What is Provisionism?
Please watch this video to better understand why some of us prefer the label “Provisionism” over “Arminianism” or “Traditionalism.” The focus of this soteriological view is on God’s gracious and loving provision for every individual so that anyone may believe and be saved.
Here is a list of articles, statements and resources to help you better understand the “Provisionist” soteriological perspective:
- See Dr. Flowers’ book “The Potter’s Promise.”
- See Dr. Flowers’ book “God’s Provision for All.”
- See Dr. Flowers’ 6-Session Curriculum titled “Tiptoeing Through TULIP.”
- See the Baptist Faith & Message
- Read this summary of the “The Corporate View of Election.”
- For more resources please CLICK HERE.
Why are you sometimes called a “Traditionalist?”
Dr. Eric Hankins wrote a statement (see below) which references the “traditional” beliefs of the Southern Baptist Convention over the last 75-100 years. The label “Traditionalist” was used by some to distinguish our view from the more recent resurgence of Calvinistic beliefs within the convention. We recognize the shortcomings of this label which is why some prefer the term “Provisionism.”
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 and the ever growing list of other biblical scholars who affirm the non-Calvinistic interpretation of the scriptures in the comment section below.)
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 exclusively Calvinistic 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
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)
-Justin Martyr (AD 110-165)
-Clement of Alexandria (AD153-217)
-Alexander of Alexandria (AD273-326)
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)
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:
William W. Klein
David A. DeSilva
Bill T. Arnold
Brian Abasciano (he helped with this list)
Ben Witherington III
Craig Blomberg (not A or C, but probably leans slightly more A)
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”)
James D. G. Dunn
Donald M. Lake
William G. Witt
A. Skevington Wood
Vernon C. Grounds
Terry L. Miethe
John E. Sanders
F. Leroy Forlines
William Lane Craig
David J. A. Clines
William G. MacDonald
James D. Strauss
C. Stephen Evans
Paul R. Eddy
William J. Abraham
A. Philip Brown II
Gene L. Green
Gareth Lee Cockerill
Chrarles Edward White
Anthony Chadwick Thornhill
David Lewis Allen
Bruce A. Little
Robert W. Wall
G. Walter Hansen
Philip H. Towner
William G. MacDonald
Peter Cotterell (?)
J. W. MacGorman
E. Y. Mullins
W. T. Conner
David Bentley Hart
554 thoughts on “Our Beliefs”
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..
Soteriology101 not Eschatology101 right?
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.
Cliff, did you graduate the 12th grade? Your misspellings are atrocious.
Hi Danny and welcome
We have participants here who misspell words all the time.
Its nothing new.
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?
Uncalled for, Danny
Thank you Kelly – and I agree
People hate Dispensationalist. What an ad hominem attack on a person’s spelling. Come up with a real argument.
I couldn’t reply to the ad hominem attack, so I made the reply here. As the moderation you should remove such an attack.
Hello Christopher and welcome
I agree with you that we see such attacks here – and worst of all – they are posted by people who profess to be followers of Jesus Christ.
There are some posts that are so egregious or belligerent that we are forced to remove them.
And we alert the poster when that happens and ask them to restrain themselves.
But we try to limit doing so to the worst cases.
Unfortunately – you discovered a post that we as Christians would not be very proud of.
And I agree with your assessment!
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.
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.
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?
The link at the top to the statement to http://sbctoday.com/the-rise-of-soteriological-tradionalism/ no longer works.
God bless you in your ministry.
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.
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.
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.
Peter Yancey, can you please tell me what Matthew 25:31-46 is about?
Dispensationalism and its view concerning salvation and justification for the Jew being justified under the law or by works apart.from Christ is slavic . Dispensational doctrine ignores sound exegesis and explains Israel’s temporal and partial blindness by putting them under the justification of the law at least through the millennium insinuating that the Jew will always be under the law. NOT SALVIC?
Dispensational doctrine ignores sound exegesis and explains Israel’s temporal and partial blindness by putting them under the justification of the law at least through the millennium insinuating that the Jew will always be under the law. NOT SALVIC?
Romans 9-11 explains what you say “ignores sound exegesis”. But let me go further:
The following pertains to SPIRITUAL blindness:
John 9:39-41 (KJV)
39 And Jesus said, For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see; and that they which see might be made blind.
40 And some of the Pharisees which were with him heard these words, and said unto him, Are we blind also?
41 Jesus said unto them, If ye were blind, ye should have no sin: but now ye say, We see; therefore your sin remaineth.
What does that tell you about the blind Jews? Something about NO SIN?
But wait, there is more:
Romans 11 talks a lot about MERCY for the Jews. WHY MERCY? Something about UNBELIEF?
We know that God is not a respector of persons, right? If that is true, why did the Apostle Paul get mercy, and the Blind Jews won’t?
1 Timothy 1:13 (THIS IS PAUL, SPEAKING OF HIMSELF)
Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.
He got mercy because he did things IGNORANTLY IN UNBELIEF.
For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.
NOW, why do they do things IGNORANTLY?
Yet the Lord hath not given you an heart to perceive, and eyes to see, and ears to hear, unto this day.
That means, NEVER have they EVER had eyes to see, ears to hear, or a heart to perceive. NEVER.
That Deuteronomy 29:4 is referenced in:
(According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.
It is known that the Jews STUMBLED at the stumbling stone (Jesus, the cornerstone). Blind people stumble. They did not stumble becasue they can see. If they could see, they would not have stumbled.
I could go on even further, including the story of Joseph and his brethren as a TYPE AND SHADOW of Jesus and the Jews, but I won’t.
So, I’m confused by your statement that Dispensational doctrine ignores sound exegesis. God will unblind all of the Jews that is blind at some point in the future, and only a REMNENT now is unblinded. And God will give them all mercy due to UNBELIEF due to the blindness that he put them under from the word START/COMMENCE/BEGIN/GO/GITTY UP.
The dispensational doctrine that I have dealt with have lead to a separation of the Jew and the gentiles concerning salvation in that the Jew is justified by works and the only way the throne of David will be established will be through the old testament sacrificial system. The popular televangelist John Haggee in his book in defense of Israel said Christ never offered himself as the messiah. Yes there are dispensations of Gods grace but there no other means of salvation other than Christ.I talked to a local pastor last week who believes Jews are justified by works and two separate plans of salvation are valid! The pre tribulation rapture theology has caused these inconsistencies to be more specific, yes there were mentions of a pre tribulation rapture before Darby but the dispensational view and separation of the church and Jews starting with Edward Erving-Darby-Scoffield all the way to the present and to most is the only way to explain how Saints will be persecuted during the tribulation. Other doctrine has also come from this poor exegesis as well the whole controversy about Lordship salvation was also born from dispensationalism according to Kevin t. from beyond the fundamentals (YouTube) who told me in an actual phone conversation that Mathew 24 is not for the church! Sorry if I offended you but I am fed up with this yes poor exegesis of scripture.
I’m home from work today, so I have time to converse with you on this matter more specifically. First off, I don’t know Darby, but I have heard his name being besmirched so much, that it sickens me.
So, I’m gonna bring to the table some eschatology that I have discovered OUTSIDE of Darby/Hageee, et all.
In Acts 2, when the unbelieving Jews were mocking the NEW believers who had just receivd the Holy Spirit, as if they were drunk, Peter mentions something that is VERY IMPORTANT to eschatology. He mentions a prophesy that Joel talks about, regarding the SIXTH SEAL, which you can find in the 6th Chatper of Revelation. Get to know the exact wording of the sixt seal. Then do a word search for Joel pertaining to it. Peter mentions just one reference in Joel. But Joel mentions it 3 times, not just once. Not only that, but Jesus mentions it as well in the gospels. The sixth seal. Now, neither Joel or Jesus states the explicit words “THE SIXTH SEAL”, but the event is indeed mentioned by both.
Now, here is where I break with the majority of pre-tribbers:
They believe that “Come Up Here” is what is known as PRE-TRIB. Before I continue, I do indeed believe in RAPTURE. Why? The definition of rapture is: TO SEIZE. In the KJV, the word(s) for rapture is “CAUGHT UP”. The Greek word for that is Harpazo (or something near that spelling), and the definition of that Greek word: TO SEIZE. Same definition as rapture. And where are we seized to: to meet them IN THE AIR. Where? IN the air. Well, how can we be “IN THE AIR”, meeting them (who is them?), unless we are SEIZED (RAPTURED)? Yes, I believe in a rapture.
But when are we raptured? That sixth seal is very important in the timeline of Chapter 6, because it is important to see that sixth seal as an event that Jesus mentioned.
Before Jesus mentions that 6th Seal event, he mentions other events, one of which pertains to A TEMPLE (commonly called, “THE HOLY PLACE).
Jesus states, that when you (the Jews) see the ABOMINATION OF DESOLATION (THE Anti-Christ), standing in the Holy Place, to flee to the mountains.
Now, keep in mind, that this would be directed to BELIEVING Jews, not the unbelieving Jews, for they won’t know this stuff. And it certainly is not directed to GENTILES either, whether they are believers or not. Just the believing Jews.
This anti-Christ will enter the temple and proclaim himself to be God.
2 Thessalonians 2:3-4 KJV
3 Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;
4 Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
That clearly shows that we will see that, IF WE ARE THE GENERATION OF THAT TIME FRAME of the rapture.
And what are we to conclude? There wll be a temple, and there will be sacrifices. In the end times. Meaning that before any end times events take place, a temple will be built.
So, we will (if we are the generation of the rapture) see SEALS 1 THRU 6. Again, why do I say that? Order of events, that is why.
Come up here, or Come hither, in chapter 4 is NOT the rapture, because it defies the ORDER OF EVENTS. Jesus said that the generation, and that word, generation IS EXREMELY important, that sees all all all all of these things. That includes the temple and the anti-christ being revealed, etc., AND the sixth seal, which is chapter 6 of Revelation, 2 chapters after chapter 4.
Now, getting back to Peter from Acts 2. The Jews had received the Holy Spirit. We are SEALED with the HOLY SPIRIT. Revelation chapter 7 is 144000 UNBELIEVING JEWS suddently becoming believers, receiving the HOLY SPIRIT (BEING SEALED).
Before I continue, WHO IS THE ANTI-CHRIST? Jesus asked a very important question:
Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The son of David.
Their answer was correct, but Jesus pressed them further about a spiritual matter, in that Jesus created David, even tho he is the son of David (root and offspring of David). My point, however, is that the anti-Christ must be a JEW for the Jews to believe that their Messiah had come, so that NEGATES out any outlandish claims that the anti-Christ is the Pope.
OK, so, getting back to Revelation chapter 7. PETER, in Acts 2 was pointing to two different events, SIDE BY SIDE. The sixth seal, that Joel predicted, AND the sealing of the 144000 Jews.
PONDER THAT FOR A LONG WHILE.
However, the VERY NEXT THING AFTER THAT, JOHN sees a WHOLE BUNCH OF PEOPLE, and the angel asks John, WHO ARE THESE? John states, “YOU KNOW”, and the angel answers what?
THAT is the rapture. WE CAN’T go anywhere until the Holy Spirit is received by the 144000 Jews, because if we are raptured before that, the earth does not have the Holy Spirit at all, giving free reign to Satan, and that ain’t happening!
So, I do not believe in the traditional PRE-TRIB rapture as the dispensationalists do, I belive in the pre-GREAT TRIB rapture, which is right after the 6th seal, right after the 144000 Jews are sealed with the Holy Spirit which Peter discusses in Acts 2.
So, you can rail against Darby all ya want. He’s an easy target for many, but he was CLOSER than many give him credit for. A lot closer.
Just ponder Acts 2, and Seal 6, and the 144000, and the “HOLY PLACE”, which is a term commonly used in the OT regarding the TEMPLE, or in the days of Moses, TENT. There must be a temple for that anti-Christ to walk into to proclaim that he is God. And guess what else that means? Sacrifices, too. It’s part of the law of Moses.
Jesus STILL SAVES the unbelieving Jews, but in a DIFFERENT MANNER, by unblinding them at some point in the future.
And what about the Gentiles who NEVER HEARD? Romans 2:14-16.
Most of the problem with many of the REFORM world is that they are STUCK on “for there is no difference”. They gotta read more, that’s for darn sure.
I’m not reformed and I do believe in a gathering with Christ or if you insist rapture but will insist that it happens at the second coming,last trump,and according to paul the first resurrection. The falling away or departure could be viewed in a speculative way as many things not excluding doctrinal beliefs and if some think they are going to fly away instead of enduring to the end is it not possible that the delusion spoken about could be just that. Paul also refers in Roman’s to the 7000 who did.not worship ba’al being reserved so the 144000 could chosen similarly.
I highly suggest that you dissect the book of Revelation a lot more over a lot of time. Seal number 7 is the wrath of God, NOT seals 1-6, but seal 7 alone. Within that seal 7, there is 3 woe’s (using KJV terminology). The last woe is Armageddon. Revelation chapter 14 is the rapture of the 144000. But there is another rapture right before Armageddon.
Again, Seal number 7 IS the wrath of God, and WE ARE NOT APPOINTED UNTO WRATH. You can’t get around that no matter how hard you try.
We COME BACK with Jesus, at his 2nd coming back to the earth in our resurrected bodies. We shall not all die, but will be changed…that change is the resurrected body, since we won’t die to begin with from our earthly body.
Again, order of events. Rapture is in chapter 7 right after the 144000 Jews are sealed with the Holy Spirit. It’s kinda obvious to me that your take of eschatology is NOT based on independent research, but just from the talking points of those opposed to Darby.
I’d suggest bible alone, insted of talking point lectures, cuz as BW suggests, you are creating a strawman.
Just a suggestion,
Not appointed to wrath doesn’t mean escape by rapture but preservation through it.There is a ten thousand dollar challenge to anyone who can support by scripture a separation of the rapture and the second coming I would suggest you Google it and claim your prize!
OH YES, it does mean exactly that we escape it. I’m sorry that you oppose studying the Bible alone, and continue with the talking point lectures of those who oppose Darby.
If you haven’t learned that NOAH’S ARK is a type and shadow of the rapture, you should study that. Destruction was happening DOWN BELOW, while they were safe above.
Noah was not swimming.
“There is a ten thousand dollar challenge to anyone who can support by scripture a separation of the rapture and the second coming I would suggest you Google it and claim your prize!”
I don’t use Google as a means to study the bible, but I already proved it by my previous statements. I am ready to give you my banks routing number and checking account number whenever you are ready!
Still confused about rapture proof text I’m assuming you either correlate 1 thessalonians 4:16 with mathew 24:30-31 or are they separate because they read like the same event?
I can’t believe that you are having a hard time here on PROOF TEXTS. I already gave you references…Revelation Chapter 7, right after the sealing of the 144000. I think I mentioned that SEVERAL TIMES. So again, I would suggest that you read the bible alone, and stay away from Darby hater talking point lectures.
Events of the 6th seal as mentioned by Peter, Jesus, and Joel, in order to put the timeline to Seals 1-6, and that WE ARE NOT APPOINTED UNTO WRATH, which you completely ignore, as all Darby haters do anyway.
Revelation 14 shows the rapture of the 144000. There is ONE MORE rapture just before Armageddon, and Armageddon is Chapter 16, so back track to find the rapture that I discuss. Chapters 17-19 is EXPLANATIONS only.
We all go thru seals 1-6, because Jesus said that we would see seal 6…but we don’t see seal number 7. Jesus never said anything about seal 7 events. NOTHING.
WHY? Because BELIEVERS WON’T SEE IT. Believers won’t be here.
Study this stuff, man. Stay away from Darby haters who have nothing to bring to the table, except talking point lectures.
My banks routing number is…..
I’m still not seeing it though I do see that you defend your position vigorously and that could be a possible asset for future debates on s.101 ,maybe the James White grind could be side stepped for awhile and you or someone else could debate this topic with Dr Michael Brown I would bet your viewers would be multiplied? I would pay to see it.
Forgive me for asking, are you blind? You don’t see rapture RIGHT AFTER the 144000 are sealed with the Holy Spirit in Revelation chapter 7? My question would be WHY can’t you see it?
Chapter 8 begins the 7th Seal. Chapter 7 is a BREAK between Seal number 6, and 7. What are the events that you see in Revelation Chapter 7?
Ok so the144000 are being sealed because Gods wrath is about to be poured out and your contention is that the (church) is not mentioned?They are referred to as first fruits in Revelations 14 . Mathew 24:31 God sends his Angel’s to gather the elect? Sounds just like 1 thessalonians 4:16??? Lord decend with a shout voice of the Arch Angel.and with the TRUMP of God ??Sounds like the day of the Lord.
You are what I would call, blind as a corona virus bat. RIGHT AFTER THE 144000 are sealed, THE CHURCH is at the throne of God who came out of the GREAT TRIBULATION.
The GREAT TRIBULATION begins in the NEXT CHAPTER, which is seal number 7.
Hello? The terminology is GREAT TRIBULATION, and that GREAT TRIBULATION is God’s Wrath, for which we “THE CHURCH” are not here for, because we are at the THRONE OF GOD in revelation chapter 7.
That’s all I’m gonna say, due to your blindness. I can’t believe you. Besides, you misuse the word CHURCH anyway. Church, defined is ASSEMBLY, and we had CHURCH in school having nothing to do with religion, but we called it ASSEMBLIES.
They were slain for there testimony Revelations 6:9 the same as Revelations 7 coming out of great tribulation. Being kept from the hour of trial that will test the earth is also only in one of the letters to the churches in Revelations also very selective. Being blind and being selective are to different things although selective is far less offensive.
They were slain for their testimony, you had said.
THAT is NOT discussing those in Revelation 7. What you just mentioned is SEAL NUMBER 5, which we are still here for. Remember that I said that we all go thru seals 1-6, that seal 6 is mentioned by several people, INCLUDING JESUS, and that’s the last event that Jesus mentions, so therefore, we are here for seal number 5 (they were slain for their testimony).
Seal 5 has NOTHING TO DO with chapter 7, which is after seal 6, but before seal 7. You need to get your timeline straight.
Revelation chapter 14 discusses the RAPTURE of the 144000, and I’ve said that numerous times, as well.
Also, I mentioned that John was the apostle to the Jews, and you are mentioning CHURCH’S mentioned in Revelation, and I stated that those churchs are JEWISH ASSEMBLIES, having nothing to do with Gentiles at all.
Revelation is for the Jews, not Gentiles.
The Jews are looking for a Messiah, not the world. Hence, the Pope is not the anti-Christ, and no, there will be no anti-Christ rising from the European Union, either.
Not the Pope more than likely Muslim and the feet of iron and clay will be a mixture of people (Muslim) and partial revived Roman empire . Dictator Caliphate revived Ottoman empire The quibla is also more than likely the image of the beast but referring to the Roman Catholic the harlot or the mother of harlots.
Your last just proves you haven’t read a thing of what I have said at all.
I said that the Jews know that the anti-Christ is THE SON OF DAVID. What does that mean in English? A JEW, not a gentile. Arabs are GENTILES.
Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The son of David.
The fourth beast will trample the residue ..when Caliphate empire takes over they destroy everything culture,infrastructure everything. He will not regard the God of his fathers or regard the desire of women sounds like a Muslim dictator and he will say blasphemy against God and exult himself above all Gods. Just out of curiosity you don’t think Jerusalem is mystery Babylon I hope. Just to make sure are you saying the antichrist will be a Jew?
I don’t buy what you are selling. The anti-Christ MUST BE a Jew, period. The God of his FATHERS…Fathers are ABRAHAM, ISAAC, AND JACOB, not Abraham, Ishmael. Come on, man. KNOW THIS STUFF.
Muslims are of lineage of Ishmael and Esua as the true origin was not Mecca but Petra.You win what is your opinion on the harlot?
18 And the woman which thou sawest is that great city (BABYLON), which reigneth over the kings of the earth.
Revelation Chapters 17-19 is explainations of the events of the previous chapters of all the symbology wordings.
Babylon is CONFUSION, not just a city or territory.
I was under the impression that it was based on spiritual harlot. Solomon received 666 talents of gold for his wisdom and his covenant violation of not going back to Egypt, multiplying wives storing up silver and gold ect deuteronomy 17.The words mystery Babylon written across the forehead a reference to Jeremiah 3:3 you have the harlots forehead. The cup a symbol of a covenant with the beast.
I dont get into that 666 numbers game. I’m not interested. We won’t be here to worry about it. We leave shortly after he is REVEALED, so it’s gonna be someone elses problem, not ours.
YES, I believe that I PROVED that the anti-Christ will be a JEW just by the following:
Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, The son of David.
How many times do I need to repeat that?
correct my last from:
“I said that the Jews know that the anti-Christ…”
“I said that the Jews know that the Christ”
By removing “anti-”
Good fight ministries is still offering the 10 grand I was not convinced maybe they aren’t as blind and you will collect after all you just need one SCIPTURE SEPARATING the second coming of Christ with this escape .
I have proven it. Proving it is easy. Seal number is the LAST event mentioned by Jesus. WHY DOENS’T HE MENTION THE EVENTS OF SEAL 7?
Hi Michael… I haven’t read your whole conversation with Ed… but I noticed your request for one verse that separates the coming rapture by Jesus from the return to Jerusalem by Jesus.
Let me ask you this first. Do you think Jesus stopped reading in the middle of the verse in Is 61:2 because that verse spoke of two different comings of the Messiah, not just one? Thx
Luke 4:17-21 NKJV — And He was handed the book of the prophet Isaiah. And when He had opened the book, He found the place where it was written: “The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, Because He has anointed Me To preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives And recovery of sight to the blind, To set at liberty those who are oppressed; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.” Then He closed the book, and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all who were in the synagogue were fixed on Him. And He began to say to them, “Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Isaiah 61:2 NKJV — To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn,
First I would like to say I appreciate S 101 and pray for not only the ministry as a whole but you personally. I also appreciate your taking time to correspond and your patient handling of this subject.I began studying this topic with the motive as to prove your point of view but could not. I have no morbid desire to face the Tribulation and would also like to apologize for being argumentative and judgmental towards your ministry ! I have no excuse though I’m in a lot of pain and suffering presently and lashed out at your ministry. Please except my apologies and thanks for giving me more material to study. I think I have let all the debate videos get to my head. Have a blessed day thanks again.
Sorry to hear of your suffering Michael. I’ll be praying for you today.
I felt no judgmental attitude from you (maybe I didn’t read enough 😁), and Sot101 is not my ministry in a primary sense, though I used to supervise this page as an admin for Leighton. (BrD has taken over that job 😉).
And though I lean toward the Pretrib rapture view, I actually would like to go through the Trib as a testimony for Jesus… I hope that’s not too “morbid” sounding. 😊
And if you ever have the time, I would be interested in your view of what I asked. Thx.
OH, one last thing I forgot to mention:
You had said:
Other doctrine has also come from this poor exegesis as well the whole controversy about Lordship salvation was also born from dispensationalism according to Kevin t. from beyond the fundamentals (YouTube) who told me in an actual phone conversation that Mathew 24 is not for the church! Sorry if I offended you but I am fed up with this yes poor exegesis of scripture.
My response to that:
MANY PEOPLE MISS THE FOLLOWING:
Galatians 2:7-9 King James Version (KJV)
7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;
8 (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)
9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.
The book of Revelation is NOT directed to the Gentiles at all. It is information for the Jews.
The book of James, addressed to Jews, SPECIFICALLY. Many people don’t realize this, but BOTH of Peter’s epsitles were directed to JEWS ONLY.
JOHN is an apostle to the Jews, NOT THE GENTILES. That was reserved for Paul. There is a reason that Paul did not write the book of Revelation.
Here is another (ANOTHER) HINT:
Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.
The last five words of that verse…what is the CONTRAST of those 5 words?
It is my contention that the word CHURCH is sorely misused regarding Revelation equating to Gentile Christians.
The definition of the word CHURCH is simply, ASSEMBLY. It is my contention that the assemblies mentioned in Revelation Chapter 2 is…The Jewish Christians, not the church at large, as defined by most to include both Gentiles and Jews.
I just needed to clarify that.
That was a complete misrepresentation of dispensationalism. That was not even in the ballpark. Dispensationalism does not distinguish different ways of salvation but different administrations under which man serves God’s program. No, classical, traditional, or revised dispensationalist believes in two ways of salvation. We believe it has and always will be by grace through faith. As for the millennium, the sacrificial system, just as it was never a means of justification in the OT, will not be a means of justification in the millennium. It will be a symbolic memorial in service to God—not a means of salvation—similar to the Lord’s Supper today.
It’s okay to reject dispensationalism (I mean I think that does come with its own problems but each person has to be honest to their conscience), but please be honest about what we believe. Don’t set up a straw man and attack it as if that’s what we believe.
Hello BW – and welcome
I forgot to address my comment to Michael. Just so everyone knows.
Hello Michael – and welcome
As much as I disagree with the views of dispensationalists, I am unaware that any would ever promote a doctrine of justification by works of the law. Such would not make sense, since all men have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. And besides, men are no longer under the law of Moses, but subject the law of Christ. But on the other hand, where I do believe dispensationalism is mistaken, is where it asserts that ethnic/national Israel as a corporate entity will be saved at that time. I genuinely believe that they are wrong on this.
Again you misrepresent dispensationalism. First, John Hagee is not representative of dispensationalism. Yes, he would describe himself as a dispensationalist but he holds views that are quite idiosyncratic and are clouded by his charismatic tendencies. He is the exception and no one considers him a scholar in the field. He’s low-hanging fruit, so please stop setting up a straw man.
Second, whoever that pastor was you spoke with, again, is not representative of the whole. It sounds like you were talking to a mid-Acts or late-Acts dispensationalist. They are far from being the mainstream in dispensationalism and have very little to do with the classical, traditional, or revised dispensationalists. It’s like comparing a Roman Catholic to a reformed person (i.e. reformed Catholic). They’re two different systems of theology. So, I will repeat—no classical, traditional, or revised dispensationalist believes in two ways of salvation. You’re creating a straw man.
Third, Irving and Darby literally had nothing to do with one another. Darby came to his conclusions through a consistent literal interpretation of the Scriptures. You can argue his conclusions, but every time someone brings up the Irvingites, it is clear that they are poorly educated on the subject matter. You have a responsibility to be honest about what dispensationalists believe. It’s irresponsible to point to a heretical group who carried similar ideas in one area and to paint that as if it’s the origins of the pre-trib rapture. Argue against the pre-trib rapture on its own merits.
Finally, I would agree with Kevin from Beyond the Fundamentals that Matthew 24 is not about the church. So what? That passage has literally nothing to do with salvation. It’s eschatological. And it describes the events that will happen surrounding the Tribulation for the Jewish people. Notice all the Jewish terminology about the temple and the Sabbath. Why would the church be concerned about the Sabbath?
Anyway, I’m afraid you have an extremely weak grasp of dispensationalism and before you argue against it, you should really do some research and read from the best we have to offer in scholarship—and there is a lot.
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.
If faith and repentance is all you need to be saved, how then was Paul still in his sins in Acts 22:16?
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
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.”
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!
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.
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.
BW — Excellent points.
My reply above was for Aidan McManus, just to be clear.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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!
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.
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).
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.
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…
Totally agreed GraceAdict! It’s encouraging to hear a kindred spirit.
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.
As difficult as that is, I see the merit to what you are saying and appreciate the counsel. Thank you brother!
I totally agree. Unfortunately some are not at a teachable phase in their lives.
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!
I just realized my name switched to my email. The Conservateur is the same as BW just so those reading and commenting know.
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.
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.
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).
Aidan, I moderate this site for Leighton. Just letting you know 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.
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!
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,
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
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.”
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.
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.”
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!
Wonderful post Brad!
Thank you very much
I really don’t believe Calvin has much in common with Augustine.
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
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
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
The only point I disagree with is the part where you deny the possibility of apostasy. It seems to me that the Bible wouldn’t warn against apostasy if it couldn’t happen.
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.
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.
Thank you BW – nice comment! And Welcome to SOT101
Of course if you apostacize you’re unsaved. Either you’re in the faith or you’re not.
Of course if you apostacize you’re unsaved. Either you’re in the faith or you’re not.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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. . .
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….”.
We can disagree, but I did not want to remain silent in the face of strong assertions I believe are in error.
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!
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 🙂
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! :-]
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.
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!
There are too many warnings in scripture about the danger of apostasy to ignore this as fact.
Dr. Gordon Fee – Professor Emeritus New Testament Studies
“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!”
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!
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.
Well said Br.d.
“Anyone who treats such texts otherwise does so at their own risk.”
“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?
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?
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.
Will it be possible for God’s child not to continue in the faith after resurrection even though they still have free will?
Some believe OSAS (once saved always saved) starts after resurrection… others after regeneration. But almost all believe OSAS is true salvation at some point… meaning never to be guilty of sin again.
There are a few who even believe that God never gives that final salvation, and they think they can forfeit whatever salvation they have even after they get to heaven. That is not much of a salvation in my thinking.
1John gives the evidences of regeneration as practicing righteousness (2:29), not practicing sin (3:9), loving the brethren (4:7), continuing to believe Jesus is the Christ (5:1), overcoming the world (5:4). These are all present tense participles defining continuing actions that the change of the new birth makes.
Thus, I believe these actions continue forever, since those changes could not be reversed without proposing that the God of love who gave the new birth life, creating His child, has taken that new birth life away and returned that one to being a child of the devil. There is no verse teaching God unbirths any of His children.
“There is no verse teaching God unbirths any of His children.”
I think that might be a bit of a strawman. Of course there is no verse teaching that God unbirths His children. But there are verses teaching that it is possible for a child of God to be lost. In the story of the prodigal son, he was alive when he was with the father. He was alive because of his relationship with the father. But when he departed from the father, he severed that relationship and died. He did not die physically, but spiritually. He was both lost and dead as a result of his sin and separation from the father. Yet in spite of this, he was still a son, albeit – a son who was lost and dead.
Note the following verses in Luke 15:
(v.20) “And he arose and came to his father” – (v.21) “And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight, and am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ – in other words, even in his sinful, rebellious state – he was still his son and He was still his Father. And the fact that he acknowledged he was no longer worthy to be called his son, bears testimony that he was still His son.
(v.24) ‘for this my son was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ And they began to be merry. Notice, MY SON WAS DEAD and is alive again. This implies a SON who was once “alive.” He then became a – DEAD SON, but when he repented and returned to the father, the SON was – ALIVE AGAIN. Notice that no matter what condition he was in, spiritually speaking, he was still His son. Not only did he remain a son, but he remained a “brother” (v.32) even while he was spiritually dead. And so we have a child of God who was both lost and spiritually dead; but when he repented he was made alive again in his renewed relationship with his Father.
Hi Aidan… You should know that Parables are not given to teach very involved theological points. Those parables that day were to teach the prejudiced Pharisees that they should be rejoicing like heaven, angels, and the Father do, when one lost sinner repents.
The unconditional love of the Father for His children will make certain they are kept, and has made that certain by the change that happened in the new birth. Some believe that He won’t make that change for His children to stay saved until the resurrection and thus some of His children will be tormented together along with the children of the devil.
But if a lasting change can be made like that at resurrection, why not believe the evidence of the new birth given in 1John and all the clear unconditional promises made in the NT that this lasting change was made in regeneration. None of His children will be lost. And none of His children will become unborn.
Hi Brian…. On the other hand, you should know that parables teach deep truths that cannot be ignored. What I’m sure didn’t escape the attention of the scribes and Pharisees, was that these lost sinners were not only sons of God, but their own brothers and sisters.
And did the Father not deeply love the son who fell away and was perishing? The scriptures reveal that God demonstrated unconditional love when He offered up His own Son for the whole world. Does unconditional love make certain that all will respond to the gospel and be saved? Certainly not! Only those who choose to become sons by faith are sons. And only those who choose to do the will of God are sons.
It is another strawman to suggest that a child of God cannot be lost because: “some of His children will be tormented together along with the children of the devil.” If it is believed we were all in the same boat at one time or another – will it be true that if a “child of the devil” is saved, he will be a child of the devil in heaven? You say, ‘not so, for he has become a “child of God.” This is true, because the promises of God, whether good or bad, are not unconditional, but conditional. By his own choice man becomes a follower of Satan, and by his own choice a man becomes a follower of Christ. “Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey?” (Rom. 6:16).
And yet the man in sin belongs to God. Though he may follow Satan, the fact remains: “All souls are Mine.” (Ezek. 18:4). He still belongs to God. If one of the souls that belongs to God lands in hell, will that not be one of God’s souls in hell? The soul of the wicked man is God’s, as is the soul of the righteous. Where you spend eternity depends on how you choose to live here; and on whom you choose to serve (Ezek. 18:24-28). Just as Paul warned the brethren: “For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live” ( Rom. 8:13). Therefore, whether one lives or dies, is always going to be his choice.
Thank you for your thoughtful reply, Aidan. The children of the old covenant were not all saved just by entering the covenant. The parable of the lost sons is about those children of Israel/God under the old covenant. The children of the new covenant are all saved… forever… unconditionally. That is the what the new birth accomplishes. I am sure you understand the view I am espousing. I will not change it, for I see it as the most consistent with the normal reading of Scripture, and clear unconditional promises in contexts with no warnings.
There will be no children of God by the second birth and under the new covenant, in hell! You and I have been through most warning passages before . Like Rom 6 & 8, they often use general reference pronouns “you” or “we” to mean “anyone” or “someone” who professes to be saved but not yet have been saved. The apostolic writer knew his work would be read by those who might think they are in Christ, but have been misled, and need to check their life against what Paul says. See 2Cor 13:5. I have nothing to add.
“The unconditional love of the Father for His children will make certain they are kept, and has made that certain by the change that happened in the new birth. None of His children will be lost. Some believe that He won’t make that change for His children to stay saved until the resurrection and thus some of His children will be tormented together along with the children of the devil. The children of the new covenant are all saved… forever… unconditionally. There will be no children of God by the second birth and under the new covenant, in hell!”
“The parable of the lost sons is about those children of Israel/God under the old covenant.The children of the old covenant were not all saved just by entering the covenant.”
The scriptures reveal that there is no partiality with God. Your theology has the Father showing partiality towards one child over another. A Father who shows unconditional love toward one child to make sure he is saved… forever… unconditionally, while allowing his other child to go to hell. And what’s the difference between the two? One happened to be fortunate enough to live under the new covenant, while the other was unfortunate to be born under the old covenant. One child is loved unconditionally, the other is not. One is guaranteed the joy of heaven no matter what, while the other is not. No unconditional love for the other child who will be allowed to be tormented forever along with the children of the devil. Your doctrine actually allows for – some of His children to be tormented together along with the children of the devil.
But don’t worry, you are by birthright among the special ones! Just like the Jews think that they are – by birthright – the special ones. You are in good company there along with the other special children – the Jew and the Calvinist.
“The apostolic writer knew his work would be read by those who might think they are in Christ, but have been misled, and need to check their life against what Paul says. See 2Cor 13:5.”
If these were not real Christians in 2 Cor.13:5, then neither was Paul! But Paul was simply calling on these Christians to examine themselves to make sure they were still in the faith – and not become disqualified. A good practice for Christians to develop. Even Paul himself, constantly made sure that he was being a faithful Christian, so that he would not be disqualified (1 Cor. 9:27). What’s interesting about these two verses, is that the word for “disqualified” means – Reprobate. Thus, even the apostle Paul worked hard to make sure that he would not become “Reprobate.”
2 Cor. 13:5:
“Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.” – Reprobates.
1 Cor. 9:27:
“But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” – Reprobate.
Again, if these were not real Christians because they could be “reprobate,” – then neither was Paul!
I guess I do have more to add. 😉 I’m sure Aidan we’ve been around this barn before, and I only add this following bit for other readers, for I don’t sense an openness in you to discuss grammatical and contextual evidence. I don’t believe in predestination before creation, but I do believe in predestination after one is joined to Christ. The two unsaved brothers in the story were children under the old covenant. The story infers salvation based on repentance of the one son, though the theme of all the parables in that chapter is to confront the lack of joy in the Pharisees that others are “repenting” among the lost. Both sons under the covenant were being given the opportunity to enter into the new covenant, an everlasting relationship.
And there are two different “failures”, being reprobate or disqualified, being discussed by Paul in 1Cor 9:27 and 2Cor 13:5. One is disqualification of rewards in the future. See that context of 1Cor 9, 24-27 and the word “prize”. It can not be talking about only “one” getting saved. And the other disqualification is being found to not be “in the faith”… that Christ is not in them, which certainly is about salvation. All the best Aidan. Stay safe there in lovely Ireland!
Thank you, Brian! You really made me chuckle with your last post when you said, “I don’t sense an openness in you to discuss grammatical and contextual evidence.” May I remind you of how quickly you closed down this discussion in your previous post?
“I am sure you understand the view I am espousing. I will not change it, for I see it as …… I have nothing to add.”
I think it is quite obvious which one of us is not open to discussing things here. And, it is you who seems to be ignoring the context of scripture, including 1 John as it relates the promises of God being conditional. Salvation has always been on the condition that one remain faithful, and God has not changed that principle under the new covenant. The reality behind the story of the two sons doesn’t change what you believe. You still believe that the children of the new covenant are all guaranteed salvation simply by entering the covenant. But that the children of the old covenant are not all saved just by entering that covenant. You still have a God who shows partiality in making sure that one child is eternally saved, while allowing the other to go to hell. That, my friend, is not the God of the bible.
Your references in Romans 6 & 8 were unspecific, establishing nothing. Your view that the word “disqualified” in 2 Cor. 13:5 simply refers to Non-Christians who thought they were Christians, is unwarranted by the text. These were Christians whom Paul was writing to, warning them about the danger of being disqualified from the faith. Similarly in 1 Cor. 9:24-27, Paul shows that the Christian must waive his right to exercise his liberties, not only to help the weak Christian, but also to save his own soul. The “prize” which the Christian is striving to obtain (v.25) is everlasting, it is the “incorruptible crown” of eternal life. In v.27, Paul says that he makes all kinds of strenuous effort to prevent himself from being “disqualified” from the Christian race and losing his eternal crown. Thus, these verses show that the most strenuous effort must be made, even by a man such as the apostle Paul, in order to win the prize of everlasting life. The doctrine of ‘once saved always saved’ is truly nonsensical in the face of passages such as these. I thank you for your time Brian.
We know that assurance of salvation is based upon God’s provisions and promises. One of the things that stands out in books like 1John, is just how conditional that is. But we must remember that these things are not written to unbelievers, but to believers. Note the following:
Assurance of fellowship with God “if” they walked in the light (1:6-7); Assurance that they know Him “if” they kept His commandments (2:3-4); We can know that we are in Him “if” we keep His word (2:5); We abide in Him only if we walk as He walked (2:6); And, love the brethren ( 2:9-11; 3:14-19); He who keeps His commandments and loves, abides in Him (3:23-24); Whoever continues to believe that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh (4:1-3); We prove that we know God when we are willing to hear and accept the testimony of the Apostles (4:6); They would prove that they loved God “if” they loved their brother (4:7-12; 4:20-21); To love we must keep God’s commandments (5:2-3); Faith is the victory that overcomes the world, if we choose to believe, we must continue to believe (5:4-5, 10).
None of these things will be done for us, nor will there be any overpowering force to compel us to do them – but depending on how we are persuaded, we will choose to either do, or not do them! And as you can see from 1John above, our salvation is very much based on conditions that we must continue to fulfill.
I’ve watched you for the better part of a year use Soteriology 101 to push your theological position. You know the doctrinal position of this ministry, yet you are using the comment section as a platform to try to proselytize people to your Arminian viewpoint. Please, cease and desist.
You present yourself as the authority, yet you have never made a compelling argument. You also have displayed a total unwillingness to be taught or an attitude of humility that admits you could be wrong. To your interpretation of 1 John, I ask you: have you kept God’s commandments? Seriously, you have never broken one of His commandments? You’ve never looked with lust? That is adultery and a violation of His commandments? You’ve never been proud? That is idolatry. You’ve never had anger and contention toward a brother? That is murder. If you’ve ever committed any of these violations, you have broken God’s commandments. If you have broken the law even in one place, you’re guilty of breaking it all (James 2:10). By your interpretation of 1 John 2:3-4, you are unsaved. Also, by your interpretation of Hebrews 6:6 (I know because I’ve read your comments), you can’t be restored again. So now what? Are you going to redraw the lines so that they accommodate you? If you deny that you are guilty, even after salvation, of breaking God’s commandments, you are both proud and lying. You, like all others, are guilty of breaking God’s commandments on a daily basis. If you could lose your salvation, you would. And by your view of Hebrews 6:6, you would be cast out forever.
Your are pushing dangerous and false teaching in a way that elevates you and you need to stop.
As Jesus says: “I don’t know you” – it is also the case that SOT101 doesn’t know you.
Here at SOT101 – you are granted the right to express your position on any issue – including Arminianism.
But you are not granted the right to command any other participant – granted the same rights as you.
Please cease and desist assuming such authority.
On second thought – I believe I came off a little too strong with the “I don’t know you” language.
Please accept my apology!
If you examine Dr. Flower’s good example here at SOT101 in his responses to participants – we will never find him commanding what people are allowed to present concerning their positions on issues.
Like-wise my “I don’t know you” statement is also outside of the Christ-Like spirit – with which Dr. Flower’s operates.
What is not permitted are participants going outside of proper boundaries in regards to civil and Christ-Like treatment of each other.
So your participance here is very welcome.
And again my apologies for coming on too strong.
I can see that you and some others writing here do not agree with the doctrine of once saved always saved. But why go to such great lengths to try to convince them on a comments page about their beliefs held by the ones supporting this site. It is their beliefs and how they see it. Why go after them so much to try to persuade them here? I mean why not just do what they do on a different site in defence of your own views of conditional security. Much like I doubt Leighton and a lot here go on the Calvinists and Arminian blogs and spend a lot of time trying to convince them to change their beliefs from the comments section of their beliefs page. They do it from within their site in the videos they post and the people they have come on to discuss. My point is the doctrine of eternal security is one of their fundamentals even though you could almost say it is secondary when it comes to the purpose of this site. You are not trying to understand it but trying to discredit it from within their own beliefs section. I just don’t think that is the best way to disagree.
Personally, when I was led to this site it was for its very purpose. To have a place to better understand an alternate view to the calvinistic understanding of salvation and to be able to properly defend against it. At the time, I was an Arminian like you for about a year and it just so happened that I changed my view and took on the belief of eternal security but it wasn’t because of anything this site said necessarily. On the issue of eternal security, that I knew this site held to, I let it be. I came on here and chose not to go after them on it. It was in my own personal studies and in Romans in particular where I came to my convictions of eternal security. What I found great about this site is it helped me to be convinced that I didn’t need to be a Calvinist to be a believer in eternal security. The two are not dependant on each other which I think this site helped to confirm for me.
So what I am saying is why can’t you just let them be in their belief of eternal security and appreciate this site for what you can learn from it it?
P.s. I started off on writing this response even before that last comment got posted here by BW. It just goes to show that there are at least a few of us that believe you are going too far.
Wonderful post Joel!
Perhaps the answer to your question is because – internally – they don’t really believe “Whatsoever comes to pass” is divinely decreed after all.
And things that are man-made require continual long-term maintenance! :-]
Absolutely! A wonderful post, but its not the only one.
Yes, nice post Joel. Perhaps we will be able to chat when I get a bit more time. But I appreciate the reasonable tone you took.
Thank you for the opportunity to discuss this important matter of salvation with you. I appreciated the way you made your appeal the other day even though we disagree. I just want to say at the start that I am not an Arminian. Just as someone doesn’t need to be a Calvinist to be a believer in eternal security, neither does one need to be an Arminian to disagree with that teaching. I have been coming to this site for probably the best part of a year now. And like you, I have come to appreciate what I’ve learned about Calvinism and other things from the people on this site. I also appreciate the fact that this is a public forum and not some private echo chamber where outsiders, like myself, are unwelcome. As far as I can see, civil debate on matters having to do with Soteriology are encouraged here in the name of truth, all comers welcome – and I hope that lasts. Sure, sometimes feathers get a bit ruffled, but that comes with the territory. But we have some good moderators here who keep an eye when things get too heated. They do a good job, yet for the most part, people work things out among themselves.
I’m saying this to myself just as much as to anyone else; But if you don’t want to deal with someone you don’t have to answer them. And you don’t have to read any of their posts if you object to their viewpoint. But if you do interact with them, try to objectively deal with the teaching at hand and not attack the person. I do recognize that there are people here who have made up their minds and will not entertain any alternate view. That’s fine, I see them as close minded, not wanting the truth. But there are some who are genuinely seeking the truth, who will indeed examine these scriptures as carefully and as objectively as possible. To them I speak and invite scrutiny. Others, I know will scrutinize, but not with a view to finding the truth. There are certain Calvinists who frequently ” go after” people and their beliefs here all the time – nobody is telling them that they should cease and desist. Nobody has said, ‘why don’t you go to your own site with those views, this is a private echo chamber’. And they are not the only ones who contend with others! I’m not trying to be nasty, but this is how its coming across to me. But I’m sure I’ve seen Dr. Flowers being invited to other people’s arenas to debate with them. And I’m sure he would be happy to continue to do that, as long as they are willing. I don’t see a different spirit on his website – Sot101. To use your expression, Brian has gone “after me” several times, and I have returned the favor – straight between the eyes, in a nice way! But I haven’t fallen out with him – he can speak for himself on that count – I’m trying to help him, but he won’t listen – no surprise! But I’m sure he wrongly feels the same about me – tongue in cheek! Brian knows the Irish, that’s where he got his great sense of humour.
Again, I appreciate the way you reached out. But let this not turn into a diversion from the real issue here – which is the truth.
And you are appreciated Aidan! :-]
Thanks Br.d, right back at ya.
Hope all is well. All seems quiet on the western front.
Keep safe over there.
Your welcome Aidan,
Yes,of course,we can have a healthy difference in theology. I think the issue is how we can be tempted by some of the worldly norms that social media has set up in terms of how we react to those we don’t agree with. I think it can get the better of us at times. I think we can fall into forgetting that it is real people we are discussing with and also brothers or sisters. I know I have had times in certain Facebook discussion groups where I feel like I was not given the same cordial treatment the group moderators were supposed to be enforcing by one of the moderators themselves, so I can sympathize with you. this should always bring cause to everyone for reflection.
That being said, I think the Leighton Flowers and the guys here on Soteriolgy101 site have been good for the most part. We can all have bad days too especially in stressful times like right now. I am sure that the ones here that give their opinion are all convinced in their own minds of what they are saying and they believe that they are being truthful. I think we have to accept that no one theology can be 100 percent correct and at the same time, no one person’s theology is 100 percent completely false if it is still remaining Christian.
So lets keep the discussions going while being open minded to agree to disagree on those issues that we know are not heretical.
Thanks for the chat,
I agree that the moderators here are very good and I would like to add, impartial and very professional. I also fully agree that we all feel our view is, at the very least, closest to the truth. Paul went into synagogues every where he went and was ran out of town just as quick. And they were the nice Jews. Were they sincere? Absolutely! But sincerely wrong! They had a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. Who then were the loving ones here? Paul and his gospel companions were. But I doubt if that’s how the Jews would have seen it. What am I saying? I’m saying sometimes one has to ruffle a few feathers to teach the truth. Is that arrogant? I doubt if the early Christians saw it that way! And that never stopped Paul from going into the synagogues, or even back into town for the sake of those who had received the truth. Having said that, I respect a person’s right to reject it in order to choose their own course in life. But if you ever feel like it, I am open to discussion on any issue – especially in matters of salvation. I just haven’t seen any convincing arguments concerning faith alone and OSAS.
Keep safe Joel, and thanks again for your kindness,
I echo your comment about never hearing a convincing argument about OSAS, only to the exact opposite side. I have never heard a compelling argument for conditional security. And that includes the arguments you have made here. I find that your arguments don’t deal with substantive grammatical and contextual information. Instead, you cite texts that seemingly support your conclusion and read into them your presuppositions and preloaded definitions. I believe this is largely due to the fact that you read soteriology into nearly every passage and do not distinguish sanctification from justification.
I have also watched you basically shrug your shoulders to every truly compelling argument presented to you. My assessment is that it seems you aren’t interested in actually looking at the evidence and being open to whatever is true. You appear to beg the question—i.e., assume the conclusion and view all data through the lens of the conclusion.
To be sure, I don’t think you’re being disingenuous, but I have seen areas in which you have not been careful with the text. And I truly and sincerely believe your theological views are dangerous—particularly the fact that you reject faith alone.
With all that said…I am interested to hear your answer to my questions above. Specifically, how you (like all Christians) can violate God’s law and still be saved according to your own interpretation of 1 John 2:3-4. And with that, your interpretation of Hebrews 6:6 asserts that there would not be an opportunity to be restored to salvation. Perhaps I’m remembering your position incorrectly on Hebrews 6:6 (if I am I apologize). But I do know that you cited 1 John 2:3-4 as support for conditional security. How can you square your view of 1 John 2:3-4 with your own walk and sin?
The things you have said is pretty much my experience with people on your side of the argument. I have never heard a compelling argument for Unconditional security. I too, find that your arguments do not properly deal with contextual information. And that you often, on the one hand, ignore the grammar where convenient, or use it as a way of *GETTING AROUND* what is said quite plainly in the passage. Likewise, you cite texts that seemingly support your conclusion and read into them YOUR presuppositions and preloaded definitions. I believe this is largely due to the fact that your theology trumps what the scriptures are actually teaching.
I have also watched you basically brush off and ignore every truly compelling argument presented to you. This seems to suggest that, you are the ones not interested in actually looking at the evidence and being open to whatever is true. If anyone is assuming the conclusion and viewing all data through the lens of that assumption – that would appear to be you, from start to finish. There is no question in my mind that what you espouse, is not the truth – and you, like others, do not want to hear that message. And I would just like to add, that your questions reveal that you have completely misunderstood my position. It makes wonder how much of that has fed into your assessment of me in your previous posts. Consequently, you have maligned and misrepresented me at every turn. You say you want to debate in a civil manner, but I know you haven’t changed your view of me. I sense real hostility with you towards me, and I believe that the real purpose of the debate is to personally take me down. Not a good platform for fruitful discussion, nor does it display the right spirit.
The reason why I gave my argument from 1John, was because it was used to contend that – The children of the new covenant are all saved – Unconditionally. My argument from 1John showed that our fellowship with God and assurance of salvation is not Unconditional, but Conditional. You ignored and brushed aside all those verses except for 1 Jn 2:3-4, where you misinterpreted me. If you would be willing to explain what you believe those verses are saying, perhaps we might be able to go further in this discussion. Here it is again, below:
Assurance of fellowship with God “if” they walked in the light (1:6-7); Assurance that they know Him “if” they kept His commandments (2:3-4); We can know that we are in Him “if” we keep His word (2:5); We abide in Him only if we walk as He walked (2:6); And, love the brethren ( 2:9-11; 3:14-19); He who keeps His commandments and loves, abides in Him (3:23-24); Whoever continues to believe that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh (4:1-3); We prove that we know God when we are willing to hear and accept the testimony of the Apostles (4:6); They would prove that they loved God “if” they loved their brother (4:7-12; 4:20-21); To love we must keep God’s commandments (5:2-3); Faith is the victory that overcomes the world, if we choose to believe, we must continue to believe (5:4-5, 10).
By the way, I do want to apologize for my comment above. I did state that too strongly and send it off impetuously. I would like to be able to continue to debate these issues with you in a civil manner, no matter how strongly I feel about them.
No problem, BW, I understand how strong feelings can take over sometimes – apology very much accepted.
For sure we could chat some time Aidan.
Yeah BRDMOD, I would say that using a passage in which Jesus rejects a person over their false view of salvation is more than “too strong.” Notice that I didn’t “command” Aidan to cease and desist. I asked him to stop pushing his dogmatic Arminianism on everyone. If you’re telling me that Soteriology 101 is asking me to no longer take part in discussions here, aren’t you being guilty of what you just accused me?!? And over something as innocuous asking someone to stop pushing false theology. What an overreaction.
It’s fine to ask me not to request for others to stop pushing certain views, but you went way too far. I guess you’re not as welcoming and gracious as you’d like to think.
I just noticed your second comment. Fair enough. I don’t think you meant any ill will in it. I will be careful not to pressure Aidan to stop with his comments. Thank you and God bless.
Thank you also BW! :-]
And yes – God bless!
I very much appreciate the ministry of Leighton Flowers. I like the way he challenges Calvinism – how he highlights their logical inconsistencies, constant appeals to mystery…and the hermeneutical gymnastics they are forced to engage in, to sustain their position. I am, however, a little puzzled by Article Nine – which says, “we deny even the possibility of apostasy”. Having looked through the given biblical references, I have failed to find anything definitively compelling which would force me to this conclusion. I would agree that no-one could snatch Christians out of the hand of their saviour, but would baulk at saying that libertarian freewill is terminated at the point of salvation….at least, in this particular and discrete issue of perseverance. But I’m happy to become better informed: so if anyone could offer clear scriptural evidence of apostasy’s non-existence – or a cogent argument as to why it would be impossible for someone to choose to walk away from God – I would be most grateful.
Hello Tom and welcome
No one can give you a cogent argument against apostasy based on scripture. And besides, anyone who has being around long enough, have by experience seen too many people leave the faith and go back into sin – back into the world. And I don’t find it very convincing when I hear it said, ‘Well, that just meant they were never really a Christian in the first place.’ That’s just circular reasoning based on a false premise! Yes, we know that there can be pretenders, but we also know of the many clear warnings given to Christians – affirming the possibility of apostasy. I would be surprised if anyone takes you up on this – at least for any serious length of time – especially if you disagree with them!
Thank you for the welcome, BRDMOD, and thank you Aidan for your response.
Aidan – I also rather suspect that no-one could give a cogent argument against apostasy, as you suggest. I am curious to know, however, why a ministry which meticulously deconstructs Calvinist doctrine has so comprehensively bought into the ‘P’ of ‘Tulip’. Of course, if it could be decisively demonstrated from scripture that apostasy could never happen – I would gladly embrace the revelation…unlike some, I would not wish to remain ignorant on principle. But the conclusion of your response leads me to believe I shouldn’t hold my breath waiting for it to materialize.
In your reply, you’ve actually stated my position more eloquently than I could have myself. Like you, I’ve seen many go back into the world: I’ve heard that mantra about how they weren’t Christians in the first place countless times, and I’m aware of those ‘clear warnings’ of apostasy. They seem a lot clearer to me, than the case against apostasy. You may also well be right about the likelihood of anyone trying to defend this position – let alone actually proving it from scripture. But if I can’t hope for that, I can certainly hope that those of this persuasion might review – for themselves – the reasons they hold to this teaching.
okay, I can’t speak for this site but it is my own belief that the the P of TULIP is not the same thing as eternal security or once saved always saved. The P means more while including the doctrine of eternal security. The P should properly mean that a person will always have works and therefore never fall back into sin.
Apostasy is different in my opinion. Apostasy is denying the faith, not just falling into sin. I think that the belief of the southern Baptist Traditionalists and provisionists is that a person is always kept under God’s grace. Meaning he could fall into sin by grieving God’s spirit but still be saved.
I personally came to see it like this because of a number of passages but the ones that convinced me are Romans 5:20,
The law came along to multiply the trespass. But where sin multiplied, grace multiplied even more so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace will reign through righteousness, resulting in eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Romans 5:20-21 HCSB
So because of the truth that where sin increases grace increases and Paul’s plea for the Christian to not act in this way in chapter 6:1: A person regenerated will be continually kept under God’s grace even if they fall into sin at some point in their life. Also, the other main passage is the sealing of the Holy Spirit mentioned in at least two places in Ephesians 1 and 4.
When you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and when you believed in Him, you were also sealed with the promised Holy Spirit. He is the down payment of our inheritance, for the redemption of the possession, to the praise of His glory.
Ephesians 1:13-14 HCSB
And don’t grieve God’s Holy Spirit. You were sealed by Him for the day of redemption.
Ephesians 4:30 HCSB
So to me the sealing is very clearly a guaranteeing lasting effect that is done by God. We are told not to grieve him(or to bring him sorrow) by our falling back into the bad habits of sin.
For the aspect of apostasy, I would say the way this site words it is to say that if you reject the faith, meaning no longer say you believe, then you were never a believer to begin with but this is distinct from the P of TULIP in how the falling out of the perseverance of good works is not the same thing as apostasy in a person denying they believe. I think Leighton has said it before that he believes in preservation of the saints, not perseverance of the saints. I think what this site is saying is that a true believer would never stop believing. I think this is what they mean but they can correct me if I am off in anything I said.
Your post reminds me that Calvinism’s position on this issue is night and day from the non-Calvinist.
The TULIP as you may know, was formulated many years after Calvin’s initial conception of the doctrine.
Because it became so popular within Reformed churches, it was falsely interpreted by non-Calvinists as the foundational core of the doctrine.
Actually the foundational core of the doctrine is UNIVERSAL DIVINE CAUSAL DETERMINISM
A THEOS a the foundation of the world before creatures are created, determines every nano-second of whatsoever comes to pass.
Calvin’s god as the divine potter – per their interpretation of Romans 9 – designs the “MANY” for the lake of fire.
They are as Calvin says “doomed from the womb”.
Calvin’s god designs the “FEW” for election.
They are “predestined from the womb” to be elect.
And that election is INFALLIBLE, IRREVOCABLE, and INESCAPABLE.
So what sense does it make to say that something that is INFALLIBLE needs to be preserved?
We are talking about the creation of a vessel whose eternal destiny is INFALLIBLY fixed and cannot be compromised.
What sense does it make to say that vessel needs to be preserved?
When you think this through – you realize the whole business of preserving something that is INFALLIBLY fixed makes no sense.
This is why its important to realize the TULIP came years after the origins of Calvin’s doctrine.
Personally I think the TULIP was created because people started to view Calvinism as more STOIC determinism than Christianity.
So Reformed thinkers created the TULIP as a response to that.
This is why I say the Calvinist position is night and day from the non-Calvinist.
Preservation of the saints makes sense if there is in fact a possibility of apostasy.
But the fact that the elect are chosen before they are born in Calvinism makes apostasy a LOGICAL IMPOSSIBLY.
I hope that makes sense to you.
It is good to see that you were willing to make a defense of unconditional security. As you know, it can be a contentious issue at the best of times. The issue as I see it, is not whether one has “eternal security,” but rather, whether it is conditional or unconditional. For example, you said: “So because of the truth that where sin increases grace increases and Paul’s plea for the Christian to not act in this way in chapter 6:1: A person regenerated will be continually kept under God’s grace even if they fall into sin at some point in their life.”
You do know that Paul is not trying to convey the idea of “unconditional security” here? Quite the opposite! In Romans 6, Paul directly and fully discusses the question of whether grace encourages sin. Notice that Paul gets into the discussion by anticipating and putting forward a false inference someone might have drawn from 5:20-21; (v. 1-2). “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?” But note that the question, “Shall we CONTINUE in sin” suggests the very possibility that we can. Similarly in (v.12) “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.” Suggests that sin CAN “REIGN in your mortal body,” – if you LET IT. Remember these are Christians! The Christian cannot be indifferent towards sin and allow it to regain the throne in his life. What Paul says in (v.12) is by way of a command; that you not “let sin reign in your mortal body.”
Furthermore, in Romans 6:15-16, Paul asks them:
What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness?
Notice how Paul repudiates any possible idea that they should sin because they were not under law, but under grace! Paul clearly warns them – “you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, WHETHER OF SIN LEADING TO DEATH, or of obedience leading to righteousness. Hence this passage clearly shows how possible it was for them to choose to continue in sin, and thereby break their relationship with Christ and lose their salvation.
Actually,In the passage in Romans 5 and 6, I see it as the opposite as you are saying. It seems to make more sense and more clear to me that there are some of those in the church in Paul’s time that have fallen into these bad habits of sinning and that is why Paul is denouncing them in Romans and in many of his letters. He is rhetorically telling them to start to let their actions fall in line with their faith. He is saying both that if you are one of those people that is of the thinking or sinning so that grace might increase, then that person is not assured of their salvation and needs to be sure of it by following Jesus in their conduct. Telling them that they should not abuse God’s grave but respond in faithfulness with avoiding sinning and not increasing in sin. This was probably an issue in the church from the way he is speaking or he believed it would become one.
For me, it became clear after reading this passage in Romans that God’s grace increases whether we acknowledge it or not. It shows the depth of God’s grace for believers. However, abusing this grace gives no assurance of being under it or in Christ. Hence why Paul asked the question in Romans 6 :1
““What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it?”
To your point exactly where you said, ” But note that the question, “Shall we CONTINUE in sin” suggests the very possibility that we can. Similarly in (v.12) “Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts.” Suggests that sin CAN “REIGN in your mortal body,” – if you LET IT. ”
This is exactly the case I am trying to prove, it is because we are under God’s grace and don’t lose it that Paul is trying to get the Christian to smarten up. Also trying to wake up those who have not yet realized their salvation through a born-again experience and could still be of those still not saved yet.
I think that is the point he is trying to convey. If a person would lose it then why tell us that his grace increases? I wonder if he was also at the same time squashing anyone who would say that certain sins or falling back into sin would forfeit their salvation in this passage and also in the whole of Romans. It could be that some in the church then were telling others that they were no longer under grace after having sinned while being a Christian. At the same time reassuring and encouraging them in Romans that nothing can separate them from the love of God for those who become part of God’d elect in Romans 7 and 8. It makes better sense also of Paul in Romans 7 explaining how a person in Christ should experiencing a battle the flesh and not give into it.
What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? Notice that Paul just told them not to sin – because their sin would lead to death! Is that salvation? Certainly not!
Romans 8:1;- “There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” Notice that it is – no condemnation for those who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit? But what if they are walking according to the flesh? Condemnation!
Romans 8:12,13:- “Therefore, brethren, we are debtors—not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.” If you live according to the flesh you will die Paul says to these brethren. I don’t think they misunderstood what Paul meant!
Romans 8:28:- “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.” Notice – That Paul does not teach unconditional foreordination and election. The persons “called according to His purpose” are identified with – “them that love God.” The Christian who continues in sin, who is allowing sin to reign in his mortal body, who is walking according to the flesh – is not loving God; because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God(Rom. 8:7). He is separating himself from God in his sin (Is. 59:1-2).
Finally, Paul speaks to brethren who had become severed from Christ and had fallen from grace in (Gal. 5:4). But we are saved by grace. One who has become “severed from Christ” and who has “fallen from grace” cannot be saved – if he doesn’t repent. If he dies in his sin, he dies severed from Christ(John 15), and fallen from grace.
Eternal security is by no means unconditional.
Welll, Aidan, the references that you establish is the same references that LEGALISTS reference all the time. You don’t FINISH the paragraphs.
In addition, you don’t take into consideration sentence structuring.
Romans 6 SHALL WE…finish the paragraph. You will see that IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO SIN UNDER GRACE, because we are DEAD TO SIN. Sin has NO POWER over us.
Those IN CHRIST do not walk after the flesh. Only those NOT IN CHRIST walk after the flesh.
Do you really think that Paul was SINLESS after he became a Christian? Do you really find that Paul was WORRIED about whether he was gonna go to hell when he died?
NO ONE IS sinless after they become a Christian, but CHRISTIANS are already saved, because sin has NO POWER over our salvation.
If you walk after the flesh, you were never saved to begin with. We will indeed STUMBLE, but we will NOT FALL.
I wish you would stop peddling your belief that eternal security does not exist.
The point is that eternal security is conditional, rather than unconditional. I might be mistaking where you are coming from, but it seems like you are contradicting yourself here. On the one hand you said, “IT IS IMPOSSIBLE TO SIN UNDER GRACE, because we are DEAD TO SIN.” And then on the other hand you said, “NO ONE IS sinless after they become a Christian.”
Well, if it is impossible for a Christian to sin under grace wouldn’t that mean Paul was indeed “sinless?”
And if it is impossible to sin under grace because one is “DEAD TO SIN,” is it also IMPOSSIBLE TO GO BACK UNDER THE LAW because one is – DEAD TO THE LAW? (Rom.7:4; Gal 5:1-4; Hebrews). I think anyone who knows the scriptures knows better than that!
Sin has NO POWER over us as long as we don’t make it our master again (Rom. 6:12-16) – as long as one remains faithful to Christ.
I agree, NO ONE IS sinless after they become a Christian (1 Jn. 1:8-10).That’s why Paul warns them not to “continue in sin” nor allow “sin reign in your mortal body” because you will die (6:16; 8:13). But FAITHFUL Christians, who are penitent believers, have nothing to worry about.
Thanks or the chat!
The only condition is to DIE WITH CHRIST. Other than that, there is no condition.
Those severed from Christ has NOT ACCEPTED Grace, but put themselves UNDER THE LAW, being SELF RIGHTEOUS, thinking that they have to DO SOMETHING to gain eternal life.
Sorry, but the book of Galatians makes clear that these were Christians in Gal 5:1-4.
Keep safe, keep well!
NO, your Galatians reference does NOT state that. It states that those who attempt to WORK are severed, which means that they put themselves UNDER THE LAW, thereby REJECTING the Grace.
Legalists do not interpret scripture properly.
I’m sorry, Ed, but if you are going to ignore both contexts in the book of Romans and Galatians, along with clear statements of scripture – I see no point in wasting my time discussing this with you! We’ve been around this block before – I don’t see you as being open to the truth, because you have already made up your mind on this.
Thanks, and keep safe!
Typical legalist response!
“I don’t see you as being open to the truth…”
Isn’t it interesting that everyone has the same book, called the bible. We can all read, and yet, each DENOMINATION has different interpretations of the same sentence, paragraph, book, and EACH of those different interpretations is that person’s TRUTH, or everyone else’s lie?
So when Aidan states that I am no open to THE TRUTH, what he is really saying is that I am not open to HIS truth, not THE truth.
Some agree with Aidan, some don’t. But what constitutes HIS truth as being TRUE? Whose TRUTH is more truer? So many different TRUTH’S out there in Christendom. Everybody has got a truth that is truer than someone elses truth, concluding that all are lies, except their own, and those whose truth are lies, are going to hell, all because they didn’t accept that person’s truth.
The 7th Day Adventists think they have THE TRUTH! The Catholics think that they have THE TRUTH, and of course, the Calvinists think that they have THE TRUTH. Who’s truth is more truer?
And ya wonder why Christians are made fun of in the Huffington Post?
You had said:
“And if it is impossible to sin under grace because one is “DEAD TO SIN,” is it also IMPOSSIBLE TO GO BACK UNDER THE LAW because one is – DEAD TO THE LAW? (Rom.7:4; Gal 5:1-4; Hebrews). I think anyone who knows the scriptures knows better than that!”
How do you conclude that it is IMPOSSIBLE to go back under the law if one is dead to sin under grace?
Dude, IF YOU REMAIN UNDER GRACE it is impossible to sin under grace. If you put yourself…PUT YOURSELF back under the law, then sin reigns in your mortal body, and you are a slave to sin.
Paul is telling people to FORGET ABOUT THE LAW, stop trying to gain salvation by the law, and sin will NOT reign in your mortal body.
1 Corinthians 15:56
…the power of sin is the law.
Does that mean anything to you?
That tells you that WITHOUT THE LAW, sin has NO POWER. You may indeed sin, but sin has NO POWER without the law.
Ignorance of the law means that you will indeed sin, but because you have no clue about the law, SIN HAS NO POWER over your destination to hell when you die, NO MATTER WHAT SIN YOU MAY HAVE COMMITTED.
KNOWLEDGE of the law, which MEANS that you have knowledge of sin, is what gets you to hell, UNLESS, you accept the GRACE that God gives.
We will always sin, but sin has NO POWER since the law was taken out of the picture. How shall we? We can’t. The “How shall we” was RHETORICAL, because he answers his own RHETORICAL question by stating,
Romans 6:2-7 (Niv)
We are those who have died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3 Or don’t you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4 We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
5 For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly also be united with him in a resurrection like his. 6 For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with,[a] that we should no longer be slaves to sin— 7 because anyone who has died has been set free from sin.
Remember Paul Harvey? He used to discuss…THE REST OF THE STORY!
Okay, I just want to say that I am not a Calvinist. I was speaking from a Non-Calvinist position. I am not sure if you understood that I was a Calvinist or not from your response.
But actually, I don’t see it making sense though. How is there a possibility of apostasy if there is a preservation being done by God for the saints? Are you saying because He knew there would be a possibility, he decided to preserve the saints from apostasy?
Think about it in terms the Calvinist thinks…..that of creating a vessel
Lets say you create a vessel and you paint that vessel the color red.
And lets say you have the supernatural power to make that red color INFALLIBLE and IRREVOCABLE
How is that color going to apostatize if that color is established as INFALLIBLE and IRREVOCABLE?
So in Calvinism’s core system – apostasy is simply a non-sequitur.
Calvin’s god cannot create a square-circle or a married-bachelor
And in the same way he cannot create a vessel with an eternal destiny that is both INFALLIBLE and FALLIBLE at the same time.
Any talk of preserving what is INFALLIBLE is simply self-contradicting
So the P in the TULIP is simply a facade doctrine.
This is why I suspect Reformed thinkers invented the TULIP – because people saw Calvinism as simply a form of STOIC determinism.
And Reformed thinkers needed a way to make it look more Biblical – so they invented the TULIP.
“P” is redundant because “U” precludes apostasy. “P” is probably done more for Reformed® marketing purposes than theological necessity. I think Calvinism could actually get by with just “U” as all the other petals of the TULIP are logically required thereafter and are – in a way – redundant with “U”.
I am not sure whether I am an outlier or not by rejecting eternal security. I haven’t read enough here to understand whether Provisionalism allows for the possibility of apostasy or not. I believe apostasy is scripturally unavoidable and quite clear, but I may be in a minority on that view among the readership.
“P” is probably done more for Reformed® marketing purposes than theological necessity
Yes – exactly!
Personally I see the whole TULIP as cosmetic – working to make the product APPEAR scripturally centric – while hiding its underlying layer of Stoic/NeoPlatonic determinism.
Without the TULIP no non-Calvinist Christian would even give Calvinism a look.
There’s a video on this topic by Dr. Flowers on YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wVonZ1S2Ss It was good to get his take on it, but I unfortunately remain unconvinced of his position. I find a natural reading of the scriptures from beginning to end consistently shows apostasy to be true. God didn’t suddenly change His mind concerning sin and apostasy, come the new covenant.
Right, okay, I can see and agree with your arguments against the Calvinist system of TULIP. But this site denies even the possibility of apostasy also. This still would be in common with the Calvinists even though they get to it by other means. The Arminian would accept a person to either fall into sin and be lost or to deny the faith and be lost; I suppose their are different camps. But the beliefs of this site are a denial of even the possibility. In my earlier comments I was trying to explain the way in which you guys could understand the reasons for holding this belief and also giving my own reasons.
I think Aidan and Tom are looking for this site’s answer for why they believe the way they do and not so much what the Calvinist believes.
Yes – I see what you are saying – and point well taken!
Personally for me, I take the warning verses in scripture at face value.
And so far – I haven’t felt any need to question or deviate from that perspective
Good chatting with you!
There’s a lot of good, thought-provoking material in your posts, and I appreciate you sharing your perspectives. But I should preface my response with an apology: I equated Article Nine with the ‘P’ of Tulip, and it has been pointed out that they are not to be understood as one and the same. But really, it is that issue of denying the possibility of apostasy which prompted me to write. Though I can’t speak for Aidan, Joel is certainly correct when he says I’m looking for this site’s answer for why they believe the way they do.
I guess I’d like some definitive reason for that, because I’ve long embraced all the other aspects of Provisionism. I struggle with this one on two counts: what I believe are clear scriptural warnings against apostasy, and the inconsistency (as I see it) of freewill choice being applicable in every aspect of life – but then being revoked in the single matter of remaining in (or walking away from) Christ.
I’m sure we all know the scriptures which may potentially be taken to speak into this subject, but I wonder which have been truly decisive in determining this site’s position, and of course – why, as believers, we become unable to effectually choose abandonment of our saviour.
I might be able to reach out to Dr. Flowers and see if he could provide the specific clarification you are looking for.
Would you be so kind as to formulate again the clarification you are asking about?
Really helpful of you, BR.D – thank you very much!
I’d like to know why he is confident in denying the possibility of apostasy: what is decisive for him scripturally, how he deals with those passages which seem to suggest that possibility – and if he sees a conflict between freewill, and the inability to choose to walk away from Christ. Hope that’s not too long-winded!
I forwarded your question.
Lets see if Dr. Flowers is available to get back to me on it.
Will let you know.
If you get something worth sharing, will you let me know?
Dr. Flowers got back to me and indicated he has created some podcasts and videos on that topic.
One place you can find podcasts is here:
I think with that URL you should see for example, a video podcast titled “Once Saved always saved?”
Please take a browse through those videos and see if they meet you query.
HI BR.D Only just spotted your message, when I replied to Aidan. Thanks for getting back to me! I’ll check out that podcast.
My pleasure Tom!
Certainly will, Aiden!
Hi Aidan – I hope you are keeping well, and staying safe. Just thought I’d let you know that Leighton has not got back to me as yet. I think he’s probably busy with videos, at the mo.
He does have a piece on this subject, though – which I watched. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5wVonZ1S2Ss It was good to get his viewpoint on this, even though I remain unconvinced of apostasy’s impossibility. My understanding of his position was that the freewill decision to follow Christ was irrevocable….that is to say, a subsequent, contrary freewill decision could not be made. But that’s only my interpretation of what he was saying. Perhaps he’ll yet get in touch, and I’ll drop you a line if he does.
If you look at his 3 categories, I would agree on two of them, namely, that Christians can 1.backslide, and 2. some people are never saved. But his argument on the third category – Once saved not lost – I found to be unconvincing. When the prodigal son was lost, he was still a son, although a lost son.
Again, thank you for getting back to me.
Yes, Aidan, the son was indeed lost – and presumably could have chosen to remain so forever….or at least for a few hundred years, until Augustine’s novel, deterministic God forced him to return.
Like you, I struggled with that third category. I suspect the apostle Paul might have struggled with it, too. I say that because I think the Pauline epistles seem to contain a more complex view of soteriology, than that which is prevalent today. As he spoke about salvation in past, present and future tenses – and the need for sanctification – I do wonder if he really understood it as a one-off, instantaneous and irreversible event. Not being an expert on these matters, I would have to research his writings on the subject, before feeling qualified to opine on his position.
Hebrews 6 resonates with me: I’m not sure a clearer definition of a Christian can be found in scripture – nor a more graphic illustration of apostasy. I have read quite a few theologians on that passage – mostly, those who oppose the concept of apostasy. Quite frankly, some of their arguments are so lame, they should be confined to wheelchairs.
Yep! I agree with you that Augustine’s and Calvin’s deterministic father is not the Father of the bible. And I agree with you on Hebrews 6.
I am am Original Free Will Baptist pastor and graduate of Campbell University Divinity School and have learned more about theology from Soteriology 101 then I did in all my years of formal education. I’m finding that Calvinist schools do a much better job of presenting and teaching their students the Calvinist system than schools that are non-Calvinist. Perhaps, that is because non-Calvinists are far from monolithic.
I am in the process of teaching through my denominations articles of faith with my church. We are beginning the doctrine of salvation and I have been reflecting upon things I have heard in the podcast and seen on the sight that are helping me. Us non-SBC pastors and theologians are benefiting a great deal from the work of Soteriology 101.
To all involved, keep up the great work!
Thank you very much for your kind and thoughtful post Dale!
I forwarded your post on to Dr. Flowers.
May the Lord continue to bless and use you.
Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ
I read elsewhere on this site that eternal security came down to a question of when it occurred – not if:
A – at salvation
B – at death (resurrection)
C – never (those in heaven could still choose sin – like Lucifer and a third of the angels)
I align with “B”. Don’t see much scriptural support for “A” and none at all for “C”.
Calvinists would probably demand another option: D – at the foundation of the world as one of the Elect.
if “salvation” does not include eternal security, then what is salvation? I believe there are several perspectives to consider with knowledge of eternal security: for the individual Christian I believe it is at salvation, for others I believe we cannot have eternal security in the same sense as personally, and with respect to God’s sovereignty eternal security is from the foundation of the world.
I am far from being an authority on the subject, but the above is what I believe the Bible teaches.
Hello Austin and welcome.
There are numerous positions on this of course.
And some people who read the warning verses in scripture – take them very literally.
And those people read the NT authors as warning believers that they can in fact lose their salvation.
Crucify Christ again – impossible to renew them again to repentance – etc
Not sure if anyone else mentioned them, but two other pastors worth listening to are Ralph “Yankee” Arnold (I haven’t heard him yet but my husband listens to him, says that he preaches the Gospel simply and clearly and that he preaches directly against Calvinism too) and Dr. Tony Evans, my pastor of choice. Dr. Evans doesn’t preach directly against Calvinism per se, but he simply preaches the Gospel as it is written, which will always contradict Calvinism anyway. He is clear that God is sovereign but that He exercises His sovereignty in two ways, either by causing what happens (not sin or evil) or by allowing what happens (such as by utilizing the choices people make or what Satan does). He emphasizes our need to be responsible for our decisions. And he says that God has two wills: one is His unconditional Will (the things He has determined to do regardless of what we do) and the other is His conditional Will (the things He will only do based on us, our obedience, our prayers, etc.) This makes so much more sense and fits with the Bible so much more than Calvinism’s contradictory “revealed Will” and “secret Will.” Anyway, just adding two more names in case anyone is interested.
Hi Heather – good to hear from you!
Warm blessing to you and yours
Your pastor sounds like good sound preaching.
This of course in contrast to Calvinism’s dishonesty – when it comes to its portrayal of divine permission.
Calvinism’s formula for divine permission follows:
What is [NOT CAUSED] is [NOT PERMITTED]
So divine permission in Calvinism – is nothing more than divine causation.
But the COMMON SENSE in which permission is communicated in all languages is NON-CAUSAL.
And when it comes to evil events – the Calvinist wants to obfuscate Calvin’s god as the AUTHOR of evil
So Calvinist’s consistently use permission language in a dishonesty manner.
In order to obfuscate Calvin’s god as the AUTHOR of evil
You guys must copy that list above of notable non calvinists in put it in a seperate and dedicated article so it can be found and read easily it took me forever to find it and i was specifically looking for it!
Thank you Mary!
I’ll pass that on to Dr. Flowers and Eric.
I have been a You Tube subscriber for quite some time. It would be nice to see a video on how to properly approach a Calvinist. What I mean is, how do you reduce the animosity that sometimes grows when you are speaking to them or are around them. It is if they believe in a different form of Christianity and it is hard not to accumulate a certain negativity. It is important to be Christ-like when discussing this topic. Thank you for your defending work in this area of scripture. It has helped me immensely.
Hello Bruce and welcome
I totally understand what you are saying – and greatly appreciate the sincerity and thoughtfulness!
Perhaps you’ll find that Dr. Flowers provides that in the manner in which he presents himself in his videos?
It has become obvious to me that Calvinists have particular tactics which they strategically deploy.
Many of those tactics – as you note – are not driven by Christ-like motives – but rather driven by a need to feel superior.
There is a form of vicarious pride in Calvinism.
The Calvinist cannot take pride in himself as a superior person without coming off as carnal human pride.
So he acquires his pride vicariously by being a part of a superior social group.
Many times you try to reason with him when he takes an irrational position.
But if he lets go of his irrational position – in his mind – he has lost his position of superiority.
So he will cling to his irrational position in order to retain his imagined position of superiority.
These are not aspects of his theology – but rather reflections of his psychology.
So I think having wisdom in the Calvinist’s psychology greatly empowers you with a position of understanding.
And with that understanding – you can have compassion on the Calvinist – even when he’s trying to attack you.
Over the years – I’ve also learned – with many Calvinists – its a grave mistake to take them seriously.
I have personally found – many of them with minds that appear to be almost brain-washed.
I have bumped into one or two occasionally – who is a sincere and honest thinker.
But even those Calvinists manifest an internal struggle because they are terrified of questioning the doctrine.
Any degree of questioning the doctrine – in their mind – is interpreted as a sign that God has designed them as a vessel of wrath. And that terrifies them. So their minds learn to instantly shut down any internal questioning.
Hope that helps!
Hello S101, I was looking through this and saw “We deny that this atonement results in salvation without a person’s free response of repentance and faith.”. That made me wonder as to which definition of repentance do you mean? The Lordship Salvation view that is: we must also have works and daily rejection of sin which accompanies our salvation, lest we are false converts? or the Free Grace view which is that the form of repentance comes in a state of mind from unbelief to belief, where as all works and rejections of sins are for the sanctification of the justified? (or anything in between). I would love to know as I had looked through a lot of your videos and could not find anything relating to the topic.
Hello HerveyShmervy and welcome.
Dr. Flowers, due to a very heavy schedule, is not here regularly to respond to posters.
But you may find him on facebook – if you are a FB user.
If I were to take a stab at the question – its my understanding – what is called “Lordship Salvation” is predicated on Calvinism – where 100% of whatsoever comes to pass with every person is 100% predestined before people exist.
In such case – the whole business of a person rejecting sin is a false premise. Because according to the underlying core of the doctrine – person’s don’t actually reject or accept anything, because absolutely nothing is UP TO any person.
When 100% of [X] is determined by someone else – that leaves ZERO% of [X] left over for you to determine.
In Calvinism’s case – 100% of everything is UP TO Calvin’s god
And Calvin’s god therefore leaves ZERO% left over UP TO you.
Whatever you are, and whatever you do (such as reject or accept sin) is never determined by you.
And additionally – any idea that anything is UP TO you – would represent a predestined illusion.
I love the articulation of the statements of faith. However, please consider amending the first sentence in paragraph two of Article 2. My view is that we are not sinners only when we sin. We are sinful by nature. The Bible is explicit on us being sinners because of the imputed sin in Adam. In Adam all die but in Christ all shall be made alive.
Hello Ezekiel and welcome
Nice post! :-]
Ezekiel writes: “My view is that we are not sinners only when we sin.”
Biblical view: We are only sinners when we sin! “For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Notice that it clearly states … all have sinned, NOT ..all are born sinners. It is interesting that your name is Ezekiel seeing that Ezekiel 18:20 clearly teaches; “The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.”
It seems God’s ways are much fairer than man’s – “is it not My way which is fair, and your ways which are not fair?” Ezek.18:25
I have taken time to examine your reply to my comment which you have labeled as the “Biblical view” in contrast with mine.
My view is that Ezekiel 18:25 does not annul the impact of the fall in Genesis 2-3. I am therefore hesitant to accede to your assertion that we are only sinners when we sin and that we are not born sinners. That would imply that our sin in Adam is a myth!
Your statement appears to contradict several passages of Scripture and inescapably puts into doubt the primary purpose of the atoning works of Christ. The Bible clearly teaches that original sin was imputed upon Adam’s offspring until Christ and this is what Christ dealt with at the cross so that any sinner who repents and comes to Christ by faith is cleansed and legally discharged from the penalty of Adam’s sin. His subsequent sins are continually atoned by the blood of Jesus (1 John 1:8-10).
Romans 5:12 teaches that “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and that death spread to all men BECAUSE ALL SINNED” (emphasis mine). 1 Corinthians 15:22 says “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.”
My view is that you have therefore quoted and applied Ezekiel 18:25 out of its passage context.
Welcome Ezekiel – Rom 5:12 – sin nature.
The prepositional phrase in Rom 5:12 ἐφ᾽ ᾧ. is literally “on the basis of which”. The relative pronoun, “which”, points back to the “sin” that entered the world. When Paul uses the word “sin” as the subject of the sentence (the actor doing the action), he means sin nature. (cf. 7:9, 17)
Therefore in 5:12 Paul is saying “all sinned” because of a sin nature that entered the world… not because they incurred guilt from Adam’s sin.
God says clearly the children are not guilty because of their father’s sins.
Ezekiel 18:20 NKJV — “The soul who sins shall die. The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.”
Paul says that it was only after he (his matured conscience) was confronted by the law that his sin nature came to life and he died. Of course he meant spiritual death, guilty before God. [Rom 7:9 NKJV] — I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. (See Alford’s Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary for additional comment)
Thanks for your comment. I respectfully disagree with your view concerning the inherence of sin. I am convinced without an iota of doubt we are all born sinful. Every person born of Adam’s lineage shares in his sinful condemnation and only the blood of Jesus can cleanse that sin.
I am aware that one would immediately argue about the fairness of this truth. Unfortunately, this is a teaching affirmed in several passages of Scripture. Ezekiel 18:25 cannot be applied retrogressively in the manner suggested.
For instance, Romans 5:17-19 says “For if by the one man’s offense death reigned through the one, much more those who receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.)
18 Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation, even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men, resulting in justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.”
Adam’s offence was sufficient to destroy our relationship with God and only the New Adam could provide the cure not only for the sin nature that we inherited in Adam but the guilt and condemnation we share in him.
My view is that Scripture is plainly clear on its presentation of the effect of Adam’s sin, fall, condemnation and death on the one part and God’s grace in the redemption and hope in Christ Jesus on the other part.
Thank you Ezekiel for your thoughtful reply. I don’t mind we disagree. I presented my view based on grammar, context, and relevant parallel passages.
As for Rom 5:18-19, here is my take with my added explanation in brackets within the verse. Rom 5, 18-19
Romans 5:18-19 NKJV — Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men [a propensity for sin passed on in the body and soul received from Adam] , resulting in condemnation [when the mature conscience fails when confronted by the law], even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men [in a few enlightenment opportunities to freely seek that gift], resulting in justification of life [when personal faith is expressed in the Giver of that gift] . For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners [excluding those who die before their conscience matures], so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous [excluding those who personally refuse to trust in God’s offer of mercy].
There is no universal justification by Christ’s death, which you would agree must be through faith… so the parallel expression in the same verse cannot be talking about universal condemnation through Adam’s sin, but a definite propensity to seek sin, just like Christ’s death has made available to all to seek justification.
Thanks for the continued engagement.
Allow me to make some observations on your latest comment.
First, sections of your paraphrased explanations are, in my view, overstretched and appear to be consistent with your desire to outline your soteriological opinion.
“Therefore, as through one man’s offense judgment came to all men ..”
Secondly, Adam’s offense arose from his disobedience to God’s express command recorded in Genesis 2:16-17. It resulted in a substantial impact, much more than a propensity to sin. He stood condemned even as we, by our heritage in him, are.
My view is that the reference to a mature conscience is a foreign inference imposed on the text. It is not discernible from its textual rendering, not even in any recognized Greek manuscript.
“… even so through one Man’s righteous act the free gift came to all men… ”
I agree with the first portion of your paraphrase in this section. Yes, justification is not universal but is obtained through faith. However, your rejection of the universal impact on Adam’s fall is startling. Please register my disagreement on that.
Thanks for the engagement.
Ezekiel. I understand your view perfectly. I’ve nothing more to add. Thx for the chat. Others will decide which of us is understanding those verses the best according to normal rules of grammar and context.
Dr Wagner, thanks for your comment. I wish to register our conflicting soteriological views on the issue of sin and its inherence. I also appreciate your skilful hermeneutic on the passage I presented.
It is however important to appreciate that even though you and I are privileged to have studied New Testament Greek in seminary, not all members of this group are familiar with Biblical languages. I have deliberately refrained from undertaking a technical analysis of the texts where I am convinced that the text plainly speaks out.
I am hesitant to reduce the analysis of Scripture to a hermeneutical contest.
Thanks for the engagement sir.
And just “Brian” if you don’t mind, Ezekiel, for any future conversations on other things we might have.
Matthew 23:6-11 NKJV — “They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, 👉greetings👈 in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’ But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren. Do not call anyone on earth your father; for One is your Father, He who is in heaven. And do not be called teachers [👉doctors👈]; for One is your Teacher [👉Doctor👈], the Christ. But he who is greatest among you shall be your servant.”
Not bad “just Brian” not bad!🧐
Loved that reply, Brian. Couldn’t help bu think of “Dr” Jill Biden. 😉
Brian writes: “The prepositional phrase in Rom 5:12 ἐφ᾽ ᾧ. is literally “on the basis of which”. The relative pronoun, “which”, points back to the “sin” that entered the world. When Paul uses the word “sin” as the subject of the sentence (the actor doing the action), he means sin nature. (cf. 7:9, 17)”
I know we disagree on sin nature but I fully appreciate your analysis on ἐφ᾽ ᾧ. being literally “on the basis of which”. Passages such as Rom. 6:21; 2 Cor 5:4 and Phil. 3:12 seem to have the same form as Rom. 5:12, i.e. (upon which, on the ground of which) where reference is to the ground or basis on which. It is important for people to understand that the reference in the “which” is found in what precedes, not in what follows.
Ezekiel writes: Romans 5:12 teaches that “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and that death spread to all men BECAUSE ALL SINNED”
I, too, would like to thank you Ezekiel for your thoughtful reply. The comparison introduced in Romans 5:12 is the – idea of death through one man’s sin.
Romans 5:12 ASV – Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; and so death passed unto all men, for that all sinned:—
1. “Through one man” = Adam! Thus sin was able to establish a base of operations in the world. It was the sin of Adam that really gave sin its foothold.
2. “Sin entered into the world” = The world of mankind.
3. “And death through sin” = That is, death by means of sin.
4. “And so” = “in this manner.” In other words, the passing of death upon all men was in the same manner as it had entered – through the sin of one man (cf. verses 15-19). The consequence of Adam’s sin, one man’s sin, was that all would be born separated from the tree of life – hence born under the sentence of death.
5. “Death passed unto all men” = This must be explained in terms of the sentence of death in Gen. 3 (= the “judgment” meaning the sentence of a judge in Rom. 5:16). Although only Adam is mentioned, it is clear that the sentence of death passed in Eden was in effect upon all. There in Eden death passed unto all men ever to live.
6. “For that all sinned” – Does not mean “BECAUSE” as it is usually explained. The misinterpretation of this connective has introduced needless difficulty into the passage: (1) It has caused some to explain “all sinned” to mean “all sinned in Adam” instead of giving the words their most natural meaning. (2) It has caused others to explain “death” in terms of the spiritual separation from God instead of the physical death which alone best fits a context dealing with what comes to all because of one man’s sin.
The Greek phrase is literally “upon that” or “upon which.” The best translation, therefore, would be “whereupon” which means “upon which” exactly as does the Greek prepositional phrase. So we have literally “upon which, or on the ground of which all sinned.”
“All sinned”- can now be given its natural meaning and referred to the personal sins of individuals in accord with (1) the meaning of the same phrase in 3:23 and (2) the elaboration which follows. In verses 13-14 this clause is elaborated by means of a reference to the sins of individuals in the period prior to the Law. And so, with the phrase “for that” in v.12 now correctly explained, there is no need to explain death as spiritual alienation from God. That Paul is attributing physical death to Adam’s sin alone becomes clear when the various parts of v.12 is understood.
Therefore, as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin; [in this manner] death passed unto all men, [upon which, upon the ground of which] all sinned:—
And so we see with this explanation, that the sentence or judgment of death had already “passed unto all men” BEFORE all had personally sinned.
Ezekiel writes: 1 Corinthians 15:22 says “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.”
My view is that you have therefore quoted and applied Ezekiel 18:25 out of its passage context.
Since 1 Corinthians 15:22 in context is clearly speaking about physical death and not spiritual death, it might be worth considering that perhaps you might be the one who is applying all these other passages out of context too. Not just the grammar, but context means everything!
Thank you for your time, I’ll leave you with that thought.
Thanks for your comment.
Allow me to state that 1 Cor. 15:22 lies on the passage of 1 Cor. 15:20-28 which concerns the last enemy to be conquered by Christ once and for all. It states: For in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive (NKJV). Contrary to your assertion, my view is that the death in Adam contemplated in this text is spiritual rather than physical death. It is instructive that this death is referred to in this passage as the last enemy.
Here is why…Adam did not die physically the moment he disobeyed God. He lived on to 930 years! Adam however suffered spiritual death on the very day and instance that he disobeyed God. This is the plain teaching of Scripture! (Genesis 2:16-17). Spiritual death is what Adam bequeathed to his offspring when he fell and this is what Christ ultimately destroyed or conquered at Calvary. Gen. 3:15 is a pointer or foreshadow to works of the cross. The mention of this death in the above passage of context is, in my view, a celebration of divine victory in Christ. When Christ shall appear, the redeemed in Christ shall finally be ushered into eternal life in the presence of God forever (cf. 1 Thess. 4:17-18, Rev. 21).
Here is the second reason why your hermeneutic fails. Not all believers will experience physical death. Those who will be found alive at the coming of Christ will be transformed in the twinkling of an eye and will put on glorified bodies (1 Thess. 4:17,1 Cor 15:42-49). To teach that the death contemplated in 1 Cor. 15:22 is of a physical nature is, in my considered view, a misrepresentation of the revelation of Scripture.
“Allow me to state that 1 Cor. 15:22 lies on the passage of 1 Cor. 15:20-28 which concerns the last enemy to be conquered by Christ once and for all. It states: For in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive (NKJV). Contrary to your assertion, my view is that the death in Adam contemplated in this text is spiritual rather than physical death. It is instructive that this death is referred to in this passage as the last enemy.”
I have to admit that I was a bit shocked to discover that anyone could read 1 Cor. 15 and come up with the idea that Paul is referring to spiritual death in this passage. Any natural reading of the text reveals that Paul is dealing with the resurrection, I mean the physical resurrection of the dead at the end of time. You quoted verse 22, but lets begin with verse 20 as you suggested above.
1 Corinthians 15:20 NKJV — “But now Christ is risen from the dead, and has become the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep.” Is this physical death or spiritual death Paul is speaking of? If it’s spiritual death, as you have suggested, then Christ Himself must have spiritually died in order for Him to rise from the dead. That don’t make sense! Therefore we know that this can only be referring to His physical death and resurrection, not spiritual death.
1 Corinthians 15:21 NKJV — “For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead.” The term “For” (gar) relates this to v.20 by way of explanation. Therefore, the death spoken of in v.21 is the same death spoken of in v. 20, namely physical death, not spiritual death. As has been said before, since Christ cannot be said to have died spiritually, this death cannot refer to spiritual death. Physical death came to man through man(Adam). Just as the punishment of physical death came through man, the resurrection from the dead had to come through Man (Jesus). Jesus became a man in order that He might deliver men from the fear of death (cf. Heb. 2:14-18).
1 Corinthians 15:22 NKJV — “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.” Paul is simply giving further explanation to what he has just stated in v.21. This is made even clearer when we put them side by side. “For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.” Again, as the context demands, this death refers only to the death of the body, therefore the life spoken of in this verse can only refer to the resurrection of the body from the grave. The best exegesis of this passage is the most obvious one: that is to make death and life antithetical to each other, with the former referring to physical death of the body and the latter to the resurrection of the body from the dead, both of which will happen to all men.
John 5: 28-29 NKJV — “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation.” Since Jesus will raise both the righteous and the unrighteous through His power and because of His union with humanity, Jesus will raise all men from the dead – then the last enemy will have been destroyed!
Thanks for your remarks.
I have outlined my interpretation of 1 Corinthians 5:22 based on my discernment of the text and passage of context. I appreciate your alternative interpretation.
This gives us two sets of interpretations.
Let’s hear from others. Thank you.
Thanks for your remarks.
I have outlined my interpretation of 1 Corinthians 15:22 based on my discernment of the text and passage of context. I appreciate that physical death is also after the manner of Adam but I believe the context relates to spiritual death given the implications of Christ’s finished works.
I appreciate your alternative interpretation.
This gives us two sets of interpretations.
Let’s hear from others. Thank you
Fine, but I don’t know of any who would disagree that 1 Cor. 15 is dealing with physical death and and bodily resurrection from the grave.
I take it that you are dismissing my interpretation. well, you are entitled to your opinion. I am also entitled to mine.
My apologies, I’m not belittling you or your opinion, far from it; I was just responding to the idea of hearing from others on this matter.
Please allow me for clarity sake to ask you the following questions in the context of 1 Corinthians 15:22:
1) How did people die in Adam?
2) What is your understanding of the word ALL in the context of those who are made alive in Christ?
3) How are the dead made alive in Christ?
5) What/who is the last enemy?
I will appreciate your responses.
Hi, Ezekiel, there may be a bit of a time difference between us as I am living in Ireland. I will try to answer your questions as best I can in context with what I believe is the subject of this chapter.
1) “How did people die in Adam?”
You are referring to 1 Corinthians 15:22. Death came to this world through one man – historical Adam. Because of his sin, every human being has had to die a physical death. The consequence of Adam’s sin was that all would be born separated from the tree of life – hence born under the sentence of physical death. It is clear that the sentence of death passed in Eden was in effect upon all. There in Eden physical death passed unto all men ever to live. The verb “to die” in this verse is a present tense verb; in Adam all men keep dying.
2) “What is your understanding of the word ALL in the context of those who are made alive in Christ?”
The “all” of this half of the verse corresponds with the “all” of the first half of the verse. Insomuch as the “all” of the first half was “all men,” the “all” of this half means the same. Jesus has made the resurrection from the grave possible for all men, not to the righteous alone (John 5:28-29). Jesus will raise all men from the grave.
3) “How are the dead made alive in Christ?”
Whereas physical death came through historical Adam, life came through the historical Christ. By becoming as man, dying on the cross and rising from the dead the third day, Jesus made victory over death possible for all men. The “life” which is mentioned in this verse is the opposite of “death.” Inasmuch as the death referred only to the death of the body, the life spoken of in this verse refers only to the resurrection of the body from the grave. Whether the body is raised to eternal condemnation or everlasting life is not discussed in this verse. To make the word zōopoieō mean “everlasting life” would result in this passage teaching universal salvation. Those who understand zōopoieō in this way try to avoid universalism by making en Christos mean “in union with Christ.” The best exegesis of the passage is the one that is in keeping with the context of the chapter: death and life are antithetical to each other with the former referring to physical death of the body and the latter to the resurrection of the body from the grave, both of which will happen to all men in the general resurrection at the end of time.
Note: – “by Man also came the resurrection of the dead.. even so in Christ all shall be made alive.” (vv. 21,22)
5) What/who is the last enemy?
The last enemy to be destroyed is death, at the end of time. I believe when Christ comes again, it will only be at the end in which all who are in the graves will be raised, both good and evil (Jn. 5:28-29). Remember, Paul is not concerned about dealing with what will happen to the wicked in 1 Cor. 15. In this chapter he is only concerned with teaching and encouraging these Christians against some who seemed to be claiming there was no resurrection of the dead. It is primarily from this perspective that Paul is dealing with the general resurrection at the of time.
1 Corinthians 15: 23-26 NKJV — “But each one in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, afterward those who are Christ’s at His coming. Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death.”
Note v.24 “Then comes the end” ( eita to telos). “Eita” marks the next event after the second coming. The parousia is followed by the end. The parousia of Christ is a time when both the righteous and the wicked will be raised to receive their rewards. Rest will be given to the righteous and tribulation to the wicked at the moment Jesus is revealed from heaven (2 Thess. 1:7-10). Hence, no room for a thousand years. The parousia of Christ marks the end of all things. For that reason Peter said that the earth and the works therein will be destroyed at His second coming (2 Pet. 3:10).
Truly the last enemy to be destroyed at His second coming is death!
Thanks for the comprehensive response to my questions. They have provided better clarity on your eschatological and soteriological perspectives.
Issues of concern:
1) If physical death was contemplated in Genesis 2:16-17, why didn’t Adam suffer physical death the very day that he disobeyed God. Why did he live on to 930 years?
Why were Enoch and Elijah translated to heaven without tasting death? Were they exempted from the condemnation in Adam?
Why would believers who are found alive at the coming of Christ be translated to glory without experiencing death?
2) There is no single Scripture that teaches or implies that Jesus died to raise ALL men to life including those who will be condemned in hell! I do not believe that 1 Corinthians 15:22 supports this exegesis.
My view is that His atoning death exclusively and effectively provided the atonement for the sin of those who will believe in Him.
3) I subscribe to premillennialism rapture of the Church and the 1000 physical reign of Christ at Jerusalem. I believe that there are two separate resurrections in accordance with 1 Thessalonians 4:26-17 and Rev 20:11-15. These are clearly separated by the millennium reign of Christ in accordance with the teaching of Revelation 20:7-10. There’s nothing in this passage to suggest that the events described are symbolic.
4) My view is that the porusia concerns only believers whether living or dead. This is clearly taught in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. The resurrection of the wicked comes after the 1000 years reign. Again this is plainly taught in Scripture.
Finally, my view is that the death contemplated in 1 Corinthians 15:20-28, read together with other relevant passages of Scripture, is spiritual death. This is the death that the first (historic) Adam occasioned by his disobedience. It is the death for which Christ died to atone for those who place their faith in Christ.
Thanks for your comments.
I understand that Adam’s sin certainly caused his spiritual death on the day that he sinned, but the question is ‘was there also physical death involved as a consequence of his sin? If not, then how do you explain God’s pronouncement against Adam in the following verse?
Gen. 3:19 NKJV — “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread
Till you return to the ground,
For out of it you were taken;
For dust you are,
And to dust you shall return.”
That it took 930 years for Adam to die is not an issue, the fact that men lived much longer at that time probably had something to do with man’s genetics in the beginning. But the fact that Enoch and Elijah were the exception to the rule simply proves the rule – had they not been translated they still would have died like the rest of us. And the reason why believers who are found alive at the coming of Christ will not experience death, is because from that very moment – death will be no more. Paul declares that they will be given a spiritual body, and this mortal will have put on immortality.
As Paul says:
51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— 52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53 For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. 54 So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
“There is no single Scripture that teaches or implies that Jesus died to raise ALL men to life..” and that..”His atoning death exclusively and effectively provided the atonement for the sin of those who will believe in Him.”
That this sounds eerily like “limited atonement.” Did Jesus not die for the whole world? John says, “And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world” (1 Jn. 2:2). He is the lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! Yes, it is only those who choose to avail of it will be blessed, but God has provided a sacrifice for all.
You say that there are two separate resurrections, implying that both the righteous and the wicked will not be raised together? Yet, the Son of Man clearly taught that they will be raised together when He said, “Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which ALL who are in the graves will hear His voice, and come forth—those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation” (Jn. 5:28-29). That hour will come when Jesus returns to call forth ALL who are in the graves! I know whose word I’m trusting on this matter and it isn’t in the teaching of men.
Your views appear to be consistent with a desire to impose mere theological opinions upon scripture. From your answers I was wondering if you even believed that Jesus is reigning right now?
Thanks for the response
Here’s my response to your latest comment.
1) I am glad that you have finally admitted that Adam’s sin resulted his spiritual death the very day that he disobeyed. You had denied this truth in your previous comments.
2) Yes, Genesis 3:19 is evidence that man would suffer physical death but this was not the ultimate impact of his condemnation. Spiritual death was.
3) I will accommodate your opinion that Enoch and Elijah were possibly given an exemption to the rule in Adam. Some say that the two will return some day… But that’s the subject of another discussion.
4) I don’t subscribe to the Limited Atonement doctrine advanced by Calvinism neither am I a Calvinist. The truth is that Calvinists are right in so far as the application of the atonement concerns those who respond to the gospel. They are wrong on how sinners get into the faith.
Yes, Christ died for the sins of the whole world but only those who respond to God’s grace in the gospel of Jesus Christ will receive the atonement. We are in agreement on that.
5) The words of Jesus in John. 5:28-29 should be read together with other relevant passages of Scripture. Scripture interprets Scripture. Revelation 19:6-7says:
“But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. 6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.”
The first resurrection is taught in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18. The second resurrection is clearly described in Revelation 19:6-7, 20:11-15.
My view is that these are two distinct resurrections taught in Scripture and that the two are clearly separated by the millennium reign of Christ.
Again this is the plain teaching of Scripture, in my view.
6). You stated: “Your views appear to be consistent with a desire to impose mere theological opinions upon scripture. From your answers I was wondering if you even believed that Jesus is reigning right now?”
Here’s my response: To my knowledge, and unless they are theological and biblically rebutted, I have attempted to align my views to the authority of the plain teaching of Scripture.
I have not, and do not intend to, impose on the text of Scripture mere theological opinion as alleged. I am prepared to revise my theological perspective where it appears to be inconsistent with Scripture.
Finally, I can see that you appear to cast aspersions on my faith, something that is usually treated as labelling in Christian forums. What you appear to say is that I am not possibly a believer and that my comments are consistent with those of a person who doesn’t know Christ.
Yes, I believe that Jesus is reigning now. Again this is taught in the word of God. To my knowledge, I have nowhere denied that fact in any section of my comments. You have not pointed any evidence in support of your claim. I would therefore suggest that we avoid the red lines in our engagement.
Thank you for comments.
You say I had denied in my previous comments that Adam’s sin had resulted in his spiritual death the very day he disobeyed? To quote you,”To my knowledge, I have nowhere denied that fact in any section of my comments.”
You said that “Genesis 3:19 is evidence that man would suffer physical death but this was not the ultimate impact of his condemnation. Spiritual death was.” I am glad you see that physical death was part of the judgment in his condemnation for sin. But death in its complete form was the ultimate impact for him because of his sin. The fact that he was expelled from the garden, and from the tree of life, guaranteed that the rest of us would suffer physical death too.
I am glad you don’t subscribe to limited atonement. And, that Jesus will actually raise both the righteous and the wicked for judgment. But the fact that you separate them by a literal thousand years is based on highly symbolic and difficult passages. Yes, I agree, Scripture interprets Scripture. But the best way to do this is interpret the more difficult passages from what the most simple, non-symbolic, passages teach. Jesus speaks of AN HOUR that is coming IN WHICH BOTH the righteous and the wicked will HEAR HIS VOICE AND COME FORTH. Unlike revelation, this is not a passage riddled with symbolic language, therefore the most obvious interpretation is the best one.
Likewise, Peter reveals that when the Lord comes again it will be the end of all things in which the heavens and the earth will be destroyed (2 Pt. 3:10). This makes it quite clear that there will be no literal earthly reign afterwards for a 1000 years! Passages like these are clear and unambiguous, while Revelation is filled with highly symbolic language. The very passage you refer to speaks of an angel with a key and a great chain in his hand to bind Satan for a thousand years – do you take the key and the great chain to be literal too? The way I see it is that the simpler passages make your interpretation of a highly symbolic book very questionable.
I’m sorry you believe I was casting aspersions on your faith, even to the extent of asserting that I don’t think you believe? I can assure you that that is not the case, not even for a second. I believe that you are sincere in what you believe. I have many Catholic friends and family who I believe are totally wrong, yet sincere in what they believe. I would never for a minute cast aspersions by suggesting they don’t believe in God, or in Jesus – I just believe that they are dreadfully mistaken.
And I never made any claims that you denied Jesus is now reigning in heaven. I simply wondered where you stood on it because of your perspective concerning the so called 1000 year reign on earth. It was a question rather than a statement! But since you do acknowledge Jesus as presently reigning, it does raise a serious question:
Seeing that the scriptures say, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool”- and – “He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet.” How do you maintain that He will not remain seated at the right hand of the Father reigning till all enemies are put under His feet – even death? What I mean is, these verses reveal that Jesus will remain reigning at the right hand of the Father until the end of time – until all enemies are made a footstool for His feet. Which shows not only the duration of His reign – WHEN it will end – but WHERE He will remain until all His enemies are destroyed. There is no getting away from what these passages reveal about the duration of His reign in heaven. “Then comes the end, when He delivers the kingdom to God the Father, when He puts an end to all rule and all authority and power. For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death” (1 Cor. 15: 24-26).
Thanks for your response.
I believe that our theological perspectives on the issues under discussion are now clear to us and to those who have been following our conversation.
It is emerging that we both hold to conflicting soteriological and eschatological convictions on the interpretation of Scripture. I suggest that we respectfully conclude our engagement on the matter at this point.
I hope this is okay with you.
I wish to appreciate the opportunity to engage with you on this important conversation. I look forward to engaging you in another conversation of mutual concern.
No problem, Ezekiel, keep safe – I wish you all the best until then!🙂
Thank you for information about Provisionism. I am very new to this view and so far I find it that is a biblically sound perspective.
I have two sets of of questions:
1) Is Provisionism neutral with respect to Open Theism? I am an open theist: I believe that the Bible teaches that God has foreknowledge, but do not believe that this divine foreknowledge is exhaustive. In my humble opinion, much of the future is predictable and even determined by God. Nevertheless, the Bible does not exclude the view that there are *some* future events that are unpredictable/undetermined by God. Can Provisionism be compatible with such view of divine foreknowledge?
2) I see that Provisionism affirms the doctrine of eternal security. Does this mean that it denies the possibility that a person can fall away from the faith and start to live in sin? Does this mean that it accepts OSAS (Once Saved Always Saved) of the kind that pastor Steven L. Anderson preaches? How about people that say that they believe in Christ, but live in sin (e.g., live in homosexual relationship, adultery)?
Hello Aleksandar and welcome
Unfortunately, due to a heavy schedule, Dr. Flowers is not here very often to respond to posts.
You may readily find him on Facebook if you are an FB user.
Sorry about that!
Would you do a video about Spiritual Gifts as discussed in 1 Cor 12 please, and it would be great for your to include Kevin Thompson if that is possible.
Hello Greg and welcome.
Dr. Flowers – due to his schedule – is not hear to engage with posters.
You may more readily find him on FaceBook if you are an FB user.
But I will pass along your request to him.
And blessings :-]
I have several friends that are Calvinists. One made the following statement a number of years ago that has stuck with me:
“The arguments against Calvinism are not rooted in scripture – they simply make an emotional appeal to the character of God.”
Of course, I respectfully disagree.
During the last two weeks, I have been reading / meditating on Ps 103:7 which says:
He made known His ways to Moses,
His acts to the sons of Israel.
The sons of Israel saw what God did – His acts. But they did not understand His ways. His ways are His character. The things that cause Him to act as He does. Without this insight, God can appear arbitrary. You never quite know when He is going to save versus destroy. Raise up versus smack down.
It occurs to me that Calvinists uniformly understand God’s acts, and have built a framework that seeks to explain these acts. What they do not properly understand are His ways. Indeed, they are quick to cite passages such as Is 55:9
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
So are My ways higher than your ways
And My thoughts than your thoughts
And, they ascribe overly much to “the secret counsel of God” and “sovereignty”. But because they do not understand His ways – and only His acts – they arrive at many erroneous conclusions.
“The arguments against Calvinism are not rooted in scripture – they simply make an emotional appeal to the character of God.”
Hello Steve – hope you are well.
It has been my observation that many times when I hear this retort – what I’ve come to discover – is that the “emotions” the Calvinist is referring too are actually his own. This is sometimes called “Psychological Projection”. It is a defense mechanism.
The person looks within them-selves to understand the critique they are hearing. What they experience when they look within is an emotional response. And that becomes the way they interpret the situation.
James White did this to Dr. Tim Stratton one time when Stratton was providing a very logical analysis. White’s retort was that his analysis was based on emotions. Dr. Stratton almost fell off his chair when he heard that!
It was emotions at work alright. It was James Whites emotions at work! He was projecting! ;-D
So thankful for your work! I am a federal prison chaplain at the Federal Correctional Institution in Herlong, California. I’m requesting your consideration to grant permission for me to print, scan, and create PDF files of your website posts so I can post them to a secure internal electronic bulletin board to which only our inmates have access–with full attribution to Soteriology 101.com and respective authors, of course. We can even restrict printing of each document if you prefer. Thank you for your consideration.
Dr. Flowers due, to his schedule, is not here to interact with posters very often.
You may more readily find him at Face book, if you are an FB user.
However, on your question – I happen to know the answer is YES – with the normal caveats.
Very sincere thanks!
And the Lord bless you mightily in his work!!
Can anyone help me with this question? Was Mathew Henry or J Vernon McGee a calvinist?
I believe Mathew Henry was an English Presbyterian minister – so yes – he is a Calvinist.
So his commentaries are going to AUTO-MAGICALLY assume Calvinistic thinking patterns.
Vernon McGee – I don’t believe was Calvinist leaning.
He for example, spoke against the idea of FATE – which you may understand is a “sibling” of Determinism (aka Calvinism).
Calvinists will claim the theology does not incorporate FATE by arguing that FATE entails a sense of futility which they do not acknowledge.
But the truth is – FATE logically entails UNCERTAINTY in one’s future.
And the same is true in Calvinism’s system of determinism.
The Calvinist tries to escape UNCERTAINTY of one’s future by MAKING-BELIEVE he has it – in the face of the doctrine not permitting it.
So with Vernon McGee, you’re probably fairly safe from so many of the commentaries that function as Calvinism in sheep’s clothing.
Never the less it is critical to understand the underlying foundational core of Calvinism – and learn how to recognize indicators of it – within any commentary.
Greetings in Christ Leighton and Team. I am new to this blog but have been tracking with your teachings, debates and have read in full your statement of faith. I have also read through much of this blog and countless responses and rebuttals. I am a former Pastor and now serve as an itinerant Bible-Teacher / Evangelist and would consider myself a joyfully convinced calvinist (hopefully a kind and gracious one!). Although I fully identify with the theological reformed stream (TGC, Ligonier, Desiring God etc…), I am finally at a place of true sadness and repentance over our uncharitable, smug and condescending attitudes toward fellow Arminians and Brothers such as yourself. I have had to do some real repentance this past year, and slowly – by God’s grace – pull the massive log out of my own eye. At the same time I am also appalled and grieved by the countless anti-calvinist accusations ( we worship a devilish monster god, foolish fatalist etc…). I honestly can’t believe that it has come down to this base level of sinful pride, slander and sheer buffoonery from both sides! I can’t even imagine how grieved the Holy Spirit must be by all of this! While we do have a different soteriology in some ways, I would not say in any way that you guys worship a different God, preach another Gospel, believe another Jesus or are led by a different Spirit, and for either side to accuse the other of this is – in my opinion – absolutely horrible. Clearly we can see from history that God has providentially used both Wesley / Whitefield and countless others from both streams to advance his Kingdom and build his Church in awesome ways, in spite of human sin and theological disagreement. I personally have Gospel heroes from both sides and have personally benefited from both. Baptized and discipled in a Pentecostal church, ordained Baptist, accredited brethren and now an interdenominational preacher!
At the end of the day I honestly believe that you and I and John Piper and Roger Olson and Michael Brown (maybe even N.T. Wright, but I’m not sure yet as I still can’t fully understand or am not smart enough to know what he actually believes!) would stand arm in arm and die on the hill that says: “Jesus Christ is Lord, Saviour and coming King, and salvation is found in none other than him. That the Bible is the God-breathed word given for our instruction and equipping and that there is only one true and living God that exists as Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” While there are certainly other essential truths that I know we would also agree on, shouldn’t this be what unites us as Brothers? Aren’t we going to be eating and drinking together at our Father’s table in his kingdom one day? Why are we not banding together to contend against false religions and beliefs that contradict these things instead of debating and attacking each other? Clearly we have the wrong enemy here and I can’t help but wonder if the real enemy isn’t happily rubbing his greedy little hands together in perverse delight that this theological war within the body of Christ is actually hijackin our time, focus, resources and totally blowing our witness!!!
Someone has to take the humble high road and initiative here to say enough! Would it be too much to ask that we not make the main focus of our ministries about trying to disprove each other and more about proclaiming the Gospel to every creature under heaven? Forgive the rant my friend, these are just some things that have been bubbling up to the surface in me lately and I’ve been at this long enough now to hopefully see the bigger picture. Hope to dialogue with you guys further.
Love in Christ….Montgomery Scott
Welcome Montgomery. Thank you for sharing your testimony and insights. Of course we can join together and say Amen to the gospel and support each other in the fight of the enemies of the gospel. And perhaps there are more harmful sound doctrine issues than the determinism doctrine, foundational to the TULIP of Calvinism. Infant baptism comes to mind. But knowing the clear sound doctrines, that produce health and growth and opposing those that reject those sound doctrines, recognizing that they should not be in pastoral leadership while they do reject those sound doctrines, is important.
Here’s my view of Calvinism’s harm.
The issue isn’t Calvinism as much as it is the false underlying teaching in it of the eternal immutable predestination of all things before creation to work out only one way.
That harmful teaching affects one’s motivation for evangelism and one’s confidence in prayer and one’s trust in the clarity of God’s self revelation in the Scriptures.
2Co 5:14 NKJV – For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; [the clear motivation should be love for all the lost when witnessing, but for the Calvinist evangelism is only a duty]
Mat 24:20 NKJV – “And pray that your flight may not be in winter or on the Sabbath.” [the clear indication that their prayers would be used in determining when the fall of Jerusalem would happen, but the Calvinist denies prayer changes or influences divine choices that are not yet made]
Gen 6:6 NKJV – And the LORD was sorry that He had made man on the earth, and He was grieved in His heart. [the clear indication that God was sorry that He made man, and was grieved in His heart, but the Calvinist firmly denies that God can experience such grief].
******* Dear Calvinist –
Do you have the motivation of a longsuffering love for all unbelievers, especially those that are hardened against the gospel and aggressive towards you?
Or does your motivation of duty in evangelism get too quickly satisfied and does the thought of their probable reprobation make you move away from them too soon?
Or does the thought enter your mind that if they are one of the elect they’ll get saved anyway, and does that also make you move away from them too soon?
Do you believe your prayer will influence God to send more gracious opportunity to the unbeliever to seek Him, than He would have if you hadn’t prayed?
Do you believe God grieves when one dies lost and condemned for rejecting His mercy that they could have humbly received? Do you grieve?
Did God have the ability to go against His own sense of justice and decree the creation of many people who would be unable to ever hear His call of mercy, would only be able to sin, and then condemn them to everlasting torment for rejecting His call of mercy and for those eternally immutably predestined sins?
Hello Montgomery and welcome.
Thank you for your sincerity and thoughtfulness!
SPEAKING FOR MYSELF however:
On the subject of differences, it is only logical to recognize, each individual has a different conception of god. And that includes each individual’s conception of divine attributes.
There are conceptions of divine attributes we find with one, which we do not find with the other.
Therefore, to say we all worship the same god, is not a completely truthful thing to say.
Calvinist believers have a god with certain attributes as detailed by John Calvin.
Those attributes include:
1) Creating/designing the vast majority of creatures (i.e. humans), specifically for eternal torment in a lake of fire, for his good pleasure.
2) Determining every impulse and perception that will come to pass within the human brain, and making every impulse, (no matter how sinful or evil) come to pass infallibly and thus irresistibly.
3) Condemning creatures for being what they were supernaturally “rendered-certain” to be, and for doing what they were supernaturally “rendered-certain” to do.
4) Condemning creatures for not being what they were supernaturally not permitted to be, and for not doing what they were supernaturally not permitted to do.
These are conceptions of a god which are unique to Calvinism.
And for many non-Calvinists, such conceptions are anathema.
There obviously are some similarities the non-Calvinist god will have with the Calvinist god.
But to say they are the same god, IMHO, is to bear false witness.
We can and should however be understanding of the reasons people have the particular conceptions of the god they have.
BrD… I do think you should reconsider using a small “g” for God when talking about the God of Calvinism or non-Calvinists, and also rethink your dogmatic stand that Calvinists have a different god. Here’s why…
If you believe salvation can be forfeited and I believe God preserves His children in such a way that it can’t be, should I say you follow a different god. Not in my opinion, because I know you confess that Jesus is Lord God and Savior from your sins through faith, and that the Bible is without error in what it teaches about God and His salvation, like I confess too.
The mainline Evangelical Calvinist confesses those same things. He is not believing in a false god, but misrepresenting the true God because of being misled by bad teaching or bad thinking concerning certain Scriptural texts.
Also – you should be able to edit your texts after they are posted. There should be an edit button available to you as admin. 🤓
You had said:
If you believe salvation can be forfeited and I believe God preserves His children in such a way that it can’t be, should I say you follow a different god. Not in my opinion, because I know you confess that Jesus is Lord God and Savior from your sins through faith, and that the Bible is without error in what it teaches about God and His salvation, like I confess too.
The mainline Evangelical Calvinist confesses those same things. He is no believing in a false god, but misrepresenting the true God because of being misled by bad teaching or bad thinking concerning certain Scriptural texts.
Thomas Jefferson said:
From Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, 11 April 1823
Monticello April 11. 23.
The wishes expressed, in your last favor, that I may continue in life and health until I become a Calvinist, at least in his exclamation of ‘mon Dieu! jusque à quand’! would make me immortal. I can never join Calvin in addressing his god. he was indeed an Atheist, which I can never be; or rather his religion was Dæmonism. if ever man worshipped a false god, he did. the being described in his 5. points is not the God whom you and I acknolege and adore, the Creator and benevolent governor of the world; but a dæmon of malignant spirit. it would be more pardonable to believe in no god at all, than to blaspheme him by the atrocious attributes of Calvin…
I agree with Thomas Jefferson.
Now, some people would call Thomas Jefferson a heretic, because he didn’t believe in the trinity. But those coming from the Church of England didn’t TRUST the church of England, after all, they were the STATE, in which people were fleeing from.
Benjamin Franklin, when addressing the trinity said the following:
To Ezra Stiles, With a Statement of His Religious Creed
By Benjamin Franklin (1706–1790)
YOU desire to know something of my religion. It is the first time I have been questioned upon it. But I cannot take your curiosity amiss, and shall endeavor in a few words to gratify it. Here is my creed. I believe in one God, the creator of the universe. That he governs it by his Providence. That he ought to be worshipped. That the most acceptable service we render to him is doing good to his other children. That the soul of man is immortal, and will be treated with justice in another life respecting its conduct in this. These I take to be the fundamental points in all sound religion, and I regard them as you do in whatever sect I meet with them. 1
As to Jesus of Nazareth, my opinion of whom you particularly desire, I think his system of morals and his religion, as he left them to us, the best the world ever saw or is like to see; but I apprehend it has received various corrupting changes, and I have, with most of the present Dissenters in England, some doubts as to his Divinity; though it is a question I do not dogmatize upon, having never studied it, and think it needless to busy myself with it now, when I expect soon an opportunity of knowing the truth with less trouble. I see no harm, however, in its being believed, if that belief has the good consequence, as probably it has, of making his doctrines more respected and more observed; especially as I do not perceive that the Supreme takes it amiss, by distinguishing the unbelievers in his government of the world with any peculiar marks of his displeasure. 2
I shall only add, respecting myself, that, having experienced the goodness of that Being in conducting me prosperously through a long life, I have no doubt of its continuance in the next, though without the smallest conceit of meriting such goodness….
PHILADELPHIA, 9 March, 1790.
When doing extensive research on both of these men, they both claimed to be Christian. Thomas Jefferson believed in the Jewish God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And to Jefferson, THAT was the definition of a DEIST…ONE GOD, not three people playing the role of one God, aka Trinity. But this is what the Church of England was teaching, and he didn’t trust them.
Neither did Benjamin Franklin. He, now, acknowledges that he doesn’t know, because he hasn’t studied it, but he finds NO PROBLEM for those who do believe in the trinity.
Unfortunately, today’s USE of the word “Deist” is often associated with the words “an impersonal generic god”. But that’s not how Jefferson explained it in one of his writings at all. He said:
II. JEWS. 1. Their system was Deism; that is, the belief of one only God. But their ideas of him & of his attributes were degrading & injurious.
If I’m not mistaken, there is a lot of people in the Baptist world that can’t stand Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin because they were DEISTS.
But upon clarification study, you see that they were Christians who denied that Jesus is God, but Jefferson had no problem of those claiming the deity of Jesus, and didn’t think that God would PUNISH anyone who believed either way.
If you believe in ONE GOD, you are a deist. The problem is, when you put THREE PEOPLE in the role of ONE GOD, you are not a deist.
And that was a sticking point in those days, because not many trusted the Church of England, because they thought that they were corrupt.
So, Thomas Jefferson claimed to be a Christian. You, as a Baptist say??????? If I’m not mistaken, you would deny that he was a Christian based on the TRINITY issue…right?
I believe that Jefferson was right, regarding Calvins god, but wrong on the deity of Jesus (altho I have many times acknowledged that Jesus is the ONLY God, where spirit is the father, body is Christ (Jesus), and the soul is the Holy Spirit (mind of Christ). And to me, that’s one God, one person. Not three distinct.
So, was Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin Christians in your Baptist world?
Ed… I think what I said would sufficiently answer your question. And I certainly wouldn’t see Jefferson or Franklin as reliable authorities to judge Calvin’s salvation or belief in the true God, nor their critique of Calvinism as being from an Evangelical perspective.
You know them by their fruits. I think there is a lot of biblical references to distinguish whether John Calvin was saved, or not. And philosophy of religion, the Christian religion, that is, was a major major study of Thomas Jefferson. These people were coming from the church of England, identifying themselves as Christian. I take them at their word. But Calvin…? He preaches a different god. That, to me, is self evident.
Regarding the trinity, I can’t fathom anyone saying that they believe it, without studying it.
When I say trinity, I mean the study of three people playing the role of one God, because I believe that the father is God, I believe that the son is God, and I believe that the holy spirit is God. I just don’t agree that each of those are separate people. Hence my belief that jesus is the only God.
But that’s besides the point. My point is, we all disagree on major issues, not just the minor. But to insinuate that Calvin’s doctrines are minor… no, that I disagree on. I can’t understand why calvinism is allowed in the Baptist faith, even tho I know the explanation of why.
But thanks for your response.
Wow Brian and Br.d. I am really sad and dissapointed by your uncharitable and accusational and on several points inaccurate assumptions and responses. I’m not sure if either of you actually serve in a formal role for Leightons ministry or if you are simply fellow bloggers. I really hope the latter. I’d be shocked if Leighton would endorse or allow your responses to a fellow brother in Christ making an appeal in love and grace. Sounds like you guys would actually accuse someone like me of worshipping a different God than you and thus be condemned. I’ve been a theolgian and Gospel minister for many years and would have really hoped for a much more intelligent and gracious reply. This is my first experience actually commenting on a forum like this and I was obviously naively hopeful for an honest connection with brothers from a different tribe. I will graciously bow out of the conversation and pray the Lord’s Peace upon you…Montgomery
Wow Brian and Br.d. I am really sad and dissapointed by your uncharitable and accusational and on several points inaccurate assumptions and responses.
Please provide a statement that I made that was inaccurate.
I’m not sure if either of you actually serve in a formal role for Leightons ministry or if you are simply fellow bloggers.
I clearly stated at the beginning of my response: “SPEAKING FOR MYSELF”
I would have thought that would have been understandable.
I’d be shocked if Leighton would endorse or allow your responses to a fellow brother in Christ making an appeal in love and grace.
You mean you are not aware that Calvinists as a practice, call non-Calvinists pretty much every evil name in the book?
Even so that is the case – I would characterize my response as non-accusatory, factual, with the focus on ensuring honesty.
Sounds like you guys would actually accuse someone like me of worshipping a different God
Didn’t I clearly state that doing otherwise would be bearing false witness?
I’ve been a theolgian and Gospel minister for many years and would have really hoped for a much more intelligent and gracious reply.
There is nothing UN-Christ-like about either logic or honesty.
The Lords peace upon you…Montgomery
And as I stated in my response to you.
Blessings to you.
Brother Scott, I’m disappointed that you thought what you read was “uncharitable.” “Faithful are the sounds of a friend.”
And if you are in leadership in the ministry, then you should be able to face criticism of your stated beliefs and then share helpful insights concerning where that criticism is making “inaccurate assumptions”.
I believe strongly in the points I made concerning the harm I see from the teaching of Calvinism. I might benefit from you showing specifically where my assessment is inaccurate.
I would suggest adding John Lenox to your list of scholars who do not accept Calvinism. He is clearly against it, most clearly shown in his book. “Determined to Believe?: The Sovereignty of God, Freedom, Faith, and Human Responsibility”
Hello Andy and welcome!
I’m certainly not a fan of Calvinism – as I observe how it twists ethics, logic, and language into a distorted pretzel.
But I’m sorry to say – I personally haven’t found any of John Lenox’s arguments convincing.
But perhaps that’s because I missed something
Would you consider sharing an argument he enunciates that you found convincing?
Thank you for reply. Are you the moderator for the site? Although I am al little confused. I comment on a comment section below the Statement of Faith of Soteriology101. In this section there is a “ever growing list of modern day scholars who do not affirm the Calvinistic interpretation of the scriptures”. I suggested adding John Lenox as he does not “confirm the Calvinistic interpretation of the scriptures”. He has often stated disagreement with Calvinism even publishing a book on it. I do not understand why I need to share what arguments he makes which are convincing to you. Dr. John Lenox is well considered by most Christians including Dr. Leighton Flowers who has stated he has reached out to get Dr. John Lenox on his show. He made three videos about Dr. John Lenox. Including https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5Qq9bJElJVk On Why John Lennox rejects Calvinism. I am not sure why you are resistant to adding his name when you have problematic names on your list like Ravi Zacharias who is no scholar and many suspect today was never even saved. I hope this does not come over as too harsh I am just confused.
My job here at SOT101 is to watch posts and let people know if they are getting to close to the edge of propriety.
Dr. Flowers and Eric make all decisions concerning content.
So that wouldn’t be anything I would be a determiner of.
I just asked because I was curious.
I know Dr. Lenox doesn’t embrace Calvinism.
I’m glad he doesn’t for his sake! :-]
He’s on the right track! :-]
I’ll take look the link you provided and also look for him again on Youtube.
Its been a while since I listened to a presentation from him.
My sincere thanks BTW for you offering the suggestion!