[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)

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Does one need to believe in the humanity of Christ to receive eternal life?


by Matthew
Does a person need to believe in the humanity of Christ to receive eternal life?

If a person believes that Jesus is God, yet believes that His humanity was an illusion, can she still trust in Christ for eternal life?

What if a person believes that He had an angelic, not an human body? What if a person holds that He posessed a human body, but not an human soul, as the Taylorite Exclusive Brethren teach?

42 Comments:

  • A great question Matthew.
    I will be interested to see how anyone answers this.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Thursday, December 27, 2007 4:12:00 PM  

  • Matthew according to 2nd John 1:7 those who do not acknowledge that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh are a deceiver and an antichrist.

    By Blogger Kc, at Friday, December 28, 2007 1:17:00 AM  

  • KC, very true.

    But that verse does not state the conditions of receiving eternal life, it rather demonstrates the seriousness of such an heresy.

    God Bless

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Friday, December 28, 2007 1:46:00 AM  

  • I see your point. Could it then be a matter of whether a person can be indwelled by both the Holy Spirit and the spirit of the antichrist?

    By Blogger Kc, at Friday, December 28, 2007 3:14:00 AM  

  • Perhaps I should ask if anyone can be a believer and an antichrist?

    By Blogger Kc, at Friday, December 28, 2007 3:19:00 AM  

  • Kc, I say yes.

    It is written "He that believeth on the son hath everlasting life."

    It is not written "He that believeth on the son hath everlasting life, provided he does not deny later deny that Christ is come in the flesh."

    Of course, you might argue that a person could believe that Jesus is the Christ and later come to deny His humanity and thus become an antichrist, but a person could never believe on Him iniitially while denying His humanity.

    However, there are many aspects of Jesus' messiahship and sonship.

    We are not saved by believing in the humanity and deity of Christ.

    The Roman Catholics affirm both, but they do not trust in Him for completed redemption.

    The essential component of saving faith is trust in Jesus for the gift of eternal life.

    If a person understands that Jesus is the guarantor of eternal life, they have true faith, even if they do not understand that Christ's humanity is essential to the completion of His saving work.

    We are not saved by understanding Christ's redemptive work, but by trusting in Him for its results, namely eternal life.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Friday, December 28, 2007 7:46:00 AM  

  • Matthew I think my perspective leans more toward the idea that he does not believe on the Son but by his own admission he is an enemy of the Son and believes on a person who is not the Son. He may believe he has everlasting life by virtue of his faith in this person, as many do, but as you pointed out everlasting life is granted to those who believe on the Son. Belief in everlasting life does not bring the Son.

    By Blogger Kc, at Friday, December 28, 2007 8:20:00 AM  

  • You would go with the 'different Jesus' argument then?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Friday, December 28, 2007 8:27:00 AM  

  • I don't think I would say it is a different Jesus, just that he does not believe that Jesus ever existed. Jesus is Christ made flesh. To deny Jesus is to deny Christ.

    By Blogger Kc, at Friday, December 28, 2007 8:33:00 AM  

  • Supposing a contemporary of our Lord were to behold His miracles and conclude that they could only be done by a god and not by a man.

    Because of his Hellenistic philosophical assumptions, he concludes that Jesus' humanity is an illusion.

    Does he deny the existence of Jesus while at the same time beholding Him and speaking of Him?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Friday, December 28, 2007 8:48:00 AM  

  • This would relate back to my original thoughts on the Holy Spirit. If my understanding is correct then it is the Holy Spirit that reveals Christ in us today and not our own understanding or experience. We believe on the Son when we agree with the Holy Spirit testimony that the man Jesus is Christ, the Son of God. Prior to the Holy Spirit testimony we might, and usually do, come to some conclusion that may or may not be true depending on our environment and experience.

    By Blogger Kc, at Friday, December 28, 2007 9:07:00 AM  

  • The key question then is what is specifically needed for belief in Jesus as being the Son of God.

    Consistent Free Gracers argue that the key to believing in Jesus as Son of God is to affirm that He is the guarantor of eternal life. When a person has affirmed this, she affirms what is essential to His being thr Son of God, regardless of any misconceptions about His person and history that she might have.

    The denial of our Lord's humanity is an obstacle to a person believing in Jesus Christ as the guarantor of eternal life, but it is not a breach of any conditon for receiving it.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Friday, December 28, 2007 9:15:00 AM  

  • Matthew thanks for the dialog. It’s a blessing to me to be able to discuss these things with you.

    I would look to the Gospels and say that Jesus is the Son of God by virtue of the Immaculate Conception followed by the Virgin Birth of our Lord though I don’t consider that the knowledge of any evidence to that fact is requisite for everlasting life.

    With respect to defining a “key question” I have always looked to 1st John, in particular chapter 5, as clearly defining the key question. If we accept our Lord’s explanation that being born again is requisite for everlasting life then the scripture in 1st John 5 defines those that are born again as those who believe that the man Jesus is Christ the Son of God. Those who believe this are indwelled by the Holy Spirit and then have the testimony of God within them selves that they have everlasting life in His Son.

    I don’t find where the knowledge of everlasting life is granted to anyone who does not believe in Jesus as Christ, the Son of God.

    By Blogger Kc, at Saturday, December 29, 2007 4:07:00 AM  

  • "I don’t find where the knowledge of everlasting life is granted to anyone who does not believe in Jesus as Christ, the Son of God."

    To believe that Jesus gives everlasting life is to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. I think that can be seen in 1 John 5:11-13.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Saturday, December 29, 2007 6:05:00 AM  

  • If I understand correctly then verse 10 states that the testimony of God within us that is our assurance of eternal life is reserved for those who believe the testimony of God regarding the His Son Jesus Christ. Those who reject God’s testimony concerning Jesus cannot have His testimony within that is the assurance of eternal life.

    By Blogger Kc, at Saturday, December 29, 2007 6:23:00 AM  

  • I still say that if someone is instructed as to these things, if he is in "receiving Christ" mode, he will receive the truth about Christ. The humanity of Christ would be a part of that truth as well as the deity.

    I enjoyed reading your exchange with KC. I agree with KC more than you on this one, dear Matthew.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Saturday, December 29, 2007 9:18:00 AM  

  • Casey,

    I think that you have yet to disclose to use in any particular fashion in our dialogues concerning this subject precisely what believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God entails. Please be verbose in explaining the whole of this matter so that we can engage your hitherto ambiguous conviction.

    Thanks!

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Saturday, December 29, 2007 2:36:00 PM  

  • Casey,

    here is a question I just asked on your blog, but in a old thread. Here it is for your convenience.

    Casey,

    the question was quite clear. But for the sake of thoroughness I will rephrase.

    In your position of saving faith, can someone who trusts in Jesus 0% for eternal life and trusts 100% in his works for his eternal well-being, IOW, for eternal life, be saved not budging a bit from this position?

    Question is very simple. Yes/no! You asked me a question. I will answer your question after you answer mine :)

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Saturday, December 29, 2007 2:45:00 PM  

  • Antonio I don’t think that any of us who believe in Jesus can ever again trust in our own work but I don’t believe it’s our perspective on our works or even eternal life that brings about the spirit birth and everlasting life but rather our perception of Jesus as Christ the Son of God.

    If I understand correctly then the term Christ is a title whose meaning is equivalent to the OT term Messiah and was first used to signify the one anointed as High Priest. The practice of anointing was later extended to include those that were King or a Prophet of Israel. While Jesus completely fulfilled each of these places the function of the High Priest was to mediate reconciliation between God and the Nation of Israel. The Messiah promised from God was to completely, perfectly and permanently fulfill this position and have full authority in all things relating to God.

    The Gospel or good news, is that, as Christ, Jesus reconciles all to God who believe Him to be God’s Son having sole and full authority in all things relating to God! Those that do are created as new creatures in Him and are indwelled by the Holy Spirit. They then have the testimony of God within them selves that they have everlasting life.

    By Blogger Kc, at Saturday, December 29, 2007 5:53:00 PM  

  • Casey,

    with all due respect, will you answer the question at hand.

    I do not understand why you do not want to go on record.

    Let me put it this way, and correct me if I am wrong:

    A man can trust 0% in Jesus Christ for his eternity and 100% in his good works for that eternity so long as he understands Jesus to be the Christ, the Son of God, in the senses that you have just listed for us (which still seem quite ambiguous and/or very general) and he will be among the redeemed.

    So put another way,

    A person can completely fail to "believe in" Jesus as long as he believes that Jesus is the Annointed of God, having "full authority in all things related to God" and he will be saved.

    I submit to you and any reader that someone who simply believes that Jesus has the full authority in all things related to God is lost and on his way to hell. He has failed to believe in Jesus as prescribed for us in the only evangelistic book in the Bible, the gospel of John.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Saturday, December 29, 2007 11:55:00 PM  

  • Casey, Your answer seems very skirtish and does not settle the issue. Let me remind you of a question I raised on your blog:

    Can someone be saved who nevertheless holds tenacsiously to the merit of his works?

    In other words, do you believe that people who trust in their works and their sacraments, yet believe whatever you say is saving faith, and be saved?


    And this was your terse answer:

    I’ve been considering your question and it seems the answer hinges on whether or not self-righteousness is the unforgivable sin.

    Here you seem to say that you believe that someone can be trusting all in his own merit and still be saved, thus not trusting in Christ. Yet you will not come out and simply state it in a clear fashion. Please don't take offense, my friend, but your answers seem Clintonian. Please just come out and and answer, in no uncertain terms, my question.

    I get the impression that it may be embarrasing for you to admit that someone may trust in himself and get saved.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Sunday, December 30, 2007 1:30:00 AM  

  • Clintonian??? I’m still laughing!!!

    No offense dear brother I promise. If we can’t work on these things with each other then with who? ;-)

    Antonio please know I am not trying to be evasive and you know I am not trying to frustrate you in this. I will do all I can to explain my difficulty in providing an answer to your question that you would find satisfactory.

    If you were asked if you believe that a man could be saved who is not “one of the elect” do you think you could give an answer that would satisfy the determinist? It would be impossible to satisfy them because they are convinced that salvation is based solely on individual predestination. It is likewise impossible for me to give a satisfactory answer to you because you are convinced that eternal life is granted only to those who first understand and accept certain doctrines on works and eternal security.

    I do not believe eternal life is granted based on our understanding but is granted to those who, by revelation of the Holy Spirit, perceive Jesus as Christ the Son of God and believe in Him as such and honestly, yes, I am hesitant to provide a specific list or an item that a person must assent to regarding the Christ before they can perceive Jesus as Christ. I will say that I believe they must agree with whatever the Holy Spirit would reveal in them.

    I think a person can believe all manner of things right up to the moment that the Holy Spirit reveals Christ in them but at that moment I think the Holy Spirit revelation, that is Jesus Christ, is the only thing in view and if they believe and are made a new creature in Christ then all things become new and they can begin to learn of God. They desperately need the milk of the word at that point to grow but tragically, more often than not, the strange meats of denominationalism and systematic theology are used to strangle them.

    While I do have a very specific understanding concerning the order of salvation as well as the content of saving faith I cannot be dogmatic or even systematic in these things because I am assured by the scripture that I cannot have a full understanding of the grace of God that brings salvation. What I do have is the assurance from scripture that all who believe that the man Jesus is Christ the Son of God are born of God and so I require no further testimony than this for fellowship. I am also assured that all who deny that Jesus is come in the flesh or deny He is the Son of God are an antichrist or have called God a liar and so I withhold from fellowship with these enemies of my Lord unless and until they repent.

    Regarding the content and purpose of the Gospel of John I find chapter 1 vs. 1 begins by clearly identifying Christ and progresses from there to show that Jesus is the Christ. Chapter 20 vs. 31 then specifically states that the reason these things are written therein is so that the reader will believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and it is in believing this that they have life in His name.

    If my response here seems ambiguous or “Clintonian” (still laughing) in any way then I will do all I can to provide a better explanation. ;-)

    By Blogger Kc, at Sunday, December 30, 2007 2:32:00 AM  

  • Rose, could you give me a list of everthing a person needs to be told to believe in Jesus as Christ and Son of God?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Sunday, December 30, 2007 5:52:00 AM  

  • Casey,

    You may not be able to satisfy me in an answer specifically regarding me actually becoming convinced of your answer.

    But you can satisfy me by simply answering the question (whether or not you persuade me is not the point!).

    Here is the same question I have been asking in yet another rephrased and more specific form:

    If someone is trusting in the merit of his works and sacraments yet nevertheless believes that Jesus is the Christ with the meaning of "the Christ" as the one who has "full authority in all things related to God", is this man born again?

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Sunday, December 30, 2007 9:43:00 AM  

  • Antonio my premise is that the person who trust Christ’ authority in all things relating to God cannot give any authority, or merit, to their own works before God. If in their heart they would have always had hope of communion with God by virtue of their works then they have never trusted Christ for all things relating to God.

    By Blogger Kc, at Sunday, December 30, 2007 10:09:00 AM  

  • Casey,

    I think that your position is but a hopeless quagmire and is not self-consistent.

    If someone believes that Jesus, as the Christ, has "full authority in all things related to God" it does not follow that he necessarily is trusting in Jesus rather than his works.

    It would be very easy for me to show a situation where someone who is trusting in his works, duties, sacraments, etc., is told that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, the Son of God, whereby he has "full authority in all things related to God." And then believe that. According to your position, this man is born again.

    Furthermore, you are seemingly backtracking.

    Did not you say

    the answer hinges on whether or not self-righteousness is the unforgivable sin.

    This implies that according to your theology, self-righteousness is not an unforgiveable sin. (In my theology, such a consideration would be category error). Therefore, the above scenario fits quite well in your position.

    You are tip-toeing, and trying to walk on two sides of an aisle. This, at least, is my impression.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Sunday, December 30, 2007 4:36:00 PM  

  • Antonio, are you saying that I’ve slid down the slippery slope of Clintionianism into an inconsistent hopeless quagmire? ;-)

    You wrote, ”If someone believes that Jesus, as the Christ, has "full authority in all things related to God" it does not follow that he necessarily is trusting in Jesus rather than his works.

    I suspect there are words that would better relate this spiritual concept in legal terms but I am not a lawyer, nor do I desire to be but once again my understanding is that at the moment a person perceives Christ through the revelation of the Holy Spirit that He is the only one in view.

    You wrote, ”It would be very easy for me to show a situation where someone who is trusting in his works, duties, sacraments, etc., is told that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ, the Son of God, whereby he has "full authority in all things related to God." And then believe that. According to your position, this man is born again.”

    I stated previously that prior to the revelation of Christ by the Holy Spirit a person would likely hold to many things, perhaps true, perhaps not, but at that moment only Jesus is in view and in question and according to the scripture those that believe in Him are born again.

    I hope you won’t mind if I don’t try to defend my attempt to discuss the issues surrounding the original question you asked as those issues have already become evident.

    I will admit that I think “tip-toeing” is in order here. I consider it one thing to boldly proclaim the Gospel and quite another to boldly dissect it.

    By Blogger Kc, at Sunday, December 30, 2007 6:31:00 PM  

  • KC, I like your sense of humor. :)

    I think the frustration Antonio and I am having is that we clearly spell out what we believe you must do to have eternal life, and defend it pretty concisely and biblically IMO.

    None of the people who disagree with us want to "go out on a limb" and state what they believe is nessecary for eternal life.

    Can it be that its to complicated? Can't I clearly tell someone they have eternal life if they do *insert action/belief* here?

    You are not the only one to tip toe, just the latest.

    Thanks for your courteous statements, and I am glad that we can disagree in a friendly manner.

    By Blogger Trent, at Friday, January 04, 2008 4:26:00 PM  

  • Trent thank you as well.
    Actually I'm not really the latest. ;-)

    This article and the comments section offers a fairly comprehensive perspective on the contrast between my understanding and yours. I would welcome your critique.

    By Blogger Kc, at Saturday, January 05, 2008 3:00:00 AM  

  • I will visit. :)

    By Blogger Trent, at Saturday, January 05, 2008 10:04:00 AM  

  • Wow... so its not that you think there is something specific to believe in, but that all JW's, Mormons and Catholics.. Bhuddists are going to heaven becuase they believe in Jesus as a good man, prophet, healer, teacher etc.. as long as you believe in him for something?

    But you have to exclude somethings or you will run into difficulties. The Blind man was healed and believed in Jesus as a healer, but that was not enough. Some of the Pharisees believed he healed with the power of Satan.

    Let me know if I am misunderstanding you. It sounds close to Universalism which I struggled with for a time... so very comforting.. but not Biblical.

    By Blogger Trent, at Saturday, January 05, 2008 10:16:00 AM  

  • Trent you most surely have misunderstood my position. I don't believe eternal life has anything to do with Denominationalism or Systematic Theology or religion in any way. I am persuaded that Christ will even grant eternal life to a devout Baptist if only he will trust in the name of the only begotten Son of God! ;-)

    By Blogger Kc, at Saturday, January 05, 2008 12:19:00 PM  

  • KC,

    you write:

    if only he will trust in the name of the only begotten Son of God!

    If you were evangelizing this baptist and said this to him, what would be your answer if he asked you this:

    What exactly does it mean to believe in the name of the only begotten Son of God? How do I do that? Are you saying if I believe that the Son of God's name is Jesus that I have eternal life?

    Ambiguity can be fatal to gospel presentations. What does it mean to "believe in His name" if it isn't believing in that name for eternal salvation?

    What does "believing in" His name mean?

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Saturday, January 05, 2008 2:51:00 PM  

  • Antonio if my understanding is correct then the word “name”, when used in the phrase, “in the name of”, is a reference to the power and authority of the person in question. This should be evident in the context of other verses in John that use the word “name” in a similar fashion.

    Jesus answered them, "I told you, and you do not believe; the works that I do in My Father's name, these testify of Me. (Joh 10:25 NASB)

    took the branches of the palm trees and went out to meet Him, and began to shout, "Hosanna! BLESSED IS HE WHO COMES IN THE NAME OF THE LORD, even the King of Israel." (Joh 12:13 NASB)

    "You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you. (Joh 15:16 NASB)

    "In that day you will ask in My name, and I do not say to you that I will request of the Father on your behalf; (Joh 16:26 NASB)

    "While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given Me; and I guarded them and not one of them perished but the son of perdition, so that the Scripture would be fulfilled. (Joh 17:12 NASB)

    but these have been written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing you may have life in His name. (Joh 20:31 NASB)


    I think we can also determine, from the book of John, the significance of believing in the power and authority of “the only begotten Son of God”.

    "I and the Father are one." The Jews picked up stones again to stone Him. Jesus answered them, "I showed you many good works from the Father; for which of them are you stoning Me?" The Jews answered Him, "For a good work we do not stone You, but for blasphemy; and because You, being a man, make Yourself out to be God."
    (Joh 10:30-33 NASB)

    For this reason therefore the Jews were seeking all the more to kill Him, because He not only was breaking the Sabbath, but also was calling God His own Father, making Himself equal with God.
    (Joh 5:18 NASB)

    By Blogger Kc, at Saturday, January 05, 2008 4:29:00 PM  

  • KC you are killing us. :) you are making us try and figure out what you believe LOL. Ok, so in your understanding, if someone believes in Christs power they have eternal life?

    By Blogger Trent, at Saturday, January 05, 2008 6:15:00 PM  

  • Trent it is my understanding that if a person perceives then believes that the man Jesus of Nazareth is equal to God, having the full power and authority of God by virtue of His divine relationship with the Father, then that person is not condemned but has everlasting life.

    By Blogger Kc, at Saturday, January 05, 2008 7:33:00 PM  

  • KC Thank you. :) I appreciate your candor it is very refreshing. I am going to ignore the perceive then believe as I think you just meant believe, but if not, please correct me.

    For clarification, I submit the following questions. I want to make sure that what you stated is all that needs to be gotten accross to an unbeliever in your opinion.

    1. Can they believe that Jesus is GOD and disbelieve the trinity, or must they understand the Trinity concept.. at least as much as anyone can?

    2. Must they also Believe in him for eternal life or is belief that Christ is co-equal to the Father enough?

    3. Do they have to Believe in the Cross and Ressurection or any other truths such as him being born of a virgin etc? (If no, you do not have to explain)

    4. Do you believe that Martha and the disciples had eternal life before comprehending that Jesus Christ was God?

    By Blogger Trent, at Saturday, January 05, 2008 10:27:00 PM  

  • Trent if you found my last comment refreshing then you’re going to love this one! (grin)

    Let me preface by saying that I am persuaded that the Gospel of John is a fully adequate Gospel presentation. I am also persuaded it contains a solid framework for developing a partial understanding with respect to soteriology. (As an aside I qualify any understanding of soteriology as partial simply because we are assured by the scripture that the grace of God that brings salvation is beyond understanding). I am also persuaded that most of the misconceptions that might arise as a result of any assumption or presupposition are dispelled in the further writings of the Apostle but that a more full understanding of these things can only be achieved when the harmony between the Gospel of John and the remainder of the scriptures is discovered.

    You wrote:

    ”I am going to ignore the perceive”

    Brother I honestly suspect this is one of the primary reasons that so many of you are at such great odds with so many other brethren. To ignore the necessity of the revelation of Jesus Christ is to ignore the necessity of the grace of God that brings salvation. This is the only way that God reveals Himself and no man can even perceive God except through the person of Jesus Christ, let alone enter into eternal life in Him.

    Consider the discourse in John 6 and focus on vs. 40 for a moment:

    For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.

    Jesus explains that before we will believe in Him we must first perceive Him. Now continue on to this:

    "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. "It is written in the prophets, 'AND THEY SHALL ALL BE TAUGHT OF GOD.' Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father, comes to Me. "Not that anyone has seen the Father, except the One who is from God; He has seen the Father. "Truly, truly, I say to you, he who believes has eternal life.
    (John 6:44-47 NASB)

    Jesus explains further that we come to Him when we are drawn by the Father and we believe in Him when we have heard and learned from the Father. He explains that it is not through direct communion with the Father that we do so but through “One who is from God”.

    In the Apostles day that “One” was the very Son of God. He came in name of the Father and laid claim to His own title revealing through His works that He possessed the full power and authority of God. John 16:7-11 records that later and prior to His ascension Jesus explained that when He had gone away the Holy Spirit would be the “One” who would convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment.

    It is in this revelation that God becomes the author of our faith. Through the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ the convicting power of the Holy Spirit reveals Jesus Christ in us. This is the grace of God that brings salvation and it is irresistible. At this point it is incumbent on us to believe in Him. This is our faith through which God accomplishes salvation. The spirit birth is the consequence of the conception of God’s grace (Christ revealed in us) and our faith (our belief in Him).

    When we ignore the grace of God we can easily perceive the spirit birth as the conception of information and reason. Our faith is not in God’s testimony concerning His Son but in our own understanding and we establish ourselves as the author of salvation.

    As usual I’m uncertain whether I’ve said too much, too little or said it too wrong! I pray that this porridge is not too hot or too cold but just right. ;-)

    To answer your questions:

    “1. Can they believe that Jesus is GOD and disbelieve the trinity, or must they understand the Trinity concept.. at least as much as anyone can?”

    The doctrine of the Trinity is a theological construct and as such is only a tool that is useful in understanding. The person who believes in Christ will “experience” the Trinity whether they take exception to the term or not. They will not deny any person of the Trinity whether it be the Father, the Son or the Holy Spirit.

    “2. Must they also Believe in him for eternal life or is belief that Christ is co-equal to the Father enough?”

    The assurance or certainty of eternal life is only given to those who believe in Jesus Christ. Anyone who does not believe in Jesus Christ cannot have the testimony of God within that is the assurance of eternal life though they may certainly hope for it.

    “3. Do they have to Believe in the Cross and Ressurection or any other truths such as him being born of a virgin etc? (If no, you do not have to explain)”

    A person under conviction of the Holy Spirit will not reject these truths though they may or may not be cognizant of them at the moment they believe in Jesus Christ.

    “4. Do you believe that Martha and the disciples had eternal life before comprehending that Jesus Christ was God?”

    I believe that, as Jews, their salvation was in the fact that they believed God and it was counted to them as righteousness and that because they believed God they believed in Jesus Christ when He was revealed.

    I would appreciate it if you would highlight any Clintonian language you find here so that I can try and escape from this inconsistent hopeless quagmire! ;-)

    By Blogger Kc, at Sunday, January 06, 2008 4:05:00 AM  

  • Good Morning KC

    Perhaps I just should have asked for an explanation of percieve. :) Yes, I believe that you must be confronted with truth to believe it. I consider that self evident, and did not understand that was how you were using it.

    I agree with what you say up until "This is the grace of God that brings salvation and it is irresistible. At this point it is incumbent on us to believe in Him. This is our faith through which God accomplishes salvation. The spirit birth is the consequence of the conception of God’s grace (Christ revealed in us) and our faith (our belief in Him)."

    Ok, irresistible grace sounds calvinist. :) Now, so that I don't represent you unfairly, I need to understand where you stand in Calvinism. I know some believe you are regenerated before you believe.. that you have no choice and that God either created you for heaven or hell. For now, lets just focus on whether you require someone to believe in Christ to be regenerate, or they are regenerate first.. that way we stay close to topic. :)

    1. So they must understand that God is 3 separate persons. This is easier I guess if you are stating that a person is regenerate before they believe. But I am not sure you are. ;)

    2. I think I will understand your answer once I understand how you believe a person becomes regenerate. It sounds like its a requirement, but an effect rather then a cause?

    3. Ok I understand what you are saying here. :)

    4. So were they saved by Faith in Christ or Faith in God in your opinion?

    I will comment further, once I understand your beliefs, because then I will not make such mistakes as I did with percieve. :)

    Grace and Truth

    Trent

    By Blogger Trent, at Sunday, January 06, 2008 9:22:00 AM  

  • Casey,

    I have been looking for pragmatic answers. Let us for the time being take the mysticism out of the conversation.

    When someone believes something, they are quite cognizant and aware of that which is being believed.

    When someone preaches a gospel presentation, if they hold to a faith only position, they endeavor to present to the unbeliever precisely that which must be believed.

    In your answer to me, you really didn't apply it to the hypothetical questioner himself.

    You told him to believe in the name of the Son of God, in other words, believe in the authority of Christ. FOR WHAT PURPOSE SHOULD HE DO SO? "Why should I believe in the authority and deity of Jesus?"

    Let me ask you to do two things for me to see where the rubber meets the road:

    1) give us a simple outline of your gospel presentation

    2) give us a detailed potential invitation of your gospel presentation.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Sunday, January 06, 2008 9:36:00 AM  

  • Trent thanks again for the kind reply. I really don’t want to beat a dead horse but I find this point critical.

    You wrote:

    ”…I believe that you must be confronted with truth to believe it. I consider that self evident…”

    Do you consider that confrontation an act of God?

    With regard to your disagreement; I am uncertain if you disagree with all of that statement or only a portion of it. Could you be a bit more specific?

    Let me say that doctrinally I am opposed to the Roman error whether reformed or not! ;-) I should also say that I am opposed to the Roman rule that agreement in theology be requisite for fellowship in Christ but I know I am one of a very small minority that do. One more thing I will say is that while I do believe there is a system of theology I find every system of man lacking, including and especially my own. To fully comprehend the system of theology would be to fully comprehend Christ and though it’s my goal I don’t believe it can be fully attained in this life.

    With regard to irresistible grace, I do believe that when God determines to reveal Christ in us that there is no force in heaven or on earth that can prevent Him and so I believe that His Grace is irresistible but I do not believe that faith is. From what I can gather there are many that make no real distinction between grace and faith, even to the point where they would perceive faith as grace. Concerning election , if election is by predestination then I would say that the scripture is very unclear concerning the already condemned elect. (grin) I am convinced that there is no one elect apart from Christ and that only Christ and those in Him are elect.

    With regard to terminology, from a biblical perspective, regeneration has nothing to do with that classification of Systematic Theology I am sure you are referring to. That’s only more of the Roman error IMO.

    You wrote:

    ” 1. So they must understand that God is 3 separate persons.”

    I do not believe eternal life is granted because a person understand this, only that the person who is under the conviction of the Holy Spirit will not deny any person of the Trinity.

    You ask:

    ” 4. So were they saved by Faith in Christ or Faith in God in your opinion?”

    In my opinion faith in Christ Jesus is faith in God. We can only perceive God in Christ.

    By Blogger Kc, at Sunday, January 06, 2008 12:59:00 PM  

  • Antonio I will try to be as practical as I can. For you I will even try to remove mystery from the conversation thought in my heart I know it is not possible to remove it from our understanding.

    You wrote:

    ” When someone believes something, they are quite cognizant and aware of that which is being believed.”

    To this I agree but when someone believes in someone it is because of their confidence in the ability of that person and not because of their knowledge of that ability.

    You wrote:

    ” When someone preaches a gospel presentation, if they hold to a faith only position, they endeavor to present to the unbeliever precisely that which must be believed.”

    Here again it is not a matter of what must be trusted but of who must be trusted.

    You wrote:

    ” You told him to believe in the name of the Son of God, in other words, believe in the authority of Christ. FOR WHAT PURPOSE SHOULD HE DO SO?”

    I think this is our greatest point of contention. The purpose a person might have for believing in Christ could vary greatly but I am persuaded that in some form they either desire the truth, the way and/or life. The person who believes in Jesus will have confidence that He has the full power and authority of God in these things even though he may have no understanding how it is He will administer them.

    You ask:

    "Why should I believe in the authority and deity of Jesus?"

    Because the Holy Spirit makes it clear that only He alone can mediate between you and God in whatever you desire of Him.

    You ask:

    ” Let me ask you to do two things for me to see where the rubber meets the road:

    1) give us a simple outline of your gospel presentation

    2) give us a detailed potential invitation of your gospel presentation.”


    I think you know that the Gospel I teach is the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It begins in Him with creation and ends with Him eternal but in simple outline form:

    Creation and the fall of man with emphasis on unbelief.
    Judgment on sin and the promise of Christ.
    The first covenant of law and death with God’s chosen people with emphasis on the function of the High Priest and the sin offering.
    The new covenant in Christ with emphasis on the “more excellent way”. (I think this is what you want to know most so I will add this includes every major aspect of Jesus life from the immaculate conception to the death, burial and resurrection. The more excellent way is an explanation of our reconciliation to God by grace through faith.)
    Glorification and our future reign and rule with Christ.
    Re-creation completed in the new heaven and new earth.

    I only repeat Christ invitation to those that are weary and heavy-laden, to them who are thirsty and to those who fear death, judgment and hell to come to Jesus.

    By Blogger Kc, at Sunday, January 06, 2008 1:35:00 PM  

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