[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, February 09, 2008

Is Receiving Christ Passive?

by Rose
10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1)
Believing and receiving are what give men the right to be children of God. Men are charged with “not receiving” Him. Contra wise, one does not will oneself to be born again. This verse is such a wonderful marriage of divine sovereignty and human freedom. People can receive Him or “not receive Him,” but don’t take any credit for being born again because it is all of God. Both sides of the coin are presented here.
_____________________________
In verse 12, “but as many as received Him” uses the Greek word below:

lambanō (lam-ban'-o)
to take - accept, + be amazed, assay, attain, bring, X when I call, catch, come on (X unto), + forget, have, hold, obtain, receive (X after), take (away, up).


In verse 12, the word for “faith” is this Greek word:

pisteuō (pist-yoo'-o)
to have faith (in, upon, or with respect to, a person or thing), that is, credit; by implication to entrust (especially one’s spiritual well being to Christ): - believe (-r), commit (to trust), put in trust with.

___________________

Some have said that this is passive, like “receiving a blow to the head.” Does that sound passive? Not to me. When people are being born again, they actively welcome Him and what they are hearing of Him into their knowledge. This dispels –for me- any idea that someone would receive eternal life from Christ while rejecting great truths about Him. Receiving and rejecting are contrasted here. Some welcomed Him, some rejected Him. “Receive” is put in contrast to “received him not.” Is “received him not” also passive? Not. The Jewish leaders in large part rejected Him, “received Him not.” They were accountable for this active rejection.

I think the idea that “received Him” in verse 12 is passive, like receiving a blow to the head, actually has a lot in common with the Calvinist idea of regeneration preceding faith and the lopsided view of divine sovereignty that non-Calvinists eschew. :~)

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140 Comments:

  • Amen sister!! I am thankful I get the privilege of being the first to comment because I so agree with your post, especially the part about receiving Him being antithetical to rejecting great truths about Him. Right on target Rose! Keep up the great work & God Bless.

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at Saturday, February 09, 2008 8:16:00 AM  

  • I agree, up to a point. How did the Jews receive Him not? What did they not believe about Him? What do those who adhere to Judaism today not believe about Him? They don't accept Him as the Christ, the Son of God - they don't believe He is divine - they don't believe He is God. I think the importance of preaching the Gospel is that it draws men to Christ - that they might accept Him who died for the sin of the world, who was buried, who rose again. That they might believe in His name, Jesus Christ, as the one true God. This all rests on the authority of God's Word. Could someone reject a plain truth about Him in the Word and still accept Him - it doesn't seem logical as it undermines the authority that saving faith rests upon. However, I would have to say people can be very illogical. Saving faith is clear - believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and you will have life in His name.

    As these verses clearly point out, receiving Him is accepting Him - accepting who He is. Believing in Him is to believe in His name, to trust in that which you accept - that Jesus is God.

    He is the object of saving faith. His person (who He is - His deity - His name) is the content of saving faith.

    The thing I struggle with in regards to this post is this:

    can someone believe in Him and reject some other fact as revealed in God's Word - such as that He was born of a virgin?

    I would say, illogical but possible.

    By Blogger Jon Lee, at Saturday, February 09, 2008 1:00:00 PM  

  • A follow-up:

    Can someone reject a truth in the Gospel and believe in Him?

    I would say no. To reject the facts contained in the Gospel is to reject the mechanism that draws all people to Him. Rejecting the Gospel is rejecting God's Grace through which saving faith is made possible.

    By Blogger Jon Lee, at Saturday, February 09, 2008 1:07:00 PM  

  • Nice post, Rose. You nailed it.

    By Blogger tjp, at Saturday, February 09, 2008 2:17:00 PM  

  • Is receiving Christ something one must do in addition to trusting Christ for eternal life?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Saturday, February 09, 2008 2:36:00 PM  

  • Matthew -

    I was a bit vague on this. I would say they have to be synonymous. To receive Him is to believe in His name - to accept who He is, God, through belief in who He is, God.

    By Blogger Jon Lee, at Saturday, February 09, 2008 5:07:00 PM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Considering/thinking about the evidence is active. The believing itself is passive. Those who come to faith actively consider the message, and then are passively convinced. You hear the message, think about it, perhaps ask questions, all of which are active mental processes. Then you either end up convinced or not convinced.

    By Blogger Danny, at Saturday, February 09, 2008 5:37:00 PM  

  • Good post Rose.

    I think we need to be careful to set the right parameters as to what it means to believe and what it is we do believe.

    In this case I think the creeds are very useful statements as pointers as to what the believer should believe.

    For instance some people today say they believe in Jesus in that he was a great moral man who pointed the way to God, but I don't believe he was God...the question to ask is have they really believed Him, and have the really received Him?

    I would say the answer is no, that they are talking about a different Jesus to the real one. The same would go regarding his death, resurrection, ascension and coming again.

    You can't really believe and receive Him if you don't fully believe what He has done for us in the essentials.

    I also think that recieving him is a lot like Isaiah's experience when he had the vision of the holiness of God and cried out woe is me...and a angel took a hot coal and purified his lips with it.

    Having a vision of our own sinfulness and knowing and accepting what Christ has done for us means to truly receive Him

    Blessings craig

    By Blogger Craig Bennett, at Saturday, February 09, 2008 9:38:00 PM  

  • Rose,

    How many conditions are there to appropriate eternal life?

    1 or 2 or more?

    What does it mean to "receive" Him is contradistinction to believe in Him? And what other scriptural support would you give to support your answer.

    I have never read where someone has to "receive" or lambano Jesus as a condition for everlasting life.

    Look at the passage this way:

    Those who are children of God can be described as those who have recieved Jesus. Jesus was recieved by believing in Him.

    In verse 11 the Jews didn't recieve Him.

    Let me ask you a question. Why?

    Precisely because THEY DID NOT BELIEVE IN HIM.

    You receive Jesus by believing in Him.

    Recieving Jesus is not a condition parallel to beliving in Jesus for everlasting life. There is no other passage to substantiate such an interpretation of this verse. Recieving Jesus is the immediate concomitant of believing in His name.

    Furthermore, no one is going to believe in Jesus unless they are persuaded that He has authority to perform what He has promised, in other words, dispense everlasting life to all who believe in Him.

    Remember, Jesus of Nazareth has been given authority by God, having been exalted to the right hand of God, being given all authority on heaven and on earth, having been ordained and appointed the Christ and Lord, who is the Savior of the World, the guarantor of everlasting life to the believer in Him.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Sunday, February 10, 2008 12:00:00 AM  

  • You say someone cannot be born again while rejecting great truths about Jesus.

    Why?

    What if someone is not persuaded that someone is rightly interpreting the scriptures pertainging to whatever doctrine they are trying to teach?

    If somone is not persuaded of "great truths" about Jesus but is persuaded that Jesus of Nazareth is authorized of God to guarantee irrevocable eternal life to the simple believer in Him, why would you have him end up in hell?

    It makes no sense.

    On one hand, one is given everlasting life by Jesus of Nazareth when He is believed in as one's certain eternal Savior.

    On the other hand, one is condemned to hell when they do not believe in Him.

    You are exacting an ambiguous and questionable condition for everlasting life that would be in addition to the 150+ instances where faith alone is sufficient.

    What if they only know Him to be a prophet who has been ordained of God to give everlasting life to those who believe in Him?

    Isn't that how Peter and Paul describe Him in the Acts?

    Whenever "great truths" remain unspecified, and remain a condition for eternal life, everyone will have a pause to wonder if they have all those "great truths" committed to faith so that they can be saved. Contrary, they may greatly wonder if there are more truths that need to be assented to in order to have everlasting life.

    There is a grasping of straws. It seems that people are looking for scripture to justify their feelings rather than reading scripture to inform their theology.

    Jesus Christ is eternal life. When you recieve Him, you appropriate eternal life.

    How do you receive Him, and thus receive eternal life?

    By believing in His name.

    You receive Jesus by believing in His name.

    Receiving Jesus is receiving eternal life. You don't receive eternal life by any peripheral act other than faith.

    This is no irresistable grace.

    Why?

    Believing in Jesus RESULTS in receiving Him which gives one the right to be children of God.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Sunday, February 10, 2008 12:13:00 AM  

  • Craig
    "For instance some people today say they believe in Jesus in that he was a great moral man who pointed the way to God, but I don't believe he was God...the question to ask is have they really believed Him, and have the really received Him?"

    If somebody believes that Jesus is just a moral teacher, they are unlikely to believe that He has the power to grant eternal life.

    Faith is not affirming facts about Christ, but trusting Him for the gift He offers, namely eternal life.

    The Bible gives us no list of facts that must be believed about Christ in order to be born again.

    You mention recognising our own sinfulness.

    This is very helpful in terms of enabling us to know that we need eternal life, but in itself, believing we are sinful is not a condition for being born again.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Sunday, February 10, 2008 12:44:00 AM  

  • Hello Rose and others,

    This is my first post here. I have enjoyed reading this site.

    KJV John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

    The receiving in v. 12 is contrasted with the idea of not receiving Christ in v. 11. We are told Christ's own did not receive Him, yet in v. 12 people do receive Him.

    First I note (from those who understand Greek, which I don't) that the receiving is in the active voice meaning the subject is doing the action. So, the "as many" are doing the act of receiving. The "power" (exousian) is a right , privilege or authority possessed by those who received Christ. The phrase "even to them that believe on his name" is tacked on at the end, which is common in the Greek word order. It obscures the relationship of the last phrase (even to them that believe on his name)to the intial (But as many as received him) which talks about receiving Christ. The relationship is more obvious in the Greek and it lets us know that believing on his name is an explanation of the receiving him. The section about believing is an attributive particple in apposition to the action of receiving. Because of this, the NIV translates it as shown below. It makes the relationship more clear.

    NIV John 1:12 Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God

    The verb form for believe is also in the active voice in this verb. Thus, strictly on a grammatical level, there is no reason to think of either of these actions as passive.

    If you told someone to receive Jesus Christ, they might ask "What do you mean by receive?" The answer would be to believe on his name. One receives Christ by believing on Him. The phrases are two ways of describing a single action.

    By Blogger Looker4522, at Sunday, February 10, 2008 12:39:00 PM  

  • Rose,

    Interesting reading of John 1:12. There are three verbs and a verbal participle here. Your correct that the the lexical form of the first verb is λαμβάνω
    but the form it takes in this sentence is an aorist active indicative, 3rd person plural - ἔλαβον. The aorist tense of the verb is usually rendered "they took" or "they received." This tense describes a undefined action that usually occurs in the past. We usually translate with simple English past tense.

    The next verb ἔδωκεν is a μι verb, again a aorist active indicative, but this time it is in the 3rd person singular. And would be rendered "he gave".

    The next verb is an aorist middle infinitive, γενέσθαι
    and is usually rendered "to become."

    Finally, the participle, πιστεύουσιν - present active participle, dative masculine plural and should be rendered "trusting" or "believing". This last verb gives grammarians trouble since they read into it "keeps on trusting." While it is true that you could translate this participle that way, it is a matter of more than just the verb tense, you have to consider context - a good discussion about why we need to be careful with translating verbs and participles this way is over at Dr. Rene Lopez' site. Michael Makidon is the author:

    http://scriptureunlocked.com/
    papers/pisteuo.pdf

    So all verbs in this passage are active with the exception of the infinitive which is in the middle voice. You usually translate a middle as an active voice.

    In looking at the Hebrew concept of faith/trust/belief the Hebrew idea of faith seems to have commenced with the passive sense and the active sense is not at all prominent.

    There is, however, a rich background of Hebrew words denoting trust and confidence, all of which convey something of the completeness of the Greek word, πιστεύω. The word to which we have just referred, אמן, finds its classic example in Abrahamic faith (Gen 15:6). An even more frequent word is בטח which means “to throw one’s cares on someone,” hence “to lean upon, or to confide in.” The uniform translation is trust, as in Proverbs 3:5, See also Ps 25:2; 32:10; 37:3, 5; 56:4, 11; 112:7; 125:1; Isa 26:3.

    We have to be careful again to match the words with the context. Many of these instances in the Old Testament refer to physical deliverance.

    But all said, the answer to the question is receiving Christ passive?

    In so far as the word receive is concerned, John uses it along with several other words like "seeing," "drinking," etc., to denote saving faith. In other words you could substitute the word "believe" here and the idea would be the same, non-meritorious faith is passive.

    By Blogger Jim, at Sunday, February 10, 2008 11:26:00 PM  

  • David,
    I am glad what I say resonates with you. That is nice to have someone on the blog that is on my wavelength with these things.

    Jon,
    Thanks so much for your thoughts.
    Can someone reject a truth in the Gospel and believe in Him?

    I would say no. To reject the facts contained in the Gospel is to reject the mechanism that draws all people to Him. Rejecting the Gospel is rejecting God's Grace through which saving faith is made possible.


    Well, I agree. It just doesn't make any sense. As far as objecting to the virgin birth - I think that is so illogical. Why would someone believe the biblical information about Jesus being the guarantor of eternal life... while at the same time tossing the things that Bible has to say about the virgin birth? When someone receives Christ, they are going to take what they get at that moment of faith, not receive half and reject the other half.

    Do we have instance of such a discriminating conversion experience in the Bible... or in our own sphere of aquaintance?

    Anyone?

    By Blogger Rose~, at Monday, February 11, 2008 5:59:00 AM  

  • Tracy,
    Thanks for your comment. That means a lot to me coming from the author of such an awesomely comforting blog as Liver and Onions! :~)

    Matthew,
    No. Trusting Christ for eternal life is part and parcel of receiving Him, wouldn't you say?

    Danny,
    I appreciate your thoughts there. So you wold say "coming to faith" is active?

    By Blogger Rose~, at Monday, February 11, 2008 6:03:00 AM  

  • Craig,
    I think what you have described is the mainstream of expereinece for conversion. If there were an exceptional case, I think it would be just that - an exception. I have never met anyone who has had much different of an experience other than what you describe.

    Thank you for your comments!

    By Blogger Rose~, at Monday, February 11, 2008 6:26:00 AM  

  • Antonio,
    Hello my brother. You would say that "believing Him" describes "receiving Him." I would agree and add that "receiving Him" describes "believing Him." No two steps - I am not advocating two steps. I think what we have is one step and this verse helps me to get my mind around what that one step is.

    What if someone is not persuaded that someone is rightly interpreting the scriptures pertainging to whatever doctrine they are trying to teach?

    That is a different scenario than what I am thinking of.

    Whenever "great truths" remain unspecified, and remain a condition for eternal life, everyone will have a pause to wonder if they have all those "great truths" committed to faith so that they can be saved.

    This is not what I am talking about at all. I am not thinking of someone wondering if they have this that or the other thing "committed to faith." I am talking about if you have a faithful look toward Jesus Christ. One knows whether or not they have had this. If they "believed in Him" under a cloud of skepticism about His person and work, then they probably should wonder whether or not they had saving faith, don't you think?

    Furthermore, who will have a pause to wonder if they have all those "great truths" committed to faith so that they can be saved? We know whom we have believed. One can know IF THEY HAVE BELIEVED in the Son of God. If one rejects half of the truth about Him at the time of HIs "visitation", they know if they have NOT BELIEVED. If they have any doubt, they can search and find the truth about this great Person who is eternal life.

    If this is ambiguous to you, I can't help it - it seems clear to me. :~)

    God bless you, brother!

    By Blogger Rose~, at Monday, February 11, 2008 6:44:00 AM  

  • Looker,
    I agree about this being one action. No one was ever advocating two actions. Perhaps I miscommunicated. Either way, it is good to have that all cleared up. Hey, thanks for your visit!

    By Blogger Rose~, at Monday, February 11, 2008 7:07:00 AM  

  • Jim,
    Wow! That was quite a lot of information. I have to read that over a couple more times. You seem to know a lot about this language. :~)

    So would you say it is linguistically justifiable to equate the word receive in "as many as received Him" with the word receive in a phrase like this: "receive a blow to the head"?

    Thank you for your contributions to the discussion.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Monday, February 11, 2008 7:13:00 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Your post is short and sweet! I think (which means I don't have time to offer full support) that we are saved based on God's faithfulness to His promise.

    We believe/trust=faith in the Christ of the Gospel (all of it) and He saves us.

    Our reception is belief and He acts on that.

    There is the issue of "intellectual assent" where a person believes there was a guy named Jesus who did what He did but who doesn't trust. That person has not "repented unto life". That could be a complicated conversation.

    By Blogger Kevl, at Monday, February 11, 2008 8:41:00 AM  

  • Rose, if receiving is simply trust, then I dont think your post in any way negates the fact that faith is passive.

    I am afraid I find it hard to respond to this post. There is something of a lack of any substantial argument here.

    I agree with Antonio's response.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Monday, February 11, 2008 10:04:00 AM  

  • Matthew.
    I would say this is my "argument" good or bad, significant or unsubstantial...

    1. Receiving Christ is the opposite of rejecting Him.
    2. Rejecting Him is not in the realm of passive thought process.
    3. Therefore receiving Him is not a passive thought process.

    Also, the secondary "argument" or point of my post:

    1. Calvinists of the 'regeneration preceding faith' 'faith is a gift' persuasion view faith as a thing passively received.
    2. The "blow the head" view sees faith as a thing passively received.
    3. Therefore ...
    a. The blow-to-the-head view is not holding to the regular non-Calvinist position.
    b. The blow-to-the-head view has something in common with Calvinism.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Monday, February 11, 2008 10:23:00 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    To talk more on point this time, reception of Christ is not a passive thing. It is active, though not a "work". We receive actively by changing what we believed before to the Gospel.

    As you do, I reject the Calvinist doctrine of regeneration prior to salvation. The Scriptures "actively" negate such a view. :)

    God speaks through men as though He is pleading with people to be reconciled to Himself. He's asking for an act. It's called "obeying" the Gospel when we repent to trust Christ. Seems pretty active to me. :)

    That is not to say that the person accomplishes any work. The person can not change themselves 1 little bit.

    Kev

    By Blogger Kevl, at Monday, February 11, 2008 12:04:00 PM  

  • Hi Rose/Matthew,

    Have either of you done your homework on this matter of the Calvinist view of saving faith? There is a distinct lack of any references to any Calvinist creeds etc.,

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Monday, February 11, 2008 2:05:00 PM  

  • Rose,

    Looker4522 has nailed it. Receiving Jesus is believing in His name.

    If you are of the idea that an active idea of recieving must qualify what the Evangelist means when he says, "believing in His name" you are going to come up with several problems.

    Do me a favor. By an act of your will choose to believe fully in everything that I believe. Choose to believe in all the doctrines that I have been writing about these years. Choose to believe all of the doctrines as of yet you do not believe.

    Waiting...

    You only have to do it for a few minutes! Regard everything that I have taught and written as completely true.

    You can't?

    Why?

    Because you have not been persuaded that all the elements of my position are true.

    Persuasion is the heart of faith. And persuasion is passive. At the moment someone is persuaded that something is true, he believes it as a passive result.

    It is clear in the context that receiving Jesus is believing in His name.

    Believing in His name is trusting in the authority of Jesus in His guarantee to dispense irrevocable everlasting life to the believer in Him for it.

    At the moment someone is persuaded that Jesus is the Christ, the Savior of the World, the Guarantor of everlasting life to the believer, he receives eternal life, and becomes a child of God.

    If someone is not persuaded of the authority of Jesus, in other words, that He is the Christ, the ordained one of God, who has the power to guarantee everlasting life to the believer, HE CANNOT BY AN ACT OF THE WILL DETERMINE TO BELIEVE THAT WHICH HE HAS NOT BEEN PERSUADED OF.

    But,

    at the moment he becomes (note passivity) persuaded of te truth of Jesus' authority whereby He guarantees eternal life to the one who believes in Him for it, he becomes a child of God.

    You write:
    ----------
    1. Calvinists of the 'regeneration preceding faith' 'faith is a gift' persuasion view faith as a thing passively received.
    ----------
    Calvinists may understand faith to be given pasively, but they do not understand faith to be passive! They understand faith in the three part Reformed mode:

    notitia
    assensus
    fiducia

    Which requires an act of the will, which requires volition. So although they believe that faith is imparted to an individual, they do not believe that faith is passive!

    Take a look at how Paul describes Abraham's conversion:

    Rom 4:20-21

    He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.

    Notice how Abraham's saving faith is described as persuasion, or being "fully persuaded". If this is not enough, read the following verse:

    Rom 4:22
    And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.

    What was imputed to Abraham as righteousness?

    Answer:

    Him being "fully persuaded" that what God promised He was able to perform. Another way to say this is that He believed.

    I don't think that you are very far away from Matt's and my view.

    You see, one must become persuaded that Jesus Christ is authoratative and "able to perform" what "He [has] promised".

    Where we disagree, possibly, is that you may believe that someone needs to assent to some checklist of ontological details about Jesus Christ before he can be persuaded that Jesus is authorized to dispense eternal life to the believer.

    I don't believe that there is some set amount of pre-requisite knowledge about Jesus that needs to be assented to before one can legitimately become persuaded that Jesus is the one authorized of God, the Christ of God, the Savior of the World, and the Guarantor of everlasting life to the believer in Him for it.

    People were persuaded of Jesus' annointing by God with far less information than you would deem required. Some believed just because of a woman's word (John 4). Some believed because of miracles he did. Others believed because of his teaching authority.

    I believe that it is sufficient to say that anyone who, through any communication, deliberation, and consideration of details about Jesus of Nazareth, becomes persuaded, convinced, that Jesus is able to perform what He promises in His evangelistic message, is believing that Jesus is the Christ, the Guarantor of eternal life to the believer.

    Of course, information about Jesus will have to be known. Does it all have to be known or even the greater and meatier aspects of His person? I say NO! Would assent to these aspects make it easier to believe that what Jesus has promised He is able to perform? Potentially, yes.

    It just all depends upon the specific evangelistic circumstance and situation that one finds himself in.

    Someone could be persuaded that Jesus is authorized, having authority, to perform that which He promises apart from believing that Jesus is God.

    In the next little comment I will provide something that you have not yet responded to me about, which was addressed to you in another post here.

    Your brother,

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Monday, February 11, 2008 2:05:00 PM  

  • Rose, you write:
    ----------
    John 1:12 (received HIM)
    ----------
    What are you trying to say receiving Him means? Recieving Jesus is recieving eternal life, because Jesus IS eternal life.

    And how does one receive Jesus? Remember, receiving is a PASSIVE action. When someone punches you in the face, you receive a blow? What did you do? Nothing. It was passive!

    In John 1:12, it is manifestly shown that receiving Jesus is the result of "believ[ing] in His name".

    What is recieving Jesus in your mind? please elaborate.

    Rose continues:
    ---------
    John 4:10 (WHO it is)
    ---------
    Who is Jesus, Rose?

    He is the Christ of God. What does "Christ" mean? Annointed. Jesus is the annointed of God. That is who He is.

    How was He described in this dispensation by the preachers in the book of Acts? Let us look at a couple of examples:

    "...God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ" (Acts 2:36)

    "... the God of Abraham... glorified His servant Jesus" (Acts 3:13)

    "... God annointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good, ... for God was with Him" (Acts 10:38)

    "And He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To Him all the prophets witness, that through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins" (Acts 10:42-43)

    "From this man's [David's] see, according to the promise, God raised up for Israel a Savior -- Jesus" (Acts 13:23)

    "Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things..." (Acts 13:38).

    I could go on.

    How is it if I believe that Jesus is:

    1) the one God made Lord and Christ
    2) the Servant of God
    3) the one annointed of God with power and the Holy Spirit
    4) the one who God was with
    5) the one who was ordained by God to be judge
    6) David's seed who was raised up by God to be Savior
    7) the Man through whom faith in Him brings justification

    That I am not believing who Jesus is?

    Are you requiring that someone knows everything about Jesus before they can know who He is? Those 7 things (which are by no means exhaustive) ARE WHO JESUS IS.

    Maybe you need to require a semester of Christology for the potential convert before he can be persuaded that Jesus is authorized of God to impart everlasting life to the believer in Him for it.

    Rose continues:
    ----------
    John 17:3 (KNOWING Jesus Christ)
    ----------
    Bobby Grow once used this verse to try to object to my position. Here was my answer to him:

    (Begin me:)
    ----------
    Bobby, you are making a grave mistake in your assessment of John 17:3, for you are confusing the result with the condition.

    In verse 2 we have the Son dispensing eternal life, in verse 3 we have the description of what eternal life is.

    And this IS eternal life (not "And this is how one receives eternal life"), in order that they may know you, the only true God, and the one whom You sent, Jesus Christ.

    The result of the reception of eternal life is a true beginning, starting place, of the knowledge of God the Father, and of Jesus Christ. It is the inception, the genesis of a relationship.

    "know" is a polymorphous word and thus can be used in a variety of nuances. I can say "I know my teacher but I just don't know him" and it would be legetimate. Eternal life is the beginning of knowledge of the Father and Jesus that should be built upon.

    Eternal life is not a static entity, but is an experience that should be grown, which has great potentials.

    But again, you confuse a result with a condition, which is unfortunate.

    For all those who take a "more knowledge necessary" view, saying one must know a multitude of facts concerning the ontological nature of Christ and other Christological facts, you have yet to precisely enumerate them for us in a statement.

    Just EXACTLY what needs to be believed in order to be saved, and where does the bible support your answer?

    Antonio
    ----------
    Needless to say, it has taken you years to have your current astute conception of Jesus Christ. When one is born again, he may only know that Jesus is the authorized of God to give everlasting life to the believer. But his exercise of faith brings him into the genesis of a relationship with Christ and God. It is the starting point where he will learn about them. He know has the Holy Spirit, and through time, prayer, and study of the word, he will grow in his knowlege of Christ.

    Rose concludes:
    ----------
    1 John 5:20 (KNOWING HIM and being IN HIM, the true GOD, IS ETERNAL LIFE)
    ----------
    Yeah, Rose. Once someone believes in Jesus, He has eternal life, and God has given us the Holy Spirit so as to enable us to know Him, in the intimate sense that John has been describing throughout his epistle, to those who are already born again.

    Don't put the cart before the horse. This capacity for understanding and increased knowledge of God comes as a result of receiving everlasting life by simply believing in Jesus.

    I have been thorough and straightforward.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Monday, February 11, 2008 2:06:00 PM  

  • Sometimes, I think, in our sincerest desires to consider the Gospel to the souls of those who have yet to receive it, we often fail to consider the experiences of the many found souls who have. This is the root of the disunity in this: lack of consideration. It means more than simple kindness, it means willingness to consider that I may be wrong and you may be right.

    By Blogger Another Voice, at Monday, February 11, 2008 7:36:00 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Another Voice, at Monday, February 11, 2008 7:37:00 PM  

  • Colin, thanks for jumoing in.

    Yes, I believe Calvinists usually (I did come across one exception) view faith as volitional and not passive.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Monday, February 11, 2008 10:55:00 PM  

  • Rose -

    I have to agree that receiving Christ and believing in Christ is active.

    I would say it is the difference in believing that Jesus is A God, a passive acknowledgment and believing that Jesus is THE God, actively believing in His name - in His person - receiving who He is. To receive Him is to believe in Him as the one true God.

    Yes, I know you would not work this out the same way, but I do believe saving faith is actively believing (receiving).

    In Christ,

    JL

    By Blogger Jon Lee, at Tuesday, February 12, 2008 9:00:00 AM  

  • Good morning, Rose!

    Matthew...You are right. Calvinists do hold that saving faith is active and not passive. Which makes all this talk about Calvinism's doctrine of faith being likened to receivng a blow to the head a bit up the left. Calvinists don't believe that God by passes the will of man. We just believe, as someone has said that God works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. We hold that believing on Christ and receiving Him in John 1:12 are one and the same act.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Tuesday, February 12, 2008 9:22:00 AM  

  • Colin, I agree with you and I plead innocent of suggesting that Calvinists think such a thing.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, February 12, 2008 9:50:00 AM  

  • Jon, I do not think you have explained what you mean in saying that faith in Christ is active.

    I think you are trying to change the subject to affirming the deity of Christ.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, February 12, 2008 9:51:00 AM  

  • Hi Rose
    Colin said:
    Matthew...You are right. Calvinists do hold that saving faith is active and not passive. Which makes all this talk about Calvinism's doctrine of faith being likened to receivng a blow to the head a bit up the left. Calvinists don't believe that God by passes the will of man. We just believe, as someone has said that God works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure. We hold that believing on Christ and receiving Him in John 1:12 are one and the same act.

    I think we need to decode what the Calvinist believes. We know that if saving faith was active on our parts then it would be considered a work. But the Calvinist avoids this difficulty because they believe that faith it self is a gift. So when Colin says that Calvinist don’t believe that God by passes the will of man is a little deceiving because they make it sound like man actually has a free will, which they believe he doesn’t as shown below:

    Calvinists of every stripe are united in referring to John 6:44 as a proof text for Irresistible Grace ( Rose, p. 36; Houck, Bondage of the Will, p. 12; Boettner, Reformed Faith, p 11; Seaton, p. 156; Wright, p. 133; Palmer, p. 61; Custance, p. 188; Van Baren, Irresistible Grace, p. 77.)
    Pink comments on the passage:
    To predicate the freedom of the will is to deny that man is totally depraved. To say that man has the power within himself to either reject or accept Christ, is to repudiate the fact that he is the captive of the devil. It is to say there is at least one good thing in the flesh. It is to flatly contradict this word of the Son of God—“No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him. (Pink, John, pp. 337-338.)

    We know that Jesus said if He be lifted up He would draw ALL men unto Himself (John 12:32). Also when I read what Pink said about man being the captive of the devil. What came to my mind was the parable about the seeds Luke 8:12 Those by the wayside are the ones who hear; then the Devil comes and takes away the word out of their hearts, lest they believe and be saved.

    Take the living water freely
    alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Tuesday, February 12, 2008 10:54:00 AM  

  • Also when I read what Pink said about man being the captive of the devil.

    Alvin...Are you denying that man is held captive by the Devil? (Or, if you are inclined to quibble about words, held captive by sin?)

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Tuesday, February 12, 2008 11:16:00 AM  

  • Hi Rose

    Colin my point was that the seed is in the heart and Satan has to take it away or the person will be eventialy convinced (illumination).
    Pink made it sound like everyone is in jail somewhere so the seed can't even get to where they are. This is not true because Jesus is drawing all men and all means all. And they really do have a free will to seek God. Not like the Calvinist free will who is forced by irrisistible grace. Seeking God is active but believing the saving message is passive therefore not being a work.

    take the living water freely
    alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Tuesday, February 12, 2008 11:41:00 AM  

  • Hi Rose
    Colin would like to chat with you longer but it's over 50 degrees here and the sun is shining and my rollerblades are calling me!
    alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Tuesday, February 12, 2008 11:59:00 AM  

  • Matthew -

    You said:
    "Jon, I do not think you have explained what you mean in saying that faith in Christ is active.

    I think you are trying to change the subject to affirming the deity of Christ."

    Not my intent at all. I believe trusting in Him alone as God is an active response to the Gospel - equated with receiving Him. As opposed to just assenting to his deity, in the passive sense, in which case you could hold to him as a god among many.

    In Christ,

    JL

    By Blogger Jon Lee, at Tuesday, February 12, 2008 12:39:00 PM  

  • I should have proofread that - what poor typing.

    Antonio,
    I skimmed your comments last night when I was making dinner and I need to read them over again more carefully if I am going to respond. I can't do it right now, but hopefully before too long I can. They are kind of long, brother.

    Colin and Matthew,
    My apologies. I am confused a bit, I suppose. I have not studied the confessions of faith. When I say that the Calvinist view presents a passive faith, that is how it seems to me from what I *have* read. (Which is not so much, relatively speaking.)

    But...
    When someone tells me that faith is a gift, how is this faith volitional? I am scratching my head a little. Perhaps this is another area of paradox within the Calvinist scheme?

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, February 12, 2008 12:56:00 PM  

  • Another Voice,
    What a great point!
    I always try to be open to the possibility that I am wrong aboutt he way I see these things. We should all be willing to consider this rather than biting and devouring those who hold to the authority of Scripture but are seeing it a little diffeent than ourselves. Then again, if we are convinced of our view, we shouldn't be shy about that either.
    Thanks for visiting.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, February 12, 2008 12:59:00 PM  

  • AGAIN, just to repeat - I also think that believing and receiving are the same thing.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, February 12, 2008 1:00:00 PM  

  • Every Calvinist I have ever read has said that people cannot decide to have faith - it is a gift from God. How is this not passive?

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, February 12, 2008 1:03:00 PM  

  • Rose
    I think what Calvinists mean is that God gives them the ability to decide to have an 'active faith'.

    I am sure Colin can explain his position better than I can.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, February 12, 2008 1:57:00 PM  

  • Colin,

    It is interesting that so-called Calvinists believe that faith is active, but John Calvin himself did not agree.

    "...as regards justification, faith is something merely passive, bringing nothing of ours to the recovering of God's favor but receiving from Christ that which we lack." (John Calvin - Institutes of the Christian Religion, III, xiii, 5

    "In short, no man is truly a believer, unless he be firmly persuaded [passive] that God is a propitious and benevolent Father to him... unless he depend on the promises of the Divine benevolence to him, and feel an undoubted expectation of salvation" (Institutes III.II.16)

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Tuesday, February 12, 2008 2:00:00 PM  

  • Jon, trust is passive.

    Did you decide to trust the US military to defend your country?

    I very much doubt it.

    You learned that the US military has the ability and the willingness to do its duty in defending your nation.

    You did never thought to yourself "Shall I trust that the US military has the power to defend this country?"

    Likewise a person cannot make a decision to trust Christ.

    She is either convinced that He is able to give her eternal life or she is not persuaded.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, February 12, 2008 2:01:00 PM  

  • Alvin: Can you give us some quote from Pink that [makes]it sound like everyone is in jail somewhere so the seed can't even get to where they are. With all your reading of Pink, was there nowhere where he indicated that he believed in the success of the gospel in bringing lost sinners to God?

    Rose: When I say that the Calvinist view presents a passive faith, that is how it seems to me from what I *have* read. (Which is not so much, relatively speaking.

    That's some admission, Rose! All these anti Calvinistic posts and all on the basis of very little read! :-)

    Every Calvinist I have ever read has said that people cannot decide to have faith - it is a gift from God. How is this not passive? Did these Calvinists say people cannot decide to have faith OR did they indicate that people in and of themselves cannot decide to have faith? OR (correct me if I'm wrong) did some other non Calvinist you read, say that Calvinists say that? If you want the real genuine stuff, then you need to get a good look at the Confessions...and not just isolated paragraphs here and there. There is one anti Calvinist blogger, whom we both know, who notoriously leaves out the fact that Calvinists believe that men are damned because of sin.

    If God works in me both to will and to do His good pleasure, can we deny that it is [i] a work of God and [ii] that I am willing? I think not.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Tuesday, February 12, 2008 2:04:00 PM  

  • Matthew -

    you said:
    "Did you decide to trust the US military to defend your country?"

    God never told me I had to believe in the US military for my country's defense.

    Big difference. I would say this herring is dark pink :).

    By Blogger Jon Lee, at Tuesday, February 12, 2008 2:06:00 PM  

  • Antonio: I'm heading for bed. I'll answer you in the morning. (DV)

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Tuesday, February 12, 2008 2:07:00 PM  

  • Jon, what I was using in the last comment was a thing called an analogy.

    That is where we make a comparison between two things in order to illustrate some aspect of their commonality.

    In using an analogy I am seeking to show that one does not decide to trust a thing.

    Trust is a mental state whereby one is persuaded of a thing's reliability.

    One comes to see that the US military is reliable through learning about their strength. Thus, one comes to trust in them to do their job without ever having to make a decision to trust them.

    Likewise, one comes to trust in Christ by learning His power to grant eternal life.

    It is necessary to consider the evidence for the claims of Christ, but this leads to one being persuaded rather than making a decision to trust Him.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, February 12, 2008 2:19:00 PM  

  • Are there not times when one chooses to actively trust in that persuasion - wherein your mind knows you can trust, but your nature leads you astray?

    By Blogger Another Voice, at Tuesday, February 12, 2008 3:04:00 PM  

  • Matthew -

    Being persuaded that I have eternal life because I have believed in Christ is a passive acknowledgment of truth, therefore it is not saving faith. Saving faith in my view is an active acceptance - receiving Him as the one true God akin to believing in the soldiers wearing American uniforms as the US military, not being passively persuaded of truth but actively accepting that who they present themselves to be is true.

    All I'm saying is your analogy (thanks for defining this difficult term) is a poor one that does not accurately deal with the portion of scripture in question. A thing called a red herring, that is a deflection away from the issue at hand.

    Rose makes a great argument against receiving Christ being passive.

    In Christ,

    JL

    By Blogger Jon Lee, at Tuesday, February 12, 2008 3:15:00 PM  

  • >It is interesting that so-called Calvinists believe that faith is active, but John Calvin himself did not agree.<

    Good grief. You guys are crisscrossing in and out of each others arguments. Calvinists and non-Calvinist alike. Sometimes you make each others case for each other and then argue against it. Truly faith is an act of man but impossible without the quickening power of the Holy Spirit who illuminates His word. Its simply too much of a mystery to figure out. Just be thankful you have faith in Christ alone.

    By Blogger Only Look, at Tuesday, February 12, 2008 7:58:00 PM  

  • Hi Rose
    Colin you asked:

    Alvin: Can you give us some quote from Pink that [makes]it sound like everyone is in jail somewhere so the seed can't even get to where they are.

    I did! Pink used the word CAPTIVE
    Pink comments on the passage:
    To predicate the freedom of the will is to deny that man is totally depraved. To say that man has the power within himself to either reject or accept Christ, is to repudiate the fact that he is the CAPTIVE of the devil.

    captive 1. a person held in confinement or subjection; prisoner
    (Webster's New World Dictionary)


    Colin asked:
    With all your reading of Pink, was there nowhere where he indicated that he believed in the success of the gospel in bringing lost sinners to God?

    What's his choice? Regeneration precedes faith. He can't even believe the gospel without being regenerated first which is the opposite of what the Bible says.
    What must I do to be saved? Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ!
    One believes then they are saved!



    Colin you said:
    If God works in me both to will and to do His good pleasure, can we deny that it is [i] a work of God and [ii] that I am willing?

    Colin it would be more accurate to say "you were made willing,"actually against your will.


    Colin you said to Rose: There is one anti Calvinist blogger, whom we both know, who notoriously leaves out the fact that Calvinists believe that men are damned because of sin.

    Actually the main issue with Calvinist isn’t sin! Because the Calvinist believes “HIS” sin was paid for. The Calvinist main issue IS he one of the elect? Sin isn’t an issue to him because he believes everyone is dead like a rock, they can’t believe, they can’t repent, they can’t do anything! They need to be regenerated first before they can do any of these things. And since they believe in the “package plan” just like the spaghetti sauce commercial “it’s ALL in there.” If it ain’t then you ain’t !!!


    Actually the ones the Calvinist really believe who are damned because of sin is the reprobates because Jesus didn’t die for them! The reprobates will be the only ones who will be damned because of sin! So if you’re the elect ALL your problems are solved with the “package plan”
    ( regeneration, faith, repentance, progressive sanctification, finish line the Calvinist WINS). They were never really lost in the first place, it was all just a game.
    And all the reprobates which is the majority of mankind were doomed from the womb! They were commanded by God to believe but they can't because He didn't choose to regenerate them. Reprobate don't pass goal but go directly to hell, I mean jail!
    He MUST but he can't believe.




    Take the living water freely
    alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Tuesday, February 12, 2008 8:22:00 PM  

  • As a newcomer to this blog, which BTW I think is pretty good, I would like to say that how about we drop the slanging about what Calvinists and non Calvinists believe or don't believe as there is such a wide diversity between and within both camps.

    What we need to do is to engage with the Scriptures to see what Scripture is saying for us to form such views.

    The Bible clearly says we have to receive / believe him.

    It also says that faith can only come from hearing the word of God.

    Ephesians says that we are saved by the gift of faith that it is imparted to us and it is not a work that we do ourselves.

    However, its how faith is given to us that we need to understand, and that is through hearing the word of God. We know that it is the work of the Holy Spirit to convince us of the righteousness of Christ, of our need for Him and the judgment of the devil and this is the work of God.

    Scripture also plainly tells us that we also are able to resist the Holy Spirit; yet at the same time it says that we are able to respond to the Holy Spirit. Nowhere does Scripture say that none of us are able to respond to the Holy Spirits work.

    So when one comes to faith, its because we have heard the word of God, been convinced of the truth of that word by the Holy Spirit and in doing so have been given the gift of faith by the Holy Spirit, because faith comes from hearing.

    By Blogger Craig Bennett, at Tuesday, February 12, 2008 8:36:00 PM  

  • Craig, I agree with you that there are none who are unable to respond to the Holy Spirit.

    I also think that the fact that faith comes by hearing supports the contention that faith is passive.

    You hear something because you are exposed to it. Of course, you can cover your ears and run away from the sound, but if you don't you will hear the noise.

    Every Blessing in Christ

    Matthew

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, February 12, 2008 10:57:00 PM  

  • Jon
    "Being persuaded that I have eternal life because I have believed in Christ is a passive acknowledgment of truth, therefore it is not saving faith. Saving faith in my view is an active acceptance - receiving Him as the one true God akin to believing in the soldiers wearing American uniforms as the US military, not being passively persuaded of truth but actively accepting that who they present themselves to be is true."

    I do not understand how one can actively accept a truth. One either believes a thing or one does not.

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Tuesday, February 12, 2008 11:00:00 PM  

  • Good morning, Rose/all!

    Antonio: Perhaps it would be more accurate (and I think this is where Calvin is coming from) to say that saving faith is both passive and active. It is passive in that it accepts certain teachings as true. God reveals Himself through His Spirit opening His word to the soul and the soul says (in effect) “This is what I need/want and I accept it as true.” On the other hand, faith is active in that the bare intellectual reception of doctrinal truths never saved any one and the Scripture exhorts the sinner by many active verbs i.e. flee, drink, eat etc., While Calvinists believe that the sinner is passive in regeneration, yet (as one somewhat astute Calvinist pointed out) man is never to be passive about regeneration and should seek the Lord (another active verb) while He is to be found etc.,

    Alvin: I wish that you could rein in your disposition to spray your bullets everywhere! I take this tendency as a sign of weakness in your argument. I asked you if you ever read anywhere where Pink believed that sinners could be reached with the gospel. If you have, then it puts in balance his correct view [i] that the sinner is captive [ii] the grace of God through the sowing of the seed can reach and release him from his prison house. You seem very unwilling to concede him this last point (which he earnestly believed). His comments on the parable of the sower include: One great design of this opening parable is to teach us the measure of success which the Gospel would receive among the Gentiles. In other words, we are shown what the results of this broadcast sowing of the Seed would be.

    Incidentally, the captive sinner portrayal is of course, scriptural truth. John 8:34 tells us that Whosoever committeth sin is the servant [Lit: bondslave] of sin. - a thought articulated again by Paul when he wrote: Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. (Romans 6:18) It was, of course, the express mission of the Lord Jesus to preach deliverance to the captives (Luke 4:18) Your problem in this matter, Alvin, is not with Pink but with the Scripture itself.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Wednesday, February 13, 2008 12:01:00 AM  

  • Hi Rose

    Colin it would be fine if we were simply going by scripture itself but by the time the Calvinist gets through twisting scripture they have made God into a Monster. And the picture they paint isn't very pretty. Being captive by sin is one thing, being captive by Satan to the extent one cannot believe is another and being dead in your tresspasses and sin is one thing, being dead like a rock is another. The one is scriptural the other is a perversion. I like showing just how ugly Calvinism is. If you go by that name, a man that had ones who disagreed with his belief of "infant baptism" burned at the stake you have much to be proud of. And those who know the truth know what I'm saying is true.

    Craig said:
    Ephesians says that we are saved by the gift of faith that it is imparted to us and it is not a work that we do ourselves.

    Epesians 2:8-10 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone boast.

    Salvation is the gift not faith. It's through faith that we receive the gift eternal life (made alive Eph 2:5).

    Whoever desires, take the livng water FREELY

    By Blogger alvin, at Wednesday, February 13, 2008 3:52:00 AM  

  • Alvin,

    You’re doing it again. Try and engage people without insulting them after the second or third exchange. You charged Pink with denying that the seed can reach the prisoner. I showed you, with an apt quote, that he believed otherwise and simply asked you, if you had ever read anywhere where Pink believed that sinners could be reached with the gospel? I assume from your response that you are unable to back up your allegation. If you hadn’t so read, just say so, and if you’re feel it is the decent thing to do, then withdraw the allegation. It’s as simple as that.

    Secondly, as I point out to Rose above, the Calvinist doesn’t believe that sinners cannot repent and believe the gospel. What we do say (and it makes a big difference) is that sinners in and off themselves cannot repent and believe the gospel. Furthermore, the only thing that holds them back is their own sinful hearts.

    In your last reply, you write: ”Colin it would be more accurate to say "you were made willing," actually against your will.” Again, I deny your charge. I suppose I really should ask you to follow it through with evidence? My sin bound will was renewed by the grace of God and I became willing in the day of His power. As Paul puts it in Philippians 2:13 God worked in [me] both to will and to do of His good pleasure. As Paul meant it, so I believe it. This mightn’t quite suit the teaching that you are determined to foist upon Calvinists, but then that should not worry us too much. All we need to do is ask you to verify it from (say) the Calvinistic confessions and then, in its invariable absence, point out that the variable insults are not proofs.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Wednesday, February 13, 2008 5:43:00 AM  

  • Colin,
    So is it a fair representation to say that regeneration is passive and then active faith is the result of that?

    I said "relatively." I don't know the ins and outs of all of the paradoxes, but I have probably read and know more about it than 90 percent of the people in my 50 member SS group at church. Either way, if I have drawn what I think is a logical conclusion of a given premise, you can always try to show me how I am wrong.

    Alvin,
    I asked you that earlier and perhaps you missed it. :~)
    Would you say that coming to faith is active?

    By Blogger Rose~, at Wednesday, February 13, 2008 6:05:00 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Yes, I would say that it is a fair representation to say that regeneration is passive and then active faith is the result of that i.e. man is passive in regeneration and that the invariable result of regeneration is his actively calling upon the name of the Lord - drinking the water of life - eating the bread of life - actively fleeing for refuge to Christ etc.,

    Rose, There is much more in the Westminster Confession than the decree of God etc., it really is a good solid rounded document on the Christian faith. It is worth getting, not (of course) to replace the Bible with, but as a secondary document or Bible aid. Maybe the Baptist Confession of 1689 would suit you better - the only changes relate to Church Government and Baptism.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Wednesday, February 13, 2008 6:16:00 AM  

  • Hi Colin Maxwell,
    It seems I made a mistatement in these comments that has gotten way too much attention. I used the word 'passive' in relation to Calvinist faith instead of regeneration. The shades of meaning here are parsed so carefully that I felt shame. :~) Let me just say this simply without the word 'passive' - like I said it in the post:

    I think the idea that “received Him” in verse 12 is like receiving a blow to the head, actually has a lot in common with the Calvinist idea of regeneration preceding faith and the lopsided view of divine sovereignty that non-Calvinists eschew.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Wednesday, February 13, 2008 10:17:00 AM  

  • Alvin,
    I have never known you to avoid one of my questions.
    Are you still rollerblading?

    By Blogger Rose~, at Wednesday, February 13, 2008 10:18:00 AM  

  • Antonio,
    Perhaps actually having been persuaded is passive, but allowing oneself to be persuaded is a choice... and therefore active. Would you agree?

    (That is in response to part of your first comment)

    more later

    By Blogger Rose~, at Wednesday, February 13, 2008 10:21:00 AM  

  • Rose, I am unaware of any of the Reformed commentators who view the receiving of Christ in John 1:12 in the sense of "receiving a blow to the head." A quick look at AW Pink's commentary, for instance, has these words: "This tells of the human side of salvation, what is required of sinners. Salvation comes to the sinner through 'receiving' Christ, that is, by 'believing on his name.'" Certainly in all my years of Reformed reading and listening etc., I have never heard anything other than the standard Evangelical view that receiving Christ is something the sinner does, as opposed to something which is inflicted (for the want of a better word) upon the sinner. I think it is better to sit with what has actually been said than to engage in what is basically speculation here. E-sword gives a whole host of Reformed commentaries free of charge. It is only a matter of looking up the relevant verses.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Wednesday, February 13, 2008 10:55:00 AM  

  • Rose,

    you write:
    ----------
    Antonio,
    Perhaps actually having been persuaded is passive, but allowing oneself to be persuaded is a choice... and therefore active. Would you agree?
    ----------
    In asmuch as someone "allows" himself to be given a blow to the face, someoene allows himself to be persuaded.

    Allowance really has nothing to do with it. If one is persuaded by communication concerning something, he believes as a passive result.

    Persuasion is passive. It is not something you can choose to do. If it was, then, Rose, you could "allow" yourself to regard every doctrine and position that I have written on to be true. But you can't.

    Why?

    One cannot force himself (in other words, by an act of the will) to consider true what they have not been passively persuaded of.

    And if someone has been persuaded of something, he has believed as a passive result.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Wednesday, February 13, 2008 12:40:00 PM  

  • Colin, if your answer is sufficient for you, concerning Calvin's understanding of faith (which he emphatically declares is "merely passive" and "firm persuasion"), where you want to eat your cake and have it too, then what can be said? You wish to hold to contradictory things in your head at once.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Wednesday, February 13, 2008 12:43:00 PM  

  • Hi Rose, I'm not ignoring you I wouldn't do that. These are my work days and they won't let me post at work, but I had already spoken to your question up above.

    Rose you asked:
    Alvin,
    I asked you that earlier and perhaps you missed it. :~)
    Would you say that coming to faith is active?

    Wednesday, February 13, 2008 6:05:00 AM



    Seeking God is active but believing the saving message is passive therefore not being a work.

    take the living water freely
    alvin

    Tuesday, February 12, 2008 11:41:00 AM

    By Blogger alvin, at Wednesday, February 13, 2008 7:17:00 PM  

  • Rose,

    To your question about languages - yes, have about 3 years of greek under my belt and am curretnly trying to add a first year of Hebrew and discourse analysis to that.

    You said (I have to put this here to remember your question - long day at work), "So would you say it is linguistically justifiable to equate the word receive in "as many as received Him" with the word receive in a phrase like this: "receive a blow to the head"?"

    My answer would be no, as some have pointed out is is a synonym for belief. Receiving Jesus consists of believing in His name - or person. Believing therefore equals receiving.
    Receiving Jesus consists of believing in His name.

    In the gospel of John belief is viewed in terms of a relationship with Jesus Christ, which begins with a decision to accept rather than reject who Jesus claims to be. This leads to a new relationship with God.

    The phrase "believe in His name" occurs three times in the Gospel of John (1:12; 2:23; 3:18). Name does not refer to the term by which He is called, but to what His name stands for—the Lord is salvation (see Ex. 3:14, 15). In this context, the phrase means to believe that Jesus is the Word, the life, and the Light—that is, He is the Christ, the Son of God (20:31).

    This again refers to His person. To many try to read their own theological system of the cross, resurrection, and many other things into simple faith in Christ Jesus.

    In His grace,

    Jim

    By Blogger Jim, at Wednesday, February 13, 2008 9:07:00 PM  

  • Rose,

    To your question about languages - yes, have about 3 years of greek under my belt and am curretnly trying to add a first year of Hebrew and discourse analysis to that.

    You said (I have to put this here to remember your question - long day at work), "So would you say it is linguistically justifiable to equate the word receive in "as many as received Him" with the word receive in a phrase like this: "receive a blow to the head"?"

    My answer would be no, as some have pointed out is is a synonym for belief. Receiving Jesus consists of believing in His name - or person. Believing therefore equals receiving.
    Receiving Jesus consists of believing in His name.

    In the gospel of John belief is viewed in terms of a relationship with Jesus Christ, which begins with a decision to accept rather than reject who Jesus claims to be. This leads to a new relationship with God.

    The phrase "believe in His name" occurs three times in the Gospel of John (1:12; 2:23; 3:18). Name does not refer to the term by which He is called, but to what His name stands for—the Lord is salvation (see Ex. 3:14, 15). In this context, the phrase means to believe that Jesus is the Word, the life, and the Light—that is, He is the Christ, the Son of God (20:31).

    This again refers to His person. To many try to read their own theological system of the cross, resurrection, and many other things into simple faith in Christ Jesus.

    In His grace,

    Jim

    By Blogger Jim, at Wednesday, February 13, 2008 9:07:00 PM  

  • Hi Rose

    Colins question
    if you had ever read anywhere where Pink believed that sinners could be reached with the gospel?

    Pink comments: "The will of the natural man is opposed to God, and he has no will Godward until he has been born again."
    Pink, John p. 30

    Colin when I have more time I will say more on this hopefully with out insulting you to many times. I believe in the past for a short moment in time we were building a bridge over the great pond. Don't take what I say to heart, my Great dislike for Calvinism is not against you as a Calvinist but against the horrible doctrine. I will try to be more polished in my ingadgments with you and instead of spraying my bullits I will aim more for center mass! I feel I can only improve with practice.

    Man does not live by rollerblading alone but must have balance!
    alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Wednesday, February 13, 2008 9:15:00 PM  

  • Good morning Rose, Antonio, Alvin

    Antonio: I am unsure as to why saving faith having both a passive and an active part should be described by you as ”eating your cake and having it.” As I have already intimated, faith receives certain doctrines as true. It yields (passively) to the truth of God. Yet (as said) ticking the right boxes will not save us and therefore we need to actively cast our souls upon these truths. An unsaved man could sit around a table and sincerely argue sound doctrine with (say) JW’s or RC’s. It is evident that he has received these truths into his head and can get quite fervent about them. Why is he still unsaved then? Because he has never actively cast himself upon Christ as His Saviour. This isn’t having your cake and eating it. This is going beyond the mere Pharisees who sat in Moses’s seat and who were to be obeyed in the soundness of their doctrine and yet who fell under the condemnation of John 5:40 “Ye will not come to me that ye might have life.”

    Alvin: You quote Pink: The will of the natural man is opposed to God, and he has no will Godward until he has been born again."

    I appreciate your efforts to try and still focussed. Your quote from Pink doesn’t deal with the matter at hand. I am aware of Pink’s view on the Total Depravity of man. I believe it is standard Calvinistic belief. What I have been asking for is evidence of your charge that he believed that the good seed could not reach the sinner in his lost condition. I remind you that regeneration in the Bible is distinctly said to be through the instrumentality of the incorruptible seed i.e. the word of God (1 Peter 1:23) So your quote actually proves your position to be wrong. I draw your attention again to his comments on the parable of the sower above. I cannot see how it helps your cause to deny men the good things they do believe.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Thursday, February 14, 2008 2:45:00 AM  

  • Good Morning Rose/Colin

    Being Rose started with this verse John 1:12. Maybe you all can plumet the depths of Vance's thought, I have not been able to yet but am working on it. But I as of yet do not posses a one year bible student degree, so must rely upon the Spirit.

    There are two pillars upon which the idea rests that man cannot accept Jesus Christ of his own free will:
    Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:13).
    So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy (Rom 9:16).
    These two phrases, "nor of the will of man and "it is not of him that willeth," are applied without exception by Calvinists to the will of man to receive Jesus Christ. Manford Kober maintains that "if the two verses prove anything, it is that man does not have a free will when it comes to the matter of salvation." The way this is done is standard operating procedure for the Calvinists. They do it by taking a word or phrase out of a vers and making it say whatever they want. A word or phrase can be used to prove anything if it is divorced from its context.
    The verse from John cannot be examined without noticing the context:
    He was in the world, and the world was made by Him, and the world knew Him not.
    He came unto His own, and His own received Him not.
    But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name:
    Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God (John 1:10-13).
    Calvinists often list verse thirteen as a reference after statements like that of Custance: "What could possibly be plainer statement than this of the fact that salvation is conferred upon a select number who are conceived by the Holy Spirit and born again by the will of God alone." Pink comments: "The will of the natural man is opposed to God, and he has no will Godward until he has been born again." What the Calvinists are implying is that a man has the inability to receive Christ of his own free will. In essence what the Calvinists have done is taken the phrase "received Him" out of verse twelve and substituted it for "born" in verse thirteen. This gives us: "Which received Him, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." But verse thirteen is giving us the source of the new birth, not the reason why men receive Christ. The source of the new birth is given three times negatively before it is given once positively. Anyone who is born again is said to be born of God to the exclusion of three things. The new birth is "not of blood." The source of the new birth is not physical generation, inheritance, or natural descent. The new birth is not "of the will of the flesh." The source of the new birth is not "of the will of man." The source of the new birth is not relatives,preachers, or priests. The threefold negation emphasizes the fact that the source of the new birth is "of God" and not of man. And why does God give anyone the new birth? God gives the new birth to "as many as received Him." The new birth is God's work, but the receiving of Christ is man's.

    By Blogger alvin, at Thursday, February 14, 2008 4:33:00 AM  

  • Alvin: You quote Vance as saying The new birth is God's work, but the receiving of Christ is man's. as if Calvinists believed otherwise. I repeat againthe quote which I gave from Pink’s commentary on John 1:12 This [v12] tells of the human side of salvation, what is required of sinners. Salvation comes to the sinner through 'receiving' Christ, that is, by 'believing on his name.'" while on v13 he states Just as v12 gives us the human side, so v13 gives us the Divine.
    Yep – the same p30 you mention above. You say: Maybe you all can plumet (sic – I think you mean “plumb”) the depths of Vance's thought, I have not been able to yet but am working on it. What depths? He’s chasing his tail on this one. He certainly isn’t refuting Calvinism as my quote from Pink shows.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Thursday, February 14, 2008 9:29:00 AM  

  • Rose you’ve sparked yet another great discussion and since I agree with no one so far I thought I might be able to add to the confusion. ;-)

    I am persuaded that being “persuaded” can be passive or submissive. I trust in my own understanding on this. I have not been persuaded to believe that trust is passive. I trust in my own understanding on this as well. The one thing that seems lacking in this discussion is the place that our values have in our determination to trust in the power and authority of Jesus.

    In the paragraph above the value I place in my own reasoning is enough for me to determine that being persuaded can be passive or submissive. My faith in Jesus is not based on my own reasoning but on the testimony of the Holy Spirit that the man Jesus is Christ, the Son of God. That is the grace of God that brings salvation. I was persuaded by grace, which I valued above all else to the contrary, and determined to believe in the power and authority (name) of Jesus. Not all men would place the same value on that grace according to the parable of the sower (Mark 4:3-20).

    The grace of God did not enable me to believe. God gave us all the ability to form a belief. The grace of God persuaded me that Jesus was Christ and commanded me to believe. I obeyed and determined to place my trust in Him.

    I was made subject to the grace of God through extraordinary means, which included the preaching of the Gospel, but my faith was not thrust on me. Had I valued my own reasoning above what God had revealed then I would not have understood the Gospel and denied Jesus.

    By Blogger Kc, at Thursday, February 14, 2008 4:12:00 PM  

  • I found this quote in the comment area of a Traditionalist's blog that I found quite interesting

    "It amazes me that I could believe something to be absolutely true, and at the same time have absolutely no faith in it"

    This statement is completely contradictory. If he believed it, he had faith in it, and contrarily, if he had faith in it, he believed it. "to exercise faith" and "believe" are exactly the same in meaning.

    ----------
    The classic English Bible, the KJV, is basically Anglo-Saxon in vocabulary and completely so in structure. But the 1611 translators were not afraid to use some choice Latin-type words, especially in the theological texts: justification, salvation, faith, cross, glory, and propitiation, to name a few.

    But this dual origin of English vocabulary occasionally poses a problem. Oddly enough, the most important Gospel word-family in the Greek NT is obscured in English. This is because we translate the Greek verb pisteuo by the Anglo-Saxon word believe, and the related noun pistis by the totally unrelated word faith (from the Latin fides, by way of French).

    At least partly due to this lack of similarity, many preachers who are weak on grace are able to maintain that the Greek lying behind one or both of the English words includes a whole possible agenda of works, such as commitment, repentance, perseverance, etc.

    Actually, believe and faith, as the Greek shows, are just the verb and the noun for a concept that is really no different in English than in Greek. That concept is taking people at their word, trusting that what they say is true.

    ----------
    (Art Farstad, The Words of the Gospel: BELIEVE/FAITH

    Believing is not enough in this man's theology, a person must have faith, which is belief + repentance, I gather.

    Upon closer examination, people ought to see this as the hulabaloo it actually is. "faith" and "believe" are exact corresponding cognates, the former a noun, the latter a verb, the former coming into English through the Latin by way of French, and the latter came through Anglo-Saxon.

    ----------
    In order to clearly demonstrate this fact we would like to take three of the most famous "believe" verses in the NT and re-translate them a little by using the word "faith" to show they are really the same in the original.

    First, the best known verse of all, the one Martin Luther called "the Gospel in a nutshell":

    For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whoever has faith in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16).

    Next, Paul's clear, simple Gospel command to the seeking Philippian jailer:

    Put your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved (Acts 16:31).
    Third, our Lord's wonderfully gracious promise:

    Amen, amen [lit. Greek text] I tell you, whoever hears My word and has faith in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life (John 5:24).

    These edited translations should help show that believe and faith really convey the same meaning.

    Now let's go in the other direction; let's take three famous "faith" passages and re-translate a bit to bring out the fact that the word in the original is just another form of the "believe" concept.

    First, the verse that gives us, not an abstract, but a working definition of faith:

    Now believing is the substantiation of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Heb 11:1).
    And here is probably the number two Gospel text for grace-believers:

    For by grace you have been saved through believing, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast (Eph 2:8-9).

    And finally, another verse from that great teacher of salvation by grace through faith, the Apostle Paul:

    But to him who does not work but believes [from pisteuo] on Him who justifies the ungodly, his believing [pistis] is accounted for righteousness (Rom 4:5).
    ----------
    (Ibid.)

    The lengths that people go to support their insupportable theologies is what is "amazing" to me!

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Thursday, February 14, 2008 4:21:00 PM  

  • I think that one of the reasons we have gone on this roundabout is a confusion between faith and trust.

    For some reason the word "trust" is more preferable to some over the word "belief". It is interesting that John the Evangelist in his gospel uses the Greek words pistis/pisteuw (belief/believe) 99 times in his gospel written so that man may have eternal life, and uses the term "trust" only once, and not even in a soteriological aspect.

    He did not consider the term "trust" be be superior to "belief".

    Trust is specific belief into one or more propositions.

    "I trust the airline pilot"

    Can be broken up in this way:

    I believe that the airline pilot is a professional, highly trained plane operator, skilled in flying, troubleshooting, emergency issues, flight safety, etc. I believe that he is able to conduct affairs sufficiently so that I will reach my destination.

    "Trust" in the mind of many here has an added element to "faith" that makes it superior to bare "faith". This element is either an "emotion", a "volition", or a "commitment". Emotion, volition, and commitment may very well follow trust. But at the very moment you define trust by its alleged and supposed fruits, you have added those consequent fruits as a condition for 'faith' being genuine faith, and have destroyed the certainty that faith inherently consists of.

    "Trust" is not a superior word to "faith," "belief," or "believe". Trust is a synonym to faith! Often times "trust" denotes faith in the reliability of an object, but it is nothing more!

    The words pistis/pisteuw (belief/believe) are the operative words in salvific contexts. Why are we so ambivalent to use them? People know what it means to believe something, they know whether or not they are convinced as to something or not!

    Further, I find that much confusion has ensued because of an ambiguity in the exact gospel proposition(s).

    John 11:25-26
    25 Jesus said to her, "I am the Resurrection and the Life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 26 And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?"

    Jesus asks Martha if she believes these propositions Jesus has stated concerning Himself. Her response to this is:

    John 11:27
    27 She said to Him, "Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God..."

    Her answer directly parallels the thematic statement of the whole epistle:

    John 20:30-31

    And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

    To believe those propositions is to believe that Jesus is the Christ! If you believe that Jesus is the Christ, (in the sense as it has just been defined by John in his evangelistic treatise: that He is the Guarantor of eternal life and resurrection to the believer in Him) you have 'exercised' saving faith!

    I frankly am baffled as to why some additional "personal" element is needed. The one who believes, IOW, the one who is certain of Christ's promise is believing Jesus Christ's saving gospel! The only personal element needed is inherent in the promise: "He who believes in Me (IOW what I am saying!)", "whoever... believes in Me". At the moment one believes Christ's promise, His propositions concerning Himself, IOW, is CERTAIN that what He is saying is absolutely true, it is sufficiently personalized, for the believer is included within the sphere of "he who" and "whoever".

    Of course it is not wrong nor misleading to ask one who claims that they are certain of Christ's guarantee what they now have. If they do not respond with "eternal life" then it is certain that they do not believe Christ.

    Nor is it wrong to "personalize" the message: "Do you believe Christ's promise that guarantees for you eternal life?" But it is not necessary.

    The one who believes Christ's promise is certain that Christ guarantees "he who" and "whoever" eternal life, which obviously includes them, for they are believing Christ.

    I cannot conceieve of someone saying "I believe Christ's promise, but I don't personally receive Christ's promise." They obviously do not understand the promise then and therefore cannot be believing Christ!

    The offer is "believe and YOU HAVE". If you believe then you at that moment HAVE. It is not qualified by any other component; not commitment, not volition, not emotion.

    So there are two problems: 1)the word "trust" is given preference over "believe" and 2) there is ambiguity over the proposition, due to inaccurate and misleading analogies.

    My take!

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Thursday, February 14, 2008 4:22:00 PM  

  • "I cannot conceieve of someone saying "I believe Christ's promise, but I don't personally receive Christ's promise." They obviously do not understand the promise then and therefore cannot be believing Christ!"

    Antonio, what if I believe that Christ is the giver of eternal life, but have been taught and also beleive that I can only recieve it by being good?

    Missy

    By Blogger Another Voice, at Thursday, February 14, 2008 4:45:00 PM  

  • Missy,

    they are mutually exclusive. To believe in Jesus is to believe that He is the guarantor of eternal life by simple faith in Him for it.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Thursday, February 14, 2008 4:55:00 PM  

  • Antonio,

    I’m not sure if your comment was in response to mine but I agree with your understanding of the terms “have faith in”, “believe in” and "trust in".

    I had no assurance of eternal life prior to believing or trusting in Jesus. It was only after I believed in Him that I gained that assurance through His word.

    By Blogger Kc, at Thursday, February 14, 2008 5:54:00 PM  

  • Antonio: Your somewhat modern view does not seem to make any allowance for someone grasping the truth of the gospel and yet rejecting it. For all we know, some unsaved person with some Bible knowledge may be reading these exchanges and believe that you are propagating the truth when you write what you do, and that I (and others) are missing the boat. Yet if he were to be challenged as to why he is still unsaved, he might reply that he has several reasons (which we would call excuses) why he has not yet come to Christ. He makes no profession of being a Christian, but may describe himself as an interested doctrinaire. If you were to reply that he but believes that you are telling the truth (as opposed to the truth itself) - surely the one presupposes the other. He must believe the truth in order to know that you are propagating it. (I hope you can follow my drift here.)

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Friday, February 15, 2008 1:30:00 AM  

  • Antonio,
    You have so many things to say I am still troubling over your comments of days ago and now with the comments I read this morning, there is more! :~)
    You and I are not on the same wavelength on these things. OK, where to begin?

    1. You can't agree that allowing oneself to be persuaded is active. What is active then in the conversion process, Antonio? IS listening active? Is considering active?

    You see, this is why I said that I find commonality between your view on this and the Calvinist view. I find myself asking, "What will the one who spurns God's grace be held accountable for if they hear the gospel and do not believe?" Whose fault is it? Is it because the evangelist was not persuasive enough? So this one loses out on eternal life because - through no choice of his own - he was not passively convinced? Don't you see how absurd that is?

    The Calvinist say that people cannot believe the gospel, cannot be persuaded "because no one seeks after God...." but you say that no one can choose to be persuaded, they either are... or aren't... based on ... whatever. These two positions, in effect, lead me to the same question. I wonder, "How can the unsaved Christ rejecter then be blamed for not receiving the gift of God - for rejecting Christ?"

    By Blogger Rose~, at Friday, February 15, 2008 6:28:00 AM  

  • Hi Rose

    This is a scenario of a Calvinist and a jail full of reprobates. The three characters are Alvin who is a Calvinist and Colin and Susan who are reprobates.

    Colin and Susan were having a conversation one day as they and all the reprobates were locked up in Satan's prison cell.
    Colin: Hey Susan did you happen to hear about that guy by the name of Jesus who I heard was weeping over Jerusalem, he said something about he would have gathered them as a hen gathers her chicks but they would not, what was that all about?
    Susan: Yes I did hear something about that guy. I remember he was always saying about having ears to hear or something like that.
    Colin: Yea I never did understand what he was talking about, did you?
    Susan: It was French to me!

    Alvin overhearing their conversation pointed to his ears and said "Now if you had ears like mine you would have known what He was saying!"
    Susan all of a sudden looks at Colin and screams you have no ears!
    Colin in return replies "neither do you!"
    Susan: No wonder we could never understand what that Jesus fellow was saying.
    Colin: Says to Alvin: "Where did you get those ears there magnificent!"
    Alvin: Alvin just grinned and said I didn't have to do anything thing I was born with them. Alvin went on to elaborate, it's called the new birth. It all came with the new birth. I was like all of you and it's like one day I woke up. I had new ears that I could hear what Jesus meant, and I could see it seemed like for the first time.
    Susan: Well Alvin how about us?
    Alvin: Well it's like this. If you don't believe in Him it's because your not one of His, but if you wake up one day then your like me, one of the elect.
    Susan and Colin scratch their heads some more and Susan asks: Alvin why did God choose you, and not me?
    Alvin: Really Susan no reason at all, I was no different then all of you, dead in trespasses and sin, I couldn't do anything or hear anything it's like I just woke up one day.
    Colin: A thought comes all of a sudden to Colin. Alvin someone that had ears like yours told me that God desired to save everyone, so why is there reprobates?
    Alvin: Well Colin God could have given everyone ears like mine but He chose not too, it's part of the hidden things of God.
    Colin: Alvin how can I even do my part if God doesn't do His first?
    Alvin: All I can tell you is if your one of God's elect you will believe of your own free will because God has done His part for you.


    Whoever desires, take of the water freely
    alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Friday, February 15, 2008 6:41:00 AM  

  • Rose,

    I concur with you completely. You have hit on something that troubles me with the refined free grace position, & has ever since I read bro. Hodges articles over at GES. God Bless.

    By Blogger David Wyatt, at Friday, February 15, 2008 6:52:00 AM  

  • KC,
    Man, you lost me. I gotta read that on over again! ;~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at Friday, February 15, 2008 7:18:00 AM  

  • Antonio,

    2. I agree about the word "faith" and "believe" and "trust." I enjoyed reading your re-translations substituting and interchanging the words faith and believe.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Friday, February 15, 2008 7:22:00 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Friday, February 15, 2008 7:55:00 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by the author.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Friday, February 15, 2008 7:59:00 AM  

  • (so sorry for the errors)

    Antonio,

    5. You said: I cannot conceieve of someone saying "I believe Christ's promise, but I don't personally receive Christ's promise."

    Now don't you remember that John told you this was him? He was exactly that person, before he received Christ. He understood the gospel, but did not want to be a recipient of it at the time he understood who Jesus was and what he had done. So it seems the tables are turned between us. You cannot conceive of something that has actually occurred. I cannot conceive of some of the things that you and Matthew postulate.

    :~) your sister.


    Hi Alvin,
    I confess, I enjoyed your story, but I am not sure I understand the relevance to what I commented just prior to it. Maybe it was not meant to have any relevance to my comment, but if it did, you have to spell it out for me. Thanks!

    By Blogger Rose~, at Friday, February 15, 2008 8:11:00 AM  

  • David,
    I don't know how this got cut off my last comment when I fixed it and re-published it. doh!


    David,
    I am glad that first comment was on your wavelength. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at Friday, February 15, 2008 8:13:00 AM  

  • (gosh I am sorry people, but part of my comment got really messed up when I tried to fix the spelling errors so I gotta re-post it agin! It was the way I worded #4 - I just can't leave it the way it was that second time)

    Antonio,

    3. You said: I frankly am baffled as to why some additional "personal" element is needed.

    I am baffled as to why you would want to omit it.

    Do you know of any person who came to Christ while not personalizing what He had done for them? Someone who was divorced from the reality of eternal life (and all that leads one to even consider a need for it)- to HIMSELF? I remember you and I and Matthew went round and round about this a long time ago. I did not understand or grasp your insistence on this then, and I do not get it now. You seem to want to say that someone can have faith in Christ for eternal life while reminaing totally cold toward Him.

    4. I think that is the common thread I am seeing in your arguments over various things - the deity issue, the lack of necessity in your view in regards to presenting the cross and the way you say there is no need for someone to understand that sacrifice...
    and this - the insistence that a woman, for example, does not need to personalize the fact that Jesus is the guarantor of eternal life to her.

    The text may not say that Martha believed she had any personal hook into this truth about Christ that she declared, but being a human being, do we really have to ask such things? Of course she did! Of course she personalized who Christ was for her.

    The one who believes Christ's promise is certain that Christ guarantees "he who" and "whoever" eternal life, which obviously includes them, for they are believing Christ.

    Yes, obviously they must know it is in regards to them or they have no reason to believe that Christ has done a thing for them.

    ...and more to the heart of the "crossless" (that stupid word again) controversy:

    Do you know of anyone who has been saved who, at the time of salvation, did not believe that Christ died personally for them?

    This is the bread and butter of one-on-one evangelism... and you are baffled by it?

    :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at Friday, February 15, 2008 8:45:00 AM  

  • Good Day Rose

    No it wasn't to your comment. It was showing the difference between the truth of believing first by your free will and then being born again and the false teaching of being born again before you can believe. Which the Dark Side contends is of your freewill also???? Then a scripture is plucked out of it's context to prove that God works in you to will and to do of His good pleasure so you are doing it of your own freewill sortta, maybe, kinda. Actually you have been reprogrammed by your Creator without knowing it. This is real deeeep, and I'm still in the process of plumiting the depths, but I'm thinking it came out of the pit so I might not be able to get to the bottom of it.
    I think I need to go rollerblading this is just to deep for me.

    Whoever desires, take of the water freely!
    Really, really, really, you don't even need a new program first!
    alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Friday, February 15, 2008 9:02:00 AM  

  • Hi Rose. You write: The Calvinist say that people cannot believe the gospel, cannot be persuaded "because no one seeks after God...." Can you give us a quote(s) for these statements?

    Hi Alvin,

    A wise move on your part! Having fallen short of admitting that I was continually getting it wrong and refuting the imaginations of my own brain, I too would hurry move on from trying to attack Pink with the deep things of Vance :0) [I jest a little…but no offence meant.]

    Your prison ministry hasn’t got off to a good start either. I certainly wouldn’t let sinners away with anything like what your flight into Calvinism has you doing. There are two vital ingredients that you leave you out your cake here.

    [i] If the sinner is ignorant – ”Yea, I never did understand then teach him. Tell him of the loving and dying Saviour whose death is sufficient to save a whole world of sinners and of the wonderful width of His invitation. For Calvinists do believe in the power of the blood to save sinners and the need to have that message preached to every creature.

    [ii] The responsibility of the sinner. Having proclaimed the gospel to the sinner, I would challenge them about coming to Christ. If they start to make excuses, I would warn them of the consequences of their sins, for which they must carry a full responsibility. The Bible tells us that the cause of a sinner’s condemnation is that they so love darkeness rather than light that they will not come to Him that they might have light (John 3:19)

    As for the sinner thinking he can playing the waiting game, as in How can I even do my part if God doesn't do His first? I would exhort him to seek the Lord etc., It is here that he will discover that all that he needs will be there for him. If he declines to do so, then it is wicked unbelief that holds him back and nothing else

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Friday, February 15, 2008 10:12:00 AM  

  • Colin,
    I said: "The Calvinist say that people cannot believe the gospel, cannot be persuaded "

    You ask for quotes to back this up. I am going by the many many conversations I have had with Calvinists in my church and in the blogosphere.

    Here, here is an example. One blogger with John Calvin in her sidebar quotes the Westminster confession and then interprets it for us:

    The Westminster confession:
    "Man, by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation; so as a natural man, being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto" (Chap. IX, sect. iii).


    Now her comment:
    They have no appetite for spiritual truth, no ability to understand it. Therefore, they
    --->cannot possibly believe<---
    the truth or appropriate salvation for themselves by any means.


    You and I both know that this is the way many Calvinists see it, just as I said.

    By Blogger Rose~, at Friday, February 15, 2008 10:40:00 AM  

  • Rose, Is that all which the WCF declares on the matter? I mean (and I am arguing here as an missionary and street Evangelist, who holds to Calvinism) - if knowing the terrors of the Lord, we are to persuade men (2 Corinthians 5:11) why should we think that they cannot be perusaded?

    I certainly wouldn't say that no men can be perusaded or that they are unable to believe. What I would say (and this makes all the difference) is that they cannot believe in and of themselves but (to give the whole picture (from the next paragraph in the WCF) When God converts a sinner and translated him into the state of grace, he freeth him from his natural bondage under sin, and by his grace alone enables him freely to will and to do that which is spiritually good..." This is a more accurate way of putting it. As a 5 point Calvinist, I would actually disown the view that the sinner cannot be perusaded or come to Christ with his will, unless it is qualified as above.

    Reagrds,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Friday, February 15, 2008 11:08:00 AM  

  • Hi Rose

    Hi Colin, how are you doing today mate? (Strictly in the sense of the brotherhood of men, which would be qualified by we are all in a human body)
    Colin I would be the first to admit I'm no match for your intellect, or the majority of the ones who blog here. I know also since you speak in Calvinistic code, I felt I needed to go to my strength which is common sense (sometimes) and use an analogy. Knowing that I would not convince you because as Antonio told Susan the paradigm shift would be very extreme. But my goal was for the other simple-minded people like myself that they would grasp the simplicity of the analogy and escape from the systematic code of the Dark Side.

    My real heroes are those ones who have the intellect to grapple with deep systems of thought but yet hold to the simplicity which is in Christ. These super heroes are few but very powerful and profound.

    Whoever (that's you!) desires (or even thirsty) take (simply believe) the water (Christ sufficiency) freely! Really!
    alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Friday, February 15, 2008 12:31:00 PM  

  • But my goal was for the other simple-minded people like myself that they would grasp the simplicity of the analogy and escape from the systematic code of the Dark Side.

    Alvin: I close my eyes and methinks I can see you coming to the rescue on your skateboard or roller blades or whatever you fly about on between posts :-) I'm not into conspiracy theories myself...

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Friday, February 15, 2008 1:08:00 PM  

  • P/s What's the chances of Missy weighing in with post #100?

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Friday, February 15, 2008 1:09:00 PM  

  • Hey Colin and Rose,

    Quick thought then I gotta go play UNO with the kids.

    There is a difference between understanding something and believing something.

    I understand Lordship Salvation, I believe, better than most who hold to it.

    Yet, although I understand it, I do not believe it.

    That someone understands the gospel, even the ins and outs, does not mean that he has been persuaded of its veracity.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Friday, February 15, 2008 1:32:00 PM  

  • Rose,

    Believing that Jesus died on the cross, even for yourself, is not saving faith. You seem to be equivocating all over the place. Let us discuss one aspect at a time.

    If you believe in Jesus, saving faith is sufficiently personalized.

    The problem with Colin and KC and the Traditionalist FGers, is that they believe in the two step:

    1) believe a bunch of facts
    2) trust in those facts

    this is a tautology. Trust and belief are the same thing.

    If you believe in Jesus, you trust in Him. If you believe that Jesus is the Christ, in the Johannine sense of he guarantor of eternal life to the believer, there is no other element needed. You have done what the Scriptures say is necessary for eternal life: believe in Jesus, i.e., believe that He is the Christ, the Savior of the World, the Guarantor of everlasting life to the believer in Him for it.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Friday, February 15, 2008 1:42:00 PM  

  • There is a difference between understanding something and believing something...That someone understands the gospel, even the ins and outs, does not mean that he has been persuaded of its veracity.

    Antonio: A good point, but surely a man can be even be perusaded that the gospel "works" and still reject it. I know of people who refused to go to gospel meetings in certain churches, because they were afraid (they said) that they would be saved. They could see other sbeing saved and knew that they needed to be saved and recognised the power of these pulpits (i.e. the message preached) and subsequently they declined invitations to go along.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Friday, February 15, 2008 1:55:00 PM  

  • Colin,

    I think you need to study psychology a little more.

    You said:

    "A good point, but surely a man can be even be perusaded that the gospel "works" and still reject it."

    This, in fact, is impossible. Faith is intellectual assent. Intellectual in the sense that it takes intelligence and understanding. Assent in the sense that is is agreement. Faith is cognitive agreement. If someone believes something, it is impossible for them to reject it, seeing that they agree to it.

    This is another one of those "la la land" ideas you are putting forth. If something is passive it cannot be active. If someone understands and agrees to something, he cannot reject it at the same time.

    This, of course, is different than saying this, for example (a true story):

    My mom called me on the phone the other night. She had a somber voice. I have heard such voices before. My father once told me, in the same voice my mom was using, that one of my brothers had died. Furthermore, one of my brothers, 10 years later, told me that my father had died.

    When my mom started in on this tone, I told her, "Mom, I do not want to hear any bad news."

    Why?

    Because I didn't want to be persuaded, or believe that something had gone wrong in the family. I didn't want grief.

    Of course, a few minutes later, I told her that I would listen. She told me that one of my brothers was having lots of tests on his heart due to chest pains and much numbness in the peripherals.

    As soon as someone hears something and is persuaded by it, it is at that moment impossible to reject. You cannot reject that which you believe. You can determine not to act on your beliefs, but it is thoroughly impossible and quite ridiculous, to state that one may reject what one has believed, been persuaded of.

    Based upon your brief last comment, I can see this happening:

    Someone being persuaded that a church service will give the truth concerning salvation (not yet knowing or understanding how it is appropriated) and reject going to that service because they don't want to be persuaded, they don't want to believe the truth, they reject God on some level or another. I think that this is a plausible possibility.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Friday, February 15, 2008 2:42:00 PM  

  • Oh man. Colin, I missed it! :(

    Missy

    By Blogger Another Voice, at Friday, February 15, 2008 2:53:00 PM  

  • Antonio,

    I disagree that FAITH is just an intellectual assent. It goes deeper then that. Faith has a combination of both the Intellect / mind and the Human Spirit meeting God.

    I have heard many stories for example where whole Muslim families have dreams where they meet Jesus and wake up saved...Just agreeing with some propositions that the Bible says is not salvation...

    The Apostle Paul met some Christians who had not spiritually met Jesus on his way to Ephesus, the same goes with the Christians at Samaria who intellectually agreed to the Gospel but had not yet received the Holy Spirit in a experiential manner.

    You can agree that something is true, yet not allow that truth to effect the way you live..., you can agree that prayer is good and necessary ...but not actually pray...you can agree at a Bible Study that Jesus is Lord, yet live a life that does not make him Lord...

    So Faith is more than just an intellectual assent...Faith involves ones whole being to come in line with what the mind agrees to...other wise as James says, "Faith without works is DEAD"

    By Blogger Craig Bennett, at Friday, February 15, 2008 3:03:00 PM  

  • Hi Rose

    Concerning passive faith what Calvin seemed to give with one hand he would take away with the other. Because of his view of the meaning of baptism, Calvin advocated the baptism of infants, even claiming that infant baptism rests “on such firm approbation of Scripture.” Ibid., p. 131 (IV.xv.10). In fact, those who opposed him on the subject were “frantic spirits” and “mad beasts.” Ibid., p. 1324, 1332-1333 (IV.xvi.1,IV.xvi.10). God will wreak vengeance upon any man who disdains to mark his child with the symbol of the covenant.” Ibid.,p. 1332 (IV .xvi.9). Although he rejected Augustine’s thesis that unbaptized children go to limbo, (Wendel, p. 328.) Calvin did say that “ infants are baptised into future repentance and faith, and even through these have not yet been formed in them, the seed of both lies hidden within them by secret working of the Spirit.” Calvin, Institutes, p. 1343 (IV . xvi. 20). (LMV)
    Yes the Institutes are a real eye opener!

    Blessings alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Friday, February 15, 2008 7:27:00 PM  

  • Rose, I read through KC's comment carefully - as I always do when a wise man speaks. When I try to envision what he says, I imagine that someone is offering me a gift, and if I trust that this person is giving me something good I will hold out my hand to recieve it. KC, is this anywhere near your point?

    Missy

    By Blogger Another Voice, at Friday, February 15, 2008 9:56:00 PM  

  • Craig,
    "So Faith is more than just an intellectual assent...Faith involves ones whole being to come in line with what the mind agrees to...other wise as James says, "Faith without works is DEAD""

    Are you saying that one must do works to be saved? You do not think we are saved by faith alone?

    By Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist, at Saturday, February 16, 2008 9:23:00 AM  

  • I thought I had posted this before,(I wrote it this morning - about 7 hours ago) but it isn't on the page. Thankfully, I didn't delete the Word page and was able to find it again. Whew!

    Hi Rose/Antonio:

    Antonio: You write: You can determine not to act on your beliefs, but it is thoroughly impossible and quite ridiculous, to state that one may reject what one has believed, been persuaded of.

    You are quibbling here over words. By refusing to act on your beliefs with determination, you are in effect rejecting what you believe and have been persuaded of. There must be many souls out there (not in la la land was you put it, but in the real world) who have been reared in the gospel, know it backwards, can understand its doctrine, fight its corner when the cults knock their doors and that which a sincere passion, and yet must confess at the end, “We are not saved.” Are they arguing fervently for something they don’t believe? No. Are they rejecting Christ whose doctrine they can so skilfully enunciate and so ably defend? Yes. They make no profession of faith and if asked straight whether or not they are Christians, they honestly deny it. “I’m no Christian, but I believe the Bible to be true etc.,” At the one and the same time, they believe (with the head in an intellectual manner) and yet they are actively rejecting what they know to be true, (We call it sinning against light) having been persuaded of its truth. As I say, this isn’t la-la land. Or if it is, the vast majority of Evangelical Christians are living in it and you and a mere handful of others are not.

    Regards,

    P/s Sorry to hear of your family troubles.

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Saturday, February 16, 2008 11:30:00 AM  

  • Hi Rose here are just a few of Colin’s statements to you:
    if knowing the terrors of the Lord, we are to persuade men (2 Corinthians 5:11) why should we think that they cannot be perusaded?

    I certainly wouldn't say that no men can be perusaded or that they are unable to believe. What I would say (and this makes all the difference) is that they cannot believe in and of themselves but (to give the whole picture (from the next paragraph in the WCF) When God converts a sinner and translated him into the state of grace, he freeth him from his natural bondage under sin, and by his grace alone enables him freely to will and to do that which is spiritually good..." This is a more accurate way of putting it.

    As a 5 point Calvinist, I would actually disown the view that the sinner cannot be perusaded or come to Christ with his will, unless it is qualified as above.

    Rose where we have to decode Colin’s Calvinism is when he states this: When God converts a sinner and translated him into the state of grace
    Rose we both know this isn’t Bible language but Calvinistic code for regeneration. The person has to be regenerated before he can do anything because the Calvinist believes everyone is dead like a rock. So all Colin is doing is playing word games like he is saying what we are saying when he's not at all. This comes from the Dark Side code.

    Take the water freely
    alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Saturday, February 16, 2008 5:40:00 PM  

  • Hi Rose

    Colin here are a couple quotes from Pink
    The issue then is whether a man can believe of his own free will. Pink asks the defining question: “Does it lie within the province of man’s will to accept or reject the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour?” Vance says: The question here does not concern whether a man has the natural ability in and of himself to repent and believe the Gospel without the word of God and the conviction of the Holy Spirit. That is not the issue, although that is what the Calvinist would like for everyone to think the issue is. But no one who believes what the Bible says about the depravity of man would assent to such a proposition. Therefore, the heart of the matter is whether a man has the free will to respond to the word of God and the Holy Spirit without being the subject of Unconditional Election and Irresistible Grace. Again, Pink concludes: “ Granted that the Gospel is preached to the sinner, that the Holy Spirit convicts him of his lost condition, does it, in the final analysis, lie within the power of his own will to resist or to yield himself up to God? Vance says: The Calvinist would answer in the negative. But whether this is ture remains to be seen.
    As we have seen, the problem with Calvinism is not what it teaches about the depravity of man but what it teaches about the result of this depravity. The Calvinistic result is recounted by Spencer: “Total Depravity insists that man does not have a ‘free will’ in the sense that he is free to trust Jesus Christ as his Lord and Saviour. Vance concludes by saying: The denial that man has the free will to repent and believe the Gospel is part of the broader teaching that man, because of his depravity, has the inability to do anything good at all: Vance had more to say about it but I will end there.

    As I see it the Calvinist doesn’t just believe in Total Depravity but Total Inability this is why the sinner needs to be regenerated first before he can even hear the Gospel and respond.
    alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Saturday, February 16, 2008 6:21:00 PM  

  • G'day Matthew,

    You asked,

    Are you saying that one must do works to be saved? You do not think we are saved by faith alone?

    I think that we are saved by faith alone, but if a person doesn't do good works then they are not saved. Which is what James says, and if the Bible says it - it has to be true.

    So if a person comes to an intellectual agreement that Jesus is Lord and yet doesn't do what Christ tells them to do they have proven that Jesus is not truly Lord in their lives. Scripture records Jesus as saying,
    "Why do you call me Lord, when you don't do what I tell you to do"

    I think Christ would be saying this to the Hyper Calvinists who told William Carey off for wanting to take the Gospel to India when they told him "Sit down young man, if God wants the Indians saved He will do it without any ones help"

    So the crux of the matter is that if Jesus is truly Lord in your life, then good works shall prove it...and not just because you say He is.

    The fruit of the spirit is Love, Joy, Peace....and if these fruits are not evidenced in a persons life, then I would say no matter how much they know the Bible and no matter how much they say Jesus is Lord, Scripture would say they are lying.

    By Blogger Craig Bennett, at Saturday, February 16, 2008 9:36:00 PM  

  • Good morning Rose/Alvin:

    OK Alvin:- We’re back to Pink again viewed through Vance’s spectacles plus a little of your own wisdom.

    Let’s be positive here. As the quotes stand, they sum up the Calvinistic position reasonably well, although I think Vance is overdoing it a bit when he tries to tell us that Calvinists want everyone to think that the issue is whether a man can of his natural ability in and of himself [Note: These are words that I contend for in my posts above to Rose. Nice to see that Vance has acknowledged them] repent and believe the gospel. I have certainly acknowledged the classic Non Calvinist position on this matter, although where it is denied that faith and repentance are gifts, (as on these pages) then even the classic non Calvinist position which Vance espouses here is abandoned. Am I right (Note: I ask a question to ascertain a position…it is not rhetorical) in saying that you denied that faith and repentance are gifts from God? Perhaps you didn’t. The trouble with comments and blogs is that you soon forget who said what.

    Of course, you do know that none of these quotes back up your original contention which you have since been unable to prove i.e. Pink made it sound like everyone is in jail somewhere so the seed can't even get to where they are. You may remember how I produced evidence from Pink’s own comments on the Parable of the Sower (which seemed the so obvious place to go) to show how he said; One great design of this opening parable is to teach us the measure of success which the Gospel would receive among the Gentiles. In other words, we are shown what the results of this broadcast sowing of the Seed would be. I am surprised that you came back to Pink again, especially seeing the matter at hand still lies unsolved. Alvin, the contention here is not whether Pink was a Calvinist, but whether he denied that the seed could reach the sinner. It is as if you are revving the engine of a car while sitting out of gear.

    Your new contention i.e. that the language of God translating sinners into a state of grace is not Biblical language (I quote) Rose we both know this isn’t Bible language but Calvinistic code for regeneration. is very easily answered. I’m sure that Rose uses her concordance, even if you appear not to. The Apostle Paul spoke of his regeneration in these words: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: (Colossians 1:13) If you are still enamoured with these codes etc., then you must include the Apostle Paul in your conspiracy theories.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Sunday, February 17, 2008 1:53:00 AM  

  • Antonio I’m praying for your brother.

    Rose I apologize once again for being unclear.

    Missy your prejudice toward me makes you far too generous but I have to forgive you. I have the same attitude toward you and most everyone else commenting here. ;-)

    What I had hoped to do was to first address the question in Rose’s article and then next to introduce another element (our values) for consideration in the discussion on the process of forming a belief, developing trust or having faith. I then tried to point out that while this process is an inherently human ability and responsibility that in this age faith in Christ is impossible apart from His revelation by the Holy Spirit.

    While I agree with Antonio that we can look to psychology for a better understanding of the process I also think that with an increased understanding comes a realization that no one could possibly believe in Christ apart from divine means. Now we don’t need to know psychology to understand that. We can learn that from the scripture and psychology cannot be used to make a believer but still I think for some it may be very helpful to be able to identify some of the pitfalls that people can stumble into when forming their beliefs.

    In the broader context I think this issue relates to the question of why one person would be redeemed while another person remains condemned. For the Determinist this question is answered by sovereign (s)election and therefore faith in Christ must only be a logical consequence. For those of us who find this presupposition unscriptural the answer can only be discovered if we can determine why one person would believe in Christ and another would deny Him. This can create a sense of urgency for the Evangelist who rightly desires “by all means” to “save some”. We become convinced that if only we can “persuade” people to believe in Christ that we can save them from destruction.

    The problem I find in this reasoning is that it requires that the Evangelist perform a work that can only be accomplished by the Holy Spirit. When we truly do begin to understand some of the psychology behind the process of forming beliefs then we must conclude that only our Creator could possess such intimate and detailed knowledge of a person as to actually persuade them to believe in Christ. If persuasion were the only aspect involved in forming a belief then this would prove the Determinist theory in that God persuades some and not others, however, this is not the case. I believe the scripture teaches that God persuades all to believe in Christ (John 16:7-11). There are numerous other aspects to our determinations concerning what is and what is not true but ultimately each of us is responsible to God for what we determine to believe.

    By Blogger Kc, at Sunday, February 17, 2008 3:30:00 AM  

  • Good morning Rose

    Colin you said: the contention here is not whether Pink was a Calvinist, but whether he denied that the seed could reach the sinner.
    Colin, Pink and yourself do not believe the seed can reach the sinner without the sinner FIRST being born again.
    And that’s ONLY for those unconditionally elected the rest are in a prison cell with NO ears or eyes





    Colin your piecing verses together and even using different wording taking them out of there context to support your Calvinistic false teaching of regeneration before a man can be persuaded and believe.

    Pink just as you have stated believed this: Pink comments: “The will of the natural man is opposed to God, and he has no will Godward until he has been born again.
    What the Calvinist are implying is that a man has the inability to receive Christ of his own free will. (LMV)

    Colin said:
    I certainly wouldn't say that no men can be perusaded or that they are unable to believe. What I would say (and this makes all the difference) is that they cannot believe in and of themselves but (to give the whole picture (from the next paragraph in the WCF) When God converts a sinner and translated him into the state of grace, he freeth him from his natural bondage under sin, and by his grace alone enables him freely to will and to do that which is spiritually good..." This is a more accurate way of putting it.

    Colin all you are doing is playing a word game, when you say “NO MEN”for the seed is in the heart of the one the seed was snatched out of by Satan lest he believe and be saved Luke 8:12.

    To use an example to show your folly.

    In John 3:1-18 We have Nicodemus coming to Jesus at night to gain the knowledge of His person, but Jesus tells him “ Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the Kingdom of God.”

    According to Calvinism a person is dead like a rock and first must be regenerated before they can have the ability to repent and believe. So when was Nicodemus born again? Was it when he first came to Jesus seeking the knowledge of His person? If so then Jesus would be telling a born again man that he must be born again. Certainly Nicodemus was not dead like a rock but had the will to seek out Jesus.




    alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Sunday, February 17, 2008 8:47:00 AM  

  • Alvin, You are becoming reckless in your comments. I quote "Colin, Pink and yourself do not believe the seed can reach the sinner without the sinner FIRST being born again. And that’s ONLY for those unconditionally elected the rest are in a prison cell with NO ears or eyes" You obviously provide no references, because this is not our position but rather the imaginations of your own brain.

    The parable of the sower itself shows that the word can reach the heart of the unregenerate and even have an effect. There is more soil in the parable than that which either yielded no fruit at all or some 30 some 60 and some 100 fold.

    Secondly, you seem to be woefully ignorant of the difference between spiritual interest and spiritual regeneration. It would appear that Nicodemus was regenerate after the conversation of John 3. It certainly was not before, because that would make the imperative command of v7 redundant. Calvinists would contend that the spiritual interest that Nicodemus showed was God given, and note (with pleasure) that it ultimately resulted in Niceodemus being born from above, even if at a later date.

    I really wish, Alvin, that you would take some time and do your homework before you lay all kind of baseless charges against Calvinists on this blog. I find it very easy to refute your charges because they are so absurd. Sorry to have to say this, but I do only in a spirit of defence and not attack.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Sunday, February 17, 2008 9:06:00 AM  

  • Hi Rose
    Colin those who are in the know see through your word games and smoke. You contradict yourself coming and going!
    You have regeneration taking place before the person can believe. All you do is play a word game to make it sound scriptural when scripture clearly shows one believes first then is regenerated. Just as the women at the well needed to know who Jesus was and know what the water He provided was, once believed she would have that water and not before.
    Whoever desires, take the water freely.
    alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Sunday, February 17, 2008 11:19:00 AM  

  • Some seem to deny that there is any soul winning or persuading men as to the gospel. Is there no persuading or convincing the unregenerate sinner? and is it really a waste of time to do so?

    Why answer the questions of an unbeliever or seek to persuade them?

    2 Cor 5:19-21
    God... has committed to us the word of reconciliation.
    Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

    Imagine imploring and beseeching for no reason. What use is it?

    Paul expended himself for Christ doing exactly this: disputing and persuading in the attempt to win people to Christ. As soon as he was converted, Paul "confounded the Jews...at Damascus proving that this is very Christ..."(Acts 9:22). Everywhere he went Paul "disputed...in the synagogue...and in the market daily..." (Acts 17:17). The last chapter of Acts tells us that even under house arrest in Rome, Paul was still at it: "...there came many to him, ... to whom he expounded... persuading them concerning Jesus..." (Acts 28:23).

    1 Cor 9:16, 19-22
    ...woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!...
    For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; 20 and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law(not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; 22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

    It sure seems that, for Paul, there is a lot riding on his shoulders to expend every effort, and by every means available to him, to seek to persuade the lost of the message of life.

    Antonio da Rosa

    PS: this assertion by KC is a false dilemma (AKA false dichotomy):

    "If persuasion were the only aspect involved in forming a belief then this would prove the Determinist theory in that God persuades some and not others, however, this is not the case."

    By Blogger Antonio, at Sunday, February 17, 2008 11:28:00 AM  

  • Antonio: You write: Some seem to deny that there is any soul winning or persuading men as to the gospel. Is there no persuading or convincing the unregenerate sinner? and is it really a waste of time to do so?

    Apart from Hyper Calvinists, I am not sure who you are talking about? As to your second sentence and the questions above, the answer to the first question is "yes" and the answer to the second question is "no"

    Alvin: I suppose the way your attacks were going, it was inevitable that you had to resort to laying such charges against me. Funny though, that after months on this and other anti Calvinist blogs, that you are the first to lay these charges against me. I'll leave it there.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Sunday, February 17, 2008 12:37:00 PM  

  • Antonio I hope this will help to resolve some of the differences in our understanding.

    Where you would say, “Some seem to deny that there is any soul winning or persuading men as to the gospel. Is there no persuading or convincing the unregenerate sinner? and is it really a waste of time to do so?”

    I would say, “Some seem to deny the power of the Gospel as the only means for soul winning or persuading men as to Christ. Is there any other power of God unto salvation beside the Gospel of Jesus Christ?”

    The word of reconciliation is the Gospel of Jesus Christ and it seems we all agree concerning the content of the Gospel. The psychology of the individual can only be addressed by The One who truly knows them. We plant and we water and we should be fervent to do so but only God can give the increase (1st Corinthians 3:5-11).

    Brother I hope I would never dampen anyone’s zeal to reach out to unbelievers or cause anyone ever to hesitate to share the Gospel. My desire is to point out the only hope for these is in the power of God and not in our understanding of it.

    By Blogger Kc, at Sunday, February 17, 2008 2:03:00 PM  

  • Well said Casey. There is much wisdom in your comments.

    By Blogger Only Look, at Sunday, February 17, 2008 6:18:00 PM  

  • Hi Rose/all
    Contradictions are innate within Calvinism and have caused divisions among Calvinists, who cannot agree among themselves on the fine points of TULIP. Consider the contraversy over the fitness for ordination of Godon H. Clark. "Cornelius Van Til led the sminary faculty in a Complaint against Clark's understanding of the Confession of Faith." In essence, Clark was accused of "rationalism" for his unwillingness to pretend that salvation was sincerelyoffered by God to those whom God, according to Calvinism, had consigned to the blindness of total depravity. Clark considered it to be a direct contradiction that God could seek the salvation of those "He has from eternity determined not to save."
    Dave Hunt "What Love Is This"

    alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Sunday, February 17, 2008 6:50:00 PM  

  • Thanks Bro. Brian but while I don’t always agree with Antonio’s conclusions I sure share in his sentiments. Compassion for the unbelieving has been altogether lost by so many today. One of the reasons that UOG is one of my favorite blogs is that it focuses our attention on evangelism.

    By Blogger Kc, at Monday, February 18, 2008 3:54:00 AM  

  • Good Morning Rose

    Colin are you doing a good job of pretending today?


    Whosever desires, take the water freely,,,,,really!

    alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Monday, February 18, 2008 4:30:00 AM  

  • Colin are you doing a good job of pretending today?

    Yes. I am pretending I don't hear you. :-) Time to move, Alvin. We've both said our bit on this thread.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Monday, February 18, 2008 5:35:00 AM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Only Look, at Monday, February 18, 2008 2:48:00 PM  

  • I deleted your comment Brian. You may take your charges against Matthew and I elsewhere. You will not use this forum as your soapbox to claim much and prove nothing.

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Monday, February 18, 2008 3:27:00 PM  

  • Casey,

    Your comment did not answer my last comment. You stated in your first comment:

    "This can create a sense of urgency for the Evangelist who rightly desires “by all means” to “save some”. We become convinced that if only we can “persuade” people to believe in Christ that we can save them from destruction."

    This was exactly Paul's attitude.

    By Blogger Antonio, at Monday, February 18, 2008 3:30:00 PM  

  • Antonio I suspect your contention is in the last sentence that you quoted. I understand that Paul was willing to employ every means in order to save some but he did not consider himself to be the means of their salvation or the one who saved them.

    It is not the sense of urgency or the desire to reach the unbelieving that I take exception to. It is the notion that we, of our own volition, can save anyone. I think we would do well to maintain the attitude that Paul described and displayed.

    By Blogger Kc, at Monday, February 18, 2008 5:10:00 PM  

  • Casey, with all due respect, these are Paul's words and not mine:

    "I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some."

    Subject: Paul, himself
    Predicate: does what it takes, becoming all things to all men
    subordinate conjunction of purpose: in order that
    Subject: Paul, himself
    predicate: may save some
    modifying prepositional phrase: by all means

    Paul, wanting to do whatever it takes, becomes all things to all men, for the purpose that he, Paul, may save some, by expending every means at his disposal.

    Casey, this is the word of God and not my view. The prima facie reading of this text is in my favor and against yours.

    This is not just a prescription for urgency, Casey. This is Paul considering the salvation of lost men and women contingent upon him "becoming all things" and expending every effort so that he could "by all means save some".

    Two people could have the same true testimony yet one can fail to persuade someone while the other can win over the same person?

    Why? I am sure that we could come up with a great many variables and characteristics distinguishing one proclaimer of truth with another.

    Never would I or have I denied that it is God who has made provision for salvation, nor would I or have I denied that it is God who regenerates men.

    Yet it is God who has entrusted man with the duty to win people for Christ, expending every effort, being all things to all men, so that by any and every means, save them. When a man persuades another of the saving message, in a very real way, he has saved that man.

    I do find it quite interesting that Paul states:

    "that I, myself, me, Paul, might by all means save some."

    In evangelism, I insert me into the place of Paul.

    Paul had every opportunity to subtitute another word in the place of the pronoun "I". Yet he did not choose so. And since he did not, it provides a substantial problem to the consistency of the position you are taking.

    Yet I am sure that there will be some sophisticated way to side-step Paul's emphatic delcaration ;)

    Antonio

    By Blogger Antonio, at Monday, February 18, 2008 8:00:00 PM  

  • Thats fine Antonio. This is your blog. The comments were to offer encouragement to Casey and to also solidly let others know that I do not agree with yours and Matthews positions. I truly hope you will reconsider this direction you are leading others in.

    By Blogger Only Look, at Monday, February 18, 2008 8:25:00 PM  

  • Hi Rose

    Kc said:
    I think we would do well to maintain the attitude that Paul described and displayed.

    It seems as though Paul had an unconditional love for everyone whcih it seems the Calvinist God lacks?

    I tell the truth in Christ, I am not lying, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Spirit, that I have great sorrow and continual grief in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethern, my countrymen according to the fleshRom 9:1-3

    Kc where did Paul get this unconditional love from for even the un-elect?

    Here is the contrast between Paul’s unconditional love and the Calvinistic God:

    “Paul teaches us that the ruin of the wicked is not only foreseen by the Lord, but also ordained by his counsel and his will... not only the destruction of the wicked is foreknown, but that the wicked themselves have been created for this very end -- that they may perish” (Commentaries Romans 9:18)

    The God of the Bible calls to people to "Come! If you thirst!
    He would gather them as a hen gathers her chicks! Come unto Me all ye who are weak and heavy laden and I will give you rest!
    And as ambassadors for Christ, as God were pleading through us; we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God

    Kc this a GREAT contrast!


    If you knew the gift of God
    alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Monday, February 18, 2008 8:27:00 PM  

  • Good Morning Rose

    It seems to me the same unconditional love that Paul had for his countrymen according to the flesh the non-elect. That he would be willing to be accursed from Christ for them is the same unconditional love that Christ showed on the cross being a curse for ALL mankind as the Saviour of the WORLD!
    Father forgive them for they know not what they do!


    If you knew the gift of God

    alvin

    By Blogger alvin, at Tuesday, February 19, 2008 3:25:00 AM  

  • Antonio,

    Brother you are fully aware of my total dependence on you and others with your gifts, talent and abilities for any and all sophisticated arguments that I could offer. ;-)

    I know there’s no need to debate the language Paul used but I think the meaning of this passage is quite different than what you propose. Specifically:

    You wrote, “This is Paul considering the salvation of lost men and women contingent upon him "becoming all things" and expending every effort so that he could "by all means save some".

    In the passages prior to Vs. 15 I find Paul addressing the necessity of the evangelist in receiving provision from the Church. In Vs. 15 he turns to address the necessity of the evangelist in proclaiming the Gospel and begins to expound on the lengths to which he had voluntarily gone to in order to insure that he would receive a reward (Vs. 17). In Vs. 23 he states specifically that his reward is to partake in the blessings found in the Gospel message. It was Paul’s reward that was contingent on his ministry just as our reward is contingent on our faithfulness. This fact in no way diminishes Paul’s compassion for the unbelieving sinner but it should help dispel the notion that Paul considered salvation contingent on anyone or anything other than God.

    I think the further writings of the Apostle make it abundantly clear that salvation is of God alone. Christ has committed the preaching of the Gospel to us, the Church. We, as individuals, need to commit ourselves to that effort, just as Paul did, but the preaching of the Gospel will be accomplished with or without us. It is our great need to partake in this effort and not the Gospel’s need for us to do so but I am persuaded that God will accept our effort if, like the Apostle, we forsake our own identity and identify ourselves in Christ to others.

    There is much more in your comment that I eagerly hope to discuss with you but I wanted to try and address this point of contention first because I know we both consider it most important.

    Brother Alvin I will have to allow the Calvinist to address your concerns but just out of curiosity do you consider that Calvinist worship a god other than the one true God?

    By Blogger Kc, at Tuesday, February 19, 2008 4:06:00 AM  

  • kc writes: Brother Alvin ...out of curiosity do you consider that Calvinist worship a god other than the one true God?

    Sharp intake of breath

    Let me sing a hymn of praise unto God, first:

    “O my God, what must I do?
    Thou alone the way canst show;
    Thou canst save me in this hour;
    I have neither will nor power:

    God, if over all thou art,
    Greater than my sinful heart,
    All thy power on me be shown,
    Take away the heart of stone.

    Take away my darling sin,
    Make me willing to be clean;
    Have me willing to receive
    All thy goodness waits to give.

    Force me, Lord, with all to part;
    Tear these idols from my heart;
    Now thy love almighty show,
    Make even me a creature new.

    Jesus, mighty to renew,
    Work in me to will and do;
    Turn my nature’s rapid tide,
    Stem the torrent of my pride;

    Stop the whirlwind of my will;
    Speak, and bid the sun stand still;
    Now thy love almighty show,
    Make even me a creature new.

    Arm of God, thy strength put on;
    Bow the heavens, and come down;
    All my unbelief o’erthrow;
    Lay the aspiring mountain low:

    Conquer thy worst foe in me,
    Get thyself the victory;
    Save the vilest of the race;
    Force me to be saved by grace.”


    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Tuesday, February 19, 2008 4:29:00 AM  

  • Alvin I feel confident that what you intend is that Calvinist perceive God as being thus and so but your language seemed to imply that they worship a god other than the one true God. I considered it better to ask rather than assume I know your intent.

    Brother Colin I hope you’ve caught your breath! ;-)

    By Blogger Kc, at Tuesday, February 19, 2008 5:04:00 AM  

  • Kc writes: Brother Colin I hope you’ve caught your breath! ;-,

    I hope so too. There are 8 verses in this hymn and I wouldn't want to run out of breath before the last verse. :-)

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Tuesday, February 19, 2008 5:41:00 AM  

  • Hi Colin,
    I am sorry that it has taken me so long to get back to this. I have been terribly busy for days. I did have a follow-up thought on this comment of yours:

    I certainly wouldn't say that no men can be perusaded or that they are unable to believe. What I would say (and this makes all the difference) is that they cannot believe in and of themselves but (to give the whole picture (from the next paragraph in the WCF) When God converts a sinner and translated him into the state of grace, he freeth him from his natural bondage under sin, and by his grace alone enables him freely to will and to do that which is spiritually good..." This is a more accurate way of putting it. As a 5 point Calvinist, I would actually disown the view that the sinner cannot be perusaded or come to Christ with his will, unless it is qualified as above.

    Would it be correct that you view that *most* people are just simply not able to, and will never be able to believe? Would it be fair to say that your beliefs conclude in the place that *most* people will not be able to be persuaded? Now I know you said that no one will be able to believe in and of themselves and I understand that and agree to that. However, taking things to their logical conclusion - based on the limit that is placed on who that "help" from God is available to - in your system - based on knowing that limit - wouldn't it then be correct to say that MOST people are just UNABLE to believe? Isn't that one of the points of TULIP? Funnily enough, it seems like you are trying to present yourself as taking issue with that point, the Total Depravity.

    You said: I would actually disown the view that the sinner cannot be perusaded or come to Christ with his will... unless qualified

    with the qualification of in and of himself. But since you have embraced Calvinism with its understanding that the vast majority of people are left to themsleves and passed over, without the aid of the Holy Spirit of God, then it would be true to say that the vast majority of the people that you witness to have no hope of ever being persuaded or coming to faith - no hope or ability to believe your message whatsoever.

    Isn't this true?

    (I am not trying to be discouraging or anything. I hope it doesn't come off that way.)

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, February 19, 2008 6:14:00 AM  

  • Hi Rose,

    Nice to see you back again. You are right to a point in what you say. However, it is vitally important to see that the sinner robs himself of hope. The reason why he damned is because of his sin and nothing else. "Is not destruction to the wicked?" (Job 31:3) We are not to treat the sinner (and we put ourselves among this wretched number)as if he were a helpless victim in this matter. The Bible says that the whole world is guilty. Yes, we are helpless sinners, but we are also guilty and wilful sinners and when the sinner rejects the proffered Saviour, then he does so because he loves darkness rather than light. If God decides in His sovereignty to leave certain sinners to their own wretched choices and sins, then there is nothing that either we or they can say about His choice. Such a decision on His part will be found to have been made in union with all His various attributes.

    If God does not extend His saving grace to actually save certain sinners, then we cannot rightly shift the blame unto Him. We cannot oblige God to save all, if He chooses to save some. If we start that, then we have laid God under an obligation and that excludes the idea both of grace and mercy.

    It is our responsbility as Christians to do what God commands i.e. preach the gospel to every creature, and follow it up with prayer etc., In this regard, the duties are ours - the consequences are God's.

    Trust this helps.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Tuesday, February 19, 2008 6:37:00 AM  

  • You may have misunderstood me, Colin. I was never hoping to lay any "blame" at God's feet. What I would say is that I blame a system of theology for leading many people to the conclusion that *MOST* people they witness to are just simply UNABLE to believe or be persuaded. That is where the blame lies in my mind. God is above reproach and is merciful toward people, not willing that any should perish but that all should come. God is not to blame for souls rejecting Him. No, I would never say that, but I do think it is the inescapable conclusion of Calvinsim. I just thank God that He has not led me to embrace that theology. :~)

    By Blogger Rose~, at Tuesday, February 19, 2008 6:45:00 AM  

  • Rose,

    I certainly don’t see when I go forth that the vast majority of people I witness to can never be saved. Who am I to say that? I am not God with the ability to see the future. And they say Calvinists are gloomy!

    Secondly, why should it be the inescapable conclusion of Calvinism”? that God is to blame for people being lost? If we believed in that sinners were helpless victims and not authors of their own destruction etc., then your point would be irrefutable. But we don’t and never have and therefore the problem is in the perception (or, in this case, the perceiver) rather than the Calvinist. If you thank God that you are not a Calvinist because of that self constructed “reason” then by the same “reasoning” I should thank God that I am not an American because your President Bush just loved hanging people (or whatever they do to them) for the sake of it in Texas and bombing people in Iraq with cluster bombs so that he can get first place on the world news! I know…I know…but the injustice of the argument applies equally to both situations.

    Regards,

    By Blogger GOODNIGHTSAFEHOME, at Tuesday, February 19, 2008 7:02:00 AM  

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