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)

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Broad Way Contrasted with the Narrow (Matt 7:13-23)

Matt 7:13-23
"Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

"Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

"Not everyone who says to Me,'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!'”

The section that has been quoted is part of Jesus’ concluding words of the Sermon on the Mount, which includes the “asking, seeking, and knocking” of the prior paragraph and ends with building on the rock or the sand.

“Enter by the narrow gate… Because narrow is the gate and difficult [lit: constrained] is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”

Jesus is exhorting his audience to be careful to start things out in the right way; to get started at the right place. His audience must be careful that they go through the gate that leads to life and not to destruction. In terms of the larger audience, and the disciples He is saying: Be sure that your starting point is the correct starting point.

The narrow gate is Christ:

John 10:9
I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved.

John 14:6
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

Acts 4:12
Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

Entering is by faith in Christ’s saving message:

John 3:15
…that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

John 5:24
"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life.

1 Tim 1:16
… as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life.

The way to life is constrained, narrow. There is but one gate, Jesus Christ, and there is only one way to enter it, by faith alone in Christ alone.

That “there are few who find it” should be quite sobering.*

…for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it

The wide gate with the broad path represents every other “way” to salvation that is not through Christ, through faith in His Name. This would inlude every false religion in the world from animism to humanism; Islam to Buddhism; Hinduism to Judaism, and all others in between.

But let us not stop here. The “way that leads to destruction” is also paved with “Christian” doctrines and false “gospels”. It is tiled with sincerity, good intentions; it is cemented with counterfeit prophets and bible teachers. This road attracts a lot of attention with high profile sects, denominations, and doctrinal positions; with radio bible teachers and seminary presidents; with global organizations and social activists. Those that beckon the world to this path proclaim far and wide the doctrines of Rome; the mysticism of Mormonism; the angelology of the JWs; the self-salvation of Arminianism; the costly conversion of Lordship Salvation; and the exclusivism of Traditionalism.

Any teaching that requires anything in addition to simple faith alone in Jesus Christ alone, the Guarantor of eternal life and resurrection to the believer in Him for it, diverts its adherents from the narrow gate and detours them to the broad way that leads to destruction. Therefore we must:

Beware of the False Prophets

One of the problems that people have in finding the correct gate is that there are people who tell them the wrong gate! There are people who profess prophetic ability or profess to be sent by God and they lead them astray. Jesus immediately follows the exhortation to enter into the correct gate by a warning against the false prophets. The way that the false prophets are known is by their fruits. He is not talking generally about professing Christians! He is not talking about being saved or unsaved. He is telling how we can recognize a false prophet.

Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.

The very first thing that we should notice concerning the prophets who lead people astray with their false messages, doctrines, and teachings, is that they come to the people “in sheep’s clothing.”

The Traditional interpretation of this passage is that men must gain assurance of their salvation by their works. This passage is so obviously not talking about this! How one can extract that meaning from this passage is a testament to the ingenuity and imagination of the eisegetical, presuppositional, and deductionistic advocates of Traditionalism!

The false prophets come to the people “in sheep’s clothing”. What is the implication here? -- There is no way to tell the false prophet by their outer appearances! They look, smell, act, and behave like sheep. They are wolves in sheep’s clothing! Every outward appearance is that of a Christian. So “fruit” cannot mean their conduct! Fruit is the doctrine that they preach; the fruit is the message that they bring. If they preach anything but eternal salvation by grace through simple faith in Jesus Christ, they are false prophets. If they bring a message that is contrary to what Jesus taught then they are false prophets.

That their words are their fruit is easily demonstrated by examining some corrollary passages:

Deut 13:1-3
"If there arises among you a prophet or a dreamer of dreams, and he gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or the wonder comes to pass, of which he spoke to you, saying, 'Let us go after other gods' -- which you have not known -- 'and let us serve them,' you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams”.

The false prophet exhorts his audience to heed unto false teachings! God says, “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Ex 20:3), but they say “let us go after other gods.” God says “You shall fear the LORD your God and serve Him, and shall take oaths in His name. You shall not go after other gods” (Deut 6:13-14), but the false prophets say “let us serve them [other gods].”

We are not to look at the works of a prophet to determine if he is a true prophet or not. The Lord God poses the idea that false prophets can do signs and wonders that indeed come to pass. This shouldn’t be an indicator of whether or not we should follow their teaching! Truth matters! Obviously we will not want to follow a liscentious man. But there are many prophets out there who do good things, they have great appearances, and are moral. But since truth matters for our eternal destiny, that a prophet has a blameless exterior is of no great consequence. It is his message that we must be extremely wary about.

The reason why people are not finding the right gate is because false prophets are leading them to the wrong one with their message, their teachings, and their “gospels”. We must test for the false prophet by his “fruit” which is his words.

Matt 12:33-37
"Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned”.

The gospel writer Matthew, within the sphere of the very epistle we meet “you will know them by their fruits,” equates “fruit” here with “speak[ing]” and “words”. Everyone, no matter if they are saved or unsaved, will give an account for every idle word they give in their “day of judgment”. In a very real sense, by their words they will either be justified or condemned. We will see the condemnation that comes to the adherents of false prophets by their words later in this post.

Jesus is talking about false prophets who are pointing to the broad road that leads to destruction. We can know the false prophets by their message (their fruit). Jesus says, “Most assuredly I say to you, he who believes in Me has eternal life,” (John 6:47), but the false prophet says “He who believes in Jesus and commits his life in costly discipleship, turning from all sins, and obeying the Lord, persevering until the end, will ultimately receive eternal life.”

It doesn’t matter if they have large Christian radio audiences. It is of no consequence that they preside over mammoth bible colleges and seminaries. It is not even really significant that they turn out people who love the Lord and are zealous for Him, for if it is not in truth, then it is of no value.

A false prophet, whether sincere or malicious, points people to the broad road that leads to destruction, and the only way that they can be identified is by their fruit, which is the message that they bring.

Paul was very concerned about the false prophets:

Acts 20:28-31
Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.

Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit… Therefore by their fruits you will know them.

Within the context of the evangelistic model here, the false prophet cannot bring the good message of salvation, he will bear bad fruit. Only the true prophet can bring the truth of the gospel. True prophets point to the correct gate; false prophets can only point to the broad road that leads to destruction.

The Traditionalist interprets these verses in the context of recognizing professing vs. genuine Christians, and as test of assurance of one's own salvation. They get into a lot of trouble here, though. They understand it as believers are good trees and therefore can only bring forth good fruit, but as the language shows, this would lead one, if followed through, to believe in sinless perfection; the text does not speak relatively. They would also understand unbelievers as bad trees and therefore can only bring forth bad fruit, but as the language shows, the image of God would not only marred, but totally extinct in the unsaved. The only way the Traditionalist can salvage this interpretation is to add the element of relativity, which is not present in the language, to their interpretal stew. This is the quicksand into which the false interpretation of this passage slides. We must keep in mind that Jesus is talking about false prophets over against true prophets, and not the tests of a believer or professor.

By the message of the “prophet” a person will be able to recognize whether the prophet is a true prophet or a false prophet.

“The true test for discovering a false prophet or teacher is to compare his or her message with God's. This, after all, has always been the test for discovering who speaks for God and who does not.

Not much thought has to be given to see that it makes sense that it should be this way. God cannot possibly contradict Himself (Num 23:19). Furthermore, His Word stands forever (Isa 40:8). If indeed we have something that solid--and we do--we should use it as a touchstone to test everything that is said by anyone claiming to be a messenger of God. For in doing this, we are not only living in obedience to God's Word, but we also will be able to know those who are His spokesmen and those who are not.” (D. Scott Henderson, Looking a Wolf in the Mouth Newsletter of the Grace Evangelical Society).

Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

God is going to judge the false prophet. We don’t have to have a knee-jerk reaction to “fire” and talk always about hell. In a general way the fire of God’s judgment is waiting for these people. But obviously if a man who claims to be a prophet of God who is not a prophet of God is unsaved, he will ultimately wind up in the fire of hell, which the following verses will have something to say.

By Your Words You Will Be Condemned

What is the lot for those who heed the untrue gospel messages of the false prophets? They will have their “day in court” and by their words they will be condemned!

We started our treatise with Jesus’ plea to begin right by entering the correct gate; followed by his solemn exhortation to recognize the false prophets who point to the broad road that leads to destruction; and here now we end with the destiny of those putting their trust in the fallacious hopes of the false prophets:

Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.

Many on the day of their judgment will lay the hope of their eternal well-being upon their allegiance to Christ as Lord and their efforts and works for Him. This is the gospel that they have been given by the false prophets. They are told to “Make Jesus your Lord”, “Jesus must be Lord of your life or you can’t be saved!”. The false prophets tell their listeners that they “must follow Jesus in costly discipleship or you can’t be saved.” They confuse discipleship with the call to receive a free gift, therefore lead people down the wide gate and broad road that ends in destruction.

Many, “in that day”, will sincerely address Jesus as Lord. Jesus will not quarrel with them on this point. That a person considered Jesus their Lord is not means for entrance into the kingdom.

In the gospel of John, the only explicitely written book in the Bible for the purpose of evangelism (John 20:31), we find Jesus explain how one “enters the kingdom”.

John 1:12
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:

John 3:3
Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."

John 3:14-16
And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

One must be born again in order to enter the kingdom of God. To be born into God’s family, born from above, we must receive Jesus Christ by believing in His name. Whoever believes in Jesus will be born from above, becoming a child of God, and immediately possessing eternal life.

Only those who do the will of the Father in heaven will enter the kingdom of God. What is the will of the Father in heaven? The Father’s will is to believe on His Son for eternal life.

John 3:33-36
For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure. The Father loves the Son, and has given all things into His hand. He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe [disobeys = apeitho] the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."

The Son speaks the words of the Father. The one who believes in Jesus immediately possesses eternal life, for he is heeding “the will of the Father”. The one who disobeys the Son (who does not obey the command to believe in Him for eternal life, which is the message from the Father) is disobeying the will of the Father.

In the sphere of the reception of eternal life and entrance into the kingdom of God, the will of the Father is obvious! The will of the Father for the reception of eternal life, to enter the kingdom is to believe in His Son.

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

It is clear that God’s will is to give everlasting life, entrance into the kingdom, and resurrection to those is to resurrect and give eternal life to all who merely believe (and only believe) in His Son!

Many will say to Me in that day, 'Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?

“Jesus in His mercy tells us what many will say to Him in that Day: First, they will acknowledge the Lordship of Jesus Christ, addressing Him as 'Lord.' Not only will they say it once, they will repeat it: 'Lord, Lord.' Recognizing the gravity of the situation, they will plead for their lives. This repetition of 'Lord' may also suggest that they think they are on familiar terms with Jesus.

Next, they will ask Jesus a series of questions, calling the Christ Himself as a witness in their defense. Notice that they will not directly assert that they have done good works. They will speak in interrogative, not declarative, sentences. Because of this, their defense will actually be much stronger than their own mere declarations would have been: They will call Christ Jesus Himself as their defense witness. They will ask Him to testify to the facts of their lives: their prophesying, exorcising, and wonder working.” (John W. Robbins, The Trinity Foundation, Justification and Judgment)

Those who have heeded the message of the false prophets will plead their case with Jesus. They will be all too sincere. They will not be conscious charlatans trying to pull the wool over Jesus’s eyes. They will be all too serious as they point to both to their allegiance to Christ and to their works in His name!

These aren’t Buddhists, Hindus, etc. They are “Christians” who are offering their works “in Your [Jesus’] name” (three times!). These are the ones who obeyed the words of the false prophets who led them down the road to perdition. They did not do the will of the Father which was to trust solely in Jesus Christ for their entrance into the kingdom. They will be condemned for their words which betray their trust in their works!

And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!

Rom 3:20-28
Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.

But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.

“Jesus will describe these people as ‘you who practice lawlessness.’ Now if we had seen these people on earth—and perhaps we have seen some of them—we may not have reached that conclusion. After all, we would have seen these church leaders prophesying, casting out demons, and performing supernatural wonders, all in the name of Jesus. The Roman Catholic Church-State would have declared them saints. The ersatz Evangelicals would have made them best-selling authors and celebrities. But Jesus calls them ‘you who practice lawlessness.’ Why?

He has already told us why. All of these extraordinary and wonderful works done in the name of Jesus are lawlessness, because they are done for the purpose of obtaining salvation. These works are lawlessness because they involve an illegal use of the law. The law, Paul tells us, is given for the knowledge of sin. It is not given that we sinners might use it to gain entrance into heaven. Conviction of sin, not salvation, is the purpose of the law. Legalism, because it is an illegal use of the law, is lawlessness. ‘But we know that the law is good if one uses it lawfully,’ Paul told Timothy. But using the law in an effort to obtain heaven is not lawful; it is an illegal use of the law; it is lawlessness.

But if we see some of these men on earth, we are able to recognize them as false teachers, not because of what they do, but because of what they say: They teach salvation by faith and works, by faith and obedience, by faith and covenant faithfulness. They teach on earth what they will tell the Lord Jesus Christ at the judgment. That is what they believe.” (John W. Robbins, Ibid. Emphasis Mine)

The end of those who obey a false gospel is the lake of fire. We must be wary of those who present a message that differs from Christ’s message of the free gift of eternal life and resurrection received by simple faith alone in Him. We must start out on the right foot by entering the correct gate. Most of Christendom and much of Evangelicalism need to be evangelized! They have listened to false prophets who are wolves in sheep’s clothing!

We must not back down from the simple message of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

Antonio da Rosa
Lakeside, CA

* Lets get some perspective. In the newest edition of “Operation World” (A prayer guide for missions) we find that the world’s population is around 6 billion. Out of those 6 billion, roughly 2.5 billion are considered “Christian”.

350 million Protestants
303 million Indepentants
67 million Anglicans
420 million Evangelicals
345 million Charismatics
1 billion Catholics
212 million Orthodox

Christians account for roughly 1/3rd of the world’s population. This does not qualify for a “few”.

Christ contrasts the terms “many” and “few”. Only a “few” find the correct gate and enter thereby. I am speculating here, but what percentage out of 100 could we bracket off such a modifier as “few”? When I was a kid, we would say to someone who had candy “give me a couple” and he would give us “two” because a couple is “two”. We learned from that. We would then say give me a “few”, which would mean somewhere between 3-5 in a package of 40 M&Ms. Such an understanding I do not believe is far off from Christ’s use of the term “few”. If I had to make an educated guess on what percentage of 100 is a “few” in Christ’s discourse here, I would say 8-15%. I hope I am not offending anyone with my candy illustration. I am trying to get at how the word “few” is used. In the Bible, “few” is used relatively as to what is being compared; few always means a relatively small number from that which could be termed “many”. I could not see the word “few” being used of a relative percentage of 25% or more in any given illustration. Could you? Argue with me if you like. Few means a relatively small number in comparison to the many.

If my crude analysis of “few” meaning 8-15% of the population is correct, than we have a problem. 33% of the world’s population is “Christian”; much too high of a figure to denote a relative “few”. What can we glean of this? That much of “Christianity” is not saved, but needs to be evanglized. Why? The gospel has been corrupted by thousands of false teachers who preach a distorted gospel.

The Wide Gate and Broad Road:
“there are many who go in by it”

The Narrow Gate and Constrained Way:
“there are few who find it”

This is sad and sobering. Yet this is deadly serious. What are we waiting for? Let us go out and evangelize, and make disciples of grace!

Saturday, February 18, 2006

The Darkness Outside

The following link is to my first article on the group blog : "Unashamed of Grace".

It talks about the "outer darkness" as found in the parable of the wedding feast. Most people have a knee-jerk reaction when they read this phrase and automatically import into it the idea of hell.

Come read my observations concerning this very important phrase as found in the parable of the wedding feast:

The Darkness Outside

My normal postings will resume! Keep in Touch!


Friday, February 17, 2006

A New Group Blog

First I want to thank all you who visit here on a regular basis. As the Lord provides for me wisdom, I am glad to pass it along. To Him be the glory!

Free Grace Theology (this blog) has been quite a blessing for me. It has given me the opportunity to disseminate this biblical theology. I am pleased of this forum, and I believe that it is reaching people. I get about 115 visits a day average. I have had visitors from Japan, Australia, South America, Canada, the U.K., and most recently, someone in Ireland sent me an email saying that he found this site and was excited to read this perspective on theology.

I am dedicated to this blog. And I will remain so as long as the Lord doesn't knock and say its time for quits.

I have so many responsibilities: I work all morning (getting up at 3 am), get home and take care of the house; my wife works in the evening, so I have all the bedtime and bath chores for my 3 children; I study the bible, teach at a Bible College, and I run this blog.

All of this to say that I will be participating in another blog; a group blog. The name is "Unashamed of Grace". The Participant's are Rose, H.K. Flynn, Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, Nate, and myself.

Unashamed of Grace

The first official post has already been posted, by our friend Matthew, and gives an overview of our purpose. He did a great job in expressing our vision. I am not such a prolific writer so ya'll should go to our new blog now and check it out.

Antonio da Rosa

over and out

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God

Free Grace Theology stands accused of teaching “easy believism”. We are told by the Traditionalists that it is merely fire-insurance. The straw men fly with their insistence that we do not preach or teach holiness. We are labeled as “cheap gracers”. Accusations of antinomian are common. This may surprise some of you who haven’t been around the block; the Calvinist Traditionalist has thrown a hefty share of pejoratives my way. They have employed every theological cuss-word in the book.

These are the weak and spurious claims of ignorance.

The Free Gracer is despised, belittled, demeaned, dismissed; but let me tell you one thing: he has yet to be reckoned with.

Traditionalists claim that free will is compatible with election, in that the regenerate elect now has the ability to truly choose. If this is the case, could the elect choose not to persevere in holiness and sanctifiation?

The God of the Traditionalist must force people to accept Him and love Him. He is not able to win or woo, He must coerce, He must impose. He is not able to command our affections apart from a sovereign decree.

I must ask, where on earth are there any relationships that parallel such a case as this? Let me tell you. It lies in dictatorships and tyrannies; with any government that imposes their will against the desires of the people. It is the basis of Islam, fear, terrorism, communism.

The Traditionalist states that God cannot woo or win; He must impose. And after this imposition the regenerate man cannot help but be acted upon by the Most High so that he will indeed progress in experiential sanctification and ultimately persevere until the end in faith, deeds, and faithfulness.

How is the God of Calvinism/Traditionalism any better than the harshest dictator who imposes his will by decree and force; by obligation, constraint, and necessity?

By contrast, have we not seen those leaders in government, society, education, and family who bring out our fidelity by encouragement, love, leading, discipline, and affection?

What a little view of God the Traditionalist must have. His God must first impose allegiance, and next force fidelity.

When someone fails in his or her Christian life, such a one is damned, for God’s imposition of holiness is guaranteed by regeneration, therefore such a person could not possibly have ever been saved.

Yet for the Traditionalist, success is peculiarly subjective. God chooses not to will and to work in them perfectly, for they still succumb to sin. God’s work of regeneration and justification are perfect, but His labor in sanctification is partial. Why aren’t they sinless? Given the view of sovereignty that the Traditionalist has, the only answer is that the sin in the regenerate one is God “willing and working in them His good pleasure”.

If regenerate man does not have the ability to spurn the will of God which may result in dying in a state of unfaithfulness then the only other option, seeing the sin of man, is to hold that God’s necessary work in the regenerate, by decree, is partial: resulting in progressive sanctification that is peculiarly attended by daily sin.

Imagine that: our Holy God who is light, and there is no darkness in Him at all, has fore-ordained that regenerate man will be a conglomeration of both light and darkness.

The better solution is to see that God does not act irresistably on regenerate man (nor on unregenerate man, but that is for another time). If God acted irresistably on regenerate man, we must therefore conclude that God wills our sin, for our sin is ever present (just see the hypocrisy of Traditionalism’s personal attacks against me).

I don’t get the disconnect in Traditionalism. They are forever speaking out of two sides of their mouth:

They say that the regenerate one will necessarily persevere in faith, faithfulness, and good deeds. Yet at the same time, as per Dort and Westminster, they acknowledge that regenerate man may backslide, with the ability to commit “heinous” sins for an undisclosed period of time.

What keeps the regenerate backslider from dying in a state of unfaithfulness, says the Traditionalist? The virtue of their regeneration and the will of God. Yet neither of them stopped the offending regenerate one from falling into “grievous” and “heinous” sins, and from backsliding! What could be the only comeback to this common sense observation of the Christian life? That the reason that the regenerate Christian can totally sin in grievous and heinous ways, backslidding for an unspecified period of time, yet in the end, must repent before death, is the sovereign imposition of their force-His-will God. Yes, even the sin itself was fore-ordained by the all-encompassing decree of their Sovereign Lord.

The regenerate one is nothing but a yo-yo in the hands of God. In their unregenerate state, they hate him (by his fore-ordination), so He must impose His acceptance and love on them (by His fore-ordination). After imposing regeneration apart from their will God kills their old nature and gives them a new heart, yet, nonetheless, they still sin. Why? God has foreordained that they would sin in their new creation as well. In some cases, the regenerate one can backslide very far, committing sins like the most depraved reprobate, yet he will come to repentance at sometime before his death, and will go to heaven.

Yet in their same theology a professing Christian could live a full-life, doing good works and loving the brethren, yet if he does not persevere until the end, he will end up in hell.

Their God will allow them to sin like the unsaved, but in the end, He will make sure of it that they will repent.

Excuse me if this sounds fantastic!

Why not view the Christian life in the same sense as we do good nuclear families? The father of the household (positively) encourages, teaches, leads, loves, guides, rewards and (negatively) disciplines, chastens, punishes, admonishes, all for the benefit of the loved one.

Why must we see the relationship of regenerate man to God as one of necessity? Why can’t we see the Biblical teaching that regenerate man has two opposing natures? Why can’t we see that regenerate man is genuinely responsible to appropriate the grace of God and live according to His commands? Why can’t we therefore see the potential for failure in true Christians?

This has been quite an extended introduction to my post.

Regenerate man has a free will that is regulated by two opposing capacities within his ontological being. The old man is powered by his pride, selfishness, and wordly passions. The new man MUST BE empowered by the Holy Spirit through active yieldedness. What does this say? That unless regenerate man, by an act of his will, mortifies the old man, and actively yields himself to the indwelling Holy Spirit, he will not have victory nor necessitated progressive and experiential sanctification.

God has positive and negative means by which to affect His children apart from coercion, force, necessity, and imposition. The object of this post is not to get into the positive aspects of God’s relationship to the regenerate one. I may in the future outline the glorious nature of God’s encouragement, leading, guiding, teaching, prompting, and acts of love and kindness.

The assessment of the Traditionalist against the Free Gracer is folly.

The Free Gracer has a sober view of God’s holiness and loathe of sin. God demands holiness. God hates sin. He will not tolerate or wink at the evil machinations of His children. God requires that His servants be holy and abide by His commandments.

At His discretion, God will employ His discipline and judgement against the sinful acts of His children. These may take the form of temporal consequences or eternal ones. In either respect, they are serious and sobering.

Following is a list of God’s punitive disciplinary actions against believers, whether they be temporal or eternal.

Within God’s discretionary model of accountability, the believer may be:

1. Cast out (Mt 5:13).
2. Called least (Mt 5:19)
3. Thrown into prison (Mt 5:25)
4. Not forgiven (Mt 6:15)
5. Judged in like manner (Mt 7:1-2)
6. Cast away from the table into the darkness outside (Mt 8:11-12)
7. Denied before the Father (Mt 10:33)
8. Counted unworthy of Jesus (Mt 10:37-38)
9. Condemned on the basis of their words (Mt 12:36-37)
10. Paid back with the loss of their souls (Mt 16:24-27)
11. Handed over to tortures (Mt 18:34-35)
12. Last (Mt 19:30)
13. Last (Mt 20:16)
14. Bound hand and foot (Mt 22:13)
15. Cast outside the wedding feast into the darkness outside (Mt 22:13)
16. Pictured as weeping and gnashing their teeth (Mt 22:13)
17. Not chosen (Mt 22:14)
18. Humbled rather than exalted (Mt 23:12)
19. Whipped (Mt 24:51)
20. Assigned a place with the hypocrites (Mt 24:51)
21. Pictured as weeping and gnashing their teeth (Mt 24:51)
22. Denied entrance into the wedding feast and left in the darkness outside (Mt 25:12)
23. Rebuked (Mt 25:26)
24. Penalized (Mt 25:28)
25. Cast into the darkness outside (Mt 25:30)
26. Pictured as weeping and gnashing their teeth (Mt 25:30)
27. Pictured as losing their lives (Mk 8:35)
28. Made objects of shame (Mt 8:38)
29. Last (Mk 10:31)
30. Ruined (Lk 6:49)
31. Exposed (Lk 8:17)
32. Warned of losing their souls when Jesus returns (Lk 9:24-26)
33. Made objects of shame (Lk 9:26)
34. Not fit for the kingdom (Lk 9:62)
35. Exposed (Lk 12:2)
36. Told to fear God who casts people into hell (Lk 12:5)
37. Publicly denied by Jesus (Lk 12:9)
38. Called fools in the loss of their souls (Lk 12:20)
39. Whipped (Lk 12:46)
40. Assigned a place with the unfaithful (Lk 12:46)
41. Subject to many lashes rather than just a few (Lk 12:47-48)
42. Thrown into prison (Lk 12:58)
43. Last (Lk 13:30)
44. Publicly disgraced and humbled by being put in last place (Lk 13:9-11)
45. Thrown out as worthless (Lk 14:35)
46. Humbled rather than exalted (Lk 18:14)
47. Penalized (Lk 20:24-26)
48. Cast into the fire and burned (Jn 15:6)
49. Killed (Acts 5:5-10)
50. Threatened with death (Acts 8:20)
51. Unforgiven (Acts 8:22)
52. Rewarded with God’s wrath and indignation (Rom 2:6)
53. Subject to death (Rom 8:13)
54. Severely cut off (Rom 11:22)
55. Condemned (Rom 13:2)
56. Subject to wrath (Rom 13:4)
57. Condemned (Rom 14:22-23)
58. Revealed for the negative they do (1Cor 3:13)
59. Punished with loss (1Cor 3:15)
60. Destroyed (1Cor 3:17)
61. Revealed for the negative they think (1Cor 4:5)
62. Delivered over to Satan for physical destruction (1Cor 5:5)
63. Rejected as kingdom heirs (1Cor 6:9-10)
64. Rejected as losers (1Cor 9:24-27)
65. Afflicted with God’s judgment of weakness and sickness (1Cor 11:30-31)
66. Judged and disciplined (1Cor 11:32-34)
67. Accursed (1Cor 16:22)
68. Punished (2Cor 2:6)
69. Paid back with evil for the evil they do (2Cor 5:10)
70. Punished with suffering loss (2Cor 7:9)
71. Not benefited by Christ (Gal 5:2)
72. Severed from Christ (Gal 5:4)
73. Fallen from grace (Gal 5:4)
74. Rejected as kingdom heirs (Gal 5:21)
75. Reapers of corruption rather than eternal life (Gal 6:8)
76. Rejected as kingdom heirs (Eph 5:5)
77. Partakers of God’s wrath (Eph 5:6-7)
78. Considered unholy objects of blame and reproach [at the bema] (Col 1:22-23)
79. Rewarded with harm rather than the inheritance (Col 3:24-25)
80. Objects of God’s vengeance (1Thess 4:6)
81. Put to shame (2Thess 3:14)
82. Condemned (1Tim 5:12)
83. Publicly rebuked (1Tim 5:20)
84. Plunged into ruin and destruction (1Tim 6:9-10)
85. Denied (2Tim 2:12)
86. Ruined (2Tim 2:14)
87. Dishonored (2Tim 2:20)
88. Self-condemned (Tit 3:11)
89. Subject to a negative payback (Heb 2:2-3)
90. Objects of God’s wrath and anger (Heb 3:11-17)
91. Rejected from God’s rest (Heb 3:18-4:11)
92. Burned (Heb 6:8)
93. Subject to a terrifying fiery judgment (Heb 10:27)
94. Subject to server punishment (Heb 10:29)
95. Subject to God’s vengeance (Heb 10:30)
96. Subject to God’s judgment (Heb 10:30)
97. Subject to a terrifying experience at God’s hands (Heb 10:31)
98. Subject to God’s displeasure (Heb 10:38)
99. Subject to destruction (Heb 10:39)
100. Subject to God’s discipline (Heb 12:5-8)
101. Subject to God’s reproving (Heb 12:5)
102. Subject to God’s whipping (Heb 12:6)
103. Consider illegitimate children (Heb 12:8)
104. Rejected concerning the inheritance (Heb 12:17)
105. Unable to escape God’s fiery judgment (Heb 12:25-29)
106. Subject to potentially harmful or detrimental consequences (Heb 12:17)
107. Subject to God’s judgment (Heb 13:4)
108. Susceptible to merciless judgment (Jam 2:13)
109. Not be saved from this merciless judgment (Jam 2:14)
110. Susceptible to strict judgment (Jam 3:1)
111. Opposed by God (Jam 4:6)
112. Susceptible to miseries on judgment day (Jam 5:1)
113. Susceptible to being burned with fire (Jam 5:3)
114. Susceptible to condemnation when the Lord returns (Jam 5:9)
115. Susceptible to judgment (Jam 5:12)
116. Susceptible to premature death (Jam 5:20)
117. Justifiably afraid of God’s judgment (1Pet 1:17)
118. Opposed by God (1Pet 3:12)
119. Opposed by God (1Pet 5:5)
120. Worse off because they are believers (2Pet 2:20-21)
121. Fallen from grace (2Pet 3:17-18)
122. Out of fellowship with God (1Jn 1:6)
123. Put to shame by Jesus (1Jn 2:28)
124. Subject to premature death (1Jn 5:16)
125. Removed (Rev 2:5)
126. Subject to having his crown taken away (Rev 3:11)
127. Punished with sickness (Rev 2:22)
128. Cast into great tribulation (Rev 2:22)
129. Killed (Rev 2:23)
130. Spit out (Rev 3:16)
131. Reproved (Rev 3:19)
132. Disciplined by God (Rev 3:19)
133. Plagued by God (Rev 22:18)
134. Subject to having God take away his portion in the tree of life (Rev 22:29)
135. Subject to having God take away his portion in the holy city (Rev 22:29)
(Credit for this list goes to Marty Cauley, Sylva N.C., friend and GES member. Thank you, Marty!)

I realize that the readers, even those who ally themselves in proximity to my position, may not agree with some of these disciplinary actions.

It must be noted that many, if not most of these disciplinary actions are within the context of parabolic structures, and as such, are not to be taken literally, but the accounts within the metaphorical contructs correspond to spiritual truths.

For sake of clarity and argumentation: Any one who would oppose my use of these references of negative consequences in specific relation to the regenerate one, I have a request. If you take issue with any of these references, please give me your observational, exegetical, and contextual exposition of the verse that would cause you to arrive at your interpretation. Just to merely assert and froth is of no benefit.

Prove by your exegetical and expositional skills that these references are not with the regenerate one in mind.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

God does not trifle with sin, not even the sin of His children.

Heb 10:30-31
"The LORD will judge His people." It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.

(*** Parenthesis: Today is Valentine’s Day. Let me tell you something. I love my wife more today than I ever have. Whatever it was when we were married 8 years ago, it wasn’t love. Compared to my affection for her now, that wasn’t love. I continue to woo her, encourage her, and court her love. Let me tell you something for you men. One of the greatest (can I say this on a Christian blog) turn-ons for a woman is a responsible man. Do the list of chores around the house. Help out around the house. Surprise your wife with doing the laundry, mopping the floors, cleaning the bathrooms, giving the kids a bath, etc. Let me tell you another thing (totally off the point of this post): this will leave much time for pleasure. Your wife has plenty on her mind her mind. Relieve her of her stresses and worries, and I guarantee that she will reward you.)

Saturday, February 11, 2006

End of Discussion on This Particular Thread of Thought

The points in my last two post are for those who believe that salvation is free. They were constructed in a way to give my perspective on things. They were given to show the logical implications of the understanding that eternal life is absolutely free. If a person preaches a gospel where it is costly to the unsaved, is this the same gospel of the freeness of God's grace and gift? And if this is not the same gospel, what does that imply for the person who believes this different gospel? I have not peered in to anyone's heart. I have not judged any particular man's salvation.

I just flatly state my great and heartfelt conviction that any man who believes the Lordship Salvation gospel IS NOT BELIEVING THE SAVING MESSAGE OF CHRIST. I should have just left it at that. Yet what is the implication if they have not believed the only message that saves? That they are unsaved.

Calvinists are confusing sometimes. I don't know what they believe in their heart concerning how they figure they will get into heaven or what they have believed in the past (remember, salvation is received the instant that one believes in Christ for eternal life). I can only go on what they preach as their doctrine now. Some LS people I have responded to lately flatly state that obedience is necessary for eternal life. This is not the gospel of grace, but the gospel of obligation.

My posts were intended really for those who believe in the gospel of the free grace of God yet do not see the implications that all other forms of the "gospel" are false, and if believed, the person has not believed the simple gospel message that saves.

I wanted to have people understand that the free grace/lordship salvation debate has a lot to do with people getting saved, not just with the way they live the Christian life.

In my posts I have directly stated the answer to your questions concerning being friends. I would be friends with anyone. I would be friendly and loving.

But life is so much more than the blogosphere and coffee and donut relationships. There is a real battle out there and Satan has deceived many within our churches.

I don't preach against people. I preach against doctrine. A false prophet is known by his fruit (which is his doctrine, what he says). If someone states that salvation takes faith + obedience+ forsaking sins + whatever, that shows he is a false prophet. That doesn't necessarily mean that he is unsaved. I know that J.I. Packer used to believe in the free grace gospel, for he says so, but then he says later, when he believed the LS gospel he was saved.

I do believe that people get saved in spite of the preachers abbherent theology, sometimes. If at anytime during a conversation, listening to the word of God, or reading it, someone is convinced that Jesus has given them eternal life through their faith in Him alone, they are saved.

But those who now preach LS, whether or not they are saved, are preaching a false gospel to those who are unsaved. The Lordship gospel is confusing, adds many caveats, includes obedience, and is quite subjective. How is one to know if he submitted enough, committed enough, followed enough, repented enough, obeyed enough? Do you see how the personal contingency that is laid on the unsaved by the LS gospel can effect the psychology? If they are worried that they may have not done enough, they have already been swayed to believe that salvation is somewhat contingent on themselves. That one believes that they must DO these things can be naturally shown that they understand the conditionality for eternal life based upon their repentance, their commitment, their following, their obedience, etc, and not on Christ alone.

I have not fingerpointed to any particular person. I am pointing to an abbherent theology. It matter what people believe. Truth matters. It matters so much that without the simple appropriation of the truth of the gospel, no man can enter the kingdom of God. This knowlege breaks me. So much confusion, ignorance, and false teaching is swirling around.

Bob Wilkin writes a journal article called The Subtle Danger of an Imprecise Gospel where evangelists are not using the biblical gospel message of believing in Jesus. People are wishy-washy, imprecise, using terms like "give your heart to Jesus", "you must sign up", "ask Jesus to be your Savior", "accept Jesus", etc. What do these things mean? A person could do all of these things and yet not believe that Jesus guarantees for them resurrection and eternal life.

The aforementioned was just people preaching confusing gospels, where there is great danger in people not undertanding the truth of the gospel, that it is only by grace through purposeful faith alone in Jesus Christ. Those of the LS are as great of a threat or worse, for they preach "costly gospel". Their gospel places contingency on the unbeliever, making the reception of eternal life "costly" to the recipient.

I have not stood in judgement of anyone's trust in Christ. Have I mentioned anyone's names and said they were unsaved? I have merely stated that some people preach a false gospel, and if any unsaved person believes that message, they remain unsaved. The Lordship Salvation crew has said as much about my beliefs, that FG is a false gospel.

Can't you remember recently someone who derided me and my theology state this:

With regards to Free Grace, it should be obvious that at the very heart of the gospel itself, we disagree

The people on the Lordship Salvation side and me all conclude that we aren't preaching the same gospel. It is those who are on the fence who cannot see that they are different and not the same. Therefore at least one of them is under the curse of preaching a false gospel.

I am not trying to alienate people from me. If someone tells me that they have eternal life by faith alone in Christ alone, apart from obedience, works, etc., I will consider them my brother. Yet if these same people continue to preach that forsaking sins, obedience, repentance, whole-hearted commitment, surrender of everything, perseverance until the end, and all the other strings and caveats, are necessary for eternal life, I will call them on their dissonance, for how can someone say that they have been saved by grace through faith alone in Christ but yet heap all these other conditions upon the unsaved? There is a disconnect somewhere and on many different levels, this is dangerous ground.

If people do not see the gospel the same way as I do, how could they consider me their brother? Why would I expect them to, unless it was merely for the benefit of our cordial coffee and doughnut fellowship?

I have one thing to say to SUSAN. Susan, you have been giving me a hard time. Did you give Daniel a hard time when he called my gospel false? When he actually targeted me and held me in contempt? You were the first one to comment on his horrid post about me when you said this:

"Thanks for your respectful and gracious introduction to such wonderful things."

Yet he later had this to say about the same post:

First and foremost Antonio I applaud and thank you for taking me to task on this... I am sorry that I made my post personal...You have my earnest, honest apology for making you the "target" of my post... in hindsight I honestly regret having been so calloused.

It is interesting Susan that you had such a gracious response to Daniel's obvious contempt for me in the personal nature of his post, yet, me, who hasn't made any personal accusations, you give me such grief. Please pardon me if I find this a bit of a double-standard, and competely partial. Daniel's post was anything but respectful and gracious. My post doesn't name names but merely talks about my convictions about theology and their ramifications.

My last few posts have been on theology and not attacks on people at all. They are targeted on doctrine and truth. If I have sinned against anyone, please bring my sin to my attention in order that I may repent of it. If I have sinned, please convict me of it.

I have not looked in anyone's heart nor deemed anyone particular person unsaved, yet so many people seem to have indicated that I have. None of my last 2 posts have been personal, but doctrinal. I have sought to make one point and one point only: the false gospel of Lordship Salvation does not save.

Antonio da Rosa
Lakeside, CA

Friday, February 10, 2006

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

I will not comport, I will not back down.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John MacArthur states:

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

Imagine this presented to the sinner:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

John MacArthur states:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

If one believes this message, look:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

How do you preach and understand the gospel?

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

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

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

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

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

I do not share this doctrine of election.

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

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

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

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

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

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

I would ask not to confuse rage with passion.

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

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

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

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


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Sacrificing Doctrine on the Altar of Unity

Titus 1:7-13
For a bishop must... hold fast the faithful word as has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict. For there are many insubordinate, both idle talkers and deceivers... whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole households, teaching things which they ought not... Therefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith.

"The message of faith only and the message of faith plus commitment of life cannot both be the gospel; therefore, one of them is a false gospel and comes under the curse of perverting the gospel or preaching another gospel (Gal 1:6-9)" (Charles Ryrie, So Great Salvation).

There is a war being fought here. Satan, who has the world under his sway (1 John 5:19), seeks to corrupt truth (John 8:44-45). Truth is being compromised left and right in the pursuit of "unity". Salvific truth! I am not going to stand around idly while false doctrines not only rob Christians of assurance, but worse, they prevent sinners from understanding the simple saving message of Christ, therefore disqualifying them for entrance into the kingdom.

Some doctrines are just not to be compromised in the quest for "unity". I am not commanded to consider someone my brother whom I do not believe is in my family.

The gospel is the message of reconciliation, eternal life, and adoption into God's family. If someone is preaching a gospel other than by faith only, I am not adjured to consider such a one my brother in Christ, but one (willfully or ignorantly) who has been snared by Satan to do his will in propogating false doctrines that will keep precious men and women out of the kingdom.

I do not say these things lightly. I say them solemnly. Paul, in much emotion and depth of soul said:

Acts 20:28-31
Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.

You all may think, why can't we just get along? I have no qualms with being friends with anyone who doesn't see the gospel as I biblically do. Many of them are charming, intelligent, and sincere. Yet I will not stand idly by while precious truth is being contradicted; while false gospels are being propogated. I will not sacrifice the gospel on the altar of unity.

I believe Lordship Salvation, in what ever form it comes in (Calvinism or Arminianism) is a false gospel, that if believed, will preclude such a one from the kingdom of God.

Truth matters, folks. The gospel is ultimate truth. Semantics within gospel expressions are the words of propositional assertions that undergird one's understanding of salvific truth.

Let me put it in a simple illustration:

If I were to give you directions to my house and decided to add two or three more left and right turns, you would fail to reach my house.

Lordship salvation adds content to the gospel which adds deadly poison to the "Living Water".

John W. Robbins, President of The Trinity Foundation writes concerning unity and doctrine:

"I mentioned previously the fact that contemporary churches have repudiated the Biblical view of truth. A recent issue of Christianity Today carried an essay on “The Ecstatic Heresy.” Robert Sanders, the author, begins by citing three quotations, which I reproduce here. The first statement was issued by the Council of Bishops of the United Methodist Church on March 24, 2004 :

'The Dammann case [the trial of a lesbian Methodist minister] does reveal continuing differences in the United Methodist Church concerning the issue of homosexuality. The Council of Bishops is painfully aware of this disagreement. In such moments as this, we remember that our unity in Christ does not depend on unanimity of opinion. Rather, in Jesus Christ we are bound together by love that transcends our differences and calls us to stay at the table with one another.'

Please note that the propositional view of truth is here characterized as “opinion.” What transcends this is something called “love” and “staying at the table.” Unity is not unity of speech and mind, as Paul commands in 1 Cor 1:10: “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment”—but unity of emotion, feeling, or experience.[7] Paul commands propositional unity—“speak the same thing,” “the same mind,” “the same judgment”; yet it is precisely this unanimity of opinion that the Methodists repudiate." The Biblical View of Truth, Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society: www.faithalone.org

People can turn their heads, pretending that nothing is wrong, and consider their coffee and donut version of "fellowship" to be much more important than truth and doctrinal unity.

That is their prerogative.

Yet, my prerogative is to earnestly contend for the faith. My convictions will not let me stand by and watch people believe a false gospel to their destruction. Is this mindset un-Christian?

I think that for those who are disposed to believe so that they should read their bibles, this time with their eyes open.

There is a war out there, this is Satan's battleground. The minds of men are being taken captive by the seducing doctrines of demons.

By God's Spirit, I will combat these errors with the truth.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

The Will of God is Necessity (Helpless, Hopeless, yet Unpitiable)

"The Will of God is Necessity" (Institutes II.xxiii.8)
(Helpless, Hopeless, yet Unpitiable)

Born blind and reprobate
Hell can be my only fate
Heaven reserved for those God chose
Why I have no chance, God only knows

Born blind and deaf to the gospel of grace
To my life, Christ in His death hid His face
For God so loved the world, that Jesus died only to save some
How can this be a gracious offer that disingenuously bids me to come?

Born blind and dead from my mother's womb
I am to glorify God by my certain doom
God has arranged and disposed of me at His pleasure
He has created me as an object of His wrath and not His treasure

Born blind in sin, I did not ask to be born
Unlike Paul for his brethren, For me God does not mourn
I have been chosen for hell in the secret counsel of His all-encompassing decree
When I am gone, there will be no memory of me


Man was created in the image and likeness of God. Obviously this is not talking about physical features. Men are able to love with agape love, even sinners and publicans! (Matt 5:46; Luke 6:32 SEE GREEK) Men reason, do moral and just things, even not having the Mosaic or any God-given written law:

Rom 2:14-15
... for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves,

Can you notice here that they "by nature" do the things in the law? This is due to the moral image and likeness of God in which they were created in.

Man has the constitutional ability to believe. Do you not believe things? Is every belief a conviction imposed by God? Man has the communicable attributes of God! We are fearfully and wonderfully created and endowed by our Maker! The false doctrine of total inability to believe Christ's message is a teaching straight from the pit.

Christ died for sinners. He took the barrier of sin out of the way. Why is there such elaborate testimony to how one receives eternal life, by faith in Christ, if this is impossible? There can be no good answers.

With Paul, I say to sinners:

"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved!" (Acts 16:31)

But the soteriology of a Calvinist goes like this:

Lam 3:26
It is good that one should hope and wait quietly
For the salvation of the LORD.

The majority of humanity will be waiting in vain. God is pleased to desroy them; the have been created to be damned.

Yes, the reprobate will be waiting in vain.

The Bible conclusively shows that unregenerate man seeks God. I see that noone is willing to pose any arguments against the plain and normal reading of Cornelius and the Bereans.

Acts 10:1-3, 4
There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, 2 a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always. About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, "Cornelius! ...Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God."

Acts 17:10-12
Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. Therefore many of them believed.

Acts 17:26-28
And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth... so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;

God draws all men:

John 1:7-9
This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.

Witnesses do one thing: seek to persuade others of their testimony. Jesus is the true light which gives light to everyone coming into the world. If man is in darkness Christ is the Light.

John 12:31-32
"Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world shall be cast out. "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself."

Jesus has been lifted up. He is the light. Men can resist the light. Men can resist the drawing.

John 16:7-9
Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

Jesus went to heaven and sent the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is now here and is convicting the WORLD of sin, righteousness, and judgement. The Holy Spirit has a convicting ministry, Jesus is drawing all men to Himself, Jesus is the Light the True Light shining to every man in the world.

Heb 4:12
For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

The Word of God is supernatural unto conviction, persuasion, and being convinced. The word of God, in conjunction with the Spirit of God, in conjunction with the Son of God, in conjunction with the image and likeness of God, in addition to the drawing of Jesus to all men, in light of God's invititation to all men, in lieu of Christ's death for all men, in observance of God's desire that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth...

In light of the examples of Cornelius and the Bereans...

Oh. What about preaching the gospel and persuasion?

Some seem to deny that there is any soul winning or persuading men as to the gospel. Why do it when they are unable to hear and respond apart from sovereign regeneration and Irresistable Grace imposed? If one must be regenerated and then made to believe, then persuading someone as to the truth of the gospel really doesn't have a purpose in evangelism; preaching it seems pointless (men can't understand, are unable to hear and respond). There is no persuading or convincing the unregenerate sinner and it really would be a waste of time to do so.

I guess those who believe such doctrine could merely be content to give a short gospel message and see if God is going to do his trick and "effectually call" his elect.

Why answer the questions of an unbeliever or seek to persuade them? They can't understand apart from imposed religion! Imagine, a Calvinist trying to persuade an unbeliever. Why would he act contrarily to his most sacred doctrines? What would provoke them to answer the questions of a dead man? Why would they seek to persuade one who does not have ears to hear? If God uses the gospel to effect regeneration in His elect, why do Calvinists waste their time in many extra words trying to convince others of the gospel in their presentations? These synergistic pleas are superfluous and their time could be better spent trying to find God imposing regeneration on His elect, rather than wasting time on the helpless and doomed reprobate!

If after a very brief gospel message the person does not respond, well either 1) he is elect and God is not ready to effectually call him with His irresisitable grace imposition at this time or 2) he is unelect, reprobate, bound to glorify God by frying for eternity. Either way, persuasion is meaningless for it is falling on deaf, totally inable ears. Why don't they just go on to the next one to see if they are elect and if God is ready to effectually call them by irresistible grace imposed? Why do they wax eloquent, as if their synergistic pleas could be regarded? It is disingenuous!

2 Cor 5:19-21
God... has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

Imagine imploring and beseeching a deaf and blind person with your heartfelt speech. What use is it? This goes against all God given reason.

The deductionistic doctrines of Traditionalism are not biblical. Their arguments with their many prooftexts are a hodge-podge of special pleading and illegitamate totality and identity transfers. Not one clear scripture bears them out. The Traditionalist first got his doctrine from his theological deduction, then looked to the scriptures for support. There is not a single, clear passage stating that the gospel message, that enjoins the whole world to believe on Christ for eternal life, cannot be believed by humanity apart from God's sovereign forceable imposition. Not ONE PASSAGE states such a thing!

But passage after passage shows that not only do we see men being given the legitamate responsibility to believe, we see them seeking after God and being persuaded!

How can God make someone responsible for that which he cannot do?

That is like throwing an infant in the fires of Molech for not being able to change his own diaper.

Paul expended himself for Christ doing exactly this: disputing and persuading in the attempt to win people to Christ. As soon as he was converted, Paul "confounded the Jews...at Damascus proving that this is very Christ..."(Acts 9:22). Everywhere he went Paul "disputed...in the synagogue...and in the market daily..." (Acts 17:17). The last chapter of Acts tells us that even under house arrest in Rome, Paul was still at it: "...there came many to him, ... to whom he expounded... persuading them concerning Jesus..." (Acts 28:23).

1 Cor 9:16, 19-22
...woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!...
For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; 20 and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law(not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; 22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

The only way that a Traditionalist can emulate Paul here is to spurn the deadly flower of his theology.

Rom 10:1
Brethren, my heart's desire and prayer to God for Israel is that they may be saved

Antonio da Rosa
Lakeside, CA

Monday, February 06, 2006

Soteriological Affirmations Free Grace Theology

Jodie Sawyer opened up a can of worms in a comment on VeritasRedux Scroll Down for Jodie’s comments. In her remarks she discussed the minimum content of the gospel, that when believed, receives eternal life.

She next wrote a good article on it Content of the Offer of Eternal Life.

Having merely read her post once, and not studied it, I would say that I agree with her position.

What I want to do here is post some bare bones affirmations of my soteriology. There may be some or many that you do not agree with. I have written extensively on this position, and I would be more than happy to field your questions, clarify, or (less-so) read your obejections, which I could then comment on as well.

Here we go:

"...and that believing ye might have life through his name"

1) Christ's "name" is everything who He actually is. This "name" represents everything who He TRULY is. Fill in ALL true Christology here: Everything that the Bible reveals Jesus to truly be and have done and everything that Jesus truly is that is not revealed in the Bible.

2) It is by virtue of His "name" (everything that He truly is and has done) that we can have eternal life. It is who He is and what He has done that has qualified Him as the Guarantor of eternal life to the believer in Him for it. It is His name that gives Him the authority and the ability to dispense eternal life.

3) Jesus is uniquely qualified to dispense eternal life by virtue of His name. On this authority He may dispense it to whomever He wishes. It is through His wisdom and council with God the Father that they have decided to dispense eternal life to those and only those who believe in Jesus for this gift.

John 1:12
But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name

Acts 4:12
Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

1 John 3:23
And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ

Matt 12:21
And in His name Gentiles will trust.

John 3:18
He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God

Acts 10:43
To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.

4) To this one condition of appropriating the gift of eternal life (faith in Jesus for it) God has been pleased to add no other.

Gal 2:16; 3:2
…knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified…. This only I want to learn from you: Did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

Rom 4:5-6, 16
But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness… Therefore it is of faith that it might be according to grace, so that the promise might be sure.

5) Shorthand for faith in Jesus is to believe that Jesus is the Christ (in the Johannine sense) which as to content is that as the Christ Jesus is the Guarantor of eternal life to all who simply believe in Him for it.

John 11:25-27
Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"

She said to Him, "Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world."
You remember it, don’t you? “Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?’” (John 11:25-26). Her reply is a declaration that she believes Him to be the Christ. Martha said, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is to come into the world” (11:27).

Notice here that to believe that Jesus is the Christ means to believe that He guarantees resurrection and eternal life to every believer. But now let us look at John 4. In that famous passage we have the Samaritans saying to the woman who had encountered Jesus, “Now we believe, not because of what you said, for we ourselves have heard Him and we know that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the world” (John 4:42).

Observe that the common denominator to both passages is the term “Christ.” On Martha’s lips He is “the Christ, the Son of God,” and on the lips of the Samaritans He is “the Christ, the Savior of the world.” This is not an accidental or insignificant difference.

In Jewish prophecy and theology the promised Christ was also the Son of God—that is, He was to be a divine person. Recall the words of Isaiah: “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given…and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (9:6-7). But in Samaritan theology, the Messiah was thought of as a prophet and the woman at the well is led to faith through our Lord’s prophetic ability to know her life. Her words, “Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet” (4:19) are a first step in the direction of recognizing Him as the Christ. There is no evidence that she or the other Samaritans understood the deity of our Lord.

But they did believe that he was the Christ. And John tells us in his first epistle that “whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God” (5:1)! A full theology of His person is not necessary to salvation. If we believe that Jesus is the One who guarantees our eternal destiny, we have believed all we absolutely have to believe in order to be saved.
(Zane Hodges, How to Lead People to Christ, Part 1 Journal of the Grace Evangelical Society, Autumn 2000)

6) Believing that Jesus is the Christ (in the Johannine sense) is the only soteriologically necessary condition for eternal life.

7) Most people will not find this bare proposition persuasive. They will require more information and quite possible need some of their questions answered. This would be a logical necessity in order to persuade them that the salvific proposition is true.

John 20:30-31
And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

8) Most people do not need every question that they may have answered before they are persuaded as to the truth of the salvific proposition. Answers to other questions or other information given may be sufficient to persuade one that the salvific proposition is true.

9) The assent to orthodox theology in general or Christology in specific, as important as this is to the regenerate believer, is no litmus test for assurance of one's soteriological salvation. The only basis for both the reception of eternal life and assurance of eternal life is believing in Jesus, who through His name, has given the promise to Guarantee eternal life to all who believe in Him for it.

10) Misconceptions are a part of life. It is impossible to clear up every misconception concerning theology and should not be attempted. The most spiritual man on earth at the present time without a doubt has some misconceptions concerning the real nature of theology.

11) Children have many misconceptions as well but as the Bible makes clear, only those who receive the kingdom of God as little children will enter.
The theif on the cross said, “Lord, remember me”; and Jesus replied, “Today you shall be with Me in paradise.” After a life of crime, one of the three worst criminals in the nation – Barabbas had been released – this thief received assurance of Heaven.

He could hardly have known much about Jesus. He certainly had no notion of saving faith, let alone of the Trinity, the atonement, or the Second Advent. Yet, on the authority of Jesus, we know that he was saved… Surely entrance into Heaven does not require a degree from a theological seminary. The thief was saved in ignorance.”
(Gordon H. Clark, Faith and Saving Faith, pg 16)

12) Misconceptions about the Person and work of Jesus Christ is peripheral to the salvific proposition as a soteriological necessity. Ignorance about Christological doctrine can prevent one from being persuaded as to the salvific proposition, but it will never prevent one from the reception of eternal life if one is persuaded as to the salvific proposition.

13) Misconceptions about Jesus do not necessitate such a one who may hold to them to be referring to a "different" Jesus. If a test to one's particular reference to an identity be that he not hold any misconceptions about this identity then specific reference to anyone would be made impossible. For what guarantee does one have that his conceptions about the person, that through his reference he intends to identify, are correct?

14) One fact about a reference could be all that is necessary to limit identity, though one fact may not be enough. There seem to be multiple facts in the salvific proposition and not just one. "Believe that Jesus is the Guarantor of eternal life to the believer in Him for it." Limit #1: the name of the reference is Jesus. Limit #2: the referent is a guarantor of something. Limit #3: the referent dispenses eternal life. Limit #4: this eternal life is dispensed on the basis of faith in the referent for the purpose of appropriating said eternal life.

There is only one Person in the universe who dispenses and guarantees eternal life to the believer in Him for it; the name of this referent is Jesus. This information satisfactorily identifies and limits reference to the true Jesus Christ.

The facts contained in the salvific proposition are of sufficient nature as to specifically limit the identity of its reference to the 2cd Person of the Trinity, God the Son, Jesus Christ.

15) Belief in Jesus Christ for anything else but the intended gift of eternal life will not necessarily be appropriated. The gift that Jesus guarantees in the salvific proposition is "eternal life" and not temporal deliverance, assured positive answer to prayer, or physical blessings. The faith in Jesus is for the purpose of appropriating the intended gift of eternal life.

15) The evangelist's endeavor is to get the potential convert to the point where he will entrust his eternal well-being to Jesus. It is to be used of the Holy Spirit through the Word of God to persuade such a one that Jesus guarantees his eternity. He does this by preaching the gospel message and other facts relating to Jesus, answering questions, etc. Our job in evangelism is to get the potential convert to believe in Jesus, the Guarantor of resurrection and eternal life to the believer in Him. Anything we do or say must point to Jesus and His promise to dispense eternal life to the mere believer in Him for it.

Antonio da Rosa
Lakeside, CA

Non Calvinist, Non Reformed
Free Grace Theology

Friday, February 03, 2006

Absurdities in Action

Traditionalists are very funny to watch, often funny to read, yet, to use a phrase from Daniel of Doulogos, we must watch in "morbid fascination".

Take for instance Jonathan Moorhead's discussion over at his blog.

He wants to talk about "certainty" (something those of the Reformed persuasion necessarily can't have with relation to their knowledge of their own election or reprobation) and "boasting" as if someone receiving a free gift can now boast. He seems to not realize that there is a difference between legitamate boasting and absurd boasting. That we receive eternal life through the instrumentality of our faith precludes us from legitamate boasting; faith is not a work, as it is held in Reformed theology, but the intermediate agency, the instrument by which we receive the absolutely free gift of eternal life.

In his discussion of certainty, he implies that the word "certain" meant something different to Calvin than it does in "post-enlightenment" thought.

Come see the absurdities in this post and comment thread:

Are you 100% Certain?

The anti-intellectual musings here are repugnant! He asks what certainty is.

My dictionaries all say that it is "freedom from doubt" which has resulted from being convinced/persuaded upon consideration of communication and/or evidence. (By the way, being convinced that something is true passively brings faith which IS certainty--freedom from doubts).

Of course he is just rehashing the same position of the Traditionalistic religion: that one can have "infallible assurance" yet at the same time cannot be 'certain' (in the post-enlightenment sense, lol) that one has eternal life. If this is not absurd, please tell me what is.

In the comment thread I quoted John Calvin, who is at variance with modern Traditional doctrine and thought in these senses: Calvin's definition of faith and his declaration on where assurance comes from is lightyears away from the modern anti-intellectual thoughts on the same.

What was Jonathan's response? Certainty ≠ freedom from doubt but = something less than being certain. Click on the link above and view the absurdities.

Next we have the newest post by Jon Moorhead concerning boasting (which will quickly turn into a discussion on the nature of what 'faith' is; actually it is already turning out that way) where he says that to believe in the gospel is tantamount to "works-salvation".

Arminians (me and you) believe in Works Salvation

Along the lines of our beloved Rose~, who has instituted a blogger award for not being pig-headed, I must seriously consider instituting an award for blatant absurdity. The Bible says that we receive the Spirit by "the hearing of faith" (Gal 3:2, 5); that we are in the present state of already having been saved (the Greek perfect-periphrastic participle in Eph 2:8) through faith; that faith is in contradistinction from works (Eph 2:9); that boasting is precluded by "the law of faith" (Rom 3:27).

No. But believing the gospel for eternal life is works-salvation where we can legitamately boast that we saved ourselves, so goes Jon's logic.

Jonathan Moorhead, these posts deserve my Most Absurd Blogger Award (If I had one...)

Lastly, we have a chat room, message board thread that I want you to view. I often check where people are linking to my blog from and I found this thread. It is at Derek Webb's message board.

Anyone Here a Zane Hodges fan?

The topic started with the question : Did John Piper disavow a comment he made. Which comment? A comment that I quote often of him that the OP author read on my blog. The quote:

"...we must also own up to the fact that our final salvation is made contingent upon the subsequent obedience which comes from faith." (John Piper "TULIP: What We Believe About the Five Points of Calvinism...", pg 25)

Many Traditionalists rightly distance themselves with this statement, finding it utterly repulsive and anti-biblical.

But still many others wish to identify with this quote and others from men like A.W. Pink:

"There is a deadly and damnable heresy being widely propagated today to the effect that, if a sinner truly accepts Christ as his personal Saviour, no matter how he lives afterwards, he cannot perish. That is a satanic lie, for it is at direct variance with the teaching of the Word of truth. Something more than believing in Christ is necessary to ensure the soul's reaching heaven." (A.W. Pink as quoted by Iain H. Murray in "The Life of Arthur W. Pink" pgs 248-249)

In this thread the contributers are arguing that salvation is conditioned on works, but these works are non-meritorious. Where does that unbiblical and absurd notion come from?

Gerstner, in his book attacking dispensationalists, writes that virtually all dispensationalists do not see the elementary difference between non-meritorious "requirements," "conditions," "necessary obligations," "indispensable duties," and "musts," as the natural outworking of true faith, in distinction from faith in the Savior plus meritorious works as the very basis of salvation (Wrongly Dividing... 226).

Guilty as charged! I confess, I do not see this distinction in Scripture. In fact it isn’t there. It exists in Classical Calvinist/Lordship Salvation theology, but not in the Bible. Works are works; they either are or are not necessary for salvation. With the apostle Paul, I say they are not; we are saved "by grace…through faith…not of works" (Eph 2:8-9). If salvation is in any sense conditioned on works then "grace is no longer grace" (Rom 11:6).

Antonio da Rosa
Lakeside, CA