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

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Two Quotations from Charlie Bing

I think that the current debate in Free Grace theology is causing the Checklist Evangelism side to become increasingly polarized in their understanding and position. I have argued before on this blog that there is no basis for assurance in objective Scriptural passages for the converts of Checklist evangelism, for there is (are) no passage(s) that precisely state the same things they are requiring the lost to do to have eternal life. But equally, the most beloved evangelistic verses taken from the Gospel of John are disappearing from their discussions at a very rapid rate. I have written a post arguing that Checklist Evangelism robs the Free Grace world of the single most fruitful passage in evangelism, John 3:16:

Are We Robbed of John 3:16? -- What does 'Believing in Jesus' Really Mean?

This is a timely article, one that, if you have not read it, you must, and if you have, please review again!

Much like those who believe in particular redemption and unconditional election are uncomfortable with John 3:16, so are those in Checklist Evangelism (CE). These CE advocates believe that Christ's message and promise of life, that had the authority of God the Father (and also being His very words), must be relegated solely to the 3 1/2 years that Jesus was on the earth; they only had a 3.5 year shelf life, and are considered operative only in a prior dispensation.

In light of their increasingly stronger convictions concerning the words of Christ in the Gospel of John, that John is merely giving a history of how people were born again in the earthly ministry of Christ, that Jesus' words are not for the lost in this age, and that the Gospel of John was not written with an evangelistic purpose, the Checklist Evangelists are distancing themselves from John 3:16 and the promise of Jesus Christ. This is a most tragic situation, but is the logical ends of their position.

John's Gospel really does not have any relevancy anymore. It seems that 1 Corinthians, a book written to born-again believers, is the end all in this discussion, trumping the words of Christ in the Gospel of John. This is ok for me that they do this, for they are in all reality painting and retreating themselves into a deep corner, one from which they will not easily be extricated. John 3:16, to them, does not explain for us how to have life in this dispensation so they are left to totally disregard it.

I, for one, will never abandon Christ and His words from the Gospel of John, for Jesus says that His words "are life" and have the authority of God the Father.

John 3:16: The same yesterday, today, and forever.

Oh, yeah. I got so preachy that I forgot to include the quotations I wanted to give from Charlie Bing:

#1) I believe that a person is saved when they believe in Jesus’ promise to give them eternal life.

#2) On the other hand, simple salvation means that a person can believe the promise of John 3:16 and be eternally saved.

See how far the Doctrinal Legalists have removed themselves from such articulations! They of, of course, do not want to be seen as "Promise-Only" advocates! I guarantee that Charlie Bing would have to deeply qualify these statements (where they weren't in their contexts) in order to now identify with them, or he would just altogether reject them.

I am a proud advocate of a "Promise-Only" soteriology. You see, Jesus promises eternal life to those who believe in Him. I believe in Him, entrusting my eternal destiny into His hands according to His promise, therefore I am the beneficiary of it. Christ, according to His promise, is my sure and secure hope. Christ, according to His promise, has given unto me eternal life.

Do you want to be sure you have eternal life?

Take Jesus at His word and believe in Him. No one has ever put their trust in Him for eternal life and been rejected. He ever lives to make good on His promise. You can take that to the bank.

Your Free Grace Theology Blog host,

Antonio G. da Rosa

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Dialogue Continued

Dear guests of Free Grace Theology Blog:

This is your chance to continue dialoge about the discussion in Free Grace Theology pertaining to the content of saving faith. Dialogue was closed down on Fred Lybrand's blog. If any of you wish to continue over here, Jimmy, Rachel, Jan, Kevin, etc., please feel free to continue.


Antonio da Rosa
Your Free Grace Theology Blog host.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Faith Again Revisited

The following is a comment I made on Rose's Reasonings.

Trust and believe are synonyms. Trust denotes belief in a certain proposition having to do with the reliability of a thing or person. It is not some element beyond belief. For instance, if I were to say that I trust the babysitter I could equally state it in this propositional form:

I believe that the babysitter is qualified and reliable to take care of my children.

When we speak of trust, there may be some form of emotional element attached to it, but that is a secondary matter that comes by way of the results, not being part and parcel with the action of faith.

First off, we must realize that believing the facts concerning Christ's passion, Person, and resurrection is not salvific! It is when one believes in Jesus that he has eternal life. But what does it mean to believe in Jesus? I guess we could say that believing in Jesus is trust in Him. But in every realm where trust is mentioned, there is a context. I don't trust the babysitter to do my taxes nor do I trust the airline pilot to make a medical diagnosis.

I trust the babysitter for the well-being of my children on my night out.

I trust the pilot for my well-being during travel.

Every belief or trust can be denoted by propositional language, and apart from belief in a proposition, faith/trust does not occur. Each instance of faith/trust can be expressed in propositional form. Here are some sets illustrating my point:

A) I trust in the airline pilot.
A) I believe that the airline pilot is able and qualified to properly fly this aircraft and to get me to my destination safely.

B) I trust in the babysitter.
B) I believe that the babysitter is able and qualified to care for my children and keep them safe when I am out for the evening.

C) I trust in Jesus (or equally, I believe in Jesus)
C) I believe what Jesus has promised He is able, willing, authorized, qualified, and desirous to perform.

The gospel message states that anyone who believes in Jesus has eternal life. The moment that one believes in Jesus (as in C above) he has everlasting life. Therefore, one knows if he has placed his reliance or trust in Jesus (in the sense of believing that Jesus is able, authoratative, qualified, reliable, desirous, etc.. to perform what He promised); and because he:

1) Knows he believed in Jesus
2) Jesus promises eternal life to the one who believes in Him


3) He knows he has everlasting life.

There is no "personal" act of trust beyond an act of faith. This is nonsense and unbiblical. There can be no case made to state that saving faith is a combination of belief + trust. Reliance is not an emotion and ethereal object. Reliance is faith in propositional truth.

For instance, Let's say I have an infant who has never been babysat before: after several weeks of going through interviews and reading resumes and calling references, a single babysitter shines above the rest. Her credentials are impeccable, her experience is broad, her references all check out, etc... This convinced me that she is reliable. I now believe in that babysitter. But again, what do I mean about that? Let us break it down again.

Based upon the persuading evidence of her credentials, experience, references, etc., I now believe that this babysitter is able and qualified to care for my children! Faith (or belief or trust) in the babysitter was the passive result of becoming convinced/persuaded as to the reliability of the babysitter.

But something happens the moment I am convinced/persuaded of that proposition:

1) I feel relief!
2) This babysitter has impressed me and I can act upon my new found confidence and hire her
3) A relationship initiates which makes the act of trust (which is the passive result of becoming persuaded as to the reliability of the babysitter) seem to have a "personal" element to it, but in reality it is just a resultant effect.

But we must not confuse the act of trust/belief/faith (they are all synonyms!!) with the "feelings", emotions, subjective mindsets, and commitments that may result from the act of reliance upon another. When we do so we not only err, but we destroy objective assurance as well. How are we to determine how to guage this "personal" response to see if we have adequately met this extra step for salvation?

Really, this kind of theology is based upon a pop-psychology and not on logic and the bible. If you all have never read Gordon Clark's wonderful book "Faith and Saving Faith" you ought to give it a read to save yourselves from this kind of ethereality when discussing faith!

Notice this statement of Scripture:

Rom 4:20-22
20 He did not waver at the promise of God through unbelief, but was strengthened in faith, giving glory to God, 21 and being fully convinced that what He had promised He was also able to perform. 22 And therefore "it was accounted to him for righteousness."

What is the "therefore" therefore in verse 22?

Because Abraham was fully convinced that what God had promised He was also able to perform, it was reckoned to him as righteousness!

Abraham was eternally saved because he was fully persuaded/convinced that what God promised He was able to perform.

Can you get this?

This is propositional material. This is the description of trust/faith/belief in God in propositional language. This is an act of reliance stated in propositional form. Abraham considered God able, reliable, authorized, desirous, and willing to perform His promise, therefore it was accounted unto him as righteousness.

Jesus says,

"Whoever believes in Me has everlasting life"

This is the promise of Jesus!

When I believe that what Jesus has promised He is able to perform, the result is that I have everlasting life! Receiving everlasting life is a result of placing one's reliance upon Jesus. But again, I must drive home this point. How is that done!? It is by becoming fully persuaded/convinced of the reliablity of Jesus Christ. And again, this can be denoted in propositional language:

I believe that what Jesus promises He is able to perform, therefore as a result I have eternal life.

Lets not make it any more difficult than it really is.

The gospel message is to be preached far and wide so that it may increasingly invite men and women to believe in Jesus for eternal life. The Holy Spirit uses the Word of God through the instrument of the evangelist to persuade and convince the lost to believe in Jesus for eternal life.

Let us not balk at this, belief is the passive result of being persuaded, and this notion is biblical.

Acts 28:23-24

23 So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening. 24 And some were persuaded by the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Smells Like Duluth: The FGA Hermetically Seals the Gospel

A Free Grace friend of mine has recently penned a timely article concerning the recent comments from the Free Grace Alliance. I refer all my guests to this brother's blog to read this masterpiece.

Smells Like Duluth: The FGA Hermetically Seals the Gospel

Also, sister Michele, whom I met for the first time at the recent Grace Evangelical Society National Conference has also written a piece worthy of your attention concerning the same FGA statement.

Comments on FGA disassociation from GES

Please give these articles thorough reads and encourage the others with a comment and your prayers. This is a time where Free Grace Theology most definitely needs your prayers.

I appreciate all you who read here and I look forward to years of growing with you. I have been accused of many things before, some true, some not. But my heart is for Jesus, His grace, His message, and His purposes in the world.

Today is Good Friday, the day that the Lord Jesus Christ took upon Himself my sins, from the day of my birth until the day of my death, and equally for yours! I am not a perfect man, nor will I ever stand before you as such until the Lord comes. This debate between Free Grace fellows has been taxing and difficult for me and others to bear. I have, and will continue to, make mistakes that testify to my frailty, humanity, and sin nature. I thank my God that I have you all here to love me in spite of my flaws. I appreciate all of your encouragement, and I moreso appreciate your forgiveness.

Satan wishes to suppress our message and divide us. Whatever the future brings, let us be men and women of grace and stand united against a world in opposition to the grace that was brought to us through the merits of the death of Jesus Christ. Sisters and brothers, follow my example of humbly seeking forgiveness, endeavoring for peace and truth, and keeping our eyes fixed upon Jesus, who died to pay the penalty for our sins, and rose again victorious over death on the third day.

I am a flawed Free Grace theology host. Yet the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses men from all sin as I seek to walk in the light as He is in the light. Today, on Good Friday, I wish you all to enjoy the benefits of our crucified Savior, to basque in His love, His grace, and His redemption.

with love and care,

Antonio da Rosa