Post Number: 1297
|Posted on Monday, November 06, 2017 - 7:35 am: || |
Yesterday, I attended an Independent Baptist church for the first time. Things were going mostly ok, until the Sunday School teacher said, "We have a part to play in our own salvation and that is we have to believe/receive the free gift provided for us by Jesus Christ."
My Adventist husband has said that same thing many times, so naturally, I was alarmed by the teacher's statement.
A woman in the class raised her hand and said she felt it was more correct to say that Jesus did everything necessary for our salvation. Then the teacher said, "Well, Jesus' part is 99.9% of the work, but we have that very small part to play." The woman backed down and the teacher went on with his lesson.
*sigh* I was not satisfied and wanted to say something, but since I was just a visitor, I kept quiet. I did tell the woman after class that I agreed with her and appreciated her for speaking up.
I feel like I might just be too picky to get involved in any church, because my "doctrine detector" is so sensitive.
Oh, well, back to the drawing board.
Post Number: 155
|Posted on Monday, November 06, 2017 - 10:41 am: || |
Keep looking ... we attend a Baptist church that is essentially Reformed in it's theology while falling far short of being obnoxiously stereotypical Calvinist ...
Our family tried the IFB churches (Independent Fundamentalist Baptist) but their soteriology is still somewhat works focused and very Arminian ... lots of God's people there though.
But we needed "stronger" truth to break the bonds of legalism, and we have found that in those Baptist churches that lean toward a Reformed soteriology, i.e. that God is Sovereign in all things, including salvation. Our pastors still teach that we are responsible to come to Christ in order to be saved ... but that is not a saving work at all, but the moving of the Spirit of God.
Post Number: 156
|Posted on Monday, November 06, 2017 - 10:45 am: || |
You see, many Arminians consider their exercising of saving faith to be a work, whereas Reformed theology considers it an act of the Spirit on the heart ... "believing" is something done to us, rather than something that we do, because man in incapable of even belief without the work of the Spirit.
So, in truth, believing is a divine, miraculous act, rather than a human work. This issue makes a huge difference in how you perceive the gospel and relate to God, and that is what you ran into in that IFB church.
(Message edited by leifl on November 06, 2017)
Post Number: 157
|Posted on Monday, November 06, 2017 - 10:48 am: || |
A person who works for .1 percent of their salvation is lost ... that was what the Protestant Reformation was about ... establishing that justification was COMPLETED by Jesus finished atonement. You can't add or subtract from that.
Must we believe to be saved? Of course. But it is not a saving work!!!
Post Number: 1298
|Posted on Tuesday, November 07, 2017 - 6:58 am: || |
Thank you so much for explaining all of this. I totally agree with you and, to me, THAT is the gospel.
I have very little patience for sitting and listening to error, especially in a Christian church. I have been looking for a reformed Baptist church, but they're not easy to find.
Post Number: 3261
|Posted on Tuesday, November 07, 2017 - 8:20 am: || |
Romans 8:1 has the phrase "now no condemnation". In week nine of this quarter's adult Quarterly lesson, the word "now" is left out. I wonder how many others do not understand the significance of the word "now"?
(Message edited by philharris on November 07, 2017)
Post Number: 799
|Posted on Tuesday, November 07, 2017 - 3:20 pm: || |
Good churches (congregations) are certainly difficult to find, particularly in the country I now live in (Hungary). For two years now I have been attending one which I find exceptionally good (in Veszprém). What I find exceptional is that Jesus is always in focus, loving relationships are emphasised, sin is frowned upon and the leading of the Holy Spirit is sought, which are precisely the four criteria which the apostle John stresses in his first letter.
Post Number: 61
|Posted on Tuesday, November 07, 2017 - 9:03 pm: || |
Contrary to what SDAs will tell you, faith is not meritorious. Even on our best day our faith is human and tainted with sin. Contrary to what some of the nuttier Calvinists will tell you, God will not believe for you. Faith is required from us and it's a gift as well.
Post Number: 800
|Posted on Tuesday, November 07, 2017 - 11:09 pm: || |
I agree Jonasaras. I did not want to start a meaningless bickering match (again), but I have concluded that I am no Calvinist.
Post Number: 158
|Posted on Wednesday, November 08, 2017 - 4:55 am: || |
Jonasaras: I responded the way I did, not to create a debate, but to offer some clarity for Honestwitness, which she appreciated.
"God will believe for you" is definitely not Reformation theology; man IS responsible to come to Christ and believe for salvation, but in truth, we must face the reality of our inability to generate saving faith from a sinful heart.
Post Number: 159
|Posted on Wednesday, November 08, 2017 - 10:02 am: || |
Although salvation is completely by the grace of God, and entirely unmerited, there is indeed a volitional action on our part if we are to be saved. Sometimes these ideas seem to be at odds, but we err if we try to reconcile everything logically ... after all salvation is a spiritual act and not (primarily) an intellectual one.
Here are a few quotes about faith from the late J. Gresham Machen, Reformed theologian and founder of Westminster Theological Seminary.
I think all here (Calvinist or Arminian) would agree to these propositions. Never does Reformation theology claim that the Holy Sprit will do your believing for you, or carry out your obedience to God; that is a misrepresentation.
“If we are to trust Jesus, we must come to Him personally and individually with some need of the soul which He alone can relieve.”
“Acceptance of the Lord Jesus Christ, as He is offered to us in the gospel of His redeeming work, is saving faith.”
“Certainly, at bottom, faith is in one sense a very simple thing; it simply means that abandoning the vain effort of earning one’s way into God’s presence we accept the gift of salvation which Christ offers so full and free.”
“Christ, according to Paul, will do everything or nothing; if righteousness is in slightest measure obtained by our obedience to the law, then Christ died in vain; if we trust in slightest measure in our own good works, then we have turned away from grace and Christ profiteth us nothing.”
“To say that we are justified by faith is just another way of saying that we are justified not in the slightest measure by ourselves.”
I'm trying to smooth some ruffled feathers ... and don't wish to split the Christian faith in half between Calvinist and Arminian.
(Message edited by leifl on November 08, 2017)
Post Number: 1299
|Posted on Wednesday, November 08, 2017 - 12:00 pm: || |
If God expects us to do something (believe), He will also enable us to do it.
I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me, and the life I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.
(Message edited by honestwitness on November 08, 2017)
Post Number: 1
|Posted on Wednesday, November 08, 2017 - 1:53 pm: || |
Post Number: 160
|Posted on Wednesday, November 08, 2017 - 4:06 pm: || |
"If God expects us to do something (believe), He will also enable us to do it."
Very good statement.
Post Number: 62
|Posted on Wednesday, November 08, 2017 - 9:15 pm: || |
I'm no Calvinist either, but they certainly engage in some logical fallacies. If I were in the process of drowning and someone came along and threw me a lifeline and I grabbed hold of it, did I "save myself"? Of course not.
The Bible does speak of election and even predestination of groups as well as some individuals, but it's not as one-dimensional as the Calvinists make it out to be.
Post Number: 123
|Posted on Thursday, November 09, 2017 - 11:10 am: || |
Can a dead person lying on the ocean floor grab a lifeline thrown to him? (Ephesians 2:1-10)
Post Number: 1062
|Posted on Thursday, November 09, 2017 - 4:30 pm: || |
Can a person be saved against their free will?
Can a person say no to God?
Post Number: 1300
|Posted on Thursday, November 09, 2017 - 6:26 pm: || |
Did my will, free or otherwise, play any part in my first birth (in the flesh)? No.
Did my will, free or otherwise, play any part in my spiritual birth? Does a dead person even have a will, free or otherwise? Do we have anything at all that was not given to us by God?
How dare I, a finite, created being, boast that my will can do anything not ordained by God?
(Message edited by Honestwitness on November 09, 2017)
Post Number: 63
|Posted on Thursday, November 09, 2017 - 9:36 pm: || |
You are taking the biblical metaphor too far. Why would God hold someone morally accountable for their actions if God did not give them the ability to obey? The logical outworking of Calvinism is either a God who has no need of a devil or universalism.
That aside, you completely misunderstand Paul. From NJacknCottrelll:
The clear teaching of Romans 5:12-19 is that the one act of redemption by the one man Jesus Christ not only wipes away ALL the effects of Adam’s sin, but MUCH MORE (vv. 15, 17). Thus Paul is NOT teaching the doctrine of original sin, but rather what we may call THE DOCTRINE OF ORIGINAL GRACE.
Paul’s point is simply this: WHATEVER came upon (or WOULD have come upon) the entire race as infants as a result of Adam’s sin, HAS BEEN REMOVED for the entire race as the result of the saving work of Jesus Christ and by the universal gift of saving grace. Thus when we think of the spiritual condition in which infants are conceived and born, we should think of them as being born NOT in original sin, but in the state of original grace.
The same verses in Romans 5 (vv. 15-19) that say all human beings got sin-consequences from Adam, say even more adamantly that all human beings got salvation-consequences from Christ. The latter completely cancel out the former. Verse 15 says all get death from Adam, but all get grace and the gift (of life) from Christ. (For babies who die, this is a guarantee of their future redemptive resurrection from the dead.) Verses 16 and 18 say all get condemnation from Adam, but all get justification from Christ. Verse 17 says all get death from Adam, but all get grace, righteousness, and life from Christ. Verse 19 says all are made sinners by Adam, but made righteous by Christ.
All of these blessings of original grace have been applied to all descendants of Adam, even from the beginning, even before the cross became an actual historical event. Were it not for God’s “predetermined plan” (Acts 2:23) to send Jesus to the cross, thanks to Adam all babies WOULD have come into existence in original sin: sinful, guilty, and condemned. But instead, because of Christ, all babies come into existence in the state of original grace: pure, free, and innocent. This is true of all babies, not just some supposed “elect” and not just those “baptized.” It is universal and automatic. (It does not result in universal salvation, since original grace erases only the results of ADAM’S sin, not the results of our own personal sins. Sins consciously committed can be removed only by grace consciously accepted when one hears the gospel.)
Here is how I think of babies and young children. When they come into existence, they enter into a world governed by law; but they themselves are wrapped in a cocoon of grace. As a result they are under the grace system, not the law system, until they reach the age of accountability. At that point the cocoon of grace dissolves, and the children are now responsible for their own personal sins and are under the law system. Now they need to hear and respond to the gospel to be saved from the consequences of their personal sins. If they accept the gospel they receive the gift of personal grace (the “much more” of vv. 15, 17).
To sum it up, the individual’s spiritual odyssey begins with a theoretical original sin, which is canceled by Christ’s original grace, which is (at the age of accountability) canceled by personal sin, which may then be covered by personal grace.
Post Number: 801
|Posted on Friday, November 10, 2017 - 12:09 am: || |
On the idea of "dead in sin", I think that Calvinists have misunderstood what is in view here.
I have heard former Adventists teaching on soul sleep, who have emphasised the fact that in Biblical usage the work death means separation. Therefore at death the soul is separated from the body and does not cease to exist or fall unconscious.
In the same way, an unbeliever is dead in the sense of being separated from God and becomes alive when reconciled to God, as in 2 Cor. 5.
Someone who is dead in this sense is not a lifeless corpse who is incapable of making decisions. In the parable of the prodigal son, the father says that his son was dead and is now alive. It was, however, the son who "came to his senses" and decided to return home. The father did not go looking for him and irresistibly drag him out of the pigsty.
Anyway, this explanation of spiritual death makes more sense to me.
Blessings to you all from Hungary!