Not so encouraging…

My pastor friend Michael at Oak Leaf has broken his rule about commenting on critical web sites about his church. He has been very nice in his responses, but the Calvinist of the world are uniting against him. I am no theological expert by far… but there are some things that these guys are saying that absolutely scare me. I just got finished reading Romans not to long ago (I wish I would have been to the mens crack of dawn bible study).

Romans 10:9-15 says:

9That if you confess with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. 11As the Scripture says, “Anyone who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”[e] 12For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile—the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, 13for, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”[f]

14How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!

If you boil down what some of these Calvinist are saying… they are saying that God is really mean! They say he has already selected an elect group of people that get to go to heaven, and then all the other people he has chosen for them to go to hell. I’m sorry… but I just don’t see how if anyone can call on the name of the Lord and be saved, then have problems understanding that. Anybody can receive a new heart by accepting Christ as savior and making him Lord of their life.

I am not a theologian – so I might be wrong. I just feel that fighting over if somebody was actually saved or not is a waste of our energy. I am afraid that many of these guys need to examine themselves. I am afraid they are calling out Michael because they are jealous of his ministry at Oakleaf growing while their elect flock is dying out. I don’t know these guys hearts so I can’t tell. They might really think they are ridding the world of false doctrine. I don’t mean to come off mean, but this has just been a trend that has been disturbing me lately. I could go on more and more about Puritan reading (Anybody heard of the Salem Witch trials?) and things like that, but I really don’t think this is the place. I am no expert so what I say is purely opinion. I think I am going to have to put one of those disclaimers on my blog saying “Any opinions, conclusions or hints of wisdom expressed on this site do not necessarily reflect the views of ______________, or any of the staff members.”

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46 comments

  1. surebeatsworkin' · March 27, 2008

    That is some scary stuff this guy is saying…it is really sad!

  2. Claude F. Cannon · March 27, 2008

    I am with you Brad.

  3. rpavich · March 27, 2008

    Brad,If I may, I believe you are mis-characterizing Calvinism by saying:”If you boil down what some of these Calvinist are saying… they are saying that God is really mean! They say he has already selected an elect group of people that get to go to heaven, and then all the other people he has chosen for them to go to hell.”That misrepresents what they have said at Old Truth and what Calvinist’s say in general.Just to set the record straight, this is what Calvinism says, and what scriptures they get this crazy idea from.Men are sinners, wicked and evil. God doesn’t owe men anything. All men deserve Hell.The fact that God, who is rich in mercy chooses some for salvation, doesn’t mean that they deserved it. Indeed, they deserved Hell, but this amazing loving God gave them life.If God gives some life, it doesn’t follow that He owes this life to everyone.Here are some scriptures that support this idea:Men’s hearts are wicked.Scriptural Support:Genesis 6:5, 8:21; Numbers 15:37-39; 1 Kings 8:46; Job 15:14-16; Psalm 14:1-3, 51:5, 94:11, 130:3; Proverbs 4:23, 20:9; Ecclesiastes 7:20, 8:11; Isaiah 6:5, 53:6, 64:6; Jeremiah 10:14, 13:23, 17:9; Matthew 7:11, 15:19; Mark 10:18; Luke 17:10; John 2:24, 3:36, 6:44, 15:5, 16; Acts 3:16, 16:14; Romans 1:18-2:16, 3:9-20, 23, 5:12, 7:18-20, 8:7; 1 Corinthians 2:14, 12:3; 2 Corinthians 3:5, 4:3, 11:3; Ephesians 2:1-6, 4:17-19; Colossians 2:13; 1 Timothy 2:25, 6:5; 2 Timothy 3:8; Titus 1:5; James 2:10, 3:2, 8; Revelation 9:20, 16:9.God chooses an elect people:Deuteronomy 7:6-10, 15, 9:5, 29:4; Psalm 65:4; Isaiah 45:4; Mark 13:20; John 1:13, 6:44, 65, 15:16, 17:2; Acts 2:39, 9:1-18, 11:17, 16:14, 18:27; Romans 8:28-30, 9:10-26, 10:20, 11:5; Ephesians 1:1-11; 1 Corinthians 1:1; 2 Corinthians 4:6; Philippians 1:29; 1 Thessalonians 1:2-4; 2 Thessalonians 2:13; 2 Timothy 1:9, 2:10, 19, 25; Titus 3:5; Hebrews 9:15; James 1:18; Jude 1.I realize that there are lots of references there, but take the time to look through them and see if they do support the idea that God has chosen an elect people.Also for the record, Calvinist’s would affirm your siting of Romans 10 “confess/believe” the issue is WHY you would confess and believe and your neighbor would not…is it something inside you that’s just a little better? Paul would say no.I hope this clears up what Calvinist’s believe a little. It’s always proper to represent the opposing view fairly, right?

  4. Fred · March 27, 2008

    Hello. My name is fred and I am an OLD TRUTHER as well as a regular on several other sites. I am a monergist and I say that unapologetically. I love my Lord and will defend Him with all my being. I never want to hear those awful words that I denied Him and His Word, which are intrinsically tied together, by not speaking up when His word appears to be violated, either willfully or unwillingly. The statement that anyone is calling into question someone’s salvation misses the point. Secondly , you too are making a judgment when you claim someone is saved by their profession alone. But you will criticise if anyone says that you should not do that. That is scary stuff! Without fruits how can you or anyone claim that someone is saved.”you shall know them by their fruits”.It doesn’t take a theologian to understand the Bible. But it takes more than human emotionalism. To know God is hard work. Seek me with all your heart soul and mind. You wish to belittle the Puritans, but have you ever read them? Their understanding of man and God,and their reverence to the Most High blows away almost 95% of the “Christian” stuff that is produced today. Todays stuff is so me-centered. It is not what seems right to us, for God thoughts and ways are not our thoughts and ways. But it seems we want to make him like us, thinking in marketing terms, pragmatic thinking, emotion driven, socio/psycho rambling, love of entertainment, disdain for real reverence etc. This is all humanism sir.Salvation is simple , but it is profound and miraculous. It is not just some emotional, orchestrated event, hear a sermon and make a decision work. I know Charles Finney believed it was. He was wrong.Thanks for allowing my thought.

  5. Carrie · March 27, 2008

    Hi Brad, I’m glad you have recently read Romans and I am glad you admit you might be wrong on this. I would just challenge you to apply your framework to some of the more difficult passages of Scripture. How would you deal with Romans 9?”10Not only that, but Rebekah’s children had one and the same father, our father Isaac. 11Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: 12not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” 13Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” 14What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” 18Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. 19One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?” 20But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ ” 21Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use? 22What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? 23What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— 24even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?”

  6. Dan Cartwright · March 27, 2008

    Brad,While I do not doubt for a second the ‘sincerity’ of your comment, I would encourage you to investigate the scripture and comments offered by other “Old Truthers”, whose goal is to return to the historic faith of the Reformers. I suppose I could also be called a Calvinist, but before I knew much about Calvin, I found John 6:44. And as has been said and scripturally supported, election is not a Calvinistic doctrine, it is a Bible doctrine. Concerning any man stating whether another man is really ‘saved’is, well, let me say that It would be the heart of arrogance for me to make that statement about anyone else. The best I, or any man can really do, is say that it ‘would appear’ by someone else’s life (not decision) that he/she is a genuine Christian.

  7. Joel · March 27, 2008

    Hay folks, some good posts on this. Gives us some things to think about for sure.Carrie, you know the interesting thing about that protest in verse 14 is this: When people today read that God “hated Esau”, they say “then God is unjust”; but Paul was actually anticipating a protest against the statement “Jacob have I loved”. Since Paul had already clearly established man’s depravity in previous passages, it is the grace of God in extending mercy to sinners like Jacob that stands in stark contrast to the justice that both Jacob and Esau deserve. But it is His prerogative to have mercy on whom He will, and no one may resist his determined will to save those He has mercy on. Several people have said to me “I will not serve a God like that”. Well, that is in fact the God you are serving – but not the mean God you think He is, but an infinitely mercifull God, who grants repentance and eternal life to unworthy sinners like me and you. Soli Deo Gloria!Joel

  8. JamesL · March 27, 2008

    Spend 60.00 or so of the best dollars you’ve ever spent and get John Bunyan’s works. The old tinker of Bedford will will do much to clarify these issues for you. Also read and meditate on Matthew 13 and even John 6. Ask the Lord for wisdom and a broken heart as you search these things out. May the Lord bless you in these studies.James

  9. Joel · March 27, 2008

    Brad, the truth of the Sovereignty of God is the most encouraging truth you’ll ever hear. The fact that God uses His word in to accomplish that which He has determined, and it will not return to Him void; and His hand is not shortened that it cannot save, should give us incredible encouragement in knowing that when we witness and preach, our words will not fail, and God will use them to convert His elect, to the glory of His grace; or use them to condemn the lost, to the glory of His justice. What is “not so encouraging” about God’s authority and omnipotence?What the passage is saying is that when a person’s heart has been infused with the faith of Christ, the person will have a desire to confess Him as their Lord and Savior, and their prayers will be directed to the true and living God.”Calling” on the Lord is not some sacrament that we may exercise in order to gain entry into God’s salvation. It is a response to salvation already obtained. We do not confess to GET saved; we confess that we ARE saved.Unless the new birth has taken place in the heart, any confession the person may make is nothing but empty profession. This is why it is foolishness for preachers to proclaim that someone is “saved” or “not saved”, either way, until they have endured the trial of their faith and they begin to bear the fruit of the Spirit in their lives.Only when we know there is a real transformation of the person can we begin to have some confidence that their profession is real, and even then our boasting is in the Lord – in what HE has wrought, not in our work, our witness, our church, or preaching, no, we may not boast in any thing but God’s amazing grace. Anyone at any time can “decide” to profess Christ as there savior. But no one can just “decide” to be born again. Only God can give new birth. People should not be told to “raise their hands” or any other such bodily ritual. They should be told to earnestly seek God’s mercy and when they know that they have been transformed by His Spirit, then they may confess to “what great things God hath wrought”.So we should stop abusing Romans 10 to support the doctrine of decisional salvation. The support we seek just isn’t there.

  10. rpavich · March 27, 2008

    I’d also like to point anyone not familiar with it, to an audio exegesis of Romans 9 by Dr. James White.Here is the link:http://mp3.aomin.org/JRW/Romans9.mp3If you listen to it and give it a chance, I think you will see that Romans 9 shuts the door on synergism.

  11. Marty · March 27, 2008

    Dude, you just got pounded with new friends. Several years ago, I got reprimanded by a friend who was also a witch, and who proceeded over a debate on instant messenger to use about 40 different verses of scripture to prove her point.Can’t mess with that logic right? If it’s verses from the Bible, than it must be true.And the other thing Brad, is that if you have a hero who’s younger than the civil war, I wouldn’t mention that, because anything good that ever happened in the world, happened from the time Martin Luther nailed some theses to a wall (not a bad thing) to the time Jonathan Edwards and George Whitefield died. Oh yeah, unless there names are Piper and/or MacArthur.Either way, good observations, I’m just sorry you’re now on the evil list. Seem to be doing some good things at your church.I would put my blog address down, but I’m afraid that I’d get mercilessly challenged with “John Bunyan” references.

  12. Jason Ebeling · March 27, 2008

    Brad, certainly stirred something up here and I’d even say that conflict is good (if it causes us to recheck our conclusions and presumptions). That being said, all this conversation seems to be doing is distracting folks from sharing Good News with people who may need to hear it. If people are actually questioning whether or not Michael shared good news in their Easter service – it’s not even worth debating any further. I seem to recall Paul thinking the same thing in Philippians 1:18 (and no, I don’t think Michael was preaching “a different Gospel” like Paul also talked about in Galatians 1:16)My first reaction was to check out Acts and see how they counted. So I’m confused by Acts 2:41; 4:4; and even 5:14. Seems that from the very beginning, people believed (and may have even been baptized) – and got counted/numbered/included that same day. Too bad they didn’t have enough time to bear fruit. And what in the world was Luke doing counting them in the first place? They got counted because it mattered….that little step, that forward motion, it mattered.

  13. Fred · March 27, 2008

    Marty,We need to be honest here. We live in an age of dumbing down and of unprofound thinking about God. Have you ever read the Puritans or the Fathers? If you did, you really could not argue that we have the same depth of clarity and of the Beautific vision that they had. It is just not true. We may pride ourselves of living in an age of equal profundity, but we are fooling ourselves. Even in secular realms this is noted. The pollster G. Barna has also noted this.No one claimed that “anything good that ever happened in the world, happened from the time Martin Luther nailed some theses to a wall”. You are setting up a straw man arguement. What is claimed is what I set forth above. We just continue the faith that was once delivered and handed down from generation to generation. We learn from the saints of the past. The church today rebels against that because we live in a society that rejects the wisdom of the elders of society and that attitude has invaded the church.

  14. Carrie · March 27, 2008

    Several years ago, I got reprimanded by a friend who was also a witch, and who proceeded over a debate on instant messenger to use about 40 different verses of scripture to prove her point.Can’t mess with that logic right? If it’s verses from the Bible, than it must be true.Marty, What is your point here?

  15. rpavich · March 27, 2008

    Marty,I’m not sure if you’re trying to be funny and I can’t tell or you’re being uncharitable. The truth is is that Brad mischaracterized the Doctrines of Grace in his post; which is setting up a strawman to knock over.I tried to explain nicely what those who believe these doctrines ACTUALLY do believe so if we were going to exchange information, then we’d be representing the sides accurately.By contrast; you were sarcastic, and misrepresented what’s been said here. Now which one of us is being more Christian-like?Jason E,What is it about discussing this issue that stops someone from “sharing the good news” with another person? That doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense and seems to be a “false either/or type of argument.As far as your scriptural references go; I’d say that the Holy Spirit can definitely say who got added to the church and who did not…right? (Acts) Michael is not in that category, true? And considering the Barna polls show that 98% of all of those who “sign the cross” sign the card” or “walk the aisle” fall away within the first year…it’s not to far fetched to just ask to wait to see how things shake out is it? That’s not being uncharitable, that’s being honest considering 1st John 2:19 in which John describes from his point of view how to know IF someone is saved or not:They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.Did you see what John did? he said that it “became plain” that they were not for us, because of what? Because in time, these false teachers left…their fruit showed!Do you see the juxtaposition? The Holy Spirit can say that 3000 souls were added to the church because it was the Holy Spirit that was responsible! John, being human, waits to see the sign; perseverance.If you’d like to respond DIRECTLY to what I’ve said here, I think it would be beneficial…what do you say?

  16. rpavich · March 27, 2008

    Brad,I feel strongly that I should reiterate what commenter “Carrie” posted.If you cited Romans 10, then you know that it comes on the heels of some of the most Reformed scripture in the word of God.If you allow Paul to make his argument; it’s clear that their are elect that are chosen before the foundation of the world…let’s go through it together…I’ll add some comments in bold…what do you say?”Not only that, but Rebekah’s children had one and the same father, our father Isaac. Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or badPaul is giving an example of God’s sovereign choice in whom He elects to salvationNotice in the next phrase he says WHY God does this:—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand:As if that wasn’t enough, he goes on to say:not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.”So he says that it’s God’s choice, not by the man. And the example he gives is Jacob and Esau. It’s not the normal birthright like we’d expect…God chooses.Paul anticipates his first objection (which is “Hey! That’s not very fair!)and then he answers it:What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”Wow, what a door-slam on that argument. Paul explains that God will “mercy” whom he will and we have nothing to say about it.It does not, therefore, depend on man’s desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.How many ways can Paul say it? It has nothing to do with us! Then Paul, goes on to give an example from the OT:For the Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”Wait! God raised Pharaoh up for His own purposes? What about Pharaoh’s free will? God had other ideasTherefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.Again, God’s sovereign choice. The actual phrase is “God mercies whom He will mercy.” It’s a verb in Greek and personal. Not “to have” mercy.Paul anticipates another objection!One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who resists his will?”How many times Paul must have heard that one! If God is behind who believes and who doesn’t, then that’s not fair to punish us!Then Paul answers the objection in a most forceful way:But who are you, O man, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to him who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ “Wow…Oh man! You have no right to question God in this!And for good measure, he compares us to clay pots and God as the potter, having full say over what kind of pot He makes and for what purposeDoes not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for noble purposes and some for common use? What if God, choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction?Paul rightly points out that God could have zapped us at anytime but He didn’t…bore the vessels of wrath and with great patience. What a merciful God!What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?”So here we are; the whole this is to show the riches of God’s mercy, and justice!Paul is a great apologist and if you let him make his own case, it’s an easy argument to follow.PS: if you find yourself on the other side of Paul’s argument, i.e. “What an angry God!” or “What an unfair God!” or “I could never worship a God that would only choose some for heaven!”then you might want to rethink your position. 🙂

  17. matt · March 27, 2008

    To Rpavich:I’ve been reading your posts here and at the other sites and I want to tell you how insightful and helpful they are. Thanks for the hard work and exposition of a subject that needs more apologetics like yourself. I pray the Lord will use these discussions to educate those who misunderstand and/or misrepresent his Word.-Matt

  18. Jason Ebeling · March 27, 2008

    rpavichDiscussing this issue in this format and context is not (in my opinion) nearly as profitable or important as sharing the good news of Jesus Christ with someone who does not already know Him. Is it worth discussing? Sure. I just think the great amount of time, energy and effort may be better spent building the kingdom instead of simply trying to clean it. I’m pretty sure God is the one who’s planning on separating the wheat from the chaff and sheep from the goats.And if you’re suggesting that the Holy Spirit inspired Luke to write and record numbers in Acts but wasn’t involved or interested in directing John to write what he did concerning his observations in 1 John, then apparently my understanding of Scripture being inspired is way off. The Holy Spirit certainly was at work at Pentecost (3000 people) and He inspired Luke to record it. Could this be a both/and situation? Count ’em, celebrate, AND wait to see if they produce fruit? I think so.As far as responding directly ….no, I don’t think it’d be beneficial, at least at this point. You’ve provided more than enough information here.

  19. rpavich · March 28, 2008

    Matt,thank you for the kind words! But if it wasn’t for a certain Dr. James White, I’d not be able to think my way out of a wet paper bag! All credit goes to God for creating such a huge brain in that guy!Jason,No…I wasn’t suggesting that the HS did not inspire John…I merely pointed out that it was two different view points…one a statement that the Holy Spirit added souls on pentacost and one John saying that the way to tell if a person has been saved is to keep an eye on the fruit…No problem there…Jason, Why oh why do you keep pitting discussing God’s word and evangelism as if they are a “one or the other” choice?Can we not do both?

  20. Diane R · March 28, 2008

    While I also have had trouble with predestination, which is what you are talking about here, I cannot get away from Romans chapter 9.It drives me batty. BUT, I do need to be honest and allow the Bible to speak for itself. Therefore, I am kind of suspended between Calvinism and Arminianism. And..LOL…I am hearing there are a whole lot of us out there like that.

  21. rpavich · March 28, 2008

    Diane,I appreciate your honesty!I would challenge you to bring up any verses that speak of a man having a “neutral will” that can “choose God or not.” They just aren’t in there.A lot of people see choices in the bible and assume that man can then choose God…the assume that it’s one of those kind of choices; totally unencumbered.Unfortunately, the bible speaks of mans inability!Look at the verse list that I posted in my first post…you’ll see it spelled out.God bless,bob

  22. Jason Ebeling · March 28, 2008

    rpavichNo, apparently in this case you can’t do both. I already know Christ as does Brad who originally wrote this post. We don’t need to be evangelized. It appears other comments are also from evangelized believers (although I might have to wait and be a fruit inspector) Look, if you’d like to do both, have this conversation somewhere else with someone else. Simple as that.

  23. rpavich · March 28, 2008

    Jason,My mistake, I wasn’t aware that you thought that I was “evangelizing” you…I thought we were discussing the mis-information contained in the post by Brad.You had set up the false dichotomy of “doctrine discussion vs evangelism”…I didn’t.I had just assumed you meant that we should be spending our time “sharing Jesus” instead of here trying to understand what God’s word actually says.Again, my mistake…For the record though: I do evangelize heavily; in fact I invite you to go to my website http://www.goshareyourfaith.wordpress.com and download any of my materials for evangelism free of charge!

  24. Dan Cartwright · March 28, 2008

    Since I saw a few comments about the importanct of ‘sharing the good news’ I think I will listen to some of the messages from the ‘church’ under discussion to see if the ‘good news’ is actually being preached in its fullness, to include the parts about sin and repentance – you know – the gospel Paul preached.

  25. rpavich · March 28, 2008

    Jason,As I am so forgetful I’ll add one more thing in response to your “me and brad are saved so we don’t need to be evangelized” statement…There are many people who stumble across these blogs, some of whom might not be saved, some of whom who THINK that they are saved but are not. On the off chance that someone does this, I don’t hesitate to work in God’s word if I can…But again, it would have been nice if you’d have interacted with the scriptures posted, and the points made instead of the “either/or” thingy…the readers might have benefitted from that.

  26. Dan Cartwright · March 28, 2008

    Well, I listened to two Easter services, one about tattoos (complete with a guy getting a tattoo on ‘stage’ and the other one about Jesus the rockstar. The first one actually used the phrase that Jesus died for our sins, but never got to the resurrection or the recorded first word of the gospel – repent. The other one was an updated version of a sermon preached yuears ago “Friday’s Here, but Sunday’s Coming. The resurrection was our ‘encore’ in life that will solve all our problems. The pastor was rude, crude and also missed addressing the real nature of sin and need for repentance.Both were bereft of sound exegesis. Both were excellent examples of eisegesis, however. Both dishonored God in a variety of ways, and neither oneincluded a clear gospel presentation, at least from what I listened to.I am not surprised though, since there are a lot of similar churches out there, whose vision is to bring dead folks through the doors and keep them entertained and maybe present half the gospel if they stick around long enough.Just observations.

  27. rpavich · March 28, 2008

    Dan,I’m glad that you listened to a few services to get a reference point for this discussion.I’m very interested to see if anyone defends what the Pastor preached WITHOUT any sound scriptural exegesis…just opinion or “proof texts” at the most.We’ll see. So far what I’ve seen here is only two people have attempted to get their answers from scripture and nobody that is pleading the other side is even commenting on or indicating that they’ve read the scriptures posted at the start of this thread!

  28. Dan Cartwright · March 28, 2008

    rpavich,I zipped over to your blog and sent the address home (I am at work) so I can read more and add it to my blogroll, with your permission. I am at http://born4battle.wordpress.com/ Good point about the use/non-use of scripture. I was visiting an interesting blog “Suddenly Christian” for a time and every time I quoted scripture as the authority I was labelled “mindless” or some lsuch thing by the atheists in the discussion.

  29. Dan Reichenberg · March 28, 2008

    I’m amazed at how people pull scriptures out of context and try to use them to “prove” their point. Both Romans 9 (“Therefore God has mercy on whom He will have mercy and hardens whomever He will.”) and Romans 11 (“The elect believed and the rest were hardened.”) explain both belief and unbelief in terms of election. You may not like what it says, but you can’t deny that it says it. As far as free will is concerned, you are free to eat dog vomit any time you want, but that doesn’t mean you ever will.

  30. Dan Reichenberg · March 28, 2008

    I’ll ask a question. Have you come to the place in your spiritual life where you are willing to believe everything that the Bible tells you about God, yourself, and the way that people are saved? The Bible says that “Abraham believed God and it was accounted unto him as rightousness.” It also says that those who resist (or don’t believe) the Son will not see life, but that the wrath of God abides on them. Therefore, is believing everything that God has revealed about Himself important? If you believe one passage of Scripture, but not another, do you really believe? These are hard questions, but I think they need to be asked. We all need to examine our own hearts to see if we really believe in the God of the Bible or if we have created a god to suit ourselves.

  31. rpavich · March 28, 2008

    Dan C,Thank you very much for the blogroll link…I’ll check your site out. I’m always on the lookout for solid sites to surf!

  32. rpavich · March 28, 2008

    Dan C,I put a link to your blog on my blog roll…you’ve got a nice blog there.

  33. Sheila · March 29, 2008

    I am sooo not a Bible scholar, but I do know what I was raised up to believe (Prov. 22:6) so I have several questions that come to mind when you tell me that our Lord has “predetermined” who is to be saved:1. How do you explain 2 Peter 3:9? It specifically says “The Lord… is not willing that ANY should perish, but that ALL should come to repentence.” Are you trying to tell me that only the predestined apply to this passage?2. What would be the point of Mark 16:15-16? If people are already pre-chosen, why would God ask men to go out and “preach the gospel to every creature.” It clearly states “He who believes… will be saved…”3. If people are pre-determined, then why does God allow the conception of a non-chosen person? That just seems odd!While I am glad for the challenge this has given me the last 2 days, I firmly believe in the simple gospel truth that anyone who willingly acknowledges Jesus Christ and accepts Him as their personal Savior & Lord, THEY ARE SAVED! Praise God for simple gospel truth! Thanks Brad for your willingness to stand up for what you believe!

  34. Fred · March 29, 2008

    Sheila,You asked a good question. I would like to comment regarding 2 Peter3:9When you look at 2 Peter 1, you will see that he was addressing the saints, the believers, the “dearly beloved”. This was not addressed to non-believers. He is writing to them so that they would remember things of old, things that the Prophets had said or revealed. Peter says that just as one time God judged, by the word, with water, so by the same word He is reserving the ungodly for the day of judgment with fire.vs7But why? Peter reiterates to the beloved (believers) again that God may seem slow in bringing judgment, but He does that because He is not willing that one of the elect perish, but that all would come to repentance and salvation. The term for the elect that is used in vs 9 is,”longsuffering (patient) to us”. Who is the “us”? The us is the beloved, the elect in Christ, the saved ones, the saints. It is not the entirety of the human race. We must read in context and understand who a letter is addressed to, so to understand rightly.

  35. Fred · March 29, 2008

    Sheila,I would like to address the Mark 16:15-16 passage.Again Sheila, who was Jesus addressing? The disciples. He told them to go preach to everyone. Where does that imply that everyone can grasp the preaching in a salvific way? The ESV states vs 15 as “”Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” So we proclaim the Word to all indiscriminately Isa 55:11 “so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it. In this verse we can see that we proclaim the word to all because by doing that, it has the effect that is intended. To bring some to salvation and others to harden them or condemn them in their unbelief. Vs 16 of Mark says; “Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.”————So the Word either has the effect of bringing one to belief or to condemn them in unbelief.

  36. Fred · March 29, 2008

    Sheila States: “3. If people are pre-determined, then why does God allow the conception of a non-chosen person? That just seems odd!”—————————-Truthfully I do not know except to say what Scripture reveals; For His Glory.Rom 9:13 As it is written, “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” Rom 9:14 What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! Rom 9:15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” Rom 9:16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. Rom 9:17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” Rom 9:18 So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills. Rom 9:19 You will say to me then, “Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?” Rom 9:20 But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, “Why have you made me like this?” Rom 9:21 Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? Rom 9:22 What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, Rom 9:23 in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory– Rom 9:24 even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles? Rom 9:25 As indeed he says in Hosea, “Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’ and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.'” So you see Shiela, though we may not understand it fully, we can understand it truly , even if our flesh rises up in protest against this Word. It is the Word and in that we trust, by faith.

  37. Jim from OldTruth.com · March 29, 2008

    Hi Sheila:You said: “anyone who willingly acknowledges Jesus Christ and accepts Him as their personal Savior & Lord, THEY ARE SAVED!”We agree with you. The question at hand however, is WHY do they accept Him (why do they believe and repent)? That’s a problem because passages like Romans 3:10-20 teach that no one seeks God. So before anyone will accept Christ, God must give them a new heart. He’s the reason why everyone who comes to Christ does so. As for your questions:1) The answer to that is in the context leading up to 2 Peter 3:9. Who is Peter referring to. This page explains your question very graphically:http://tinyurl.com/ysudbc2) The reason for evangelism is that God has chosen to have us participate in His glorious plan to save the elect. We of course don’t know who the elect are, so we preach the Gospel to everyone. In my case, God predestined my brother to share the Gospel with me when I was 17 and that the Holy Spirit would save me through it. God had a similar plan for your life it sounds like. The ‘means’ of evangelism are just as predestined as your belief was. And you are right, it does say “He who believes will be saved” and there are also verses like Acts 13:48 that says “as many as were ordained to eternal life believed”. So we see that there is a reason WHY people believe, and that reason is something God does. And so it is that we can say, God did it all, He saved me completely, I owe all to Him. If you pick up a church history book, you’ll find that the greatest evangelists and missionaries in protestant history have been predestinarians. Wow!3) Why God allows people to be created who will end up eternally lost is a mystery for all Christians, even ones that don’t believe in election. If God knows the future, as the bible says He does, then we have to face the fact that He created an earth knowing in advance that many would end up in Hell. It’s uncomfortable to think about, just like a lot of things about God, such as killing almost everyone in the flood, and telling the Hebrews to kill Canaanites including their babies, but we just have to trust that He has a good reason for it all.Here’s a page of more Q&A’s that might help you through additional questions. You are also welcome to visit us over at OldTruth.com at any time and join a discussion or write us an email.http://tinyurl.com/32bo8y

  38. Dan Cartwright · March 29, 2008

    “What would be the point of Mark 16:15-16? If people are already pre-chosen, why would God ask men to go out and “preach the gospel to every creature.” For reasons God only knows, he has designed that men would be involved in his plan for the salvation of the elect. There is a blog post that might help you.http://born4battle.wordpress.com/2008/03/08/the-great-privilege/

  39. Fred · March 29, 2008

    Sorry about misspelling your name Sheila. By the way—what I wrote is the plain, simple, gospel truth. Those who believe on Christ are saved and they believe because they are elect and God has granted them the faith unto repentance. Those that do not believe are condemned. They are not condemned because they are not elect, but because they are not elect they freely choose to stay in their sins and not believe and that condemns them.

  40. Fred · March 29, 2008

    Thanks Jim and Dan, for the links to help our sister Sheila in her understanding of the Word.

  41. Robert · March 29, 2008

    Dan,Good link there…it appeals to my “technical” mind. FYI, I’m in the defense industry and I know just what you’re talking about!I’d like to make sure that Shelia understands something. We aren’t yours, or anyone else’s enemy in this. We are just trying to explain the words of scripture. We have been where you are, trust me!But we can’t ignore what scripture says…I was just reading this passage yesterday:John 12:37-40Although Jesus had performed so many miraculous signs before them, they still refused to believe in him, so that the word of Isaiah the prophet would be fulfilled. He said,“Lord, who has believed our message,and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?“For this reason they could not believe, because again Isaiah said,“He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart,so that they would not see with their eyes andunderstand with their heart,and turn to me, and I would heal them.Did you notice WHO hardened their heart? Yes… it was God!Did you notice WHY He did that? So that prophesy would be fulfilled!Yes, God DOES intervene in the salvation of man. It’s a fact.Once you recognize this kind of thing…you’ll notice that it’s ALL OVER scripture.Shelia, I’d be willing to bet you that you pray like this:”God please soften the heart of my friend, and save him!”Or something similar…do you realize what you’re asking?Yes, you are asking God to violate someones “free will.”You can’t have it both ways 🙂

  42. Ransom · April 4, 2008

    reading this post kind of makes me want to be an atheist.

  43. Blaze · May 1, 2008

    Indeed, if there are 3 tactics Wesleyans can learn from Calvinists, it is to type faster, reuse posts whenever possible, and be more organized. It’s amazing how Calvinists can orchestrate an organized invasion and swarm the comments section with posts.Too bad that mass intimidation only works in converting non-Calvinists to Calvinists, and not non-Arminians to Arminians.

  44. Fred · May 2, 2008

    “It’s amazing how Calvinists can orchestrate an organized invasion and swarm the comments section with posts.”Blaze, I think it more amazing how they can exegete the Scripture, also called “rightly handling” the Word of God. As for me, I am a very slow typer.The swarming part? I think that is just a bunch of “rightly handing the Word of truth” people all saying the same thing—sometimes called the unity of the faith.

  45. Robert · May 2, 2008

    Two things come to mind when reading Blaze’s comment:1.) What does that have to do with the content of the original post, and the following observations made by those “Calvinists”?2.) That was just a personal attack, an ad hominem, that served no purpose.I’d be much more interested to hear Blaze interact directly with my first comment post…that God DOES elect a people for himself, and that Romans 9 is all about that freedom in election.Now THAT would actually serve a purpose!

  46. Brad Christian · May 6, 2008

    I know this is dangerous (This my first comment on the matter surprisingly), but I found an interesting note from a friend and fellow church planter here in Greenville. I definitely am not in total agreement with this, but I found it interesting and wanted to know what my Calvinistic commenters thought on this. He has recreated TULIP into a new acronym. “PRAIRIE”P – Providence of God – This component simply states that God, in the beginning and even now, provided everything for Adam and Eve. They needed nothing, whatsoever.R -Radical Corruption – This states the same thing as total depravity: our very nature is sin, down to our core. This is passed on from our forefathers, and will continue to be passed on. There is no way we, in and of ourselves, can overcome it.A – Attainable Life – This attests to the teaching of Jesus. He showed us a way of living that overcomes our corruption through indwelling of the Spirit. This is the Kingdom life for the here and now.I – Inherited Election – This is the same as unconditional election: we’ve done nothing to merit our election by God, it is simply inherited by us because of the sovereign grace of God.R – Reserved Atonement – This is the same as limited atonement. It states that when Christ died, it was sufficient for everyone, but it only affected and is efficient for the chosen elect.I – Irresistible Grace – This has remained without change. It simply says that no one can resist the Spirit drawing them to the Kingdom, but that the Spirit can and does yield to one’s resistance.E – Eternal Security – This component is equivalent to the perseverance of the saints, which says that if we are called, then we will persevere to the Coming Kingdom, Heaven.As you may guess I disagree with some points, but I would like to get your take on this this new, and more “Biblically accurate”, Calvinism.

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