are creating.

Please also note my comment about 2 Thess. 2:13.

November 16, 2008 6:56 PM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Gary,
Very good. Maybe we are getting closer if you are saying that Zane Hodges did not mean to imply what I thought he did. However, I am confused as to why he would even mention “no good works in a believers life” unless he was affirming that as a possibility. Are you saying that Hodges was not asserting that some believers could possibly not have any good works in their lives?

Am I correct in this statement of mine?…..
”If I understand your position correctly, you believe it is possible for a regenerated spirit led believer to live a long life with absolutely no obedience or fruit resulting from his regeneration and the indwelling Spirit.”

Also, after we get this item cleared up, I can see that our definitions of what you are calling perseverance are different. I define perseverance as an act of God that produces spiritual fruit [good works] through the leading of the indwelling Holy Spirit and because of the new nature given to the believer through regeneration. The believer has a responsibility to cooperate and that is why, as you said, Paul and the other writers encourage and exhort believers to be sanctified. This fruit varies from person to person and is far from perfect in anyone. At times it may become nil, but I believe the Bible teaches that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion (Phil 1:6). The fact that a good work was begun indicates a universal event for all believers.

If you are agreeing that regeneration produces some Spirit led fruit in all believers, then I think we are in agreement as I certainly agree that works of sanctification occur after a person has already been saved by faith alone and cannot by definition have any value in justification.

November 16, 2008 10:19 PM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Gary,
2 Thess 2:13. I disagree with your view here. This is a passage that validates God's unconditional election of choosing sinners for salvation, which occurs pre-conversion and in fact before the foundation of the world. However, the sanctification by the Spirit occurs as the believer lives his earthly life as does the exercise of faith. This is a great verse to show that the indwelling Holy Spirit sanctifies all believers.

Let us not get into an argument on the five points of Calvinism; however, I had to bring it up to give my interpretation of the verse.

November 16, 2008 10:32 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

"So, let me get this straight. Zane clearly says that he believes all born again believers will perform good works, and says he bases this belief on the overall inference of scripture. He also believes in and teaches regeneration and all the other biblical truths that relate to the new life every born again believer has in Christ."
-------------
I agree with all of the above!
-------------- "
He himself has lived a dedicated life of love and service to Christ and, like Paul, exhorts and encourages other believers to do the same."
-------------
I knew that about him from having read bio's about him on the net.
----------- "
"Yet, simply because he claims that no text of scripture says that every born again believer will perform good works, you say that he "guts" regeneration."
-------------
I don't see how he could have it both ways. Every time I see this quote from him - thanks to Antonio - I cannot see how there is any consistency in his logic. I've read the reviews of others concerning this quote from Hodges, and not a one of them can figure his logic here either.
--------------
"Even if his claim were proved wrong, that is a bit of overkill on your part don't you think? This is fascinating. So, is there such a text Mark?"
--------------
Yes. James 2:14-26 is clear, saving faith is a living and working faith. Hebrews 11, the whole chapter, is the definition of saving faith. It is a faith that obeys, always looking to a heavenly city, the builder and Maker is God. It is the same faith that the OT saints had when they died seeing the promises afar off. THAT is biblical saving faith.

November 17, 2008 6:56 AM

 
Blogger goe said...

I don't have any time today. I'll get back with you tomorrow. Hope you have a great day.

November 17, 2008 3:56 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Gary,
FYI - Broad and sweeping claims, ones invloving genetic falacy - like how I am close to Roman Cathalicism, or Arminianism - are signs of desparation in my book. When you throw such things my way without completely explaining yourself it just comes across as laziness on your part, taking the easy way out by attempting to smear a position that you cannot defeat.

November 18, 2008 8:13 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

And please do be careful of straw men and over exaggeration in your presentation of my views. They do tend to smack of ignorance. Other than that, let's get on with the dicussion. ;-)

November 18, 2008 8:18 AM

 
Blogger Daniel said...

Great discussion so far.

November 18, 2008 12:51 PM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Mark,
Evidently Gary does not wish to answer my questions or offer any objections to my views on sanctification. I was hoping that we could explore what Scripture says about sanctification without erroneously forcing our sanctification views into the doctrine of justification where we are in total agreement on justification by faith alone.

Perhaps he will change his mind or either someone else in FGT will come and discuss the doctrine of sanctification on its merits.

For two years now I have watched their arguments basically boil down to the following:
1) Eternal life is a free gift and believers are eternally secure at the moment of faith.
2) Therefore, the remainder of a persons life [even if lengthy] may possibly not include any spirit led obedience and fruit.
3) Anyone that says sanctification will result in some obedience and fruit in all believers is accused of adding works to justification.

Number 1 is true. The conclusion in 2 is not supported by Scripture, and number 3 is a false charge.

Oh well………….

November 18, 2008 11:09 PM

 
Blogger Diane said...

Gary,
I just wanted you to know that I appreciated everything you said here. It helps to sharpen me in the truth, and even though others may not see it, I do. I love being a Berean. I see what you're saying, and it's biblical. Thanks for making it so clear.

Rejoicing always in the truth,
Diane
:-)
P.S. Thanks Mark for giving Gary the opportunity to make his points which were so well done.

November 19, 2008 1:11 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

The L/S gospel, the Biblical gospel, is the presentation of a total salvation to a totally lost race. Man is born in sin and shapen in iniquity. Yea, he is a slave of sin and under the sway of the devil. He is by nature a child of wrath. BUT God, Who is rich in mercy, because of His great love, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us (those in Christ) alive together with His Son. Yea, He makes lost, dead men and women alive with His Son. Think on that. He makes these people His workmanship, His work of art, created in Christ Jesus for good works. It is the blood of Christ that brings man nigh to God. Nothing else can, not works before or after the salvation experience, nothing else. Man, who was once an enemy of God because of his sin, now, if he be in Christ, has peace with God. By God's design, that once dead man or woman is now part of a growing temple of God, a dwelling place of His Spirit.

God's purposes in Christ towards man are effectual. What Christ accomplished on His cross made it possible for Paul to be commisioned to "open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in [Christ]".

Yes, it is a total salvation for a totally lost race. It is justification (being declared righteous) as well as sanctification (being separated unto God).

Gary, in your genetic falacy you link Roman Catholic "infused righteousness" with the L/S conviction that the indwelling Holy Spirit will produce in the believer a new heart with new Godward desires. You have failed to distinguish between the two. Perhaps that is a simple misunderstanding on your part. I hope that it is only that. otherwise YOU are the one being disingenuous.

November 19, 2008 8:04 AM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Diane,
Would you care to address the many questions that I posed to Gary that he did not answer?

Such as:
Shouldn’t we explore the possibility that sanctification flows from God’s power and work in those whom he has exchanged their heart of stone with a heart of flesh?

or:

Very good. Maybe we are getting closer if you are saying that Zane Hodges did not mean to imply what I thought he did. However, I am confused as to why he would even mention “no good works in a believers life” unless he was affirming that as a possibility. Are you saying that Hodges was not asserting that some believers could possibly not have any good works in their lives?

or

”If I understand your position correctly, you believe it is possible for a regenerated spirit led believer to live a long life with absolutely no obedience or fruit resulting from his regeneration and the indwelling Spirit.”

November 19, 2008 9:25 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

jazzycat said...
Right on brother Mark. Grace comes with power. Grace not only saves, it transforms.

Good post.

Wayne

December 22, 2006 8:31 PM


bluecollar said...
Wayne - When we do not drive radical devides into the word it is then easy to see that Justification and Sanctification, though distinct in definition, are not so as to experience in the Christian life. Sanctification will issue forth from the life of that one who is justified.

December 22, 2006 8:55 PM


bluecollar said...
Remember, God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself. An individual, once reconciled, will then experience the glorious working of God the Father as He paints the image of His Son on the canvas of his or her life. Man can now truely look like he was created in the image of God. As we consider 2 Cor. 3:3 we see that we are now epistles of Christ to a lost world, written by the Spirit of God. We are the Father's workmanship (poema), Eph. 2:10, created unto good works. We are to let our lights so shine that men will see our good works, and glorify our Father in heaven. Matt. 5:16. Christ gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works-Titus 2:14.

December 22, 2006 9:16 PM


bluecollar said...
Christ-Likeness: Growing from Glory to Glory

In the Parable of the sower, as recorded in Mark 4, we see that what is sowed is the word; yes that same "implanted word" that we are to receive with meekness in James 1:21. As we see in Mark 4:8 the seed that fell on good ground yielded a crop that sprang up, some 30, some 60, some 100.

Question: what is that which is yielded in this crop? I believe it to be the fruit of the Spirit, mentioned in Galatians 5:22-23. In short the crop is Christ-likeness in varying degrees from individual Christians. Where FGT and I disagree is what salvation is all about. From what I have observed FGT seems to believe that Justification is the be-all and end-all. I believe it only holds to part of the over all big picture provided in the word.

Jesus said "This cup is the New Covenant in My blood, which is shed for you". If we look at 2 Cor. 3:3-18 we get some insight into this new Covenant...

1)Christians are epistles of Christ to the world. vs.3

2) The Spirit of God is the writer, and our hearts are what He writes on. vs.3

3) Paul was a minister of that new covenant, that one by which the Spirit gives life. vs 6

.4) the ministry of the Spirit is more glorious than the old covenant. vs. 8.

5) the new covenant is called "the ministry of Righteousness" in verse 9.

6)Entrance into that new covenant means a veil is taken away from our eyes in Christ. vs.14-16.

7)Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty. vs.17.

And now the clincher: as we look with unveiled faces at the Lord, through His word, we are transformed into the image of Christ by the Holy Spirit... Sanctification, Christlikeness.2 Cor.3:18.

I believe that the Holy Spirit applies the whole of the new covenant to every believer in Christ. Part of what Christ accomplished on the cross was our being set free from slavery to sin in order to be slaves of Christ, no middle ground. See Romans 6:18, also Acts 3:26. We are now in Christ's kingdom,under His rule in our lives, having been put there by God the Father. Col.1:13-14. See also 1 Peter 1:2. We are now temples of the Holy Spirit and evidences of His presence in the Christian life will show. Over time we grow from glory to glory, due to the Spirit's ministry to us through His Word. The seed (the word, attended by God the Holy Spirit, for they are always in concert) once planted begins to grow, grow towards its intended end, Christlikeness. Romans 8:29.

If we look at Luke's rendering of the sermon on the mount, 6:40, we see Jesus say that a perfectly trained disciple will be like his teacher. May I suggest that here we see the whole intent of Christ for His people? Look at the great commission, Matt.28:18-20...We are to:"make disciples, baptizing them, teaching them to observe all that Christ has commanded. Look at Eph. 2:1-22. The progression begins with our having been quickened, having once been dead in tresspases and sins, having walked according to the course of this world, walking according the spirit that now works in the sons of disobedience, and were by nature children of wrath. Then God makes us alive with His Son (regeneration)and enables us to believe. We then become His workmanship (poema, His work of art)as He causes us to walk in good works. He causes Jew and Gentile to be one new man in Christ. We now have access by the Spirit to the Father. We are now a dwelling place of God in the Spirit. I believe this to be the very appex of redemptive history. It is the glorious work of God on once dead sinners comparable to the great scene in Ezekiel 37, the valley of dry bones. God's Spirit brings life where there was none, that life being Christ-likeness, coming to full fruition when we see Him in the air. 1 John 3:2.

December 22, 2006 11:18 PM


jazzycat said...
Mark,
Good points. The new creation begins at regeneration and is enabled to willingly respond as you point out. I believe our charge in sanctification is to cooperate with the on-going grace. As Jesus says, remain in me or you can do nothing.

I wish you and your family a peaceful and merry Christmas.

Wayne

December 23, 2006 11:24 PM

November 19, 2008 10:38 AM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

I've just put Gary on my blogroll. I must visit his blog and comment. Maybe there his baseless charges against Calvinism will actually be explained. One can only hope.

Diane, you seem to be a very sweet sister in Christ. Perhaps you can do what Gary failed to do. He charges that L/S preaches a false gospel and confuses sanctification and justification. Wayne and I proved that that is not so. Gary did not rise to the challenge. No, instead more baseless claims and no actual interacting with Wayne or myself. Do you wish to clear all this up.

Mark

November 19, 2008 1:10 PM

 
Blogger Diane said...

Hi Mark,

I appreciate you making the offer to me to clear up what you think Gary failed to do. But if Gary hasn't made a dent in your thinking, I sure can't. I see it exactly as he does. I believe he is very biblical and done a wonderful job of explaining.

Gary and I both know that eternal life is absolutely free with no strings attached. God offers it freely, and the person who takes it by faith has it. Some believers will count the cost of discipleship and some won't.

Sanctification is the process of becoming like Christ in our actions. Positionally we are perfect, but experiencially we are not. John 15 makes it very clear that we (the believer) must ABIDE in the vine to bear fruit. Notice that it says.... "Every branch IN ME that does not bear fruit He *lifts up* (original language), and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you.... etc."

We BELIEVERS are the branches. If we do not ABIDE in the vine (fellowship), divine discipline will come upon us. But even after divine discipline, some believers still will not abide in the vine.

Justification salvation.... FREE gift to us.... NO WORKS INVOLVED.

Sanctification salvation.... Cost involved to us, but worth the cost...
(no guarantee that we'll pay that price.)

This will be my last post here, but thank you for giving me the opportunity.

Wishing you only God's best,

Diane
:-)

November 22, 2008 9:55 PM

 
Blogger mark pierson said...

Diane,
You keep bringing up this "no strings attached" thing. Can you show me that L/S says anyhting different? FGT cannot do so. It is a clear misrepresentation of the L/S position.

To be clear good works flow from having been justified, God the Holy Spirit is the Originator as He takes up residence in the newly justified one. To virtually ignore this point is pure absurdity. To say that regeneration will affect change in a person's life, and then to turn around and say that it will not necessarilly do so is, again, absurd, a contradiction that defies logic.

Diane, I am sorry that you did not interact with mine or Wayne's points here. How can a discussion progress when one side (FGT) does not want to interact with a position that it opposes and assails (L/S), but chooses instead to revert back to old, well-worn and debuncked arguments and talking points.

Yes, salvation is a gift. It is thru faith alone, in Christ alone. For the FGT to say that L/S teaches otherwise is A LIE.

November 22, 2008 10:30 PM

 

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