Monthly Archives For October 2008

Never Really Saved to Begin With?

, posted by Ben Henshaw

This post attempts to put the Calvinistic “never really saved to begin with” view of apostasy to the test when reading select passages relevant to the topic of apostasy. The results speak for themselves.

“I am the vine, you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not remain in me he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. [proving that he was never in Christ to begin with, making it impossible to ‘remain’ in Him or be ‘cut off’ from Him] Jn. 15:3-6

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Christ died

, posted by Godismyjudge

This post is an excerpt from the book review of Death of Death in the Death of Christ.

Owen’s Argument 15:

P1: The biblical expression “Christ died for us” means Christ’s death substituted for the death others should have died
P2: Both Christ and a person cannot die for the same sins
P3: Some die for their sins
C1: Therefore, Christ didn’t die for all

(link)

Scriptures Cited by Owen

Hebrews 2:9 “That he by the grace of God should taste death for every man,”

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Departure from Calvinism

, posted by WilliamBirch

I grew up in a Southern Baptist church that was focused on the gospel. The issues of Calvinism and Arminianism never came up. I had never even heard that there was a debate until 1998 when John MacArthur’s Study Bible came out. That’s when I accepted Calvinism (to the utter disappointment of my parents).

I joined a (PCA) Presbyterian church (Christ’s Community Presbyterian Chuch ~ now Providence Presbyterian Church in Salisbury, MD). I still believed in bapism by immersion (believer’s only, not infants), and the pastor didn’t care one way or the other. I swallowed Calvinism hook, line, and sinker; and I couldn’t believe that everyone wasn’t a Calvinist: it all seemed so clear to me!

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Saved By Grace To Faith?

, posted by WilliamBirch

Is the grace of God which leads a sinner to salvation by faith or to faith? In Scripture it is by faith, in Calvinism it is to faith. The Calvinist incorrectly assumes that God’s grace is directly related to regeneration in order for the sinner to then have faith in Christ (which is also a gift, in the absolute sense).

He is left to conclude that grace for salvation is not by faith but to faith, since salvation and election is by the unconditional choice of God. This “faith” seems to be one of proxy, for it is not the sinner’s faith, but a faith given to him by God. This is an alien faith. It did not derive from the sinner but was (somehow) “planted within” him. The Scripture behind this idea (so admits the Calvinist) is Philippians 1:29, which reads, “For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake” (NASB).

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Imagine if…

, posted by Richard Coords

Sometimes theology can make us frustrated, and the Calvinism / Arminian controversy has been making Christians frustrated for centuries. But this can be a good thing if it drives us closer to God in seeking Him.

Be forewarned, this is going to be an odd post, because it’s going to deal with hypotheticals.

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I John 4:19; A Devotional

, posted by Martin Glynn

I’m sorry that I am late this week. I’m afraid that I had some computer issues.

1 John 4:19; We love, because He first loved us.

This is an important relational aspect between us and the Father. Love does not find its origin in our souls, but in the Divine Being. He is love, and He is the subject and the object of it. I shapes it; designs it; defines it. There is no love without Him.

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Justification by Faith

, posted by Godismyjudge

This post is an excerpt from the book review of Death of Death in the Death of Christ.

The doctrine of justification by faith is the teaching that God pronounces sinners, who are believers, not guilty, based on what Christ has done. God counts our faith as righteousness, based on Christ.

Rom 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Rom 3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

Rom 4:4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.
Rom 4:5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

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Calvinist Humility

, posted by Martin Glynn

The Tale of the Great King

There once was the Great King who ruled his land with strength and confidence. Throughout all the land, he maintained peace with an iron hand and a calculating mind. The people feared him. He made war on many lands, and no one could withstand his might.

Then, out of the north, came another king, a Glorious King, that the Great King did not formerly know of. This king rode on a white horse, and held a power that the Great King had never seen before. The Glorious King outwitted and overpowered the Great King at every turn, until finally the Great King was defeated.

In awe, the Great King fell on his knees before the Glorious King. He said, “You are far greater than I have ever been, and ever shall be. I humble myself before you, willing to be your servant for whatever you ask of me.”

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Is Prevenient Grace Biblical?

, posted by WilliamBirch

Defending a term such as prevenient grace poses the same problem as defending such terms as trinity, total depravity, supra-, infra-, or sublapsarianism, or even Bible, for such terms do not appear in the Bible.

What, then, does the Arminian mean by the term prevenient grace? The word prevenient means “preceding;” thus the term, in its most simple form, means “grace which goes before,” or, “preceding grace” (or, as in ancient usage, “preventing grace”). So when the Bible claims that people are “saved by grace” (Eph. 2:8), Arminians understand that this grace must precede salvation if a person is to be saved (something which no Calvinist would deny).

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Eternal Security and Exegetical Overview of the Book of Hebrews

, posted by arminianbaptist

The following link is to an article by James M. Leonard, “Arminian Baptist,” who argues from the overall text of Hebrews for the actual possibility of believers leaving their faith.

http://jmleonardfamily.googlepages.com/eternalsecurityandexegeticaloverviewofhe2

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Arminianism: A Theology of Grace

, posted by WilliamBirch

Is God’s grace irresistible? The answer to that question will be determined by your theological convictions. If God must first regenerate people (whom He has pre-selected for salvation) in order for them to believe, then the answer to the question is yes, God’s grace is irresistible.

However, if you believe that the Bible teaches that faith precedes regeneration, then the answer to the question is no, God’s grace is not irresistible.

Arminius stated, “[The Internal Work of salvation] is by the operation of the Holy Spirit illuminating the mind and affecting the heart, that serious attention may be given to those things which are spoken, and that faith or credence may be given to the word.

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I John 4:18; A Devotional

, posted by Martin Glynn

Fear is not in love, but complete love casts out fear; for fear possesses torture, and fearing does not perfect in love.

This is a really powerful verse. It comes off of verse 17 which talks about love being perfected in us by God abiding in us, and that this should give us confidence on the day of judgment.

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The Love of God and Calvinism’s Election (Part Two)

, posted by WilliamBirch

On the heels of my recent post, I am still vying for the universality of the love of God for all people. Again, Fritz Guy writes, “If the preeminent characteristic of God is love, and if God is the source of all reality, there can be little doubt about the universal scope of God’s love. It is unthinkable that the divine love is restricted to a fortunate part of creation and that another (perhaps even larger) part is excluded.”1

We believe this because (1) God is love (1 John 4:8). The Bible teaches that God’s nature is love, not that He merely possesses love. And (2) God does not show favoritism (Acts 10:34). The Calvinists’ view of election is partial, particular, and based not on union with Christ, but on a decree founded in the vault of eternity. And while this portrait of election expresses God’s love for some, it excludes God’s love for others, since electing a person to hell falls short of any viable definition of “love.”

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The Love of God and Calvinism’s Election (Part One)

, posted by WilliamBirch

The third verse of the hymn The Love of God reads as follows:

Could we with ink the ocean fill, And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill, And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above, Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole, Though stretched from sky to sky.

I seriously doubt that any Christian could overstate the love of God for His creatures. While some Calvinists, such as James White, tend to focus on God’s love solely for His elect (a notion contradicted by Jesus at Mark 10:21), most Arminians tend to laud Him for His love for all people. And why not? We believe that He loved the world in such a manner as that which motivated Him to send His only Son into the world to die for their sins, so that whoever would trust Him would be saved from sin and hell. Is that not, after all, what the Bible teaches? Oh, what a Savior!

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Why I Reject Determinism and A Model of God’s Atemporal Perspective in Relation to Contrary Choice

, posted by JC_Thibodaux

One of the questions we invariably get from Determinists is “But HOW does God know the future??” Determinists often seize upon the difficulty of understanding God’s knowledge, and insist that if God didn’t cause the future, then He could not have known it. Besides being a rather silly stretch, this claim requires several unfounded assumptions about the nature of God.

The Basic Views

Now before I jump in any deeper, let’s define what the major views of God’s knowledge in relation to free will are (this is just a basic list, variations of these views exist):

1. Determinism: God determines absolutely all that will be, making absolute foreknowledge trivial. There is no such things as libertarian free will, and our choices cannot be otherwise.

Affirms foreknowledge, but has the very unfortunate side-effect of making absolutely everything that occurs the will of God, and possibly essential to His nature, as we’ll touch on below.

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Arminian Grace: How Sweet the Sound

, posted by WilliamBirch

I found this mockery at a Calvinist’s blog, who will remain nameless:

“Arminian ‘grace!’ How strange the sound, Salvation hinged on me. I once was lost, then turned around, Was blind, then chose to see.

“What ‘grace’ is it that calls for choice, Made from some good within? That part that wills to heed God’s voice, Proved stronger than my sin.

“Thru many ardent gospel pleas, I sat with heart of stone. But then some hidden good in me, Propelled me toward my home.

“When we’ve been there ten thousand years, Because of what we’ve done. We’ve no less days to sing our praise, Than when we first begun.”

I’d like to hear Chris Tomlin do something with that one! John Newton would have been proud of our Calvinist “friend.” Actually, I think Newton would have been disgusted. I think every Christian should be disgusted with the heresy mentioned in that re-working of a classic hymn. And if that encapsulated Arminian theology, I would never adhere to such nonsense.

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Robert Shank on Rev. 2:20-22 and Monergism

, posted by Ben Henshaw

“Consider the words of Christ to the church at Thyatria [sic.] concerning the prominent woman referred to as ‘Jezebel’ and His servants, who were practicing immorality and pagan customs, doubtless in a religious context after the manner of the cults:

“I have a few things against you, because you allow that woman Jezebel, who calls herself a prophetess, to teach and to seduce my servants to commit fornication and to eat things sacrificed to idols. And I gave her space to repent of her fornication, and she repented not. Behold I will cast her into a bed, and them that commit adultery with her into great tribulation, except they repent of their deeds. (Rev. 2:20-22)”

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I John 4:13-17; A Devotional

, posted by Martin Glynn

By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. 14 And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. 15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. 16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him. 17 By this is love perfected with us, so that we may have confidence for the day of judgment, because as he is so also are we in this world.

Here John speaks of us being confident for the day of judgment. The Greek word for confidence here is parresia which comes from pas (all) and reo (to utter or pour out). The essential word picture here is that all pours out of you; you hold nothing back. This idea makes you bold and unrelenting, especially in your speach. But what makes us bold? Love.

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Happy Birthday James Arminius

, posted by WilliamBirch

Today, 449 years ago, on October 10, 1559, Jacobus Arminius was born. At least, this is the date given by most critical scholars. Donald M. Lake wrote an excellent article entitled, “Jacob Arminius’ Contribution to a Theology of Grace,” in the book Grace Unlimited, edited by Clark Pinnock. The following is a small excerpt from that article, in honor of Arminius’ birthday.

“Few leaders in the Christian Church have been more neglected than this 16th century theologian and pastor . . . In the light of two recent studies on Arminius and his contribution to theology and after a reexamination of his major writings, I want to suggest that his importance for Christians living in the last half of the 20th century lies in three major areas.

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