Our Beliefs

Here is a list of articles, statements and resources to help you better understand the “Provisionist/Traditionalist” soteriological perspective:

Why are you called a “Traditionalist?”

Please read this article to better understand the meaning behind the label “traditionalism.” We have also used the term “Provisionism” or “Provisionist” which better captures our soteriological perspective of God’s love and provision for every individual.

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We affirm:

A STATEMENT OF THE TRADITIONAL SOUTHERN BAPTIST UNDERSTANDING OF GOD’S PLAN OF SALVATION

(Written by Dr. Eric Hankins. See a list of Southern Baptist professors, pastors and theologians who have signed this statement HERE and the ever growing list of other biblical scholars who affirm the non-Calvinistic interpretation of the scriptures in the comment section below.)

Preamble

Every generation of Southern Baptists has the duty to articulate the truths of its faith with particular attention to the issues that are impacting contemporary mission and ministry. The precipitating issue for this statement is the rise of a movement called “New Calvinism” among Southern Baptists. This movement is committed to advancing in the churches an exclusivelyCalvinistic understanding of salvation, characterized by an aggressive insistence on the “Doctrines of Grace” (“TULIP”), and to the goal of making Calvinism the central Southern Baptist position on God’s plan of salvation.

While Calvinists have been present in Southern Baptist life from its earliest days and have made very important contributions to our history and theology, the majority of Southern Baptists do not embrace Calvinism. Even the minority of Southern Baptists who have identified themselves as Calvinists generally modify its teachings in order to mitigate certain unacceptable conclusions (e.g., anti-missionism, hyper-Calvinism, double predestination, limited atonement, etc.). The very fact that there is a plurality of views on Calvinism designed to deal with these weaknesses (variously described as “3-point,” “4-point,” “moderate,” etc.) would seem to call for circumspection and humility with respect to the system and to those who disagree with it.

For the most part, Southern Baptists have been glad to relegate disagreements over Calvinism to secondary status along with other important but “non-essential” theological matters. The Southern Baptist majority has fellowshipped happily with its Calvinist brethren while kindly resisting Calvinism itself. And, to their credit, most Southern Baptist Calvinists have not demanded the adoption of their view as the standard. We would be fine if this consensus continued, but some New Calvinists seem to be pushing for a radical alteration of this longstanding arrangement.

We propose that what most Southern Baptists believe about salvation can rightly be called “Traditional” Southern Baptist soteriology, which should be understood in distinction to “Calvinist” soteriology. Traditional Southern Baptist soteriology is articulated in a general way in the Baptist Faith and Message, “Article IV.” While some earlier Baptist confessions were shaped by Calvinism, the clear trajectory of the BF&M since 1925 is away from Calvinism. For almost a century, Southern Baptists have found that a sound, biblical soteriology can be taught, maintained, and defended without subscribing to Calvinism. Traditional Southern Baptist soteriology is grounded in the conviction that every person can and must be saved by a personal and free decision to respond to the Gospel by trusting in Christ Jesus alone as Savior and Lord. Without ascribing to Calvinism, Southern Baptists have reached around the world with the Gospel message of salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone. Baptists have been well-served by a straightforward soteriology rooted in the fact that Christ is willing and able to save any and every sinner.

New Calvinism presents us with a duty and an opportunity to more carefully express what is generally believed by Southern Baptists about salvation. It is no longer helpful to identify ourselves by how many points of convergence we have with Calvinism. While we are not insisting that every Southern Baptist affirm the soteriological statement below in order to have a place in the Southern Baptist family, we are asserting that the vast majority of Southern Baptists are not Calvinists and that they do not want Calvinism to become the standard view in Southern Baptist life. We believe it is time to move beyond Calvinism as a reference point for Baptist soteriology.

Below is what we believe to be the essence of a “Traditional Southern Baptist Understanding of God’s Plan of Salvation.” We believe that most Southern Baptists, regardless of how they have described their personal understanding of the doctrine of salvation, will find the following statement consistent with what the Bible teaches and what Southern Baptists have generally believed about the nature of salvation by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.

ARTICLES OF AFFIRMATION AND DENIAL

ARTICLE ONE: THE GOSPEL

We affirm that the Gospel is the good news that God has made a way of salvation through the life, death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ for any person. This is in keeping with God’s desire for every person to be saved.

We deny that only a select few are capable of responding to the Gospel while the rest are predestined to an eternity in hell.

Genesis 3:15; Psalm 2:1-12; Ezekiel 18:23, 32; Luke 19.10; Luke 24:45-49; John 1:1-18, 3:16; Romans 1:1-6, 5:8; 8:34; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Galatians 4:4-7; Colossians 1:21-23; 1 Timothy 2:3-4; Hebrews 1:1-3; 4:14-16; 2 Peter 3:9

ARTICLE TWO: THE SINFULNESS OF MAN

We affirm that, because of the fall of Adam, every person inherits a nature and environment inclined toward sin and that every person who is capable of moral action will sin. Each person’s sin alone brings the wrath of a holy God, broken fellowship with Him, ever-worsening selfishness and destructiveness, death, and condemnation to an eternity in hell.

We deny that Adam’s sin resulted in the incapacitation of any person’s free will or rendered any person guilty (?) before he has personally sinned. While no sinner is remotely capable of achieving salvation through his own effort, we deny that any sinner is saved apart from a free response to the Holy Spirit’s drawing through the Gospel.

Genesis 3:15-24; 6:5; Deuteronomy 1:39; Isaiah 6:5, 7:15-16;53:6;Jeremiah 17:5,9, 31:29-30; Ezekiel 18:19-20; Romans 1:18-32; 3:9-18, 5:12, 6:23; 7:9; Matthew 7:21-23; 1 Corinthians 1:18-25; 6:9-10;15:22; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Hebrews 9:27-28; Revelation 20:11-15

ARTICLE THREE: THE ATONEMENT OF CHRIST

We affirm that the penal substitution of Christ is the only available and effective sacrifice for the sins of every person.

We deny that this atonement results in salvation without a person’s free response of repentance and faith. We deny that God imposes or withholds this atonement without respect to an act of the person’s free will. We deny that Christ died only for the sins of those who will be saved.

Psalm 22:1-31; Isaiah 53:1-12; John 12:32, 14:6; Acts 10:39-43; Acts 16:30-32; Romans 3:21-26; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 3:10-14; Philippians 2:5-11; Col. 1:13-20; 1 Timothy 2:5-6; Hebrews 9:12-15, 24-28; 10:1-18; I John 1:7; 2:2

ARTICLE FOUR: THE GRACE OF GOD

We affirm that grace is God’s generous decision to provide salvation for any person by taking all of the initiative in providing atonement, in freely offering the Gospel in the power of the Holy Spirit, and in uniting the believer to Christ through the Holy Spirit by faith.

We deny that grace negates the necessity of a free response of faith or that it cannot be resisted. We deny that the response of faith is in any way a meritorious work that earns salvation.

Ezra 9:8; Proverbs 3:34; Zechariah 12:10; Matthew 19:16-30, 23:37; Luke 10:1-12; Acts 15:11; 20:24; Romans 3:24, 27-28; 5:6, 8, 15-21; Galatians 1:6; 2:21; 5; Ephesians 2:8-10; Philippians 3:2-9; Colossians 2:13-17; Hebrews 4:16; 9:28; 1 John 4:19

ARTICLE FIVE: THE REGENERATION OF THE SINNER

We affirm that any person who responds to the Gospel with repentance and faith is born again through the power of the Holy Spirit. He is a new creation in Christ and enters, at the moment he believes, into eternal life.

We deny that any person is regenerated prior to or apart from hearing and responding to the Gospel.

Luke 15:24; John 3:3; 7:37-39; 10:10; 16:7-14; Acts 2:37-39; Romans 6:4-11; 10:14; 1 Corinthians 15:22; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 2:20; 6:15; Colossians 2:13; 1 Peter 3:18

ARTICLE SIX: THE ELECTION TO SALVATION

We affirm that, in reference to salvation, election speaks of God’s eternal, gracious, and certain plan in Christ to have a people who are His by repentance and faith.

We deny that election means that, from eternity, God predestined certain people for salvation and others for condemnation.

Genesis 1:26-28; 12:1-3; Exodus 19:6;Jeremiah 31:31-33; Matthew 24:31; 25:34; John 6:70; 15:16; Romans 8:29-30, 33;9:6-8; 11:7; 1 Corinthians 1:1-2; Ephesians 1:4-6; 2:11-22; 3:1-11; 4:4-13; 1 Timothy 2:3-4; 1 Peter 1:1-2; 1 Peter 2:9; 2 Peter 3:9; Revelation 7:9-10

ARTICLE SEVEN: THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD

We affirm God’s eternal knowledge of and sovereignty over every person’s salvation or condemnation.

We deny that God’s sovereignty and knowledge require Him to cause a person’s acceptance or rejection of faith in Christ.

Genesis 1:1; 6:5-8; 18:16-33; 22; 2 Samuel 24:13-14; 1 Chronicles 29:10-20; 2 Chronicles 7:14; Joel 2:32; Psalm 23; 51:4; 139:1-6; Proverbs 15:3; John 6:44; Romans 11:3; Titus 3:3-7; James 1:13-15; Hebrews 11:6, 12:28; 1 Peter 1:17

ARTICLE EIGHT: THE FREE WILL OF MAN

We affirm that God, as an expression of His sovereignty, endows each person with actual free will (the ability to choose between two options), which must be exercised in accepting or rejecting God’s gracious call to salvation by the Holy Spirit through the Gospel.

We deny that the decision of faith is an act of God rather than a response of the person. We deny that there is an “effectual call” for certain people that is different from a “general call” to any person who hears and understands the Gospel.

Genesis 1:26-28; Numbers 21:8-9; Deuteronomy 30:19; Joshua 24:15; 1 Samuel 8:1-22; 2 Samuel 24:13-14; Esther 3:12-14; Matthew 7:13-14; 11:20-24; Mark 10:17-22; Luke 9:23-24; 13:34; 15:17-20; Romans 10:9-10; Titus 2:12; Revelation 22:17

ARTICLE NINE: THE SECURITY OF THE BELIEVER

We affirm that when a person responds in faith to the Gospel, God promises to complete the process of salvation in the believer into eternity. This process begins with justification, whereby the sinner is immediately acquitted of all sin and granted peace with God; continues in sanctification, whereby the saved are progressively conformed to the image of Christ by the indwelling Holy Spirit; and concludes in glorification, whereby the saint enjoys life with Christ in heaven forever.

We deny that this Holy Spirit-sealed relationship can ever be broken. We deny even the possibility of apostasy.

John 10:28-29; 14:1-4; 16:12-14; Philippians 1:6; Romans 3:21-26; 8:29,30; 35-39; 12:1-3; 2 Corinthians 4:17; Ephesians 1:13-14; Philippians 3:12; Colossians 1:21-22; 1 John 2:19; 3:2; 5:13-15; 2 Timothy 1:12; Hebrews 13:5; James 1:12; Jude 24-25

ARTICLE TEN: THE GREAT COMMISSION

We affirm that the Lord Jesus Christ commissioned His church to preach the good news of salvation to all people to the ends of the earth. We affirm that the proclamation of the Gospel is God’s means of bringing any person to salvation.

We deny that salvation is possible outside of a faith response to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Psalm 51:13; Proverbs 11:30; Isaiah 52:7; Matthew 28:19-20; John 14:6; Acts 1:8; 4:12; 10:42-43; Romans 1:16, 10:13-15; 1 Corinthians 1:17-21; Ephesians 3:7-9; 6:19-20; Philippians 1:12-14; 1 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 Timothy 2:5; 2 Timothy 4:1-5

Quoted from: www.connect316.net

howtohelp

Who supports the Non-Calvinistic interpretation?

Loraine Boettner, a respected Calvinistic Historian and Theologian, wrote “It may occasion some surprise to discover that the doctrine of Predestination was not made a matter of special study until near the end of the fourth century. The earlier church fathers placed chief emphasis on good works such as faith, repentance, almsgiving, prayers, submission to baptism, etc., as the basis of salvation. They of course taught that salvation was through Christ; yet they assumed that man had full power to accept or reject the gospel. Some of their writings contain passages in which the sovereignty of God is recognized; yet along side of those are others which teach the absolute freedom of the human will. Since they could not reconcile the two they would have denied the doctrine of Predestination and perhaps also that of God’s absolute Foreknowledge. They taught a kind of synergism in which there was a co-operation between grace and free will. It was hard for man to give up the idea that he could work out his own salvation. But at last, as a result of a long, slow process, he came to the great truth that salvation is a sovereign gift which has been bestowed irrespective of merit; that it was fixed in eternity; and that God is the author in all of its stages. This cardinal truth of Christianity was first clearly seen by Augustine, the great Spirit-filled theologian of the West. In his doctrines of sin and grace, he went far beyond the earlier theologians, taught an unconditional election of grace, and restricted the purposes of redemption to the definite circle of the elect.”

So, even by Calvinistic scholars own admission the Earliest Church Fathers did not teach the Calvinistic view of election, but in fact taught “the absolute freedom of the human will…a kind of synergism in which there was a co-operation between grace and free will.”   These Early Church Fathers include:

-Clement of Rome (AD30-100)
-Ignatius (AD30-107)
-Barnabas (AD100)
-Justin Martyr (AD 110-165)
-Irenaeus (AD120-202)
-Tatian (AD110-172)
-Tertullian (AD145-220)
-Clement of Alexandria (AD153-217)
-Origen (AD185-254)
-Hippolytus (AD170-236)
-Novatian (AD210-280)
-Archelaus (AD277)
-Alexander of Alexandria (AD273-326)
-Lactantius (AD260-330)

STUDY BIBLE

Some have asked if I recommend any particular study Bibles. I have not vetted any one fully but I have enjoyed The Peoples New Testament with Explanatory Notes – One Volume Edition (2 volumes in 1) [Hardcover] B.W. Johnson (ISBN-13: 978-0892251414, ISBN-10: 0892251417)

SYSTEMATIC THEOLOGY

I recommend this Systematic Theology by Dr. James Leo Garrett

Also, below is an ever growing list of modern day scholars who do not affirm the Calvinistic interpretation of the scriptures:

AW Tozer
Howard Marshall
Doug Stuart
NT Wright
Gordon Fee
Scott McKnight
David Baker
William W. Klein
Grant Osborne
Robert Shank
David A. DeSilva
Bill T. Arnold
John Oswalt
Brian Abasciano (he helped with this list)
Ben Witherington III
Thomas Oden
C.S. Lewis
Craig Blomberg (not A or C, but probably leans slightly more A)
Craig Keener
Jack Cottrell
Gerald O. McCulloh (edited * “Man’s Faith and Freedom: The Theological
Influence of Jacobus Arminius”)
James Luther Adams (from “Man’s Faith and Freedom”)
Russell Henry Stafford (from “Man’s Faith and Freedom”)
Geoffrey F. Nuttall (from “Man’s Faith and Freedom”)
Roger Olson
Dale Moody
Paul Copan
James D. G. Dunn
Jerry Walls
Joseph Dongell
Clark Pinnock
Donald M. Lake
William G. Witt
A. Skevington Wood
Vernon C. Grounds
Terry L. Miethe
Richard Rice
John E. Sanders
Fritz Guy
Klyne Snodgrass
Robert Picirilli
F. Leroy Forlines
Matthew Pinson
Stephen Ashby
Chuck Smith
George Bryson
Greg Laurie
William Lane Craig
Billy Graham
Adrian Rogers
Michael Brown
Leonard Ravenhill
David Wilkerson
Bruce Reichenbach
David J. A. Clines
William G. MacDonald
James D. Strauss
C. Stephen Evans
Paul R. Eddy
William J. Abraham
A. Philip Brown II
Derek Prince
Jack Hayford
Gene L. Green
Gareth Lee Cockerill
James Leonard
John Wesley
Chrarles Edward White
Anthony Chadwick Thornhill
Aaron Sherwood
B.J. Oropeza
David Lewis Allen
Steve Lemke
Adam Harwood
Jerry Vines
Paige Patterson
Richard Land
Malcolm Yarnell
Bruce A. Little
Robert W. Wall
G. Walter Hansen
Philip H. Towner
Adam Clarke
Ravi Zacharias (?)
Paul Ellingworth
William G. MacDonald
James Strauss
Philip Towner
John Wenham
Gary Habermas
Nigel Turner
Max Turner
Peter Cotterell (?)
Michael Brown
David Jeremiah
Dave Hunt
J. W. MacGorman
E. Y. Mullins
Herschel Hobbs
W. T. Conner
Frank Stagg
Fisher Humphreys
Bert Dominy
Ken Keathley
Norm Geisler
Alister McGrath
David Bentley Hart
Mike Licona

See also the list of Traditional Statement signers at www.connect316.net

145 thoughts on “Our Beliefs

  1. Although theologian Lewis Sperry Chafer was a 4-point Calvinist, the current president of Chafer Seminary Dr. Andy Woods most certainly is not. However it’s unlikely he would make it to the present list, because of a veil of confusion toward, and hatred for classical dispensationalist teaching and rightly dividing the Word of Truth. Reason? It walks hand-in-hand with understanding the sign’s of the times we live in (as opposed to predicting), and that’s a topic I’m afraid we’ll never hear from the lips of Leighton Flowers.
    I have found that any assembly of believers that embarks on serious and consistent study of that 21% of the Bible we know as prophesy, will always draw-in the enemies attention and subsequent persecution – even if it’s from other outsider’s also trusting in Christ. Satan is quite content with our heated debates with Calvinist’s.. it waist’s precious time and he loves the diversion/division within the body of Christ. But come within an inch of talking about Israel and Satan’s final defeat, and you’re in for some serious warfare. I’ll ask one question of Mr. Flowers: Should he wake one morning to reports of Damascus being destroyed over one night as in Isaiah 17, is he likely to do some serious last-minute course corrections based on an eminent “catching away” of the bride? It is worth some consideration..

      1. Exactly, and as far as Soteriology101 is concerned, theologian Dr. Woods knows “the book” cover to cover and for the going concern, he wrote the book, “Ever Reforming: Dispensational Theology and the Completion of the Protestant Reformation”.

        FWIW, Andy was a California legal attorney in the 90’s when the Lord called him into ministry and he ended up as a very close understudy of Dr. Penticost at DTS. As an example to hear him speak, look-up “The book of Revelation: Futurism vs Preterism” on YouTube. He is also the senior pastor SLBC in SugarLand TX.

        I hope you can find it in your heart to forgive my whining over the wide-spread abrasiveness toward dispensationalist’s. – Cliff M.

      1. Hi Danny and welcome

        We have participants here who misspell words all the time.
        Its nothing new.

      2. Seriously, Danny! That’s petty and cruel! It would be better if you tried to make some kind of positive and helpful contribution for the sake of men’s souls. What say you?

  2. My only point with my comment….the focus is on Salvation, not dispensationalism, not prophesy, and as such I’ve not heard Dr. Flowers speak much to either topic on their own here.

    I agree with you that MANY who profess a literal grammatical historical hermeneutic, avoid the biblical topics of future things. Many do not see the dispensations in Scripture.

    When I come accross those who do not put signifigance seeing the Signs of the times…. I think about what Jesus said when the disciples asked Him when “these things will take place”….He told them in Acts 1:7,

    “It is not for you to know the times or dates the Father has set by his own authority.” He wanted them to focus on being His witnesses.

    What is the last thing Jesus said to his disciples? It was the next thing he said to them in Acts 1:8

    “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”

    Jesus has also called us to be faithful witnesses. 1 Peter 3:15 tells us,

    “Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.”

    Are understanding God’s future plans and our place in them important? Of course they are! They are vital… Again Jesus says..

    “No one knows the day or hour (Matt 24: 36-44; Mark 13:32–37; Luke 17:26, 27, 34, 35; 21:34–36)..So WATCH!”

    We should be ready…BUT…knowing Jesus and making Jesus known is, and should be, our primary concern on this earth…WHILE there is still yet time!

    Blessings from a fellow dispensationalist.

  3. Many of the younger Baptists are rightly rejecting the Dispensational doctrine which John Nelson Darby brought to America about the time of the Civil War. After the doctrine was incorporated into the notes of the Scofield Reference Bible it spread like a virus through the evangelical Church in America. Instead, many younger Baptists are returning to the errors of Reformed Covenant Theology, which are based on the 1689 LBCF. The 1689 London Baptists corrected the error of infant baptism in the Westminster Confession, but ignored other errors. Both documents claim the ten commandments were given to Adam before the fall, no matter what Paul said in Galatians 3:16-29. Both documents claim we are still under the 4th commandment, no matter what we find in Colossians 2:16-17, and Galatians 4:24-31, and Hebrews 7:12, and Hebrews 8:13, and Hebrews 12:18-24. The Apostle Paul kills modern Dispensational Theology in Galatians 3:16, by revealing that the Abrahamic promise was made to the one seed(Christ), instead of the many seeds. Both viewpoints above ignore the New Covenant promised to Israel and Judah in Jeremiah 31:31-34, which is found fulfilled by Christ during the first century in Hebrews 8:6-13, and Hebrews 10:16-18, and specifically applied to the Church in 2 Corinthians 3:6-8, and Hebrews 12:18-24. Until Baptists embrace the New Covenant they will continue to promote “isms”, and claim to be “ists”, in total disregard of Paul’s warning against division in 1 Corinthians chapter 1. The true Baptist faith is much older than 1689. It is a part of the original New Covenant Church, which began on the Day of Pentecost. On that day Peter addressed the crowd as “all the house of Israel”, and about 3,000 Israelites accepted the New Covenant. This agrees with what Paul said in Romans 9:6-8, and Romans 9:27, and Romans 11:1-5. Until the errors above are dealt with honestly, confusion will continue to divide us.

    1. IMHO, Many unqualified assertions brother.
      1) younger Baptists are rightly rejecting the Dispensational doctrine (as presented by those that don’t know its scriptural impact..)
      2) which John Nelson Darby brought to America about the time of the Civil War. (several books have been written proving it has been held – in one form or another – right back to the fist century) See: Watson’s “Dispensationalism Before Darby” etc..
      3) After the doctrine (??) It’s not really a doctrine.. every theologian adheres to at least 2-3 ages, or economies, or dispensations. It’s more like after man has walked for millennia, many factors (such as the enumeration of many basic doctrines – some at odds with each other – and the post enlightenment ability to cross linguistic barriers, man now looks back at how God progressively revealed more of the tapestry of His plan in His Word and it simply does not fit together seamlessly without rightly dividing by asking “is God doing something new here?”)
      4) Scofield and others like Bullinger and Ironside now seem wrong on several positions (most of which were not greatly salvific to the ‘man-on-the-street) especially since we again see God calling the Jew back to the Land since 1948 – albeit in unbelief.
      5) spread like a virus (how generous of you to use the negative inference to black-ball brothers holding another viewpoint..)
      6) YES, younger Baptists are returning to the errors of Reformed Covenant Theology (because it’s being packaged within the horrid social gospel trends pushed forward by the ailing SBC and men who have gone out from among us (like Tim Keller, Jim Wallis et al.).
      7) The Apostle Paul kills (can I ask how old you are?) modern Dispensational Theology in Galatians 3:16, by revealing that the Abrahamic promise was made to the one seed(Christ), instead of the many seeds. (something fishy, I haven’t time to address the context without further study – maybe later)
      8) Both viewpoints above ignore the New Covenant promised to Israel and Judah in Jeremiah 31:31-34, which is found fulfilled by Christ during the first century in Hebrews 8:6-13, and Hebrews 10:16-18, and specifically applied to the Church in 2 Corinthians 3:6-8, and Hebrews 12:18-24. (more later.. but I smell some replacement theology.. or is it Hebrew roots?)
      9) Until Baptists embrace the New Covenant (you can try to embrace a covenant that wasn’t for you, all you want, but that doesn’t make you a Jew, and the testator who died and rose again has not returned to set-up His Kingdom yet..)
      10) It is a part of the original New Covenant Church, which began on the Day of Pentecost… (No, just NO.. I hold a mid-to-late Acts position at present and want to think things through Biblically). Just because we debate, doesn’t mean we are divided, those ‘in-Christ’ are not divided at any great depth.. These are mainly ‘not-so-salvific’ points and worthy of debate.

      My brother, it’s fair to say a modern and rigid group-mentality has been spilling over into the church from the political spectrum, and it has us all standing back in our own corners shouting and accusing each other.. of what great atrocities I’m not so sure.. How is it that we embrace as brothers with the same heavenly Father, and yet we’ve lost the ability to reason away salient scriptural points exchanging them for personal hurt?

  4. I have never understood the fuss about subjects that are not salvic, in this case, dispensationalism. Whether one is an Amillennialist, a Dispensationalist, What bearing does that have on one’s salvation? Absolutely nothing.

    1. It actually does make a difference. It affects one’s whole interpretation of the Bible and the details of salvation—what it is, what are its requirements, and what it promises. For most people, the impact is minimal because there are theologians who do the heavy lifting of interpretation and debate; but to be sure, dispensational/non-dispensational interpretation affects all of the Bible’s content, even salvation. For those who want to know why they believe what they believe about salvation from an exegetical basis, dispensationalism has a huge impact.

    2. Additionally, salvation should not be our only concern when we handle God’s Word since His Word is not about salvation. Salvation is merely one facet of a complex in His program. God’s Word is about His total program for all of His Creation, particularly restoring the physical Creation which Adam and Eve corrupted.

  5. Rev 1:1  The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, 
    Rev 1:2  who bore witness to the word of God and to the testimony of Jesus Christ, even to all that he saw. 
    Rev 1:3  Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near. 

  6. If faith and repentance is all you need to be saved, how then was Paul still in his sins in Acts 22:16?

    1. Welcome Aidan! In Acts 22:16, Ananias was calling on Paul to get baptized and to start cleaning up his life based on his faith and his repentance in the name of the Lord. Much like John the Baptist would say, “Repent and be baptized and do the works fit for repentance.” Paul talks about believers purifying themselves of sin in 2Cor 7:1. We call that an exhortation to sanctification. But it is all through faith. Peter mentions how the Gentile Cornelius was saved just like the Jewish disciples of Christ were, when God purified his heart through faith, after he heard the gospel.

      2 Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question. … 7 And when there had been much dispute, Peter rose up [and] said to them: “Men [and] brethren, you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. 8 “So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as [He did] to us, 9 “and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. – Act 15:2, 7-9 NKJV

    2. Welcome Aidan: I find Romans is a really good book to study to resolve this issue.
      Rom 4:1  What then shall we say was gained by Abraham, our forefather according to the flesh? 
      Rom 4:2  For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. 
      Rom 4:3  For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness.” 
      Rom 4:4  Now to the one who works, his wages are not counted as a gift but as his due. 
      Rom 4:5  And to the one who does not work but believes in him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted as righteousness, 
      Rom 4:6  just as David also speaks of the blessing of the one to whom God counts righteousness apart from works: 
      Rom 4:7  “Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; 
      Rom 4:8  blessed is the man against whom the Lord will not count his sin.” 

      1. Hi GraceAdict, Sorry about the delay! Bit of a time difference here in Ireland.
        I want to be fair from the outset by telling you that I am not a Calvinist! Therefore, when I look at those verses in Rom. 4:1-8; I don’t see “faith alone”, but I do see a faith that has works! The contrast in the book of Romans is not between, a faith that has works, and a faith that has none! In the bible, a faith without works is always called “faith alone”, and ” a dead faith” (Jas. 2:24,26). Therefore, when Paul is talking about ‘faith’ in Romans, he is not talking about a faith without works, a faith alone; but rather, an obedient, working faith, which is what he states at the beginning and end of the book (Rom 1:5; 16:26).

        What is the contrast then in Romans 4 if it’s not a faith that has works verses a faith that doesn’t? That would be comparing faith against itself! But Paul is not comparing faith against itself, but rather, two completely different systems of salvation, if you will. One system being based on works,(the Law); the other system being based on faith, (the Gospel).
        Why do I say there are two different systems at play here? Romans 3:27, ” Where then is boasting? It is excluded. By what kind of law? Of works? No, but by a law of faith.” Note the two laws being compared here; One, a law of works, and the other, a law of faith! In other words a law, or (system), based on works and a law, or (system), based on faith. This is the only comparison we are being given in the book of Romans. Again, he is telling us that we are still under law here! Not a law based on works, but a law based on faith.

        Remember that Paul is dealing with Jews, who thought that you are saved on the basis of works, or should I say, a law of works! He says, ‘No, but we are saved under the law of faith.’ So, when he mentions Abraham not being justified on the basis of ‘Works’, but rather, we are justified by “Faith”, this is what he means! Therefore, ‘being justified by faith’ does not mean (faith alone), to exclude those works we are given under the law of faith. A good example of this is seen in the life of Abraham and Noah, in Hebrews 11:7-8. One has to ask the question, ‘what would they have availed, if they disobeyed God here’? And yet, they availed it by faith!

        This brings us back to my original question: ‘In Acts 22:16, how was a man, who at this stage, already believed, repented, and had obeyed the Lord by going into Damascus; how was he was still in his sins? I think we need to give it over to Ananias to answer that question for us! He told Paul that he needed to be baptized in order to have his sins removed! We need to remember that it’s ultimately the Lord who speaking to him here! He says, ‘Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’ (Acts 22:16). It seems clear to me that faith alone does not save, but by faith, being willing to confess Jesus,(like Paul and others) we need to repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins. In other words, this is HOW we are justified by faith under the law of Christ, the new covenant. This brings everything together, as far as I can see!

      2. The reformation tried to arrive at a distinction between Catholics and what what the Bible actually taught:

        + CATHOLICS: vs – PROTESTANTS

        + Scripture plus additional writings vs – Sola Scriptura – Scripture Alone
        + Grace plus works vs – Sola Gratia – Grace Alone
        +Faith plus works for Salvation vs – Sola Fide – Faith Alone
        +Christ plus the church vs – Solus Christus – Christ Alone

        The Catholic church HATED Faith Alone and called the early Reformers Antinomian. (which actually scared some of them off of Faith Alone. Interesting fact Now it is Calvinists who are calling people who actually believe in Faith Alone as Antinomian.
        We are coming full circle and this is dangerous. We have Catholic theology in many protestant rank calling the True Gospel of Grace Antinomian – Just like the Catholics did. Wow ! Beware my brethren.

      3. I agree that the contrast is not between types of faith. Unfortunately in noting this, you define faith as works. Faith and works are categorically distinct. They relate to one another but they are not the same. By your definition you have preloaded faith with works. Again, you recognize that the subject is not contrasting types of faith but works and faith. How then do you blur the two into one?

        Look at James and notice that he never speaks of types of faith. He speaks of faith and works and talks about faith when it is unaccompanied versus when it is accompanied by works. He never includes works within the definition of faith. They remain distinct.

        Additionally, notice in James that the topic is what use faith is in the present physical world, not salvation of the soul. The question, “Can that faith save him?” is literally, Can that faith deliver him physically if it does not work? James’s example of a person who simply says “be warm and filled” without doing anything demonstrates this as words can’t provide anything for a person’s physical needs.

        Furthermore, notice that James’s example of Abraham being justified by works describes an event which happened after Abraham’s positional justification. As well, notice James’s interesting statement: “and he was called the friend of God.” This indicates that the “fulfillment” of Abraham’s justification which James speaks of was the manifestation of Abraham’s faith in a way that made it clear in the physical world—hence this was confirmed by the recognition of other people in calling him the friend of God.

        Also, for faith to be “dead” is matches the rest of the passage as a vivid and synonymous way to describe this problem of faith not affecting the physical world. Just as the body is dead without the spirit—it can not function in the physical world—so faith without works is dead. In other words, James is not saying that a person without works is dead spiritually and unregenerate, he is saying that a person without works is useless to the physical needs and problems of the world.

        Finally, there is something you are missing in Acts 22:16 which is apparent in the Greek text but less clear in English translations. In Greek there are two commands and two participles which modify those commands. The two commands are: (1) be baptized; and (2) wash away your sins. These are two separate commands but you seem to interpret them as one and the same, as if washing away your sins was a further explanation of being baptized. Notice, however, how the participles modify them so that it should be translated: “Be baptized, having risen, and wash away your sins, having called on His name.” Thus, the command is to be baptized by going to do it and be washed from sin by appealing to the Lord.

        Check for yourself and you’ll see that is what these passages teach.

  7. Hi Guys, very quick responses there. I’ve just finished work now.
    First of all, I am neither catholic nor protestant, nor am I interested in what men teach or call themselves! I am only concerned with the teachings of Christ and in what He calls me.

    Brian, I think you’ve misread what I said! When I say “faith has works” that’s not the same as defining “faith as works”. There’s a big difference between these two statements! Otherwise, you have James defining faith “as” works, because he says precisely the same thing, namely, ‘saving faith’ is a faith that has ‘works’ (James 2:14-26). But you are absolutely correct about faith and works being distinct from each other. Yet, how can you say that James “never speaks of types of faith”? A faith with works is quite distinct from a faith without works! They are not the same type of faith. James himself makes this evident by saying, that one faith saves while the other does not; and that, one is dead while the other is alive! How can he not be speaking of two types of faith here?

    You also say, that the topic in James is not about salvation of the soul? I’m sorry, but if James is not talking about salvation, I don’t know what is; nor do I know what he could say to convince you otherwise! Even so, notice what he says,

    1. What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?(James 2:14).
    Notice how the question here sets the context of the discussion, namely, the kind of faith that saves a man! The topic is salvation.

    2 But then James goes even further in (James 2: 21-24) to explain that what he means by the question “Can that faith save him?”

    Note the following;

    ” Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?

    You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected;

    and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, “AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS
    RIGHTEOUSNESS,” and he was called the friend of God.

    You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.” (James 2:21-24).

    So, the salvation James is referring to in verse 14, is later explained as JUSTIFICATION and, as BEING ACCOUNTED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS! Who accounted it to him as righteousness? God did, not man! Why was it accounted to him? Because of his obedient works before God in (vs 21-22). God then RECKONED IT TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS (vs.23) If this is not talking about salvation of the soul, I don’t know what is!
    Then James makes the conclusion in verse 24, by saying, “You see”. See what? ..”that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.”
    Faith in God, and in His Son, Jesus Christ, is not about pleasing men, it’s about pleasing God (Heb.11:6). Abraham’s was no different!

    Even in Acts 22:16 you were unable to get away from works for salvation. You just simply put those works that he needed to do in a different place.
    First of all, you acknowledged that Paul was still in his sins at this point, even though he had already believed, called Jesus Lord, and repented on his knees for 3 days!
    Secondly, you acknowledged that he still needed to do two things in order to have his sins washed away! You said that he needed (1) to be baptized; and then (2) to call on the name of the Lord in order to have his sins washed away! You see? Even your own doctrine calls for works in order to be washed from sin! The only difference here between you and me, is that I believe that the calling on the name of the Lord happens in our obedience to Him in baptism! It is also where and how we make an appeal to God for a good conscience.

    “Corresponding to that, baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,…”(1 Peter 3:21).

    You are right; God gives the command, we simply act on it by faith.

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful reply Aidan, I have nothing more to add, though I think you also misread what I said… and I actually read clearly that you were adding works, especially baptism as necessary for salvation.

      But once a person becomes an everlasting child of God through faith and is immediately imputed with everlasting righteousness, he is eternally saved, before baptism (the answer/testimony of that good conscience) and before the good works (the justification seen by men), both of which will truly follow that everlasting new birth.

      I have nothing more to add. Take the last word in this thread between us, if you wish. Blessings.

      1. Aidan, this is in reply to your comment on June 8th.

        Can you tell me when in Genesis Abraham was said to be credited as righteous? Then can you tell me when in Genesis he offered up Isaac? Finally, tell me which event happened first and how much time elapsed between the two?

        Also, to your point about Acts 22:16, you did not understand where I was coming from, but I’m not interested in going back and forth over whether you did or not. It would be strange that Paul was saved through the ministry of Ananias since he heard the message of the gospel directly from Christ (Gal. 1:11-12). The Bible clearly teaches that the gospel is what saves a person spiritually (1 Cor. 15:1-4; Rom. 1:16). So, if he heard the gospel directly from Christ and that is what saves, it is evident that Paul was already saved by the time he met Ananias. This would indicate that Ananias’s words were meant to call Paul to display outwardly what was true inwardly. It is unclear when the action of calling on Christ’s name (which is an idiom for saying he looked to Christ for salvation, not a work) took place, other than it took place before having his sins washed away, indicated by the aorist participle. I guess my point is that you are trying to derive a detailed explanation of what a person must do to be saved from a passage that was not designed to explain that.

        This is where I think an important interpretative principle should be identified. In interpretation, we must be careful to distinguish between didactic passages and historic passages. The reason for this is that a historic passage tells the reader what did happen without regard to what should happen. Thus, the Bible inerrantly records mistakes, lies (e.g. Genesis 3:4), and accounts which omit important theological details if they were designed to instruct in what to do. Didactic passages on the other hand tell believers what should happen. Tell me, was Acts 22:16 designed to tell you what you should do or is it an account telling what did happen?

        Paul’s account of what happened was not meant to qualify and fill out every statement of how to come to salvation. His point was to give his testimony and defend his actions. That doesn’t mean that he didn’t explain things accurately, it just means that he wasn’t trying to give a clear explanation of how to be saved. Furthermore, we do not know whether Luke chose to include every word of Paul’s defense. Do you recognize that there is a difference between didactic and historic passages? Do you recognize the fact that detailed passages should inform the less detailed? Shouldn’t John 20:30-31, Romans 1:16, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, and Ephesians 2:8-9 inform historic accounts of a person’s conversion such as Acts 22:16?

    2. First, Aidan, I think you mixed up my comments with Brian Wagner’s. I’m not going to spend the time to write a full-length rebuttal because it seems you’ve already drawn your conclusions irrespective of the evidence. As far as Acts 22:16 is concerned, maybe you need to slow down and actually read what I wrote. They were two separate commands about two separate things. Slow down and read the passage. You are making a lot of assumptions. You seem to assume that everything is about salvation of the soul. James most certainly is not addressing salvation of the soul. Slow down and read the passage.

      1. BW, I apologize for mistaking you for Brian Wagner; same initials. And, I apologize to Brian as well; sorry Brian. First, BW, you don’t need to do any rebuttals, because, as I’ve said before, I’m not of any persuasion, therefore I’m only taking these passages at face value, according to their contextual evidence. James, states it in clear and simple language, that what Abraham did on the mountain, resulted in him being justified, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness by God (James 2:21-23).

        Regarding Acts 22:16, I understood perfectly where you are coming from. You are taking the emphasis away from baptism and putting it unto ‘calling on His name’ in order to be washed from his sin. Even so, no matter what way you try to break this down, Paul had to do something in Acts 22:16, in order to have his sins removed! And whether it be a command to be baptized, or a command to wash away your sins by calling on His name, it is still a work! This shows that even in your view, he was called to do a work in regard to salvation; demonstrating yet again, that faith alone cannot save (James 2:14).

        Let me quote Horatio B. Hackett, a Baptist scholar, on Acts 22:16.

        “And wash (bathe) away thy sins. This clause states a result of the baptism in language derived from the nature of that ordinance. It answers to for the remission of sins, in 2:38 – i.e. submit to the rite in order to be forgiven.” (Horatio B. Hackett, Commentary of Acts).

        After giving the correct exegesis of this passage, Hackett, a Baptist scholar, then explains that he thinks that the believer is already forgiven before baptism. Isn’t it quite amazing that despite the evidence, he was willing to hold to an opinion which was, polar opposite, to his own exegesis of the passage! Unfortunately, there are still so many today, who, despite the evidence; will not receive the love of the truth, so as to be saved. The opinions and teachings of men are scratching the ears of many!

    3. Aidan,

      I did want to point out a couple more things because I think you are making some serious and sloppy errors in your interpretation. First, James was the first book written in the New Testament. For you to read Pauline soteriology into non-technical terminology in James is eisegesis. James references Abraham’s “justification” because even though Abraham was credited as if he was righteous, as he was still a sinful man, that credit did not show itself in the physical world until he obeyed God to the point of being willing to take his own son’s life. Please don’t assume that everytime you see the word “save” or its cognates it refers to eternal salvation of the soul. The whole book of James is about practical problems and trials in the physical world, which require faith to produce real-world works to overcome.

      Second, again you don’t see that you are still assuming there are types of faith. When James uses the word faith, he means the same thing each time. He is talking about faith when it is accompanied by works and when it is unaccompanied. The word faith never changes meaning. It is the same faith in both contexts. Yet, one time faith is accompanied and the other time it is not. Are you seeing the difference between what you are saying and what the passage presents? With no disrespect Aidan, it seems as though you haven’t studied these passages well and you are not careful in examining the language and considering the context. For example, you didn’t see that Acts 22:16 presents two separate actions—one that relates to position (wash away sins by calling on the Lord) and one that relates to practice (be baptized by going). Even after I pointed this out to you, you still could not understand what I was saying. Perhaps it is because you are not taking the time to understand. Do you know that there is a distinction between practice and position? Not everything in the New Testament is soteriological. Water baptism is not a requirement for salvation otherwise it would be strange that Paul was thankful for not remembering whom he had baptized in 1 Corinthians 1.
      Finally, please don’t read soteriology into every occurrence of the word “save.” Save means deliverance from a danger. That danger is often only physical, such as the Jews needing to be saved from the physical destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, which Jesus had pronounced upon them as judgment. James’s use of save refers to deliverance from physical danger and problems, such as those lacking food and clothing. I don’t think lacking food and clothing are eternal spiritual problems. I hope you’ll think about what I’m saying. Even if you still disagree, please carefully and prayerfully consider it as the consequences are quite significant.

  8. BW,

    Unfortunately, I think you are the one who is making a complete eisegesis of everything here! You are just simply making assumptions and inferences all over the place, which prove absolutely nothing, because they are not necessary inferences!
    First of all, in (Gal. 1:11-12) Paul was not referring to his personal conversion, but rather, to his apostolic ministry concerning the gospel which he was given to preach among the Gentiles(Gal 1:16; 2:7,8).
    Secondly, you say, “it is evident that Paul was already saved by the time he met Ananias,” and “It would be strange that Paul was saved through the ministry of Ananias.” These two statements are completely false! Because, in (Acts 9:6) Jesus sent Ananias to tell Paul what he must do. When Ananias goes to Paul in (Acts 22:16), Paul was still in his sins; Ananias then tells him what to do to have his sins washed away!
    Now, we know that the bible quite clearly teaches that “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” and again, “the wages of sin is death” (written by Paul himself in Romans 3:23; and 6:23)! From these two verses, can you answer this; ‘if a man is still in his sins, is he saved or is he lost’? Are we saved in sin, or are we saved from sin? Was Paul saved before, or after; – his sins were washed away?

    But then you completely contradict yourself in the next sentence, when you said; ” It is unclear when the action of calling on Christ’s name (which is an idiom for saying he looked to Christ for salvation, not a work) took place, other than it took place before having his sins washed away,..”
    In this, you are actually right in saying that ” calling on Christ’s name” = “he looked to Christ for salvation”. But who told Paul that he needed to do this? It was Ananias who told him to call on the name of the Lord! Therefore, by your own words, when Ananias told Paul to “…Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord;” Paul was being actually called to ‘look to Christ for salvation’. Which means of course, that Paul was saved AFTER Ananias met him, and only AFTER he obeyed the command to “Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord” (Acts 22:16). Let it be said, that this command came from the Lord through Ananias!

    As regards to the question of didactic and historic passages of scripture? All scripture is profitable for telling us what we must do! “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work (2 Tim.3:16-17). God uses even the historic passages to teach us what to do, or what not to do “Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come”(I Cor 10:11). Therefore, as to your question; “was Acts 22:16 designed to tell you what you should do or is it an account telling what did happen?” The answer is both! It is an account of what happened to tell you what you must do.

    Those passages you mentioned, “John 20:30-31, Romans 1:16, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, and Ephesians 2:8-9”, can you tell me if they detail the command to ‘repent’? Or, what about having to “call on the name of the Lord”, things we must do? You can’t have it both ways!

    Regarding Abraham? No one knows when Abraham was first saved! We know that he became a believer in God way back in Mesopotamia (Acts 7:2-4). And that he was credited with having a faith that obeyed God when he left his country to live as an alien in the land of promise (Heb. 11:8). This brings us all the way back to Genesis chapters 11 and 12; to where Abraham was already demonstrating faith (in the physical world) by his obedience to God. Therefore, Genesis 15:6 is not speaking to an unbeliever, but rather, to a man who was already commended as an ‘obedient believer and worshiper of God’. A faith which pleased God, and by which he became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith, (Heb.11:6-8).

    1. Aidan,

      All Scripture is profitable for teaching but not all Scripture is designed to do the same thing in instructing us. Some passages instruct us as to what has happened, some instruct us as to what will happen, and some instruct us as to what should happen.

      I don’t use Acts as the primary text to derive church practice just as I don’t use the Old Testament or Revelation to derive church practice. The Epistles were designed to set forth what a believer should do, but the gospel of John was explicitly designed to lead unbelievers to Christ.

      Please try again to distinguish between historic, prophetic, and didactic passages and how to use them. To distinguish between how they should be used is to accurately handle the Bible. You’re looking to a book (Acts) which was designed to set forth an orderly record of the early church to do something it wasn’t designed to do. Does that mean we can learn nothing about salvation from it? No, but it does mean that forming a thorough theology of how someone comes to salvation should not come from Acts, the OT, or Revelation. It should come from the Epistles and the gospel of John since the Epistles are meant to teach what should be done and John explicitly states it is to instruct a person to come to salvation by believing in Christ. Acts will simply display the accounts of people coming to Christ without regard to the precise details of how they were saved. Don’t form your understanding of soteriology from a book that is not designed to do that rather than prioritizing a book that explicitly states it was designed to lead people to salvation. Your errors are serious and significant and it seems you can’t understand what I’m saying.

      You have yet to thoughtfully and accurately deal with my comments as you still don’t seem to understand the things I’ve said. It almost seems like I’m speaking a foreign language to you based on how you’ve understood the words I’ve said. Go back and read them carefully.

      1. So correct BW — We do not use Acts in that way. Acts is also a transitional book…moving into the church age and beginning to include Samaritans and Gentiles in this new thing Called the Church. And to the absolute horror of all Jewish believers, without them having to become proxoelytes of Judaism — It was roughly 10 years after the Lord’s Ascension and Great commission that the Jewish church realized this message was also for the gentiles (Acts 10 and 11) 10 years later..Acts is a transitional book it describes what took place it does not prescribe…

      2. Totally agreed GraceAdict! It’s encouraging to hear a kindred spirit.

      3. BW, I have found it helpful to try to discern if a person wants to interact with my evidence from Scripture or just wants to deny and ignore it and repeat their view even if I have shown its weakness to them.

        If they don’t want to interact in a constructive way, it is best to bow out and let them have the final word in a thread, than to “keep beating your head against the wall.” It often doesn’t end well (I know from experience 😁).

        Others will see the two sides that have presented and they will benefit. And the clear Scripture argument you presented may down the road cause change even in the one who wasn’t listening before.

      4. As difficult as that is, I see the merit to what you are saying and appreciate the counsel. Thank you brother!

  9. Conservateur: I too have found Sot 101 a breath of fresh air. This is an oasis in a dry and thirsty land where twisted theology is passed off as if it were true…glad you are here!

    1. I just realized my name switched to my email. The Conservateur is the same as BW just so those reading and commenting know.

  10. BW,

    It seems you have a bit of a following here, but that’s okay, it doesn’t change the truth! But, I think you are confusing, not agreeing with your theological opinions with not understanding everything you say! I am working full time, and I don’t have the time, nor the interest, to comment on mere opinions! It’s no good just simply giving opinions about what a passage says, it just won’t do! You seem to expect everyone to agree with you, and fall into line, simply because of your ‘say so’s’! I’m sorry, but it doesn’t work that way! You need to start by PROVING scripture with scripture. “If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God..”(1 Peter 4:11).
    Let anyone look at my last reply, including the others I’ve sent you; I, for the most part, am making an attempt to answer, one by one, most of your arguments! And I’m doing it with scripture; but you, on the other hand, have done little of the same! In fact, you just keep ignoring probably 95% of the scriptural arguments I’ve made. What a shame that you are more interested in flaunting human philosophy, rather than trying to deal with what the scriptures teach! I’m not interested in getting sucked into YOUR world of theology, or any other man’s for that matter. From the beginning, you have made little effort to interact with the evidence I’ve presented from Scripture! All you’ve wanted to do, is ignore it, and instead, attack the man with a condescending, superior, knowledge! But that’s okay; this is what they did to Jesus, because they hated the truth and couldn’t handle it! And, it’s also okay that you have your ‘mutual admiration club’ behind you, to pamper your ego! You already have your reward!
    It’s impossible to deal with people who don’t want to deal with the truth! And, even when you did use scripture, you showed that you don’t know them: for example, that a man who is still in his sins is saved; thus you are contradicting (Romans 3:23; and Romans 6:23). Or that, Paul in (Galatians 1:11-12) is speaking about his personal conversion, showing that you actually don’t know what these epistles teach.
    And, neither do you seem to know that the book of the (Acts of the Apostles), is an historical account of the Great Commission to go into all the world and preach the GOSPEL to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. Contrary to what you have said; this then makes Acts the best book to go to, if you in want to find out, first, what was preached; and then, what men were told to do have their sins forgiven! And it all began in Jerusalem in Acts 1 and 2; as was promised, spreading their message into Judea, Samaria, and into the the rest of the world. For those who are genuinely interested in the truth, you can check this out in (Mark 16:15,16; Luke 24:46-49; Acts 1:4-8; Acts 2:1-4; Acts 2:22-39). In Acts 2:22-39, you can see the gospel preached to them,(based on the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ), and then what they were told to do to be saved. The same was taught throughout the book of Acts.
    Yes, that gospel message was simple in saving people, it had to be! They were out to save people, not trying to confuse them by speaking in tongues! The new convert didn’t know everything when they repented and were baptized for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38 -39). But having heard the gospel, all they needed to know then, was, what they needed to do to be saved! The more in depth teaching would come later(in the epistles) as they grew from babes in Christ to maturity! That’s the way it ought to work, and that’s precisely what we see!

    And so, BW, maybe if you stopped speaking in theology and started speaking in plain scripture, I would understand what you are saying.

    1. Aidan, you are welcome here… but you must avoid your own form of condescending language, and please just present your Scriptural arguments, letting them speak for themselves. You said – “What a shame that you are more interested in flaunting human philosophy, rather than trying to deal with what the scriptures teach! I’m not interested in getting sucked into YOUR world of theology, or any other man’s for that matter.” That is an attack on someone’s motives and also portrays a superior attitude of unwillingness to interact and learn.

      Then you said – “But that’s okay; this is what they did to Jesus, because they hated the truth and couldn’t handle it! And, it’s also okay that you have your ‘mutual admiration club’ behind you, to pamper your ego! You already have your reward!” Comparing yourself with Christ and again attributing false motives to someone else is clearly condescending and will not be tolerated in this forum. In the future, such posts will just be deleted.

      Thank you for any serious consideration that you give to this exhortation.

      1. Brian, there was no need for you the get involved here, I think BW is well capable of handling himself. But besides this, let me say that up to this point, neither you, nor any of the others, have come across to me as impartial in this matter. Even in this so called exhortation, you have come across as, quick to judge, and extremely biased in your judgment of me.
        For example, I had been called incorrigible, and not in a nice way either. Definition of incorrigible by Merriam Webster,
        : incapable of being corrected or amended: such as
        a(1) : not reformable : DEPRAVED
        (2) : DELINQUENT
        b : not manageable : UNRULY
        c : UNALTERABLE, INVETERATE

        If this is so, this is highly insulting language, not to mention as coming across as, morally superior and condescending! Where then is your rebuke of the one who said this? Why were you not outraged on my behalf? Is it because you agreed with this insult? And yet, I’m still being accused of having a certain attitude.
        In this ‘exhortation’ you have twice accused me of attributing false motives and being condescending and that it will not be tolerated. Yet, you yourself go on to accuse me of ‘comparing myself with Christ’, and of portraying “a superior attitude of unwillingness to interact and learn.” Is this not also ” an attack on someone’s motives”, namely mine? You, yourself, have done the very thing that you condemned me for. Will that be tolerated?

        We all need to make judgments; You, yourself said “I have found it helpful to try to discern if a person wants to interact with my evidence from Scripture or just wants to deny and ignore it and repeat their view even if I have shown its weakness to them.”

        Can you tell me, which “portrays a superior attitude of unwillingness to interact and learn”? The person who wants to interact with the evidence from scripture, or the one who just wants to repeatedly deny or ignore 95% of it, in order to mostly give their own assertions or opinions on the rest? Be honest, which one is portraying a boastful pride?

        Again, even Jesus tells us that we need to make judgments on others.

        “Therefore by their fruits you will know them”(Mat 7:20).

      2. Aidan, I moderate this site for Leighton. Just letting you what I’ll do when I see it. I hope you can abide within these guidelines. If I missed some name calling that came your way, I apologize. It is unacceptable from anyone here.

    2. Aidan,

      I never meant any disrespect. I have in no way doubted your intelligence or sincerity to your views. I believe you are every bit as intelligent as me and that you are genuine in your beliefs. I guess it seems like you’re locked into your views without regard to the evidence and that you respond in a reactionary manner.

      True, I have not addressed every single argument you’ve made, but that is because they all hinge on more foundational issues which I’ve focused my attention on. Contrary to your assertion, I have indeed interacted directly with the Scriptures, as you have also. But there are many people who deal directly with Scripture and come to very different views, some of which are grievously erroneous. This is why just quoting or interacting with the text is not enough. It is how you interact with it that is important, and if you make one error in a chain of argumentation, the rest of the argument will be affected. This is why I have not needed to address everything you say. For example, your starting point with James 2:14–26 was that it was about salvation. You started with “Can that faith save him?” from 2:14 and asserted that it was about salvation. Thus, your chain of argumentation for that passage hinged on whether it was about salvation. My main focus then was on the nature of James as a writing and I pointed out: (1) James was written before Paul’s technical development of soteriology so the terminology was not meant to be technical; (2) James’s purpose for writing was meant to address practical and physical problems for Christians (cf. James 1:2–3), not eternal and positional; and (3) the example of Abraham was from an event after Abraham was saved (Gen. 22; cf. Gen. 15:6). This background indicates that James 2:14–26 is not designed to address soteriology. You can disagree with that, but understand why I focused my attention on these rather than subordinate details. I applied the same approach to Acts 22:16. Again, you can disagree with my conclusions, but recognize that I have not been “flaunting human philosophy.” I have been dealing with Scripture.

      I know from personal experience cult members who have much Scripture memorized and they interact with it directly, yet they are hermeneutically deficient. The quantity and directness of Scripture used is not indicative of truth. It is how it is interpreted.

      Unlike your quotation from Horatio Hackett, I have not quoted anyone else at all. I’m not saying it wasn’t useful to your argument but please don’t then accuse me of using human philosophy. The truth is we are both flawed and bring presuppositions to the argument. The difference must be in hermeneutics in overcoming a priori assumptions.

      I have not presented any theological philosophy or system at all. After addressing the content of the passages in discussion, I moved back to deal with hermeneutical principles and the backgrounds and purposes of the books and passages we’ve discussed. It is my belief that in exegesis the audience, the purpose, and the historical background of the books makes a huge difference in understanding the content.

      As I said in an earlier post, even if you disagree, I am only requesting your consideration of the things I’ve said. I never asserted myself as an authority. I apologize for coming across that way. You have no obligation to consider my comments at all. Yet, I do still appreciate that you have replied to me, and it does seem that you are genuinely passionate about these topics. For that, I can certainly commend you.

      I only ask that you would not instantly reject my comments. Please maintain a teachable attitude and at least give my comments a fair hearing without making an a priori rejection of them.

      I too am fallible and limited. But, I really do want to learn and seek the truth even if it conflicts with my assumptions. I hope the same is true of you.

      With all that said, I hope the best for you Aidan and this will be my last post on this thread.

      To God be the glory in all things and praise Him for giving to all mankind the opportunity of eternal life with Him through Jesus Christ!

      1. BW, having given your last reply much time and consideration I would like to add some final thoughts of my own.

        I appreciate and accept your outreach to apologize to me. I just see it all as passion and zeal on both sides. I guess it seems like we are both locked into our views, therefore, a little humility would go along way on both sides. My desire is simply that we all come to the truth in these matters. But if there is unfair and partial treatment involved, then it becomes much more serious. We see this in the scriptures all the time, (cf.James 2:8-9).

        But contrary to your assertion, I did indeed indicate that you interacted directly with some of my evidence from Scripture; the problem was, it only seemed like a tiny fraction of what I presented. And, I absolutely agree with you, that “if you make one error in a chain of argumentation, the rest of the argument will be affected”. I firmly believe your assertion that James has nothing to do with salvation, is a fatal error on your part. We both know that if the premise is false, then the rest of the argument is not based on the truth. It’s for this very reason that I believe you are missing and overlooking some very important scriptural detail. So it becomes a lot more serious than you think, because it really is a matter of your salvation here. We find an example of this very thing in (Matthew 22:23-33).

        If I may, I’d like to comment on your main 3 points that you have based your premise on, namely:

        “(1) James was written before Paul’s technical development of soteriology so the terminology was not meant to be technical; (2) James’s purpose for writing was meant to address practical and physical problems for Christians (cf. James 1:2–3), not eternal and positional; and (3) the example of Abraham was from an event after Abraham was saved (Gen. 22; cf. Gen. 15:6). This background indicates that James 2:14–26 is not designed to address soteriology.”

        Answer to point (1): Just because James was written first, and might be less technical, does not necessarily exclude James from addressing the subject of the salvation of the soul. Secondly, James and Paul preached the same gospel. Therefore, anything that James would have to say on the subject would be in keeping with what Paul taught. I have demonstrated that Paul and James deal with different kinds of works. Paul excludes works of law which have nothing to do with the true gospel of faith. Trust in any system of works is the direct opposite of faith in Christ alone. On the other hand, James is dealing with gospel works which must be included as evidence of the presence of gospel faith, a saving faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. Both James and Paul attribute salvation to a working obedient faith. But, Paul lays stress on the works that must be removed, while James lays stress on those works that dare not be absent. Paul roots out, James stimulates; but again, they are both talking about the same kind of faith.

        Answer to point (2): There is no question that James is of an intensely practical nature and is primarily concerned with the ethics of Christian living and service to God. But God’s word pertains to the eternal, because God has given us all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him (2 Pt. 1:3). And James is no exception, in that he is very much about his brother’s eternal welfare; this theme is spread throughout the whole book. For example, how ” he will receive the crown of life” in (James 1:12); And how they had been brought forth, regeneration (James 1:18); And what is “able to save your souls” in (James 1:21); Also, “Is that faith able to save him?”(James 2:14); And, the works by which Abraham was justified, by which (it) was reckoned to him as righteousness (James 2:21-24); And in the same way Rahab was justified by works (James 2:25); And finally, how turning back a brother who “has strayed from the truth,” and, “from the error of his way will save his soul from death” (James 5:19-20).
        I also wanted to make mention of James’ example of a brother who is in need of food and clothing (James 2:15-16). The question he posed in (James 2:14), was,..Can that faith save him?” Your answer to James’ question was that it has nothing to do with his eternal salvation. I’m afraid that that’s not how the Lord sees it: ” Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ “Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”(Matthew 25:44-46). Therefore, BW, how we respond to our brother’s need of food and clothing will have everything to do with our eternal destiny!

        Answer to point (3): A ‘once saved always saved theology’ is another fatal error that has come from Calvinism. Perhaps this is why you seem to overlook anything that came, either before, or after (Gen.15;6), in regards to Abraham’s faith. If the statement in (Gen.15:6), “AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS,” means that he was only now being saved by faith, once and for all: Then why does Paul apply that very same statement again in (Romans 4), to an event that had occurred later in his life in (Genesis 17)? Are not all those passages in Romans 3, 4, and 5, designed to address soteriology? Absolutely! And so, In Romans 4; Paul uses Abraham’s (faith response) in Genesis 17, to teach us how, “… IT WAS ALSO CREDITED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS,”(Rom. 4:22; cf.Romans 4:18-25). Did you note how it was stated, “IT WAS ALSO CREDITED TO HIM?” This tells us that Abraham’s faith proved itself yet again, and so (it) was also credited to him as righteousness. Which means that the example of Abraham, teaches us that justification by faith, is an ongoing, lifelong process.

        It’s the same in (Heb.11:17-19), where the Hebrew writer tells us that Abraham’s faith was being tested when he offered up Isaac. How did Abraham do? He passed the test with flying colors. But had this test anything to do with his salvation? You said no, even though the Hebrew writer says, yes it did; for in (Hebrews 10:38-39) he tells us what kind of faith we are talking about here. It says, “BUT MY RIGHTEOUS ONE SHALL LIVE BY FAITH;
        AND IF HE SHRINKS BACK, MY SOUL HAS NO PLEASURE IN HIM. But we are not of those who shrink back to destruction, but of those who have faith to the preserving of the soul.” And then he reminds them of those who had this kind of faith; he says, “By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain,..By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death;…By faith Noah,…By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going….By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son;..”(Heb 11:4,5,7,8,17): All these were examples of the kind of faith that was unto the saving of the soul according to (Heb. 10:39). Therefore, contrary to your unfounded assertion, the example of Abraham in (Gen. 22;) WAS actually addressing the doctrine of salvation. Thus, your 3 main points upon which you have based your conclusion, namely, that “James 2:14-26 is not designed to address soteriology,” is scripturally incorrect!

        One last point: For you to say I used human philosophy because I quoted, Horatio Hackett, is a bit ridiculous to say the least. How could I, since I completely disagree with his belief that baptism is not necessary for salvation? The point was, that his exegesis of (Acts 2:38′ and 22:16) is a contradiction to his personal belief on baptism, a belief that I certainly would not share.

        I really do hope as you’ve said, that you, ‘do want to learn and seek the truth even if it conflicts with your assumptions’. Therefore, I also would ask that you would not instantly reject my comments either. And that, you too would maintain a teachable attitude and at least give my exegesis of the scriptures a fair hearing without making an a priori rejection of them.

        But most of all, I genuinely wish you the best, BW, especially in regards to the eternal matters of the soul.

        Thanks for your time,

        Aidan.

  11. Hi, enjoy your show. I was kind of wondering what separates you from general Baptists coming from Healy’s/Smyth lineage? By the looks of it they were the first to reject Calvin’s idea of original sin.

    Also wanted to mention that I really don’t believe Calvin has much in common with Augustine. For one Augustine said when criticizing Pelagianism that it was a new development, so they had different dictionaries. You can couple that with Origen basically giving a perfect apologetic against Calvin around the year 300. Clearly doesn’t work in their favour. If you haven’t ever read it, Origen does have some different views but he seemed to be devout and worth learning from. Feel free to contact me by email if you would like.

    It’s origen’s philocalia chapter 12
    http://www.tertullian.org/fathers/origen_philocalia_02_text.htm#C21

    And Augustine, “on grace and free will”
    “Of this character is the Pelagian heresy, which is not an ancient one, but has only lately come into existence.”

  12. Article 8 on the free will of -We deny that the decision of faith is an act of God rather than a response of the person. We deny that there is an “effectual call” for certain people that is different from a “general call” to any person who hears and understands the Gospel.

    Faith is a work of God and a gift of God in man which when given produces a response.

    John 6:28 Therefore they said to Him, “What shall we do, so that we may work the works of God?”
    29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent.”

    Phil 1:29 For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake,

    Col 2:12 having been buried with Him in baptism, in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.

    Effectual calling

    1 Corinthians 1:22 For indeed Jews ask for signs and Greeks search for wisdom;
    23 but we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness,
    24 but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.
    25 Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
    26 ¶ For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble;
    27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong,
    28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are,
    29 so that no man may boast before God.
    30 But by HIS DOING you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,
    31 so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”

    Isaiah 43:3 “For I am the LORD your God,
    The Holy One of Israel, your Savior;
    I have given Egypt as your ransom,
    Cush and Seba in your place.
    4 “Since you are precious in My sight,
    Since you are honored and I love you,
    I will give other men in your place and other peoples in exchange for your life.
    5 “Do not fear, for I am with you;
    I will bring your offspring from the east,
    And gather you from the west.
    6 “I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!’
    And to the south, ‘Do not hold them back.’
    Bring My sons from afar
    And My daughters from the ends of the earth,
    7 Everyone who is called by My name,
    And whom I have created for My glory,
    Whom I have formed, even whom I have made.”

    Grace

  13. I am so blessed to have come across Dr. Flowers website and teachings and have received much insight from him. I appreciate all that he has done for the Kingdom. While I have never been a full fledged Calvinist or Arminian, I never quite knew how to explain my position in theological terms. I am grateful that I have found that I am not alone in these beliefs. Quite frankly, the only thing I see from Dr. Flowers that I disagree with is the notion of “Unconditional” Eternal Security. I notice that his official statement is that he denies even the possibility of apostasy and that is where the disagreement lies. I recently preached a sermon on apostasy and shared 35 New Testament warnings about its reality. Now, I’m sure there may be disagreement over interpretation and I can appreciate that. Nevertheless, I affirm Dr. Flowers as a Brother in the Lord and wanted to let him know that I am praying for his ministry to be used by the Lord in a mighty way.

    Be blessed in Jesus’ name!

  14. Calder Laidman
    I really don’t believe Calvin has much in common with Augustine.

    br.d
    Numerous people have done research on Calvin’s reliance upon Augustine. It is informative to note that Calvin was a fairly young man in his early twenties when he wrote the Institutes in which he simply assumes unquestionable authority behind his assertions.

    Calvinist Paul Helms states
    -quote
    Calvin looks to the Bishop of Hippo for much of his theological inspiration, or at least for the formulation of it

    Calvinist B. B. Warfield states
    -paraphrased
    The system of doctrine taught by Calvin is just Augustinianism

    Dave Hunt in “What Love Is This” notes that Calvin when attempting to appeal to an authoritative reference with which to defend an assertion – and cannot find one in scripture – will appeal to Augustine. And Calvin in the institutes appeals to Augustine over 400 times.

    I think there is no doubt that Calvin’s reliance upon Augustine for his conceptions is overwhelming.

    When a Gnostic dualistic cosmology and a NeoPlatonic view of God, are together synchronized with the monotheistic God of Christianity, what will appear is an immutable God whose relationship to good and evil are utilitarian.

    Scriptures, which speak of God repenting of making man, or giving man the choice between life and death, become a curiosity, because the NeoPlatonic God is immutable, (i.e., unchangeable) and therefore cannot change his mind or give choices to his creatures. Such scriptures must be allegorized or interpreted with complex NON-EXPLICIT DISTINCTIONS in order to be rightly understood.

    Scriptures in the New Testament that speak of predestination can readily be interpreted in the framework of the Gnostic good-evil dualism, where those individuals who are predestined to the light are awakened by the divine spark, while others are destined to the dark.

    For the Gnostic/NeoPlatonic Christian – good and evil are co-neccessary and co-equal – because both manifest the glory of the NeoPlatonic “ONE”. Thus some creatures are created, designed, and assigned for a destiny of good, while others are created, designed, and assigned to a destiny of evil. Both manifest the glory of the Gnostic/NeoPlatonic “ONE”.

    And the believer learns how to compartmentalize in order to live with a Gnostic good-evil dualism and stoicism. And the serious ones learn how to function as a guild of advertising agents and defense attorneys – for the marketing and defense of a good-evil deity.

  15. My understanding of foreknowledge is that God exists outside of time (which makes since because He created it). It makes sense to me that, existing outside of time, he is present with us in heaven at the same time as he is present with us on earth and at the same time as before the creation of the earth.
    Based on the podcasts I’ve been listening to, it seems like there must be some error in that understanding. I don’t think traditionalists, arminians or provisionists believe that.
    Can anyone help me understand what’s scripturally or logically incorrect about that understanding of foreknowledge?

    1. Hi Matt and welcome!

      The idea of God being outside of time – or timeless – dates back many centuries of Christian thought. And is pretty basic to what is considered accepted orthodoxy. Although I can’t speak for traditionalists or arminians – I would find it hard to believe all of them don’t universally hold to the timelessness of God – or that God is not restricted by time.

      I also know of occasional questions on God being able to be both “outside” and “inside” of time. Such that when (for example) he has a conversation with a being who exists within the restrictions of time – he does so “inside” of that time domain.

    2. Hi Matt! Here are my thoughts concerning the “timeless” premise.

      Ps 90, 2 Sequential Reality

      There are two definitions for “time”. One is connected only to creation… it is the measurement of matter in motion. The other is connected to reality which is from God’s nature.

      Reality is sequential events… befores and afters going backwards infinitely and forwards infinitely. “from everlasting to everlasting” (Ps 90:2)… “who was and is and is to come” (Rev 4:8). There were events of communication, relationship, and decision making in the Godhead before creation of space and matter… right?

      That reality is both sequential and non-sequential for God at the same “time” is a logical contradiction borrowed into Christianity from neo-platonism. The Scripture gives no other “competing” reality for God’s presence, which is contradictory to the word “reality” anyway.

      His foreknowledge is dynamic therefore, each time He makes a decision, and is not static. His understanding is infinite (Ps 147:5). He knows all the possibilities that still exist to decide upon and all things that are already determined by Him that limit those possibilities.

      ***********
      Some like the illustration of God as a blimp watching the full parade below. But for a blimp to watch a parade, the full parade has to exist. The future does not exist as a completed entity to watch either as a place or in God’s mind.

      Reality is only sequential, and comes from God’s eternal nature – “from everlasting to everlasting” (Ps 90:2), “who was and is and is to come” (Rev 4:8). Relationship and communication in the Godhead before creation were sequential (befores and afters).

      The underlying important issue is – does God’s mind reflect univocally the sequential reality of His Word, or have scholars discovered in their philosophical reasoning that God hid from Scripture His perspective of reality? It would be a perspective that also makes man’s perspective in Scripture actually faulty, for Scripture makes the future as not yet existing, but in reality it is already existing as completed (forever), for God’s reality is the only true one.

    3. Hey Matt! Generally the best advice is, “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; (Proverbs 3:5).”

      If the answers to your questions are found in the scriptures — go for it; if not — then leave it alone. The thoughts and speculations of men are the cause of much division and error. “… but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,…But refuse foolish and ignorant speculations, knowing that they produce quarrels.” (Rom. 1:21; 2 Cor. 10:5; 2 Tim. 2:23). Therefore, you might be able to avoid all the “ists” and “isms” out there, so that your faith is in God not man.

    1. Thank you Apostolic Libertarian for you comment – and Welcome!

      Yet I agree with you.
      I think you’ll find Calvinism has to employ a form of DOUBLE-THINK in order to make the doctrine work.

    2. Hi Apostolic Libertarian.

      To put in my two cents, I believe we have adopted a definition (like many definitions in Christianity) that stretches apostasy beyond what the text presents. αποστοσία means “departure.” So, in contexts in which believers are said to apostatize (e.g., 1 Tim. 4:1), it means they’ve departed from the faith.

      I know that seems obvious, but what we take it to mean is that they are unsaved. The truth is the text doesn’t say. Apostasy deals with the outward. They have outwardly renounced the faith.

      That was the exact reason Hebrews was written. Many Jews were turning from the faith back to the Law. Were they unsaved? Most of them were likely born-again believers. They were simply disobedient.

      When Calvinists use apostasy to assert that a person was never saved or Arminians to say that a person forfeited their salvation, they have read more into the text than what it says.

      Apostasy describes an outward renunciation of the faith. It is truly shameful, it is reprehensible, but it doesn’t determine one’s salvation.

      Not sure what your views are on this, but I wanted to offer my thoughts.

      1. Apostolic
        Of course if you apostacize you’re unsaved. Either you’re in the faith or you’re not.

        br.d
        In the Greek “APO” means “to break apart” and “STASIA” refers to a state of existence.
        So we have the breaking apart of one’s state of existence.
        In other words – a transition from one state to another.

        Of course the scripture says – if they crucify to themselves the Son of God – it is impossible to renew them again unto repentance.

        So if “Apostatize” is used here – then we can see it as – they were in state of repentance – and they broke from that state – to a state of non-repentance. And it is impossible to renew them again to that state of repentance.

        According to Theological Determinism (aka Calvinism) the Calvinist who is in this condition was never in a TRUE state of repentance – but he was under a DIVINE spell. Salvation was given to him as a DIVINE ILLUSION – a FALSE PERCEPTION And in Calvinism those who are not “elect” are TOTALLY DEPRAVED.

        So this would be a TOTALLY DEPRAVED Calvinist who is deceived into believing he is “elect” and all of the promises of scripture are “for him” when in fact the opposite is the case.

        And John Calvin teaches – that his god grants that form of salvation to a -quote “LARGE MIXTURE” of Calvinists.
        So they didn’t REALLY Apostatize – because they were never in a state of TRUE repentance in the first place.

      2. Br.d and Apostolic Libertarian,

        I believe you are reading into the Bible what is not there. With all due respect, apostasy simply means “departure” without respect to spiritual position. Be careful of etymologizing and theologizing words.

        Also, the Scriptures teach that a believer is given eternal life as a present possession. To lose it would make it, by definition, temporary life.

        Believes are sealed unto the day of redemption. Believers are predestined to glorification the moment they believe which means the boundaries are permanently marked out for them. Believers cannot be separated from the love of Christ. And more. . .

        We can disagree, but I did not want to remain silent in the face of strong assertions I believe are in error.

        So, it’s not “of course if you apostacize [sic] you’re unsaved.” We all like to believe our views are obvious. The Bible is a complex book and demands a lifetime of study. Some of the greatest minds have landed on all sides of the spectrum. Certainly they cannot all be right, but “of course” is a presumptuous thing to say.

        Anyway, I hope you’ll at least think about it.

        Thanks.

      3. Br.d and Apostolic Libertarian,
        I believe you are reading into the Bible what is not there. With all due respect, apostasy simply means “departure” without respect to spiritual position. Be careful of etymologizing and theologizing words.

        br.d
        Hi BW and welcome!

        I would ask you to consider the possibility that you are actually reading something into my specific post that isn’t actually there.
        Does the scripture I refereed to not speak of an individual who was once in a state of repentance who then fell away from it?
        If scripture describes one who “falls away” from a state of repentance – then doesn’t it LOGICALLY follow what they “fell away” from was a state of repentance?

        BW
        Believes are sealed unto the day of redemption. Believers are predestined to glorification the moment they believe which means the boundaries are permanently marked out for them. Believers cannot be separated from the love of Christ. And more. . .

        br.d
        This of course is a position that you later in your post acknowledge “the greatest minds have landed on both sides of”
        I think if you review my post in particular you will find I actually didn’t take a position one way or the other specific to salvation.

        I appreciate how you stated: “some of the greatest minds have landed on both sides of that issue”
        That is why personally I don’t feel at ease making an authoritative declaration such as “believers are predestined to glorification…and…cannot be separated….”.

        BW
        We can disagree, but I did not want to remain silent in the face of strong assertions I believe are in error.

        br.d
        Understood and appreciated – but again I would ask you to consider if that itself wasn’t read into (at least my post).

        BTW: I want to thank you for your post and to especially thank you for how kind, considerate, and thoughtful it was!

        Blessings! :-]

  16. Love this break down of Provisionism – it’s super helpful. I do have a question about the ‘covenant family of Christ’ though? Where does that fit into this theology and what role does it play? Is there hope for the unborn child to go to heaven? Thanks in advance 🙂

    1. Thank you S and Welcome!

      Due to a heavy schedule Dr. Flowers doesn’t interact with posters here at SOT101 – but you may find him on Facebook. If you are a FB users – give him a shout there! :-]

      Blessings

  17. Can you please do a video on”one saved always saved”. I was so happy to find your YouTube channel challenging Calvinism, but then I read on your website that you don’t even acknowledge the existence of apostasy. This is very confusing to me. If you’re hard stance is free will, why doesn’t it work in reverse- anyone can can or leave the faith.
    Thank you.

    1. Hi Karly,
      I agree “once saved always saved” is not a scriptural doctrine, nor is it consistent with free will. If a person can ‘choose’ to believe, or not believe the gospel in order to have their sins forgiven; then they can also later choose to turn away from the truth. There are too many warnings in scripture about the danger of apostasy to ignore this as fact.

      It is a complete nonsense to suggest that if someone ‘falls away,’ then they were never a true Christian in the first place. But a Christian can become hardened through the deceitfulness of sin, and depart from the living God through unbelief. This ‘once saved always saved’ doctrine, I believe, comes from those who are more committed to an ideology, rather than, to what the scriptures actually reveal. Salvation – from beginning to end – is conditioned upon man’s free will. Some choose to believe this truth, some choose not to!

      Regards,
      Aidan

      1. Aidan
        There are too many warnings in scripture about the danger of apostasy to ignore this as fact.

        br.d
        Dr. Gordon Fee – Professor Emeritus New Testament Studies
        -quote

        “Many Calvinists have their own ways of *GETTING AROUND* what is said quite plainly in passages like 1 Corinthians 10:1 – 13; 2 Peter 2:20 – 22; and Hebrews 6:4 – 6. Indeed our experience as teachers is that students from these traditions seldom ask what these texts mean; they want only to know *HOW TO GET AROUND* what passages such as these seem clearly to affirm!”

      2. Hi Br.d,
        Many non-Calvinists too have their own ways of *GETTING AROUND* these, and other passages which contradict “once saved always saved.”
        In order to escape the force of (2 Peter 2:20-22), some say, “The dog was a dog all the time; and the sow was a sow all the time.” That is true. If he is a saved man today: Was he not a man before he was saved? It will not be overlooked by those who seek to know what the Holy Spirit teaches in this passage, that the sow, was a “washed” sow, before she returned “to her wallowing in the mire.”

        So also the man had “escaped the defilements of the world” through the ‘true knowledge’ of Christ; and “after” they had escaped they were “again entangled in them and overcome.” It is said of them, “the last state has become worse for them than the first.” They – turned back from the holy commandment delivered to them.

        They “KNEW” the right way, then turned from the holy commandment. They had “ESCAPED” the defilements of the world, then “TURNED” from the “holy commandment.” They (knew) – (escaped) – (then turned back). Knowingly, they turned from the Lord!

        Let no man deceive you!

      3. Good post Aidan.
        They don’t call them warning verses for nothing!

        Samuel warned King Saul.
        King Saul didn’t consider those warnings worth heading
        King Saul suffered the consequence.

        These things are written for our admonition that we SHOULD NOT follow in their foot-steps.

        A scriptural warning that one can follow in the foot-steps of King Saul – implies it as a LOGICAL POSSIBILITY.

        Anyone who treats such texts otherwise does so at their own risk.

      4. Well said Br.d.

        Br.d:
        “Anyone who treats such texts otherwise does so at their own risk.”

        Aidan:
        “Now these things became our examples, to the intent that we should not lust after evil things as they also lusted.
        And do not become idolaters as were some of them. As it is written, “The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.”
        Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell;” (1 Cor. 10:6-8).

        “Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come. Therefore let him who thinks he stands take heed lest he fall” (1 Cor. 10:11-12)

        Why all the warnings if its impossible for Christians to practice these sinful things and fall?

  18. Thank you for your sharing.
    Can a servant leader who is believing what you shared serve together under a senior Pastor of a church that rides with Clavinsm?

    1. Hello Norman – and welcome

      Unfortunately Dr. Flowers – due to a busy schedule – is not here at this site to interact with people.
      But you may readily find him on FaceBook.

      If you don’t mind me giving my two cents on your question – I think eventually you are going to be forced to choose whether to be pursued into Calvinism or not.

      A Calvinist Pastor may not press people on Calvinism if it means the possibility of loosing head-count in the church he doesn’t want to lose. However if at some point he can convert a sufficient percentage of the membership to Calvinism – he will be much bolder and start to find ways to force people out of the congregation he calculates represent a resistance to his doctrine.

      And he will use his pastoral authority to do it – and these events can get pretty harsh. In cases where that happens – marriages can be broken, and believers who have vulnerable temperaments will experience it as abusive. To avoid those types of consequences – its best to know when its wisdom to go your separate ways.

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