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, February 25, 2009

How to Lead People to Christ, Installment #2: The 'Deserted Island' Scenario

The theological world is often a reactionary climate
Men and women who at all consider themselves theologically savvy have various doctrines that they attach a lot of emotion to. For instance, the Calvinist’s passion is for God’s sovereignty, monergism, and the decrees. When statements are made that seem to play down the importance of these dogmas the dedicated Calvinist will often go up in arms. To be fair, Free Grace Theology advocates have been quite combative against apparent compromises with the absolute freeness of everlasting life.

We ought not to be surprised with these things. Cults and “isms” have so twisted the Scriptures as to prevent men and women from receiving the Gift of God. Truth is unquestionably of great importance! Men and women have selflessly given their lives for its proclamation. Ignorance is wide spread. Truth is a commodity that Christians have appropriately put a high premium on.

Yet in all of our doings have we overstepped our bounds?

2 Timothy 4:2
Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.

No matter what the hour or circumstance, the people of God ought to be ready to preach the word. Furthermore, because there are those who “will not endure sound doctrine” (2 Tim 4:3) we must convince, rebuke and exhort. Yet notice, there is a mode for us described to which we must adhere when we perform these duties: our ministry must be characterized by longsuffering and teaching.

1 Peter 3:15-16
… sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear; having a good conscience, that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed.

There is a rightful place for apologetics in Christianity. Many are the enemies of God, and our voices ought to be heard giving a defense of our most certain hope. The first step of such a ministry is to devote our every affection to God as our Lord, for this will necessarily set our minds and hearts into the subjective state the Holy Spirit can use to do the will of the Father. As well, it will institute a paradigm shift from working through our flesh and for our own inadequate motivations to the mindset of a humble servitude, sincerely seeking to bring glory to our Master by faithfully discharging our commissions. Finally, our divine activites (lo, ought not our every activity be of divine origin?) must be done “with meekness and fear,” for only by so doing will our “conduct in Christ” be “good”!

Through Jesus Christ came “grace and truth” (Jn 1:17). These are never to be separated. I believe in our zealousness for those doctrines that animate us we often divorce grace from truth. We have become impatient in our ministries, casting aside the necessity of understanding, and taking the easy routes of ad hominem, mischaracterization, and open disdain and hostility.

In the place of teaching, we have resorted to character assassination, scare tactics and fear mongering, and have succumbed to the appetites and desires of our flesh becoming puffed up in our pride.

Instead of sanctifying God in our hearts, we have hardened our hearts and seared our consciences, putting ourselves on the throne, and acting upon our own carnal motivations. In our pride, we have substituted “meekness and fear” for a desire to humble others, poison the well, and keep people from an open-minded and biblical examination of other positions.

Men and women, we have every reason to be ashamed of our dealings, and to repent of our pride. We must pledge allegiance to Christ afresh, seeking an understanding of those positions we find offensive before attempting to correct them. How can the blind lead the blind? Will they not both fall into the ditch (Lk 6:39)? Enough of the reactionary mindset! We all give lip service to the grace of God, but do we employ it in our interactions with other believers?

And with this introduction, we now move to next installment of Zane Hodges’ seminal message entitled, “How to Lead People to Christ”.


So this afternoon: The Content of Our Message.

Let me begin with a strange scenario. Try to imagine an unsaved person marooned on a tiny uninhabited island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. He has never heard about Christianity in his entire life. One day a wave washes up a fragment of paper onto the beach. It is wet but still partly readable. On that paper are the words found in John 6:43-47, but the only readable part of the paper are these: "Jesus therefore answered and said to them," that’s in verse 43 and "Most assuredly I say to you, He who believes in Me has everlasting life" and that’s verse 47.

Now suppose that our unsaved man somehow becomes convinced that this person called Jesus can guarantee his eternal future since He promises everlasting life. In other words, he believes Jesus' words in John 6:47. Is he saved? I suspect that there are even some Grace people who would say that this man is not saved because he doesn't know enough. For example, he doesn't know that Jesus died for his sins on the Cross, and rose again the third day. Needless to say there is a lot more that he doesn't know either, such as the doctrine of the Trinity, the eternal Sonship of Jesus Christ, or the doctrine of the Virgin Birth. But my question is this. Why is he not saved if he believes the promise of Jesus' words?


Let me also begin my commentary with a strange scenario: Jesus Christ came down bodily to earth from heaven and spoke to a man on the street saying, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you believe in Me, you have eternal life”. Somehow this man becomes convinced that this Jesus guarantees his eternal destiny and well-being. In other words, he biblically believes in Jesus. Why would he not be saved?

As a proponent of Free Grace Theology, I believe that eternal life is the Gift of God. It is not a barter between man and God, nor is it a two way transaction, nor are there required preconditions attached. A gift, legitimately spoken of, does not require anything of the recipient but its reception.


The Time-Share Industry and ‘Free’ Gifts
My sister used to work in Cabo San Lucas, Baja California, Mexico, selling time-share. She still has friends in this industry. When she was up a few months ago, she gave me a brochure that offered me a 'free' gift: an all included 4-night stay in a hotel in Cabo San Lucas. But there were catches. I had to be of a certain annual income, and I had to submit to a multi-hour meeting pitching the sales of time-share in Cabo San Lucas.

Was the vacation offered a genuine free gift? I do not believe so. There is a type of barter and two-way transaction going on here, as well as a required pre-condition. In exchange for a person’s time and attention at a multi-hour sales pitch meeting, he is given a 4-night vacation. Furthermore, in order to even be eligible for this exchange, one has to meet the condition of being at a certain level of affluence; his annual income must be at the predetermined amount.

It is my contention that well meaning traditional Free Grace theology people would be inconsistent if they did not consider this vacation a genuine free gift. Why? This scenario illustrates their doctrine of soteriology, in which they claim to be adherents of a free grace. But is their doctrine truly free grace?

One is not able to simply receive the free gift of eternal life in traditional Free Grace theology. There are preconditions to be met, which sets up a two-way transaction and barter for eternal life. In the following table we see the barter between God and man:

Man’s ExchangeGod’s Exchange
1. Strict Adherence to a Number of Orthodox Doctrines
  a) The Deity of Christ (along with subpoints)
  b) The Substitutionary Death of Christ for Sins (along with subpoints)
  c) The Bodily Resurrection of Christ (along with subpoints)
  d) The Humanity of Christ (along with subpoints)
  e) [Apparent Contradiction] Salvation is by Grace Alone in Jesus Christ Alone

2. Must Not Hold to Any Fatal Unorthodox Doctrines
  a) A Subjective Range

3. Must Not Deny the Essential Orthodox Doctrines
  a) A Subjective Range
If man’s conditions and items necessary for exchange are submitted and in order God will perform His end of the transaction:
Give Eternal Life


Just like the time-share companies, traditional Free Grace people require more to appropriating eternal life than simply receiving a free gift. This is not Free Grace Theology! Like the precondition of the time-share industry (being at a certain income level) which qualifies one for a vacation, the traditional Free Grace people have their preconditions, requiring one to be a type of orthodox fundamentalist before they are qualified for eternal life. Unless one be at some subjective level of orthodoxy (to be determined by the traditional evangelist, as you ask 10 of them what are the specific requirements and you get 11 different answers), he is no candidate for salvation.

It is as if the Scriptures do not say anymore, "And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely" (Rev 22:17), but, "And let him who is orthodox come. Whoever meets these preconditions of orthodoxy, let him trade this allegiance for the water of life."

Let us make this point clearly:

The legitimate offer of a free gift comes with no other requirement but to simply receive it. This is essentially what free grace is! The conditions placed upon the lost by well-meaning, but erroneous, traditional Free Grace people are unnecessary caveats, provisos, and codicils in the saving transaction. The requirement of these things may indeed frustrate God's grace, and preclude people from eternal salvation (not to mention assurance!).


The Message of Zane’s Illustration
The purpose of the so-called ‘Deserted Island Scenario’ was to forcefully show the absolutely free grace of God. Now that the issue of sin has been judicially dealt with on the cross, thus removing the barrier between God and man, God freely offers everlasting life to all who will receive it by simply believing in His Son. As has been argued before by me, soteriologically believing in Jesus, in context in the bible, is entrusting one’s eternal well-being to Jesus, being convinced of the veracity of the promise and guarantee of Jesus Christ. The man in the scenario did this! He did all that was necessary to possess a free gift: he received it. To be required to do anything more than this would be to downplay and frustrate the sufficiency of the Cross of Christ. Remember, “Jesus Paid it All!” There remains nothing more for the sinner to do but to receive the benefit of Christ’s death by trusting in Him for eternal life.

Issues Dealing with Identity
Such a scenario as the one depicted for us by Zane Hodges legitimately leads us to questions about identity. These have been addressed by me in several articles, two of being which:

Will the Real Jesus Please Stand Up?
The Right Thing – The Right Person

There is yet one more area of discussion to be had in order to make my position balanced. If anyone starts with another historical or fictional person in mind, and then attributes characteristics of the bona-fide Jesus Christ of Nazareth to him, then they have not placed their faith in the Jesus of Nazareth.

For instance, if one attributes to Napoleon the authority to guarantee one’s eternal destiny by faith in him alone, he obviously has not believed in Jesus. Or if someone starts with a fictional character in mind, say, Sinbad, and attributes to him the authority to guarantee one’s eternal destiny by faith in him alone, he has not believed in Jesus.

But, I must equally stress, that if one identifies Jesus of Nazareth by the Bible, and places his faith in Him for eternal life, he has received the free grace of God, eternal life, even in spite of misconceptions that he may have about Him.

I am sure that in response to this, I may be subjected to a plethora of hypothetical scenarios and asked to determine if one is saved or not. Let it be said here, that in many of the cases that could be produced, only God would be able to sort through the mish-mash. He alone is omniscient and able to certainly determine when and if another has received His gift by faith.


Conclusion
In the question and answer portion of this message, Zane was asked many questions dealing with this scenario. His answers were clarifications for the benefit of the audience. These Q&A’s will be reproduced here. In them, he touches on hypotheticals and some of his methods in dealing with the lost. Stay tuned!

Any discussions concerning this scenario and this post are welcomed here in the comment thread.

Your Free Grace Theology Host,

Antonio da Rosa

280 Comments:

Blogger Antonio said...

To follow up on the introduction of this article:

We are Christ's servants, called upon to present the truth in love and grace; even defend it, but in the same way.

We ought to think clearly and hard when we derive from the bible our theology and when we present it to the public. We ought to use any and all legitimate illustrations and arguments to pronounce and defend the truth.

But it is not our job to coerce and force. We must be men and women of integrity, sharing and defending our faith in love, meekness, and fear; with all longsuffering and teaching.

How much it saddens me to see a group of people, such as the Fundamentalist Separationists, so defined by their tactics. I believe in all honesty that their spiritual abuse gives Christianity a bad name.

As for the eulogy at my eventual funeral (if the Lord tarries) I would like to be known as the one who was a stalwart defender of truth, but having done so in love, meekness, charity, grace, and longsuffering.

This is Christ's commission:

Matt 10:16-17
"Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves."

May I ever be known to be wise as a serpent yet harmless as a dove.

Antonio

February 25, 2009 1:56 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Like the precondition of the time-share industry (being at a certain income level) which qualifies one for a vacation, the traditional Free Grace people have their preconditions, requiring one to be a type of orthodox fundamentalist before they are qualified for eternal life. Unless one be at some subjective level of orthodoxy (to be determined by the traditional evangelist), he is no candidate for salvation.

It is as if the Scriptures do not say anymore, "And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely" (Rev 22:17), but "And let him who is orthodox come. Whoever meets these preconditions of orthodoxy, let him trade this allegiance for the water of life."

again, your Free Grace Theology host,

Antonio da Rosa

February 25, 2009 6:18 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

I agree with Zane 100% and I did when he first came up with that Desert Island Scenario because the man was believing the right person for the right thing. He was believing the Person who had made that promise in John 6:43,47. He was taking Jesus at His word! And I paid dearly!

But, I will take the place of an objector, my Dad who printed up thousands upon thousands of tracts that called on people to repent and believe the gospel. That gospel being 1 Cor 15:1-6. My Dad never knew Greek so he didn’t understand that a person could be saved in the Gospel of John sense but not in the Romans sense because he thought saved meant saved. He didn’t know that the Gospel of John was the only book in the Bible written to unbelievers, and also didn’t know the word repent wasn’t there one single time. He is one of those ones who would say the “proof is in the pudding.” So he had no problem with Romans 10:9 because he felt that was a natural response for the one who had just believed, like the thief on the cross belief in the heart would naturally be confessed with the lips.
Would God send a man to hell because he does not know Greek? My Dad to this day stands on these words.
This is kinda funny but really not. I talked to him about Zanes teaching, and he told me to make up a tract and send it to him, and he would have my brother print a bunch up. So I sent him my tract. He got right back with me and said he couldn’t find repent no where on it! What was the deal? I tried to explain again, he told me I was on my way to hell. He said he would not use my tract, and that was the end of the discussion.
I’m sure Antonio you would try to tell him the same things I did, and I’m sure he would tell you you’re on your way to hell also.
I guess I came by my disposition honestly, my family is known for their strong opinions . . .Ha!Ha! not funny

alvin

February 25, 2009 7:58 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Antonio

I'm probably full of surprises to you!
How would you feel about this statement?

"We are not saved simply by believing that Jesus died for us, but by believing that He saves us at the moment we trust Him for that. The difference may seem subtle, but it is real."

I take it as a person could have simply believed that Jesus paid for all their sins so that now they will go to heaven! If they ever believed that, they passed from death to life at that very moment! They knew their eternal destiny had been changed they were no longer on the road to hell because of what Jesus did on the cross for them, He was their Savior. I wouldn't be surprised that, that number of people are much larger then we think.

alvin :)
One who's eternal destiny was changed under the stars one night!

February 26, 2009 2:55 AM  
Blogger Celestial Fundie said...

This is such a great post.

For eternal life, we need only believe in Jesus for it.

February 26, 2009 8:44 AM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Hi Antonio!!!

I am really looking forward to the questions and answers that you are going to post. How great that will be to read those... as I have also read many (and authored one or two) of those types of questions in relation to this teaching.

I liked this that you said in the early part of the post:
I believe in our zealousness for those doctrines that animate us we often divorce grace from truth.

So true!! Grace without truth and truth without grace are, neither of them, much good when it comes to interacting around these controversial and difficult issues.

My favorite quote from your post is this:
It is as if the Scriptures do not say anymore, "And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely" (Rev 22:17), but, "And let him who is orthodox come. Whoever meets these preconditions of orthodoxy, let him trade this allegiance for the water of life." :~)

February 26, 2009 9:53 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Dear readers of Free Grace Theology Blog,

I sent a small portion of this post to a friend of mine who I respect dearly. I sent him the part on the illustration of the time-share industry. He had some questions about it. I did not give him the whole context of this post, but I want to make sure that I have been clear in this illustration. The following is something I sent back to him so to clarify:

The main element of my illustration is the idea of "gift".

Both traditional FGers and the Time-Share industry say they offer a gift. But a legitimate offer of a gift asks nothing of the receiver but to accept it, receive it. Traditional FGers, like the time-share industry, demand that one be pre-qualified to receive eternal life -- in the case of traditional FG, one must be at a level of orthodoxy, in the case of the Time-Share industry, one must be at a level of income. Furthermore, the demand that one must believe a specific set of doctrines in order to receive eternal life corresponds to the point that the time-share demands that one stay at a meeting in order to receive the vacation.

In the illustrative comparison, eternal life and vacation are the supposed gifts. But we recognize that they cannot essentially be gifts. Even in English this comes out. According to http://dictionary.reference.com a gift is:

1. something bestowed or acquired without any particular effort by the recipient or without its being earned

2. something given voluntarily without payment in return, as to show favor toward someone, honor an occasion, or make a gesture of assistance; present.

Looking in BAGD for charisma, dorea, and doron, it is essentially the same thing.

A gift does not come with greater stipulations then to receive it. In the case of both traditional FG and the time-share industry, there is an exchange: traditional FG: of orthodoxy, correct belief, for salvation; time-share industry: of time in a meeting, for a vacation.

In all actually, traditional FG does both: requires one to be prequalified by orthodoxy, and requires one believe specific doctrines in order to receive eternal life. They say it both ways:

1) sometimes they will say that believing in Jesus (which is salvific) incorporates all the ideas of God, man, substitutionary sacrifice, resurrection, and faith alone (exchange).

2) other times it is stated that one must believe this, this, this, this, and then trust Christ for salvation (prequalify).

In any case, for traditional FG, there is a prequalification and an exchange of adherence to correct doctrine for eternal life.

Antonio

February 26, 2009 2:47 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Alvin,

Good question. Zane answers that question in the course of this message. I am contemplating whether or not I should spoil it for you and everyone else.

I am inclined at this time to make you wait, heh.

Oh, BTW, sad to hear about your father. But, if there was anytime, in the simplicity of faith, that your father knew he had eternal because of Jesus' promise, such as in John 3:16, he is saved! I believe that there is a good chance that he is - more than a good chance.

Your friend,

Antonio

February 26, 2009 2:52 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Hi Matt,

I have to say that your post about using hippie terminology as a drug worker literally had me rolling on the floor laughing. The crescendo was when I read you state that you must refer to money as bread.

I love to laugh and you brightened my day!

Thanks for the encouragement, brother. I hope that I am being used of God to equip the saints.

your brother across the pond,

Antonio

February 26, 2009 2:54 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Rose,

I really like that about you. When you go to someone's post, you point out the things that hit you. It really is an affirmation. And let us tell you, words of affirmation are one of the 5 love languages. It is my love language, and I believe most men's. I suggest you apply those statements of affirmation to John liberally.

As to your points.

Rose, it really is that simple as a gift being offered and a gift being received.

I kept pondering this today. Those who are hostile to consistent Free Grace theology state that we are crossless. But I look at it this way:

I believe it belittles the cross, and downplays the sufficiency of the cross to demand all of these things of the lost before they can receive the gift that Christ's death on the cross so sufficiently purchased.

Yet it magnifies the sacrifice of Christ on the cross when we believe that Jesus paid it all, and by virtue of paying it all there remains nothing for the lost but to receive its benefits by simply believing in Jesus for eternal life.

Christ's cross is glorious! Praise God for the inestimable sacrifice of His Son that removed the barrier of sin between God and man and purchased for us the absolutely free gift of God: eternal life, that must only be received by faith in Jesus, and is possessed for ever!

the one in whom rests your affinity,

Antonio

February 26, 2009 3:04 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Dear Free Grace Theology readers and patrons,

I received another note from my friend in rejoinder to my response to him. He was still unclear, asking why the same charge could not be leveled against my position, in other words, why I wouldn't be charged with a precondition in the understanding that one must believe that Jesus is the Guarantor of everlasting life to the believer. A good question. Here was my response:

It is something a bit more simple than that. It is simply receiving the gift that Jesus offers by believing in Him for it.

Essentially, saving faith is a simple punctilliar faith/trust in Jesus to provide eternal life.

Zane Hodges, In Absolutely Free! agreeably quotes Robert R. Preus, a Lutheran scholar, in the notes section, pages 227-228.

"... faith... must be considered in the article of justification as pure receptivity." (emphasis mine)

"[Justifying faith is] trust very definitely in that it receives the promises of its appropriate object." (emphasis mine)

Zane also quotes Preus's quotation of Martin Luther stating that "Faith holds out the hand and the sack and just lets the goods be done to it.... we are the receivers who receive the gift through faith which does nothing."

Zane again quotes Preus, "... faith's role in justification is purely instrumental, that faith is an organon leptikon, like the empty hand of a beggar receiving a gift." (emphasis mine)

Illustration: When we are faced with difficulties, we receive the help we need when we rely, our certain confidence being placed by faith, upon the graciousness of one who is trustworthy, has the sufficient resources to help, is able, and willing, . The reliance is the passive instrument that receives the help. Jesus is infinitely trustworthy, every resource is at His disposal, has the authority of the Father, and desires to impart everlasting life. When our confidence is placed in Him by believing in Him, which commits/entrusts our eternal destiny to Him, according to His gratuitous promise, we have eternal life according to that same promise, thus we are also assured of eternal life.

Saving faith is reliance upon Jesus for eternal life. The reliance on Him is purely instrumental, receiving the "promises of the appropriate object". The act of reliance upon Jesus according to His promise is pure receptivity of the Gift He offers. When we trust in Him for that gift, according to His promise, we have that gift.

Zane agreeably quoting R.T. Kendall's synopsis on John Calvin:

"Faith is 'something merely passive, bringing nothing of ours to the recovering of God's favour but receiving from Christ that which we lack.'"

Saving faith is the passive receiving of the Gift of God. Jesus offers eternal life, and we receive that life, passively, by believing in Him to give us that life, and according to His promise, when we do we have that life.

Here is J.B. Hixson:
----------
“These [are the] five core essentials of saving faith—viz. (1) Jesus Christ; (2) the Son of God who died and rose again; (3) to pay for one’s personal penalty for sin; (4) gives eternal life to all who trust Him and (5) Him alone for it”
----------

Let us here notice that there is more than simply believing in Jesus for the gift here. There are additional conditions. Namely belief that:

1) Jesus died, 2) Jesus rose again, 3) Jesus paid one's personal penalty for sin


Here is Tom Stegall:
----------
I will seek to defend what I believe are the essential, defining elements of the Gospel which must be believed for one to receive eternal salvation in this age. I will summarize them for now as follows:

1) Jesus Christ is God (“Son of God” and “Lord”).
2) Jesus Christ is human (“Son of man”).
3) Jesus Christ died for (huper – i.e., in a substitutionary sense) our sins.
4) Jesus Christ rose bodily from the dead.
5) Salvation is by God’s grace, apart from works, through faith in Jesus Christ and His work alone.
----------

Let us here notice that there is more than simply believing in Jesus for the gift here. There are additional conditions. Namely belief that:

1) Jesus is God, 2) Jesus is human, 3) Jesus died, substitutionally, for our sins, 4) Jesus rose again, bodily, from the dead

In both of these accounts of these people’s position on how a man is saved, we see that they both insist that we must believe in Jesus for eternal life, which I agree with. Believing in Jesus for eternal life is the passive receiving of the Gift of God. But they prequalify the reception of eternal life by requiring that one believe a list of doctrines before they can simply believe in Jesus for eternal life.

Believing in Jesus receives eternal life. It is pure receptivity, purely instrumental. It is Jesus willingly offering and we receiving. It is a gift.
A gift need only be received.

These fundamentalist FGers require more than simply receiving the gift of God. They require that one be qualified to believe in Jesus (which is pure receptivity, purely instrumental) by an adherence to doctrines, they require that a man be orthodox before he can receive the gift.

Why would God require more than simply receiving the gift? The only answer is that it is a type of exchange, like in the time-share industry. It no longer is a simple free offer that is received. There are the caveats of orthodoxy and doctrinal stipulation; without meeting these requirements one remains ineligible for the offer.

This is exactly why Zane Hodges called the soteriology of the traditionalist FGers "Doctrinal Legalism". In Acts 15 it was, "Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved." This is legalism. In the traditionalist FG it is, "Unless you are orthodox in your understandings of Jesus' ontology and work, you cannot be saved." This is 'doctrinal legalism'.

Let it here be stated that believing in Jesus is enough; receiving what we lack from Jesus, by faith, is enough to appropriate the Gift of God.

It is interesting that both J.B. Hixson and Tom Stegall both state that one must believe in Jesus for eternal life, but they both insist that this is not enough. One must pre-qualify by additional conditions being met.

I hope that I have been clearer now.

Antonio

February 26, 2009 7:42 PM  
Blogger Bobby Grow said...

Antonio,

when you speak of the passive, receptive nature of faith; I totally agree.

When Zane quotes Luther, well, that is great! When he quotes a Lutheran, and his definition of faith; again, that is good . . . I agree with those definitions.

But the problem is, is that Zane is using those quotes in a pretexted sense; so that the "mechanics" of what Zane is assuming, and what Luther (for example) was saying are quite different. When Luther speaks of "passive faith," he is thinking through the lens of his theology of the cross; he is thinking of what happened to Jesus on our behalf in His passive obedience to the Father. When Luther speaks of passivity he is thinking of us being "acted upon" (from without) by the Father, through the Spirit. In other words, to hold to a "passive" "receptive" view of faith; you would have to believe that this kind of "faith" does not come "actively" from me by me being persuaded. But, instead, you would have to follow the flow of Luther's thought, and see us being acted upon, vicariously, in Christ at the cross; so that the "faith" to receive is a result of our "union" with Christ at the cross (through the incarnation) --- prior to "subjectively" appropriating salvation by faith. So to use Luther "in context," you would have to follow an "order of salvation" that essentially sees "regeneration" prior to faith.

Just to clarify ;-).

February 27, 2009 2:31 AM  
Blogger alvin said...

My personal opinion here, take it for what it’s worth! Probably nothing!
I think Zane quoting men like Calvin did his cause no good but only harmed it!
Because Calvin held beliefs that clearly contradicted the meaning of saving faith!

Calvin said:
“We confess, indeed, that the word of the Lord is the only seed of spiritual regeneration; but we deny the inference that, therefore, the power of God cannot regenerate infants . . . But faith, they say, cometh by hearing, the use of which infants have not yet obtained . . . . But they obsereve not that where the apostles makes hearing the beginning of faith, he is . . . not laying down an invariable rule . . .
(Op. Cit., 1V:xvi, 18)

There is nothing about “hearing” being the beginning of faith: nor would that concept help Calvin at all. If hearing the “word of the Lord” is the beginning of faith, then an infant, baptized or not, hasn’t even begun to posses what Calvin admits is “the only seed of spiritual regeneration.” Calvin retained throughout his life the unbiblical view of baptism which, as a devout Roman Catholic, he learned from Augustine, the greatest saint of that apostate Church. Baptism became a substitute for the faith in Christ through the gospel which Christ and His apostles declare so palinly is essential to salvation or the new birth.
This is a deadly error related to the denial of man’s responsibility and ability to believe the gospel. These unbiblical ideas then led to another astonishing heresy: children of believers are automaticly among the elect and thus already regenerated from the womb. That false assurance has probably led millions astray! Here it is again from Calvin’s pen:

Calvin said:
Hense it follows, that the children of believers are not baptised, in order that they may then, for the first time, become children of God, but rather are received into the church by a formal sign, because in virtue of the promise, they previously belonged to the body of Christ. (Calvin, Institutes, IV:xvi, 18-21; iv:xv,22.)

Dave Hunt “What Love Is This”page 356.
alvin :)

February 27, 2009 5:15 AM  
Blogger alvin said...

My last word on this!
When I found Zane’s book “Absolutely Free” at a second hand bookstore, I looked through it and then put it back on the shelf.
Why?
Because Calvin’s name was all through it, and I KNEW that Calvin was a FALSE TEACHER!

But I ended up buying the book in spite of that, and am glad I did because Zane was speaking the truth!

Alvin :)

February 27, 2009 5:29 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Bobby,

Zane quoted Preus in context. He was well aware of Luther and Lutheran beliefs. He used the notes against modern Reformed thought teaching that faith is an act. The note was to show how far Reformed people have moved away from original Reformed thought.

Furthermore, I am not convinced that Luther taught regeneration preceding faith, but that faith was the gift of God which was the conduit of justification. Now I am no historial theology major, so I reserve the right to eat humble pie on that.

you write:
----------
In other words, to hold to a "passive" "receptive" view of faith; you would have to believe that this kind of "faith" does not come "actively" from me by me being persuaded
----------
This is non sequitor. In order to believe the way that Luther believed, you would be right. But to believe that faith is in the constitution of man, yet it is the passive result of being convinced, persuaded that something is true does not preclude one from the congruous concept that faith is 'passive' and 'receptive'.

I will go to my grave, clawing tooth and nail, teaching that faith is as Luther stated it. Through the drawing of Christ, the conviction of the Holy Spirit, and the testimony of the Word of God, one may be persuaded of Jesus' promise, thereby his confidence being place in Jesus, which is the instrument of receiving eternal life.

Furthermore your statement is illogical and contradictory:
----------
"faith" does not come "actively" from me by me being persuaded
----------

You cannot speak of faith coming "actively" by the person who has it. The reality of persuasion precludes this erroroneous thought process. Persuasion is passive. Faith is the passive result of being persuaded that something is true. It is the testimony of the Word of God, the drawing of Jesus, and the ministry of the Holy Spirit which persuades the lost man, which passively produces saving faith. The saving faith is the conduit of eternal life.

The man does not produce the faith. The testimony of the word of God does through persuasion.

Antonio

February 27, 2009 5:45 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Thank you Alvin for your self control ;)

February 27, 2009 5:58 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Bobby,

Just reading over my last comment, I was terse and curt. I find it very easy to fall into the old habits. You are not my opponent. You are my brother and friend, and we just disagree.

Reminds me of the old Badfinger, or was it Dave Mason? Both just the same:

There ain't no good guy, there ain't no bad guy, there's only you and me and we just disagree...

February 27, 2009 6:27 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hey, I did have a little self control there!!! WOW!!! I do feel strong about those things as you know. I probably didn't help your self control much though either. But you did do pretty good, your just a passionate guy like myself. But you know I love you brother, and am behind you 100% it's just that Calvin guy I have a problem with but I guess he did do one or two things right.
Hey I don't believe I really said that? I must be getting soft?

alvin :)

February 27, 2009 6:50 PM  
Blogger Bobby Grow said...

Hey Antonio,

You said:

Furthermore, I am not convinced that Luther taught regeneration preceding faith, but that faith was the gift of God which was the conduit of justification. . . .

Sure he did, come on man ;-), that was the premise of his whole treatise (against Erasmus) on the Bondage of the Will. In fact he said that "freewill" was a phantasm (my paraphrase), except in re. to things "non-salvific."

Antonio said:

. . . But to believe that faith is in the constitution of man, yet it is the passive result of being convinced, persuaded that something is true does not preclude one from the congruous concept that faith is 'passive' and 'receptive'.

You're right, it doesn't preclude it; but then what you're describing is what is called semi-Pelagianism.

So if you're comfortable with that, Antonio, then that's fine; but just know that this appeals to an "cooperative model" of salvation, and assumes an idea of "freewill" that is based upon an philosophical anthropology, and not what I would call a "Christ-centered" anthropology (and if you want me to try and develop what I'm saying here further, let me know).

Antonio said:

You cannot speak of faith coming "actively" by the person who has it. The reality of persuasion precludes this erroroneous thought process. Persuasion is passive. . . .

And this gets back to your semi-Pelagianism, which says that "nature" is fitted with "faith" constitutionally; and thinks of "faith" as a "substance" that man "has" (in his "accidents" --- to speak "Thomistically") which "he chooses" to activate when He is "persuaded" to do so. So no, I'm not engaging non-sequiter, I'm just trying to highlight an inconsistency in your approach.

Listen Antonio, I really don't mind "jousting," and I don't mind going-back-and-forth; this is part of "doing" theology. But I do appreciate your attitude, and Christ-centeredness --- at least "attitudinally" ;-).

Hi Alvin :-)!

February 27, 2009 9:31 PM  
Blogger agent4him said...

Wow, indeed...!

Are we now looking at the "kinder, gentler Alvin---Mr. 'thousand points of light'...?"

Come to Antonio's and feel the love.

February 27, 2009 9:35 PM  
Blogger agent4him said...

Antonio, Bobby...

I guess it's my turn to be the "enforcer" on this site...what with all the love and stuff.

It's non sequitur, not -or or -er. (Rose should appreciate this after all her recent lexical jousting with Daniel.)

I'm available to edit, Antonio, $10 per hour. Cheapest around (that's what I get for editing at Denver Seminary).

February 27, 2009 9:42 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Jim, I'll give you some love for some of that editing?
Don't take that wrong now as Bobby told me that love is ONLY in the Lord!

alvin renewed :):):)

February 27, 2009 10:03 PM  
Blogger Bobby Grow said...

Jim,

thank you "tough love" is needed sometimes ;-). Actually I had been corrected on that before, and went back to my old habit of mis-spelling non-sequitur . . . so thank you :-)!

Alvin,

indeed, but actually John was the one who told me (to tell you ;) that we can only "love in Christ." I do appreciate your tone, Alvin . . . it's good to dwell together, as brothers, in unity around Christ (no matter what the "mechanics" might be :-).

February 27, 2009 10:29 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

I was just offering a little love Bobby I never said anything about dwelling together! I have to draw the line somewhere!

Just kidding Bobby, hopefully I'm growing and can see people through Jesus eyes!

alvin :)

February 27, 2009 11:00 PM  
Blogger Bobby Grow said...

Alvin,

as long as I can make you out at the "throne" from my vantage point at the "gates," that will suffice for me :-).

February 27, 2009 11:07 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Antonio,

I don’t think I’ve ever read a better introduction. It’s so good to have you back!;-)

I’m also grateful for the new (old) atmosphere here as well as the spirit (Spirit?) that seems to prevail in all who have commented here. I can even appreciate your points in the timeshare analogy. I would agree in that many seem to preach salvation by faith in doctrines and theological constructs rather than in Christ.

I do have a question concerning the Desert Island scenario. I understand from John 6:40 that eternal life belongs to those who see (behold/perceive) Christ and believe in Him. I understand from John 17:2,3 that eternal life is the knowledge of God and Christ. How would you say that the man in the Desert Island scenario comes to see Christ and know God?

February 28, 2009 2:30 AM  
Blogger alvin said...

Just some of my thought's on the subject.


The question is not “how can the man on the deserted Island be persuaded that what Jesus said is true?”

The real issue is “can Jesus promise give life if believed?”

At the very heart of this debate is the question “does God keep His promises?”

Jesus said:
“Most assuredly I tell you he who believes in Me has eternal life.” (John 6:43a,47)



“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears my word and believes Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. (John 5:24 in is not in the Greek)

“And I know that His command is everlasting life. Therefore, whatever I speak, just as the Father has told Me, so I speak.” (John 12:50)

To believe Jesus promise was to know the Father and the Son.

alvin :)

February 28, 2009 4:59 AM  
Blogger capj said...

Hi, I've come across your post and am interested in further clarification, if you don't mind. I'm not out to argue, just to understand. I'm relatively new to the FG arena.


RE: Deserted Island

1) Please explain the phrase "somehow becomes convinced". How is this accomplished exactly?

2) Suppose one word in your illustration was changed to... "Mohammed (or Sinbad or Antonio, etc) therefore answered and said..." The eternal consequences would be tragic, but why? How does it change the nature person's faith?

3) Where and how do you see the effectual work of the Holy Spirit coming into play?


RE: Time Share

1) Why do you use the term "adherence" instead of "understanding"? To be honest, it sounds like an attempt to turn passive into active.

2) I don't follow your logic in your comparison of the time-share to "traditional FG theology". I would suggest Lordship Salvation is like the income pre-qualification and commitment to attend the seminar. Traditional FG is like the brochure you were given that explained the offer.

3) How is requiring the understanding that Jesus is the God-Man who died for you different from requiring the understanding that God is the guarantor of His promises (eternal life)?

4) You make the charge that traditional FG may "preclude people... from assurance!" If the basis of assurance is not the person and work of Christ, then what is?

Again, I'm not trying to antagonize... simply understand.

February 28, 2009 10:26 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Bobby,

you write:
----------
You're right, it doesn't preclude it; but then what you're describing is what is called semi-Pelagianism.

So if you're comfortable with that, Antonio, then that's fine; but just know that this appeals to an "cooperative model" of salvation, and assumes an idea of "freewill" that is based upon an philosophical anthropology, and not what I would call a "Christ-centered" anthropology (and if you want me to try and develop what I'm saying here further, let me know).
----------

Oh please do stop reverting to the use of theological cuss words! ;)

Sir, I would dispute with my last dying breath your assessments.

You write:
--------
"cooperative model"
----------
If you meant only that I did the sinning that sent Christ to the cross and He did the saving, then I can live with the "cooperative model" designation. But if you mean anything else by that, 'dem be fightin' words!

Furthermore, you write:
----------
and not what I would call a "Christ-centered" anthropology
----------
More fighting words! Three quick things:

1) I characterize faith the same way that Luther does:

"Faith holds out the hand and the sack and just lets the good be done to it. For as God is the giver who bestows such things in His live, we are the receivers who receive the gift through faith which does nothing. For it is not our doing and cannot be merited by our word. It has already been granted and given. You need only open your mouth, or rather, your heart, and keep still and let yourself be filled." (WA2XI.1104)

2) Are we not created in the image and likeness of God? It surely is Christo-centric to see the word of Christ work upon and move the God-created capacity (due to His image and likeness) to believe.

3) Even in Luther's paradigm, the man believes, no? Or is it Christ who is believing in Him? Whether or not it is a gift or regeneration precedes faith, it is undoubtedly the man who believes. So what it is a gift! If you would charge me with anthropocentrism pointing to my number 2above, there's three fingers pointing back to you!

4) If regeneration precedes faith then we would be faced with the conclusion that there would be "unjustified born-again Christians", in the sense that one is regenerated, given the faith as a gift, and then through that faith receives justification.

Such a concept to me, Bobby, is "Alien-centered" for such logic could only be produced by an Alien...



or a theologian




but then, whats the difference?

February 28, 2009 11:05 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Capj,

It is a blessing for you to be here. I appreciate you reading and thinking about this post and the comments.

I also very much appreciate your questions and I will answer them. But if you have any follow up, I ask that you please use your real name. It is too difficult to take anyone seriously who does not use their name, and I simply do not have the time. Anonymous and pseudonymous names are not acceptable unless there is some danger to you in providing your real name. In that case you may email me at:

agdarosa@cox.net and provide your name to me in confidence.

1)) Please explain the phrase "somehow becomes convinced". How is this accomplished exactly?

This is left unexplained in the scenario for a purpose. Faith in Jesus for eternal life is the point, not how one becomes convinced, which passively results in faith. We must not make this scenario "walk on all fours". As we will see later in the discourse and/or Q&A, Zane states that such a scenario is "highly unlikely".

If you desire to know more about the mechanics of one being persuaded, there are some articles on this blog (you may find them in the table of contents under "faith") that discuss them.

2) Suppose one word in your illustration was changed to... "Mohammed (or Sinbad or Antonio, etc) therefore answered and said..." The eternal consequences would be tragic, but why? How does it change the nature person's faith?

This, then, would not be the word of God. The illustration states that it was John 6:43-47. If something washed ashore as you say, the person would not have identified the Guarantor of everlasting life, Jesus.

3) Where and how do you see the effectual work of the Holy Spirit coming into play?

Good question!

John 3:8
"The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit."


1) Why do you use the term "adherence" instead of "understanding"? To be honest, it sounds like an attempt to turn passive into active.

It is not enough that one believe that Jesus died substitutionally and rose again from the dead in the Fundamentalist FG. One must also believe that Jesus is God. Imagine for a moment a Fundamentalist FGer having discussions with a co-worker over a span of months. Let us say that the man was convinced that Jesus was God but did not have the conviction that He died substitutionally for his personal sins and rose again bodily from the dead. Over the course of the months, he had "adhered" to one of the items on the Fundamentalist FGer checklist for some months. He isn't saved because he hasn't adhered to ALL of the doctrines. Let us say later he was persuaded by evidence that Jesus was not God in the flesh, but nevertheless died a substitutionary death paying for his personal sins and rose again bodily from the dead. Why is he not now saved? Because he does not adhere to orthodoxy.

One is not even qualified to receive everlasting life unless they first adhere to some arbitrary list of orthodox doctrines that the Fundamentalist FGer believes are required pre-qualifications.

Even Tom Stegall and J.B. Hixson have different lists!

"Adhere" is a perfectly good word describing traditionalist FGer requirements.

True Free Grace requires nothing of the lost but to receive that which they lack, eternal life, which they do by their reliance being placed on Jesus for it, which is the passive result of being convinced of His promise.

2) I don't follow your logic in your comparison of the time-share to "traditional FG theology". I would suggest Lordship Salvation is like the income pre-qualification and commitment to attend the seminar. Traditional FG is like the brochure you were given that explained the offer.

I would suggest that there are parallels between Lordship Salvation and traditionalist FG theology. Neither of them believe that one has eternal life simply by faith in Jesus. Both of them require one to be pre-qualified.

In LS: one must submit, surrender, commit, etc.
In traditionalist FG: one must be orthodox in a number of arbitrary doctrines

Either way, if you don't fulfill these obligations, all the faith in the world in Jesus cannot save you.

3) How is requiring the understanding that Jesus is the God-Man who died for you different from requiring the understanding that God is the guarantor of His promises (eternal life)?

I have answered this above in the commentary. Look for this date and time:

February 26, 2009 7:42 PM

4) You make the charge that traditional FG may "preclude people... from assurance!" If the basis of assurance is not the person and work of Christ, then what is?

Show me a verse that states:

"If you believe that Jesus is the God-man that died substitutionally for your personal sins, rose again from the dead, and believe in Him, you have everlasting life"

When evangelism is done the way that traditional fgers do it, and then their converts later lose their assurance, where will they turn to for assurance when no scripture lines up with their evangelistic experience?

For a complete answer to your question about traditional fg and assurance, please go to this article I wrote:

Checklist Evangelism and Questions about Assurance

The basis for assurance is the objective Word of God, specifically the promise of Christ that anyone who believes in Him has eternal life. If I believe in Him I know I have eternal life.

Again, thank you for your time here. If you have any more follow up, please follow my wishes stated at the beginning of this comment.

your free grace theology host,

Antonio

February 28, 2009 11:48 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Hi, Casey!

Don't think that I forgot you! I did for a moment and then remembered, lol.

your questions:
----------
I understand from John 6:40 that eternal life belongs to those who see (behold/perceive) Christ and believe in Him. I understand from John 17:2,3 that eternal life is the knowledge of God and Christ. How would you say that the man in the Desert Island scenario comes to see Christ and know God?
----------
In John, there are 21 usages of the word "theoro", "to behold," with a figurative, "perceive". Out of the 21 usages, there are 17 clear usages denoting physical beholding. Out of the 4 remaining, there are two clear "perceives" and two that could go either way, one of which is in 6:40 and the other is 12:45 (which probably means both by implication).

Here is what I would understand if it meant "behold with they eyes", which the sheer number of usages would seem to suggest (as well as a number of commentators).

Jesus was speaking to a crowd of people while He was here on the earth, speaking of Himself in the third person. In essence then He would be stating whoever beholds Him (remember, He is here speaking that He has come down from Heaven from the Father in this context, as the Bread of Life) and believes in Him has eternal life. This statement must be taken in its context. He is saying, if you recognize the One sent from the Father, and as a matter of fact, I am He standing before you whom you are beholding, and believe in Him, you have everlasting life. In this case, it is applicable only to those who are the beneficiaries of Christ's dialogue.

Yet, Jesus states categorically in verses such as John 3:16 and 11:25-26 that by simply believing in Him one has eternal life. This fact must be considered.

You must please remember a point of logic: Even if everyone who beholds Jesus with their eyes and believes in Him has everlasting life it does not follow that the one who just believes in Jesus does not have eternal life. The positive affirmation only entails a negative if Jesus had said: "Only those who see the Son and believe in Him have eternal life." On any reading he does not say this.

The common denominator in all the passages denoting saving faith in the Gospel of John is a no-brainer:

Believe in Jesus and you have eternal life.

If "theoro" is meant to be taken figuratively, as "percieved" I would take it thus:

Perceive:

to become aware of, know, or identify

to recognize, discern

In the context of the deserted island scenario, one comes to recognize or identify Jesus through His name and His guarantee. Jesus is the one who guarantees eternal life to the believer. These, when taken together, are uniquely identifying and distinguishing characteristics.


On to your next question:
----------
How does one come to know God in the deserted island scenario?
----------

Spiritual birth is the initiation of a relationship with God. When one believes in Jesus he is born again, receives eternal life, and is initiated into an eternal relationship with God, his Father. The man in the deserted island scenario believed in Jesus, thus was born again, thus had eternal life, thus was initiated into an experiential knowlege of God.

But let it here be known, Casey, that such a one is in new-born infancy in regards to this experiential knowlege.

A newborn baby has an experiential knowlege of his mother. But the extent of that knowlege is quite infinitesmal compared to that baby's 12 year old brother, or 30 year old sister.

"Know" is a polymorphous word that is capable of many senses. It is quite legitimate to say:

I know Casey from the internet, but I just don't know him in an intimate way.

The newborn has come into an experiential knowlege of God, has been given God's life, with all the great potentials. But without the word of God and fellowship with other Christians, his knowlege of God will be stunted from the very outset.

your free grace brother,

Antonio

February 28, 2009 1:50 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

I must note that "perceive" has a non figurative sense, denoting one recognizing something with the senses.

Furthermore, "sees" can be used figuratively denoting an understanding of something.

In John 6:40, I believe that "theoro" has two possible meanings:

"to behold with the eyes"
"to perceive, as in recognize"

February 28, 2009 1:54 PM  
Blogger Bobby Grow said...

Antonio,

All that I am trying to do is push you to define your terms, consistently. You can't rip what Luther said on "saving faith" out of his context, and then say you agree with him . . . there is a scaffolding that supports what Luther is saying, and so my point here still stands --- you cannot agree with Luther, and at the same time reject the "framework" which is shaping his thinking of saving faith.

When you say semi-Pelagian is theological cussing, why?

Antonio said:

Are we not created in the image and likeness of God? It surely is Christo-centric to see the word of Christ work upon and move the God-created capacity (due to His image and likeness) to believe.

Yes indeed. But when you say this "God-created capacity" this presupposes something about "nature" and the "Fall." This presupposes that certain aspects nature were un-affected by the "Fall," and that there remains a capacity known as "faith" (in the accidents) which God supplies with "created Grace" "enabling" man to cooperate with Him in the appropriation of salvation. This is classic semi-Pelagaianism, and you follow this approach --- by your own admission above.

As far as regeneration. Again, you're just making an assertion, Antonio. You didn't demonstrate how we would end up with a bunch of "unjustified saved people," you just said we would. The faith that we have, is reflected by the faith that Jesus demonstrated at the cross (vicariously) for us (when He commits Himself to the Father). The "space" for humanly response in this scenario is not coerced, but is given viability in the relationship between Christ's humanity and His divinity . . . the Spirit creates the "otherness" for us to "freely" respond. This view sees Grace and Faith personified in the person of Jesus, and sees these concepts as "relational" (much like your love for your wife is) --- and this is Luther's "way" as well.

To think of "faith" in terms you have highlighted, Antonio, is to think of it in Aristotelian terms (faith as a "quality" that we appropriate salvation through); and this is rather Medieval (more fighting words I presume ;-) . . . and ironically similar to the Calvinist view of "faith" (in fact it's the same).

Comparing theologians to aliens just isn't helpful or fruitful, Antonio. We are talking about ideas, and they stand or fall on their own (using a genetic argument just is not fruitful). To me, when I hear you say this (about theologians), I read it as code for someone who does not want to take the time to be "confused with the facts" (and that is the facts of history and the implications of logic).

If we are going to say that we are "Christcentered" then our methodology needs to support that; and it needs to truly keep Christ (and the Incarnation is very helpful here) at the center. What you have been saying thus far on saving faith does not achieve that in my estimation. You seem to think that we need to have the ability to "deliberate" or we are'nt freely deciding or choosing (but that is Thomas Aquinas' definition on human freedom).

Anyway, I think this is serious stuff Antonio . . . I wish you would be open to a little challenge here and there (did you ever think that maybe your perspective could have some "holes" in it) --- I know mine does.

In Christ

February 28, 2009 2:16 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Bobby isn’t the classic use of the term “semipelagian” pejorative? I thought its use at various times in history was always to associate any view on salvation that was not strictly Augustinian with Pelagianism which was/is considered heretical by many. Sorry for the rabbit trail but I was curious! ;-)

February 28, 2009 3:04 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Very good conversations going on here. Enjoying it very much!!!

Antonio (or any other friends).....
I have a question that perhaps you can help me with.

I agree that the only way to be born again is to believe in Jesus Christ alone for everlasting life.... apart from any works or check list whatsoever.
But I have a friend who was tormented with this message because she always believed (growing up) that you must ask Jesus in to your heart. She learned later as an adult that you don't do that. You just believe. But she was bothered that maybe all those years growing up she really wasn't saved because she thought you had to ask Jesus into your heart. I remember her saying to the Pastor..... "Maybe I didn't get saved because I always thought that I had to ask Jesus into my heart?"

The Pastor's words to her were.....
"You were saved because you believed in Jesus, not because you asked Jesus into your heart or even thought you HAD to ask Him into your heart. You were believing in Him alone and that's why you were saved."
But it was bothering her AS AN ADULT that she thought she HAD to ask Jesus into her heart in order to be saved. The Pastor was trying to show her that as a child she believed that Jesus was the only way to heaven. The fact that she thought you had to ask Him to come into her heart didn't change the fact that she believed in Him. Her faith was in Him alone.

Here's what I think, but maybe I'm wrong. I think that *faith happens* BEFORE any thought of asking Jesus to come in even crosses your mind. The light goes on and THEN you ASK, or WALK an aisle, or say a prayer, etc., etc. But God sees FAITH in Him (FAITH HAPPENS) and you pass from death to life. So much confusion going on AFTER regeneration happens.

What are your thoughts on this?

Thank you.

Diane

February 28, 2009 8:07 PM  
Blogger Bobby Grow said...

Kc,

I suppose there is an connotative, pejorative usage of "semi-Pelagian;" but there is also a denotative, of course I am going for the latter ;-).

The II Council of Orange 529 condemned semi-Pelagianism which basically (under the teaching of Pelagius himself, and then John Cassian's appropriation of Pelagius later) taught against the "doctrine of original sin." In so doing there was an capacity given to "nature," or the will of man which became the "neutral" "deliberative" space in man where he could "choose" to accept God or not . . . semi-Pelagians and John Cassian held that Pelagius wasn't totally "on," but that man could still "choose deliberatively," but aided by God's grace (enablement).

Either way, it assumes something about "nature" that I don't think scripture allows for (and yes this does revolve around the extent and intensity of the 'Fall') --- see Romans 3. The very nature of Christ's life is apocalyptic, it is inbreaking, and it "puts to death" that "old Adam" which does not allow us to even think upon "spiritual things" (Rom 8:7) [Luther's bondage of the Will].

In fact, eschatology itself has something to say here, illustratively, in the sense that what will happen (apocalyptically) to all "creation" (destroyed immediately by fire II Pet 3); is indeed what has happened, necessarily so, by Christ's first coming in the atonement to the old Adam --- he was destroyed (albeit to completely "realized" yet).

So no, I don't think using semi-Pelagian is necessarily pejorative, that is if it in fact is fitting and correlative to its referent.

February 28, 2009 11:43 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Antonio I appreciate the space for discussion here and I intend to stay on topic but if you find I stray please say and I will withdraw.

Bobby, thanks. I was certain you intended no implication. I was more curious with the classic or historical usage of the term. I would, however, very much, appreciate your opinion, or any others here, on my perspective and especially with regard to Semipelagianism.

I consider the capacity for faith inherent to all men. From my perspective there is no such thing as divine faith but neither is there any salvation apart from faith in The Divine. Our “inability” is not in our capacity to believe but in our capacity to perceive who should be the object of our faith, that is, who we should trust. When Christ, by the grace of God through the preaching of the Word and the testimony of the Holy Spirit, is revealed in our heart we must obey the Gospel command and believe in Him or remain condemned. God is then the author of our faith by virtue of the revelation of Jesus Christ and it is incumbent, not imposed, on us to believe in Him.

Antonio I think it is clear from this that my concern with the Desert Island scenario is centered on the revelation of Jesus Christ. I just don’t find that this man received eternal life, the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ whom He sent.

March 01, 2009 3:56 AM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Diane

I think what you said is right on!!!! They have believed in their heart in Jesus alone, but prcessing it can become complicated because our emotions and feelings and man-made ideas come into play to verify what has already happened.
And also what you have said is just to "easy" for Theologians, what would they have to do????
I've been told there are different mechanics involved. What would they do with all their theological tools? One of their theogizing, I think I just made that word up? It all happened at the incarnation. Now I'm not a real brite bulb, so I couldn't find that word in my Bible so I had to go to my handy BIG dictionary. But I'll cut right to the quick here. Any time your theogizing makes things so a little child or someone like myself with a dim bulb more difficult to understand. It seems to me were getting away from child like faith. Some would have us believe it all happened at the cross so the women at the well is irrrelevnt, I thiink that "r" got stuck . .sorry! What was I saying? Oh yah!! That Augustine fellow could theogize right to the mind of God and see it supposibly just like God sees it. You know from His view point. And bypass all the childlike stuff and go straight to the double predestination where the rubber really meets the road. That would be alright if God drove a car but His thoughts are so far above ours to think that we have figured it all out is the pinical of arragance, but then what would you expect from man? I think the ones that got made from the one rib got the better deal.
Sorry my bulb just went out?!
alvin :)

March 01, 2009 3:59 AM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Diane

I believe your testimony and mine both show what you have said here to be true:

Here's what I think, but maybe I'm wrong. I think that *faith happens* BEFORE any thought of asking Jesus to come in even crosses your mind. The light goes on and THEN you ASK, or WALK an aisle, or say a prayer, etc., etc. But God sees FAITH in Him (FAITH HAPPENS) and you pass from death to life. So much confusion going on AFTER regeneration happens.

You know my memory is old but I can still remember the sequence that happened in my mind that night under the stars.


My First Thought Sleeping Out Under The Stars That Night:
It dawned on me that if I died right then I would go to hell.
Why? Because I knew I was a sinner. So I must have known I didn't have a Savior.

Just as soon as that thought came to my mind, then came illumination.
I knew that Jesus was the Savior and had died on the cross for all my sins so I wouldn't have to go to hell.

Then I decided:
I decided right then I would go forward at the service the next day and receive Christ as my personal Savior.
Why? Because I had been told to be saved you had to confess Christ (Romans 10:9) and that was walking an isle in the Baptist tradition.

Point 1: Believing is receiving (John 1:12)
Point 2: One can be saved but not saved in the Romans 10:9 sense of the word.
At the very moment I believed Jesus was the Savior and had paid for all my sins so I wouldn't have to go to hell I had received Him and was saved in the John 3:16 sense of the word.
It wasn't until the next day that I went forward that I was saved in the Romans 10:9 sense of the word.
Being the son of a pastor I had heard the gospel over and over but that night “faith happened!”

Alvin :)

March 01, 2009 4:36 AM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Everyone :)

Yes I believe we can make things a lot more difficult then they really are. This is why this subject matter is so important. Those who would have us jumping through a lot of theological hoops don't even have a clue! Zane refocused us on just how simple, the matter of simply believing Jesus promise to give life. Folks that is as simple as it gets, even a little child could do that!
Another good reason for these discussions is if you’re like me and have had to think back through your testimony. Because if you’re giving it to people you want to be accurate.
Before I had read Zane's book "Absolutely Free" I knew eternal life was a gift but I didn't understand how discipleship played out in it all. I was willing to put all my experiences aside where I saw God clearly work in my life. In fact when I gave my testimony just a few weeks ago to a man that had died twice on the operating table. I told him I had gotten saved when I read Zane's book, and before that I was like Cornelius a God fearer. I'm not afraid to share these things with you because I was still trying to make sense out of things. It wasn't until I read Dianes Testimony and Bob Bryants and some reply’s of Zane that it all seem to fall in place for me. The last post by Diane was EXCELLENT!!!! She showed just how simple it can be when "FAITH HAPPENS" what messes us up is all the extra man-made requirements to know if your saved or not. I hope this helped someone who is working through these things.
I feel I can give my testimony very accurate now and am convinced that Zane was right on target with the simplicity of the Gospel offer!

Have a Great Day In the Lord!
alvin :)

March 01, 2009 7:06 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Alvin.... you sure have been making me laugh lately. It feels so good to laugh!!!
:-)
But you also bring very good insight!!! I appreciate your comments.

Regarding my last post.... "FAITH HAPPENS".....

Most of us who are born again PROBABLY did something AFTER we *believed in Christ* (in JOHN's sense of the words). I walked an aisle, talked with a counselor, read some verses, prayed a prayer, and went away KNOWING beyond a shadow of a doubt that I was saved based on the promise of John 3:16. But my trust wasn't in that walk or the prayer. My faith was solidly on Jesus Christ to give me everlasting life. The reason I walked that aisle is because I DID believe that He died for my sins so that I could go to heaven.
So did I lack assurance before I walked that aisle?
WHY then did I do that? IF assurance is of the essence of saving faith, WHY did I need assurance at that time???

I've thought a lot about that. I don't know for sure the MOMENT I past from death to life, BUT GOD DOES!!! Whenever He saw FAITH, I was born again. I'm convinced that He saw it and saved me BEFORE I walked that aisle. Only He can see faith. Only He knows the moment I believed. At some point the light went on for me and I believed in Christ for everlasting life. My questions came later. Perhaps very quickly after? I don't know. I NEVER walked that aisle to be CONVINCED that Jesus REALLY wanted to give me a free gift. I walked that aisle BECAUSE I KNEW that He meant what He said. But I don't know WHY I needed to walk it??? I think perhaps I just needed to be sure that GOD KNEW that I believed in Him. Isn't that silly!!! Maybe that's not the reason. I don't know for sure??? Whenever I got saved...... AT THAT INSTANT God saw faith. That was the child-like faith that is talked about in the Bible. God knew I believed in Jesus Christ for everlasting life. But as Zane Hodges once told me...... The human memory can easily miss a moment of true assurance." But God doesn't miss it. It is the Holy Spirit who turns the light on so that we find ourselves believing. Every single person who has been born again had a moment when they believed in Jesus Christ for everlasting life. It wasn't when they believed other truths about Him such as His deity, His virgin birth, His substitutionary atonement, His resurrection, but it was when they believed IN HIM for their eternal well being. Those other truths are what brought them to the PLACE where they believed in Him for eternal life. That was the moment that God saw FAITH. That was the moment for each and every believer that they were born again. FAITH HAPPENS. The Holy Spirit reveals that truth and each one of us FIND OURSELVES BELIEVING!!!

No matter where we are in our theological discussions, WE'RE ALL WRONG if we say that we must believe anything else or we can't be saved.
Please don't misunderstand what I'm saying.
I'm NOT saying that someone who holds to Lordship Salvation NOW is not saved.
I'm NOT saying that a Calvinist is not saved.
I'm NOT saying that an Armenian is not saved.
I'm NOT saying that a Catholic is not saved.
I'm NOT saying that a Baptist is not saved.
BUT I AM SAYING...... that the ones who ARE saved had that moment when FAITH HAPPENED, and they found themselves believing in Jesus Christ alone as the giver of their eternal life. At that instant they KNEW they would be with Him forever and that their eternity was settled!!! AT THAT MOMENT OF FAITH they KNEW that what they had was permanent. The Holy Spirit enlightened them to that truth. They didn't necessarily put it into words like that, but that's the faith that God saw, and ONLY those people are saved today. Anything different than that was not the faith that God saw.

What we all did AFTER God saw our faith does not mean that we didn't HAVE faith UNTIL we DID SOMETHING like walk an aisle, or ask Jesus into our heart.

My question to anyone I witness to is......... Have you believed in Jesus Christ ALONE (apart from any works) for everlasting life..... Life with God forever? If so, then I welcome them to the family of God!!!

* * *That alone is child-like faith.* * *

Another thought......
Everybody can come to faith in Him if they want His gift. God has not chosen only certain ones to be saved. I say that because I read that on the pages of scripture. I love what Zane Hodges warned......... Don't go BEYOND what the scriptures DON'T say!!! Those verses that some THINK say that God chose only certain ones *to believe* ARE NOT THERE. We've read those *exact words* into the passage. Leave the things that He doesn't say with God. Don't try and explain what HE doesn't explain.
I personally have come to see those verses that so many think teach ELECTION (heaven/hell) to mean for a task or some other meaning in context. I know that this is another subject for another time.
I love Zane's teaching on Man's part in salvation AND God's part in salvation. It helped me so much AFTER checking out all those scriptural passages!!! God draws ALL men to Himself. Without His drawing no one would seek God. It is our responsibility to seek Him. If we seek Him we will find Him. He is faithful~!!!
(That's the quick version)
:-)

Thank you all for giving me an outlet to express what's on my heart. You all are very special friends to me. We may be at different places in our theology, but if we're saved we all came to Him the same way....... by believing in Jesus Christ alone for His permanent free gift of eternal life. AMEN! Praise God!!!!

Your friend always because of Jesus,
Diane
:-)

March 01, 2009 12:48 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Hi Diane,

We cannot know what was said to your friend in the context when she believed you had to accept Jesus into the heart, or make Jesus Lord of your life, etc.

If the sermon she heard didn't contain a message that stated that one has eternal life simply by faith in Jesus, the chances are she didn't believe in Jesus. Now there could have been a reading of John 3:16 or something, and then she believing in Him, but no one can tell.

It really is an exercise of futility to try and determine whether or not this lady is saved. Why expend the time and effort, the emotion and turmoil?

Praise God that she knows she is now saved by grace through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone.

Assurance is never, ever gained (never!!!) by one's look to a past event, but one's present look to the sufficiency of Jesus Christ as found in His gratuitous promise.

Antonio

March 01, 2009 3:21 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Bobby,

I believe that "semi-pelagian" is always pejorative. Your usage of it, and subsequent definition of it, does not represent my theology. I would appreciate it if you would keep the usage of Augustinian theological cuss-words off this site.

There is no need for the usage of those kind of brick-bats to bludgeon theological opponents with. This is taken straight from the Calvinist playbook. Anyone who does not agree with their theology is immediately labeled "Arminian" which has been imported with just about every heresy known to Christianity.

Same with "semi-pelagian". Those who do not consider God to coerce men unto salvation are lumped into this category.

You have not encountered a theology like mine, Bobby. One that guards against such charges by its mechanics, and always careful to give God all the glory for salvation, yet does not make God the master of puppets.

The attribution of theological labels such as semi-pelagian are not progressive for a profitable discussion but regressive.

On to the topics at hand. Would you please give some quotations of Luther, Melanchthon, or others stating that Luther believed that regeneration preceded faith?

I went ahead and downloaded the whole of Robert Preus's paper, Perrenial Problems in the Doctrine of Justification (Concordia Theological Quarterly, July 1981) and have been reading it. It is very informative. I don't believe that regeneration precedes faith in Luther.

In the Lutheran Confessions (SD III, 2, 25) states:

The righteousness of faith is forgiveness of sins, reconciliation with God, and the fact that we are adopted as God's children solely on account of the obedience of Christ, which, through faith alone, is reckoned by pure grace to all true believers as righteousness...

The only essential necessary elements of justification are the grace of God, the merit of Christ, and faith which accepts these in the promise of the Gospel, whereby the righteousness of Christ is reckoned to us and by which we obtain the forgiveness of sins, reconciliation with God, adoption, and the inheritance of eternal life.


All of these elements, says the confession, (righteousness, reconciliation, forgiveness, and eternal life) come through faith.

Even more clear than that is Melanchthon's Apology (IV, 117)

What we have shown thus far, on the basis of the Scriptures and arguments derived from the Scriptures, was to make clear that by faith alone we receive the forgiveness of sins for Christ's sake, and by faith alone are justified, that is, out of unrighteous we are made [efficiamur] righteous men and are regenerated.

Clearly regeneration and justification (which seems to me Robert Preus and the Lutherans equate) follow faith.

But how does one, in the Lutheran mold, keep from faith being an actus of man?

They make faith the "mode according to which God Himself saves and justifies us, namely, through faith". He states that it can be a condition, but as in mode. Furthermore, quoting Gerhard, and following this train of thought on mode:

The term 'if' is either etiological or syllogistic; that is, it designates either cause or consequence. in the preaching of the La, 'if you do this, you shall live,' the term 'if' is etiological, inasmuch as obedience is the cause on account of which eternal life is given to those who obey the Law. But in the Gospel promises, 'if you believe, you will be saved,' the term 'if' is syllogistic, inasmuch as it relates to the mode whereby God applies the divine promises, and this is through faith alone.

How does this mechanically work out?

Preus says, "First, following Article II of the Formula of Concord, they show that man's receiving the grace of God in faith is itself a gift of grace, and that the absolution that forgives works the very faith to receive that forgiveness."

What it appears to me, that for Lutherans, which preaches the reality of regeneration, justification, etc., creates the very faith which receives this regeneration and justification. Preus calls it a "gift".

You know, the more I read of Lutheranism's idea of faith, the more I am impressed as it parallels mine, and the more I like some of its terminology. I am not impressed that they seem to blur the distinctions of justification, forgiveness of sins, reconciliation, and regeneration, nor am I impressed with the idea that faith is a "gift," but I am quite impressed with the descriptions of the actualizing of faith in a man, and the descriptions of faith itself.

It is true, I can provide many more statements from this paper quoting Lutheran sources that stipulates faith precedes regeneration.

But, for Lutherans, it is in the reality of absolution as presented "through the hearing of the gospel" that "[f]aith is conceived and confirmed" (Melanchton, Apol. XII, 42).

As a final note, you wrote:
----------
You can't rip what Luther said on "saving faith" out of his context, and then say you agree with him . . . there is a scaffolding that supports what Luther is saying, and so my point here still stands --- you cannot agree with Luther, and at the same time reject the "framework" which is shaping his thinking of saving faith.
----------
I sure can. Nothing precludes me from it. If the mechanics of my theology can produce the same notional descriptions of faith, by all means, I can garner them for myself, with the concession that I get there a different way than Luther. And surely my theology does, as I consistently maintain.

Antonio

March 01, 2009 4:16 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Diane,

When I wrote this:
It really is an exercise of futility to try and determine whether or not this lady is saved.

I meant:

It really is an exercise of futility to try and determine whether or not this lady was saved back then.

Antonio

March 01, 2009 4:18 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Casey,

By all means, please continue your conversation with Bobby concerning your views!

But I would like to continue with you on your comments to me.

What did the man lack? What objective revelation does he yet need? Who is the arbiter to determine exactly what he lacks? How can you be sure that your answer will provide the whole of revelation necessary for this man (unless you concede it is indeed the whole bible he needs to be saved, and even in that case, would he have to apprehend a subjective or objective list of the superlative exellencies of Christ?). How could this man ever have assurance with such subjective, personal, and emotional requirements as you seem to dictate for us?

Antonio

March 01, 2009 4:29 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

I think the Scriptures are very clear on the order of salvation:

Ephesians 1:13
In Him you also trusted, AFTER you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, HAVING BELIEVED you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise.

John 4:10
Jesus answered and said to her, “IF you KNEW the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink, you would have ASKED Him, AND He would have GIVEN you living water.”

I think even a little child could understand that one! Some would have you believe that Jesus poured the water down her throat so she could ask for it?!?! That is what those who believe we are regenerated first are saying that one can’t ask (believe) without already having the water. So really they are teaching something DIFFERENT then what Jesus said. Jesus clearly taught that you not only had to KNOW what the gift of God was but you also needed to KNOW who Jesus was that He was the giver of life, and you had to ASK BEFORE He would GIVE it.
And that knowledge was the living water, and with FAITH springs up into eternal life.
They would have you believe just the opposite!

Remember Jesus wouldn’t give that water UNTIL they asked (believed).

Jesus answered and said to her, “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 spriniging up into everlasting life.”
The women said to Him, “Sir, give me this water, that I may not thirst, nor come here to draw.”
DID JESUS GIVE HER THE LIVING WATER ALREADY? NO! SHE NEEDED TO KNOW WHO HE WAS!
Jesus gave her the living water in vs. 26 Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He”
That was the Christ and with faith she would have everlasting life!

So this is not just different mechanics these men are teaching but a different gospel a deterministic gospel that says one cannot believe UNTIL they have been regenerated first. Which means man REALLY can't ASK which is to believe, which Jesus shows clearly is a BIG LIE!!!!

Alvin :)

March 01, 2009 5:25 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Antonio, thanks and I can appreciate your questions.

I would say that this man yet lacks the knowledge of Jesus as Christ sent from God. For example he could just as easily perceive Jesus as the servant of Satin or even Satin himself. In this case his faith is not in the power and authority of Christ (“in the name of”) but in Satin.

March 01, 2009 7:06 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

What I want to know is who is this guy Satin?

I could ask the question who made this statement Satan OR Jesus?

Jesus said:
"Most assuredly I tell you he who believes in Me has eternal life."
John 6:45a,47

just a little humor!

If you said Satan, your wrong!!!
guess again?
The Lord Jesus Christ made that statment!

alvin :)

March 01, 2009 7:18 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Casey,

It would be helpful if you tried to answer all my questions. Please elaborate on my questions.

Also, you miss the beauty of the illustration. The man on the deserted island puts his faith in the one who is written about on the scripture that has washed ashore. If he trusts in this Jesus, He has trusted Him as the Christ, in its Johannine and soteric sense.

Like I have said earlier in this comment thread, Zane found it "highly unlikely" that such a one, with that little information, would become convinced to put his faith in Jesus.

The illustration's purpose was to show the absolutely free nature of salvation, and the crucial and crux issue: faith in Jesus for eternal life.

You may continue to fall into the absurdity trap. But the illustration wasn't meant to walk on all fours, but to put our finger on the issue at hand:

eternal life is possessed by the one who simply believes in Jesus for it

Any other attempt to add to the mix in the illustration is completely beside the point.

Maybe you believe that there are necessary doctrines that have to be adhered to. You would then put yourself on the endless regress and slippery slope of the checklist evangelists.

How much does one need to know?
What misconceptions are fatal?
Will one misunderstanding be a deal breaker?
How much orthodoxy is necessary to be saved?
And who is the arbiter of such a selective and subjective list?

And if you are positing that one have some pre-condition before they are able to simply receive the gift of God, please, come out and tell us. What is it that qualifies a man to receive the gift of God in your estimation? What demands do you place on him other than simply receiving the gift by faith in Jesus?

How does one possess eternal life in your estimation? , and be verbose, that we might examine it.

your free grace theology host,

Antonio

March 01, 2009 7:42 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi KC,

I have a grandson named Casey! I love that name because I love that little boy!!!
:-)

If I could jump in here in regards to your comment....
The Bible tells us that it's Jesus speaking when He says.....
"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has eternal life."
John 6:47

That verse makes it very clear that the giver is Jesus, and the gift is eternal life to the one who believes.

***You can't DECIDE to believe it.***
When you come to the scriptures with an open and honest heart to hear from God.... and you hear the saving message, FAITH HAPPENS. That just means that the Holy Spirit revealed the saving truth to your heart when you heard the saving message. At that moment you believed. FAITH HAPPENED and you were born again!

PRAISE GOD! Simple child like faith!!!

All because of His marvelous grace,
Diane
:-)

March 01, 2009 8:10 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

If anyone is questiong whether I am the king of the bad spellers, let it be known that it will take much to knock me off my crown!!!!
In fact my good friend Jim who does editing has given up on me. I even spelt his wifes name wrong . . . sorry Peggy! My bad spelling has become a code, and only those partners in battle for the hearts and minds of the lost can fully comprehend my mind!


I haven't named this new creation yet but it's two people communing in my code, anyway they are happy because they know they have eternal life!
alvin :)

:)/@\(:

March 01, 2009 8:55 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi Antonio,

Thank you so much for your helpful answer. I agree with what you said. The KEY is that a person believes NOW in Jesus Christ alone for eternal life.

BTW..... I see that you're going to be having a couple workshops at the GES Conference. How exciting!!! My husband and I hope to be able to come hear you. I checked the schedule a while back and saw that you were in good time slots for us. We're really looking forward to hearing you.

Isn't it awesome to wake up each day knowing who you belong to, and where you're going. It's the only way to live.

Your friend because of Jesus,
Diane
:-)

March 01, 2009 8:59 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Alvin and Jim.....

YOU KEEP MAKING ME LAUGH!!!
:-)

March 01, 2009 9:03 PM  
Blogger Gary said...

Great Article Antonio:

I think I've noticed a maturation in you over the last year.

Many people, I think, don't or are incapable of understanding what Zane was trying to get across.

His point, it seems to me, is rather a carefull clarification of the one essential belief which receives eternal life.

This point is confused and muddied by almost all churches and in fact I've looked for years to find a church which doesn't muddle this issue.

My experience has been that nearly every tract, statement of faith, etc., are self contradictory!

Many of them speak of the freeness of the gift of salvation, but then all of them also speak of repenting of their sins!

There are perhaps a few tracts which don't add repentance but they are very few and far between.

The logic of Zane is missed and misunderstood by many people.

In my area there are a number of conservative baptist churches which speak of the freeness of salvaiton, by faith alone in Christ alone, but they ALL without exception add "turning from ones sins," as a CONDITION for receiving the "free gift."

It seems so obvious that no one does or can really repent of their sins in the full meaning of this phrase.

I've never met anyone yet who has turned from ALL their sins.

Anyway if anyone on your blog knows of any church which which doesn't get this all muddeled, let me know.

The closest FG church to me (listed on the GES list) is over an hour away.

Good work Antonio, thanks for providing this place for us to gather in cyberspace.

Gary

March 01, 2009 9:12 PM  
Blogger agent4him said...

Diane,

I used to be incredibly "anal," but all it did was constipate me...

Ya' can't take yourself too seriously or you won't be able to hear the Spirit clearly!

March 01, 2009 9:15 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi Jim,

I've enjoyed getting to know you through Antonio's blog.
:-)

Thanks for your great insight.... and for making me laugh!!!

Diane
:-)

March 01, 2009 9:21 PM  
Blogger Bobby Grow said...

Antonio,

here is part of Luther's Heidelberg Disputation

#13 Free will, after the fall, exists in name only, and as long as it does what it is able to do, it commits a mortal sin. [13]

#14 Free will, after the fall, has power to do good only in a passive capacity, but it can do evil in an active capacity. [14]

#15 Nor could the free will endure in a state of innocence, much less do good, in an active capacity, but only in its passive capacity. [15]

#16 The person who believes that he can obtain grace by doing what is in him adds sin to sin so that he becomes doubly guilty. [16]

#17 Nor does speaking in this manner give cause for despair, but for arousing the desire to humble oneself and seek the grace of Christ. [17]

#18 It is certain that man must utterly despair of his own ability before he is prepared to receive the grace of Christ.


Just google it for the whole "Disputation."

Here are some tid-bits from Luther's Bondage of the Will:

Since God's foreknowledge is not uncertain, "free-will" is non-existent

It is fundamentally necessary and healthy for Christians to acknowledge that God foreknows nothing uncertainly, but that He foresees, purposes, and does all things according to His own immutable, eternal and infallible will. This bombshell knocks "free-will" flat, and utterly shatters it; so that those who want to assert it must either deny my bombshell, or pretend not to notice it, or find some other way of dodging it. Surely it was you, my good Erasmus, who a moment ago asserted that God is by nature just, and kindness itself? If this is true, does it not follow that He is immutably just and kind? that, as His nature remains unchanged to all eternity, so do His justice and kindness? And what is said of His justice and kindness must be said also of His knowledge, His wisdom, His goodness, His will, and the other Divine attributes. But if it is religious, godly and wholesome, to affirm these things of God, as you do, what has come over you, that now you should contradict yourself by affirming that it is irreligious, idle and vain to say that God foreknows by necessity? You insist that we should learn the immutability of God's will, while forbidding us to know the immutably of His foreknowledge! Do you suppose that He does not will what He foreknows, or that He does not foreknow what He wills? If he wills what He foreknows, His will is eternal and changeless, because His nature is so. From which it follows, by resistless logic, that all we do, however it may appear to us to be done freely and optionally, is in reality done necessarily and immutably in respect of God's will. For the will of God is effective and cannot be impeded, since power belongs to God's nature; and His wisdom is such that He cannot be deceived. Since, then His will is not impeded, what is done cannot but be done where, when, how, as far as, and by whom, He foresees and wills...


A will which has no power without grace is not free

You describe the power of "free-will" as small, and wholly ineffective apart from the grace of God. Agreed? Now then, I ask you: If God's grace is wanting, if it is taken away from that small power, what can it do? It is ineffective, you say, and can do nothing good. So it will not do what God or His grace wills. Why? Because we have now taken God's grace away from it, and what the grace of God does not do is not good. Hence it follows that "free-will" without God's grace is not free at all, but is the permanent prisoner and bondslave of evil, since it cannot turn itself to good. This being so, I give you full permission to enlarge the power of "free-will" as much as you like; make it angelic, make it divine, if you can! - but when you add this doleful postscript, that it is ineffective apart from God's grace, straightway you rob it of all its power. What is ineffective power but (in plain language) no power? So to say that "free-will" exists and has power, albeit ineffective power, is, in the Sophists' phrase, a contradiction in terms. It is like saying "'free-will' is something which is not free" - as if you said that fire is cold and earth hot. Fire certainly has power to heat; but if hell-fire (even) was cold and chilling instead of burning and scorching, I would not call it "fire", let alone "hot" (unless you meant to refer to an imaginary fire, or a painted one). Note, however, that if we meant by "the power of free-will" the power which makes human beings fit subjects to be caught up by the Spirit and touched by God's grace, as creatures made for eternal life or eternal death, we should have a proper definition. And I certainly acknowledge the existence of this power, this fitness, or "dispositional quality" and "passive aptitude" (as the Sophists call it), which, as everyone knows, is not given to plants or animals. As the proverb says, God did not make heaven for geese! It is a settled truth, then, even on the basis of your own testimony, that we do everything of necessity, and nothing by "free-will"; for the power of "free-will" is nil, and it does no good, nor can do, without grace. It follows, therefore, that "free-will" is obviously a term applicable only to Divine Majesty; for only He can do, and does (as the Psalmist sings) "whatever he wills in heaven and earth" [Psalms 135:6]. If "free-will" is ascribed to men, it is ascribed with no more propriety than divinity itself would be - and no blasphemy could exceed that! So it befits theologians to refrain from using the term when they want to speak of human ability, and to leave it to be applied to God only. They would do well also to take the term out of men's mouths and speech, and to claim it for their God, as if it were His own holy and awful Name. If they must at all hazards assign some power to men, let them teach that it be denoted by some other term than "free-will"; especially since we know from our own observation that the mass of men are sadly deceived and misled by this phrase. The meaning which it conveys to their minds is far removed from anything that theologians believe and discuss. The term "free-will" is too grandiose and comprehensive and fulsome. People think it means what the natural force of the phrase would require, namely, a power of freely turning in any direction, yielding to none and subject to none. If they knew that this was not so, and that the term signifies only a tiny spark of power, and that utterly ineffective in itself, since it is the devil's prisoner and slave, it would be a wonder if they did not stone us as mockers and deceivers, who say one thing and mean another - indeed, who have not yet decided what we do mean! Since, therefore, we have lost the meaning and the real reference of this glorious term, or, rather, have never grasped them (as was claimed by the Pelagians, who themselves mistook the phrase) why do we cling so tenaciously to an empty word, and endanger and delude faithful people in consequence? There is no more wisdom in so doing then there is in the modern foible of kings and potentates, who retain, or lay claim to, empty titles of kingdoms and countries, and flaunt them, while all the time they are really paupers, and anything but the possessors of those kingdoms and countries. We can tolerate their antics, for they fool nobody, but just feed themselves up - unprofitably enough - on their own vainglory. But this false idea of "free-will" is a real threat to salvation, and a delusion fraught with the most perilous consequences. If we do not want to drop this term ["free-will"] altogether - which would really be the safest and most Christian thing to do - we may still in good faith teach people to use it to credit man with "free-will" in respect, not of what is above him, but of what is below him. That is to say, man should realize that in regard to his money and possessions he has a right to use them, to do or to leave undone, according to his own "free-will" - though that very "free-will" is overruled by the free-will of God alone, according to His own pleasure. However, with regard to God, and in all that bears on salvation or damnation, he has no "free-will", but is a captive, prisoner and bondslave, either to the will of God, or to the will of Satan.


... I shall here end this book, ready though I am to pursue the matter further, if need be; but I think that abundant satisfaction has here been afforded for the godly man who is willing to yield to truth without stubborn resistance. For if we believe it to be true that God foreknows and foreordains all things; that He cannot be deceived or obstructed in His foreknowledge and predestination; and that nothing happens but at His will (which reason itself is compelled to grant); then, on reason's own testimony, there can be no "free-will" in man, or angel, or in any creature. So, if we believe that Satan is the prince of this world, ever ensnaring and opposing the kingdom of Christ with all his strength, and that he does not let his prisoners go unless he is driven out by the power of the Divine Spirit, it is again apparent that there can be no "free-will". So, if we believe that original sin has ruined us to such an extent that even in the godly, who are led by the Spirit, it causes abundance of trouble by striving against good, it is clear that in a man who lacks the Spirit nothing is justify that can turn itself to good, but only to evil. Again, if the Jews, who followed after righteousness with all their powers, fell into unrighteousness instead, while the Gentiles, who followed after unrighteousness, attained to an un-hoped-for righteousness, by God's free gift, it is equally apparent from their very works and experience that man without grace can will nothing but evil. And, finally, if we believe that Christ redeemed men by His blood, we are forced to confess that all of man was lost; otherwise, we make Christ either wholly superfluous, or else the redeemer of the least valuable part of man only; which is blasphemy, and sacrilege.

There you go, Antonio. Luther did not believe in "free-will," and further did not believe that anybody could "believe" unless they were foreordained and given God's grace in order to receive the gift of life by faith.

It is common knowledge, Antonio, that even contemporary Lutherans (who are different than Luther) follow the same "order of salvation" as their Calvinist brethren (this is undisputed).

And I didn't mean to say that you can't use Luther out of context; just that this is an inconsistent and rather confusing practice (given Luther's view of the "order of salvation" and how integral this is to his understanding of saving faith) . . . so go ahead, Antonio.

Well, if the kettle is black, as far as semi-Pelagianism . . . well. Okay, I'll just put my head in the sand too then.

In fact, I'll just leave you all alone; I've been away from commenting here for awhile (until recently) and now I remember why. You can go ahead and continue your preaching to the choir, Antonio . . . you seem to enjoy it that way.

Bye.

March 01, 2009 9:32 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Dear Friends,

FREEWILL or NOT?

The issue of SOVEREIGNTY... What does it mean?

I could never understand why believing that man has a free will down sizes God's sovereignty??? He's God. Why can't He choose to give man free will? Does He want our love because He MADE us believe or because He gave us the free will to believe?

A missionary friend had an interesting point of view on this.
He asked me this question....
What does sovereignty mean?
My answer.... That God is in control of everything.
That was the correct answer.
He then asked me....
Is sovereignty part of God's character?

His point was that sovereignty is NOT part of God's character.
These are character issues.
God is LOVE... (His character)
God is merciful...
God is kind...
God is good...
God is just...
God is patient...
God is compassionate...
etc., etc!

His point.....
God's sovereignty is taking man's choices (foolish or otherwise) and bringing glory and honor to Himself anyway.
God is in control of everything. It does not diminish God's character for us to be given choices in salvation or any other area of life. Human responsibility in salvation is not shrinking God. It does not "downsize" His character, nor does it change the fact that God is in complete control of everything. BECAUSE He is in control He has chosen to give us free will. It's His choice to make it that way. He is sovereign! He is in control of everything. He can do whatever He wants. He is so BIG that He is able to take all of our choices..... all the "what ifs" which might be...... married this one instead of that one, went to this school instead of that school, chose to disobey God rather than obey Him, responded in faith to the salvation He provided to those who believe, rejected His offer of salvation. He is able to take all of our free choices and have everything turn out exactly according to His plan and purpose, bringing glory and honor to Himself. That's how BIG God is!!! He wants our love and devotion because we want Him.... not because He "programmed" us that way.

Just some thoughts I had tonight.
Thank you.

Diane

March 01, 2009 10:30 PM  
Blogger Bobby Grow said...

Please forgive me for the terseness of my last comment (Antonio), it was written too quickly ;-).

Having said that, I think my time here (at this blog) is done for now. I do love you all here, as my brothers and sisters in Christ; I just think my pontificating here probably not that edifying (for those here, and probably myself --- for various reasons). Anyway, it's good to know that there are still passionate people out in the world who love Jesus; so I am glad to know all you FG'rs --- keep the faith (not in the Arminian or Calvinist sense of course --- the Pauline sense ;-), and I'll enjoy seeing your faces in heaven (especially the surprised looks, when you realize that "Bobby" guy was right after all ;-) hehe funny funny).

In Christ,

Bobby Grow

March 01, 2009 11:26 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Alvin you nearly made me wake the whole house laughing. Did you ever look at something you typed knwing it was wrong but not being able to see it to save your life? ;-)

March 02, 2009 2:03 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Hi Diane. It’s a pleasure to “inter-meet” you. ;-) I have been blessed by your graciousness here many times and it’s an honor to be in discussion with you. I hope my reply to Antonio below will help clarify my position for you. If not I will always be happy to answer any of your questions. ;-)

March 02, 2009 2:11 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Antonio, please forgive me. I was not trying to avoid your questions but rather trying to avoid my terse answer that sounded unloving and overly harsh in my ears. My answer to each of your original questions is, “The Word of God”. My previous reply was intended to elaborate on that answer. With regard to my understanding or misconceptions of this scenario I suspect it best I address your last question first and then we can see if I miss its beauty or simply disagree. ;-)

You ask, ” How does one possess eternal life in your estimation? , and be verbose, that we might examine it.”

I think we would all agree that eternal life comes only by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. I won’t even try to address the grace of God for now. I think I could write for the rest of my life and still miserably fail to expound on the grace of God that brings salvation but faith in Jesus is so simple. Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, whether they know it or not, and those who are born of God shall never die, whether they know it or not. More important, these persons have entered into a permanent relationship with God. IOW they now know God in Christ and have life in and with Him.

The Gospel message, which is the power of God to salvation, is adequate and ample in both identifying the man Jesus and in establishing His power and authority as Christ, the Son of God, the Savior of the world. If through this message you have come to see that this Jesus is this Christ then, whether you know it or not, you can have the assurance of God’s Word that you too are born of God and His Spirit abides in you and to be honest, I’m pretty sure you’ll know it!;-)

March 02, 2009 2:25 AM  
Blogger alvin said...

Bobby said:

keep the faith (not in the Arminian or Calvinist sense of course --- the Pauline sense ;-), and I'll enjoy seeing your faces in heaven (especially the surprised looks, when you realize that "Bobby" guy was right after all ;-) hehe funny funny).

Hi Bobby,

I’m sure you think your right on this one “regeneration preceding faith.” But there was also a genius who thought he was right too. He thought he could look down God’s end of the tube “so to speak.” And he thought he saw a horrible decree, so he let everyone know what he thought he saw. But Bobby ONLY God can look down that end because He sees the beginning and the end at the same time.
I know you think you’ve figured it out how God does things by looking at the Incarnation, that it was all settled right there, so what ever will be will be, say sara sarra. Sorry a song came to mind?!? But God has ONLY let us all see the one end of the tube clearly, and that is our responsibility. In fact He commands every person repentance toward God and faith toward Jesus Christ. And just as the women at the well He WILL NOT GIVE the gift of eternal life UNTIL they know the gift of God and who it is they are believing in. And every man and women boy and girl is responsible before God not to do something their not capable of doing, but something He has commanded them to do and has supplied the ability by grace to believe in Him.

Alvin :)

P/s Mr. Editer man i could use some help on my "sara sarra?" I don't have 10 dollars but I will give you some Love in the Lord!

March 02, 2009 3:09 AM  
Blogger agent4him said...

Alvin, Diane,

It's "Editor man...," Alvin. I feel like a fourth grade teacher having to carry around a ruler to slap knuckles when kids get out of line. Or the Monty Python Roman centurion in "The Life of Brian" who so primly corrected the first century Jew who misspelled the Latin graffiti he had painted on the walls that was meant to say "Romans go home!"

I felt a knife go into my brain when I saw "say, sara, sarra"! It's "Que sera, sera," with an accent mark over both a's (I haven't figured out yet how to do accents or other symbols on HTML).

Anyway---about Bobby---he has studied a lot of theologians in obviously great depth; I'm not sure how conclusively he personally adheres to Luther's Bondage. He was just citing Luther to make sure that Antonio wasn't misconstruing Luther's position on the ordo salutis. (But even then, I'm not sure Luther was consistent throughout his life on a lot of these issues.) That was the first time I had read such a large "snippet" of Bondage, and I must say, Luther was ahead of his time in relying so heavily (and, it seems to me, without even realizing the implications of what he was saying) on a faulty logical-positivistic epistemology. Part of the problem was that he was blogging with Erasmus (I mean that seriously) and felt the need to jam it conclusively down Erasmus' throat using that epistemological framework as his "weapon."

Now, forgive me, Alvin, for using those words, but even if you can't spell them, you have shown me that you understand why Luther's view of the way we can know something as inscrutable as the connection between human will and God's sovereign disposition (call it his "decree") doesn't hold up: When you used the "looking down the tube" analogy, I think you nailed it about as much as we can wrap our brains around that connection--after that, we just have to let it go.

A fairly large proportion of the book of Ecclesiastes---with which I have a fairly good working familiarity---is devoted to slapping down the human conceit that we can go anywhere as far as Luther arrogantly presumed to go in divining the nature of God's foreknowledge and its relationship to human will, constraining that humanly inscrutable connection within the limited dimensions of space and time. Luther was much more arrogant in his convictions than I am at all comfortable with, and that helps explain to me, in part at least, why he was so tortured in his later life. It wasn't too long ago in my own life that I would argue points just as conclusively on the basis of that faulty epistemology, and now I can see where a lot of contemporary theologians have derived some of their own arrogance in presuming to be able to conclusively determine that there is something like double predestination and TULIP---concepts which are based in large part on applying the same specious, epistemological framework to selective statements in Scripture.

I've got to admit, Diane, that your take on human free will and God's sovereignty was as clear as many I have heard, and I really have nothing to add to what you said.

Again, regarding Bobby, I have spent some time dialoguing with him on his own blog, and I would caution all on this site to be very careful before assuming too much about his inner convictions, simply because he relies so much on his knowledge of what past and present theologians have written in order to argue his own points. What I see is that Bobby has been trying his best to make sure that Antonio and others don't misrepresent the views of Calvin, Luther, etc., by over-interpreting some of their statements. Honestly, I don't really know Bobby's most deeply held convictions about this topic, but I believe he's really trying to work out what he thinks, in part at least, in dialogue with the rest of us; maybe he for one is actually taking seriously the popular current catch-phrase, "theology is best done in community."

I agree that it is good for Bobby to take a breather from Antonio's site for awhile and gather his thoughts. He has a tortured way, sometimes, of expressing what he is trying to say, and I think many of us have missed what he was trying to get across. I find that he seems much clearer in some respects when he does his videos, which by the way I would recommend you take a look at to get a sense of who you are dealing with.

March 02, 2009 5:53 AM  
Blogger Gary said...

Hi Alvin:

What does your father mean by repentance?

Gary

March 02, 2009 9:56 AM  
Blogger Gary said...

Hi Alvin:

What does your father mean by repentance?

Gary

March 02, 2009 9:56 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Hi all.

Just love you all and love reading these posts.

Bobby Grow is a standup man and a very intelligent thinker. I am proud to know him, and would love to take him out to dinner and hash some more of this stuff out.

Bobby Grow,

Please take your time, but please do join us back here. I would very much like to discuss these things in greater detail with you.

Antonio

March 02, 2009 1:45 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Casey,

Every term or title has contentst to it.

Let us, for the time being, remove the term "the Christ" from our minds.

Let us say, instead, that 1 John 5:1 stated, "Whoever believes that Jesus is the Nezbitzenheimer is born of God"

Taking your current soteriology, fill the meaning of the term "Nezbitzenheimer" so that the above statement would be true. In other words, fill us in on what would be saving faith if we believed that Jesus is the Nezbitzenheimer, so that when we believed that content we were saved.

Please be verbose, so that we can examine the content that you pour into the term "the Christ" that makes actually believing that Jesus is the Christ salvific.

Ask me questions if you aren't sure what I am asking of you.

Thanks for your last comment by the way. I do appreciate you, and you know as well as I our differences in both the content of saving faith and the doctrine of assurance.

I am afraid that I do not know exactly what you believe is the content of saving faith.

Thank you for your time and patience.

Antonio

March 02, 2009 1:52 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Hey Jim,

I read alot of what Bobby posted, but I didn't read it all. It seemed to endlessly engage in the same arguments and words.

I did not read anything about Luther's ordo salutis in what I read.

I believe my reading of Preus, a Lutheran scholar, is correct. I must maintain that it is one thing to say that Luther didn't believe in free-will prior to regeneration, but it is another thing altogether to say that he believed regeneration preceded faith.

You see, there is more than one way to post the absolute bondage of the will and at the same time regard justification and regeneration to follow faith.

I believe I expounded it when I related Preus's ordo:

1) The reality of absolution and justification is preached through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ.

2) God, through the word preached, creates the faith in the man, as a gift

3) through faith one has regeneration, justification, forgiveness of sins, etc.

Preus says, "First, following Article II of the Formula of Concord, they show that man's receiving the grace of God in faith is itself a gift of grace, and that the absolution that forgives works the very faith to receive that forgiveness."

Listen, if faith, according to Luther and Lutheranism "is purely instrumental" and "pure receptivity" it obviously has to receive something. If one is regenerated prior to faith, then what does the faith apprehend?

Furthermore, Preus is completely comfortable stating that the whole package deal is received by faith. He stated that eternal life, reconciliation, regeneration, justification, and forgiveness of sins all come after faith.

I could not read one clear statement of Luther's stating that he believed that regeneration preceded faith. Quite clearly, according to Luther's own descriptions of faith, we rightly conclude that faith is the conduit which receives God's grace.

Like I said, Luther could posit that man has no free will and still state that the package deal is apprehended by faith. How? By God creating faith in the person through the hearing of the word of God.

Such a thought closely parallels Zane Hodges' own theology. He believes that when the word of God is presented God shines the light into the heart and faith is created. He too, would state that this is done for the elect, as I am sure Luther would.

My theology parallels Zane's, but I don't have the same understanding of elect as he did.

Luther's descriptions of faith, and Lutheranism's declarations about how faith is created (or given as a gift) are all very interesting reads, and there is so much we can glean from them.

your fg theology blog host,

Antonio

March 02, 2009 2:08 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Gary,

Just wanted you to know that I have enjoyed and read all the comments that you have left over the last few months. I get them on email alerts. Thank you for the time you take in reading and engaging my posts.

Thanks also for the encouragement that you always leave.

Your free grace theology brother,

Antonio

March 02, 2009 2:19 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Alvin and Diane,

I, too, mirror Jim's statements about your guy's posts. Very good indeed! I appreciate the tube metaphor and the Diane's teaching dialogue.

Thanks you guys for your participation,

Antonio

March 02, 2009 2:20 PM  
Blogger dreiher2 said...

I have spent a lot of time thinking about the nature of saving faith from these messages. Sorry it is so long. . . I cut out a lot.

People are misquoting Zane and taking his words out of context. Any teacher, who challenges the status quo and does inductive study of the text, opens themselves up to all sorts of attacks because people don't like that. Even Dr. Radmacher stated that he disagreed at first with some of the things Zane said, but after careful thought and study of the text itself, he ended up agreeing with him, most of the time. People do NOT want to study the Bible or look at the context. Most folks have very little time and patience, and want to have the answers pre-digested and spoon fed to them. ANY view which is based upon careful study of the Word of God, rather than Theology, Confessions or Philosophy, is going to encounter some heat. People never want the Biblical answer. . . they want more than the text actually says. Zane and GES are bursting people's bubbles. People do NOT want to have to study OR admit they are wrong. Some people would actually lose their reputations or even their jobs if they switched their view to agree with what the Bible actually says. People are not being objective. There is more at stake than a "view."

Zane called the guy on the island illustration a "strange scenario." To every thinking person, this should alert the hearer/reader that Zane is going to be a Seminary professor, and instead of spoon feeding us, he is going to say something to try to make us think! Zane said, "Suppose our unsaved man 'somehow' becomes convinced that this person in the Bible called Jesus can guarantee his eternal future." The correct response would be, "In one sense, the guy COULD get everlasting life, but on the other hand, it would be strange if he did." After all, Zane said this was a "strange" scenario.

Zane was stressing the core or sine quo non of the Gospel message, and was not describing a method. I think "core" is better than saying "bare minimum." (When I think of bare minimum I think of buying insurance.) Zane felt that we must give people as much information as possible about the Gospel in the Bible AND also the "bare minimum." Think in terms of BOTH. That was his answer at the 2005 GES Conference in California at the very beginning of the panel discussion. Unless you understand that we need to give people information about Christ AND the "bare minimum" then you don't understand what he was talking about. Think of the "bare minimum" as the "bullseye" as the response you are looking for, and not the rest of the target or the rest of the landscape. Think about shooting at a target with no concentric rings. . . only a bullsye. That is the "strange scenario." Those other things are important, but Zane was talking about focusing on the bullseye. If you miss the bullseye, then it does not matter how much other information you have. The moment a person hits the bullseye, then we can stop giving them more information. They have everlasting life!

As Zane described many times in other messages and in the Q&A session from these two sessions in 2000, he stressed that we need to present enough teaching about Jesus being the Christ until the person gets to the point where they are convinced Jesus can give them Everlasting Life as a free gift. He NEVER stated that there is such thing as a minimum which is the same for every person. He said it is essential to tell people about the Cross and Resurrection, or else they probably won't understand how everlasting life can be offered as a free gift.

In my understanding, Zane was stressing that each person has a "tipping point" {my words. . not Zane's} at which the person has enough information about the person and work of Christ at which they become convinced that Jesus can gives them everlasting life as a free gift. If the guy on the island was so naive that the tipping point was two verses. . . who is to say that God could not work that way? If the Holy Spirit is not at work, and you do not sense Him working, then the person will not get it no matter how much information we give. At the point where the person "gets it" they have reached the place of the "bare minimum." In other words they believe the "giver" (i.e. Christ) for the free gift (i.e. everlasting life).

- Don

March 02, 2009 3:22 PM  
Blogger Gary said...

Bro. Alvin:

Thank you so much for this post. I am especially glad you put in the references to the quotes from Calvin.

I look at this entire problem differently than either you or Antonio, I think.

What is required is that a person be convinced that he is saved by Christ really in spite of his own sinfulness and indeed not because of anything he has in himself.

What it takes for different people to believe that Christ has saved them eternally depends upon the person. They must be convinced that Christ not only is able to do so, but that He has done so. For those who require some of the doctrines which Antonio enunciates, it was necessary for those persons to believe these doctrines to get to the point where they could believe He saved them.

Zane's dessert island story was about a fictional person who was ABLE to believe Christ without believing additional doctrines as prerequisites.

For some, indeed, I would venture to say almost ALL, many other doctrines must first be believed before one is convinced that Christ has saved them.

This is akin to what Antonio discussed in a well written post about logical necessity.

We have to realize that all people are not able to think abstractly as well as others.

How can we say that we didn't need some of these doctrines as a necessary basis for reaching saving faith?

I know that I needed a lot of teachings before I FINALLY got the truth.

The real change or regeneration happens when one finally actually believes ANY of Christ's propositions which proffer eternal life.

Gary

March 02, 2009 4:02 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Hey Don,

Thanks for finally dropping by!

I appreciate very much your comments, and agree to them all. I especially like how you emphasized Zane's proclamation that his illustration of his is a "strange scenario". Also I hear you loud and clear when you tell us that this scenario was essentially Zane being the consummate professor getting his students to think.

Indeed, in the second talk he gave, he stated as much. He said, "I got you thinking!"

Thanks again for all your hard work and I look forward to the presentations at the GES that you are developing that will honor Zane Hodges.

Antonio

March 02, 2009 4:09 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Hey Gary,

I don't know what differences you see with me. Maybe you can expound those.

One thing that we have to understand is that surely information will have to be believed concerning Christ before one can be convinced that He guarantees their eternal destiny by faith in Him. But we must understand that this is a subjective area that will be different with each individual, as you have adeptly stated.

Gary wrote:
----------
For those who require some of the doctrines which Antonio enunciates, it was necessary for those persons to believe these doctrines to get to the point where they could believe He saved them.
----------
This may or may not be true, but I see where you are going with this. Many people evangelize the way that they were evangelized.

Thanks again for your participation!

Antonio

March 02, 2009 4:32 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi Don,

THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH FOR YOUR WONDERFUL, HELPFUL, CLEAR POST regarding the teaching of Zane Hodges.
AMEN! AMEN! AMEN!

I hope that your comments will reach beyond this blog!!! I hope many who read it will forward it to many who also will forward it to many!!!

Very well stated and you are "right on!!!"

Thanking God for you!!!

All because of His wonderful grace,
Diane
:-)

March 02, 2009 4:49 PM  
Blogger agent4him said...

Thanks, Antonio, for that clarification on Preus and your thoughts on Luther's ordo (or lack of it?).

Confessedly, I am not well schooled in Lutheran theology. I can see where concepts of election might be obfuscated by various views on faith as a gift vs. "illumination" and vice-versa. I think Rene Lopez has made a quite compelling argument in his Bib Sac article, "Is faith a Gift?," which he answers in the negative.

March 02, 2009 5:00 PM  
Blogger David Wyatt said...

Howdy bro. Antonio!

Bro. Don! Great post, & I think I am finally getting it through my thick skull what you & others are saying about bro. Hodges' "desert island scenario." Your clarification of "core" ratehr than "bare minimum" was helpful to me. I don't know why, but that terminology "bare minimum" just never set well with me. I guess it's the "different people" thang at work & I'm about as "different" as they come! I still am working on all this but your post was helpful.
I am gonna make a statement, & I hope it's understood. I am proud of you, bro. Antonio! I know you came from a Catholic background, & now here you are touting God's all-sufficient grace apart from any works we could ever do! It is Christ alone! I know I don't agree with you on everything & it is likely because I haven't studied enough yet or understood you rightly yet, but I just thought you needed that e-pat on the e-back!
Bro. Gary! I appreciated one thing you said so much I almost burst! You said, "What is required is that a person be convinced that he is saved by Christ really in spite of his own sinfulness and indeed not because of anything he has in himself." Man that really blessed me! Thank you & may the Lord bless you all.

March 02, 2009 6:16 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Antonio, thanks for your reply and again your time.

You know I hate labels. I have not met two who claim to be Calvinist that fully agrees on what that means and neither have I met two advocates of Free Grace Theology that fully agree. For that matter neither have I found two Baptist, or two Roman Catholics, etc, who agree. For this cause I refuse to claim any label for myself other than “believer”. It may help you to zero in on my position to know what Jody called me when she came to understand my position. She labeled me a “hyper-gracer” and although I don’t accept that, I am fond of it. ;-)

I am sure there are many attributes of The Christ, any of which could serve to uniquely distinguish His person, such as “the giver of life”, “the one sent from God”, “the Lamb of God”, etc, however each serves to clearly establish His power and authority as the Son of God. I am confident we agree that our faith is not contingent on the depth of our understanding of these attributes but rather on our trust in His power and authority.

I find our main difference on this topic is that I would say we must trust that the man Jesus is Christ having power and authority as the Son of God where I would understand you to say we must trust that the man Jesus has the power and authority to give eternal life and we must know that and ask for it in order to have it. I think our emphasis on eternal life might be different as well. Where I would emphasize the abundant life found in our relationship with God in Christ it seems your emphasis is on a continued existence.

It should be clear now that even if we presuppose God in the Desert Island scenario and remove the absurdity I would still object based on the intended object of faith, a continued existence vs. the person of Jesus Christ.

March 02, 2009 6:36 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Dave... You sure are a blessing on this blog!!!
:-)

March 02, 2009 7:16 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

I meant to say.....
DaVID!!!!! :-)

March 02, 2009 7:17 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Just thinking tonight back to the days when I was first saved.

At that time I was just a normal teenager. Always went to Sunday School. Believed all kinds of right things about God as recorded in the Bible. Learned the Bible stories. Believed that the Bible was the Word of God. Held it in high regard. Believed that Jesus was the Son of God. I guess I understood that to mean He was God, but I never really thought that much about it. I knew He died on the cross, and I suppose I knew it was for my sins but I don't remember thinking about that either. There were just a lot of things that I knew and believed. But it wasn't until someone said something to me in high school that caught my attention and changed my life forever. What was said wasn't even particularly meaningful as I understand things today. A friend told me about another girl that said something to her that she shared with me. She said that this girl said.....
"I have a wonderful relationship with my Savior!"
Well, today that doesn't mean much, but God the Holy Spirit used it in my life to draw me to Himself. I wanted to get to know this girl who said that and find out what she meant by it. I remember thinking...... Does she know God personally like a friend?"
I got to know her and she invited me to a "Youth For Christ" Club in the school. The rest is history.
During that time God used that organization and friends to turn the light on for me. For the first time in my life I remember thinking... "WOW! That's why He died.... to pay for my sins personally so that I could go to heaven." Sometime during that period of time John 3:16 came to mean something very precious to me. For the first time in my life I knew I was eternally saved based on God's promise that whoever believes in Him (Jesus) will have everlasting life and won't perish in hell. It was such a simple verse, and yet so profound!!!! I learned that verse as a child, but never realized what it meant until the Holy Spirit turned the light on for me. I FOUND MYSELF BELIEVING!!! FAITH HAPPENED!!!

All this theology about saving faith that we discuss is nothing more than what I believed as a teenager, before I knew anything about theology. I just simply believed what God said in that wonderful little verse. And I KNEW I was saved forever based on His promise. I also KNEW that in order to be saved eternally you must believe that promise. I knew that back then, and I still know that today!!! Nothing's changed!!! Absolutely nothing!!! All these years and I'm still in awe of the simple truth that saves. PRAISE GOD!!!

I just felt compelled to share that with all of you. I am so thankful to my Savior for what He did for me on the cross of Calvary long ago.
I love HIM because He first loved me!!!

Rejoicing tonight and forever because of Jesus,
Diane
:-)

March 02, 2009 9:33 PM  
Blogger Gary said...

Dear All:

It seems we have a Calvinist in our midst. Bobby.

Augustine and Calvin (and to a lesser degree Luther) brought great error into the church.

Calvin was nothing but a murderer.

Luther was no better.

The quotes that Alvin gave prove my point about Calvin's theology being from the pit of hell.

A great deal of the theology produced by Augustine, Calvin, and Luther blaspheme God more than any atheist I have ever read.

I am surprised that Antonio has been so polite to a person who believes that Our God who is Love is infinitely worse than Satan!

This IS the bottom line of Calvinism and Reformed Theology, that God is worse than the devil, for the devil is merely a finite creature, but the being which Calvinism worships is infinitely evil.

Gary

March 03, 2009 6:14 PM  
Blogger Gary said...

Greetings All:

Another thought about Zane's dessert scenario.

His point, it seems to me, is that IF a person WAS convinced of the truth of the snippets found, they would be saved.

The amount of information needed to persuade one of saving truth depends upon the person.

As Antonio, I think, wrote an atheist would first have to be convinced that God existed before he would have the necessary basis for believing the gospel.

All atheists deny that such a thing as eternal life exists!

They deny creation and necessarily a creator.

A little child has fewer false doctrines to overcome before they can believe the gospel.

The "turning point" is believing ANY of the propositions of scripture which proffer eternal life.

One need not believe or not believe any other doctrine unless it prevents that person from believing the saving propostion.

I was conversing with a couple of JW's. While they believe many false doctrines they WOULD be saved while still believing them IF they actually believed any saving propositional truth.

When presented with several of the many such propositions they all rejected them outright! Which is to be expected.

I've know JW's who converted, but before their conversion they needed to be convinced of the falseness of many of their false doctrines.

Zane's point, I think, was not that such a case as he presented is even possible, but to show the minimal (NO necessary) content of saving faith.

If even a Calvinist actually believed any saving proposition they would be saved. But although Bobby, for instance would affirm he believes John 6:47, after some interrogation we, I think, would find that he in actuallity does not.

This can be determined as Bob W. suggested, by a continued dialog.

Since all Calvinist's believe the P of TULIP, (or at least those who do so, and have always so believed), CANNOT believe the saving truth, because P contradicts it.

Gary

March 03, 2009 6:43 PM  
Blogger goe said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

March 03, 2009 6:49 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Gary,

I am a Free Grace Christian. I preach grace, live grace, and desire grace. I try to be gracious in my dealings with those I disagree with.

Furthermore, I do not want to(although I have been guilty of) painting people with broad strokes. I am non-Calvinist, but I do not believe all Calvinists unsaved, and surely I do not believe Bobby Grow to be unsaved. He is a friend of mine, and he is welcomed here on this blog.

There are genuine and sincere people struggling with issues pertaining to God's sovereignty, predestination, election, etc. I want this blog to be a lighthouse for them, a place where they can speak freely and dialogue.

I do not believe that Calvinists worship another God, although I believe that they are in great error. I want to try to love and be known by my love. Whether you are a Calvinist, a Mormon, an Agnostic, or an Athiest, you will know that I am a disciple of Christ by my love.

Gary, will you join me in loving those who God loves, and with grace correcting those who may be in error?

your free grace brother,

Antonio

March 03, 2009 8:15 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

goe(gary)....

Glad to see you back on the blog. I'm glad you signed your name that way. For a while I thought the OTHER Gary was you!!!
:-)

It's so nice to meet friends here who love to talk about God's grace and share their insights with all of us. You are much appreciated!!!

All because of His wonderful grace,
Diane
:-)

March 03, 2009 10:24 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Yes Gary!!!!!
Welcome back!!!!!! :)
Thank you for all your encouragment!!!!
Your a blessing to me!!!!
May God fill you with Joy and Peace!!!!

alvin :)

March 04, 2009 5:02 AM  
Blogger Gary said...

Antonio:

One point, I have not yet read all on this link, but a MAJOR difference in Lutheranism is that they teach that one is saved AS LONG AS one continues to believe.

Gary

March 04, 2009 6:27 AM  
Blogger cubicle monkey said...

agent4him, You mentioned that Luther relied on a faulty "logical-positivistic epistemology."

Would you mind explaining what you mean? Thanks.

March 04, 2009 7:05 AM  
Blogger Gary said...

Antonio says:

" How can you be sure that your answer will provide the whole of revelation necessary for this man (unless you concede it is indeed the whole bible he needs to be saved, and even in that case, would he have to apprehend a subjective or objective list of the superlative exellencies of Christ?). How could this man ever have assurance with such subjective, personal, and emotional requirements as you seem to dictate for us?"

Indeed, it seems to me, that in EVERY case, what is ADDED to the saving proposition is ARBITRARY. What is added varies from each individual! What the Calvinist adds differs from what the list so-called free grace persons add, and indeed, every Calvinist and every LFGer have a slightly different list, and different requirements.

In one adds ANYTHING mentally, then that person does NOT believe the prosition as it is written.

This reminds me of "mental reservation."

Gary

March 04, 2009 7:25 AM  
Blogger alvin said...

I don't know about you this morning but I'm so thankful I don't serve the Calvinist God who exacts performance IF your His child.

But the God of Scripture meets you where you’re at in your sin.

And He takes you from there on a walk, and when you fall down He picks you up and brushes you off.

And sometimes has to carry you. But He has hold of your hand and will never let go all the way home to the Fathers house!


That we might be like David,

“ but I am a little child; I do not know how to go out and come in”

Alvin :)

March 04, 2009 7:45 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Hey Casey and Free Grace theology guests. I thought you might like this. It was one of my posts back in 2006, given to me by a Free Grace friend, Mr. Marty Cauley, of Silva, NC.

Eternal life is a gift and yet a reward.
Eternal life is a possession and yet an experience.
Eternal life is a promise and yet a guarantee.
Eternal life is a future hope and yet a present possession.
Eternal life is static and yet dynamic.
Eternal life is quality and yet quantity.
Eternal life is infinite and yet measured in degrees.
Eternal life is in Christ and yet is Christ.
Eternal life is knowing God and yet had by those who do not know God.
Eternal life is the seed planted and yet the harvest reaped.
Eternal life is not the result of works and yet something you must work to lay hold of.
Eternal life is a liquid that cannot be lost and yet a solid that may be taken away.
Eternal life is a present which must be received and yet cannot be returned.

March 04, 2009 8:58 AM  
Blogger agent4him said...

cubicle,

I formally apologize to you and all on Antonio's for using that terminology . . . that was cold.

I am not a philosopher, but the term "logical positivism" comes from the realm of philosophy and refers to a form of reasoning that "came of age" during the Enlightenment. "Epistemology" is the area of philosophy that deals with how one can know truth. Very basically, this form of reasoning is based on "scientific" (or "objective") observation and reasoning to conclusions from those objective observations. The problem is not that this system is a "wrong" way to approach the truth, it is just inadequate: It has no way to account for that which cannot be objectively observed when limited by space and time, as is the case with most of the supernatural realm.

So, where does Luther fit in (since he preceded the Enlightenment)? When we look at the kinds of arguments that are used in various exchanges that took place throughout Church History, we can see this kind of reasoning "poke its head out." It is evident in some of the writings and correspondence of Augustine, Aquinas and most of the Reformers, among others. It was my opinion, cubicle, that Luther erred by limiting his argument with Erasmus (in the extended quote above, courtesy of Bobby Grow, on Mar. 1 at 9:32 PM) to this kind of reasoning.

Antonio,

LOVE the eternal life thing, my man.

March 04, 2009 10:25 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Thank you KC for your nice comments!
:-)

March 04, 2009 12:26 PM  
Blogger Bobby Grow said...

I just need to clarify something on logical positivism, here is a definition from wikipedia:

Logical positivism (also called logical empiricism and neo-positivism) is a school of philosophy that combines empiricism, the idea that observational evidence is indispensable for knowledge of the world, with a version of rationalism incorporating mathematical and logico-linguistic constructs and deductions in epistemology.[1]

Logical positivism grew from the discussions of a group called the "First Vienna Circle" which gathered at the Café Central before World War I. After the war Hans Hahn, a member of that early group, helped bring Moritz Schlick to Vienna. Schlick's Vienna Circle, along with Hans Reichenbach's Berlin Circle, propagated the new doctrines more widely in the 1920s and early 1930s. It was Otto Neurath's advocacy that made the movement self-conscious and more widely known. A 1929 pamphlet written by Neurath, Hahn, and Rudolf Carnap summarized the doctrines of the Vienna Circle at that time. These included: the opposition to all metaphysics, especially ontology and synthetic a priori propositions; the rejection of metaphysics not as wrong but as having no meaning; a criterion of meaning based on Ludwig Wittgenstein's early work; the idea that all knowledge should be codifiable in a single standard language of science; and above all the project of "rational reconstruction", in which ordinary-language concepts were gradually to be replaced by more precise equivalents in that standard language. In the early 1930s, the Vienna Circle dispersed, mainly because of political upheaval and the untimely deaths of Hahn and Schlick. The most prominent proponents of logical positivism emigrated to United Kingdom and United States, where they considerably influenced American philosophy. Until the 1950s, logical positivism was the leading school in the philosophy of science. During this period of upheaval, Carnap proposed a replacement for the earlier doctrines in his "Logical Syntax of Language". This change of direction and the somewhat differing views of Reichenbach and others led to a consensus that the English name for the shared doctrinal platform, in its American exile from the late 1930s, should be "logical empiricism".


The only reason I'm quoting this rather lengthy blurb, is because it provides the "historical context" of logical positivism proper. It is really anachronisitic to paint Luther as a logical positivist. And it is not accurate to associate him with folks like Aquinas when in fact Luther's whole reason for "protesting" was ignited by his revulsion of "scholastic" (rationalism) conceptuality that Thomas Aquinas assimilated into his thought by appropriating Aristotle's categories into his theological articulation.

So no, Luther was not a rationalist (if anything he was a "mystic" given his reliance on Bernard of Clairvaux), nor a logical positivist. He "uses" "logic" in his "Bondage of the Will," to refute Erasmus; but that's no different than Free Grace's usage of "logic" to make their points.

Luther relied upon, if anything, neo-Platonic and some qualified Nominalist categories to articulate his theology (and the neo-Platonism was just assimilating Augustine's reification of neo-Platonism); I wonder what metaphysical categories FG'rs appeal to (Classical Theism ;-) to articulate their view of God, and thus salvation.

By the way, I would agree with the idea that "mathematical" equations don't work for talking about God; but Luther didn't engage this kind of "scholastic" method (conceptually) --- thus my clarification here.

We all engage "philosophical categories" to talk about God. We all think of Christ's hypostatic union (the relationship between his divine and human natures) using "philosophical categories" to articulate that relationship (neo-Platonic) . . . and we do this because we are "human beings," so the question isn't if we use so called "philosophical" categories, but which ones . . . and do those categories "serve" the Gospel, or do they destroy it? Nobody is "above" this reality, FG included, it is fine to claim "ignorance" or "simplicity," because the Gospel is simple; but when we start proclaiming that this "tradition" or that one is from hell, then we better be ready to engage the rather "profound" under-belly of the Gospel; and argue (not just assert) why any other system of "theology" beyond FG is a "hellish one."

I've found, though, that comment threads on blogs are really only good for making suggestions (there really isn't space to provide real argument or provide real context in a blog thread --- to try and compress points that require at least paper length treatments to develop is really not realistic --- thus my own "tortured" approach ;-). That's why making "universal statements" on undeveloped points (like on Calvin or Luther for example) is just not all that "Christian," or serious; we need to be careful, and not "fearful," and quick (I say to self) when we approach such important, and even complex issues. We need to avoid reductionistic thinking that "hastily" reduces systems of thought into "sweeping generalized" categories that don't really reflect reality after all . . . we all will be held accountable (e.g. loss of reward) for errant words and accusations we made in this body (good intentions won't cover us) --- so we need to be careful.

Just felt like I needed to provide some words of clarification on a few things. Alright, go in peace . . .

March 04, 2009 1:16 PM  
Blogger Gary said...

Dear Antonio:

You write:

"Gary, will you join me in loving those who God loves, and with grace correcting those who may be in error?

This is your space and I will try to write as you suggest.

But I disagree with you as to HOW one shows love toward those in such gross error as Calvinism.

Antonio, do you believe that Jesus LOVED the Pharisees he called

Mt 23:27 Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.

I beleive that Jesus loved them as He loved John.

Calvinism presents itself today as orthodoxy. Bobby Grow quotes Luther as though he were Jesus or inspired.

Both Calvin and Luther taught that those who differed with them on key theological issues should be killed! (Murdered by my book.)

Both were instrumental in killing those who disagreed with them theologically.

Now Bobby may need to be shocked to see that he has swallowed a pack of lies, and what is worse, lies which blaspheme God.

I agree with you that they worship the same God. I was going to quote a verse which supports you post about this but haven't gotten around to it yet.

The verse is about Paul stating that the JEWS who rejected Christ did worship God! (The true God.) They just worshiped in error. The same is true of JW's.

Bobby assumes that what Luther and Calvinism teaches about foreknowledge and free will is true, but it is absolutely false.

Contrary to Luther, God knows free will choices.

The theology of Luther and Calvinism dealing with God's sovereignty and free will makes God the author of all sin. It is that simple.

Bobby's arrogance is plain. Just let us all (You, I and all who disagree with Calvinism) wait, we'll find out in heaven that Calvin was right!

Gary

March 04, 2009 6:34 PM  
Blogger agent4him said...

Bobby,

I really am sorry for using the term "logical positivism." My definition for cubicle (above) identified the two key epistemological components of empiricism and rationalism, which clearly were not exclusive to the Vienna circle and could hardly be called, in se, anachronistic. But I really don't want to quibble.

I'm just more and more convinced that when we adopt adversarial stances in dialogue like this, it adversely affects our reasoning because it compels us to defend our positions more than help each other approach the truth. I regret that I contributed to the adversarial tone on Luther.

I will follow your advice and resist the temptation to "...try and compress points that require at least paper length treatments to develop..." In my comments on Luther, I should have stuck with terminology like "rationalism," which you also deny was part of Luther's epistemology. I do have some stuff on the epistemology of the Reformers by Kenton Sparks in his recent God's Word in Human Words (Baker) which I will send you by e-mail.

March 04, 2009 7:48 PM  
Blogger Bobby Grow said...

Jim,

I wasn't trying to take an adversarial stance, I was just disagreeing :-). In fact I was even being "self-critical" in my comment (when I said I was speaking to myself as much as anybody). I think "arguing" in fact is the way that truth can be forwarded, as long as the discussion can be framed by the love of Christ. I would agree with you, that being "reactionary" is not helpful or fruitful for the body . . . but that really was not my intention --- I was just hoping to clarify on a rather important point (btw, I did see how you clarified on logical positivism and Luther above --- I just wanted to add some further nuance to your points).

I would appreciate that book, or quotes that you speak of; let me recommend Heiko Oberman's: Luther, Man Between God and the Devil. Oberman is consider an authority on Reformation/Medieval theology, and this book is an excellent one on Luther and his conceptual context. Furthermore, Luther's Dispuation Against Scholastic Theology (posted 2 mos. before he posted his infamous theses at Wittenberg) further underscores his stance on rationalism (which flows from an intellectualist anthropology).

I don't want to quibble either, Jim . . . but I do want to be of aid on things that I have spent quite a bit of time researching. Since everything under discussion at this site revolves around "historic theological issues," then being as accurate as possible, I would think, would only serve to sharpen the arguments being made here --- against "said" theological systems (such as Calvinism [which I'm not], Lutheranism [which I'm not], etc.

There is a difference between being descriptive and prescriptive when we talk; most of what I'm doing (esp. in my last and this comment) is the former. I'm pretty much going to ignore anything said about my personal positions, I don't feel the need to defend myself (at least in this venue, my blog's another story ;-).

Anyway Jim, thanks!

March 04, 2009 8:05 PM  
Blogger Bobby Grow said...

And for anybody interested here is an article written by a prof I TA'd for on Luther. This speaks to the issue of Luther's position on Thomas Aquinas' rationalism:

Luther's Real Reason for the Protestant Reformation

and for further background on Luther's relationship to rationalism:

Heidelberg Disputation

and also see Melanchthon's 1521 Loci Communes which codifies Luther's thought in "systematic" form.

All of these resources places Luther in his theological context, and also helps substantiate my claim that Luther was no "rationalist."

Jim, please don't take this as adversarial; I'm just trying to provide further context on issues that in fact have bearing on being "people of the truth."

In Christ,

Bobby Grow

March 04, 2009 8:17 PM  
Blogger agent4him said...

Fair enough, Bobster.

Thanks.

March 04, 2009 8:38 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Antonio,

I LOVE what you posted about eternal life. Thanks to Marty Cauley for giving it to you!!!
I'm going to make a copy of it and put it up somewhere in my house. JUST SO GOOD!!! Thanks.

Diane
:-)

March 04, 2009 9:36 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Antonio that is definitely one list I can get on board with. ;-)

There are two others I would consider of parallel importance that pertain to The Truth and The Way and only one list I would place above these three.

Jesus Christ is The Way
Jesus Christ is The Truth
Jesus Christ is The Life

I really appreciate the way Don Reiher framed this discussion and the point of the Deserted Island scenario. I think it provides a much better approach to this topic and I hope it will help me to better present my position.

If we consider what is truly the sine qua non, meaning that which is indispensable or “core” to the Gospel then don’t we have to say it is the person of Jesus Christ? We can speak of the truth and the way or the way and the life but we cannot know either apart from the knowledge of Jesus Christ. We cannot come to Jesus Christ through the knowledge of eternal life but we do surely come to eternal life through the knowledge of Jesus Christ.

Brethren I am only a little fish in this pond and I stand to be taught and to learn from all of you but I have to ask; if we give only the attribute of “giver of life” preeminence then haven’t we fallen short of giving Jesus Christ the preeminence in all things?

March 05, 2009 3:43 AM  
Blogger alvin said...

Luther, like many of the Reformers, held to the double predestination of the elect and rebrobate.
L.M.Vance page 66"The Other Side Of Calvinism"

(George, p. 77; Schaff, History, vol. 8, p. 547.)

March 05, 2009 5:44 AM  
Blogger Rachel said...

I just want to say that I have started a new thread about the cosf at the neutral forum Stephen created. Of course anyone can keep posting here or anywhere, but we are hoping for genuine dialogue at a neutral site, with no agendas, no banning, no deleting, etc. Whoever is interested in real dialogue on these issues, please come to the forum and discuss.

March 06, 2009 12:29 PM  
Blogger Rachel said...

Btw, I'm not saying that if someone doesn't come to the forum then they're not interested in genuine dialogue. I'm just saying it's a place for genuine dialouge.

March 06, 2009 12:37 PM  
Blogger Sanctification said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

March 06, 2009 2:08 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi Antonio,
I just want you to know that I appreciate your website (blog) and your articles (as well as your comments) so very much. I've learned so much here!!! I love your heart and your desire to start over with a new tone of loving people as Jesus loved. I hope you won't get discouraged when occasionally you hear an unkind remark against you. Jesus had unkind remarks against Him, too.

Hi Rachel,
Thank you for your invitation to dialogue at your neutral forum. I will probably read some of what's going on there. Don't know if I'll comment, but I might. Hope you and Stephen are doing well. Give his mom a big hug for me. She'll always be one of my dearest friends!!!

In Jesus' love,
Diane
:-)

March 06, 2009 5:29 PM  
Blogger Gary said...

Dear Antonio:

I hate to say it, but some people are ignoramuses, plain and simple. They stick their heads in the sand and don't let facts confuse them.

They lie and malign, and it seems think that they are being truthful and wise.

After all, if these people actually read Hodges, or the Bible for that matter, they would know better.

Some people are so ignorant that they don’t know it.

You treat them much better than I, and also much better than I think the Lord Jesus Christ or the Apostles would.

Keep up the good work.

Gary

March 07, 2009 8:51 PM  
Blogger goe said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

March 07, 2009 10:07 PM  
Blogger goe said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

March 08, 2009 6:51 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

WOW! I'm "dumbfounded" as to how far someone who calls himself a "defender of the faith" will go to malign another person on that person's website!!! I don't know if I've ever seen anything quite like this before. It's TERRIBLE!!! It's SINFUL!!! The person who is doing this has every right to disagree with Antonio and GES. He can use his blog all he wants to "defend the faith" as he sees it...... but he shouldn't do it on Antonio's blog. This is so wrong. To my friends from KC........ I hope you can see that what he is doing is wrong. Even though you may see things as he does, surely you can't defend his actions, can you? I hope not.

To my brothers and sisters in Christ........ I am one who agrees with what Antonio is teaching, what GES is teaching, what Zane Hodges is teaching...... all because I see it taught on the pages of scripture. I know that Christians can disagree on certain things and still love each other in the Lord. But we all came to faith the same way. Nobody came in the back door. We had that moment when the Holy Spirit turned the light on for us and we found ourselves believing in Jesus Christ ALONE as the only way to have everlasting life (John 3:16), life with God forever.
To attack me the way you are doing (because when you attack Antonio, Zane, and GES, you are attacking me), is not to love me the way Christ loves me. There is a place for dialogue and debate, but the way you are doing it is unChrist-like. I hope you will PLEASE go back to your blog and let us who want to learn and discuss these issues do it in peace. God has NOT called you to do this!!!

BTW...... If I were the person attacking like this, I would be afraid of God's temporal judgment.

Friends of Antonio (all of those who comment here...... those who agree or disagree, but do it in a gracious manner), I appreciate you all. I love talking about the things of the Lord. You all make me think, and for that I am grateful.

In Jesus' love,
Diane

March 08, 2009 11:32 AM  
Blogger goe said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

March 08, 2009 12:15 PM  
Blogger goe said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

March 09, 2009 5:58 AM  
Blogger wjc said...

“Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces." (Mt 7:6)
These words bear an uncanny resemblance to exactly what we see happening here on this blog...
There is nothing to be gained by attempting discourse with those whose actions bear a close resemblance to what Jesus warns about in this passage... In fact it is dangerous when they decide to "...turn and tear you to pieces."

March 09, 2009 9:16 AM  
Blogger goe said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

March 09, 2009 10:02 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

AMEN!!!
Thank you WJC.
Thank you (geo)gary.
I appreciate you so much and thank God for you.
I'm thankful for all my friends here at the blog who love to learn.

I just finished getting together with one of the young mom's who comes to my house on Monday mornings to enjoy time together in the Word of God. It's always so satisfying to be together with friends around His Word.
We're going through Zane's teaching on Repentance on Monday mornings. She's loving it because all the pieces are coming together for her. I'm loving it because I get to sharpen what I've learned in the past. Most of all, I'm in God's Word learning about HIM..... the One who loved me so much that He gave His only Son to die for me. I LOVE learning at His feet.

Ps. 34:1....
I will bless the LORD at all times;
His praise shall continually be in my mouth.


All because of HIS wonderful grace,
Diane
:-)

March 09, 2009 10:11 AM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

You all are a real blessing to me. Antonio, I have not always agreed completely with the GES position, but I do think you all make your case well and I have found you all to be very thoughtful about what you believe. I just want you to know that I appreciate the comments that you people are making and the posts by Antonio on what Zane has taught. These comments model grace. I admit, I am having trouble feeling gracious at times lately. But Gary and Diane especially, you give a good example. Michlele is the most gracious person I have seen involved yet. For her or Diane to receive anything less than respect is a mind-boggler. Oh well.

Praise the Lord anyways. :~)

March 09, 2009 10:35 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Hi all!

The Lord is gracious and merciful! Just wanted to update you all that I have completed the outlines for my workshops and am continuing to ready them. Please lift me up in your prayers!

You are all such an encouragement to me.

Antonio da Rosa

March 09, 2009 1:25 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi Antonio,

I CAN'T WAIT TO HEAR YOU AT THE GES CONFERENCE!!!

YES! We (Dale and I) will keep you in our prayers. God has opened up a door for you to share His truth. HOW NEAT is that!!!

Rose,
You are another one who is ALWAYS so gracious. I haven't said too much on your blog because I just get too busy, but I go over there and read from it often and love your character!!! You have so much good to share on your blog. I hope you never stop. Take a break sometimes (like you said you needed)..... YES! But never go away!!!
Also...... I think you have one of the "prettiest" blogs I've seen. Is that a proper way to say it???
It's really nice. I appreciate you. And besides....
WE BOTH LOVE DR. MCGEE!!!!!
:-)

This afternoon as I was having my time alone studying and praying....... off in my car in a secret place (which I get teased about from lots of my friends)......... I was going through lots of comments that I copied off of Antonio's blog written by many of you, and I underlined all kinds of good things that you said that I needed to digest and think about. It was a great afternoon. I thought to myself........ "I need to share these thoughts (the parts I underlined) with my husband so that he can appreciate what I'm learning here also. You all help me see things in a clearer light. It's GREAT!!! My husband knows how much I enjoy this. You wouldn't catch him blogging in a million years, but he reads the same books I read and takes in the same conference speakers I take in. He and I learn together, and it's WONDERFUL~!!! He knows I enjoy blogging a lot, so all is well~!!!
:-)

Again....... ANTONIO....... WE HERE AT THIS BLOG LOVE YOU!!!! Praying for you right now!!!

In Jesus' love,
Diane
:-)

March 09, 2009 2:02 PM  
Blogger goe said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

March 09, 2009 4:06 PM  
Blogger David Wyatt said...

Makes perfect sense bro. Gary. I certainly agree. In fact, Diane made a great point I believe, & that is that since the Holy Spirit is the One who enlightens our hearts & points us to Christ (Jn.16:7-11), even if one does not understand them all at the point of belief in Christ, that afterward, they would not outright reject them when they were made known to them.

Diane, I agree with you. Thank you for letting Christ shine through you.

Bro. Antonio,

Praying for you.

March 09, 2009 5:26 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

David, thank you for your kind words again. You are a person I would love to meet someday.
:-)

To all my friends....

I wanted to share with you an interesting point of view that another missionary friend gave me, (not the same missionary who shared his view on sovereignty).
I have lots of missionary friends who are the BEST!!!
:-)

Here's his insight into hardening Pharaoh's heart...
He ask me this question.......
HOW did God harden Pharaoh's heart?
His ANSWER..... by giving him more light.
---------------------
Some believe that because God hardened Pharaoh's heart, it made it so that he couldn't believe. That's assuming that Pharaoh would have believed if it weren't for the fact that God hardened his heart. THAT IS NOT TRUE!!! God would never MAKE someone not believe who wanted to believe. THAT'S A WRONG ASSUMPTION!!!
First of all we're told that Pharaoh hardened his own heart.
THEN it says that God hardened Pharaoh's heart. HOW? By giving him more light.... more truth. Because Pharaoh's heart was already against God, more light made him even stick his heals in deeper. The more light God gave..... the more chances He gave him, the more determined he was to go against God.
My missionary friend says that's the way God hardened Pharaoh's heart.
INTERESTING! What do you think?

Diane
:-)

March 09, 2009 8:24 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Diane

I think God hardened Pharaoh's heart by giving him more of himself.

alvin :)

March 09, 2009 8:53 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

By God giving Pharaoh up, it could be said that not only did God harden Paraoh's heart but Pharaoh hardened his own heart.


Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, 21 because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, 23 and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man—and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.
24 Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves, 25 who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen.
26 For this reason God gave them up to vile passions. For even their women exchanged the natural use for what is against nature. 27 Likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust for one another, men with men committing what is shameful, and receiving in themselves the penalty of their error which was due.
28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a debased mind, to do those things which are not fitting;

Also I believe in Romans 9:13 Jacob represented the last Adam the second man.

1 Cor 15:45 And so it is written, “The first man Adam became a living being.”[a] The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46 However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural, and afterward the spiritual. 47 The first man was of the earth, made of dust; the second Man is the Lord[b] from heaven.



Whereas Esau represented the first, the first born was the beginning of mans strength.

Deut 21:17
17 But he shall acknowledge the son of the unloved wife as the firstborn by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the beginning of his strength; the right of the firstborn is his.

alvin :)

March 09, 2009 9:30 PM  
Blogger Sanctification said...

Diane, Rose, & Gary (goe),

Thank you so much for mentioning how you consider me gracious. It is humorous, when I think about myself I don't see me as hardly gracious, I see Rose and Diane being so obviously groomed and gifted in that way. I am tempted to think you are being kind.

Diane,

Thank you for embracing me even though I don't apparently share your beliefs. I actually haven't thought about where I am at for many months in a row. A long time ago I think these conversations became pure buzz in my head, but that may have been intentional too. I am trying to use a gift of spiritual discernment. One of the ways I do that is by replacing every single word that expresses a theological statement, with the word "blah." :D Then I read all the other non-theological words surrounding the theology in someone's comment or post, and draw my conclusions from those: is this a Spiritual transmission, or not? You see what I am saying? Someone can cover up a non-Spiritual communication with quotations or arrangements of scripture, but a true shepherd is easy to distinguish from a false one. And that has been my business to discern for awhile now.

An example would look like this:

"The audience throws tomatoes at the stage because [scripture]."

Most people are so in love with theology that all they look at in a post are the scriptures. They meditate on those portions. But I've been blocking that tendency in myself to meditate on the tomatoes flying in the midst of the scripture-quoting.

If that makes any sense.... Anyway.

As for where I am, I may still disagree with you but I am on the other side! :D I think I was more universalist than this promise only gospel, when I started out. Do you remember that? Well, I've been listening to Kev, Lou, and JP but more importantly I am sensing a move of God to convict me of a more robust gospel. Not sure on any of this, yet, really. But it doesn't matter I suppose, because until I have obtained an education close to anyone else's here, umm, I've got waffle-room. And waffle I will. :D

I'd just like to offer my own prayer and encouragement to Antonio as well. He committed to grace, in word. I don't expect perfection in one month. I certainly will not deny him the freedom to cling to these things in words because scripture is powerful for conforming us to the image of Christ. So go for it, man. I've been anti-fundamentalist for years now, and still think only about how short I am of the ideals I imagine for my self.

I have Grace in Eclipse. And I read it. I thought it was quite interesting. Maybe we could talk a bit about that some time soon. I'd like to engage in a bit of theology occasionally. :)

Michele

March 09, 2009 9:46 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Great post Alvin!!!

So...... God hardened Pharaoh's heart AFTER Pharaoh over and over again hardened his own heart by rejecting LIGHT that God was giving him. Right?
To say that God hardened Pharaoh's heart would mean he just gave him over to do what he naturally wanted to do anyway.... rebel against God.
It's not that God MADE him rebel AGAINST his will. Right?
In other words.... The more LIGHT God gave him in the beginning caused him to become harder and harder towards God until God finally took His hands off of him (so to speak) and gave him over to do what came naturally. That would be how God hardened his heart. Do I have it right? Correct me if I don't.
God would NEVER create a human being to sin against Him. That would mean that God was the creator of evil. God would never do that. Right?

Thanks for your insight.

Diane
:-)

March 09, 2009 9:53 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi Michele,

It'll be nice to see you face to face at the GES Conference. I think it's great that you are going even though you have some disagreements with them and with me. I'm looking forward to meeting you personally.

I don't learn fast. I learn slow. I have to grasp one issue at a time. That's the way I learn. I'm still not sure where exactly we disagree??? But if you can give me just one issue..... nothing complicated because of my small brain power, I'll sure try to answer you the best I can. At least I can give you my view point on it. I think we can eventually come to understand each other. That's what I would love!!!

Thanks for always being so sweet. I really appreciate that about you.

Your friend because of Jesus,
Diane
:-)

March 09, 2009 10:02 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Diane

Right!!!!

If God hardened Pharaoh's heart like the Calvinist believe that would contradict a God who is Love.
God gave Pharaoh his own way by not restraining his sinful nature but gave him up to himself because he had rejected the light he was given.

alvin :~)

March 09, 2009 10:10 PM  
Blogger Sanctification said...

Diane,

Oh no. I don't "disagree." That's too much a strong word. I'm just sensing a responsibility to more scripture, and that is all. I have no right to disagree. I gave up disagreeing a long time ago, probably in some of my very first conversations with you!

When I am at the conference I will have my nose stuck to a pink legal pad. I have no right to think I know something. Trust me. You guys are like light years ahead of me. :(

Well, and I'm also going because it's a great year to go. I've invited a lot of people to come too. Lots of interesting things are going on there this time.

I went out digging around in my garage and guess what I found? "Galatians" by McGee. You're a fan I hear. I must read.

Must.

Michele

March 09, 2009 10:21 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Thanks for clarifying that Michele.

How neat that you've invited others to go to the conference. I'll have lots of new friends to meet!!!
:-)

I just love you!!!

Diane
:-)

March 09, 2009 10:25 PM  
Blogger Sanctification said...

Diane,

If they come! Stinkers.

Michele

March 09, 2009 10:26 PM  
Blogger Sanctification said...

Diane,

I can't wait to hang out. I just read the intro to "Galatians." I love it.

"This is [Paul's] fighting epistle - he has on his war paint. He has no toleration for legalism. .. This epistle is a declaration of emancipation from legalism of any type. .. In a sense I believe this epistle has been the backbone and background for every great spiritual movement and revival that has taken place in the past nineteen hundred years. .. Galatians is the strongest declaration and defense of the doctrine of justification by faith in or out of Scripture. It is God's polemic on behalf of the most vital truth of the Christian faith against any attack. Not only is a sinner saved by grace through faith plus nothing, but the saved sinner lives by grace. Grace is a way to life and a way of life.

pp. ix-x, McGee

Awesome.

March 09, 2009 10:42 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

I spent three hours Saturday just studying the Book of Galatians mainly the word "flesh."

for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified

and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God

Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh?

only do not use liberty for the flesh.

For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contray to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.

just a few

good~night

alvin :)

March 09, 2009 10:57 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

I'll be praying for you Antonio!!!!

One more thought:
Also Saturday when I was studying Galatians I was thinking a lot about the “Israel of God.”
Which is in Gal 6:16 And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.
In the first of this verse Paul is speaking to individuals about a “new creation.” But the last part of the verse the “Israel of God” I believe is speaking to the believing Jews. I know Paul says there is neither Jew nor Gentile in the Church but “Israel” is never used for the Church. And also in Romans 2:17-29 Paul is speaking to Jews “but he is a Jew who is one inwardly.” Paul distinguishes Israel several times: “For they are not all Israel who are of Israel” Romans 9:6b.
There has to be a generation of Jews who receive their Messiah, so at anytime in history there is an “Israel of God.”
Matt 23:
37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing! 38 See! Your house is left to you desolate; 39 for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!’”

He’s speaking to Jews there!

Good~night

Alvin :)

March 09, 2009 11:41 PM  
Blogger David Wyatt said...

Good stuff bro. Alvin! I agree that the "Israel of God" is believing Jews,& the others mentioned are believing Gentiles, as most of not all the Galatian believers were. The simplest explanation is usually the right one.
Diane, I'm looking forward to meeting you as well, & the others here. Either here, there or in the air! God Bless.

March 10, 2009 5:57 AM  
Blogger alvin said...

I learnt at a young age a hard lesson, and that was to stay in my own backyard. My brother and I would wonder down the block towards the corner kids, they were older and bigger. When ever they would spot us we would take off running, I remember my brother would always yell to me “run Johnny run!!!!” I never was a sprinter, so I was pretty slow but I could run a long ways. They never did catch me but a rock did one day. I still have a scar over my right eye, just a little lower and it would have put my eye out. Thank the Lord I learnt my lesson without too much damage.

Alvin :) watch out for them corner kids!!!!! :)


P/s If were not welcome somewhere lets ALL stay in our own backyards

March 10, 2009 8:25 AM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Hey,
I wanted to tell anyone who is intereted that I am doing some "guest posts" at my blog. I am a little sick of posting just now and so I have asked a few people to write things for "Rose's Reasonings", just for variety.

Jim Reitman (aka "agent4him") - who I first saw in the comments on *this* blog - is my first guest poster.

...not that I am trying to draw people away from the dovecote that is Antonio's blog :~), but I thought you might like to read Jim's post - since he went to the trouble to write it.

thanks!

March 10, 2009 10:06 AM  
Blogger alvin said...

Diane, we all went over to Roses house~I'm there now all alone, the bell must have rang, and everyone went to class or something~come visit me if you can?

alvin :)

March 10, 2009 4:04 PM  
Blogger Sanctification said...

Diane and Alvin & Gary,

Another way I discern a true shepherd from a false one is, who accuses the brethren?

Satan:
Then I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, “Now salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of His Christ have come, for the accuser of our brethren, who accused them before our God day and night, has been cast down." rev 12:10

Not God:
There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things? Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?

Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
rom 8:1, 31-35, 37-39

If our brother Antonio has confessed, God is able and just to forgive him and to cleanse him from all unrighteousness. So I thank the LORD that a brother would confess, knowing that now He defends him in so full a manner! Who am I to stand opposed to God's grace? Rather I think I'll join Him and defend my brother's righteousness in union with Christ by faith. A faith without works, I might add, for faith is no longer faith if it requires works too.

That's what I really liked in that quote of McGee above, the "war paint is on, for Paul."

Share your thoughts, please?
Michele

March 10, 2009 11:40 PM  
Blogger Sanctification said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

March 11, 2009 12:29 AM  
Blogger Sanctification said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

March 11, 2009 12:32 AM  
Blogger Sanctification said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

March 11, 2009 1:57 AM  
Blogger goe said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

March 11, 2009 6:46 AM  
Blogger JoW said...

Antonio,
Have you been aware of what has been going on the last three days at a certain seminary pastors' conference? I listened to the messages by way of live streaming and heard the president say 'now the house has been swept clean' and they have embraced wholeheartedly the author about whom you have had much to say recently. He was one of the main speakers at the conference and the president gave a message on I Corinthians 15:3-4 being the main passage for the 'church age' gospel, titled 'The Gospel Paul Preached: A Church Age Model of Evangelistic Content'. This paper will be in the upcoming seminary journal which I have previously had a subscription to, but no longer wish to. Check it out.
Jo Ann

March 12, 2009 4:57 PM  
Blogger JoW said...

Also, do you know if there is going to be live streaming of the GES conference this month? I look forward to these conferences each year, but live to far away to come in person. I usually order the CD.
J

March 12, 2009 5:01 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi JoAnn,

I'm very interested in what you just posted!!!

Also.... I wish you COULD come to the GES Conference. It would be so nice to meet another friend in person. But I'm glad you get the CDs.

I'm learning names of so many of our free grace friends here at the blog, and I am truly blessed by all of you.

It's sometimes hard to walk the walk, but because of His grace we can!!! He's our refuge and strength, and if God be for us WHO can be against us!!!

Good to see your name pop up here.

Your free grace friend because of Jesus,

Diane
:-)

March 12, 2009 5:07 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi Friends,

I hope it's OK to get back to good old discussions on free grace issues. That's what I love most!
:-)

This morning I woke up just thinking about WHY some thought Zane, GES, and others were preaching a "crossless gospel" when all they were doing was explaining what exactly needs to be believed to pass from death to life. There's NOTHING "crossless" whatsoever in what they preach or believe regarding our wonderful salvation!!!

OK....... You're all probably thinking, "We've been through this all before. Nothing new here in what you're saying!"
You're right. We've been over and over and over it. Antonio has made his case well. Many of the bloggers here have made the case well. Some understand and agree with Zane, GES, and Antonio.... and some reject it as crossless.
But I want you all to look at this as though it's brand new........ ESPECIALLY my friends who consider it crossless.

To those who REALLY think we're preaching a "crossless gospel,"............
(I'm using myself as the example of one who is born again by believing what some of you call a crossless gospel.)

I came to the PLACE where I past from death to life WHEN I had faith in Jesus Christ to save me eternally apart from any works.
That's it!!!

Some well meaning people (and some not so well meaning) have accused me of heresy. They say that what I believe and am proclaiming is crossless. Hmmmmm? That is so strange to me. WHY is that crossless?
I came to believe in Jesus BECAUSE the Holy Spirit turned the light of truth on for me when for the first time I understood WHY Jesus died for me. I BELIEVED that He came to earth for the purpose of taking all my sins on Himself and being punished for what I deserved. I BELIEVED that my sins were paid for by Jesus on the cross. I've always known that apart from the cross and the shedding of blood I could not be saved. Without the atoning work of Jesus Christ on the cross I could never be saved. The cross is WHY I can be saved. I'm in awe of what my Savior did for me. Because He lives I will live. I'll be singing about that crosswork this Easter in our Easter Cantata. It brings tears to my eyes. NOBODY could be saved apart from the shedding of our Savior's blood.

Now here's what I want you all to hear and digest.....

***I was saved when I BELIEVED in Jesus Christ for eternal life (my eternal well being with Him) apart from any works.***

All those wonderful truths that I came to understand about my Savior's WAY of saving me was WHAT IT TOOK to bring me to the PLACE where I believed in Him for eternal life.
----I BELIEVE in the crosswork of Jesus Christ, but I do NOT believe that the crosswork of Christ is part of the content TO BE BELIEVED to be born again.
----I BELIEVE that Jesus Christ is deity, but I do NOT BELIEVE that it is part of the content TO BE BELIEVED to be born again.
----I BELIEVE that Jesus Christ is both 100% human and 100% divine at the same time, but I do NOT BELIEVE that it is part of the content TO BE BELIEVED to be born again.
----I BELIEVE in the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, but I do NOT BELIEVE that it is part of the content TO BE BELIEVED to be born again.
----I BELIEVE that Jesus Christ was perfect in every way, completely sinless and that's why He could take my sins on Himself, but I do NOT BELIEVE that it is part of the content TO BE BELIEVED to be born again.
----I BELIEVE in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, but I do NOT BELIEVE that it is part of the content TO BE BELIEVED to be born again.
----I BELIEVE in 2nd coming of our Savior to earth to set up His Kingdom, but I do NOT BELIEVE that it is part of the content TO BE BELIEVED to be born again.

Everything I said above was necessary for me to be saved. Apart from any of it, I could NOT be saved. If Jesus Christ had not risen from the grave, I could never be saved. I BELIEVE everything above. I BELIEVE in the crosswork of Christ. I believe that we should proclaim it because it's AFTER the cross and it's the greatest reason for someone to BELIEVE in Jesus Christ for eternal life!!!
It's hard for me to conceive of anyone getting saved apart from believing in the crosswork and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
BUT.......... that doesn't change the fact that it is still not the content TO BE BELIEVED that brings us from death to life. The content TO BE BELIEVED has always been the same for everyone from the beginning of time.

*****BELIEVE in the Christ for everlasting life***** (for your eternal well being)!!!

Now my question...... Is it possible for someone to get to that place without ***YET*** believing in any of the above propositions?
YES! Notice that I said "YET!" I do not believe that a person would believe in Jesus Christ for His free gift of eternal life and then reject the cross and resurrection when they learn of that. Nobody before the cross rejected that truth once they learned that truth. WHY do I say that? Because it's the Holy Spirit that enlightens a person to the truth of the message that saves. God knows who is seeking Him. He knows the heart. He is drawing all people to Himself. People can and do respond to His drawing. Some people reject His light along the way. But those who seek Him will find Him the Bible says. So it's possible for a person to get saved before they understand all the necessary requirements as to HOW He could save them. God knows what each one of us needs to get to that place of believing in Him.

Don't forget about that little 3 year old girl who got to that place BEFORE she understood about the blood that needed to be shed on the cross of Calvary. She just came to believe in Jesus FIRST for His gift of eternal life. She came to believe that Jesus was the only way to go live with God in His wonderful home when you die. She understood that death meant the person moves out of his body and goes to live with Jesus IF he believed in Him. She also felt bad for those people who died and didn't believe in Him. She knew that they moved out of their bodies and went to the bad place where God didn't live. That's the way her mother taught her at first. The gift was presented to her FIRST before HOW He could save her. But the key word here is "YET." She did later hear about His shed blood and understood it. It's because she was already saved. She had the faith of a child.

Friends....... the Bible's only requirement is faith in Jesus to be born again. That's it!

To those who reject this teaching........ Where do you put me? Saved or lost? Perhaps you think that I believed the right content at the beginning but just became confused. NO! I always understood that a person must believe in Jesus to have everlasting life. I remember thinking that. I didn't think about it like we do today, but I remember knowing that you MUST believe in Jesus for everlasting life and you will be saved. John 3:16 was the verse that God used to save me. I love Him for it.

For those who took the time to read this...... I hope someone will be helped by it. Antonio and others have made the same case so much better than I ever could. But I just felt compelled to try again.

Paul says in 1 Tim. 1:16..... 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 IN HIM FOR EVERLASTING LIFE."

I thank God for you, my friends.

All because of His wonderful grace,
Diane
:-)

March 12, 2009 8:04 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Jo Ann,

I was made apprised of the conference. I have downloaded the mp3s for J.B. Hixson's message and George Meisinger, which were the only pertinent ones that I wished to listen to.

I have already listened to J.B. Hixson's message and I found it quite interesting. His message was simply a mess. It was incoherent and insupportable. It really was terrible. How is this guy have a Ph.D.?

Tell you the truth. I would debate J.B. Hixson on these topics anyday, and I would not even need to prepare. I would just come with my bible.

Exegesis is not the friend to J.B. Hixson and crowd. His talk failed to exegete a single passage, and he relied upon others, such as Tom Constable and Charles Ryrie as his authority.

I quite honestly think his message was an utter joke. I couldn't believe the things he said and the way that he said them. The question and answer time was interesting too.

The theology of J.B. Hixson and co. is quite lacking in every area, and I would jump at the chance to share a stage in a debate with the man. I would love to ask him a series of questions and redirects. The whole talk was based totally on tradition and not a whit of scholorship.

I am going to listen to Meisinger soon. My friend Rene Lopez is doing a workshop at the GES this year entitled, "The Use and Abuse of 1 Cor 15". Rene is quite the burgeoning exegete and I look forward to his contribution.

I have only listened to the one message by Hixson. If this message in any way represents the rest, I don't think that the GES has anything to worry about.

The theology, argument ability, and practices of J.B. Hixson do not bode well for the success of Chafer and the FGA.

Thanks for writing!

Antonio

March 12, 2009 8:16 PM  
Blogger Sanctification said...

Diane,

Thanks for saying that, so clearly. I agree with your priorities as you described.

I listened to Hixson's mp3 gospel. He seems to be a man of intelligence when teaching. He said some things I found interesting:

"God works in spite of our imperfections in sharing the gospel." How about that!

Good-ness me. Why the fuss.

Then later he calls variating the gospel a "crisis." Hmm.

Later, he says many of our beliefs are not based on proof texts but on scriptural synthesis. Just as we know the serpent in Genesis is really Satan (as Rev. says), we have to look across scripture to know the gospel. I don't know if I can buy that.

But I do believe like he that there should and usually is some range of historical-gospel content on who and what Jesus is and has done that is believed to cause people to be saved. Still I think (like Diane) the cross and so forth "should be taught and proclaimed, non-negotiable" as Hixson concludes his speech (notice he excludes saying it is a non-negotiable COSF).

Of course by saying "what I believe" I am only saying, "where I am as I begin to learn all that is set before me."

What I will never do is appreciate any opinion from one who is ungracious, more persecuting in disagreeing over this. It is an automatic discredit to trusting they know what they're talking about.

Hixson says of his GES "opponents:" "We have to take a stand to defend the purity of the gospel, even it means opposing them. We love them but we love the gospel more."

Do you hear that?

John 17 denies that priority!

that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. vs 21

I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me vs 23

These say, if you want unbelievers to think the gospel is true, you better be unified with your brothers and sisters.

I would rather only learn and expect from the lost the biblical, promise-only gospel and manifest God's love with brothers and sisters, than include any divisive teacher who could help me become "precise." I have a view of saving the lost while saying so.

Michele

March 12, 2009 11:18 PM  
Blogger Sanctification said...

Diane,

I must correct in my comment that Hixson rather said:

"God saves in spite of our imperfections in sharing the gospel."

-Michele

March 12, 2009 11:29 PM  
Blogger JoW said...

Antonio,
The irony of it all is that the theme of the conference was hermeneutics. There were two other speakers there that I listen to all the time, Andy Woods and Charles Clough. They are both excellent;listen if you have a chance.
You didn't answer my question about live streaming of the GES conference. Do you know anything about that?
Some of the daggers aimed at you I think were meant for me. If LM wants to know the context of the quote I gave, he can hear it in Dr. Meisinger's message.

Diane,
Thank you for your greeting and I always love reading your posts. Your graciousness is surely a reflection of our Blessed Lord Jesus. If we all obeyed the command, Ephesians 4:32 'Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you', wouldn't the blogsphere be a wonderful place.
Jo Ann

March 13, 2009 7:35 AM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Hey Jo Ann,

I don't know if the GES is webcasting the plenary sessions or not. Don Reiher would be a better person to ask.

Was hermeneutics the main theme? How very interesting that is. There was not one exegetical point made by Hixson in the whole of his address. Hixson claims there are some 5 (or more, depending on how you divvy them up, he says) required conditions for everlasting life, and does not exegete one passage to substantiate it.

He talks about prooftexting. This is exactly what he did the whole way through.

It really was a joke. How is it that you can state that there are these requirements for the lost and not substantiate it with an exegesis of pertinent texts?

Everything he said was bald assertion and tradition.

Such teaching and preaching is an offense to Free Grace theology. Who can take this movement seriously when "leaders" in this movement cannot express their convictions from a considerate and exegetical appeal to the scriptures, let alone defend their position!

No one adept in critical thinking, hermeneutics, and familiar with the Bible, would take Hixson seriously. I can't emphasize enough the very poor arguments this man has. Listening to him got me mildly fired up, and wondering aloud how this man got a Ph.D. from a seminary.

I am still reeling from this very poor representation of Free Grace Theology.

your free grace theology host,

Antonio

March 13, 2009 2:21 PM  
Blogger Bill_H said...

Antonio,

I wanted to post and say hello. I've been reading this and most of the other free grace blogs for about 6 months now. I'm new to free grace theology (within the year), having come out of typical Lordship/Reformed beliefs after many years.

I never really intended to start posting comments to any of these blogs, but I wanted to register my dismay over what is going on now in free grace circles. The level of rancor and vitriol shocks me. Anyway, I again wanted to say hello and tell you that I visit your blog often.

Sincerely,
Bill H.
Newburgh, NY

March 13, 2009 7:48 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Bill

Glad you dropped by!!!!!!

It's kind of a bad time now here, but if you've been here in the past you know how good the fellowship is here! Were all growing and learning together and would love to have you grow with us!


alvin :)

March 13, 2009 8:16 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

To All my Zoo guests:

Please don't feed the monkeys!

The Management

March 13, 2009 8:28 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

How did you know? When ever my wife wants something she cant reach she says "come here monkey arms!"

March 13, 2009 8:35 PM  
Blogger goe said...

Oh! So Alvin's was over here too!! Just checking--I don't wanna to miss anything! :~)

March 13, 2009 9:19 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi Bill..... Welcome!!!

MOST of our friends here at Antonio's place have a great time together. Lots of grace and lots of love for one another!!! Hope you'll come around often and get to know some of our "gracious" friends!!! You may have to pass over a few who don't fit that description, but it's worth getting to know those who do. They've become friends to me, and I thank God for them.

So glad you commented. Hope you come back.

All because of His wonderful grace,
Diane
:-)

March 13, 2009 10:14 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hey Gary, Alvin, and Jim....

I wondered where you guys had gone. Then I found you!!! You're just having too much fun over at Rose's place!!!
:-)
She is a GREAT neighbor, isn't she!!!

BTW Alvin.... You and your wife should teach a marriage class. I like the way she talks to you!!!
:-)


Diane
:-)

March 13, 2009 10:21 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Bill..... one other thought!

I hope you will read Antonio's articles in context. They're very good and very scriptural.

Your new friend because of Jesus,
Diane
:-)

March 13, 2009 10:27 PM  
Blogger goe said...

Welcome Bill!! It's worth coming here just for this guy Alvin! True, he can be ornery, but once tamed, he doe's lots of funny tricks! Glad you dropped in and hope you come back!

March 13, 2009 10:32 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Gary,

You, Alvin, and Antonio are just cracking me up tonight!!!
With all this laughing going on, it's going to be hard to settle down and get to sleep!!!
:-)

March 13, 2009 10:35 PM  
Blogger Bill_H said...

Alvin, Gary, Diane -
Thank you for your kind words of welcome. I have read a number of Antonio's articles.

Lou -
I saw your comments. Thank you for your concern.

Sincerely,
Bill H.

March 14, 2009 4:24 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Dear Friends,

It's my joy and pleasure to have the ministry at my church of sending out prayer requests through e-mail to our Prayer Partners. We have a large group of praying friends.

This morning I received a prayer request from a friend at church who just found out that his mother is quickly dying of cancer. He asked prayer for her comfort and peace. Then he said that his mom knew where her peace comes from. It comes from knowing the Lord Jesus Christ as her Savior, the giver of eternal life. The friend who sent the request told me that the best book he ever read (next to the Bible) was Bob Wilkin's book...... "Secure and Sure." He read it about two years ago and had to order more to pass out to family members.
His mother is dying of cancer, but he has complete confidence that she will be with Jesus because her faith is in Him alone.

The wife of one of our elders (and my friend) is also dying of aggressive cancer. She is 53 years old and just full of so much joy because she knows Jesus. She knows where she's going. The trials are painful for these dear ones, but the peace they have in knowing Jesus as their Savior, the giver of eternal life, makes all the difference in the world. It makes the journey through life so much sweeter when you know where you're going when you die.

I've been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. I know where I'm going. That gives me much joy each morning when I get up. He's given me TODAY, and I want to serve Him joyfully because He alone makes life worth living!!! I hope everyone reading this blog today KNOWS beyond a shadow of a doubt where they're going when they die. You can!!!

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

All because of HIS wonderful grace,
Diane
:-)

March 14, 2009 9:20 AM  
Blogger alvin said...

Amen Diane!!!!!!!

And brother Gary, you got to know when to hold'em and when too fold'em, and get out of town while the going's good, while you still have your feathers!!!!

alvin the clucking brother!!!!!

March 14, 2009 10:36 AM  
Blogger JoW said...

Bill,
Welcome to the blog.
I would like to mention that one of the things that precipitated this disagreement among Free Grace people was a series of two messages given by Zane Hodges at a GES conference in 2000 called 'How To Lead People to Christ' Parts 1 and 2. These two papers were subsequently published in the Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society (JOTGES) in the Autumn 2000 and Spring 2001 issues. These can be read online at: http://www.faithalone.org/journal/index.html
The audio versions have been placed online by Don Reiher and can be found at: http://www.youtube.com/results?search_type=&search_query=dreiher2&aq=f
These are Youtube videos and are in 10 minute segments. There is no actual video just sound, but Don has transcribed each message and the text of the messages appears on the screen, including the Question and Answer periods. These latter are very helpful. I cannot see how anyone who has listened to or read this material could say that Zane Hodges does not present the truths of the cross or the person of Christ to someone he is presenting the gospel to. He says very clearly that he does this. The basic premise of his presentation was that it is the Person of Christ and His guarantee of eternal life that we are to believe in for salvation. He states that it is important for an unbeliever to be given as much information as possible or necessary to bring that person to faith in Jesus, The Christ, the one Who, according to John 11:25-26, is the One Who guarantees the believer resurrection and eternal life. I give a short excerpt below from Part 2:
{The Gospel of} “John makes the Person of Jesus, not a set of doctrines, the object of the faith that brings eternal life. Fundamentally he is trying to get people to believe in Jesus for their eternal salvation.
But this is precisely where preaching the cross becomes so important. Why should men trust Christ for eternal life? The gospel gives us the wonderful answer. They should do so because Jesus has bought their salvation at the cost of His own precious blood. And God has placed His seal on the work of the cross by raising Jesus from the dead. As Paul states: He “was delivered up because of our offenses, and was raised because of our justification” (Rom 4:25).    The preaching of the cross greatly facilitates the process of bringing men to faith in God’s Son.”

Anyone who can be so condemning of Zane Hodges or any of us who are part of GES can not ever have read what he actually said and wrote.
I trust you will go to these web sites and find out what he really taught and practiced.
Jo Ann

March 14, 2009 10:38 AM  
Blogger goe said...

I hear you Alvin! Good thing you didn't get PLUCKED!!

Thanks for what you have shared with us here Diane!! We are praying! I love your heart!

March 14, 2009 10:42 AM  
Blogger goe said...

Thank you Jo Ann for giving a fair and accurate presentation of what the GES really believes and teaches, not the propaganda that's being spread by a well known menace and vandal of the blogosphere.

March 14, 2009 10:52 AM  
Blogger JoW said...

Thanks, Gary. I make home made bread too. :)
I went to your blog and saw that you have had some battles too, but have not posted recently. I know the feeling; it is hard to stand up and be shot at! I' not saying we shouldn't do it, I'm just saying it is hard.

I have one correction to my last post. I see further down on this blog that the conference where Zane Hodges presented these papers was in 1999, not 2000. That is 10 years ago. Mm, interesting.
Jo Ann

March 14, 2009 1:07 PM  
Blogger JoW said...

I am really puzzled why anyone would object to our saying one must believe in Jesus for eternal salvation. Who else could we believe in. Peter said, 'Lord to whom shall we go. You have the words of eternal life'.John 6:68

March 14, 2009 1:14 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Paul made "eternal life" the bottom line also!

This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.
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.
(1 Timothy 1:15,16) emphasis mine.

What good does it do you if all your sins are forgiven but you don't have everlasting life?

To believe that Jesus is the Christ is the bottom line!

Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God (1 John 5:1a)

The cross is HOW He saved sinners!

But simply believing that Jesus died for your sins saves NO one!

Unless you connect that like Paul did to eternal life you haven't believed in Jesus as the Christ!

To see what it means to believe in Jesus as the Christ the One who guarantees your eternal destiny go to John 11:25,26.

However anyone comes to believe that Jesus is the Christ is born of God!

For Dianes friend who's little four year old daughter all it took was seeing death and her mother telling her how she could have everlasting life and go to heaven. It wasn't until AFTER she believed in Jesus for His gift of eternal life did she learn how Jesus was able to provide that gift to be taken freely by the crosswork!
The little girl had simply taken Jesus at His promise to give her life! John 3:16; 4:10; 5:24; 6:47; 11:25,26

alvin :)

March 14, 2009 2:50 PM  
Blogger goe said...

Alvin, you're on a roll lately! Here one minute, there the next. You're leaving feathers flying everywhere! :~)

Jo Ann, I updated my blog with a comment today if you're interested. Thanks for you're comments here.

March 14, 2009 3:19 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

And I don't have any feathers really too spare!!!! It's looking pretty desolate on top! What's up with you? Your head is loaded!!!! Get in there brother I know you are the articulator par excellance!!!!!!!

I know Jim, don't hit my fingers with your stick, as I said my spelling will be sanctified when I get thar!!!!!heeheee

March 14, 2009 3:33 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

To ALL :)
Maybe there are some here that are not aware of the discussion on Roses site by Colin Maxwell called "Another Desert Island Scenario." Colin puts forth John 8:24 and asks the Simple questions: Is there enough here to convert the soul as some believe there is in the previous scenario text and why/why not?
Note: Colin did not do his homework first and know that the original “Desert Island Scenario” had both John 6:43 and verse 47. So Colin after saying this below added John 8:21 to his “Another Desert Island Scenario.”

I believe this not only refutes Colin but Lou too!


Colin said:
John 8:24 is not quite so explicit, since it uses the negative, but nevertheless it clearly states that those who believe in the speaker shall not die in their own personal sins but go to be with the same speaker.

Colin is reading his own ideas into the verse! Where does it clearly state that the one who believes will "go to be with the same speaker?"

John 8:24 KJVB

"Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins."

Colin has read this into the verse, and that is part of the problem with Colins verse it does not make the connection with the gift of eternal life that Jesus said to the women at the well "If you knew the gift of God and who it is who said to you 'give me a drink' you would have asked and I would have given you living water.

The apostle Paul even made the connection clear!!!! What good does it do you if all your sins are paid for if you dont have life?

1 Timothy 1:15,16
This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.
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.

Paul clearly makes the connection!
And Zanes verse he uses in his "Deserted Island Scenario" makes the connection with believing in Jesus FOR everlasting life.
Colins verse he uses in his "Another Deserted Island Scenario" does NOT make the connection with eternal life which is the reason Colins man on his deserted Island is yet to believe in Jesus FOR eternal life!

Another note: Lou had no problem with someone who believes you have to be regenerated BEFORE you can believe anything. Other words Lou picks and chooses his bedfellows and then condemns others for NOT believing enough content!

alvin :)

P/s The woman at the well ONLY needed to KNOW two things before Jesus would give her that living water!
1. If you knew the gift of God.

2. And who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink.'

People are still invited to take of that living water freely in Revelation 22:17 and the conditions have not changed!!!!!!

alvin :)

March 14, 2009 9:17 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Jo Ann.... Wonderful post!!!
I appreciate the great information!
Thank you.

Diane
:-)

March 14, 2009 9:56 PM  
Blogger Antonio said...

Dear Free Grace Theology guests,

this was my first comment here on this thread and I would like to re-issue it:

To follow up on the introduction of this article:

We are Christ's servants, called upon to present the truth in love and grace; even defend it, but in the same way.

We ought to think clearly and hard when we derive from the bible our theology and when we present it to the public. We ought to use any and all legitimate illustrations and arguments to pronounce and defend the truth.

But it is not our job to coerce and force. We must be men and women of integrity, sharing and defending our faith in love, meekness, and fear; with all longsuffering and teaching.

How much it saddens me to see a group of people, such as the Fundamentalist Separationists, so defined by their tactics. I believe in all honesty that their spiritual abuse gives Christianity a bad name.

As for the eulogy at my eventual funeral (if the Lord tarries) I would like to be known as the one who was a stalwart defender of truth, but having done so in love, meekness, charity, grace, and longsuffering.

This is Christ's commission:

Matt 10:16-17
"Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves."

May I ever be known to be wise as a serpent yet harmless as a dove.

Antonio

March 14, 2009 10:14 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Where could you go in the whole Bible to see what this meant????

And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!”
And let him who hears say, “Come!”
And let him who thirsts come.
Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.
Revelation 22:17

I would put forth here:

Jesus answered and said to her,
If you knew the gift of God, and who it is
Who says to you, ‘Give Me a drink,’
You would have asked Him,
And He would have given you living water.”
John 4:10

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 4:13b,14

What are the conditions Jesus puts forth for taking the living water freely?

1. If you knew the gift of God

2. And who it is who says to you ‘Give Me a drink’

Note: to ask is to believe, proof John 6:35c and he who believes in Me shall never thirst.

John 6:43a,47 of Zanes “Desert Island Scenario” meet these requirements

Jesus therefore answered and said to them,

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believe in Me has everlasting life.

Question: Does that mean we don’t preach the death burial and resurrection?
The person who would ask that is an idiot, and probably wouldn’t have believed Jesus offer of everlasting life before the cross but would have been like the rich young ruler “what must I do?”
alvin :)

March 14, 2009 10:25 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi All

Probably idiot was too harsh of a word, what would be more appropriate would be “dip-stick!” :) Because the cross is evidence of HOW Jesus saved us from our sins and PROVES that Jesus is “the Christ.” Which harmonies with Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah (Isa 53). The eighth sign that John proclaims in his gospel was for the purpose that unbelievers would believe that Jesus is the Christ (John 2:18-22; 20:31). The gospel that Paul preaches connects the cross with believing in Jesus FOR everlasting life just as John did (1 Timothy 1:15,16). The mystery of the gospel that was not revealed but was given to Paul by revelation from Jesus Christ was NEW and showed clearly that the Jew and Gentile, male and female, slave and free distinction had been removed in Christ (Gal 1:11,12; 3:27,28; Eph 3:1-12) . That the law which was the wall between Jew and Gentile had been nailed to the cross, and in the circumcision in Christ all sin (flesh) had been removed (Eph 2:14-16; Col 2:11-14). This new revelation was vital to the early Church not only to stop divisions but how the believer would be saved from the power of sin in his life (Rom 5:9,10; 6:3-13). By counting himself dead with Christ to himself and the world he was able to live unto God in the New man Jesus Christ (Gal 2:20). The gospel (good news) that had been known in the Old Testament which was given to Abraham was by faith (Gal 3:5-9). The promise of the Seed would come to those who by faith believed that Jesus was “the Christ.”(Gal 3:16) The believer is brought forth by the word of truth when he believes that Jesus is “The Christ” and has received the promise of the Seed! (James 1:18; Gal 3:16)
So to ask whether the cross should be preached is really a no-brainer but does that mean that one cannot be born again without believing in the cross? I believe the Scriptures that I showed prove that however one comes to believe in Jesus as the Christ has received the Seed and is as Abraham a child of promise!

March 15, 2009 6:43 AM  
Blogger goe said...

Wow Alvin!! Are you on STEROIDS!!! :~) AMEN AND AMEN!!!

March 15, 2009 10:24 AM  
Blogger alvin said...

Prosac! I have have mellowed, I'm now at warp speed coming in for a landing! And it's a real good thing I have these monkey arms for stability!

I think?

alvin :)

March 15, 2009 11:11 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Antonio,

AMEN to your words.....
I would like to be known as the one who was a stalwart defender of truth, but having done so in love, meekness, charity, grace, and longsuffering.

How your comments warm my heart. I know that's your desire!!! God knows that's your desire!!! He is going to honor that desire, and I'm confident that He's going to take out of the way anyone or anything that would hinder your desire to bring glory to His Name. He is LORD!!!

I will continue to pray that your desire will go forth and that dear people will recognize that Jesus Christ gives FREELY eternal life to those who believe in Him.... no strings attached! What greater message could there be than that!!!!!

Here's how much God loves you..... in the words of Jesus from His prayer to the Father......

John 17:23..... "I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved THEM ***as*** You have loved ME!!!"

Even though some come to your neighborhood and try to destroy, the Lord is helping me to ignore all of that and just fellowship with those who are being loving, meek, charitable, gracious and longsuffering. In time I know the Lord will take that problem out of the way. But until that time I will stay close to those who are making me think and search the scriptures so that I can grow in Him. Praise God!!!

Antonio, be encouraged today in the Lord!!!

Your praying friend.... all because of HIS wonderful grace,
Diane
:-)

March 15, 2009 11:36 AM  
Blogger alvin said...

I aint got no feathers left Gary, I look like a bald headed eagle. Them women didn’t even have to get a hold of me, you just sit-in your chair waiting for them to pluck me scarred the daylight’s out of me so I plucked myself!!!! Miss Kitty hasn’t even said a word to me, and I’m afraid Dillon is looking for me so if you want me I’ll be over at Jim’s prosac bar. If you didn’t know it’s in Denver!

Alvin was here! :)


speeding ahead in time~~~~~~~~~~~~
We have Big Lou from Chago and his Boss J.B. looking to make a hit on Da Rosa and his gang! Don't worry folks the rapture could happen any moment and our chariots of fire will leave the goon squad far behind>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>*

March 15, 2009 11:37 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Alvin.....

I just don't know what to do with those "monkey arms!!!"
I think you better take some MORE Prosac!!!
:-)

March 15, 2009 11:41 AM  
Blogger alvin said...

I read Dianes post!

And I take it all back!!!!!!!

I'm just adding a little humor to lighten the severity of the situation. I want my tombstone to read . . . . what am I talking about I don't want a tombstone, I want a rocket ship!!!!!

I need a hug I think :)

March 15, 2009 11:41 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Alvin,

Your humor keeps me laughing, and I LOVE to laugh. Isn't there a PROVERB that says laughter is good for the soul??? Or have I just ADDED to scripture?
:-)

My friends on the blog have a great sense of humor!!!
Yes... being light hearted helps getting through some of the @$%#&!
I couldn't think of a word!!! duh!
:-)

Your fg friend always,
Diane
:-)

March 15, 2009 11:48 AM  
Blogger alvin said...

Hi Diane

I like this:

"Behold, this is the joy of His way,
And out of the earth others will grow.
Behold, God will not cast away the blameless,
Nor will He uphold the evildoers.
He will yet fill your mouth with laughing,
And your lips with rejoicing.
Those who hate you will be clothed with shame,
And the dwelling place of the wicked will come to nothing."
Job 8:19-22

March 15, 2009 12:03 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Diane, you know what the beginning of that verse brought to my mind?

"Behold, this is the joy of His way,
And out of the earth others will grow.


It reminded me of when Jesus said to Peter "upon this Rock I will build my church" we know what Peter said when Jesus asked Him who do you say that I am?
Peter said: You are the Christ!

And we know what that means!!!! It's a revelation of who Jesus is!!! And that is how the church grows.

It's funny how the mind works!

March 15, 2009 12:16 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Hi Alvin,

Those were GREAT verses. Thanks for posting both of them.

I laughed at your previous comments, too....
"I don't want a tombstone, I want a rocket ship!!!!!"

ME TOO!!! :-)

I think when you start school..... you, Jim, and Gary (goe) are going to have to be separated and put in different classrooms. You would all be going to the Principal's office if you stayed together...... having too much fun!!!
:-)

I do enjoy the fun, but I ESPECIALLY enjoy all the good teaching from God's Word that is posted at this sight.
On the way home from church today I was talking to my husband about this blog. He's not a blogger. He hears about it through me. I told him that He should look through the index of all that Antonio has written........ that there is so much material to read and digest, and it's all so good and scriptural~!!! I suggested to him to just pick a topic and study it.
I was trying to remember how I first came upon this site. I can't remember!
I learn slow. I don't digest things that are taught by just reading them once through or hearing a message once. I have to go back again and again and digest what is being said. I check everything out by going to the verses in my Bible and checking it in context. It's like a puzzle for me....... one piece at a time. I find that Zane, GES, and Antonio's teaching are pieces that fit the puzzle and it all comes together beautifully for me. It confirms the freeness of Jesus' gift and the costliness of discipleship. It shows where rewards fit in. It's just so GOOD!!!

And so many of our blogger friends here bring up such great points!!! You're the ones I'm reading and enjoying.
And..... yes, Alvin...... the laughter has helped!!!
:-)

Hope all my friends here at the blog are enjoying the Lord this wonderful day that He has made.

In Jesus' love,
Diane
:-)
P.S. I'm typing this with our Easter Cantata music playing in the background. My husband is practicing his part. It's amazing how beautiful Christian music helps me to focus on the One who gave Himself so that I could know Him!!! AWESOME!

March 15, 2009 12:59 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

To All Guests of this blog....

PLEASE DON'T MISS ANTONIO'S COMMENT MADE last night... ABOVE!

March 14, 2009 10:14 PM

I didn't want my comments or others posted AFTER Antonio to make you all miss his very important comment. Thanks.

Diane
:-)

March 15, 2009 1:04 PM  
Blogger goe said...

Alvin,

What happened to you at my blog? I check it today and there's feathers scattered everywhere! Did ya get bushwacked? Did Diane try to ring your neck? What? I clean the place up and then you leave a mess! No wonder you don't have any feather's left--looks like you left em all there. It appears you had to make a quick getaway whatever it was! Must not have been fast enough!! There's a trail of feathers all the way out the door fella!! Are you alright?! :~)

March 15, 2009 4:37 PM  
Blogger goe said...

I meant "wring", not "ring". Don't want Jim to get after me cause my spellin hasn't been sanctified yet either!

March 15, 2009 4:45 PM  
Blogger alvin said...

Sorry Gary for leaving the mess but I kinda got paranoid watching you sit in that chair so relaxed?
It seemed like you knew something I didn’t like the axe was about to drop, so I hightailed it out there. I went over too Jim’s bar & grill and just kinda hanged out.
Why would Diane be after me? Oh yah! Maybe she hasn’t been over too Miss Kitty’s lately :) . Gary I really didn’t know how deep I’d dug the hole until Jim said: Yep, folks, he's gone plum nuts...
takin' on the superior gender and all.
You think maybe they will forget?
Whenever I’m over there I seem to lose my head, you know that’s where a lot of those Cal desperados hang out, they can shoot around corners!
Why there’s a picture of one hanging on the wall over there right now, and man does he look mean.
Anyways I’m gonna just hang low until things cool down :)

`'`;`~sorry i thought i just seen Marshal Dillon

March 15, 2009 5:42 PM  
Blogger goe said...

You shouldn't be wanderin around at night Alvin!! And you know it's ALWAYS night over at my place!

Jo Ann,

Yes, that's the same verse Jim quoted in one of his comments on his post at Miss Kitty's the other day.
I wouldn't go to my place alone Jo Ann! You saw what happened to the gunslinger :~}

March 15, 2009 6:10 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Gary (goe) and Alvin....

You two are STILL having too much fun!!!!!
:-)

Jo Ann...... GREAT verse! Thank you.

At Bible Study tonight we were discussing 1 Cor. 15. If there had been no resurrection our faith would be in vain. Praise God for the resurrection!!! AWESOME!

PLEASE DON'T MISS ANTONIO'S COMMENT MADE LAST NIGHT.... Above!

March 14, 2009 10:14 PM

Diane
:-)

March 15, 2009 7:26 PM  
Blogger goe said...

Diane,

Don't you just love 1 Cor. 15!!! That's always been one of my favorite passages in scripture! Isn't it a privilege to proclaim those astounding and wondrous historical facts to people!!! And isn't it great to see a person's eyes light up when you tell them the PURPOSE and MEANING those astonishing facts have for THEM! The price for our sins and salvation has been paid in FULL-- and the IOU has been nailed to that cross forever!!! Now, ALL we are called upon by God to do is what Martha did in Jn. 11:25-27!!! Or the woman at the well. Eternal life is an absolutely free gift to all who will simply drink the living water He offers. ONE drink and you have it!! I've been interested in that word KERYGMA lately. What a glorious message we have! It is a message of God to the world:

"If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater; for the testimony of God is this, that He has testified concerning His Son. The one who believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself; the one who not believe God has made Him a liar, because he has not believed the testimony that God has given concerning his Son. And THE TESTIMONY IS THIS, THAT GOD HAS GIVEN US ETERNAL LIFE, AND THIS LIFE IS IN HIS SON. HE WHO HAS THE SON HAS LIFE, HE WHO DOES NOT HAVE THE SON OF GOD HAS NOT LIFE. 1 Jn 5:9-12. This is the same testimony John gives in his Gospel. It also the testimony of a ALL the Apostles.
Is it our testimony to the world?

Isn't is great that the theme of this years GES conference is the Cross and Resurrection of Christ. That is exciting don't you think!

March 16, 2009 10:08 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Gary (goe)....

AMEN! AMEN! AMEN!
Thrilling!!!
:-)

March 16, 2009 10:19 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Dear Friends,

If you haven't yet had the chance to read Antonio's comment above dated....

March 14, 2009 10:14 PM

I hope you will go back and read it. It's a message from his heart, and I know you wouldn't want to miss it. Thank you.

Diane
:-)

March 16, 2009 10:46 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Dear Friends,

I was looking through an album last night at a friend's house and came across her mother's testimony. My friend is about 59 years old and she was the baby of the family. So I'm assuming her mother (who is now with the Lord) was born somewhere around 1915. I don't know when she wrote this testimony (in long hand), but it warmed my heart when I saw the clear testimony that she knew the gift of God and the One who gave her the gift. Listen to her words.....(emphasis mine).

"Now I really understood that Jesus took my place on Calvary and GAVE ME eternal life - His resurrection life."

Notice what she is testifying to....... that God brought her to the PLACE where she understood the meaning of Jesus' death.... to give her the free GIFT of ETERNAL LIFE. She believed in Him for that gift. She knew the GIFT and the GIVER. She lived in a small Oklahoma town most of her life. She never heard the teaching of GES or Zane Hodges. But she read her Bible and drank the living water that sprung up into everlasting life..... resurrection life..... God's life!!!!! PRAISE GOD!!! It's in the Bible, friends. It's not new teaching. It's biblical teaching. It's Jesus' teaching!!!
:-)

-----------------------

If you haven't yet had the chance to read Antonio's comment above dated....

March 14, 2009 10:14 PM

I hope you will go back and read it. It's a message from his heart, and I know you wouldn't want to miss it. Thank you.

Diane

March 17, 2009 3:20 PM  
Blogger JoW said...

Amen, Diane. Thank you for sharing the testimony of your friend's mother, written so long ago.

March 17, 2009 4:07 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home