[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)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

A Suggested Gospel Introduction for use by the Calvinist

by Antonio da Rosa

It is common knowledge that the Calvinist cannot know certainly whether or not he is truly saved. They believe that they can be confident as they introspect and see growth, fruit, and perseverance.

Yet in Calvinism, there is such a thing as spurious faith. And you may seem to grow for years but there is a possibility that you can fall away from the faith, thus evidencing a deficient, substandard, and insufficient faith.

For a most RECENT illustration of the pitiable and tragic position of the Calvinist on assurance, see my post on Frank Turk's (AKA the centuri0n) latest post on the gospel -- please refer to my blog here (it comes along with a heinous quote by R.L. Dabney):

Calvinism's Doctrine of Total Inability (to give Assurance of Salvation)

Kenneth Gentry writes, "Assurance is subjective ... Dabney rightfully notes that [absolute assurance] requires a revelation beyond the Scripture because the Bible does not specifically speak to the individual in question. Nowhere in the Bible do we learn ... that Ken Gentry is among the elect"

John Murray stated, “The perseverance of the saints reminds us very forcefully that only those who persevere to the end are truly saints”

(For those of you who are wondering, I am 100% certain, convinced, and fully persuaded that I have eternal life. I do not even entertain the slightest doubt. I have eternal life, I am justified, and I will be resurrected by Christ to live with Him forever.)

So on to the suggested introduction for the Calvinist. When starting up a gospel conversation with a potential convert, open it up this way:

Hey, I'm not certain where I am going when I die, and if you have a few minutes, I can share with you how you can be uncertain too!

81 Comments:

  • When we've been there ten thousand years
    Bright shining as the sun,
    We've no less days to sing God's praise,
    Than when we've first begun."


    Sung all over the world by all schools of Christians. Written by Calvinist, John Newton.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 1:16:00 AM  

  • Goodnight,
    Thanks for your stand for the truth where it is being distorted and slandered.

    By Blogger jazzycat, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 5:02:00 AM  

  • Antonio,
    I see what you are getting at, but we know that the Calvinists' we know would never start a gospel presentation that way because most of them are assured about their salvation.

    It is unforatunate teaching, buy thankfully for them, I don't think they really take it to heart for themselves.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 6:44:00 AM  

  • Antonio,

    Not only do Cals teach a false faith, but, worse yet, they teach a a GOD-GIVEN false faith. In the Calamite religion God Himself dupes sinners into thinking they're among the elect. And of course, given the Calamite schema (that is, that absolute sovereignty equals total causation), this is exactly how it must be if God is to remain sovereign. After all, if sinners could dupe themselves, then God isn't sovereign over all things, right?

    But this is precisely the nonsense one comes to when system trumps Scripture, and creeds and confessions supplant Christianity. Turning God into a rampaging Sovereign Who stomps through His creation saving some and damning others, enlightening some and duping others for the express purpose (now get this) of GLORIFYING HIS MERCY AND JUSTICE is a spiritual confusion so chilling that only Abaddon himself could teach it.

    Carry on in free grace.

    P.S. And thanks for reminding us how nutty things are in the world of "sovereign grace."

    By Blogger tjp, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 7:33:00 AM  

  • Rose,

    As much as I commend your spirit in writing on this one and (I think) your recognition of the shallowness of Antonio's article here, yet it is not true that Calvinists who have assurance do not take their Calvinism to heart. What is there in Calvinism, and especially its recognition of the gospel promises for the whosoever that would lead us to doubt what God says is true?

    Antonio: Some of your articles carry more depth that others, even if we disagree with your conclusions. This particular article has more of the whiff of the propagandaist about it than the serious discussionist.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 7:46:00 AM  

  • Colin, John Newton did write that line, but he certainly did have doubts about his final salvation at times.

    In fact his doubtful attitude was praised in a recent issue of 'Reformation' magazine, which also praised William Wilberforce's deathbed uncertainty as to his final destination.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 9:10:00 AM  

  • Sorry, that was 'The Reformer' magazine.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 9:11:00 AM  

  • Hi Matthew,

    Why should any doubts that he might have be attributed to his Calvinism? Leading me to ask again: What is there in Calvinism, and especially its recognition of the gospel promises for the whosoever that would lead us to doubt what God says is true?

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 9:28:00 AM  

  • Antonio - "It is common knowledge that the Calvinist cannot know certainly whether or not he is truly saved."

    Why? Why do you say things like this? You know it isn't true. Why the distortion? You have been corrected time and again for these types of claims. Could this be the reason why Waymeyer, Turk, Bridges and the like, never show up here anymore? Colin and Wayne are very patient here. All I can do is shake my head. I'm so sorry you don't acknowledge any of the time many of the Calvinists have invested in interacting with you. You just brush them all off, as if they've said nothing. You just continue on unphased, as if they've all waisted their time. It is one thing for you to maintain your stand; but it is another to go on without acknowledging where people have corrected you regarding their own position. I'm so very, very sorry for the above quote from you. Why?!

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 9:48:00 AM  

  • For example, if I were to use Ryrie's notes on James 2:14-26 and say that ALL Free Gracers held to that view, would you feel well represented here? I trow not. So it is when you quote SOME Calvinists and say that ALL of Calvinism is represented here.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 10:02:00 AM  

  • Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God - 1 John 5:1a. My faith in Christ is the result of being born of God. Before, in my unregenerate state, I cared not for the things of God, I cared not for His gospel. Now His life is in me through the Holy Spirit. I am now a habitation of God through the Spirit. When a regenerate person examines themself they will see signs of eternal life. God is the One Who supplies the Spirit,the Communicator of that life. My sight is set purely on Christ and His finished work on the cross, not the fruit, though that WILL follow. Spurgeon and Calvin saw it that way too.

    The warrant for our faith is First John 3:23, where we are commanded to believe on the name of His Son.

    The promise is that all who do believe have eternal life, First John 5:11-12.

    Those who believe do so because they have been born of God. First John 5:1.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 10:22:00 AM  

  • To all:

    Do I even wish to take the time?

    Historical fact: Calvinism is the direct cause of the raging doubts of the Puritans

    Must I make logical syllogisms?

    It can be logically demonstrated that when you couple the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints with the doctrines of spurious and temporary faith, no practicing Calvinist can have certain assurance.

    Therefore, he must be UNCERTAIN that he has salvation. He may be disposed toward the notion that he has eternal life. He may look at his works and feel a confidence or "an" assurance. But this is far from certainty. Calvinist doctrine does not allow for certainty.

    Calvinism:

    All TRUE believers will persevere in faith and good works UNTIL DEATH
    There are some people who have a spurious and temporary faith who nevertheless persevere for an indeterminate amount of time, but will one day (could be many years) fall away.

    One cannot know that he has a true faith until death, therefore one cannot be presently certain that he has eternal life, for there cannot be any certainty that they will persevere until the end.

    Has anyone thought themselves elect and ended up not being elect?

    Has anyone displayed temporary/spurious faith, persevered in works, only later to fall away?

    Do you have special revelation that you are elect?

    Rose, ask any Calvinist professor in seminary if they are 100% certain that they are going to heaven. They will NEVER say they are certain. There Calvinism prohibits such presumption. If they are not certain, then they are UNCERTAIN.

    Therefore, if, through Calvinism, one is uncertain, then when they do evangelism, IN ESSENCE, they are the uncertain teaching the lost how they can be uncertain too.

    If you are not 100% certain, you are uncertain. This is logical.

    Colin, did you go to my blog and read Frank Turk's post and my response?

    Now to all of you Calvinists who would assume that you are 100% saved, why would you make such presumption?

    Calvinism teaches forcefully that only those who persevere until the end make it into heaven.

    Calvinism teaches that there is a spurious and temporary faith that perseveres for an indeterminate length of time.

    How is it you can infallibly declare that you do not have a spurious faith?

    Listen to R.L. Dabney:

    “There is a spurious as well as a genuine faith. Every man, when he thinks he believes, is conscious of exercising what he thinks is faith. Such is the correct statement of these facts of consciousness. Now suppose the faith, of which the man is conscious, turns out a spurious faith, must not his be a spurious consciousness? And he, being without the illumination of the Spirit, will be in the dark as to its hollowness.”

    Your consciousness may be fooling you into believing that you have a true faith. Your faith could end up 'shipwreck'.

    "I know that to attribute faith to the reprobate seems hard to some, when Paul declares it (faith) to be the result of election. This difficulty is easily solved. For...experience shows that the reprobate are sometimes affected by almost the same feeling as the elect, so that even in their own judgement they do not in any way differ from the elect" (Institutes III.ii.11).

    "There is nothing to prevent His giving some a slight knowledge of his gospel, and imbuing others thoroughly... the light which glimmers in the reprobate is afterward quenched..." (Institutes III, ii, 11-12).

    (Calvin seems to credit God with working an almost fiendish deception upon the reprobate, "enlightening some with a present sense of grace, which afterwards proves evanescent." (Institutes, III:ii, 11))

    Go read my post and Frank Turk. He states quite clearly in the comments section of his post that the Calvinist cannot be 100% certain that they are saved.

    If a person who has exercised 'faith' does not in any way percieve that they are different than the elect, if a reprobate can persevere for an indeterminate time, if only those who persevere until death are saved, if one who exercised spurious faith has been deceived by his conscious, if it is impossible to know that you are elect because you cannot know certainly that Christ died for you:

    then there can be no certainty that you will end up in heaven.

    Such is the case with Calvinism.

    They cannot be certain they will end up in heaven. TOO MANY VARIABLES. There is too much to consider. Too many people started off good only to fail to persevere.

    Even John Piper himself fears hell because he understands Calvinist doctrine. He knows that no one can say whether or not they are of the elect. He knows that no one can say whether or not Christ died for them. He knows that he may sometime later fall way, showing that he did not have true saving faith to begin with.

    If this is the case with Calvinism, as is frankly attested to by Calvinist authors and professors (i.e. that certain assurance is impossible because of issues related to spurious faith and perseverance), then no Calvinist, who practices his creeds, can have certain assurance. If not certain then uncertain.

    If uncertain, then when preaching, it is the uncertain teaching the lost how to be uncertain too.

    By Blogger Antonio, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 10:23:00 AM  

  • bobby grow has just done a post at his sight high-lighting the difference between Calvin and Beza, Calvin holding to looking solely at Christ and His finished work. Spurgeon stood there too, and so do I.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 10:27:00 AM  

  • Mark,

    Has there been anyone who believed that Jesus was the Christ but had a temporary or spurious faith?

    Did they not believe that they believed that Jesus was the Christ?

    Spurious faith IS NOT A MERE SAID FAITH. People with spurious faith THINK that they believe! They think they are of the elect!

    Furthermore,

    Don't all Calvinists believe in the Perseverance of the Saints? Don't all Calvinists believe in a doctrine of spurious and temporary faith? When these two doctrines are coupled together, one cannot know if they are elect, they cannot be 100% certain that they are saved. Why? Because they could have a temporary, spurious faith!

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 10:32:00 AM  

  • Mark,

    "The promise is that all who do believe have eternal life, First John 5:11-12."

    (You are sounding like an FGer)

    How do you KNOW that you believe? This is the problem for Calvinists. One cannot know that they beleive until they persevere.

    “'What must I do to be saved?' is an altogether different question from, 'How do I know I've done that?' You can answer the first confidently. Only the Spirit may answer the last with certainty.” (Walter Chantry, Today's Gospel: Authentic or Synthetic? pgs 75-76)

    R.C. Sproul muses in an article he wrote on assurance, “Suppose I am mistaken about my salvation and am really going to hell? How can I know that I am a real Christian?” He relates, “I began to take stock of my life, and I looked at my performance. My sins came pouring into my mind, and the more I looked at myself, the worse I felt.” After falling on his knees, praying, and searching the scriptures for some assurance, he finally concluded “that being uncomfortable with Jesus was better than any other option!” (R. C. Sproul TableTalk (Nov 6, 1989): p. 20).

    “You may be a spiritual defector who hasn’t defected yet." (John MacArthur on His radio program, transcribed by a friend).

    “The only evidence of election is effectual calling, that is, the production of holiness. And the only evidence of the genuineness of this call and the certainty of our perseverance, is a patient continuance in well doing” (Charles Hodge, St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans, 212).

    By Blogger Antonio, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 10:43:00 AM  

  • Antonio, I hold to the perseverence of the saints and can say with every ounce of my being that I am absolutely sure I have ETERNAL life. There is NO question in my head I am saved BECAUSE Christ and His finished work is my focus.

    I am sure that if we examined a person with "spurious" faith we would see that they never were assured of the salvation that is in Christ in the first place. Perhaps such persons came upon us for to introduce false doctrine, being servants of the devil. Even your system would not let a person walk away from a gospel encounter without full assurance of the promises of Christ to give eternal life to all those who believe Him for it.

    So, from your own system a person can say they believe, but actually not do so. They go away looking the part, but never having been assured.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 10:45:00 AM  

  • Antonio, sorry to disappoint you brother, But I have absolute assurance. Christ is my righteousness. If I end up in the Lake of Fire (loosely quoting Spurgeon here), then I will be the only human in history to have fled to Christ for salvation, only to end up there.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 10:57:00 AM  

  • Christ and His finished work is my only gaze, period.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 10:59:00 AM  

  • Mark,

    I sincerely am glad that you can say this:

    "I... can say with every ounce of my being that I am absolutely sure I have ETERNAL life. There is NO question in my head I am saved BECAUSE Christ and His finished work is my focus"

    Because this is not Calvinism. You hold this conviction IN SPITE of Calvinism. Calvinist doctrine will not allow someone to make this certain assertion.

    If you are looking only to Christ for your assurance, I applaud you. You must now quit pointing people to their works for assurance and point them only to Christ. But then, you would have to leave Calvinism, for works are an essential and INDISPENSABLE variable in assurance.

    Time to get rid of the Calvinism that does not allow anyone to have certain assurance.

    By Blogger Antonio, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 11:25:00 AM  

  • Sorry Antonio, I preach Christ and Him crucified, period. I do not even come close to recognizing the Calvinism that you describe, nor would Spurgeon. Check his sermons. Have you ever done that? Have you ever checked Whitefield?

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 11:40:00 AM  

  • Antonio, Calvinism is no monolith. To encounter and interact with one is not to with all. Calvinism, for the most part, is held by individuals who arrived at it without textbooks. I can not be held, for example, accountable for what Piper says, nor he I.

    I am personally unscathed by this post. Spurgeon too.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 12:41:00 PM  

  • Are there external assurances of salvation? Yup. Chastening comes to mind. Also, the instinct of a person to cry out "abba Father" is another.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 12:44:00 PM  

  • But, again, the focus is to be Christ and His finished work on the cross. "It is finished."

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 12:47:00 PM  

  • As some have suggested, often times Christian speakers and theologians are not consistent. Spurgeon has been one noted for his inconsistent Calvinistic views. Calvin himself was an inconsistent Calvinist in many areas.

    Often when people are inconsistent, they will say something sometimes and say different things other times that are inconsistent with each other. I have read Spurgeon's sermon on "The Blessing of Full Assurance". Some of the things he says there is quite good! Yet, although in a sense he states that one may have full assurance, the way he states that one may have it cannot produce it. Although he states that one must look to Christ and His promises (which I advocate is completely sufficient and the ONLY way that one can have certain assurance), he states also in this sermon that one must introspect to see if one follows the commandments, has love for God, and other subjective, personal variables. Inasmuch as one looks to his works for assurance (which is one of three BENCHMARK considerations in Reformed assurance) he can not have certain assurance.

    Calvin states forcefully: "when the Christian looks at himself he can only have grounds for anxiety, indeed despair" (Comm. 1 Cor 1:9).

    So Mark, although you may not look to your works for assurance, present Reformed theology, in toto, bases assurance on introspection of works.

    So if you are looking only to Christ for eternal life, and have disregarded all of Reformed doctrine on assurance, you are a Free Gracer in this respect! For only Free Grace theology teaches that one gains certain assurance from looking to Christ in His promise alone. All others base assurance to a significant degree on works, and if on works and self, there can be no certainty of salvation.

    Welcome to the FG!

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 12:55:00 PM  

  • Antonio,

    Are we to presume that you are teaching that looking solely to Christ produces no fruit in this life?

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 1:14:00 PM  

  • Here are some statements of Spurgeon which I found interesting.

    "I very often find myself in a doubting frame of mind; and it seems to be a question whether I have any love to Christ or not. [This] is a hymn i am forced to sing, :

    'Tis a point I long to know
    Oft it causes anxious thought!
    Do I love the Lord?
    Am I his or am I not?"


    "It seems as if doubt were doomed to be the perpetual companion of faith. As dust attends the chariot wheels, so doubts naturally becloud faith."


    "He that fears the most, believes the most... They have the greatest fear of hell, and the greatest fear of themselves, and the greatest dread they are not right..."


    "Oh, what a great faith they must have... when they can but whisper to themselves, 'I think that he is mine'!"


    "People who do not doubt are just the people that ought to doubt. For he who never doubts about his state perhaps may do so when it is too late."


    "Oh, be of good cheer; fear will never kill anybody. 'Doubts and fears,' said an old preacher, once, 'are like the toothache. Nothing more painful, but never fatal.' They will often grieve us, but they will never kill us; they distress us much, but they will never burn the soul."

    By Blogger Antonio, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 1:16:00 PM  

  • Colin,

    I would say that the Calvinist position sees that a non-elect person, nevertheless exercising spurious/temporary faith, produces fruit. It is just that this fruit doesn't endure. How long it will persevere is anyone's guess. But so long as someone can look to Christ in 'faith', produce fruit, yet be unelect and merely exercising spurious faith, assurance can never be certain.

    And Colin, I took you for more substantive than that! Sure, the name of the post and the quotation in the post was tongue in cheek. Yet, the substance is serious, as well as the quotes from Kenneth Gentry, John Murray, Charles Hodge, John MacArthur, R.C. Sproul, Walter Chantry, and your personal favorite R.L. Dabney. Each one of these men state forcefully that it is a presumption to state that you are 100% certain that you are saved. If you are not certain, then you are uncertain. And, in that case then, we would have the uncertain teaching the lost how to be uncertain as well.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 1:29:00 PM  

  • Evangelism Explosion was started by a Calvinist, D. James Kennedy of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church (PCA). The very first thing mentioned in this gospel witnessing ministry is to ask people if they know for sure they have eternal life and then to tell them they can know for sure by quoting 1 John 5:13. From that starting point the gospel is presented. It is a message that gives a person knowledge about grace, man, god, Christ, and faith. Faith being the key that secures eternal life.

    Your assertions against Calvinism is quite simply hogwash. You pretend to be outraged that someone may not have assurance, yet affirm that a person believing in the false god Allah and rejecting the true triune God can be saved.

    You must believe that God is impotent and powerless and that the indwelling Holy Spirit would allow a true regenerate person to believe in a false god. I suggest you begin a study program on the power and majesty of a God that can and does change the redeemed from the inside out.

    By Blogger jazzycat, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 1:36:00 PM  

  • Antonio,

    I once had a Dutch Reformed neighbor tell me he felt assured of his salvation but that he would never presume he was elect.

    Go figure.

    The bottom line is there is no assurance in any system that sports a false faith, secret election and reprobation, perseverance, and Lordship salvation. Calamites who claim a full and robust assurance are simply living above their theology.

    Interestingly, when the above errors were preached in England, they nearly destroyed the entire spiritual fabric of the country. The American Puritans faired no better and also suffered from the same debilitating "doctrines," doctrines that lie at the very heart of Calvinism.

    Carry on in free grace.

    By Blogger tjp, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 2:56:00 PM  

  • Antonio,if you were to check Spurgeon's Autobiography you will note that he acknowledged seasons of doubt, only to conclude that looking to Christ alone was his sole source of security. He did some introspection, but not nearly so much as some.

    It is not true that he claimed to be an "inconsistant Calvinist". That is untrue.

    DJP, keep on your merry way of misrepresenting Calvinism. I don't see any sign that you know what you are talking about, not here or on your blog. It must be fun though, so party on.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 3:36:00 PM  

  • Wayne,

    I have read evangelism explosion. I think that what you quoted is a good introduction, and could excite interest in dialogue.

    I don't know how consistent of a Calvinist D. James Kennedy could be to say such a thing. There obviously is some compartmentalization, some equivocation, and inconsistency in what he presents.

    For instance, he says you can know for certain but then he says stuff like:

    "Only the person who truly repented(forsaken, turned away) from his sins and placed his faith in Jesus Christ's sacrificial death genuinely has received eternal life."

    "The person who has committed his life to Jesus Christ and thereby received the gift of eternal life ..."

    (Both quotations are from Evangelism Explosion tracts).

    How can a person know if they have "truly repented" enough, or if they have "committed [their] life to Jesus" enough? Any time that salvation is stipulated by demands upon the sinner like "committing" and "repenting", there brings along with it the human, fallible element: did I make good on my part sufficiently?

    Providing that ANY AMOUNT of the basis for assurance lies in the individual, certain assurance is impossible.

    In asmuch as you claim that you can have certain assurance, to that same extent, you must give up all Reformed theology's subjective criteria for assurance. Therefore, you must forsake the catechisms and creeds which state that assurance is grounded in 3 things, 2 of which are subjective: introspection of works and perseverance in faithfulness and the subjective feeling of testimony by the Holy Spirit.

    Looking to Christ is enough!

    But even if you were to stipulate that looking to Christ is enough, you still couldn't have certain assurance being a Calvinist. Why?

    As long as you believe in a spurious/temporary faith, there is a possibility that, although at this PRESENT MOMENT, you have your hopes set on Christ, at a later time you could fall away, being one of the unelect, Christ not having died for you, and you having been duped into believing you were elect the whole time.

    TJP,

    you write:
    ----------
    Calamites who claim a full and robust assurance are simply living above their theology.
    ----------

    Not only are they living above their theology, they show their disingenuousness by holding others to a standard that they do not apply to themselves.

    In other words, they question everyone else's salvation based upon their subjective factors, but do not subject themselves to the same analysis. It is a double standard.

    They claim an assurance, but hold that many other people have reason to doubt that they are saved. This is the height of self-righteousness! The Lord demands holiness, but they see what little fruit that have and are assured that they are elect. Even the reprobates, the unelect, who have only a temporary/spurious faith do the same thing and show the same fruit.

    Fruit inspection can never net certainty of salvation. If it is used, certainty is impossible. The reprobate show fruit, and many in greater quantities than those who we may deem saved.

    Why would a Calvinist presume upon God's secret decrees and consider themselves certainly elect? Such could only be ascertained CERTAINLY by a special revelation of God Himself.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 3:44:00 PM  

  • Um, Antonio, I've recently, on my 2nd blog, confessed to a recent sin. I emailed that blog-post to all of my Calvinist friends in order to be open and up front with them. They all, to a person, prayed for me and were very affirming of their friendship. They offered consolation and comfort. This is a far cry from what you and DJP describe here. Hmmm.

    Now, when misrepresenting Calvinism, we mustn't let the facts and truth get in the way, eh?

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 3:49:00 PM  

  • Mark, looking to Christ was not his sole source of assurance.

    The following quotes are from Spurgeon's sermon where he lists the grounds of assurance:

    "Do you love God? Do you love his Only-begotten Son?"

    Assurance must come by looking if I love Jesus, rather than looking to Christ alone, in Spurgeon's doctrine. I have to look to see if I have done something rather than looking COMPLETELY and ONLY to Jesus.

    "Do you love Jesus? Do you feel a delight in him? Is his name as music to your ear, and honey to your mouth? Do you love to hear him extolled?"

    Can't Mormons, JWs, and Catholics get assurance this way as well? I know many Catholics who sincerely love Jesus and work for Him.

    "do you love his children?... That may appear to be a very small evidence; but I can assure you it has often been a great comfort to my soul."

    Do you pass this test, firstly? I don't often feel love at all from my Calvinist brothers. Maybe 1) they deem me not a brother or, 2) they deceive themselves into believing they have love for the brethren.

    Do you perfectly love the brethren? Can you suppose that there are people who are spurious saints who right now love the brethren more than you, and sacrifice themselves more than you for them?

    "Is the tenor of your life obedience or disobedience?"

    This is as subjective as they come! How can any incomplete and feeble obedience be looked upon for my assurance? No certainty of salvation can come from testing one's obedience.

    Look at Calvin's statement on the matter:

    "[if works be] judged of themselves, by their imperfection they will no less declare God's wrath than by their incomplete purity they testify to his benevolence." (Inst. III.xiv.19)

    "obedience must be cheerful and willing."

    Not only must I ascertain if i am sufficiently obeying God's commands, I must furthemore investigate if such fidelity does not betray insufficient motives and affections.

    Subjective criterion is heaped one upon the other! It seems to me that one can postulate full assurance, but make it impossible to acheive by its dying the death of a thousand qualifications.

    "If you enjoy the pleasures of the world, you are of the world, and with the world you will be condemned."

    This is not looking completely to Christ. This is looking at one's mental makeup and outward actions. How well must one abstain from the "pleasures of the world" before he can become CERTAINLY and INFALLIBLY assured of final entrance into heaven? I reckon the only objective position would be to consider complete 100% abstainance as the only grounds for certain assurance under this kind of condition.

    "Do you feel that you love the ways of God, that you desire holiness, and follow after it joyfully? Then, dear friends, you have eternal life, and these are the sure evidences of it."

    Now our assurance is based upon feelings, desires, actions, and their motives!

    Do you always feel actuated by love of the ways of God?

    Are you always motivated by a desire of holiness?

    Are you always happy to buffet the body to abstain from sin?

    Can't it be truthfully stated that the spurious saint can be actuated by all the above things? Wouldn't then his assurance be false?

    Spurgeon most definitely does not ground assurance on looking to Christ alone. A significant portion of his doctrine of assurance is the same as all of Reformed theology: the subjective introspection of feelings, attitudes, and outward commitments of works and perseverance.

    Let me ask you this, Mark. If looking to Christ alone is sufficient for CERTAIN assurance of eternal life, why do all the Reformed people advocate introspection and fruit inspection for assurance? Don't they know that these experiments cannot deliver certainty? Don't they know that they can wreck the complete and certain assurance that comes from looking to Christ alone in His promise?

    Why the need for the subjective criteria?

    The Reformed giants would answer:

    because one cannot know certainly that one is elect unless they submit to experimentalization.

    Since it cannot be known if Christ died for you personally, that you are one of the elect, one must look at the supposed fruits of salvation to deem if they are found in sufficient quantity to justify a measure of assurance.

    But even then, one cannot be certain until death, for until that time, he could be found out to be reprobate, having not been chosen of God, having been passed over with hell as his destiny.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 4:40:00 PM  

  • Mark, not standards of holiness, but standards by which assurance is gained.

    I wrote in qualification:

    "they question everyone else's salvation based upon their subjective factors, but do not subject themselves to the same analysis."

    You say you are saved by looking to Christ alone (when not one Calvinist writer advocates such a thing, except Calvin himself), but Calvinists impose standards of assurance on others based upon their works, faithfulness, commitment, attitudes, etc. Much like Spurgeon has done in the multitude of quotes I have provided in this comment thread.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 4:46:00 PM  

  • Antonio, one must consider all of Spurgeon's theology. He was taken up by looking to Christ alone. Please see his Autobiography here. Yes, his theology, unlike yours, included seeing results of regeneration. Outside Free Grace-ism regeneration will inevitably, yet not automatically, bring about a changed life. A changed life, characterized by love for Christ and His word and His people- Undeniably the message of the entire New Testament. Yet, unlike you, I have read his life's story, several times over.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 4:51:00 PM  

  • Your standards for judging the contents of Spurgeon's message are based on John being the only book stated to be solely for evangelism. Also, you ignore John 8:51. Your system is built on faulty handling of the word. The faith you define falls far short of Hebrews 11. Your dichtomiing of faith and repentance is of human origins, and certainly not scriptural. Your arguments are air-tight just as a JW's is because you have your own system, just as he does, complete with his own translation. Your system is a safe-haven for you, from which you judge all others.

    However, safe as you feel in your system take note the no Calvinist has been one over by you to your side of the debate. Why? Because your hermeneutic is foreign to everybody else.

    Mark

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 5:03:00 PM  

  • Check this sermon out...



    http://mdpmusings.blogspot.com/2006/03/faith-very-simple-spurgeon.html

    Happy reading!

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 5:25:00 PM  

  • Mark,

    Your apparent subterfuge in accusing me of "faulty handling of the word" in order to divert attention from the fact that you have failed to make your point and answer my questions and assertions is a nice debater’s ploy.

    You say that I should read his autobiography. No time. I DID read his treatise on "The Blessing of Full Assurance", which is a sermon he crafted precisely for the purpose of assurance. In it, he has the multitude of quotes which I have provided, that show unambiguously that he did not advocate a sole look to Christ for assurance of eternal life, but to many subjective criterion that cannot produce certain assurance.

    So I say again:

    Spurgeon most definitely does not ground assurance on looking to Christ alone. A significant portion of his doctrine of assurance is the same as all of Reformed theology: the subjective introspection of feelings, attitudes, and outward commitments of works and perseverance.

    Let me ask you this, Mark. If looking to Christ alone is sufficient for CERTAIN assurance of eternal life, why do all the Reformed people advocate introspection and fruit inspection for assurance? Don't they know that these experiments cannot deliver certainty? Don't they know that they can wreck the complete and certain assurance that comes from looking to Christ alone in His promise?

    Why the need for the subjective criteria if looking to Jesus is sufficient for certain assurance?

    By Blogger Antonio, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 5:31:00 PM  

  • Check MacArthur's TGAJ, and TGATA for starters. Throughout both books MacArthur affirms justification through faith in Christ alone, not faith plus works as you would deceptively proclaim he does. You are not honest in dealing with MacArthur or Spurgeon.

    What the Bible DOES teach though is that faith brings one into union with the Father Who then begins to conform that one to His Son, through the work of God the Holy Spirit. The results are inevitable on this side of the grave as well as the other. See 2 Cor.3:18; Galatians 4:19; Ephesians 4:11-16.

    Regeneration: it is effective. It is by the washing of regeneration that we are saved. Regeneration will affect changes in the heart. To deny this is faulty handling of the word, sir; and you are guilty.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 5:46:00 PM  

  • His Kingdom is now and not yet, proclaim Blaising and Bock in "Progressive Dispensationalism". They are dispy's. At salvation The Father convey's us into His Son's kingdom, Col.1:13, which means we are now in His Kingdom, in the New Covenant realm of the Holy Spirit. Christ reigns as King now over His subjects. Paul, the "apostle to the Gentiles", Rom.11:13, is the minister of the New Covenant. Your view does not seem to take this much into consideration.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 5:54:00 PM  

  • Here, from Thomas Brooks...


    :But a true Christian receives Christ in all His offices. He accepts Him, not only as a saving Jesus--but also as a Lord Jesus. He embraces Him, not only as a saving Christ--but also as a ruling Christ. He received Christ as a king upon His throne, as well as an atoning sacrifice upon His cross.A hypocrite is all for a saving Christ, for a sin-pardoning Christ, for a soul-saving Christ--but has no regard for a ruling Christ, a reigning Christ, a commanding Christ, a sanctifying Christ; and this at last will prove his damning sin."

    That is orthodox Christianity

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 5:58:00 PM  

  • It is your refusal to accept the fact that the kingdom is both now and not yet that gets in the way here. It is your refusal to accept that Christ now reigns over His Kingdom through the agency of the Holy Spirit. We are saved to be a kingdom and priests to our God, NOW!

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 6:13:00 PM  

  • I wil provide here the entire sermon you alluded to earlier so your readers can see Spurgeon themselves...



    http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/2023.htm

    Now let your readers decide if you have handled Spurgeon honestly.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 6:32:00 PM  

  • Here, sir, is an excerpt from that sermon you pointed to and quoted from earlier...


    "He begins thus: "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God." Do you believe that Jesus is the anointed of God? Is he so to you? Is he anointed as your prophet, priest, and king? Have you realized his anointing so as to put your trust in him? Do you receive Jesus as appointed of God to be the Mediator, the Propitiation for sin, the Saviour of men? If so, you are born of God. "How may I know this?" Brethern, our evidence is the witness of God himself as here recorded. We need no other witness. Suppose an angel were to tell you that you are born of God, would that be a more sure testimony than the infallible Scripture? If you believe that Jesus is the Christ, you are born of God. John has thus positively declared the truth, that you may know that you have eternal life. Can anything be more clear than this?"

    Hmmm.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 6:41:00 PM  

  • Some probing questions for those who hold that John's purpose statement for First John is 1:3 as opposed to 5:13 AS THE REST OF CHRISTIANITY believes - From the same sermon...


    "Has the Spirit of God quickened you, changed you, illuminated you, sanctified you? Does the Spirit of God dwell in you? Do you feel his sacred impulses? Is he the essence of the new life within you? Do you know him as clothing you with his light and power?"

    Hmmm.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 6:56:00 PM  

  • In conclussion: Spurgeon and MacArthur believe one is justified the moment he/she looks to Christ as their only hope of salvation. That person then enters into union with the Father and now knows both Him and the Son, John 17:3. The sanctification process, begun when the Holy Spirit separated us from the world and unto Christ, 2 Thess.2:13; 1 pter 1:2,goes on to bring us into conformity to Christ.

    Good night.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 7:02:00 PM  

  • Mark, Spurgeon starts off good!

    I liked it so much that i actually wrote Bob Wilkin with that same exact quotation.

    Here is our correspondence:

    Dear Bob,

    This is a quote on assurance from C.H. Spurgeon on assurance:

    He begins thus: "Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God." Do you believe that Jesus is the anointed of God? Is he so to you? Is he anointed as your prophet, priest, and king? Have you realized his anointing so as to put your trust in him? Do you receive Jesus as appointed of God to be the Mediator, the Propitiation for sin, the Saviour of men? If so, you are born of God. "How may I know this?" Brethern, our evidence is the witness of God himself as here recorded. We need no other witness. Suppose an angel were to tell you that you are born of God, would that be a more sure testimony than the infallible Scripture? If you believe that Jesus is the Christ, you are born of God. John has thus positively declared the truth, that you may know that you have eternal life. Can anything be more clear than this? (Spurgeon, A Sermon (2023) delivered on Lord's-day Morning, May 13th, 1888, by C. H. SPURGEON, At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington)

    This sounds very close to assurance as the essence of saving faith, doesn't it?

    I didn't read the full article, I was just doing some research for my blog and found it:

    http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/2023.htm

    The article is entitled: "The Blessing of Full Assurance"

    xaris soi kai eirene,

    Antonio da Rosa

    To which he wrote:

    HI Antonio,

    Yes, that is a super quote from Spurgeon and it surely denies assurance by works. Thanks for pointing it out.

    Bob



    BUT THEN I READ THE REST OF THE SERMON, and I wrote him back:

    Bob,

    That seems to be the only paragraph that you could take it that way, the rest seems to take the subjective 'tests' of 1 John view...

    Sorry to alert you. But still you may find it interesting, for it is Spurgeons take on assurance.

    Antonio


    to which he wrote:


    Oops, okay. Thanks.

    Bob


    So Mark, you still don't answer my questions.

    Please stay on topic! Posting like 5 things in a row would not be kosher nor countenanced on most blogs, like Pyro. Don't do it. There are tons of substantial material that I have included that you have simply glossed over and you have padded this comment thread with superfluous material.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 7:10:00 PM  

  • Antonio,
    Your beef is not with Kennedy, Sproul, etc. It ultimately is with the New Testament writers including John who said: 1 John 5:13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.

    Here are some of these things he wrote in 1 John to give assurance that you seem to have a problem with when a Calvinist says them:

    Apostle John on assurance
    If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
    And by this we know that we have come to know him, if we keep his commandments. Whoever says "I know him" but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him,

    Whoever says he is in the light and hates his brother is still in darkness.

    Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness. You know that he appeared to take away sins, and in him there is no sin. No one who abides in him keeps on sinning; no one who keeps on sinning has either seen him or known him.

    No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God’s seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God. By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother.

    Everyone who hates his brother is a murderer, and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

    By this we know that we abide in him and he in us, because he has given us of his Spirit. And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world. Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.


    You should take your denial of Christian sanctification up with John, Peter, Paul, etc. instead of Spurgeon, Kennedy, Piper, Sproul, etc.

    By Blogger jazzycat, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 7:17:00 PM  

  • Wayne,

    The mere rapid-fire prooftexting of verses taken out of context may be enough to keep the simple rank-and-file Calvinists in line, but will not persuade the critical mind.

    I believe every verse you have proof-texted (even though the translation you used takes significant liberties with the text, I have translated and diagrammed the whole book of 1 John in the Greek), yet I do so in the way that John intended for his material to be interpreted: he was discussing intimate fellowship with God, not simple soteric relationship.

    Furthermore, excuse my expression, but:

    the 'cat' is out of the bag.

    Calvinists look inwardly to feelings and affections and outwardly to works and perseverance as substantial grounds for assurance.

    Looking to Christ alone is not sufficient, as was first stated by Mark, where he said his assurance was gained by "looking solely at Christ and His finished work" One must look to oneself if they are to realize if they are saved or not in Traditionalism.

    So please, you guys, stop misrepresenting your own religion. Calvinism, in toto, requires assurance to be grounded significantly on considerations of self.

    And in this case, certainty will be impossible. So it really is the uncertain teaching the lost to be uncertain too.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 7:31:00 PM  

  • I have discussed the possibility of assurance of eternal life at length with many different Traditionalists. They all seem to say that assurance of salvation is possible in this life, and they will often quote The Westminster Confession of Faith article XVIII.II.

    Therefore we have:

    Proposition A: It is possible for a man to have assurance before the end of life that he will go to heaven when he dies.

    Yet, when we consider the Perseverance of the Saints, with its corollaries "temporary faith" and/or "spurious faith," another, strikingly contradictory conclusion is made.

    John Murray states, "The perseverance of the saints reminds us forcefully that only those who persevere to the end are truly saints."

    Charles Hodge, a Calvinist theologian says:
    ----------
    The only evidence of election is effectual calling, that is, the production of holiness. And the only evidence of the genuineness of this call and the certainty of our perseverance, is a patient continuance in well doing.
    ----------
    (Charles Hodge, St. Paul's Epistle to the Romans, (reprint, 1950; Eerdmans) p 212)

    In other words, the only real evidence of election is perseverance, and our only assurance of the certainty of persevering is -- to persevere (until the end!)!

    John MacArthur has said on his radio program, "You may be a spritual defector who hasn't defected yet."

    Not everyone who believes now will continue to believe in the future, says the doctrine of temporary, "spurious" faith. Only those whose faith and works perseveres until the end will make it to heaven.

    Thus we are faced with the following syllogism which leads to proposition B:

    Major premise: I am saved now if I persevere in faith and works to the end of life
    Minor premise: It is possible that I will not persevere to the end of life
    Conclusion: I may not be saved now.

    This inevitably leads to:

    Proposition B: It is not possible for man to have assurance before the end of life that he will go to heaven when he dies.

    Since A cannot equal non-A, since both proposition A and proposition B cannot be true at the same time, the Calvinist system flatly contradicts itself.

    It is disturbing how Traditionalists are able to continue to believe these contradictory things. One is reminded of the Red Queen in the story of Alice in Wonderland. When Alice protested that there is no use trying to believe impossible things, the Queen said:

    ----------
    I dare say you haven't had much practice.... When I was your age I did it for half an hour a day. Why sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.
    ----------
    (Lewis Carroll, Alice Through the Looking Glass (McMillian, 1880) pg 100)

    The Traditionalist and the Red Queen have much in common as they both are in the business of believeing impossible things.

    Antonio da Rosa

    By Blogger Antonio, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 7:35:00 PM  

  • >It is not true that he claimed to be an "inconsistant Calvinist". That is untrue.<

    Pointing that index finger at me with a crossbow letting me know that I am not welcome in the Calvin fan club:-)

    Did not Spurgeon say that he would rather be consistant with Scripture and not his pet doctrine when once preaching on God comanding all sinners everywhere to repent?

    Easy guy. I appreciate you and even as a truck driver that grows very frustrated with people who think the highway is some game and football field to play on and happy to forgive you, but know that we truck drivers dont get slaps on the wrist for doing what you did. We lose our jobs and our liscenses. So be grateful. One man caused a wreck for the company I used to work for by his reckless driving and even though he was at fault and our driver died we still had to pay out $500,000.000. The world is very unforgiving toward us truck drivers even when we are trying to be responsible.

    Mark you are forgiven and take delight in that, but I am learning that we all must consider the risk of our sin; yet know that we are eternally kept in his hands with His deep love toward us.

    By Anonymous bhedr, at Sunday, August 19, 2007 7:54:00 PM  

  • Colin,

    It is not just Calvinists who accept the idea of a spurious false faith, though it is of course necessitated by the doctrine of Perserverance.

    The problem for Calvinists is that if a person has a false faith, it must originate by God's will.

    Such a person might be a totally depraved reprobate who is being hardened in order to further her condemnation.

    If a person is totally depraved and blind to the truth, how could she examine herself to see whether her faith was genuine?

    By nature she would be proud and self righteous.

    She might think her faith was genuine, but if she was totally depraved, how could she comprehend what faith was in the first place?

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Monday, August 20, 2007 1:34:00 AM  

  • Hi Matthew,

    Interesting that you have raised the matter about the false faith as I have blogged on the matter, with a view to the FG debate, just a few minutes ago:

    http://goodnightsafehome.blogspot.com/2007/08/wheres-my-shovel.html

    The word of God is a light unto our path. It guides those who desire its light and does not leave them disappointed. It condemns only those who do not come to the light and reject it (John 3:19) You are creating the scenario of one who really wanted to be saved, but wasn't. That is totally alien to the word of God. Reprobation doesn't make people sinners. It leaves them in their chosen sins. We cannot indict God with the damnation of the sinner.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Monday, August 20, 2007 3:05:00 AM  

  • "The Traditionalist and the Red Queen have much in common as they both are in the business of believeing impossible things."

    Sorry to darken your blog with attempts to correct your deliberate attempts to misrepresent Calvinist thinking.

    I can only hope your readers go on to read Spurgeon's "Faith So Simple", http://mdpmusings.blogspot.com/2006/03/faith-very-simple-spurgeon.html

    and
    http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/2023.htm
    His sermon on Assurance for themselves.

    You and those who hate Calvinism will simply go on your merry way. I will no longer darken your blog. Have fun believing what you want.

    By Blogger mark pierson, at Monday, August 20, 2007 4:07:00 AM  

  • Hi Colin.
    You ask: "What is there in Calvinism, and especially its recognition of the gospel promises for the whosoever that would lead us to doubt what God says is true?"

    OK, this has been stated here in many different ways, but let me just tell you in my own words. When God's love is limited by one's theology to some secret group called "the elect," then one can never be sure that one is one of the elect. I won't spell go into detail about the reasons why one can't be sure in the reformed framework, because Matthew has been challenging you on that already. In my mind I can't see how it is possible to be sure, because of these two teachings:
    1. Limited, secret group - "the elect"
    2. Spurious faith - one can never know for sure if he has this kind of false faith ... or the real thing ... until he gets to the end of life

    On the other hand, if you see it like I do, that Christ died for all the people, then I know that the provsion has been made for me to have life. I know that I can lay hold of that by simple faith. I can also say with Paul that I know whom I have believed. I know I believe Him and He is faithful to take me all the way, no matter what I chose to do in this life, even if I get mentally ill and forget about my faith. He will glorify me because he started a work when I was born again.

    I think you really see it this way too. It does seem if you were consistenet with the reformed theology, you would have to doubt your salvation and retain suspicion over yourself, but I think (in inconsistency), you probably do not do this. :~)
    I hope that answers your question.
    I say this in a friendly spirit.

    I never ever have to wonder whether I am one of a secret limited group. Having this limit in one's theology is the problem for assurance IMHO (more importantly - I don't think it is biblical). ;~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at Monday, August 20, 2007 5:56:00 AM  

  • Mark,
    I enjoyed reading your exchange with Antonio. I remember that message by Spurgeon about faith very simple. That was an awesome message! I loved it.
    I like it when you "darken this blog." I hope you won't abandon the dialogue forever. I do appreciate so much your current post on the BC blog about positions. God bless.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Monday, August 20, 2007 6:03:00 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    You are as gracious as ever and that is appreciated. First of all, in line with many (probably most) Calvinists, I do not limit the love of God only to the elect. I hold that He loves all men without exception, although He loves His elect with a deeper (and ultimately) saving love i.e. a love that effects their salvation, bringing them to actual faith in His Son etc., I think you too believe that He loves His elect people with a deeper love, because He loves them with am everlasting love and I don't think you believe that He still loves the souls in Hell who feel the manifestation of His anger and rage against them. Certainly (if you do) you could never at this stage say that He loves them just exactly as He loves His own reconciled people. At least I hope not.

    Secondly, my Calvinism teaches me of the universal offer of the gospel (hence the question above) that relays to me the bona fide offer of God to all sinners without exception. It is there that I must look for my answers and it is there in texts like John 3:16 and many others that I read that any soul that sincerely casts itself upon the mercy of God is saved. My guiding star is not the decree of God, much of which lies buried out of my sight, but the clear commands and promises of a God who is rich in mercy and who has no delight in the death of the wicked. My Calvinism teaches me (as indeed the gospel does) that if I cast myself upon the mercy of God like the publican in Luke 18, then I am justified and we know that such justification is eternal. Therefore I can never be lost. I will certainly persevere unto the end, not in order to be saved, but because I am saved and safe in the hand of the Lord Jesus Christ.

    Re: spurious faith See: http://goodnightsafehome.blogspot.com/2007/08/wheres-my-shovel.html which I write in good old plain English and the problem of the FG position. I think we should bear in mind that God's will for His people is that they should be saved and know it and not be plagued by doubts. It is also His will that their assurance should be based on a Bible based reality, rather than a false notion that if they believe on the Mormon spirit brother of Satan Jesus or the Muslim Jesus (PBOH) or "a god called Jesus" of the Watchtower or the Wafer Jesus of Rome and are living like the Devil without any change of life whatsoever, that they are Heaven bound. I take this theme up in the posting referred to.

    You rightly declare that God started a work in your life when you were born again. If you see someone claiming to be born again, but with the building site empty, do you not at least draw some kind of question mark over their claim? Re: old Christians getting mental illness etc., I don't think you are going to find a Calvinist claiming that such folk are outside the pale. See you around!

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Monday, August 20, 2007 6:32:00 AM  

  • Colin,
    what's (PBOH)?

    You know wht I meant by limiting God's love, goodnight - I meant limiting the work of Christ to the "elect." You ran off on a rabbit trail, ole chap.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Monday, August 20, 2007 7:02:00 AM  

  • Hi Rose, PBOH is what the Muslims write after they use the name of any of their prophets including Christ. It is short for "Peace Be On Him"
    I use it here to given emphasis to my statement that some FGers (present company excluded)believe that you can believe that the Muslim Jesus, who plays second fiddle to Muhammad, can give you everlasting life. I don't approve of using this, but I use it here for emphasis.

    While Calvinists limit the intention and application of the work of Christ to the elect, we do not limit the worth of the atonement nor the offer of the gospel to them, and therein lies the place where the sinner finds eternal rest. If I personally apply the "whosoever" of John 3:16 to my soul...do I have eternal life? We would both answer "Yes", would we not?

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Monday, August 20, 2007 7:33:00 AM  

  • Hello Rose and others! If I may I'd like to share a personal testimony that perhaps will shed a little light to this conversation. I came to know Christ as an 11 year old girl. For several years after I attempted as best I could growing up in a nonChristian home to live like a Christian girl should, reading my Bible, prayiing, going to church etc. When I reached my late teens-early 20's I had a time of falling away. I was living my life in such a way that if any of my Calvinist brothers and sisters had seen me they would have said "surely she is not a Christian because her fruit is pretty rotten." I did not lose my salvation. I repented and came back to Christ but at no time did I ever doubt my salvation expereince at age 11. It's now 30+ years later and I have no doubt of the time and place of my salvation. I know my redeemer livith. AS I understand Calvinism, many of Calvinist would have looked at my experience and said "Oh she wasn't really saved" It seems I've seen John Piper say in effect that if he ever had a time of falling away like that, that would mean to him he had never truly been saved and so thus even after "believing in your heart" you can still doubt your heart and question whether you were ever truly elect. It's only til you get to the end of your life that you might be able to look at your "fruit" and think I've been pretty fruitful so I must be elect. I understand not all Calvinist believe this, but I think it's the logical conclusion of thinking "Only the elect are saved, the elect must bear fruit, anyone who stops bearing fruit at some point was never really elect, since it's possible I could stop bearing fruit at some point and prove I'm not really elect so I really don't have an assurance of salvation, but just a hope I'll persevere to the end." My hope is not on me and what I may or may not do but on His promises and who He is and what He says He'll do.

    By Anonymous Mary, at Monday, August 20, 2007 11:47:00 AM  

  • Mary,

    As a Calvinist preacher, this is how I would have counselled you had I come across you in your backslidden state (assuming, of course, for reasons of courtesy, that you wanted counselled in the first place.) I would have believed you that you made a profession of faith when a wee girl of 11 years of age. I cannot see into your heart and so I would have little choice but to take you at face value. It is a sad fact that Christians backslide - Calvinist and otherwise - and grow cold etc., sometimes for many years. May I say that more than just the Calvinists looking on may have passed judgement upon you on whether or not you were saved in the first place. An older generation of Evangelicals of all degrees between the two schools of thought would have put a question mark over you. A question mark over you is about as far as anyone can safely go. It is not denial to query someone's profession.

    Taking you at face value that you professed faith as a little girl, but that you had backslidden, I would simply have counselled you to return again to the Lord in repentance. I would assure you that He is willing to take the backslider back into fellowship, that He is rich in mercy etc., and delights to abundantly pardon. If you were unsure as to where you stood with God (as some backsliders can be) my advice would not have been radically different. It would be of little practical use to try and read your heart about an event from many years previous. The issue would be about the here and now, rather than what happened back then. Did you want to walk with God now in fellowship and live for Him? If so, I would have counselled you to ask God to cleanse you from your sin and bring you into fellowship with Him. If there was a stubborn refusal on your part to do so, then I would have graciously warned that the Bible gives no comfort to the disobedient, but every comfort if they are willing to return to Him. Of course, there would have been a few more things said upon your return e.g. trying to see where it all went wrong and how these mistakes could be avoided in the future etc., but this would have been the gist of my approach.

    I think it is pastoral madness to tell those who are living far from God and in rebellion that they are a safe people. Certainly if they truly have been justified, then they are so for eternity, but they have a responsibility and it is expected of God's people that they seek to walk with God. There is such a thing as an empty profession. Living in open sin does not spring to mind that the one doing it is truly a Christian. As said earlier, there is only comfort for the penitent in God's word and no one else. Again, this is basically the position of the older Evangelicalism of both schools, not the more modern position of the FGers as largely expounded on these pages.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Monday, August 20, 2007 2:24:00 PM  

  • Mark,

    Your an emotional guy like me brother, but we have to seperate that from seeking truth and wanting to be objective and honest about it. I don't condemn you, but its the law we often turn to when our blood pressure rises. Its like that guy you pulled over. Like Marlin Brando in the Godfather you were trying to make him an offer he couldn't refuse, but because you are a child of God you were chastened for it. I have behaved out here in the blogisphere like you have on the highway in the past. Rose can vouch for that and its the law we turn to and begin to set our hopes in when we are behaving like that. It inflames our passions to this kind of reaction and disobediance rather than to seee our relief in grace and learn to be as patient with others as God is with us.

    Love you brother,

    Brian

    By Anonymous bhedr, at Monday, August 20, 2007 4:40:00 PM  

  • BTW Rose,

    I understand Bluey was firing at Antonio but I pointed out in the other thread that Spurgeon was inconsistent at times in his Calvinism so I took it personally. I don't like to be told that I am untruthful and I am sure Antonio doesn't either. Thats the thing...we keep accusing each other of lying. It is unfortunate. Everyone knows that I dont agree with all of Antonios positions but there is much here that I have often felt the Calvinist are unwilling to look at that he has researched. In fact I think that Antonio is correct in asserting that Bluey is more of a FGer than a consistent Calvinist. Spurgeon always rested on the bottom line. The finished work of Christ and Antonio is correct when citing that other Calvinists call their assurance to introspection.

    Ok bluey. Here is my mug. Make me an offer I cant refuse, or go ahead and hit me...just make sure it hits me and not my wife:-)

    Also Mark. I understand that at times you over on the Calvinist side have indeed experienced some unfair taunts, but I still believe some of what Antonio has written should be considered objectively.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at Monday, August 20, 2007 5:49:00 PM  

  • Brian,
    That is a really nice photo. You look very happy and so does your wife.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, August 21, 2007 5:06:00 AM  

  • Mark,

    Antonio previously laid out a few quotes from Spurgeon, as you've noticed:

    Here are some statements of Spurgeon which I found interesting.

    "I very often find myself in a doubting frame of mind; and it seems to be a question whether I have any love to Christ or not. [This] is a hymn i am forced to sing, :

    'Tis a point I long to know
    Oft it causes anxious thought!
    Do I love the Lord?
    Am I his or am I not?"


    "It seems as if doubt were doomed to be the perpetual companion of faith. As dust attends the chariot wheels, so doubts naturally becloud faith."


    "He that fears the most, believes the most... They have the greatest fear of hell, and the greatest fear of themselves, and the greatest dread they are not right..."


    "Oh, what a great faith they must have... when they can but whisper to themselves, 'I think that he is mine'!"


    "People who do not doubt are just the people that ought to doubt. For he who never doubts about his state perhaps may do so when it is too late."


    "Oh, be of good cheer; fear will never kill anybody. 'Doubts and fears,' said an old preacher, once, 'are like the toothache. Nothing more painful, but never fatal.' They will often grieve us, but they will never kill us; they distress us much, but they will never burn the soul."


    ... I think these are some of the most sad statements I've ever heard. Being that I grew up in a Church of Christ (disguised as a "non-denominational" church... don't even get me started on that one), I am able to relate to these quotes.

    I find it very unusual (but I'm not one bit surprised) that I, one who once believed that I could lose my salvation, should I ever "...cross the invisible line" (as my pastor once said), would have the same thoughts, feelings, and fears as that of one who believes he/she is "eternally secure".

    Here are two very different people, taking two very different approaches to scripture, yet they somehow come to the same conclusion: uncertainty.

    From my experience in their theology (Church of Christ) my "certainty" came and went like the wind. Sadly enough (and you will probably agree), it is because my "certainty" was strictly performance based.

    I'd just like to point out that the above statements hint at the possibility (and liklihood) that Spurgeon's "certainty" was also performance based.

    You can cook fish in many different ways, but in the end it's still going to taste like fish. So even if your theology is completely contrary to another's, what matters is the end result. In this case, the end result seems to be that Spurgeon is just as uncertain as one who believes he/she can lose their salvation. It comes and it goes.

    After all, how are we to ever say that we are certain
    without being fully convinced that we are elect? And how can we be fully convinced that we are elect without taking a look at our own fruit and say, "my fruit is good" (or better yet, "I'm good enough").

    So the bottom line is that "certainty in election" requires the individual to make an evaluation of his own good deeds and then stamp it with approval. So then, certainty in election can only be received and maintained through a proud heart.

    Lastly, I just want to say that I am writing this with much love, and I appreciate your constant dialogue/discussion with Antonio. Discussions such as these push me to read and understand more, so even though it is probably frustrating, there are many who benefit from reading through these, such as myself.

    By Blogger the jerk, at Tuesday, August 21, 2007 1:37:00 PM  

  • Thanks Rose. Yeah were real happy. Its our 15th Anniversery tomorrow. I'm pretty motivated. The gracewalk feeds our love, but we have our days like everyone else; nevertheless I wouldn't trade her for the world or a million bucks. The opportunity to love my wife as Christ loved the Church is something that gives this ol boy joy. Just to think...we get to love our wives in the same way He loves us. What an opportunity and to just drink from the wine of her intimacey. Its amazing that this is the mystery of the Church. Just amazing.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at Tuesday, August 21, 2007 5:02:00 PM  

  • Beautifully said, bro. Brian! I concur completely for my precious wife!

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at Tuesday, August 21, 2007 7:18:00 PM  

  • The following is the what Calvinists, who actually know what Calvinism believes and follow it, say about assurance. Actually it is Frank Turk recently on his blog:

    for whom is this hope [the promise of salvation, ed.] given? It is given (from the broadest terms to the most narrow) to the elect, to those who confess and repent, to those who join together in His name, to those who are being transformed by the renewing of their minds, to those who are doers of the word and not only hearers, to those who finish the race. Notice that of these categories, there is only one which relies of God’s doing, and the rest are consequential of God’s doing. We trust God to save the elect, but God says that those who are His elect will be (as Paul says to Titus) “zealous for good works”.

    Because election is the secret will of God (no one is born with a tattoo on his head saying “elect” or “reprobate”), we have to rely on the marks the Scripture gives us -- the consequences of election -- to know whether we are elect.

    (emphasis his)

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Tuesday, August 21, 2007 8:29:00 PM  

  • Hey again Jeff. Awesome comment!
    I especially loved it when you said this,

    "You can cook fish in many different ways, but in the end it's still going to taste like fish. So even if your theology is completely contrary to another's, what matters is the end result. In this case, the end result seems to be that Spurgeon is just as uncertain as one who believes he/she can lose their salvation. It comes and it goes."

    Right on. Calvinism and Arminianism, while opposed to each other, lead down the same road of uncertainty.

    By Anonymous danny, at Wednesday, August 22, 2007 12:11:00 AM  

  • Antonio: Between trying to pick fights with your fellow FGers on another blog, you are contenting yourself with stating half truths about where Calvinists get their assurance from. If this is the fruit of your FGism, then you can understand why some of us are determined to avoid it like the plague.

    For my salvation (and therefore my assurance) I look entirely to Christ and what He did on my behalf. I boast nothing of myself , of my love for the brethren or my orthodox faith etc,, or any of the evidences given in 1 John. None of these make me a Christian. It is not by works of righteousness that I have done, but according (solely) to His mercy. You can talk all you want about Calvinists relying on their works, but it is not true and we both know it.

    1 John gives us five evidences of the new birth. Five fruits. One in particular states: We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. (1 John 5:14) This one was specifically written - if words have any meaning - so that we may know - have evidence - be sure - that we have passed from death unto life: We love the brethren. True, an unsaved hypocrite can profess this, but that does not negate the truth of these words. Otherwise John was wasting his ink. There is fruit that tells us what the tree is - By their fruits ye shall know them - and therefore we may tell the root from the fruit. Is my assurance then based on my performance? I sincerely hope not! My love for the brethren, as well as many of the other virtues, is so weak that such would drive me to despair if they constituted my hope for eternity. But if they are missing, it is little use me talking about believing in some Jesus for eternal life.

    Again, I profess to be a Christian and have eternal life because I believe that "whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord" shall be saved. I call - God saves and He saves eternally.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Wednesday, August 22, 2007 3:18:00 AM  

  • Thanks again Danny!

    By Blogger the jerk, at Wednesday, August 22, 2007 8:13:00 AM  

  • Danny,

    Danny: [Right on. Calvinism and Arminianism, while opposed to each other, lead down the same road of uncertainty.]

    tjp: Although I don't have the quote before me, I believe it was R.T. Kendall who said that when all is said and done, neither Westminster or Dort grants anymore assurance than the Arminian error.

    Calvinists can blather on about assurance, but their system simply can't serve it up. No way, no how. Whatever assurance they do enjoy comes apart from their theology. After all, how can they claim with confidence that the "gift of faith" they possess isn't a false faith?

    Again, who in their right mind would ever claim a system of assurance built upon a sovereign, secret election, perseverence, Lordship salvation, and a "false faith" can produce assurance? Only a desperate Calvinism, evidently.

    By Blogger tjp, at Wednesday, August 22, 2007 8:32:00 AM  

  • You got it Jeff. Terry, right on!

    By Anonymous danny, at Wednesday, August 22, 2007 3:02:00 PM  

  • Colin,

    You say:

    "For my salvation (and therefore my assurance) I look entirely to Christ and what He did on my behalf."

    How can you look entirely to Christ and what He did on your behalf if you cannot be certain that what He did was actually on your behalf? Are you presuming, certainly, that Christ died for you? Many have done the same thing only to fall away in the end: thus spurious, temporary faith.

    Nowhere does it say infallibly that Christ died for you.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Wednesday, August 22, 2007 4:39:00 PM  

  • Hello The Jerk,
    I looked up the Spurgeon quotes from your post and found two sermons from where they were taken. You mentioned that you had gotten those quotes from Antonio.
    Here was your impression about Spurgeon after reading those selected quotes.
    I invite anyone who is intersted to read the quotes in context and make your own judgments about whether the impression given by Antonio's quotes do justice to Spurgeon’s actual view.

    ------------
    Spurgeon sermon Five Fears:

    They say they can trust Christ, but they are afraid they do not trust him aright; and they always do, what you may, come back to the old condition; they are always afraid. And now, what shall I say to these good souls? Why, I will say this, “Surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him.” Not only those who believe, but those who fear, have got a promise, I would to God that they had more faith; I would that they could lay hold on the Saviour, and had more assurance, and even attain unto a perfect confidence; but if they cannot shall I utter a word that would hurt them? God forbid; “Surely it shall be with even with them that fear God, with them that fear before him.” There are some of these poor creatures who are the holiest and most heavenly minded people in all the world. I have seen men who, with poor, desponding spirits, have exhibited the most lovely graces. There has not been the blushing healthful beauty of the rose; but the lily hath its beauties, sickly though it seemeth, and these, though they be faint and weak, have eminently the graces of humility and meekness, of patience and endurance, and they practice more of meditation, more of self examination, more of repentance more of prayer, than any race of Christians alive. God forbid that I should vex their spirits: there are some of God’s best children who always grow in the shade of fear, and can scarcely attain to so much as to say, “I know whom I have believed.” Darkness suits them best, their eyes are weak, and much sunlight seems to blind them, they love the shadows; and though they thought they could sing, “I know my Saviour, I love him, and he loves me;” they go back again, and begin to groan in themselves, “Do I love the Lord; indeed, if it be so, why am I thus?” Now, I am about to utter a great paradox—I believe that some of these poor fearing people have got the greatest faith of anybody in the world; I have sometimes thought that great tear, great anxiety, must have great faith with it to keep the soul alive at all. See that man drowning, there—there is another in the water too, I see. He in the distance thinks he can swim: a plank is thrown to him; he believes himself to be in no danger of sinking. Well he clutches the plank very leisurely, and does not seem to grasp it firmly. But this poor creature here, he knows he cannot swim, he feels that he must soon sink Now put the means of escape near him, how desperately he clutches it; how he seems as if he would drive his fingers through the plank! He clutches it for life or death, that is his all, for he must perish if he is not saved by that. Now, in this case, he that fears the most believes the most; and I do think it is so sometimes with poor desponding spirits. They have the greatest fear of hell, and the greatest fear of themselves, and the greatest dread that they are not right. Oh, what a faith they must have,when they are enabled to throw themselves on Christ, and when they can but whisper to themselves “I think that he is mine”—“Surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear-before him.”

    … If one may speak for the rest, those of us who enjoy the greatest portions of assurance(my emphasis) have times when we would give all the world to know ourselves to be possessors of grace; when we would be ready to sacrifice our lives if we might but have the shadow of a hope that we were in the love of Jesus Christ our Lord. Now, little one, if the giants go there, what wonder if the dwarfs must? What if God’s favourite and chosen ones, what if his valiant men, the body guard of Christ, those men whose swords are on their thighs, and who stand up for the truth and are its champions—if they sometimes are weak, what wonder if thou shouldest be weak? What if the heirs of salvation and the soldiers of the cross sometimes feel their knees feeble and their hands hang down and their hearts faint, what wonder if thou, who art less than the least of all saints shouldst sometimes be in trouble too? Oh, be of good cheer; fear will never kill anybody. “Doubts and fears,” said an old preacher, once, “are like the toothache nothing more painful, but never fatal.” They will often grieve us, but they will never kill us, they distress us much but they will never burn the soul. Fears even do good at times. Let me not however, praise them too much. I heard a preacher say, the other day, that fear was a good housekeeper. I said, “So I have heard, but I do not believe it. She never will keep a cupboard full; she is a good doorkeeper; she can keep beggars and thieves away; she is a good housedog to guard us and protect us in the night, and warn us of dangers, lest we fall into them.” The fear of anxiety then, is a good fear. Take this promise—“Surely I know that it shall be well with them that fear God, which fear before him.”
    http://www.abideinchrist.com/spurgeon/spurgeon-fivefears.html


    ----Spurgeon Sermon Looking Unto Jesus


    And you children of God, I turn to you, for you have your doubts too. Would you get rid of them? Would you rejoice in the Lord with faith unmoved and confidence unshaken? Then look to Jesus; look again to him and you shall be lightened. I know not how it is with you my beloved friends, but I very often find myself in a doubting frame of mind; and it seems to be a question whether I have any love to Christ or not. And despite the fact that some laugh at the hymn, It is a hymn that I am forced to sing:—
    "'Tis a point I long to know,
    Oft it causes anxious thought!
    Do I love the Lord or not
    Am I his, or am I not?"


    And really I am convinced that every Christian has his doubts at times, and that the people who do not doubt are just the people that ought to doubt; for he who never doubts about his state perhaps may do so when it is too late. I knew a man who said he never had a doubt for thirty years. I told him that I knew a person who never had a doubt about him for thirty years. "How is that?" said he "that is strange." He thought it a compliment. I said, "I knew a man who never had a doubt about you for thirty years. He knew you were always the most confounded hypocrite he ever met; he had no doubt about you." But this man had no doubt about himself: he was a chosen child of God, a great favourite of the Most High; he loved the doctrine of Election, wrote it on his very brow; and yet he was the hardest driver and the most cruel oppressor to the poor I ever met with, and when brought to poverty himself, he might very frequently be seen rolling through the streets. And this man had not a doubt for thirty years; and yet the best people are always doubting. Some of those who are just living outside the gates of heaven, are afraid of being cast into hell after all; while those people who are on the high road to the pit are not the least afraid. However, if you would get rid of your doubts once more, turn to Christ.
    http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0195.htm
    ---------------
    The Jerk,
    I would be interested in knowing if your opinion has changed after reading those quotes in context.

    [You said: “Spurgeon is just as uncertain as one who believes he/she can lose their salvation.”
    “I'd just like to point out that the above statements hint at the possibility (and liklihood) that Spurgeon's "certainty" was also performance based.]

    By Anonymous VA ~Susan, at Wednesday, August 22, 2007 8:39:00 PM  

  • Antonio:

    Christ died for those who look entirely to Christ alone for their salvation. Those who look entirely to Christ endure to the end, because they are saved. You keep wording it as if enduring to the end = salvation, when it is salvation = enduring to the end. That's why you keep running round in endless circles and yet proving nothing against Calvinism at the end of it.

    We both accept (I assume) that God is gracious and delights in mercy. His desire is for His people to know that they are saved, eternally secure and heaven bound. The various scenarios that you delight in bringing up are of people seeking God and not finding Him, or trusting Him and yet being let down in the end. This is not the case and therefore Calvinists are not under any obligation to defend it. Your argument is based on the idea that we cannot make our calling and election sure. This is, of course, nonsense. Just as you get mightily offended when people accuse you of preaching a "Crossless gospel" so too Calvinists get peeved when you keep pushing this idea that they are looking to themselves and making the fruit to be the root of their salvation

    Here's another thought for you, to take your own game and way of thinking to a higher plane:

    The FGer's Bible tells me that there is a malignant spirit out there called Satan who is a deceiver and a liar and a vicious murderer from the beginning. He is the seducer who can transform himself into an angel of light. He can deceive the nations and blind minds. He is the master of the counterfeit etc., This is not a problem to me personally, but (as I say) just taking on the FGer's with their own arguments: How do you know that the same Bible that warns us of the Devil's strategy (and at the same time tells us about the Being of God etc.,) isn't the product of that same seducing spirit?

    Hmmm! I hate playing the Devil's Advocate in these things, but I can see a weak argument a mile away and if it is being used as a stick to wallop the people of God, then it deserves to be tackled.

    P/s I will be away for a couple of days so don't expect an immediate reply to any responses at this time.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Thursday, August 23, 2007 12:38:00 AM  

  • Susan,

    I will be sure to get back to you as soon as I have an opportunity again (I actually don't even have enough time to read your full comment). I am in school and my classes just started today, and my job starts this evening as well.

    :-)

    By Blogger the jerk, at Thursday, August 23, 2007 7:39:00 AM  

  • I've often basked in the truth of Spurgeons last words which I heard were, "Jesus loves me"

    All I can say is that I have passed through horrible doubts and fears and Spurgeons words are a comfort to me in that he struggled as well, but we rest on the rock solid truth of, "Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so". All hell pours forth her fury but deep down through the assault of Satan's doubts we have faith and know that Jesus loves us if we have trusted in Him alone. Perfect love casts out all fear. The one who fears has not been made perfect in love, for fear involves torment. John the author tells us that he brings us out of our fears as believers just like the disciples who quaked in the boat in the storm to a rest made perfect in the love we receive when we were first promised eternal life. Doubt is no virtue but honesty is and I know that if the disciples asked Jesus, "Is it I?" when wondering if they would betray Christ then we know that many of us who have passed through this are indeed believers and yet we must call people always to Jesus' response to his disciples "Where is your faith?" or to John the Baptists doubts wherein Jesus said, "How blessed are they who have no doubts about me." I have found however that some people are more honest that they have had doubts than others. A preacher that was once doubting my salvation finally brought me to pray the sinners prayer again and then later I found out he had a series of isle walks and re-conversions. He told me of his salvation day and then another lady told me she was there one night when he walked the isle to get saved weeping that was another differant time; yet when I spoke with him about it he said the rest was history the day he got saved and that he doesn't doubt it. I thought to myself that this cat over here has been re-troubling me and projecting his childhood isle walks and teenager isle walks and visitation conversions onto me and yet he wont be honest about the doubts he passed through.

    Hey the best thing to do is to encourage people in their faith and to walk in the resurrection life and to do like Spurgeon to encourage men and women like Joni Earickson who have passed through horrible doubts about the wonders of their saviour.

    There are dubious people we shouldn't encourage and that is the Roman Catholics who clearly and diffinatively teach works salvation along with some protestants who accept that theology. Other than that the best thing to do is contend for grace and encourage those who first trusted to continue to trust in Christ.

    By Anonymous bhedr, at Saturday, August 25, 2007 4:13:00 PM  

  • Bro. Brian,

    You are a blessing to me, my brother!

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at Saturday, August 25, 2007 6:11:00 PM  

  • as you are to me Bro David.

    By Blogger Bhedr, at Saturday, August 25, 2007 6:24:00 PM  

  • Hi Susan!

    Sorry it's been so long since I've been able to answer you. 3/5 of my classes are cake, but the other two are whipping my butt (Greek and English Comp).

    Thanks so much for posting the entire sermon! The first time I read over it, I was very confused at the message Spurgeon was getting across. Then, I read it again... and now I'm even more confused.

    I see 3 possibilities from Spurgeon's sermons:

    1) I am down-right uneducated for not being able to follow Spurgeon's thoughts on this, OR
    2) Antonio's observations of these verses are correct and taken into context, which would validate my comments on them as well, OR
    3) Spurgeon is confused and is spreading his confusion AND Antonio's observations of these verses are correct and taken into context, validating my comments on them as well.


    You may even want to just give full credit to possibility number 1, lol, but I'll briefly tell you why I think Spurgeon is likely confused:

    Throughout the sermons, I couldn't tell whether he was addressing non-Christians or Christians. It seems as though (and I would pick it apart and quote each text, but I just don't have the time for it right now) he speaks to Christians and non-Christians interchangeably.

    For example, Spurgeon says, "There are some of these poor creatures who are the holiest and most heavenly minded people in all the world. I have seen men who, with poor, desponding spirits, have exhibited the most lovely graces. There has not been the blushing healthful beauty of the rose; but the lily hath its beauties, sickly though it seemeth, and these, though they be faint and weak, have eminently the graces of humility and meekness, of patience and endurance, and they practice more of meditation, more of self examination, more of repentance more of prayer, than any race of Christians alive. God forbid that I should vex their spirits: there are some of God’s best children who always grow in the shade of fear, and can scarcely attain to so much as to say, “I know whom I have believed.” Darkness suits them best, their eyes are weak, and much sunlight seems to blind them, they love the shadows; and though they thought they could sing, “I know my Saviour, I love him, and he loves me;” they go back again, and begin to groan in themselves, “Do I love the Lord; indeed, if it be so, why am I thus?” Now, I am about to utter a great paradox—I believe that some of these poor fearing people have got the greatest faith of anybody in the world; I have sometimes thought that great tear, great anxiety, must have great faith with it to keep the soul alive at all."

    And then, the very next sentence picks up with, "See that man drowning, there—there is another in the water too, I see. He in the distance thinks he can swim: a plank is thrown to him; he believes himself to be in no danger of sinking. Well he clutches the plank very leisurely, and does not seem to grasp it firmly. But this poor creature here, he knows he cannot swim, he feels that he must soon sink Now put the means of escape near him, how desperately he clutches it; how he seems as if he would drive his fingers through the plank! He clutches it for life or death, that is his all, for he must perish if he is not saved by that."


    It sounds to me like Spurgeon is speaking of Christians in the first paragraph. But then, the example he uses involving the drowning men sounds as though he is speaking of non-Christians going through a salvation experience.


    My conclusion, based on the statements in the first sermon you've pasted, is that Spurgeon is either completely confused as to who his audience is (believers or non-believers), or he is equating the uncertainty of an unbelievers eternity with those who are believers (and even goes on to equate his own doubts with that of a non-believer).


    That may or may not have made any sense, and I apologize if it doesn't. But my general point is that regardless of whether Spurgeon is doubting God or himself, he is still equating his doubts with that of a non-believer, and if he is not equating it with a non-believer, then he is very blatantly admitting his uncertainty with his own salvation (in fact, I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt by assuming the two drowning men are unbelievers... because, again, it seems odd to me that he would equate himself [and other Christians] with someone who is drowning and needs to be saved).


    I will say one last time though, I'm not very well-read, lol, so I am not ruling out the fact that I am wrong based on the fact that I am having trouble with his language. :-)

    By Blogger the jerk, at Monday, September 03, 2007 7:58:00 PM  

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