[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)

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Not Arguing from Silence, Johnny Cash

by H.K. Flynn

The Hodges/Wilkin Free Grace position is that John left repentance out of the offer of eternal life.

But, hey, the devout and intelligent Christians who disagree with our premises have also rejected this one! They say it is an argument from silence.

Some introduction
There are two ways to teach people how to do something. You can teach what to do and you can teach what not to do. John does the former. He teaches his main audience, both unbelieving Jews and unbelieving Gentiles, those miracles and words of Christ they need to understand in order to believe in Christ and receive eternal life.

He also shows that receiving eternal life has a purpose, and that is to know the Father richly through an abiding that only comes through obedience.

But he never routes that obedience back through the offer of eternal life. He insists that eternal life comes from believing that Jesus is the One Who raises on the last day all that the Father has given Him.

Another clarification is that the good news is not summed up by its doorway. The Gospel may be understood as everything good for us coming out of the atonement and the resurrection, but the entry door is not 'everything'. The doorway is simply receiving the gift of eternal life. The rooms it leads to are both difficult and rewarding and are accessed by faith and works. The righteous shall live by faith.

If you can see there is a difference between receiving the gift of eternal life and following the Lord in a discipleship relationship there is zero tension between the other NT writers and John. There is no synoptic problem, or better, there is no synoptic tension with John.

All men are obliged to repent. God's wrath is being revealed against all ungodliness and unrighteousness. All men are called to change course and obey Christ. He is the judge, obey Him.

So with this said I turn again, and whether to Zane Hodges' understanding of John’s silence on repentance is an argument from silence.

Goofy But Important Johnny Cash Hypothetical
Let's say Johnny Cash had once published an article called, 'My Five Favorite Christian Songs'. Now let's say that the songs were all Gospel Songs and Traditional Hymns.

Let's say that someone we'll call Christian #1 reads it and says that this article shows that Cash thought Alternative Christian Rock was of the devil.

Then Christian #2 says the article shows Alt Christian songs weren't among Johnny Cash's top favorites of Christian songs.

Can’t you see how Christian #1 is arguing from silence but Christian #2 isn't??

The difference is that Christian #2 noticed and respected the parameters set down by Cash himself, while Christian #1 made up his own parameters!

In his Gospel, John tells us his parameters more clearly than probably any other NT writer.

He was a disciple of John the Baptist who kept mum on repentance, not to branch out from the other disciples' teaching, but to teach the agreed upon apostolic teaching just as all the Apostles were doing.

Repentance is a NT message that is diluted by making it into a silent partner to belief. The Grace position allows repentance to have the impact it was meant to have.

Where John discusses discipleship it is in perfect rapport with Luke and the other NT writers.

John’s Gospel is comprehensively authoritative on how to receive eternal life because John explicitly claims to be writing for that purpose and no other NT writer makes a similar claim to that topic.

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:30, 31)

75 Comments:

  • Why do Free-Gracer's want to fragmentize the scripture at this point (i.e. build all of your soteriology on the gospel of John)--it almost appears that you're doing the same thing that you accuse the Calvinist's of doing, i.e majoring on Romans for their view of salvation.

    Are you sure that John's development of "believe" in his gospel corresponds to your idea (and Hodge's)of its primary intent being to provide a theology of salvation? You should do a thematic study of glory in the gospel of John--and see if your assertion, about John's thesis, indeed corresponds to his development here.

    Maybe John's development here, has been to provide insight (primarily) on why people don't believe. In other words there might be a polemical tone, and ironic flare to his thesis statement ;).

    In Christ,

    Bobby

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at Wednesday, March 08, 2006 10:03:00 PM  

  • Hi Bobby,

    Thanks for your early bird comments :)

    Actually, I think Calvinists are right to major on Romans for their view of salvation, but that’s another post.

    The Gospel of John certainly has a complete understanding of the offer of eternal life. Unless you're right about the irony! I'll think about that one ;)

    John is comprehensive on receiving eternal life. The upper room rounds out other aspects of salvation, but the eternal salvation comes through eternal life.

    I'll do a word study of glory in John, Professor Grow :)…

    God bless,

    Jodie

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Wednesday, March 08, 2006 11:00:00 PM  

  • Good, the due date is one week from the time you read this comment :).

    Actually when I served as TA I graded probably over a couple hundred sem. students theme studies on glory in the gospel of John--it yielded some interesting insights relative to John's concept of "belief".

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at Wednesday, March 08, 2006 11:35:00 PM  

  • Excellent post, Jodie.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Thursday, March 09, 2006 12:37:00 AM  

  • Jodie, Matthew, Rose, and Antonio

    In order to get a better understanding of your post and of your idea of what it means to "believe". Could you answer this hypothetical?

    Lets say there is a man who says, I know I am a sinner, I know Jesus died for my sins, and there is no way anyone can get to heaven on any merit of his own, it is by belief alone. I believe the Gospel is true,

    But he also says,

    I love my sin, and hate the idea of anyone being a God over me. Like Satan, the man is full of pride and says, I will not be his disciple. In fact, I will live the rest of my life working against him. And he says, "I wish Jesus were accursed."

    Do you...

    -Believe this man is a christian because he knows and believes the gospel is true.

    Or do you...

    -Believe he is not a Christian. If you choose this one please explain why.

    Or

    -Do you believe that this hypothetical could never really exist because, true belief in the Gospel actually entails a true change of heart and desires (eg. a repentance from our pride)

    God Bless,

    Doug

    By Blogger Doug E., at Thursday, March 09, 2006 1:27:00 AM  

  • I see no reason why the man could not be saved. He has believed on Jesus Christ for salvation. He has received the gift of eternal life by faith.

    He would then recieve a new nature. If he dies to himself and is lead by the Spirit, his attitude will change. If not, he will perish in his sins. Either way, he will not maintain that attitude for very long.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Thursday, March 09, 2006 2:05:00 AM  

  • Another great article Jodie. I wanted to ask you about something concerning repentance. It seems that most use the word “repent” to imply the entire phrase “repent from sin” but in the NT where repentance from sin is called for isn't the sin specifically mentioned as the object of repentance? Where the phrase “repent and believe” is used the object of repentance is assumed however Acts 20:21 records Paul as having preached repentance “toward” God as opposed to repentance “from” sin. I am persuaded that it is impossible to repent from sin without first being born of the Spirit but have we harmonized the meaning of the word “repent” because we always take it to imply repent from sin? I would really appreciate your understanding on this.

    I took Bobby’s challenge and at first glance I would think that the references to glory are there to give reinforcement to the deity of Jesus but I would appreciate knowing both his and your opinion. ;-)

    By Blogger Kc, at Thursday, March 09, 2006 4:28:00 AM  

  • Don't let the perfesser blow smoke in your eyes. And don't let him change the vocabulary.

    John's primary intent was not "to write a theology of salvation;" it was to explain how unbelievers may have eternal life. A study of the subordinate topic of glory cannot supplant the clear grammar of John's statement of editorial purpose.

    The purrfessor is trying to turn exegesis on its head here. The established "rule of thumb" is that when the author tells you what he's writing about, and indicates that he carefully selected his material to serve that purpose, then everything in his work should be interpreted in light of that purpose.

    John's purpose was to write about eternal life, not glory. Therefore glory is a subordinate theme and must be interpreted in light of the author's editorial purpose, as must everything else in the book.

    Now, as for Doug's question about faith, that is easily answered. We don't need a "hypothetical" to answer something about which John is so lucid.

    John is clear about his definition of faith. That definition is found in the grammar of 20:30-31 and clarified in 11:25-27. The connection between evaluating the evidence and faith is obvious: faith is the state of being persuaded that a thing is true. Synonyms include conviction, certainty, assurance and veracity.

    This is the standard dictionary definition of "believe" and it is the definition offered in Hebrews 11:1 (where the cognate noun "faith" appears).

    The point is that saving faith is the state of being convinced that Jesus' identity claims are true!

    There's more that should be said about repentance in John and the argument from silence. Or, as Hodges said at a GES conference a number of years back, the argument "about" silenc.

    By Anonymous Bud Brown, at Thursday, March 09, 2006 6:26:00 AM  

  • Thanks Matthew,

    Thanks for being clear and to the point.

    What about the rest of you. Do you all agree or is there a difference of opinion from some of you?

    Doug

    By Blogger Doug E., at Thursday, March 09, 2006 7:25:00 AM  

  • Matthew,

    Just for clarification, when you said, "Either way, he will not maintain that attitude for very long."

    Did you mean in this life, or after he perishes (physical death)?

    What I'm getting at is, do you believe that a change in attitude is inevitable in this life, or could he keep that attitude for his entire earthy existence with no change.

    Doug

    By Blogger Doug E., at Thursday, March 09, 2006 7:35:00 AM  

  • The concept of repentance is found in John 12:25, even if the word isn't.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thursday, March 09, 2006 7:42:00 AM  

  • Doug, I meant in his physical life. If he continued in that attitude, he would soon loose his physical life, either directly through God's judgment or else through the results of serious sin. A carnal Christian tends to become a dead Christian in both senses of the word.

    It is rather more likely, however, that his new nature and the Lord's chastening would lead to a change of his attitude.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Thursday, March 09, 2006 8:19:00 AM  

  • Anonymous, it would be nice if you let us know who you are.

    Perhaps you could give us a little more than that. Why do you think repentance is found in this verse?

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Thursday, March 09, 2006 8:22:00 AM  

  • Matthew,

    You said, "It is rather more likely, however, that his new nature and the Lord's chastening would lead to a change of his attitude."

    Is this change of attidute certain in this life or could he not change and die that way?

    Doug

    By Blogger Doug E., at Thursday, March 09, 2006 8:29:00 AM  

  • Hi Doug,

    Thanks for the challenging hypothetical.

    Perhaps you noticed that Matthew’s answer was more detailed than your expression, believing the Gospel. Mattthew said:

    I see no reason why the man could not be saved. He has believed on Jesus Christ for salvation. He has received the gift of eternal life by faith.


    As long as the person has realized fully that Jesus will single-handedly provide non-ending eternal life to anyone who believes in Him for that, he is regenerate, even if he has a mix of feelings that include deep resentment that he isn’t in an empty universe without the reality of an after-life. If he is particularly angry at God because he has suddenly realized that Christ’s claims are true, and therefore he is at the mercy of God, since God is the judge, than that may indicate how fully he is convinced of the truth of Christ’s claims.

    If in inwardly convicting the unregenerate of sin, the Holy Spirit also replaces any hatred with love, He did not clearly reveal that in the pages of Scripture as I understand it. And I think in general when the Holy Spirit convicts of sin and draws us to Christ we are softened toward the things of Christ. But, the Jewish leaders who believed in the Lord continued to keep their belief secret. This is like hating Christ.

    Jeus said:

    "You have heard that it was said, 'You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.' But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.

    I think this is consistent with Mathew’s crisp understanding of belief in Christ alone being fully effective without any exceptions.

    God bless,

    Jodie

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Thursday, March 09, 2006 8:55:00 AM  

  • In John 12:25, the idea of hating oneself and hating one's life is part of the repentance (a turning from self and sin) necessary to become a disciple of Christ (Luke 14) and is given here as a condition for eternal life. The one who loves his life will perish eternally. The one who denies himself in repentance and becomes a disciple of Christ will have eternal life. Reread John 12:25--that's exactly what Jesus says.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thursday, March 09, 2006 8:58:00 AM  

  • Hi Kc,

    Glad you liked the post.

    On my sidebar is a list of Grace sites, and one of them is a three part discussion of repentance by Hodges. I know it can be awkward reading online if you’re like me, but it is a very helpful study of repentance.

    I would say when a person doesn’t understand the offer of eternal life but starts to go to church because he senses his life is empty. And he starts to realize that going to church to worship and using God as his major source for advice and help with life makes a lot of sense.

    I see this as repentance toward God from sin.

    If he stops cheating on his tax return (!) that is also repentance toward God.

    The Roman soldiers asked John the Baptist about repentance and he didn’t tell them anything that sounded particularly spiritual:

    Soldiers also asked him, "And we, what shall we do?" And he said to them, "Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages."

    But I think that type of change is spiritual and important. It is a step that will facilitate faith in Christ.

    God bless,

    Jodie

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Thursday, March 09, 2006 9:16:00 AM  

  • Jodie,

    Thanks for your response. So let me summarize what I think your answer is to make sure I have it straight.

    You answer is yes, he is saved, and you don't know for sure if his rebellion will ever be changed, though it is usually the case. You believe this because you don't think scripture explicitly addresses this. I get this last part from your statement that said...

    "If in inwardly convicting the unregenerate of sin, the Holy Spirit also replaces any hatred with love, He did not clearly reveal that in the pages of Scripture as I understand it."

    Though your answer was much more detailed is my basic assesment correct?

    God Bless,

    Doug

    By Blogger Doug E., at Thursday, March 09, 2006 9:19:00 AM  

  • Hi Bud :)

    Welcome to Unashamed! Hope you visit often :)

    Hey I’m glad someone new is around to give the professor a hard time ;)

    He he he

    Good point. I agree that when John said he wrote his Gospel so the reader would believe in Jesus, and thereby receive eternal life, that he was not saying his purpose was to give a theology of salvation. He would have had to fully equate salvation as a whole with the specific offer of eternal life for that to be true.

    I also like how you clarify that glory has to be a subordinate topic because of the clarity of John’s purpose statement, and that what he says about glory will be better understood by understanding it in light of that purpose.

    I will do that word study, however, or my English language version of it on Bible Gateway, because Bobby (not really a pur-fesser …yet!) brings up interesting points. And since I’m asking him and others to rethink things he is thoroughly convinced of, I want to do what I’m asking he and others to do. Rethink the foundations!

    You say: The point is that saving faith is the state of being convinced that Jesus' identity claims are true!

    Is that His identity claim as the one who single-handedly has authority over the resurrection on the last day, and who provides eternal life in the present to all who believe? Do you agree that his ID includes those types of propositions?

    The Johnny Cash hypothetical is definitely a way of my promotin Hodges’ view that John’s is an argument about silence, not from silence. John’s purpose statement clarifies how broad his purpose is. The absence of repentance is conclusive.

    John didn’t not mention something that his listeners absolutely needed to experience in order to receive eternal life!!!

    God bless,

    Jodie

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Thursday, March 09, 2006 10:01:00 AM  

  • Hi ya'all -

    Doug,
    Whatever the person does (aside from faith in Christ's work) is irrelevant to salvation since salvation rests ONLY ON WHAT CHRIST HAS DONE. I hope that your hypothetical person would get in touch with some believers that could expose him to the Word of God and the Spirit of God would effect him from the inside out as it is built up, but salvation would not be contingent on that happening.

    * Sola Fide * Souls Christus *
    ;~)

    Jodie,
    Great post! I like your "goofy hypothetical." It helped me to understand this "argument from silence" charge that I have heard against you and Antonio. Your thoughts are very interesting about the gospel of John. Veddy interresting ... ;~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at Thursday, March 09, 2006 10:59:00 AM  

  • The silence of the free grace position on the repentance in John 12:25 is deafening. ;-)

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thursday, March 09, 2006 11:31:00 AM  

  • Hi anonymous, (what a name!) Just enter a name, any name so we can tell you apart form another "anonymous" that might stop by. :~)

    John 25: 20-36
    Now there were some Greeks among those who went up to worship at the Feast. 21They came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, with a request. "Sir," they said, "we would like to see Jesus." 22Philip went to tell Andrew; Andrew and Philip in turn told Jesus.
    23Jesus replied, "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified. 24I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. 25The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.

    27"Now my heart is troubled, and what shall I say? 'Father, save me from this hour'? No, it was for this very reason I came to this hour. 28Father, glorify your name!" Then a voice came from heaven, "I have glorified it, and will glorify it again." 29The crowd that was there and heard it said it had thundered; others said an angel had spoken to him.

    30Jesus said, "This voice was for your benefit, not mine. 31Now is the time for judgment on this world; now the prince of this world will be driven out. 32But I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself." 33He said this to show the kind of death he was going to die.

    34The crowd spoke up, "We have heard from the Law that the Christ[f] will remain forever, so how can you say, 'The Son of Man must be lifted up'? Who is this 'Son of Man'?"

    35Then Jesus told them, "You are going to have the light just a little while longer. Walk while you have the light, before darkness overtakes you. The man who walks in the dark does not know where he is going. 36Put your trust in the light while you have it, so that you may become sons of light." When he had finished speaking, Jesus left and hid himself from them.


    Where is repentance here? This passage is all about Jesus! I see this as about what He was about to do for us ... and what all those who come "into Him" would have done to themselves because of His vicarious sacrifice.

    I don't know all about the Free Grace position, but I know about this - Christ's vicarious and perfect work on my behalf. I died with him and was raised with him. Not defeaning silence there. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at Thursday, March 09, 2006 12:01:00 PM  

  • As I wrote above:

    In John 12:25, the idea of hating oneself and hating one's life is part of the repentance (a turning from self and sin) necessary to become a disciple of Christ (Luke 14) and is given here as a condition for eternal life. The one who loves his life will perish eternally. The one who denies himself in repentance and becomes a disciple of Christ will have eternal life. Reread John 12:25--that's exactly what Jesus says.

    To say that this passage is "all about Jesus" and to fail to interact with the specifics of verse 25 is less than satisfying to one who is outside of the free grace camp. I would respectfully invite you to read Luke 14:26 and John 12:25 and ask yourself the question of whether one must hate his own life if he is to have eternal life. What exactly does John 12:25 mean? Would you use this verse in evangelism? If not, why not?

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thursday, March 09, 2006 12:29:00 PM  

  • Jodie,

    You ask...

    ... "Is that His identity claim as the one who single-handedly has authority over the resurrection on the last day, and who provides eternal life in the present to all who believe? Do you agree that his ID includes those types of propositions?

    Yes.

    You are well aware that in John 11:25,26 Jesus claimed two things: first, that he would raise the dead; second; that he gives eternal life.

    He then asks Martha, "Do you believe this?" The pronoun "this" refers to his two promises.

    Martha replies, "Yes, Lord, I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God..."

    In answering "Yes" when asked if she believed that Jesus raises the dead and gives eternal life, and clarifying that with the appositional phrase, "I believe you are the Christ, the Son of God" she is modeling what we must believe in order to have eternal life.

    A lot of people "believe in Jesus" but they do not have eternal life. One must specifically believe Jesus' promise of the resurrection and the gift of eternal life. If one does not believe those two things, one does not believe Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God.

    One cannot have eternal life without believing that.

    By Anonymous Bud Brown, at Thursday, March 09, 2006 12:50:00 PM  

  • Anonymous, I have found that generally anonymous commenters are bad news. I do not allow them on my personal blogs. Perhaps you might have got a response quicker if you had given us your name. Secrecy does not speak well.

    '25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal.'

    John 12:25 does not say that one who does not hate his life will necessary loose eternal life. Jesus' point here is that loving one's life is pointless because one will die one day regardless. Jesus does not identify hating one's life as being a condition for eternal life, only that the fact that one may posses eternal life is a good reason not to cling to this one.

    Elsewhere in John, Jesus promises eternal life on the condition of belief. Was He being dishonest there? If hating one's life was a condition of eternal life why did He not state it in those verses. That would be inconsistency.

    I certainly know plenty of Christians who love their lives. Are they lost forever? If they have trusted in Christ for salvation, will they be excluded because of their sin in loving their lives?

    Is loving one's life an unforgivable sin that it shoudl demerit Christ's redeeming sacrifice?

    Hating one's life is not an easy thing. It is a work. The Scriptures are clear that we are saved by grace through faith, not by works.

    To make hating oneself a condition of salvation is to sneak works righteousness in through the backdoor.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Thursday, March 09, 2006 1:07:00 PM  

  • Doug,

    There are many people who have prayed a prayer or whatever who think they are saved and are not, but I’m not talking about these people.

    Faith is the one and only trigger of receiving eternal life is, and once received it can not be lost. The only normative path to take as a regenerate person is the path of self-mortification and discipleship. But many end up balking at these and live for themselves.

    While I believe that in the Tribulation period only those who persevere to the end are regenerate, in this age perseverance is not a condition of being glorified and spending eternal life with Christ.

    Solomon didn’t repent. He hated God in action by his betrayal of even monotheism through flagrant idolatry. God tore apart the kingdom because of Solomon’s sin.

    I’d much rather be the person who resented the Lord even as he grasped the truth of his need and the truth of eternal life through Christ and held that attitude for a while during his early Christian life, an obscure situation (!), than be one of the many who believe and love Jesus until things get hard in the Christian life and then hate Him with their actions through neglect!

    Now that you are expanding the hypothetical from the time of conversion to the whole Christian life, I would rather return to the practical world and say if I saw this, resentment of God at the time conversion, followed by more resentment after, I would consider the person very much not saved. In fact I would doubt his salvation even if I detected anger at the time of salvation alone, and I suspect Matthew might to.

    And Hodges has never said a person converted may never do works, what he said was that we may not find it easy to detect the works.

    The Holy Spirit gives us a love for God, but He is a gentleman. He doesn’t force us into love for God. We have the option of refusing the command of God (to love Him) and face the consequences, as Matthew has described.

    God bless,

    Jodie

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Thursday, March 09, 2006 1:20:00 PM  

  • If the verse had read: "He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that believeth in Christ in this world shall keep it unto eternal life," I'm guessing you would say that it teaches belief as a condition for eternal life. But intead it says that "he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal," which you interpret as meaning "that the fact that one may posses eternal life is a good reason not to cling to this one." Very confusing. In fact, I don't even know what this means. Your explanation seems to have departed from what the verse actually says. Who shall have eternal life? The one who has hated his life in this world. Isn't that what the verse says?

    By the way, the contrast between losing and keeping, I believe, does indeed indicate that the one who loves his life will lose his soul for eternity.

    I too have found a lot of anonymous commenters to be bad news. I hope that I have been an exception to this rule. I'm only trying to ask some honest questions without stating my name for reasons I would rather not go into. I won't comment anymore. Thanks for the interaction.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thursday, March 09, 2006 1:31:00 PM  

  • Hi Bud,

    Amen! I really appreciate how you see John 11:25-26 explaining the content of John's purpose statement in John 20:30-31!

    God bless,

    Jodie

    Hope folks check out your blog, to find out why you are a non-Calvinist :)

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Thursday, March 09, 2006 1:32:00 PM  

  • Hi Anonymous,

    I agree with Matthew and Rose. Posting as a name even if it is not your real name is preferable.

    I've read a wonderful article by Bob Wilkin that argued something very simple. He said whenever in the NT eternal life is something attainable now it is a gift and we can know we have it. When it is something attained in the future, it is a way of saying an abundant sort of eternal life experience, and obviously because we don't have it yet it is not something we can be certain of.

    Jesus came not just to give us life but to give it more abundantly.

    And in the future those who suffered for Christ will reap God's blessing, but the one who lived only for self will reap that, in the future. As the verse says:

    25The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.

    and this

    My Father will honor the one who serves me.

    At the Judgment Seat of Christ people will deeply regret
    a squandered life. They will have permanently lost their life, which will be seen as a unique opportunity to glorify their Savior.

    I think the passage is about following Christ to the cross, discipleship.

    Repentance may be the other side of the discipleship coin. But it sure isn't a free gift!

    God bless,

    Jodie

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Thursday, March 09, 2006 1:50:00 PM  

  • the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life 12:25

    This is very different phrasing than:

    Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life 6:47

    And

    For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 6:40

    But in 12:25, Jesus says:

    the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life

    What is the it? There isn't an it in the other passages. there is just eternal life as the thing directly provided by the Lord.

    What is that it??

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Thursday, March 09, 2006 1:59:00 PM  

  • Jodie,

    The "it" appears to be the individual's life/soul. To retain one's soul for eternal life is different than having eternal life? Not sure how that could be.

    Despite the differences we have regarding our interpretation of John 12:25, I think I am coming to a better understanding of your position, including its implications. I would state it like this: Since you view repentance (as a condition for eternal life) to be contradictory to the gospel of simple belief, you would say that it is not possible that the Gospel of John (the only book specifically written to show people how to have eternal life) could teach repentance as a condition for eternal life. This is reflected in both your comments as well as those made by Matthew.

    As I see it, the problem with this approach is that your theology won't allow the Gospel of John to be anything but silent on the issue of repentance as a condition for eternal life. And then you point to the silence of John on repentance as evidence for your position. Seems circular to me.

    Respectfully,

    Mr. Anonymous

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at Thursday, March 09, 2006 2:19:00 PM  

  • Rose and Matthew,

    I love your comments in this thread :) Vedy insightful.

    Rose, I thought Sofyst recently brought the silence argument up in one of the recent threads, so I checked it out..

    he said:

    "I think it a far stretch that you made to prove your point that simply becuase John only said 'believe' that he was then necessarily keeping the two seperate. It is an argument from silence. Not as 'clear' as you are making it out to be. "

    I think 'arguments from silence' are considered informal logical fallacies.

    Warmly,

    Jodie

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Thursday, March 09, 2006 2:50:00 PM  

  • Hi Anonymous,

    Thanks for putting effort into understanding Free Grace theology. I hope you check out my sidebar links for more authoritative writings!

    But so you can better understand my view, let me clarify.

    I would reverse what you just said.

    I would say the fact that John never teaches anything but belief as needed to receive eternal life, is why I believe repentance is not something that has to happen for us to receive eternal life.

    John was a disciple of John the Baptist after all, in Revelation he shows he’s not uncomfortable with the term.

    But regardless he leaves it out.

    The verse you picked isn’t about the miracle of new birth, the life of God in us, it is about deciding to pick up our cross and follow Christ. There is a strong connection between those two things but they are not the same thing. Regeneration gives us everything we need to live a progressively more godly life, as long as we chose to live out our life in the light of God’s Word, but if we neglect God’s Word, we necessarily drift from godliness.

    This is his thematic statement:

    these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:30, 31)

    Now look at a key place in John where Laz is raised:

    Jesus said to her, "I am the resurrection and the life.[d] Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?" 27She said to him, "Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world."

    Bud Brown said, "she (Martha) is modeling what we must believe in order to have eternal life."

    It is not a coincidence that the same phrasing is in both imp. passages. Instead, it is Scripture explicitly interpreting Scripture.

    God bless,

    Jodie

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Thursday, March 09, 2006 3:06:00 PM  

  • Anonymous,

    "Contradictory". Wrong word. I didn't get that out of what they said. Your inquiries may just be irreconcilable. You are asking to build doctrine out of one non-explicit sentence in your doctrines regard. Do as you may but that can be a litle risky in my opinion.

    Todd

    By Blogger Todd, at Thursday, March 09, 2006 3:07:00 PM  

  • Enjoyed the post Jodie, have a nice day.

    By Blogger Todd, at Thursday, March 09, 2006 3:11:00 PM  

  • Repentance is a stronger clearer message when it is not tied up with the freeness of eternal life.

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Thursday, March 09, 2006 3:45:00 PM  

  • Bud said:

    "John's primary intent was not "to write a theology of salvation;" it was to explain how unbelievers may have eternal life. A study of the subordinate topic of glory cannot supplant the clear grammar of John's statement of editorial purpose."

    I wasn't necessarily trying to dispute this--but challenge the flat approach of interpretation FG exemplifies here. Your so eager to prove your salvific view contra lordship that I believe there is failure to recognize the nuance and depth that John provides for his concept of belief in his gospel. Also, maybe John's development of belief is inextricably tied to his theme of glory--thus making glory primary to understanding belief in John--and consequently not "subsidiary".

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at Thursday, March 09, 2006 4:34:00 PM  

  • Thanks Guys,

    At this point all I'm doing is gathering info as my time is very limited, and I don't have time to form an argument. You've answered the question very open and clearly, and for that I thank you.

    Doug

    By Blogger Doug E., at Thursday, March 09, 2006 5:15:00 PM  

  • BTW - I have one more question, it may have nothing to do with this thread depending on how you answer it, but I would also like to know your thoughts on this question because I am currenlty working on a sermon regarding it.

    What is blasphemy against the Holy Spirit in your view? (The Unforgivable sin)

    Thanks,

    Doug

    By Blogger Doug E., at Thursday, March 09, 2006 5:20:00 PM  

  • P.S. If you don't want to answer the question here, I have also asked it at my blog.

    Doug

    By Blogger Doug E., at Thursday, March 09, 2006 5:42:00 PM  

  • Hi Doug,
    I'm sure if you used Jodie and Matthews words verbatim they would not have any problem assisting you in teaching your congregation, but your process of paraphrasing, I think, could usher in some problems. You could always just give them all the URL and eliminate the chance of anything getting lost in translation. At any rate, "preach the word", and I'm sure everything will work out for good.

    Todd

    By Blogger Todd, at Thursday, March 09, 2006 7:04:00 PM  

  • Todd,

    I'm not sure of the intentions of your comment, but I'll assume it was for the best and not derogatory.

    I have every intention of preaching the Word.

    Thanks for the advice,

    Doug

    By Blogger Doug E., at Thursday, March 09, 2006 7:37:00 PM  

  • Todd, that could be taken as sounding kind of snarky. You didn't mean it that way, did you?

    By Blogger Rose~, at Friday, March 10, 2006 7:40:00 AM  

  • Doug, there are a number of views on that subject. I have no fixed view at present. I shall give it some thought.

    Did I just say I had no opinion? Is this a first in the blogsphere?

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Friday, March 10, 2006 11:22:00 AM  

  • Matthew,

    Thanks for your honesty. The humor made me laugh too.

    God bless,

    Doug

    By Blogger Doug E., at Friday, March 10, 2006 11:40:00 AM  

  • Free Grace Theology does not fragment Scripture.

    In the Arts, the way you find out the purpose of any one element is you imagine the work without that element. By doing that mental-deleting it is usually obvious what that element contributes.

    Essentially the Evangelical world fragments the NT by imagining the NT without John’s Gospel. His purpose for writing it has no impact on their doctrine or evangelistic methods. Yes, Calvinists and mainstream people take quotes and passages from John and from the upper room discourse, but it has no patience for the bona fide purpose of John. Too flat. So yesterday, so Sandy Patti and Robbie Heiner!

    Why? Because death to life, the reality of resurrection is a big fat yawn. Yeah the outcome of sin is always death theoretically and eternal life solves all that but, hey, let’s all talk about something really substantive.

    By doing what Bobby recommended all I am is more convinced of the chutzpa necessary to put the thematic statement forever on the back burner. The life to death miracle is a display of the glory of God. And the modern church’s boredom with that miracle exposes its distracted attitude.

    There is nothing flat about the Free Grace struggle to reclaim good news of the miracle of eternal life for people dead in sin. We are simply insisting on God’s miracle being claimed and fully processed and if other understandings have to be deleted or rearranged than so be it.

    Far from realizing any Free Grace failure to recognize significant nuance and depth in the concept of belief, the study of glory shows that believing God for the miracle of resurrection is in itself pleasing to the God of the Universe, and that miracle always glorifies God.

    So the sisters sent to him, saying, "Lord, he whom you love is ill." But when Jesus heard it he said, "This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it." …
    Jesus said, "Take away the stone." Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, "Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days." Jesus said to her, "Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?" So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, "Father, I thank you that you have heard me.
    (Jn. 11:3-4, 39-41)

    The resurrection miracle itself glorifies God. When we believe Christ for eternal life we will in the future see the glory of God at the literal resurrection. But those who see with the eyes of faith can see the glory of God whenever a sinner is drawn to the Son in simple trust in his being the Guarantor of eternal life.
    Living an abiding life is also a miracle that glorifies God. I have always insisted that the Upper room and other discipleship oriented portions of John affirm his purpose statement because he never weaves these lofty ideas into what is necessary to receive eternal life as a gift. The abiding life is suffering with Christ.

    As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world.Jn 17:18

    The way not to glorify God is to not believe--to believe it can’t be that simple, just God providing eternal life alone without even our need to love Him in return. Another way not to glorify God is to believe and then keep that belief a secret from the public view, which is a refusal to suffer with Christ.

    Nevertheless, many even of the authorities believed in him, but for fear of the Pharisees they did not confess it, so that they would not be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God. And Jesus cried out and said, "Whoever believes in me, believes not in me but in him who sent me. And whoever sees me sees him who sent me. I have come into the world as light, so that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness. (Jn 12 : 42-46)

    In John, Jesus teaches that true freeing self-interest is found only in obeying the Father's will by believing in His Son, and than in embracing the self-mortification of following Jesus’ path.

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Friday, March 10, 2006 11:53:00 AM  

  • Hi Doug,

    Not sure if GES has an article on that verse.

    And I'm not dogmatic about it, but I see blaspheming of the Holy Spirit as denying His inner witness that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by beleiving this one recives eternal life.



    This is a passage from 1 John 5 that I interpret this way. It's longish to give you the context.

    6This is he who came by water and blood--Jesus Christ; not by the water only but by the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one who testifies, because the Spirit is the truth. 7For there are three that testify: 8the Spirit and the water and the blood; and these three agree. 9If we receive the testimony of men, the testimony of God is greater, for this is the testimony of God that he has borne concerning his Son. 10Whoever believes in the Son of God has the testimony in himself. Whoever does not believe God has made him a liar, because he has not believed in the testimony that God has borne concerning his Son. 11And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. 12Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Friday, March 10, 2006 12:06:00 PM  

  • Hey H.K.

    I tend to agree with your undestanding, and of course someone is going to deny something they don't believe.

    Which leads to this question, is there a difference between knowing something and believing it.

    For example, Can I know that Jesus is God without believing it. It seems to me that if I don't believe Jesus is God then I don't know it.

    If there is no real difference this would make not knowing (or at least never knowing) the greatest sin in the world.

    Something doesn't seem right about that.

    Doug

    By Blogger Doug E., at Friday, March 10, 2006 12:52:00 PM  

  • HK,

    To the idea over that i think you guys and MacArthurs group are expressing similar things, yet from differant angles and to this question of repentance vs belief:

    I read where Antonio stated that the Lordship guys are talking about themselves as being the unknown defectors they are talking about. In saying this he agrees with them that there are defectors who don't know it.

    Lets look at Simon the Magician. The Bible says he believed. Now you guys say to listen to the fruit of the lips. MacArthurs group tells us to weigh deeds to test fruit.

    Make a note that I part with both of you all in your understanding of repentance.I do not say this easily. I have really wrestled with this and studied alot on it. Even giving place to what you teach. Metanoia is to change the mind. This occurs when we receive the grace of God. MaCarthurs group seems to hinge on Metamellomia to a degree.I don't know for sure but it seems that way according to their lips. You guys throw it out.

    Peter said to repent(change mind) and be baptised(answer of a good conscience toward God) and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit in Acts 3.

    Simon believed, yet at that time God was breaking up these steps in full conversion at the time, and I think it helps us understand something. It seems to be there for that. Some higher educated person can get more into all those dispenstional typologies, but for now I just want to focus on Simon if you will.

    MacArthurs group would point to the fact that Simon was doing deeds to be somebody great and draw a crowd and was folling along on his terms with a false faith.

    If we followed the fruit of the lips acid test that you guys push then we would hear Simon saying, "Let me buy the Holy Spirit so that I can do these great things you do."

    According to your measure then you would conclude false fruit as he did not think God himself was a gift and thereby had false faith.Rejection of the Holy Spirit is rejection of the Spirit of Christ as you say and he cannot be bought or earned.

    Peter would tell him to *repent* as he told him the gift of God cannot be bought, However earlier, Luke the Author states that He believed and was following them up until that point.

    How do you answer this dilemma?

    Do you think it's possible that your group and MacArthurs have drawn each sword from Peters belt to do battle with one another to prove the same point, yet are arguing from differant angles?

    Again, How do you answer this dilemma?

    This is why I believe repentance is unseperable from faith. Metanoia that is. A change of the mind that sleeps in the soul of man. It is an answer of a good conscience toward God that receives as a gift a new heart. A new creation. A new will.

    It must be said however that grace alone is the converter that changes the mind. Conversion is a mystery of sorts as John 16 tells us this cannot happen and faith cannot occur without the Holy Spirit convicting us of sin, yet grace is the solution and the only one.

    If you have time, please consider this dilemma. The dilemma of Simon the Magician and his belief yet his rejection of the Holy Spirit which also gives place to MacArthurs fruit of works and to your fruit of the lips acid test.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at Friday, March 10, 2006 3:23:00 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    "Todd, that could be taken as sounding kind of snarky. You didn't mean it that way, did you?"

    No. At least until I've been able to read Lewis Carrol and find out what is snark is like. I don't think I want to be a snark. I'll consult with my daughter and find out if I'm getting snarky and should watch out.

    But, no, sometimes I just fall into these advice giving moods. Feel free to give me a good dope slap if there seems to one in order. But frivolous advice is sometimes what a person runs into when one dialogues with people. If that is as bad as it gets then I've come to consider that a good day.

    Now I'll go on and enjoy the rest of these comments. Thanks. Todd

    By Blogger Todd, at Friday, March 10, 2006 5:51:00 PM  

  • HK said:

    "By doing what Bobby recommended all I am is more convinced of the chutzpa necessary to put the thematic statement forever on the back burner. The life to death miracle is a display of the glory of God. And the modern church’s boredom with that miracle exposes its distracted attitude."

    What about glory in death, isn't this an aspect of seeking God's glory (in John)? This is the repulsive (Pauline stumbling block/scandalous gospel)piece that keeps people from believing. Death to self! I agree with you HK, people aren't seeking God's glory (generalization)which in John--to follow Jesus, would be death--see John 12:23-26, it says:

    "But Jesus answered them, saying, 'The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. 24. Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain. 25. He who loves his life will lose it, and he who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. 26. 'If anyone serves Me, let him follow Me; and where I am, there My servant will be also. If anyone serves Me, him My Father will honor."

    Notice the connection of death and glory as Jesus foreshadows His approaching death, burial, and resurrection.

    How does one "believe" if He is not seeking God's glory--death of self? Notice what Jesus says to the "Jews" in John 5:44:

    "How can you believe, who receive honor from one another, and do not seek the honor that comes from the only God?"

    Seeking God's glory, i.e. death to self, in John, allows belief in Christ. Seeking the glory of men hinders belief, and contributes to unbelief.

    ". . . 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."

    How does one believe according to John, what allows belief, why would a person believe, because He is seeking God's glory--as defined above, which allows belief to take place; rather than seeking the glory of man, which results in un-belief even in the "religious".

    Consequently it seems to me, that John was encouraging people who were already believers, on what it looks like to live the Christian life--and what in fact it takes to believe and experience life (abundant Jn 10:10), i.e. seeking the Glory of God.

    Thus John's primary intention was not to write a manual on how a person becomes a Christian--but He is encouraging people who are already Christians to seek God's glory, and believe (thus experiencing real eternal life Jn 17:3)--seeking the glory of men is for the religionist, and hinders belief.

    The apostle Paul, in I Cor 1:1--3:1ff, exhorts the Corinthians similarly; as I believe John does here in His gospel.

    If what I have briefly argued above is correct then this undercuts Bud Brown's early response to me when he said:

    "John's primary intent was not "to write a theology of salvation;" it was to explain how unbelievers may have eternal life. A study of the subordinate topic of glory cannot supplant the clear grammar of John's statement of editorial purpose.

    I don't think so, of course this is a subsidiary ;) consequence of the gospel of John--but not the primary intention. I think one could make the case given the "Form" of "Gosepl" narrative that all the "Gospel's" are--that they are all intended in one way or another to present the gospel--not just John. And given the didactic nature of the discourse literature exemplified in the epistles we should examine these in tandem, and primarily, to ascertain our doctrinal framework (i.e. discourse literature's primary intention is didactic--to teach, e.g. prescriptive, not merely descriptive as much of narrative literature is).

    HK said:

    "Essentially the Evangelical world fragments the NT by imagining the NT without John’s Gospel. His purpose for writing it has no impact on their doctrine or evangelistic methods. Yes, Calvinists and mainstream people take quotes and passages from John and from the upper room discourse, but it has no patience for the bona fide purpose of John. Too flat. So yesterday, so Sandy Patti and Robbie Heiner!"

    This is a gigantic assertion, how do you substantiate this claim, Jodie? Aren't you trying to do the same thing, as I've already asserted, except with the gospel of John--and then squeeze everything into the theology of John?

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at Friday, March 10, 2006 8:07:00 PM  

  • Bobby,

    You are thought provoking and you have a well rounded approach. These are stirring questions, hey do you have any thoughts on Simon the Magician?

    By Blogger Bhedr, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 6:36:00 AM  

  • bg said:

    What about glory in death, isn't this an aspect of seeking God's glory (in John)?....

    Notice the connection of death and glory as Jesus foreshadows His approaching death, burial, and resurrection.


    I think you have failed to read the whole metaphor; you stop your interpretation with the phrase "... falls into the ground and dies..." and focus in on the death of that grain. But the metaphor ends with "... it produces much grain..." which is about resurrection life. Notice v. 16: "His disciples did not understand these things, but when Jesus was glorified they remembered that these things were written about Him...."

    What is the glory of Jesus in John 12? It is his resurrection life! Jesus' death, while essential to his glorification, was not the sine qua non of it. Jesus' glory (in this context) was his resurrection life, the eternal life which we enjoy.

    By Anonymous Bud Brown, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 6:37:00 AM  

  • Didn't the Apostle Paul say something like, "That I may know Him and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death." ?

    I think we are to look at both in seeking the glory of God.

    Rome focuses on the death only and so there is no hope in seeking the glory of God. We are to have the hope of the resurrection in us while we meet with him in his death.

    The point being is that if we are living for ourselves instead of dying to ourselves, we are not seeing eternal life through the lens of God. This is our point in sanctification as believers. So many flee from this and feel that being someone great is the point of our sanctification and build on works that lift themselves up and make themselves famous. This is the end goal in todays Christianity and is what most Americans seem to strive for. It is the implimentation of the American dream grafted into the teachings of Christ. It is a faulty understanding of the point behind the resurrection.

    Until we see ourselves as the theif on the cross, dying with him there...then we will not experience knowing God and fellowshiping as he desires us to.

    He wants us to enjoy eternal life today on his terms, ...not some day later in the sweet by and by.That is our terms. Today. When we die to ourselves and abide in him we are experiencing the level of sanctification the Lord intends and so whatever suffering we experience, we will then be able to understand the true happiness that Jesus was trying to tell us existed in the beatitudes in Matt 5.

    Any teaching that deviates us from this will lead us on a course of not enjoying eternal life, but instead temporal pleasures that make us miserable and lead to death.

    It will also give the lost a faulty impression of who Jesus is and so though we might be saved, the lost will think that Jesus is there to entitle them to live for more pleasure and so their view of grace will become one of entitlement instead of gaining an understanding of mercy in order to know what grace is.

    We can either become like Hezekiah who said, "It is good that these things will not happen to me in my days." thereby leaving his children to eternal death...or we can be like Moses and Paul who understood and wished themselves to be accursed so that others would be saved.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 7:01:00 AM  

  • Bhedr,
    You never answered my email yet. Did you get it?

    By Blogger J. Wendell, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 7:07:00 AM  

  • Doug, this may not be a complete answer but I want to clarify that blaspheming the HS is not IMO denying the Spirit-inspired Word of God, but instead His inner witness, His still small voice.

    That inner witness would likely be perceived, at least by westerners as one’s own consciousness, or one’s own conscience, or even as random dreams. I think Jesus is teaching to be careful which thoughts you discard out of hand. He is increasing our duty to come clean toward God in our inner world and seek His leading. I think you can deny His inner voice simply by brushing it off without giving it further consideration.

    About ‘knowing’ I think initial belief in something precedes the experience of knowing something. We become born again at the first nano-second of belief. I think one can brush off ideas before they are understood, in this case with horific results.

    Warmly,

    Jodie :)

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 2:56:00 PM  

  • Bobby,

    That's a big, big what-if, in my opinion (Purfesser), so I'll take some time to suspend my disbelief and read through John with the idea you presented in mind.

    Warmly,

    Jodie

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 3:01:00 PM  

  • Glad your enjoying the comments, Todd :)

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 3:20:00 PM  

  • Thanks Bud :)

    I especially like where you say,

    "What is the glory of Jesus in John 12?

    It is his resurrection life!

    Jesus' death, while essential to his glorification, was not the sine qua non of it.

    Jesus' glory (in this context) was his resurrection life, the eternal life which we enjoy. "

    :)

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 3:21:00 PM  

  • No John,

    I sure havent. As I said you could send it again. My wife opened the email address back up. I apologize, but I honestly haven't gotten it.

    Brian

    By Blogger Bhedr, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 3:52:00 PM  

  • >I think one can brush off ideas before they are understood, in this case with horific result<

    Thank you. How sweet:-)

    What I am trying to say is that even by this statement you are saying there are some with a false belief, because they do not adhere to your ideas void of a metanoia. this is my only point.

    I do believe with all my heart that only Jesus can atone for my sin and do myself enjoy this eternal life through his resurrection.

    The only thing I was attempting to get across was that even you guys teach there is false faith within the MacArthur camp.

    Again, what do you do with Simon the Magician who believed yet rejected the Holy Spirit by patronizing him with payment on his terms?

    Roman Catholics say they believe in Jesus. Does this mean they do? Certainley in your book there is further criteria for evaluating whether a person truly believes verses they say they believe.

    This is why I believe the Holy Spirit is crucial to conversion as only through His quickening hand and convicting power can we be brought to faith in responding to Him.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 4:27:00 PM  

  • Oh Holy Spirit, make us to hear this truth:

    Both are of equal importance and of equal glory to God. Oh anoint me Holy Spirit of the Living God.

    The old Adam does not want to reckon itself dead there. He will writh and kick to stay away from there but:

    "Save for the Cross, He'd stand condemned. Save for the cross, He'd be dead in sin. But for the sacrifice of the Holy Lamb, He could not stand..." Lynnette Paasch


    The Resurrection is equaly resisted by the Roman Catholic for he does not wish to live there, but oh how the Spirit is set free there by the Holy Spirit.

    Oh give glory to God men and women both by way of the cross and by the power of His resurrection. They are the exaltation of Christ and the death of the old man and the life of the new creative work of God. Rejoice in these two inseperable truths that Glorify God.

    BTW, Paul said "That I may know Him and the power of the resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable to his death."

    Oh believe that both truths are one as the Lamb was slain before the foundation of the world and then we were created. He rested on the 7th day, but his most awesome re-creative work was yet to come yet had already been planned.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 6:06:00 PM  

  • Bhedr,

    Sorry for the delay, this has been a busy day for us.

    I'll hold on the Simon stuff for now...

    I believe that many people think they are saved and are not. And I believe some people even pretend to be saved for the sake of duping a Christian into marrying them, or for other reasons.

    I don't disagree with everything MacArthur says. I'm reading his book "Murder of Jesus" and I think Bobby has brought up an interesting similarity that we both beleive inward self-examination is Biblical. We would probably, both sides I mean, agree that you can over do it as well.

    Lots of Free Grace people understand metanoia as you do.

    About the fruit of the lips, though, I disagree with you on this point. I don't tell people they are saved because of something they once said or what they now say, I tell people what saves.

    I tell people that Jesus provides eternal life to everyone who believes in Him for that.

    That is assurance!

    It also saves!

    So if the person didn't have eternal life, he does now!

    We don't provide people with false assurance because the assurance we provide actually saves.

    Faith and assurance is the same thing.

    But also we F/G people tend to be against any sort of siner's prayer, because it confuses people and gives themn the impression that the evangelist helped them get saved. And they think they are saved when in fact they may not have really been convinced of what they said in the prayer. So I don't think we are into this fruit of the lips thing.

    But listen, I'm sorry if you have received any sort of abusive attitude or outright abusive treatment from Free Grace people.

    I hate the fact that true Christians can be abusive but obviously it happens.

    I'm sorry!

    God bless,

    Jodie

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 6:39:00 PM  

  • Brian,
    I sent you an email about 1.5 hours ago. I believe you are not getting my emails.
    Here: why don't you email me, and then maybe a reply will get through to you.

    jcole@ambt.net

    Thanks Brian

    By Blogger J. Wendell, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 6:49:00 PM  

  • Bhedr,

    About Simon, I see him as evidence that people can be carnal.

    An also that Peter believed believers don't always persevere, because he was threatening Simon with God's chastisement to the point of death.

    The incident apparently happened not very long after Ananias and Sappharia were chistised by God where Peter was front and center. I think Peter thought that situation may have been about to be replayed.

    Simon was sealed with the Spirit, but he wanted to be doing Signs and Wonders byt he power ot the Spirit for his own glory.

    But Simon's reaction was rather teachable in the end. He responded differently than An. & Sap.

    God bless,

    Jodie

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 6:49:00 PM  

  • Thanks for your gracious response Jodie.

    I agree that Simon did become teachable in the end however I think this is there to help us see that the natural man does not understand the things of the Spirit and that the Spirit of God must be received by simply asking and not resisting him in any form but believing in him. I think in the unfolding of events in the book of acts much of all of this helps us seperate a carnal understanding of God vs a Spiritual one. The Holy Spirit is the whole reason Jesus ascended into heaven and He is still at work today I believe.

    Brian

    By Blogger Bhedr, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 7:15:00 PM  

  • Brian,

    Thanks.

    I seriously wish you would check out 6 Secrets of the Christian Life. I know you would be not just in agreement with his description of how to rely on the Holy Spirit but find it useful either in your own life or in discipling others.

    God bless,

    Jodie

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 8:06:00 PM  

  • Bhedr asked:

    ". . . These are stirring questions, hey do you have any thoughts on Simon the Magician?"

    Sorry Bhedr I haven't looked at this thread until now. Roman Catholics used this term historically to call someone a heretic, i.e. simony, named after him. Also tradition holds that Simon may have been archheretic Marcion--who held to a proto-gnostic dualistic view of God; and shredded (i.e. text critically) the scriptures, because he believed YHWH was the God of material, and thus evil, he had other strange thoughts. Did Simon truly believe, apparently not, sense he was enamored with the "super-natural" powers evinced by the apostles--and was really only interested in drawing attention to himself. I don't know if that's what you were looking for, I'm kind've just jumping into the comment thread here, and haven't necessarily read all the prior leading to your question here :).



    Bud said:

    "I think you have failed to read the whole metaphor; you stop your interpretation with the phrase "... falls into the ground and dies..." and focus in on the death of that grain. But the metaphor ends with "... it produces much grain..." which is about resurrection life.

    Ok, you're probably right I do focus a bit too much on death here--but don't you do the same thing with resurrection--doesn't the metaphor connect both--in fact I'll argue that w/o death, there is no life--an aspect, according to John, of glory involves death. To limit it to resurrection life fails to recognize the integral inter-relationship between the two aspects--as the metaphor highlights explicitly. So I'll disagree with you, Bud :).

    This isn't just a Johaninne theme, but also a Pauline, as Bhedr pointed out, cf. II Cor 4:10; Phil 3:9; II Cor 12:7ff, etc. The death/life--weakness/strength paradox threads all the way through scripture; John just happens to tie this to God's glory, i.e. the great reversal--taking what is meant to destroy, death, and bringing life and abundance out of it--in John this is God's glory revealed; in I Cor 1:17ff it is God's wisdom and strength revealed.

    In Christ,

    Bobby G.

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at Saturday, March 11, 2006 11:30:00 PM  

  • Hi Bobby ;)

    F/G does not downplay the importance of death to self as a way to glorify God by suffering with Christ.

    But the death of Lazarus glorified God because of his resurrection :)

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Sunday, March 12, 2006 5:30:00 AM  

  • Thanks Bobby,

    That is right. I had forgotten all about that. He was suspect to fathering some of the gnosic heresies wasn't he. I guess you don't agree here with Jodie then that his faith was a saving faith.

    I hope you will see the point I have been trying to make.

    I am so glad you are out there Bobby. If I came down side by side with a free gracer, I am almost sure it would be you. You seem to be able to articulate and help others understand what I am incapable of doing. I am not gifted with clarity nor eloquence. I see that so clearly now.

    I am glad I haven't quit my day job:-)

    By Blogger Bhedr, at Sunday, March 12, 2006 10:54:00 AM  

  • HK said:

    "But the death of Lazarus glorified God because of his resurrection :)"

    I'll give up now, on this point, HK. I'm not quite sure how you can divorce death from glory in John--and tie it singularly to resurrection; you can't have the one w/o the either as Jesus makes clear in Jn 12. He saw the whole act as God's glory revealed; i.e. humility is reflective of God's character (Phil.2:5-8 makes the same point). But our theologies don't like to think of God as humble and selfless--so I can understand your resistance here.

    This is the same thing Martin Luther struggled against in his day, i.e. his theology of the cross vs. the churches' theology of glory. This is another discussion though.

    Bhedr,

    Thanks for the nice words, BTW, I'm not a Free-Grace advocate, at least of this era ;). If interested I recently wrote an article posted on my site entitled "Introduction to Affective Theology and Richard Sibbes". I discuss the historical "Free Grace" movement which I would be more inclined to follow--and do at many points.

    And I think your a good communicator, your words a very heart-felt, which is sometimes hard to communicate via this medium--you do a good job at that--keep it up :)!

    In Christ,

    Bobby G.

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at Sunday, March 12, 2006 3:40:00 PM  

  • Thanks Bobby, but the heartfelt stuff sometimes gets in the way I think. What blesses my heart about the gift God has given you is that although your knowledge dwarfs me, you don't make me feel like it and somehow you communicate clearly and in a humble way. It serves as a good model. I will check out your article.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at Sunday, March 12, 2006 4:32:00 PM  

  • I see what you're saying, Bobby,

    I'm still keeping a reasonably open mind because I want to read through John with your premise in mind.


    Brian,

    I'm going to look into Progressive Dispensationalism too but I'm wary of some of their thinking on future Israel.

    I'm also going to read the Gundry book Matthew recommends on post-Trib.

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Sunday, March 12, 2006 9:16:00 PM  

  • HK said:

    "I'm going to look into Progressive Dispensationalism too but I'm wary of some of their thinking on future Israel."

    I follow the PD, HK, and I see no reason to be wary. They see Israel in the Millenium tied to the Davidic kingdom--as the Land Cov. (Gen 17) was inextricably linked to God's unconditional covenant with them (i.e. the remnant). The primary difference is that we (the PD) sees Christ's Davidic reign inaugurated and functional right now (i.e. the "Now" and "Not Yet" aspects of the Davidic Kingdom).

    We still see a distinction between Israel and the Church it's just functional (and role oriented) not ontological (i.e. two different people's of God, e.g. earthly and heavenly).

    The post-trib position seems straighforward, at first glance, but there are some unique chronological problems posed by this position; as well as theological--one of which, what purpose is served for the church remaining during a time of Jacob's trouble and God's wrath being poured out upon the Jews in particular--and the world in general? Another exegetical problem is that the Pauline, and Dominical (Jesus' viewpoint) understanding presents one with an imminent understanding of Jesus' return for his church--post-trib believes certain recognizable apocalyptical events must transpire prior to His second advent--this undercuts Jesus' and Paul's view (cf. Mark 13; I Cor 15; I Thess 4).

    Bobby

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at Monday, March 13, 2006 12:16:00 AM  

  • Bobby,

    I have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world.
    Jn 17:14

    Thanks for encouraging me to rethink John, I tried to but was simply reaffirmed in my thinking about that beautiful book :)

    Reading though John is always a radicalizing experience for me. It confirms my belief that if this book was really embraced it would literally cause a new Reformation.

    What I have argued has very much been confirmed by a fresh reading. The discipleship sections and passages, because they are framed so differently, confirm that they are a related but distinct topic and that the offer of eternal life is “free grace”. It is a free gift from the Father to all who would hear. Hatred of this free offer (I’m not thinking of you here) and hatred of those of us who teach it (as per 17:14, above) is not an emotion, or a position, I would want to defend in the after life.

    I’m pretty convinced now that you do not seriously ‘hold’ to the concept that the offer of eternal life found in John is an offer of abundant life made to believers essentially showing them the way of discipleship, but that you are toying with that what-if idea. I just say this because of how powerful the language seems to be. Maybe I’ll post on a bit of that.

    But, IMO, the offer of eternal life which Martha understood in ch. 11 and the thematic statement of ch. 20 are the same and they are free and clear of the demands of discipleship. But much of what falls between those two points is framed without the emphasis on Jesus Himself being the sole guarantor of the outcomes. Instead of a free gift offered, it is the lofty readiness of the Lord ushering His followers toward a new phase in their ministry with his terse introduction, “Rise, let us go from here.” (14:31)

    His (11 to 20) call is intimate and motivating in large part because of the stabilizing security with which He has grounded his disciples in unmerited immortality.

    And about the church deleting John from its NT framework and its repertoire of evangelistic concepts, consider nearly every technique embraced by the church, evangelical and fundamental. (Though I suspect the situation is worse in evangelical circles.)

    The sinner’s prayer
    The “acceptance” of Jesus as Saviour
    The “acceptance” of Jesus as Lord and Saviour
    Repentant and belief as both necessary
    The asking of Jesus into one’s heart
    The compulsive use of the word trust instead of belief in invitations
    The passive-voiced “when I was saved” language being replaced by the active- voiced “when I committed myself to Christ”

    All very pathetic in my view.

    “Rise, let us go from here.”

    Is my sentiment exactly :)

    Lord bless,

    Jodie

    By Blogger H K Flynn, at Wednesday, March 15, 2006 9:04:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home