Things I Think

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385 Responses

  1. Xenia says:

    First!

    I pretty much agree with 1- 10.

    Still….. Merry Christmas!

  2. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    I might not publicize this one…but I got cranky and wrote it anyway.
    Merry Christmas to all anyway. 🙂

  3. Bob Sweat says:

    #10, evil does exist, but “The Light shines in darkness.”! Further more, ‘The darkness cannot put it out.”

    Now, if something can just put out those Seahawks! 🙂

  4. #2 – or you can move to Canada where violence and murder rates are way lower than in the USA. My point is that I don’t think the issue is gun control AT ALL.

    #6 – interesting, since I’m currently binge listening to Dan Carlin’s Common Sense, after liking his Hardcore History podcasts for the last year or so… I think what is common sense to one person is quite abhorrent to another, though…

  5. filbertz says:

    A list like this is what makes the incarnation of Christ so vital, beautiful, and timely.

  6. I have a brighter view of things. I am sitting here reading my 3rd set of divorce papers and support settlements and I give credit to these folks as they have chosen divorce over murder. 😉

  7. Michael says:

    fil, Bob…good job injecting some balance.

    The closest I could get was drinking spiked eggnog while I wrote it…

  8. Andrew says:

    #3
    Man at work goes away for a couple weeks and comes back as woman. New name and everything minus the surgery. HR told us that under no circumstances are we allowed to reference her with her old name or life as a male. She was a husband and a father of some kids. Question: If she decides one day she wants her old life back, can she just start using the men’s bath room again and demand we make no reference to his old life as a woman?

  9. Jean says:

    Here is the sad conclusion I have tentatively come to regarding gun control and gun violence in this country: No change in gun control (except to make them more accesible with fewer regulations) will occur until the collective grief and anger from the loss of life in this country attributable to gun violence becomes greater than the collective enthusiasm for easy access to guns.

  10. Xenia says:

    There is a fantastic used bookstore in town that I loved to visit. Great theology section! I was on friendly terms with the owner, a quiet, thoughtful man. One day I entered the store and he was dressed in a tight pencil skirt, lace stockings, high heels, a wig and make up. I could not look at him and went to the back of the store to reorganize my thoughts. He was mincing around the store sorting books and so on. I could not face him. When his back was turned, I escaped. I will not go back into that store. I am not playing his sick game.

    But a lot of people are playing along with this perversion and that’s how it’s gotten where it’s gotten.

  11. Xenia,
    ” I will not go back into that store. I am not playing his sick game.”

    Give him a break – perhaps he lost a bet. 🙂

  12. Xenia says:

    LOL maybe so!

    (But subsequent information says no.)

  13. I think it is pretty likely that a day will come when armed militia run our neighborhoods. I am counting on my neighbors for that.

  14. I lost a bet once and had to wear a Giants hat and jersey to work. i would have much preferred the pencil skirt.

  15. Michael says:

    BD,

    Armed militia are the only thing that brings a semblance of peace to some places in Mexico…

  16. covered says:

    Andrew, I just want to know which restroom the he/she is using? 🙂

  17. Andrew says:

    She is using the women’s restroom since her transformation. I think some women complained and the day she came back dressed as a women the maintenance men modified the bath room to remove the cracks in between the stalls so you can’t peak through them.

  18. Hi Michael,
    “5. I really don’t care what my liberal friends think…the nuclear family served society well and it’s destruction is destroying ours.”

    The “nuclear family” has been continuously attacked by serial divorce & remarriage.
    I wish the individuals which go after any other political & culturally perceived threats would simply double down on the fact that all divorce, any divorce, is horribly destructive to the souls & spirits of those who have made lifelong commitments to each other when they separate, and their extended families suffer as well. With the exception of me and one other, 10 of my 111 cousins are divorced and have suffered lifelong emotional damage from divorce.

    I’m not saying this to be a hater of anyone who choose to end their marriage. I AM saying that whenever we become ONE, there is indeed a huge destructive shredding that happens to the very fabric of those who part.

    With this in mind, we can be about healing. Whenever there are any persons struggling through the effects of such tearing apart and the seasonal loneliness, each of us can simply reach out and embrace our friends, neighbors and strangers in our lives to be part of the healing each needs, and receive unexpected joy in the process.

    peace,
    ( |o )====:::

  19. ( |o )====:::,
    You have 111 cousins??? I have 4

  20. papiaslogia says:

    Fil @ #5 – 😉

  21. ( |o )====::: says:

    Typo! 11 cousins, NOT 111

    …this is why I’m a graphic designer and not a copywriter 😉

  22. I can’t wait to see the reports about how wonderfully well the ‘new’ families fare at saving our culture.

    I have my own idea. Since marriage is ‘just a piece of paper’ we should establish a threshold of time at which people who live together must face the same responsibilities in their break up as the ‘piece of paper’ crowd.

    This should be extended to all kinds of sexual partners so that everyone is equally protected by the state.

  23. I think the G-man’s purposes would be well served by that program… and we could be sure to properly stigmatize anyone who does not take care of their responsibilities.

  24. Steve Wright says:

    I wish the individuals which go after any other political & culturally perceived threats would simply double down on the fact that all divorce……
    ———————————————————
    I’ve said this before here. There once was a time in this country when the political discussion was about so-called “no fault” divorce (divorce on demand) and whether states should recognize this in their laws….about the possible longterm consequences to the family and the culture from easy divorce….that debate is long since over….but the same people of faith that are spoken against today for exerting energy towards the debated issues of the family today, were the same people fighting against no-fault divorce back in the day.

    I guarantee you that if there was a doubling down against no-fault divorce laws, with an activism to seek to change society, those doing so would be dismissed as religious right whackos who ought to be focusing their energy on (insert whatever deflection you choose..here)

    Just because one major battle was lost some time ago, does not excuse silence on current battles for the hearts and minds of folks today. However, there are plenty of people out there who are divorced themselves, or whose parents divorced, and they will say it was the best thing that could have happened…just like you find plenty of people trumpeting the virtues of some homosexual couple they might know, or the woman who says that having that abortion was the right thing for her to do.

    At some point, either God enters the discussion…or He is left out and we are like how it was in the time of the Judges… And of course, it is so easy to pick and choose when to have God enter which discussions….

  25. ( |o )====::: says:

    “we could be sure to properly stigmatize anyone who does not take care of their responsibilities.”

    Wow, Dread, would you please clarify, because that is never what I intended by my post. Our holiday times with my wife, me and my daughters are all about being sure everyone in our lives has love and someplace they can feel like home during these lonely times.

    How in the world could you justify such an incredibly snarky comment?

  26. EricL says:

    #3- no matter how much you mutilate yourself, you still haven’t changed your chromosomes. You are either XX or XY. That’s why the have to take medical cocktails or injections for the rest of their life.

    Strange, isn’t it, that if someone wanted to chop off any other body part (I should only have 1 arm; I don’t want to have ears anymore), that person would be either locked up for their own good or forced to have intense counseling (and any medical professional aiding in their mutilation would face severe consequences), but attack your reproductive organs and it is fine.

    We live in a weird society.

  27. ( |o )====::: says:

    I’m inspired by my wife, my daughters and son in law who, without batting an eye, reach out to their friends knowing each of our homes are open to share the love.

  28. Jean says:

    BD,

    “Since marriage is ‘just a piece of paper’ we should establish a threshold of time at which people who live together must face the same responsibilities in their break up as the ‘piece of paper’ crowd. ”

    There still are several states that recognize “common law marriage.” However, I’m not aware if any state applies common law marriage rights to same sex couples.

  29. Andrew says:

    #3- no matter how much you mutilate yourself, you still haven’t changed your chromosomes. You are either XX or XY
    _____________________________________________________________________

    Although rare, this is not exactly true. There is more than one genetic abnormality that has the sex chromosomes messed up. Klinefelter syndrome is one example that is XXY.

  30. Jean,

    Common law is way too conservative

    G-man

    Just doubled down … that’s all

  31. And Michael,

    Just send the kid to New England. The bathrooms are going unisex all over the place. I say just give me privacy when I am doing my business. Put whatever you want on the door as long as there is a door. Privacy please… that is all.

  32. ( |o )==== says:

    “G-man

    Just doubled down … that’s all”

    Please explain

  33. ( |o )====::: says:

    What does your post have to do with your comment about my post where I express sentiment toward minimizing divorce and sharing love with those impacted by divorce?

  34. Xenia says:

    Eric,

    ….that if someone wanted to chop off any other body part (I should only have 1 arm<<<

    To prove your point, there is a mental illness where people fantasize about being an amputee and sometimes have a leg removed.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_integrity_identity_disorder

  35. Reading about the Shemales, cutting off legs, divorce etc. Paul said it best – people are rotten.

    And on the other thread, Ben Witherington saying that people can control their behavior to God’s standards, well he is nothing but a liar if that is what he teaches.

    Romans 3
    10None is righteous, no, not one;
    11 no one understands;
    no one seeks for God.
    12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless;
    no one does good,
    not even one.”
    13 “Their throat is an open grave;
    they use their tongues to deceive.”
    “The venom of asps is under their lips.”
    14 “Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness.”
    15 “Their feet are swift to shed blood;
    16 in their paths are ruin and misery,
    17 and the way of peace they have not known.”
    18 “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

  36. Jean says:

    There’s MLD confusing the justified from the unjustified again.

  37. How can you tell the difference, if you bounce back and forth between justified and unjustified based on your behavior?

  38. EricL says:

    Andrew @29, thanks for correcting my oversight of those who are born with sex chromosome disorders, but I wonder how many of those individuals are part of the trans-gender movement. It seems the majority are dealing with mental/ emotional issues more than physical.

    Xenia @ 34, that was exactly what I was thinking about. Sadly, that Wikipedia article mentioned that some professionals thought it might be good to chop off those unwanted arms too.

  39. Jean says:

    MLD,
    I just got home and now have an opportunity to respond to your #37. If you want to have a fruitful discussion with me regarding points of doctrine, it can’t begin with “he is nothing but a liar if that is what he teaches.”

    Those kind of ad hominem attacks might be your hallmark, but I’ve known you long enough and I’m inoculated, so I won’t bite. Thus, I’ll just chalk it up to a bad piece of pizza for lunch and catch you when your feeling better.

    Peace.

  40. Em says:

    i remember an old poem about sin… said that we first endure, then pity, then embrace

    while we are incapable of escaping the old sin nature – its affect on us and the planet we’re living on – we can renew our minds in Christ – at least Paul thot we could Romans 12:1-2 experientially, i must agree with him… altho my mother’s admonition to think nice thots always left me confused as a child… i need God’s help to think mind renewing thots and the more we do it, the more we can do it IMNSHO

    post script – i think that i have had a break-through that took me 78 years… i find it hard to pray for bad people, especially those who target children… i want them wiped out by natural disasters or something, God knows… but recently i am able to pray honestly before God that they repent and, for me, that’s progress – i’m a very slow pilgrim

  41. Well it’s not bad pizza, but I do have a toothache and need to get into the dentist in the morning. OK, I was uncharacteristically harsh with my “liar” comment about Witherington.

    However, you have to admit that what he is stating in that video is behavior is the cause of your salvation. We know this because he is saying that if you don’t behave correctly, in the end you will not have salvation.

    If find it problematic and of no comfort to those with a troubled soul. But hey, I’m a sensitive kind of guy. 🙂

  42. JonnyB says:

    Almost sounds like a little Jack Daniels got in the things you think..there is an ever so slight edge to it. 🙂

  43. Xenia says:

    And on the other thread, Ben Witherington saying that people can control their behavior to God’s standards, well he is nothing but a liar if that is what he teaches.<<<

    I guess I must repeat the cookie parable.

    I am the mother of five children. I love them all. I am not willing that any of them should parish but one gift I have given them is free will.

    I am in the kitchen baking cookies. As the mother, I can produce perfect cookies, batch after batch. However, since I love and enjoy my kids I would prefer to teach my them how to bake cookies with me, so I invite them all into the kitchen.

    Some accept my invitation and we spent hours in the kitchen rolling out dough and baking cookies. They make a mess but I don't care, they are coming to know and love me in the process. A few cookies get made but that's not the point. They are striving for perfection but they don't realize it, all they know is they are spending time with Mom.

    A few kids get discouraged and complain. They don't like my recipe or they are discouraged that their cookies are burnt or listen to the neighbor kid's lies about me. They wander off to the living room and watch cartoons. They don't care any more about cookies or Mom.

    One kid never accepted my invitation and went outside and we never saw him again. We still love him, though, and we'll try to think of various ways to lure him back.

    Results? Some children chose to spend a lot of time working synergistically with me. They came to love me more and more each day and begin to resemble me. Their cookie-baking improved, too.

    Some kids helped at first but got distracted or frustrated. They love me a bit, become a little bit like me, and never get too good at baking. They heard the neighbor kid tell them that even if they spend the rest of their lives watching cartoons they will still come to know me and love me and bake as good cookies as the kids in the kitchen will.

    Some kids knew me for a while but decided they really didn't want to do anything with me.

    Some kids never knew me at all.

    This is what synergism is like. It's doing things with God in order to become like God.

  44. JonnyB says:

    Ahh just read comment#7…I was right…sort off…LOL

  45. The story is cute – however there is nothing in the story that says making cookies or loving mom is preferable or more noble than watching TV or playing outside.

    Witherington is saying that if you choose not to bake cookies with mom – from beginning until end, well, you no longer belong to mom.

  46. Xenia says:

    I agree with Witherington, then.

  47. Xenia says:

    Obviously, “Mom” is God in my story.

    If you don’t want to have anything to do with God, are you a Christian?

    It’s a parable, you gotta work with it.

  48. JonnyB says:

    **Ben Witherington saying that people can control their behavior to God’s standards, well he is nothing but a liar if that is what he teaches.**

    I don’t agree at all with Ben.
    If we could control our behavior then there would have been no need for a “New Covenant.” The “Law” would have been sufficient and no Savior needed. But we all know that our best righteousness is as filthy rags in God’s sight, therefore we had a Kinsman redeemer who imputes His righteousness to us. People have shown down through the centuries that they are incapable of living up to God’s standards.

    Just as a matter of some perspective:
    http://biblehub.com/1_john/1-8.htm

  49. Xenia,
    “…but one gift I have given them is free will.”

    And here is one place we differ.

  50. Jean says:

    Bringing “comfort” is an interesting concept. Here are a few thoughts on comfort:

    I could adopt the position that those who continue to act in that way were never truly saved. But if I remain in ongoing sin, such as adultery, pornography, shop lifting, drug or alcohol abuse, etc., am I any more comfortable than the Wesleyan, because maybe I am not truly saved?

    Or I could adopt a position of the imputation of righteousness where God the Father only sees Christ’s righteousness, so what I do doesn’t matter because the Father doesn’t see my behavior. I don’t find this in scripture. In addition, this doctrine (to me) forces me to creatively interpret the voluminous scriptural texts which say something different about our responsibility for our behavior. St. Paul doesn’t say, “keep on fornicating, but always as forgiveness afterward and you’re square with God.”

    From what recall off the top of my head, the scriptural texts which address eternal security deal with persevering in the face of external persecution and suffering, not internal sin issues.

    What brings me comfort is that Jesus promised us a Comforter, Who graces us us what we need to walk on the narrow path and enter through the narrow gate. What also brings me comfort is my commitment to give canonical weight to all of the NT.

    The gift is free, but it was never cheap. Jesus did not have a large following. Somewhere, the church got the idea that the gate is wide.

    I hope no one interprets my words to mean that if you don’t agree with me, you must not give canonical weight to all of the NT. That’s not what I’m saying. I’m just reporting where I derive comfort. These are not new disagreements and I don’t expect that anyone who has come to a strong position is going to change their position based on this discussion. However, I’m a believer in the exchange of positions and learning what other people believe. So, I think it’s worth discussing, as long as no one comes unhinged.

  51. Jean,
    The missing ingredient is the lack of any proper distinction of law & gospel when reading the text. Witherington is reading Paul all the same no matter who the reader is. If one is prideful in their life, that they can walk the edge – well Paul dumps the Law on these people. “Live right or die”

    But if running across a person who is troubled over their sin, you must go to the gospel and show them what Christ has done for them in his work of salvation.

    I am pretty sure that even the troubled soul will get the “Live right or die” message from BW. He must give that message because I am sure that he is fully confident that we can obey – i am sure that he is of the school that Jesus would not give us commands that we were not capable of doing.

    Time to jump on the freeway and sit in traffic for an hour.

  52. “If you don’t want to have anything to do with God, are you a Christian?”

    Absolutely not – but that isn’t the question. I didn’t always obey my parents but that did not mean that I didn’t love them or that I wanted nothing to do with them.

    What you are saying is if anyone has bad behavior, they have rejected God – this is not even close to truth.

  53. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    I’m big on parables… 🙂
    However, as you know those in the Reformed traditions don’t believe in libertarian free will so for us the parable collapses and we eat the cookies anyway…

  54. Xenia says:

    What you are saying is if anyone has bad behavior, they have rejected God – this is not even close to truth.<<<

    No, that's not what I am saying.

    But there is a type of bad behavior that will exclude you from the kingdom and that's deliberately turning your back on God.

    "Baking cookies" doesn't just mean feeding the poor. It also means doing your daily work as unto the Lord. "Going outside to play" in my story = turning your back on God and joining the world's system.

    The more you say "no" to God, the more you say "no" to God. Eventually you can reach a point where you don't care about God at all.

    So it's not "being bad" that excludes you from the kingdom, it's continually repentantly "being bad" until it becomes so habitual that you no longer care what God thinks and no longer care about repenting and have become an unbeliever.

    This happens. We see it all the time.

    But as you always say, stay under the spout where the glory comes out.

    But you can walk away. Hanging out with God and doing things with God (synergy) is a good way to stay under the spout.

  55. Xenia says:

    should read “continually UNrepentantly being bad.”

  56. Xenia says:

    If it wasn’t for the fact that I have seen so many people completely fall away from the faith, I would be more likely to believe what some of you are saying. But I have seen too many people who gave every evidence of being devout Christians (and they themselves sure thought they were Christians) who are now atheists or agnostics and show no inclination to return to the faith.

    We might say “well, they were never saved to begin with.” Sure, we can say that to comfort ourselves but the fact is, they believed they were saved. We all believe we are just as saved as they did. Yet they completely fell away. How do we know we are not just like them, deluded people who wrongly think we are saved but will fall away some day?

    I find no comfort in this way of thinking at all.

  57. Bob says:

    Xenia:

    ” But I have seen too many people who gave every evidence of being devout Christians (and they themselves sure thought they were Christians) who are now atheists or agnostics and show no inclination to return to the faith.”

    My take on many of these people is this; they never desired to know God.

    Yep it’s simple and I know many will say it’s more complex than that, but I often think we over think these things.

    I think a better question might be this, why do people stay in their faith?

    Of course this means the broader question(s) is(are); why do people stay Catholic, Orthodox, CC, Pentecostal, Evangelical, Southern Baptist, Muslim, ISIS, Brethren, Amish, Scientist, or any thing one might identify as religion and or faith?

    To me the scriptures yell at me that the only true faith starts with loving God, the God of creation and Messiah. So which religion or organization is compatible with that? Maybe many for some or none for others and I believe that is the beauty of loving the God of scripture.

    But one has to love God first and foremost for any of this stuff to make sense at all. Amazingly it is Jesus who taught it is God who loves creation first!

    So why did they fall away? Maybe their love for their confession grew cold and was replaced by another confession, or maybe they just lost their love for anything or anybody.

    Were they ever saved? Since they weren’t in the grave when their love grew cold does it really matter?

  58. Xenia,
    “he more you say “no” to God, the more you say “no” to God. Eventually you can reach a point where you don’t care about God at all. ”

    I agree with this 100%. I always say that you cannot lose your salvation, God will never take it away from you – you cannot sin your way out of your salvation, but you can give up and walk away from your salvation.

    But Witherington – and I listened to him again as I drove home says that your behavior … bad acts, will cause you to have your salvation card pulled from you.

  59. Xenia says:

    MLD, we may be closer than you think.

    I would say that continual unrepentant sin *can* cause a person to harden their hearts and walk away from God.

    Not the sin itself because God will forgive anything.

    Good works do not save you but they might be the method God uses to keep us hanging onto His hem. It’s not a matter of saying “I must do six good deeds today or I will not go to heaven” or “I have committed six sins today and I am going to hell.” No no and no!

  60. Jean says:

    Jesus tells us some of the reasons people fall away:
    1) Some people receive the word with joy, but without a root, they don’t endure when trouble or persecution comes;
    2) Some people hear the word, but worldly cares and the seductiveness of wealth choke the word; and
    3) Some people hear the word and do not understand it, and the evil one comes and snatches what was sown in his heart.

  61. Xenia says:

    I always say that you cannot lose your salvation, God will never take it away from you – you cannot sin your way out of your salvation, but you can give up and walk away from your salvation.<<<

    Yes.

  62. Em says:

    you all are making some good points IMO … in the cookie parable, could we say to mom/God, “i love you very much, but i hate cookies?” would mom/God then say, “well, if you love me, get in here and bake anyway?” so we do and maybe we make the best cookies of all the kids and do the best job of cleaning up the residual grease and sugar and flour off of the floor, the counters, the bread board, the utensils, the containers and the stove knobs… and there on the sideboard sit trays and trays of shortbread and sugar cookies and brownies made with bourbon and pecans and the whole family then praises our wonderful works …?… what does that make us exactly? just pondering and extrapolating…

  63. randallslack says:

    The problem with common sense is that it is not all that common.

  64. Xenia says:

    I think “salvation by works,” in my parable world, would equate to some kids saying they are going to go to someone else’s house and make cookies all on their own. In my story I am God and you have to make the cookies in my kitchen because the whole point is getting close to ME. Thinking you can bake the cookies all on your own w/o me would be the Pelagian heresy.

  65. Bob says:

    I have to ask again, why does it matter to discuss if a person was “ever saved” or “lost their salvation.”

    The scriptures clearly states that, those “who call on the name of the Lord will be saved,” and “those who endure unto the end shall be save.”

    Those say to me that salvation, as it pertains to eternity, really only counts when a person leaves this age (world) and steps into the next. However, I believe such a form/belief of salvation is really only “fire insurance” and is pagan at its heart. “I confess Jesus so I won’t go to hell when I die.” Truthfully, that belief shows no love for God at all!

    The good news is God is the judge of eternity, not any of us!

  66. Jean says:

    A few points of clarification are necessary, once again, because MLD has a tooth ache:

    Witherington did not say: “bad acts, will cause you to have your salvation card pulled from you.” However, he did say:

    “There is an integral connection between right belief and right behavior.”
    “Behavior can affect one’s eternal destiny.”
    You can’t sever belief from behavior, nor can you sever salvation from behavior.
    “Apart from God’s grace, no one can be saved.” God’s grace is present in all facets of salvation.”
    “Believing is a kind of behavior. Active believing is a kind of behavior.”

    Further, here is part of his quote of St. Paul to the Galatians: “I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this [see preceding list of vices] will not inherit the kingdom of God.”

    Now, you can try to explain away what St. Paul said or you can take him at his word. He is writing to a Christian Church, not a pagan get together. He doesn’t say this only applies if you give up your title as Christian and walk away. He says exactly what he says.

    Again, traditions differ. But Witherington’s tradition is honorable, honest and Biblical. It may be that there are points of interpretation that differ, but that doesn’t make his position non-Biblical.

  67. Xenia says:

    There is this idea that the good Christian life is based on freedom from any kind of obligation or restraint, that the moment someone tells you “God says you must do this,” people begin screaming that they are under an intolerable yoke of bondage, etc.

  68. Xenia says:

    I believe that faith produces good works and good works (things done w/ God) increase faith which produces more good works which increases one faith and after 80 years of this you might just wind up with a truly holy person.

  69. Jean says:

    Xenia,
    If this was Facebook, I would be “liking” so many of your comments. I see God’s commands as the only source of ethics that actually are for me and not ultimately for destroying me. So, to me, turning to God is a yoke of freedom to me.

  70. Steve Wright says:

    I used to think exactly like MLD and Xenia – I would have agreed 100% with every detail of Xenia’s parable, and even MLD likes to quote Chuck Smith on this topic.

    I still believe the smell of cookies draws the kids into the room who are interested (their choice to respond to God’s initial calling)…however, I believe that once in the kitchen, the doors are locked and they will never leave the kitchen.

    That is due to the supernatural change that takes place, the sealing of the Holy Spirit, the baptizing into the Body of Christ by the Spirit – which happens the moment of the Spiritual birth – and thus the limitations on the parable.

    I would add, at least in Calvary circles, some of the Scriptures referenced to support a lack of eternal security are OT non-Church verses, and thus the one weakness with CC being dispensational as far as eschatology, but weak dispensationally on ecclesiology and soteriology.

    Of course, in Xenia and MLD’s case – they believe their baptized babies join the Church whereas, I think babies are saved by God’s grace apart from any ritual – but do not equate that to being a member of the Body of Christ either.

    As far as the concern about whether we too can know we are saved. That also is a ministry of the Holy Spirit…we may not KNOW about anyone else being saved (thus we do examine both their works and their beliefs) but we are to KNOW that we ourselves are saved….by the Spirit’s witness. So it is not simply a comfort I seek to explain why some seem to walk with the Lord for a season, as I declare they must never have had the Spiritual birth, never sealed with the Spirit, never placed into the Body of Christ – but rather it is the conclusion I have drawn from Scripture…a conclusion I would add, that while certainly not unique, did in fact go against the established teachings of Chuck, my first pastor.

  71. Jean says:

    Steve,
    Not to hijack this thread, but I hope you’ll eventually contribute a top 10 book list to add to the others here.

  72. Xenia says:

    I believe that once in the kitchen, the doors are locked and they will never leave the kitchen.<<<

    Except people leave the kitchen all the time. All we can say, if we want to believe OSAS, is that they were never saved to begin with.

    Yet these people (and I know more than a few) truly and sincerely believed they were saved at the time and for years certainly seemed to be genuine believers who taught Bible classes and graduated from Bible college and prayed and read the Bible and if they were fooling us they were also fooling themselves. In most cases, something happened that caused them to be grievously disappointed in God, basically saying "If God is like that, then I am done with Him."

    Maybe, taking the eternal view, you can say they were never saved because ultimately, they weren't. Using the life preserver analogy, the Saviour throws the drowning man a life preserver, which he grabs onto. At that moment, he is saved. Yet decides to let go and drowns so ultimately, he was not saved. I guess an all-knowing God can say "He was never saved because I knew he was going to let go." In that sense (and only that sense) can we say the person was "never saved." But the drowning man, at the time, believes he is saved and does not anticipate that he will ever, ever let go. But people DO let go, we see it all the time. God doesn't let go, they chose to let go.

    This assurance that is talked about… I never had it as a member of a OSAS church. Oddly, I have it now.

  73. Steve Wright says:

    Except people leave the kitchen all the time
    —————————————-
    Like I said, there are limits to your parable. Now, maybe they never were saved, or possibly they still are saved too. (Was Solomon saved…but there I go with an OT, non-Church example)

    The Holy Spirit SEALING is 100% a NT Church ministry – and a Roman seal in the 1st century spoke to ownership and security. At the end of the day I do not see any verses that speak of someone being unsealed, being rejected from the spiritual Body of Christ after being place there by the Spirit, or being transferred from being In Christ, to once more In Adam – that is a one-way road Scripturally speaking.

  74. Steve Wright says:

    Now, how does this work, pastorally?

    First, it is tragic for someone like Xenia who believes the gospel to think she has no reason for assurance in her salvation (as she said was the case in her CC days). I seek to preach that assurance – but not because of their works, or victory over sin, but to really understand the totality and fullness of God’s grace at work in the finished work of Christ on the cross.

    Second, I have no desire to discuss security with someone who is in open sin and rebellion. We can all agree that people who are living for the flesh, who seem to have no interest in the things of God anymore, no conviction for their sin, and who embrace apostate beliefs are in a very bad place and need to repent. It is academic to me if they are saved and backslidden, or not born again in the first place, because I can never know as I am not God. I will treat them (as Jesus said I might add) as an unbeliever. God can sort out their salvation on His end.

    One of the biggest hurdles in my old position, with the typical non-security take on the Hebrews passages is this – if one can be saved and then lost again, Hebrews would mandate that it is impossible for such a person to be saved again.

    Now, why/how could that be? Why would God not make one’s choice to believe the final say – and make it impossible to be lost…rather than allow one to be lost and then have zero hope of being saved ever again. There is no Biblical justification for lost then saved, then lost..then saved (then lost, then saved etc). At some point a final destiny is secured. Why would anyone think our God would make damnation, not salvation, that final destiny?

    Even Xenia and MLD, I am sure, would continue to preach repentance and the possibility of salvation for such a one, but if the Bible is to be understood in the manner that salvation can be secured and then lost, then such preaching is vain and a waste of time.

  75. Steve Wright says:

    I refer to Hebrews 6:4-6 of course

  76. Xenia says:

    My old CC pastor used to say this:

    If he is talking to a rebellious, sinful Christian, he would counsel them that they are in danger of falling away completely.

    If he is talking to a pious old lady who has been a Christian all her life and is on her deathbed and is apprehensive, he would preach OSAS to her.

    I think this is a good saying.

  77. Xenia says:

    Was Solomon saved? Yes! He’s a Saint in the Church:

    “In the Eastern Orthodox Church, Solomon is commemorated as a saint, with the title of “Righteous Prophet and King”. His feast day is celebrated on the Sunday of the Holy Forefathers (two Sundays before the Great Feast of the Nativity of the Lord).”

    -from Wikipedia

  78. Xenia says:

    But you know, this involves Christ’s descent into Hades after His crucifixion where He preached the Gospel to all the Old Testament people.

  79. Steve Wright says:

    I believe Solomon was saved Xenia. Just used him as an example whose life at the end would not show much evidence.

    I could use other examples too…believe me.

  80. Steve Wright says:

    If he is talking to a rebellious, sinful Christian, he would counsel them that they are in danger of falling away completely.
    ———————————————————————-
    Chuck said the same thing…But Chuck did not believe in OSAS. I don’t know how any pastor who DID believe in OSAS, could teach something else just because of the individual counseling session at hand. Not to cast dispersion but that does not click for me.

  81. Jean says:

    Steve,
    I just happened to be reading through Ephesians this evening when your comments started coming in. Pretty much everything we’ve been discussing regarding sanctification, salvation and security are addressed in 4-5:14. If only we could all agree as to what those verses actually mean, harmony would break out.

  82. Xenia says:

    First, it is tragic for someone like Xenia who believes the gospel to think she has no reason for assurance in her salvation (as she said was the case in her CC days).<<<

    Well, there are many reasons for this but one example will suffice.

    My old CC believed in the Second Blessing. I once went to a CC leadership conference and the entire day was that you needed to have received the 2nd blessing (tongues) in order to be an effective leader. They didn't say you weren't saved (exactly) but anybody who didn't have tongues was just trying to run their car on kerosene.

    So come on up and get the Second Blessing. God will not deny any good gift to his children, if you are his child and you ask you will receive. So I go up and the poor pastor just about turns purple trying to get me to FILL! but I did not fill. And this was not the first time, either. Every time, at an afterglow or whatever, the chance arose to get that 2nd Blessing I went up and nothing ever happened. Now if they had said "hey, sometimes God gives to people, some times He doesn't" I would have been disappointed but not devastated. But they always said "God never denies good gifts to his children, if you ask for an egg will God give you a snake?" (or was it scorpion…) This is just one example of why I always wondered if I was really saved or just fooling myself. This whole Second Blessing business was a great source of personal anguish. I could say more but that will do.

    But now, oddly enough, I don't worry about these kinds of things anymore.

  83. G

    I will not answer anymore let’s just resume our aggressive disinterest in each other’s thoughts.

  84. Steve Wright says:

    Xenia – I despise that nonsense…and yes it was prevalent, but hopefully dying away..

  85. Xenia says:

    Steve, I am glad to hear you say this.

  86. Steve Wright says:

    Xenia..it is interesting..by the time I showed up in 1993, and stayed for 8 years (and went to several after-glows too)…I did not hear ONCE this teaching as applied in your experience…I only knew it from hearing old tapes (including the whole, God will not give you a scorpion)

    The “second blessing” was taught of course, but not the pressure to come forward and receive, and God won’t say, No. etc. That apparently had died on the vine sometime before I got there. And it most definitely was not part of the School of Ministry’s teachings.

  87. Xenia,
    I think you were in the wrong place but now you are in the right place.

    Lord knows my hands can’t smell and my nose can’t use my tools at work.

    Having noses at the end of my wrist is just wrong.

    I agree with what Steve said.

    The pressure and the consensus orthodoxy of that CC experience was not working for you and I know it didn’t work for some others; having spent a lot of time there.

    I think you are much happier not having to deal with it.

    Each member of the Body of Christ has their correct place to abide in the Body.
    I am so glad you found yours!

  88. brian says:

    Once Saved always Saved was a big ticket item back when I first became a Christian. An honest confession, I was always fairly sure I would be damned as I was not good enough. I know works does not save and being good enough is not an issue. Well in my experience, yes it does, and twice on Sunday. I always felt, even though I know this is not true, that God is very capricious and utilitarian in nature. What works is good what does not is not and all measurements are in the very very short term. Again I know this is not factual. When I first became a “Baby Christian” I had this sense of total awe about how God would come and save me, it gave me great joy and made me almost shake in gratefulness. Of course I have repented of such emotionalistic nonsense and have become a functional atheist who is so scared of going to hell I believe.

    I will be “happy” if God just does not slowly slaughter me and then resurrect me to eternal torment. One thing was made very clear when I continued in my Christian life, almost everyone who thinks they are a Christian is deceived of the Satan and they will go straight to hell and be cast into the lake of fire. Now there is a part of me that believes in a loving father who has great mercy and wants all to be saved and will eventually do that. But that is rank heresy. I really struggled with these issues is because most of the people I work with lack the cognitive ability to understand the major doctrines in the evangelical faith and all their permutations. I will admit at least the gnostics are far more up front about knowledge saving.

  89. Steve,
    “whereas, I think babies are saved by God’s grace apart from any ritual”

    So you must believe that babies as they get older (the age of accountability) can and do fall away from that previously obtained salvation. Why can a bay fall away 15yrs later but not an adult?

    So where are we different?

  90. None of the 3 CC pastors I was associated with were OSAS. All 3 – Greg Laurie, Chuck Smith and Skip Heitzig were rightly believers in abiding faith.

  91. brian says:

    Actually MLD the whole babies go to hell thing was a big issue in my early Christian years. I guess I struggled with it because I worked with dying babies / children a bit in the late 80’s and to my shame it affected me. A few apologists for the non elect babies go to hell was sort of put this way, without all the theological fluff. Jesus compared the end times and who is saved and not to Noah’s time on the Ark and it is clear that there were not babies on the Ark. There were eight people on the ark and everyone else was drown. They did bring up David and when his child died / was killed as a consequence of David’s sin but David said he would see his son again. David’s son was a Covenant son. Jesus did say suffer the little children and deny them not for such is the kingdom of heaven, but it could be Jesus was just referring to the attributes of children to those that are followers of Jesus.

    I think God saves everyone in some way. But that is heresy. I can tell you it really is hard on a parent who thinks their child went to hell, and yes, parents think that I have been in the room when they said it do to some stupid blank blabbering some theological nonsense.

  92. Em says:

    what does one do with the requirement to be “born again?” of the spirit… is there a gestation period where a mortal can abort this gift? God forgive me for the twisted simile, but i just don’t see how this direction from our Lord can be nullified once it has been accomplished in us…

    time for my nap – God keep

  93. brian says:

    “G” the major gatekeeper “Is it effective?” That one seems to be way high on the list along with “Will it help me win the argument?” “Will it help advice my theological, political, social agenda?”, a real biggie, “Will it help destroy a theological, political, social etc enemy and or their family or hopefully both?” Yup those come to mind. I tend to like yours better.

  94. Nonnie says:

    I remember Dr. Walter Martin always answer “If you are born again, how can you be UN born again?”
    Common sense tells me abiding faith is right, but as I read the scriptures it appears to me that God chose me, called me, birthed me into His kingdom, and holds me securely.

    Yet I also agree with Xenia that if we love God, we will stay in the kitchen and learn, yearning to be closer to Him and enjoying the cookies.

    It appears I am wishy-washy in my doctrine, but I am passionate in my love for Jesus.
    I’m guessing His grace will cover my lack.

  95. Analogies fail
    If you are born again how can you be unborn?
    wrong question …
    can you die again?

  96. He indeed holds us securely like a baby in a parents arms
    There is no question of his secure love
    Only of our secure reception

  97. “we will stay in the kitchen and learn, yearning to be closer to Him and enjoying the cookies.”
    Similar with Chuck Smith’s “stay under the spout where the glory comes out.”

    I believe that one is eternally secure when receiving what keeps us eternally secure. When we remove ourselves from that place, we put ourselves in danger. When we stop;
    listening to God’s word
    assembling with other believers
    confessing the creeds
    receiving God’s gifts in the supper
    etc

    Even if we are living the life as the best behaved citizen in our city, we end up by letting our faith die and we no longer believe … and unless you have a theology that allows unbelievers to be with Jesus eternally, well…

  98. Steve Wright says:

    Saved by grace…kept saved by works…got it. 😉

  99. I said not a thing about works … not one word.

    But I will ask you –
    Does one need to believe to be saved?
    Does one need to be a believer to continue in salvation?
    Does one need to be a believer at the end of their life?
    You can answer Yes or No next to each.

    I realize that it is not the ‘one and done’ of your teaching 😉 – but still no works at all.

  100. josh the baptist says:

    Is eternal life actually eternal, or just temporary?

  101. eternal life is a gift from God that he cannot take back from you – however, you can toss it in the trash can. You can shipwreck your faith.

  102. Then it isn’t eternal.

  103. Jim says:

    Good question Josh. I heard Barnhouse ask this on the radio back in the early 80’s, which caused me to study the security of the believer.

    Michael, I avoided applauding your #2 to keep peace with the “pass more laws that criminals will ignore” crowd.

  104. Jean says:

    I have a book that I’m going to begin this weekend, directly on point: “Four Views on The Role of Works at the Final Judgment”, edited by Alan P. Stanley and Stanley N. Gundry.

    Here quoted directly from the back cover is a summary statement of the Four Views (many of you will recognize at least 2 of the contributors):

    Robert N. Wilkin: “Works will determine rewards but not salvation: At the Judgment Seat of Christ each believer will be judged by Christ to determine his eternal rewards, but they remain eternally secure even if the judgment reveals they have failed to persevere in good works (or in faith).”

    Thomas R. Schreiner: “Works will provide evidence that one actually has been saved: At the final judgment works provide the necessary condition, though not the ground for final salvation, in that they provide evidence as to whether one has actually trusted in Jesus Christ.”

    James D. G. Dunn: “Works will provide the criterion by which Christ will determine eternal destiny of his people: Since Paul, Jesus and the New Testament writers hold together “justification by faith and not by works” with “judgment according to works,” we should not fall into the trap of playing one off against the other or of blending them in a way that diminishes the force of each.”

    Michael P. Barber: “Works will merit etenal life: At the final judgment, good works will be rewarded with eternal salvation. However, these good works will be meritorious not apart from Christ but precisely because of the union of the believer in him.”

    Do any of these statement reflect your beliefs? If so, which one?

  105. Josh, so the guy who believed and was saved (like the Philippian jailer) who now decides not to believe (like Bart Ehrman or one of the seeds of the parable) is actually still saved by default.

    I guess we are not too different – I believe that hell will be populated by forgiven sinners and you believe heaven will be populated by unbelievers. 🙂

  106. Steve Wright says:

    I said not a thing about works … not one word.
    ——————————————————
    Of course you did, MLD. You said the person who stops going to church, receiving communion, was putting themselves in danger. It is perfectly accurate for me to say what I said..the believer through his works keeps his faith and thus his salvation. If you meant something else then clarify. Some of us (at least me) think it is ludicrous to imagine that as long as a guy keeps going to church, he is eternally secure…that one can’t lose their faith as long as they are sitting in the pew.

    You laughed at the idea of drunkenness or some other sin being the issue, as you asked basically, How many times does a Christian get drunk before they are out?

    So how many times can he skip church, skip communion…same thing. You just don’t see it because, as you also said somewhere, the Book of Concord is the authority for your Lutheranism. That is the book that interprets the Bible for you…

    I already listed my reasoning, from Scripture….you can engage that if you wish.

  107. Steve Wright says:

    Sealed until the day of redemption.

    (That has to mean something….)

  108. “Josh, so the guy who believed and was saved (like the Philippian jailer) who now decides not to believe (like Bart Ehrman or one of the seeds of the parable) is actually still saved by default.”

    No, they actually never believed. They went along for a while, tested the waters, but were never made into a new creation. Lots of people say they believe, but never actually place their faith in Jesus. I did it myself for years. All the pretty girls were at church, so I played along.

  109. papiaslogia says:

    I wouldn’t want to be too dogmatic when it comes to the salvation of others. If they say they “believed in Jesus” at some point in their lives I have to take their word for it – irregardless of where they seem to be in their current state.

    Nor would I want to mirror my experiences onto another and try to prove that someone is in a state that I was once in.

    I believe that the Bible teaches that we do nothing more than believe in Jesus and be saved. I believe that the Bible also teaches that good works were created for believers to walk in and perform, but those works add nothing to our salvation. Will works be connected to rewards? – possibly yes.

    All we can do is place our faith in Christ and believe that His “grace will lead us home”.

  110. Andrew says:

    The Bible has clear warnings about apostasy and falling away and those ship wrecking their faith. The Bible also has clear passages of comfort for the believer giving them eternal life and security. Now how should we reconcile this? I tend to view the warnings of apostasy more as a hypothetical possibility but the passages of eternal security more of a promise for the believer.

  111. Andrew says:

    The key point is believer. If you stop believing than you really are putting yourself in danger.

  112. Michael says:

    These discussions tend to be centered around each traditions particular emphasis.
    For me as a Calvinist all things regarding assurance center around union with Christ…what it means to be in Christ and to have been made alive in Christ and adopted into the eternal family.

    I simply don’t believe that one can fall or jump out of Christ, nor I believe that God sends adopted children with behavior problems back to the orphanage.

  113. Bob says:

    As I read this thread and how the discussion of saved, loss, born again, once saved… and more continues, I can’t help but think why do we ask the question?

    I’m a bit with MLD on the idea that hell is populated by forgiven sinners, but the discussion really isn’t about that. I get the feeling the real question many want to know is how far away from God, His design and will, can I go and still get in the door? What will God tolerate from his creation and still keep it from destruction? I don’t think any of you have a solid answer and I don’t think man has ever come up with one that satisfies the urge to not follow God and yet stand in His presence at the end of the age.

    Faith is simple, but living it is often really tough and it seems to me we make new laws to satisfy our justification in it.

    I’m saved because He made it so, now how am I going to live it? Does ritual fulfill some need of God to to bless me? I don’t think so!

  114. Bob says:

    “Then he showed me a river of the water of life, clear as crystal, coming from the throne of God and the Lamb, in the middle of its street. On either side of the river was the tree of life…and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.”

  115. Em says:

    good examination of our Faith going on here… ‘believe’ is, perhaps, the key word… do we substitute it for ‘examine,’ or ‘try,’ or some other toe-in-the-water word? aren’t we way more subjective in our use of some of these words than we realize… “I believe he’ll come into town today” – right there is an implied ‘maybe.’ not sure – is the same word being translated everywhere that believe is used in our Bibles… or even the grammar… ? …

    I think that it is ‘faith’ that we can walk away from, not salvation… and, so i guess, i am saying that one can be saved and walk away, but God pursues in His wisdom and His way OR we can walk away from faith because we were only testing, trying to see if we could make it fit us… rather than the other way around ….?…

  116. Michael says:

    Em,

    There is more mystery and more tensions here than most of us choose to admit…my faith in the fatherhood of God is where I rest.

  117. Linda Pappas says:

    1 and 2 Peter.

  118. Em says:

    Michael, we should “rest” in our faith… perhaps we spend too much time picking at it? or at one another’s faith? we don’t seem to spend enough time enjoying it, tho … dunno

  119. Michael says:

    Em,

    You have a point there…for the most part I have enough on my spiritual plate without eating off someone else’s…

  120. Michael says:

    Another thing that’s always missing from these debates about behavior is the discipline of God.

    “For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.””
    (Hebrews 12:6 ESV)

    One of the marks of election is the reality in a believers life of the discipline of God.

    We seem hung up on the notion of Christians behaving badly and fail to recognize that one of the ways God empowers us to persevere is through fatherly discipline.

    In fact, I would say that a professed believer who is living in unrepentant sin without the conviction of the Holy Spirit needs to check themselves.

    Discipline is one of God’s terrible graces that keeps us secure on the way home.

  121. Steve, your #107 at 7:39 is a funny twisting of what I said.
    I didn’t say you had to go to church, meet with others or take communion to be saved.

    What i said, and this is probably the biggest difference in not only our traditions but also worship purpose, is “I believe that one is eternally secure when receiving what keeps us eternally secure. When we remove ourselves from that place, we put ourselves in danger.”

    Note I said (and purposely so ) when we stay where we ‘receive’. I didn’t say where / when we do – that is a CC thing in worship that you are there ‘doing’ for God … we have had this discussion before.

    But if you stop receiving, well you stop receiving.

  122. Jean says:

    From Bob: “As I read this thread and how the discussion of saved, loss, born again, once saved… and more continues, I can’t help but think why do we ask the question?”

    That’s a great question Bob. Probably different reasons for different people. Here’s one of the reasons I ask: To the Corinthians St. Paul wrote: “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.”

    With so many different traditions, sometimes it appears a little confusing. How do we explain the diversity?
    Is only one tradition correct or does each tradition possess some of the truth?
    Is this a secondary issue or an essential doctrine?
    Are these questions important?

    From Em: “good examination of our Faith going on here”

    I agree Em. However, maybe, as in the Book of Job, the examination is more of God than of our faith. In a roundabout way some of our questions are asking:

    In what ways does God exercise sovereignty over humanity?
    What does the holiness of God mean for us who are adopted as His children?
    What are we saved for – an afterlife only or is there something substiantial for us here and now?
    When Jesus said: “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly”, how does Christ give us the abundance of life?

    More questions than answers today 🙂

  123. papiaslogia says:

    Michael – What does Godly discipline look like?

    How do we differentiate between godly discipline and say… satanic attack ….and life just blowing cookies?

  124. Michael says:

    Papiaslogia,

    That’s a very good question and deserves a longer answer than I can give here.
    God disciplines His kids in different ways, because all of His kids are different.
    The best way I know to differentiate between discipline and the suffering that is inherent to the kingdom is through the conviction of the Holy Spirit.
    I don’t discipline Trey without telling him why and what needs to be corrected.
    I don’t believe that God disciplines us without similar instruction.
    When I have been taken to heavens woodshed, I’ve known fully well why…

  125. Steve Wright says:

    For me as a Calvinist all things regarding assurance center around union with Christ…what it means to be in Christ and to have been made alive in Christ and adopted into the eternal family.
    ————————————————————————————-
    Michael, I agree with this entire thing….as a non-Calvinist.

    I also agree wholeheartedly with your discipline comments…from the Father to His children

  126. It’s odd. I ended up Baptist for much of the same reason Xenia ended up Orthodox.

    I was hanging in Charismatic circles for the first several years that I was a believer. The intense pressure to speak in tongues was constant. My disappointment in myself, and faltering faith in God continued each time another laying of hands session ended. Many times, unlike Xenia, I was flat out told “You aren’t saved. Christians will speak in tongues.”

    Finally faked it one night just to get away from this 2-hour prayer circle. Everyone was screaming and shouting hallelujahs that I finally got saved. I went home and found Jesus for real.

  127. Steve Wright says:

    From the John prologue..as many as receive Christ, which means to believe in His name, are given the authority (power=authority here) to BECOME a child of God (adopted of course, joint-heirs with the only begotten Son)

    This is a dramatic change – and from a legal basis the illustration is massive. How can anybody legally disown a child. In the inheritance laws, the most estranged child you may have not seen or spoken to for 40 years has every legal right your faithful children have. And of course, an adopted child has the exact same legal rights as the begotten ones.

    More importantly, where do we see God disowning His child. This is why it is important to counter the American lie that “We are all God’s children” – that is not taught anywhere in the Bible. We are all His creation, and we are all thus accountable to Him.

    But you don’t become a child until you believe in Christ.

  128. Em says:

    “From Em: “good examination of our Faith going on here”

    I agree Em. However, maybe, as in the Book of Job, the examination is more of God than of our faith.”

    point well taken and should be a warning to our ponders… God got very upset, as i recall, with all those pontificators who “knew” what Job was doing wrong – why God was “judging” him… some aspects of our relationship with God must, of necessity, be One on one…
    if we are examining God, we are on slippery ground if we’re not there as learners

  129. Jean says:

    Steve,
    You make some good points in 129. However, someone else could put up tit for tat verses that support the opposite conclusion. I think you might be more persuasive if you took the verses which indicate (to your opponent) that salvation is not eternally secure (until one is secure in eternity) and demonstrate where it is misinterpreted.

  130. Steve Wright says:

    Jean, I think I have not been tossing verses back and forth as some sort of proofs but rather been seeking the bigger picture of our relationship with God, and the ministry of the Holy Spirit – and would suggest the challenge is for someone to find verses that speak to a reversal of those relationships.

    The sealing.
    The placing from Adam into the Body of Christ
    The downpayment
    The adoption

    These are foundational to who we are in connection to New Testament theology and need to be addressed before debating what “He who endures to the end will be saved” or “Nobdoy will ever pluck them out of my hand” might mean.

  131. Has there ever been anything more beautifully written, or brilliantly written, than the first 17 verses of John?

  132. Steve, that is correct – but there are many cases on the books where both natural and adopted children have legally severed the relationship with their parents.

    That is what I am talking about.

  133. I can only speak from my own experience here, but after being touched by the One, True, POwerful, Holy God, I could never walk away. I couldn’t imagine anyone else walking away from God, if they have experienced His love in the same way that I have.

  134. Em says:

    #134… ahh legalism ! 🙂

    somewhere up the way MLD pointed out that not exercising faith (he gave his list of do’s i think) will cause it to fade … i agree … that’s faith, tho, not salvation … just sayin

    God keep

  135. papiaslogia says:

    Michael @ 126 – Thanks!

  136. Steve Wright says:

    but there are many cases on the books where both natural and adopted children have legally severed the relationship with their parents.
    ——————————————————–
    Um….only when a neutral court agrees that the parent is unfit and the child is better off without them.

    Surely you are not going to argue that can relate to our discussion.

    Now, if you do want to press the issue beyond the legal inheritance laws and relationship status the Bible talks about, at least talk about when a parent seeks the termination of their children….(since that is what you are saying..God disowns them as they choose to be disowned)..but even there, the law is pretty clear that is only allowable when it can be shown the child would be better off without the parent..typically in cases where the child is being adopted by a step parent, or in those cases where not voluntary, where the parent is shown to be unfit….

    Once more..little bearing on the theological issue at hand. God is never unfit, and no child is better off without Him.

  137. Why do you assume minor child. many adoptive children decide they do not want any kind of legal or heritage rights with an adoptive parent.

    God being unfit or people being better off without God has absolutely no bearing on the discussion.

    But you know, when the biblical warning passages become nothing more than theoretical theology – well, you come up with all kinds of goofy things

  138. Jean says:

    Steve,
    I would like to dig into the adoption issue more closely. Do you have any idea why in Romans VIII, Paul speaks of adoption in the past tense in verse 15, but then speaks of adoption in the future tense in verse 23. Are these different adoptions, or is something else happening?

  139. I believed in eternal security until I could “torture” texts no longer with rationalism calvinism. Whole books of the Bible are rendered incomprehensible to the original readers without an understanding that faith can be lost.

    If you could ever imagine first century Christians having conversations that sound like the debate over Calvinist scriptures …

    Again this is why I applaud Wright so much he helps us move the text back into the context and out of the pretext of the 16th century. Or for that matter that of the other sin obsessed saint; Augustine.

  140. Steve Wright says:

    many adoptive children decide they do not want any kind of legal or heritage rights with an adoptive parent.
    —————————————————————
    Someone needs to step back into the 1st century Roman Empire…maybe a dose of Ben Hur? 🙂

    You have yet to even enter a discussion of the sealing, the baptizing, the earnest, the transition from Adam to the Body of Christ…it’s not that the so-called warning passages do not exist, but each and every one of them need to be looked at in a context of that particular passage, whereas I am speaking of the larger picture of the work of God in the life of the believer and what the spiritual birth results in…

    Remember, I knew every one of those warning verses and they were all ammo in the arsenal for my preaching against eternal security for a few years – then I looked at the larger picture which I am bringing out here…changed my view, and then went back to each and every one of those verses and sought to exegete them rather than collect them as prooftexts for an a priori position.

    You do agree though, that once saved then lost, there is no hope whatsoever for salvation once more, correct? One of the biggest warning verses of them all teaches that clearly if interpreted as you seek.

  141. Babylon's Dread says:

    I will jump in since I interjected myself.

    1. all of the theological constructs about how secure we are in Christ and new creation are not threatened by the doctrine of apostasy since it only pertains to man’s unfaithfulness not God’s
    2. Hebrews is a warning book not verses… the capstone of the Book is calling them to stay in faith … the rest of the Bible is also full of teachings that people can leave the family… we are not yet free of the capacity to reject love
    3. I agree that if you leave Christ there is no other sacrifice for sin. Behind the no coming back teaching is the idea that having left Christ the opportunity is nowhere else. I would have no trouble concluding you cannot come back… the crux of the debate then would be upon the threshold of when one has left. The Hebrews were indeed in danger of turning from Christ the whole book is clear on it… The writer is clear that they have not yet gone too far…. otherwise there would be no reason to write… “I am convinced of better things concerning you…”

  142. Steve,
    Babs hit the nail on the head here – ” Hebrews is a warning book not verses… the capstone of the Book is calling them to stay in faith … the rest of the Bible is also full of teachings that people can leave the family… we are not yet free of the capacity to reject love”

    I spent 32 weeks teaching through Hebrews 18 months ago, and taught it just that way – the whole book warning Jewish believers not to drift away from the faith. Not only don’t drift away, but don’t drift away as we have seen our brothers do. Without that understanding Hebrews has no meaning at all, just the writings and thoughts of some old 1st century dude with too much time on his hands.

    As far as the not restoring, what he is saying is there is nothing left to restore you with. What are you going to do, re crucify Christ? You have already rejected the only salvation there is – there is nothing left.

  143. Steve Wright says:

    The primary theme/purpose of Hebrews is a warning book to not depart from Christ? Am I hearing that correctly?

    I can’t tell you how odd it is to me to read from the two strongest blog voices for “Jesus is the fulfillment of everything promised to Israel” that the purpose of this book to the Jews is actually to warn what has been a mostly Gentile Church throughout history, of the possibility of loss of salvation.

  144. Steve – to warn THESE Jews … NOT any and all Jews. The Jews that belonged to this particular congregation, that was finding life so difficult that many had left, gone back to the temple worship (if for no other reason to fit in and make life easier for them and their family.)

    Along comes the writer – I actually think a preacher who preached this as a sermon to those who remained in the congregation – telling them, warning them against falling away – drifting away. that there is no salvation in anyone other than the one they already have.

    So no, this is not a letter / sermon to the general worldwide Jewish population.

  145. “Jesus is the fulfillment of everything promised to Israel” is a mis statement of what I believe.
    I believe that all the prophecies have been fulfilled in Jesus.

  146. Michael says:

    The book of Hebrews is a glorious argument of the superiority of Christ to all things, especially the old sacrificial system.
    Turning it into a hammer to keep people in line is quite frankly, horrible theology.

  147. Who said it was a hammer? That is pretty light headed on your part.

    It is loving comfort. I guess it’s how you read it.

    Why would these Jews need to know the superiority of Christ to all things if they didn’t already have it and were thinking of making an exit. If the preacher were speaking at a Harvest Crusade I would understand your thinking – but he is speaking to hard core believers who are getting weary of being beaten around.

    You may wish to re read it.

  148. Steve Wright says:

    So the concern is us (mostly Gentile) Christians today going back to the Levitical sacrificial system and the old priesthood??

    Yep..that seems on point to the discussion (not)

    (Good word at 149, Michael)

  149. Michael says:

    MLD,

    I taught through it about a year ago.
    While you may feel my view to be light headed, I’ll refrain from trading insults and be content that I studied thoroughly and taught reasonably well.

  150. Why do you keep going back to “us gentiles”?? Are you one of those who thinks the scriptures were written directly to you?

    The application to us is still the same – don’t fall away because Jesus is all there is – there is nothing else that will save you.

    What is your real agenda in protecting this?

  151. Michael says:

    Do theological differences now have hidden agendas in MLD land?

    That’s pretty funny…

  152. Michael,
    LOL, what a crock – you said my view was “horrible theology.”
    You don’t need to continue with the insults – you lead with them.

  153. Jean says:

    “So the concern is us (mostly Gentile) Christians today going back to the Levitical sacrificial system and the old priesthood??”

    That’s a cheap shot. Under that argument, the Book of Hebrews would be irrelevant to Gentiles.

    Gentiles have their own idolatries to revert to.

  154. Steve Wright says:

    MLD – I spent 31 weeks teaching it myself. As you recall since I think you said you used me as one of your study resources. 😉

    And Michael said your theme of Hebrews was horrible theology – not this salvation security discussion. And I agree with him.

    And I again repeat two things – first, this is not equated with Calvinism. (That more directed at Dread’s 142). Calvinists of course hold to the security of the saints, but I am not a Calvinist as is well known.

    Second, my agenda, if I have one, springs from being the guy who once quoted the same verses you are quoting to make the same point you are making, while also ignoring the same teachings you are ignoring, in order to not deal with the ramifications of the point you are making.

  155. Steve Wright says:

    Why would the book of Hebrews be irrelevant to Gentiles if understood as Michael said earlier?? That’s the POINT, not a cheap shot at all. Gentiles have the Old Testament in their Bibles too – and Hebrews is just about my favorite book of the Bible.

    But the very few (in proportion to its whole) verses of warning need to be understood in its immediate context – which is what I have done here.

  156. Jean says:

    The purpose of the Book of Hebrews:

    “The author had one basic goal in mind in his sermon—to provide encouragement to sustain readers in a period marked by stress and to offer a basis for such encouragement in an interpretation of Jesus that addressed the reality of their lives. The finality of God’s revelation in the Son and the unique priesthood of Jesus furnish the presupposition for the call to live actively in response to God’s absolute claim on their lives and to the judgment of God should they renounce their Christian
    commitment.” Smyth & Helwys Bible Commentary, Hebrews-James, Edger McKnight & Christopher Church

    “The purpose of the author’s discourse is ‘to exhort the hearers to endure in their pursuit of the promised reward, in obedience to the word of God, and especially on the basis of their new covenant relationship with the Son.” The Pillar New Testament Commentary, The Letter to the Hebrews, Peter T. O’Brien

    Steve and Michael, MLD is spot on regarding the purpose of this homily. To attempt to recast it as a “glorious argument of the superiority of Christ to all things” as the purpose of the homily is a distortion.

  157. Michael says:

    Jean,

    Distortion = horrible theology I presume.

    I’m going to assume MLD’s treatment of the book was better than Luther’s, who wanted it removed from the canon.

    I can probably cut and paste twenty remarks from commentaries that refute your cut and paste from commentaries, but I don’t see much value in it.

    I will pray that you both can continue being good enough to merit your salvation and I will rest in the finished work of Christ which is my only hope.

    I’m not nearly as good as you guys…

  158. Jean says:

    Michael,

    I thought you would appreciate the writing of Peter T. O’Brien, who is considered a top notch Calvinist Bible scholar. However, be that as it may, I would like to see one single quote from a reputable Bible scholar who does not view the letter as primarily a warning letter and/or encouragement to endure hardship.

    Regarding your goodness, you have a deep well of goodness which comes through in a lot of your writing, especially personal stories about cats and such. Lately, however, in these types of discussions, your patience is limited and you tend to get a little grumpy sometimes (kinda like our friend with the tooth ache).

  159. Michael says:

    Jean,

    I tend to read the whole commentaries not the opening blurb.
    Yes, these discussions make me irritable as hell because the assumption is that no one has read anything outside their own tradition…and most haven’t.
    I have.
    These objections and debates have gone on for at least 500 years …and every time someone repeats one of them they act like it’s the first time their opponent has ever heard it.

    The other thing that makes me irritable is that doctrines like “the perseverance of the saints” aren’t produced by proof text but as a part of a holistic systematic theology.

    Election and predestination weren’t what Calvin majored on…he majored on union with Christ and the work of the Trinity in salvation…work which can’t be reproduced in snippy blog comments.

    Wesley and Calvin are utterly incompatible on secondary doctrines and that isn’t going to change.

    I don’t feel like firing up Logos but the vast majority of Reformed scholars would see the books main theme as a celebration of the superiority of Christ over the sacrificial system.

    The exhortations to persevere are a sub theme in the greater whole.

  160. Jean says:

    Thanks Michael.

    By the way, I failed to respond to this previously: “Distortion = horrible theology I presume.”

    First, “no,” it’s not horrible theology, because the supremacy of Christ is certainly in that letter and true; our disagreement was over the primary purpose of the letter.

    Second, I do not as a rule use that kind of language (i.e., horrible) in my discussions, because it usually is not well received and never leads to constructive conversation. I am trying to learn how to disagree without being disagreeable.

  161. Michael says:

    From the ESV Study Bible edited by Packer and Schreiner, Hebrews notes by David Chapman from Covenant Seminary.
    That’s three..

    Introduction
    The letter to the Hebrews was written to encourage Christians in a time of trial. It does so by focusing on the absolute supremacy and sufficiency of Jesus Christ. While God spoke in the past “many times and in many ways,” he has now spoken to us “by his Son,” Jesus Christ, who is the “exact imprint” of God’s nature and who “upholds the universe by the word of his power” (1:1–3). Jesus accomplished complete salvation for all who trust in him (1:1–10:18). We dare not “neglect such a great salvation” (2:3; 5:12–6:20; 10:19–39). Rather, in our faith and in our everyday living, we should imitate the example of Christ and of those on the honor roll of faith (chs. 11–13). This letter, whose author is unknown, was probably written between A.D. 60 and 70.

    The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2001). (Heb). Wheaton: Standard Bible Society.

  162. Steve Wright says:

    as a part of a holistic systematic theology.
    —————————————
    Amen

  163. Jean says:

    Michael,

    The introduction in your 164 is consistent with everything I’ve learned. I think we’re on the same page.

  164. Steve Wright says:

    Jean, I read that entire Pillar commentary cover to cover when I taught through Hebrews.

    Along with others…

  165. Jean says:

    You selected a good resource Steve.

  166. Michael,
    “the books main theme as a celebration of the superiority of Christ over the sacrificial system.”

    So the preacher just got up that Sunday morning and decided to give a sermon on the superiority of Christ? Why? For what purpose? These were already believers who had left the sacrificial system, accepted the superiority of Christ; they din’t need to be taught or convinced … unless they were thinking of leaving the faith given once and for all and returning to the inferior sacrificial system – to which is not only no gain, but in the end absolute destruction.

    And to show the importance of paying heed to this superiority, he gives great warnings.

  167. Michael says:

    MLD,

    No one is denying that there are warning passages in the book of Hebrews.
    We disagree on their purpose and we disagree on the focus of the book…and that’s not going to change.

    I am of Packer, you are of Walther, and Jean is of Wesley.

    Actually, in regard to Hebrews I’m of Schreiner, but that’s a small diversion from the master.

  168. Michael,
    “Do theological differences now have hidden agendas in MLD land?” Where did you pick that up? What did I say about ‘hidden’ – have you been listening to Art Bell lately? 😉
    We all protect something when we are in discussion / debate. I protect a body of scripture, a certain philosophy of Christianity along with the teachings of many who have come before me.

    I want to know what Steve is protecting for a very serious and telling reason. Where did he strike? He said of me and Babs – “from the two strongest blog voices for “Jesus is the fulfillment of everything promised to Israel”

    How did his dispensationalism jump into this discussion? I say that is what he is protecting. Somehow he thinks because we see the Jewish church slipping away that we have attacked Israel … again. I don’t know – he is the one who let that comment slip.

  169. Michael says:

    Sinclair Ferguson… heavyweight Reformed scholar who is an absolutely wonderful person as well…

    “In fact, the big picture in Hebrews is fairly straightforward. Put simply, it is “Jesus is the greatest.”

    Jesus is: greater than angels (chaps. 1–2); greater than Moses (3:1–4:12); greater than the priests and high priests (4:13–7:28); a nd greater than the Old Testament sacrifices (chaps. 8–10).

    Since this is so, like those heroes of the faith who looked forward to the Messiah’s coming, we need to: keep our eyes glued to Him as we persevere in faith (chaps. 11–12) and live together as the new covenant community (chap. 13).

    If we get lost in the details, Hebrews will appear to be a long, maze-like book. But if we grasp the big picture, we will see why the author thought he had “written … only a short letter” (13:22, NIV).

    Sparkling Diamonds

    Within this framework there are priceless treasures to be found. Here are five of the jewels:

    First, Hebrews is a Jesus-filled letter and shows us His glory. The more we read the letter, the more we realize that it is not about angels, Moses, Melchizedek, Aaron, or old covenant worship. The truth is that God has so ordered the course of redemptive history that they are all about Jesus.

    Second, Hebrews helps us to see how the relationship between the old and the new covenants is one of unity and diversity. The author tells us this right at the beginning: “Long ago,” at many times and in many ways, God spoke to the fathers, but He did so by the prophets. “In these last days,” God spoke to us, and did so by His Son. In these two statements, the whole of the Bible’s message is summed up: The Old Testament revelation is fragmentary and multiplex; Jesus is full and final. He reveals God perfectly, because He is “the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature” (1:3).

    The Old Testament is full of copies and shadows (9:23; 10:1). Jesus is the original and the reality.

    Third, Hebrews movingly describes the reality of Jesus’ humanity. At first — if we get bogged down in the unfamiliarity of the Levitical system — we may not notice this. But read again, and it will become clear.

    The Son of God became like us, shared our human origin, was tempted, experienced suffering, and tasted death (2:10, 11, 14, 18). He became a brother to us (v. 17). That is why He is able to help the tempted (v. 18).

    The Son of God shared our weakness and has taken into heaven the very humanity in which He tasted it. Through Him we can come with confidence to God’s throne, knowing that there is mercy to be found there for our weakness and grace for our sinfulness (4:14–15).

    The Son of God became a man of prayers and tears. His obedience was exercised in suffering. We can trust Him as the source of our salvation (5:7–9).

    Fourth, Hebrews wonderfully expounds Jesus’ glory. Every chapter points to this. It is worth taking the time simply to read the big texts. These include Hebrews 1:3; 2:9; 3:3; 4:14; 5:9; 6:20; 7:22; 8:1; 9:15; 10:12; 11:40–12:2; and 13:8. Jesus is “the same yesterday, today, and forever,” that is, He is the One who was fragmentarily and preliminarily revealed in the old covenant, has been fully revealed in the new, and will finally be revealed in the eschaton (at the end of days).

    Fifth, Hebrews speaks to us with great pastoral sensitivity. It is, after all, a “word of exhortation” or encouragement. It is realistic about suffering, the fear of persecution, the danger of discouragement, the struggles we have against sin, the possibility of backsliding, the spiritual paralysis produced by the condemning voice of conscience, and the possibility that we may lack assurance. Its remedy for every spiritual disease is stated in a theology marked by great simplicity married to rich complexity:

    Fix your eyes on Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our calling, the Founder and Perfecter of our Faith (3:1; 12:2). See everything in the light of who Jesus is, what He has done, and what He continues to do today. You cannot go wrong there.

  170. Steve Wright says:

    (No cut/paste for me. I had to write this from my book…so you better read it 🙂 )

    In response to.. I would like to see one single quote from a reputable Bible scholar who does not view the letter as primarily a warning letter and/or encouragement to endure hardship.
    ——————————-
    The purpose of our author’s exegesis of Old Testament scripture, as of his general argument, is to establish the finality of the gospel by contrast with all that went before it (more particularly, by contrast with the Levitical cultus) as the way of perfection, the way which alone leads people to God without any barrier or interruption of access. He establishes the finality of Christianity by establishing the supremacy of Christ, in his person and his work.

    F.F. Bruce (whose commentary I also read cover to cover. From NICNT series, Gordon Fee serving as General Editor)

    Bruce footnotes this paragraph with no less than seven other commentaries, the majority of which have German titles. Between Bruce, Fee, and a bunch of dead Germans I think the test of “reputable Bible scholars” is met

  171. Michael says:

    Steve,

    He was after Reformed scholars (as if I’d never read Reformed commentaries) but I stop and listen when Fee or Bruce, though non Reformed , speak.

    Gordon Fee has a very special place in my heart…

  172. Steve Wright says:

    I want to know what Steve is protecting for a very serious and telling reason. Where did he strike? He said of me and Babs – “from the two strongest blog voices for “Jesus is the fulfillment of everything promised to Israel” How did his dispensationalism jump into this discussion? I say that is what he is protecting. Somehow he thinks because we see the Jewish church slipping away that we have attacked Israel … again. I don’t know – he is the one who let that comment slip.
    ————————————————
    Think again. Maybe too much Art Bell on your end. I simply expressed a genuine surprise that of all the NT books, Hebrews is certainly the best at showing the finality of Christ compared to the OT Jewish ways. To read beyond that is to err on your part.

    Eternal security has little to do with dispensationalism, and nothing directly to do with it at all. Plenty of dispensationalists out there, including in CC, that do not hold to the security of the believer.

  173. Jean says:

    Steve and Michael,
    You both have demonstrated that even the scholar community is divided on the purpose of Hebrews. Can we all agree that its December 16, 2014 🙂 3 days from my 53rd Birthday 🙁

  174. I think the Hebrews preacher lays out his theme clearly in ch 2 – remember, he is speaking to believers here.

    “We must pay the most careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. 2 For since the message spoken through angels was binding, and every violation and disobedience received its just punishment, 3 how shall we escape if we ignore so great a salvation?
    1.) the warning is against drifting away
    2.) how does someone ignore their salvation?
    3.) escape what?

  175. Steve Wright says:

    You both have demonstrated that even the scholar community is divided on the purpose of Hebrews.
    ————————————————————-
    I’ve said that around here ad naseum in general terms. That’s why I secure 4-5 Greek exegetical works and bounce them all off each other when I teach a NT book.

    But Jean, it was your challenge that both Michael and I were addressing…I disagreed with Dread and MLD, and a few scholars likeminded to them..even as I joined in agreement with several other scholars.

    Welcome to theology. My only concern is when I can’t find anyone who sees a verse or book as I see it. That is pretty much the guarantee I am wrong.

  176. Michael says:

    MLD,

    I’m glad you think that.
    I don’t agree, but I thought we had established that.

    Jean, I will trust that you are exegeting the date of your birth accurately. 🙂

  177. Em says:

    Happy Birthday to Jean, who in 3 days will be 3 years into the second half of his adult life – assuming he lives to be 80 – and may he so – and longer…

  178. Em says:

    “may he DO so…” sigh

  179. Jean says:

    “Jean, I will trust that you are exegeting the date of your birth accurately.”

    Truth be told, it’s a data point I hate calculating.

  180. Jean says:

    Thanks Em!

  181. Michael says:

    That is also the birthday of my significant other…which explains why Jean and I butt heads occasionally… 🙂

  182. Steve Wright says:

    remember, he is speaking to believers here.
    —————————————–
    The positive role assigned to angels and the appeal to the normative character of the Mosaic Law in v. 2 tend to suggest that the Christians addressed continued to maintain emotional and intellectual ties with the Jewish community.

    William Lane – Word Biblical Commentary

    (a good quote to express the spirit of my earlier comment (i.e the cheap shot from the Gentile seats)

    I’m basically saying that we should be a little careful in the fact that whenever this discussion comes up the immediate, go-to verses are the few found in Hebrews. I’ve watched this for 20 years and I did it myself for some of those years.

    Then people start parsing parables of Jesus and think they have established the point.

  183. Michael says:

    I almost forgot to mention John Owen…seven volumes and over two million words on the book of Hebrews.

    I forgot because my head exploded about twenty three pages in and I never tried again…

  184. Babylon's Dread says:

    The problem with the 500 year old arguments is that the book is more like 1950 years old.

    If it takes 2 million words to explain what you mean you have a very bad argument.

    Obamacare Exegesis

    I think I fueled a food fight… I don’t expect people to change their mind…. but I did.

    The Reformation had a specific enemy to defeat that always jades things.

    I enjoy the conversation though and I agree with this much:

    It is a warning not to drift away … because you CAN DRIFT AWAY and when you do you perish.

  185. Michael says:

    BD,

    The endless prattling of Wright and his devotees about Calvin and Luther being stuck in the 16th century is theological bullspit and I’m going to start calling you on it.

    I will speak more of Calvin because we are closer acquainted…he had an encyclopedic knowledge of the apostolic and early church fathers and his writings are laced with their works.

    The canard that somehow the Reformers were utterly ignorant of 1st century or second temple Judaism is just that…a weary canard.

    If Wrights theological constructions smite your sweet spot I’m fine with that…but you don’t have to repeat tired falsehoods to affirm them.

    We are indebted to Wright for some of his observations and writings…but he seems to ignore the fact that he’s deeply in debt to his forefathers as well.

  186. Alex says:

    I’m all for gun control.

    Make sure to grip the gun properly and use good trigger control so you can greatly increase your proficiency in shooting your target.

  187. Babylon's Dread says:

    Actually Michael,

    Wright cites himself to be of Calvin and I disagree with his Hebrews escape from the text by the same kinds of logical means.

    I am not troubled that Calvin did not know the fathers he knew them far better than I would boast.

    But calling it a canard does not indicate it to be so… and I am happy to be cited on the matter in some detail.

    What was the danger of the drifting for those Hebrews? They were going to miss what? They were in danger of doing what? What danger is there in a loss you cannot suffer?

  188. Steve Wright says:

    The canard that somehow the Reformers were utterly ignorant of 1st century or second temple Judaism is just that…a weary canard.
    ——————————————–
    A quick check of the bibliography of that Bruce commentary shows about a similar number of reference to Calvin as to Chrysostom

    and Clement of Alexandria…

    and Clement of Rome…

    (I just bothered to look at a few of the “C” names…It’s a huge bibliography)

  189. Michael says:

    BD,

    I will have to take this matter up at a later date…I have to crank out some pages.
    The Scrivener app is becoming my salvation…

  190. Babylon's Dread says:

    And Steve,

    I will again say that you are the one talking about a few verses in Hebrews I am talking about a very traceable linear argument through the entire book. The few verses might stand out as flashing lights but the argument is not of the Supremacy of Christ in the abstract…

    It is an argument of the supremacy of Christ over that to which these Hebrews are drifting back. They are not in danger of falling into obsolete practices but an obsolete covenant that cannot save.

    I know this is not a matter that can be resolved but we ought to at least have clarity about the matters.

  191. Steve Wright says:

    It is an argument of the supremacy of Christ over that to which these Hebrews are drifting back. They are not in danger of falling into obsolete practices but an obsolete covenant that cannot save.
    ———————————————————–
    And I will say again that by your own words you speak to a very narrow danger that is irrelevant to the Church today. Who in the Body of Christ is at risk of the specific danger cited to that specific audience.

    To apply this narrow context, quite relevant to the 1st Century Jew pre-70 AD especially, to the idea of someone today becoming a humanist, or practical atheist…given the totality of Scripture…to me is a reach.

    I know the argument well, as I have said, because I taught it for years and interpreted other vaguer verses through that lens. I repented from those teachings, as I believe I was wrong. But I do know the argument…

  192. Babylon's Dread says:

    Well Steve,

    There is actually quite a movement nationally and internationally to call Christians into the obsolete covenant of Moses . Now I know that is an aside but it is true.

    Let me be sure I understand what you are assessing me to be doing…
    You suggest that I am drawing a doctrine of apostasy from passages that cannot apply to us. Have I got it?

    I do not need those passages to make the case about humanists or actual atheists … they are in abundant supply to make their own argument … you might sweep them away with the never were converted claim… I would agree that it will fit some of them.

    There are abundant passages elsewhere that make sufficient case but it seemed we were speaking of Hebrews…

    Are you agreeing that these Hebrews were in a real danger of real apostasy? If so how do you square that with your own view?

  193. Babylon's Dread says:

    And

    I would like someone to tell me what the Hebrews were being warned about? What were they in danger of losing or doing?

  194. Xenia says:

    Michael, I love Scrivener!

  195. Michael says:

    Xenia,

    I’ve had it for some time and couldn’t figure out how to use it.
    I was drowning trying to write this book…and then I figured out that Scrivener was my friend.
    There is hope once again that I can actually get this done…

  196. Steve Wright says:

    Dread..let me definitely state that if those passages were teaching what you and MLD and others say they are teaching, the fact that there was a narrow context in the immediate Jewish setting and audience would not matter. Just as with any Scripture. The cultural and specifics we may read have a broader application we can find. Like the point I was making a couple weeks back with the “widows” passage and the idea of a local church helps ministry. So yes, if this is apostasy in the sense of the born again, Spirit indwelt believer being abandoned by God (after of course he first chooses to abandon God), then it most definitely would hold a lesson for us – even if the immediate problem was abandoning to go back to Moses, and in our case today the abandonment would be to something else.

    However, my larger point which I think is without debate is that Hebrews is the most unique book in the Bible. I imagine we all can agree. There is no other book that reads like a commentary on the OT to the extent that Hebrews does. No other book that is anonymous. No direct audience. We don’t know for sure (and the commentaries show the various theories) who the intended audience was, or where they were located – other than they are Hebrews. In fact, there are serious arguments made as to whether the audience was even professing Christian to begin with (though I think that is a stretch myself) Yet, it does not read like a general epistle such as Jude. There definitely IS an audience, a location, an experience taking place and so forth.

    That should give us a little pause in using verses from this epistle as our primary prooftexts for a doctrine that, as we know, finds a lot of opposition throughout many books of the Bible. And while I understand the entire argument for what you and MLD propose does not begin and end with Hebrews, we also must agree that that these verses do stand out. As a pastor I have had likely twenty people point to chapter 6 or 10 from Hebrews and ask about them, for every one person who is bothered by any other verse in the Bible as to the possible loss of salvation. The internet certainly supports that too as any search would show. And look how they have become such a focus in our discussion here.

    In another post I will explain what I have only expressed broadly so far – and will do so with an emphasis on 1st century language and context and not 16th century reformers. But that will have to wait…however, I wanted to eliminate quickly the suggestion that I might hold to a teaching that allowed Hebrew apostasy only – with no relevance for today.

  197. Steve Wright says:

    is the most unique book in the Bible.
    ————————————–
    Meant to say, in the New Testament. (and thought I thoroughly proofread before posting 🙂 )

  198. Steve,
    I do not see why you have such difficulty in making a 21st century equivalence to this book. Imagine today in Iran a group of say 300 former Muslims forming a Christian church and being all out born again Christians.

    Now one year later they are looking back and perhaps having a bit of buyer’s remorse. They have all lost their jobs because of their renunciation of Islam, half of them have lost their families for the same reason, about 100 of the original members have left the church and returned to the mosque.

    The remaining members are mulling “hey, if we were to return to Islam, and get back into all of our old Muslim rituals, could we still not relate to God? Could it really be harmful, if we go back to fasting, observing Ramadan and the 5 daily prayers? – will not God still accept us and love us? What’s the difference, life will be easier, we will get out jobs back, the wife and kids will return … surely God wants us to be safe and happy.

    Preacher man, please help us here – what do you think?

    Now Steve (and Michael) read Hebrews in it’s proper context – even for today.

  199. Jean says:

    #201,

    A modern day “Hebrews” scenario is occuring in India as we speak.

  200. Steve Wright says:

    I do not see why you have such difficulty in making a 21st century equivalence to this book.
    ———————————————————
    I just said I had no such difficulty, MLD.

  201. Good morning Jean – it is happening all over the world – especially where there is also a cultural context to consider.

    When I left Judaism, no one threatened my job or family – so I didn’t have such issues. But imagine if my mother were greatly grieved by my departure where I thought it would cause her irreparable harm and I started questioning if I made the right decision, did it really matter – I would hope that I had a pastor who would give me the “Hebrews warning sermon.” – that Christ is far superior to anything I would go back to and that my soul was in jeopardy of ‘drifting away’

  202. Steve,
    I was looking for the statement you made very early in the conversation saying that my view of Hebrews had no relevance for the Church which was by far majority gentile. That there was no equivilance to falling back on the Levitical sacrificial system. I will find it.

    But what I did run into was this statement you made that I had previously missed.
    “’m basically saying that we should be a little careful in the fact that whenever this discussion comes up the immediate, go-to verses are the few found in Hebrews. I’ve watched this for 20 years and I did it myself for some of those years.”

    I did not bring up the Hebrews warning passages – I only spoke of warning passages in general and in fact only cited the one about “shipwrecking you faith.”

    Guess who brought up the Hebrews passages? You. 🙂

  203. #151 @ 5:15pm
    “So the concern is us (mostly Gentile) Christians today going back to the Levitical sacrificial system and the old priesthood??
    Yep..that seems on point to the discussion (not)”

  204. Andrew says:

    And I will say again that by your own words you speak to a very narrow danger that is irrelevant to the Church today. Who in the Body of Christ is at risk of the specific danger cited to that specific audience.
    _______________________________________________________________________

    Steve, it has already been brought up and already dismissed as not being relevant but I do think the theology of dispensationalism that CC holds to inherently leads to a different salvation program for the modern days Jews than for gentiles today. This is why I can give examples of CC folks referring to some Jews as being part of the family yet not having faith in Jesus. How can this be? In addition, the Hebrew roots movement in the modern church is alive and active today. Both these movements have errors but in particular I believe the Hebrew roots movement is particularly dangerous.

  205. Steve Wright says:

    I’ve written a lot already, clarifying and elaborating on various points, so if we are now going to cherry-pick lines like prooftexts and ignore the rest of what I have written, then maybe we are done.

    This will be my last post that does not involve the Holy Spirit, because nobody else seems to care about Him and my whole argument rests largely in Him.

    But as to the martyrdom, I can’t think of a better example to support my view that anyone who thinks as MLD imagines ” “hey, if we were to return to Islam, and get back into all of our old Muslim rituals, could we still not relate to God? Could it really be harmful, if we go back to fasting, observing Ramadan and the 5 daily prayers? – will not God still accept us and love us? What’s the difference,”

    ..was never saved.

    Never believed that Jesus alone is the Way, Truth and Life. That there is no salvation in any other. That He, as God incarnate, died for our sins and we should not be surprised if the world asks us to die for Him. And on and on and on. Never had the spiritual birth that comes from saving faith.

    The Church’s history, including that being written today, is filled with martyrdom and I despise using it in purely an academic sense for a debate.

    Where is the grace of God and the power of the Spirit in such an example? Talk about decision theology!! So one can just decide to either stay saved and die or convert to Islam and be damned? That sure makes “:the sword” reference in the Romans 8 passage about nothing separating us from the love of Christ seem empty. When is such a person kicked out of the kingdom? When he begins to muse this idea in his mind? When he actually says the Islamic words of conversion? What is the “work” that damns him because now you certainly are not talking about a slow, difficult but possible drift away from the faith as you usually frame this issue.

    And speaking from personal experience as to India, I assure you that a large number of people who will profess to be a Christian are not. That’s why they wait a year or more before baptizing people. Many think Jesus is another god, or maybe even the best god, to add to their pantheon…and do not grasp the forsaking all others aspect to the Gospel. They don’t believe the true gospel. Plus the K.P Yohannan testimony that many will claim Christianity as long as there is food and medicine and other benefits from missionaries, but when that leaves the area, they are back to the old ways – (i.e. they were never born again.)

    Then there are the dear saints, some of whom I know personally, who are being beaten for Christ. Whose daughters are raped because Dad won’t stop preaching. Whose lives are threatened on a daily basis – and yet, BECAUSE they have been born again, and the power of the living God is at work in them, they soldier on, as so many Christians have for centuries, knowing that Jesus is what matters…never even remotely vacillating in the manner MLD suggests above.

  206. I know you spent a lot of time writing the above, but… poppycock!

    “..was never saved.”
    Just thinking about Christianity being a hard life – questioning if Christianity is the only way to relate to God, looking for relief – but in the end have not left but are asking for help and you cast people whose faith is weakening to the non believer trash pile.

    In the words of Michael, this is not only horrible theology, but in fact is deadly pastoral care. A believer comes to you with doubts and you just tell them “you were never saved.”

    I guess in the OSAS crowd there is a purpose to congregants responding to multiple altar calls.

  207. It took awhile, but we’ve finally reached comic levels of absurdity! Well done 🙂

  208. xenia says:

    “Take not thy Holy Spirit from me.”

  209. Michael says:

    Steve,

    I think you hit it on the head by identifying the doctrine of decisional regeneration.

    There is never a Trinitarian, supernatural, view of biblical regeneration in view in these discussions and it quickly devolves into tail chasing and name calling.

    It sounds like salvation is by decision and God agrees with your decision and if you later decide otherwise, He will agree with that decision too.

    In Reformed theology, the Father gave the Son a group of people for the Son to redeem, the Son did so on the cross and the Father called them by the power of the Holy Spirit, who made them alive through regeneration by grace through faith , justified them, adopted them, sealed them, and is able to keep them through that same Holy Spirit and already sees them as glorified and seated in heavenly places.

    Something awesome and mysterious, and wonderful happens and it’s all done from God’s end.

    The decisions were all Gods…

    In this decisional theology I guess you can die in Christ, unseal yourself, unadopt yourself, and move on to hell while God affirms your right to free will.

    I’ll pass, thank you.

  210. Steve Wright says:

    I used to quote that verse too Xenia…a line from a poem written by a very repentant David. Seems an odd verse that a repentant sinner begging God’s mercy is to be worried about God still rejecting them….but hey, I quoted it because, really, that is all there is to quote in the Bible on the issue. (Unless you want to use the illustration of the Spirit leaving the temple in Ezekiel, and how the Christian is the temple of God today – but that was even a stretch for me when I taught the other side years ago…)

    as if the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the OT, coming and going, was the same as it is in the post-resurrection/ascension of Jesus – sealing, indwelling, baptizing. Which means He sure wasted a lot of breath talking to us in those later chapters of John about the Comforter that was to come. And abide with us forever.

    MLD’s 209 is not worthy of detailed comment. Especially since he knows we don’t even do altar calls and I speak against them here, regularly, on this blog. And I have said nothing about counseling a person. It is absurd indeed, Josh. And once more the goalposts move so now we are talking about people who are questioning whether Christianity is true and the proper way to counsel them instead of some Spirit-filled Christian who nonetheless who thinks maybe God is really pleased with the Islamic religion.

    I hope all the persecuted Christians woke up this morning feeling like they want to stay saved…because obviously God’s Spirit and grace can’t be counted on in their times of trouble.

  211. Steve Wright says:

    the Son did so on the cross and the Father called them by the power of the Holy Spirit, who made them alive through regeneration by grace through faith , justified them, adopted them, sealed them, and is able to keep them through that same Holy Spirit and already sees them as glorified and seated in heavenly places.
    —————————————————————————–
    You saved me some writing, Michael. Thank you.

  212. Michael says:

    My son has “free will’…until he gets out of line,then he finds out that my will is “freer”.

    I would never discard him and I would give my life for his…sounds familiar…

  213. Michael says:

    It is utterly beyond me that people think the only discipline method available to God is disowning children He died for…that the omniscient God of eternity didn’t know that some kids would have issues… that God adopts children and loves them conditionally…that the Creator God is unable to keep that which He gave the ultimate for…I’m done now.

  214. ( |0 )====::: says:

    Michael,
    Well put. You’ve spoken as a father. =)

  215. Michael,
    ” in these discussions and it quickly devolves into tail chasing and name calling.”
    Well you need to stop doing that.

    Steve, just because you don’t do altar calls doesn’t mean that many from your position have stopped. When the preaching gets down to “are you sure?” then people will run up every time. I understand why the “you can lose you salvation crowd accepts returnees to the altar but not the OSAS.

    I asked in my 1st statement “Preacher man, please help us here – what do you think?” That was to you as well as the Hebrews preacher … and you told me what you think.

    Go back and read my whole scenario – it was all about thought, doubts – I even said they were mulling. You quoted back and said they were never saved.

  216. The funny thing is I read the scriptures for what they are worth and what they say.
    The are 100% clear that believers are 100% secure in their salvation – NO exceptions
    And the scriptures are 100% clear that believers had better be careful not to shipwreck or walk away / drift from their faith.

    I believe both of those 100%

  217. Michael says:

    G,

    Thank you…I try to be a good dad, but at my best I’m a bad reflection of our heavenly Father.
    He loves perfectly and eternally.

  218. Jean says:

    When I read this in Michael’s #212: “In Reformed theology, the Father gave the Son a group of people for the Son to redeem”; I also had a physical reaction. My first impulse was to prepare a counter response.

    However, I quickly remembered this:

    “What shall we say then? Is there injustice on God’s part? By no means! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, ‘For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I might show my power in you, and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.’ So then he has mercy on whomever he wills, and he hardens whomever he wills.

    You will say to me then, ‘Why does he still find fault? For who can resist his will?’ But who are you, O man, to answer back to God? Will what is molded say to its molder, ‘Why have you made me like this?’ Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for dishonorable use? What if God, desiring to show his wrath and to make known his power, has endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, in order to make known the riches of his glory for vessels of mercy, which he has prepared beforehand for glory— even us whom he has called, not from the Jews only but also from the Gentiles?”

    So, I have no counter response. But, I must admit, this doctrine saddens me greatly.

  219. Andrew says:

    Jean,

    First don’t be saddened if you are a believer because this truly is Good news.
    Second, this is only Paul’s hypothetical argument.
    Third, the Bible is clear about God’s expressed will that ALL be saved.

  220. Michael says:

    Jean,

    That doctrine encourages me greatly…because I know the character of God.
    I simply can’t fathom anyone wanting someone other than an all loving God who sent His own son to die for us making decisions for us.
    God cannot and will not make choices that are against His nature, so I have complete trust in Him…especially when there is great mystery in a doctrine that I can’t begin to comprehend.

  221. ( |o )====::: says:

    “Love Wins” 😉

  222. Steve Wright says:

    One of the decisions God makes for us (per Michael’s #223) is how much temptation and tribulation to allow into our lives….Job speaks well on this issue.

    It’s part and parcel to the sovereignty of God. Anyone thing that Satan’s attack on all our brothers and sisters around the world is something God is not allowing…that He is wringing His hands up there helpless?

    So if there was a temptation like MLD imagines that would utterly destroy us, God knowing all things (and would know of it as well) seems like quite a test of love to allow that into our lives at all.

    Like Michael said also, the Father who did so much to adopt us would never do such a thing. If He did, He would be far less loving than us human fathers, and that is untenable.

    In fact, Jesus said something along those lines didn’t He? If you being evil know how to do good to your children how much more your heavenly Father?

  223. Oh No says:

    “Restore to me the joy of my salvation”, not “restore to me my salvation”.

  224. Did God allow Alexander the coppersmith to fall away?

    Even Calvin in his commentary calls him an apostate – and I don’t know how you “apostate” from something you were never a part of.

    2 Tim 4:14 – Alexander the coppersmith In this man was exhibited a shocking instance of apostasy. He had made profession of some zeal in advancing the reign of Christ, against which he afterwards carried on open war. No class of enemies is more dangerous or more envenomed than this. But from the beginning, the Lord determined that his Church should not be exempted from this evil, lest our courage should fail when we are tried by any of the same kind.

    I will watch for the denial of clear words. 🙂

  225. Michael says:

    MLD,

    Are you really going to propose that John Calvin didn’t believe in the perseverance of the saints?
    Really?
    Seriously?
    I’m not going to play with such foolishness.

  226. I just read them as I see them.
    So what funny spin do you put on his comment? Perhaps he didn’t understand the meaning of apostasy and misspoke.

    Oh wait – he called it a shocking case of apostasy.

  227. Em says:

    i will think about 2 things today: why would one want to deny eternal security for the born-again one and why would one want to claim eternal security for the born-again one…

  228. Apostasy only means a falling away from a formerly held religious belief. It does not imply that the person was formerly saved, only that that person lived according to those religious codes for a period of time. Someone could theoretically be called apostate from Islam after they convert to Christianity. Apostasy does not mean formerly saved, but now not. It means formerly of this religion (i.e. Christianity, Judaism, Islam), but now not.

  229. Steve Wright says:

    Clear words? – You put your definition of apostasy, ask your question, and do not seek to understand how the author(s) themselves mean the term.

    It’s been awhile, but I read John Owen’s “Apostasy from the Gospel” cover to cover, and I do think it safe to say his teaching does not include born again believers renouncing their salvation at some later date….and he TITLES his book with the word.

    Thus I am also pretty sure that in his time his readers would understand the term in the way he details for 180 pages. Which I am also sure is the usage of Calvin (though Michael can affirm that)

    That’s horrendous scholarship MLD, and goes against the entire “back to the sources” mindset of the reformation itself. To read a 16th or 17th century author and assume a definition of terms the author did not assume

  230. Em says:

    “made profession of some zeal in advancing the reign of Christ” … the virtue that i see in those who believe that we can lose our salvation is that they do not try to judge between sheep and goats in their congregations – the sad thing is, perhaps, that they deny there are goats – zealous goats

  231. “be called apostate from Islam after they convert to Christianity. ”

    And so with Alexander as he was converted from Christianity to an unbeliever.

    I agree with you. 😉

  232. Em, read my 219 – I feel strongly both ways.

    Some here though are closed minded and only believe one way.

  233. Em – in the end going from unbeliever to unbeliever is not apostasy in any sense of the word. It is just a form of staying as you always have been.

  234. Jean says:

    “in the end going from unbeliever to unbeliever is not apostasy in any sense of the word. It is just a form of staying as you always have been.”

    Excellent observation!

  235. Michael says:

    MLD,

    I don’t have the time, energy, or desire to engage with this nonsense.

    For those curious about Calvin’s view on apostasy, you will find it in Books 3 and 4 of the Institutes.

    Don’t everyone rush to your copies at once, someone might get hurt…

    For Calvin, apostate would define a person who was a member of the visible church whose heart was not truly regenerated from above and left the same visible church.

    Calvin came down heavily on both sides of the divine sovereignty/human responsibility coin…he believed that perseverance was a sign of election and that the elect would indeed persevere by the grace of God.

    I don’t have the time or desire to reprint here vast amounts of text that establish this, nor do I believe that anyone here has the time or desire to read it.

    Calvin didn’t do theology by blog…his work (and all true scholarly theology) is nuanced and complex and has to be read and understood holistically.

    He wasn’t writing to win blog arguments, but to provide a theological foundation for the church.

    I’ve stated his position and mine accurately…neither one of us will be troubled if you don’t agree with it.

  236. Xenia says:

    I know Wikipedia is not the Gospel Truth, but this is the commonly accepted definition of apostasy:

    Apostasy in Christianity refers to the rejection of Christianity by someone who formerly was a Christian. The term apostasy comes from the Greek word apostasia (“ἀποστασία”) meaning defection, departure, revolt or rebellion. It has been described as “a willful falling away from, or rebellion against, Christianity. Apostasy is the rejection of Christ by one who has been a Christian….”[2] “Apostasy is a theological category describing those who have voluntarily and consciously abandoned their faith in the God of the covenant, who manifests himself most completely in Jesus Christ.”[3] “Apostasy is the antonym of conversion; it is deconversion.”[1]

  237. So you don’t understand what the word “apostate” means, but you aren’t backing down anyway? Yeah, I’m done with this one.

  238. Sorry – my last comment was directed towards MLD, NOT XENIA!!!

  239. Michael says:

    Steve,

    Let me address this point about definitions before I go do something constructive.

    One of the potholes that many hit when reading 16th and 17th century theologians is imparting 20/21st century definitions of theological terms to earlier centuries.

    Writers like Calvin and Luther used the same words…but often with broader or differently nuanced meanings.

    One has to take great care to study them in their historical context…and once again, study the whole body of work before coming to conclusions.

  240. Michael says:

    Finally, when someone tries to represent someone with a well known position on a matter as having a completely different position, that person is simply looking for a brawl.

    It’s utter folly to engage them.

  241. Andrew says:

    Is there a denomination that is Cal-Lutheran? I mean I agree with most Michael writes from the Calvinist tradition and at the same time I agree with most that MLD writes from the Lutheran tradition.

  242. Andrew – Calvinism is incompatible with Lutheranism

  243. The guys over at The White Horse Inn are the only ones who have tried to bridge the gap in the past 500 years.

  244. Jean says:

    Andrew,
    If you find it, let me know. And until you do, if you just stick with the Bible and believe everything it says, you’ll do just fine.

    In any systematic theology, the author has to harmonize apparently conflicting texts. In that harmonizing process, one text inevitably is going to be emphasized or nuanced over the other. That’s where different theologies sometimes originate. The reader then must believe another’s theological system as part of their own faith in the word of God. I’m not judging that. Every one of us must rely to an extent on something outside ourselves to interpret the Bible, such as our “church”, tradition, commentaries, etc. We should recognize our reliance.

    I also believe that the Holy Spirit speaks to me through the word, not through commentaries and the like, so I like to concentrate my reading in the word to keep me in contact with the Holy Spirit. The brilliant theologians of tradition offer amazing insights that I might never come up with, so we are incredibly blessed with the technology we have to easily and affordably access that tradition. Maybe information overload, however, can be a curse too.

  245. Jean says:

    White Horse Inn?

  246. Andrew says:

    MLD,

    I know. I just come from the Calvinism back ground and I understand Michael well. However, when I put Steve’s theology (CC) into the mix, I feel like Calvinism and Lutheranism have so much in common with at least a strong appreciation of reformation church history. So I see a lot of over lap with Calvinism and Lutheranism and little agreement with CC.

  247. Andrew says:

    The White Horse Inn is a great example. I love these guys. In fact I just added their podcast yesterday to my favorites yesterday.

  248. Andrew says:

    Rod Rosenbladt, Michael Horton and Kimber…? forgot his last name.

  249. Jean,
    http://www.whitehorseinn.org/

    3 Calvinists and 1 Lutheran

    The Calvinists are Presbyterian – Reformed Church in America and Reformed Baptist.
    The one with the correct answers is LCMS. 😉

  250. … and Kim Riddlebarger and Ken Jones

  251. Andrew – to piggyback on Jean’s 247 – if you just realize that God speaks to us in his 2 words (law and gospel) it makes the scriptures open up.

    This who conversation here is resolves and understood when you realize that when God says you are 100% secure – he is talking in his gospel and when he gives dire warnings to the believer – “watch out!” lest you fall … he is speaking in his law.

    I have no trouble understanding both – as I said in my 219 – Luther understood this, Calvin rejected it. i won’t say right or wrong, but the 2 men came to different conclusions.

  252. Andrew says:

    Well when it comes to Law and Gospel I am 100% with you MLD. I see a lot of mixing the two which both dilutes the law and dilutes the gospel and neither one of them are preached correctly. But when it comes to the other things like being born again, I am having a little bit harder time to understand this.

  253. What is the problem with born again? it’s in the Bible.
    We differ however with others over who does the born againing.

    I say God does every step to the born again process – He repents us – he justifies us – he sanctifies us – and he glorifies us… al by himself.

    Others think they born again themselves, with perhaps a helping hand from God.

  254. Andrew says:

    The Calvinism born again teaches OSAS doctrine. So with the Lutheran understanding of born again, is not a once an done but its a life time birthing process? I am trying to figure this out.

  255. To be clear Andrew, there is a slight difference between OSAS, and the reformed doctrine of Perseverance of the Saints.

  256. Andrew says:

    Josh, well technically “born again” is not the same as OSAS or Perserverance but rather probably more in line with “Regeneration”.

  257. Ok, maybe I misunderstood. I was responding to your : “The Calvinism born again teaches OSAS doctrine”

    While some Calvinists would probably hold to OSAS, I have seen many argue against it while holding to Perseverance of the Saints.

  258. Andrew says:

    Josh, now that is new to me. A Calvinist that argues against OSAS but holds to perseverance. I would like to read or hear that.

  259. My understanding, and I am no Calvinist, is that OSAS says a person can get saved, live whatever life they please, murder rape, or kill, and will still be saved. The Reformed view of POTS (as I understand it, Michael can correct me) is that the truly saved person will persevere in the Christian life until the end.

  260. Bob Sweat says:

    Josh,

    What does Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome have to do with Calvinism? 🙂

  261. Andrew says:

    Well I never understood the OSAS to be someone that can do what ever they like without consequences. That is antinomianism which ironically is what Lutherans are accused of and not Calvinists. So go figure.

  262. Jim says:

    Thank you to those who have defended the security of the believer.

    Salvation is of the Lord, and I’ve “decided” to believe it. How sovereign is your god who can’t keep his sheep? My kids will always be my kids, as it’s a settled fact that cannot be undone.

    I guess that your god can only hope for the best.

  263. Andrew, it may be a very small distinction that is not even distinguished by all who hold either belief. It mostly came from past conversations with Calvinists where they would tell me why I was going to Hell. 🙂

  264. Michael says:

    Andrew,

    OSAS is traditionally connected to the proponents of the “free grace” doctrine that says that all that is needed for salvation is volitional assent to Christ as Savior, not necessarily Lord.

    Once that volitional assent is made the ‘believer” is eternally secure.

    The Reformed view is that because of the grace of God, believers will persevere in the faith to the end in both faith and practice.

    Very different doctrines…

  265. Ahh, thanks Michael. I’m not crazy afterall 🙂

  266. Jean says:

    “The Reformed view is that because of the grace of God, believers will persevere in the faith to the end in both faith and practice.”

    Maybe I’m missing something, but that sounds equivalent to what the Methodist means by: “one is not eternally secure, until one is secure in eternity.”

    One view looks backward, while the other view looks forward. But don’t they both say pretty much the same thing?

  267. Michael says:

    Josh…you’re not crazy at all and I’m proud you knew they were distinct doctrines.

    Jean, they do not say the same thing. In Reformed theology, a born again believer cannot be lost.

  268. Em says:

    if one believes that they can bring their infant into the kingdom by a water baptism and, yet they see a child of their clan leave the Church, turn his back on the Faith and live as an unbeliever – outspoken or otherwise – wouldn’t it follow that they must conclude that one CAN lose their salvation? … perhaps the tail is wagging the dog?

  269. Jean says:

    “Jean, they do not say the same thing. In Reformed theology, a born again believer cannot be lost.”

    Yes, but that’s because they perservere “to the end in both faith and practice.” It follows then that you can’t know until the end because you’ve got to persevere until the end in both faith and practice. If you don’t, you were never truly born again, right?

    I don’t see where this gives greater assurance than, say, Lutheranism. Again, maybe I’m missing something.

  270. Em says:

    6. What ever happened to common sense?

    in my view it ran into psychiatry and social engineering

    God keep all close and always searching for more understanding of Him

  271. Michael says:

    Jean,

    Again, there have been volumes written about assurance and it would be impossible to go into the whole doctrine.

    From a pastoral perspective what I tell people is very simple…if you believe you’re assured.

    The very desire to be saved and to know Christ is a gift from God that He only gives His kids.

    That’s an oversimplification, but the root of the matter.

  272. Michael says:

    One more thing…you’re assured because of the promises of God, not your inherent righteousness.

    Like the Lutherans, we look outside ourselves and to the cross for assurance, not our behavioral track record.

  273. Jean says:

    Michael,

    “Like the Lutherans, we look outside ourselves and to the cross for assurance, not our behavioral track record.”

    Are you retracting this from your #267:

    “The Reformed view is that because of the grace of God, believers will persevere in the faith to the end in both faith and practice.”

    Practice = behavior

  274. Michael says:

    No, I’m not being very careful as I’m juggling multiple tasks.

    Christians can, do, and will… sin.
    The regenerate believer will at some point be convicted by the Holy Spirit to repent.
    One true mark of faith is repentance…and qualifying and quantifying that is God’s work.

  275. Jean,
    “I don’t see where this gives greater assurance than, say, Lutheranism.”

    To be clear, in Lutheranism one is totally secure because of the promises of God. We look to nothing else – whereas the reformed look at their works as evidence of a changed life and their salvation and some folks like Steve look for an inner witness of the Holy Spirit.

    Jesus promised my salvation – I believe Jesus. … I live with the tension – other choose to ignore the tension – like whistling when passing a cemetery .

  276. I just see Jean’s comments. Michael may disagree but the prevalent Reformed view is that your works and behavior are your evidence.

  277. Steve Wright says:

    I know in all the discussion of the English definition of the English word, apostasy, how it is used by theologians over the centuries and of course, wiki, it would be too much to…you know…look up if the Greek word(s) actually appears in any clear Bible verses in connection to Christians rejecting their salvation.

    It won’t take long to do an exhaustive search…trust me. 🙂

    (Side note to Andrew – I got a little chuckle at your comparison of Michael’s Calvinism with MLD’s Lutheranism in this thread…with my “CC theology” (nonexistent on this topic) being way different when Michael and I have been almost in lockstep agreement on the issue of the security of the believer.)

  278. Michael says:

    One last thing before I flee…

    That’s what we believe the warning passages and admonitions of Scripture are there for…as a means to bring the sinning believer to a place of repentance.
    They are the warning signs on a steep and curvy road.

  279. Michael says:

    MLD,

    Traditionally some Reformers (including Calvin) place what I believe is an undue emphasis on works and behavior as well as the inner witness of the Spirit as marks of assurance.

    That is not so much the case with more recent scholars and knobs like myself that are closer to a Lutheran view on the topic.

  280. Steve Wright says:

    Since MLD brought it up…any inner witness I speak of is the clear teaching of Rom 8:16

    The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

    I have no way of knowing, with 100% certainty, if anyone else is saved. However, I can (and should) know that for myself…and I do. Praise the Lord.

  281. Bart Ehrman lays claim to changed behavior, having the inner witness and believing the promises of God when he was a Christian.

    If Ehrman today is not saved, well then those ‘evidences’ don’t work.

  282. Jean says:

    Some traditions have what one might describe as a low grade view of the 3rd person of the Trinity. I agree with Steve that a believer can experience the presence of the Holy Spirit in his/her life. In addition, I (not necessarily Steve) believe that God answers prayer and comforts through through the Holy Spirit.

  283. Jean says:

    One can also grieve the Holy Spirit.

  284. Steve Wright says:

    God is love. Attributes of God are shared equally, fully and simultaneously among the Persons of the Trinity but they are demonstrated differently by the Persons.

    The Father demonstrates the attribute of love by sending His Son for us. (We read about this in the Bible. The Spirit did not send the Son, the Son did not send Himself)

    The Son demonstrates love by going to the cross for us and dying. (We read about this in the Bible. The Father did not die on the cross, the Spirit did not die on the cross)

    The Holy Spirit demonstrates love as Rom 5:5 declares: “God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”

    So not only do we read this verse but THIS one we also experience. THIS love through the Holy Spirit – and if anyone does not have the Spirit, then he does not belong to God.

    Rom 8:9 You, however, are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if in fact the Spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to him.

    He is the litmus test – present in every believer, not present in every unbeliever. (Can’t be a little pregnant either)

    He may be grieved and muted by a backslidden Christian, and a non-Christian may talk the talk and yet will not have the Spirit indwelling him.

    The Spirit seals us. Is the downpayment of God’s purchase of us – until the day we are redeemed. We are already described as being glorified because it is a done deal if we are in Christ (and the Spirit is the One who places us from being in Adam to in Christ – His baptizing (identifying) work. We are adopted – all these illustrations having very strong 1st century meanings easily understood

  285. Babylon's Dread says:

    Ok so

    The thing is I am secure but I have no confidence in the rest of whatsoever except maybe MLD the devil would spit him up for sure… gotta have some peace sometime..

    I enjoy these conversations except when I don’t.

    Boring Again Dread

  286. and what do you do if Bart Ehrman states that he has had that exact same experience – the love of the spirit witnessing to his spirit? But has now rejected that.

    You already said that you cannot know if another person is saved. The reality is, if this is so, then the unbeliever Bart Ehrman is still saved or he has walked away from his salvation.

    I know where I would place my money.

  287. Steve Wright says:

    MLD – That is why we examine someone’s theology AND lifestyle when it comes to Christian ministry, education, hiring, marriage and so forth. I don’t KNOW if someone is saved, but Jesus said (and Paul) that we can treat someone like an unbeliever when warranted.

    I’m just surprised you didn’t use the local Mormon for your anecdotal counter example like you usually do. 🙂

  288. I don’t use Mormons – they never make the Christian claim.

    Ehrman though does, as does Dan Barker who was a Christian pastor for 20 years. These guys can lay claim to all the evidences of salvation. That is why I use them..

    Perhaps both are just backsliders and still in the fold.

  289. Babylon's Dread says:

    MLD

    I would have cited Erhman I have followed him for years… only progressively did he outright deny his faith. I think his wife is an Episcopalian.

    by the way MLD the Musilm line of thought was spot on.

    This is not about being disciplined or losing rewards. Hebrews plainly states that a sign of being a son is discipline … this is about leaving the family and rejecting the family inheritance.

  290. “only progressively did he outright deny his faith. I think his wife is an Episcopalian.”

    She may be less of a believer than him 😉

  291. I need prayer. My wife just told me we have to stop at Toys R Us tonight on the way home from work.

  292. Jean says:

    Praying MLD opens his wallet tonight. Hey, MLD: You can’t take it with you 🙂

  293. To keep thing light here as I always do, I asked my oldest granddaughter (11) what she wants for Christmas. She replied Amazon gift cards. So a week later i said, well what do you really want? She replied amazon gift cards.

    So last week I called her again and said, “Ok, I got you amazon gift cards – what else do you want?” She said “more amazon gift cards!”

    I think in this technical age she is a woman who knows what she wants.

  294. josh the baptist says:

    If Ehrman walked away, he never had what i have. I could never turn back.

  295. Steve Wright says:

    Assuming what you say about Ehrman’s testimony and life

    They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.

    1 John 2:19

    (and if he or that Dan Barker guy got hit by a truck ten years ago)

    And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness

    Matt 7:23

    I know when I proclaimed the teachings that MLD and Dread are declaring several years ago…I really hated these two verses..especially that Jesus did not do me the courtesy of saying something like “I don’t know you anymore” instead of that “unfortunate” use of “never” there… 🙂

  296. I have to go – but the 1 John passage is talking about a particular group of people who left their church. So obvious.

  297. josh the baptist says:

    Mld, my daughter is 11 too. I have no clue what she wants for christmas 🙂

  298. Em says:

    it will be fun in “heaven” when this group gathers at the Master’s feet or instantaneous revelation – whatever means we receive knowledge then – some will turn to others, saying, “hey! you had that right back down there in time” and those of us saying it won’t mind a bit that we were wrong … because even now i’m pretty sure we all rejoice in truth … the best thing about being a mortal now is that we can be redeemed – entering into the family of an incredible God … well … He’s very credible, so i guess He can’t be “incredible” – can He?

    love the ponders you folks give me

  299. Babylon's Dread says:

    Why does a letter with a verse “they went out from us because … ” get universalized to a place that there could not be another reason that they went.

  300. Babylon's Dread says:

    And why does “I never knew you” to workers of iniquity have to be universalized to everyone who turns back… I thought you were opposed to proof texting

    I do not find those verses to be anything but true … and they do not negate my claim about the book of Hebrews

  301. Steve, your commentary of Matt 7:23 is so foreign to this conversation. I think we all agree that there are false believers – for many reasons. So the folks in Matthew 7 are false believers up to the very end and when they get there they will be judged for their folly. But it never says that in the middle, they fell away.

    So what does this have to do with whether or not a believer can leave the faith. Perhaps you wouldn’t have been so troubled by these verses if you had understood the context.

  302. Babylon's Dread says:

    @281— of course the warnings are to bring the reader to repentance. But again at what risk? The whole book of Hebrews is a call to repent … but the sin they are repenting of is entertaining unbelief … Chapter 11 … Faith faith faith… chapter twelve the sin that is so close… what is it? Unbelief… There is no orgy of sin in the Hebrews there is enticement to leave the LORD…. the echo of the garden is so close… challenging what God has said…

    Anyone should understand their problem… the cultic aspects of Judaism are extremely hard to abandon… even though they are obsolete and passing away.

  303. Babylon's Dread says:

    “For Calvin, apostate would define a person who was a member of the visible church whose heart was not truly regenerated from above and left the same visible church.”

    I would think we would applaud the unregenerate person coming to their senses … why warn someone about leaving church with language that sounds like leaving faith.

    I sincerely believe that definition of apostasy is invented from whole cloth. Where in the context of the ancient world is attachment to the visible church without knowing Christ a value to avoid?

  304. Babylon's Dread says:

    As for the parsing of definitions above I do that too.

    OSAS… I always say that is not a Bible teaching
    I always tell them that I believe in the SOTB … Security of the Believer
    The unbeliever is never secure…

  305. Jean says:

    Well said BD. The echoes to to the garden are unmistakable. From Chapter 3:

    Do not let your hearts be hardened by the “deceitfulness of sin.”

  306. Babylon's Dread says:

    As for @287 I thought it was lovely… and true.

    The question is can the believer unbelief can the receiver undeceive can the regenerate become unregenerate.

    All any of that means is can the Spirit, which is INDEED the identifier of a true believer, CAN the Spirit be taken away… leave… depart …?

  307. Babylon's Dread says:

    “I sincerely believe that definition of apostasy is invented from whole cloth. Where in the context of the ancient world is attachment to the visible church without knowing Christ a value to avoid?”

    I should have said “a value to hold dear.

    How on earth can you fall away from unbelief? Wouldn’t that be a good thing?

  308. Jean says:

    Can we identify the potential apostate in Hebrews with the seeds that landed on rocky ground or among the thorns from Jesus’ parable?

  309. Michael says:

    “I sincerely believe that definition of apostasy is invented from whole cloth.”

    Who invented the definition?
    I sincerely hope you’re not saying I came up with that on my own…because a storm as has not been seen here in years will follow.

  310. Babylon's Dread says:

    No Michael

    Saying apostasy is when an unregenerate man falls away from the visible church is exactly the kind of definitions that made me abandon Calvinism… You said it was Calvin’s definition.

  311. Babylon's Dread says:

    “For Calvin, apostate would define a person who was a member of the visible church whose heart was not truly regenerated from above and left the same visible church.”

    That is the kind of definition you invent when the text will not bear out your theological claims.

  312. Michael says:

    BD,

    I’m going to do this one more time.

    Whenever you read Calvin…or Bullinger…or Luther….or Vermygli… or any of the Reformers you are reading documents that are translations from another language and you are reading words that often had different usage and broader definitions than we use today.

    This was not unique in any way, shape, or form to Calvin, nor is it any way unique to the time of the Reformation.

  313. Michael says:

    For God’s sake…
    Apostasy in ancient Greek meant a “departure” or a falling away and it was used in both a political and religious sense.
    Imparting deceptive motives to 500 year old writers because you don’t agree with their position is obscene.

  314. Michael says:

    Furthermore…

    Some of the best scholars in church history, modern and ancient, believe the text in context with the rest of the text does indeed bear the weight of our theology.

  315. Babylon's Dread says:

    It is not imparting deceptive motives to claim that writers 500 years ago had positions they would not yield any more than it is today. Ancient interpreters tortured texts as much as any of us…

    None of my actual objections have been addressed just my impudence to have objections.

    I will try again also.

    How is falling away from an unregenerate status a problem? How is attachment to the visible church without being regenerate a value? Why am I being angrily redressed for asking?

    All I did was take the definition as it was posted and apply logic.
    The warning against falling away is not about an attachment to something that cannot save

    And yes … I could be incorrect. I have no delight in the idea of apostasy. I just think it is something that is real and fearful and I am not afraid of people falling from church but from Christ.

  316. Michael says:

    Let me try this again.

    MLD was being a troll and taking Calvin out of context as if he supported the idea of a truly regenerate believer becoming unregenerate.
    I simply corrected the troll.
    There are those in the visible church who appear to be members of the covenant community who due to some factor depart from or apostatize from the visible church.

    I haven’t said a word about there being any value in being attached to the visible church without regeneration.

    The warning passages and admonitions in Scripture are God’s means through the word of keeping them from the very shipwreck they declare.

    For a very comprehensive defense of this view Schreiner and Canadays “Road Set Before Us” is just that.

  317. Babylon's Dread says:

    I am very well aware that a gaggle of the finest geese honk this song.

    I actually admire very much about the song. And welcome being wrong on some of the bits as well. I just do not find them coherent.

    I keep listening to the song but the dissonance will not relent.

    Let’s not draw swords while we draw these lines Michael. We are not foes.

  318. Michael says:

    I’m fine now…I just read a scholarly article that said I need to drink more Canadian whiskey every day.

    I don’t really care what language it’s in…

  319. Babylon's Dread says:

    “There are those in the visible church who appear to be members of the covenant community who due to some factor depart from or apostatize from the visible church.”

    I think I really did understand this but…

    I shall take it up with Schriener and Canadays anon…

    Gotta finish my thesis

    ciao … for now

  320. Babylon's Dread says:

    Oh and as for the whiskey …

    cheers…

  321. Michael says:

    “I am very well aware that a gaggle of the finest geese honk this song.”

    I don’t know why, but I really liked that sentence.
    I shall steal it and use it elsewhere.

  322. Steve Wright says:

    I guess it still rings funny to me to see the focus on authors of the reformation and avoidance of the 1st century context of Biblical illustrations. Exegesis starts with what the original audience would understand. So why would God use “adoption” to describe our relationship to a 1st century Roman audience, and what would that audience think by the use of the term.

    Roman Law did not allow one to disown an adopted child. You could disown a birth child in some circumstances, but you choose who you adopt, and the Romans recognized that in their law to not allow the disownment later. This is indisputable.

    Now, someone wants to jump to an American Jerry Springer show, where some kid that was adopted by the most gracious, good, pure, wealthy parents in the history of history decides later HE wants to disown them, finds some bench judge that agrees – and THAT becomes an example of why adoption in the Bible can’t be seen as totally permanent???

    Madness.

    There is no way anyone reading the Bible in the 1st Century Roman Empire would imagine anything less than permanency in reading the adoption language. Adoption was common, integral to Roman society, and all understood it.

    How about the “sealing” of the Spirit – ownership and security are the two facets of a Roman seal. If nothing can separate us from Christ (which all seem to agree), then nothing from outside can break the seal.

    So the argument is that the thing that was sealed, somehow breaks its own seal? Is there any reader in the 1st Century who would draw that conclusion? Would not anyone reading “Sealed until the day of redemption” read total security into that verse? Of course.

  323. Babylon's Dread says:

    “Roman Law did not allow one to disown an adopted child. You could disown a birth child in some circumstances, but you choose who you adopt, and the Romans recognized that in their law to not allow the disownment later. This is indisputable.”

    Seriously that is how you determine what adoption has to do with this doctrine? I believe a grown adopted child can lose their inheritance. They certainly can forfeit it in Hebrew life. I am pretty sure that prodigal would not have been restored to a family where he did not return

    As for a seal … all you are doing is commenting on the Godward equation … I would understand if you simply argue that a child of God would never want to leave but to argue that he can’t is very strange.

    I am happy for others to be secure that I cannot lose my salvation and you will have to accept that I am secure in mine as well but I am not so sure about you. 😉

  324. Babylon's Dread says:

    Oh and Miguel,

    Use it… If it fits your gun SHOOT … just don’t shoot me.

  325. Hey Michael – watch who you call a troll. I first picked up that Calvin quote about Alexander the Coppersmith on an old Calvin bulletin board discussion group. Calvinists themselves were tossing it around in the discussion. I am sure they were not of the intellectual brights that you think you are – but they were making hay.

    I go only to the source well for my stuff.

  326. Steve – do you have some sort of primary source on that Roman law thing about adoption or are you just reading it in a current book where someone quotes someone who is quoting someone.

    I always find it interesting when someone says “the Jews used to do thus and such” and when you ask where they got it, they never show some ancient Jewish / Roman law book etc.

    I have seen even the likes of Norman Geisler try to pull the wool over his audiences eyes that way.

  327. Xenia says:

    #325

    The early Christians did not believe in eternal security, though. Some examples:

    We ought therefore, brethren, carefully to inquire concerning our salvation. Otherwise, the wicked one, having made his entrance by deceit, may hurl us forth from our life. Barnabas (c. 70-130).

    Those who do not obey Him, being disinherited by Him, have ceased to be His sons. Irenaeus (c. 180).

    It is neither the faith, nor the love, nor the hope, nor the endurance of one day; rather, “he that endures to the end will be saved.” Clement of Alexandria (c. 195).

    God gives forgiveness of past sins. However, as to future sins, each one procures this for himself. He does this by repenting, by condemning the past deeds, and by begging the Father to blot them out. For only the Father is the one who is able to undo what is done. …So even in the case of one who has done the greatest good deeds in his life, but at the end has run headlong into wickedness, all his former pains are profitless to him. For at the climax of the drama, he has given up his part. Clement of Alexandria (c. 195).

    (Cut and pasted from http://earlychurch.com/eternal-security.php

    My coursework consists almost entirely of reading the writings of the early church. I can’t think of one instance of anyone who believed in eternal security.

  328. Xenia says:

    Until Augustine, of course.

  329. As we debate back and forth, sometimes we (me) stray from our actual position in making a point or answering a question. I want to make my position clear to the group.

    1.) you cannot sin your way out of your salvation – end of that point. Jesus died for your sins / my sins everyone’s sins and that was 100% effective for the whole world.
    2.) you can leave the good gift of salvation by your unbelief. The big point is that it is not only not easy, but it is pretty damn hard. God has placed his spirit and people in your way to bring you back to belief. But at a point, he will release you from your gift.
    3.) You can come back at any time.

    I am open minded – but not so much that I allow my brains to fall out. I see both eternal security – because the Bible speaks of it and I see abiding faith … because the Bible speaks of it.
    I don’t understand why some folks are narrow dogmatists and allow zero possibility for another view,

  330. Andrew says:

    (Side note to Andrew – I got a little chuckle at your comparison of Michael’s Calvinism with MLD’s Lutheranism in this thread…with my “CC theology” (nonexistent on this topic) being way different when Michael and I have been almost in lockstep agreement on the issue of the security of the believer.)
    ______________________________________________________________________

    Steve, I guess I read Michael’s post @212 completely wrong when he was addressing it to you regarding decisional theology which CC teaches and preaches.

  331. Michael says:

    Andrew,

    Steve is miles away from standard CC teaching on this issue.
    Many, many miles…
    In my #212 I was in agreement with Steve.
    Steve and I have much more in common on this matter than anyone else who has been in this conversation.

  332. Michael says:

    Which brings me back to a point I’ve been pounding for years…there no longer is a monolithic “CC theology”…

  333. Michael says:

    MLD,

    Give me a break.
    You are as narrow and dogmatic as anyone else…it is a hallmark of LCMS confessors.
    There’s nothing wrong with that, but it is what it is.

  334. Babylon's Dread says:

    Xenia @331… BINGO… Eternal security is a necessary outcome to Augustinian election and that was my point about torturing text when you settle a doctrine in your mind.

    Augustinian/Calvinism is a doctrine of necessary outcomes rooted in a premise that they believe collapses the majesty of God if denied.

  335. Andrew says:

    Michael,

    Thanks for the clarification. I’ll also agree with you in politely declining decisional regeneration theology.

  336. Michael says:

    “Augustinian/Calvinism is a doctrine of necessary outcomes rooted in a premise that they believe collapses the majesty of God if denied.”

    I am a Calvinist not because of Augustine or Calvin or a need to protect the majesty of God,but because I believe the Scriptures teach it.

    There will always be socks sticking out of any theological suitcase…but there are far more garments hanging out of the synergistic one in my opinion.

  337. Babylon's Dread says:

    I also decline decisional regeneration theology.

    Faith is not a decision it is a revelation.

    How that revelation is applied is the big gap. But not all of us believe that faith is generated in the mind will and emotions of a person.

    Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word/revelation of God.

    There is a mystery in faith that we reach to far to define.

  338. Steve Wright says:

    that was my point about torturing text when you settle a doctrine in your mind.
    ———————————————————————–
    Irony – This doctrine promoted by Xenia, MLD, and Dread (though in slightly different nuances) is the same doctrine once before settled in my mind – and I was quite a proselytizer on it. Definitely a hobby horse doctrine as I thought it was so crucial and thought the eternal security folks were actually teaching a dangerous thing. I believe the old tapes have all been destroyed however. 🙂

    I’m talking for at least 10 years of my 21 years in the Lord. Literally hundreds of public messages, not to mention personal and internet discussions like this one. I even taught a class at School of Ministry from this position.

    It was through a continued wrestling with the Scriptures in later years, discovering some of my key texts actually did not say what I thought they said in Greek, looking at the likelihood that I might be misapplying a parable more than to say things like “Nobody can take us out of God’s hand but the text does not say we can’t take ourselves” (Or unseal ourselves, or remove ourselves back into Adam from Christ etc) – that maybe I was putting far too much weight on the Hebrews verses and looking into alternate perspectives which made a lot of sense…that Chuck’s teaching on the baptism of the Holy Spirit as a secondary blessing was inaccurate (and at the least, bad semantics in confusing the filling). That we are placed into Christ by the Spirit (baptized in) at the moment of salvation. I wrote my 100 page Masters Thesis in large measure to support this understanding, while challenging the views of the cessationists (including at my own seminary)

    And of course, I believe, growing in my relationship (and knowledge) of the love of God, and His character and nature as the years went by. Some of the arguments I expressed earlier.

    I know Xenia and MLD both have arrived at a theological position in life that is different from where they began – and they credit their being convinced this is what the Bible teaches. I believe Dread too has moved from some Baptist roots (forgive me if I recall incorrectly, Dread)

    All that to say, NOT that I must be right because I changed my view and change always equals accuracy….

    But to point out how ridiculous it is to suggest this is about torturing texts because of a pre-conceived settled doctrine in the mind.

    That is the farthest thing from the truth in my personal theological journey.

  339. Michael says:

    The older I get, the more this is all about grace.
    I find these debates tedious and tiring and utterly unproductive.
    If God is utterly sovereign in salvation (and I believe He is) then I’m free to be wrong and free to embrace His elect in every Christian tradition no matter how wrong I think they are on the secondary issues.
    The loving sovereignty of King Jesus is the pillow I lay my head on at night…in so many ways that I would have to write a book to contain them.

  340. Michael says:

    Steve,

    I’ve said it before but union with Christ is at the root here…and it’s a foreign doctrine in American evangelicalism.
    The supernatural things that happen to a believer in regeneration are wondrous…and I believe irreversable.

  341. papiaslogia says:

    Michael – let me be the first to say that # 342 is SPOT ON.

  342. Babylon's Dread says:

    Steve,

    I am an apostate from the visible baptist church….

    Actually more like a banishment…

    Eternal Security was our stock in trade… When I saw that it was untenable I was able to simply assert that I believe in the security of a believer.

    Essentially what you are claiming Steve is that it is impossible to believe and then enter into unbelief? True? Please do not answer me with a statement about God’s faithfulness … that is not in question.

  343. Michael says:

    Papiaslogia,

    Thanks…I could go on, but I’m weary of the whole matter.

  344. Steve Wright says:

    I agree with your #343, Michael. About the union. The biggest turning point for me was wrestling with the ramifications of being “in Adam” at birth, as we all are, and then being spiritually placed (baptized), by the ministry of the Holy Spirit, positionally into the Body of Christ as one of the members of that Body.

    To then be lost once more would involve a reversal transaction – of being ripped from the Body of Christ by God (because He put me there to begin with), and being tossed back into “Adam” once more – because no matter how much I said it was my choice to fall away, my rejection, my unbelief…at the end of the day, it has to be God who removes me from the Body of Christ. God who unadopts me.God who unseals me. God who takes back His earnest/deposit..God who removes His Holy Spirit that indwells every believer.

    And I see no teaching that even remotely comes close to such an idea in Scripture.

  345. I agree with Michael and Steve here, except in one thing: Michael finds these debates unproductive.

    I was thinking about this a while back, specifically about this blog. There are several differing points of view here, all able to clearly communicate those distinguishing points. Conversations like these can be very valuable. The caustic stuff and condemning remarks are distracting, but the back and forth is quite educational.

  346. Babylon's Dread says:

    Ok Steve,

    You answered in your post to Michael.

  347. Steve Wright says:

    Essentially what you are claiming Steve is that it is impossible to believe and then enter into unbelief? True?
    ————————————————————————–
    I think I answered in #347 as to why. But yes, to believe unto salvation and the spiritual birth is an impossible thing to reverse.

    Not every use of “believe” in Scripture of course is unto salvation…as even the demons show us per James chapter two.

    But I too am wearied and I think #347 should be my last word on the topic to those still reading.

  348. Babylon's Dread says:

    Wearied?

    Nah,

    This is recreation and invigorating … and we haven’t particularly answered each other.

    For example… Steve @347– all you are positing is that the salvation covenant is unbreakable … you see it as the same kind of covenant that Israel’s land covenant. Only God is involved… So your answers are in your premises

    I simply believe that salvation puts us in a family… God’s family … and like any family you can never destroy your identity but you can forfeit your inheritance… IMO… and inheritance is not the milk and cookies… it is the gift.

    And I sleep as well as you guys… never a moments anxiety about it.

  349. Michael says:

    Josh,

    I’m thankful it’s been helpful…I’ve heard that from others over the years, but tend to forget in the course of the debates.
    The only thing I’m happy about with this one is that I think Steve did an excellent job of presenting an evangelical version of the doctrine of union with Christ…I don’t think it’s been done here before.

  350. Em says:

    okay, i have another thought as i read this morning… does one rely on the early church fathers for the final word on any of these doctrines… were they necessarily better at interpreting and teaching than a teacher of today? they were better than the majority of those who, today, call themselves teachers, perhaps… but with Scripture (the canonized) and the Holy Spirit, why can’t we expect the Body of Christ to have grown and to still grow in wisdom and understanding over the centuries?
    just sayin/askin

  351. Bob Sweat says:

    When you guys get this figured out, let me know. 🙂

  352. Steve,
    “God who removes me from the Body of Christ. God who unadopts me.God who unseals me. God who takes back His earnest/deposit..God who removes His Holy Spirit that indwells every believer.”

    You are going in the wrong direction. I don’t think we advocate God doing or removing anything from us – it is us who are removing God.

    But let’s assume eternal salvation for the conversation – does that include eternal belief? Can someone reject God but God keeps them secure regardless of belief status?

  353. Jean says:

    2 things the early church fathers had going for them include (1) superior access to cultural context of concepts used in NT (e.g., adoption), and (2) first hand knowledge of the Greek used in NT.

  354. Michael says:

    Bob…I think we all think we have it figured out. 🙂

  355. Bob, you’re in luck. I have it figured out.

    Obstructive Sleep Apnea Syndrome is so torturous, that anyone that has it on earth, gets a free ticket to heaven. 🙂

  356. Michael says:

    “does one rely on the early church fathers for the final word on any of these doctrines…”

    No…they are an advisory piece of the puzzle.
    Doctrine has developed over the centuries…and some of them carried some strange baggage too.

  357. Bob Sweat says:

    Michael,

    I’m “secure” with that conclusion I arrived at 30 years ago. 😉

    Josh,

    🙂

  358. Xenia says:

    Em,

    I do value the writings of the Church Fathers but do not believe they are infallible.

    I posted those quotes because upthread it was suggested that early Christians living in t he Roman Empire would define “adoption” to mean irrevocable. Also, it was suggested that we look into the Greek.

    The quotes I posted were from Greek speakers, living in the Roman Empire in the early years of the Church. They did not hold the OSAS / POTS view of salvation so obviously did not define the word “adoption” the way it was suggested they must.

  359. papiaslogia says:

    The Church Fathers were closer, but that doesn’t make them infallible by any means.

    We have the same Spirit as they did, as well as the seeing where they agreed with Scripture and where…not so much.

  360. Xenia says:

    When people say 2000 years after the fact they they used their study of Greek to arrive at a conclusion quite different from the Greek-speaking writers who lived in the first and second centuries, I think there is something amiss.

  361. Jean says:

    #363,
    That is a worthy point.

  362. Steve Wright says:

    When people say 2000 years after the fact they they used their study of Greek to arrive at a conclusion quite different from the Greek-speaking writers who lived in the first and second centuries, I think there is something amiss.
    —————————————————-
    I’ve never seen that happen. Ever. I’m sure it has – but to challenge a take from one of the early fathers based on some special Greek insight would be a new one to me.

    However, it is quite legit for someone today to take issue with someone’s take from, say, the Middle Ages, as we continue to learn more about this ancient language with new discoveries all the time.

    I am not remotely the expert on the fathers’ writings that Xenia is (not even in the same league) but I find it hard to believe that they were monolithic in their entire systematic theology. As today, three fine scholars, fluent in the original languages and the writings of church history, can still come to slightly different conclusions, I can’t believe there would not be something similar in the past.

    And as has been said many times, the earliest church was in error on multiple issues – if they were not, we would not have much of the Scriptures we have, given their corrective nature in so many places…and we sure would not need the Lord’s rebuke to the different churches for their errors in Revelation – 1st century churches

  363. Xenia says:

    : >>>When people say 2000 years after the fact they they used their study of Greek…<<>>I’ve never seen that happen.<<>>It was through a continued wrestling with the Scriptures in later years, discovering some of my key texts actually did not say what I thought they said in Greek, <<<<

  364. Xenia says:

    Spacing didn’t work. Let me try again.

    I wrote: “When people say 2000 years after the fact they they used their study of Greek…”

    Steve protested: “I’ve never seen that happen.”

    I noted that he had previously written: “It was through a continued wrestling with the Scriptures in later years, discovering some of my key texts actually did not say what I thought they said in Greek…”

  365. Steve Wright says:

    Well, that is not fair, accurate or loving, Xenia. Now I see your initial comment was actually aimed at me, based on my earlier words.

    I gave you no examples of what verses I was talking about being in error. I admitted MY error and ignorance (God knows rare enough around here) on a couple verses as simply part of a much larger explanation of why my view on this doctrine changed. I claimed no special insight the Greek fathers did not have as to the language and I would be shocked if these men actually used these verses as I used to do – as compelling portions of their argument – because the error is pretty well established in basic Greek grammar 101, which I am sure they knew as well. I’m sure their arguments rest elsewhere.

    I knew I should have stopped at #347 🙁

  366. Steve Wright says:

    As to the early church…Paul rebuked Peter on a doctrinal issue. I think that means anyone else is able to err on occasion.

    I don’t care how old or what language a fellow sinner saved by grace might be, when I read verses like the following, it goes against everything I personally see in the New Testament..

    “Those who do not obey Him, being disinherited by Him, have ceased to be His sons”

    (That sure is not what MLD or Dread have been saying when they speak of unbelief, not sin, as the cause for rejection of salvation)

    or….”God gives forgiveness of past sins. However, as to future sins, each one procures this for himself. He does this by repenting, by condemning the past deeds, and by begging the Father to blot them out”

    Maybe we could see some good Moses Model quotes from the fathers as to the allegiance the rank and file owe and must give their leaders in the church…see how much Amen’ing takes place there. 🙂

  367. Steve, simple question … perhaps a difficult answer 🙂

    You don’t see any verses or passages in the Bible that would if not directly then indirectly give indication of some sort of “abiding faith”?

  368. Jim says:

    You are going in the wrong direction. I don’t think we advocate God doing or removing anything from us – it is us who are removing God.
    ________________________________________

    Man as sovereign in salvation. You need a bigger God.

  369. Andrew says:

    Maybe we could see some good Moses Model quotes from the fathers as to the allegiance the rank and file owe and must give their leaders in the church…see how much Amen’ing takes place there.
    ______________________________________________________________________

    Moses Model quotes only come from CC which is only be around about 40 years and besides I was told your theology is miles away from CC

  370. Jim – you need to read the scriptures more closely – man as sovereign rejects God every day.
    Hang on, let me call my brother and see if he is still rejecting God

    But then I had better watch out as you are of the tribe that gloats how God keeps people from belief in order to populate hell.

    How was that for a comeback? 😉

    You are a good chap – can you answer my previous question;
    “But let’s assume eternal salvation for the conversation – does that include eternal belief? Can someone reject God but God keeps them secure regardless of belief status?”

  371. Babylon's Dread says:

    MLD,

    I have been waiting for someone to call us children of a lesser God.

    As for Steve’s 347 … it is an old argument but Saul certainly had the Holy Spirit taken from him… and David prayed that it would not happen to him because he saw it happen to Saul.

    I think MLD their answer to you has to be that they do not believe it is possible to unbelieve if you have TRULY believed.

  372. Babylon's Dread says:

    And I am wondering if the quote from Irenaeus impacts Steve…

    And unbelief is the ultimate disobedience. The last part of that statement certainly echoes my statement. Whatever we don’t know we do know that the statement is not Calvinist.

  373. Xenia says:

    Well, that is not fair, accurate or loving, Xenia.<<<

    Oh good grief.

    I quit.

  374. Jim says:

    MLD,

    I’m not in a tribe. I’m in a family that includes you, BD, and Xenia. You’ve never heard me gloat about hell. If it were up to me, it wouldn’t exist. That was actually a pretty sick statement.

    I believe that if one has believed unto salvation, they have permanently received all the benefits of salvation listed by Michael and Steve.

    I’ve never met anyone who held to ungeneration who didn’t arrive there experientialily, but as you’ve told me before, I don’t know what “Scripture alone” means.

  375. I don’t know what Scripture Alone means.

    I have never unregenerated so how can you make the claim that it is an “experiential” finding?

    So if they unbelieve, they still get to keep all the door prizes is what you mean?

  376. Steve Wright says:

    Well Xenia, I hope you did not quit until you read the rest of my post. Until then for the most part the discussion was irenic and did not drop to personal shots

    But If you remain proud of your #363 and think it fair and accurate to my contribution to the discussion so far.then so be it.

    Dread….I definitely see a different ministry of the Holy Spirit between the OT and the NT and I think that is what Jesus was preparing us for, and speaking to there in the upper room “Comforter” discussion. If the Spirit was to minister in the same way as before the incarnation, death, resurrection and ascension, then I do not see the point of those chapters – nor for that matter his closing words in Acts before the ascension.

    So that is definitely a major part of the discussion for me..no question. I think I have a few theologians on my side on that one…who knows, maybe even some old Greek speaking ones too 🙂

  377. Steve Wright says:

    Moses Model quotes only come from CC which is only be around about 40 years and besides I was told your theology is miles away from CC
    —————————————————
    Andrew, you need to check out what these early fathers said about obedience and dedication to the church overseer. Of course the term Moses Model was not used, but they wrote stuff that would make Chuck Smith blush.

    But I am glad you got my greater point as far as looking to these guys as authoritative on interpreting the Scriptures.

  378. I have a Board meeting tonight and i think it will be cool. I have 2 student teachers from our school coming to the meeting to be observers. It’s part of their course work at Concordia University.

    When they contacted me I told them they were very welcome to come and listen to old people talk about what no one else cares about. They were excited so that excites me.

    We should turn the whole world over to the millennials – perhaps that old 60s saying rings true “don’t trust anyone over 30.”

  379. Andrew says:

    Andrew, you need to check out what these early fathers said about obedience and dedication to the church overseer. Of course the term Moses Model was not used, but they wrote stuff that would make Chuck Smith blush.
    ______________________________________________________________________

    I believe you. But different era and culture. I wonder what the average size of a congregation was and I bet the pastor prayed for every individual church member by name. Something unheard of in the age of mega churches.

  380. Em says:

    Xenia, you are a teacher and i appreciate everything you take the time and effort to post here… sometimes we disagree and sometimes we simply think/talk past one another here… but how i love each and every one who posts here… sometimes i think i’m smarter than they are and sometimes i realize that i’m dumber, but always, except for an occasional passerby, i revel in the love that shown for the Faith and the One True God that is the center of Michael’s website and those who post here…
    Xenia, i am in your debt and blessed by your posts

  381. Xenia says:

    Thanks, Em, likewise! But you know, I am a terrible know-it-all and it does me good to be put in my place every once in a while.

  382. Em says:

    Xenia, the best teachers i recall were the ones who not only knew their subject, but held their ground… i was thinking about our daughters’ and granddaughters’ world and how they need women such as yourself to hold their ground (having done all … stand 🙂 )

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