Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Has God Condemned Some While Saving Others?

2 Peter 3:9 ~"The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance."

In my post on the Dunamis Word 2 'Is Reformed & Evangelical Theology Biblical? Pt. 2' recent discussion has focused on God's purpose and sovereignty as it pertains to the salvation of the individual. Simply put, the question is this:

Did God create some individuals to be saved while simultaneously creating others to be condemned eternally?

Within reform circles this is often referred to as Limited Atonement. This is said to be the L of TULIP. The acronym TULIP represents the 5 Points Of Calvinism outlined as follows:
Total Depravity (also known as Total Inability and Original Sin)
Unconditional Election
Limited Atonement (also known as Particular Atonement)
Irresistible Grace
Perseverance of the Saints (also known as Once Saved Always Saved)
To be fair, not all individuals who hold to Reformed or Evangelical doctrine espouse a straight line or fundamental interpretation of this doctrine, but many do who are unashamed to declare it. This type of teaching seems to be more on Parr with a cumulative case type of argument building upon many different types of additional doctrines.

Popular Versions Of Limited Atonement

As noted in the previous article, the Reformed Blacks Of America address the issue of Limited Atonement by distinguishing the difference between the power and the extent of the atonement of Jesus' on the cross. Though the power of the Cross is sufficient for all, the effect of the Cross is only efficacious for those who God has deemed to be elect for salvation. Therefore Jesus didn't die for all, he only died for the elect. They sum it up in the following manner:
“Jesus died and rose for those whom the Father predestined. If God were to die for all, then all would be saved. The atonement is sufficient for all, but not efficacious for all. The atonement is accomplished and eternally secured for the elect through the cross of Christ. Christ did not die a hypothetical death for every single human being, but rather a real death for his people, his sheep whom he actually and really saves. Therefore, the atonement is not limited in power, but in extent.”
John Calvin himself seems to have taught that some are simply born to be lost. The following is a recitation of his teaching on the issue:
“…(God) does not create everyone in the same condition, but ordains eternal life for some and eternal damnation for others.” (Cited in Alister McGrath, Christian Theology, p. 396) 

Biblical scholar and Pastor John McArthur implements a soft dogmatism on the issue. When asked does he believe in Limited Atonement he says the following:
"Yes. But don't go out and say "John MacArthur advocates 'Limited Atonement,' because I don't. And I will tell you why--because I don't like that term, because it is not Biblical. It is obvious when something is not explicitly stated in Scripture, and when you are dealing with the inscrutable nature of God and the mysteries of redemption, and the mysteries of the unfolding divine purpose, and the mind of God--there will always be grappling with these issues. Whatever it is that you believe about the inherent nature of the atonement, whatever it is that you believe about the limits of the atonement, whether they're there or not there--whatever it is that you believe about the actual efficaciousness of the death of Christ and to whom it is applied, whatever nuances of that discussion you particularly believe--in the end, the atonement will only have value to those who believe--whatever it is that you believe.



My point is, arguing about that really is pointless in a sense. I understand the debate and I certainly engage in it heartily, but in the end we make our best shot. It is like trying to define the Trinity, it is like trying to unscrew the unscrutable, it's like trying to figure out things that are beyond our capacity--whether you're talking about the security of the believer measured against the perseverance of the saints, or you're talking about volition and divine election, whether you are talking about any of those kinds of issues, you are always are going to be in the dilemma, and that is why theological debates like this have gone on always. In the end, however, we don't need to separate, we don't need to become divisive, we don't need to sort of break fellowship over what exactly is the inherent, innate character of the atonement, because in the end, the death of Jesus Christ is only efficacious for those who believe. And in the end, whatever was going on, on the cross, it has no application to those who don't believe--right? So, whatever you want to say about it's inherent limits or non-limits--in the end you come to the same place."
He goes on to say:
"But anytime you are crawling into the mind of infinite God and trying to sort out those matters, you have to stand with a bit of humility and a sort of a soft dogmatism, and I'm happy to softly dogmatic on this point, understanding as best I can what the Word of God has to say."
Biblical Scholar R.C. Sproul builds a case contingent upon total depravity (man's inability to choose God of his own desire), Unconditional Election (God choosing whom he will to be saved of his own good pleasure) and upon  Irresistible Grace where although people resist God, those who are "chosen" or predestined to salvation are regenerated so that their desires are toward Jesus. He poignantly asks the question was the atoning work of Jesus in God's original design, only to make salvation possible or was it to make it sure for those who that are elect according to his will?

At either point and under most all Evangelical and reformed assertions, salvation is only given to one group of persons...ie: the "elect", only that group is entitled to salvation.

Historically Diverging Opinion

Limited Atonement, as John MacArthur outlines, seems to be a teaching that one has to read into the context of scripture however. An early teacher of doctrine, Clement Of Alexandria [Titus Flavius Clemens] (150-215 CE), did not read that the atonement was limited in any fashion or manner. He recorded his statements on the topic by saying the following:
“Therefore, all having been called, those who are willing to obey have been named “the called”. For there is no unrighteousness with God…To these, prophecy says, “If you are willing and hear me, you will eat the good of the land,” proving that choice or refusal depends upon ourselves.”
It is clear that Clement Of Alexandria held this to be a matter of "righteousness/unrighteousness" of God to accredit God with withholding salvation from mankind, or causing some to be lost out of hand. He further invokes Is. 1:19 in his understanding of the matter towards salvation and declares that the freewill of man is the ultimate tool used whereby mankind either accepts or rejects the salvation that God extends. His message is clear, only God saves, but salvation is extended and man is given a choice to either accept or reject it.

Now, at that some will say that man's acceptance is a work whereby he could boast. I would say that's an undue exaggeration and certainly not true. Extending one's hand to accept what's been given is in response to the work that has already been done, not an additional salvific work.

Dead In Sins

Often linked with the the doctrine of total depravity, man being "dead in trespasses and sins" (Ephes. 2:1, Col. 2:13) does not mean that man has the inability to respond spiritually as some have claimed. If that is the case man could not get any worse or further into sin either. Yet the scripture is replete with examples where people have and will "waxed worse" in their sins (2 Tim. 3:13). The fact is that man can get worse in their sin indicates that man has an ability to respond to different and varying degrees of sin, but cannot save himself. Thus the impetus of the scripture is revealed; man is trapped in sin and can do nothing to rid himself of it no matter how spiritually aware he/she is or becomes. No matter how man tries to undo himself from sin, their efforts are futile.   

Lost For The Purpose Of God?

In order to fully develop and appreciate an understanding for what God has actually done we must also look at some biblical occurrences and some circumstances that we see commonly.

Biblically speaking, we find many individuals who were evil, from what scripture accounts, went to hell, and fulfilled God's will by doing their evil deed.
  • The actions of King Saul became so evil as the scripture records that an "evil spirit from the Lord" (1 Sam. 16:23, 1 Sam. 16:14)  came upon him. In fact he was rejected as King because of his disobedience (1 Sam. 15:23), but yet chosen by God to be King and lead Israel (1 Sam. 10:24). 
  • Balaam was not right in the eyes of the Lord. He was wicked and scripture does not account that he repented, yet God used him to bless Israel 3 times and not curse Israel. (Num. 24)
  • The nations accounted in Judges 5 were left to "prove" Israel. they had no special place with God in fact god allowed them to be uprooted and destroyed in the end. Yet they served God's sovereign purpose 
  • Then there's Judas, the son of perdition (John 17:12) who was "lost" according to scripture, a "devil" according to Jesus and also instructed by Jesus to do the evil that was in his heart to do "quickly" (John 13:2) and died as a result. (Mt. 27:5)  
 The question can be asked, were these people lost for God's purpose and plan? Was the plan of God for these to live, sin, and die because they weren't elect? Were they merely expendable pieces in the the puzzle of life?

Is There Another Way To Reconcile This?

I believe there are a number of ways to reconcile this scripturally. The proper understanding of this whole issue could be summed up in a completely different approach, with the following realizations:

1- We live in a sin cursed existence where sin, by its very nature takes the innocent as a casualty. This is an unavoidable consequence of sin and evil in this world but yet there has been a provision made by God from the beginning. Revelation 13:8~"And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

2- God knows the choice of all individuals but does not fatalistically predetermine that choice. Unlike the open futures view, God already knows by his sovereignty what choice will be made but does not create a choice that is inescapable. Psalms 1:6 ~For the LORD knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish , Job 23:10 ~ "But he knoweth the way that I take: [when] he hath tried me, I shall come forth as gold."

3- The Spirit of God is in the word dealing with the hearts of men in every situation. This means that no matter how the god of this world (the devil) manipulates situations to discourage and slay the people of God, God yet uses even what the devil does and institutes according to his purpose and will. Similar to how God uses governments and nations to accomplish his will of both justice, judgement and punishment. In other words God is the God of all flesh, not just the righteous. Therefore none escapes his presence and or purpose even in their sin and evil. Psalms 139:8 ~"If I ascend up into heaven, thou [art] there: if I make my BED in hell, behold, thou [art there]."

4- Those mentioned biblically had a choice set before them and an opportunity to choose or to continue in their path. All individuals have that chance to move on the right path or to turn away from the path that God prescribes. Deuteronomy 30:19 ~"I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, [that] I have SET BEFORE YOU life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:" Jeremiah 21:8 ~ "And unto this people thou shalt say, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I SET BEFORE YOU the way of life, and the way of death."

Conclusion:

In all there is much to talk about and much to consider regarding this subject. I believe my opinion is clear, God has not willed, any person (not just them deemed to be "elect") to be lost. The blood of Jesus means much more than that. Similarly, his 'will" for salvation is a dispositional will wherein God is ultimately pleased that ALL humankind come to repentance. Even the most vile person God is pleased IF and when they come to repentance for at that point they cease from being vile.  

John 7:37 ~ "In the last day, that great [day] of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink."

Blessed!

24 comments:

  1. I'm no longer a 5 point Calvinist because of 1 John 2:2:


    1 John 2:2

    He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.


    In dealing with this text calvinists will insist that it is referring to Jewish believers as opposed to Gentile believers. In other words the text says:

    He is the propitiation for our sins (Jewish believers), and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world. (Gentile believers scattered throughout the whole world)

    But clearly this isn't the context. If we go a few verses later to a different chapter in the same book the same exact phrase appears:

    1 John 5:18-19:

    We know that everyone who has been born of God does not keep on sinning....We know that we are from God, and the whole world lies in the power of the evil one.


    Clearly the contrast is between believers and non-believers. He is the propitiation for our sins (believers) and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (unbelievers)

    This is the main reason why I'm no longer a Five Point Calvinist.

    Christ died for all.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Cole,

    That's good, and I mean no harm, but are you back from the brink of atheism yet?

    Last I saw, you were claiming that this whole things was too much for you and you no longer wanted it...What's going on with you my friend?

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm back on my medicine. I started thinking that the disiples were schizo and were hallucinating His resurrection. I've had similar thoughts recently but I'm not sure we can say that about Paul. I'm schizo-affective myself but I'm not the type that has hallucinations but I have had a couple of strong delusions. It just started getting to my head and it made sense that this is what was happening. I'm back with Christ and I'm here to stay.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I wasn't aking my meds at the time. But some of what I was thinking makes sense. Not as much sense as the resurrection though.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Elder Burnett I was excited to see this post. You, Jame White, and Hank Hanegraaff all discussed issues concerning the atonement today. I was wondering if you read Glory Road - The Journeys of 10 African-Americans into Reformed Christianity? All ten or almost all ten were interviewed on Iron Sharpens Iron (a link to my blog where I have linked to a few interviews). I was wondering how do you teach about John 6:44?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Elder Marcus,

    Thanks for the links and information. I didn't know I was in such good company on the topic-LOL

    So far as John 6:44~"No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day."

    I look at it a lot like this...Jesus said "and I, If I be lifted up, I'll draw all men unto me" right? (Jn. 12:32)

    How do people know where to go unless the Lord directs them and specifically unless Jesus is exalted?

    I mean we readily admit that we couldn't and can't save ourselves...The Lord "drawing them" doesn't indicate an exclusive club of those that will be or are drawn, it indicates a method by which God was in Jesus reconciling the WORLD to himself!

    2 Corinthians 5:18-19~"18-And all things [are] of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of RECONCILIATION; 19-To wit, that God was in Christ, RECONCILING the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation."

    So the perspective is vastly different for me here. This scripture indicates the method by which men will be saved, not the limitation or restriction upon the extension of God's saving work.

    Just in case...His Spirit is in the world convicting men of their sins and drawing them to the cross...(John 16:8-11)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Cole,

    You're in our continued prayers my friend. I pray the strength and peace of the Lord upon you. You're a very intelligent person and I know you're bearing a burden for a reason and for a mission. What you go through and have gone through is not without purpose. I know that one my friend!

    ReplyDelete
  8. I definitely see your point, Elder Burnett. God is indeed drawing sinners to the cross. I thank God that I can see it. I wanted to make sure that you know where I am at my church. My Pastor is Elder Frederick J. Stewart at Evagelist Temple Fellowship center COGIC in Vallejo, California. My Bishop is JW Macklin. You honor me with the term "Elder" but it's a little pre-mature. I'm no where close to where you are lol. I'm only a licensed minister and not qualified as an Elder yet. I thank God for how He uses you.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Marcus,

    Well I've seen your commentary and argumentation and an Elder should be able to defend the gospel and you certainly qualify!

    Man I appreciate your excitement about this type of material and ministering to atheists.

    In Jesus day, they said that ministry in Galilee was the training ground for ministry and position in Jerusalem. It was called getting in the trenches.

    Ministry as you and I have done it on the net and among these atheists is most certainly that..."getting in the trenches". So I think you're more than well qualifying yourself for your credentials.

    Please keep up the good work. God bless.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks, Elder Burnett! I didn't realize how much encouragement I needed until I read this. I thank God for you.

    ReplyDelete
  11. II peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

    This scripture settles it for me. John 3:16 also, I dont see how one can come up with the idea that God has selected some to be saved and others to go to hell?

    I think the problem is looking at things in time and not eternity. Its simple time is one picture to God while it is being unveiled to man. God knows who will say yes, foreknowledge, therefore it stands to reason that He could set out lives in motion towards becoming like Him, as you say Pastor using whatever and all means.

    This scripture also will shed light I believe

    Revelation 13:8
    8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

    Though we know Jesus literally died for us 200+ years ago, scripture states that He died for us from the beginning.

    God knowing all things at the same time could say that.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Pastor,

    I believe the confusion, concerning "predestination and foreknowledg" is a lack of understanding of what both intell. Paul hits on this in his ltr to the Ephesians, we see it loud in clear, in God's dealings w/Paul himself, and we see it also in his dealings w/pharoah in Exodus. We also see it, in what Paul mentioned in his comments, concerning Jn 3:16 "For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that WHOMSOEVER BELIEVETH on him shall not perish, but have everlasting life." God who knows the end to the beginning, the beginning to the end, knows who will receive him and who will not. Thats why he says, "I shall have mercy on who I choose to have mercy, shall the clay (us) tell the potter what to do." Or I left up some to honor, and some to dishonor.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Pastor,

    If I may, I wanted to expound alittle. We see God's predestination and foreknowledge in the lives of the following individuals': W/Paul, He knew that he would receive Him on the road to Damacus, thus he had mercy on Paul and rose him up to honor. W/David, he knew would cry out in repentance and restoration, thus once again having mercy upon David and sustaining the honor already bestowed upon him.

    Now we see the same predestination and foreknowledge concerning Saul and Pharoah: W/Saul He removed his mercy, according to the Davidic Covenant, and brought him down to dishonor. W/Pharoah, He knew nomatter how many signs and wonders Pharoah saw, his heart would remain hard, thus God saying, "I will harden his heart, that he may not let the people go." We see predestination and foreknowledge also in his dealing w/Solomon according once again to the Davidic Covenant saying, "I will not take my mercy away from him, as I took it from Saul to make room for you."

    Pastor I hope I made some sense in my analyses (smile) somewhat of my understanding of predestination and foreknowledge according to God.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Tony,

    Thanks my friend.

    While I certainly would agree with God's foreknowledge and his predestination as a matter of his sovereignty, in the matter of salvation I would hold that neither are fatalistically predetermined.

    In other words God's foreknowledge does not indicate fatalism or an outcome that he makes come to pass. I believe that every character that both you and I mention were given a choice and they followed those choices by their own will or volition, God certainly knew what choice would be made but that choice wasn't a fatalistic in nature.

    Neither was the future open. This is why from the beginning God knew the end.

    So God's foreknowledge is based on what he knows in response to whatever circumstance that he allows.

    So far as Pharaoh is concerned, when we see that "God hardened" his heart that's better understood in the light of Pharaoh's response to God for God's actions, not in the light that God made his heart hard just to destroy him or prove a point.

    Example: The husband that batters his wife often says, "she made me hit her" now the fact is that he hit her out of his own free will in response to something he either liked or didn't like. This is how Pharaoh responded to God...therefore "God hardened" his heart.

    This is complicated, but we have to be careful because on the other side are people who say, "I won't even try, maybe this isn't for me because I'm not chosen" and that's certainly not the case.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Pastor,

    Thank you for responding as you always respond, in gentleness and understanding. Yes I pointed God's sovereignity when pertaining to predestination and foreknowledge, but I was also in agreement w/you pertaining to salvation, this is why I used the verses of scripture I used, "I shall have mercy and compassion, who I will show it, shall the clay (meaning us) tell the potter what to do (who he'll save and who he want)" and also "I raise up some to honor and some to dishonor (it is for me to know, who I'll raise up and who I want)." And also why I used Paul and David as examples, why would God take a man, who w/zealous and reckless abandon persecute the church and take that same zeal and use it to bless the church in ways that are felt today.

    And why would God use a man, who cost the death of 80 priest w/a lie, kill his fellow man, in the most scheming type of way, by using the sword of another, to posses what was his, and cover up a grievous sin punishable by death, king or not. Still use that man to write some of the most beautiful poetry in all of the world, and let me not forget and say of him, "I have found David, a son of Jesse a Man After Mine Own Heart." So you see, as I know you do, it is we who get predestination and foreknowledge backwards, not the Lord.

    ReplyDelete
  16. A shout-out to Cole - Great to "see" you again! Wanted to share this with you because it was so beautiful - your words in a post you wrote a year ago:

    "I'll just say one more thing and then I'm finished. I think those who are born again want to do God's will. God changes their hearts by His grace and opens up their eyes to see His beauty and worth. We are born again when Christ becomes for us our Supreme Treasure. When He becomes for us a Treasure Chest of holy joy. By beholding His glory we are transformed into His image and likeness. Like I said before I think it's possible for one of God's children to slip and fall. I know I have. But I also think that God always brings His children back to Himself by His grace. I think it was Paul who said "Lord I believe. Help my unbelief."

    I see faith as a confident trust. Saving faith is a confident trust in God. Trusting in God's pardon, God's promises, and God's power and not my own breaks the bondage of sin in my life and opens my heart to love. Faith working itself out through love. The sign that I love God is that I love others, especially other believers and that this sacrificial Christ-like love is what I most deeply desire to do as an expression of my love for the Father. Not that I never mess up. But when I mess up God by His grace always brings me back to Him.

    1 John 2:1 says:

    My little children, I am writing these things to you so that may not sin. But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous.

    In other words John does not assume that if you sin, you are not born again. He assumes that if you sin you have an advocate. I believe that those who are truely born again when they backslide they will eventually confess their sin and recieve cleansing. Their love for Christ is renewed and the sweetness of their relationship is recovered and the hatred of sin is restored and the joy of the Lord again becomes their strength.

    It has for me anyway."

    ReplyDelete
  17. “…(God) does not create everyone in the same condition, but ordains eternal life for some and eternal damnation for others.” (Cited in Alister McGrath, Christian Theology, p. 396)
    If this were true, God would be on the same level as the greedy, self-serving Roman, Greek and other mythology gods that people truly believed were sovereign. God is not cruel or without mercy on ALL of us. I do believe that God knows who will be saved and who won’t. Even in the O.T., a person could covert to being a Jew. God as always had a door open to "whoso ever will". To do otherwise would make God cruel and unforgiving.

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hey Laura!

    Thanks for reminding me of that. It's really an encouragement to me.

    ****Hugs****

    ReplyDelete
  19. I am back again, I am now going to a church that teaches reformed theology.

    I dont agree with them on everything but the teaching is the best I have had in a very long time. God is in the place!

    This is one of the places that I grossly disagree with the reformed/calvinist teachings. (I believe I will bring it up at some point to my Pastor).

    God in his great love chose the Jews, no doubt they were His chosen people but the beautiful thing I see in scripture is that aliens were accepted by God as long as they would fall in line with the ways of the Jews.

    "Leviticus 19:34
    34But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the LORD your God."

    Even under the law, Gods desire was to save those who would turn to Him.

    God in His love, didnt stop there, He sent Christ to die for not only the Jews but the gentiles.


    "Rom 1:16
    16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ,[a] for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek."

    I think this is a beautiful.

    "Acts 26
    14‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ 15 So I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. 16 But rise and stand on your feet; for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to make you a minister and a witness both of the things which you have seen and of the things which I will yet reveal to you. 17 I will deliver you from the Jewish people, as well as from the Gentiles, to whom I now[a] send you, 18 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 Me."

    I see from reading this that Christ that ALL would be saved, I just dont see it any other way. If we look at the Jewish people, God did not call a select group of the jews He was God to all(even strangers)but many rejected Him. They "chose" to reject Him.

    With that I cannot see how it was Gods desire to keep all of the Children of Israel but He would punish His own Son with the desire to only elect a "few". That doesnt seem to make sense at all to me, why the change of heart?

    "Romans 5:17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)"

    I took the liberty in looking up the word received in this verse.

    lambanontes - to take
    to take with the hand, lay hold of, any person or thing in order to use it,to take up a thing to be carried,to take upon one's self

    http://www.studylight.org/lex/grk/view.cgi?number=2983

    http://net.bible.org/strong.php?id=2983

    To me this shows there is a definate part to play, one must recieve and accept.

    If one can recieve, then one can reject. This has been shown througout scripture.


    Luke 11:13 "If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

    Romans 10:11-13
    11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.”[a] 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”

    Blessings

    ReplyDelete
  20. Paul,

    I feel similarly. Reformed Theology is an interpretive system that has some good and bad points.

    Now, what you've outlined many of the teachers of reformed theology will say is synergism, in which the work of God is at the very least "assisted" by the actions (acceptance or rejection) of man. The strict monergist would hold that ONLY God has acted in salvation and man is unable to act in any manner to save himself. Man's "acceptance" is only given to those who are elect from the beginning, so this becomes a big circle of argumentation whereby only the "elect" are eventually and ultimately saved.

    Now, can man do anything to save himself? No. However, is stepping onto a floating boat to keep from drowning, that has been both prepared and opened and closed by God considered a work of salvation? I like the check analogy too...someone gives you a check for multiple millions of dollars. You did nothing to earn it at all...If you take it to the bank and deposit it, is that work on your behalf?

    Someone said that God has to take it to the bank and cash it, but that's garbage. There has to be some personal responsibility and acceptance involved.

    So interesting insights.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Pastor you said

    "The strict monergist would hold that ONLY God has acted in salvation and man is unable to act in any manner to save himself. Man's "acceptance" is only given to those who are elect from the beginning, so this becomes a big circle of argumentation whereby only the "elect" are eventually and ultimately saved."

    If this is the case are the elect anything more than glorified robots?

    ReplyDelete
  22. Paul,

    I tell you what, it sure makes one have to redefine freewill.

    ReplyDelete
  23. Pastor Harvey have you ever read this?

    http://manybooks.net/titles/hodgsonf3011930119.html

    ReplyDelete

Please send me an email if you try to post a comment and cannot do so. Dunamis1@netzero.com. Thanks.