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Thread: Calvinistic premillenialism

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    Calvinistic premillenialism

    It's been a long while since I have been around this forum, and it is nice to be back. In the meantime we have left our church (that we loved dearly) due to irreconcilable differences and complete insanity on the part of the pastor. So, we have been visiting various churches in the area over the past two months in hopes of finding a fellowship that we can be part of. Since we have a kid now, I don't think that self-study/ family/ internet fellowship is an acceptable alternative to fellowship with local believers.

    We have checked out some of the independent reformed baptists, and keep running into this weird thing. At three churches the elders or pastors say that they are 5 point Calvinists, but also hold to a premillenial or dispensational eschatology. I guess that John MacArthur's influence in this area has become widespread (at least 2 of them were educated at Master's Seminary).

    So this leads me to a question. Is it possible to be a consistent dispensationalist or at least premillenial without holding to synergism? If so, can you point me to a resource so I can better evaluate whether these are people that I might want to fellowship with?
    First I shake the whole Apple tree, that the ripest might fall. Then I climb the tree and shake each limb, and then each branch and then each twig, and then I look under each leaf. ~Martin Luther

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    Re: Calvinistic premillenialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Dorcas View Post
    Since we have a kid now, I don't think that self-study/ family/ internet fellowship is an acceptable alternative to fellowship with local believers.
    Why? Glad to have you back!
    This is my signature.

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    Re: Calvinistic premillenialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Dorcas View Post
    It's been a long while since I have been around this forum, and it is nice to be back. In the meantime we have left our church (that we loved dearly) due to irreconcilable differences and complete insanity on the part of the pastor. So, we have been visiting various churches in the area over the past two months in hopes of finding a fellowship that we can be part of. Since we have a kid now, I don't think that self-study/ family/ internet fellowship is an acceptable alternative to fellowship with local believers.

    We have checked out some of the independent reformed baptists, and keep running into this weird thing. At three churches the elders or pastors say that they are 5 point Calvinists, but also hold to a premillenial or dispensational eschatology. I guess that John MacArthur's influence in this area has become widespread (at least 2 of them were educated at Master's Seminary).

    So this leads me to a question. Is it possible to be a consistent dispensationalist or at least premillenial without holding to synergism? If so, can you point me to a resource so I can better evaluate whether these are people that I might want to fellowship with?
    you should come over to the family radio thread, good luck finding a faithful church..YOU WONT..and do not comprimise..if any church you may feel is biblicly sound has one single doctrine that does not fit in with real scriptural truth then it is a spiritual harlet
    "Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days. "

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    Re: Calvinistic premillenialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Elreformado View Post
    you should come over to the family radio thread, good luck finding a faithful church..YOU WONT..and do not comprimise..if any church you may feel is biblicly sound has one single doctrine that does not fit in with real scriptural truth then it is a spiritual harlet
    Does this statement apply to Family Radio as well?

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    Re: Calvinistic premillenialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Dorcas View Post
    It's been a long while since I have been around this forum, and it is nice to be back. In the meantime we have left our church (that we loved dearly) due to irreconcilable differences and complete insanity on the part of the pastor. So, we have been visiting various churches in the area over the past two months in hopes of finding a fellowship that we can be part of. Since we have a kid now, I don't think that self-study/ family/ internet fellowship is an acceptable alternative to fellowship with local believers.

    We have checked out some of the independent reformed baptists, and keep running into this weird thing. At three churches the elders or pastors say that they are 5 point Calvinists, but also hold to a premillenial or dispensational eschatology. I guess that John MacArthur's influence in this area has become widespread (at least 2 of them were educated at Master's Seminary).

    So this leads me to a question. Is it possible to be a consistent dispensationalist or at least premillenial without holding to synergism? If so, can you point me to a resource so I can better evaluate whether these are people that I might want to fellowship with?
    Dorcas, I can sympathize with you. I am a firm 5-pointer and a believer in covenant eschatology. I attend (not a formal member) a church that is full of MacArthur Devotees. It is difficult to tell if they are really 5-or-4 pointers, most of them firmly disavow Limited atonement. Those that are full five pointers cannot recognize the covenantal chage if it punched them in the mouth. And if you heard the 5-pointers preach (which several do) you would think that the responsibility of man was the center of the gospel rather than the soveriegnty of man.

    So I am convinced that they would embrace synergism over monergism in their hearts but would never declare such things openly. I find that the MacArthur devotees are clandestine in what they really hold as true doctrine. They are very difficult to draw out. If I want to have a discussion I have to bring up a controversy (nothing else is open for discussion) and then after they have berated me with the dispensational systematic answer (Straight out of MacArthurs writings) they will not even entertain my position.

    I survive by fellowshipping over the work of Christ and watching them do gymnasitcs to avoid my questions. Very difficult, but in my geographic area, they are the best I have to choose from, and I prefer that my primary fellowship be with those who wear real skin, rather than electrons.

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    Re: Calvinistic premillenialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Prosthero View Post
    I survive by fellowshipping over the work of Christ and watching them do gymnasitcs to avoid my questions. Very difficult, but in my geographic area, they are the best I have to choose from, and I prefer that my primary fellowship be with those who wear real skin, rather than electrons.
    Then my questions to all are:

    • What is gospel fellowship?
    • Can one have gospel fellowship with people that are unregenerate or reprobates?
    • Are all those who attend reformed churches regenerate?
    • If you were to venture a guess how many regenerate believers would you find in your local reformed church?
    • Is it a good idea to go to a local reformed church to worship if they don't really believe the gospel?
    • Is it good to bring your children?
    Isaiah 45:7, (KJV), I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the LORD do all these things.

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    Re: Calvinistic premillenialism

    Dorcas:

    The very nature of Baptist theology tends to lend itself toward dispensationalism. As a Lutheran I tend to view the whole issue more sacramentally. But the Reformed/Baptist debate is all about continuity vs. discontinuity. Those who hold to continuity in the administration of the sacraments/covenant signs are more likely to see continuity in eschatology. Those who see discontinuity in the adminstration of the sacraments/covenant signs are more likely to see discontinuity in eschatology. Of course there are postmil and amil Baptists but they seem to be the exception rather than the rule. Most of these are of a Calvinistic persuasion.

    Baptist theology also tends towards synergism. In Reformed and Lutheran theology God baptizes. In Baptist theology baptism is the first act of obedience for the Christian. So in Reformed and Lutheran theology man is the one being acted upon and in Baptist theology man does the act.

    Of course people are inconsistent in their theologies. We can bemoan it when a pastor does nothing but crush people with the law while condemning all those evil people who teach justification by faith and works. We can rejoice when the dispensational minister preaches Christ. I have met a few brothers in Christ who happen to be Calvinistic dispensationalists.

    Lutheranism is a somewhat different animal that is content to live in paradox rather than trying to systematize all things and I've found a happy home there.

    If you feel the urge to attend some sort of Reformed or Baptist church I would recommend mentally evaluating the sermon with a few simple tests. First ask yourself if Christ is mentioned. If not then it's no place to be. Next ask yourself is Christ the subject or object of the verbs in the sermon (Is Christ the one acting or being acted upon?)? If the sermon is all about what we need to do for Christ then that is no place to be and no place to raise a family. But if the pastor is able to show you God's law and your need for Christ and then tell you all that Christ has done for you then praise God for giving you a faithful pastor.
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    Re: Calvinistic premillenialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Highlyfavored View Post
    Then my questions to all are:

    • What is gospel fellowship?
    Fellowship with others who actually believe the gospel.

    Can one have gospel fellowship with people that are unregenerate or reprobates?
    No.

    Are all those who attend reformed churches regenerate?
    Knowing what they teach, I don't see why any regenerate person would keep attending.



    • If you were to venture a guess how many regenerate believers would you find in your local reformed church?
    Zero. I don't think I'd find them there because Christians would run from such conditional nonsense and God-dishonoring confusion upon finding out about it.


    Is it a good idea to go to a local reformed church to worship if they don't really believe the gospel?
    No. And if one wants to "preach" to them, one doesn't need to pretend he worships with them. That sends the wrong message.

    Is it good to bring your children?
    It is better to teach your children correct doctrine yourself than toss them to a group of wolves. If face to face contact is important to one, then that person should seriously consider moving to where other believers live so he/she can fellowship with them. Taking them down to the street to the local harlot church may be convenient, but it will not suffice in the least.


    Prosthero writes:

    most of them firmly disavow Limited atonement.
    So I am convinced that they would embrace synergism over monergism

    WHY on earth do you still attend??

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    Re: Calvinistic premillenialism

    Ahh Yes, That is why I love Merry and Joyful

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    Re: Calvinistic premillenialism

    Good questions and answers Greg & Stacey.
    This is my signature.

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    Re: Calvinistic premillenialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Elreformado View Post
    you should come over to the family radio thread, good luck finding a faithful church..YOU WONT..and do not comprimise..if any church you may feel is biblicly sound has one single doctrine that does not fit in with real scriptural truth then it is a spiritual harlet
    Well Joel, that about eliminates ALL Organized and Institutional Churches!!! Answer me this! What Organized divine institutional Church from the second century till now should one elect believer should have officially joined, and submitted to the RULERSHIP OF THE CLERGY AND ELDERS?????

    Nicholas
    My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand..........John 10:27,28

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    Re: Calvinistic premillenialism

    Quote Originally Posted by elreformado
    you should come over to the family radio thread, good luck finding a faithful church..YOU WONT..and do not comprimise..if any church you may feel is biblicly sound has one single doctrine that does not fit in with real scriptural truth then it is a spiritual harlet
    Although the Apostles themselves were produced infallible writings as they were inspired by God, there is no reason to believe that everything they said and did outside of the Scriptural writings was without error. There were no doubt mistakes made by them in doctrinal teaching even though the central Gospel message was preserved by them and continued on in the church and still continues in the church. If the qualification is total doctrinal purity then Harold Camping certainly does not fit the mold. He has changed his mind on a number of different issues and so he by your own definition is at the very least a spiritual harlot or at least was until he discovered that the world didn't end in 1994. None of us have our doctrine completely straight and so you can't have fellowship with yourself either.
    For whatever strength of arm he may have who swims in the open sea, yet in time he is carried away and sunk, mastered by the greatness of its waves. Need then there is that we be in the ship, that is, that we be carried in the wood, that we may be able to cross this sea. Now this Wood in which our weakness is carried is the Cross of the Lord, by which we are signed, and delivered from the dangerous tempests of this world.--St. Augustine

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    Re: Calvinistic premillenialism

    I should have know that this was where this would go -- some people trying to convince that I shouldn't bother rather than answering the question. But, since we had to go there. . .

    Quote Originally Posted by Elreformado View Post
    you should come over to the family radio thread, good luck finding a faithful church..YOU WONT..and do not comprimise..if any church you may feel is biblicly sound has one single doctrine that does not fit in with real scriptural truth then it is a spiritual harlet
    This is a preposterous conclusion.

    True, when we believe a false doctrine we are guilty of spiritual harlotry. The problem is that we all have believed a false doctrine at some point in our lives, and we all believe at least one false doctrine (large or small) right now. This is the only conclusion you can come to because I have never met two believers who agree on all points. The Lord has purposed us all to understand truth in bits and pieces, over the course of our walk with Him. Because of sin, our understanding will never be complete or perfect. Grace covers us in our relationship with the Lord, and grace should cover our relationship with others.

    If your conclusion were true, then for every church that Paul wrote to, instead of bothering to help them to correct their doctrine and admonishing them to learn to get along, he should have just said, "you are a bunch of spiritual harlots. go home."

    Quote Originally Posted by Highlyfavored View Post
    Then my questions to all are:

    • What is gospel fellowship?
    • I believe that gospel fellowship has two parts: doctrine and practice. I model this belief after Paul's letters; in every letter he first writes what the gospel is, and then he writes how we live out the gospel in our relationships
      Quote Originally Posted by Highlyfavored View Post
    • Can one have gospel fellowship with people that are unregenerate or reprobates?
  14. No. But that does not get us off the hook of demonstrating the gospel in our relationships. The bible still tells us how to live out the gospel in our relationships with masters, civil magistrates, unbelieving spouses, etc. The Holy Spirit often uses such testimony to bring other believers to Him.
    Quote Originally Posted by Highlyfavored View Post
  15. Are all those who attend reformed churches regenerate?
  • Of course not. Even Paul's local churches always had apostates who crept in unawares. In those cases where the person's status becomes known, we are to cease treating them as a believer. This is a separate issue as to whether they belong to the ekklesia, which they do not and cannot.
    Quote Originally Posted by Highlyfavored View Post
  • If you were to venture a guess how many regenerate believers would you find in your local reformed church?
  • Depends on the church. It is not up to me to judge the hearts of people, but biblically we are to judge others by what they believe and how they live. I have seen many congregations where the majority clearly believe the gospel and worship God in joy. They are few, far between, and comparatively small but they are there. I don't think that everything that is usually done in modern "church" is ideal or biblical, but that doesn't make them apostates either. I also don't think that being in disagreement on a minor (non-saving) point of doctrine is a reason for not fellowshipping. In fact, one of the ways you can determine whether or not a person really believes the gospel is by seeing how they treat others who disagree with them.
    Quote Originally Posted by Highlyfavored View Post
  • Is it a good idea to go to a local reformed church to worship if they don't really believe the gospel?
  • No, but this doesn't apply to my case. Perhaps some people who are very isolated may not have a congregation of mostly regenerate believers with whom they may worship. In that case, they are best to pray for God to bring some believer(s) into their life and they can meet at home or in a Starbucks. I happen to live in a metro area of 15 million people, with over 3 million in my county alone. I know that the believers are out there, and we are working on finding out where God wants us.
    Quote Originally Posted by Highlyfavored View Post
  • Is it good to bring your children?
  • To a group of mostly dead souls that promote mostly false doctrine? Of course not. But I believe that it is critically important to bring your children to worship with other regenerate believers. There are many lessons to be learned in corporate worship and serving others in the body of Christ. I am willing to overlook certain errors and minor sins that I might not have otherwise in order to make that happen.

  • I am personally convinced that we will see gospel revival not only when more people believe the gospel, but when they begin to truly live out the gospel. Too many people are focused on "making" people believe the way that they do. We so easily forget that everything that we have received is a gift of grace. We are like the unforgiving servant when we accept the grace, learning and growth from the Holy Spirit and then attack others who have not yet understood. Of course, it is much easier to disfellowship people than to get along, and that is why this practice is rampant in so many churches. We should remember that Paul bore with great patience the spiritual babes that were under his oversight.

    The other reason that I will always seek a fellowship of believers, and I do not find internet / radio "fellowship" acceptable is that we must seek out ways to use our spiritual gifts for the benefit of other believers. For some reason the Holy Spirit has gifted me with giving and hospitality, and these are not gifts that can be exercised over the internet. I know from experience that when one is not using her gifts, she will always feel incomplete.
    First I shake the whole Apple tree, that the ripest might fall. Then I climb the tree and shake each limb, and then each branch and then each twig, and then I look under each leaf. ~Martin Luther

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    Re: Calvinistic premillenialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Merry & Joyful
    WHY on earth do you still attend??

    That is a fair question with at least four answers.

    First is that there is no other reasonably close to biblical fellowship within driving distance.

    Second, I do get an opportunity to engage them and have taught through small groups the truth of scripture. I would not have the opportunity to teach in a church filled with the company of this forum so it is obvious I need to take what opportunitities alloted to me.

    Third, I believe that this is where God has led me to fellowship. I have a very narrow focus and very finely defined set of biblical doctrines, and it is normal that where I go there are not many who believe even close to what I beleive, or have the convictions I have. I believe I have been taught by God and his Spirit, and I am convinced that my doctrinal convictions are biblical...why not share them with others who have never gotten out of their 4th grade sunday school paradigm? I find that many are grateful for the challenge I bring them in the scripture. I do not convince all, but I do convince some (or rather the Holy Sprit convinces them) and those I do not convince actually study the scripture diligently to avoid being convinced, so If I am right they have the word to convict them in the long run, if I am wrong, then they have studied for themselves and are convinved in their own mind. Either way it is a win-win.

    Forth, It is difficult to find fulfilling fellowship in electronic mediums, no matter how right those mediums are. I believe these are sincere believers; albeit, sincerely wrong. With some teaching I believe they can enjoy Christ even more. I feel called to that ministry.

    I hope that makes sense. Surely if there was a vibrant church that taught what I believe, (even 60&#37 I would be there, but until God raises that up in my location I will continue to try to exercise my gift to teach. If I am wrong...God will make that apparant to me.

    Jeff

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    Re: Calvinistic premillenialism

    One last thought...Someone asked in the context of my post...

    Is it good to bring your children?


    I believe it is good for my children (I have four of them ages 22-15 years old), to be with me in church. After church they are with me around the dinner table, and I hear what they were taught in sunday school and I have the opportunity to correct any false teaching from the scripture. I have the oppportunity to be in the car with them over an hour a day commuting to and from school where I discuss soteriology, pneumatology, eschatology, harmartiology, et.al., etc.

    I have taken an active role as their father to be responsible for all that they have been taught. My 22 year old daughter is a senior at Oklahoma University and she is as weird as I am and stands out as "not a normal Baptist" at the local church where she attends. I had the opportunity to teach her for 19 years at home and I was very comfortable loosing her on the world. She stands strong for many of the convictions I have taught her.

    My 19 year old son is at tech training in Georgia for the Army and he calls me daily and recites the scripture from his daily reading and how it applied to his daily activite and relationships. His growth since leaving home is very encouraging to his mother and I.

    The two daughters left at home are often found debating doctrines like the five points of the T.U.L.I.P with their fellow sunday schoolars and their public schoolars. They still have much to learn, but I feel they are well grounded.

    I answer this question by saying that it is not the church's job to teach my children. I view the church as a place where beleivers ocme together, iron sharpening iron, I do not attempt to indoctrinate other peoples kids, and I would have strong wrods for anyone who tried to indoctrinate my kids. God gave me that singular privelege and it is a task I cherish and thorougly enjoy.

    So I say, YES, it is good to bring my children...it would be bad if I abandoned them to the zeit geist of that church and shirked my responsibility as theri father.

    Jeff

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    Re: Calvinistic premillenialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Dorcas View Post

    The other reason that I will always seek a fellowship of believers, and I do not find internet / radio "fellowship" acceptable is that we must seek out ways to use our spiritual gifts for the benefit of other believers. For some reason the Holy Spirit has gifted me with giving and hospitality, and these are not gifts that can be exercised over the internet. I know from experience that when one is not using her gifts, she will always feel incomplete.
    I agree sis, there is just one other major problem, most of the "churches" being discussed in this thread are based on the 1 man model. There is always the same man or a couple, and they do all the lecturing.
    I have no problem going to a lecture, but the way the majority of these groups meet that is about it (with some songs of course). There is always a set time that most of the people plan around to get to other things. It is rare to get together with a group of believers and actually practice "corporately" serving one another.
    If we actually have a day that we can spend with other believers, then lets actually use the time to get into each others lives, share a full fellowship meal, get rid of sermons and have the meetings facilitated by those who are gifted to lead full bown discussions about every doctrinal matter needed within each particular group.
    The one man pulpit tends to make what is called "the laity" lazy, apathetic, and lends to many things remaining hidden within a group.

    So, I dont think we should settle for less, its better to remain in a desert than at a poisoned oasis that looks great. We should patiently wait till the Lord brings us to such fellowship IMHO, but also since we have opportunity with the internet/phone/email/chat to do a good portion of encouraging one another and building one another up (sharpening) we should express some contentment there if we find genuine Christ centered, gospel honoring teaching in these places as well.

    Nothing beats face to face fellowship and mutual hands on service with one another, but in its absence we should be careful we are not giving into temptation to compromise just a teensy bit at a time......before long we will have yoked to deeply into the worlds counterfeits and when discipline comes, it will be far more painful for all of us......I think in our current situation, we need to look hard for those that appear to be sheep around us and encourage a home gathering and see what develops....prayerfully
    But we can always take in lectures too in order to meet those sheep that are scattered throughout this present harlotry so that we will find oportunity to serve others as well.......but no attempts at "fellowship" with those we cant honestly do this in good conscience with......okay, my 2 cents worth
    Jn 14:23-24, (NASB)
    Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. "He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, BUT The Father's Who sent Me.

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    Re: Calvinistic premillenialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Saint Nicholas View Post
    Well Joel, that about eliminates ALL Organized and Institutional Churches!!! Answer me this! What Organized divine institutional Church from the second century till now should one elect believer should have officially joined, and submitted to the RULERSHIP OF THE CLERGY AND ELDERS?????

    Nicholas

    Eastern Orthodoxy
    "Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days. "

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    Re: Calvinistic premillenialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Dorcas View Post

    So this leads me to a question. Is it possible to be a consistent dispensationalist or at least premillenial without holding to synergism?
    Sure. Some of the best arguments I have heard concerning dispensationalism have come from people who are very monergistic. Unfortunately they don't have websites.

    But think about it:

    God chose Israel.
    God came to restore Israel in Christ.
    God knew Israel would reject Him [because He hardened their hearts].
    God temporarily set aside Israel.
    God brings in the total number of Gentiles.
    God then returns His attention to the Jews and brings in their full number.

    I don't buy it, but that doesn't make it any less God-centered.

    Chris

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    Re: Calvinistic premillenialism

    Quote Originally Posted by Elreformado View Post
    Eastern Orthodoxy
    Before I respond to your answer "Eastern Orthodoxy" can you eleborate a little more as to your understanding of Eastern Orthodoxy and to what you believe they teach doctrinally?

    At least that would be helpful to me in determining why you think an elect believer should have been under submission to their rulership?

    As to what Eastern Orthodoxy teaches as pertaining to the Gospel of our salvation, YOU COULD HAVE IT!!

    Nicholas
    My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand..........John 10:27,28

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    Re: Calvinistic premillenialism

    If we want to debate Eastern Orthodoxy that needs to be a separate thread.

    WB: The very nature of Baptist theology tends to lend itself toward dispensationalism.

    This is certainly true TODAY but the reason it is has to do with historical anomalies. There have been many big milestones in Baptist history that got the movement completely off track:

    1. The acceptance of the 'immersion Baptist' heresy after 1633. This was not part of the original convictions of the 1609 Baptists and their predecessors at all. What happened in essence is that a position that was formerly viewed as the lunatic fringe became 'orthodox' due to unholy authoritarian brow-beating.

    2. The acceptance of Arminianism or 'General Baptist' doctrine as Baptist orthodoxy in the American frontier. Again, a sectarian position was exalted to the status of mainstream dictated belief.

    3. The acceptance of Darby's dispensationalism that he plagiarized from the Irvingites in England. Once again, a view that was viewed by most all as the lunatic fringe until 1900 became the established standard. Those who disagreed were/are viewed as Bible haters and rebellious against the Word of God. There was a film made about 15 years ago proposing that those who deny premillenialism have believed THE GREATEST DECEPTION IN HISTORY!

    MacArthur is deceived pure and simple and so are all who believe his eschatology. They are the ones who don't believe the Word of God on such matters! They are puppets of J. N. Darby, Edward Irving, Margaret MacDonald, William Davis, and Manuel Lacunza.
    I got four things to live by: don't say nothin' that will hurt anybody; don't give advice--no one will take it anyway; don't complain; don't explain. Walter Scott

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