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)

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Laying Down the Guantlet: Lordship Salvation and Repentance

I want to put up a challenge to any and all advocates of Lordship Salvation and/or Reformed soteriology. The question/challenge put forth to them is simple. It will be found at the end of this post, which by the way, is a portion of the 7 part treatment on repentance in response to Matthew Waymeyer of Faith and Practice.

I will be personally inviting some of blogdoms Lordship advocates to respond to this post: Phil Johnson, Dan Phillips, Frank Turk, Steve Hays, Evan May, Jonathan Moorhead, Matthew Waymeyer, and others.

The challenge is simple.

For easy access if anyone is interested, here are links to the seven part Repentance series which were posted in a long span of 22 days:

Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5 Part 6 Part 7



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... the reader must be aware of a cogent biblical fact that necessarily places a huge burden of proof upon the Traditionalist [Lordship Salvationist/Reformed Soteriologist]:

Nowhere in the Bible is the reception of eternal salvation, eternal life, or justification conditioned on an act of repentance.

The Traditionalist must string together texts and arguments in order to support his unbiblical assertion that repentance is a theologically binding requirement for the possession of eternal salvation. In his arguments, the fallacy of special pleading is a common trait, for there is no clear text that makes his point.

He [the Lordship Salvationist] cannot point to even one text that explicitely commands repentance for the express purpose of the appropriation of eternal life. There is no such verse or passage.

If this is such an important element in the discussion of the critical components of the gospel message it is odd – no, it is incredible – that not a single verse clearly conjoins a command to repent with a resultant appropriation of: eternal salvation, eternal life, or justification.

Isn’t the reception of eternal life/justification of utmost importance to a lost sinner on his way to hell? I mean, listen – the information on how a person is initiated into a relationship with God is of dire necessity! Wouldn’t you think that an issue of such great import would be properly clarified by the God who “desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim 2:4)? Isn’t it unbelievable that in the whole canon of scripture, that if eternal well-being is contingent partly on an act of repentance, that no text whatsoever conditions a result of eternal salvation on such an act?

The apostle John, who is not unfamiliar with the doctrine of repentance, as he presents it more than any other New Testament writer other than Luke (10 mentions in Revelation), nevertheless is conspicuously silent on repentance as a condition for the appropriation of eternal life in his Gospel that was written for an express purpose of evangelism (John 20:30-31).

Would it not be a major error of inestimable proportions that if repentance is indeed a necessary requirement for eternal life that John the apostle would not include a single reference to it as a condition for salvation, yeah, even further, fail to mention it even once in the whole of his gospel written so that men could have eternal life?

This would be like writing a book on “Major Treatments for Heart Disease” and yet failing to mention open heart surgery (an illustration borrowed from Zane Hodges).

The evidence in regard to this chilling and absolute silence of the Fourth Gospel in mentioning repentance in conjunction with the indisputable instrument of eternal life’s appropriation, faith into Jesus for it, can have only 1 of 3 possible ramifications:

1) John, the disciple who leaned “on Jesus' bosom”, the apostle “whom Jesus loved” (John 13:23), was not aware that the free reception of eternal life was in someway conditioned upon an act of repentance by the unsaved and thus presented an inadequate and therefore faulty testimony in this matter.

2) John, the apostle “who testifies of these things, and wrote these things; and we know that his testimony is true” (John 21:24), purposely omitted a crucial component of the promise of eternal life for reasons that could only be speculated upon (the first one that would come to mind is some form of mal-intent).

3) John, who knew that “which was from the beginning”, who declared what he “heard” and saw with his “eyes”, who revealed that which he “looked upon” and his hands “handled, concerning the Word of life”, who bore “witness” and declared to us “that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to” him (1 John 1:1-2) did not consider, did not believe, and was not under the conviction that repentance was a necessary requirement for the appropriation of eternal well-being.

If we agree to the following:

1) John told the truth
2) John wrote his gospel with a purpose of evangelism

and admit to the following (which cannot be denied):

3) John did not require repentance in his Gospel as a condition for the appropriation of eternal life, as he did not even mention it once in the whole of his discourse; repentance being shockingly absent from its whole.

We must necessarily come to this conclusion:

4) Repentance is not a theological necessary condition for the reception of eternal life.

[Note: "The simple fact is that the whole Fourth Gospel is designed to show that its readers can get saved in the same way as the people who got saved in John’s narrative. To say anything other than this is to accept a fallacy. It is to mistakenly suppose that the Fourth Gospel presents the terms of salvation incompletely and inadequately." (Zane Hodges, Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society, Autumn 2000, "How to Lead People to Christ, Part 1")]

Furthermore, we must consider our dear brother, the apostle Paul. The idea of repentance is a category strikingly absent from him. In his whole discussion of justification by faith in Romans 3-5, there is not even one mention of repentance as a condition for eternal salvation. It is also noteworthy to share that Paul only mentions repentance 5 times in his epistles (half as many as John), although he wrote 13 (possibly 14) out of the 27 New Testament books. And none of these passages in which he speaks of this doctrine does he regard repentance as a condition for the reception of eternal salvation.

In addition, what is even more damaging to the Traditionalist position is the utter absence of repentance in the book of Galatians. This epistle is Paul’s defense of his gospel wherein he heralds clear and loud the essential tenet that righteousness is imparted through faith alone in Jesus. It is indeed significant that repentance is absent in a book where Paul is presenting and defending the gospel message he received directly from the Lord. For Paul, faith alone into Christ is the sole theological requirement for justification and eternal salvation.

What we are faced with is dozens upon dozens of clear and unambiguous statements of scripture that condition eternal life/justification through faith alone in Christ alone.

For thoroughness, I feel I ought to at least refer us to some of these clear and unambiguous statements that conjoin the requirement of faith/belief with the result – eternal salvation, eternal life, or justification:

John 3:16
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

John 3:36
He who believes in the Son has everlasting life

John 6:40
And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

John 6:47
Most assuredly I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life

John 11:25-26
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die.

Rom 3:21-22
But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe.

Rom 3:26
that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Rom 4:5
But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness,

Rom 5:1
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ

Gal 2:16
knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified.

Gal 3:2
This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

Gal 3:21-22
But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

1 Tim 1:16-17
16 However, for this reason I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might show all longsuffering, as a pattern to those who are going to believe on Him for everlasting life.

We are equally confronted by the striking absence of a single verse in the whole of the Bible that conjoins a command to repent with a stated purpose of the appropriation of eternal salvation.

Can the Traditionalist [Lordship Salvationist] produce even ONE clear and unambiguous verse that conditions eternal life, justification, or eternal salvation with a requirement of repentance?

40 Comments:

Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Excellent reasoning. Very clear and direct.

September 13, 2006 2:53 PM  
Anonymous Mike Bonebright said...

Antonio,

I’m sorry to say that you won’t get a simple one-verse answer because you have mischaracterized the opposing position. You ask for a verse that “commands repentance for the express purpose of the appropriation of eternal life.” You won’t find one. And you probably won’t find any Lordship Salvation advocates who are bothered by that fact, myself included. I am not bothered by this because I believe that salvation is the free gift of God, given to all who have faith in Christ. Salvation is “by grace through faith”, and I don’t expect to find a command to repent thrown in there.

The problem comes in because faith is a much bigger word than you allow it to be. The Bible teaches very clearly that faith always produces works. How can we know that faith is real? The one who has faith is born again, and is being sanctified by the Holy Spirit. The connection between faith and works is unbreakable. This is why James says “faith without works is dead.” It is why Christ says “Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” It is why Paul wrote that “those who practice such things [i.e. the works of the flesh] will not inherit the kingdom of God.” And again, “for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” It is why John wrote that “If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.”

Consider Romans 10:9-10 – “that if you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved; for with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.” Let the Bible define faith. Faith must reside in the heart, and not only the mind. If faith exists only in the mind, then it has no power to change the heart, and it has no power to save. If faith exists in the heart, then it will not only trust God, but in trusting will love God. And we know that if we love God, we will keep his commandments.

When I say that repentance is necessary for salvation, I am not adding a prerequisite for salvation. I am not saying that repentance is a “work” that earns us salvation. I am saying that faith demands repentance. Faith that lacks repentance is not fit to be called faith. It may have filled the head, but it has not reached the heart. It is impossible to trust in Christ’s sacrifice as payment for your sins when you love your sins more than Christ. When you ask for a verse that “conditions eternal life, justification, or eternal salvation with a requirement of repentance” you have already missed the point.

In Christ,
Mike Bonebright

September 13, 2006 4:20 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Mike,

Thank you for your answer.

You have conceded much in your observation that nowhere in the Bible is one commanded to repent to receive eternal life. Repentance is not necessary as a condition for eternal life. Faith alone into Jesus Christ is the one and only passive instrument which receives eternal life.

But it will not rest there will it?

The Bible is clear that faith alone is all that is necessary.

Now you must use what I call "kitchen sink" theology, being a theological "mixologist".

Repentance is absolutely absent as a condition for eternal life. This alone, at the very least, puts Lordship Salvation doctrine into suspect.

Therefore the Lordship Salvationist must import into the value of faith the idea of repentance. How is this done? By stringing together multiple texts, special pleading, and theological sophistication.

When Jesus says to Martha:

"Do you believe this?"

He was asking her if she was convinced, persuaded as to His claim that He was the Resurrection and the Life, and that as the Resurrection and the Life, He guarantees eternal life and resurrection to the one who believes Him.

There is completely absent from this discourse any suggestion of repentance.

Faith is taking someone at his word. Saving faith is taking Christ at His word.

When you tell someone you believe them, does this mean that you have repented concommitantly with that belief? No, of course not. Same with Jesus in John 11:25, 26. He asks her simply "Do you believe this?"

Your comment strings together many and varied verses. Not one of them says that repentance is a necessary component to faith. This has been done by the use of your presuppositional theology and the use of secondary assumptions that you import into the text to give you your "interpretation".

Please, by any means, Mike, provide a well-thought out exposition of any of those verses that make it apparant that faith without repentance is insufficient.

The following is an excerpt from my repentance series POST #3 out of 7
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John MacArthur states “do not dismiss it [repentance] as simply another word for believing” (ibid., 178). John MacArthur and many Traditionalists rightly propose that faith and repentance are different, but erroneously assert that both are equally necessary for salvation. In light of the Traditionalist’s doctrine, is it not interesting that Paul, here in Acts 17, omits any mention of faith in Jesus as a condition for justification?

There are still other Traditionalists who contend that faith and repentance are two sides of the same coin. What becomes imperative for the lost is no longer simple faith but a “super faith”. Ed Sullivan used to say, “We’ve got a really, really, big shew for you tonight!” What the Lordship Salvation proponents require from the unsaved is a really, really big faith! It has become so loaded down with theological baggage that it’s simplicity is lost.

When I have spoken to people who adhere to this view, I get the impression that they are walking a tight rope. When I suggest that in their theology that a “super-kind of faith” is what makes saving faith saving, they deny it. But it cannot be! The Traditionalist has critically altered the essential nature of faith. Its value has morphed from the passive ideas of conviction, persuasion, assurance, being convinced, and taking one at his word to the volitional concepts of commitment, surrender, forsaking, giving, and obedience.

“…two men might believe exactly the same things in terms of content, yet if one of them exhibited what seemed to be a ‘fruitless’ Christian experience, his faith would be condemned as ‘intellectual assent’ or ‘head belief’ over against ‘heart belief.’ In a word, his faith was a false faith – it was a faith that did not, and could not, save…

What [is] really missing in false faith, so they affirm… [are] the elements of true repentance and submission to God. Thus, saving faith ought not to be defined in terms of trust alone, but also in terms of commitment to the will of God. In the absence of this kind of submission, they insist…, one could not describe his faith as biblical faith.

If there existed a theological Trojan horse, this point of view is it!

[The Lordship proponents] completely insupportable definition of saving faith… transforms the offer of a free gift of eternal life into a ‘contract’ between the sinner and God, and it turns the joy of Christian living into a grueling effort to verify our faith and acceptance before God.” (Zane Hodges, Absolutely Free! p. 27)

I say that it isn’t the kind of faith that makes saving faith saving, it is the object of the faith that makes saving faith saving.

It is not our turning from sins, our change of direction, our submission to Christ, or promise to obey that saves, it is trust alone in Christ who has promised eternal life as a present possession to the believer. Christ, the object of our simple faith, is what makes saving faith saving.

How is it that when we discuss faith as it pertains in the theological realm, that it takes a whole other significance than the way it is commonly and universally understood? How is it that the exercise of faith in the theological arena is experimentally ascertained by the subjective qualities that have been imported into this word? The simple concept of faith has been evacuated and its theological shell loaded with such ideas as repentance, submission, obedience, and contrition by those who deem that apathy in our churches ought to be fought with the inclusion of works on the front end of the gospel offer.

Soliloquy:

“I may not have true saving faith, I need to repent more, feel more contrition, change my direction, pick up my cross, obey Christ. I may not have the right kind of faith, the subjective elements of the fruit of my faith and repentance may show that I only have head faith and not heart faith.”

Repentance and the other importations in Traditionalism’s “kitchen sink” soteriology necessarily become the object of one’s confidence that God has been affected toward him. A simple look to the Savior cannot suffice, for faith alone in Christ alone has been abandoned for a synergy of reliance on Jesus and reliance on self. As long as faith in Christ is not enough, obsession over one’s own responsibilities to repent, submit, surrender, give, and obey can prevail.

The faith that the Traditionlist requires for eternal life is not the simple, every-day, kind of faith that we exercise. It is no longer taking someone at his word. It is no longer being convinced that something is true. It is no longer the passive result of being persuaded by circumstances, deliberation, communication, and/or evidence. In the realm of theology it has become an act of the will that includes everything with the kitchen sink. Traditionalism should be called “kitchen sink” theology in light of its burdensome addition of volitional acts of many kinds to the concept of faith.

September 13, 2006 5:05 PM  
Blogger centuri0n said...

I'll bite, Antonio. Rev 3, in the warning to Sardis, says this:

Rev 3:I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. 3Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. 4Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. 5The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. 6He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

I suggest to you that here Christ is explicitly saying that those who have not repented are not alive but dead, and they do not have their names in the book of life.

I have more, but you asked for one. That's my first, and if you don't like that one I can give you more.

September 13, 2006 6:53 PM  
Blogger Bhedr said...

Antonio,

When Satan tempted Jesus he quoted Scripture in the second temptation. It was sound, "Jump and He will give his angels charge over you."

Jesus had to come back with a biblical principal that was timeless. "You shall not put the Lord God to the test."

Satan was trying to restrict Jesus to a show me in scripture argument.

The show mes are constant. Where in the bible does it say I shouldnt smoke or drink. Show me where it says I can't gamble or whatever else that is clearly obvious. Satan was the one that narrowed Jesus down to Scripture and used it against him...elevating his idea above Scripture by the use of Scripture and his use appeared to be dead on. Again Jesus took a biblical principle and applied it. If you cannot see that the call to repentance goes out all throughout the Bible and that man must turn to someone in repentance believing on the Lord Jesus Christ then you are missing this principle.

Learning and applying biblical principles lie in the heart of wisdom and not isolation and idea. The show me in scripture arguments are used from anything as far as Christian Rock to the Croc Hunters tempting fate and natural laws.

Some things are just so obvious it is unhealthy to think otherwise. You don't believe it is necessary to believe in the diety of Christ to be saved. I conclude that your witholding the call to repentance as an inhibitor from helping men see their desprate need of the Saviour.

September 13, 2006 7:45 PM  
Blogger Bhedr said...

When I say it was a biblical principle I mean that Jesus' use of Scripture was not a prototype in combat to Satans.

For instance he did not have a passage that said, "Thou shalt not jump from the Pinnacle when Satan tells thee to jump."

September 13, 2006 7:49 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Frank,

Thank you for coming over and taking the challenge. I will respond tomorrow. I wake up at 3 am to get to work by 4 am and I have some homework I need to complete before bed.

Can I ask you if you read this post before the question or just scrolled down to the question?

I look forward to tomorrow so that I can respond to your comment.

Again, thank you for responding.

Antonio da Rosa

September 13, 2006 8:25 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Brian,

You seem to be against me every turn I make.

My contention is that if no clear and unambiguous verse exists that commands repentance for the explicit result of eternal life, justification, or eternal salvation, that repentance is not a condition for eternal life.

It is appropriate to ask those who include repentance as a condition in the gospel promise for biblical support. If there can be found no statement in scripture commanding repentance for eternal life, eternal salvation, or justification, then it is wrong to do so!

Because a principle is taught in scripture (namely repentance) does not mean that it is somehow required for eternal life. It must be shown from Scripture that God requires it for the purpose of eternal well-being.

I would suggest you sit back and see what comments either here or in the blogosphere will be made.

Antonio

September 13, 2006 8:30 PM  
Anonymous Mike Bonebright said...

With many words from your mouth, you’ve put many into mine. :-)

Be careful with what you say that I’ve conceded. My entire point was to show you that your post did not accurately characterize the view known as Lordship Salvation. I only conceded that you won’t find a verse that “commands repentance for the express purpose of the appropriation of eternal life.” There are, however, verses that very strongly connect repentance and faith. These verses do not link repentance and salvation in the sort of cause-and-effect way your challenge demanded. But, according to Scripture, repentance and faith are very clearly linked. Here are some examples:

1) They were linked in the ministry of John the Baptist, who preached “a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.”

2) Christ’s condemnation of his generation in Luke 11:29-32 was that they would not repent. (should He not have confused them with something so unnecessary for salvation?)

3) Christ also said that “there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance.” It says that just people need no repentance – so then, what is it that sinners need? Christ doesn’t say that they need faith! Christ clearly believed and taught that what sinners need is repentance.

4) Peter’s sermon in Acts 3 specifically commands repentance for salvation in verse 19.

5) After Peter preached to Cornelius, the rest of the Christians marveled in Acts 11 saying that “God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.” Again, this is clearly a passage referring to salvation, but there is only mention of repentance and nothing about faith.

You have attempted in your response to my first post to define “faith” as “the passive ideas of conviction, persuasion, assurance, being convinced, and taking one at his word.” I assume that by “conviction”, you do not mean conviction of sin, but simply a redundancy with the word "convinced." In every part of your definition, then, you are describing intellectual agreement, and nothing more. There is a problem with your view: can you show me just one demon that is not “convinced”, “persuaded”, and “assured” of the truth of the gospel?

September 13, 2006 9:36 PM  
Blogger centuri0n said...

I read your post and responded to your challenge. Your argument is elegant but unconvincing when there are at least 3 solid examples of manifest repentence as necessary (read: necessary consequences) of salvation.

I have given you one; I am sure you think it is not one.

September 14, 2006 12:08 AM  
Anonymous Bud said...

Frank,

Wow. First time I've seen a Calvinist trot out a verse that, if read as a soteriological passage, actually proves Arminianism.

I am supposing that you have relied heavily on the litotes in v. 5. If the litotes is read literally rather than as a figure then you end up being in the awkward position of advocating that a person could have his name written in the Book of Life and then have it blotted out.

That is the Arminian position.

You are also left with the difficulty of explaining what they had "received"; is it the gospel, giving us a pleonasm with "heard"? If it is not a pleonasm - which would be awkward indeed - then the only other thing it could refer to is regeneration or eternal life.

Aren't you inadvertently cutting across the doctrine of total inability? If these were unregnerate men why would Jesus tell them to "wake up," something clearly beyond their capacity? (I already know the answer to this one. I just want everyone to see it).

This passage makes perfectly good sense when read as a sanctification text. That will naturally lead to a discussion of who the "overcomers" are, and that will never be resolved here.

My guess is that once again we will have demonstrated that the blogosphere is unproductive in swaying people in theological matters.

Sorry for the hurried and probably less than lucid comment. I'm in a hurry to get out the door.

September 14, 2006 4:54 AM  
Blogger Jim said...

Bud,

I think you have touched on some deeper issues here that perhaps not many have considered before.

Perhaps our understanding of repentance must be defined to understand how Antonio sees its soteriological relationship as a works salvation.

If we leave the door open for subtle inferences of additions to faith, there is a clear and present danger of grace being misconstrued by man's efforts.

September 14, 2006 1:30 PM  
Blogger Bhedr said...

Antonio,

Here is the problem:

you said> You seem to be against me every turn I make.<

You always take this personally. Did you not call for a challenge?

Oh well anyway...I have complimented you in the past.

I never said repentance was a condition. You will find many reformed brethren out here that do not teach repentance as a condition but as a response of faith when one looks to the cross and beholds what his sin cost Christ. The law also brings about prepatory work toward that response but as always the condition is indeed faith. My contention is that you are teaching men to have optimism and not faith. Optimism comes as a result of human persuasion alone and seizes on the least factor to bring about the desired result. This also leads to pragmatism and it is also what is fueling the seeker sensitive church. When we head in this direction not considering the logical conclusions and ignore the red flags then we contribute to not only a lesser understanding of God and his Holy righteousness but a gospel that places mans whims above the Glory of the creator and devalues the expensive work of the cross. I wish that you too could step outside the box dear brother and consider this instead of always looking at logic alone.

Remember Jesus said not to give what is Holy to the dogs and not to cast pearls before swine. Man must be made to understand through the call to repentance so that he receives the gift of eternal life and not demand an entitlement for lawlessness.

By the way the argument that I was making was that when Jesus was confronted with Scripture by Satan with the intent of challange he made a bold and most logically undeniable argument with full syllogistic persuasion when saying:

"If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down, for it is written, 'He will command his angels concerning you, On their hands they will bear you up, lest you strike your foot against a stone."

This was sound and undeniably true. How could it be wrong. Satan had Jesus backed into a corner didn't he?

What was Jesus' next words?

"It is also written..."

Brother Satan is trying to get us to divorce the whole counsel of God up so that mens souls will fall into hell. We must avoid going to extremities that cause us to deny other clear teaching in scripture by logical conclusions. God is wiser than we are and so we need each other to learn from one another lest we become stuck on certain systems that seem to be progressive and true.

The Bible makes it clear that the call to repentance pierces the soul and flys in the face of all human logic so that man will come gasping for air to God and beg him for mercy believing that the Son of the Living God is the only answer to their eternal damnation.

September 14, 2006 2:36 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Sorry about the delay in my response to you, Frank. The power at my house went off last night while I was working on my response, and by the time it came back on, I was already in bed.

Frank writes:
----------
I'll bite, Antonio. Rev 3, in the warning to Sardis, says this:

Rev 3:I know your works. You have the reputation of being alive, but you are dead. 2Wake up, and strengthen what remains and is about to die, for I have not found your works complete in the sight of my God. 3Remember, then, what you received and heard. Keep it, and repent. If you will not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what hour I will come against you. 4Yet you have still a few names in Sardis, people who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with me in white, for they are worthy. 5The one who conquers will be clothed thus in white garments, and I will never blot his name out of the book of life. I will confess his name before my Father and before his angels. 6He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.

I suggest to you that here Christ is explicitly saying that those who have not repented are not alive but dead, and they do not have their names in the book of life.
----------

Thank you for posting a verse. It is not one I expected, but let’s see here.

Observations:
1) Written to the church at Sardis.
2) The members of the church are in a sense “dead”
3) They need to “wake up”
4) In another sense, they are alive and are asked to strengthen that portion that is alive.
5) Jesus is talking about “works” (3:1, 2)
6) The works that are being referred to are not “complete”
7) They have “received” something, and they are asked to “keep it”
8) They are asked to repent.
9) If they do not wake up, Jesus will overtake them like a thief.
10) Some in Sardis are “worthy” for they are experientially righteous and keeping from sin.
11) The overcomer in this passage has “works” and is found “worthy” and will be confessed before the Father and His angels.

“Commentators often deal with the word dead very simplistically. As a metaphor, dead is often treated as though it could refer to nothing other than the death/life terminology employed to describe salvation from hell. But every linguist knows that ‘death’ and ‘deadness’ are concepts that have given risen to numerous and diverse metaphors in nearly every language. English itself has man (‘this law’s a dead letter,’ ‘you’re dead wrong,’ ‘he’s dead drunk,’ ‘he’s a dead duck,’ ‘that idea is dead,’ ‘they navigated by dead reckoning,’ etc.). So also the Greek language (and the NT itself) abounds in such metaphors. Thus, in Romans alone, Paul can call Abraham’s body dead while it was still alive, and can attribute “deadness” to Sarah’s barren womb (Rom 4:19). He can say that apart from the law sin was [or is] dead (Rom 7:8; although sin can be quite active apart from the law: Rom 5:13), and then declare that sin revived and I died (Rom 7:9). So too the Christian’s body, in which the Spirit dwells, can be described as dead (Rom 8:10), although the Christian himself is regenerated. The complexity in Paul’s use of the term dead is clearly evident from these texts. A concordance study will yield examples in other parts of the NT as well (e.g., Luke 15:24, 32; Heb 6:1; 9:14; Rev 3:1).” (Zane Hodges, Commentary on James, pg 63)

It is simply wrong to think that John’s metaphor about these Christian’s at the Church of Sardis being in one sense (not in others!) “dead” can have only one meaning, i.e. a soteriological one. To claim this is to beg the question.

They are dead because they are spiritually insensitive, they are not alert and watching for Christ. Yet in another sense, they have some life and are exhorted to “strengthen it”!

The account of Revelations 3:1ff is a parallel of:

1 Thess 5:1-10

But concerning the times and the seasons, brethren, you have no need that I should write to you. 2 For you yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so comes as a thief in the night. 3 For when they say, "Peace and safety!" then sudden destruction comes upon them, as labor pains upon a pregnant woman. And they shall not escape. 4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, so that this Day should overtake you as a thief. 5 You are all sons of light and sons of the day. We are not of the night nor of darkness. 6 Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. 8 But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. 9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that whether we are awake or asleep, we should live together with Him.

Notice all the similar elements. Joseph Dillow has this to say:
----------
The wrath in this context is the tribulation wrath of the day of the Lord (5:2-3). The references to being “awake” or “asleep” do not refer to being physically alive or dead but, rather, to being watchful for our Lord’s return or being indifferent to it… Paul uses [the]… word … katheudo. Earlier in 1 Th. 4:14, when referring to physical death, he used the word koimao. While katheudo often has an ethical connotation (Mt. 13:25; Mk. 13:36) in the New Testament and always does in every other use in Paul (Eph 5:14; 1 Th. 5:6,7), koimao never has an ethical connotation (See BAGD, p. 438).

So then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober. For those who sleep do their sleeping [Gk. katheudo] at night, and those who get drunk get drunk get drunk at night (1 Th. 5:6-7 NASB).

Jesus used the same word, katheudo, in a similar context in the parable of the doorkeeper (Mk. 13:33-37). Like the exhortation in 1 Th. 5, the exhortation is to spiritual watchfulness in contrast to “sleep” in view of the uncertainty of the Lord’s return:

Mark 13:33-37
33 "Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time is. 34 "It is like a man, away on a journey, who upon leaving his house and putting his slaves in charge, assigning to each one his task, also commanded the doorkeeper to stay on the alert. 35 "Therefore, be on the alert-- for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, at midnight, at cockcrowing, or in the morning-- 36 lest he come suddenly and find you asleep. 37 "And what I say to you I say to all, 'Be on the alert!'" NASB

Apparently Paul has this same parable in mind in 1 Th. 5 when he warns them about the sudden and unexpected nature of the Lord’s return (5:2), tells them to be alert (5:6), and warns them against sleeping (katheudo), or spiritual insensitivity. The opposite of spiritual insensitivity is to be awake (Gk. Gregoreo [NOTE: also found in Rev 3:2 and 3!]). This is the verb Paul uses of spiritual alertness in 5:6 (“be alert”), and it is the same word he uses as the opposite of katheudo in 5:10.
----------
(Joseph Dillow, The Reign of the Servant Kings, 328-329)

Do you get this? Whether the Christian is spiritually alert (awake) or in a state of spiritual insensitivity and carnality (asleep) he will “live together with Him”! (1 Th. 5:10). Paul is conclusive in 1 Th. 5:9-10. Christians who are alert or are carnal will be with Christ when He comes. The linguistical data is conclusive.

Paul in 1 Th. 5:1-10 and Jesus in Mark 13:33-37 are parallel passages to Rev 3:1ff. Jesus is telling the spiritually insensitive, carnal Christians at the Church of Sardis to repent and be alert, so that Jesus Christ’s immanent coming will not overtake them like a thief where they will answer to Him at the Bema judgment and lose out on the rewards of reigning with Him (walking with Him in white), and lose out on the honors and privileges associated with those who are confessed before the Father and His angels.

Look also at the context of Rev 3:1ff. If this is talking about eternal salvation, it is obviously a works-salvation. The conditions for this salvation are:

1) Being watchful, spiritually alert (Rev 3:2, 3)
2) Being self-worthy of this salvation (Rev 3:4)
3) A strength in good works (compare 3:1 with 3:2)
4) Keeping from sin (Rev 3:4)
5) An overcoming life

The prima facie reading of this text is obvious. Walking with Jesus in white and being confessed before the Father and the angels is reserved only for those who are, themselves, worthy (3:4). They are worthy of these honors, not because an imputed righteousness, but because of their spiritual alertness, good works, and overcoming of sin. These honors are only given to those who earn and merit them by their diligence in perseverance. The text is clear. The rewards spoken of here in Rev 3:1 are based on merit; the Christian must earn them by works. This obviously cannot be talking about eternal salvation. The only way that it can be looked at as eternal salvation is to come to this passage with the Calvinistic theology of perseverance of the saints, and even then, you must fill in all the questions of this passage with the introduction of multiple assumptions. And then you must overlook the fact that these are “worthy” by virtue of their works, therefore they are contributing to their salvation synergistically. This is how the Calvinist is guilty of that which he charges other Christians of: synergism. The salvation so described in this passage is earned by a life of works, overcoming of sin, and spiritual alertness—BEING WORTHY!

But no, the text is clear. The honors of the overcomer are his because he is worthy, because of his works.

And even beyond this, Bud Brown was very keen to point out that if Rev 3:5 is not taken as litotes, then the carnal Christians of Sardis lose their salvation, having their names removed from the book of life.

2 Tim 2:12:
If we endure, we shall also reign with Him
If we deny, He will deny us [reigning with Him]

Paul includes himself in the we! He understood that it wasn’t guaranteed that he would receive the prize, the reward, the honor or reigning with Christ. Paul knows that this privledge is only for those who are “worthy”, who lead worthy lives, for those who earn it.

1 Cor 9:24-27
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it. And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in al things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown. Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air. But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.


Frank,

This passage does not condition the free gift of eternal life on repentance. This passage conditions the rewards of walking with Christ in white and being confessed before the Father and the angels on being worthy by virtue of one’s works.

If you advocate this passage as talking about mere eternal salvation, how can you answer to the appropriate charge that you teach a works-salvation?

What are your other 2 passages that you say condition eternal salvation on repentance?

Why doesn’t John mention repentance as a condition of eternal life in his gospel, not mentioning it even once?

Bringing up verses like this shows the bankruptcy of the Lordship position. They teach that repentance is a necessary condition for salvation, but cannot point to even one clear and unambiguous verse or passage that teaches it!

September 15, 2006 2:02 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Mike Bonebright,

thanks for your response. i will get to it tonight I hope. I have a lot of homework I need to do today and furthermore need to take care of my kids.

I will respond to your comment.

antonio

September 15, 2006 2:03 PM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Antonio, I hate to do this, but you did not answer the question I asked on the last post.

Was the answer to obvious to need a response?

Keep on blogging for the Gospel, Antonio!

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

September 15, 2006 2:11 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Matthew,

sorry about that. I am going to continue to post Zane's comments on that passage which will ultimately answer your question.

Also, if you like, I have and article by Zane Hodges on the pericope adulterae, John 8, which you had asked about earlier. It is not in a text file but in i think 10 jpegs.

Antonio

September 15, 2006 2:27 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

It is the fact that all those individuals named on the opening of this post (and more!) were personally invited by an email.

Frank Turk is the only one who has come here. Evan May politely contacted me via email and said in the least he would read it. Other than that, no one else has responded.

Here is a copy of the email I sent out to these individuals:

Dear [name],

I recently wrote a 7 part response to Lordship Salvation's insistence on repentance as a condition for eternal salvation, specifically addressed to Mathew Waymeyer. I have taken a very small and brief portion out of it with a simple question for the Lordship Salvationist at the end. I guarantee it would take you less than a few minutes to read my post. I would appreciate it if you could at least read the post and see the question at the end.

the url to the article is:

http://free-grace.blogspot.com/2006/09/laying-down-guantlet-lordship.html

The mere reading of this small and brief post would be much appreciated:

Respectfully,

Antonio da Rosa

I don't know what to think... What do you all think? As if anyone is reading OR thinking...

September 16, 2006 5:04 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Earl,

Your comment, whether was meant to or not, set me up for public shame and ridicule, therefore I have deleted your comment. Your comments to me seem very far away from the Earl who won himself the "Reasonable Blogger Award" from Rose's Reasonings.

It was like saying to a man in front of a crowd, "Have you stopped beating your wife yet?"

I am persuaded that you think that your comment was "an honest response", but I am convinced that it was not a fair nor level-headed assessment. I think your response was clearly emotional and severely critical without much objective foundation.

Firstly, My beliefs are my own, and the constructions of my posts are my thoughts, with the brief exceptions that I have quoted Zane Hodges. They are also my convictions based upon my study of the texts and through their prayerful consideration. My "moniker" is there for the title of the book "Absolutely Free!". This is my position and this is my message.

Secondly, The only names I have called those of the other side are "Traditionalist", which John MacArthur has used of himself, and Lordship Salvationist, which is an accepted designation by MacArthur and those who espouse the Lordship Salvation position. What are the other names I have used?

Those who use the names are those of the Lordship Salvationist against me:

Cheap Gracer
Easy Believism
Gutless Grace
and many other pejoratives.

These (and many others) have been leveled at me by your Calvinist friends.

Thirdly, I am thoroughly convinced of my position. All I get when I lay out a well-reasoned, expositional treatment of scripture is rapid-fire prooftexting by those who oppose my positions. This type of tactic will not convince anyone who understands the utter deficiencies of mere prooftexting. The proof of a position is in the treatment of texts. I am open to dialogue, but what do I get? Prooftexts pulled out of their contexts that have no support expositionally and exegetically attached to them.

You speak of repentance, and passages that look clear. Why don't you consider suggesting a passage or two and treating them?

You say that "passages look clear" advocating repentance as a condition for eternal life. Show us these passages and prove their clarity by your exposition of them. To me the passages that I have been shown that are "clear" to you and those who promote Lordship Salvation, in fact, show me the great and many secondary assumptions and theological presuppositions that must be added to the text in order for your "clear" interpretation to be made.

Look at what I get around the blogosphere! mere referencing of texts our of context. Frank Turk has to go to the book of revelation, to an admonition to a church, to show a verse he says requires repentance for eternal life. He gives no exposition but a "suggestion". The passage shows that what ever the outcome is, it is conditioned on works. Is this the best that Reformed advocates can do?

What is clear? Show me these clear verses.

How about my arguments that I lay down in this post, concerning the gospel of John, Romans 3-5, and the book of Galatians? How about my arguments that I lay down in my 7 part article? They are coherent, well-thought out, and reasonable. Have you an answer to the data and arguments that I have put forth?

Earl, the length which your comments were constructed to bring me to shame without substantiation has left me dumbstruck! If these were your loving, caring, and compassionate sentiments meant for my admonition, it seems to me that a private correspondence would have been in order. My email address is in your email address book (as we have corresponded recently by email) and in my blogger profile.

Antonio

September 16, 2006 10:04 PM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

My "moniker" is there for the title of the book "Absolutely Free!". This is my position and this is my message.

I have noticed that many Calvinists use images of John Calvin for their avatars. I have noticed a lot of bloggers seem to have Spurgeon in their avatars also.

So, would the difference be that these are well known and Z Hodges is not? Since I heard of Z Hodges through you, Antonio, I have noticed his name in a lot of books, recognized for contributing to the Greek work. I think he is a very well respected authority on Greek, the language of the New Testament. I think the slurs against him from the LS people are uncalled for. I especially detest the way they cheer eachther on in their disrespect. Earl is not a part of this. Perhaps he regrets the fact that he didn't send you the comment through a private email.

Antonio,
I appreciate the work that you have done in the 7 posts! I wish Frank would come back and continue in the discussion. What happened to him?

Do you know what the phrase "mob mentality" means? Sometimes when I see the solidarity of the many against you, this phrase comes to mind. Why can't ideas simply be discussed?

September 17, 2006 2:24 PM  
Blogger Bobby Grow said...

Rose said:

". . . Why can't ideas simply be discussed?

My response to this, as I've observed much discussion in the blogosphere, is that most people engage in "parroted rhetoric"; and haven't really taken the time to study the "history" of what they believe. And I'm starting to get the impression that no one (a hasty generalization made for rhetorical purposes ;~) really seems to care about getting underneath their variant theological traditions. In other words, it seems that most of us throw verses back and forth (the same ones even)--with completely different interpretations. Doesn't anyone wonder why this is (i.e. such different conclusions on the same data)? I do, and I believe the solution is to go to the source of these variant interpretations on salvation, and see why and how particular constructs took shape. Until this happens I don't see any possibility for fruitful theological Christian discussion to take place.

My two cents . . .

IN Christ

September 17, 2006 4:00 PM  
Blogger Earl said...

Antonio,

I was utterly and completely wrong in posting the comment to your blog. Please forgive me. My heart is hard, and it took a while for me to reach this conclusion, even after reading your email.

I do have an opinion (and it is just an opinion, I cannot say it's from God) that you could be more effective in working with others. Basically, I think if you took a different approach, you would get more of a hearing. But you are God's servant, and how God has equipped you and tasked you is between you and God.

Again, I was utterly wrong. What I said betrayed some of the ugliness in my heart, and I ask your forgiveness.


Earl

(also, feel free to put my original response here so that others can see how bad I can be).

September 17, 2006 4:04 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Rose,

Good point about avatars.

Ideas can't be simply discussed because the different sides are playing by different rules.

The Free-Grace side takes a well-reasoned expositional and exegetical approach to our arguments and positions.

The Lordship Salvation advocates rely upon their presuppositional theology imported into proof-texts by way of secondary assumptions.

Lordship salvation:

Theology ---> secondary assumptions ---> text ---> position/interpretation

Free Grace theology:

text ---> exegesis/exposition ---> position/interpretation

So many problems could be avoided if Christians were careful of what is and is not expressed in the texts.

Bobby,

I think your suggestion works up to a point.

Many of the theological treatises out there are based upon much tradition. You are always going back to Aquinas, Augustine, and their influences.

In my opinion, Free Grace theology, other than the Apostles themselves, has the least historical tradition out of the other main two: Calvinism and Arminianism.

Even regardless of this point.

It is obvious when you read the various authors of Lordship Salvation that they use texts to prove their theology rather than prove their theology from an exposition of the texts. I know this sounds the same but there is a major difference.

Free Grace theology has started out with a presupposition:

The texts of the Bible do not contradict in any way (no mystery paradoxes);are all meant to be understood clearly.

So most would say that they start this way. But their interpretations based upon superficial treatments of the text do not bear this out.

What does the Lordship Salvationist do when confronted with seeming contradictions of the conditions of discipleship and the free nature of eternal life? They must water down the nature of one to make it jive with the other. They must modify the experimental data of the free gift of eternal life by the introduction of secondary assumptions so that they can condition eternal life on discipleship. Discipleship = hard works, eternal life = free. Lordship Salvation's answer? Salvation is both free and costly!

Free Grace theology takes seriously the non-contradictory manner of the scriptures. When there are seeming contradictions, the Free Gracers look to a synthesis of both issues that will do no harm whatsoever to either of them, giving both issues their respective forces. In the issue of discipleship, the preponderance of the evidence shows that it takes hard works, and that the results are temporal meaningful significance and blessing, and eternal rewards; and a lack of discipleship brings temporal calamaties (natural and divine) and eternal loss.

With regard to the present possession of eternal life, it is something absolutely free, received by the passive instrument of faith into Jesus' promise to guarantee eternal life to the one who believes into Him. This is a simple act with eternally definitive results.

The texts say something and at the same time DO NOT say things.

I look at what the text says and does not say.

The Lordship advocate looks at a text and must use his theology as a crutch and importation in order to derive his interpretation of it.

My 7 part series shows the utter deficiencies of Lordship Salvation's attempt to make repentance a condition for eternal life, salvation, or justification. The texts they propose just do not say what they are implying they say!.

The superficial treatments and considerations of texts are mind-boggling to me. My 7 part article put to naught Mr. Waymeyer's treatment of repentance in general and Acts 17:30,31 in particular (how do I say that without sounding arrogant?).

The strength of a position lies not at all within the consideration of any foundational influencing traditions, but in the absolute treatment of the text.

Jodie Sawyer once wrote on Moorhead's blog:
----------
But when it [Lordship Salvation] is lined up with Scripture you need to define words very paradoxically to make it fit.

Repentant faith

faith works

You're so used to all that paradox you can't perceive its significance.

It will take a huge leap of intellectual curiosity to fully grasp the FG paradigm & then to realize how very simply it aligns with the NT!

Simple & parse beats voluminous & paradoxical.
----------
Sure Free Grace theology "parses". But we in the 21st century have many gaps to overcome: time, space, customs, language, and writing (literary). Carefulness with the text often necessitates parsing. But the key is being observant and careful.

Antonio

September 17, 2006 5:31 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Earl,

you know my very affectionate sentiments about you!

That is why I included your blog in my blogroll and over at Unashamed of Grace!

I believe that some of your concerns I ought to take to heart.

Water under the bridge.

Now how about some verses and their treatments? lol!

your friend,

Antonio

September 17, 2006 5:34 PM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

I think Antonio's 'avatar' is great and really draws attention to the vital issue at hand.

September 18, 2006 12:29 AM  
Blogger Earl said...

Sorry for the long delay. I'm involved in various things that are taking my time. One quick comment and forgive me if I don’t come back quickly to answer the issues raised. With respect to repentance, let me give and example in the recent history of the comments to illustrate, imperfectly, how repentance plays out in the Christian life.

You all know I sinned against Anthonio. In that time that I committed the offense, I was estranged from Anthonio. There is a similar analogy to the sinner’s position to God in this, before faith. It took a while for me to come around to draw towards Antonio. That is very much analogous to turning to Christ in faith. If I had not shown repentance, but said, Antonio, here I am, let’s converse, in no way acknowledging what I did was wrong, I can’t really say I am drawing towards Antonio. In drawing towards Antonio, I needed to admit my sin, which was a change of mind to what I did in that past to Antonio, while I was drawing to Antonio. Drawing to Antonio is the vehicle by which our relationship is established, but that drawing also implies that I was repenting what I did before.

This is the connection I see between faith and repentance. In faith we draws to Christ, and as we draw to Christ, in some sense we are turning away from that which is “opposite” of Christ. And just as we walk by faith, there is also a simultaneous repentance that is happening at the same time in our lives. Faith and repentance works at various degrees in the lives of individuals depending on their state. For very little children, who turn to Christ in faith, their faith will look small, seemingly not contain many things in their understanding. The same is true with their repentance. From the outside, just a small child’s faith will not seem to contain things they are repenting of, but in their turning to Christ, there is an implicit repentance of things “outside” of Christ, often invisible to the adult eye.

With respect to clear passages of repentance, I think just using a concordance on New Testament passages alone reveals a wealth of repentance. I know that it has been advocated that those passages are about different categories, which I confess, I fail to comprehend.

One thing I want to add, is there repentance is in the scheme of Reformed understanding. This happens at the instant of regeneration, where God awakens the person. Simultaneously, there is faith, justification, repentance, initial sanctification, and the beginning of progressive sanctification. There is no sequence of repentance, which is followed by faith (and or causes faith). Hence, in the sequence of Reformed thought, there is no repentance, which causes faith, which cause justification. There is the simultaneous occurrence of these events, where logically, justification is the logical result of faith.

September 19, 2006 10:59 AM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Earl, I do not know how you define saving faith. I could turn to the Westminister Confession, but I dare say that it is interpreted differently by individuals on that point.

Those of us who take a consistent Free Grace view hold that saving faith is simply affirming the proposition that Christ is the sole provider of eternal life.

As Christ has done all that is necessary to secure eternal life for the believer, it is simply a matter of appropriating that work by faith in its accomplishment.

It is not essential to recognise one's own sinfulness to believe in Christ as the sole provider of eternal life.

Insisting on personal self-judgment as an aspect of faith seems to me to make a faith into a kind of substitute righteosness.

Repentance of the kind you mention is helpful in enabling a sinner to recognise his need for eternal life, but it is not a part of the faith that appropriates eternal life and a person may come to believe without coming to that point of self-judgment.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

September 19, 2006 1:58 PM  
Blogger Earl said...

Matthew, this is curious. You say, It is not essential to recognise one's own sinfulness to believe in Christ as the sole provider of eternal life.

Does this mean you don't have to know anything about Christ's death to take away the sins of the world?

Now, I recognize that small children will not recognize the full import of the concepts behind Christ's death. There is the principle of those who are given more, more is required. The corollary is that those who are given less, less is required. This applies to faith. So, what faith will look like in a child will look different to an adult. A mature adult will know something about the purpose of Christ's death is to take on the sinners sin and punishment in place of their working to earn God's favor. I would think that those whose intellect is mature enough to deny Christ's death and not accept that intellectually as the basis of Christ's sole provision of eternal life, are missing the point. Wouldn't you say?

September 19, 2006 2:43 PM  
Blogger mh said...

Wow,

I've always drawn the conclusion that Arminians and Ryrians advocated mere intellectual assent as the condition for salvation, but I've never heard someone come out and say it as unashamedly and explicitly as this:

"Those of us who take a consistent Free Grace view hold that saving faith is simply affirming the proposition that Christ is the sole provider of eternal life." (dyspraxic fundie)

Curious! (giggle, giggle) Well, I shouldn't laugh, I know.

September 20, 2006 12:12 AM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Just to be awkward, what about an adult who has heard John 3:16, but never heard about Christ's death?

Can one be saved by simply believing John 3:16?

I doubt that a person who explicitly denied the reality of Christ's death and resurrection would come to the point of trusting in Christ for eternal life, but it is possible that they might through ignorance.

Essentially, saving faith is trust in Christ as the provider of eternal life. It is trust in what He has accomplished, not His means of accomplishing it.

And it is not necessary either to understand why Christ's death was necessary. All that is essential is trust in the results of it.

MH, Charles Ryrie is not a consistent advocate of Free Grace and Arminians believe in a false gospel of Faith+Works.

God Bless

Matthew

September 20, 2006 12:49 AM  
Blogger Earl said...

mh, as a fellow sinner who has mischaracterized Antonio and Matthew on many occasions, even here in this thread, I urge you to refrain from satric humor like that tears down and does not build up. I intimately know the stuggle, the temptation, I do it frequently myself. It does not further the conversation, but rather polarizes.

September 20, 2006 4:52 AM  
Blogger Earl said...

Matthew, when we read about the deamons interacting with Jesus, they knew intellectually that Jesus is the provider of eternal life. However that intellectual knowledge was not and is not sufficient for them. There needs to be a trust, a submitting, which is implied in the verse that follows John 3:16 -- He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:18). Believing in the name implies placing yourself under the authority of Christ, which by implication is a repentance.

I again go back to my analogy of my sin against Antonio. When I moved towards Antonio, there was a repentance of what I did in my sinfulness against Anotonio. I changed my mind about my actions to Antonio. Believing in the name of implies a change of mind in not being under the authority of the world and the flesh.

September 20, 2006 5:09 AM  
Blogger Earl said...

deamons? I've been in the UNIX world too much, and I can't even spell UNIX daemons correctly, let alone demons in the Bible.

September 20, 2006 5:17 AM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Earl, I do not understand your reasoning.

What in believing in the name of Christ implies acceptance of authority?

If I receive a cheque from you, I believe that the name of Earl secures for me the sum of money promised.

Does my believing in the authority of your name to grant me the money entail my in any way accepting your authority over my life?

Trusting in the name of Jesus for eternal life entails simply that; recognition of His gift of eternal life.

If you want to argue that it necessarilly entails some promise of repentance and obediance, the burden of proof lies upon you to demonstrate this.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

September 20, 2006 5:31 AM  
Blogger Earl said...

Question: recognition of His gift of eternal life -- how is this different from the demons recognizing Jesus has the gift of eternal life?

September 20, 2006 9:46 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Earl:

There is a non-sequiter here and some other problems.

Correct me if I am wrong, but here seems to be your argument:

1) Is saving faith simple belief that Christ guarantees you eternal life?
2) demons believe that Christ gives eternal life
3) demons can't be saved
4) therefore simple belief cannot be saving faith

It is a non-sequiter to say that since human beings are offered the gift of eternal life by simple belief into Jesus' promise that demons have the same opportunity.

As a side, by such an assumption you also open the door to the idea that if the demons fulfilled the requirements that you would put on a human (faith plus whatever), those same demons would be saved. Facts of the matter are that Christ's death took away the sins of the world and not of the demons. Christ's promise and offer is for those whom He died for.

Furthermore, the belief of a demon that says that Christ guarantees eternal life to any and all of humandom that believes on Him (and even what Scriptural support could you adduce for this anyway?) is completely distinguished from saving faith that says "Christ saved me; I have eternal life because of Christ's promise/guarantee".

Moving on, sure demons believe that Jesus is the "Holy One of God". But so do Catholics, Mormons, JWs, Arminians, Lordship proponents, etc.

As I have argued, believing various things (other than the gospel promise) about Jesus doesn't save. What saves is believing that, according to Christ's promise to give eternal life to all who believe in Him for it, you have eternal life.

Demons, and the doctrines of Catholics, Mormons, JWs, Arminians, and Lordship proponents, don't believe this.

Also, I see that you are taking strides away from Gordon Clark and John Robbins. They are both convinced that faith is believing a proposition, and that saving faith is believing (a) certain proposition(s).

In his forward to Gordon Clark's "Faith and Saving Faith," John Robbins says:
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The defenders of justification by faith alone have asserted that it is not enough to believe the Gospel, for even the demons believe the Gospel (of course there is no Scriptural evidence for this at all), and the demons are lost. Belief is not enough they say. In order to be saved, one must do more than believe; one must commit, surrender, ... encounter, relate, or emote. The deniars of justification by faith alone agree[!]: It is not enough to believe the Gospel in order to be saved...

But what most Christians have not yet recognized is that the common Protestant view of saving faith as something more than belief of the Gospel has fueled and will continue to fuel denials of justifiation by faith alone so long as it prevails. Until faith is understood as mere belief -- the Bible makes no distinction between the two words -- the justification controversy will continue, and those defending justification by faith alone will continue to be embarassed by their agreement with the deniers of justification, that belief of the Gospel is not enough for salvation...
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John and Gordon take faith to be considering a proposition true, taking someone at his word, being persuaded of the veracity of something, iow, assent.

I think that you need to go re-read Clark and Robbins, for you seem to stray far away from those with whom you have claimed agreement with.

Antonio

September 20, 2006 10:54 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Hey MH,

what are the differences between faith/belief and 'intellectual' assent?

Please do us a favor and contrast those two.

Thanks for visiting my blog,

Antonio da Rosa

September 20, 2006 10:58 AM  
Blogger Earl said...

Antonio, yes, on several accounts. :o)

Yes about the sequence on demons. I know you take a different view on James, but on James there is (in my view) that intellectual assent is insufficient. No of couse Jesus didn't die for the demons, but my read of James is that the demons exhibit an intellectual understanding of God which is set in contrast to the type of faith God is calling for.

With respect to Gordon Clark and John Robbins. Yes, I am moving away from them. This convesation has been very helpful for me, and I really appreciate you all in conducting this. It has caused my to look at everything more closely. First, Gordon Clark and John Robbins believe that repentance is always present at the moment of regeneration, along with faith. But Clark and Robbins also believe that conversaion is faith is the "changing of mind" towards Christ, which the implication of changing of mind from the former things, which is repentance. Your difference with Robbins and Clark is that the have repentance as being present wherever there is faith. My beef with Robbins and Clark is their "mere intellectual agreement" for faith. I think there is a trust too. I've listened to Robbins intently in his MP3 lectures, which I recommend. I mostly agree with him, but now I am distinguishing myself away from mere intellectual assent.

I know you deeply disagree with this. I can't patch up the difference. This is where I stand. But I can't tell you how much I appreciate the discussion, it has been most helpful.

September 20, 2006 11:30 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Earl,

Very simply, it is the objector talking all the way through in James 2:18-19. Let me make use of the Majority (so-called Byzantine) text and include punctuation and my translation (remember, there are no punctuations in the originals; I have seen at least 4 different ways English translations punctuate this passage!):

James 2:18-20
But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works. Show me the faith of you from the works of you, and I will show you from the works of me the faith of me. You believe that 'God is one'. You do well. And the demons believe -- and tremble!"

The objector is objecting to James' assertion that faith and works have a relationship, that we can not only live our faith, but show others, through our works our faith.

So the objector says in essense:

Ok. For the sake of argument let us say that you have faith and I have works. Let us start there. If you can start with your faith(which you have), show it to me from your works and then I will start with my works(which I have) and show you from them my faith. You are crazy James! Both are impossible! This impossibility of showing one's faith from his works is demonstrated by the following illustration: You see, you believe in Monotheism and you do good. You do well. But the demons believe the same thing, but act differently on their faith: they tremble! So you see, James, faith and works have no connection whatsoever. (The objector uses a reductio ad absurdem, reducing someone's claims to absurdity).

James then starts his response to the objector in verse 20 (ending in 23) this way:

James 2:20
But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?

Faith that isn't being acted out in life is profitless. It doesn't help the brother or sister that is naked or hungry.

This section in James is a very practical one given to true Christian's who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ (2:1) and were regenerated by God (1:18). James is exhorting them to keep their faith alive by doing works! Works energize our faith! This is his pastoral concern, it is not an evangelistic one!

Can you imagine two home fellowships discussing evangelism: one that is out there doing much evangelism and being bold for the Lord and the other has had no practical experience in evangelism. The first group is energized, excited, on fire, because their works vitalized and energized their faith! The second group will not have that excitement, that flair.

James goes on to give a very useful illustration to what I am saying here:

For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead. (2:26)

The spirit is the animating factor to the body, energizing it, vitalizing it as WORKS are the energizing, vitalizing factor to faith.

James isn't talking about two different kinds of faith. Faith is faith! He is exhorting his readers to add works to their faith for the vindication of their faith before men and the vitalizing and energizing of it.

The talk about the demons is not James words. It is the imaginary objector's words. James is using a rhetorical device called the "diatribe". It is an objection/reply format. It starts an objection off with something like "But someone will say" and after the objection has been given a sharp reply/rejoinder is given, starting off with something like James' "But do you want to know, O foolish man..."

This passage has created innumerable difficulties for interpreters. They have had to be quite inventive in order to dull the apparant contradiction between James and Paul. There is neither contradiction nor tension with Paul. They are speaking to two completely different issues!

Furthermore you state this:
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My beef with Robbins and Clark is their "mere intellectual agreement" for faith. I think there is a trust too.
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You say that saving faith = belief + trust.

This is like saying a Volkswagon Jetta is made of automobile + car.

Trust, faith, belief are all synonyms meaning the same thing.

Someone may ask me "Do you trust the babysitter?" I could say, "Yes, I trust the babysitter".

Well what does that mean?

Trust is belief in a proposition:

I believe that the babysitter will act honorably, appropriately, professionally, and with the best interests of me and my child.

When I say that I trust the babysitter in that context, do I mean that I trust her for the financial books at my business?

Trust is belief in one or more propositions. When I say that I have trusted or relied on Jesus for eternal life, this means that I have assented to a proposition:

I believe that Jesus Christ gave me eternal life baed upon His promise: for He is the Guarantor of eternal life and resurrection to the believer in Him.

"Further, 'trust in a person' is a meaningless phrase unless it means assenting to certain propositions about a person..." (John Robbins, Foreward to Gordon Clark's 'Faith and Saving Faith')

In every instance of trust, it is broken down into a proposition. Faith is not an emotion!

"in the present writer's opinion, many Christians, motivated by an irrational pragmatism... consider belief to be an emotion or a feeling... To be sure, some beliefs stir the emotions, but the very sober belief that a man has five fingers on each hand is as much a belief as some shattering news." (Gordon H. Clark, Faith and Saving Faith, 18).

Faith is taking someone at his word, faith is being persuaded as to a proposition, faith is being convinced that something is true, faith is trust. Faith is not emotion, commitment, submission to authority, etc.

Antonio da Rosa

September 20, 2006 4:17 PM  
Blogger Jerry Morningstar said...

A wise man once said [ok - it was C.S. Lewis]: 'repentance isn't something God demands of you before He will take you back. It's simply what going back is like.'

September 23, 2006 11:58 AM  

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