Arminian Today

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Video: The ESV Study Bible

Looks like a solid work by major evangelical scholars and has many extras not found in many study Bibles. While I am not the biggest advoctate on study Bibles, the ESV Study Bible is one that I will no doubt read from and use simply from watching this video. Check it out yourself!

Written by The Seeking Disciple

09/08/2008 at 3:27 PM

212 Responses

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  1. I wonder how this compares to the HCSB Apologetics Bible? The features of this new Bible make it look very attractive as my representative copy of the ESV in my collection. Hopefully the paper and binding are good quality; something that has eluded the ESV in the past.IMO, the ESV is the best of the Bibles that come from the KJV stream. I like it far more than the NASB. As I grew up with the KJV I appreciate its familiar renderings. However, are a lot of renderings in the ESV that are ‘quaint’ or ‘dated’ by the standards of modern English. It’s a tough line to determine whehter to keep the familiarity or to ditch it in favor of accuracy, clarity and modern language usage.After comparing the ESV, NASB and CSB, I finally settled on the CSB as my main translation. It’s remarkably easy to read (how they always seem to manage to translate passages with the minimum amount of words necessary is amazing) and thanks to its excellent footnotes it is as accurate and literal as any other Bible available.It’s an embarrasment of riches, really!

    jsaras

    09/09/2008 at 7:43 PM

  2. The ESV is essentially a Reformed translation and is endorsed by Calvinists like Albert Mohler and Joni Earickson Tada. I can’t for the life of me understand why an Arminian would like this translation? I’m wondering also if the study Bible has Reformed study notes?

    Charlie J. Ray

    09/10/2008 at 11:04 AM

  3. It’s a translation, not a reformed translation. What is there to understand here? Why shouldn’t Arminians enjoy a good translation? Several Arminians, in fact, did serve on the translation committee.As far as the notes, I do hope they are not reformed nor do I want them Arminian necessarily but (to borrow from Fox News) simply fair and balanced. I would hope that the study notes do not favor say Calvinist views of Hebrews 6:4-6 while ignoring Arminian arguments or Calvinist views of Romans 9-11 while ignoring Arminian arguments. I would hope that the book of Revelation is not pre-trib only but offers various views. But this is my arguement against study Bibles. They are bias. MacArthur is bias. The Life in the Spirit Study Bible is bias. The Reformation Study Bible is bias. The Wesley Study Bible is bias. How can they not be? The notes are written by men! That is why studying the Bible on your own using correct principles of interpretation are best.

    The Seeking Disciple

    09/10/2008 at 3:04 PM

  4. The preface to the ESV ends with “Soli Gloria Deo!” This is the cry of the Calvinist and Lutheran Reformers from the Protestant Reformation. The Arminian return to the heresy of semi-pelagianism wasn’t even around yet.

    Charlie J. Ray

    09/10/2008 at 4:26 PM

  5. I might add that there is no such thing as an unbiased or completely objective interpretation of Scripture. It’s obvious to me that your biases are Arminian. In my opinion, Arminians are less objective than Calvinists in doing historical/grammatical exegesis of the Scriptures.While all denominational traditions are fallible and to be tested by Scripture as the final word on any doctrinal matter, we do not lightly throw out confessions of faith or other secondary sources that help us understand Scripture. In so far as preaching, creeds, and confessions express the teaching of Scripture they are indeed summaries of the infallible word of God.

    Charlie J. Ray

    09/10/2008 at 4:33 PM

  6. Charles, your anger against Arminians is truly felt on my end. I sense no appreciation for us even as Christians.As far as “Glory To God Alone” is concerned, what has that to do with Calvinism or Arminianism. That is truly the cry of the Church! I would not attribute that to Calvinism or Arminianism but to the glory of God alone!I am biased toward Arminianism and make no apologies for that.We need not throw out confessions of faiths or creeds or doctrinal statements but you are correct that we must test them by Scripture (1 Thess. 5:21).

    The Seeking Disciple

    09/10/2008 at 8:26 PM

  7. The point of soli gloria Deo is that ALL the glory goes to God since all of our salvation is from God, not just half of it. Synergistic theology like Arminianism makes our salvation half man and half God as if we do our part and then God does His part.I’m thankful that my eternal salvation and perseverance depends not upon my faithfulness or my efforts or even my determination but upon God’s promises and God’s graces. I’m often unfaithful and my will is capricious at best. Thank God that He IS faithful and sovereign and not one person whom He has elected will be lost. It’s not a crap shoot.

    Charlie J. Ray

    09/10/2008 at 8:51 PM

  8. And other than your assertion that man cooperates with God for salvation (which is not reformed Arminianism), I have no arguments against what you have written. However, I would pray that I am found faithful more than unfaithful (Rev. 2:10) and that I obey Jesus (John 3:36; James 2:14-26).

    The Seeking Disciple

    09/10/2008 at 9:45 PM

  9. There is no such thing as “Reformed” Arminianism. A pig with lipstick is still a pig.

    Charlie J. Ray

    09/10/2008 at 11:03 PM

  10. To borrow from Obama. Wow! How do you know that there is no such thing as Reformed Arminianism? You simply made that up. I would hope for more respect than that Charles.

    The Seeking Disciple

    09/11/2008 at 8:46 PM

  11. Facts are facts. The Remonstrants were a departure from Reformed theology. It’s a bit ridiculous to call yourself “Reformed” as if somehow you want to claim to believe in God’s sovereignty and the doctrines of grace.Arminianism is a best semi-pelagian and in the case of Charles Finney and other, out and out pelagianism. Since the 5 points of the Remonstrants were written first, the 5 points of Calvinism are merely a response to the heretical divisions raised by the Remonstrants. The true Reformation was primarily Calvinist, Lutheran and Zwinglian. None of these men rejected unconditional election!In fact, strictly speaking, the controversy that led to the 5 points of the Remonstrants was the argument about suprlapsarianism version infralapsarianism on the issue of the LOGICAL order of God’s decree to election. Did God make the logical decision prior to the decree to permit the fall or after the decree to permit the fall? However, all the original Reformers believed that God’s decree for election occurred temporally prior to creation. Thus, any claim that Arminianism is somehow “Reformed” is just preposterous. Arminianism is not only a departure from Calvinist/Reformed theology, it is also a departure from Lutheran and Zwinglian theology.Dressing up a pig with lipstick doesn’t make it any less a pig.

    Charlie J. Ray

    09/11/2008 at 9:31 PM

  12. Borrowing again from Barak Obama again. Wow!And thank God for the remonstrants otherwise we might all be Calvinist or Lutherans! Arminius’ questioning of Calvin’s theology (which he adapted from Augustine), was a mighty act of God. God powerfully used Arminius to draw attention back to God’s love for all, His desire to save the nations through His Son, and His justice in sending people to hell by their own rejection of the truth.My prayer is thus: Father thank You for the godly work of James Arminius.

    The Seeking Disciple

    09/11/2008 at 9:51 PM

  13. Augustine taught double predestination and so did Aquinas. I fail to see how claiming Augustine on your side proves your case. Isn’t it odd that Luther and Zwingli didn’t accuse God of being unjust?Hmmm… Food for thought.

    Charlie J. Ray

    09/11/2008 at 10:13 PM

  14. Charles Ray,Thank God that most Calvinists are not as misinformed as you seem to be! Perhaps the book by CALVINIST Richard A. Muller, “God, Creation, and Providence in the Thought of Jacobus Arminius” would do you some good. Your ploy (so typical of misinformed Calvinists) that Arminianism equals semi-Pelagianism is so overdone. Please, for your own sake and edification, and by the command of Scripture to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, study Arminianism, not from caricatures of the system or the man, but in light of the truth.What you have displayed here today is your utter LACK of knowledge of the history of Arminius, Arminianism, and the Reformation at large. Certainly you are aware that even Calvin himself didn’t agree completely with Luther, yet both of them are considered Reformed.As a matter of fact, Arminius is also in the Reformed tradition, though modified. Study Church history, good man. You’ll be all the better for it; and you will avoid embarrassing moments such as this one.Godspeed,Billy

    William Birch

    09/12/2008 at 12:24 AM

  15. I do not need to read every single thing ever written by Jacobus Arminius. I can read the 5 points of the Remonstrants and the Calvinist answer to those points. Furthermore, Luther was NOT “Reformed.” The term refers to Calvinism in particular. However, even though Luther rejected particular atonement, he did not reject the bondage of the will/total depravity, nor did Luther reject the doctrine of unconditional election OR the predestination of the elect. The charge of semi-pelagianism is justified just by virtue of the Council of Orange 529 A.D.That council said: “CANON 8. If anyone maintains that some are able to come to the grace of baptism by mercy but others through free will, which has manifestly been corrupted in all those who have been born after the transgression of the first man, it is proof that he has no place in the true faith. For he denies that the free will of all men has been weakened through the sin of the first man, or at least holds that it has been affected in such a way that they have still the ability to seek the mystery of eternal salvation by themselves without the revelation of God. The Lord himself shows how contradictory this is by declaring that no one is able to come to him “unless the Father who sent me draws him” (John 6:44), as he also says to Peter, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven” (Matt. 16:17), and as the Apostle says, “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:3).”Sound familiar? Clearly, the universal church condemned the doctrine that we have a “free will” when it comes to faith in God or pleasing God.One has to ask the question: If God gives prevenient grace to all men so that “free will” is restored, then why are not ALL men saved? Apparently the depravity inherited from Adam still overcomes “prevenient grace.” I can only conclude that the Arminian doctrine of prevenient grace leaves the will in bondage to sin such that the majority of mankind is still in rebellion as it has been from the beginning. The “loophole” of Arminians isn’t a loophole at all. It is terrible blunder.Irresistible grace, on the other hand, does exactly what God intends for it to do. It overcomes the bondage of the will and allows the sinner to be regenerated, effectually called, and converted.

    Charlie J. Ray

    09/12/2008 at 11:24 AM

  16. Once again, Charles, you have displayed your ignorance of Arminius’ teaching on depravity! Thank you for this; now ALl can read for their own eyes.If you will charge us with semi-Pelagianism, then we will charge Calvinism with hyper-Calvinism, if you so please. So, why witness? God is going to regenerate His elect when He sees fit, right? And should one also know that he is elect before he asks Christ to forgive him of his sins?Yes, that is stupid (let alone unbiblical). Yet, so are your slanderous, misinformed ideas of Arminianism. How utterly sad.

    William Birch

    09/12/2008 at 12:51 PM

  17. “Irresistible grace, on the other hand, does exactly what God intends for it to do.”I don’t know where “irresistible grace” is mentioned in the Bible. If you’re going to follow that line of logic then you must hold to universal salvation. 2 Peter 3:9 “..not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” OK, that IS God’s will, it’s irresistible, so therefore it’s going to happen regardless of what choices men make 😉 God will lead everyone to repentance, except those who fight it. See Matthew 11:21, 12:41, Luke 16:29-31The truth is that repentace is not something WE do, even though it is something we do!(Luke 13:3, 15:7, Mark 2:17, Rev. 3:19).Repentance is a gift (Acts 5:31, 11:18). However, it is equally clear that repentance precedes forgiveness (Acts 2:38). Our only ‘part’ is to come to Him THROUGH FAITH and accept the gifts He has to offer.There is no salvation by grace alone, which really is the heart of the Calvinist argument. It is by grace alone, through faith alone (the open hand by which we receive the gift…faith is NOT meritorious)in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-10, Romans 5:12-21).

    jsaras

    09/12/2008 at 3:30 PM

  18. “I don’t know where “irresistible grace” is mentioned in the Bible.”It doesn’t surprise me that you don’t know your Bible very well. However, I can help you with that. First of all, the problem is spiritual death. Using the analogy of physical death, can a dead man raise himself from the dead? Absolutely not. This is why God must raise us from spiritual death in our sins and trespasses and why John says that no one can come to Jesus unless they are born again and drawn by the Father. Ephesians 2:1-3, 5-8 proves that we are dead in sins and that God alone raises us from spiritual death. John 3:1-8 clearly shows that we have no power to make ourselves regenerate. The Holy Spirit comes and goes at his own will. And Romans 9 confirms this interpretation of John’s Gospel in chapter. While it is not God’s revealed will that any man should perish, God is not obligated to save all who are invited. In fact, Matthew 22:14 says “Many are called but few are chosen.” “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me. And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.” (John 6:37-39, ESV) “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day. It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me—” (John 6:44-45, ESV) “And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”” (John 6:65, ESV) [1][1] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

    Charlie J. Ray

    09/12/2008 at 4:17 PM

  19. I hardly think I have slandered the Arminian position. I have a bachelor’s degree in systematic theology from an Arminian college and I have a master of divinity from a solid Wesleyan/Arminian seminary. I was an Arminian for over 10 years. I am familiar with Wesley’s 52 Standard Sermons and with the more formal Wesleyan theology of today.I stand by my charge that the doctrine prevenient grace is irrational, illogical, and semi-pelagian. Furthermore, prevenient grace proves itself ineffectual and it cannot overcome the power of sin since the vast majority of sinners are still in bondage to sin. So if you’re going to accuse God of injustice, then you must say that your own theology makes God guilty of injustice. After all, God only provides enough grace to save a few and the rest are left in bondage. Such a weak grace is just a crap shoot at best. They have a “chance” but that is all.I prefer to say that God is completely just in cursing mankind after the fall. It is pure mercy that God saves anyone at all since all of us deserve hell. And even more to the point, God saves precisely and particularly every single individual He wants to save. Not one of the elect will be lost. Thus, it is justice when someone rebels and God permits them to continue in rebellion. They get what they deserve. However, it is pure mercy when God saves anyone at all. And since the will is in bondage to sin, it is an act of God’s pure mercy when anyone is converted at all.

    Charlie J. Ray

    09/12/2008 at 4:27 PM

  20. Charles, Your belligerent tone in the combox of this blog says a lot about your walk with Christ (and your Calvinism, I might add!). Tell you what, instead of wasting time proving your interpretations of Scripture as false (as much of Calvinism is on soteriology), I am going to go witness to the lost.May God bless you as you seek the truth of His word.Billy

    William Birch

    09/12/2008 at 5:18 PM

  21. Amen Billy. If Charles spent half as much energy on praying and sharing the gospel with the lost as he does with trying to prove his Calvinism aginst our semi-Pelagianism (as he says it), he would be a mighty soul winner and a solid man of God!

    The Seeking Disciple

    09/12/2008 at 5:21 PM

  22. I’m trying to evangelize you:) But you’re still in bondage to sin. Besides, “I” can’t save ANYONE. You seem to imply that you somehow share God’s ability to save?

    Charlie J. Ray

    09/12/2008 at 5:50 PM

  23. Belligerent? I thought I was merely being graceful. After all, I am sharing the doctrines of grace:) I have no need to be angry since God is in control of all things. He will accomplish His will with and without me. He has many others who preach and teach the doctrines of grace. There is always a faithful remnant who have not sold out to the false gods of human effort.

    Charlie J. Ray

    09/12/2008 at 5:55 PM

  24. Charles,Alas! You have exposed your Calvinistic inconsistency, haven’t you?”I have no need to be angry since God is in control of all things.”If this be the case, as you mean it, then why are you so eager to teach us of the “doctrines of grace” (very little grace at that!), when our being Arminian is EXACTLY what He wants? Should you not then be rejoicing that our deception is God’s will? Are you not actually working against God, since it is He who has deceived our minds to believe this false doctrine?You can’t have it both ways, Charles; either God is sovereign (in the sense that you mean it), or your theology is completely inconsistent. We argue, it is the latter.God bless your spirit,Billy

    William Birch

    09/12/2008 at 6:11 PM

  25. Charlie, thanks for your accusation that I don’t know my Bible. At least I make the effort to read the whole chapter and not just latch on to the one phrase that makes my point.You quote John 3:1-8. You should go to read verses 18-19, ” Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.”Notice that we have to believe (have a dependent faith relationship) in Jesus. This is the only sin for which there is no forgiveness. The context of Matthew 22:14 is self-evident. God invites, the self-righteous reject and God invites yet again, but only those who choose to wear the robe of Christ’s righteousness (both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ BTW!)are welcome to the banquet. The issue is not who is invited. Rather, the dividing line is between those who choose to wear the free robe to the banquet or showing up naked(Rev 16:15).John 6 is likewise wonderful. Verse 35 “I am the bread of life; whoever COMES to me shall not hunger, and whoever BELIEVES in me shall never thirst.” WE must come to Him and believe. John 6:64 “But there are some of you who do not believe.” It seems that a person’s unbelief precedes their ultimate rejection of God. Your position would indicate the opposite; that God’s rejection of them is the cause of their unbelief. No one here suggested that you had the power to save anyone. They did say you could be a “soul-winner” and a “witness”. You are once again projecting things that simply are not there.In Christ (Rom 5:19)J

    jsaras

    09/12/2008 at 6:25 PM

  26. “Should you not then be rejoicing that our deception is God’s will? Are you not actually working against God, since it is He who has deceived our minds to believe this false doctrine?”Actually, it is not God’s revealed will that you should be rebels and in opposition to the doctrines of grace. The Bible consistently warns you against disobedience AND against teaching that man’s efforts are in any way a part of the ground of our justification before God. Placing election AFTER conversion is essentially making justification partly of man’s effort, which is “semi-pelagianism.” This is especially true since prevenient grace is merely a general or common grace given to all men. Prevenient grace is not the deciding factor but man’s corrupt will is the deciding factor in the Arminian scheme. Therefore, the charge of semi-pelagianism stands as stated clearly in the canons of the Council of Orange, 529 A.D. Second of all, I CAN have it both ways. God’s revealed will is that you repent. Whether or not you do repent is still your choice. God is not obligated to intervene with election, regeneration or effectual calling. This remains His secret will which is hidden from me. I have no idea if you are elect or not. But I do know the revealed will of God as it is expressed in His word (see Deuteronomy 29:29). I know that Scripture everywhere commands men to repent and to believe in Jesus Christ. Therefore, I can witness just as honestly as anyone else. Whether or not you have the inclination or ability to repent is not my call. I’m merely commanded to preach and teach the truth. If you refuse the offer, that’s a problem between you and God. (Matthew 22:14).God’s revealed will is for all men to repent. But will they? No, not all will repent. Broad is the way that leads to destruction but narrow is the way that leads to life (Matthew 7:13-14). God’s revealed will is that all men should repent. However, even the Arminian must admit that all do NOT repent. Therefore, as Augustine put it, God willingly permits that which is against His will.

    Charlie J. Ray

    09/12/2008 at 7:10 PM

  27. Aww, the every popular Calvinist usage of “mysterious will”. Calvinist tend to use this when it comes to election since the Bible so clearly teaches that God’s desire is to save all (1 Timothy 2:1-4; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 John 2:1-2) and Calvinist must explain away these verses using the “mysterious will of God.” What Calvinist such as Charles see as “mysterious” we Arminians see as simply unbiblical. Jsaras – great points. You are correct that the Bible calls us to make a decision. While the grace of God anables us to do so, WE are still called to repent (Acts 2:38, 41). Calvinist choose to believe and while they might debate “the gift of faith” they still hold that we must believe to be saved.However, we Arminians see justification by faith and not unto faith as hyper-Calvinist such as Charles see it. However, Arminian brethren we are facing a never ending battle with this hyper-Calvinist and we should simply pray for his eyes to be opened and that he might see the errors of his way. He obviously is not going to listen to us and it seems that only God Almighty can open his eyes to see that hyper-Calvinism is not biblical.

    The Seeking Disciple

    09/12/2008 at 7:17 PM

  28. Belief is indeed a prerequisite to being justified by faith. However, since it is impossible to believe without the gift of faith preceding conversion, then it stands that regeneration precedes conversion and justification. John 3 starts out saying that you must be born again before you may enter the kingdom. But do you regenerate yourself? The Bible clearly says that it is the Holy Spirit who regenerates and He comes and goes as the wind, as He jolly well pleases.John 3:16-21 cannot be interpreted apart from the total context. That means that John 3:1-8 does indeed teach regeneration precedes faith.John 1:1-13 likewise proves this point. Verse 13 is the penultimate summary of the preceding text:”He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:11-13, ESV) The cause of their belief is not within themselves or their own will but REGENERATION. Compare this with John 3:1-8.”That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Do not marvel that I said to you, ‘You must be born again.’ The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear its sound, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.”” (John 3:6-8, ESV) The short of it, despite your denial of the Word, is that God saves everyone who is saved. We do not save ourselves even by believing, since even our faith and our believing is given to us prior to our conversion. Regeneration is the direct will of God operating within us to bring us to conversion.Faith is merely the means or the instrument that God uses to bring us to the point of appropriating the Gospel. At that point God declares that we are justified and the holy life of Christ is imputed to us as if we had lived it and the suffering of Christ is imputed to us as satisfying the penalty of the law and God’s holiness.[1][1] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

    Charlie J. Ray

    09/12/2008 at 7:21 PM

  29. Charles, your hyper-Calvinism stands in the way of the clear reading of the text. No where does the Bible say that regeneration comes before faith. Faith is always shown to be the key to justification (Romans 5:1). Even John 1:12-13 does not teach regeneration before faith. Notice John 1:12 says “to all who believe in Him” are “born of God” in verse 13 but the text does say that regeneration proceeds faith.Acts 16:30-34 is a a clear passage that faith is the key to salvation. The guard was saved by faith in Jesus and baptised. Hyper-Calvinist readings into these texts leads only to where you are.

    The Seeking Disciple

    09/12/2008 at 7:30 PM

  30. Aww, the every popular Calvinist usage of “mysterious will”. Obviously, God’s will is that not all will be saved since God is able to save all. He could have done this in many ways. He could have prevented the fall by not testing Adam’s obedience. And I might point out that I’m quoting from Scripture:) I suppose you have to cut those verses out of your Bible?”“The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” (Deuteronomy 29:29, ESV) ” Lest you be wise in your own sight, I want you to understand this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” (Romans 11:25, ESV) ” Now to him who is able to strengthen you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith—” (Romans 16:25-26, ESV) “But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.” (1 Corinthians 2:7, ESV) “how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.” (Ephesians 3:3-6, ESV) “the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:26-27, ESV) “They must hold the mystery of the faith with a clear conscience.” (1 Timothy 3:9, ESV) Clearly, God has both a secret will (i.e., His eternal decrees), and God has a revealed will in His Holy Scriptures. And it is obvious that not everything in the Gospel is clearly revealed since even the Apostles refer to it as a mystery revealed. Whether or not there is a total understanding of the mystery depends on God’s illumination. Besides, you are not claiming to be omniscient, are you? Only God knows everything. His ways are higher than our ways and His thought are higher than our thoughts. I guess you’re right up there with God and know everything He knows about the past, the present and the future? I guess you know who is elect and who isn’t? God alone knows who belongs to Him.”But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.”” (2 Timothy 2:19, ESV) [1][1] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

    Charlie J. Ray

    09/12/2008 at 7:35 PM

  31. Charles,”. . . AND against teaching that man’s efforts are in any way a part of the ground of our justification before God. Placing election AFTER conversion is essentially making justification partly of man’s effort, which is ‘semi-pelagianism.'”WRONG, but thanks for trying. Charles, if God gives a person the ABILITY to do something, then in what way whatsoever can it be accredited as man’s “work”? You’re grasping at straws here, and I don’t blame you.Your god says that he loves the world, but he doesn’t really mean it. Your god says that he sent his son into the world to save them, but he doesn’t really mean it. Simply put: your god has no integrity.I suggest you switch gods, for the God of the Bible claims that He does inded love man enough to send His Son into the world, so that whoever, BY GRACE, will believe, will be saved, for THAT is His heart’s desire (1 Timothy 2:4) ~ or does your Bible not have 1 Timothy 2:4?Blessings in Christ,Billy

    William Birch

    09/12/2008 at 7:35 PM

  32. I do know who the elect are: anyone who is in Christ (1 Timothy 4:10). Election, within Arminianism, is Christ-centered with Jesus being the elected one who saves those who come to God through faith in Him.You cite all these verses Charles but you have taken the hyper-Calvinist definition of “mystery” and simply looked up every verse in the Bible that uses mystery and somehow you see in that the doctrine of unfair, unjust, and unloving unconditional election. Amazing! Your hyper-Calvinism stands in the way of reading the passages cited and seeing in context what the mystery is namely that it is not speaking of unconditional election. The “mystery” of hyper-Calvinist is that they simply can not explain why God chooses to save some but not all nor can they explain probably the “all” or “whosoever” passages nor can they explain how God can say He loves the whole world but (wink wink) He really doesn’t. If your hyper-Calvinism is true, how can man go to hell for their own unbelief (John 5:24-25; Romans 2:7-8) yet they really go to hell because of (wink wink) the mysterious will of God.

    The Seeking Disciple

    09/12/2008 at 7:44 PM

  33. I never went to seminary, so I confess I’m not up on the meaning of “Regeneration”. However, as I understand it, before our conversion the Holy Spirit works outside of us to convict us of sin, righteousness and judgment. After conversion, the Holy Spirit conforms us into the image of Christ.Am I missing something?

    jsaras

    09/12/2008 at 7:55 PM

  34. I hate to tell you this, but ALL the Reformed doctors teach that in the ordo salutis, regeneration precedes conversion, repentance and faith. Though faith is the instrument which precedes the imputation of justification in God’s legal declaration, faith is not the ground or basis of our justification. Faith is merely the instrument and since Ephesians 2:8-9 proves that faith is a gift and not a work, it’s obvious that the gift precedes the acting out of faith in belief. The Bible over and over says that it is God’s work preceding that is the initial factor in being saved. Election, regeneration, conversion/repentance, faith, justification.If I am a “hyper-Calvinist,” then what you’re really saying is that all Calvinists are “hyper-Calvinists”. Obviously, that is not the case:)The Westminster Standards and the Three Forms of Unity both agree that regeneration precedes faith:Article 22: Of Faith in Jesus Christ.We believe that, to attain the true knowledge of this great mystery, the Holy Ghost kindleth in our hearts an upright faith, which embraces Jesus Christ, with all his merits, appropriates him, and seeks nothing more besides him. For it must needs follow, either that all things, which are requisite to our salvation, are not in Jesus Christ, or if all things are in him, that then those who possess Jesus Christ through faith, have complete salvation in him. Therefore, for any to assert, that Christ is not sufficient, but that something more is required besides him, would be too gross a blasphemy: for hence it would follow, that Christ was but half a Savior. Therefore we justly say with Paul, that we are justified by faith alone, or by faith without works. However, to speak more clearly, we do not mean, that faith itself justifies us, for it is only an instrument with which we embrace Christ our Righteousness. But Jesus Christ, imputing to us all his merits and so many holy works which he has done for us, and in our stead, is our Righteousness. And faith is an instrument that keeps us in communion with him in all his benefits, which, when become ours, are more than sufficient to acquit us of our sins. The Belgic Confession, http://www.prca.org/bc_text1.html#a22Question 7. Whence then proceeds this depravity of human nature?Answer: From the fall and disobedience of our first parents, Adam and Eve, in Paradise; (a) hence our nature is become so corrupt, that we are all conceived and born in sin. (b)Question 8. Are we then so corrupt that we are wholly incapable of doing any good, and inclined to all wickedness?Answer: Indeed we are; (a) except we are regenerated by the Spirit of God. (b)The Heidelberg Catechism.(a) Gen.8:21 The imagination of man’s heart is evil from his youth; John 3:6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. Gen.6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Job 14:4 Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one. Job 15:14 What is man, that he should be clean? and he which is born of a woman, that he should be righteous? Job 15:16 How much more abominable and filthy is man, which drinketh iniquity like water? Job 15:35 They conceive mischief, and bring forth vanity, and their belly prepareth deceit. Isa.53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. (b) John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 1 Cor.12:3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost. 2 Cor.3:5 Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think any thing as of ourselves; but our sufficiency is of God;http://www.reformed.org/documents/index.html?mainframe=http://www.reformed.org/documents/heidelberg.htmlChapter XOf Effectual CallingI. All those whom God hath predestinated unto life, and those only, He is pleased, in His appointed time, effectually to call,[1] by His Word and Spirit,[2] out of that state of sin and death, in which they are by nature to grace and salvation, by Jesus Christ;[3] enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God,[4] taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them an heart of flesh;[5] renewing their wills, and, by His almighty power, determining them to that which is good,[6] and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ:[7] yet so, as they come most freely, being made willing by His grace.[8]Westminster Confession of Faith.http://www.reformed.org/documents/wcf_with_proofs/index.htmlArticle XOf Free WillThe condition of man after the fall of Adam is such, that he cannot turn and prepare himself, by his own natural strength and good works, to faith and calling upon God. Wherefore we have no power to do good works pleasant and acceptable to God, without the grace of God by Christ preventing us that we may have a good will, and working with us when we have that good will.39 Articles of Religion, Anglican.http://members.tripod.com/~gavvie/39articles/art2.html

    Charlie J. Ray

    09/12/2008 at 7:55 PM

  35. Jsaras, your understanding is correct.

    The Seeking Disciple

    09/12/2008 at 8:08 PM

  36. “I do know who the elect are: ” Wow. You’re right up there with God. I suppose you foresaw them from all eternity before the foundation of the world? “even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved. In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace, which he lavished upon us, in all wisdom and insight” (Ephesians 1:4-8, ESV) While we may presume that those who have been converted and become baptized members of the church are elect, that is not always the case since, as you yourself pointed out, some do commit apostasy. Secondly, since you do not know who has been converted in past history, nor who is converted in the present or even who is yet to be converted in the future–in precise detail and in the precise number–I sincerely doubt that you have an infallible and perfect knowledge of who the elect are. Only God himself even has the capacity to know the exact number and the precise names of each individual person.But I can see that you think you’re up there with God and know all things.[1][1] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

    Charlie J. Ray

    09/12/2008 at 8:32 PM

  37. ". . . AND against teaching that man's efforts are in any way a part of the ground of our justification before God. Placing election AFTER conversion is essentially making justification partly of man's effort, which is 'semi-pelagianism.'">>>WRONG, but thanks for trying. Charles, if God gives a person the ABILITY to do something, then in what way whatsoever can it be accredited as man's "work"?<<<Well, I never said God didn't give man the ability to believe. You said that. You said that man has free will. I say man has no free will. Prevenient grace apparently does not restore free will since men continue on in unbelief and refuse to be converted.Prevenient grace is gross error and an outright failure since anyone can see that it does not overcome the bondage to sin. I literally believe that God gives man the ability to believe. It's called the effectual call/irresistible grace. In fact, when God gives this ability it actually HAPPENS! Imagine that? God doing what He promises to do for His elect?Furthermore, we are commanded to preach to the whole world and every race,tribe, nation and inidividual. The difference is that God does all the saving. One man plants, another man waters, and God gives the increase. The number of the elect will be so many that men will have difficulty in counting them. Yet, in the mind of God there is a definite number and He knows each one of them by name!

    Charlie J. Ray

    09/12/2008 at 8:39 PM

  38. The elect of the past, present, and future are those who place their faith in Christ and continue in the faith. I agree that some commit apostasy. Yet the elect are those who are true disciples. That is not too difficult to understand. Eph. 1:3-14 speaks of the elect in HIM, Christ, the elected one who takes away the sins of the world (John 1:29; 2 Cor. 5:18). The gospel is for all (Matt. 28:19-20) and all who repent become the elect of God (2 Thess. 2:13-14; 1 Peter 1:1-2). God does foreknow all who will be saved yet we too can know who the elect are presently (John 3:36; James 2:14-26). While I do not know ALL the elect (since I am not God), I can know that I am part of the elect through faith in Christ. 2 Timothy 2:19 reminds us that God knows those who are His but the second half of 2 Timothy 2:19 gives us signs of the elect, perseverance in holiness. Only in hyper-Calvinism do you lack assurance of who the elect are. Its the (wink wink) mystery of God.

    The Seeking Disciple

    09/12/2008 at 8:41 PM

  39. “I literally believe that God gives man the ability to believe. It’s called the effectual call/irresistible grace. In fact, when God gives this ability it actually HAPPENS! Imagine that? God doing what He promises to do for His elect?”Unless you are not part of the (wink wink) mysterious election of God. It is possible, in Calvinism, that you could wander from the faith and then you were never part of the elect after all. Only God knows who the elect are even among Calvinist. You Charles are possibly not part of the elect. You just don’t know. I mean right now you believe but its possible that you are mislead and will soon fall away. You really don’t know if you are part of the elect. You just think you are but its possible that in the (wink wink) mystery of God you are not included but a false disciple.

    The Seeking Disciple

    09/12/2008 at 8:45 PM

  40. >>>>I never went to seminary, so I confess I'm not up on the meaning of "Regeneration". However, as I understand it, before our conversion the Holy Spirit works outside of us to convict us of sin, righteousness and judgment. After conversion, the Holy Spirit conforms us into the image of Christ.<<<>>>Am I missing something?<<<You are missing something crucial. Regeneration is not "outside" of us. Regeneration takes place within the human nature, the essential being of who a human being is. It takes place in the heart.Jesus said out of the heart proceeds all the wickedness that we observe. So being born again of the Spirit is a new beginning and a new creation of who we are. (See John 3:1-8; 2 Cor. 5:17).And if you follow the analogy given by Jesus… it is obvious that you cannot make yourself in physical form in your mother's womb. Likewise, you cannot regenerate yourself by having faith. Rather, the Holy Spirit works in your heart to regenerate you and make you a new person and then you believe (Eph 2:8-9; Php 2:11-13).Council of Orange 529 A.D.CANON 4. If anyone maintains that God awaits our will to be cleansed from sin, but does not confess that even our will to be cleansed comes to us through the infusion and working of the Holy Spirit, he resists the Holy Spirit himself who says through Solomon, "The will is prepared by the Lord" (Prov. 8:35, LXX), and the salutary word of the Apostle, "For God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure" (Phil. 2:13). http://www.reformed.org/documents/index.html?mainframe=http://www.reformed.org/documents/canons_of_orange.htmlQ. 27. What misery did the fall bring upon mankind?A. The fall brought upon mankind the loss of communion with God,[97] his displeasure and curse; so as we are by nature children of wrath,[98] bond slaves to Satan,[99] and justly liable to all punishments in this world, and that which is to come.[100]Q. 28. What are the punishments of sin in this world?A. The punishments of sin in this world are either inward, as blindness of mind,[101] a reprobate sense,[102] strong delusions,[103] hardness of heart,[104] horror of conscience,[105] and vile affections;[106] or outward, as the curse of God upon the creatures of our sakes,[107] and all other evils that befall us in our bodies, names, estates, relations, and employments;[108] together with death itself.[109]Westminster Larger Catechism.Who or what then can deliver us from this situation other than God Himself?Q. 67. What is effectual calling?A. Effectual calling is the work of God’s almighty power and grace,[273] whereby (out of his free and special love to his elect, and from nothing in them moving him thereunto)[274] he doth, in his accepted time, invite and draw them to Jesus Christ, by his Word and Spirit;[275] savingly enlightening their minds,[276] renewing and powerfully determining their wills,[277] so as they (although in themselves dead in sin) are hereby made willing and able freely to answer his call, and to accept and embrace the grace offered and conveyed therein.[278]Q. 68. Are the elect only effectually called?A. All the elect, and they only, are effectually called:[279] although others may be, and often are, outwardly called by the ministry of the Word,[280] and have some common operations of the Spirit;[281] who, for their wilful neglect and contempt of the grace offered to them, being justly left in their unbelief, do never truly come to Jesus Christ.[282]WLChttp://www.reformed.org/documents/wlc_w_proofs/index.htmlThis one proves that faith is preceded by regeneration of the heart:Q. 72. What is justifying faith?A. Justifying faith is a saving grace,[297] wrought in the heart of a sinner by the Spirit[298] and Word of God,[299] whereby he, being convinced of his sin and misery, and of the disability in himself and all other creatures to recover him out of his lost condition,[300] not only assenteth to the truth of the promise of the gospel,[301] but receiveth and resteth upon Christ and his righteousness, therein held forth, for pardon of sin,[302] and for the accepting and accounting of his person righteous in the sight of God for salvation.[303][298] 2 Corinthians 4:13. We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak. Ephesians 1:17-19. That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power.http://www.reformed.org/documents/wlc_w_proofs/index.html

    Charlie J. Ray

    09/12/2008 at 9:06 PM

  41. Question 9. Does not God then do injustice to man, by requiring from him in his law, that which he cannot perform?Answer: Not at all; (a) for God made man capable of performing it; but man, by the instigation of the devil, (b) and his own wilful disobedience, (c) deprived himself and all his posterity of those divine gifts.(a) Eph.4:24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness. Eccl.7:29 Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions. (b) John 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. 2 Cor.11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. Gen.3:4 And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: (c) Gen.3:6 And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat. Rom.5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: Gen.3:13 And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done? And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. 1 Tim.2:13 For Adam was first formed, then Eve. 1 Tim.2:14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.The Heidelberg Catechismhttp://www.reformed.org/documents/index.htmlThe short of it is that God is just in damning us for our own rebellion because we are justly damned in Adam. We lost the gifts that enabled us to choose only good. Now we are a corrupt and choose to do both good and evil. We are in short rebellious sinners who hate God unless and until we are regenerated and effectually called to conversion, repentance, and faith.

    Charlie J. Ray

    09/12/2008 at 9:12 PM

  42. Jsaras, in other words God loves you (wink wink).Charles, you quote creeds more than you do Scripture!

    The Seeking Disciple

    09/12/2008 at 9:20 PM

  43. Roy,That’s obviously because he knows them better! He’s made that known here. Has he quoted from the Synod of Dort yet (I refuse to read all of his nonsense, so I don’t all that he’s quoted).Charles,Has anyone ever told you that you have WAY too much time on your hands?Blessings (hopefully) in Christ,Billy

    William Birch

    09/12/2008 at 9:31 PM

  44. >>>Unless you are not part of the (wink wink) mysterious election of God. It is possible, in Calvinism, that you could wander from the faith and then you were never part of the elect after all. Only God knows who the elect are even among Calvinist.<<<Not exactly. The Westminster Confession says that the "wicked" can delude themselves. I take this to mean those who are never serious about their faith. The WCF clearly says that although we may struggle for a time with the assurance of our salvation (because of a new conversion and our misunderstanding of Scripture and perhaps a struggle with sanctification), afterwards we can receive an "infallible assurance" of salvation.The Catechism even goes so far as to say that the elect may fall away "temporarily" but are always brought back to faith before the end. The Reformed position also teaches that salvation is possible even on one's deathbed. Why? Because salvation is all of grace and NOT based or grounded in our obedience as the final deciding factor.See Chapter 18 Of the Assurance of Grace and Salvation18.4True believers may have the assurance of their salvation divers ways shaken, diminished, and intermitted; as, by negligence in preserving of it, by falling into some special sin which woundeth the conscience and grieveth the Spirit; by some sudden or vehement temptation, by God’s withdrawing the light of His countenance, and suffering even such as fear Him to walk in darkness and to have no light: (Cant. 5:2,3,6, Ps. 51:8,12,14, Eph. 4:30,31, Ps. 77:1–10, Matt. 26:69–72, Ps. 31:22, Ps. 88, Isa. 50:10) yet are they never utterly destitute of that seed of God, and life of faith, that love of Christ and the brethren, that sincerity of heart, and conscience of duty, out of which, by the operation of the Spirit, this assurance may, in due time, be revived; (1 John 3:9, Luke 22:32, Job 13:15, Ps. 73:15, Ps. 51:8,12, Isa. 50:10) and be the which, in the mean time, they are supported from utter despair. (Micah 7:7–9, Jer. 32:40, Isa. 54:7–10, Ps. 22:1, Ps. 88)The Westminster confession of faith : An authentic modern version. 1985 (Rev. EPC ed.). Signal Mountain, TN: Summertown Texts.

    Charlie J. Ray

    09/12/2008 at 9:36 PM

  45. Not at all:) The Bible makes clear that our assurances are based on God’s eternal election, his promises, and the blood of Christ. How could it be uncertain? :)WCF 18.11. Although hypocrites and other unregenerate men may vainly deceive themselves with false hopes and carnal presumptions of being in the favour of God, and estate of salvation(Job 8:13–14, Micah 3:11, Deut. 29:19, John 8:41) (which hope of theirs shall perish): (Matt. 7:22–23) yet such as truly believe in the Lord Jesus, and love Him in sincerity, endeavouring to walk in all good conscience before Him, may, in this life, be certainly assured that they are in the state of grace, (1 John 2:3, 1 John 3:14,18–19,21,24, 1 John 5:13) and may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, which hope shall never make them ashamed. (Rom. 5:2,5)The Westminster confession of faith : An authentic modern version. 1985 (Rev. EPC ed.). Signal Mountain, TN: Summertown Texts.

    Charlie J. Ray

    09/12/2008 at 9:39 PM

  46. Article 23: The Justification of SinnersWe believe that our blessedness lies in the forgiveness of our sins because of Jesus Christ, and that in it our righteousness before God is contained, as David and Paul teach us when they declare that man blessed to whom God grants righteousness apart from works.^54 And the same apostle says that we are justified “freely” or “by grace” through redemption in Jesus Christ.^55 And therefore we cling to this foundation, which is firm forever, giving all glory to God, humbling ourselves, and recognizing ourselves as we are; not claiming a thing for ourselves or our merits and leaning and resting on the sole obedience of Christ crucified, which is ours when we believe in him.That is enough to cover all our sins and to make us confident, freeing the conscience from the fear, dread, and terror of God’s approach, without doing what our first father, Adam, did, who trembled as he tried to cover himself with fig leaves.In fact, if we had to appear before God relying– no matter how little– on ourselves or some other creature, then, alas, we would be swallowed up.Therefore everyone must say with David: “Lord, do not enter into judgment with your servants, for before you no living person shall be justified.”^56^54 Ps. 32:1; Rom. 4:6 ^55 Rom. 3:24 ^56 Ps. 143:2The Belgic Confession of Faithhttp://www.reformed.org/documents/index.html

    Charlie J. Ray

    09/12/2008 at 9:43 PM

  47. Charles, for the sake of world evangelism please go and pray! Goodness, if you prayed as much as you blogged I would suspect that every nation under heaven would hear the good news that God loves them (wink wink). But then again, in hyper-Calvinism your prayers matter little to world evangelism or anything else.

    The Seeking Disciple

    09/12/2008 at 9:45 PM

  48. I actually agree with 98% of what you’ve posted here, but copying and pasting from a Catechism makes your argument weaker.I used to be a Roman Catholic. I could copy and paste from my old “:St. Joseph’s Baltimore Catechism”, but…

    jsaras

    09/12/2008 at 9:47 PM

  49. Iquote the confessions because they are the teaching of the Reformed churches AND the summary of their basis in Holy Scripture. If you will take the time to go to the website I linked, the prooftexts are all there.Prooftexts are not the final word, of course, since Scripture can be quoted out of context. However, it does show a direct connection to the Scriptures.Furthermore, the Reformed Confessions and Catechisms are a systematic explanation of the Reformed position and each point flows from the previous one and the one following after.I always have time to explain the Gospel to folks:) Soli Gloria Deo!

    Charlie J. Ray

    09/12/2008 at 9:49 PM

  50. Go pray for us instead.

    The Seeking Disciple

    09/12/2008 at 9:55 PM

  51. Everyone has an interpretation of Scripture. You think your own private interpretation is superior to the confessions of the doctors of the church? While confessions and creeds are prone to error, they are indeed infallible insomuch as they conform to God’s Word.As to the fellow who said he did not bother to read what I quoted? I cannot find a better example of the anti-intellectualism of Arminians in general and Pentecostal/Charismatics in particular.How in the world are you going to criticize what I say if you are unwilling to see the evidence proving it?It is as the Bible says:” Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says: “ ‘You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive. For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears they can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.” (Matthew 13:10-17, ESV) [1][1] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

    Charlie J. Ray

    09/12/2008 at 9:56 PM

  52. While I might not agree with the Roman Catholic theology, the Roman Catholic Church has it right when they catechize or “disciple” their new converts. I read a website from the Assemblies of God today where they are continuing to lament the fact that their churches here in the US are not growing while overseas they are. The General Superintendent said that there are few being baptized in water or the Holy Spirit. This is because of a lack of discipleship, according to Wood.I consider both the RCC and the Pentecostals to be heretical, but they are indeed correct that Christians are to be taught their faith. I make no apologies for being familiar with the ecumenical/universal creeds and with the Reformed Confessions.

    Charlie J. Ray

    09/12/2008 at 10:00 PM

  53. I have done my share of evangelism in person and online. What else do you call this? Wink. Wink. However, if you want to talk numbers? I would dare say that I’ve done more street evangelism and prison crusades than you could do in a lifetime. You would be hard pressed to catch up with me.The difference is that I don’t count that since only those who truly become Christians are baptized into a church and become true disciples. Getting a temporary “decision” is like counting how many hamburgers you flipped at McDonald’s. Both are pretty much meaningless.True evangelism is more than getting a decision from a stranger in some “crusade.” True evangelism, like the Reformed faith itself, is particular and works with individuals toward discipleship and a genuine relationship with Christ through the church.

    Charlie J. Ray

    09/12/2008 at 10:05 PM

  54. “I consider both the RCC and the Pentecostals to be heretical”Well, somebody has to fulfill the purpose of fueling the fires of hell !??!In all seriousness, I was blown away about a year ago by Brennan Manning, a (former?) Catholic priest. He had a very firm grasp of the Gospel. Granted, it is not what the RC church teaches at large to it members, but the truth will prevail. Sometimes you hear truth in the strangest places.

    jsaras

    09/12/2008 at 10:08 PM

  55. Brethren, this is pointless. We are all heretics but Charles and Charles go and pray and get off the Internet. Please make intercession for us non-elect to become elect.

    The Seeking Disciple

    09/12/2008 at 10:42 PM

  56. Charles,”I consider both the RCC and the Pentecostals to be heretical . . .”Then you won’t mind my opinion that I find your theology heretical as well. But I will vow to pray that God will set you free from the snare of the devil, perchance that God will grant you repentance unto the Faith.That shouldn’t bother you, right?Billy

    William Birch

    09/12/2008 at 11:05 PM

  57. Anyone with any knowledge of the Bible at all can know that the Roman Catholic Church is heretical. Not only does it teach that righteousness is infused into the heart instead of imputed by the legal declaration of God, it also practices idolatry by worshipping the wafer and the wine in communion, venerates Mary and the saints, etc.Pentecostals practice false miracles and endorse the health and wealth movement either openly or implicitly.I will pray for you, too, Billy. May God’s grace and peace come to you and may you give God all the glory.Charlie

    Charlie J. Ray

    09/13/2008 at 1:33 AM

  58. >>>perchance that God will grant you repentance unto the Faith.<<<Careful, you're sounding like a Calvinist or an Augustinian. And no, I'm not a heretic. I have Luther and Calvin on my side, not to mention church history, Augustine, and the Council of Orange, 529 A.D.

    Charlie J. Ray

    09/13/2008 at 1:35 AM

  59. Arminianism, semi-pelagianism, and pelagianism may be more widespread and “popular” these days. However, that in no way entails that they are true.I do not for one bit feel badly if you are offended by the Gospel. Paul Himself said that the cross is a stumbling block for those who wish to establish their own righteousness rather than accept the righteousness of Christ and Christ alone.”For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power. For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.” (1 Corinthians 1:17-18, ESV) “For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.” (1 Corinthians 1:22-25, ESV) “But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed.” (Galatians 5:11, ESV) [1][1] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

    Charlie J. Ray

    09/13/2008 at 1:46 AM

  60. I suppose it is possible for individuals in the RCC to know the Gospel but the official teaching of the RCC condemns the Gospel. The Canons of the Council of Trent have never been reversed.

    Charlie J. Ray

    09/13/2008 at 1:48 AM

  61. Charles,”Careful, you’re sounding like a Calvinist or an Augustinian. And no, I’m not a heretic. I have Luther and Calvin on my side, not to mention church history, Augustine, and the Council of Orange, 529 A.D.”Once again, by your ignorance of Arminianism, you fail to recognize that we believe that God must do the work, not man! But go ahead, continue in your delusion. Calvinism is the Gospel, right?Well, Charlie boy, if you find out that Calvinism is NOT the gospel, then you have believed in a lie, and will spend eternity in hell. Are you prepared for that? Hope so.Turn your eyes upon Jesus,Billy

    William Birch

    09/13/2008 at 3:23 PM

  62. Charles,Luther, Calvin, Augustine, and the Councils . . . interesting that you did not say the Scripture was on your side!!!Once again, that says a lot about your theology, your walk with the Lord, and perhaps your salvation. Please, as though Luther, Calvin, and Augustine are anything. They themselves would tell you to look to Christ and His Word rather than their writings. But your fascination with Calvinism blinds you to the Truth. May God remove your blinders,Billy

    William Birch

    09/13/2008 at 3:25 PM

  63. I have said many times that Scripture is on my side:) I find it odd that you’re going to accuse me of saying that the Reformers are somehow equal to Scripture in authority when you yourself place authority in Arminius and the Remonstrants. You can’t have it both ways.I follow the doctrine of sola scriptura. Scripture alone is the final authority in all matters of faith and practice. I believe that the total and overall teaching of Scripture is that God is sovereign in salvation and that man is accountable for all that he does both good and bad.Sola Scriptura, however, does not mean that we must outright reject the church. The church is always to be reforming but it is still a secondary authority and not to be lightly rejected. For this reason confessions and creeds are authoritative and binding as they follow Holy Scripture.

    Charlie J. Ray

    09/13/2008 at 4:39 PM

  64. William,While I was born in Georgia and proud of my southern heritage, I do not resort to redneck theology to prove a point. Your view of God’s “work” preceding man’s work is still “prevenient grace” which applied to mankind in general, which does not and cannot solve the problem of the bondage of the will to sin. Man’s condition is such that he cannot turn himself to God or please God. If prevenient grace neutralizes this bondage to sin, why does the Bible say that sinners are “slaves to sin” and why does Jesus say, “Whom the Son sets free will be free indeed”? Obviously, not everyone is set free since so many continue on as “slaves to sin.” If you want to argue from the Bible, I can assure you that I can prove that God is completely sovereign in salvation and I can do it many times over straight from the Bible.Calvinism is not the Gospel. However, Calvinism rightly understands the Bible as teaching that men are in such bondage to sin that they cannot turn themselves or repent unless God supernaturally intervenes. The Reformed position teaches this precisely because the Bible itself teaches this view. Faith is a gift that precedes justification. And since faith is NOT given to all men without exception. This is obvious to anyone who sees that only some men believe in Jesus Christ.I might also mention that I called Arminianism guilty of semi-pelagianism and that it is a secondary heresy. I never recall condemning anyone here to perdition. However, if you are feeling that sort of conviction by a Gospel that is completely and totally of grace, maybe you should stop trying to establish your own righteousness and instead accept the fact that Christ alone is our righteousness?”Brothers, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved. For I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God’s righteousness. For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.” (Romans 10:1-4, ESV) [1][1] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

    Charlie J. Ray

    09/13/2008 at 4:52 PM

  65. By the way, I’m a Gator fan:) But I still follow Steve Spurrier and the Gamecocks. Hope they beat Georgia today.

    Charlie J. Ray

    09/13/2008 at 4:54 PM

  66. Charles,”However, if you are feeling that sort of conviction by a Gospel that is completely and totally of grace, maybe you should stop trying to establish your own righteousness and instead accept the fact that Christ alone is our righteousness?”I HAVE NOT ESTABLISHED MY OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS, BUT HAVE RECEIVED THE RIGHTEOUSNESS OF CHRIST BY FAITH IN HIM, JUST AS PAUL WROTE IN ROMANS 3:21-25.You are SO utterly misguided and pig-headed to assert that I, someone whom Christ died to save, am resting in my own righteousness! I pray to God that this is NOT how you engage other believers with whom you disagree. You sincerely grieve the Spirit of God, let alone do nothing toward the edification of believers.May God pity your soul. I certainly do.Billy

    William Birch

    09/13/2008 at 7:58 PM

  67. Let it go fellas, let it go.Billy, Seeking Disciple, et al., Charles is not likely to give up until he has the last word, or at the very least he’ll walk away shaking his head muttering, “How could they be so blinded?”. I’m a reformed Brother, and these kind of bulldog tendencies make the rest of us look like we all foam at the mouth. My apologies to the combatants.Charles,- “A saying of Chrysostom’s has always pleased me very much, that the foundation of our philosophy is humility. But that of Augustine pleases me even more: “When a certain rhetorician was asked what was the chief rule in eloquence, he replied, ‘Delivery’; what was the second rule, ‘Delivery’; what was the third rule, ‘Delivery’; so if you ask me concerning the precepts of the Christian religion, first, second, third, and always I would answer, ‘Humility.’”Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, 2.2.11, 268-69.

    Albert

    10/09/2008 at 12:20 AM

  68. Richard Muller??? He’s a professor at Calvin Theological Seminary, which is Christian Reformed Church AND one of the liberal Reformed denominations. Appealing to authority alone is a fallacy but appealing to Muller as an authority on Calvinism is like citing the devil as an authority on Arminianism.Also, you might be interested to know that I was an Arminian for over 10 years and graducated from an Arminian college and an Arminian seminary. So all this Arminian stuff is essentially self contradictory. If God foreknows something will happen, then it follows that it was also predestined, otherwise God could not foreknow the future with certainty. Thus, Arminianism is an inconistent position. Unless you’re going to go in the Open Theism direction where God doesn’t know much more about the future than humans do?

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/09/2008 at 1:28 AM

  69. mr. ray, you really gonna keep this up? just skimming your posts has about convinced me to forever abandon the “reformed” label. Soli Gloria Deo. non calvinus, non arminius.

    Micah Neely

    10/09/2008 at 1:57 AM

  70. I’m with you Micah. Makes you want to go Catholic. 😉

    Ragamuffin

    10/09/2008 at 2:31 AM

  71. Now I am reminded of WHY I am not Reformed any more and having serious doubts about even claiming I am a Christian. My siblings fuss an awful lot.First time reader here……….And we wonder “why” the world wants nothing to do with Christianity.I use the ESV. Great translation. I have never thought of it as a “Reformed Bible” Since it comes from the RSV, NRSV line I suppose those Bibles were “Reformed” too?

    Bruce

    10/09/2008 at 3:00 AM

  72. Did you catch the story last week about the Pope’s marathon Bible reading event? I’m a fire-breathing Protestant, but I have to give it up to the Pope on that one!

    jsaras

    10/09/2008 at 3:01 AM

  73. Relax, guys… This is just part of his Calvinistic heritage.http://faith-theology.blogspot.com/2006/11/how-to-settle-theological-debate.html…or how about this spoof (I hope)…http://invicemindeo.blogspot.com/2006/02/presbytery-memorial-to-ga.htmlYeesh… and I thought we Lutherans were the bullies…

    Eric

    10/09/2008 at 6:00 AM

  74. I have not posted here in several weeks. Just got this in the e-mail. But to answer your question, I’m not afraid to debate the issues because Reformed theology is more logical and comes out on top every time. Not only that but it is more Scriptural.Well, first of all, you all seem to have much more animosity against the sovereignty of God than I do against Arminianism. Wonder why that is? Secondly, the truth matters more than fellowship, doesn’t it? Either God is God or He isn’t. What matters more than pleasing men is pleasing God. It really is ridiculous when you appeal to such emotionalism rather than objectively dealing with the facts.The fact is, the Bible teaches both the absolute sovereignty of God and the complete responsibility of man. Salvation is all of God. Yet, we must accept Jesus Christ and believe that He died for our sins. The problem with Arminianism is it really does not teach Soli Gloria Deo, as the preface to the ESV states. Arminianism teaches that man gets part of the glory and in fact that man is sovereign over God in salvation. Arminianism also does not overcome the depravity of man with the doctrine of prevenient grace since apparently that grace doesn’t have the power to save anyone in particular and maybe no one at all.While Arminianism has enjoyed a predominate place in American churches, that is becoming less and less the case since Reformed teaching makes more sense and more people are beginning to realize that they are not in control of what happens to them. God is. I know it is a scarey thought that you must answer to Almighty God someday. That is why you should cry out for mercy and He will abundantly pardon!

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/09/2008 at 9:43 AM

  75. It really is amazing how some folks can misquote Calvin out of context with a straight face:) I have read on the internet that Arminius was really Reformed and Calvin was really Arminian. Next the pope will be protestant:)hehe

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/09/2008 at 10:06 AM

  76. Jacobus Arminius had a basically Reformed understanding of the sacraments, the two natures in Christ, and the relationship between matter and Spirit. He argues for his views using premises, hermeutics, and trains of thought that are entirely consistent with Reformed viewpoints on the aforementioned topics. That’s why we Lutherans regard Arminianism vs Calvinism as more of a “Reformed” dispute, much like the Catholics regard Calvinism vs Lutheranism as a “Protestant” dispute, and the Orthodox regard Lutheranism vs Catholicism as a “Western” dispute.

    Fearsome Pirate

    10/09/2008 at 1:04 PM

  77. Theologically speaking, Calvinism (Canons of Dordt) is closer to Luther than to the Remonstrandts. Luther, for example, taught the bondage of the will, not “free will” as Arminians do. Luther would have rejected any idea of “prevenient grace,” instead opting for single predestination and a monergistic view of conversion. In other words, Luther believed that the means of conversion was the preaching of the Gospel but the Holy Spirit was the preceding agent whereby faith is created in the heart.While Calvinists and Lutherans might disagree on baptismal regeneration, both have in common that election is predestined and decreed before the creation of the world. Lutherans would say that the reprobate are passed over passively while Calvinists would say that God decrees both the election of His people and the reprobation of the lost.I might mention that the 39 Articles of Religion teaches double predestination as well. See article 17 in the 39 Articles of Religion.

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/09/2008 at 6:47 PM

  78. I think there was a song back in the 80’s, I can’t think of the group, called Too much time on my hands.. I think that applys to anybody who would spend time arguing about Calvinism. Dude, there are people that need to hear the gospel. Go tell ’em Christ died for ’em and call them to repentance.

    Joe Blackmon

    10/09/2008 at 11:27 PM

  79. I always have time to preach the Gospel. What do you think I’ve been doing? The Gospel is all of grace from beginning to end. There is none righteous, no, not even one. Not even faith is a work but a gift given by God to those who are unable to believe. (Ephesians 2:8-9).Not only that, but God doesn’t just love everyone generally but He loves each one of the elect in particular. Isn’t it reassuring that God knows you personally and died for your sins to reconcile you to Himself?How is it reassuring if God died for no one in particular and calls no one in particular? Real assurance comes from knowing that before the foundation of the world God determined to grant grace, faith and repentance to those who are unworthy of salvation, mercy, or forgiveness. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly.

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/10/2008 at 12:44 AM

  80. Charlie,Dude, I’m a Calvinist. 5 pointer. But I’m not an evangelist for Calvinism. There are going to be Arminians (sp) in heaven. I don’t see anything profitable coming from arguing over the doctrines of grace. If your point is not to argue why then would you be argueing on a website devoted to Arminianism (sp). Take a slow, deep breath and repeat to yourself “God is soverign. I don’t have to make His case for Him. It’s ok if they disagree with me”. And lay off the coffee. It’ll be alight.From a fellow 5 pointer.

    Joe Blackmon

    10/10/2008 at 1:31 AM

  81. I’m trying to figure out how the ESV in any form is the basis of disagreement between any two theological camps, except for KJVO enthusiasts.80 comments? wow.

    Frank Turk

    10/10/2008 at 10:22 AM

  82. Anyone familiar with Luther and Calvin knows that God’s appointed means for saving His elect is by the preaching of the Gospel. No one can come to God except through Jesus Christ. Predestination does not negate the preaching of the Gospel–it absolutely requires it. Apart from special revelation in Holy Scripture and the preaching of the cross there is no salvation.Calvinists are therefore more motivated to evangelize and preach the Gospel to the whole world because without preaching we would be in despair that the rest of the world is reprobate. Clearly, God has determined to saved His elect from every nation, tribe, and class of people in the whole world. If He commands us to preach the Gospel to every creature and to all nations, then we are obligated to obey and we obey out of gratitude that He had mercy on us when we deserved to be condemned by His righteous judgment.

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/10/2008 at 11:29 AM

  83. A defective gospel is no gospel at all. The fact is, salvation is all of God. I personally do not like Arminianism, though I might concede that God will overlook their obvious ignorance. The doctrines of grace ARE the Gospel. The problem with Arminianism is it is a step back toward Rome. Either salvation is all of grace or it depends partly upon man. I would say that the dead cannot raise themselves from the dead. Therefore, a dead man cannot make himself “born again” any more than he can raise himself from the dead.The trouble with Arminianism is that it saves no one in particular and waters down man’s sinful condition. Furthermore, it lowballs the law of God so that man can “appear” to keep it.God doesn’t grade on a curve. He expects 100% sinlessness and obedience. Anyone who falls short of this is a slave to sin and hopelessly lost–unless of course God chooses to have mercy upon him and grants to him personally and particularly the grace to believe.If grace is merely a scatter shot from God, then salvation is a capricious shot in the dark. But if grace is a rifle shot at a specific target, then God saves precisely every single sinner He predetermined to redeem. The justice of God requires that all of us be damned. There is none righteous, no, not even one. So the elect are not “special.” They, along with the rest of mankind, deserve hell. Mercy is not getting what you deserve. This IS the gospel.Arminianism, on the other hand, contends that God is somehow obligated to give every man a “chance” to be saved by supply a prevenient grace that is not effectual to save since ultimately salvation is up to sinful men who remain dead in their sins and trespasses and therefore are unable to answer the call. Salvation, by the admission of the Arminian position, is merely a “chance” and up to capricious and sinful men who may or may not believe.However, the true Gospel guarantees salvation. Not one of God’s elect, His remnant will be lost. God actually saves every wicked, ungodly, lowlife unbeliever whom He sovereignly decided to save. Who are we to question God?I for one refuse to surrender the doctrines of grace to a defective presentation of the gospel, which in fact is more akin to semi-pelagianism than to the Gospel.Arminians need to be challenged and they need to know that God is in control. They are not.In particular, I dislike it when Arminians, who proclaim a defective gospel, try to lord it over the Reformed position and even usurp the term “Reformed” when the truth is they are rebels against the Reformed position and against the doctrines of grace.Soli Gloria Deo!

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/10/2008 at 11:33 AM

  84. CharlieOr can I call you Chuck? How about Chuckles since that’s what you make me do.Do you mean to tell me that the first time you share the gospel with someone you try to explain the doctrines of grace? Are you daft? If you want to totally confuse someone that’s one way to do it. Also, there is no doubt that there are going to be Arminians (sp) in heaven. Further, we Calvinists will find out once we get there that we didn’t have a full or complete understanding of the truth either.I mean, for real, you need to chill. From a Fellow Calvinist

    Joe Blackmon

    10/10/2008 at 6:20 PM

  85. Well,there’s a brilliant attack against the Gospel. Just call your opponent some silly name:)I have no doubt that those who go about establishing their own righteousness, including making their “choice” the primary cause of their justification, will not be in heaven.Arminianism is a heresy with more in common with Roman Catholic semi-pelagianism than anything else. God alone can save a sinner who is dead in trespasses and sins.If there are Arminians in heaven, it will be in spite of their theology, not because of it.

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/10/2008 at 7:03 PM

  86. Let’s get one thing straight. The Gospel is the Gospel and the “Doctrines of Grace” is “The Doctrines of Grace”. Calvin was generally an excellent theologian, but let’s not elevate him to the Bible just yet.One thing that I honestly do not understand is why Calvinists feel that man by accepting God’s gift of grace somehow brings glory to man because he accepted it. It’s nonsensical on the face of it. If I give a few bucks to a homeless guy and he accepts it, it doesn’t take any ‘glory’ away from me. Quite the opposite. It reveals the utter helplessness of the one who accepts the gift.I also don’t get all the talk about irresistible grace (meaning we have no choice in the matter). Love, it would seem, involves the risk of being rejected. God’s goodness may in fact be SO good that it’s just about irresistible, but even that implies that we accept/relent (or not).The story of the prodigal son in Luke 15:20 says that “he GOT UP and WENT to his father.” I believe that that is the most important and necessary step in the salvation experience. The Father then gave him the robe, etc. This is pretty simple and straightforward.Rightly or wrongly, one definite error that springs from Calvinism is the idea of “once saved, always saved”. In all fairness, it’s probably an unintended consequence of Calvin’s dogma, but there are countless nominal Christians out there who FEEL that they “got saved”, as if they have a righteousness battery of their own apart from a vital relationship with Christ. They go on to live in open, habitual sin, but hey, that’s OK because they ‘got saved’ and there’s nothing that could possibly change that.Titus 2:11 “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to ALL men.”Peace

    jsaras

    10/11/2008 at 12:30 AM

  87. jsaras, I’m glad you asked. First of all, the Reformed position is based on Scripture, not Calvin. Calvin just happens to agree with Scripture.Secondly, the Reformed position emphasizes man’s accountability and responsibility before Almighty God just as much as Arminians do.That being said, however, Arminians get every either backwards or upside down. For example, which came first? God or creation? The Bible says, “In the beginning God…” Obviously, being an omnipotent sovereign, God exists independently of His creation. Using that analogy, then we must say that in the matter of salvation God is the initiator and the sole author of our faith. Why must we say this? We must say this because the Bible clearly says that man is corrupt through and through and is in total bondage to sin and has a sinful human nature. Therefore, as the Bible says, mankind is spiritually DEAD and unable to do what God commands us to do.In fact, I would argue that the Gospel call is not a “free offer” to all mankind. Rather it is a COMMAND. Matthew 4:17 (ESV)17 From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.”I suppose Jesus is just suggesting that sinners repent in a nice way? Of course, Jesus was loving and kind and certainly wouldn’t want to offend even one Arminian?Jesus commands men to do what He knows they are unable to do because they are slaves to sin (see John 8:34-36). But whom the Son sets free shall be free indeed.The problem with the Arminian view is it is just pelagianism doctored up with a little “prevenient grace.” While the Arminian position teaches that man is totally depraved and has a “natural” bent toward sinning, this is supposedly overcome because God gives a general grace to all mankind which allegedly overcomes or neutralizes the corruption of sin so that man is now free to choose to accept or reject Jesus Christ. But this is NOT what Jesus Himself said. Jesus did not say that we set ourselves free by choosing Him. He said specifically that HE sets us free. This is another example of where Arminianism has it backwards and upside down.Pelagianism teaches that man is not really sinful. He just makes bad choices and he’s not really corrupt. Sound familiar? Isn’t that what most Arminians believe? Man isn’t that bad? So total depravity is trumped by a general grace? If that is so, then WHY are the majority of humans still in unbelief and in bondage to sin? Apparently this “prevenient grace” is unable to overcome the bondage of the human will to the sinful nature and to sin.The Bible over and over again says that it God who literally saves dead men from their sins. They are UNABLE to believe. They are slaves to sin. So God literally does a miracle each and every time a person is converted to Christ. God does this first of all by electing sinners before the foundation of the world because He foresaw that they would not believe unless He first raised them from spiritual death by regeneration. (John 3:3ff). Salvation is not man’s decision but God’s. Without God first deciding to save unworthy sinners, no sinner would ever accept Christ.And lastly, your point about “once saved always saved”? That’s a modern Baptist doctrine that is a corruption of the original doctrine of the perseverance of the saints. Reformed Baptists and Presbyterians do not teach once saved always saved. Rather they teach, as do the Lutherans, that we are saved by grace alone, through the gift of faith alone. That is, the ground of our justification before God has absolutely NOTHING to do with good works. Luther said that the foundation, basis, and ground of our justification is the merits, obedience, and the atoning blood of Christ on the cross. We are NOT justified based on how good we are or how many good works we do. God literally justifies the ungodly solely by grace.That being said, however, sanctification is a natural fruit of the Spirit after a person is justified. Justification is imputed to ungodly sinners and is a legal declaration. It is not a change in our inward condition but an outward legal declaration. Sanctification is completely separate and is a gift of God that begins to transform us from the inside out and is a progressive work throughout our lives until death. We never attain perfection because we always have some corruption remaining.However, we do not have a license to sin, even though Luther himself said that we are both sinners and saints at the same time. What he meant was that we are sanctified objectively in justification by faith in the blood of Christ. Justification is something outside of us. But in sanctification, which is relative and imperfect, we always remain sinners in the sense that we fall short of God’s absolute law. God does not lower the demands of the law so we can meet it after we become Christians. Jesus did not come to abolish the law or the prophets and anyone who lowers the standards is leading people astray. We can never measure up, which why it MUST be all of grace.But for the grace of God I would be lost and without faith in Christ! God literally saved me from my sins. I chose to follow Him but I wouldn’t even know that I needed to do this if God had not given me particular grace to raise me from the dead.All the glory goes to God. I don’t even get credit for believing because even that is a gift of God. This is why Arminianism is wrong. It teaches basically that man is in control and not God. This isn’t what the Bible says.Jeremiah 13:23 (ESV)23 Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then also you can do good who are accustomed to do evil.Ezekiel 36:26-27 (ESV)26 And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.John 1:11-13 (ESV)11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.Romans 9:18 (ESV)18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.If you can possibly start to read the Bible afresh and see that it is God who causes us to believe and God who gives us the will to believe, and God who first regenerates us, then you will begin to accept the doctrines of grace, which are really nothing more than what the Bible plainly says.We’re born naturally as Arminians but it takes God to make us see His sovereignty. God will be God even if we refuse to see it. Even our unbelief will never change who God is nor will it change His decrees or His providence.

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/11/2008 at 1:26 AM

  88. Matthew 5:17-20 (ESV)17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.Just read the Beatitudes in Matthew 5 and the sermon on the plain in Luke 6. The law of Christ is even higher and harder to keep than the law of Moses. Can anyone say that they have kept both the law of Moses and the law of Christ perfectly? No cheating allowed!If you examine yourself, you must admit that you’re still a sinner. God expects perfect obedience. If you do not have perfect obedience, then you deserve hell.This is why salvation and justification are imputed to us, not something we measure up to. The purpose of the law is to convict us of our inability to do ALL that God commands. Then and only then do we see our need for Christ.

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/11/2008 at 1:35 AM

  89. Charlie, as a Christian who is also a Reformed Baptist, I have three questions for you.1. Do you believe it is possible that there are Arminians who have relationships with God that are just as close as yours, if not closer?2. Do you believe that there are Arminians who will receive more rewards from God for their earthly lives than you will? 3. Have you ever heard of the “cage stage” of Calvinism?

    Christopher Lake

    10/11/2008 at 1:45 AM

  90. Christopher, red herrings and rabbit trails are side issues which are totally irrelevant to the discussion at hand.Both cannot be true. Either man is sovereign in his salvation or God is sovereign in salvation. One cannot have it both ways.I might add that I have met other allegedly “Reformed” folks here who were really Amyraldians or Arminians. Why should I take your word that you are a “Reformed” Baptist? Perhaps you’re just stealing the word and redefining it?

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/11/2008 at 2:02 AM

  91. Charlie,I am “Reformed” in that I am Reformed in my soteriology. I believe that the so-called “five points of Calvinism” are simply Biblical theology about man, God, and grace distilled into five points. I am “Baptist” in that I believe Calvin was wrong on infant baptism and church government. I am not an Amyraldian or an Arminian.Those matters notwithstanding, the questions that I asked of you are not at all red herrings or rabbit trails. They are questions which I think you should genuinely consider. I love the doctrines of grace as much as anyone who has been brought to understand them can. However, as I once read Joshua Harris (who holds to Reformed soteriology) say of someone, I am sorry to say that you, Charlie, represent the doctrines of grace with a total lack of grace. You are all too clearly in the “cage stage” of Calvinism. Reformed Christians are not the only Christians, but they seem to be the only ones whom you treat with Christian familial love, as brothers and sisters in Christ (from your comments on this blog).

    Christopher Lake

    10/11/2008 at 4:00 AM

  92. Familial love? You must be kidding? The reason there are different denominations in the first place is that there are doctrinal disputes. To ignore this is to pretend there are no differences.I am aware that Charles Hodge accepted Roman Catholics as “brothers” in Christ because they believe in Jesus as expressed in Scripture and the creeds. I’m also aware that Charles Spurgeon accepted Arminians as fellow believers.That being said, I fail to see how I am obligated to agree? While I might make a reluctant concession that Arminians are “saved,” I have serious doubts about the salvation of either the Eastern Orthodox or Roman Catholics. I consider the doctrine of Christ as an essential of the Christian faith. But certainly that is not the only essential doctrine of the Bible?I consider the doctrine of justification by faith alone an essential doctrine and I agree with Luther than the visible church stands or falls on that doctrine. Thus, as the Reformers said in unity, the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox churches are apostate and in serious error. The Westminster Confession of Faith even goes so far as to call such churches “synagogues of satan,” though this has been removed from modern versions.Furthermore, for those who have forgotten, the Synod at Dordt unanimously pronounced the Remonstrandts and the Arminians “heretical.” To ignore this is just silly. I would go further and say that Amyraldians as well are heretical, though the Formula Consensus of Helvetica was not formulated at a general synod.Rather than ignoring or rewriting history, I prefer to take it at face value. Thus, Arminians are in a questionable position regarding their doctrine of justification by faith alone since in their view faith precedes regeneration and the grace which “enables” faith is a general grace which may or may not be efficacious to produce actual faith.Essentially, the heresy of Arminianism is a return to semi-pelagianism in the interest of softening God’s justice against mankind.Indirectly, Arminianism is essentially saying that God is unjust if He does not give every man a “chance.” But this is not what the Bible says. The Scriptures unequivocably state that God is always just EVEN if He does not give everyone salvation.I might add that Arminians have little respect for those of us who believe in the absolute sovereignty of God and have little understanding of the biblical support for the Reformed side of it.This can be demonstrated over and over again by the misrepresentations, straw man arguments, and ad hominem. So I ask you, why should I feel familial “love” for my enemies? The responses here prove without doubt that these Arminians view me as an “enemy” just by the fact that I have “dared” to question their theology.The fact is, I have not upset anyone because of my attitude or lack of love. The idea that God is absolutely sovereign is what is upsetting them. The bottomline is sinful man cannot and will not believe that God can be good and yet render justice against the wicked at the same time. God is not obligated to show mercy to even one person as the flood in Genesis proves. God can do as He wishes with the wicked. Mercy is not giving us justice. The fact that He saves anyone of us at all is a miracle.

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/11/2008 at 11:49 AM

  93. Galatians 1:6-10 (ESV)6 I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel— 7 not that there is another one, but there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed. 10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/11/2008 at 11:54 AM

  94. Charlie,When I wrote that “Reformed Christians are not the only Christians,” I was thinking of the many, many brothers and sisters in Christ who might identify as “Protestant,” but who would not consider themselves “Reformed,” in the sense of believing that God is sovereign over all things, including the salvation of individuals. I wasn’t referring generally to Roman Catholics or Eastern Orthodox, although I do think that there are *some* people in each tradition who are saved. (That doesn’t mean that there aren’t very serious errors in those traditions.) Yes, I understand that the Synod of Dordt declared Arminians “heretical.” However, even most self-proclaimed Arminians do not follow all of the implications of Arminianism to their logical ends– and thank God for this fact! For example, Arminians pray for God to save non-Christians– which is blessedly inconsistent with the Arminian insistence on our “choice” being a decisive factor in our salvation! Are you really going to go so far as to say that Amyraldians (“four-point Calvinists” who do not hold to limited atonement) are not Christians? You basically did, seemingly, by pronouncing them heretics. You apparently believe that *all* Arminians are heretics too. I guess this means that according to you, A.W. Tozer was also not a Christian? How about Bruce Ware, a “four-pointer” from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary? What about yourself, before you came to understand and accept the doctrines of grace? Charlie, it is not only (perhaps not even *primarily*) your embrace of Reformed theology that has caused so many people on this blog to have negative reactions to you. Much of it has to do with your insistence that *only* those Christians who consciously, knowingly embrace Reformed theology (as I do) are actually *Christians.* Your stance here is a hyper-Calvinistic one, and I speak here as a “Calvinist” (although I dislike using labels that identify me with sinful men, rather than with Christ). Charlie, the belief that only Reformed Christians are Christians is itself a heretical belief. God saves people by grace through their faith (given as a gift by God) in Jesus Christ, *not* through their conscious, worked-out, detailed acceptance of election and predestination. To hold that one must accept the Reformed understanding of election and predestination (which I do believe is the most fully Biblical one) in order to be a Christian is to believe in an unBiblical sort of “doctrinal distinctives regeneration.” As a Reformed Christian who accepts the so-called “five points of Calvinism,” I implore you to turn away from this hyper-Calvinistic heresy that would have you refuse to accept and love anyone as a member of the family of God, other than Reformed Christians.

    Christopher Lake

    10/11/2008 at 2:29 PM

  95. First of all, I am not a “hyper-Calvinist.” I am a consistent Calvinist. Second of all, there are two levels of heresy. There are internecine heresies and there are heresies which render one outside the visible church.While there is no “perfect” visible church, there are churches which are more pure and there are churches less pure. While I would not put Arminians outside the visible church, their doctrine is so distorted as to make their view extremely close to putting them on the semi-pelagian side of things. The only doctrines protecting them from this charge is their believe in the depravity of man, justification by faith alone, and their doctrine of prevenient grace. Prevenient grace, imho, is a copout and does not hold up to critical examination.The real irony here is Arminians claiming to be “Reformed” while so-called “Calvinists” defend Arminian-like doctrines such as “common grace” and the “free offer” of salvation. Obviously, only the elect will be saved. However you slice it, God is the author and finisher of our faith. Those who make man sovereign are on the slippery slope toward Amyraldianism, Arminianism, and eventually Open Theism and other denials of God’s sovereignty. Once this step is taken, it is a very short step toward outright theological liberalism.Truth is more important than fellowship. I for one will challenge Arminians to repent of their trust in man’s ability and instead trust in God’s sovereignty. If you wish to pat them on the back in their heresy and divisiveness, be my guest.Soli Gloria Deo!

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/11/2008 at 2:51 PM

  96. “The Swiss Reformed Churches produced the Formula Consensus Helvetica (1675) in opposition to the views of Amyraut and the doctrines of several other liberal professors at Saumur, requiring Swiss Reformed ministers to sign it. It was penned by John Henry Heidegger (a successor of Zwingli at Zurich) with help from Francis Turretin (a successor of Calvin at Geneva) and Luke Gernler (a successor of Oecolampadius at Basle).”From: http://www.cprf.co.uk/articles/amyraut.htmSo much for Zwingli being an advocate of universal atonement.

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/11/2008 at 3:01 PM

  97. Charlie,Common grace does exist. God does allow even the non-elect to enjoy many blessings in this life, and *any* blessing from God is a form of His unmerited favor (although not *saving* favor, unless the blessing in question is faith). God also loves the non-elect, in some sense, at least, by allowing them these earthly blessings. In fact, God specifically tells us to be like Him in loving our enemies. The fact that not all of God’s love is *saving* love does not invalidate the real, Biblically proven fact of His love for the non-elect. It is true that Scripture does say that God is angry with the wicked every day. How can God love those with whom he is angry every day? Well, a similar question would be, how can God freely offer the Gospel to everyone and genuinely hold the non-elect truly responsible for rejecting the Gospel, when He has predestined that they would do so? Charlie, here is where we must submit our logic to Scripture. Scripture clearly teaches certain truths, side by side, which cannot be reconciled by our human reason. We must submit ourselves and our reasonings to Scripture and admit that what is irreconcilable to us is not so to God. The problem is, you don’t seem satisfied to submit in this way. You demand *fallen* human logical consistency of God and His word, to the point that you are willing to deny Biblical teachings such as God’s common grace to the non-elect and His free offer of the Gospel to them. However, in denying these teachings, you elevate *fallen* human logical consistency above God and His revealed word. This is the idolatry of hyper-Calvinism– elevating human reason, with its inherent limits, above God’e revealed word, and then drawing flawed, fallen conclusions *from* His word, due to the aforementioned “elevation.” However, God is God, and He does as He pleases, which is *always* holy and *always* right– even if it conflicts with our sense of what He logically “should” do (such as not showing common grace to the non-elect and not freely offering the Gospel to them).

    Christopher Lake

    10/11/2008 at 4:32 PM

  98. Charlie,One other response to what you wrote– while I do accept and love the majority of self-proclaimed (and/or unconscious) Arminians as brothers and sisters in Christ (which some of them would not do for me, sadly), I hardly “pat them on the back” in their errors. I am a member of a church in which the eldership and most of the other staff members are Reformed, but quite likely, a good percentage of the congregation is not Reformed. When fellow church members talk in Sunday School about the libertarian free will of man (although they don’t use that exact term!) in submitting to God or rejecting Him, I direct them to Scripture which disproves this concept. When I hear members speaking of man’s moral state before God in terms that more resemble the fallen teachings of psychology than of Scripture, I again direct them to Scripture. However, as wrong as some of them can be at times on certain issues (and I can definitely be wrong too!), they are still my brothers and sisters in Christ who have covenanted together with me, as members of a local church, and I am called to love them and fellowship with them. What is the alternative– an *unBiblical* decision to only extend the hand of fellowship to those who are at least as “doctrinally pure” as I am (or as I think I am) on the “five points of Calvinism”?

    Christopher Lake

    10/11/2008 at 4:56 PM

  99. Christopher, whether or not the doctrine of common grace is true or not is a debatable question. I have only recently been reading the articles dealing with the common grace controversy. It seems to me that the common grace side is at a considerable disadvantage both biblically and logically. Even D. James Kennedy acknowledges that the Gospel is a “command” to repent and not a “free offer.” See the video at: http://reasonablechristian.blogspot.com/2008/10/whats-wrong-with-universal-atonement.html#links.In fact, there is not one single verse that says that God loves every single individual without exception. If that is so, we have many, many problem texts. For example, why did God destroy every man, woman and child in the Genesis 6 flood, excepting Noah, his wife, and his three sons and their wives? Why would God command the genocide of the Amalekites in 1 Samuel 15:3? Why did God command the Israelites to exterminate the Canaanites in the land promised to them? (See Deuteronomy 20:16-18).Common grace is a rather late development in Reformed theology and was first proposed by Abraham Kuyper. It is indeed ironic that you would insist on common grace while tolerating the heresies of the Remonstrandts.My view is based on Scripture. The Bible does say that grants certain privileges even to the non-elect or the reprobate, such as food, water, shelter, rain, sunshine, etc. But it also true that He sends terrorist attacks, famines, earthquakes, diseases, and even wars against mankind in general. This is part of the curse of the fall of Adam. We have become enemies of God until we are converted.And even if we are converted, we live in a fallen world where we are faced with the curses of the fall. All of us will die a physical death some day. The problem of evil does not disappear just because you opt for a “kinder, gentler” view of God.God remains just even if you reconceive Him in a way that makes Him seem more acceptable to rebellious sinners who refuse to give Him thanks or to glorify Him.While no one likes to suffer, it is most certain that we will suffer in this life. Looking for an easy way out and life of comfort is sure to lead to selfishness and idolatry. Often it is suffering that we come to see what God really is like.If Romans 8 proves anything at all, it proves that no matter what God will preserve His elect because Jesus Christ died for them. I cannot for the life of me see how that in any way at all applies to the reprobate other than they have the basics of life. But remember this: even your very life is in God’s hands. You and I are mortal. We are not promised how long we will live on earth. God gives us the very breath we breathe and the beating of our heart. He can take it all away at any time He pleases. If you don’t believe that, then I would suggest your view is closer to deism than Christianity.Soli Gloria Deo!Charlie

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/11/2008 at 5:01 PM

  100. Charlie,*Where in the world* would you get the idea that I might not believe that my very life (and the lives of all people) is in God’s hands– His to take at any moment? I have not written *anything* in our interactions which would give you the least reason to even *suggest* (as you do) that I might potentially lean toward deism in my thinking about God. Charlie, it seems that you are perpetually, unceasingly on the hunt for even any *possible* error in a Christian’s thinking. This attitude of always being on the hunt, when actually lived out, begins to look to others like a form of theological paranoia. Such an attitude is just not healthy (because it is not *Biblical*). It elevates certain doctrinal distinctives above the Gospel of justification by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone. That faith is in *Christ alone,* not in an accurate understanding and acceptance of all of the five points of Calvinism! Again, I write as a Reformed Baptist Christian who was, until fairly recently, a member of Capitol Hill Baptist Church, a Reformed Baptist Church that launched the “9 Marks of a Healthy Church” ministry to encourage Biblical fidelity and health in local churches.

    Christopher Lake

    10/11/2008 at 5:24 PM

  101. Christopher,I am currently attending an Episcopal church where the pastor is an Amyraldian of some kind or other. He is from the Sydney diocese of the Anglican Church in Australia.He and I have strongly disagree over this issue several times. I don’t break fellowship with him over it. That being said, however, I have not joined the church nor will I. First of all, the church is associated with the apostate ECUSA denomination. Secondly, the pastor has yet to preach anything that would be clearly defined as “gospel,” even though he is from the evangelical tradition. Most of his messages have to do with law or morality rather than law/gospel.I attend there because it is close to home and because the liturgy at least does give the gospel. Most of the people there are either very poorly taught Evangelicals/charismatics, Anglo-Catholics, or even theologically liberal. It’s a small church. In real life I don’t go around arguing with people over doctrine. It’s mostly because the Bible is a foreign language to people who merely attend church and take communion. However, whenever God opens the door, I witness to them.That would include the pastor. He has absolutely no clue that the atonement is an objective reality and he places most of the emphasis on “personal relationship.” Basically, his view is a very simplistic one based on Billy Graham evangelism.I was also an Arminian for over 10 or more years so it would be hard for me to say that Arminians are not saved. However, some Arminians don’t even understand their own theology and are in fact closer to Finneyism and pelagian views that to true Arminianism.My own theological training was in an Assemblies of God college, Southeastern College, Lakeland, Florida, (now called Southeastern University). Also, I have a solid understanding of Wesleyan/holiness Arminianism since I did my master of divinity at Asbury Theological Seminary. I have read Wesley’s 52 Standard Sermons as well as several Arminian systematic theology textbooks, including the A/G one edited by Stanley Horton. I also read Millard Erickson’s Christian Theology and Dale Moody’s The Word of Truth.While I would not say any of those men are not “saved,” I cannot agree that what they are teaching is correct. It is in fact divisive in the body of Christ and creates confusion. I would even say that Arminian theology misrepresents and deliberately provokes hatred of Reformed theology and those who believe it.Believe me, I heard my share of attacks against “traditional” Christianity when I was in the pentecostal/charismatic circles. When I was in the Methodist circles there was a great amount of misrepresentation and even hatred for the Reformed view.I can say this with confidence because while at Asbury I took two classes that dealt specifically with the divide between Arminianism and Calvinism. One of those classes was taught by Dr. Jerry Walls, the professor of Christian philosophy. Walls got his degree from Notre Dame and studied under Alvin Plantinga. What an irony. Walls tried to refute the compatibilist view and wound up convincing me that it was indeed the correct one!The other class was taught by Dr. Thomas O’Malley and was a seminar where we read the Institutes of the Christian Religion and then wrote commentaries and summaries of assigned passages. We covered the entire work and then each class period discussed the various topics in the readings.While O’Malley and the other students mostly came down on the Arminian side, I found myself agreeing with Calvin! Putting that together with the extreme pride and arrogance of the holiness movement and pentecostalism, it was not long after seminary that I converted to the Calvinist view.I have found few Reformed churches which are consistently faithful to the Reformed confessions. Many are into the church growth movement or otherwise compromising the Reformed tradition in one way or another.I personally like to read the classical Reformed theologians. However, even they are not perfect. Charles Hodge, as erudite and informative as his theology is, chose to depart from the traditional position by accepting that Catholics are “Christians.” I would have to say that could only be decided on a case by case basis since the Council of Trent has officially condemned the Gospel.Soli Gloria Deo!Charlie

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/11/2008 at 5:32 PM

  102. Christopher,I think you need to lighten up:) I’m not a fanatic. I just think doctrine is more important than not offending someone. Believe me…. if I learned anything from the Pentecostals…. it is this:BE BOLD! BE STRONG! FOR THE LORD THY GOD IS WITH THEE!:) Now, if pentecostals are not afraid of offending anyone, why should I be afraid of offending anyone with the correct doctrine of the cross? Perhaps they NEED to be offended?Acts 17:6-7 (ESV)6 And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, 7 and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.”It seems to me that synods in church history do not happen for no reason. The Council of Orange and the Synods of Dordt as well as the Swiss synods at Helvetica all argue that Amyraldian and Arminian views are just plain wrong and unscriptural.Sorry if that bothers you.Soli gloria deo!

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/11/2008 at 5:43 PM

  103. Charlie,Thank you for the helpful (and it is actually helpful) account of your theological history and thinking. It is good to know that you believe that at least some Arminians are actually Christians! It’s also good to know that you don’t converse in the world in the same way that you have on this blog (which is puzzling to me though. Why be different here?). I was not Reformed either for approximately the first three years of my Christian life (I have now been a Christian for more than six years). When you too easily and carelessly throw around the term “heresy,” in relation to both Arminians and “four-point Calvinists,” it is very confusing and can lead to other Christians thinking that you believe that only Reformed Christians are, in fact, Christians! This kind of not-so-careful use of terms, such as “heresy,” is not good for helpful conversation between Christians who hold to differing theologies on certain points.You write that “even the classical Reformed theologians are not perfect.” Charlie, *no* fallen human theologian is “perfect” in his/her theology, other than the human writers of Scripture, when they were writing under the inspiration of the one, true, infallible God. If you didn’t seemingly look for perfection so much from other Christians in their thinking, other Christians might react more positively to you. Think seriously about that– I think that there is more truth there than you might currently realize. Not *everyone’s* negative reaction to you is about their hatred of God’s sovereignty.

    Christopher Lake

    10/11/2008 at 5:56 PM

  104. Christopher,Well, I suppose I do enjoy upsetting the applecart sometimes. Actually, I had an fidonet debate with James White back in the bulletin board days before Al Gore invented the internet. White argued from John 6 and Romans 9 that God was sovereign. I had already noticed that the Arminian explanations didn’t take the text at face value and that pushed me over to the other side.Actually, if you will read the entire discourse here you see there was a mutual disrespect going on. I can hold my own in a debate online. I’ve been debating in online chat on the undernet since at least 1999 or so.I may not always get all the details right but I do have a feel what is correct. Soli gloria deo…Charlie

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/11/2008 at 6:03 PM

  105. Charlie,This is comically surreal– after your “doctrinally precise” vehemence and vitriol in conversing with so many people on this blog, you’re telling me that I need to lighten up? 🙂 Please go back and read through your interactions with other Christians on this blog, Charlie. Do you not see at all how you have come across to people here? Even other Reformed Christians were telling to you to cease and desist! 🙂 Speck and log, speck and log, man…

    Christopher Lake

    10/11/2008 at 6:05 PM

  106. Charlie,I certainly believe that you can hold your own in a debate– but the question is, do you do so in *both* grace and truth? We are to act in grace and truth with at least other Christians, and I would say, with non-Christians too. The fact that some Arminians here adopted a tone of disrespect toward you does not justify your clear disrespect of them (including open questioning of the genuineness of both their and Amyraldians’ Christian faith!).

    Christopher Lake

    10/11/2008 at 6:16 PM

  107. Christopher, the real problem here is an inconsistent Arminianism and Amyraldianism. I’ve found that quite a few of them are closer to Finney than Arminius.Also, I was kidding about the lighten up. :)I can take the heat, baby:)Honestly, I have met many, many Arminians whom I would question as to whether or not they are saved. I myself was confused as an Arminian since sometimes the emphasis on personal responsibility bordered on pelagianism.Of course sanctification is a nececssary fruit of true justification (See James 2:24-25). However, the Second Helvetic Confession says this:”GOOD WORKS NOT REJECTED. Therefore, although we teach with the apostle that a man is justified by grace through faith in Christ and not through any good works, yet we do not think that good works are of little value and condemn them. We know that man was not created or regenerated through faith in order to be idle, but rather that without ceasing he should do those things which are good and useful. For in the Gospel the Lord says that a good tree brings forth good fruit (Matt. 12:33), and that he who abides in me bears much fruit (John 15:5). The apostle says: “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph. 2:10), and again: “Who gave himself for us to redeem us from all iniquity and to purify for himself a people of his own who are zealous for good deeds” (Titus 2:14). We therefore condemn all who despise good works and who babble that they are useless and that we do not need to pay attention to them.WE ARE NOT SAVED BY GOOD WORKS. Nevertheless, as was said above, we do not think that we are saved by good works, and that they are so necessary for salvation that no one was ever saved without them. For we are saved by grace and the favor of Christ alone. Works necessarily proceed from faith. And salvation is improperly attributed to them, but is most properly ascribed to grace. The apostle’s sentence is well known: “If it is by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace would no longer be grace. But if it is of works, then it is no longer grace, because otherwise work is no longer work” (Rom. 11:6).” (Chapter XVI). http://www.ccel.org/creeds/helvetic.htm

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/11/2008 at 6:38 PM

  108. I do question the salvation of many Arminians since they are inconsistent with their own theology. Most have more affinity with Finneyism than with Arminianism. That would include those from the Pentecostal side of things were justification is almost completely forgotten. What matters to most Pentecostals are the gifts of the Spirit and the doctrine of the Spirit. Everything else is pretty much an after thought.Honestly, any religion, including Puritanism, which emphasizes piety more than orthodoxy is questionable imho. My salvation and justification does not depend on my level of piety! It is an objective FACT accomplished outside of me on the cross. When the focus is on personal experience over against the cross and what Christ did there, then I gotta side with the cross.1 Corinthians 1:18-25 (ESV)18 For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. 19 For it is written, “I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the discernment of the discerning I will thwart.” 20 Where is the one who is wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? 21 For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. 22 For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, 23 but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, 24 but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25 For the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.Soli Gloria Deo!Charlie

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/11/2008 at 6:44 PM

  109. Charlie,Now we are beginning to agree more (at least in terms of what is actually being verbalized or written here– many of your earlier comments, toward me and others, were pretty disconcerting)! Personal experience must always be *judged by* Scripture, rather than being the judge *of* it. Also, personal growth in holiness can provide *some* importance confirmatory evidence of a person’s genuine Christian faith, but it should never be the sole basis for a person’s evaluation of where he/she stands with God. That will lead to excessive, morbid introspection and legalism.However, as the Confessions (and more importantly, the Scriptures!) say, good works are an important and necessary part of the Christian’s new life *as* a Christian. Good trees will bear good fruit.About the inconsistencies of Arminians and Amyraldians, I know of them intimately– I have been there myself. However, as a Reformed Christian now, interacting with Arminian brothers and sisters in Christ, I am as often heartened by their inconsistencies as I am disheartened by them!Again, I think of the example of Arminians praying for God to sovereignly save non-Christians. This prayer is very much inconsistent with Arminians’ insistence on human libertarian free will to accept or reject God’s grace– and I thank and praise God for their inconsistency! Would I rather that they be still more Biblically consistent and embrace Reformed theology? Yes! As things are though, I do praise God for many Arminians’ “prayerfully inconsistent” theology concerning God’s sovereignty in salvation!

    Christopher Lake

    10/11/2008 at 7:22 PM

  110. If you commenting and questioning not to engage in a healthy, logical and rational discussion (“Come let us reason together”), to humbly and genuinely research and understand another position that can potentially illuminate another facet of God and his truth (whom we ALL “see through a glass darkly”), or to speak what you earnestly feel to be the truth “in love”, then why are you here? How is this not willfully indulging in the “vain and idle disputes”? How is this not dogmatically standing behind our modern day “Paul’s”, “Apollos'”, and “Christ’s”? Both of these are divisive actions that The Apostle Paul warned against. No one here is going to change their view of God overnight because someone else said so, nor should they! The Holy Spirit is still capable of doing his job of “guiding us into all truth” on his own schedule and without our help. And his guidance into truth is never to a destination we can claim to have fully reached in this life – it is a treacherous journey we travel with “fear and trembling” until we reach heaven. In the meantime, WE ALL… those we consider perfect, elect, nominal and heretical… still have a charge by God to love Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and to love our neighbors, as much as we love ourselves (and our pet theories). And THAT is how we prove to others that we are Jesus’ disciples. THAT is how we know that “we are born of God and know God”. Through the giving and receiving of Godly love – not through theological pissing contests.

    The Neurotic

    10/12/2008 at 3:27 AM

  111. The truth is worth dividing over. This is why we have denominations! There can be no unity until we reach glory precisely because you insist on watering down the doctrines of the Bible to fit your “kinder” and “gentler” view of God. I don’t follow men. I follow Holy Scripture which is indeed written by men but “inspired” by God. Since every page of the Bible declares the sovereignty of God, this ought to be our beginning point, not some idea that all men “deserve” a chance.The fact is, we all deserve hell. The very fact that God has shown mercy at all to some men means that God is not giving us the justice we deserve.

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/12/2008 at 1:25 PM

  112. First, let me say Charlie, that I was not directing my comments at you, but at the general tone of the comments regarding this post.But since you have addressed me directly, I will respond.I did not make up the passage of scripture that says God is Love. I did not dream up Jesus saying that all of the law and the prophets are summed up in “Love God, and Love your neighbor as yourself.” It’s right there for all to see. Also there in plain sight is the definition of love in 1 Corinthians 13, part of which says “Love does not rejoice in evil”.Even if I believed in the god you present, I still would not find it consistent with His character to be gleeful that certain people are going to be eternally damned. Even if I believed in an elect, scripture still says that “God is not willing (desirous) that any should perish”. Yet I feel this is exactly the attitude you and others have taken. “You’re screwed. It sucks to be you. Have fun in hell.”Belief in God’s love does not negate or diminish His sovereignty. Even children of maniacal, blood-thirsty, evil, earthly, dictators can speak of how loving their father is to them – how they remember playing in his lap, of celebrating birthdays and getting nice things. If you spoke to them you would get an entirely different picture of who that person is – Yet both the picture of the father and the dictator are accurate. Son and subject of the dictator cannot say that only their description is true.Another verse I did not invent says – Behold what manner of love the father has given unto us that we should be called the sons of God. What saddens me, Charlie, is that when you minimize the importance of his love towards others (a concept mentioned more in the NT than proclamations of judgment) you start to lose the ability to see his love toward yourself as well. That cannot be a comfortable way to live and for that I am sorry.

    The Neurotic

    10/12/2008 at 7:02 PM

  113. If God “loves”everybody, then nobody should go to hell. Right? Obviously, God does not love those who refuse to obey His command to repent and believe the good news of Jesus Christ. The Bible clearly says that such people are under the wrath of God. See John 3:36, Romans 1:18ff, etc.Thomas Jefferson was a deist. He didn’t like the parts of the New Testament which spoke about miracles, resurrection, or the supernatural so he took out his scissors and cut all those parts out. The problem with illiteracy of the Scriptures is that folks like you don’t realize it when preachers cut out the “offensive” parts of the Bible that no one likes. They’re preaching only the parts of Scripture that sound good to the crowds. What about the parts that speak of wrath and the judgment to come? Yes, God loves His people who have come to know Him. They are His friends and He lavishes His love and His Spirit upon them. However, the Bible equally condemns the wicked and has more to say about judgment than you want to acknowledge.Romans 5:8-11 (ESV)8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.Until you see how much God hates sinners, you can never see how much God loves sinners who have been redeemed and brought into a life of grace.Soli gloria Deo!Charlie

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/12/2008 at 9:12 PM

  114. So… “God hates you and has a wonderful plan for your life… possibly.” Awesome! Sign me up! That is truly “the Good News.”Anyway… I’m not going to get all caught up in this anymore… We’ll debate this our entire lives and then realize how far off we both were when we meet Jesus and each other face to face in heaven.Till then…Love (or hate… whichever), The Neurotic

    The Neurotic

    10/12/2008 at 9:30 PM

  115. If there is “good news,” what was the bad news? You were lost. You were under God’s wrath and His enemy. The bad news is you were on your way to eternal hell.The good news is God sent His son to live a perfect life because you cannot. And even more than that, Jesus died for your sin of unbelief and then gave you the gift of faith before you even knew you needed it.It’s all of God. Even your salvation. You didn’t choose Him on your own. He chose you first. Did you choose who your parents would be? Or what country or what century you would be born in? Did you choose the color of your eyes or your gender? (Bad question, you can change your gender and get a fake one these days). The only hope is to stop trusting in your own ability to keep yourself and trust God alone to see you through to the end. You can’t keep yourself saved. Only God can guarantee that you will make it to the end and see Him glory.I would much rather rest on the everlasting arms of God than to trust in my own strength or my own abilities.Isaiah 37:26-29 (ESV)26 “ ‘Have you not heard that I determined it long ago? I planned from days of old what now I bring to pass, that you should make fortified cities crash into heaps of ruins, 27 while their inhabitants, shorn of strength, are dismayed and confounded, and have become like plants of the field and like tender grass, like grass on the housetops, blighted before it is grown. 28 “ ‘I know your sitting down and your going out and coming in, and your raging against me. 29 Because you have raged against me and your complacency has come to my ears, I will put my hook in your nose and my bit in your mouth, and I will turn you back on the way by which you came.’[1][1] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/12/2008 at 10:30 PM

  116. Isaiah 40:28-29 (ESV)28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. 29 He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength.[1][1] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/12/2008 at 10:31 PM

  117. Charlie,In light of your belief that God has *no love at all* for those whom He does not elect to salvation, how do you explain the following passage from Scripture, which contains the words of Jesus, God the Son: “You have heard that it was said ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father in Heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:43-48, NASB)Charlie, this passage tells Christians to love their enemies, and that in doing so, they will be like their heavenly Father. Notice that the passage *doesn’t* say, “Love only those who repent of their sins and trust in Christ, because in so doing, you will be like your heavenly Father.” Christians are specifically commanded here to love their enemies, *regardless* of whether or not they repent. Moreover, Christians are told that by doing so, they will be acting as their heavenly Father does. How do you explain this statement, Charlie?

    Christopher Lake

    10/12/2008 at 10:44 PM

  118. Christopher,Ephesians 2:3 clearly says that before we come to believe in Jesus we are objects of God’s wrath. Therefore, ALL mankind are under God’s wrath until they are saved. This includes both the elect and those who are reprobate, i.e. those whom God passes over and leaves in their sins.Clearly there are those who are in the world who have yet to come to faith. Since we do not know who will be saved, we must love even our enemies. This text does not say that God loves everyone. It merely says He sends the rain on the just and the unjust. Simply because even the wicked get rain does not mean that God loves them.If God loves them, then why does He not give everyone the gift of faith so they can be saved? There is a world of difference between giving the wicked the necessities of life and giving them the special love reserved only for the sheep, the elect.God knows His own. We are commanded to love even our enemies because they are created in the image and likeness of God and the Law of Moses commands us to love our neighbor as ourselves; however, that did not negate God’s command to wipe out all the Amalekites and the Canaanites, et. al. in holy war.Obviously, Jesus was aware of holy war in the OT. The pacifists have a tough time with that one. The fact is, Jesus commands us to keep a higher law than the law of Moses, not an easier one.It’s a bit ridiculous to read God’s love into a text that is merely talking about benevolence and tolerance in general. If you believe God loves the reprobate, then I would have to say you’re closer to Arminianism and Amyraldianism than to Calvinism.Charlie

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/12/2008 at 11:42 PM

  119. Christopher:Calvin’s commentary on Matthew 5:45clarifies why we are commanded to love our enemies. We’re not God and we have no authority to judge the wicked. Only God can do that:45. That ye may be the children of your Father who is in heaven. When he expressly declares, that no man will be a child of God, unless he loves those who hate him, who shall dare to say, that we are not bound to observe this doctrine? The statement amounts to this, “Whoever shall wish to be accounted a Christian, let him love his enemies.” It is truly horrible and monstrous, that the world should have been covered with such thick darkness, for three or four centuries, as not to see that it is an express command, and that every one who neglects it is struck out of the number of the children of God.It ought to be observed that, when the example of God is held out for our imitation, this does not imply, that it would be becoming in us to do whatever God does. He frequently punishes the wicked, and drives the wicked out of the world. In this respect, he does not desire us to imitate him: for the judgment of the world, which is his prerogative, does not belong to us. But it is his will, that we should imitate his fatherly goodness and liberality. This was perceived, not only by heathen philosophers, but by some wicked despisers of godliness, who have made this open confession, that in nothing do men resemble God more than in doing good. In short, Christ assures us, that this will be a mark of our adoption, if we are kind to the unthankful and evil. And yet you are not to understand, that our liberality makes us the children of God: but the same Spirit, who is the witness, (Romans 8:16,) earnest, (Ephesians 1:14,) and seal, (Ephesians 4:30,) of our free adoption, corrects the wicked affections of the flesh, which are opposed to charity. Christ therefore proves from the effect, that none are the children of God, but those who resemble him in gentleness and kindness.

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/13/2008 at 12:00 AM

  120. “It ought to be observed that, when the example of God is held out for our imitation, this does not imply, that it would be becoming in us to do whatever God does. He frequently punishes the wicked, and drives the wicked out of the world. In this respect, he does not desire us to imitate him: for the judgment of the world, which is his prerogative, does not belong to us. But it is his will, that we should imitate his fatherly goodness and liberality. This was perceived, not only by heathen philosophers, but by some wicked despisers of godliness, who have made this open confession, that in nothing do men resemble God more than in doing good. In short, Christ assures us, that this will be a mark of our adoption, if we are kind to the unthankful and evil. And yet you are not to understand, that our liberality makes us the children of God: but the same Spirit, who is the witness, (Romans 8:16,) earnest, (Ephesians 1:14,) and seal, (Ephesians 4:30,) of our free adoption, corrects the wicked affections of the flesh, which are opposed to charity. Christ therefore proves from the effect, that none are the children of God, but those who resemble him in gentleness and kindness.”John Calvin

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/13/2008 at 12:03 AM

  121. Calvin’s Harmony of the Gospels: Matthew 5:45http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/calcom31.ix.li.html

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/13/2008 at 12:05 AM

  122. Christopher, So my answer to your question is I am commanded to love because God said so. However, simply because I am commanded to love my enemies does not translate into God loves them. As Calvin pointed out in the commentary, God has more authority. We are not God. God can jolly well do what He pleases with His enemies. In fact, Scripture tells us over and over again that God cuts off the wicked.Daniel 4:34-35 (ESV)34 At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation; 35 all the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does according to his will among the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand or say to him, “What have you done?”While I must love my enemies, God has no such obligations.Soli gloria Deo!Charlie

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/13/2008 at 12:21 AM

  123. Charlie,You didn’t engage with Matthew 5:43-48 directly, for what the passage itself says. Instead, you went to another passage (that also tells a Biblical truth, to be sure!) and to Calvin’s commentaries. Please engage directly with Matthew 5:43-48. In this passage, Jesus commands his true followers to *love* their enemies (*not* to merely “tolerate” them or to show them a disinterested “benevolence,” but to *love* them!). He says that in *loving* their enemies, Christians will be like their heavenly Father. Not mere tolerance, Charlie. Not just benevolence. Love. Please deal with the text.

    Christopher Lake

    10/13/2008 at 12:53 AM

  124. Christopher, I agree with Calvin. WE are to love OUR enemies. This demonstrates that God is GOOD. However, it is a non sequitur to conclude from this alone that God somehow loves the reprobate. He clearly does not.GOD’S general benevolence does not mean He loves those who are not elect. Calvin himself says as much since God often cuts them off in their sins through wars, famines, pestilences, calamities, etc., et. al.You are eisogeting into the text what is not there. Just because God’s attributes of goodness and holiness are to be displayed by us does not mean that we are somehow equal with God. WE are not to judge the world BUT GOD WILL. Calvin says so explicitly.There is no way around this. Clearly Calvin is NOT siding with any idea of common grace at all.Your error is that you are confusing categories. We are not God so we do not have a right to condemn or judge evil men except through courts of law.Since God is God and without sin, He can justly hate the sinner even though He forbears executing His wrath for a season, allowing them time to repent, though they never do.If God truly “loved” the reprobate, then He would grant him the benefits of the cross through the gift of faith. He does not, so therefore God does not nor can He love them in any way at all. It is a rejection.If you would stop trying to “defend” God, you would see that God doesn’t need defending. Let the wicked forsake his way and glorify God. If there are those who are foolish enough to accuse Gof of unrighteousness in any way whatsoever, then let them answer to God for that.As for me, I will take God at His word. Scripture interprets Scripture:Psalm 5:5 (ESV)5 The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers.Psalm 11:5 (ESV)5 The Lord tests the righteous, but his soul hates the wicked and the one who loves violence.Psalm 58:3 (ESV)3 The wicked are estranged from the womb; they go astray from birth, speaking lies.Romans 1:18 (ESV)18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.Romans 1:32 (ESV)32 Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.Hebrews 10:29 (ESV)29 How much worse punishment, do you think, will be deserved by the one who has spurned the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace?Revelation 16:5-6 (ESV)5 And I heard the angel in charge of the waters say, “Just are you, O Holy One, who is and who was, for you brought these judgments. 6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, and you have given them blood to drink. It is what they deserve!”[1][1] The Holy Bible : English standard version. 2001. Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/13/2008 at 2:32 AM

  125. Calvinists will not be satisfied until they’ve convinced everyone on earth that God is an evil little god who sadistically decrees men to sin then damns them for doing exactly as he decreed and who damns innocent infants (or even stillbirths!) to hell for another man’s sin and who micromanages everything who is the author of evil and controls the devil’s every thought and move so as to not only have concord with Belial but to essentially be Beliall himself. Unless they have convinced someone that God is such a sadistic puppet-master, they can’t sleep at night. And the really sad thing is that they don’t really care whether the person whose soul they are beating to death with the shovel of Calvinism actually converts to Calvinism or simply becomes so disgusted by this false view of God that they become an atheist God-hater. Just as long as they are able to drive the person into despair and turn them away from the true gospel and real grace of Jesus Christ, so as to prevent their salvation, they will be happy, for that is all Calvinists seek to do both day and night.

    beowulf2k8

    10/13/2008 at 2:51 AM

  126. Beowulf,How many of John Calvin’s works have you actually read? I do not call myself a “Calvinist,” as I do not follow any sinful man, but I do embrace the basic theology of Calvinism, because it existed in the Bible long before John Calvin was ever born.

    Christopher Lake

    10/13/2008 at 3:05 AM

  127. Charlie,I agree that Scripture must interpret Scripture. Matthew 5:43-48 states that when Christians *love* (not merely tolerate, or show benevolence to) their enemies, they are being like their heavenly Father. The passage says it clearly, Charlie. You can’t ignore it or explain it away by going to other verses. Other Scriptures do talk about how God is angry with the wicked and hates evildoers, as you mentioned. God’s (non-saving) love and (eternal) hatred for the non-elect are *both* true. We are to love our enemies (without regard to their repentance) because to do so is to be like God, according to Matthew 5:43-48. *God* loves His enemies, even without regard to their repentance, *and” He is also angry with them and hates them by pouring out His just wrath upon them. If you can’t understand how God can both love (temporally and non-savingly) and hate (eternally) the non-elect, then you are failing to let Scripture interpret Scripture– and you are ending up with the false teaching of hyper-Calvinism.

    Christopher Lake

    10/13/2008 at 3:16 AM

  128. My thoughts are simply this: The amount of comments on this one article has to be some kind of record! JB

    Joni

    10/13/2008 at 3:25 AM

  129. “How many of John Calvin’s works have you actually read?” How many do you want me to have read? I’m not talking about Calvin himself but about modern Calvinists. You can’t deny that Calvinism (or whatever YOU may want to call it) in asserting Determinism makes God out to be the author of evil and makes Christ out to have concord with Belial. Well, you can deny it all you want, but you are just deceiving yourself. Romans 9 is not teaching that God arbitrarily elects some men to salvation and some to damnation, but rather Paul is showing that contrary to what the Jews thought God is under no obligation to save all Jews (even unbelievers) and damn all Gentiles (even believers). And contrary to his Jewish opponents, God did not make the Jews into unbelievers and hence he upbraids the Jews “How are you to accuse God?” Rather, God has the right and power to of the same lump of the Jews make both vessels of honor (out of those he foreknew would believe) and vessels of dishonor (out of those he foresaw would not believe). So also of the lump of the Gentiles he has the right to make both vessels of honor (out of those he foreknew would believe) and vessels of dishonor (out of those he foresaw would not believe). Paul shows that God has indeed in the past weeded some physical descendants of Abraham out of the physical blessings of Abrahamic descent, such as Ishmael and Esau, thus showing that God also has the right today to weed the Jews that he foreknew would not believe out of the blessing of eternal salvation. This all falls in line with the allegory of Sarah and Hagar from Galatians 4 which is on the same subject, where Isaac represents those whom God foresaw would believe and Ishmael represents those God foresaw would not believe, hence Christians are as Isaac sons of the freewoman but the unbelieving Jews are as Ishmael sons of Hagar. To this extent then Sarah is interpreted as being the gospel and Hagar as the law. So, the argument is not about arbitrary election by a tyrannical and sadistic will, but about God’s right to limit salvation to only those whom he foreknew would believe the gospel rather than having to save all the Jews indiscriminately. So also, thou Calvinist, Romans 8:29, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate” — To foreknow (proginosko, ‘foresee’) and to predestinate (proorizo, ‘predetermine’) are clearly two different things, both being mentioned in the same passage separately, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate” — and not only that, but the predestination is clearly BASED on the foreknowledge, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate…” But what did he foreknow? It is like this “For whom he did foreknow” would believe if he sent his Son to the cross for mankind and got the gospel to them by his providence, them, “he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” So then predestination means that he attaches to his foreknowledge a result. But foreknowledge means that he sees the future. Yet clearly he must see it on the basis of a conditional and not as absolute, for that guards his initiative in salvation “if I send my son to the cross and if I arrange things via my providence so that Christopher Lake hears my gospel, will he believe?” The answer that God foresaw to the question is the basis of your election of rejection. He didn’t just say eenie-meeney-miney-moe or duck-duck-goose.

    beowulf2k8

    10/13/2008 at 3:33 AM

  130. above “the basis of your election of rejection” should read “the basis of your election OR rejection.”

    beowulf2k8

    10/13/2008 at 3:37 AM

  131. Beowulf,My brother in Christ (and I mean that sincerely), could you please break your comments up into shorter sections within a post? It is very difficult to read them as you have written them out here.I used to believe as you do on this subject. I once told an ex-girlfriend that “I would rather go to Hell than worship the ‘God of Calvinism’!” I could not not see how such beliefs did *not* make God the author of evil. I was wrong. The Scriptures proved me wrong.A couple of questions– did God choose to work with the nation of Israel, in the Old Testament, because He *foresaw* that they, out of all the other nations on the earth, would “choose” Him? Also, what is your understanding of Acts 13:48 (NASB)?: “When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing, and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.” Does this passage not show belief as a *result* of having been appointed to eternal life, rather than belief being the *cause* of that appointment?

    Christopher Lake

    10/13/2008 at 8:59 PM

  132. Sorry– I meant, “I could *not* see how such beliefs did *not* make God the author of evil.”

    Christopher Lake

    10/13/2008 at 9:02 PM

  133. Beowulf,Wow– I must be more careful with my typing! The full verse of Acts 13:48 is “When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.” My question about the verse still stands though. Doesn’t it show the appointment of these Gentiles to eternal life as coming *before* their belief? My question about the basis upon which God chose to work with Israel (and not other nations in the OT) still stands too. Did He do it because He *foresaw* that Israel would “choose” Him?

    Christopher Lake

    10/13/2008 at 9:13 PM

  134. Charlie,Matthew 5:43-48 explicitly tells Christians to *love* their enemies, *because* in loving their enemies, Christians are being *like their heavenly Father.* It’s right there in the text, Charlie. God loves His enemies, so His people should love them. The thought is clearly expressed in verses 43-48, Charlie. Don’t run to Calvin. Just deal with the Biblical text.The sentences, “Tolerate your enemies” or “Show a general benevolence to your enemies” are nowhere to be found. Matthew 5:43-48 tells Christians to *love* their enemies, because to do so is to be *like God.* There is no legitimate way around that conclusion. Because God’s love for the non-elect is not a *saving* love, does not mean that it is not love. To assert otherwise is to put man’s logic above God.

    Christopher Lake

    10/13/2008 at 9:30 PM

  135. Well, if you’re saying that God “loves” people whom He is sending to an eternity in hell, then God must be very confused. I think your limited understanding of who God is causes you to make assumptions from the text that are not there.By your reasoning, then universalism would be more logical. However, I have already quoted several texts which say that God “hates” the wicked. Everyone who rejects Jesus Christ is “already condemned” because they have not believed in Jesus. John 3:16-18. So the fact that God gives sun and rain to even the unjust in no way means He “loves” them. We are to demonstrate goodness and kindness to even our enemies because God is benevolent to all. Benevolence is not the same thing as “love.” Benevolence is like the food bank down the street. We give out food to fellow human beings and our neighbors. However, we don’t “love” them. We’re just showing them “charity.” Charity is not the same thing as “love.” It’s merely social concern.It’s really stretching to make the text say otherwise. And the best evidence that your position is not the traditional Calvinist position is the fact that Calvin says that God often cuts the wicked off without warning.

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/13/2008 at 11:45 PM

  136. The fact that God decrees to allow evil does not make Him the author of evil. Calvin quotes Augustine as saying that God willingly permits that which is against His will.

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/13/2008 at 11:47 PM

  137. Romans 9:18 clearly says that God chooses to harden inviduals and others He chooses to save. God’s sovereign choice lies behind every conversion to Christ.

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/13/2008 at 11:50 PM

  138. Charlie,I firmly believe in God’s sovereign election and reprobation. No disagreement there!About the non-elect though, if God doesn’t *love* them, then why are we specifically told in Matthew 5:43-48 that by *loving* our enemies, Christians are being “like your heavenly Father”? Why the word choice of “love” there, Charlie? Why the comparison of our love to the behavior of the heavenly Father, if He doesn’t love His enemies? You still haven’t answered this question.

    Christopher Lake

    10/14/2008 at 12:09 AM

  139. The term “hyper-Calvinism” is a catch all term applied to Calvinists by Arminians, Amyraldians, and various other opponents of God’s sovereignty.As far as I can tell most all Calvinists believe in evangelism. So from my perspective, only those who refuse to evangelize would even come close to being “hyper” Calvinist. Even the common grace controversy has absolutely nothing to do with evangelism.

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/14/2008 at 12:18 AM

  140. I would question whether or not a person who rejected Christ and became an atheist had ever had a genuine conversion. Secondly, the concern is not to corrupt “good” Arminians. The concern is to get Arminians to acknowledge that God really is omnipotent and omniscient. It follows naturally that God providentially controls everything that happens without taking away man’s free moral agency.

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/14/2008 at 12:22 AM

  141. I have some bad news, beowulf2k8. Luther also believed in the bondage of the will and the sovereignty of God in the salvation of the elect. Have you ever read his book, The Bondage of the Will? You might want to give it a read online.

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/14/2008 at 12:25 AM

  142. Christopher, the text nowhere says that God loves the unjust. It tells US to love our enemies so that we can demonstrate the goodness of God. The only place in Scripture where it says that God loves His enemies is Romans 5:10. Obviously, Romans 5:1-11 is speaking about the elect being loved before they believed. After they believe, they have been justified and have peace with God.

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/14/2008 at 12:32 AM

  143. Charlie,Matthew 5:43-48 clearly states that in *loving* their enemies, Christians are being “like your heavenly Father.” It is especially clear when one reads verse 48 in light of the preceding verses.The finite human mind cannot “logically” understand how God can choose not to save people from their absolute bondage to sin and yet still hold them responsible for that sin. God *does* hold them responsible though. Similarly, the finite human mind cannot “logically” understand how God can love the non-elect, non-savingly and temporally, and yet hate them by pouring out His wrath upon them in eternity. He *does* both of these things though. Whether or not you can “logically” understand it, God both loves the non-elect, in a temporal, non-saving sense, and hates them, by pouring out His wrath on them in eternity. To say otherwise is to put your need for “logical consistency” above your submission to God’s revelation of Himself in Scripture.

    Christopher Lake

    10/14/2008 at 1:14 AM

  144. In Acts 13:48 their appointment to eternal life was before their belief clearly, and yet God’s foreknowledge that they would believe was before their appointment to eternal life, “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Rom 8:29) As many as God foresaw would believe (on the conditional: if he sent his Son to the cross and if he ordered their physical circumstances in this world via his graceful providence to be such that they would hear the gospel)–as many as he foresaw would believe, he appointed to eternal life, and therefore as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.You ask “did God choose to work with the nation of Israel, in the Old Testament, because He *foresaw* that they, out of all the other nations on the earth, would ‘choose’ Him?” Don’t confuse election to salvation and election to be the nation through which the Messiah would come into the world as being the same thing or in any way parallel. The Bible tells us why Abraham was chosen as the beginning of such a nation, when it says in Genesis 18:19 “For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the LORD, to do justice and judgment; that the LORD may bring upon Abraham that which he hath spoken of him.” But you will object “Abraham clearly did not command his children after him and prevent them from falling into idolatry, which they did time and time again!” Exactly, because the children of the flesh are not all the true children of Abraham. (Romans 9:8) It is not the Jews (the fleshly descendants) that Abraham commanded after him, but Christians (the spiritual).The nation of Israel is not a prototype of the church, but a parody, for Paul shows in Galatians 4 that altough the physical nation thinks itself to be descended from Isaac it is in reality descended from Ishmael (spiritually)! You and all Calvinists make the same mistake that Paul’s Jewish opponents make throughout the book of Romans, namely you equate national Israel’s election as some sort of prototype of election to salvation, when there is no comparison. Paul’s Jewish opponents in Romans believed in Calvinism, in a very Judaizing form of Calvinism: they believed that God arbitrarily elected all the Jews and reprobated all the Gentiles, and that the fact that the Jews did not all believe in Jesus and that they broke the Law in no way abrogated their salvation because they believed in “once saved always saved.” They believed in arbitrary unconditional elecetion with irresistible salvation and resulting “once saved always saved” for all ethnic Jews and an unconditional reprobation of all other ethnicities. Paul sets forth to show that election is conditional and not arbitrary, but rather based on foreseen faith and both for Jews and Gentiles, and that it does not result in any “once saved always saved” but (as in the parable of the olive tree) in Romans 11, a believer is capable of ceasing to believe and being cut off the tree (hence lost) even as the unbeliever Jews were cut off. One cannot rest in the notion of election, therefore as the be all and end all of salvation, as the absolute and inalienable right to salvation (as Calvinists who are so sure of their election that they claim they can “sue” God if they don’t make it to heaven!) and think they are “once saved always saved.” They must rather, as Peter says “make [their] calling and election sure” (2 Pet 1:10) by adding to their faith virtue and to virtue knowledge and to knowledge temperance and to temperance patience and to patience godliness and to godliness brotherly kindness and to brotherly kindness charity “for” (he says) “if ye do these things, ye shall never fall.” Rather than saying “Oh. God arbitrarily elected me and now I’m going to go impregnate my neighbor’s wife because I’m once-saved-always-saved” why not say, oh ye Calvinists, “I will do what the Lord teaches and then I will know I am elect because I follow the Lord, and not just claim to be elect and then use my supposed election as a license to live in unrepentant sin.” Calvinism is that false doctrine condemned by Jude of which he says they “turn the grace of our God into lasciviousness,” by teaching unconditional salvation which emboldens men to sin in an open and unrepentant manner and then claim they’re Christians. While the true gospel teaches, as Paul (your favorite apostle whom you love to misquote and lie on) says, “Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.” (2nd Timothy 2:19) And that you may know that Paul was no Calvinist (to be sure), he continues by explaining Romans 9:21 in plainer words right here in 2nd Timothy 2:21 “If a man therefore purge himself from these,” from iniquity as he said in verse 19, “he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” A man can render himself a vessel of honour by repentance from iniquity and obedience to Christ’s gospel, which shows that God is not an arbitrary potter but works with the will of the clay, for man is not an inanimate clay but a clay that has a free will.

    beowulf2k8

    10/14/2008 at 1:41 AM

  145. The text nowhere says “be like” your heavenly Father. It says BE PERFECT AS your Heavenly Father is perfect.There is a world of difference between saying that I must be perfect like God is perfect and saying that God loves His enemies. The text nowhere says that. It merely states a fact that God sends the basics of life to the just and the unjust.We must love our enemies because we demonstrate the goodness of God in hopes that some of them are elect and will repent.However, God cuts sinners off in their sins and sends them straight to hell. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God. Reading your view of “common grace” into the text is unjustified.I have to side with John Gill over against Hodge on that one.

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/14/2008 at 1:58 AM

  146. “The text nowhere says ‘be like’ your heavenly Father. It says BE PERFECT AS your Heavenly Father is perfect.” (Charlie J. Ray)”As” and “like” are synonyms. Be perfect ‘as’ your heavenly Father is perfect means the same thing as be perfect ‘like’ your heavenly Father is perfect.”There is a world of difference between saying that I must be perfect like God is perfect and saying that God loves His enemies.”Scripture says “when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son,” (Romans 5:10) and that “God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8) This is the same as to say that God loves his enemies, and Jesus says in Luke 6:35 “But love ye your enemies, and do good, and lend, hoping for nothing again; and your reward shall be great, and ye shall be the children of the Highest: for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.” We must love our enemies in order to be children of the Highest, because he loves his enemies and is kind to them (even to the unthankful Calvinists) so kind, in fact, that he died for all men, who all were enemies of God at one time, and many still are enemies, yet because God loves them he is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet 3:9) for contrary to the doctrine of demons known as Calvinsm, it is not God’s “good pleasure” to arbitrarily decree certain men to damnation, but rather “As I live, saith the Lord GOD, I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked; but that the wicked turn from his way and live: turn ye, turn ye from your evil ways; for why will ye die, O house of Israel?” (Ezek 33:11)”I have to side with John Gill over against Hodge on that one.”I have to side with Ezekiel, Luke, Peter, Paul, and most especially Christ Jesus and the Lord GOD Himself.

    beowulf2k8

    10/14/2008 at 3:41 AM

  147. Is being “kind” the same as “loving” someone? I don’t think so. Which kind of love are you referring to? Eros? Phileo. Agape?Love is a general term. Context determines the precise meaning. I love candy. I love my dog. I love Arminians like I love my dog?Just saying “Love your enemies” and leaving it at that is imprecise. Who is perfect like God? No one. Jesus is raising the standards of the OT law. Who keeps it perfectly? No one.Which is why salvation must be by grace.Obviously, God is longsuffering toward even the wicked. He gives them life and rain and sunshine. But He also hates them and will cut them off and judge them in the hereafter. Since we are not God, we cannot hate anyone. But obviously the context does not mean that we must love our enemies the same way we love our wives or our children. It’s a different kind of love. The best word I can think of is benevolence or charity. We show them charity. They are created in God’s image and likeness. But to say that we must love them like we love God would be idolatry. To say that we must love them in a sexual way is erotic and idolatrous. To say that we must love them in a general way, the same way that we love our neighbor, is benevolence.Thus, because God is benevolent toward all does not mean He “loves” the reprobate. It simply means He is good. God is good. God’s love for His people is a special compassion that goes beyond mere benevolence or “kindness.”

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/14/2008 at 9:08 AM

  148. Acts 13:48. Once you concede that God foreknew they would believe, then you must concede that God determined it. How can God foreknow something that is uncertain or merely a possibility? If there is more than one possibility or contingency, then how would God know which one would happen? If there is only one future, then God must have predetermined it just as He predetermined that Christ would suffer and go to the cross by the hand of wicked men.

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/14/2008 at 9:16 AM

  149. Charlie,In verse 48 of Matthew 5:43-48, Jesus starts out with “Therefore,” which means that the following command is in light of what precedes it. The preceding verses tell Christians to love their enemies, *in light of* how God is to His enemies– again, in a temporal sense, not an eternal one. Why are Christians commanded to “temporally” (in this life) love their enemies, who will not repent of their sins, if *God* doesn’t also “temporally” (in this life) love them? Again, God’s love for the non-elect is not the same as His saving love for His elect, but that does not *negate* God’s love for the non-elect.Charlie, as I think over your often vitriolic tone in the comments on this thread, and how easily you have been prone to jump on people for even the slight possible *perceived* error in their thinking, I wonder, do you think that your belief that God utterly, completely hates the non-elect, with no love for them at all, has anything to do with you have interacted with people here– even Reformed Christians?

    Christopher Lake

    10/14/2008 at 3:14 PM

  150. with *how* you have interacted, I mean

    Christopher Lake

    10/14/2008 at 3:16 PM

  151. “Acts 13:48. Once you concede that God foreknew they would believe, then you must concede that God determined it. How can God foreknow something that is uncertain or merely a possibility?”A god who can only know the future by causing it is weak and unworthy of worship. I feel sorry for you since you worship such a god. Along the same lines, a god who can only save people if they are robots whose wills are under his total micromanagerial control like remote-controlled robots is by no means glorious. What wisdom or power, or more importantly LOVE, does it really take to make a bunch of robots, program them to run off a cliff, and then at the last minute push a button that activates a kill-switch in some of them and keeps them from falling off while the rest rush headlong down the cliff? That’s a very asinine god and I have to feel sorry for everyone who is so depraved as to invent such a god as this in their imagination to worship.

    beowulf2k8

    10/14/2008 at 5:40 PM

  152. Beowulf, I think your view of God must be deism. God is just up there somewhere and He can’t do anything except watch events unfold. What kind of God is it who is not omnipotent and has no control over what happens?Secondly, God does not make us “robots.” Every person who lives is free to choose whatever they want. The problem is they are slaves to their own sinful desires. God does not “program” evil. He simply allows what is against His will. I fail to see how that makes anyone a “robot.”

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/15/2008 at 12:10 AM

  153. Christopher, you’re lying about what I said. I said God hates the reprobate. So if Reformed Christians are reprobates, then God hates them.Secondly, you failed to distinguish between various kinds of “love.” Agape is simply a generic term much like the English word. Love in that case must be determined by context.The fact that this kind of love is mere benevolence seems to bother you. Obviously, unbelievers do not feel any “love” from God. They just take the rain and the sunshine for granted. Our charity, concern, and benevolence is not the same kind of “love” we have for family, friend and other Christians. To make the text say that God “loves” His enemies is stretching it. Obviously, one of God’s attributes is goodness and compassion. However, God does not show compassion for those who are doomed for eternity. He shows them what they deserve: justice.The command to repent is not a “free offer,” but a command. Even D. James Kennedy said this and I hardly think Kennedy was a part of the common grace controversy.You can deny it all you want, but benevolence is about the only “love” God has for His enemies. I might show benevolence to my enemies but it absurd and silly to suggest that I will “love” total strangers the same way I love friends and family. If that is true of strangers, it’s certainly true of enemies.I pray for those who abuse and persecute others. I pray for murderers and rapists. I strongly dislike them. But I don’t hate them because they don’t understand what kind of judgment they are facing unless they repent.Secondly, I hardly think I’ve said anything as inflammatory as you pretend. However, I won’t allow silly arguments to go unchallenged. Iron sharpens iron.And if you had bothered to read Luther or Calvin’s theological writings, including Table Talk and the Institutes, you would notice that they mince words even less than I do.I might mention that you even admitted that the Arminians here have not minced words either. I find that Arminians and Pentecostals have a double standard. They want to run all over everyone else’s theology and act as if merely spouting off at the mouth makes their view correct.Sorry, but I will continue to point out logical inconsistencies and fallacies like the one you have committed in Matthew 5:43-48. It does not follow that benevolence is anything more than an expression of God’s general goodness to all mankind. This does not translate into “God loves the reprobate.”The 39 Articles of Religion, the Reformed statement of the Church of England says this:”XVII. Of Predestination and Election.””PREDESTINATION to life is the everlasting purpose of God, whereby, before the foundations of the world were laid, He hath constantly decreed by His counsel secret to us, to deliver from curse and damnation those whom He hath chosen in Christ out of mankind, and to bring them by Christ to everlasting salvation as vessels made to honour. Wherefore they which be endued with so excellent a benefit of God be called according to God’s purpose by His Spirit working in due season; they through grace obey the calling; they be justified freely; they be made sons of God by adoption; they be made like the image of His only-begotten Son Jesus Christ; they walk religiously in good works; and at length by God’s mercy they attain to everlasting felicity.””As the godly consideration of Predestination and our Election in Christ is full of sweet, pleasant, and unspeakable comfort to godly persons and such as feeling in themselves the working of the Spirit of Christ, mortifying the works of the flesh and their earthly members and drawing up their mind to high and heavenly things, as well because it doth greatly establish and confirm their faith of eternal salvation to be enjoyed through Christ, as because it doth fervently kindle their love towards God: so for curious and carnal persons, lacking the Spirit of Christ, to have continually before their eyes the sentence of God’s Predestination is a most dangerous downfall, whereby the devil doth thrust them either into desperation or into wretchlessness of most unclean living no less perilous than desperation.””Furthermore, we must receive God’s promises in such wise as they be generally set forth in Holy Scripture; and in our doings that will of God is to be followed which we have expressly declared unto us in the word of God.”Sorry, but I don’t buy the excuse they are planning to offer to God: “Lord, Lord, I would have been saved but some Calvinist offended me by telling me about Your sovereign grace.”There is no excuse for rejecting God’s sovereignty.

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/15/2008 at 12:31 AM

  154. The Canons of the Council of Orange, 529 A.D.CANON 3. If anyone says that the grace of God can be conferred as a result of human prayer, but that it is not grace itself which makes us pray to God, he contradicts the prophet Isaiah, or the Apostle who says the same thing, “I have been found by those who did not seek me; I have shown myself to those who did not ask for me” (Rom 10:20, quoting Isa. 65:1).CANON 4. If anyone maintains that God awaits our will to be cleansed from sin, but does not confess that even our will to be cleansed comes to us through the infusion and working of the Holy Spirit, he resists the Holy Spirit himself who says through Solomon, “The will is prepared by the Lord” (Prov. 8:35, LXX), and the salutary word of the Apostle, “For God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure” (Phil. 2:13).

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/15/2008 at 12:42 AM

  155. “Beowulf, I think your view of God must be deism. God is just up there somewhere and He can’t do anything except watch events unfold. What kind of God is it who is not omnipotent and has no control over what happens?”Where did I say that God can only watch things unfold? I already said that he foresaw who would have faith based on the conditional “if I send my Son to the cross and if I get the gospel to this person by my graceful providence, will he believe?” The initiative of God in salvation is guarded by the facts that (1) apart from graceful providence none would hear the gospel and (2) apart from Christ being sent to die for us, which is the ultimate grace, there would be no gospel. Foreseen faith, therefore, is not the foreseeing of an absolute future, but of the future based on two actions of God viewed conditionally (1) sending his Son to the cross, and (2) providentially making sure that person X hears the gospel. And based on this foresight God elected such as he foresaw would believe in that scenario. Now, however, because he foresaw this faith on the two conditions mentioned already, he had to fulfill these conditions, meaning that he would sent Jesus to the cross, but also meaning that he would arrange the universe via providence in such a way as to make sure all those he elected would hear the gospel. This is what Paul means, clearly, when he says in Romans 8:28 “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” All things work for good for them because God has arranged providence to their favor. He has ensured that all the elect will hear the gospel. Many non-elect will hear it too, but God has not actively ensured that on their behalf as with the elect. Thus Paul says “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Romans 8:28-29) Everyone that God foresaw would conditionally believe, he fulfills the conditions for.Secondly, God does not make us “robots.”Only because your god is not God. Grow up a get a real God already. The god of Calvinism is for pagan children.”Every person who lives is free to choose whatever they want.”And then you add under your breath as all Calvinists do “so long as those robots they choose exactly what they were pre-programmed to choose.””The problem is they are slaves to their own sinful desires.”The programming that the robot-making false god gave them according to your system.”God does not ‘program’ evil.”God does not program evil. Your god does, however, or would if he were real.”He simply allows what is against His will.”That is totally against Calvinism. Are you switching to Arminianism temporarily to avoid being proven wrong? In Calvinism everything is decreed according to his “good pleasure” which means that he takes pleasure even in decreeing that men violate his will, resulting in the absurd conclusion that violating his will is also obeying his will, and that what displeases him also pleases him. It makes perfect sense that when you are nailed down on what you actually believe and claim in your libel against the true God, you would switch over to Arminianism for a moment to avoid being caught.”The Canons of the Council of Orange, 529 A.D.”A “Reformed” person quoting unreformed Roman Catholic councils. Didn’t the council of orange also establish the celibate priesthood of the RCC and the jurisdiction of bishops, giving bishops of the Catholic persuasion the right to excercise the secular sword against heretics? And didn’t the council of orange also state that any bishop who neglects to persecute non-Catholics will be forcibly removed from office by another bishop within one year? You Calvinists seem to like to leave those parts of your favorite Romish council out for some reason in these little debates. Yet Calvin didn’t leave out the practice of persecuting non-Calvinists in practice, nor did the Purtians in New England who in the colonial days bored the tongues of Arminians through with hot irons, which eventually resulting in an exodus of many Arminians from the Calvinist colonies to Rhode Island where religious tolerance was first established in the emerging American colonies.

    beowulf2k8

    10/15/2008 at 2:09 AM

  156. Charlie,It is a sin to accuse a brother of lying in the careless way that you have accused me. I have not lied about anything that you have said. I simply used the word “non-elect,” whereas you used the word “reprobate,” in referring to your belief that God has no love for them. The “non-elect” *are* the “reprobate.” I have affirmed that I believe in God’s sovereign reprobation.However, you finally did seem to admit that God has a *kind* of love for the reprobate, even if it is not “agape” love. In that vein, did I ever say that God’s love for the non-elect (or reprobate, if you will) is *the same* as His love for the elect? No, I did not. I said precisely the opposite.Charlie, even if you believe that in my positions on common grace, the free offer of the Gospel, and God’s love for the non-elect, are “transgressions” on my part, Scripture tells you to use gentleness with me. Have you done that over the course of our interactions?

    Christopher Lake

    10/15/2008 at 3:59 PM

  157. Tolerance for compromise and politically correct ideas is what has gotten Evangelicalism in trouble in the first place. I make no apologies for challenging hypocrisy, slopping thinking, and heresy.I believe I used the word “benevolence.” While not ever sinner is equally “evil,” the fact remains that ALL unrepentant sinners, no matter the degree of their evil, will spend eternity in punishment. How any “temporal” reprieve in this life ameliorates an eternity in hell is beyond me. The bottom line is that God has said in Scripture that men are without excuse just based on general revelation, i.e. the rain and sunshine are enough to convict them for rejecting God. The temporary “blessings” in this life are merely a curse for those who ultimately reject Christ.Who appointed you the head of the church, Christopher? I get the idea that you think you’re somehow in authority?Sorry, but Scripture is the final authority. When churches commit heresy, then the believer has every right to challenge that heresy.Frankly, I do not really care who likes me:) Or who doesn’t like me:) I aim to please God, not man. If I worried about what people thought I wouldn’t have accomplished much in life.

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/15/2008 at 11:48 PM

  158. Charlie,It is unreasonable for you to imply that I am appointing myself “the head of the church” because I dared to confront you on your calling me a liar. Christians are accountable first to God, but they are also accountable to each other when they sin against each other. You accused me, carelessly, of lying about something that you said on this blog, and I called you on it. The fact that you are not willing to be accountable to other believers when you sin against them is disturbing, Charlie. The fact that you and I are on a blog doesn’t change the fact that you sinned against me, and I am not Biblically wrong to call you on it.Moreover, you are right– Scripture *is* the final authority, and Scripture tells us to be gentle with those who have fallen into transgression. If you believed, during our interactions on this blog, that I had somehow fallen into “transgression” with my affirmations of common grace, the free offer of the Gospel, and God’s love for the non-elect, then *Scripture* (not I) tells you that you should have been gentle with me.

    Christopher Lake

    10/16/2008 at 12:03 AM

  159. Christopher, can you show me just one Reformed confession which teaches “common grace”? Secondly, to put it bluntly, you should practice what you preach:) hypocritical appeals to what others should do applies equally to you. Obviously, your remarks have not been kind or humble. You think you’re right.And no, I’m not accountable to heretics. Sorry, buddy. Nice try, though:)

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/16/2008 at 12:47 AM

  160. Christopher,I have only recently begun to rethink the “common grace” issue after having read several online articles from the Protestant Reformed Churches. However, the tension between particular grace and “common” grace is alone enough to raise questions. I think if you read the following article carefully you will see that the Reformed tradition as never taught “common” grace until Kuyper came along:The Reformed Worldview:The Failure of Common Graceby Prof. David J. Engelsmahttp://www.mountainretreatorg.net/eschatology/worldview.html#top

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/16/2008 at 1:47 AM

  161. Its funny, Charlie Ray, that you want to accuse Christopher Lake of trying to make himself the head of the church, when it is you who’s going around quoting Roman Catholic Councils as if they have authority. Do you think you are the pope? Or is it that your brand of uncompromisingly loveless Calvinism is the road back to Rome? Because that’s exactly what it is. That’s why every time anyone shows one of the contradictions of Calvinism you reply: “You just don’t understand Calvinism. You need to go read Luther, Calvin, Owens, Pink, Turretin, Edwards, Warfield, etc. etc. etc.” just like the Roman Catholic Church always says “You don’t understand Roman Catholicism. You need to go read all 26 volumes of Philip Schaff’s collection of the church father, and then go translate all the left overs that have never been translated and read them too.” So much for Sola Scriptura if we follow you back to Rome.

    beowulf2k8

    10/16/2008 at 1:48 AM

  162. Beowulf, your ignorance of church history is appalling. First of all, there were no Protestants in 529 A.D. And the Council of Orange was not a universal council but a local one. That being said, the Council of Orange was held to repudiate Pelagianism and to uphold Augustinianism. By the way, did you know that the Protest Reformers of the 16th century were ALL Augustinians?I cite Reformed Confessions and “ecumenical” creeds because the ecumenical creeds are accepted by Reformed Protestants. The Reformed Confessions express what Calvnist churches believe the Scriptures teach.And YES, I do believe that reformed churches have the power to excommunicate and disciple their members. That being said, I don’t belong to Christopher’s church and he doesn’t belong to mine. He has absolutely no authority over me in matters of doctrine or anything else. There is only one authority that is final, however. Scripture. To take Scripture out of context to rebuke me for confronting false doctrine is just silly. Paul openly rebuked Peter to his face in public. Jesus called the Pharisees a brood of vipers. It’s silly to say that I have no right to speak bluntly based on a misquoted prooftext.

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/16/2008 at 2:14 AM

  163. “Beowulf, your ignorance of church history is appalling. / First of all, there were no Protestants in 529 A.D. And the Council of Orange was not a universal council but a local one.”If it was only a local council why are you quoting it as if it is authoritative? But when I called it Catholic I meant in the sesnse of being Romish as I’m sure everyone understand.Now, there were too Protestants back then. There were, in facts, anabaptists. That’s why the Roman government passed a law against anabaptism in that same century! You don’t pass laws against things that don’t take place. Even the Law of Moses was “added because of offences.” It is you who is ignorant of history. “That being said, the Council of Orange was held to repudiate Pelagianism and to uphold Augustinianism.”Have you ever read Pelagius’ commentary on Romans? Pelagius says in his commentary on Romans 4:3 saying “Abraham’s faith was so great that his previous sins were forgiven him and righteousness was reckoned as credit for every one of them by faith alone…” In other words, he taught justification by faith ALONE. And in his commentary on Romans 5:1 “Now, having finished this argument, [Paul] urges them [i.e. Jewish and Gentile Christians] to be at peace, because none is saved by his own merit, but all are saved in the same way by God’s grace.” He taught that one is not saved by merit but by GRACE!Pelagius NEVER taught that men save themselves by works and do not need God’s grace. That is a lie Augustine told to get famous, and that Calvinists continue to tell to hide the fact that Protestants existed back then, and that Augustine is the beginning of Rome, the beginning of the great apostasy.Know also, that in fact, Pelagius did not deny original sin–not entirely! This is the dirty little secret that Augustinians and Calvinists don’t want to get out, but here it is. Pelagius says in his commentary on Romans 5:15 “If the flesh alone is derived by transmission [from the parents] and not the soul, then only the flesh carries the transmission of [Adam’s] sin and deserves that punishment [for Adam’s sin].” In other words, rather than denying original sin outright, he denies truducianism which is the doctrine that just as the body of the child is created by parts of the parent’s bodies coming together so also the soul is created by parts of the parents souls coming together. Traducianism is just plain silly, and Pelagius saw that. Thus he believed the soul to be a direct creation of God, not something transmitted from the parents. Consequently, only the flesh of man could inherit Adam’s sin, not the soul since the soul was a new production of God and not from the parents. This meant that physical death is the direct result of Adam’s sin in EVERY person, being passed on to their flesh, but that spiritual death is the result only of personal sin. Consequently. this meant that infants did not need to be baptized to remove the stain of original sin from their souls, as Augustine the heretic taught in order to propagate the new State Religion of Roman Catholicism that Constantine invented. You are the one on the wrong side of history. PELAGIUS WAS PROTESTANT! You are Roman Catholic!”By the way, did you know that the Protest Reformers of the 16th century were ALL Augustinians?”Yes, I knew that all the Protestant Reformers other than most Anabaptists were Augustinians. I’m an anabaptist and I believe all the Magesterial Reformers were heretics. They all (Luther, Calvin, Zwingli) supported infant baptism. They all (Luther, Calvin, Zwingli) persecuted those who disagreed with them. They all They all (Luther, Calvin, Zwingli) kept Roman Catholic traditions and condemned those who truly followed Sola Scriptura. They all (Luther, Calvin, Zwingli) supported the drowning of anabaptists in mocker of baptism by immersion. The Magesterial Reformers have nothing in Christ, as Jesus says of Satan in John 14:30. Only the anabaptist reformers (who are termed ‘radical’ reformers because they actually followed Jesus’ teachings unlike Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli) are worth looking up to. You should quit being a biggot and go read Pelagius’ commentary. You might learn something. It certainly says something that Augustine NEVER finished his commentary on Romans because he found the book too hard, yet Pelagius finished his. In fact, this was (so far as I can tell) the impetus that made Augustine rave with madness against Pelagius and claim that Pelagius taught salvation by human merits when in fact he taught justification by faith alone. Augustine was just a spoilt child who was jealous and mad that a LAYMAN finished a commentary on Romans when he, as an Imperial Bishop, found the book to hard to finish a commentary on.

    beowulf2k8

    10/16/2008 at 2:41 AM

  164. Charlie,Exactly how am I a heretic? I believe that God is both One and Trinitarian. I believe that Jesus Christ is the only way of salvation for otherwise hopeless sinners. I believe in God’s wrath and God’s mercy. I believe in His sovereign election and reprobation. Please help me to understand, Charlie. I genuinely want to understand your reasoning here. You claim that as far as your accusing me of lying and me calling you on that sin, you are not accountable to “heretics.” Am I a “heretic,” whom you have the right to accuse of lying about one of your statements, and to whom you are not accountable, simply because I affirm God’s common grace to the non-elect, His non-salvific love of them, and His free offer of the Gospel to sinners? Please explain.Also, please provide me specific examples of how I have not been kind or humble in my comments on this blog.

    Christopher Lake

    10/16/2008 at 4:38 AM

  165. Charlie,The fact that I am not a member of your church is irrelevant to the fact that you sinned against me in your comments on this blog. You claimed that I lied about you, and I did not. All Christians are (in addition to, hopefully, being members of local churches) members of the *world-wide* family of God. If you sin against a brother, *regardless* of the proximity of that brother to you, he, as your brother in Christ, has the right to call you to repentance for that sin.

    Christopher Lake

    10/16/2008 at 4:45 AM

  166. Christopher, I think you have delusions of grandeur. :)I don’t answer to you. I answer to God. So you think doctrine is less important than interpersonal relationships?All Scripture is profitable for doctrine…. 2 Timothy 3:15-16. Secondly, you didn’t answer my question. Where in the Reformed confessions exactly is common grace even mentioned? I would be happy to reconsider if you could prove that even one of the Protestant Reformers taught the doctrine of common grace. It seems to me that if such a doctrine existed before Kuyper, then it should be universally accepted by all of the Reformed churches, or at least a majority of them.The only verse you can even remotely find supporting such erroneous teaching is Matthew 5:43-48, and that pericope has absolutely nothing to do with common grace. It doesn’t even mention such a concept. Where does the Bible say that God gives gifts of music, art, and science to reprobates and this is the result of common grace?Christopher, quite frankly, I’m more concerned about sinning against God than sinning against you. It behooves you to stop asserting doctrines that are unbiblical if you had any fear of God at all.Apparently, however, you’re more concerned about what your Arminian buddies think of you than what God thinks of you. The last time I checked, the Bible says that true followers of Christ will suffer persecution. Beware when all men speak well of you. Soli gloria Deo!

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/17/2008 at 12:01 AM

  167. Well, the cat is out of the bag. Beowulf is endorsing and defending outright Pelagianism. Case closed. This blog is obviously a defender of Pelagianism.beowulf, you might want to do some study on church history. The Protestant Reformation happened in the 16th century, not the 6th century. Also, the Council of Orange is precursor to the Protestant reformation since it affirmed justification by faith alone.Pelagianism teaches that man is a blank slate and that man only becomes a sinner when he commits an actual sin. Pelagius also said that a man could merit salvation apart from Christ by simply never choosing to sin, even though he admitted that no one had actually done that yet.Augustine, on the other hand, said that men are in bondage to sin and faith alone could justify a man before God. I think you need to get your history straight before you go jumping around:)Soli gloria Deo.

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/17/2008 at 12:08 AM

  168. That should have read, “church discipline.”

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/17/2008 at 12:09 AM

  169. Beowulf is endorsing and defending outright Pelagianism. Case closed. This blog is obviously a defender of Pelagianism.” (Charlie J. Ray)(1) I’m in no way affiliated with this blog.(2) I didn’t defend Pelagianism. I showed that Pelagius himself never taught Pelagianism. I showed that the Council of Orange condemned a strawman not a real man.”Also, the Council of Orange is precursor to the Protestant reformation since it affirmed justification by faith alone.”Pelagius taught justification by faith alone. The council of Orange taught justification by fatalism alone, and so did the Magesterial Reformers.”Pelagius also said t…”You’ve never read Pelagius’ commentary on Romans, so how do you know what Pelagius said? Oh yeah, because Augustine said that Pelagius said xyz. And since Augustine who prayed “give me chastity but not yet” is such an upstanding guy, its clearly impossible that he was lying or that he misinterpreted what Pelagius said (on purpose).You are of those who would twist Isaiah 57:19 and take “I create the fruit of the lips” out of context and assert that God creates every word that comes out of our mouths, both good and evil. You are of those who would–nay, who already do–accuse Jesus Christ “Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth” (1 Pet 2:22) of putting the guile in your mouth! You do claim this, claiming that God has programmed you to sin. You and Augustine will meet each other some day, in a very hot place prepared for such blasphemers. But returning to Isa 57:19, it says “I create the fruit of the lips: ‘Peace, peace to him that is far off, and to him that is near,’ saith the LORD; “and “‘I will heal him.'” He only takes credit for that phrase which he gives to the prophet to preach, not for your blasphemy.

    beowulf2k8

    10/17/2008 at 2:09 AM

  170. Pelagius denied that original sin makes all men sinners. He said that men are innocent until they actively commit a sin and even after that first sin they are still neutral and have no natural corruption and no natural bent toward sinning. How could Pelagius endorse justification by faith alone if he did not believe man was guilty of anything?Pelagius essentially said that salvation was possible without Christ. All you need to do is go through life and never sin. But has anyone ever done this?No. Even Arminianism does not teach this. Arminianism at least recognizes the doctrine of depravity. But modern Arminians are inconsistent with their own doctrine. The fact that many of them know little about the heresy of Pelagianism speaks volumes.While Pelagianism was condemned at first, the Roman Catholic Church reversed itself centuries later and opted for the semi-pelagian view. This is why it became necessary for a Protestant Reformation. The idea that Augustinianism leads to Rome does not follow. If the doctrines of grace had won out, maybe there would have been no need for the Reformation to begin with?I might mention that Anabaptists were a result of the Radical Reformation, which historically occurred around the same time as the Protestant Reformation. 16th century. And the radicals like Michael Servetus rejected the doctrine of trinity. The Protestant Reformers, however, never rejected the universal creeds because they recognized that the creeds were supported by Scripture.

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/17/2008 at 9:09 AM

  171. “Pelagius denied that original sin makes all men sinners. He said that men are innocent until they actively commit a sin and even after that first sin they are still neutral and have no natural corruption and no natural bent toward sinning. How could Pelagius endorse justification by faith alone if he did not believe man was guilty of anything?”Clearly by your definition above, men who are capable of faith would need salvation, because men have a bent towards sinning, and therefore those who are old enough to have faith would need it because they would have sinned. That’s how he could endorse justification by faith. But infants, who are too young to have faith are also to young to have sinned.But your above definition of Pelagius’ teaching is not totally correct, because Pelagius believed that the flesh of man inherits Adam’s sin but that the soul does not, because the flesh alone comes from our parents but the soul comes from God and goes back to God who gave it. (Eccl 12:7) Thus, the flesh of all men is punished by death for Adam’s sin which it inherits, but men are only punished by spiritual death if they personally have sinned (Ezekiel 18:20) and infants have not personally sinned.”Pelagius essentially said that salvation was possible without Christ. All you need to do is go through life and never sin. But has anyone ever done this?”You are confusing Pelagius and Coelestius. Pelagius’ condemned Coelestius’ doctrine of the possibility of adults to never sin prior to baptism at the council in which he was tried for heresy in Palestine, and he was therefore exonerated. Pelagius himself did, however, teach that in baptism believers receive grace that enables them after having received such grace in baptism to never sin again if they will perfectly use that grace in all instances (but he admits they will not).”While Pelagianism was condemned at first, the Roman Catholic Church reversed itself centuries later and opted for the semi-pelagian view. This is why it became necessary for a Protestant Reformation. The idea that Augustinianism leads to Rome does not follow. If the doctrines of grace had won out, maybe there would have been no need for the Reformation to begin with?”What you call Semi-Pelagianism can clearly be demonstrated to be the doctrine of the church from the beginning up to Augustine. The Gnostic heretics like Marcion did teach Determinism, but the orthodox church rejected it and taught free will. Augustine marks the major departure, the great apostasy, from the faith. Augustine established Roman Catholicism, which is the bringing over of Determinism from Gnosticism and imposing it as a justification for infant baptism in order to further the State Religion, because infant baptism was still under suspicion at the time. Now, you admit that the RCC itself departed from Augustinianism, which means that the RCC ceased to be Roman Catholicm essentially, or at least removed that Gnostic element that Augustine borrowed from Marcion and other Gnostics. And you state that the purpose of the Reformation, then, was to bring back this Gnostic Determinism. It stands to reason then and therefore, that the purpose of the Reformation, at least among the Magesterial Reformers (Luther, Calvin, Zwingli) was to restore Roman Catholicism (not to leave it) and to restore Gnosticism.Now clearly, when the Reformation began the RCC was heavily weighed down in superstitions, paganism, idolatry, and false practices. Removing all these practices, however, was no the concern of the Magesterial Reformers, who kept many of them, including infant baptism, priestly vestments, separation of clergy and laity, the doctrine of Mary’s Ever-Virginity, the merger of church and state, etc. Their only concern, even as you have pointed out, was really to reinstate Gnostic Determinism.It was, therefore, the anabaptists who made all the REAL reforms. And today, we can thank the Baptists much moreso than the Lutherans or Presbyterians, for pure Christianity.NOW: Free will is overwhelmingly Christian. Gnosticism derives partly from Buddhism, which has no problem with Determinism. Islam has no problem with Determinism. All pagan religions are pleased “according to the good pleasure of their will” to accuse God of making them sin–hence they have no problem with Determinism. Christianity (and Judaism before it) alone REQUIRES free will, because it alone truly requires responsibility and REASON. Come and let us reason together, saith the Lord. You don’t reason with puppets. Nor can a mediator (and Christ is the sole mediator between God and man) mediate between a ventriloquist and his dummy! Meditation requires two actual wills.”I might mention that Anabaptists were a result of the Radical Reformation, which historically occurred around the same time as the Protestant Reformation.”The ‘A’nabaptists are the result of a combination of anabaptist and Lutheran views. But ‘a’nabaptists were in continued existence from the 4th century on, which is why the Roman Empire had a law on the books punishing “re-baptism” with death. That’s why BEFORE ZWINGLI, anabaptists were being put to death for baptizing Catholics who converted to their views as believers (who had, of course, already been sprinkled as infants).

    beowulf2k8

    10/17/2008 at 9:44 PM

  172. Beowulf, you make a legitimate point that Pelagius did not go as far as his student, Coelestius. That being said, the heresy of Pelagianism teaches what I said. You as much as admitted it when you said that Pelagius denied that sin corrupts the soul. The last time I checked, the soul is as sinful as the flesh. Yes, the body dies a mortal death because of sin but souls sin because they are born with both a corrupt human nature AND a physical corruption that leads to death.The fact that Scripture says that ALL have sinned and that the wicked sin from birth (see Romans 3:9-27; Psalm 58:3), means that both Pelagius AND Coelestius were wrong. We go by Scripture, not by sinful men.That would include Augustine if we were going merely by what Augustine says. But we have the Apostle Paul and Augustine’s theology comes from Paul, not from his own opinion.Secondly, the Anabaptist tradition comes the radical reformation during the same time as the “magisterial” Protestant Reformation. Any appeal to “anabaptists” prior to that is just reading into the historical context what isn’t there.It is indeed telling that you think men are not born with a sinful soul. This is pelagianism no matter who you attribute the source of the heresy to.The Apostle Paul says that all have sinned and there is none righteous. I will go with what Paul says. And even more telling, Paul says that there is only one way to be made righteous. And it isn’t by doing good or meriting your justification before God by doing good works. If so, then Christ died in vain.The Bible clearly says that justification is by faith alone and even your faith is a gift of God which is preceded by regeneration.I might also mention that you have a tremendously misinformed understanding of the Augustinian/Calvinist/Lutheran view of human freedom. Men are free moral agents and as such freely choose to do what they will. God does not infuse evil into them. He passively leaves them to act according to their own sinful and corrupt nature.Men are not “robots.” Even the elect come freely to believe and by their own choice. God does not force anyone to become a Christian. Rather, the Holy Spirit enlightens the mind and brings them to an understanding of their sinful condition before God and their need for salvation.While your strawman fallacies serve to reinforce your own heresy and misunderstanding, the arguments do little damage because they do not speak to the actual doctrines, theology, or philosophical understanding of the Reformed/Augustinian position.Also, the fact that Origen and other early church fathers committed various kinds of heresy does little to support your view since those heresies were a departure from Apostolic doctrine as recorded in Holy Scripture. The Augustinian/Reformed position is true because it Scriptural, not because we go looking for fallible church fathers to lend support for the view.As for you misrepresentation of the Puritans and other Calvinists as persecutors of Arminians, I hardly think there were many Arminians in the New World at that point since it had mostly been settled by Puritans. Moreover, there were other colonies established by Quakers and Catholics, i.e. Pennsylvania and Maryland. Reading modern standards of democracy back into a period when theocratic principles were the norm is highly dishonest.The Puritans did not believe in separation of church and state. While I don’t agree with the idea of mixing civil government with religion, it was generally accepted then.Sola Scriptura!

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/17/2008 at 10:28 PM

  173. Charlie,Let’s look at a few things about our interactions. You called me a heretic. You told me that I was “lying” about your stance on God’s hatred for reprobates– when in fact, I simply used the word “non-elect,” where you used “reprobate.” I didn’t lie at all, Charlie. I simply used one term, whereas you used another for *the same thing*– that does not mean that I lied about your position.So, thus far, you have called me a heretic, and have refused to tell me exactly *how* I am a heretic. You have falsely called me a liar and excused your sin on the grounds that I am a “heretic,” (because you’re not “accountable to heretics”). Charlie, I am a Christian. I know that I am a sinner and that Christ’s blood alone can, and has, atoned for my sin. I know that there is no other *way* of salvation, other than by grace alone through faith alone in Jesus Christ alone. I am not a heretic. If you’re going to call me such a thing, then back up the charge and tell me how I’m a heretic. Heresy is a very serious charge. The fact that I believe in God’s common grace to all people and His *saving* grace for the elect, and His general love for all people and His *saving* love for the elect– that fact is not sufficient to charge me with heresy. Common grace and God’s non-salvific love for the non-elect are not doctrines which are matters of heresy. They are not damning doctrines (if fact, from Matthew 5:43-48 and other passages, I believe that they are absolutely Biblical). If you’re going to make the charge of heresy against me, back it up– especially since you have all but denied that I am your brother in Christ, because of my supposed “heresy.” You are Biblically wrong in thinking that you are *only* accountable to God. You are *first and foremost* accountable to God, but as brothers in Christ, adopted into His family by Him, we are also accountable to each other when we sin against each other. You can’t excuse your sin against me by simply saying that you are “only accountable to God.” *That* particular notion denies the Biblical doctrine of the world-wide family of God. Charlie, the fact that I have called you to account for your sin against me does not mean that I have “delusions of grandeur.” It simply means that I take the Bible seriously on its teachings that all Christians are brothers and sisters in Christ and are to hold each other accountable for their sins against each other.

    Christopher Lake

    10/17/2008 at 10:44 PM

  174. Christopher, common grace, despite your denials otherwise has historically led down the slippery slope from Reformed theology to Amyraldianism, to Arminianism, and recently even to the Federal Vision/New Perspectives of Paul heresies.One needs only to examine the decline of the Christian Reformed Church and the two official schools, Calvin College and Calving Theological Seminary to see the results of such compromise.Evangelicalism as a whole is on a downward spiral toward theological liberalism. Most Evangelicals have no idea what justification by faith alone is. They remain untaught and the result is a practical pelagianism, despite the “official” doctrines of their respective denominations or churches.The fact that you are trying to force some false ecumenical unity upon me against my conscience speaks volumes against your sincerity. The fact is, you have more in common with Arminians and Roman Catholics than with the Reformed faith. It’s a facade.While I will not go so far as to say that common grace equals outright apostasy, the fact that you are insisting that must accept it proves you’re a heretic. You are causing the division. I, on the other hand, hold to all the Reformed Confessions and what Scripture teaches. Not one of the Reformed confessions of faith even mentions such a doctrine. Wonder WHY that IS?The reason there is a common grace controversy in the first place is because the Christian Reformed Church tried to force its ministers to sign a doctrinal statement approving of the 3 points of common grace, which they rightfully refused to do.You, like other heretics, insist on innovations which are not only unbiblical but are based solely on a false understanding of grace. Grace is particular and not general in any sense of the word at all.Essentially, you invented a doctrine, then you try to force me to accept it and then you accuse me of being uncharitable because I insist that Arminianism, Amyraldianism, and common grace are all heresies to be avoided by those who adhere to the Reformed faith.I likewise reject any idea of “charismatic” Reformed theology like that of John Piper and Wayne Grudem. Charismatic theology is another product of the Arminian theology of Pentecostalism.Soli gloria Deo!

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/17/2008 at 11:49 PM

  175. William Birch said, “If this be the case, as you mean it, then why are you so eager to teach us of the “doctrines of grace” (very little grace at that!), when our being Arminian is EXACTLY what He wants?”What God decrees to permit and what God “wants” are two different things. God decrees to passively pass over Arminians leaving them to reason with darkened minds and blinded eyes. They see only a partial truth through sinful distortion of the truth.They are ever learning and never coming to a knowledge of the truth. Unless and until God intervenes supernaturally, Arminians will continue in their self-assured self righteousness. After all, they chose God first. And afterwards God chose them…. which rules out predestination, btw….. and foreknowledge.Soli gloria Deo!

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/17/2008 at 11:54 PM

  176. “The fact that Scripture says that ALL have sinned and that the wicked sin from birth (see Romans 3:9-27; Psalm 58:3), means that both Pelagius AND Coelestius were wrong.” (Charlie Ray)Pelagius admits that all men are sinners, in that he interprets Romans 5:12 to mean that all men inherit Adam’s sin as to their flesh, hence he also interprets the last part “because all have sinned” to mean that everyone’s flesh sinned in Adam. Therefore, all men are sinners, as pertains to the flesh, and all men die accordingly. Howbeit, those who have not yet sinned personally are not condemned to hell, i.e. infants.”The Apostle Paul says that all have sinned and there is none righteous. “But if you would read the context of these passages you would know that he refers to passages that show men as turning away, which implies an original state of innocence in all these men. “They are all gone away backward…”But not only that, you interpret “all” to mean “some” when the scope of Jesus death is referred to, but when the scope of human sinfulness is refered to, you interpret “all” to mean “all”! You are a malignant hypocrite.Yet, all are sinners (according to the flesh), but not in according to the soul for infants have not yet personally sinned. Those are not hypocritical or inconsistent then, who believe “all means all” when the scope of Jesus’ death is referred to, and also believe that all men are sinners as to the flesh but that they will only become sinners as to the soul when they personally sin and that they have bent towards sin.To me, the definition of all changes not, but to you “Jesus died for all” means “Jesus died for the elect” and “all are sinners” means “everyone, elect and non-elect, including infants, are sinners.” If you would be consistent, “all are sinners” would merely mean “all the elect are sinners.”But here is consistency: All men have sinned in their flesh, in Adam, in that their flesh inherits Adam’s sin, and are sinners in the flesh, and the flesh is punished with physical death because of this. But their soul which is not derived from Adam, but is a new production of God has not sinned prior to birth nor will it sin until the law begins to apply to them, as Paul says in Romans 7:9 “I was alive apart from the law once, but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died…for sin taking advantage by the law deceived me and so slew me.”Although Paul was born, therefore, with his flesh condemned to death, his soul was born alive and apart from the law, and so remained until the law began to apply to him, at which point sin took advantage by the law and deceived his soul into sin, and he died spiritually.This is the process of sin. You who teach that men are born with their souls condemned for Adam’s sin, deny Ezekiel 18:20 “The soul that sins shall die: the son shall not bear the guilt of the father nor the father the guilt of the son.”Now, as to the flesh, the son will bear the guilt of the father, as we have shown, for all men die after the flesh because of Adam’s sin, their flesh inheriting the guilt of their father.But as to the soul, only personal sin can cause the death of the soul, for he says “The soul that sins shall die: the son shall not bear the guilt of the father nor the father the guilt of the son.” (Ezekiel 18:20)It is impossible, therefore, for the soul to inherit guilt from Adam: (1) Because God plainly says in Scripture that it will not (2) Because the soul does not even derive from Adam as the flesh does.In fact, when John says that the Word in John 1:9 “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world,” he clearly means that the soul, as a new production by the Word, is not darkness but light. The soul, therefore, is not born with a taint! This is how Peter can say in 1st Peter 2:11 “abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul,” for if it were the soul that enticed us to sin, then this statement would be nonsensical!But in that Peter says “abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul,” he shows that the soul was indeed lightened by Christ when it entered the world, but the flesh which is from Adam is that which has the taint, and it wars against the flesh. This is why Paul says “if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die” (Rom 8:13) He says not “if ye live after the soul!” But in that it is impossible to live a full life (I am excluding infants by that statement) and never fall to the flesh and lose a battle against it, so one needs the Holy Spirit to defeat the flesh, hence Paul says in Romans 8:13 not merely “if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die” but also “but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”

    beowulf2k8

    10/18/2008 at 12:18 AM

  177. above in the last paragraph “but the flesh which is from Adam is that which has the taint, and it wars against the FLESH” that last part should clearly be ” and it wars against the SOUL”

    beowulf2k8

    10/18/2008 at 12:24 AM

  178. Charlie,You write that I am a heretic because I tried to “force” you to accept the doctrine of common grace. I did not. I wrote that I think the doctrine of common grace is *Biblical,* but I did not try to “force” you to accept it. I also did not call you a “heretic” because you do not accept it. It is a secondary doctrine about which Christians may disagree. I will *not* make charges of heresy against a professing believer in Christ unless that person has actually *committed* heresy. You also write that I, essentially, “invented a doctrine,” in regard to common grace. I did not. The fact is, common grace is generally been held to be true within *most* Reformed churches and denominations (other than the Protestant Reformed Churches of America)– and I’m *not* referring to the liberal wing of the Christian Reformed Churches. Most conservative Reformed denominations, such as the PCA and the OPC, hold that common grace is a Biblical doctrine. R.C. Sproul holds to it. Do you think he is a heretic, Charlie? If so, you recently positively featured a heretic on your blog!You still haven’t explained why you accused me of lying about you. I would think it would be important to back up such a charge (especially against a fellow believer in Christ) with actual evidence.

    Christopher Lake

    10/18/2008 at 12:35 AM

  179. Beowulf,Why are you not posting my more recent comments on your blog? I just want to have a civil discussion with a fellow believer in Christ! I’m not a hyper-Calvinist! 🙂

    Christopher Lake

    10/18/2008 at 12:40 AM

  180. “What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.” (Acts 10:15)”Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace?” (Hebrews 10:29)Chris, this notion that their is “real grace” for the elect and then “fake” or “common” or “unclean” “grace” for the non-elect is more blasphemy against God. You might as well drop the “common grace” thing and admit that you don’t believe God loves the non-elect any more than Charlie Ray does.There is one type of grace, REAL, and it is for everyone!

    beowulf2k8

    10/18/2008 at 12:43 AM

  181. Christopher,I believe common grace is a heresy and is unsupported in Scripture. Regardless of who holds the doctrine, it is built on the slimmest of Scriptural evidence and a wrong interpretation of the passage it is based upon.Apparently, you believe piety and fellowship trumps sound doctrine? I’m all for the catholicity of the Gospel and Christian faith. However, I strongly disagree with Charles Hodge’s position that Roman Catholic and a host of other visible churches are “Christian.”Compromise only leads to further compromise. A true church is wherever the Gospel is rightly preached and the sacraments are rightly administered. And the 3rd sign of a true church is church discipline. I know of at least one online person here who claims to be a Reformed Baptist and belongs to an RB church which uses the London Baptist Confession of Faith 1689 as its confession of faith. However, the man is a deacon and preaches occasionally in the church. The problem is that he is an Amyraldian, which flies in the face of the particular atonement teaching of both the Westminster Confession of Faith AND the London Baptist Confession of Faith. Supposedly the man’s pastor knows of his “heresy” but refuses to remove him from his teaching position. While he may not necessary disfellowship or excommunicate the man, it is absolutely against the doctrine of any Reformed church to allow an Amyraldian to hold a teaching office in the church.This is the sort of compromise which lead to the demise of Evangelicalism and the Reformed faith. All this emphasis on a false unity that does not exist can only lead to further decay and erosion of biblical truth.Frankly, let me say it again, I could care less if I have offended you. What I do care about is challenging your false ideas of doctrinal compromise and ecumenicity rather than Gospel purity.It is true that churches are more or less pure. I prefer churches on the more pure side of the doctrinal issues.The bottom line is common grace is illogical. God will send the wicked to hell for eternity so even if common grace were “possible” it is still against Scripture and logic. You’re either elect or reprobate. Since you cannot know that you’re not of the elect unless you keep refusing to accept Christ, then the challenge to repent is valid. A false sense of security for the unconverted does neither them nor the Gospel the respect they deserve.Your lack of theological precision and your unwillingness to think beyond what is “popularly” accepted among “Reformed” believers today is an indication that you haven’t read much Reformed theology nor do you have seminary training.Regarding R.C. Sproul, I like much of his teaching but his theology is not perfect. He compromises too much with dispensationalists, charismatics, and various other compromisers.Sola gloria Deo!

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/18/2008 at 12:53 AM

  182. Beowulf,The fact that any living, breathing sinner is even alive right now, and not in Hell, is *grace!* Any grace shown to anyone at all is a form of God’s unmerited favor to sinners who do not deserve it. However, while it *is* true that God loves everyone and shows a certain *measure* of grace to everyone, He does not love everyone in exactly the same way and with the same measure of grace. He is not obligated to do so. He loves His elect children with an especially intimate love and with a grace that is *saving.* I do not believe as Charlie does on this subject. That fact should be evident from our interactions– especially from the fact that he has called me a “heretic!”

    Christopher Lake

    10/18/2008 at 1:00 AM

  183. Beowulf said, “But if you would read the context of these passages you would know that he refers to passages that show men as turning away, which implies an original state of innocence in all these men.” Yah, as I said, Pelagianism teaches that men have a blank slate, i.e., they have an “original innocence.” This is heresy and was condemned as heresy by the universal church down to the present day.Sorry, but a pig with lipstick is still a pig.

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/18/2008 at 1:01 AM

  184. How ironic:) An avowed Pelagian posts in an Arminian blog with total and open acceptance. Not one word of rebuke from the so-called “Reformed” Arminians. This tells me that Arminians have more in common with Pelagianism than with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.I’m waiting for even one rebuke from the “Reformed” Arminians? It won’t happen because Arminianism is at heart a semi-pelagian religion. And in some cases it is out and out pelagian. Beowulf is proof enough of that.

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/18/2008 at 1:06 AM

  185. Charlie,Do you think that R.C. Sproul is a heretic? You called *me* a heretic. R.C. Sproul holds the same beliefs that I do on common grace and God’s non-salvific love for the non-elect. Is *he* a heretic, Charlie? If so, why did you recently feature him on your blog in a positive way? This discussion is not about my supposedly believing that “piety and fellowship trumps sound doctrine.” It *is* about using the term “heresy” rightly, as it has historically been used within Christianity. Are all church members heretics within the PCA, OPC, and many Reformed Baptist denominations, because those same denominations hold to common grace and God’s non-salvific love for the non-elect?You still haven’t provided any evidence for your charge that I lied about you, Charlie.

    Christopher Lake

    10/18/2008 at 1:11 AM

  186. Charlie,I haven’t been following your discussion with Beowulf closely, so I am not in a position to rebuke him. If he does, in fact, hold to out-right Pelagianism (which I don’t know and therefore, won’t say), then he is subscribing to heresy. However, I don’t know where Beowulf stands on that subject, so I can’t say. One can only participate in so many on-line discussions.

    Christopher Lake

    10/18/2008 at 1:21 AM

  187. Christopher, SCROLL UP! It’s posted HERE in PUBLIC.

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/18/2008 at 2:18 AM

  188. Christopher, what part of yes do you not understand? You seem to be unable to distinguish between HERESY and heresy:)

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/18/2008 at 2:20 AM

  189. Ah, so NOW we get to the heart of the matter, Christopher. Please explain to me how the reprobate receive “unmerited favor” from God???????? Do you not see the obvious contradiction here????

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/18/2008 at 2:22 AM

  190. Christopher, Beowulf has posted here openly that he is a pelagian. It’s ironic that you consider him your “brother in Christ.” Beowulf: “”The Apostle Paul says that all have sinned and there is none righteous. “But if you would read the context of these passages you would know that he refers to passages that show men as turning away, which implies an original state of innocence in all these men. “They are all gone away backward…”But not only that, you interpret “all” to mean “some” when the scope of Jesus death is referred to, but when the scope of human sinfulness is refered to, you interpret “all” to mean “all”! You are a malignant hypocrite.Yet, all are sinners (according to the flesh), but not in according to the soul for infants have not yet personally sinned. Those are not hypocritical or inconsistent then, who believe “all means all” when the scope of Jesus’ death is referred to, and also believe that all men are sinners as to the flesh but that they will only become sinners as to the soul when they personally sin and that they have bent towards sin.”Need any more proof, Christopher? Your rush to fellowship has made you a brother of Pelagius. How ironic!Sola gloria Deo!

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/18/2008 at 2:28 AM

  191. Christopher, you’re not a hyper-Calvinist or even a Calvinist. You’re a “sub-Calvinist”. Hah.As if ad hominem makes your position any more correct? Or your appeal to numbers? The last I checked, both of those are fallacious arguments.

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/18/2008 at 2:30 AM

  192. Beowulf, the soul that sins shall die. Psalm 58:3 clearly says that sinners go astray from the womb. Pelagius and Coelestius were both wrong. The Bible says all have sinned. It does not limit sin to the flesh. It clearly says that the whole man, body, soul, and spirit sins. From birth.”From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, (Rom. 5:6, Rom. 8:7, Rom. 7:18, Col. 1:21) and wholly inclined to all evil, (Gen. 6:5, Gen. 8:21, Rom. 3:10–12) do proceed all actual transgressions. (James 1:14–15, Eph. 2:2–3, Matt. 15:19)”The Westminster confession of faith : An authentic modern version. 1985 (Rev. EPC ed.). Signal Mountain, TN: Summertown Texts.Pelagius clearly misunderstood the Scriptures because the Bible says nothing about sin being limited to the physical body. Rather it is a corruption of the entire man, the human nature.Genesis 6:5 (KJV)5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.Psalm 58:3 (KJV)3 The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.Romans 3:9-12 (KJV)9 What then? are we better than they? No, in no wise: for we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles, that they are all under sin; 10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: 11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. 12 They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one.[1][1] The Holy Bible : King James Version. 1995 (electronic ed. of the 1769 edition of the 1611 Authorized Version.). Bellingham WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/18/2008 at 2:41 AM

  193. “Beowulf, the soul that sins shall die. Psalm 58:3 clearly says that sinners go astray from the womb.”But Charlie, Psalm 58 also clearly is contrasting sinners with God’s people. Sinners here mean idolatrous peoples, and it is also poetic exaggeration. Consider Job, my friend!In Job 31:16-18, Job says concerning his earliest days “If I have kept the poor from their desire, or have caused the eyes of the widow to fail, or have eaten my morsel alone, and the orphan has not shared it (But from my youth he [i.e the orphan] grew up with me as with a father, and from infancy I guided her [i.e. the widow])…”David has sinners speaking lies as soon as their head comes out of the womb, and Job has himself sustaining orphans and supporting widows from the womb!Tell me, can this be literal? Did Job have a job when he was an infant? If not, how did he raise the orphans as a father? How did he support the widows from infancy, without a job?Did he till fields with his rattle? Did he water fields with his bottle?Returning to Psalm 58, however, let me ask you this, o infant condemner: in verse 6 when David says “Break their teeth, O God, in their mouth: break out the great teeth of the young lions, O LORD” is he seriously calling for God to break the teeth of infants? According to your interpretation he must be!Perhaps, however, the womb is to be taken figuratively as a second birth into wickedness. Just as men who turn to Christ are born again in baptism into Christ, are not idolaters born again into idolatry by their idolatrous rites? Is David, perhaps, speaking of idolaters going forth to speak lies from the womb of their religious system? “The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.” (Psa 58:3) There is no mention of a mother, but only of a womb, and it is therefore not absurd to take the womb to refer not to a woman’s womb but to the womb of a religious system.”From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good,”The WCF is wrong. The Bible never says we are opposite all good or totally disabled. Paul himself says, as I quoted already, in Romans 7:9-11, “And I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive, and I died; and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; for sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, deceived me, and through it killed me.”Paul clearly shows that he was not born spiritually dead, but alive. He died spiritually only after he was deceived and sinned.Ecclesiastes 7:29 “Behold, I have found only this, that God made men upright, but they have sought out many devices.”Not that God made men evil, or evil that men are totally disabled in evil. God has made them upright, and they would be so, if they did not by free will seek out many devices.As we have said already concerning the Word (Who is God above all), He is “true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” (John 1:9)Since the Word lighteth every man when he comes into the world, men cannot be totally disabled! Otherwise, you are claiming that the Word’s enlightneing is worthless! God forbid such an assault on his omnipotence!But let us read on, and read it in context!John 1:9-12 “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world. 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:”Notice that the Word’s enlightening every man as they come into the world is directly connected with their ability to believe the gospel! He lightens every man as they come into the world. But when He came into the world, many did not recognize him. Yet some did, and they believed and were given the power to become sons of God. How did they receive him? How were they able to beleive? Because he enlightens every man as they come into the world!John 1:13 “Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.”Subsequently. For they believed first and then received power to become sons of God. Then they were born by the will of God, who had willed that whosoever believes on his Son might not perish but have everlasting life and be joint-heirs with Christ.Now, if we are totally disabled, then how is this: “For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.” (Mark 6:20)Herod, clearly non-elect, “did many things” that John told him to do. How so, if we (as the stupid WCF says) have been “made opposite to all good”? If we are “wholly inclined to all evil” then why did non-elect Herod “do many things” in obedience to John’s preaching? How also did Agrippa believe the prophets???? For Paul says “King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest.” (Acts 26:27)If belief is not possible except for those who have been regenerated, how did Agrippa believe? “But he didn’t believe enough to be saved” you will say. He was not saved because although he believed, he did not want to repent, and therefore remained outside of Christ, for he says “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” He believed. Paul knew he believed: “King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest.”So what kept him back from becoming a Christian? Lack of commitment, not lack of faith. He did not want to repent.Again, Felix believed! Yet, when Paul “reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come,” (Acts 24:25), then “Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.” Was his problem lack of belief??????No. Felix believed, and trembled, even as the “devils also believe, and tremble.” (James 2:19)What then kept him back from Christ? Lack of commitment. He did not want to repent. He wanted to put it off until a “convenient season,” until after he was done enjoying sin.Of Simon Magus, also, the Bible says “Then Simon himself believed also.” (Acts 8:13)Now, however, after believing, and being baptized, Simon sought to buy the Holy Ghost! And Peter told him “Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money. Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.” (verses 20-21)And, if Justin Martyr can be trusted on the matter, Simon Magus subsequently went around from place to place, in one place claiming to be the Father, in another claiming to be the Son, and in another claiming to be the Paraclete, and so he established a sect called Simonians, who worshiped him as God.But the Bible says he had believed! And this, you say, is only possible for one who has been regenerate by irresistible grace and who then is once saved always saved. Your position is laughable.

    beowulf2k8

    10/18/2008 at 4:13 AM

  194. Ray Bolz, a good Arminian, comes out of the closet as a homosexual. Imagine that? God loves the sinner and hates the sin. I guess antinomianism is the basic theology behind the Arminian position?http://reasonablechristian.blogspot.com/2008/10/ray-boltz-comes-out.html#links

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/18/2008 at 4:51 PM

  195. Well, if the men in the Bible you mention were given the grace to believe and their own evil will triumphs over “grace” then God does not give them the ability or the effectual grace to overcome their unbelief. I guess Jesus died for all sins except unbelief. Unbelief is the only sin Christ could not conquer on the cross.

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/18/2008 at 4:53 PM

  196. Charlie,About my speaking to Beowulf as a brother in Christ, I already told you that I hadn’t been closely following your discussion with on Pelagianism. One can can only keep up with, and participate in, so many on-line discussions. I would certainly hope that Beowulf does not subscribe to out-right Pelagianism. He claims to trust in God’s grace alone for his salvation. However, if he truly believes that all people are not born in a sinful state, but are actually “innocent” (free from the stain and bent of sin), then he is *not* a brother in Christ. Read that sentence again, just so you can be *absolutely sure* of what I said.Charlie, where do you get your idea of “damning” heresy and “non-damning” heresy? This idea seems to involve a redefinition of the word “heresy,” as it has historically been understood and used within Christianity. Also, the fact that you think you have no accountability to me, when you sin against me, because I am a supposed “heretic”– this fact gives the lie to your parsing of the word “heretic.” If my “heresy” is “non-damning,” then I am still a brother in Christ, and you need to either provide *evidence* for your charge that I lied about you, or stop making the charge and repent of your sin against me. If R.C. Sproul is a “heretic” for believing exactly as I do on common grace and God’s non-salvific love for the non-elect, then why would you *positively* feature him on your blog, Charlie? Why would you show him any more honor than you have shown me? Would you call *him* a “sub-Calvinist”?

    Christopher Lake

    10/18/2008 at 5:32 PM

  197. As to Ray Botz, whoever he is, I already commented on your blog about how it is Calvinism and its “once saved always saved” doctrine of disgrace that some non-Calvinists have borrowed from your false system that is the cause of such things.”Well, if the men in the Bible you mention were given the grace to believe and their own evil will triumphs over “grace” then God does not give them the ability or the effectual grace to overcome their unbelief.”God has given ALL MEN sufficient grace to overcome their unbelief. And the fact is that most of the time, it is not that men don’t believe, but that they do not want to repent, and so pretend to not believe. Because they will not put their trust in Christ, and because they choose to love this present world more than him, they are condemned, but they do believe the gospel. They just choose to deceive themselves and believe that the enjoyments of this life trump heaven.God doesn’t give anyone a special grace to force them irrestiably to believe. Augustine and Satan made that one up one day in their daily chat about how to attack the gospel and the character of God.You can keep on teaching that whoever is lost is lost because God arbitrarily chose to send them to hell. But you only do this because you know that you are among those who are going to hell, and you just can’t have the blame placed on yourself. You want to blame God for the lost condition that you are in. You are of those who believe, but chooses not to repent. Thus you would rather believe the list of once saved always saved than submit to the true gospel and actually be saved, because submitting to the truth would require you to repent. So, instead, you will sink purposefully and choicefully into hell, and blame God all along the way claiming that its all his fault and that he arbitrarily decreed you to hell. Its so sad.

    beowulf2k8

    10/18/2008 at 5:56 PM

  198. beowulf, I’m done with you. Go right ahead and keep establishing your own righteousness. As for me, I’m saved by the righteousness and the merits of Christ:)Simply because salvation is all of grace does not mean we have a license to sin. Reformed teaching is that we will certainly persevere without finally falling away. This is entirely different from the once saved doctrine which is basically a license to sin.If you don’t come to God through Christ, there is no salvation. Jesus said, “I am the way…” You can’t do it your way. Sorry.Like I said, the Arminians here are basically Pelagians, otherwise someone would be challenging your heretic views. I don’t see it so my suspicions are confirmed.Soli gratia!

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/18/2008 at 7:17 PM

  199. beowulf said, “God has given ALL MEN sufficient grace to overcome their unbelief.” He has? Then WHY isn’t it WORKING? Either He didn’t give them grace to believe or else their will is corrupted by evil. What good person would turn down an offer of salvation? That must mean that the grace isn’t strong enough to overcome the sinful will. Which means God fails to save. Which means God isn’t God.

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/18/2008 at 7:19 PM

  200. Based on Philippians 1:12-20, one of Dr. Page’s main points had to do with our motive in ministry. Within that point, he talked a bit about us as believers being “on the same team.” He shared a story of John Wesley and George Whitefield, two famous Christian leaders in the 1700’s who were good friends but had big disagreements about Christian faith and practice. One person reportedly asked Wesley, “Do you think you’ll see Whitefield in heaven?” Wesley responded in the negative, to which the questioner responded with surprise that he thought Whitefield was not a true believer. Wesley explained that the other person misunderstood him – he said that he didn’t think he would see Whitefield in heaven because Whitefield would be so close to the throne of God that Wesley would not be able to catch a glimpse of him so far up in the front.http://theshockingalternative.blogspot.com/2006/09/on-same-team.html

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/18/2008 at 7:31 PM

  201. Charlie,I concede the point– it does seem, from the book, “The Life of John Wesley,” that I was wrong on both the speaker and the “order” of the quote.The quote does illustrate, though, the genuine and *openly expressed* love and gracious spirit that Whitefield and Wesley had for each other, despite their disagreements on secondary doctrines. Why don’t you show more of Whitefield’s and Wesley’s love in the midst of disagreements, Charlie? Have you ever read Whitefield’s remarks at John Wesley’s funeral? Have you actually read the full content of the letter (Whitefield to Wesley) that you linked to on your blog? Whitefield displays a love and graciousness to his brother in Christ that you have not begun to show toward me or anyone else on this blog– even other Reformed Christians!

    Christopher Lake

    10/18/2008 at 7:52 PM

  202. Christopher, there is no excuse for laziness. Are you not subscribed by e-mail to this comment page? If so, then you are receiving his comments by e-mail just as I am. Do I need to repost the entire admission???? OK, here goes. I will put in bold the pertinent comments relating to the heresy of Pelagianism:”The fact that Scripture says that ALL have sinned and that the wicked sin from birth (see Romans 3:9-27; Psalm 58:3), means that both Pelagius AND Coelestius were wrong.” (Charlie Ray)Pelagius admits that all men are sinners, in that he interprets Romans 5:12 to mean that all men inherit Adam’s sin as to their flesh, hence he also interprets the last part “because all have sinned” to mean that everyone’s flesh sinned in Adam. Therefore, all men are sinners, as pertains to the flesh, and all men die accordingly. Howbeit, those who have not yet sinned personally are not condemned to hell, i.e. infants.””The Apostle Paul says that all have sinned and there is none righteous. “”But if you would read the context of these passages you would know that he refers to passages that show men as turning away, which implies an original state of innocence in all these men. “They are all gone away backward…””But not only that, you interpret “all” to mean “some” when the scope of Jesus death is referred to, but when the scope of human sinfulness is refered to, you interpret “all” to mean “all”! You are a malignant hypocrite.”[Nice loving expression there:)]”Yet, all are sinners (according to the flesh), but not in according to the soul for infants have not yet personally sinned. Those are not hypocritical or inconsistent then, who believe “all means all” when the scope of Jesus’ death is referred to, and also believe that all men are sinners as to the flesh but that they will only become sinners as to the soul when they personally sin and that they have bent towards sin.”To me, the definition of all changes not, but to you “Jesus died for all” means “Jesus died for the elect” and “all are sinners” means “everyone, elect and non-elect, including infants, are sinners.” If you would be consistent, “all are sinners” would merely mean “all the elect are sinners.” [He does not even realize that the Reformed and the Lutherans believe that the elect ARE sinners AND saints at the same time, since all fall short of God’s perfect mark. CJR]”But here is consistency: All men have sinned in their flesh, in Adam, in that their flesh inherits Adam’s sin, and are sinners in the flesh, and the flesh is punished with physical death because of this. But their soul which is not derived from Adam, but is a new production of God has not sinned prior to birth nor will it sin until the law begins to apply to them, as Paul says in Romans 7:9 “I was alive apart from the law once, but when the commandment came, sin sprang to life and I died…for sin taking advantage by the law deceived me and so slew me.””Although Paul was born, therefore, with his flesh condemned to death, his soul was born alive and apart from the law, and so remained until the law began to apply to him, at which point sin took advantage by the law and deceived his soul into sin, and he died spiritually.”[This is pure pelagianism. He says Paul wasn’t a sinner until he committed an actual sin.]”This is the process of sin. You who teach that men are born with their souls condemned for Adam’s sin, deny Ezekiel 18:20 “The soul that sins shall die: the son shall not bear the guilt of the father nor the father the guilt of the son.”Now, as to the flesh, the son will bear the guilt of the father, as we have shown, for all men die after the flesh because of Adam’s sin, their flesh inheriting the guilt of their father.But as to the soul, only personal sin can cause the death of the soul, for he says “The soul that sins shall die: the son shall not bear the guilt of the father nor the father the guilt of the son.” (Ezekiel 18:20)It is impossible, therefore, for the soul to inherit guilt from Adam: (1) Because God plainly says in Scripture that it will not (2) Because the soul does not even derive from Adam as the flesh does.”In fact, when John says that the Word in John 1:9 “That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world,” he clearly means that the soul, as a new production by the Word, is not darkness but light. The soul, therefore, is not born with a taint! This is how Peter can say in 1st Peter 2:11 “abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul,” for if it were the soul that enticed us to sin, then this statement would be nonsensical!”But in that Peter says “abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul,” he shows that the soul was indeed lightened by Christ when it entered the world, but the flesh which is from Adam is that which has the taint, and it wars against the soul. This is why Paul says “if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die” (Rom 8:13) He says not “if ye live after the soul!” But in that it is impossible to live a full life (I am excluding infants by that statement) and never fall to the flesh and lose a battle against it, so one needs the Holy Spirit to defeat the flesh, hence Paul says in Romans 8:13 not merely “if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die” but also “but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.”This is not only Pelagian, it is also gnosticism since beowulf apparently views the flesh or physical body as evil. However, when Paul is referring to sarx/flesh he is referring to the sinful nature, not the physical body.Sola Fide!Sola Gratia!Sola Scriptura!Solus Christus!Soli Gloria Deo!

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/18/2008 at 7:59 PM

  203. Christopher, from this point on if you want to discuss the issue you can post it on my blog.

    Charlie J. Ray

    10/18/2008 at 8:13 PM

  204. Charlie,No, I am not subscribed by e-mail to this comments page. I have simply periodically returned to this blog to see your replies to me. It does seem, from the comments that you posted, that Beowulf is a Pelagian, and therefore, a heretic. I find it interesting that you didn’t answer my questions, as to why you don’t show the sort of love that Whitefield and Wesley showed for each other, as brothers in Christ, in the midst of serious (but secondary) doctrinal disagreements. I’ll post on your blog later, Lord willing.

    Christopher Lake

    10/18/2008 at 8:25 PM

  205. “beowulf, I’m done with you. Go right ahead and keep establishing your own righteousness. As for me, I’m saved by the righteousness and the merits of Christ:)”I never said anything to hint that I am trying to establish my own righteousness. You are simply mad that Calvinism has been found out for what it is. Calm down and leave your false system.”Simply because salvation is all of grace does not mean we have a license to sin.”And yet Calvinism teaches that it does.”If you don’t come to God through Christ, there is no salvation. Jesus said, “I am the way…” You can’t do it your way. Sorry.”I never said that men could come to God other than through Christ Jesus, nor did I say or imply or hint in any way that men could be saved apart from Christ. The fact is, Charlie Ray, your own system is the one that minimizes Christ, since salvation with you is all about deterministic decrees. In your system Christ is merely a second thought and is not at the center of your soteriology!!! If God controls all our actions micromanegerially, as you proclaim, then God could have gotten around sending his Son by decreeing men to live sinless lives. But as things are in reality, since men by their own free choice do sin, Christ is obviously necessary and is the center of non-Calvinist soteriology! Calvinism could do without Christ and its god could save men by mere deterministic decrees, but in Arminianism and other non-Calvinist positions, Christ is an absolute necessity.”Like I said, the Arminians here are basically Pelagians, otherwise someone would be challenging your heretic views.”I’m not teaching Pelagianism. Neither did Pelagius, which is why I brought him up, namely to show that Calvinists lie on their opponents and always claim their opponents teach that men can be saved apart from Christ by their own works. That is a big lie. Pelagius did not teach that, but taught justification by faith alone. Howbeit, he denied that the soul of man inherits Adam’s sin because he taught that the soul is a new production of God and does not come from the parents like Augustine thought. Oh my! “How dare that heretic teach that God creates the soul directly!”So, Pelagius taught that the flesh being derived from Adam inherits Adam’s guilt and is punished with death. The soul, however, being not derived from Adam but directly from God, can inherit nothing from Adam. This is in line with Scripture, for Ezekiel 18:20 shows that the soul of man does not inherit guilt when it says “the soul that sins will die: the son shall not bear the guilt of the father nor the father the guilt of the son.” Indeed the flesh of the son will bear the guilt of the father, but not the soul. And John shows in John 1:9 that Jesus is “the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world” meaning that the soul is not created depraved as the flesh, which is how Paul says “I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive, and I died…for sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, deceived me, and through it killed me.” (Rom 7:9-11) And it is also how Peter says “abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul” (1 Pet 2:11) for if both the soul and the flesh were depraved, there would be no war since they would be in agreement!But you have accepted the world’s interpretation of Christianity, and have become the world, which is why you love that liar Augustine who prayed “give me chastity–but not just yet.” For Jesus says in John 15:19 “If ye were of the world, the world would love his own:” as the world loves Augustine “but because ye are not of the world,” as Pelagius was not of the world “but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.””Soli gratia!”Indeed, to the true God be all the glory. But to the god of Calvin, who is the god of robots, be all shame, disgrace, dishonor, all everlasting contempt.

    beowulf2k8

    10/18/2008 at 9:14 PM

  206. Beowulf,It seems to me that you don’t truly want to have a genuine *conversation* about Calvinism, as you will not post my calm, reasonable comments about the subject on your blog.Charlie,You’re not posting all of my comments on your blog as well. Anyone who has seen our interactions here knows that I have been reasonable with you. I’m waiting to hear your responses to the excerpts (for which I posted a link) on “Calvin on Special and Common Grace.” I posted the link under your entry, “Calvin’s Commentary on Romans 1:20.” If you click on the link that I posted, you will find direct quotes from Calvin on common grace, both from his commentary on Hebrews and from the Institutes of the Christian Religion.I’m also waiting for your response to my most recent comments (which you haven’t posted yet, even though you have posted other comments from Beowulf on another post) on the gracious, loving interactions between Whitefield and Wesley. Why don’t we see more of this spirit from you, Charlie?

    Christopher Lake

    10/18/2008 at 10:23 PM

  207. Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. In this the love of God what made manifest among us, that God sent his only son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; if we love one another God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. – 1 jn.7-12love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. -1 cor. 13:4-7 Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. and being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. -philippians 2:3-8

    Erin Hope

    10/24/2008 at 9:18 PM

  208. >The term “sovereign” refers to one who is supreme, above all others, who possesses authority above all. It involves freedom from limitation by any external power or authority. Interestingly, the term “sovereign” is never used in the King James Bible. In fact, no Hebrew word that could be properly translated “sovereign” occurs in the Old Testament. However, the Greek word kyrios is translated into the English word “Lord” and is used throughout the New Testament while the Greek word pantokrator is translated as “Almighty” in several verses in the book of Revelation. Thus, the concept of God as “sovereign” is indeed communicated in the Scriptures. Hence, all genuine Christians agree that God is the Sovereign Ruler over the universe. He is supreme in authority. There are no authorities, whatever they may be, that are not delegated by Him and deferential to His supreme authority. Therefore, God, as Sovereign, is never forced into any action by any external power; He possesses ultimate authority over all things.

    Yee

    02/03/2011 at 12:05 AM

  209. >“We have learned from the prophets, and we hold it to be true, that punishments, chastisements, and good rewards, are rendered according to the merit’s of each man’s actions. Now, if this is not so, but all things happen by fate, then neither is anything at all in our own power. For if it is predetermined that this man will be good, and this other man will be evil, neither is the first one meritorious nor the latter man to be blamed. And again, unless the human race has the power of avoiding evil and choosing good by free choice, they are not accountable for their actions.”-Justin Martyr (c. 160, Vol. 1)“I have proved in what has been said that those who were foreknown to be unrighteous, whether men or angels, are not made wicked by God’s fault. Rather, each man is what he will appear to be through his own fault.”-Justin Martyr (c.160, Vol. 1, p. 269)“The Stoics, not observing this, maintained that all things take place according to the necessity of fate. But since God in the beginning made the race of angels and men with free-will, they will justly suffer in eternal fire the punishment of whatever sins they have committed. and this is the nature of all that is made, to be capable of vice and virtue. For neither would any of them be praiseworthy unless there were power to turn to both (virtue and vice).”-Justin Martyr (The Anti-Nicene Fathers, Vol. I, p.354)"If anyone is truly religious, he is a man of God; but if he is irreligious, he is a man of the devil, made such, not by nature, but by his own choice."-Ignatius (disciple of the Apostle John, late 1st Century/ Early 2nd Century, The Anti-Nicene Fathers, Vol. 1, p. 61)“Our free will has destroyed us. We who were free have become slaves. We have been sold through sin. Nothing evil has been created by God. We ourselves have manifested wickedness. But we, who have manifested it, are able to reject it again.”-Tatian (The Anti-Nicene Fathers, 160, Vol. 2, pp. 69-70)

    Yee

    02/03/2011 at 12:08 AM

  210. >“This expression, ‘How often would I have gathered thy children together, and thou wouldst not,’ set forth the ancient law of human liberty, because God made man a free (agent) from the beginning, possessing his own soul to obey the behests of God voluntarily, and not by compulsion of God. Forthere is no coercion with God, but a good will (toward us) is present with Him continually. And therefore does He give good counsel to all. And in man as well as in angels, He has placed the power of choice (for angels are rational beings), so that those who had yielded obedience might justly possess what is good, given indeed by God, but preserved by themselves…”-Irenaeus (c. 180, Against Heresies 37; God’s Strategy In Human History, p. 246)“Choice depends on the man as being free. But the gift depended on God as the Lord. And He gives to those who are willing, are exceedingly earnest, and who ask. In this manner, their salvation can become their own. For God does not compel.”-Clement of Alexandria (c. 195, Vol. 2, p. 593)“We…have believed and are saved by voluntary choice.”-Clement of Alexandria (c. 195, Vol. 2, p. 217)“To obey or not is in our own power, provided we do not have the excuse of ignorance.”-Clement of Alexandria (c. 195, Vol. 2, p. 353)“Each one of us who sins with his own free will, chooses punishment. So the blame lies with him who chooses. God is without blame.”-Clement of Alexandria (c.195, Vol. 2, p. 226)“Neither promises nor apprehensions, rewards, no punishments are just if the soul has not the power of choosing and abstaining; if evil is involuntary.”-Clement of Alexandria (c. 195, Vol. 2, p.319)

    Yee

    02/03/2011 at 12:09 AM

  211. >“I find, then, that man was constituted free by God. He was master of his own will and power…For a law would not be imposed upon one who did not have it in his power to render that obedience which is due to law. Nor again, would the penalty of death be threatened against sin, if a contempt of the law were impossible to man in the liberty of his will…Man is free, with a will either for obedience of resistance.”-Tertullian (c. 207, Vol. 3, pp. 300-301)“No reward can be justly bestowed, no punishment can be justly inflicted, upon him who is good or bad by necessity, and not by his own choice.”-Tertullian (Doctrine of the Will by Asa Mahan, p. 61, published by Truth in Heart)“The soul does not incline to either part out of necessity, for then neither vice nor virtue could be ascribed to it; nor would its choice of virtue deserve reward; nor its declination to vice punishment.” Again, “How could God require that of man which he [man] had not power to offer Him?”-Origen (Doctrine of the Will by Asa Mahan, p. 62, published by Truth in Heart)“God is good and wise. He does what is best. Therefore, there is no fixed destiny.”-Methodius (c. 190, Vol. 6, p.343)

    Yee

    02/03/2011 at 12:09 AM

  212. >“Now those [pagans] who decide that man is not possessed of free will, and affirm that he is governed by the unavoidable necessities of fate…are guilty of impiety toward God Himself, making Him out to be the cause or author of human evils.”-Methodius (c. 190, The Banquet of the Ten Virgins 16; God’s Strategy In Human History, p. 252)

    Yee

    02/03/2011 at 12:10 AM


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