[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)

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Does Anybody Agree with this Quotation XI

by Antonio da Rosa

In an article on Christian assurance, D.A. Carson quotes I. Howard Marshall:

"... the Calvinist 'believer' cannot fall away from 'true' faith, but he can 'fall away' from what proves in the end to be only seeming faith. The possibility of falling away remains. But in neither case does the person know for certain whether he is a true or a seeming disciple... he sees signs in his life... but these signs may be misleading... Whoever said, 'The Calvinist knows that he cannot fall from salvation but does not know whether he has got it', had it summed up nicely... The [Arminian] knows that he has salvation... but is aware that, left to himself, he could lose it... IT SEEMS TO ME THE PRACTICAL EFFECT IS THE SAME."

Responding to these quotes, D.A. Carson says:

"At a... mechanistic level, I think this analysis is largely correct."
"at certain levels the practical effect is the same"
"Calvinism... [with its] forms of introversion... strangely mirror... their Arminian counterparts"
"Thus at their worst, the two approaches meet in strange and sad ways."

My Commentary:
In a very real sense, John MacArthur and Lordship Salvation preach the same 'gospel' as Dan Corner and the Arminians:

Unless you persevere in faithfulness and good works, and die in such a state, you go to hell. Faith alone is not enough.

Perseverance of the Saints is not "Eternal Security"

it is Conditional Security:

If you persevere, you are saved.

If you fail to persevere, you are damned.


  • Yes, practically there is not much to choose from between the Calvinist and Arminian views. Though some Calvinists do have Biblical assurance, contrary to the tenor of their theology.

    God Bless


    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, January 30, 2007 6:29:00 PM  

  • For them to have biblical assurance, Matt, they would need to give up the P in TULIP.


    By Blogger Antonio, at Tuesday, January 30, 2007 6:36:00 PM  

  • Yes true Antonio. But some Calvinist like Dr Pickering simply take that P to represent the body perservering as saints in Christ with the Holy Spirit being the keeper as in that ol Footprints poem or the Shepherd keeping us in the palm of his Hand. Nevertheless there is indeed a dark side to Calvinism and some of the Lordships.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at Tuesday, January 30, 2007 8:13:00 PM  

  • This is going to be another interesting food fight.

    Who is going to be the first Calvinist to object to your quoting a Calvinist who begrudgingly agrees with an Arminian? And who is going to be the first to complain about the fact that you quoted Carson "out of context" without giving the page number?

    There is one minor wrinkle that, in the interest of being fair to the Calvinists: I think they would claim that the doctrine is simply stating that those in whom the Holy Spirit perseveres will be saved. In other words, I suspect they will attribute the perseverance to a different person than would the Arminians. Just a guess.

    By Anonymous Bud, at Tuesday, January 30, 2007 8:40:00 PM  

  • Bud,

    you must realize that the Calvinists seek to have their cake and eat it too by use of mystery and paradox.

    Sure the Calvinist would say that the Holy Spirit does such a thing. Yet, the Arminian, too, would say that the Holy Spirit is instrumental in their perseverance.

    But remember, it is not an 'automatic' (although it is inevitable) says some Calvinists like those at Pyromaniacs.

    They believe that the Christian must endeavor and work synergistically with God for sanctification. They say it is 'inevitable' for the 'true' Christian who has 'true' faith. Nevertheless, they just can't be sure if they fall into that category or not. As MacArthur has said, "You may be a spiritual defector who hasn't defected yet!"

    So just in light of the fact that the Calvinist must concede that man has his part in sanctification and perseverance is enough to show that in some way he is responsible for it. Therefore, on one level or another, perseverance is conditioned on the Christian, and Perseverance theology is rightfully called: Conditional Security.

    Remember, the Christian must endeavor to make his "calling and election sure"!

    Thank you all for contributing.

    Brian, thanks for your level-headed and concise thoughts!


    By Blogger Antonio, at Tuesday, January 30, 2007 10:51:00 PM  

  • I might be a half a P as I cant bring myself to throw it out alltogether. I recognize there is a sin unto death but I also know there is power behind the Lords purpose and in the new creation as well and God is actively working out a pruning work.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at Wednesday, January 31, 2007 2:58:00 PM  

  • Brian,

    why embrace Calvinism at all? Why not follow Affective Theologies' reframing of the soteriological discussion (i.e. through the marriage framing that the BIBLE provides)? You can still hold to God's sovereignty and electing work, w/o the unwanted language and implications of the God of the thomists . . . I mean of the Calvinists.

    BTW, I agree with Antonio, the P and the Practical Syllogism go hand and hand . . . the whole of TULIP emphasizes Law keeping as the touchstone for our relating to God. Sure the Calvinist asserts that God is the one who sovereignly keeps the Law in Christ . . . but this misses the point since this discussion revolves around Knowledge of God and more importantly (epistemologically anyway) knowledge of self (i.e. how are we to "know" we have indeed appropriated or been appropriated to God's salvific work). I think that's the confusion that keeps hampering this discussion. Antonio, for example is talking about epistemology (i.e. how do we "know" we have appropriated salvation), while the Calvinists response is always through the lens of Ontology (i.e. God's sovereignty). Thus this discussion is doomed from the get go.

    By Anonymous bobby grow, at Thursday, February 01, 2007 2:35:00 PM  

  • I understand what you are driving at Bobby and I will think about what you are saying. Perhaps I should drop it as many seem to always be called back to what Terry Rayburn terms as Daisey Theology:He loves me, he loves me not. This aspect troubles me, but the reason I am compelled to hold an element of the P is because well God is purposefully working in a way that does not inibit his free charity. I hate to seem mundane here but have you watched that fairly new show "The Dog Whisperer?". Well consider that God is a master at being a Shepherd as we are sheep and there is an element that man hates about that. Roger Waters formerly from pink floyd used to despise the fact that the Bible called men sheep. There is that element there that God can master us. The Dog Whisperer has gotten bit and there is risk in grace, but ultimately the Bible makes it clear that God cultivates and His sheep do hear his voice. I even heard Jodie once state that God does not let his children run wild and so in his chastening he does it with loving purpose and is a master at it in the same way the Dog Whisperer is a master at what he does. Do you see the point I am getting at? yes there is a sin unto death, but I really think we need to be careful to minimize how God providentially works as well. I just posted on your blog about being motivated by free love but I didn't rule out the providence behind God. Remember that God did get Jonah to the first intended destination. It may not always be that drastic though. Like I said his voice desires not to be heard in the storm or the earthquake and fire but in the still small voice and he is working us toward that end.

    Love you Bobby. I'll keep thinking about that Affective thing. There is disturbing things going on out here in the Calvisphere as well that I am not going to make excuses for and I am not interested in embracing some of the methodology they are using in trying to wipe out methodology.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at Thursday, February 01, 2007 6:11:00 PM  

  • There are also so many differing breeds of Calvinists out here and each one has there own little caveat for each point from the TULIP. Are some Calvinist Law based? Not only some, but many of them unfortunately.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at Thursday, February 01, 2007 6:15:00 PM  

  • Yes I agree with the quote.

    Could this whole confict of perseverance simply be that the bible is actually saying that those who persevere are those will inherit the promises of God here on earth?(ie enter His rest)
    It has nothing to do with a believers eternal destiny does it. That is why so much is written to us beleivers exhorting us to walk in a manner worthy of His calling and to have faith and patience to inherit the promises. Our father is wanting "His children" to grow into sons. This (perseverance) has not been written to unbelievers, they don't understand anyway.

    I don't think there is alot of difference between believers who hold to persevering unto good works for everlasting life than the the slave who buried his talent because he really didn't understand how giving our Creator really is.

    By Blogger Kris, at Saturday, February 03, 2007 10:52:00 AM  

  • The word "sovereignty" does not appear in the KJV.

    My best research tells me it appears only in more modern interpretations of the Bible which have Calvinists as some of the "writers."

    I am neither Calvinist nor Armenian -- just a believer in Jesus Christ alone for my salvation...

    How do I KNOW I have eternal life...
    1 John 5:13
    These things have I written unto you that BELIEVE on the name of the Son of God; that ye may KNOW that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

    Eternally in Jesus by God's Grace and my faith in Christ.


    By Anonymous ExPreacherMan, at Monday, February 05, 2007 3:08:00 PM  

  • I read this somewhere yesterday (and I can't remember where, now) that on the front of the gate to eternal life is a sign that reads "Repent and believe", and once passed through on the other side is a sign which reads "Chosen from the foundation of the world". I think that is rather true.

    By Blogger Marcian, at Friday, February 09, 2007 9:05:00 AM  

  • Hey Marcia,

    thank you so much for your input.

    May I ask an absurd question? What would be on the gate to hell?

    The sign in front says "Reject Jesus" and when you enter in you see another sign that says "chosen for hell from the foundation of the world"

    Do you see my dillemma?

    I do not believe that the gospel can be legitimately for "whosoever" and at the same time God chooses those who believe and give them the gift of faith. To me that is charging God with wrong.

    I super appreciate you dropping by.

    By Blogger Antonio, at Friday, February 09, 2007 7:29:00 PM  

  • Antonio,

    Forgive my impertinence, but I believe, then, that we must not worship the same God.


    By Blogger Marcian, at Friday, February 16, 2007 1:20:00 PM  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home