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)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Looking back and looking forward

Dear readers of Free Grace Theology blog,

Coming soon, I will be providing the transcripts of Zane Hodges' two part message he gave at the 1999 GES National conference, entitled, "How to Lead People to Christ". I hope that there will be a wide range of discussion. I personally want to invite any and all of those who take a traditional Free Grace soteriology view to participate. During this series, any and all are welcome.

The following is something that I began to type on Rose's Reasonings in her thread about Yes/No questions, but decided I would rather put it here for your consideration and discussion. All are welcomed to comment, regardless of who you are.

PS: A number of us bloggers are considering ways on how to create blogs conducive to meaningful dialogue by adhering to a type of code of ethics. We hope to hammer this out sometime in order to facilitate an environment that promotes healthy dialogue and debate. Please pray for this, and know that that I am committed to discuss the issues at hand in a God-honoring way.

Now with no further ado:

We live in a sound-bite (sp?) culture. Context is the key by which statements are unlocked. Yes or no questions do not often facilitate understanding in theological dialogue. My advice is stay away from them with all diligence.

The discussions now taking place in the Free Grace world need much time, prayer, honesty, integrity, graciousness, and, did I say, time?

Those of us who hold to a refinement in the content of saving faith do so for many reasons. I and many others I know who align with the GES position came from the traditional understanding. I absolutely understand the concerns of those who side with an FGA understanding, having come from that viewpoint. 15 years ago, I would have had reservations with what I now believe.

To be quite honest, I don't see many in the traditional side of things being very interested in understanding the multitude of concerns I have with the way that evangelism is done. I do not see them truly considering the evidence for my concerns and for my positions. What I see coming from them is more reactionary.

I have been studying, testing, sharpening, and proving this position for over eight years now. What has happened, in general and in my opinion, is that a segment of the traditional side has had a very averse reaction to my position, and that they did so very prematurely.

I preach faith alone in the Jesus Christ of the New Testament Alone for eternal life-- salvation by grace alone through faith alone; so did Zane and so now does Bob Wilkin and the GES. This consideration alone should have been sufficient to allow for gracious discussions and the allowance of the benefit of the doubt for the time being. This should have precluded the accusations and divisions until all the relevent issues had been determined and fully discussed and fleshed out.

I am afraid to say that it has been a legalistic and fundamentalist attitude and mindset that poisioned the hope for meaningful dialogue from the getgo. These reactionaries have first used appeals to emotion and other such instruments to create a prejudicicial blanket that they enveloped my position with. Their coining of several pejoratives was done to further their desire to turn people away and dismiss my position out of hand. Such a mode of operation has poisoned the well and kept people from prayerfully comparing a position, held by godly men who tremble before the Word of God, against the teachings of the bible.

Discussions need to be done to let people decide for themselves based upon a considerate and prayerful exsamination of all the data and evidences in the issues.

We may now be on the way to those discussions. This is my hope and prayer.

Can you be willing to entertain the notion that the concerns that I have are valid? that the evidences I present are valid? that the positions that I take are the truth?

I personally am glad that I continued to investigate this position, even after having the reservations with it. I am now convinced that it is a more precise, and biblically accurate position.

Let it be known to the readership that after the initial pre-emptive type actions of some in the traditional FG side, I allowed the flesh to dictate some of my posts and comments around the blogosphere. In this I added fuel to the fire, and am therefore cuplable for a share of the stifling of this needed dialogue in the Free Grace world. I am sorry to my Free Grace brothers for my part in the hostilities that have been so dishonoring to the Lord. I ask that you all keep me accountable. The temptation to operate in the sphere of the flesh is ever present within us. But the more we operate by means of the Spirit, the easier it becomes to be successful in overcoming our temptations.

I hope that by all means that the Grace Evangelical Society's position may be widely discussed in the realm of Christian and theological ideas without the stifling prejudices heaped upon it by well meaning reactionaries, and without the uncivility and ungraciousness that has painted it from both sides.

submitted for your consideration,

Antonio da Rosa
Lakeside, CA

28 Comments:

Blogger Sanctification said...

Antonio,

My honest thoughts? I am encouraged by your direction! However, true Christian community relies on something bigger than theology.

Peace...
Michele

January 20, 2009 6:01 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Michele,

Thanks for dropping by.

I do not believe that I have given the impression (let alone made an explicit statement) that I believe that 'true Christian community relies' on theology.

This post addresses the history of a certain theological discussion and its future. Anything else you are deriving out of it concerning my position on other matters would seem to me to be speculative at best.

I am glad that something that I said in this post has been encouraging to you. I hope that I can continue to do the same in the future.

your fg brother,

Antonio

January 20, 2009 6:33 PM  
Blogger Steve Dehner said...

Well said, Antonio.

While I am not settled in all my convictions, including the matters at issue here, I am committed to hearing both sides fairly. That means I am interested in each side's own account of what they believe, and not representations by their opponents. I want to assure you of my best effort to hear you out, brother, in the spirit of the Bereans. At least that is my aim!
-steve

January 21, 2009 7:59 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Steve, thanks for your comments. I have yet to update my table of contents which is about 18 or 20 months old. That means I have written alot that doesn't appear there. They are, of course, in my archives.

If I may, I would like to direct you to a few articles I have already written (I am in the process of writing more) that I believe would give you some great food for thought:

Are we robbed of John 3:16? What does 'believing in' Jesus really mean?

Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God (1 Jn 5:1). Do you believe this?

Free Grace Theology - Majority/Minority Views

Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up?

Does simple faith in Jesus save? Checklist Evangelists say 'no'

How I might do evangelism with a Jewish man

I know this is a bit of homework, but I believe that it would be beneficial. And PLEASE, by all means, comment on these posts if you have questions, concerns, ways to improve, objections, and the rest. I really want to continue to pursue excellence in the articulation of what I am convinced the truth is. Even though these posts are older, I still receive reminders of comments now being placed on them, and I would be very appreciative of your critical reading.

your fg friend,

Antonio

January 21, 2009 9:20 AM  
Blogger Stephen said...

Hello Antonio,

Perhaps old habits die hard but a lot of what you say above kinda poisons-the-well don't you think? You do realize we could just as easily point out numerous examples of you and 'your side' taking our statements out of context, being reactionary, and unwilling to listen as well don't you?

I'm not saying that to be inflammatory, but If you truly want to initiate/restore sincere dialog then you'll need to put aside many of the prejudiced terms that are scattered throughout your article. I understand it means I need to be willing to do the same. I'm willing to do that, are you?

antonio: "Can you be willing to entertain the notion that the concerns that I have are valid? that the evidences I present are valid? that the positions that I take are the truth?"

Of course, with God as my witness I'd attest that at least Rachel and I always have been willing. Are you willing to accept the possibility that have listened to and understood your arguments but find them inconsistent and unconvincing? Do you understand that shortly after Wilkin's visit to our church and consideration of what he said that I came within inches of actually agreeing with him? Indeed, it was consideration of the GES evidence that ultimately convinced me their conclusions were faulty, hard as you might find that to believe. Want me to walk through it with you again in case I missed something? Fine, but this isn't the first time. I'll remind you that Wilkin himself told Rachel and I we understand the issues well so I'll be very surprised if you present something meaningfully new. Still, we're willing to give you honest consideration, always have been.

Now let me ask you: Are you willing to give our concerns, evidences, and positions equal consideration? You're asking 'us' to be willing to change our minds, are you willing to change yours?

My tone is not provocative, but you'll pardon me for being a bit cautious as I've been lulled before. I'll give you credit for making some very gracious statements lately, I've mentioned one to you in private contact, but you've just as recently made other statements that, in 'our' perception, are cutting and derogatory, If you want us to respect your perception of offense, please respect ours as well.

Cautiously optimistic,
Stephen

January 21, 2009 12:02 PM  
Blogger Stephen said...

In other thoughts: It may be more conducive to accountability if the discussion were to take place on more neutral ground. Say for example a new blog where both sides of the main position have someone in place who is a full rights admin. Such equality in administrative representation would alleviate the perception of being on someone else's ground, or feeling that one side was disadvantaged because they were under the cloud of being censured at any moment at the whim of an adversarial admin.

I'd be willing to admin for our side. I have excellent technical skills but my artistic skills are only slightly above that of a rock. Rose has shown a knack for design, perhaps she would be willing to design it? She's obviously capable of being your admin rep as well.

Another option is that of an actual forum. This may be more conducive to meaningful dialog than a blog since any member could create relevant topics of interest as they arise in the normal flow of things. I realize some people simply abhor forums, I'm just puttin' the feelers out -- I have several web servers available and would be happy to host it on one of them and share admin access to the forum with a delegate of "your side's" choice.

What I am suggesting is simply an environment where basic fairness is not in question so that participants don't feel fundamentally disadvantaged.

Just some thoughts, feel free to comment... of course.

Stephen

January 21, 2009 12:58 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Stephen,

Excellent of you to visit.

Everyone wishes to be understood. I see you and Rachel strive to articulate yourselves in such a way as to facilitate understanding. I appreciatre that.

In the interest of being understood, I would like to respond to your comment, for your consideration.


Perhaps old habits die hard but a lot of what you say above kinda poisons-the-well don't you think?

I have stated things as I have seen them, and tried to use terminology and sentence structure to do so with the least amount of kicking up the dust. In "looking back" I have discussed my particular view of what happened. Indeed, if alot of what I said poisons the well, I apologize. Sometimes the articulation of a perception of historical events could be offensive or color a dialogue. It could be that the information itself is offensive or it could be dialogue-stifling in the way it is articulated, or both.

I am willing to be held accountable for my writings. If something here in this post has been created to poison the well, please let me know of the specific instances, and I will prayerfully consider them. You said "a lot of what I said" does this. Let me know.


You do realize we could just as easily point out numerous examples of you and 'your side' taking our statements out of context

In all probability my side has taken statements out of context. I don't know it is as you say, "numerous examples," but I am certainly willing to entertain the idea that there are. This is something that we all have to be cautious about.


being reactionary,

There has been plenty of reactionary actions done from those on my side (me, obviously included).


and unwilling to listen as well don't you?

Certainly.

This post looked back. There was a segment of FG that became very hostile and reactionary to my position unduly, in my opinion. Accusations were made, appeal to emotions and other red herrings were thrown in, and pejoratives were coined, creating an aura of prejudice. It is my opinion that given that we preach faith alone into Jesus of Nazareth, the New Testament Jesus, for eternal life, that such an averse and hostile reaction as given by this small segment of FG should have been precluded for the time being until much more discussions and dialogue and understanding could occur -- for all in the FG movement share a rich theological heritage.

It certainly is hard to listen to people who are calling you a heretic and the purveyor of a false gospel, you must agree. The GES side was strongly provoked. You see, there are many FGers in leadership and in a broad spectrum who do not agree with the GES brand of soteriology but do not consider them to be preaching heresy, or to be heretics.

In our provocation, we did react in certain ways that were not glorifying to God. I presented this in the post itself.


you'll need to put aside many of the prejudiced terms that are scattered throughout your article.

Please make me apprised of the "many" prejudiced terms I use that I may consider their usage, and we might discuss them and possibly come up with better ones. Yet be ready to acknowlege that the use of some of the terms I use are not in and of themselves prejudiced or inflammatory, but possibly offensive due to what they, in my opinion, portray acurately.

I do indeed understand that if dialogue is to occur that terms must be agreed on, and pejoratives ought to be dismissed. And inasfar as I use them, I am looking to my partners in Free Grace to keep me accountable.


I understand it means I need to be willing to do the same. I'm willing to do that, are you?

Certainly.


Are you willing to accept the possibility that hav[ing] listened to and understood your arguments [that we might] find them inconsistent and unconvincing?

I need prayer on this one, Stephen, to be quite honest with you. I don't speak for anyone else but myself. But I must tell you that I have invested thousands of hours studying and thinking logically about the position I take (this specific sotteriological position on the invitation to receive eternal life. I must be honest. Most people haven't done this kind of study. I must be honest. I would find it hard to accept. Honestly, I find that there are certain presuppositions and attitudes that color one's dismissal of my position. I feel that something other than the evidence is keeping them from being persuaded. I honestly can say that I can accept to agree to disagree, and accept that you or others on your side were honorable, considered the evidence, and respectfully disagree.

I have taken many philosophy and logic classes. I seek logical consistency in my position. I would love to be apprised of the holes in my logic. I find the arguments I use very persuasive. I also feel that those who are unbiased in their listening would be persuaded. I also admit that there are areas that I need to work on, and I continue to work on them.

These last few paragraphs show my honest thoughts. But to answer your question, if after these discussions have been thoroughly fleshed out, and all questions answered, you remain unconvinced and believe my position to be inconsistent, I will accept that, respectfully, even if I may be astonished at the thought of it now.


Do you understand that shortly after Wilkin's visit to our church and consideration of what he said that I came within inches of actually agreeing with him?

I very much would like to know all the particulars of this. I would like to know the thought processes that disposed you toward the GES position and then which ones extricated you from them. I am very interested to know your "testimony" :) on the matter.


Now let me ask you: Are you willing to give our concerns, evidences, and positions equal consideration? You're asking 'us' to be willing to change our minds, are you willing to change yours?

Yes I am. As I stated in this post, I would have had reservations 15 years ago concerning the position I now take. I am always willing to entertain these concerns and evidences. In my writing over the last several years I have tried to keep the concerns that others have voiced and those I would have had 15 years ago in the forefront of my mind in order that I might address them.

I am willing to listen to what you all have to say. In the consideration of changing one's mind, I will be open to what you have to say, but the changing of the mind will be the passive result of becoming convinced that what you are saying is true. So I give my mind permission to change its mind, and I do so by being willing to consider what ya'll have to say. No one can change their mind unless they are convinced that the issue at hand is true.


you've just as recently made other statements that, in 'our' perception, are cutting and derogatory, If you want us to respect your perception of offense, please respect ours as well.

I would like to be apprised of those statements, as I have asked you all to keep me accountable. So thank you in advance for doing so.

Your free grace brother,

Antonio

January 21, 2009 1:43 PM  
Blogger Peggie said...

Antonio,
Thank you and I am looking forward to this series.

My husband and I were at the GES Conference the year Zane gave this message and I thought the question and answer sessions was very informative also.
May God bless your effects.

January 21, 2009 1:56 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Stephen,

To be quite honest, I don't know how to go about it now. I know that I want to continue to keep presenting evidence and scriptural arguments in favor of my position, in the form of blog articles here. I do very much wish for any and all to comment and dialogue with me. I know that such forums leave things to be desired, yet all will.

A debate on a moderated forum would be good as well.

Any or all types of dialogue will be good. What we have to understand though is that theology and teaching is not my full-time vocation at this time, as is probably the case with many involved. I work two jobs and have 3 kids and a wife. Time and patience will be crucial in this discussion.

I certainly do love answering questions (just not too much the yes/no ones, or the ones constructed in such a way that it will produce a sound bite that will take a belief of mine out of the context of my belief system). I would love to answer questions thrown at me from your side, whether they be on logical matters or specific scriptures.

We need to get beyond the name calling and cries of heresy. I like what Bobby Grow has said on Rose's blog recently on her thread of yes/no questions. We have honest disagreements. And at the same time we have a truckload more of agreements that bind us.

your fg brother,

Antonio

January 21, 2009 1:58 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Peggie,

Thanks for commenting. We will indeed provide the transcriptions of the taped Q&A. From what I heard, even after the time expired, that Zane sat around for sometime answering questions. Unfortunately, the microphone wasn't on at that time.

I do miss that man...

I look forward to any discussions that the transcriptions will provide.

your forever brother,

Antonio

January 21, 2009 2:51 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Bro. Antonio,

I am proud of you (in the southern sense of the word).

;-)

January 21, 2009 3:47 PM  
Blogger Stephen said...

Hello Antonio, I'm not sure how much it'll help to dig up the details of the past if the point is to move forward. I was intentionally vague in my first post in this regard and deliberately avoided, though I was tempted, to give specific examples because I don't want to get into a tit-for-tat. We've been down that road before. Suffice to say that we both perceive that some on 'the udder side' have done some wrong. Like you, I can only speak for myself so if you have something specific I've done that you think needs to be called out, you have my permission to do so. For my part, I believe my attitude changed (largely) after an interaction with JoW on your blog. I introduced myself to JoW a bit roughly then soon apologized, she said I had a good sense of humor, and was then kind enough to e-mail a document to me on Amyraldian Calvinism that she had mentioned in course. A document which, by the way, changed my affiliation with Calvinism. I'm not anti-calvinist, just plain non-calvinist.

Anyway, that I kinda jumped on JoW early on really bothered my conscience and I believe at that time that I even apologized to Alvin too. I don't think I've been very active in the debate since then but that situation did cause me to start to reconsider my manner of disagreement.

I hope this makes sense so far but I suddenly have to leave.

January 21, 2009 6:00 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Stephen,

I appreciate you writing back and your comments.

I hope that it wasn't boiling water on your leg. That could really hurt!

Antonio

January 21, 2009 6:17 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Casey,

I love seeing you around, and enjoyed very much your brief interaction with Colin at Roses. You rought up the points that I have.

The simpler something is, the less it must be detailed and explained. When we impose a plethora of requirements on people for eternal life, each one of those caveats have with it a boatload of content that make them up, and it could even go down further levels than that! So something that has lets say 5 requirements, could potentially have several dozen, for the terms that make up those requirements have components that must be understood.

Anyway, great, GREAT to see you areound and I appreciate your visit.

your forever brother,

Antonio

January 21, 2009 6:28 PM  
Blogger Stephen said...

antonio: I hope that it wasn't boiling water on your leg. That could really hurt!

Yikes! No, nothing like that -- thank goodness. I suddenly realized it was time to get our kids from church/AWANA and had to leave pronto.

I'll continue my earlier narrative to wrap it up but then I really need to take care of some other things for a bit. I'm telling you all the below to cast some inside perspective. Maybe you'll find this meaningful, maybe not, but my conscience is to lay some of this out because it has shaped my perception and participation in the debate as well as my walk in general.
-----
So, the ordeal with JoW started me rethinking my manner of disagreement...

It was the experience with JoW that also gave me an important insight to Lou. I expected Lou to be upset that I had apologized to JoW and Alvin, that he would think it looked like weakness on my part and be exploited. Instead, Lou wrote me "Always follow the leading of the Holy Spirit and your conscience. I never fault a man for these." This is not the only such statement he's made either and, long story short, I found his words sincere, compassionate, and respectful.

I don't write that to defend Lou so much as to make a larger point, which is this: I've seen both sides of many of the accusations. I've heard him joke, laugh, be hurt, rejoice, and repent. In the same way, and this is my larger point, is it possible that there's similarly more to you Antonio than has met my eye? If I see Lou in a somewhat different light than most because I know him better than most do, could the same be true if I knew more of you?

Allow me to borrow and rephrase some of your own words to reflect my own current thoughts. What follows in bold is my adaptation of something you wrote a few days ago that Rachel pointed out to me and which I was compelled to commend you for privately. ( I wrote that private contact from my phone btw which is why it was so short... I can obviously get pretty long-winded when I have a full keyboard. :-) )

I want to here state that I do love Antonio, and am willing to do anything that is possible within my resources to help him to repent from what I believe is an extreme view. In the process, I wish to always be examining myself and my motives. I have fallen into bad behavior at times and I give you all permission to take me aside anytime you find that my dialog, communication, or correspondence is not done in a gracious and appropriate manner.

Antonio is an intelligent man and passionate. I believe with all my heart that he can have a great impact for the Lord in the lives of many people. Despite our meaningful disagreement I believe that he believes he is doing the work of God.


I see our disagreements as substantial, such that I can't picture myself evangelizing along side you because of them, and I said as much in a recent comment at Lou's. What I am willing to do however is to put the past in the past for the sake of future discussion. My conscience in the Lord tells me I should be willing to do this so I am obeying -- cautiously -- but purposefully and willingly.

January 22, 2009 9:32 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Antonio,

Your hope and prayers are my hope and prayers, too!
:-)

Diane

January 22, 2009 9:41 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Stephen,

Fair enough, brother.

Listen, I will be posting the transcripts of Zane's messages in small installments, emphaqsizing what I deem worthy of emphasis and commenting greater on areas that need more understanding.

Since the articles that appeared in the GES Journal are the seminal pieces that got us all thinking, some changing our minds, and others proceeding up in arms, and the messages are fuller expressions of the articles, this seems like as good a place as any to start a renewed dialogue.

I will portion them into small pieces as to facilitate a more targeted and narrower discussion. Since it deals with many points, it seems like this is the good way to go.

I want to tell you, Stephen, and your wife, that I am sorry for any and all behaviors that you have both found inconsistent with one who worships the LORD. Will you please forgive me?

Furthermore, I am sorry that the Chargers lost to the Steelers, but hey, they did something noone has ever done before: win their division from a 4-8 record. Yeah Chargers!!

your fg brother,

Antonio

January 22, 2009 4:19 PM  
Blogger Stephen said...

antonio: Will you please forgive me?

Hey, no fair, that's a yes/no question. ;-)

Yes.

I'm gonna have to dig really deep though for the grace to forgive you for being a Chargers fan. In fact, I just ran Mark 3 and Matt 12 through my pocket Bible Code decoder and both passages reveal the words "Chargers fan" out of the verses about the unpardonable sin.

Back to being serious... a few months ago, when I apologized to Alvin and JoW, I deliberately avoided apologizing to you and asking for your forgiveness. I want to make that right with you now Antonio, and ask for your forgiveness as well.

January 23, 2009 9:41 AM  
Blogger Steve Dehner said...

Antonio & Stephen,
I'm grateful to see apologies and forgiveness exchanged between you. You both will be blessed by the Lord, who is in the reconciliation business.



And the Cowboys franchise. ;-)

January 23, 2009 9:26 PM  
Blogger Steve Dehner said...

Antonio,
I am working through the articles you sent.

And thanks for adding me to your blog roll.

BTW: Today I was given a great opportunity: write a white paper on evangelism for our church, as part of developing a vision for our leadership. Interesting timing. It will include a definition of the gospel and how a person becomes a Christian.

January 24, 2009 11:27 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Steve,

I look forward to you reading those. I also expect you to encourage me and give constructive criticisms.

But if you don't, I'll try to extend some grace.

Your fg brother,

Antonio

January 24, 2009 1:55 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

We don't want to leave people thinking Zane Hodges believed something he didn't so here is the update on Zane's belief concerning unconditional election.
Bob Wilkins:
I spoke with Zane about election on several occasions and he didn't believe in unconditional election.

Here is what he believed: The Bible teaches that God elected people for eternal salvation, but it does not indicate on what basis He chose people. It could be unconditional. But there might be a condition. We simply don't know because the Bible does not say. However, Zane went on to say that whatever election means, it in no way contradicts free will. God gives everyone (except the hopelessly retarded and children who die before the age or reason) an opportunity to respond to His revelation. Those who do receive more revelation. Hebrews 11:6 was big for Zane. So if a person responds and comes to faith, then he is one of the elect. How all that worked out Zane said the Bible does not say. (Diane's insert..... Heb. 11:6..... But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.)

January 25, 2009 3:32 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Just to clarify your statement, Alvin, it is well known by many that Zane believed in a doctrine of unconditional election, just not the one associated with the determinists of Reformed theology.

Thanks for the clarification that you provided from Dr. Wilkin.

your fg brother,

Antonio

January 25, 2009 8:19 PM  
Blogger Stephen said...

Hi, don't mean to interrupt but earlier in the comments I mentioned the idea of creating a forum. I have created such a forum and, if allowed, would like to provide a link to it.

TheoTalk
(I can change the name later, it's just what came to mind and I wanted to get it started.)

All are welcome.

The intent is for it to be a bit more officially neutral than any personal/group blog. Also, to provide a common location for the inevitable branch discussions that take place which is more flexible than blogs typically allow. It's not intended to replace our individual blogs of course, but to naturally supplement them.

Thanks for your consideration,
Stephen

January 25, 2009 8:55 PM  
Blogger drslewis said...

Antonio,

Thank you for taking the high road. As you know this has been on my heart as well. Stay close to Him and stay focused.

In His gracious Service,

DrSLewis

January 26, 2009 9:36 AM  
Blogger Free Grace Debates said...

Antonio,

You wrote, "[I]t is well known by many that Zane believed in a doctrine of unconditional election, just not the one associated with the determinists of Reformed theology."

Would you mind elaborating on how election can be unconditional in a way that is not associated with the determinism of Reformed theology? Thanks.

January 26, 2009 9:52 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

But I Cannot Find that in the Bible!
One of the many false charges made against the Catholic Church:
False charge #1. "The Catholic Church and / or the Pope is the 'Whore of Babylon.'
Many non-Catholic books have been written 'proving' that this is what the Bible 'clearly' says!"
Answer to false charge #1. Proving??? Clearly??? I have now donned my Sola Scriptura glasses for a reply using Sola Scriptura believers non-Catholic rules, and first of all, I cannot find the phrase 'whore of Babylon' in the Bible.

Not only that but I cannot find a single reference that says 'Catholic Church' or the word 'Pope' to connect to the non-existent 'whore of Babylon'.

This is irrefutable proof that non-Catholics have a double standard (doublethink*).

When Catholic's make a statement, they are greeted with Sola Scriptura, and nothing else.

End of conversation. However, when non-Catholics make a charge against the Catholic Church like this one, there is no such thing as Sola Scriptura.

They pull these charges out of thin air with not a single thread of proof.

Hypocrisy???

Answers anyone???

January 06, 2010 5:46 AM  
Blogger Michael said...

For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths. (2 Timothy 4:3-4)
SOLA FIDES... The Protestant Revolt had many causes including state politics. Also the worldly lifestyle of certain popes, bishops and priests of that time helped to fuel the fire.

However, the doctrine,
Justification by Faith Alone, was the spark.

This heresy exaggerates the truth concerning salvation by faith in Jesus Christ.

Even though some members of the Church at that time, such as Tetzel and Erasmus, may not have fully understood the doctrine of salvation, this does not excuse this heresy.

It claims that Christians are saved by faith alone. As biblical support, St. Paul is usually cited: "For we hold that a man is justified by faith apart from works of law." [Romans 3:28]

Now this verse does not contain the word "alone." Martin Luther actually added "alone" to this verse in his Bibles in order to promote this new doctrine.

According to the RSV and NAB Bible translations, the phrase, "by faith alone", only occurs once in the Bible, and that verse condemns this doctrine: "You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone." [James 2:24]

The other error is interpreting the "works of law" in Romans 3:28 as all good works.

From the context, it is obvious that St. Paul is referring to the Law of Moses, and the "works of law" are circumcision, eating kosher and other Jewish practices (Acts 15:1-21).

St. Paul writes elsewhere in the Bible: "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love." [Galatians 5:6] St.

Paul’s understanding of faith, as expressed in the Bible, includes more than a confident trust in God, but also obedience to God (Romans 1:5).

Also according to Catholic understanding, good works are not what I do but what God does through me by grace (Eph. 2:10; 1 Cor. 15:10; Rom 2:7), so there is no reason to boast (Eph. 2:9).

Even though Martin Luther still understood salvation in terms of grace, some later Christians did not.

With the loss of focus on grace, this heresy eventually led to a "faith-alone" version of Pelagianism.

This is the reason that some (not all) Protestants reject some or all of the Sacraments, sometimes even Baptism (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; 22:16; Rom. 6:3; 1 Peter 3:21).

January 06, 2010 5:48 AM  

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