[We are] not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek. (Romans 1:16)

Friday, February 17, 2006

Here We Are

by Matthew
Welcome to 'Unashamed of Grace'.

The members of this blog are absolutely convinced of the wonderful truth of God's gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ. We know that we have eternal life, not through any merit of our own, but through Jesus Christ and His death and resurrection. Eternal life is a gift; it is not conditional upon any works of righteousness before or after conversion.

We believe that traditional Calvinism and traditional Reformed theology have failed to realize this. In particular the doctrine of Perserverance severely compromises the free nature of grace and damages any ground of assurance. We hold, on the contrary that justified sinners are eternally secure in Christ. This is not conditional upon perserverance, though perserverance is demanded of believers and failure to perservere has consequences both in this life and the next.

We do not delight in debate. We do not relish confronting fellow believers, but we have no choice but to contend for the apostolic doctrine of grace.

We all believe that Free Grace theology has been seriously misrepresented. Accusations of 'Easy Believism' abound. I have seen too many ugly comments along those lines. We would challenge both Calvinists and Arminians to take a good look at the Scriptures and question their positions. If we are in error, show us how. Do not just quote verses at us (we have all read the New Testament, let us not patronize each other), but show us why you think your interpretation is better.

Why a team blog? The members of this blog feel that traditional Calvinism is a little overrepresented in the blogsphere. We are concerned that many Christians are quite unaware that there are theologies other than Calvinism and Arminianism.

There may well be many Christians who have never considered the possiblity that James 2:14 talks about a genuine faith, rather than a false or spurious faith, as Reformed theology holds.

We believe that we can be more effective in sharing the message of the free offer of grace by working together, as well as by blogging as individuals.

The members of this blog are all broadly Dispensational in theology. This theological system will be reflected in our posts and has has had a constructive role in shaping our methodology. That is not to say, however, that the doctrines of Free Grace can only be shared by those committed to Dispensationalism.

I met this little group on-line and I can say that they are wonderful people who truly love their Lord. I have been helped enormously in my understanding of the Word by Antonio, Rose, HK Flynn and Nate.

We are not exactly uniform in our theology. There may be differences within the group over theology. I am a little more 'Arminian' in my view of election than some of us. I am also the only Post-Tribulationalist in the group. We are also varied in our knowledge of the Free Grace scene. I have never even read a book by Zane Hodges. I am only a recent convert to a consistent Free Grace position. Rose says she is willing to learn more about it, but has embraced the simple "no-strings-attached" qualities of the Free-Grace soteriology, as she understands it so far. Some of us, therefore, have as much desire to learn through participating in this blog as the desire to promote our views.

We welcome constructive comments from people of all theological persuasions. We are here to listen as well as to "talk."

Please visit us again.

Matthew

38 Comments:

  • I'm honored to be on you team, Matthew :)

    Very, very well put. I especially liked your observation that we are learning as well as promoting.

    I'm going to have to link to this site :)

    Your comrade~
    HK

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Friday, February 17, 2006 3:32:00 PM  

  • This is an excellent introduction Matthew and I'm really proud (southern style) of you all. I'm looking forward to following all of your articles and I'm thankful to be considered a friend. ;-)

    By Blogger Kc, at Friday, February 17, 2006 4:05:00 PM  

  • Not done it yet? lol

    Thanks, Jodie. It was a great honour to write the first post.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Friday, February 17, 2006 4:07:00 PM  

  • Thanks, Kc.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Friday, February 17, 2006 4:46:00 PM  

  • Wow, this is great. Your blog looks very nice, but most importantly, the content is truly incredible. Finally something good on the internet!

    May the Lord bless you all with this little spot of yours. We have an inside joke at our church. We all have a "phone ministry" happening where most of us spend hours on our cell phones witnessing to friends and family. I see this over here as a "blog ministry", and may the Lord give you plenty of fishes.

    Keep up the good work guys!

    God bless,
    Sarah

    By Blogger Redeemed, at Friday, February 17, 2006 5:01:00 PM  

  • Matthew,

    Great introduction. I am pleased that you were able to write the first post. If I had some champagne I would toast you!

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Friday, February 17, 2006 5:10:00 PM  

  • You drink, Antonio ;0 :), hehe!

    Great site, look forward to the articles you guys will be writing in the future.

    I honestly didn't realize Rose was a consistent (as Matthew put it)Free-Grace advocate--when did this conversion happen :), Rose?

    In Christ,

    Bobby Grow

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at Friday, February 17, 2006 5:43:00 PM  

  • Oh, Bobby, just for that! Now look what I went and did.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Friday, February 17, 2006 5:47:00 PM  

  • Matthew,
    I am honored to be participating with you. I really appreciate what you have said here ... you have such grace!
    Thanks for doing the first post.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Friday, February 17, 2006 6:03:00 PM  

  • Redeemed Sarah, thanks for visiting! I didn't even know we were open yet! Matthew must have been eager to start; I think he must have "advertised" this on his Worldview.

    It will be great to interact with you!

    By Blogger Rose~, at Friday, February 17, 2006 6:05:00 PM  

  • No seriously Rose, when did you decide that the Free-Grace model was the one you lined up with the most?

    Because as I recall, in the past, you were wondering about Calvinism and other perspectives as well--what convinced you that Free-Grace reflected scripture the most, at least in the area of understanding things related to salvation?

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at Friday, February 17, 2006 7:22:00 PM  

  • Bobby, the fact that you said something about that in your first comment caused me to go and change Matthew's post, just to tweak it a bit, because that is the thing that I did not want to be misunderstood on. Go look at the last part of the post again. :~)

    I'm still reading up on things.

    I wonder if it is against the rules to twek another member's post? I hope they don't kick me off!

    Guys, I promise to never do it again!

    By Blogger Rose~, at Friday, February 17, 2006 7:31:00 PM  

  • Hi you all,
    It sounds like you will have a beneficial time here. It looks like a very interesting perspective. May God bless your efforts in proclaiming salvation to the lost, the fundamentals of the faith and the simple truth of dispensational thought. May those who come here be blessed and touched by your sincere love for our Lord and the integrity of His Word. As Matthew would say: many blessings.

    brother John

    BTW - I am honored that you linked me as a friend, with the top spot, no less! Thank you.

    By Blogger J. Wendell, at Friday, February 17, 2006 8:33:00 PM  

  • Matthew,

    Wonderful intro! I'm priveleged to be on a team with such wonderful/knowledgeable /gracious believers!!!!! Thank you!

    GODBLESS,

    NATE

    By Blogger Nate, at Friday, February 17, 2006 8:35:00 PM  

  • Hey Rose,

    The sight looks awesome!! Two thumbs way up!

    By Blogger Nate, at Friday, February 17, 2006 8:37:00 PM  

  • I see Rose, thnx, just curious :).

    John said

    "BTW - I am honored that you linked me as a friend, with the top spot, no less! Thank you."

    I didn't realize there was a hierarchy going on here, I'm all the way "down" at the fourth spot, what are you guys saying . . . ? Oh wait John is married to Rose, ok it's starting to make sense now ;)!

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at Friday, February 17, 2006 8:44:00 PM  

  • Bobby, you're tops with me! I like the way you think.

    You mean I'm in the top spot only by virtue of marriage!?
    Aint Nepotism sweet?!

    Rosie said to tell you that she is still learning about Free Grace theology, but so far, she thinks that it matches up pretty closely with the Bible doctrine.

    By Blogger J. Wendell, at Friday, February 17, 2006 9:00:00 PM  

  • Hello! : ) Allow me to introduce myself. I'm brand new to blogging (1 week), new to Calvinism (2 months or so), and a fairly young Christian (1 1/2 years and running). Also, I will say up front that I am not looking for an argument. I see (both from your post and from the posts on some of the Calvinistic blogs I've read) that you have had quite a few run-ins with Calvinistic believers in this forum. So what I'm saying, I suppose, is that I'm not looking for a fight--I'm looking for an honest discussion. Why? Because some of the things you say confuse me. Here are two from this first article you've posted that perplex me.

    1) You wrote, "In particular the doctrine of Perserverance severely compromises the free nature of grace and damages any ground of assurance. We hold, on the contrary that justified sinners are eternally secure in Christ." It was my understanding that the doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints was the foundational doctrine which proved eternal security. In fact, many use the terms interchangably. So it confuses me when you say that you believe Perseverance of the Saints is wrong and eternal security is true. That seems to be self-contradictory.

    2)You wrote, "We are concerned that many Christians are quite unaware that there are theologies other than Calvinism and Arminianism." In this case you would be absolutely correct. In fact, I find this totally perplexing. I mean, certainly there are various combinations of the Arminian/Calvinist forms of soteriology, but I've never heard an informed individual claim to be something outside the realm of both. In this do you propose some sort of compromise? A middle-ground of sorts? Or is it just a mich-mash of the two systems (like the IP of Calvinism and the other 3 from Arminianism)? I would assume that a person would have to take one side or the other on these major doctrinal issues. So, anyway. Yes, I am confused and unaware of any other system.

    In Christ alone,
    moozuba

    By Blogger Moo Zuba, at Friday, February 17, 2006 9:20:00 PM  

  • Matthew and friends,

    This is truly an interesting event. It seems like the tag team approach is becoming more and more popular. I look forward to seeing some good articles. Matthew, your introduction was well done and expressed the intentions and purpose of this blog quite well.

    God bless,
    Jim

    By Blogger Jim, at Friday, February 17, 2006 11:34:00 PM  

  • Hi moozuba:)

    Welcome to our new blog :)

    I hope you prayerfully consider these issues.

    And really look to God's Word as your authority! Looking to God's Word is our only hope, as I'm sure you would agree.

    The Bible doesn't really say that God promises to make our Christian lives a success, even though it can always be interpreted that way.

    What it does do is command us to live as regenerate creations. Live as we really are. He gives us all the resources we need to successfully do that, to do those good works he has put in our paths. He justified us for the purpose of our living sanctified lives.

    The Scriptures warn that when we neglect to follow the Lord we are in danger of living painfully meaningless lives and in danger of being chastised by the Lord in this life and in the next life.

    I believe the warning passages of the Scriptures show a clear cause and effect. Sin leads to calamity. Sin destroys lives.

    The warning passages, in my opinion, do not teach that sin (or too much sin) shows that grace has not been given. That is a round about idea that has to be read into the warning passages.

    Moozuba, we know we are secure because Jesus promised to raise on the last day everyone who believes in Him.

    For my Father's will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:40)

    We are not secure because we continue to see evidence of the Spirit at work in our lives or because we bear fruit or because we love God.

    Christ alone is the one to look to for regarding our eternal destiny.

    About your second point, I'll just say that Calvinists and Arminians tend to be in agreement about many things! They are in agreement that faith is a work. This is a concept that is certainly not taught in the Scriptures.

    They are also in agreement that only those who persevere will enter the Kingdom.

    I would point to many examples of OT saints, and some NT saints, who did not persevere.

    Solomon is a clear example of this. Because of his sin (of worshipping all the foreign gods) the kingdom was divided. I wrote a post that discusses this issue of.

    God bless!

    Warmly in Christ,

    Jodie

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Friday, February 17, 2006 11:55:00 PM  

  • Thanks, Sarah, Bobby, Nate, Antonio, Rose~, Jim.

    Rose~ as this is an introductory post your adjusting it is reasonable.

    I think the future posts we can respect the fact that there are differences in the group, as I made clear in this post.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Saturday, February 18, 2006 3:47:00 AM  

  • I love you all...But it makes me cry when I see the childern of God being deceived


    Hodges and Wilkin teach that the "weeping and gnashing of teeth" takes place at the judgment seat of Christ and that the remorse does not last very long. There are two reasons why this view of Hodges and Wilkin does not fit the Biblical data: 1) The Bible never speaks of believers being "cast" to the judgment seat of Christ. Church saints will arrive there apparently by means of rapture/resurrection and we will appear before Christ, but it never says we will be cast there. 2) The Bible never associates the judgment seat with outer darkness. Indeed, quite the opposite! It will be a time when everything will be manifested and brought to LIGHT: "Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God" (1 Cor. 4:5).

    Will true Christians be cast into outer darkness? Other passages describe the saved of this age in such a way that it makes such a fate impossible. Consider the following:

    "Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son" (Col. 1:12-13). This statement is true of every born again believer. How could anyone possibly think that those who are partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light will be consigned to outer darkness? We have been delivered from the power of darkness and from the realm of the prince of darkness. Outer darkness is a realm that we could never enter.

    Please read Zans book and see if it all lines up with the Bible.

    I'm not picking out any one I'm talking from a Heart Of love.

    Jesus Love You
    And He he cries to for His bride

    I care!!!!

    By Blogger forgiven, at Saturday, February 18, 2006 5:53:00 AM  

  • forgiven,

    THanks for stopping by!!

    Who said anything about the 'outer darkness'?

    I know that's a view Hodge's and Wilkin and many others hold to, however it hasn't even been brought up here.

    That might be a good discussion topic for this blog! I have a feeling we probably don't all agree on these passages of Scripture!



    GODBLESS,
    NATE

    By Blogger Nate, at Saturday, February 18, 2006 7:07:00 AM  

  • Hi forgiven,

    Hey, we love you more than you love us ;~)

    We appreciate you and your early visit to our new blog.

    Thanks for your concern for us and for the people who may read this blog :)

    I've never heard Wilkins and Hodges argue that we are in danger of being cast into the Judgment Seat of Christ, they do argue that believers are in danger of being cast into the outer darkness having been excluded from the Wedding Feast in the Kingdom because they lived lives of self-interest.

    Michael Huber says of the wedding guest passage in Mat 22:13:
    "What has just been discussed places the parable within the cultural background that underlies our interpretation of the "outer darkness." The feast is the Jewish wedding feast, often celebrated in the evening. On the occasion in question, the celebration was originally scheduled to begin at midday, but was delayed by the refusal of the guests to come.

    For most premillennialists, this image signifies an event in the Millennial Kingdom. The wedding garment is the appropriate piece of clothing to be worn to the wedding feast. The significance of the lack of the garment is a lack of preparation and readiness due to the priority of worldly self-interest. The "outer darkness" is that darkness which is outside the banquet hall within which the evening feast is taking place. As it would in the literal setting, exclusion from the feast signifies a loss of the joy and the closeness of fellowship that occurs inside the feast. As a result of not being able to take part, due to giving priority to self-interest rather than to commitment to discipleship, these privileges are lost."


    Huber's full article is here.

    Just did a BibleGateway search of 'cast'...

    The verb 'cast' occurs 52 times in the Gospels and 12 in the rest of the NT.

    It has quite a few objects in the Gospels : demons; nets; servants (Owner of the viyard parable in Luke 20:12 , and in the Parable of the Talents Matthew 25:30); the one whom through temptations come (Luke 17:2); lots; fire (on the earth Lk 12:49); the man born blind (from the temple); ruler of this world (Jn 12:31); wedding guest (Matthew 22:13); those (who the father gives Jesus will never be 'cast out' 6:37); many (Luke 13:28); and 'him' (the boy who was cast by the demon into the fire & the one who would be cast into Hell, Lk 12:5).

    Acts: lots; Steven; vote (of Paul 26:10); and anchors.

    Espistles: works of darkness; slave woman and her son, all your anxieties; 'angels that sinned' into hell (2 Peter 2:4); fear; foam (Jude 1:13); elder's crowns (Rev 4:10); and a third of the stars of heaven (Rev 12:4)

    I didn't find any support for the view that the Bible connects cast to hell, even if in English we have an idiom about being 'cast' into Hell. (I know you didn't explicitly state that view.)

    You mentioned a book by Zane Hodges. Did you mean a specific one?

    Thanks again for the tone of your critique. That's truly appreciated.

    I'm going to read more on this subject.

    God bless,

    Jodie

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Saturday, February 18, 2006 7:35:00 AM  

  • Ooops, Hi Nate :)

    Jodie ;)

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Saturday, February 18, 2006 7:38:00 AM  

  • Hodges talks about the 'darkness' in "Grace in Eclipse", you can also listen to him and Bob discuss their view here: Outerdarkness. You might be suprised at what their view on 'darkness' actually is.

    NATE

    By Blogger Nate, at Saturday, February 18, 2006 8:19:00 AM  

  • Forgiven,
    Thankyou for visiting.

    Nowhere in this post or on this blog template does it say that we are here to defend every one of Zane Hodges' views. That would be difficult for me anyway, as I have not read any of his books.

    I am not sure if I would agree with the view you have mentioned.

    Can I suggest that you do not rush to criticize this view until it actually comes up in a post?

    This is a very minor expository detail, while I was giving a general introduction to our theology and why we are here to defend it.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Saturday, February 18, 2006 8:40:00 AM  

  • Hi forgiven,
    Thanks for visiting. I personally do not think that "outer darkness" is referring to a future Christian experience, either.

    Remember, this is a group blog and we are 5 very different people. The thing we all have in common is the we are "unashamed of Grace". We don't believe that people need work for salvation. We believe that salvation is a beautiful and generous gift from God, offered WIDELY. If I remember correctly, you see it the same way. So ... you have that in common with us that we have with eachother, I am pretty sure.

    Oh, and I agree with what DF said to you. I say it to you also.
    I am glad that you care. Love to you, brother!

    By Blogger Rose~, at Saturday, February 18, 2006 9:08:00 AM  

  • "outer darkness" is parabolic language, not some inferior spatial restriction in the kingdom.

    It would better be translated "darkness outside" and in the parable of the wedding feast, it shows that the one who was not prepared was thrown out of the wedding feast into the darkness outside. This is outide the well-lit banquet hall.

    Inside the banquet are those people who are intimate with the King.

    It is parabolic language.

    The darkness outside would be the sphere outside of the intimate fellowship of Christ's reigning servant kings; outside of the intimate band of friends that overcame during their lives.

    Context is king. "Outer Darkness" is parablolic language that has spiritual correspondence.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Saturday, February 18, 2006 1:59:00 PM  

  • Jodie,

    I look always and only to God's word for truth and understanding. But I'm afraid I'm still a bit perplexed. On the first point -- dealing with perseverance and eternal security -- you wrote, "He justified us for the purpose of our living sanctified lives. The Scriptures warn that when we neglect to follow the Lord we are in danger of living painfully meaningless lives and in danger of being chastised by the Lord in this life and in the next life." I completely agree with this. But I don't really see how it helps to distinguish between what Mr. Dyspraxic was saying about the doctrine of perseverance being bad and yet eternal security being good. Perhaps if I define the terms as I understand them it would be helpful.

    Perseverance of the Saints -- All who savingly believe in Christ are kept by the power of God until the final glorification of the body. (cf. Romans 8:29-30)

    Eternal Security -- All who savingly believe in Christ and are given the gift of eternal life cannot thereafter forfeit or otherwise lose that which is given. (cf. John 10:27-29)

    Now these seem parallel to me, though the latter seems dependent upon the first. So I fail to see how one could deny the former and uphold the latter. If you strip away the truth that it is by God's power alone that we are made to persevere in faith unto final salvation, how can you then say that we can be certain of our final salvation (since it then rests not upon His power but in ours)? It may be that I have misunderstood the distinction that is being drawn. And if that's the case, all that might be needed is a clarification.

    As for the second question, I'm afraid that I'm left just where I started. You wrote, "Calvinists and Arminians tend to be in agreement about many things! They are in agreement that faith is a work. This is a concept that is certainly not taught in the Scriptures. They are also in agreement that only those who persevere will enter the Kingdom." I think you may be mistaken here regarding the views of Calvinism. I'm certainly no scholar among their numbers, but one thing that is central to Reformed theology is that faith is not a human work. In fact, this is the central point of biblical truth that drew me out of my Arminian roots: that salvation is wholly a work of God (from start to finish) and not a cooperative effort with fallen man. So I agree with you that this is not a concept taught in scripture. No one can come to Christ unless the Father draw him and no one can have saving faith unless the Holy Spirit first give him a new heart. "Unless a man is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3). And when Arminians speak of "perseverance" what they mean is "continuing to uphold your part of the deal." But when a Calvinist speaks of "perseverance" he speaks of God's faithfulness in preserving all of His elect, not of man's effort in contributing toward God's grace in Christ.

    Perhaps it is only that I have come out of one view into another that I see the contrast in such sharp detail. I was a godless and wicked man, a Pharisee who claimed the name of Christ and had none of His Spirit. But God in His infinite mercy regenerated me by means of the Holy Spirit and, eyes opened, I looked upon the Savior crucified for me. I am a Calvinist, not because I have been argued into accepting a certain theological system, but because God opened my eyes to see that my salvation is all His work and none of my own. And this is what the "Calvinist" teaches and believes. This is what I believe. The Arminian holds that salvation is a cooperative work between God and Man--God provides the sacrifice and Man responds by believing. But I hold that salvation is all of God and all of grace. God provides the sacrifice as well as the faith.

    I hope this helps clarify my confusion with regard to the questions I posed earlier. Peace to you.

    In Christ alone,
    moozuba

    By Blogger Moo Zuba, at Saturday, February 18, 2006 3:57:00 PM  

  • Matthew,
    Great and humble intro., my brother!

    Rose,Great art work, my sister!

    Jodie, Thanks for being so knowledgable and easy to read, my sister!

    Nate,Thanks, I think you are a lively writer and honest as well, my brother!

    Bobby Grow, You impress me with your encyclopedic knowledge of all things historic and doctrinal, my brother!

    Antonio, Ah yes, the orator,my brother!

    Thanks for the unexpected honor of being put on your blogrol under "Friends"

    Mark Pierson

    By Blogger bluecollar, at Saturday, February 18, 2006 6:11:00 PM  

  • In the two posts so far, I recognize some of the terminology and viewpoints that were preached in my childhood church. Calvinism of a sort is more in line with my beliefs today, and in the two posts so far I am already saying, "hey, that's not right" on several points... But I will be interested to read and discuss your new blog (in Christian love all the way).

    Persevere!

    By Blogger BugBlaster, at Saturday, February 18, 2006 7:36:00 PM  

  • Bluecollar, you have graced this blog with your presence and your kind words. You are a good brother.

    Bugblaster,
    Welcome!
    It is great to see you here. I have seen you around at many of the blogs I frequent. It is good to have diversity in one's blog reading. It challenges the mind to think and sort ... keeps us on our heels!

    By Blogger Rose~, at Saturday, February 18, 2006 7:54:00 PM  

  • Hi Moozula,

    I’m glad we are in agreement with the idea(s) you noted.

    Just now you posted a definition:

    Perseverance of the Saints -- All who savingly believe in Christ are kept by the power of God until the final glorification of the body. (cf. Romans 8:29-30) (emphasis mine)

    But you also expanded it a bit by saying:

    it is by God's power alone that we are made to persevere in faith unto final salvation

    I’m wondering if it is fair to say that when you say kept by the power of God you mean made to persevere in faith? Does that mean you define perseverance as a general trend toward greater holiness? (even if there are incidents of backsliding within that trend)

    The reason I ask is that Free/Grace Calvinists (and yes there are many F/G Calvinists) believe that God brings the justified sinner into glory, no matter how successful he was at relying on the Divine resources needed to live a holy life in a fallen world.

    You quoted this passage:

    For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.
    Romans 8:29-30

    In this chain that Paul describes I don’t see any suggestion of God making ‘those’ he predestined to persevere in holiness. I would understand those he ‘predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son’ to be a reference to our future glorification. It is keeping with the whole discussion of Paul’s from verse 18 and 19 where Paul says:

    For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.

    So F/G sees falling away form the Lord as something not permitted by God, but something that does happen, and is described in the Bible. See the link in my last comment.

    Again, when I point to examples of OT saints, and some NT saints, who did not persevere, I am doing so to suggest that God keeps his promises even if we fail to persevere in holiness. Do you think Solomon and Jonah will be in Heaven? Some Calvinists believe Jonah will not be in Heaven because of his apparent failure to persevere.

    About the differences between Calvinists and Arminians, while I know there are very crucial differences I am also suggesting there is common ground, obviously the trinity etc., but specifically, you say that one thing that is central to Reformed theology is that faith is not a human work. And I would agree that Arminians are very different on this point. They do see faith as a human work.

    But both ‘camps’ see it as a work, either a work of God or a work of man, but I, on the other hand, don’t see it as a work at all. I believe it is not a work, and biblically it is only contrasted with works when discussing a faith that justifies.

    But let me explain how this relates to faith in the Christian life after we are justified.

    Once we are justifed by faith, and this only happens when the Father draws us by inwardly revealing the truth of the Gospel, we ought to embrace God’s Word as our guide for the rest of our lives. We all need to live out our lives in the light of God’s word, memorizing it and applying it to our lives, and obeying the commands of Christ in the power of the Spirit.

    If we get lethargic and neglect His Word, our (ongoing) faith will droop and we won’t be able to see things with the perspective that God’s Word gives us. So there is a sense in which an ongoing faith is our responsibility because God tells us how to keep our faith active.

    But Free Gracers see this as a different matter than the faith we had in Christ that caused us to be justified. That faith simply occurred in us as the result of the Father revealing the truth that Christ resurects on the last day all those who believe He can be trusted to do that.

    I hope that helps a little :)

    Thanks for dropping by, I hope you continue to visit %}

    I'm glad you're in agreement with everyone on this blog that the Word of God is our only hope for truth.

    Warmly,

    HK (Jodie)

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Saturday, February 18, 2006 8:49:00 PM  

  • Hey bluecollar,

    Click on the John MacArthur photo on my blog and see where it links to ;)

    Jodie

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Saturday, February 18, 2006 8:50:00 PM  

  • Dear Jodie,

    Discussions get complex and I am a man of meager memory, so I hope you won't mind a more simplistic, straight-forward response this time. Feel free to bring out anything you think I may have overlooked or misunderstood from your explanation, however.

    First, regarding perseverance. I think I'm beginning to see the distinction, but I don't think I'd be comfortable defining perseverance as "a general trend toward greater holiness." Certainly I think that is expected in a healthy Christian life, but as you point out it is not the root of the matter and there are those who will "be saved, though as by fire." Have you ever read John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress? There's a certain character in the second part of that story by the name of Mr. Despondency (and his daughter Mrs. Much-afraid). Now normally in Bunyan's allegory, when you meet someone with such a telling name you expect them to meet some sort of tragic, instructive end. But not in the case of these two. No.... They make it to the Celestial City. Though weak and trembling, feeble and afraid, they make it across the river at last. This is, I feel, an apt illustration of my understanding of perseverance. It is not our works that preserve us, but God's grace. Not our holiness, but Christ's blood. Even the least of those covered by the blood of the Lamb will enter into glory. So I agree with you at least in part. It's not what I have done, nor what I will do--but what Christ has done for me. And that is the end of my hope, but not the end of my journey. So perseverance could also be defined this way: The certainty that God will finish what He has begun. Paul had this certainty. And I have this certainty. Though I am weak and feeble, trembling and unrighteous, Christ is powerful. He is my strength and my wisdom. He alone is my righteousness. And by His finished work I am preserved. By the grace of God I am upheld and strengthened to persevere until the end.

    Second, I think I see the distinction more clearly now regarding our views of faith. You distinguish between justifying faith (the faith given by God at the point of conversion) and living faith (that faith by which we continue in Christian practice and such -- please correct me if I've misunderstood). I would have to disagree with this, or at least claim that it's an improper distinction of the term. I believe that the same faith God grants as a gift unto salvation (justifying faith) is that faith in which the believer is preserved unto glorification. (See comments above on perseverance--they tie together rather closely). So I wouldn't be comfortable distinguishing between that God-given faith which results in justification and the faith by which the Christian lives day-to-day. I believe they are one in the same and issue from the same source--God.

    Well... it's late and I should get some sleep. I hope my tired mine made at least a little sense out of what I wrote here. Peace to you and to all who love the Lord Jesus Christ.

    In Christ alone,
    moozuba

    By Blogger Moo Zuba, at Saturday, February 18, 2006 9:58:00 PM  

  • Please visit us again, Moo.

    Thanks, Mark.

    Thanks for visiting, Bugblaster.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Sunday, February 19, 2006 7:29:00 AM  

  • Moo,

    I'm truly sorry for taking so long to respond. I'll just say that it's not as easy to keep up with comments on a team blog.

    Thanks for your intelligent and thoughtful comments. Obviously we are in agreement in many ways, and on general Christian truth most ways.

    It's obvious from your remarks that you are not just repeating things but are describing where your studies into God's word has led you.

    I appreciate your humble understanding of perseverence and the faith that God provides.

    Our greatest difference is that you believe that God provides the gift of perseverance and the gift of faith, and I know you believe that the Scriptures teach these promised gifts.

    But, as wyou can imagine, what I believe is that they are not forthrightly taught but are unintentionally read into the Scriptures by those with 'covenant' glasses.

    For instance, Paul was knocked off a horse and heard his Lord speak to him. He was vividly shown the truth of who Jesus was. It seems to me unnecessary fo the Lord to have given Saul faith in addition to that type evidence. And I similarly think it unecessary to give each convinced person the faith to believe what they have already been inwarldy convinced of.

    About perseverence, this is beautiful:

    Though I am weak and feeble, trembling and unrighteous, Christ is powerful. He is my strength and my wisdom.

    Amen to that. But as you know we see it somewhat differently, becasue I beleive we can, without God's permission, drift from His Person and therefore his resources into a state that lacks his blessing. But we will be glorified.

    Thanks for again:)

    Warmly,

    Jodie

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Monday, February 27, 2006 6:39:00 PM  

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