Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:13-14)

Friday, February 10, 2006

The Ventings, Rage, Bigotry, Myopia, Emotionalism, and Narrow-Mindedness of a Free Gracer

I will not comport, I will not back down.

Lordship Salvation is not a doctrine that most importantly affects the Christian Life, although it does and to a great extent.

The ramifications of Lordship Salvation is that it is a false gospel and people who believe false gospels do not believe the truth, do not believe the saving message of Christ.

I have offended many with my doctrines, and now I offend all with the implications of my doctrines.

Anyone who believes and has only believed the Lordship Salvation gospel of those Calvinists and Arminians who preach them are lost at this moment.

I will not stand idly by and allow the truth to be attacked, especially when men and women's precious eternal destinies are on the line.

People may comfort themselves with the thought that all is well in evangelical Christendom; that as long as Jesus is partially trusted one is saved, not matter what other conditions are heaped onto faith, or how faith is defined; no matter how much the conditions of "faith plus gospels" put contingency on self and works.

My opinion is that much of evangelical Christendom needs to be evangelized.

There was a poll I heard recently from someone like Josh MacDowell who comes to my church often. A huge sample of evanglical Christians were polled. The question had to do with works. The results had something like 80+ percent stating that works had a part in reaching heaven.

Just listen to the Calvinist. The honest ones will claim such. They make outrageous claims, that if a person does not work, he will to to hell.

John MacArthur states:

"Do not throw away this paradox just because it is difficult. Salvation is both free and costly... That is what Jesus meant when He spoke of one's own cross to follow Him. And that is why He demanded that we count the cost carefully. He was calling for an exchange of all that we are for all that He is. He was demanding implicit obedience -- unconditional surrender to His Lordship"

Imagine this presented to the sinner:

"For you to have salvation, it will be both free and costly. You must count the cost. Jesus in His call and invitation to give you eternal life is demanding obedience, He is calling for us to exchange all that we have for all that He is. You must count the cost or you cannot be saved."

How is what I said any different than what MacArthur said? I just put it into words to an unbeliever.

This is a false gospel. If someone heeds the message of this gospel, how is it that he can be saved?

Is faith mixed with one's implicit obedience, his exchanging everything that he has for all that Jesus has, and all manner of other costly endeavors saving?

If one is told that he must count the cost, obey, give up all, etc., is this the same gospel that says "Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely?"

The point of this examination of the cost of following Christ is not to discourage anyone from following Him, however. It is rather to encourage you to follow Jesus to the end. To do that we must count the cost, by all means, but then we must pay it joyfully and willingly,knowing that this must be done if a person is to be saved.

According to Lordship Salvation there is a price to be paid in order to gain eternal life. While this is impossible to reconcile with the biblical teaching that Jesus paid it all and that He gives eternal life as a free gift, this paradox is central to Lordship Salvation.

John MacArthur states:

"The gospel that Jesus proclaimed was a call to discipleship, a call to follow Him in submissive obedience"


As Zane Hodges succinctly states, "The Gospel [is] Under Siege".

If I stated "I will babysit for you if you ask only, apart from monetary compensation" but then import the value of "monetary compensation" into the word "ask", could I really be advocating "babysitting by asking only"?

Lordship Salvation does much to corrupt and nullify the gospel of grace.

They give lip service to "faith alone" but then use the kitchen sink method and import all kinds of works and obedience into that word. Just see Daniel of Doulogos's contentions about that word (faith = obedience). Just see John MacArthur's shameful re-definition of faith where another reformer says that such importation makes MacArthur's gospel one of works-salvation.

If one says that salvation is by faith only and then says that faith = obedience, following Jesus commands etc., are they really believing in faith only?

I have been to crusades, evangelistic events, many churches, heard many gospel messages, read hundreds of gospel tracts, spent hundreds of hours studying and researching people's gospel messages and beliefs.

Do they preach a clear gospel of "faith only"? Hardly even close.

Eternal life is received by believing the truth of the gospel.

If one is told to believe, repent, commit, surrender, obey, follow, turn from sins, confess, etc., in order to be saved, or any of the other "soteriological buzz conditions" what is they psychological result?

The one being told these things understands these as all conditions of heaven.

If one believes this message, look:

"I have to believe in Jesus, confess Jesus, confess my sins, forsake my sins, repent, commit my life, surrender my possesions, follow Jesus, obey Jesus or else I can't be saved."

Believed as a wholistic message, one necessarily is convinced that self and one's works is a huge contingency in the reception of eternal life! Can't we see this? If I believe that repentance and forsaking sins, and giving up all for Jesus are required for eternal life, I necessarily believe that eternal life is contingent on my acts in doing these things! Eternal life is to cost me everything!

If they believe that eternal life is truly contingent on these additions to faith, then they necessarily are not believing in Christ alone for eternal life, they are believing that Christ is not enough; that it takes these actions of self IN ADDITION to faith in Christ, therefore faith in Christ is not sufficient; faith alone is not sufficient.

If they are told faith alone and then told that faith is obedience, works, following, etc., then they are believing that faith = works and therefore works are necessary for eternal life.

I respect many of you who commented on my last thread. I want to thank Matthew, Kris, Jim, Bobby, Rose, Nate, and Jodie.

Many of you are new to the world of Lordship Salvation/Free Grace theology. I have studied these doctrines for quite possibly 10 years.

I understand the ins and outs, the gospel understandings, the gospel presentations, the requirements, the provisos, the caveats, the strings, the additions, the legalism, the doctrines, the authors, the interpretations, etc.

I am glad that I have been a presence in the blogosphere, for these issues are worthy of consideration.

I feel that my presence is making Traditionalists a little uncomfortable, and also causing them to re-evaluate their allegiance to "sola fide".

I value all your guys opinions and sentiments. Though on this subject, I sadly reject them.

I stand here convinced that anyone who has believed a Lordship Salvation "gospel" and has never received eternal life by simple faith in Jesus Christ who guarantees for them resurrection and eternal life, is lost.

People who get saved and then fall under the false teachings of Lordship Salvation are now preaching false gospels, different than what they believed to get saved. Anyone who will believe the Lordship Salvation "gospel" that they are now preaching and teaching, never having believed simply in Christ alone for eternal life, is lost.

A message of faith plus believed is not faith in Christ alone or salvific.

These are my convictions. I am not alone on them either. Many other grace-oriented defenders of the gospel believe as I do as well.

How do you preach and understand the gospel?

People's eternal destinies are on line. You better have it right for your sake and those you teach.

Hell is the destiny of anyone who has believed a false gospel, for they all invariably place contingency in one sense or another on self : (giving all, repenting, turning and forsaking sins, confessing Christ, confessing sins, surrendering all, committing all, obeying, following Jesus, persevering until the end, etc.)

One thing confuses me anyway. Why do Calvinists stress and worry about the gospel, whether or not it is true or false?

All truly elect people will be saved no matter what. All who have been reprobated by God's will have no chance, but will most certainly grace the fires of hell.

Some grace people who have Calvinistic leanings probably don't have such an emphasis on the urgency of the truth of the gospel as I do, for even though the believe in Free Grace theology, their doctrine of election states that only those who God, in the secret councils of His will, are going to be ultimately saved, all others will be damned.

I do not share this doctrine of election.

Those of us "grace" people who do not believe in unconditional election have every reason to be concerned with the proper understanding and preaching of gospel truth. God has not chosen, therefore preaching the gospel is urgent. And it being the correct gospel is of grave importance.

Sincerity and ignorance are the enemies of truth. Many well-intentioned people have believed the false gospels of John MacArthur, John Piper, James Boice, Kenneth Gentry, John Gerstner, and the like.

I would rather be alone preaching and teaching the truth to those in error than be popular, a sociable evangelical, having the truth, but compromising it with those who are in error.

What makes the Lordship Salvation gospel false is not its implications on the Christian life primarily, but the ramifications it has to the unsaved who believe it.

I value all your guy's friendship. I hope that even though we may disagree on this that we can continue to be friends. But I understand as some have written that I have "drawn a line deep in the sand".

Some also have stated that I have shown rage and venting anger in my last few posts.

I would ask not to confuse rage with passion.

I am frustrated for their are many who assent to my doctrines as they relate to the Christian life but reject their implications on the unsaved.

This is frustrating to me, for the unsaved are my heart and concern.

Many are willing to state that Lordship Salvatoin and Traditionalism is a false gospel as relating to the Chritian life, but will not see the clear implications and ramifications it necessarily has to the unsaved.

I have rambled on too long. I hope I still have readers and friends after this.

Antonio

31 Comments:

Blogger centuri0n said...

Faith and baptism. It's a simple question which you are studiously avoiding.

For the record, I don't hate you: I think you're obviously in a lot of turmoil, and because you are not willing to ask yourself the hard questions about your beliefs, you can't resolve the turmoil.

The next question, after faith and baptism, is faith and the church: does faith have any relationship to the church? If the two are related, how are they related?

The 3rd question is faith and the Lord's supper: does faith have any relationship to the Lord's supper? If so, what is the relationship?

The 4th question is this: if there is no relationship between faith and baptism, the church, or the Lord's supper, why are the latter 3 always assumed to be part of the lives of those saved by Jesus Christ in the NT?

The last question is this: How do you justify your own evangelism on the topic of free grace if faith plus anything equals works theology -- because surely fait plus evangelism is not any better or worse than faith plus (for example) repentence?

Those are my 5 questions, Antonio. You have to answer them in order to resolve your theological problems. And keep this in mind: I think your worst mistake is not admitting you have made a mistake. All the rest can be corrected if you are willing to admit you have simply done what all people do -- which is err.

February 10, 2006 9:30 PM  
Blogger Matt Waymeyer said...

For those who may be interested to read the broader context of what John MacArthur wrote on the issue of salvation being both free and costly, here is what he wrote on page 147 of his book The Gospel According to Jesus: “Eternal life is indeed a free gift (Rom. 6:23). Salvation cannot be earned with good deeds or secured with money. It has already been purchased by Christ, who paid the ransom with his blood. He has secured full atonement for all who believe. There is nothing left to pay, no possibility that our own works can be meritorious. But that does not mean there is no cost in terms of salvation’s impact on the sinner’s life. Do not throw away this paradox just because it is difficult. Salvation is both free and costly. With eternal life comes immediate death to self.” In what sense is salvation costly? In terms of its impact on the sinner's life. I realize that including the first six sentences of this quotation from MacArthur may not serve Antonio's goal of showing that MacArthur teaches works salvation, but they should be taken into account by anyone who is interested in fairness. I will now let you Free-Gracers get back to your in-house debate. :-)

February 10, 2006 9:30 PM  
Anonymous bobby grow said...

I'm still a friend and brother, Antonio. One thing though, Antonio you speak of Lordship Salvation, and Free Grace, as if the articulations of such constructs are relatively recent in formulation. These are soteriological constructs that are being informed by history--note this quote by Theodore Bozeman, on John Eaton, a historic Antinomian:

"On John Eaton (Born 1575 began articulating his theology around 1620):

. . . Again we that Eaton’s deepest quarel was with the set of tendencies that we have called “strong Reformed.” Against a deep-seated need to combine, link, and correlate pardon and morality, his instinct was to sunder and distance them. None of the familiar pairings–gospel and law, the New and the Old Testaments, or the Deuteronomic calculus tying divine favor to temporal rewards and punishments–had been spared; and now the crowning duality, the practical syllogism joining certainty of pardon to ethical states and works, also must be unlinked. Acting at once to lever apart the two poles and restore the supremacy of justification, Eaton tabooed behavior as a factor in assurance: “When thou desirest to bee holy and righteous before God, lean not thy life.” (Theodore Dwight Bozeman, “The Precisianist Strain Disciplinary Religion & Antinomian Backlash In Puritanism To 1638,” University of North Carolina Press, Chapel Hill, NC, 194.)


Antinomians were known as "Free-Gracers" ever before Zane Hodges came on the scene. Notice the desire of Eaton to untie the link between Deuteronomic calculus from divine blessing and temporal punishment (i.e. performance driven salvation--thus serving as a basis proving ones election). I'm only pointing this out because you seem to speak of "your" perspective, as if it's a new thing, it's really not.

At this point I would identify myself as a historic "free-gracer"/antinomian (contra Federal/Covenant theology) in line with someone like Richard Sibbes or even Eaton, here. All that means is that I agree with someone like Martin Luther, note Steven Ozment on Luther's perspective:

"“. . . while he too (Luther) recognized the commandments as a guide to Christian behavior and stressed them as emphatically as any other Protestant leader, he also resisted more firmly than any other the temptation to find either evidence of salvation where good works were present or indications of damnation where they were not.” (parenthesis mine) (Quote taken from: Steven Ozment, “The Age of Reform 1250-1550,” 377)".

Works are definitely apart of the Christian, motivated by a heart that is compelled by love of Christ (cf. Eph 2:10; II Cor 5:14). This presupposes one's heart has already been captured by a love for Christ, as part of the bride of Christ (Eph. 5).

One more quick thought, there are some who might say your perspective also places conditions on salvation, i.e. the belief that you or I must actually "choose" to trust Christ; making God's offer of salvation contingent on our choice thus placing the emphasis upon self rather than Him. Our choice serving as the trigger for taking possesion of salvation--God serves as the passive bystander at this point, waiting upon us; rather than vice versa. What do you think?

P.S. I was raised as a Zane Hodges "Free Gracer" (my dad a CB pastor)--before it was so popular ;).

February 10, 2006 11:26 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Antonio I hope you will count me as a friend and a brother but I know you can as a reader. Your burden for the lost is a great example to all of us. I am persuaded that God has gifted you with a great ability to teach and to help others with their understanding but I have a few suspicions and I can only ask you if they are valid.

Do you believe that we, as believers, ever have a right or responsibility to God to judge the heart of another? Do you see evangelism as the singular work of the evangelist? I hope you will be patient with me on this. I will relate my understanding in order to explain my questions.

When the preacher proclaims the Truth his words are digested in the mind of the hearer but it is the Spirit that convicts, or testifies in the heart of their veracity. While we can challenge the understanding of the individual it is the Holy Spirit that searches the heart. If we differ here I would appreciate your understanding but if this is the case then could it be that when we attempt to judge the heart of another we have over-stepped our bounds and entered into an area only God can discern?

February 11, 2006 1:55 AM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Antonio, thanks for sharing your passion for God's grace.

Nothing you have said has offended me at all.

Keep proclaiming the truth until you can do no more

Matthew

February 11, 2006 4:01 AM  
Blogger Nate said...

Antonio,

I love you man!!

Your right when you say:
"I stand here convinced that anyone who has believed a Lordship Salvation "gospel" and has never received eternal life by simple faith in Jesus Christ who guarantees for them resurrection and eternal life, is lost."

Eternal life is recieved by simple faith!!!!!!

This is worth fighting for!

Keep up the good work

PEACE,

NATE

February 11, 2006 5:00 AM  
Blogger Susan said...

Antonio,
I hope you can work through centurion's questions. They are good questions for all Christians to ask of themselves. I think they're very good and would even make excellent blog post topics.
I like coming to your site because I enjoy the discussion of Scripture, truth, and meaning, but frankly I'm frustrated by your attacks not so much on Calvinism as on its adherents (in all their varieties). If you truly believe them to be lost, why not promote the truth in the same way you would approach unbelievers? Would you point your finger at them the way you do non-Free-Grace-Christians here and condemn them? Is that sharing the good news?
I think there are issues here, as centurion noted, beyond just what your post discusses. I found your site through a comment you left on Daniel's (doulogos') blog, inviting him over here for a discussion. Since you know that he's a Calvinist (what variety, I don't know), I'm wondering why you wanted to bring him into the mix. Your tone is so provocative, I can only guess that you wanted to whittle him (and other Calvinists) down to the bone. I hope I'm wrong.
I really want to keep coming here to discuss things relevant to our walks with Christ, but not like this.
Your very introduction ("I will not comport, I will not back down") suggests to me something else is going on. It sounds more like a one-man crusade then God's gospel of truth shared in love. It's very defensive, and I'm sorry if you feel attacked. I believe everyone here is trying to express their love for you - myself included - as our brother in Christ. We are all adopted in if we've accepted that precious gift that Jesus gave for us. His life for ours.
I'll be praying for you, Antonio. I hope you'll be in prayer as well for all of us. How else can we share gospel with others if our hands are too busy pointing and not clasped together?

February 11, 2006 5:31 AM  
Blogger Bhedr said...

To all here>

Yeshua alone. If your faith is in anyone else, it is false.

He is Self-Existent eternal.

Satan said "I" will ascend. Let us not inhibit men and women from seeing Yeshua. Let us get "I" out of the way. We are temporal beings and cannot deliver anyone.

Look only to Yeshua. We do not need the book of Mormon. We do not need the book Hard to Believe. We do not need the book Absolutely Free.

Scripture Alone and His Spirit alone can open our eyes to Yeshua.We cannot add to his name in any way. Have faith in Yeshua.

Believe He is Self-Existent and Eternal.

A friend of my brothers once said, "All the other religions of the world are beautiful on the outside and when I sought after them, I found out they were ugly on the inside. With Christianity It was ugly and offensive on the outside, but beautiful on the inside."

We are the paradox, but perhaps this is what is intended so that a faith can look past all that and Believe in Yeshua and Know Him.

He is Self-Existent and eternal.

Know This!

He does not need our help but desires we humble ourselves and pray together so that He will heal and begin to work.

Oh we are so prone to worship and believe in the pretty Jar that pours the Living Water and yet we inhibit ourselves from actually drinking Him. We inhibit others from drinking Him and we ourselves do not drink of Him.

Oh this worship we have of other Rabbi's is Idolatry. Can you not see it?

February 11, 2006 6:35 AM  
Blogger Jessica Jo L said...

I have looked at your bolg only because you have in the past commented on my husbands - and I was willing to try to see your point of view.

I think you have offended the gospel and slandered the saints who have given thier lives for Christ.

There was a cost for me to follow Christ - My parents kicked me out and for a long time would not talk to me. I grew up in a church of works. "THe World Wide Church of God." To say being a Christian is at times hard and at times brings us suffering is not to say it is not Free. I was Dead!! Christ reached me!! I did nothing His gift was Free. I will pray to him and share His gospel. I am offened by your statements, and surprised that you regular readers are not as well. My parents church still pronouces people as lost continually by, that is how they make their words of works seem right. I see your words as no different. You are blasting brothers rather and denouncing them as hellbound to win your argument.

You in your theology have pronunced my husbands mother saved - thought she hates Christ and CHristians she never wants into a heaven with Christ by her own words. And then pronounced Piper and Macarthur and even my husband all unsaved because of there faith and love for Christ.

I will never again visit this site or read your comments - I can only see bitterness in your words!

February 11, 2006 7:14 AM  
Blogger ambiance-five said...

Antonio,
I love ya man. I understand where you are coming from and yes the Lord uses all things to bring us to our knees.

The question I have however...is if the Lord does bring us to our knees in repentance would we continue to preach against repentance and remission of sins?

It is the same message the prophets preached...the lamb slain to take away the sin of the world.

What you seem to be saying is the lamb slain to keep you wallowing in your sin if you wish (my own version of what I seem to hear here)

You in no way threaten me. I won't stand for your stupid( on my part) implications however.

I do sort of understand your views on MacArthur..we shouldn't try and pick and choose who the Lord would have come even if they are still in bondage to sin.

Just don't make excuses for the sin...would we? Sin bondages are harmful and damaging. Jesus should set us free from those bondages.

February 11, 2006 8:13 AM  
Anonymous foreigner said...

I would hope that most Calvinits would agree that we have been saved by grace through faith alone. This, I think, isn't any different that what you believe, Antonio. It seems to me that you're taking MacArthur's words and distorting them to try to support your argument. Just like you wouldn't take the book of James out of context and state that he (James) is supporting works-salvation, I encourage you to read through MacArthur's comments in the context in which they're written. The works I do, and I hope yours too, are an outpouring of my heart because I have been saved through faith.

Antonio, I'm curious, are you also willing to also call James (the brother of Jesus) "lost"?

February 11, 2006 9:03 AM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Ambiance, what are you talking about?

Where has Antonio made excuses for sin?

Where has he implied that it is acceptable for a Christian to wallow in sin?

On the contrary the doctrine that Antonio has consitently taught in this blog is that sin is unacceptable and that if believers continue in sin, there are consequences both in this life and the next.

Antonio has made this clear. I have said this to you as well.

I suspect that you simply do not really want to understand Free Grace theology.

Christ gave His life for your sins, Ambiance. He was raised from the dead so that you can have eternal life. This is God's free gift to you. Do you receive it by faith or must you add to it your repentance?

Christ did not die so that you could wallow in sin, but that you might be a part of His Kingdom and be transformed by the renewing of His Spirit. This is all of grace.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

February 11, 2006 9:23 AM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Foreigner, have you actually read any of the posts on this blog about the epistle of James or do you assume that MacArthur's interpretation is the only valid one?

God Bless

Matthew

February 11, 2006 9:25 AM  
Blogger Bhedr said...

Anotonio,

I am your friend and have linked you.

I always used to like listening to Elizabeth Elliot as she always said, "You are loved with an everlasting love and underneath are the everlasting arms."

His love is genuine brother and I understand why you wrestle intellectually with some of those texts on election. I used to as well.

Oh just except the fact that before the foundation of the world he had his eye on you and that this is no mistake these things you wrestle with.

You mentioned Josh McDowell, I have posted his testimony. Oh he is so much like you and I although I must grant that you are a greater mind than I.

You will be healed by his testimony. Please read it.

Oh friend, we are not preaching works. This I see so clearly now. I used to struggle with this as well. I do not condemn you.

Please read his testimony. It is balm for the soul.

February 11, 2006 9:40 AM  
Blogger ambiance-five said...

[quote]This is God's free gift to you. Do you receive it by faith or must you add to it your repentance?[/quote]

I can't add anything brother. The Lord's gift does add it however. On my own I would still be wollowing in the mire.

This is not works but the grace of God for Him to be faithful to His Word and Christ's finished Work.

The lamb slain to take away the sin of the world.

Do you think we put that sin away on our own efforts?

Our own efforts will lead to nothing but repent..repent again...try and repent again..maybe grit my teeth and chant...maybe stand on my head and click my heels three times.

All that is usless without the faithfulness and power of Christ's blood. That is why we preach not only repentance but remission.

Maybe you'll see the point someday..through Christ's grace and mercy.

I judge no one...but God's Word always does. My own life included.

February 11, 2006 10:12 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

"Faithful are the wounds of a friend"

We still love you Antonio, our bigoted myopic friend. :)


What I appreciate the most about your posts is the coherent application of scripture, just make sure you don't let your emotions distort that.

Let me throw out one verse for your consideration.

"Faith comes by hearing, and hearing the word of God"

It seems to me that we cannot save anyone in and of ourselves. Neither do our clever words or exegetical talks "convince" someone of their need for Christ. But God has chosen the foolishness of preaching the gospel to save people.

The biggest problem I see in evangelical circles would be a resorting to Galatians style theology where we must "keep" our salvation through works or even growth by the flesh. Obviously this does not discount a true faith that saved.

From what I have read you would feel most strongly about those who pervert the gospel of grace by adding contingent works to the mixture. This of course can lead to future generations understanding salvation as a combination of faith and works. There will always be a need to boldly contend for the purity of this teaching.

May God continue to give you much patience, wisdom, and insight as you earnestly proclaim the news of Christ alone.

BTW, I think Cent has given you some very easy questions to answer that should in no way be detrimental to the notion of Free Grace.

February 11, 2006 10:28 AM  
Blogger H K Flynn said...

Antonio,

I think I've gained insight into what makes you tick.

You are not stopping at insisting on the terms of salvation, as I have, but are insisting on the absolute deadly importance of people's eternal destiny.

You are like a paramedic/fireman who won't let people ignore some huge issue you see as happening, strapping people into stretchers against their will without the slightest second thought about it.

Maybe my playing good cop is not so kind.

People who think they are Heaven bound but have actually never trusted Christ alone for their future resurrection, knowing that He will do it because it is up to Him not them, people who have never done that are Hell-bound and should be nagged and nagged and nagged about that.

Shawn and Jessica Jo I,

If Antonio (or I) said Shawn's mother is saved I missed it.

Your friendly neighborhood good cop,

Jodie

February 11, 2006 10:55 AM  
Anonymous foreigner said...

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, my point was not for Antonio to read MacAruthur's commentary on James, although I'd encourage it, but rather, to take MacArthur's comments, which Antonio quoted, in context with the rest of what he had written instead of taking pieces of them to try to prove his point.

Also, it's not just James that I would think that a person holding to a Free Grace theology would question, but this person would have to question the apostle Paul (Rom. 4:3; Gal. 5:22; 2 Cor. 13:5) and even Christ Himself (John 15:5). The point is that there is a relationship between faith and works. This is not to say that "faith + works = salvation", but rather, because of my faith, my works WILL be a result.

February 11, 2006 11:41 AM  
Blogger Shawn L said...

I'm with my wife on this one, however sadly I probably will keep reading, mostly I am so surprised by you Antonio.

I am surprised their are not more of your regular readers shocked and surprised that you have convinced yourself that most calvinists and arminians are lost and without Christ and without hope.

I have never considered you or Nate or Jodie or Rose or Gordon or Bob or anyone lost because of a disagreement on this theological implication. God is the one who saves us and puts the Hope of Christ in our hearts.

I see that you all have believed on the Lord and God has begun His work in you. Why shall I believe otherwise?

This to me is plain carnage in the body of Christ and this is very distressing and should be for all believers.

Now May God teach us something in this carnage!

February 11, 2006 12:22 PM  
Blogger evanmay said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

February 11, 2006 1:03 PM  
Blogger evanmay said...

The Ventings, Rage, Bigotry, Myopia, Emotionalism, and Narrow-Mindedness of a Cheap-Disgracer

February 11, 2006 1:04 PM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Hi Antonio,
I can definately agree with this statement:
One thing confuses me anyway. Why do Calvinists stress and worry about the gospel, whether or not it is true or false?
All truly elect people will be saved no matter what. All who have been reprobated by God's will have no chance, but will most certainly grace the fires of hell.


This has been a head-scratcher for me, as well.

I have wondered what your goals were in all of these posts. I have wondered if you were trying to alienate people. I think perhaps your new post above this one explains that.

One thing for your critics to consider: John MacArthur, in the introduction to the book "the Gospel According to Jesus" says this:
The gospel in vogue today holds forth a false hope to sinners. It promises them they can have eternal life yet continue to live in rebellion against God. Indeed it encourages people to claim Jesus as Saviour yet defer until later the commitment to obey him as Lord. ... It is another gospel.
He then footnotes Lewis Sperry Chafer.

If Christians in the blogosphere don't appreciate Antonio referring to MacArthur's "gospel" as "another gospel" ... I wonder why they don't get indignant at MacArhtur, who actually started the whole fuss! The line has been drawn in the sand by both sides, here. Antonio has not named names, except these popular authors. If one is sure that they have believed the true gospel, these posts should not shake you.

Rather,
may you be challenged in a healthy way by the fiery and provacative Antonio da Rosa!

February 11, 2006 2:11 PM  
Blogger Susan said...

Rose,
I don't know enough about Calvinism yet to consider myself one, however it sure makes sense to me what little I've read so far. And when I read Scripture, I keep seeing points raised in Calvinist blog discussions reaffirmed there. (Which doesn't mean I search the Word for confirmation of man's wisdom. I'm mining the Scriptures differently these days, thanks to Holy Spirit guidance. I hope we all continually grow as we read the Word.)
I don't think Calvinists "stress and worry about the gospel, whether or not it is true or false..." Of course, they know it to be true. And I don't know any Calvinists yet "stressing" or "worrying" about the gospel. They love the gospel.
Why such negative characterizations of your brothers and sisters in Christ?

February 11, 2006 3:20 PM  
Blogger Shawn L said...

Rose,

It shakes me that no one cares what he said. And by the way MacArthur consider Zane Hodges a brother in the Lord even in Zane doesn't consider him a brother.

This is just plain discouraging the free gracers don't see the lunacy of this position of denouncing others to hell and tell us to idly sit by when he says these things.

February 11, 2006 3:55 PM  
Blogger Bhedr said...

>The gospel in vogue today holds forth a false hope to sinners. It promises them they can have eternal life yet continue to live in rebellion against God<

Though I don't agree with MaCarthur on everything, this paticular point I isolated is a problem.

The problem is the Hodges men are telling men to get their free hopper pass for Disney World and then think no more of it.

This totaly bypasses the soul that God crushes. He wounds the heart in order to heal it. We are telling men to believe in something without needing someone.

Jesus is a Doctor. He came to bring the sinners, not the righteous to repentance. He heals the broken hearted.

Antonio's position as it stands seems to mock the broken hearted and tell them that it is not heart healing they need but head knowledge.

When the soul is broken and comes to an understanding of their need of mercy then they will understand the grace of eternal life which is to know God.

Antonio wants men to believe in God without knowing Him or becoming honest with the nature that hates him so that the nature can then repent of its rebellion against Jesus and receive Him as the balm that they need. He is the God who heals.

This is the part where I agree with MaCarthur and why I do believe the point needs to be addressed.

Mercy and Grace!

God does not owe it. he gives it to the broken hearted. We must understand this in order to be healed. In order to be saved.

February 11, 2006 4:38 PM  
Blogger Bhedr said...

Btw Shawn,

I agree with you. It is not helpful to overlook a transgression or it will inoculate a person into not coming to themselves about transgression.

I appreciate the fact that you like Steve Camp but in the raging debate over on his blog, you are being objective about what he is doing and have told him the truth.

Faithful are the wounds of a friend. If I were Steve Camp I think I would consider you to be a very merciful and gracious friend.

I am trying to be a friend to Antonio. I pray he can see this.

I am trying to be a friend to others as well though they may not think it to be so.

February 11, 2006 4:46 PM  
Blogger Shawn L said...

Brian,

That is very good what you are doing Brian and better than my own confusion. I'm not communicating when I hear these types of things because of personal experience. It's hard to be around others from a cult that I know (not on the blogworld) as they always condemn all Christians to hell in their speech. I suppose my thinking is affected because of that.

I just guess I was quite surprised, so instead I should just pray for my friends on this blog and be quite.

February 11, 2006 5:28 PM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Hi Susan and Shawn,
All I was trying to say is that I don't get it. If Unconditional, UNCONDITIONAL election is true, then what difference does the gospel preaching make? What difference does any of our correctness in presenting the message, our faith, the quality of our faith, our works after we are saved etc... What difference does any of it make. According to Unconditional Election, God had in mind a certain set number of sheep before the creation of the world, and He will end up with that same number of sheep. Don't you see what I mean?

However, if there is a variable to the equation, namely, gospel presentation and faith, then, then we have to stress the importance of getting the message right. Antonio, like myself, does not believe that there is this set number of sheep predetermined before the foundation of the world. Therefore, he is in anguish over the idea of a false gospel, because it could make the difference between any said individual going to hell or not. Does that make any sense to you? I am not trying to negatively characterize my brothers and sisters in Christ, Susan. I really shy away from that. It is the philosophy that I am getting at. It is a real "head-scratcher" for me and has been for some time.
{:~)

Shawn,
Read my comments to Antonio in the last post before you say that I don't care.
BTW, his problem is with the reformed teaching, not with you, if I understand the current post. Give the guy a break, he sees it as a matter of heaven and hell because unlike you, he does not hold to UE. :~)

February 11, 2006 7:33 PM  
Blogger GeneMBridges said...

All I was trying to say is that I don't get it. If Unconditional, UNCONDITIONAL election is true, then what difference does the gospel preaching make? What difference does any of our correctness in presenting the message, our faith, the quality of our faith, our works after we are saved etc... What difference does any of it make. According to Unconditional Election, God had in mind a certain set number of sheep before the creation of the world, and He will end up with that same number of sheep. Don't you see what I mean?

Both the ends and the means are decreed. The objection as offered focuses on the ends only and not the means to accomplish the ends, ergo the concern. This is an elementary distinction that you're missing Rose.

Unconditional election is grounded in the mercy of God alone, and it does not ground itself in men's free will decisions. If it did the latter, then, because all men believe for different reasons, it would reduce to favoritism. Unconditional election is fully merciful. The other view is a form of salvation by merit for God elects based on something intrinsic in men.

Salvation as election and reprobation as preterition are unconditional, meaning they find their ground in God, not in foreseen faith or wickedness. In Romans 9, we are told, 11for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God's purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls.” However, election as justification requires effectual calling (Romans 8:29-30, John 6:37-45, 65). Men are regenerated and believe (1 John 5:1) as a result, and they are justified as a result. Reprobation as condemnation requires only men sin, which they do according to their own natures. No matter whether one accepts the imputation of Adam’s sin or not, it is undeniable that men are all guilty of sin on their own. God simply passes the reprobate over, and all of them willfully sin.

Antonio, like myself, does not believe that there is this set number of sheep predetermined before the foundation of the world.

Yes, he does, and so do you, because you affirm election based on foreseen faith. This is the contrary position of the Free Grace theology. Unless you're an Open Theist, which Antonio, to his great credit is not, the number is still fixed. Since this is event of believing or rejecting fixed, how is this any less a fixed event than what the Calvinist believes? After all, from God’s perspective, it is unchangeable; since the argument is that election is based on who He knows ahead of time will believe in Christ or reject Him. The Arminian tries to put forth this objection on the basis that we Calvinists are limiting human freedom. However, clearly, this objection is vain, since the Arminian position is just as fixed, if not more so, than ours. It also amounts to little more than salvation by chance, since nobody is effectively drawn, and all believe for different reasons, including random chance.

So, in the free will position that says that God knows all things infallibly, we have a problem, for what it works out to real fatalism.

Fatalism = infallible results due to libertarian freedom. Calvinism denies libertarian freedom.

Arminianism puts election and regeneration after conversion itself and thus outside the work of grace. Neither the work of the Father (election), nor the work of the Spirit (regeneration) is a link in a golden chain which results in a state of grace. Election and regeneration fall outside the grace of God, for they do not create or contribute to a state of grace. On this view, the grace of God is limited to the work of Christ. And it is up to man in a state of nature to respond to the Gospel of Christ.

Mercy and justice are separate categories in ethics. To be merciful something must be undeserved. To be “just” either a standard of justice must be satisfied or something must be deserved. Mercy can satisfy justice if somebody else takes the penalty for a wrong act so that the Judge can extend mercy to somebody else. The Arminian, by grounding election in foreseen faith ultimately makes God unjust, because all people believe for different reasons. In fact, it is the same kind of favoritism that James condemns, because this faith arises as an intrinsic foreseen characteristic in those persons. This is not true equality. Calvinists believe the ground, or anchor, the reason for electing (choosing) (by the way, “elect” is another Bible word, thus election is a doctrine taught in Scripture) some and allowing others to continue in sin is found only in God and is not done with respect to either foreseen faith or foreseen wickedness. (Eph. 1, Romans 9). This is truly "just" because people are all in the hands of a God who alone is perfectly just and loving and does nothing arbitrarily and will always do the right thing.

Calvinism is unfair. So is Arminianism. If God was fair, everybody would go to hell. We do not want God to be fair!

Additionally, since the cross is the place where justice for sins is satisfied for Christians, justice is satisfied for them there . . . in hell for unbelievers. This makes every part of salvation, from beginning to end, a matter of pure mercy that God extends to every sinner as He so chooses. If people are somehow owed a chance to hear the gospel and accept or reject Christ, then how is this merciful? Thus, the free will position, not the Calvinist position, is the one grounded in justice alone but not in mercy at all. Salvation, by definition, is not about justice. It is about mercy.

Therefore, in Calvinism, salvation is about mercy. In Arminianism it is the result of God responding to men’s wills and thus in the category of justice not mercy. Arminianism is thus unmerciful, because it puts salvation out of the category of mercy altogether.

Sometimes Arminians appeal to a doctrine of prevenient grace, asserting that God’s grace enables people to believe, but is not effectual. It moves them from a state of total inability to a state of “equipoise.” This does not alleviate their difficulty.

If the person is truly at “equipoise,” he would make no choice at all. Think of a car in neutral on a flat surface in a vacuum. Remember, according to the Arminian, there must be no external or internal influence (God’s grace or desires) that direct the choices of men for them to be free (in the libertarian sense). Unless somebody pushes the car and a force is exerted upon the car or by the car, either by the driver putting it in reverse or in a driving gear or by pushing the car, the car will not move. The problem for the Arminian is that, no matter what he says, the individual must make his decision from within himself in response to this prevenient grace, thus, this decision is still out of the chain of grace and located within his own person. Since all people believe for different reasons, the Arminian must say the person’s choice was uncaused (an absurdity violating the law of cause and effect), or it was made because s/he was smarter, more fearful, more spiritual, etc., all of which are intrinsic conditions in men. As such, the Arminian is still putting salvation in the category of justice, not mercy. God is saving those who save themselves.

The charges that God is unloving, unjust, and unmerciful all apply to the free will position.

Unloving: Where does Scripture ever say God loves all men without exception the exact same way, e.g. redemptively? If the Arminian objects that God is unloving for predestining some to salvation while passing over others in their sin, he must also explain why God creates those He know will not accept Christ anyway and then says He loves them redemptively. Thus, this charge applies to the free will position with equal force. The Calvinist says God only loves His children redemptively, and all others are passed over and left in their sins. There is nothing unloving about this, since God is under no compulsion to love anybody redemptively if they only deserve condemnation for their sins. In reality, Scripture teaches that God loves all men extensively by common grace, the covenant community (Israel in the OT, the Church in the NT) corporately, and the elect in the covenant community, uniquely as individuals (the OT community was mixed w/unbelievers and believers, the NT community excludes unbelievers) by adoption.

Unjust: Justice is satisfied for believers at the cross and unbelievers in hell. No principle of justice is violated. Also, since God owes nothing to any person, then He is not unjust by regenerating some but not others. Unequal treatment is only unjust when it denies a party his just claims to something, but no one has a just claim on the "mercy" of God. Thus no principle of justice is violated. However, if Jesus dies for all men extensively, under an Arminian theory of the will, God is either exacting double jeopardy on men’s sins by punishing them in hell for something for which Christ has paid and satisfied God’s wrath or by lying to men and telling them that all their sins have been taken by Christ, and then secretly exempting unbelief. That is unjust.

Also, if God says He loves all men redemptively without exception but then some perish apart from ever having heard the gospel, God is seen to be unjust for not offering them the gospel. Also, if election is based upon who God knows ahead of time will believe in Christ and who will reject Christ, then what He has done is looked into history and made a decision based upon a person’s acts. Why does one person believe and not another? Were they were more spiritual, smarter, more afraid? Whatever, the reason, God has based His decision on something intrinsic in men, and, since all men are different and believe for different reasons, then God has played favorites based on the intrinsic or extrinsic characteristics and acts of men. This is exactly the kind of favoritism that James denounces in his epistle as being unjust. Thus, it is the free will position that portrays God as playing favorites and acting unjustly toward men.

Unmerciful: Actually, this objection is directly attributable the free will view. Mercy and justice are distinct ethical categories. Mercy is about what you do not deserve. Justice is about obligation, e.g. what you deserve. If regeneration is a response to faith, then this is the beginning of salvation by merit, which is in the category of justice, because God has responded to your free will choice and given you the fruit of your labor. This is in the category of justice, not mercy. If regeneration is monergistic and precedes faith, then God has acted unilaterally to save a person and convert them, a person, remember, who deserves only damnation in hell, he does not deserve this. This is, therefore, an act of pure mercy. It is the free will argument that makes God unjust, unloving, and unmerciful, not the predestinarian argument.

Fatalistic: since God is not actively foreknowing and predestinating people, in the free will systems, we see real impersonal determinism working itself out by way of real fatalism. Thus the free will position that seeks to preserve man’s freedom of choice is, in reality, impersonal and fixed, thus being both deterministic and fatalistic. The only way to make it less fixed is the way of Open Theism, which denies the omniscience and omnipotence of God! The Calvinist position is personal, and God is active in the lives of people who make real choices with real moral boundaries. Calvinism is thus inherently personal for both God and man! We agree with Arminians that real, impersonal determinism and fatalism are repugnant to God and man and perversion of the gospel. We thank them for pointing this out. Why then, we ask, do they believe that very thing themselves?

February 13, 2006 7:17 PM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Gees, thanks ... I didn't know the word "election" was in the Bible.
;~)

February 14, 2006 11:55 AM  
Blogger Adam Cummings said...

It's good to see that most of the commenter's caught on to the ludicrousness presented in this post, Antonio. You distorted MacArthur's own teaching that yours might look better; you denied the very words of Jesus in Luke 9 (and elsewhere), Who Himself demanded that others follow Him and give up everything. In Mark 10:21, the rich man could not do this, and walked away from Christ unsaved because of our Lord's demands. As one commenter said (the one you deeply offended), there is a cost! That is not to say that the gift of salvation is not free (a saying you slanderously ascribe to MacArthur); but, it is to say that with that free gift comes trouble... in essence, it will cost. That's the trouble with analogies and with forming doctrines off of them. The gift is free, but it will cost. This means simply one thing: Christ has done everything we need for salvation and eternal life, but if the Holy Spirit has truly regenerated the hearts of those for whom Christ died then surely it will show. The Holy Spirit is not just offering us something at regeneration; He is changing our desires. Thus, it will and it must show! Your "Free Grace Theology" shows itself to be "Cheap Grace Theology", making the death of Christ for His elect of no value, since it need not do any real work in a person's life. And if you are saying that it WILL do a work in a person's life and that it will show, then you actually agree with those who teach Lordship Salvation... kind of like Jesus did.

February 19, 2006 1:46 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home