Church History: 400-500

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637 Responses

  1. Xenia says:

    There’s an important thing to note about the Council of Chalcedon, especially in the light of current events. This is the point in history when the Monophysites departed from the Church. They are the non-Chalcedonian churches of the East: the Copts, the Armenians, the Ethiopians (many of them) and so on. They are grouped under the heading “Oriental Orthodox.” They are very similar in beliefs and practice with the Eastern Orthodox but we are not in communion with each other… yet. I think this is a schism that will be healed sooner than later.

  2. I am reading a book on English history right now.
    Interesting story I read a few days back was about St. Augustine, the first Archbishop of Canterbury. (different St. Augustine than in the article).

    This all happened around 597 AD.
    This Augustine was sent by Pope Gregory on a mission to England.
    Some points I got from the story were that Gregory wasn’t interested in abolishing all pagan customs and told Augustine as much. He told him to build churches on old pagan temples so that people would come to places they were familiar with.
    Also, in this and other stories from the same time periods, it seemed to me that King’s often seemed to convert due to primarily pragmatic reasons.
    Ethelbert of Kent was primarily persuaded it seems by the “learning, piety, discipline, and a ready-made band of activists who were keen to go out and spread these virtues among his people”
    Augustine even helped him create the first code of Anglo-Saxon law.
    Augustine spread the news that judgement was nigh and that Jesus could return any minute.
    Ethelbert was baptised and let Augustine make Canterbury his headquarters to spread the Gospel, hence the later primacy of Canterbury in England.

  3. Golly, just realized it is outside the scope of the time period. Sorry.

  4. Alan Hawkins says:

    I do not see how the fall destroyed the image of God. It is not as if the imago dei is limited to the question of the will. It has been since 83 that I read Augustine and I was not that clear on what was at stake when I was doing so.

  5. RiBo says:

    Augustine’s concept of God, like many of the other church fathers previous and contemporary, was heavily influenced by Greek Philosophy…specifically the incorruptibility and divine perfection, etc. of “God”

  6. RiBo says:

    Still working on my paper/article that ties it all together. Others have already done it, so that has been helpful, nothing new under the sun as they say…but regardless it’s a very sound assertion, very demonstrable. Doesn’t discredit Augustine, it’s just the truth of history and that time period.

  7. Neo says:

    Just finish your freaking paper then.

  8. RiBo says:

    Working on it, got a lot of irons in the fire as they say. Wish there was 48 hours in a day and that I didn’t need sleep.

  9. Andrew says:

    One point about the counsel of Ephesus was that it was primarily a Christological issue. Nestorius’ doctrine, Nestorianism, which emphasized the disunity between Christ’s human and divine natures rejected the title “Theotokos” (Birth Giver of God) for Mary. For this reason some ex-roman Catholics today seem to imply that this counsel was the beginning of paganism entering into the church. They see the heretical doctrines of Mary in the Roman Catholic church and they jump to the conclusion that calling Mary the mother of God is somehow where it all started and is wrong. They don’t like to call Mary the mother of God but instead refer to her as “Mary the mother earthy of Jesus”. To me this is a subtle indication that they are teaching a form of Nestorianism and not fully embracing the deity of Jesus.

  10. Andy says:

    Nothing about Augustine ever gave me any peace at all. I don’t consider him a worthy source of spiritual information, due to the endless unbiblical baggage that he carried. It’s one thing to have some issues (we all do), but his issues went far into the category of the false teachers identified in 2 Peter and Jude, and I am convinced that, if he were alive during the days of Paul, Peter, and John, that he would have been labeled a false teacher by them. Start up the firing squad…

  11. Andrew says:

    Andy,
    Curious, does Pelagius give you more peace?

  12. Andy says:

    Andrew, no, Pelagius doesn’t give me peace either. I won’t fall into the “either/or” dialectic. I have my Bible, I’m born again, I have the Holy Spirit, I can test all who present themselves as teachers, from every era.

  13. Andrew says:

    Andy,
    Have to admire that spirit. Test all things. For me, I find it difficult to interpret the Bible accurately without some kind of church history and saints that went on before me that were much closer to the actual Biblical events in history then me. This is why I give a great deal of respect of Augustine but I certainly respect that he has some issue.

  14. Andy says “I have the Holy Spirit, I can test all who present themselves as teachers, from every era.”

    I always wondered who that one person on earth was who was the reservoir of all knowledge and wisdom … it’s Andy

    So, if I take issue with you on any given point, I am by default wrong, because you have the Holy Spirit?

  15. Andy says:

    Andrew wrote: “church history and saints that went on before me that were much closer to the actual Biblical events in history then me”

    Them being closer in time to the original apostles, doesn’t help them or us. The church was already being flooded with false teachers even during the times when the apostles still walked the earth. Just read Galatians, Ephesians, 1 Timothy, 2 Peter, Jude. The warnings about false teachers were already being alarmed before the apostles passed on. Paul said in Acts, when I depart, grievous wolves will come in, not sparing the flock. It was already happening, before they were dead. So being closer in time, doesn’t help.

    The only thing that helps is, adhering to the Bible.

    We all have this inclination to want to find a guy or guys that we can trust completely, that will give us the goods. But I don’t personally believe the Bible affords us that option. The Bible says there are legitimate teachers. But they are to be tested too.

  16. Andy says:

    MLD comes with an ad hominem. What else is new? 🙂

    I never said to trust me. I only said I don’t trust Augustine, because I too have the Holy Spirit. Nobody has to trust me.

  17. I do agree with Andrew – those who are afraid (and that is what it is) to say that Mary is the mother of God, just don’t realize what happened that Christmas day nor do they understand that it was God himself who sat for 9 months in Mary’s womb.

    Jesus then becomes the lesser God.

  18. Andy – no Ad hominem at all. I directed my comments directly at your words.

    “I can test all who present themselves as teachers, from every era.”
    From every era includes today – you have set yourself up as the judge.

  19. Andy says:

    Whatever terminology you want to use, MLD, is fine. Paint whatever picture you prefer. The Bible says to test, search the Scriptures, believe what is true and not just words from wherever.

  20. Andrew says:

    Andy said “Them being closer in time to the original apostles, doesn’t help them or us”

    Really, Are you implying we don’t study history at all? That is really bizarre if you ask me. At the very least, I hope you are studying the bible in the original languages otherwise you are trusting some kind of history with the development of English. Just saying….

  21. Andy says:

    And yes, the Bible makes the believer a judge of doctrines being emitted from teachers. I believe that, and I’m not ashamed of it.

  22. MLD – are you not able to test teachers? Are you just going to believe whatever you hear?

  23. Andy says:

    Andrew, I wouldn’t exalt some teaching of a man from history, above the teaching that a man can do today. It’s all under the same scrutiny to me. Only the Bible has the right to be infallible.

  24. Even studying in the original languages cannot be a help to Andy because someone would have to teach him the original language … and how would Andy know to trust that person, who could be interpreting the original language to his point of view (note the JWs).

  25. Josh,
    “MLD – are you not able to test teachers? Are you just going to believe whatever you hear?”
    I would never claim Holy Spirit infallibility in my judging as Andy has claimed for himself.

  26. Andy didn’t say he rejected every teacher, only the false ones. Do you accept all of them?

  27. Andy says:

    MLD runs to associate me with the heresies of the JW’s, which is another fallacy, to try and help his argument. And what is his argument? Augustine and Martin Luther are the final authority? Is that his point? I’m not sure.

    I have to trust that the Lord put His Word in my hands, as He promised to. If He didn’t keep that promise, then we’re all wasting our time talking about it anyway. I trust the Lord, that He kept His promise.

  28. Andrew says:

    MLD,

    You got a good point. It seems a lot of the cults today are started by pulling the bible and church history completely out of its historical context.

  29. Andy says:

    I like Josh’s question in 26

  30. Andrew says:

    Only the Bible has the right to be infallible.
    _____________________________________________________

    I agree with this statement with a caveat, in the original languages they were written in with the original manuscript and not a copy. Curious, do you have any of the originals and can you read Greek, Hebrew and Arabic?

  31. Andy says:

    Andrew, I don’t have the originals, and neither do you or anyone on the earth. And so understanding Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic, won’t help with this. Without physically having the originals to prove what they said, being an expert in Greek, Hebrew, and Aramaic, won’t help determine what the originals said.

    So this running to original languages doesn’t help if I don’t have the original documents. The original languages can illuminate my study, so there is that. But knowing those languages better than anyone on the earth, won’t help with nonexistent originals.

    Therefore I have to trust the Lord that He put His Word in my hands. I do trust that. He who created everything from nothing, can do that too. And He did.

    If you don’t believe that He did, then you don’t have a Bible, so why talk about it?

  32. Doesn’t Augustine essentially mark the shift from East to West as far as dominating the defining of theology? All the talk these days is about what the father’s believed prior to Augustine. So many appeals are made in this direction. Likely there are some good references on such things.

    Greg Boyd is an example of someone who sees Augustine as shifting theology from what he characterizes as a warfare model to a blueprint model

  33. Andrew says:

    Therefore I have to trust the Lord that He put His Word in my hands. I do trust that. He who created everything from nothing, can do that too. And He did.
    ______________________________________________________________

    Actually I am not sure what you have in your hands that you are calling the Bible. Are you a King James only kind of guy or are you reading Eugene Peterson’s Message. They are vastly different. What version of the Bible should we use or do you use? My concern is that we need some teaching throughout history to help us but you are not telling us who they are.

  34. Andy says:

    Andrew, just me personally, I don’t believe that historical teaching has any merit above present-day teaching. I don’t believe God works in that way, that somehow, a man from hundreds of years ago, is more equipped by Him to teach, than today. I’m not saying that historical teaching has no value. I just don’t believe it is superior in any way.

    As for the Bible version, I do personally use the King James, however, I wouldn’t say that I’m a KJV only guy. I don’t believe the Message is God’s Word, and that again is just my opinion.

  35. “Andy didn’t say he rejected every teacher, only the false ones. Do you accept all of them?”

    No he did not and I did not say that he did – but, and go back and read his original statement at #12, he says that he is capable of sitting in judgment of all teachers – true teachers and false teachers. I find thatt a gutsy statement.

    Therefore, I said that if I disagree with him that by default I must be wrong – how can I argue with the Holy Spirit?

  36. Andy says:

    How can someone determine the difference between a true teacher and a false teacher, if they don’t judge the statements they hear from all teachers?

  37. Andy,
    “MLD runs to associate me with the heresies of the JW’s”

    I did not do that at all – you need to go back and read what i actually wrote. How am I to believe that you can Holy Spirit judge Austine when you can’t even read a blog post correctly. 😉

  38. Austine = Augustine

  39. Andy says:

    MLD, I’m judging that your blog post was poorly constructed as to prevent good understanding 🙂

  40. Andrew says:

    Andy,

    Can you give us an example during Augustines time that you feel was a good teacher? If you can’t find even one good teacher, I’m curious what you think happened to the church during that time? Did the church completely stop and then have to start over again at some point?

  41. Andy says:

    Andrew, I wasn’t alive during that time, to say who was saying what. I am certain that the Lord didn’t have everyone the world around sitting at Augustine’s feet, without any other teachers anywhere to teach.

    Modern Christianity has this idea that somehow, all believers in huge swaths of time, revolved around their personal heroes from times past. And of course, that’s even geographically false, in addition to removing our ability to test them as all teachers should be tested.

    The Lord had me sit at the feet of a humble little Baptist pastor when He started the work in my life, nobody anyone would have ever heard of, and he is dead and is already forgotten, and nothing he taught is carried on beyond the things the Lord used him to put in my heart. Yet there he was, and there I was, and there was the Lord in our midst. “Big names” mean nothing. If any generation of believers should catch that, it should be ours.

  42. Andy #39 – Touche LOL 🙂

  43. sarahkwolfe says:

    Whew…you guys are fast and furious this morning!!

    It has been quite awhile since I read Augustine with any real focus, and I should do so again. I remember more his Confessions, because I am drawn more to stories, I guess. I appreciated the fervency he had…and the quickness of his mind.

    I recognize the slowness of my own mind. While I do believe the Holy Spirit guides and aids us, I recognize deeply the help of those with quicker and more earnest minds than mine own. I have to own that sometimes it is laziness on my part not to want to do the deep work…and I benefit from the work of others. Still…I do see the value of listening to those in our heritage.

    Their voices have been challenged, is part of the equation, while the voices of today are in the midst of challenge. The voices of history have stood up to challenge and have been tested, so we can hear them with the questions and the critiques and the answers and the dialog. The voices of today, we listen and wait as their arguments continue to unfold.

  44. sarahkwolfe says:

    So, Andy…are you saying that God never blesses the teaching of someone whom He has equipped with a sharp mind in a way that draws many to listen? Should we not hope that if someone is teaching well the things of God…teaching authentically and accurately and by the gifting of the same Holy Spirit you claim gives you insight…that this person would be heard?

    Does the fact that they are well known necessitate that they are false? I agree with you that we need to not fall into the placing of people on pedestals and placing all our faith in the person. I agree as well that we need to test the things we hear, and we need to be wise. I also have known that some who were well known (at least in certain circles) were wise and teaching authentically with a desire for others to know God well. Their popularity was not because they were teaching something false.

  45. Andrew says:

    Ok, now you got me curious. “…..nothing he taught is carried on beyond the things the Lord used him to put in my heart……”

    This sounds like some kind of secret knowledge that you got. Do you mind revealing to us what you got in your heart?

  46. Andy says:

    “are you saying that God never blesses the teaching of someone whom He has equipped with a sharp mind in a way that draws many to listen?”

    No, I’m not saying that. There are those that have big audiences, that also line up with Scripture. And there are those will big audiences, that don’t line up with Scripture.

  47. Andy says:

    Andrew, I meant that his Bible studies don’t appear on TBN, KWVE, etc etc. He taught things like, Jesus died for us 🙂 I was not inferring hidden knowledge.

  48. Andy says:

    And just to combat more either/or thinking, I’m also not saying that all things on TBN, KWVE are false.

    The bottom line is, popular or unpopular, big or small, there are true teachers and false teachers in all categories, but all should be tested, for our own spiritual sakes.

  49. Andrew says:

    He taught things like, Jesus died for us 🙂 I was not inferring hidden knowledge.
    ________________________________________________________________

    Well I would think Augustine would agree with him. So can we give at least one thumbs up for Augustine then? 🙂

  50. Wow, there’s an Augustine nerve around here. Who knew? Say you don’t like the guy and everyone jumps you.

  51. Andy says:

    Andrew, way back, I said that Augustine had lots and lots of baggage, in my opinion. Too much baggage for me personally to endorse. He said Jesus died for us, so I endorse that. But just too much baggage for me.

    Josh, yes, you are very right, there is a strong nerve when it comes to Augustine. Like Michael pointed out, so many are tracing their spiritual history to him specifically. The sensitivity is from that, I suppose.

  52. Andrew says:

    Andy,

    I am curious if you are an ex- Roman Catholic? I think because Roman Catholics endorse Augustin, some protestants particularly ex Catholics don’t like him. Just curious if that is your situation?

  53. sarahkwolfe says:

    Josh…I don’t think it is that everyone is jumping because of an attack on Augustine. I think it is more because the thinking that there is nothing to be gained from listening to those in our history. At least that was the main point for me. I think Augustine merits our attention, although there may be things we disagree with, he thought through many things of our faith in important ways.

  54. Andy says:

    Andrew, good question, but my family had us go catholic on Christmas and Easter. Beyond that, I knew nothing about catholicism. 🙂

  55. Andrew says:

    Andy, I guess the bigger question was the Baptist preacher that led you to the Lord and taught you things, if he was an ex-catholic? Anyway, I never had to deal with any of the problems in the Roman Catholic church, so I was able to be less biased and more objective about Augustine.

  56. Sarah, I agree with your take on Augustine. He brings value. Hold to what is true, dump the rest.

    I didn’t take Andy as saying he didn’t accept any ancient teachers, just that Augustine didn’t sit well with him. I could be wrong on that.

  57. Andy says:

    Josh wrote: “I didn’t take Andy as saying he didn’t accept any ancient teachers, just that Augustine didn’t sit well with him. I could be wrong on that.”

    This is right.

  58. Andy says:

    Andrew, the issue of Augustine didn’t come up for me until many years later. I wasn’t given any bias about him either way. I studied the Bible with teachers, and alone, and once people pushed the Augustine agenda (some so very heavily!), I began to push back personally, because, he’s just plum wrong on a lot of things (again, in my opinion).

  59. Andy says:

    I left off the B from plumb 🙂

  60. Andrew says:

    Andy,
    Maybe we should shift the conversation to not about the man but about the things he was just plum wrong about? For instance, what do you think about original sin? Is that biblical or not?

  61. sarahkwolfe says:

    Okay..sorry if I misread that. I still think Augustine is worth hearing. 🙂 Now off to educate my children.

  62. Man, we got people wholesale rejecting Paul that don’t get this much pushback:)

  63. Andy says:

    Andrew, depends on what you mean by original sin? A person could mean, born with a sin nature, or collective guilt, or no free will, or some or all of the above. Personally I believe that we are born with a sin nature, but we still have a free will to choose to believe in Jesus.

  64. “I still think Augustine is worth hearing.”

    Agreed. I also find the story of his mother to be very touching.

  65. sarahkwolfe says:

    I was offline the whole day of the Paul discussion 😉

  66. Andrew says:

    Andy,

    I think the answer is in the Bible.

    Ephesians 2:1-5:

    And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience– 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ–by grace you have been saved– 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

  67. Andy says:

    Andrew, those Scriptures don’t answer as to whether man has a free will or not. Unless you interpret “dead” in verse 1 as, unable to believe.

    I don’t interpret “dead” as unable to believe. I interpret “dead” as, without a relationship with the Creator.

    I assert man’s free will. God’s sovereignty, by His choice, allows man a choice, and His sovereignty isn’t threatened by that.

  68. Michael says:

    Sometimes I don’t know whether to laugh or cry.
    Despite my best efforts, it seems impossible to convince some that all the doctrines you hold dear today didn’t come out of the first century in full flower…they evolved through the centuries.
    If you believe in the inspiration of Scripture, that God moved men to write down what His words…you’re reading Augustine.
    If you believe we are born in sin, in Adam…you’re reading Augustine.
    If you believe that the grace of God is necessary to be saved, you’re reading Augustine.

    The single most important writer on the way to Protestantism and the Reformation is Augustine.
    Before Augustine most of the discussions in the church were Christological…the church debating the nature of God.
    Augustine began discussing anthropology…the nature of man.
    To this day the single greatest autobiography of a man trying to understand and struggle with his sin is Augustines “Confessions”… if you really don’t think you can read that with profit you simply haven’t read it.
    Augustine didn’t get it all right in the eyes of Protestants…but what he got right had not been explicated before him and set the foundation for all those who would come after him 1000 years later.
    We owe him a huge debt and should be grateful to God for how He used him.

  69. Andy says:

    Michael wrote: “If you believe we are born in sin, in Adam…you’re reading Augustine. If you believe that the grace of God is necessary to be saved, you’re reading Augustine.”

    Huh?

    Those were impossible to find without Augustine? How did they do it before he was born?

  70. J.U. says:

    I believe that all knowledge has been advanced through the thousands of years of civilization through the thoughts and writings of learned men. (Women too, but culturally, men dominated. I don’t agree with that, but it is a fact.)

    When it comes to religion, we have to be very careful of the “advancement of thinking.” We are told in the scriptures to test every doctrine against God’s written word and we are given the Holy Spirit to assist us in that examination.

    So I find value in studying the history of the church, but – certainly – we have to apply discernment and not just assume the ancient ideas of men were correct. At the same time, we shouldn’t assume that the modern ideas are correct either. We must test all this. We are instructed to judge. We have responsibility for what we decide and what we believe, again with the assistance of the Holy Spirit and God’s word.

    One comment about the King James version of the Bible. I’m no expert, but I’ve been told that better source materials are available today to assist translations than were in existence in the 1600s. Of course, there are revised KJV. My point is that there are more ancient manuscripts and copies available to modern translators and, possibly, we understand ancient languages better today than in the 1600s. So I don’t hold the KJV in very high regard.

    I suppose some like the ancient English of the original KJV, sort of Shakespearean. After all, Shakespeare was a contemporary. But it is not the Bible translation I would use as a best example of converting the Bible to modern English.

    At the same time, I’ve seen many examples where the NIV, a very popular translation, does not do a great job of translating specific word and thoughts and is a bit more of a paraphrase than others.

    When I have doubts, I get my parallel Bible out. That lets me easily compare different translations, which, after all, are the opinions of men as to what the ancient texts said. Smartphone apps can do the same, and you don’t need a stack of Bibles to compare translations.

    I’ve been taught (sermons, Bible studies, etc.) about specifics of certain Hebrew and Greek words as we dug deep into individual verses. The whole process of translation from one language to another is full of possibilities for miss-understanding, never mind out right errors or even purposeful twists of scripture to support a particular belief. (See JW translation of John 1:1.)

    I vaguely recall that the verses of Mark that talk about snake handling don’t appear in more ancient manuscripts and were probably added to later copies. (Or should I post this on LINKS?)

    So we do need to question everything and test everything and rely on the Holy Spirit. And people can be fooled by slick teachers. We do have to JUDGE. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t seek guidance in our path and look to the knowledge and wisdom of others as we explore our faith. We must use all of our God given gifts to discern His truth. He tells us to do that right in those same scriptures. Bottom line: keep up the Church History. It equips us all to be better judges of our personal faith.

  71. Michael says:

    Andy,

    It wasn’t even really discussed before Augustine…that’s why Pelagius and Augustines debates changed history. You don’t seem to understand that Christianity was close to a works based religion by this time…the other debates that had raged in the church over the nature of Christ had taken precedent over discussions of anthropology.

  72. Andy says:

    Michael, per your 71, It was certainly discussed and finalized in Acts chapter 15. What went on after that, isn’t certain. You might feel certain based on some books about the topic, but you can’t be as sure about those books, and you can be about Acts chapter 15.

  73. Andrew says:

    I don’t interpret “dead” as unable to believe. I interpret “dead” as, without a relationship with the Creator.
    __________________________________________________________________

    I interpret dead as dead! Kind of goes back to the grave sucking article. When you are dead, not sure what the grave suckers are doing…

  74. Andy says:

    I guess this is what I have a problem with, the whole, “it’s Augustine or you’re screwed” assertion.

  75. Andy says:

    Andrew wrote: “I interpret dead as dead! Kind of goes back to the grave sucking article. When you are dead, not sure what the grave suckers are doing”

    There’s physically dead, and then there’s spiritually dead. A person walking the earth that doesn’t have a relationship with their Creator, is spiritually dead where they stand. They have a free will to see that changed.

  76. Michael says:

    Andy,

    For crying in the night, this isn’t a time in history where everyone in the church has a leather bound KJV with a dove on it.
    The canon of Scripture wasn’t even decided until a hundred years before this and a standard bible was first completed in this century.
    Most Christians only knew what the bishops taught them and the bishops had bigger fish to fry than the dealing with biblical anthropology.

  77. Andrew says:

    Andy what you are espousing is Pelagianism. If you have free will than you can loose and gain your salvation at will multiple times through out your life. It is what it is. Today, I am a Christian. Tomorrow I am not. Friday I choose to be a Christian again and so on and so.

  78. Michael says:

    “I guess this is what I have a problem with, the whole, “it’s Augustine or you’re screwed” assertion.”

    Find a clear exposition of these matters in the church before Augustine, post the apostolic age.
    I’ll wait.
    Have we moved past Augustine and further refined and clarified our theology?
    Of course we have!
    But we are building on the foundations he recovered from Scripture.

  79. Andy says:

    Michael, once again, your 76 is based on study materials, that aren’t rubber stamped by God as His Word. It might be history, but it might not be fully accurate. Is it possible that such a history lesson, isn’t 100% accurate? Is that possible? If it is possible at all, then your entire view, falls.

    The believing organic home churches that existed in Acts, and always existed in communities outside of the “official big organizations”, fulfilled their purposes in Jesus Christ, even outside of the “official big organizations”.

    And that’s not some endorsement of the home church movement. It’s just a point. But isn’t it possible that the history you trust so dearly, might have some errors? Isn’t that possible at all? You know it is possible.

  80. Andy says:

    Andrew, about your 77… it is pelagianism to assert that a person has a free will? You go farther with that than the calvinists. Even the calvinists call it “semi-pelagianism”.

    I believe in Jesus, so I have eternal life. Eternal life is eternal, it cannot be lost. But free will to get there, is Biblical fact.

  81. Andy says:

    And “getting there”, is by believing in Jesus.

  82. PP Vet says:

    I may still have a copy of City of God that I purchased at the bookstore on the campus of Catholic University circa 1980. I have not gotten around to reading it yet.

    Well, maybe I scanned through it once or twice.

    That was back in the days when you actually had to make phone calls and drive many miles to get a book. How very barbaric it was. Shudder.

  83. Andrew says:

    Andy your remark,

    “They have a free will to see that changed.”

    distinctively had more of a Pelagianism tone than a semi-pelaganian tone to it but I admit there is a fine distinction between the two.

  84. Andy says:

    Andrew, by that kind of view, I am only fulfilling the role that God programmed into me. I cannot help but be a “semi-pelagian”, since, God’s will is being done, there is no free will. I can’t help it. Debating it, is worthless, therefore. 😉

  85. Andrew says:

    If you believe in Christ, you have been made alive. I would quit trying to take credit for it. That is all I am saying.

  86. Andy says:

    I’m not taking credit for my salvation. Saying that I believed in a free gift paid for in full by Jesus, is not me taking credit. He said to believe, so I believe.

  87. Michael says:

    “The believing organic home churches that existed in Acts, and always existed in communities outside of the “official big organizations”, fulfilled their purposes in Jesus Christ, even outside of the “official big organizations”.”

    What I believe is based on the historical record.
    Are you actually saying that there were these secret churches that left absolutely no trace that had all their theological ducks in a row with 19th century American evangelicalism?
    Seriously?
    There is absolutely no record of them, but they existed anyway.
    First Church of Bigfoot…

  88. Andrew says:

    Andy, thats awsome! But you espoused the decisional regeneration theology that you were the one that got you there like somehow you weren’t under wrath. That my friend is taking credit were its not deserved.

  89. Andy says:

    Michael, per your 87,

    Make fun if it all you want. You have historical records, so, they are perfect always without any error? You believe that?

    My wife is from Russia. She had historical records taught in the classroom based on the Soviet belief system. When the Soviet Union fell, new historical records were put in the next year, and they contradicted the first set from earlier in her life.

    I trust the Word of God. Can’t go wrong there. But beyond that, you just can’t be sure.

  90. Michael says:

    Let me give another example.
    We all believe as Protestants in penal substitutionary atonement.
    Jesus paid the legal penalty for our sins on the cross.
    That doctrine doesn’t show up until 500 years after Augustine.
    The atonement theories at this point in history were the ransom theory and Christus Victor…

  91. Andy says:

    “decisional regeneration theology”

    I personally refuse the theology that regeneration comes before belief in Jesus. I personally accept the theology that regeneration comes only after belief in Jesus.

  92. Andy says:

    “That doctrine doesn’t show up until 500 years after Augustine”

    You run into the same historical record issue as before. But just for the sake of argument, again, this one is right out of Scripture, so…. sort of like discovering bread 🙂

  93. RiBo says:

    “I personally accept the theology that regeneration comes only after belief in Jesus.”

    George Bryson does an excellent job of articulating this position here:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QDKlW9o1rnI

    …errr, nevermind. My bad.

  94. Michael says:

    Andy,

    I’ll make fun of it all day long because it’s nonsense.
    in the church we don’t just have the writings of the winners…we have the writings of winners and losers, heroes and heretics, and the arguments they had with each other.
    We can see how our modern doctrines developed and the fights and thought processes that led to the church holding to some and discarding the others.
    To believe that there was some secret sect that had it all together and passed it from the apostles down through the centuries to Calvary Chapel is inane and willfully ignorant.

  95. Andy says:

    “that led to the church holding to some and discarding the others”

    What church???

    Are you referring to the catholic church? The protestant church? Both, as they were killing each other? What church made all these decisions and handed them down so we can go to school and read them and believe them without questioning?

    Those “secret sects” that you refer to, took the brunt of the persecution, and kept on going. They aren’t highlighted in the history lessons of the church that you are referring to.

  96. Michael says:

    It took the church 900 years to discover “bread”…

  97. Michael says:

    There is no record of these sects, nor of their persecution.
    We know about every oner persecuted sect in church history, how did this one completely disappear?

  98. Andy says:

    Michael, which church made all of these decisions? The catholic church? The protestant church?

  99. Michael says:

    Andy,

    There was only one church for hundreds of years…there were no Protestants until the 16th century…

  100. Andy says:

    The irony of this is that, the catholic church calls you as a Reformed protestant, Michael, in the same category in which you are attacking Calvary Chapel, that somehow “truth” was discovered only later, and you should just return to the root, that being Rome.

  101. Andy says:

    Oh, okay. Well you answered my post before I finished posting it. You go with the catholic version of “history”, that there was them, and NOBODY ELSE outside of them that believed in Jesus.

    Got it.

    🙁

  102. Andy has made his point very clear – he does not, and has not paid attention to church history

  103. Andrew says:

    I personally refuse the theology that regeneration comes before belief in Jesus. I personally accept the theology that regeneration comes only after belief in Jesus.
    ________________________________________________________________

    I believe it happens simultaneous in chronological time but from a cause and effect standpoint, God is the cause by giving me the faith to believe if that makes sense.

  104. Andy says:

    Don’t the Reformed believe that man is a liar? Man is born in sin, and prone to sin? So, historical documents written by man, isn’t it possible that lying man might have been slightly in error in them? Even the slightest distortion of the truth?

    We are to believe that every believer in Jesus was in the catholic church for all those hundreds of years? Not one believer in Jesus was outside of it?

    I didn’t realize this was a catholic site 😉

  105. Andrew says:

    The irony of this is that, the catholic church calls you as a Reformed protestant, Michael, in the same category in which you are attacking Calvary Chapel, that somehow “truth” was discovered only later, and you should just return to the root, that being Rome.

    ______________________________________________________________________

    If only Rome would go back to its own roots, would I dare return to them.

  106. RiBo says:

    Well, in practical human terms, there is no such thing as regeneration. There is no human in evidence (except Jesus) that got truly regenerated while here on earth. Everyone still sins as much, often the same or just stops taboo sins and does the more accepted sins, etc.

    Some will cry, “that’s sanctification!” well not really as all your apologetics claim there is some major “transformation” that occurs upon regeneration…and there just isn’t.

    “Well, well, I stopped doing drugs!”…ya, but you still lie, have pride, etc all things God “hates”.

    If ‘regeneration’ exists, it is merely positional. Nothing really changes.

    Lots of people stop taking drugs through non-religious means or through mormonism which you’d call not officially christian or through Judaism, Budhism etc.

    None of the supposedly “regenerated” i’ve encountered over the years are any different than any other walk of life…in fact, many times they are worse in terms of “good” and “bad” behaviors.

    “Regeneration” according to the apologetic must come with some “signs”…but when closely scrutinized, none measure up and the apologetic begins to walk it back and claim “grace” and that it’s all done in Jesus b/c none meet the standards, none consistently example the signs of regeneration…even hyper-holiness ‘regeneristas’ like John MacArthur don’t measure up.

    I can demonstrate all of the above if challenged. I’ve gone through the discussions many times before and can show the thesis to be very sound and demonstrable.

  107. Andy says:

    RiBo wrote: “Some will cry, “that’s sanctification!” well not really as all your apologetics claim there is some major “transformation” that occurs upon regeneration…and there just isn’t.”

    Just because some apologetics guys claim something, doesn’t make it so. The believer in Jesus is saved. The outward transformation might not be visible to anyone. We’d like to see a transformation, but there’s no way to measure it, since all saved people are still sinners. The fact that they didn’t believe, and now do, is itself a transformation.

  108. Andrew says:

    If ‘regeneration’ exists, it is merely positional. Nothing really changes.
    __________________________________________________________

    Everything changes when its positional. We are no longer under the wrath of God. We are saved. We are being saved and we will be saved. Justification, sanctification and glorification.

  109. Andy says:

    And belief in Jesus leads to regeneration, not the other way around (again, in my reading of Scripture).

  110. Michael says:

    Andy,

    You refuse to get a grip on the actual history of the church.
    Why, is beyond me.
    The mythology that there was some ancient sect that no one ever knew of that was persecuted and their records destroyed by a pope who was yet to exist is more compelling than the truth.
    The theology I hold to wasn’t fully developed until the sixteenth century…I have no problem with that at all.

  111. RiBo says:

    Andy, agreed.

    Augustine was no more ‘inspired’ than anyone else. Augustine was simply one of the first educated men who applied a Greek Philosophical rationale to try and make sense and create theses and positions and categorize the often-contradictory “bible”.

    Augustine, through his Greek Philosophical lens, took the bible and tried to make it make sense and some of his stuff resonated with the folks of his day and still resonates today with large Groups and sects of Christians*

    However, many since have continued to apply a more current version of Philosophical Logic and process to the “bible” and the bible then says differently on many issues.

    It all has to do with your paradigm and your lens, not necessarily “inspiration” meaning that Augustine was any more “inspired by God!” than any other.

  112. Andy says:

    Michael, again, are you saying that not even ONE INDIVIDUAL believer in Jesus existed outside of the catholic church, before the reformation? Not one? That is my question.

    RiBo, Augustine was indeed heavily influenced by gnostic sources and Greek philosophers. He is the foundation for catholicism and (most of) protestantism. But the simplicity of the Gospel remains true. Believe in Jesus, and you have everlasting life. A person can’t count on some “transformation” that is defined differently by a thousand different theologians. A lot of talk, and zero security. But believing in Jesus is the way to heaven, that easy.

  113. RiBo says:

    Andrew says, “Everything changes when its positional. We are no longer under the wrath of God. We are saved. We are being saved and we will be saved. Justification, sanctification and glorification.”

    Yes, the definition of positional.

    Andrew, do you still sin? What changed in practical terms when you were regenerated?

  114. Michael says:

    Andy,

    Your framing of the question is ignorant and misleading.
    Catholic in the usage of the early church for hundreds of years meant “universal”.
    We know there were sects that were outside the church…we know their names and doctrines and we know what became of them.
    There is absolutely no historical record of any sect with fully developed evangelical doctrine in the early church and we know how and how long it took for evangelical doctrines to develop.
    Calvary Chapel doctrines took over 1800 years to come into circulation…dispensationalism is a very late development.
    The fact that doctrines developed in a historical fashion doesn’t negate or prove their truth, it’s simply an observable fact of history.

  115. RiBo says:

    The Elephant in the Room whenever the “regeneration” and “sanctification” doctrines are thrown about…is the fact that every single Christian* i have ever known is still a sinner and sins all the time.

    The other fact is that many non-Christians* are consistently “good” and moral.

    Your apologetic presents it as an “either/or” proposition and it just isn’t.

    Many good moral people are not ‘regenerated’ according to your apologetic…and conversely, many who the apologetic would call ‘regenerated’ sin all the time.

    There is no consistent correlation that shows that “regeneration” does anything practically speaking with regards to human behavior other than make a bunch of hypocrites and liars who say they’ve been “transformed” when in fact they still sin all the time, many times simply exchanging taboo sins like drugs or alcohol for more polite sins like lying, pride and gluttony.

    Humans are a mix of good and bad, capable of both…no matter the philosophical religious belief system.

  116. Andy says:

    Michael, so you agree that there were believers in Jesus outside of the catholic church before the reformation.

    (And when the catholic church uses the word “catholic” historically, they meant themselves)

    We know that there were believers in Jesus outside of the catholic church at all periods of the past. Your main beef is with dispensationalism, at least you used the word. So far as your “history” tells you, it didn’t come around until… (pick a reformed website for details).

    But at least you admit that truth isn’t based on when it became “popular”. I’m only asserting that it always existed on the fringes, in all times. And of that, I am certain. Even if your “historical” records choose to avoid it.

  117. RiBo says:

    Michael said, “There is absolutely no historical record of any sect with fully developed evangelical doctrine in the early church and we know how and how long it took for evangelical doctrines to develop.”

    This appears to be fact. I can’t disprove this claim.

  118. Andy says:

    RiBo wrote: “is the fact that every single Christian* i have ever known is still a sinner and sins all the time”

    Which is why I readily admit that I’m still a sinner, and I don’t measure “change”. I know that I believe in Jesus, so I know that I am going to heaven.

  119. Michael says:

    “RiBo, Augustine was indeed heavily influenced by gnostic sources and Greek philosophers. He is the foundation for catholicism and (most of) protestantism.”

    You make me laugh.
    Read his writings against Gnosticism.
    He was a Neo-Platonist before his conversion…and post conversion he wrote some of the most compelling works defending Scripture and Christianity against the philosophers in history.
    He also know what value and worth some of that philosophy held and was nuanced in his critiques.
    These caricatures and myths are not much short of accusing the brethren…

  120. Michael says:

    “But at least you admit that truth isn’t based on when it became “popular”. I’m only asserting that it always existed on the fringes, in all times. And of that, I am certain. Even if your “historical” records choose to avoid it.”

    That is simply hillbilly mythology.
    I leave you to your foolishness.

  121. Agree 100% with Michael’s #119

    RB, you need to step away from the atheist sites you cut and paste from. They give the edited snippet version that you are passing around. They have an agenda of dishonesty – is that who you really want to be associated with???

  122. Andy says:

    “and post conversion he wrote some of the most compelling works defending Scripture and Christianity against the philosophers in history”

    All the while teaching anti-Scripture doctrines such as infant baptism, purgatory, the perpetual virginity of Mary, penance, and countless other errors, as you admitted in the blog post.

    So I’m accusing the brethren for saying that he said things that were against Scripture? I’m not falling for that one. 😉

  123. RiBo says:

    “He was a Neo-Platonist before his conversion…and post conversion he wrote some of the most compelling works defending Scripture and Christianity against the philosophers in history.
    He also know what value and worth some of that philosophy held and was nuanced in his critiques.”

    True, he was Neo-Platonist and influenced by the same Greek Philosophers (Plato and especially the neo-platonist Plotinus) as many of the other early church fathers.

    You are conflating two issues: Conclusions vs. Process.

    From the standpoint of process, Augustine philosophized with essentially the same rationale and process as the Greek Philosopher.

    Similarly Calvin and Luther took another look at “the bible” through the lens of Philosophical logic (both were schooled in Classic Philosophy: Plato, Aristotle, Stoics, etc etc) and both were essentially philosophers who appealed to the same texts and drew out of it newer more nuanced versions of “Thus sayeth the Lord!”

    All post-Hebrew Christian* thought (or nearly all) is built upon the foundation of Classical Philosophy or Greek Philosophy.

  124. RiBo says:

    MLD, none was cut and pasted from atheist sites. In fact most of the stuff I’m reviewing is the primary sources and the secondary sources are from institutions like Villanova (established as Christian*), Oxford (Anglican), Stanford, MIT etc.

  125. 2 quick points RiBo –

    Again, I don’t think anyone is denying the philosophical influence.

    and…you came up with your own definition of regeneration, and then say we don’t measure up. If you stick with the historic CHristian definition for regeneration, then it is a spiritual thing that can’t be measured.

  126. Michael says:

    Andy,

    In the article I clearly state that both were found in the writings of Augustine.
    The church didn’t stop studying and the Holy Spirit didn’t cease giving light with Augustine…doctrine continued to develop through the centuries.
    You believe in sola scriptura, as do I…16th century doctrine.

  127. Let me ask you this. You are making this big case for the Fathers using Greek Philosophy to filter the Bible. So what’s the big deal – why would this even strike you as important?

    You today are filtering what you read through whatever worldview filter you use – which if it is not the same that Plato used, how would you make a connection with him?

    Last week we spoke about in the “fullness of time” and said that God himself had set Greek Philosophy in motion so people would have a mainframe to work through. So why would this not hold up in the first couple of centuries?

    If you read the first couple of chapters in Daniel you will see how much God controls, not only in people’s direct actions, but behind the scenes to make things go.

  128. RiBo says:

    And, MLD, Michael was responding to a comment from Andy, though I largely agree with Andy’s comment. Augustine was certainly “influenced” by Greek Philosophy in his process and several of Augustine’s doctrines were essentially concepts developed by Plotinus but applied to the Christian* version of the concept of God.

    Again, it is just fact. It doesn’t discredit Augustine, it just shows that “Thus sayeth the Lord!” is a function of interpretation and applying human thought to the texts and it explains why there is so much divergence as to “thus sayeth the Lord!” evidenced by the 9,000 to 30,000 Christian* denoms, mainlines, sects etc.

    A Jew utilizing a Hebrew-based philosophical logic views the Old Testament much differently.

    The “fullness of time” apologetic is then applied which basically assents to the fact Greek Philosophy played such a key role in bible canon and interpretation (NT codices are written in Greek, Greek thought process is applied to interpret the text etc) and seeks to merge the facts and keep the process “inspired”.

    Well, if “fullness of time” is a real dynamic, then the bible interpretation could very well change for today depending on the philosophical lens/perspective being applied, as such the Liberals (theologically) could be right and your view could be archaic.

    At one time Augustine’s views were unnoticed and not the norm. Augustine was not an Apostle.

  129. I’m still not understanding the big problem with Andy. He sees a lot of things from Augustine that he disagrees with and so he doesn’t care for his writings too much. Why is that not OK?

    There are plenty of people through history that I choose not to read, for whatever reason, but that’s OK. There are plenty of other things that I choose to read. It’s not like if he tosses Augustine all together that he will be missing out on some hidden truth that can be found nowhere else.

  130. Andy says:

    “The church didn’t stop studying and the Holy Spirit didn’t cease giving light with Augustine…doctrine continued to develop through the centuries”

    But studying the Bible alone, seems to infer that since Scripture is complete, then doctrine is complete. How can Paul say to Timothy to attend to the doctrine, if we will have to wait until the 16th century for the doctrine to be right? Paul didn’t seem to think that such a wait would be occurring. He talked as if all right understanding of doctrine existed right there, in his lifetime. Did Paul understand doctrine better than Augustine, Luther, and Calvin? I would hope that you would say yes.

    And those that Paul taught, also taught others. And so on. And meanwhile, false teachers were also in the mix, even then in the days of Paul.

    Which goes back to my original assertion: The mixed bag you see today, always existed in all times. Despite the “history” lessons of catholicism or the reformed churches.

  131. Andy says:

    Josh wrote: “It’s not like if he tosses Augustine all together that he will be missing out on some hidden truth that can be found nowhere else”

    THANK YOU.

    That is the bottom line. There is a pride that exists in academia, that, if I don’t study this guy and that, this book and that, this class and that, I am somehow an ignoramus, spiritually inferior, a loser, unable to “get it”, and a third-class citizen in God’s house.

    I just can’t picture Jesus making such a statement 🙂

  132. RiBo says:

    MLD said, “Let me ask you this. You are making this big case for the Fathers using Greek Philosophy to filter the Bible. So what’s the big deal – why would this even strike you as important?”

    B/c you are the guys who say “context” is so important and that “hermeneutic” is so important…yet none of you have done much study on Greek Philosophy and Greek Philosophical thought and Philosophical logic etc…yet you claim to be able to provide accurate “context” and apply a proper interpretive model to the texts.

    The text is static, it’s a constant. The real “bible” is what you say it means.

    Essentially, everyone is a philosopher that appeals to the bible and draws conclusions based on a rationale…but very few do their own heavy lifting based upon building on Greek Philosophy that was the framework and launching pad of the Early Church Fathers.

    The NT Wright’s of the world tend to, the Rowan Williams, the Ben Jowett’s etc (all more liberal)… the evangelicals and conservatives tend to think the 1500’s was the end-all be-all and the last inspired word.

  133. RiBo says:

    If you have a high regard for the Early Church Fathers and their conclusions of that time, then you defacto have a high regard for Greek Philosophy…whether you realize it or not.

    That’s the point.

    If that is the Standard, then read more of today’s Liberal theologians as they continue to apply Philosophy to the text and come up with conclusions.

  134. Michael says:

    Josh,

    If you don’t study Augustine today you won’t necessarily miss anything…because the church is now 1500 years beyond him and we have long since adopted some of his theology and further refined and developed it.
    My point is that we need to recognize where our theology came from and that’s why a study in church history is valuable…our doctrines, our Bible, and whatever sect of Christianity we belong to was developed over time…in the case of most Americans, a long time.

  135. Rowan Williams, became a Druid, or at least celebrated their religion. He may be a great thinker, but I don’t think he understood scripture at all.

  136. Michael says:

    “Which goes back to my original assertion: The mixed bag you see today, always existed in all times. Despite the “history” lessons of catholicism or the reformed churches.”

    Despite the fact that there is absolutely no evidence of this and the evidence clearly shows that doctrines developed over time.
    Unbelievable…

  137. We should all take a semester of philosophy under a Phd so that Ribo can move on to his next topic.

    Oh wait, I’ve already done more than that. So has probably everyone else here.

  138. Andy says:

    “because the church is now 1500 years beyond him and we have long since adopted some of his theology and further refined and developed it”

    This can’t be true if there are many of us looking at what Augustine said, and responding with, “Augustine was wrong about very many things”.

  139. RiBo says:

    “My point is that we need to recognize where our theology came from and that’s why a study in church history is valuable…our doctrines, our Bible, and whatever sect of Christianity we belong to was developed over time…in the case of most Americans, a long time.”

    Agreed. It’s very valuable. Just don’t leave out the facts about the Greek Philosophical influence and process that was used to develop the doctrines and explain what the bible says and means according to the particular church father.

  140. Andy says:

    “Despite the fact that there is absolutely no evidence of this and the evidence clearly shows that doctrines developed over time”

    So Paul didn’t have the right doctrines?

  141. Michael says:

    N.T. Wright is hardly a liberal…

  142. RB,
    “If that is the Standard, then read more of today’s Liberal theologians as they continue to apply Philosophy to the text and come up with conclusions.”

    Have you ever noticed that the liberals always end up by denying the text itself, the historicity of the text or the interpretation of the text?

    Can you name me a liberal ‘scholar’ who stands strongly behind the scriptures as they are?

  143. RiBo says:

    “Oh wait, I’ve already done more than that. So has probably everyone else here.”

    But you don’t demonstrate a philosophical logic approach to thinking through the text, you generally appeal to dogma and don’t give very compelling responses, usually just canned spam apologetic from the evangelical perspective which is usually easily debunked from a philosophical logic perspective.

    A lot of folks studied math in school too, but few can still do Algebra, Geometry, Trig or Calculus.

  144. Andy says:

    Catholicism is very popular –> Catholicism loves Augustine –> Augustine is in everyone’s face, whether they want it or not, regardless of what the Bible says about doctrine

  145. Is anyone denying that Greek philosophy was influential to the early church?

    Could we all just agree to that so that RIbo can move on? He is arguing with someone, but i think we all agree.

  146. Andrew says:

    Andrew, do you still sin? What changed in practical terms when you were regenerated.
    ____________________________________________________________________

    Well you have to define the term “practical”. Yes, I still sin but I don’t want to. I’m addicted to sin like an alcoholic is addicted to wine but I’m convicted now and sometimes I do what I don’t want to do.

  147. Michael says:

    “So Paul didn’t have the right doctrines?”
    That is a dishonest representation of what I am saying.
    Please show me one person between the first and sixteenth century that held to dispensational evangelicalism or even just evangelicalism in it’s contemporary form.
    One.
    I’ll wait.

  148. RiBo says:

    “N.T. Wright is hardly a liberal…”

    Agreed, liberal compared to say a John MacArthur or Piper etc. but not a liberal like a Spong or Borg or Dowd.

  149. “But you don’t demonstrate a philosophical logic approach to thinking through the text, ”

    That’s the thing Ribo, I don’t have to. You would prefer that I do, but I don’t have to live according to your wishes. I would prefer you take a more faithful approach to the scriptures, but you don’t have to do that either. I don’t bow to the god of logic. I believe a virgin had a baby. That is scientifically impossible and completely illogical. I’m totally fine with that.

  150. Andy says:

    “Please show me one person between the first and sixteenth century that held to dispensational evangelicalism or even just evangelicalism in it’s contemporary form”

    I can’t show you the beliefs of any person that lived during that time, any, except for a few individuals that have their works published throughout the generations (which is not proof of any truth being in them).

    God gave me His Word, and didn’t attest to any history lessons being His Word. Therefore I’m not going to cop to some kind of equivalency between the Word of God and selected snippets of supposed “history”.

  151. RiBo says:

    MLD said, “Have you ever noticed that the liberals always end up by denying the text itself, the historicity of the text or the interpretation of the text?

    Can you name me a liberal ‘scholar’ who stands strongly behind the scriptures as they are?”

    Agreed, b/c that is the end result of sound Philosophical Reasoning in the Greek/Classical tradition that has evolved into a Post-modern philosophical world view that is more scientific and fact-based.

    The text is not, in fact, God.

  152. Michael says:

    “This can’t be true if there are many of us looking at what Augustine said, and responding with, “Augustine was wrong about very many things”.”

    Read slowly so perhaps you can understand what I am saying.
    Augustine was the first theologian that said some of the things that we hold to as biblical theology.
    As a Reformed Christian I reject some of what he taught, while at some points I find myself in great debt to him.

  153. RiBo says:

    MLD said, “Can you name me a liberal ‘scholar’ who stands strongly behind the scriptures as they are?”

    No one takes the text literally and applies a consistent interpretive model. I can demonstrate this with every Theological Box known to us today.

    “the scriptures as they are” is a myth, there is no such thing. The scriptures are what you and your Group’s consensus says they really mean, which is in essence your bible as “thus sayeth the Lord!” vs. the literal ink on the page.

  154. Michael says:

    “I can’t show you the beliefs of any person that lived during that time, any, except for a few individuals that have their works published throughout the generations (which is not proof of any truth being in them).”

    You can’t show me because they didn’t exist…because the doctrines you hold so true developed over time, just like mine did.

  155. Andy says:

    “As a Reformed Christian I reject some of what he taught, while at some points I find myself in great debt to him”

    And as a (apparently nutty, ignorant, inferior) Christian, I don’t find myself in any debt to him at all. Way too much baggage, and I will never believe that he alone was the holder of various truths, but that was my case from the beginning.

  156. Andy says:

    “You can’t show me because they didn’t exist…because the doctrines you hold so true developed over time, just like mine did”

    At the very least, the very least, if they were held by Paul/Peter/John/etc, then it doesn’t matter what happened thereafter.

  157. RiBo says:

    “Augustine was the first theologian that said some of the things that we hold to as biblical theology.
    As a Reformed Christian I reject some of what he taught, while at some points I find myself in great debt to him”

    Seems to be fact. Reformed hold some of Augustine’s conclusions as correct theology and throw out a bunch of other stuff they disagree with. More proof that much is picking and choosing and what makes sense to a particular Group or sect vs. a static one-size-fits-all universal doctrine/theology that is expressed in the bible text.

  158. Anyway – RB will not be able to name a single liberal scholar who stands behind scriptures. They all deny in every way.
    RB mentioned Spong who has a new book out on the Gospel of John – where in the end he declares that NONE of the activities attributed to Jesus ever took place – they were all literary devices to tell a story.

    He goes on, NONE of the words attributed to Jesus were actually spoken by Jesus but put into his literary mouth by … get this, the 5 authors of the Gospel of John

    These are the people who inform the biblical knowledge held by RB – a Druid and a Christ denier.

  159. RiBo says:

    “At the very least, the very least, if they were held by Paul/Peter/John/etc, then it doesn’t matter what happened thereafter.”

    We don’t know what doctrines these guys held, it is left up to our interpretation of the few words we have of each of their extensive communication while on this planet.

    We are all left guessing as to what they really said, what they meant, etc…and even so, we then have to take the leap that God spoke directly through them, when men as filters is not an exact science demonstrated over and over in history.

    The “bible text is God” position is what most evangelicals and Reformed and Lutheran hold…but it just doesn’t add up.

    Again, I don’t have faith in your Apologetic, your churches, your theologians, your leaders…I have faith in God.

  160. RB,
    “No one takes the text literally and applies a consistent interpretive model. I can demonstrate this with every Theological Box known to us today.”

    I could say the same about Greek Philosophy – and Plato. You view of those topics is skewed from what was really meant as it has filtered down these past 2,000 yrs. I fact what you think is Greek Philosophy is nothing close to what those guys were thinking.

  161. Andy says:

    “We are all left guessing as to what they really said, what they meant”

    Not really.

    If you bunch every person up together, then maybe you’d be right about that. But that’s the whole point of why it is individual and personal. I know in Whom I have believed, and what He has shown me about Himself.

    That is pure arrogance to the person that prefers the position of, “we really don’t know, let’s not make a big deal about it, kumbayah”.

  162. Andrew says:

    Catholicism is very popular –> Catholicism loves Augustine –> Augustine is in everyone’s face, whether they want it or not, regardless of what the Bible says about doctrine

    _________________________________________________________________

    Andy, this is more proof to me that the reason you don’t like Augustine is because the Catholics like him. But they also claim Peter as the first pope, so you mind as well throw the Bible out with this logic.

    Believe it or not, but modern day Catholocism has much more in common with Calvary Chapel than reformed teaching does in many areas including soteriology and ecclesiology.

  163. RiBo says:

    “These are the people who inform the biblical knowledge held by RB – a Druid and a Christ denier.”

    No, that is false. I don’t appeal to Spong, I merely acknowledge that he is very much a liberal theologically.

    I think for myself and apply my Conscience and Reason to the text of the bible, my own experience, observing others and the very limited facts and info we can glean and understand about our Universe.

    I don’t necessarily agree with Spong, but Textual Criticism does show as fact many anomalies in the raw text we now call the bible. Textual Criticism is a science and many who apply it don’t have a dog in the fight other than establishing fact about a particular document.

  164. sarahkwolfe says:

    This whole discussion is somewhat baffling to me.

    Why is there such a deep resistance to respecting those who have thought well about our faith, those who are in our “family”…even if they are somewhat extended family? Not worshiping them or accepting what they have to say without question…but respecting the thinking they did, and respecting the truths that they stood for. The truths that they endeavored to deliver well.

    To answer Josh about why it’s worth reading Augustine…it may very well be that you wouldn’t miss anything without reading him, but isn’t it worthwhile if you have the time and the inclination to read the original person who brought together the thoughts?

    To say that someone like Augustine or others who we point to in Church History are fallible men and therefore pointless to listen to, translates to me that there is no value in listening to anyone. And if that was true, I would be trusting myself to hear the Holy Spirit without error in my own study of Scripture…to never test what I believe and to never be encouraged and stretched and moved beyond the limitations of my own thinking.

    There are simply those in our heritage who have been gifted to think well, and God has used them to guide the church. Sometimes they would turn and go a different direction in their thinking and we might end up disagreeing with their conclusions…and sometimes the church (protestant, Catholic, evangelical…) will take their teachings and implement them in ways the authors could never have dreamed.

    I guess my reaction to Andy is visceral because he seems to so casually and, at least it comes across to me, arrogantly, ignore so much that has been given to us in our faith. His reaction to those of us who have an affinity toward study and history is that we are the arrogant ones who ignore the leading of the Spirit in his life.

    And we result with whacking each other over the head’s with who is more spiritual and who has more insights. It is wearisome. There seems to be no middle ground where we can acknowledge the worth of our heritage without being thought ancestor worshippers, and yet also acknowledge that God has led many who never heard of Augustine and other great names of history into deep faith.

  165. Andy says:

    Andrew wrote: “Andy, this is more proof to me that the reason you don’t like Augustine is because the Catholics like him. But they also claim Peter as the first pope, so you mind as well throw the Bible out with this logic”

    I don’t deny that I believe catholicism to be in lots of error, but as I said before, I wasn’t raised with it. The connection between the pope and the Bible, doesn’t make sense, because the Bible stands alone as the final authority.

  166. RiBo says:

    MLD said, “I could say the same about Greek Philosophy – and Plato. You view of those topics is skewed from what was really meant as it has filtered down these past 2,000 yrs. I fact what you think is Greek Philosophy is nothing close to what those guys were thinking.”

    Yes, good and valid point. I don’t disagree with this, it’s the fact of translating and interpreting ancient texts and ascribing “meaning”…it’s what all Groups do.

    The only pushback I’d offer is that we can know to some degree what a particular dude was thinking, we just cannot know for sure if our conclusions based on the thinking we have in textual form is completely accurate or not…and in many cases…others coming after the particular philosopher will see something “new” in the text and expand on a particular thought, thus Platonism evolved into Neo-platonism, etc.

  167. Andy says:

    “His reaction to those of us who have an affinity toward study and history is that we are the arrogant ones who ignore the leading of the Spirit in his life”

    I have said that I don’t agree with this elevation of Augustine. For that I have been called a hillbilly, ignorant, uneducated… and so on. It’s not a problem. It’s the same script read every time I have one of these discussions.

  168. “To answer Josh about why it’s worth reading Augustine…it may very well be that you wouldn’t miss anything without reading him, but isn’t it worthwhile if you have the time and the inclination to read the original person who brought together the thoughts?”

    Sarah, you know I think the world of you, but I have said several times that I find Augustine worthwhile. I have, and do, read Augustine. I find some of his writing to be very valuable. I recognize that the modern church is “standing on his shoulders” so to speak.

    I only stand up for Andy’s right to dislike Augustine, refuse to shame him for it, and recognize that his soul can still thrive, even if he never decides to like Augustine.

  169. RiBo says:

    Andy said, “If you bunch every person up together, then maybe you’d be right about that. But that’s the whole point of why it is individual and personal. I know in Whom I have believed, and what He has shown me about Himself.

    That is pure arrogance to the person that prefers the position of, “we really don’t know, let’s not make a big deal about it, kumbayah”.”

    I can largely agree with this, as my current Thesis is “truth” and “salvation” is entirely personal and a function of Conscience and Reason applied to text and the limited information we have about our Universe.

    I do find a certain position to be arrogant, but that’s no big deal, I chalk it up to normal human psychology and behavior…the need to be certain due largely to fear-based indoctrination of religion.

    I’m not so much “kumbayah” personally…I think there are dangerous philosophical belief systems that are “evil” and should be fought against, Islam is one.

  170. Andrew says:

    I don’t deny that I believe catholicism to be in lots of error, but as I said before, I wasn’t raised with it. The connection between the pope and the Bible, doesn’t make sense, because the Bible stands alone as the final authority.
    ___________________________________________________________________

    This is my point. I don’t think there is one Roman Catholic that is posting on this forum that is saying the pope is the final authority. So if you can separate what Augustine said regarding popes from other things he said, it may be helpful to you. I believe the Roman catholic church has largely apostatized and it seems to be getting worse as time goes on but it doesn’t mean they started off bad.

  171. RiBo says:

    Andy, ya, I’m with you on the elevation and reverence of men. I’m not a fan of mankind, thought man can be good and do some very good things…but history tends to prove that elevating men in the name of religion usually turns out badly for lots of people.

    But, on the flipside, Christianity* has benefitted the world in very positive ways and has been very “good” at times…especially during the Enlightenment IMO.

  172. RiBo says:

    But, I think Sarah makes several valid points, completely dismissing an Augustine as not noteworthy of reading and considering is also a mistake IMO.

    Augustine was certainly a transformative figure (not to be confused with transformation gospel) and quite a philosopher. He did move the ball on a number of issues and influenced a ton of people, even to this day.

    If you want to be well-rounded and be able to have intellectually honest discussions about religion/philosophy, I think a person should have Augustine on their reading list and should chew on his assertions and reason their way through them.

  173. RB,
    “I can largely agree with this, as my current Thesis is “truth” and “salvation” is entirely personal and a function of Conscience and Reason applied to text and the limited information we have about our Universe.”

    So, it’s all up to you and what is in your head – NOT the reality that lies outside of you.

    What you have just said is that salvation is not tied to anything real – but only to your own conscience and reason.

    Totem Pole worshipers – RB is you new best friend.

  174. Luther had a well rounded knowledge of Augustine – but one of his more famous quotes was “Augustine led me to Paul, and when I found Paul, I was done with Augustine.”

    That’s pretty much my view of the Fathers – they point us back to Jesus, just as the prophets pointed us towards him.

  175. Sarah says:

    Josh, I hear you.

    Andy…I have the feeling you are enjoying the name calling. You started the discussion by basically calling Augustine a false teacher and then called for us to get the firing squad ready. Not exactly an invitation to conversation rather than combatting.

    I’m off again for the day. Off to waste the day teaching my children history 😉

  176. RiBo says:

    “So, it’s all up to you and what is in your head – NOT the reality that lies outside of you.

    What you have just said is that salvation is not tied to anything real – but only to your own conscience and reason.”

    Nope, that is a Straw Man you constructed. Not my position.

  177. RiBo says:

    There are things that are ‘real’ and we can establish some facts and we can establish the likelihood or probability that something is true or false.

    Reason is part of the equation in belief system.

  178. You know, I’ve got to say, Christianity without the bible is pretty much nothing. The Bible is not God, but the bible is far and away the main source that tells us about God.

  179. Learner says:

    Love the teachings around original sin…before the fall Adam had free will (to sin or not sin) after the fall unregenerate man has no free will (in bondage to sin) but in Christ the gospel restores our humanity. Jesus then makes us more human, not less.

  180. RB,
    I hate to call you on it – but your belief system IS all within you. You stated “as my current Thesis is “truth” and “salvation” is entirely personal ”

    What does entirely personal mean, if not all contained in you.- so don’t be calling my statement a straw man – your own words convict you of your position.

  181. “There are things that are ‘real'”

    Name 1 “real” thing. Not a list, just 1. I am just curious the types of things that you are thinking are real.

  182. RB,
    I am still waiting for you to tell me how it is that you are understanding Greek Philosophy and Plato etc in the exact same manner they were thinking and that you and you alone are not involved in the corruption that seems to have overtaken our minds when it comes to things theological.

    I think you make up your own understanding (or copy some other deluded philosophy fool.

  183. Learner says:

    MLD – I agree with you around your point about Luther and how Augustine (btw I hope we’re all pronouncing this like the metal “tin” and not the adolescent “teen”) led him to Paul and he never went back…

    but growing up in the evangelical world I always heard some variation of this…”we don’t need church history, we’ve got the Bible.”

    Tracing our roots is helpful on a number of different levels…it’s also helpful to trace the roots of philosophy that not only influenced men like Augustine but men like Paul and really shaped the early church (some good, some bad).

  184. Andy says:

    “I have the feeling you are enjoying the name calling”

    No.

    I expect it, but I don’t enjoy it. `

  185. everstudy says:

    @131 “There is a pride that exists in academia,…”

    There is also the pride that exists in the purposeful lack of academics.

  186. Learner says:

    @185, yep! (said in my best Dave voice from Storage Wars)

  187. Andy says:

    “There is also the pride that exists in the purposeful lack of academics”

    I do have, what could be called academics. But it is a form of academics that is rejected and ridiculed by the “real” academia.

  188. Andrew says:

    Andy,

    I can appreciated that for what its worth. When Ken Ham took all his flack at the recent creation/evolution debate, I did understand that some will outright reject certain things in academia without careful observation

  189. Andy says:

    Andrew,

    It is so ironic that the mighty work of God that went through the apostles, was referenced only in terms of that people observed that, they had “been with Jesus”

  190. Michael says:

    Sarah,

    Thank you…crystal clear as always.
    I can stop drinking now. 🙂

  191. My old college posted a 15 minute interview today about the early church in Africa. Thought some here may be interested:

    https://soundcloud.com/wgwgdotorg/dr-eddie-stepp-discusses-the

  192. Michael says:

    I put those who deny church history in the same category as those who deny that we landed on the moon.
    They deny the clear progression from the first unmanned craft to the landing itself…and substitute a myth that suits them better.

    The very amusing part to me is what Andy is positing is a secret sect that alone had the true knowledge of the Scriptures that somehow not only sustained itself, but avoided detection for centuries.
    In reality, they are denying that God used natural means to build His church and establish it’s doctrine through history and gifted men…that it was all a matter of the Spirit.
    That’s called Gnosticism…

  193. Andy says:

    That’s a new one. Now I’m a “gnostic”. All because I believe that Paul/Peter/John/etc had the right doctrine, and taught it to others, and the Lord was faithful to preserve it.

    All because I don’t walk lock-step with the church “history” taught by Michael’s book studies.

    I have a hard time believing that the Holy Spirit led Michael to the writing of his 192, but if I stand alone in believing that, I’m okay with it.

  194. Michael says:

    Andy,

    The challenge is out there…show me one individual or group between the first and sixteenth centuries who had and taught developed evangelical doctrine.
    Just one.
    We’ll wait.

  195. Learner says:

    “In reality, they are denying that God used natural means to build His church and establish it’s doctrine through history and gifted men…that it was all a matter of the Spirit.
    That’s called Gnosticism…”

    This is more pernicious than most realize…talk about being influenced by the philosophy of men. Most Christians do not realize how influenced by Plato’s dualism they actually are.

    It was the humanity of Christ that first came under attack in the early church, it’s still under attack today.

  196. Andy says:

    Michael, I won’t be able to do it. Because I have zero, and you have a few in comparison to the entire world’s population of the time. Just a few. That’s all ya got.

    And you base your entire belief system on a few.

    I prefer to believe that God gave His Word, told us to preserve right doctrine, and allowed all who wanted to, to do so.

  197. Xenia says:

    I don’t have much to add to this thread. I don’t know much about Augustine but I’ve dusted off my (unread) copy of Confessions to read during Lent and I expect to be blessed.

    I don’t have anything more to add to the discussion about the influence of Greek philosophy to early Christian thought because we all recognize the influence so I don’t know what we are arguing about anymore.

    Andy has faith. God bless him!

  198. Andy says:

    “Andy has faith. God bless him!”

    Thank you, Xenia. I prefer to believe that, if God says to preserve right doctrine, then He won’t allow it to be hidden by a religious structure that just writes a lot of books. I prefer to believe that if God tells me to do something, then He will set things up so I can. To say otherwise is to make God a trickster.

  199. RiBo says:

    X said, “I don’t have anything more to add to the discussion about the influence of Greek philosophy to early Christian thought because we all recognize the influence so I don’t know what we are arguing about anymore.”

    Agreed, it should be a settled issue the evidence is so clear, but for some (cough cough Steve Wright cough cough) it appears to be some sort of mythology.

  200. Michael says:

    Andy,

    My faith is based on my understanding of the Scripture as I stand on the shoulders of all those who have gone before me and the the work of the Holy Spirit in my life.
    My beliefs in an area of scientific or scholastic endeavor are based on facts that I am able to examine.
    We see clearly from Acts to the apostolic fathers to the patristics and on through history how our doctrines developed.
    My faith is not threatened by this in the least.
    You find it necessary to create an imaginary group that’s agreed with you since the Apostle Paul, for which there is not only no evidence, but reams of evidence to the contrary.
    That is greatly disturbing to me, but it’s a free country.

  201. Andy says:

    “We see clearly from Acts the the apostolic fathers to the patristics and on through history how our doctrines developed”

    I understand your position, Michael. And I’m as disturbed as you are.

    God commanded us to preserve right doctrine, the first apostles obviously had right doctrine, but then right doctrine was lost, and only regained slowly over time, so now we are finally there (or are we?), thus the entire time, God commanded us to do that which he NEVER allowed to be possible.

    That is your position.

    And I reject it.

  202. RiBo says:

    Learner said, “Most Christians do not realize how influenced by Plato’s dualism they actually are.

    It was the humanity of Christ that first came under attack in the early church, it’s still under attack today.”

    I agree, essentially.

    Personally, I think there is a strong case for a historical Jesus…at least as much a case as many other historical figures we accept as being literal real humans.

    I cannot prove the Jesus-is-God, resurrected, did miracles thesis…that is where faith comes in and I don’t deny the Skeptics their solid position that there isn’t any tangible evidence that Jesus was God…though many Skeptics will acknowledge a possibility and even sometimes a likelihood that there was a historical figure man “Jesus” that is the subject of the gospels etc, they just discount the supernatural claims.

    I think God could have done the stuff physically, but I don’t close the door that it could be spiritual truth in metaphor and allegory, which would not render “untrue” in essence…concepts like “good” and “love” and “love your neighbor” are true whether there was a literal Jesus or not…so are concepts of evil and killing all the women, children and infants who are not an imminent threat to you just b/c you say god told you to do it.

    God is God, he or it did what he or it did and the realities of the Universe will play out according to their design whether we are right, wrong or indifferent.

  203. Andrew says:

    I think the best way to detect gnosticism is to ask people who Jesus is? Did he come in the flesh? Was He a man? Was he God incarnate? How does that all work out? I’ld really like to ask Andy what his thoughts are on the Trinity, Christology, ect..

  204. Michael says:

    What I intended for this series was some sort of an enjoyable journey through our family tree, examining how we got where we are and how long it took us to get here.
    It should also help us to understand why my theology is different from Xenia’s, whose theology is different from Andy’s…and give us a respect for and understanding of why we all believe what we believe.
    Xenia’s Christianity predates mine by centuries as does mine from Andy’s…though they all are centered on the person and work of Christ.
    My hope is that some are gleaning those things from the articles and discussion.

  205. RB,
    I am still waiting for a reply to my 182, which was a 2nd request to my #160.
    So, this is the 3rd request.

  206. Michael says:

    Andy,

    I have proven my position.
    All you need to prove yours is one example of someone between the first and sixteenth centuries who taught developed American evangelicalism.
    Did God hide them from us?
    Were all the other people we’ve studied lost?
    Was there only some secret remnant that God hid from the faithful and seeking of all time only to be revealed 1800 years later?
    Really?

  207. RiBo says:

    MLD, I thought I answered you already. Let me re-read your questions and respond. Not intentional on my part.

  208. Xenia says:

    I am thinking that if you want to see what Christianity would look like without the influence of Augustine, look to the Eastern churches.

  209. RiBo says:

    Gotta agree with Michael on that one, specifically that history does not show examples of today’s evangelicalism, not until the 1800’s and early 1900’s with the “Fundamentalist” movement and “The Fundamentals”

  210. “I am thinking that if you want to see what Christianity would look like without the influence of Augustine, look to the Eastern churches.”

    Thank God for Augustine!!! 😉 just kidding… kinda

  211. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    I was hoping you would tell us about those differences because they are crucial going forward.

  212. Andrew says:

    Gotta agree with Michael on that one, specifically that history does not show examples of today’s evangelicalism, not until the 1800′s and early 1900′s with the “Fundamentalist” movement and “The Fundamentals”
    _________________________________________________________________

    What about the puritans? They were earlier than that and I do believe they have had an influence.

  213. Anne Kohut says:

    #208 I agree, Xenia! It was a wonderful, eye-opening lesson for me to learn about the significance of the cross from a EO POV vs. the latter Augustine influence. So much gratitude remains for all I learned and those I met – especially the two Xenias!

  214. RiBo says:

    MLD I answered you here:

    RiBo says:
    February 19, 2014 at 11:11 am
    MLD said, “I could say the same about Greek Philosophy – and Plato. You view of those topics is skewed from what was really meant as it has filtered down these past 2,000 yrs. I fact what you think is Greek Philosophy is nothing close to what those guys were thinking.”

    Yes, good and valid point. I don’t disagree with this, it’s the fact of translating and interpreting ancient texts and ascribing “meaning”…it’s what all Groups do.

    The only pushback I’d offer is that we can know to some degree what a particular dude was thinking, we just cannot know for sure if our conclusions based on the thinking we have in textual form is completely accurate or not…and in many cases…others coming after the particular philosopher will see something “new” in the text and expand on a particular thought, thus Platonism evolved into Neo-platonism, etc.

  215. Michael says:

    Andrew,

    You start to get hints of some things around the 12th and 13th centuries, but still with a very Roman background…it doesn’t come to real fruition until the Reformation.

  216. RiBo says:

    “What about the puritans? They were earlier than that and I do believe they have had an influence.”

    Agreed. The Puritans (probably the Quakers too) are a valid example of pre-evangelical influence IMO, but I think Michael is correct in his #215 regarding the timing in history.

  217. Andy says:

    Michael wrote: “I have proven my position”

    You have proven nothing except that you can reproduce what is found in a book. And you can’t prove that the book is right. So every source you have, is not the Word of God.

    Michael wrote: “All you need to prove yours is one example of someone between the first and sixteenth centuries who taught developed American evangelicalism. Did God hide them from us?”

    God never promised to preserve historical documents. He promised to preserve His Word. At this point it is clear that the Bible is not enough for you. But the Bible is the only thing which we are told to place our faith upon. So God preserved it.

    Michael wrote: “Was there only some secret remnant that God hid from the faithful and seeking of all time only to be revealed 1800 years later?”

    So you personally know what all of the BILLIONS of people have believed over the last 2000 years? All of them? Just because you don’t have a book to tell you what they believed, therefore you know what all those people believed in every generation?

    You are quite sure that you know personally what EVERY person throughout 2000 years of history, believed?

    Tell me how you are so sure of what all of them believed. I’ll wait.

  218. Well we know when the first evangelicals showed up – it was the Lutherans as dictated by our name.The Evangelical Lutheran Church. Lutherans in the beginning were just called Evangelicals.

    However, because both the name and the theology behind it have been corrupted by those who now claim the title, we have had to run from such association as it is no longer means what it was meant to mean.

  219. RB, I owe you an apology – you did respond and I missed it.

  220. Andrew says:

    I agree. Church history sure is fascinating.

  221. Xenia says:

    I think it would be more accurate to say that it is Augustinianism, as it developed, not St. Augustine himself, that would be problematic. But I am just going on hearsay (Google). I haven’t studied it for myself yet.

    Eastern Christianity does not believe in total depravity, irresistible grace, limited atonement, unconditional election or perseverance of the saints as taught by modern Calvinists. How much of this really originated with St. Augustine, I do not know. I will know more after I finish his books. 🙂

    The Christian East does believe in free will, which I think is at odds w/ Augustine. It is said that we have a different view of original sin from that developed by Augustine but that is a topic we debate on Orthodox discussion forums. Generally speaking, we have a gentler view of the fall and God’s response to us. We are not of the opinion that after Eve ate the “apple” God became consumed with a sort of a vengeful wrath. (I don’t know if Augustine taught this. I know people say he taught it, we’ll see soon enough.)

    On the whole, Eastern Christianity (I include the non-Chalcedonians) have a kinder, gentler view of God. Or so it seems to me, having had a foot in both camps.

  222. Andy says:

    Passing from the apostolic period to that of the early Christian fathers, we have a witness, equally eminent, in Dr. H. Grattan Guinness, of England, who says: “It cannot be denied that for three centuries the church held the doctrine of the premillennial coming of Christ. I think I have gone through all the writings of the Fathers for three centuries pretty carefully, and I do not know of an exception unless it be Origin. It was the faith of Barnabas, Polycarp, Clement, Ignatius, Papius, Tertullian, Justin Martyr, Nepos, Irenaeus, Victorinus, Methodius, Lactantius, Hermas and many others-all were at one.”

    To the above might be added the name of Dr. Bengel, author of Gnomon Novi Testamenti, who says, “The Early Church fully believed that it (i. e., the Second Coming) would precede, or usher in, the thousand years of His reign with His saints. A general change of view came in after the establishment of Christianity under Constantine, and when corruption in doctrine and practice had begun.”

    There, I just quoted from two books, that state that many of the first church “fathers” were pre-millennial. Just for one doctrinal point.

    A doctrinal point that Augustine rejected.

  223. Andy says:

    Augustine, in order to reject pre-millennialism, would have had to have heard of it. Just for one doctrinal point. And for Augustine to hear of it, meant that people believed it.

  224. Michael says:

    Andy,

    That is simply a bizarre sequence of questions.
    There is a historical method that we use to know about what went on before us.
    We have documents from the times and locations in question…and we have documents and writings and artifacts from most of the known world at this time.
    Christianity is one of the easiest movements in history to trace…we can see it’s geographical expansion through the centuries and both it’s adherents and opponents left tons of written material to examine.
    This isn’t difficult or even controversial…the more we learn the more the historical record grows and shows exactly what we already knew, just in a fuller fashion.
    We even can see the early doctrines of some of the very churches the Apostles planted…and it bears little resemblance to modern evangelicalism.

  225. Andy says:

    “There is a historical method that we use to know about what went on before us”

    According to who? Did God decide this method?

    Again, all of these presuppositions without a whit of Biblical support.

  226. RiBo says:

    From a more neutral pov, it is entirely possible that Andy is correct that there may have been a fringe “remnant” in history that was similar to his interpretation/philosophy…and Michael is correct in that we don’t see it in the recorded church history, though there are probably a few ‘heretics’ that held some similar assertions as today’s evangelicals.

    There tends to be nothing new under the sun, so my guess is that if Andy fleshed out his Belief System, someone, somewhere in recorded history has asserted something similar.

  227. Xenia says:

    Old school premilennialism is quite different from Dispensational premilennialism.

    Old school premill says the Lord will return (one time only), conduct the Sheep/Goats sorting, the Goats go off to hell and the Sheep spend 1000 years on a renewed earth with the Lord and the rest of the saints and after that, who knows. (Eternity.)

    This is not the same as pre-trib premilennialism that many believe in today. For thing, most early Christians, because of the intense persecution, believed they were in the tribulation.

  228. Michael says:

    Andy,

    We established early in this series that the early church held to a form of pre millennialism.
    We also established that it believed that the church would go though the tribulation and the anti-Christ would come first.
    That doctrine disappeared for a few centuries and reappeared with the early Anabaptists.

  229. Andy says:

    “From a more neutral pov, it is entirely possible that Andy is correct that there may have been a fringe “remnant” in history that was similar to his interpretation/philosophy…and Michael is correct in that we don’t see it in the recorded church history, though there are probably a few ‘heretics’ that held some similar assertions as today’s evangelicals. There tends to be nothing new under the sun, so my guess is that if Andy fleshed out his Belief System, someone, somewhere in recorded history has asserted something similar”

    This is simply elementary. The “heresy” that I believe, is not new, and didn’t start with me.

  230. Michael says:

    RiBo,

    We have records of a zillion different sects and schisms…none of which look remotely evangelical.

  231. Andy says:

    Michael, in his 228, just gave us the general sketch of dispensationalism, and admitted it was believed by some, “way back”.

    We’re done here, no? 😉

  232. Xenia says:

    Andy, no.

  233. Michael says:

    Andy,

    Can you show me the biblical support for antibiotics or cell phone technology?
    This anti-intellectualism in favor of myth is utterly attending to me.
    I’m going to go get an oil change…

  234. RiBo says:

    MLD, no problem. There are a lot of comments on here.

  235. Michael says:

    Andy,

    Dispensationalism is a complex system…and it doesn’t show until centuries later.

  236. Andy says:

    Michael, I don’t have any trouble with antibiotics are cell phones. Why are you trying to paint me as Amish or some such thing?

    I’m not anti-intellectual. I’m anti-nonsense. It is nonsense to say that premillennialism, a literal antichrist, and a literal tribulation, weren’t believed upon until 1800 whatever.

  237. Xenia says:

    Ironically, classic premillennialism, as believed in the early church, has more in common with amillennialism than with modern millennialism.

  238. Michael says:

    Andy,

    That’s good because nobody here claimed those things were new.
    The entire Rapture theology and the role of Israel etc, were not part of the early church.
    It’s nonsense of the highest order to reject history because it doesn’t fit your faith paradigm.
    That’s pure nonsense.

  239. Xenia says:

    It is nonsense to say that premillennialism, a literal antichrist, and a literal tribulation, weren’t believed upon until 1800 whatever.<<<

    Whoa, back up the milk cart, Nelly!

    You are equating a belief in a literal Antichrist and a literal tribulation with Dispensationalism. No! These thing were believed from the very beginning, long before the distinctives of Dispensationalism came into being.

  240. Andrew says:

    Xenia said “On the whole, Eastern Christianity (I include the non-Chalcedonians) have a kinder, gentler view of God. Or so it seems to me, having had a foot in both camps.”

    With the kinder gentler version of God, do you also have a less powerful, less dramatic, less moving gospel? I am not really sure what you mean..

  241. Andy says:

    Sigh. Sigh. Triple sigh squared 😉

    Apparently we have fought over definitions of words, without actually defining what they mean (enter here: Andy just doesn’t understand definitions of words as WE do).

    The separation between the church and Israel (in other words, rejection of “replacement theology”) is also way back. It is catholicism that brought in replacement theology, and drooled it down to the reformation daughters.

    As for the rapture, I’m not going to argue about that.

    I had one point to make in all of this, and that is, pre-millennialism, and a literal antichrist, and a literal future tribulation.

    That is all…

  242. Andy says:

    Sorry, let me rephrase that last sentence, that, I had one point to make in all of this, and that is, pre-millennialism, and a literal antichrist, and a literal future tribulation, were believed upon by those in the post-apostolic period, in addition to the apostolic period.

    If your hang-up was the rapture, we should have discussed that hours ago back before my fingers were bleeding.

  243. RiBo says:

    Michael said, “We have records of a zillion different sects and schisms…none of which look remotely evangelical.”

    I can’t say I disagree, I haven’t seen any in history, though some folks brought up some that were predecessors that resemble them a little like the Puritans, but even so, that’s much later in history than the “early church”

  244. Xenia says:

    Hi Andrew, If you don’t mind, I would prefer to save a discussion about the different views of the Atonement (East vs West) for another day. There’s a good century coming up when it would fit in better. I don’t have time today to do it justice and it would just derail the thread.

  245. RiBo says:

    But you can pick out some issues that can be interpreted as ‘evangelical’ like Shaun Sells did in the last history thread and like Andy is doing now.

    Again, you can read into the text pretty much whatever you want. That’s the nature of the ‘bible’ and even writings in history and history itself.

  246. Andy,
    There is only one form of “replacement theology” and that is held by those who would replace Jesus Christ with Israel. It is a critical position held by dispensationalists..

  247. Andrew says:

    Xeniia. Ok, I’ll stayed tuned. I am curious.

  248. Andy says:

    MLD wrote: “There is only one form of “replacement theology” and that is held by those who would replace Jesus Christ with Israel. It is a critical position held by dispensationalists”

    This smells faintly familiar, as a discussion full of misrepresentations, so I will not go there. I will have to be the big bad dispensationalist that supports Israel and the right of the Jews to have the land.

  249. Xenia says:

    An early group of crypto-evangelicals would have to look like this:

    Practiced a memorial view of Communion
    Practiced believer’s baptism, symbolic only
    Believed in Sola scriptura (even thought the “scriptura” wasn’t completed yet.)
    Didn’t have bishops (even thought the scriptures talk about bishops)
    Had a song service and then a teaching.

    Could there have been a few folks who worshiped like this? Maybe- who knows! If so, they are lost on the pages of history.

    (They could not have been “Bible alone” in the very early years because there was no Bible, as we know it today.)

  250. Andy says:

    “(They could not have been “Bible alone” in the very early years because there was no Bible, as we know it today.)”

    They studied the Old Testament and the apostle’s doctrine (Acts 2:42). Since the entire Book of Acts is filled with quotes from the Old Testament, it is safe to assume they were studying it in conjunction with the teaching of the apostles (which of course later was revealed as the Word of God — New Testament part).

  251. Andrew says:

    Andy, who is a Jew? A citizen of Isreal? One that can trace their ancestry to Abraham? A convert to the Jewish religion? Or a Christian? This is not a trick question but I would really like to know your answer.

  252. Andy says:

    Andrew, the word “Jew” can mean different things in different contexts. Context changes the meaning of a word. The same Greek root “sozo” means saved, and it is used in the context of salvation of going heaven and away from the destiny of hell, or in the context of a woman saved through childbearing (which of course doesn’t bring one to heaven). So the context matters.

    A Jew is one inwardly in the spiritual sense (a believer in Jesus). A Jew by nationality is a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and they are (mostly) in the physical land of Israel today, which is promised to them.

  253. Andy says:

    P.S. Being a Jew by nationality, doesn’t get a person into heaven. Only faith in Jesus saves.

  254. Andy said ” I will have to be the big bad dispensationalist that supports Israel and the right of the Jews to have the land.”

    Well I support Israel also and I do believe they have a right to the land. But that is a geopolitical issue and not one of any biblical consequence. If you have read me for any time here you will know that I also support the nation of Peru and their right to occupy their land.

  255. Andrew says:

    “…which is promised to them”

    Andy, who is them? You say it belongs to the Jews? Define Jew in how you use it?

  256. Andy says:

    MLD, that’s cute, but I need not tell you, since you know what Scriptures I’m going to go to anyway, that I do believe it is an issue of Biblical consequence. That makes the debate, pointless. You already know what I will say, you just don’t believe it.

  257. Andy says:

    Andrew, I just said, to the people that are Jewish by nationality.

  258. Andy says:

    Friends, I do appreciate the discussions, and I sincerely appreciate Michael’s willingness to let it occur. If I have stepped on any feelings, please forgive me. I must run, and if possible I will check in a lot later tonight. The Lord bless you…

  259. Andy, of course i know the verses you will go to – that is what makes you one who wants to replace Jesus Christ – the one who not only fulfilled all the promises given to the people of Israel – the one who is Israel reduced to one, the seed – but most importantly the one who is the sum and substance of all scripture … you want to replace him with ethnic, nationalistic Israel.

  260. Andrew says:

    So if you are a Jew living in American, you are not entitled to the land then?

  261. Learner says:

    Andy, what do you do with Ephesian 2:12-13?

    What were we “far off from”?

    Look at the text…we were alienated from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise given to Israel, but in Christ we have been brought near. Brought near to what? The context makes it clear. By the blood of Christ we have entered into the covenants and promises of Israel, they are fulfilled in Jesus and we enter in through him.

  262. Anne says:

    #250 I think the studying would have been much different than how we think of studying now with all our many bible translations, commentaries, etc. etc. Remember, just as the bible was not a complete canon yet, many if not most people were illiterate. Those that were would read the letters, etc. As a letter directly written to them regarding concrete concerns and questions. The “leader’ of the gathering would not spend 2 hours expounding on every meaning of every word and verse 😉

    My understanding is that the biggest time was spent on actual prayer & worship, not study as is so prevalent today. For me a liturgical service contains the most elements that have retained their meaning from the earliest days -albeit with its own share of “add-ons’ through the centuries.

    Embarrassed to admit that I believed my former church’s claim to be the closest to a true “Book of Acts church” as well as lots of other nebulous claims for decades. Studying church history was and continues to be one of the most liberating things that I have experienced. Great series, Michael- great discussion, all!

  263. Neo says:

    Michael. In response to your 192 post, I’d posit the Waldensians.

  264. Neo says:

    Pardon me, 194.

  265. Xenia says:

    I think the Waldensians are a good example.

  266. Michael says:

    Neo,

    We’ll look at them, but they are 600 years down the road…

  267. Xenia says:

    The Waldensians do answer the question in 194, which included the 16th century.

    I think it’s possible that there were little knots of similar rebels against the Church throughout history. Unlike Andy, I think they were in error.

    No record of any of them until the Waldensians, though, AFAIK.

  268. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    This is the group I was speaking of @ #215.

  269. Reuben says:

    Michael, can I quote you on this?

    “Despite my best efforts, it seems impossible to convince some that all the doctrines you hold dear today didn’t come out of the first century in full flower…they evolved through the centuries.”

    Because that is pivotal. Huge. And of course the truth.

  270. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Gary, meaning no offense to others, what you have shared is what I believe as well. Any other who are said to have “authored” that which has already been established by those in the New and Old Testament cannot possibly be given credit of establishing such doctrine. The best that can be said is that they agree with scripture. Nothing more.

    Colossians Chapter 2
    6 As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, [so] walk ye in him: 7 Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

    In listening to Andy, my faith remains solid, not so much with those who are locked into their traditions and doctrines seated upon philosophical argumentations. By the way, yes I did study philosophy, came from a RCC background, yet am a Christian Jew—. And prefer the KJV over other translations by and large. Not an Evangelical, Arminian, Calvinist, or C atholic. Nor a “Messianic Jew” as some understand this to mean. I am a Bible beliver thumper. It has not failed me, not once—not so for those who play “church.”

    Someone made a quick comment about losing sight of the humanity of Christ. How true this is—as for transformation—it is the heart and it has always been about the heart. Everything else, we say and do, is a reflection of just what we do believe and what we really hang our salvation and our belief upon. As scripture tells us:

    1 Corinthians Chapter 1
    18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

    19 For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and will bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent.

    20 Where [is] the wise? where [is] the scribe? where [is] the disputer of this world? hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world?

    21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

    1 Corinthians, chapter 1:10-21

    8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. 9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.

  271. Michael says:

    Reuben,

    Of course…but please don’t use it to say something I’m not saying.
    There were and are doctrines the church has much consensus on.
    Many though, did indeed develop over time.

  272. Michael says:

    I’m off to taekwando for the night…

  273. Xenia says:

    —not so for those who play “church.”<<<<

    This is insulting and disinclines me to respond to you.

  274. I long ago lost the train of thought but…

    How interesting is it that thinkers like Augustine can give us categories like “original sin” that then become the essence of the discussion. We quickly abandon pure Biblical language for human categories that carry all kinds of baggage and take us down trails that we can barely deconstruct.

    Original Dread

  275. Reuben says:

    The point, Michael, is to say that people either were perfectly saved before the formation of Canon, NT distribution, all the doctrines we hold and die on hills for, and capable of understanding Jesus, or had no clue, and we’re probably not saved by Paul/Peter/James etc. standards at all. They had no comprehension of a new law outlined by by the mouthpiece for Jesus.

    It sounds sarcastic, but the reality is you made my point (hundreds of paragraphs) in one statement.

  276. We are saved only by trusting the promises of Jesus – that part is not rocket science.

  277. Reuben says:

    Again, remember Alan and Michael, we can’t really know the grace of God without Paul.

    I will contend people can know the grace of God without knowing a 10th of the theolojizzy we report as essential.

    I will further contend that the centuries it took to work that stuff out was required because it changed the gospel.

  278. Correction: I am a Christian Jew bible believing thumper. It has not failed me, not once—not so for those who play “church.”

    For those who feel to use sarcasm in what I’ve shared to make a point, please keep in mind to do so does not establish truth, but does reveal the position of your heart towards a person loved by the Lord.

    Again, thank you Andy for standing strong and speaking what is clearly established already in scripture.

    No, we didn’t have the scripture in what is called a Bible book form, but the scriptures have aways been there and passed on from one home church to another. Then translated by mouth—in other words, it’s not a case there ever being a void among believers until the so called “church fathers” arrived on the scene as some would like us to believe. My goodness, the Holy Spirit was just alive in the heart of those who were there before this, just as much as He was in those who were viewed as heretics or schizmatics, but in truth in the faith as taught by the true church fathers as noted in scripture [not necessarily by those who held to that which would or had become the established state church]. Andy has already gone over this and I for one think he presented quite well.

  279. Michael says:

    Reuben,
    Here’s the big hole in your theory.
    The church has never been without apostolic teaching.
    The Gospels weren’t even written until 30-40 years after the birth of the church.
    Thus the OT scriptures and the teachings of the apostles you ridicule we’re what the church was taught.

  280. Michael says:

    Those same apostles were undoubtedly the source for the later writing of the Gospels.

  281. Most of this conversation has an image in my mind
    Christopher Columbus standing on the shores of the New World with his flag planted triumphantly. Everyone stares in admiration of him, but behind him in the distance are the Indians who were already here.
    Christopher Columbus did a big thing in history, but the New World was already there he just illuminated it for us.
    Yes, there is much to be learned from studying church history, both good and bad.
    But, behind it all is the Word of God from which these men showed things.
    Take away the Word and they have nothing to show and they are nothing.

    But I see, some have come to cast doubt even on that again.
    I guess the sower of tares did his work after all.

  282. Michael says:

    Uriah,
    Andy argued from silence denying history without a shred of evidence.
    I’d hardly call that we’ll done.

  283. Michael says:

    Auto correct is of Satan.
    I’m out till I get to computer in a few hours.

  284. Reuben says:

    I don’t ridicule the OT.

    What I ridicule (as an example from literally 1 minute ago on my FB page in another discussion) is Paul (Romans 13:1, Titus 3:1) gives Furtick a coloring book page that is justified in scripture 100%.

    Michael, we call Paul Scripture inspired by the Holy Spirit, given for reproof and doctrine. The results are self evident.

    People didn’t need this. And they still dont.

    Jesus is fine on his own.

  285. Michael says:

    Paul would have condemned that nonsense.
    Are you not aware that wicked men have also used the words of Christ in a evil fashion?
    Please show me the doctrine of grace in the red letters…Jesus said go and sin no more…what if she did?
    Attacking Paul because if what scoundrels do with him is not really very fair or thoughtful.

  286. Reuben says:

    People were spreading the gospel.

    “THIS JESUS, HE SAVED US FROM SINS STING!”

    Paul, Peter, James, John, and Jude poo pooed that and said, “Well actually…”

    That’s fact. And they did it with what we call the authority of scripture 2000 years later.

    Look. MLD said it all. Because he assumes I am a total and complete idiot, “We are saved only by trusting the promises of Jesus – that part is not rocket science.”

  287. Josh Hamrick says:

    Reuben, that verse does not give Furtick justification. The TWISTING of that verse gives Steven his justification. Any book in the Old Testament could be twisted and used the same. Jesus’ own words could be used the same way. Anything can be twisted an used for evil. Anything.

  288. Reuben says:

    And believe me, I know Paul would have condemned a lot of things. And he did.

  289. Josh Hamrick says:

    “Paul, Peter, James, John, and Jude poo pooed that and said, “Well actually…”

    Wait, so if the apostles listed above weren’t sharing the Gospel, who was?

  290. Xenia says:

    I looked up “Red Letter Christians” on Wikepedia out of curiosity. I imagine the article was written by such a person and is accurate but who knows. Anyway, this phrase was included in the article:

    They believe Christians should be promoting biblical values such as peace, building strong families, the elimination of poverty, and other important social justice issues…

    Yet what do the Red Letters say:

    Peace: Jesus said, “Do not suppose that I have come to bring peace to the earth. I did not come to bring peace, but a sword.”

    Strong families: Jesus said, “For I have come to turn a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law— a man’s enemies will be the members of his own household.”

    Poverty: “The poor you will always have with you….”

    It was St. Paul who said to live peacefully with all men as much as lies within us, it was St. Paul who gave advice on keeping families together. Paul wrote often about giving to the poor.

    The whole Bible is true and needful.

  291. Reuben says:

    Josh, that’s the thing! Everyone who heard… shared! We’re they not saved because they did not sign on the dotted line with Paul’s doctrine of grace?

    There were people who heard Jesus. Sermon on the mount. Is the implication that these people couldn’t be “real Christians” because Jude had not laid into them yet?

    That is a serious question.

    This apostolic successions stuff is made up. If we think only Paul had the ability to relay the gospel, we need to all shut up quick because we are not qualified.

    Clearly.

    😛

  292. Reuben says:

    Xenia, do me the favor of not pegging me, even if you don’t like me.

  293. Josh Hamrick says:

    But assuming we believe the Gospel accounts we have, it seems all but a couple of Jesus’ followers had abandoned Him at the crucifixion. No one was going and telling…until Peter in Acts chapter 2.

    Of course, that’s assuming we believe Acts. And if you do believe Acts, well, then you beleive in Paul’s calling. If you don’t believe Acts, then you have to toss Luke as well.
    Right?

  294. Reuben says:

    Luke relayed what he saw as best he could. I can be impartial like Xenia up there. I believe the accounts of the gospels because there are multiple accounts of the same events.

    The woman at the well. Not a spreader of the good news?

  295. Reuben says:

    Oh poop. She was not in the apostolic successions.

  296. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Like I mentioned, outside your box–nothing else is valid or exists. Sort of shut down the possibility for you that you could be quite wrong. Which leaves you at a disadvantage because of only being able to consider what you see as being valid and giving others the advantage by knowing what is contained (literally) in your box as well as seeing beyond it.

    It is a well know fact that anything that disagreed with those teachings of the predominate religious power in place did much to erase any historical records that would contend or present something otherwise.

    There is much history beyond what may have been written by those in power. As for Columbus illuminating the new world for us. My thought is, who is the “us.” Those already in the new world was already familiar with what was happening in it. Yes, there history would conflict with what was written from those who considered themselves as being the founder of such that already existed.

  297. Josh Hamrick says:

    Luke probably didn’t see any of it. According to his own testimony he interviewed eye-witnesses and used other sources.

    The woman from John 4? Yeah, she was kind of the witness i guess, but where did she go? She didn’t seem to continue to follow Jesus from there. I mean, we could guess what happened, but why would my guess be better than an Apostle’s testimony?

    and I don’t believe in apostolic succession either, so we’re good on that.

  298. Michael says:

    “If we think only Paul had the ability to relay the gospel, we need to all shut up quick because we are not qualified.”

    No one has suggested that.
    If you don’t want to engage with respect and dignity then this isn’t going to work.

  299. Michael says:

    Uriah,

    There is a witness of history.
    There are verifiable things that inform us.
    The records show many sects that were considered heretical and were oppressed…those records exist.
    If there were an evangelical group that existed at this time we would have records of them as well.
    That doesn’t affect the truth or veracity of the faith in any way.

  300. My comment was not meant to imply some group that was silent.
    It was just an analogy for the Word being behind it all.
    However, to argue silence in historical documents means a doctrine wasn’t taught at an earlier time is to me sort of also not a good way of seeing things.
    Everyone is so caught up in the words someone puts on paper without seeing the intent behind the words on paper.
    Some early fathers were pastoral in nature, some fought specific heresies and some refuted pagans. Seems to me they had emphases to their writings usually.
    Saying that because someone didn’t address a specific theology in writing that that theology did not exist….well it doesn’t seem wise to me.
    I see people on here all the time refuting heresies and I’ll bet they don’t use every theological point in the book all the time every time, why because they are in the middle of doing a certain thing and other things would not fit the point.

    Let me say again, silence is not the same as non-existence or not knowing.

  301. Reuben says:

    Michael,

    FACT. You and Allan both suggest that we cannot know grace without Paul.

    Again, I don’t agree.

    That is with respect an dignity. Backing that with every last second of our history that only you and I know about.

  302. Josh Hamrick says:

    Anybody ever read much about Augustine’s mother, Monica of Hippo? Nobody else has mentioned her at all, and I’ve always thought she had a very fascinating, faithful story.

  303. RiBo says:

    X’s #290, another example of the contradictory narratives presented by the bible. Quote a yin and I can quote the yang, chapter and verse.

  304. Reuben says:

    Xenia, I believe with 100% of my fibers that she was a witness to something that was so profound and real. She was absolutely every bit as much an Apostle of Christ as any of these Canonized folk.

    I believe it.

  305. RiBo says:

    X said of evangelicals (boiling them down to the basic evangelical recipe):

    “Practiced a memorial view of Communion
    Practiced believer’s baptism, symbolic only
    Believed in Sola scriptura (even thought the “scriptura” wasn’t completed yet.)
    Didn’t have bishops (even thought the scriptures talk about bishops)
    Had a song service and then a teaching.”

    Agreed. I think this is a good general description, though I’d ad “were Republicans” 🙂

  306. “another example of the contradictory narratives presented by the bible.”

    This is why you need to run scripture through the lens of law and gospel. Yes, you can have contradictory statements in the scripture but they all get resolved 100% if you know when God is speaking in his law and when he is speaking in his gospel.

    But we have discussed this before, but you always retort back with a comment that shows that you know nothing about the proper distinction of law and gospel.

  307. Michael says:

    Reuben,

    Alan and I were pointing a biblical truth.
    The doctrine of grace isn’t in the Gospels.
    I’m teaching the book of Mark right now…and if I had nothing to go off of except the red letters I would despair of my very soul.
    By the same measure, I just finished teaching 1&2 Timothy and Titus…and the love Paul has for Christ, the church, and sinners is wondrous.
    I can’t fathom trying to understand the church or the Gospels without his writings…

  308. RiBo says:

    “Yes, you can have contradictory statements in the scripture but they all get resolved 100%”

    100% eh?

    James 2:24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.

    Law or Gospel? LOL

  309. Well # 1 you have not pointed out a contradiction.

    But i know where you will go – James does not use faith like Paul uses the word faith

    But that is still OK, because the James passage is obviously law as it is a command to do.
    When you get to Paul it will be gospel, because you don’t do but it has already been done.

    So, now where is the contradiction.?

  310. RiBo says:

    Really? Martin Luther disagrees with you Martin Luther’s Disciple:

    “Though this epistle of St. James was rejected by the ancients, 1 I praise it and consider it a good book, because it sets up no doctrines of men but vigorously promulgates the law of God. However, to state my own opinion about it, though without prejudice to anyone, I do not regard it as the writing of an apostle; and my reasons follow.
    In the first place it is flatly against St. Paul and all the rest of Scripture in ascribing justification to works. It says that Abraham was justified by his works when he offered his son Isaac; though in Romans 4 St. Paul teaches to the contrary that Abraham was justified apart from works, by his faith alone, before he had offered his son, and proves it by Moses in Genesis 15. Now although this epistle might be helped and an interpretation 2 devised for this justification by works, it cannot be defended in its application to works of Moses’ statement in Genesis 15. For Moses is speaking here only of Abraham’s faith, and not of his works, as St. Paul demonstrates in Romans 4. This fault, therefore, proves that this epistle is not the work of any apostle.”–Martin Luther on the Book of James 1522

  311. RiBo says:

    Luther sure thought James was a contradiction to justification by faith. He clearly states it asserts justification by works.

    Pretty big, pretty clear…contradiction.

    Can “Law vs. Gospel” out of that one.

    Your “100%!!!!” ain’t 100%.

  312. Andy says:

    uriah wrote: “Andy has already gone over this and I for one think he presented quite well”

    Thank you, Uriah. Doctrine was 100% established and solid and DONE, with the apostles. It was a done deal. So the wrong position that says it was later “lost” and had to be “rediscovered” over 2000 years…. that is just an untenable position, and it makes God look like He is at the mercy of the oh so great saviors that had to come and show us the way.

    Derek wrote: “Christopher Columbus standing on the shores of the New World with his flag planted triumphantly. Everyone stares in admiration of him, but behind him in the distance are the Indians who were already here”

    Haha! Yes, as in, “You discovered what? My home?”

    The notion that Augustine is the “father” of grace this and doctrine that, is absurd. It takes glory from God and puts it on some man.

  313. RiBo says:

    “can’t Law vs Gospel out of that one” above.

  314. Andy says:

    “Luther sure thought James was a contradiction to justification by faith. He clearly states it asserts justification by works”

    Luther didn’t understand that Romans 4 speaks of justification with God (which can’t have works ever added), but James 2 speaks of justification with man (which requires works, as man can’t see faith).

    Those pesky Dispensationalists came up with that interpretation. Which I believe to be the right interpretation that both Paul and James intended, and really the Holy Spirit through their pens.

  315. I will give you a good one – God tells us we are 100% secure in our salvation.

    God also tells us we had better heed his warnings so that our souls may not be lost.

    It depends who God is talking to – a pastor does the same thing. If someone comes to him distraught and broken by their sin, a wise pastor would not beat that person with the law and tell them all the bad things they did etc – the person knows and came in confession and repentace. So the pastor preaches the gospel – God’s loving grace and that she is secure in that love.

    Someone else comes to the pastor, same sin but is bragging about it, the wise pastor will not assure thart person of their security in the faith, but will start whipping the warning passages on that person to bring them to repentance.

    Now you can do the RB thing and say “Contradiction – Contradiction” or you can do the scholarly thing and study up on the proper distinction between law and gospel.

    But it takes thinking and not just assuming everything is a ying and a yang.

    Dinner time!! 🙂

  316. RiBo says:

    MLD said, “Now you can do the RB thing and say “Contradiction – Contradiction” or you can do the scholarly thing and study up on the proper distinction between law and gospel.”

    The guy Martin Luther who pretty much invented Law vs. Gospel calls James a contradiction. He says it is Justification by Works and disagrees with it and claims it contradicts the rest of the bible.

  317. Well I can tell Andy has not read any Luther – I mean in book form, not quotes from the internet.

  318. RiBo says:

    MLD, Luther specifically uses the word “CONTRARY”:

    “In the first place it is flatly against St. Paul and all the rest of Scripture in ascribing justification to works. It says that Abraham was justified by his works when he offered his son Isaac; though in Romans 4 St. Paul teaches to the CONTRARY (CONTRADICTION, CONTRADICTION ALERT) that Abraham was justified apart from works, by his faith alone”–Martin Luther on James in 1522

  319. RiBo says:

    con·trar·y
    adjective
    ˈkänˌtre(ə)rē/
    1.
    opposite in nature, direction, or meaning.
    “he ignored contrary advice and agreed on the deal”
    synonyms: opposite, opposing, opposed, contradictory, clashing, conflicting, antithetical, incompatible, irreconcilable

  320. RiBo says:

    MLD you’re wrong, not 100% as you stated. There are other examples, but this one is proven by the author of “Law vs. Gospel” in his own words.

  321. Andy says:

    MLD, I do admit, I haven’t read Luther. Which is why I only went on what RiBo said about him. If Luther held that position that I believe to be correct, then I applaud him for that one thing. Luther held a position that is really only rarely found today among free gracers?

  322. RB,
    Why does it matter what Luther says. I didn’t bring Luther into the conversation – I said that the distinction was how God used the contradictory statements – whether in his law or in his gospel.

    If God is too hard for you to deal with – just say so, don’t try to dump it off on Luther.

  323. RiBo says:

    “In a word, he wanted to guard against those who relied on faith without works, but was unequal to the task in spirit, thought, and words. He mangles the Scriptures and thereby opposes Paul and all Scripture.”–Martin Luther on James in 1522

    “OPPOSES” Paul and the all the Scripture.

    “Contrary” and “Opposes”

    Contradictory.

  324. RiBo says:

    You’re doing the MLD dodge, bob and weave now with a Red Herring.

    But, as you are demonstrating, folks can twist words and read into text whatever they want it to say, which is my underlying premise…which you continually support and affirm in your actions and words.

  325. RB,
    “but this one is proven by the author of “Law vs. Gospel” in his own words.”

    When you find yourself in a hole – stop digging. Where do you get that Luther was the author of Law Vs Gospel”?

    And I hate to embarrass you amongst friends but it is not a concept of Law Vs Gospel – (and why did you put them in caps?) it is The proper distinction between law and gospel. They are now against each other, they are not in tension with each other – the are complimentary with each other.

  326. RB – you really don’t try very hard do you?
    I said in my original statement on this topic ” Yes, you can have contradictory statements in the scripture”

    So why are you trying to beat me up on something I agreed to – Well it’s just you don’t like how it is resolved.

    I think my #316 does an adequate job (for everyone but you) in explaining how the situation is resolved. But you do look foolish bring in Luther and the dictionary to argue against my statement that agreed with you. You want to fight everything so bad that you fight against your own opinion.

    Now down to dinner.

  327. You know, I have seen MLD bring up the proper distinction between law and gospel on here enough times that even I knew Luther didn’t come up with it.

  328. Derek – actually the book was written by CFW Walther the 1st president of the LCMS back in the mid 1800s. It was really a compilation of something like 25 lectures he gave.

    I don’t want to say that Luther didn’t know of the concept – my goodness, he got it from Paul.

  329. I know, MLD, I looked it up once after you mentioned it.

  330. RiBo says:

    Derek asserts Martin Luther didn’t come up with Law and Gospel. Mark it down.

  331. RiBo says:

    That’s akin to saying Calvin didn’t come up with Calvinism b/c others codified it later on and called it Calvinism LOL

  332. RiBo says:

    X said, “Whoa, back up the milk cart, Nelly!”

    LOL! That made me laugh out loud 🙂

  333. Michael says:

    Calvin didn’t come up with Calvinism.
    There were people in the Reformed tradition writing before him.
    Reformed theology was a group effort of many scholars and contemporaries of Calvin…neither they nor he would have believed his name should be attached to it.

  334. No, RiBo I said he didn’t come up with “the proper distinction between law and gospel”

    You sure are a dishonest shady character.

  335. #334 yet another thing I have heard Michael mention on here many times.

    You don’t pay attention very well, Ribo.

  336. Well, I would love to stick around and see the wonderful come backs that are coming on those, but really….he just gets pissy when shown to not be all-powerful and all-knowing.

    I bet a “whatevs” will be thrown in their somewhere and some mention of my non-intelligence and not bringing good stuff to the discussion.

    So boring and predictable.
    Y’all have a good night and reader beware the fruit that RiBo plants, cause sometimes you get to see it’s results around here.

  337. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    Sometimes it seems people think it just sounds cooler to say Calvinism vs Arminianism rather than Zwinglian vs Arminian soteriology

  338. You always know that real discussion is impossible when someone shapes your words into their image. I did not say you cannot know the grace of God without Paul. You know the grace of God by knowing Jesus. But to say that our knowledge of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit is not enhanced by the apostle Paul is to say that electricity did not enhance shelter.

  339. brian says:

    One thing I would like to bring up, if Saint Augustine lived today I think his theology and writings would be quite different. I think it is almost impossible for us to understand his world view down to one’s bones I just think we cant go back there knowing what we know. But that is just me and I could be wrong. The other thing that struck me is that Saint Augustine had time to explore and deal with his questions. It was my personal experience when I first became a Christian you come to doctrinal issues very very quickly say, after two or three questions be shown a verse or two then you basically agree or leave.

    I remember when I asked a question about Baptism and I was shown six verses, it was about a 20 minute conversation, after that it was made clear if I continued with my “Romanist” understanding of Baptism it would cause problems. Most other questions were answered in the same manner. I have no issue with people running their churches efficiently and I get that. But I am a bit jealous of the time Saint Augustine did to work through his theological issues.

  340. RiBo says:

    Derek said, “You sure are a dishonest shady character.”

    Sticks and stones. Nah, I wasn’t being shady or dishonest up yonder, I think it’s a “what we have here…is a failure to communicate” which seems to happen a lot with you in particular.

    You’re a fart-smelling hairy-faced sissy photographer! Neener NEENER!

  341. RiBo says:

    Oh, forgot, “whatevs Derek!”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jvk7faxsxkQ

    brian, good thoughts IMO (as usual).

  342. RiBo says:

    Derek said, “…..and some mention of my non-intelligence”

    Derek said, “…beware the fruit that RiBo plants”

    Anyone plant fruit? LOL 😆

  343. RiBo says:

    Seeds, Derek. You plant seeds.

    Didn’t want to leave you hangin’ 🙂

  344. Yep, I said something about someone being pissy last night and behold.
    But, as long as you are being small and petty towards me it keeps you from sharing your ideas which poison people’s minds. And that is a good thing.

  345. Reader, RiBo’s words will lead you somewhere, but it won’t be a place you would want to go. He does not have your best interests in mid, just some vengeance scheme against God’s church and ultimately God.
    His words lead to confusion and worse.
    I wonder sometimes what the effects of his words have caused that no one here has seen, because most have just left without saying a word, but with Ribo’s words growing in their head.
    Shame to him and all those who enable him.

  346. Andrew says:

    RB, No one came up with anything new. There is nothing new under the sun. Remember? RB, you quoted that before and it should probably be your starting point in all discussions.

    You talk about the Greek philosophers having influence over Augustine and apostle Paul and many others that have gone on before us. Michael has also talked about theology that has developed over time. It made me think that possibly it is as simple as discovering truth that has always been there but wasn’t clearly understood or at least articulated in writing until centuries later.

    Religious thought and doctrine is one such category but if you expand this idea to other areas of thought, its easier for me to see how our understanding of truth evolves. For instance when I look at Mathematics it all appears to be about discovery and not invention. In other words, the truth was always there but the way we understand it gets clarified. I look at the Pythagorean theorem in mathematics as a great example or determining the value of pi. It appears that these foundational concepts in mathematics are nothing more than discoveries and not inventions of something new. These mathematical concepts have been rigorously proven beyond a shadow of a doubt. Could it also be that theology is similar?

    When we talk about doctrinal statements, we can always get clearer and more refined but you can never underpin the foundations. I look at the concept of the Trinity to be exactly this. The Trinity is based on the idea that God is one. This is found in the OT and when you begin with this as a starting point, you can build your theology step by step. Law and Gospel is another one.

  347. RiBo says:

    Andrew said, “You talk about the Greek philosophers having influence over Augustine and apostle Paul and many others that have gone on before us. Michael has also talked about theology that has developed over time. It made me think that possibly it is as simple as discovering truth that has always been there but wasn’t clearly understood or at least articulated in writing until centuries later.”

    I actually agree with this, but not in the context of dogma/doctrine/theology, just macro-truths about our Universe that mankind has had glimpses of since the dawn of intelligent man.

    Had a very interesting discussion with a skeptic friend of mine that illustrates the dynamic. The concept of “God” in some form and the reality of God is probably true, we just have men looking at the Universe in ancient times and filling in the blanks quite liberally LOL. Then the conservatives get hung up on the jot and tittle of every speculation by the ancients and then fashion their version of “God” after the words.

    Skeptic friend said, “I don’t accept that Jesus is more divine than I am, but I do not deny we could all be divine, and in fact must be if there is a divine; however, as I agree almost entirely with what Jesus preached, I have “accepted him into my heart.” Now, I’m certainly no Christian, but doesn’t that make me saved?”

    And then said, “If there is a divine, and there well may be, I don’t claim to know, then the Bible is an Iron Age attempt at understanding a universe that was entirely beyond them, and it reads that way.”

    “and one God and Father, who is over all and in all and living through all.”–Ephesians 4:6

    Maybe a glimpse of the Universe, a big truth through Paul?

  348. RiBo says:

    Derek said, “Reader, RiBo’s words will lead you somewhere, but it won’t be a place you would want to go.”

    Derek you are fear-based and afraid of your apologetic being shown to have problems. The only place I’m going is to find what little truth we can and to call out error and contradiction and falsehood.

    If that scares you, then that is very telling of your “faith” in an apologetic vs. a faith in God.

  349. RiBo says:

    Question: Does “all” mean “all”? Or like the hyper-calvinist would assert does “all” only mean the “elect”?

    Is there an asterisk and fine print for “all”

    “God is over all, and in all, and living through all.”–the Bible, Paul the Apostle.

    Wow, if that is true then wow.

  350. “then fashion their version of “God” after the words.”

    I’ll cop to that. My understanding of God is based entirely on the bible.

  351. RB,
    God is either in you / with you or he is not. I would guess that since you don’t know for sure that would mean he is not.

    Believe it or not, those he inhabits have no doubt.

  352. RiBo says:

    MLD said, “Believe it or not, those he inhabits have no doubt.”

    Really? That isn’t nearly honest.

    No doubt, as in zero doubt whatsoever?

  353. RiBo says:

    MLD, your salvation seems to hinge on ‘lack of doubt’…that’s a shaky position.

  354. Andrew says:

    I actually agree with this, but not in the context of dogma/doctrine/theology, just macro-truths about our Universe that mankind has had glimpses of since the dawn of intelligent man.
    ___________________________________________________________________

    This is why I asked you to remember that there is nothing new under the sun. This was the dilemma Solomon had. Under the sun, I believe is a phrase that implies everything inside this bubble of the world we know but without God. It really is purely a naturalist view of the world with no super natural or personal God. Basically its the world of a functional atheist. No matter where Solomon would look for satisfaction “under the sun” he could not find it. He tried philosophy. He tried hedonism. He tried philanthropy and social justice and living a righteous and good life but in the end it was meaningless. He tried everything and it was all meaningless in the context of “under the sun”. Under the sun, I am convinced is life without God. This is why we must live Coram Deo. This phrase literally refers to something that takes place in the presence of, or before the face of, God. To live coram Deo is to live one’s entire life in the presence of God, under the authority of God, to the glory of God. When you just live life under the sun, you will eventually find it all meaningless.

  355. RiBo says:

    Andrew, I think there is some truth in that, but it also seems to be true that Plato (the Greek Philosophers), Native Americans, today’s scientists etc get “revelation from God” if you will with regards to truths about our Universe.

    Many groups have found ‘meaning’ in their concept of God and Christianity* seems to affirm that by co-opting and even using the thought-process of the Greeks, who built upon predecessors of theirs and so on and so forth.

    To this days, Christianity* borrows truth from the consensus of others (generally). No more Slavery, no more Taliban treatment of kids and women (though there is still some in the church that we must stamp out), etc.

  356. Michael says:

    Well, this is depressing as hell.
    This is one of the most significant centuries in church history and no one wants to talk about it.
    It’s another thread dominated by RB and the people who don’t like him going at it for a couple of hundred comments.
    That old story is accompanied by people who don’t believe there is any worth in church history as they believe that their theology has been around since the Apostles even though no one knew about it.
    Then there is the new obligatory posts by someone else who hates the church and the Bible except for the Gospels.
    Every morning I hope to get up and see something positive, something that will help people understand the faith better…and what I see is more conflict.
    I love to learn and my assumption was that others would too…but the reality is that people would rather fight.
    It means nothing to most who come here anymore, but this really is pointless and I guess this place is too.

  357. RiBo says:

    Christians are not the inventors of “good” and “morality” though they are participants in the human development of those things. Sometimes a hindrance, many times a help.

    The Apologetic has you believing, in essence, that nothing eternally “good” can come from anything that isn’t officially Christian* according to whatever apologetic you have faith in. It simply isn’t true.

  358. Andrew says:

    today’s scientists etc get “revelation from God” if you will with regards to truths about our Universe.
    __________________________________________________________________

    I must admit that some theoretical physics is just mind boggling and spectacular. Unfortunately, I believe much of it will eventually sink the world in despair (as it did for Solomon) when they don’t recognize God as the creator of it all and live to His glory.

  359. RiBo says:

    Michael, you profess to be such a student of the church fathers and church history…yet you cringe at conflict and disagreement.

    Very ironic.

    Church fathers and church history is conflict. It is disagreement and then some sort of Consensus wrought through decades and centuries of fighting and debate and often at the edge of a sword or on the pile of wood/pyre.

  360. RiBo says:

    If your blog is simply a survey class like Church History 101 where we hear some lectures, read a book and then take a multiple choice test making sure to answer “correctly” after teaching to the test and studying to the test, then OK.

    If it’s about using your own personal reason and what makes sense to you and then wrestling through the history, the concepts and trying sort out what is more likely true, then different ballgame and the wrangling is part of that dynamic. It sure was in Church History.

  361. Papias says:

    If I am not mistaken, both Catholics and Protestant Reformation era giants quoted from Augustine to bolster their positions, both trying to say that “We own the past”.

    Even Augustine himself wrote Retreatments(some call it Retractments) where he revisited his own writings, clarifying some of his earlier statements.

    I wish more writers would have followed suite.

    besides, isn’t Augustine the Catholic patron saint of brewers? I wish that we could gather around a big table, crack open a cold open, and toast each other and this giant. As long as it wasn’t with IPA….I don’t get that stuff. 😉

  362. Michael says:

    Church history was about conflict over and discovery of ideas.
    In this century hugely important ideas about the fall, the nature of man, freedom or bondage of the will, and a host of other concepts were at the forefront.
    That was what I was hoping to discuss…not another endless round of your philosophical assertions and people howling about them.
    I’m a Christian, hoping to write and edify other Christians.
    I accept all 66 books of the Bible as inspired Scripture.
    This blog has become about arguing with you about your ideas.
    That’s not my purpose here, but that’s what it’s become.
    I’m out.

  363. RiBo says:

    “I accept all 666 books of the Bible as inspired Scripture.”

    Mark of the Beast! 🙂

  364. Andy says:

    “In this century hugely important ideas about the fall, the nature of man, freedom or bondage of the will, and a host of other concepts were at the forefront”

    If free will doesn’t exist, then we are robots and only thinking, saying, and doing what we were programmed to think, say, and do, anyway. I never understood the interest in the debate over that issue, it always seemed so futile and fatalistic to me. As much as the debate with RiBo might be despised, I find the free will debate much more silly.

  365. Don’t fuss.
    You saw how calm it was when RB was gone.
    You know what the large majority of the problem actually is. You just don’t want to do what should be done.
    No one likes to hear people fuss over things that could have been avoided easily.
    Enabling comes in many forms.

  366. Andy
    The debate about free will is limited to those things above – spiritual things.
    For clarification Luther had it right when he spoke of the Bound Will. The unregenerate man has a will and it is bound up towards always rejecting God.

    As for free will – you have it in matters of you choosing what to have for breakfast and what color socks you will wear – I chose blue with big orange dots this morning – what color did you choose?.

    One of the areas in which we differ with the Calvinist / Arminian debate on #1 Total Depravity – although we come close to agreeing with the Calvinist view on this one, we don’t call it Total Depravity, because is sounds like a misrepresentation of what is actually taking place… we just call it the Bound Will.

  367. Andy,
    In other words, some guy / gal cannot just wake up one morning and “choose” to be a Christian without first the Holy Spirit changing their will.

  368. Andy says:

    “The unregenerate man has a will and it is bound up towards always rejecting God”

    Feel free to explain to me how that is or isn’t basically the unbeliever having no free will.

    I also reject the either/or fallacy of the calvinist/arminian thing. I don’t consider myself to fall into either category.

  369. Andy says:

    So are you saying that the unbeliever is unable to believe in Jesus, unless the Lord gives him the ability? And if the answer is yes, then what’s the point really? God sends people to heaven, and God sends people to hell.

    Fatalism.

  370. No, not at all – your will can be changed, but you can still reject.

    The Bible says that faith comes by hearing God’s word – 2 guys sitting next to each other in church hear the same “God’s Word” – one accepts and one rejects – what is the difference.

    Also, if you read the Bible, you will not find anywhere where it says God sends people to hell

  371. “So are you saying that the unbeliever is unable to believe in Jesus, unless the Lord gives him the ability?”

    If the Bible says that FAITH comes by hearing God’s word – how is the person who has never heard God’s word going to become a believer – by their own free will? Give me a break. God always acts first.

  372. Michael says:

    “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”
    (1 Corinthians 2:14 ESV)

    Biblicism.

  373. Andy says:

    But MLD, my point was that, and correct me if I’m wrong, the general view is that God grants faith as a gift (I believe the gift in Eph. 2:8-9 is actually the salvation, not the faith, but anyway…).

    If God doesn’t grant the faith, then the person can’t believe. If the person can’t believe, they are damned. God commands them to believe, but doesn’t give them the faith to believe, and they go to hell.

    Is this a fair representation of the position?

  374. Andy says:

    Michael, the Spirit teaches us. In the context of 1 Corinthians chapters 1-3, the issue is WORLDLY WISDOM. We want Godly wisdom, not worldly wisdom, and only the Spirit gives Godly wisdom.

    Your verse isn’t saying that God withholds faith from a person so they can’t believe in Him.

    That’s the problem with these positions. They think that EVERY verse is about heaven and hell. But 1 Cor 2:14 isn’t about heaven and hell. The context is about wisdom, and what I consider valuable wisdom.

  375. Michael, this is a good thread. This shouldn’t upset you. You’ve got different views represented, different personalities, and different agendas. Kingdom stuff is messy like this. We are all learning at different paces. Some maybe even without their knowing. Just keep doing the good work and don’t be discouraged.

  376. Andy,
    As a Lutheran I can only speak where the scriptures speak and must remain silent where the scriptures are silent. The scriptures explain how one is saved and pretty much the mechanics of it.
    The scriptures do not clearly speak about the mechanics of going to hell. most people make that up from the white spaces on the page.

  377. Andrew says:

    I’ll second Josh with that encouragement. 🙂

  378. Michael says:

    Andy,

    The verse itself is teaching of spiritual things.
    Pretty clear.

  379. Andy says:

    MLD, okay. So in the issue of how a person can have faith. I believe that faith is already available to everybody around the world. Right now as we speak. Would the Lutherans agree with that position?

  380. Michael says:

    Who did the blinding here?

    “When Jesus had said these things, he departed and hid himself from them. Though he had done so many signs before them, they still did not believe in him, so that the word spoken by the prophet Isaiah might be fulfilled: “Lord, who has believed what he heard from us, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?”
    Therefore they could not believe. For again Isaiah said,
    “He has blinded their eyes and hardened their heart, lest they see with their eyes, and understand with their heart, and turn, and I would heal them.”
    Isaiah said these things because he saw his glory and spoke of him.”
    (John 12:36–41 ESV)

  381. Andy says:

    Michael, there may be situations where the person, by their free will, chose to turn a blind eye to the truth. And since that is John chapter 12, they spent 12 chapters choosing by free will, to turn a blind eye. The Lord knew they would make that choice, so, He prophesied it. And judicially blinded them.

    That doesn’t defeat free will. Since free will is obvious from all of the Scriptures.

  382. I think you may have a misunderstanding of what faith is – so no we would not agree with you

    If you are using faith in the proper sense, then no, we would not agree with you.

    Faith is not a thing that is out there to pick of f a tree like an apple.

  383. Bob says:

    I’m kind of sad about how this thread went. I thought it was about Augustine and his effect on the doctrines of the future church, so what happened?

    Are people afraid to debate that Augustine, like all biblical interpreters, saw things through his unique position? Is it impossible to say that the “church” can be two thousand years wrong on some subjects and that’s actually ok?

    If there is going to be a debate about church history then one has to ask the question(s), could they, men like Augustine, been wrong?

    I believe we live today in a historic crossroads of faith and reason, where there are more documents, with more information, and available to more people than ever before. Additionally because we are not subject to the tyranny of the religious political leaders of the day we can ask, but are also obligated to diligently seek answers through study, those questions which at one time would have been considered heresy.

    Too bad this thread devolved into basically 375 comments of one liners.

    MIchael said this: “I reject some of what he taught, while at some points I find myself in great debt to him.”

    Maybe I missed it, but why didn’t someone ask, “What are those points you reject and those you are in great debt to?”

    Oh well, it’s too late. On to the coloring book cult.

  384. Michael says:

    Free will is not obvious.
    MLD rightly pointed out that we are speaking of spiritual matters here.
    Jesus said that you must be born again to even see (comprehend) the kingdom of God.
    Scripture says the natural man cannot understand the things of the Spirit and we see why…they have not been born again and they are dead in their sins and trespasses.
    dead to the things of God.
    Unless God intervenes, they remain in that state.

  385. Andy says:

    MLD, this is one of the things that always got me about these debates. Nothing is ever just clear and up front. No definitions are as they seem on the surface. There’s always some “deeper” insight that just can’t be grasped, etc.

    Yet the truth is given to little children. A little child can read John 3:16, and it’s just that easy. They don’t have to wonder about the definition of faith, because they can hear the story of the bronze serpent, and see how Jesus compared faith to that. They looked at the bronze serpent, and were healed of the snakebite. They believed in Jesus, and were saved.

    If God prevents people from having the faith necessary to believe in His Son, and only grants that faith based upon some (details unknown to us) choice of His, then free will doesn’t exist. And more, He is deceiving us by sending us into the world to preach to every creature, when only a few even are capable of believing.

  386. Michael says:

    “The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders, and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved. Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false, in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”
    (2 Thessalonians 2:9–12 ESV)

  387. Andy says:

    Well it is good that Michael helped my point by quoting 2 Thess 2:9-12. They REFUSED to love the truth. So God forced them to unbelief. But they refused it first.

    Free will.

  388. Andrew says:

    “He is deceiving us by sending us into the world to preach to every creature, when only a few even are capable of believing.”

    _______________________________________________________________

    Andy, go back and read MLDs comments about how will they believe unless they hear. And how will they hear unless someone preaches to them. Knowing that some will listen, repent and believe should encourage to do the very thing you thing you think he is deceiving us with?

  389. Andy,
    “If God prevents people from having the faith necessary to believe in His Son, and only grants that faith based upon some (details unknown to us) choice of His, then free will doesn’t exist.”

    I hope you did not confuse me for someone who was defending free will. 🙂
    I thought I made the case that man’s will is bound – by his own sin I may add.

    Now, where I differ from a Calvinist, I do not think God prevents anyone from obtaining faith – as I said, sorry for quoting the Bible, so you may have missed it – faith comes by hearing God’s word.

    If you think that is limiting to people – get your butt out and preach God’s word to some people who have not heard it yet.

  390. There Andrew said it too while I was typing.

    Andy, you have a very strange view of man.

  391. Andy says:

    MLD, faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. I use that Scripture every day in practical terms.

    But if man’s will is bound, and only God can change that, what happens to the person if God chooses not to change that?

  392. Michael says:

    God ended their free will…he made them unable to believe.
    We’ve seen that twice now…

  393. Andy says:

    “God ended their free will…he made them unable to believe. We’ve seen that twice now…”

    Obviously. God ends all free wills upon death (if not sooner). The person in hell will be in eternal torment (in the lake of fire) forever. It’s done.

    But the issue is that they had a free will to begin with. When God chose to end it, is up to Him. But He didn’t have them born without it.

  394. Michael says:

    Andy,

    Is it your position that man can choose to believe without the intervening grace of God?
    That’s Pelagianism.

  395. Andy says:

    Michael, I’m not worried about the theological cuss words thrown around out there. Call it what you want.

    What I believe from Scripture is:

    –God is sovereign, so sovereign, that He can give a legitimate free will to every person, and still be God

    –Free will is real.

    –Man is commanded to believe in Jesus Christ for salvation. And everybody, everywhere, is able to believe

    –When the person chooses to believe in Jesus Christ for salvation, they are saved.

  396. “But if man’s will is bound, and only God can change that, what happens to the person if God chooses not to change that?”

    God’s word goes out and God’s word does it work … 100% of the time. God’s word converts or God’s word convicts.

    Because we are hard hearted, we usually only let God’s word convict us. After a while, it will start to convert us. Some never get out of the convict stage.

    Have you ever seen a time where God’s word did not do it’s work?

  397. Michael says:

    That’s not answering the question.
    Must God give the grace to believe or is the natural man capable of believing on his own?

  398. Andy says:

    MLD, so, are you saying that a person has a free will to believe the Gospel? I’m not sure what your point is, because you are (intentionally?) being evasive. Lay it out.

  399. Andy says:

    Michael, God’s grace is already in abundance. So abundant, that it abounds more than sin. Jesus Christ died for our sins, because of His grace and love. So because of His grace and love, man is given a choice. Believe in Jesus, and be saved. Refuse, and be damned.

  400. Andy,
    “–Man is commanded to believe in Jesus Christ for salvation. And everybody, everywhere, is able to believe”
    that is a lie out of the pit, as Michael would say.

    Man is commanded to be perfect as God is perfect. Now if I were to follow your line of thought, my tag line would be “And everybody, everywhere, is able to be perfect”

  401. Andy says:

    Lay it out, MLD. We can trade barbs about what is from the pit, all day long. Does man have a free will, or not?

  402. UGH! “MLD, so, are you saying that a person has a free will to believe the Gospel?”

    Andy, your thinking is backwards – it is hearing the gospel that changes a person’s will from being bound to being unbound.It is hearing the gospel (as I have said several times, hearing God’s word) is what creates faith in a person.

    You have the horse before the cart … which means you are blinded by the horses butt. 😉

  403. Andy says:

    MLD won’t answer a straight question. I don’t know why.

    I’ll ask one more time, and then drop it with MLD: Does man have a free will, or not?

  404. I need help from the audience – has anyone else read that I have even once said unregenerate man has a free will? I am not a good typist, so I watch my fingers hit the keys – I am sure that i have been typing, man’s will is bound.

    Is something else showing up on your screens, because Andy seems to think I am arguing for free will.

    Help me audience, call in to my toll free number.

  405. I think Andy is messing with me. 🙂

  406. Andy says:

    Alright, MLD. I’m done with the discussion as it pertains to you. I like you as a person, but you are an obfuscator in theological discussions. It’s just boring to me. No offense. 🙂

  407. Andy, so are you saying man has no free will – why don’t you just answer straight up?

  408. Andy says:

    Okay MLD, man has a free will. What do you say?

  409. Why won’t you answer my question? You keep dancing around with your answer – i can’t tell if one minute you are arguing for free will or against it. That is what you sound like to me.

    Unregenerate man has NO “free will” in spiritual matters. At the same time, Man has the free will to choose if he likes red heads or blondes –

  410. Andy says:

    MLD, thank you for answering my question. So the unbeliever has no free will. Therefore the unbeliever will remain an unbeliever, until God does something.

    So God kindly gave man the ability to choose between cookie dough ice cream and pistachio ice cream, but He refuses them the choice between eternal life and eternal damnation.

    Odd doctrine…

  411. Unregenerate man uses HIS will every day – and everyday, unregenerate man chooses hell. Yes, you have it right.

    “Therefore the unbeliever will remain an unbeliever, until God does something.”
    There is probably no truer statement that you could make.

    I asked earlier, could a person who has never heard God’s word, in any form just wake up one day and by their own free will say “hey, I don’t know what it is, but today i will become a Christian.”?

  412. Steve Wright says:

    Well, we can’t pump our hearts or fill our lungs without God either – nor grow our food, water our crops and on and on and on. The issue is moral agency and even the unsaved man in Adam is still given a conscience (from God) as to right and wrong.

    Faith in its simplest meaning means belief (Same Greek word)

    Does man have any responsibility before God as a moral agent? Frankly by starting with whether one believes God’s eternal power and Godhead through the creation (general revelation).

    Nobody can come unless God draws them yet Jesus said He would draw all men to Himself (not simply all the elect…all) – There is no neutrality when it comes to the cross (which is the context of Jesus saying He would draw all men to Himself – through the cross (when lifted up))

    MLD spoke well when he mentioned the work of the word of God in the gospel message (special revelation) to either convict or convert. But nowhere do I see faith as a gift from God (the Eph passage is the only place remotely close and grace far more fits as the gift spoken of there)

    I see plenty of places though where people are rebuked for their lack of faith and for that unbelief which leads to their sins.

    I preach total depravity, conditional election (the condition being faith), unlimited atonement, resistable grace, and eternal security for those born again.

  413. Andy says:

    MLD, the unbeliever must hear the Gospel, to believe it. Once they hear the Gospel, they have the free will to believe it, or reject it. As an unbeliever.

  414. Steve,
    “But nowhere do I see faith as a gift from God (the Eph passage is the only place remotely close and grace far more fits as the gift spoken of there)”

    That is kind of funny, as I have not used the Ephesians passage at all today. I have been using the Romans 10:17 passage “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.” That is where God’s word works, in creating faith in man.

    God’s word is a gift from God, and it produces the faith. The only other alternative seems to be that we muster up our own faith from deep in our gut – which I don’t think is what is called for. Faith is not like pulling ourselves up with our own bootstraps – although some do mistakenly hold this view.

    It may be purely Lutheran, but man cannot just grasp God’s gift of grace – so it is faith that makes us capable – and God needs to give us that faith.

    Again – “So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.”.

  415. Andrew says:

    Nobody can come unless God draws them yet Jesus said He would draw all men to Himself (not simply all the elect…all) – There is no neutrality when it comes to the cross (which is the context of Jesus saying He would draw all men to Himself – through the cross (when lifted up)

    ___________________________________________________________________

    No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.

    And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.”

  416. Steve Wright says:

    MLD – I don’t argue with you there. But when I speak of faith as not being a gift from God, I mean it in the “he gives to some and not to others” idea….which is why I prefaced my comment with all the other stuff that is a gift from God, but available to all and so often not recognized as such.

  417. Andy says:

    John 12:32 And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me

    All men.

    Andrew’s 416 verses are only saying that you can’t work for salvation. You need to believe the Gospel, which is Jesus lifted up, His death on the cross for our sins.

    Free will.

  418. Andrew says:

    “But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.)”

    Andy, The above verse is the context which I forgot to give you.

  419. Steve Wright says:

    Oxygen is a gift from God. There is no reason for anyone to die from lack of air in normal circumstances (I rule out accidents as part of this fallen world).

    If an adult chooses (moral agent) to lock himself in a small place with no air supply with the intention of ending his life, God will allow it to happen. If someone chooses to reject the gift of salvation offered in the gospel message, God will allow it to happen too. Man is responsible in both cases for his destruction (one earthly, one eternal)

    Man can’t ever blame God for not giving him the faith to believe and be saved..anymore than that man could blame God for not giving the air he needed to survive when he already rejected the air supply God freely gives to all.

  420. Andy says:

    Andrew, per your 419, yes, Jesus knew.

    Foreknowledge.

    Free will is true. Jesus has foreknowledge as to what a person will choose.

  421. Michael says:

    The conflation between John 6 and John 12 is incorrect in my opinion.

    In John 6, No one can come to Jesus unless drawn by the Father. ALL who are drawn come, ALL who come are saved, and NONE will be lost.
    Unless you advocate universalism, John 12 is speaking to something else…

  422. Steve Wright says:

    Same Greek word for ‘draw’ in both those John verses. God must draw, but the cross draws all men. And it is not the word used to “drag” someone contrary to their will either….it is draw like a carrot can be used to draw a donkey. To entice.

    I agree with total depravity – we have no desire for God, don’t want God, don’t seek God, and there is no inner goodness within us in any way.

    God draws us to the finished work which God did.

  423. Andy says:

    John 6 is speaking to the Lord’s foreknowledge of who will believe. They are drawn.

    John 12 speaks to the fact that the Gospel goes into all the world, that by free will, they make their choice.

  424. Andrew says:

    Michael, I agree.

  425. Andy,
    I am still curious for a reaction to my #401 which is a reaction from your #396.

    Can you do it?

  426. Steve Wright says:

    The conflation between John 6 and John 12 is incorrect in my opinion.
    —————————————-
    Same gospel, same greek word, same author….not exactly like comparing John with Paul or Jude….

  427. Michael says:

    Steve,

    It has nothing to do with whether it’s the same word or not.
    In John 6 ALL who are drawn are saved.
    If the passages are speaking to the same concept then universalism is true.

  428. Andrew says:

    I believe its the word ALL. All maybe is all people groups?

  429. Andy says:

    MLD, I’m usually not driven to respond to something that is preceded by a statement of “lie out of the pit”. The pejorative was a disincentive to me 🙂

    And your connection, makes no sense.

    So I’ll just say it plainly… Everyone is able to believe. No one is able to be sinless. Which is why everyone is given the ability to believe, and given the command to believe.

  430. Andy says:

    It’s a funny debate. Maybe I’m not part of the elect. Did anyone consider that possibility? Maybe no one here is part of the elect (just as a hypothetical, I’m not saying anything beyond a purely conversational hypothetical). And trying to convince me of these positions, is impossible if God doesn’t send me that way.

  431. Andrew says:

    If you believe, you are the elect.

  432. Michael says:

    Andrew @ 429…yes.

  433. Andy says:

    Andrew, per your 432, it’s not that simple for most people in these positions. They’d say I have to “persevere to the end”, to prove my election. So, while you might personally believe that, the majority in these positions would technically disagree with you.

  434. Andy says:

    And furthermore, the “persevere to the end to prove your election”, is bad news, not good news. I believe it is not the Gospel. The Gospel is summarized in John 3:16.

  435. Andy, on your own you cannot believe than on your own you can be perfect.

    Now, I will make this bold statement, and i think you should be able to make it yourself. I believe because Jesus Christ made me a believer – so I keep that command.

    I am perfect (yes now perfect) because when Jesus made me a believer, he made me perfect in him. – so I keep that command also.

  436. Andy says:

    Well MLD, you said 436. But it was only you saying it.

    I don’t agree with it.

    Here’s my thing:

    -I can believe on my own. I’m commanded to
    -I am not perfect (sinless). That is why I need to believe in Jesus
    -Believing in Jesus means I am declared righteous, and I will be in heaven

  437. Michael says:

    Andy,

    You might want to revisit Jesus words to the churches in Revelation…lots about persevering to the end…

  438. Andy says:

    Michael, I believe the words to the churches are referring to overcoming to rewards, not overcoming to everlasting life. Even the letter to Sardis is a litotes, an understatement to the grandeur of rewards received for overcoming.

    So what you think is about salvation, I believe is about rewards.

    The Reformed positions seem to think most verses in the Bible are about salvation. Which is an odd way to read Scripture.

  439. Andrew says:

    They’d say I have to “persevere to the end”, to prove my election
    _________________________________________________________________

    When you understand its all the work of the Holy spirit and none of yourself, its not hard to believe that the Lord would finish what He started, is it?

  440. Andy says:

    I’m still trying to figure out why anyone with these positions, would think it is worthy use of time to try and convince me of these positions. If God doesn’t “give it” to me, I will never “get it”. So why try?

  441. But you are commanded to be perfect in the same way that you are commanded to believe.

    Your point was that if you are commanded to believe, you must have the capability to beklieve. (which I do not agree with)

    At the same time, you are told in the same way to be perfect – so why do you not say the same thing – if I am commanded then I must have the capability.

    My view is God gives commands that we cannot keep to show us our need for a savior.

    Have you ever loved the way you are commanded to love? If not why not?

  442. See, intelligent people discussing, and disagreeing about an issue. Not bad at all.

  443. Andy says:

    Yes, Josh, I agree. But actually I preferred yesterday’s discussion over this one. This one is self-defeating, in my opinion. If my position is right, then they are fighting for fatalism. If their position is right, then they’re wasting their time trying to convince me.

  444. Steve Wright says:

    Well…the moment we start interpretations that “all” means all people groups, or all the elect…or that “the world” means there will be elect in every nation on the earth and so forth…then I think we are 100% eisegesis. Thus, there is no room for discussion. We just agree to disagree on the most common meanings of words used throughout Scripture in every place other than a soteriological sense when they are given new meanings. (I read Pink and almost laughed out loud at some of the interpretations he offers)

    Now I may be wrong, but one certainly can’t dismiss as exegetically insignificant the same author using the same Greek word in two different places.

    What John 6 does do quite effectively is speak to total depravity. The need for God to draw us to Himself. That should be applauded by every Calvinist and does a lot to eliminate a lot of alternate teaching about man’s ability.

    Seen (properly in my opinion) in that light, then having a second verse speak to the universal drawing that the cross does, the offer to all people, is quite significant – especially when the same gospel later tells us of the promise of the Holy Spirit after the cross and resurrection (and ascension) to convict the world of sin, righteousness and judgment to come.

  445. Andy, I have never said that God withholds from any one – that is a debate that Calvinists and Arminians have. Lutheranism does not even participate in that discussion.

    God makes it available to everyone through his word. God has chosen to use people to hand out is word as a life preserver – but no one is going to be saved until someone hands them the life preserver.

    Some will accept (after intervention by the person who can save) and some will reject and turn their back.

  446. Andy says:

    MLD, per your 446, I’m liking what I hear there, however, to me it doesn’t mesh with the emphasis you had earlier that the unbeliever has no free will. If by free will, you mean exposure to the Gospel, then that makes sense to me.

  447. Yeah, Andy, some discussions can be tiresome and outlive their usefulness, but you are representing your side well. I appreciate that.

  448. Steve Wright says:

    Andy, actually there was a hyper-Calvinist on a facebook thread last week who accused a brother of possibly not being one of the elect because of his strong views against Calvinism.

    I got off easy…I was just called a babe in Christ and when I eventually agreed to Calvinism then I would be able to handle something besides the milk… 🙂

    And I’m sure such people absolutely make Michael cringe – for that is not even remotely his attitude. As a dispensationalist, I see plenty of folks that make me cringe.

  449. Andy, I think if you will answer the question I asked earlier it will solve the issue for you

    Can a person who have never had any exposure to the word of God, or any preaching about Jesus just wake up one day and become, on his own, born again.

    If not, why not? Can’t he just will himself to be born again.

  450. Michael says:

    “And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”
    (Matthew 24:12–14 ESV)

    “and you will be hated by all for my name’s sake. But the one who endures to the end will be saved.”
    (Matthew 10:22 ESV)

    “Now Moses was faithful in all God’s house as a servant, to testify to the things that were to be spoken later, but Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope.”
    (Hebrews 3:5–6 ESV)

    “Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.”
    (Hebrews 3:12–14 ESV)

  451. Andy says:

    Josh, thank you 🙂

    Steve, I have actually been studying lately, the differences between “hyper” Calvinism vs. “not-hyper” Calvinism. Hyper, I presume, is that God ordains a person for hell, and they can’t escape it. Not-hyper, is that God permits the just result of sin (which is hell), without stopping the process on the way there. I end up seeing the two as having the same outcome, and I fail to see the difference between the two.

    Which is why I say this sincerely, if someone would explain the difference between the two, so that I will be fair in discussions about it.

  452. Andrew says:

    There appears to be three distinct doctrines in protestant soteriological thought.

    1. Calvinism
    2. Arminianism
    3. Lutheranism

    Are there any others? I know things don’t always fit nicely in a box but curious if I was missing any other ideas. I don’t understand Catholic or EO but that may be a separate discussion.

  453. And for the record, I agree completely with Steve’s soteriology briefly presented at the end of #413. He used the Tulip terms, which I don’t use because of the definitions, but I understand it was for brevity.

  454. Steve Wright says:

    Andy, hyper-Calvinist by my use of the term is someone who thinks his calling is to convert people to Calvinism rather than convert people to Christ.

    Someone who spends 10x the energy talking to other Christians about how they are wrong about Calvinism, than they do talking to the lost about Jesus.

    It has nothing to do with the doctrine itself but the person wielding it.

  455. Andy says:

    Michael, your four Scriptures in 451:

    1st) Enduring to the end of the tribulation to save the LIFE against the antichrist, who is trying to take it. Not about heaven and hell.

    2nd) See 1st

    3rd) A rewards Scripture in regards to the Jewish believers that wanted to go back to Judaism and depart from the finished work in Jesus. Spiritual shipwreck

    4th) A rewards Scripture in sharing in the full reward from Christ, due to our overcoming, endurance, and perseverence

  456. Steve Wright says:

    Andrew, like Josh wrote – your three categories certainly need a 4th class.

  457. Andrew, there is a traditional Baptist view which is also outside of the Calvin – Arminian scale. I think this is the statement:

    http://sbctoday.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/A-Statement-of-Traditional-Southern-Baptist-Soteriology-SBC-Today.pdf

    Roger Olsen would say it is Arminian, but it is not.

    James White would say it is smei-Pelagianism, but it is not.

  458. Andy says:

    Steve, you might be right about your 455 where the rubber hits the road. But they won’t cop to that explanation, as you might know.

    The difference, they will say, is doctrinal. So if anyone can summarize the doctrinal nuances between hyper and non-hyper.

  459. Andrew,
    Lutherans had already formulated their doctrine quite some time before the Calvinism / Arminian debate.That is why we don’t get distracted by their issues. Not to be rude, but both sides of that debate are wrong.

    But the big secret (well not so secret) is that both the Calvinist and the Arminians are from the same Reformed camp. Their debate is really just an inter squad game they play. 😉

  460. Andy says:

    “both the Calvinist and the Arminians are from the same Reformed camp”

    A.K.A., the Arminian loses his salvation. The Calvinist proves he never had it to begin with. 😉

  461. Michael says:

    Steve,

    John 6 say ALL who are drawn come, All who come are saved.
    It says that in the Greek and English.
    If John 12 is speaking of the exact same drawing, then all men will drawn and all will be saved.

  462. Steve Wright says:

    I’ve told this story before about the guy who hung out at Costa Mesa for awhile wanting to argue with us about not being Calvinists. He had a Bible, which was highlighted, and all the passages highlighted were various proof-texts for his views. 100%.

    He was asked, “Hey brother, do you have any verses highlighted in your Bible about the love, grace, mercy, promises of God to you?. Do you think you might be missing out on an emphasis God would have for you (and all His children)?” That maybe there is more to the Christian life and walking with Christ than showing people Calvinist verses in your Bible?

    Again..a brother hanging out at a church that directly rejects Calvinism, spending his time telling us we are wrong, using his “sword”…THAT is a hyper-calvinist.

  463. Andy, read the history – it was a dispute among the Reformed. One Reformed guy telling the other Reformed guy – “your mother wears combat boots!”

  464. I could be wrong, but I think Hyper Calvinist has a theological meaning – not just someone who is more Calvinist than the other Calvinist.

  465. Michael says:

    Hyper-Calvinism is a specific theological term which describes a Reformed believer who doesn’t believe in the free offer of the Gospel.

    The person you guys are describing is an immature ass of a Calvinist.
    The correct theological term for those folks is “immature ass”.

  466. Andy says:

    LOL! I’m tempted to use Michael’s theological term in 466 on the next debate on Facebook, but I suspect it will get me defriended.

  467. Andrew says:

    Well I suppose there is such a thing as a hyper-Calvinist as Steve pointed out. I find; however that the hyper-Arminianists far out number them. And I think I would rather stay out of this debate and think MLD may be onto something with the Lutherans.

  468. Steve Wright says:

    John 6 say ALL who are drawn come,
    —————————————————–
    Actually it does not. It says nobody can come who is not drawn. I do not see that as a distinction without a difference

    John 6:44

    Like I said, a great verse about total depravity.

    Our difference is simple. You equate “drawing” as always resulting in eternal life. That it becomes basically another synonym for election, predestination and so forth.

    I don’t. I think many are drawn who are not saved. Drawn when used of people does not mean the same as to drag an inanimate object (like Sproul uses the example of a bucket of water).

    The BAGD “to draw a person in the direction of values for inner life..to draw..to attract”

    People are not buckets of water.

  469. Michael says:

    I’m completely worn out for a while, but I’ll leave you guys with this.
    Most of the online discourse between Calvinists and others is disrespectful and shallow from my tribe.
    Whenever you see someone harping about the TULIP it’s someone who has only a surface level understanding of Reformed theology and is usually too prideful to know that.
    Calvin knew nothing about boiling down theology to five points or a flower and would have been horrified to see such carry his name.
    Election and predestination are doctrines best understood in hindsight…they answer “how did we get here” not “how do we get there”.
    Those doctrines are just one part of Reformed theology and those that choose to major on them are seeking division and scalps, not edification.

  470. Steve Wright says:

    The person you guys are describing is an immature ass of a Calvinist.
    The correct theological term for those folks is “immature ass”.
    ————————————————
    🙂 I’ll remember that.

    Seriously though, I should use another term. However, I also am not too big on guys who claim Calvinism and then say something like “but I don’t….” and go on to refute Calvinism in the uncomfortable parts. i.e. “I am a 4-point Calvinist”

  471. “Election and predestination are doctrines best understood in hindsight…they answer “how did we get here” not “how do we get there”.”

    That is very well said. Good thought.

  472. Michael says:

    “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.And this is the will of him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that he has given me, but raise it up on the last day.For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.””
    (John 6:37–40 ESV)

    “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.”
    (John 6:44 ESV)

    Jesus said that the drawing always results in eternal life, not me.

  473. Andrew says:

    Steve, your arguments are sounding like the George Bryson’s debate with James White. 🙂

  474. Steve Wright says:

    All I know is I am quoting the definitive Greek lexicon in Christendom. While trying to make sense of two distinct passages that exegetically are related in both word usage and soteriology.

    When we get to the whole “Jesus said it, not me” then I guess we are done.

    You will note, you said the other verse taught universalism (by my standard) – and yet did so knowing I don’t believe in such a thing (because Scripture with Scripture would exclude it)

    Now, if I did believe in universalism, I could play the “Jesus said it not me” when you insist that all drawing equates to eternal life. Because that verse does have Jesus saying the cross would draw ALL.

    So you change the meaning of all (or technically you add a couple words to qualify it), in order to keep the meaning of “draw” that you insist on from the other passage.

    I try to not change the meanings of any words…and certainly don’t add any…but rather let then stand as written and go from there.

    I’m done now.

  475. Bob says:

    Since this thread is a great example of how evolution could never be true, that is the idea that mutation can add to an organism and isn’t always harmful, I believe when one speaks of “hyper-” anything they have to be into science fiction.

    I believe one of the Enterprise models had a “hyper-drive” installed which allowed the vehicle to literally bend time and space. So if there is a “hyper-Calvinist,” doe this person bend time and space to get somewhere?

    Hey makes as much sense as a lot of what is written today.

    😉

    Oh and what about Augustine’s positions sexuality. He made some strange comparisons between those who believe and pagans.

  476. I know we frown on wikipedia, but here you go Bob:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyper-Calvinism

  477. Xenia says:

    Election and predestination are doctrines best understood in hindsight<<<

    Even I agree with this!

  478. Michael says:

    Steve,

    The problem exists because you insist on conflating the two passages because they contain the same Greek word.

    The two passages are not saying the same thing.

    John 6 is so simple and sequential and the conclusion is repeated twice.

    You have not shown any exegesis of John 6 and shown why it does not say what it clearly repeats twice.

    If you let the words stand as written, I’ll write them one more time.

    No one can come unless drawn by the Father. 6:44
    All who are drawn will come. 6:37
    All who come will be raised up 6;40, 44b

    The entirety of the passage speaks of a group given by the Father to the Son,all those given come to the Son, and all receive eternal life.

    “Now among those who went up to worship at the feast were some Greeks. So these came to Philip, who was from Bethsaida in Galilee, and asked him, “Sir, we wish to see Jesus.” Philip went and told Andrew; Andrew and Philip went and told Jesus. And Jesus answered them, “The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified.Truly, truly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the earth and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit.Whoever loves his life loses it, and whoever hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life.If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
    “Now is my soul troubled. And what shall I say? ‘Father, save me from this hour’? But for this purpose I have come to this hour.Father, glorify your name.” Then a voice came from heaven: “I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again.” The crowd that stood there and heard it said that it had thundered. Others said, “An angel has spoken to him.” Jesus answered, “This voice has come for your sake, not mine.Now is the judgment of this world; now will the ruler of this world be cast out.And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to myself.”He said this to show by what kind of death he was going to die.”

    In this passage we Greeks coming to see Christ and the disciples wonder if they should allow them access.
    “All men” here must refer to a drawing of all people groups.

    If we conflate the passages then the rules set by Jesus in John 6 must apply…therefore you end up with universalism.

    The only way to not reach that conclusion is to take each verse (and word) in it’s own context.

  479. RiBo says:

    Josh said, “Michael, this is a good thread. This shouldn’t upset you. You’ve got different views represented, different personalities, and different agendas. Kingdom stuff is messy like this. We are all learning at different paces. Some maybe even without their knowing. Just keep doing the good work and don’t be discouraged.”

    Agreed and well put Josh. I appreciate your change of focus, it isn’t unnoticed.

  480. RiBo says:

    PhxP is the best when it’s messy and diverse and raw and honest. That’s my opinion. I’m happy to see others jumping in and pushing back and having their own discussions. It’s never been about me, I am just not shy about speaking up and working through issues even if it doesn’t fit within the normal arguments.

  481. Xenia says:

    I don’t think this thread was so bad. Almost 500 posts of people discussing theology and history can’t be so awful.

    In real life in Christianity today we have the liberals, represented here by RiBo, the fundamentalists, represented by Andy? (Don’t want to mis-label you, Andy), the Pentecostals (Dread), the evangelicals (that would be Josh, Derek and Steve ), and the Liturgicals (me and MLD. Or if he would prefer not to be lumped in with me, he can have his own category, the Lutherans.) Our host is Calvinist, along with Sarah. That’s pretty much what we have here in the US and that’s what we have here on the PhxP. Seems ok to me.

  482. Xenia says:

    (I left Andrew out because I don’t know him well enough to assign a label.)

  483. Xenia says:

    I am just relieved that no one has asked me to explain the veneration of relics!

  484. Bob says:

    Josh:

    Gee thanks, I think. I can do that too.

    So what do you think?

    Michael is correct Augustine is one of the biggies and I would bet you hold doctrines taught to you that originated with Augustine and you did know it.

    As Michael stated our country uses the idea of a “just war” to kill people and that is an Augustine invention, oops doctrine, oops observation.

    Yes I’m a bit sarcastic because I find quite a lot of Augustine’s stuff not the best and yet he is (one of the) biggies.

    How about the fact that Augustine was a student of Mani (eventually rejected the cult and preached against it), does that play into many of his doctrines? I believe it does.

    Oh well just forget it. In a day when a pastor give kids cartoons to draw about himself Augustine is just a boring annoyance from an ancient generation.

    It’s Ok to drop the bomb, (Augustine said so).

  485. Andrew says:

    Xenia,

    Not sure exactly where I fit. I probably fit it best between a fundamentalist (non-dispensational variety) and a reformed old school non liturgical Calvinist. But I am glad I didn’t get a label cause honestly not sure what it would be.

  486. Steve Wright says:

    Maybe I am wrong, Michael. I admit to that possibility. I admit there are some hard verses in John’s gospel.

    Maybe I am wrong to start with the best Greek/English scholars of lexicons and NT translations tying that Greek word to our English “draw” and referencing the idea of “to attract” when used in the context of people

    Wrong also despite our continual usage today of “draw” when speaking of people as “attract” (i.e. Jimmy Fallon is expected to draw younger viewers to The Tonight Show. Tyson is the last big boxing draw our nation has seen. Walmart wants to draw shoppers with their big President’s Day sale)

    That maybe when I read my Bible I am not supposed to see “attract” here..only here of course, I am to ignore the lexicons, the choice of the translators, and all the normalcy found in our language and run straight to an interpretive lens that is unique here because these are soteriological in nature and as we know, when God is speaking soteriological verses we can’t let certain words like world or all mean what they mean normally if we want to be accurate. ..

    That the Father (and Jesus on the cross in the other passage) is doing something more than attracting sinful, depraved man to the grace of God – that He is actually compelling some sinners, in lieu of others of course, to salvation. Yes, the Greek and English word used by all the scholars (and the Holy Spirit in the original) is draw, but draw does not mean draw in any normal sense of the word……here.

    But I’ll stand before the Lord one day and be willing to explain why I was not a Calvinist if he asks – and answer for all the harm I may have done in the lives of others in having them think that God actually wants all people to be come to repentance and for telling them they have a moral responsibility to accept or reject the gospel message and will never be able to say “Well, God just did not draw me”

  487. Michael says:

    Steve,

    You continue to focus on one word in lieu of exegeting the text in context.
    I’ll not go any further as I’ve written about all that I can on the verse.

    Your slam on Calvinists is unfair, untrue, and utterly graceless.
    As I wrote earlier, it is only an aberrant sect of Calvinists who believe that we do not make a free offer of the Gospel to all men.
    Those men are considered sub orthodox by the Reformed faith.
    Calvin, the Reformed tradition, and myself believe that you preach the Gospel to all men without exception as only God knows the identity of the elect.
    The great missionary movements of history have been started by Calvinists and Calvin himself sent missionaries as far away as Brazil.
    I will cop to our arrogance and intemperance…but I won’t let falsehoods about our faith go unchallenged.

  488. Although I don’t agree with Michael and his Calvinist bent on this – I do agree that Steve is just zeroing in on the one word and not considering the context of the conversation in the scriptures.

    I can use the same words and have slight variant meanings depending who I am speaking with and the goal of my conversation.

    Context is the king of interpretation – not words isolated from the text. Why else do we tell people to read the several passages before and after the verse in question?

    I am not saying who is right or wrong – only that I think Steve is being too narrow.

  489. Steve Wright says:

    Funny to see the charge about context, since a big part of any context discussion is the book in which a verse is found (as MLD tells me regularly) – especially in discussing two different passages both found in the same book.

    So on the one hand..I am ignoring context.
    On the other hand, by trying to discuss both passages I am conflating passages.

    Tough crowd. 😉

    And Michael, I did not misrepresent Calvinism at all in my final paragraph. You misrepresented me Read it again – I did not speak of not offering the gospel to all people. or of Calvinists not being evangelistic I spoke of what God WANTED..not the preacher..what God wanted. And about man’s moral responsibility to accept or reject the grace of God.

    Yes or no. Does God WANT 100% of all humanity to be saved.
    Yes or no. Does God not get what He wants? (Perfect vs. permissive will)

    I say “yes” to both…and please do not tell me that a Calvinist would agree.

  490. Josh Hamrick says:

    I wish I was being too narrow.
    I’ve gained a lot of weight over the last few years.

    Bob,

    My wikipedia article was being sarcastic, too. I don’t like it when you come on and pretend to be too smart for the room. It comes off as arrogant. Just join the conversation on the same level as the rest of us idiots. 🙂

    Ribo, Josh, and Xenia all agree this was a good thread.

    Think about that a while 🙂

  491. RiBo says:

    X said, “I am just relieved that no one has asked me to explain the veneration of relics!”

    Well now that you brought it up 🙂

    Josh said, “Ribo, Josh, and Xenia all agree this was a good thread.

    Think about that a while”

    LOL, someone somewhere just updated a Prophecy Chart again 🙂

  492. Steve Wright says:

    speaking of context…in that chapter 12 passage I see plenty of ‘whoevers” and “anyones” before I read the word “all”…so I’ll stick with all as in all people (hey, just like it is translated) as opposed to all people “groups” like I am being told I should understand it…despite the translation of the actual text.

    Again – you get universalism indeed if you make the word draw mean something beyond what it means. Yes, in chapter six Jesus is speaking of the saved..but he does NOT say (as I showed earlier) that “all who are drawn come”

    But anyone who is saved has been drawn..no question. Depraved sinners do not want God otherwise.

  493. RiBo says:

    “Depraved sinners do not want God otherwise.”

    This just doesn’t seem to be true.

    Humans throughout history have yearned for “God”…every ancient culture I’ve studied or read about.

    Most humans today want to make a connection with “God”.

    The problem is there are different concepts of “God” even among Christians*

    It is not correct IMO to state “depraved sinners do not want God”

    This is a “transformation gospel” mantra that isn’t true.

    The rationale is “depraved sinners reject God b/c they love their sin!”

    Well, not really. Many “sinners” reform their ways, they stop drinking or stop using drugs or stop a sexual addiction or whatever. Often times through medical means, psychology, other religions, etc.

    Conversely, many supposedly “saved” folks don’t get “victory” or whatever over the taboo sins and ALL Christians* still sin all the time, no matter the sect.

  494. Josh Hamrick says:

    Ribo – hilarious. I believe that’s like the 4th seal or something.

  495. Xenia says:

    This thread needs some rabbits!

    [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JUHci4JxwC4&w=640&h=390%5D

  496. Josh Hamrick says:

    No Ribo, the rationale is that the sinner’s desire for God was placed there by God himself. (Note the “otherwise” in Steve’s statement)

  497. RiBo says:

    The fact appears to be that a very small percentage of humans actively reject “God” and don’t want some sort of connection or peace etc with a Deity or rather “the” Deity.

    The issue is really that there are different opinions as to who and what the Deity is.

    The Old Testament: “No man seeks after God, no not ‘one'” isn’t true. It is not only self-evident in the text due to many examples of bible characters who sought God, but also the fact that most humans seek after a concept of “God” in some form throughout man’s history.

  498. Bob says:

    Josh:

    “I don’t like it when you come on and pretend to be too smart for the room.”

    I’m sorry you feel that way.

    I do not want to be a RB because I do share the faith in Jesus as you do. But you have to understand I am very passionate about truth and the faith (yes I know others are too).

    I just feel the thread was about Augustine, but if you want to drift off into something else go to town. It just seems to me the same doctrines, arguments, foot stomping and insults keep coming up. Why can’t Michael’s topics get discussed? Why does it always have to come back to the same few ideas?

    If you think that’s being too smart for the room then I’ll apologize, shut up and just observe.

    Ok I give.

  499. Xenia says:

    Even Augustine said “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you.”

  500. Xenia says:

    ^^^^ The 500th post! Do I get a prize?

  501. RiBo says:

    “the sinner’s desire for God was placed there by God himself.”

    I do agree with this, but from a liberal or more universalist perspective. I would assert that Native Americans who sought “the Great Spirit” were given that desire by God or were drawn by God…w/o the text of the bible and w/o the official gospel.

    …whereas Steve I would assume disagrees and would assert that “the sinner’s desire for God” is in the context of his definition of correct belief and salvation from his evangelical perspective only.

  502. RiBo says:

    X, you are cracking me up today 🙂

  503. Steve Wright says:

    I will say this…if “drawn” actually is supposed to mean the 100% effectual work of God in bringing one to salvation…as has been argued here. No lost people are drawn in any way, and all who are drawn therefore are saved…

    Then there is zero argument against Calvinism. None. Might as well argue against the virgin birth.

  504. Michael says:

    This is irritating as hell.
    “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day”
    (John 6:44 ESV)
    “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.”
    (John 6:37 ESV)

    No one can come unless drawn.
    All drawn will come.
    All who come get saved.

    Thats what the verse says.

    Does God want all men to be saved?
    That’s His revealed will.
    I posted verses earlier where Jesus avoids some folks so they won’t get saved.
    Another one where He sends a delusion to condemn some others.
    Guess we need to look at the whole counsel of Scripture for the answer to that.

  505. Michael says:

    “Then there is zero argument against Calvinism.”
    That’s not true either, but it explains why you’re so weird about this verse.

  506. Michael says:

    Every tradition has their slam dunk verse and every opposing tradition has theirs.

    John 6 is one for Calvinists…but we have some tough ones to answer ourselves…not the ones they usually cite, but there are some.

  507. Michael says:

    Paul says the same thing in more detail;

    “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those whom he predestined he also called, and those whom he called he also justified, and those whom he justified he also glorified.”
    (Romans 8:29–30 ESV)

    We see the calling and drawing as the same step…which leads directly to glorification.

  508. Andy says:

    John chapter 6 is not some slam dunk for Calvinism. This is so ridiculous. The greater context of the chapter (not to mention the entire Bible), is a wide open door to all men, as in John 6:47, he who believes. Whoever it is that believes. So the couple of so-called “slam dunk” verses, can’t be teaching that God refuses certain people a free will. They can’t mean that. They’re being chicken picked by Calvinists. And to make what point, I have no idea. It doesn’t do anything for anyone in any practical way.

    John 6:44 is just saying that you can’t get there on your own (like Romans 3:10). The Lord has to draw you, and He’s drawing everyone. It isn’t teaching us to wait for John Calvin to be born to put some unbiblical twist on that verse.

    This was the primary reason why the discussion is so pointless. It’s a few verses that have to be wrestled out of the context of the entire Bible, and to accomplish what? No practical use for it at all, even if it were true. And it’s not true anyway.

  509. Andy says:

    Romans 8 29-30 starts with foreknowledge, thus, the Lord didn’t choose them for heaven or hell. He knew their choice, and based every step thereafter, on that.

    Those verses teach free will.

    I just don’t understand the point.

  510. Michael says:

    Andy,

    The context of John 6 is Jesus explaining to the Pharisees why some don’t believe in Him and why the huge crowd that had been following him dissipated.
    Foreknowledge in Romans 8 according to most scholars has nothing to do with God foreseeing choices, but about God foreknowing His people.

  511. John 6 is definitely the best Calvinism can do.

    Romans 8 has nothing to do with Calvin style predestination.

    My sermons on the matter are posted online.

    The entire corpus of Romans that is used by Calvinist is about God’s covenant with Israel and is mostly related to the means of redemption not the eternal destinies of the elect.

  512. Andy says:

    Michael, the scholars I have read, see Romans 8 the way I do. But it doesn’t matter what most scholars believe anyway.

    The Pharisees didn’t believe because, they chose not to believe, and the Lord knew they would choose not to believe. But nevertheless, the door is wide open to all, John 6:47.

    I remember a pastor that talked about this one time, he said, imagine you have four children. You are loving them, raising them, being faithful to teach them the things of the Lord in obedience to the Lord’s command to do so.

    But then you become a Calvinist, and you begin to spend copious amounts of time believing the Calvinist slant on things like election, and as you put your four children to bed at night, you have to realize, it is possible that the Lord elected none of them for heaven. You have to consider that, “since free will doesn’t exist”, then perhaps they have all been unelected, and you end up teaching them in vain.

    You will strongly balk at this little illustration I am sure, however, these are the things people are thinking when Calvinism gets in the mix.

    Calvinism is simply not true. I’m not saying a Calvinist person is an unbeliever. I’m saying, however, that the doctrine is just not true.

  513. Michael says:

    Andy,

    Your assertions, notwithstanding, I believe it is true and yes, your little story is offensive as hell.

  514. Andy says:

    Michael, I knew you weren’t going to like the story one bit. But you have to realize that life is not about concepts and philosophies. It is about people. People are thinking on how they can apply what they are being taught. If free will doesn’t exist, then people are thinking that way.

  515. Andy says:

    I’ll correct myself and say that life is about Jesus, and Jesus is about people.

  516. Xenia says:

    Not wanting to rile up our host too much, but think on this: Jesus said the road to life was narrow while the road to destruction is wide. This says to me that the majority of people are not going to be saved. Yet according to Calvinism, God elected those who find the narrow path and (at the very least) did not elect the big crowd that winds up on the wide path to destruction. If this is indeed God’s doing, then this is not Good News at all, it is terrible news for the vast majority of mankind. No way I could sing “Joy to the World” if I believed that.

  517. Andy says:

    Xenia, amen to that.

    The good news is that everyone can. Sadly, a lot won’t. Big difference between won’t, and can’t. Calvinism has no practical application. I say that not to offend. But because there are cut souls over all of this, that spend more time hovering over Calvin’s views on Scriptures, than just seeing the simplicity of, everyone who thirsts, come.

  518. Michael says:

    BD,

    John 6 is good for us…Ephesians is better.

    “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.”
    (Ephesians 1:3–6 ESV)

    Connects with John 6 and Romans 8 like a glove…

  519. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    If there is a narrow road and a broad road and only few find it, then the news is the same regardless of your tradition.

  520. Xenia says:

    No, there is a difference, Michael.

  521. Andy says:

    There is a huge difference. Calvinism is fatalistic. It was decreed, so it is. You can’t change it. Not with all the endless volumes of teaching in the world.

    But with free will, God loves me, gave me His Son, and tells me to believe. I have the choice to believe, or not.

  522. Michael says:

    Andy,

    My offer of the Gospel is no different than yours or Steves.
    This nonsense about pouring over Calvin is only applicable if the same applies to the people who craft your free will theology.