[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)

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Apostle Paul was a Non-Calvinist

by Rose

I know, I know, there was no such thing as "Calvinism" in the day of Paul, but the ideas espoused by those who today call themselves "Calvinists" or "Particular Redemptionist" or whatever .... I dare say the Apostle Paul was not one of them.

15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief. (1 Timothy 1)
Now if Paul held that there was a small group of people who, from before the foundation of the world, God had chosen to gift with faith and chose them ond only them to become believers...
if the Apostle Paul held to this view, how could he, with confidence, pen this saying and claim it was a faithful and worthy saying?

How could he know that he was one of those sinners for whom Christ died? If Paul did not mean "all sinners," then how could he know that he was the cheifest of them? If Paul believed in secret election, limited atonement and was using shrouded language and really meant "some sinners" and not "all sinners," then he wouldn't be able to say for a certainty that he was one of them. However, if Paul believed that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, then he could certainly know that he himself, Paul, the apostle, (being one of the world and being a sinner) therefore, was one for whom Jesus Christ had died.

I know that when I stand in church and I sing hymns and spirtual songs about God's provision that I never have to doubt whether or not God has done these things for me, because I know that He has done this for every man, woman and child. He, in His sovereign grace, has decided and chosen to make the reception of the results of His work - this gift of eternal life - only to those who believe. We enter this "saved" state that Paul refers to in the above mentioned verse through faith. This is God's choice.

...the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. (Romans 3)
This is the way He has chosen to do it. He is sovereign and He can do it this way if He wants.

This is a beautiful and true saying.

35 Comments:

  • Amen, Rose.

    It's too sad that there are so many people who may otherwise be strong believers, yet so stripped of the power of the gospel because of the doubts being given by preachers, who themselves may not even be sure that Christ died for them!

    It's no wonder that John 3:16 has become my number one favorite verse. Christ died for me, while I was yet a filthy sinner! Jesus said that if I believed in Him, I would have everlasting life, now and forever!

    What do others say? Look for the fruits! I say: "Look to Jesus!"

    By Blogger Ender, at Sunday, November 04, 2007 7:49:00 PM  

  • I dare say you might be right.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Monday, November 05, 2007 4:16:00 AM  

  • Ender,
    Thank you for your comments. I printed out your first two posts on your blog because I am very interested in reading about what LS put you through. I could tell that you came out of this by skimming.

    I agree this is a tragedy that the unsure are making others unsure. (Reminds me of the phrase "the blind leading the blind").

    I agree - Look to Jesus! Teaching on salvation should be Christocentric, not pensive and introspective.

    God bless you, Ender.

    Matthew,
    "I dare say" - I am glad you caught that. It is one of my favorite "Matthewisms." ;~)

    'Funnily enough', you posted your sermon here! I look forward to reading it when I get a few minutes.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Monday, November 05, 2007 7:20:00 AM  

  • Rose,

    The Calvinist's do not have a simple answer for you.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Monday, November 05, 2007 10:26:00 AM  

  • Thanks, Rose!

    There was an article I read a while back on Antonio's blog that posed the question, "Why Should You Sacrifice to God if You're Not Sure that Christ Sacrificed For You?" That tipped me over. When I went through my Reformed LS phase, I wasn't certain that Christ sacrificed for me. So to tell sinners to commit their entire lives to a Christ who may not have sacrificed for them--because they weren't of the elect--brings confusion and turns sinners away from the free gift of eternal life and justification that could be theirs by faith.

    I will write a blog entry on the uncertainty caused by the uncertain.

    By Blogger Ender, at Monday, November 05, 2007 11:02:00 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    If Paul believed in secret election, limited atonement and was using shrouded language and really meant "some sinners" and not "all sinners," then he wouldn't be able to say for a certainty that he was one of them.

    I think we have been here before, but the repetition will do us all good.

    "Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Romans 10:13)

    Only the elect (when all is said and done) will actually call upon the name of the Lord. I have called upon the name of the Lord, therefore I am elect.

    Simple. Now let's see if some non Calvinist comes along and mess it up :-)

    P/s Nice to be back. I missed commenting on the battle last week. To be honest (as my Bible College principle used to say: "We're taking that for granted") I think it got a way out of hand and should've been closed down earlier. But, anyway, each to their own.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Monday, November 05, 2007 12:18:00 PM  

  • Ender,
    I remember that post. Antonio took a lot of guff for it. I am so glad to hear that it helped you gain clarity on the ulimited nature of God's awesome work. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, November 06, 2007 7:06:00 AM  

  • Hello Colin Maxwell!
    Welcome back.
    Can I sincerely ask you a question about your beliefs? Although it may not seem directly relevant to this subject, we know why I am asking it.
    Do you believe that someone may think he has called upon the Lord in faith ... but that he is fooled? IOW, he has a 'temporary faith' or he has not really called upon the Lord, but has a false faith? Do you think there is such a thing as a "believer" who is realy duped by his own mind into thinking that he is a believer, but really has not been given the "gift of faith" ... He doesn't really have true faith? Do you believe in this doctrine of false faith?

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, November 06, 2007 7:11:00 AM  

  • Let me answer your question first with another. (An Irishman's prerogative…but wonderfully utilised by Ulster Scots)

    Do you believe the Bible is true when it speaks about a wicked being called the Devil who both is a liar and a deceiver? (I can see you cautiously nodding your head as you read these words.) To get quickly to the point, on what solid basis can you tell me that the very Book that tells you of this hellish deceiver was not written by that very deceiver and that to deceive you? No matter how you look at it - the pros and cons of such a strategy - how do you know that it is not working on you and that you are currently being deceived? If the Devil wanted to get you into Hell, why not create a book that pretends there is a good God etc., who sends His mythical Son to provide a mythical salvation by grace etc., so that you arrive at the place whereby you say that you are saved etc., and yet, all the time, it is one huge deception? OK I am very obviously playing Devil's advocate here, but I hope you see my point i.e. that it is very easy to create doubt about divine matters.

    To answer your question directly. While it is obvious from Scripture that there are some who have a false belief, yet the Bible (which I believe is, indeed, God's infallible word) also makes it clear that I can be saved and know that I am saved. (John 20:31 etc.,) The simplicity of Romans 10:13 (as I indicate) cannot be disputed. I have called in faith upon the name of the Lord for salvation. What more should I do? Is my faith a false faith? Is Romans 10:13 a false hope on which to put my faith? I certainly don't think so. If I perish believing Romans 10:13 then I would perish no matter where I put my faith, whether genuine or not.

    Neither of us are out of the woods in this matter of faith. Suppose a man does profess to believe Romans 10:9-13 with a very sincere faith indeed and never waver from all that sincerity and testimony right up to my dying breath. But if he never held to the Deity of Christ, then (less you have changed your position, which I doubt) then both of us know that his faith was fatally in error and that such died in deception and went to hell, notwithstanding the truths that he did believe.

    For the record, my hope (in the NT sense of the word i.e. sure and certain hope) is in Jesus Christ alone for eternal life, without any effort or contribution on my part.

    Selah!

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Tuesday, November 06, 2007 7:51:00 AM  

  • Sorry! I typed my reply out ogn Word first and then cut and paste into the comment box, but cut out the "Hi Rose!" at the top

    I suppose that I should say that I "sincerely beleived" that I had included it.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Tuesday, November 06, 2007 8:03:00 AM  

  • [Do you think there is such a thing as a "believer" who is realy duped by his own mind into thinking that he is a believer, but really has not been given the "gift of faith" ... He doesn't really have true faith? Do you believe in this doctrine of false faith?]

    Hi Rose,
    The Bible teaches that there is such a false hope as this. These people even thought they were doing good works in His name, but the Lord calls them "workers of lawlessness".

    Matthew 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

    By Blogger VA ~Susan, at Tuesday, November 06, 2007 8:28:00 AM  

  • Susan, calling Jesus 'lord' is not believing in Christ for eternal life.

    We all agree that there are persons who profess to believe, but who do not believe at all.

    However, it would be quite misleading to call this a false faith.

    Whoever believes that Jesus Christ has given them eternal life posseses eternal life.


    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, November 06, 2007 8:34:00 AM  

  • Colin Maxwell,
    Suppose a man does profess to believe Romans 10:9-13 with a very sincere faith indeed and never waver from all that sincerity and testimony right up to my dying breath. But if he never held to the Deity of Christ, then (less you have changed your position, which I doubt) then both of us know that his faith was fatally in error and that such died in deception and went to hell, notwithstanding the truths that he did believe.

    I am reveiwing my ideas on the content of saving faith. I am going to post on it on my blog soon.

    I am glad you do not doubt your salvation. You know you believe in Jesus Christ alone for eternal life, without any effort or contribution on my part.

    Praise the Lord.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, November 06, 2007 8:58:00 AM  

  • Susan,
    The Lord does not tell these people to depart becaues they had a false faith, he tells them to depart because He never knew them. The do not claim to have trusted Him for anything, but to have done a lot of really great things for Him, and in His name.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, November 06, 2007 9:01:00 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    I am reveiwing my ideas on the content of saving faith. I am going to post on it on my blog soon.

    That sounds (in the context)very ominous indeed. But I suppsoe we better wait until you declare your hand completely.

    What are your thoughts on the deception bit?

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Tuesday, November 06, 2007 9:21:00 AM  

  • hehe Colin,
    No, not ominous. I do not like the "checklist" idea at all, because salvation is of grace. So, I am just trying to come up with a more simplified look at it.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, November 06, 2007 9:27:00 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    If Paul was a Non-Calvinist, then he wasn't of the Free Grace variety or else his message to the Athenians in Acts 17 would be very confusing.

    Vs. 30, 31
    "Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent, because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness through a Man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to all men by raising Him from the dead."

    Paul was preaching repentance not faith to the Athenians. I find that very interesting because it says that he was provoked in the spirit because of the city was full of idols. Paul was sitting in Athens waiting for Silas and Timothy and he can't stand it because of the idols that were around. So he has to preach, proclaim what God has laid on his heart. And what does he proclaim? Repentance.

    Ok, that's off topic. I'll try to get it back on track.

    You said:
    "Now if Paul held that there was a small group of people who, from before the foundation of the world, God had chosen to gift with faith and chose them ond only them to become believers...
    if the Apostle Paul held to this view, how could he, with confidence, pen this saying and claim it was a faithful and worthy saying?"


    You're putting your spin on the Calvinist beliefs. Who says it's a "small" group of people. You're trying to make the Calvinist sound elitist, as if all Calvinists think they're part of this tiny exlusive group. Granted, some may think that way and that would be wrong. Because the promise to Abraham is that his offspring would be more than the stars in the sky. So if the Calvinist believes in continuation of Scripture and that believers (the church) is the true seed of Abraham, then it follows that it will not be a small group of people, but a group so vast that it would be impossible for a human to count them all.

    So how could Paul know if he was one of the sinners for whom Christ died? There is a simple answer. The answer is actually another question. Paul, do you have faith in Christ for your salvation? If he has (and we know he has), then he was/is one of the sinners for whom Christ died. I'm not sure how you come to the conclusion that if Paul meant "some sinners" and not "all sinners," then he wouldn't be able to say for a certainty that he was one of them. Particular redemption doesn't seem to me to negate or evade the necessity of faith.

    So I'll have to disagree with you on this one and yet agree with you all at the same time. I'll agree that Paul was not a Calvinist, but I'll also say that he wasn't a Non-Calvinist.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent (my user name says "Soldem" because I had to sign up for a Gmail Account :(

    By Blogger Soldem, at Tuesday, November 06, 2007 9:29:00 AM  

  • Hi Ten Cent,
    I wondered who "Soldem" was. Why not just use "ten cent" under identity?

    Hey I am glad you at least agree with me on half my premise. You, like the apostle Paul, must not believe in "false faith" then, (if you hold to secret election.)

    (I meant small in a relative sense - in comparision to the whole of mankind for all the ages)

    God bless and thanks for visiting.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, November 06, 2007 9:39:00 AM  

  • Ten Cent,
    Didn't you at one time have a blog?

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, November 06, 2007 9:40:00 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    The way you guys have set up the comments, you have to sign in to a Google Account. I got rid of my blog over a year ago (just couldn't keep up with it) and now I don't remember/can't recover my login info. So I had to sign back up for a Google Account. For things like this I usually use a ghost name, Soldem Myname. Then if I get any email or snail mail that has that on it, I know where it came from. And I know that even if they say they didn't sell my name, they did.

    And no, I don't believe in false faith if the intent is to say that the person truely has faith in Christ, but it's false and thus ineffective. I do believe that there are people who claim to believe in Christ and they have not...false professors of faith. Is that a clear distinction?

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent (or Soldem)

    By Blogger Soldem, at Tuesday, November 06, 2007 9:59:00 AM  

  • do not like the "checklist" idea at all, because salvation is of grace. So, I am just trying to come up with a more simplified look at it.

    Rose, I know this is getting off the original subject, but if I ask you to define "salvation" and then "grace" which I assume can only be received with the understanding also, then we are creating a checklist (or set of hoops)are we not? I am only mentioning these things because if/when you go officially public on this matter, then you have fairly committed yourself. I can't say that I'm happy about it at all, but it really is between you and the Lord.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Tuesday, November 06, 2007 10:11:00 AM  

  • I can't say that I'm happy about it at all

    I am a little confused by your comment - what is it that you are not happy about?

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, November 06, 2007 10:18:00 AM  

  • Ten Cent,
    To me a false believer would be one who knows he does not believe, but pretends to others that he is a believer, for one reason or another.

    Is that what you are saying also?

    That is a good system you have for email.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, November 06, 2007 10:21:00 AM  

  • I am a little confused by your comment - what is it that you are not happy about?

    I wouldn't be happy, Rose, if you took the position of some of the non soft FGers a very diplomatic statement, BTW) who believe that saving faith does not essentially include a belief in (say) the Deity of Christ or the Blood of the cross etc.,

    However, maybe best for me to hold tight until you make your grand announcement.

    Meanwhile, to get back to the original posting, a man may know that he is elect because he believes in Christ. Can the Devil deceive people? Yes...but if I am going to be deceived by the Devil, then I am going to be deceived by taking the Lord Jesus at His word in Romans 10:13. I don't think the Lord Jesus is going to let that happen. As one of old said: God has much more to lose than I have if I trust Him and is lost.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Tuesday, November 06, 2007 11:17:00 AM  

  • Oh, I get it.
    I love that quote you posted. Besides a grammatical issue I have with it, it is great!

    Now, I do not have a grand announcement, I am just working on putting my view of the content of saving faith into a more biblical and simple statement that doesn't sound like a checklist.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, November 06, 2007 11:33:00 AM  

  • ...and AM lost.

    I stand corrected. On this issue, anyway :-)

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Tuesday, November 06, 2007 11:38:00 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    My definition of a false believer would be a little more broad. It certianly includes the type that you have described. But I was also say that it includes those who have a misunderstanding of what it means to believe in Christ. So they think they have faith in Christ (ie, they think they're a Christian) when in fact they don't. For example, my coworker has a false faith, if you want to call it that. She would say she has faith in Christ, but what she really has is knowledge that there is a Christ. But she has not believed in Him for her salvation. She just awknowledges that there is a Savior and calls it faith.

    Does that clarify it for you?

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger Soldem, at Tuesday, November 06, 2007 11:44:00 AM  

  • "I wouldn't be happy, Rose, if you took the position of some of the non soft FGers a very diplomatic statement, BTW) who believe that saving faith does not essentially include a belief in (say) the Deity of Christ..."

    Would you mind directing me to a scripture that affirms this notion of saving faith?

    By Blogger Chris, at Tuesday, November 06, 2007 1:48:00 PM  

  • Chris, I think you could make this discussion get very interesting.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Wednesday, November 07, 2007 12:29:00 AM  

  • Good morning, Rose!

    Chris: Your question is a little unclear. I assume that you wonder on what scriptural ground I hold that saving faith essentially includes a belief in the Deity of Christ. First of all, I am very conscious that we are moving off topic, on someone else's blog, and unto something that has been covered many times on this and similar FG blogs. Suffice to say that I hold that the term "Son of God" denotes Deity, as held by practically every Evangelical commentator and theologian, apart from Unitarians and other modernists. Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. (1 John 4:15)

    Maybe Rose should indicate if she wants us to keep to the topic on hand or proceed to what is in reality a new one? Matthew seems to be straining on the bit with this one. (Good morning, Matthew!)

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Wednesday, November 07, 2007 1:16:00 AM  

  • Ten Cent,
    Yes, thanks for the clarification.
    I would say that that person does not have saving faith either. What I have a problem with is this idea that one can think he believes in Jesus' Person and work, but because he wasn't committed enough or something like that - or even worse - he could think he was committed enough and even be zealous for the faith, but then -if he changes his mind for whatever reason, it proves it was a false faith.
    That idea of false faith is lame, in my opinion.

    What do you think?

    (what's your name, Ten Cent? Did you ever tell us that? I feel like you may have but long ago and I forgot. If you don't want to, I understand)

    By Blogger Rose~, at Wednesday, November 07, 2007 7:38:00 AM  

  • Colin Maxwell,
    I think if you have the time your answer to Chris would be very interesting and helpful.
    We are not that worried on this blog about going off topic a little. Answer as you see fit - or don't - if you are too busy - we all have lots to do and we understand if you can't take the time to get into a long drawn out discussion off topic. Thanks. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at Wednesday, November 07, 2007 7:47:00 AM  

  • Colin,

    Thank you for the clarification.

    Matthew at the risk of dissapointing, I will leave it here.

    Yours in Christ,

    Chris

    By Blogger Chris, at Wednesday, November 07, 2007 9:46:00 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    "What I have a problem with is this idea that one can think he believes in Jesus' Person and work, but because he wasn't committed enough or something like that - or even worse - he could think he was committed enough and even be zealous for the faith, but then -if he changes his mind for whatever reason, it proves it was a false faith.
    That idea of false faith is lame, in my opinion."


    The whole part about not being committed enough is more than lame, it's wrong. Christianity is not about being committed to something, it's about knowing someone, namely Christ.

    Now, about the person who changes his mind...I wouldn't go so far as to condemn them. Only God knows their heart, however, I would seriously question whether or not they ever believed in Christ. There are a lot of factors that would weigh in to that situation.

    And, no, I've never told my name...my real name. And I prefer to keep it that way. I already feel like there's too much personal information out there in cyberspace and I don't want to add to it. Thanks for understanding.

    In Christ,
    Ten Cent

    By Blogger Soldem, at Wednesday, November 07, 2007 1:28:00 PM  

  • Slap me or delete me if you need to Rose, but you did say it was ok to go off topic albeit to someone else. :)

    We understand the Son of God to denote deity, however his disciples apparently did not or did not believe it perhaps not even until the ressurection. He could have clearly expounded upon the Trinity to them, yet chose not to. Perhaps it was a bit much for them to understand at the beginning as well.

    Requiring belief in the Trinity is a bit complicated IMO for a child let alone an adult.

    If someone believes in Christ, the Son of God for eternal life with out understanding that he is God, did he fulfill the condition for eternal life? If not, please explain.

    The Cross issue is already being discussed on another blog in detail. :)

    Peace and Truth

    Trent

    By Blogger Trent, at Friday, November 09, 2007 9:23:00 AM  

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