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Thread: Theological controversies and disputes

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    Re: Theological controversies and disputes

    John Piper did a very good biographical sermon on the Englaish preacher, Charles Simeon. Charles Simeon was someone who held to calvinistic doctrine. He had a conversation was John Wesley one time. He asked Wesley some questions about how salvation comes about and other questions relating to grace among other things. Though Simeon believed in calvinistic doctrine, he received good answers from Wesley on these points. Most people would expect Simeon and Wesley to have fallen out, but that was not the case. The fact was, they didn't fall out. They united where they could unite. I think this is a very important lesson for us to learn, if we are willing to learn it.

    There are two commands in scripture that God gives us today. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul. Love your neighbour as yourself.

    That last one, love your neighbour as your self. That means we have to love everybody, because anybody could be our neighbour. If God is telling us to love our neighbour, or to love our enemies, there must be a sense in which God loves His enemies, because there is no way He can ask us to do something that He is not doing Himself, because He is our Lord and friend.

    The bible tells us that folks will know that we are God's disciples by our love for one another. We have to love one another. We should never write anyone off, just because we don't agree with all their doctrine. We should hate no-one, but instead pray.

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    Re: Theological controversies and disputes

    Quote Originally Posted by The Hawker
    John Piper did a very good biographical sermon on the Englaish preacher, Charles Simeon. Charles Simeon was someone who held to calvinistic doctrine. He had a conversation was John Wesley one time. He asked Wesley some questions about how salvation comes about and other questions relating to grace among other things. Though Simeon believed in calvinistic doctrine, he received good answers from Wesley on these points. Most people would expect Simeon and Wesley to have fallen out, but that was not the case. The fact was, they didn't fall out. They united where they could unite. I think this is a very important lesson for us to learn, if we are willing to learn it.
    Can you be more specific on what doctrine they agreed on?
    Quote Originally Posted by The hawker
    there must be a sense in which God loves His enemies
    A lot of Calvinist hold on to the false notion that God has a lesser love or a different love for the reprobate. Some refer to this as common grace. This is wishful thinking on man's part. This lesser love or common grace is sandpaper in the hands of man to sand down the rough and sharp edges of God's cut and dry pure grace. God blessing and prospering the reprobate, in the end, only increases the wrath that will be brought down on the reprobate after this life. The more blessed and the longer a sinner lives, the fuller his cup of sin is filled. This cup will be dumped on his head on judgement day.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Hawker
    because there is no way He can ask us to do something that He is not doing Himself, because He is our Lord and friend.
    Assume nothing.
    Quote Originally Posted by The Hawker
    The bible tells us that folks will know that we are God's disciples by our love for one another. We have to love one another. We should never write anyone off, just because we don't agree with all their doctrine. We should hate no-one, but instead pray.
    One does not have to be in agreement to show love. Even telling someone the truth is showing love. Should we fellowship with Mormons and over look their doctrine? I can not walk in agreement with someone that I disagree with. No two people agree with every jot and title, but there has to be a cut off point.
    Rom 8:18-21, (NASB), For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.

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    Re: Theological controversies and disputes

    Quote Originally Posted by Whammer View Post
    Yeah, I liked this clip too. And I have to say this, not only does "carrying our cross daily" meant to be "only" a reference to sharing in His sufferngs, we find the cross (1 Cor. 1:18) also a very powerful weapon, as we using the gift of faith as well (which is also a weapon......a shield) deal effectively with Satans arrows (lies meant to take our eyes of Jesus) which if they penetrate in the old man, bring back all the guilt that Jesus already removed. Rom. 5:8 seems more beautiful and fits well with the eternal purpose of God that accords with election......yup, the comfort of EJ. Luther, IMO, never fully grasped EJ though and missed out on some extra comfort and joy he could have had in Christ being our sabbath.
    Matthew 16:24-25
    (24) Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
    (25) For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

    I believe the following verses more accurately describe what it means to "take up one's cross" as described in the preceding verses.

    Galatians 5:24-25
    (24) And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
    (25) If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

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    Re: Theological controversies and disputes

    Hawker you say that God loves the repobrate now? Curious who is influencing your theology? The reformed churches would be my guess?

    God hates the reprobate... just like God hated Esua before he was even born. God hates those whom are not His children, and He knows who are His. He tells us to love everyone meaning do no harm because we do not know who Gods children are. Someone who is blind one day to the Truth may have their eyes opened the next.. and if we treat them with hatred well I bet we would feel really bad the next day wehn they told us they believed the Gospel and their eyes were opened, and they now are converted and brethren.. I bet we'd feel really bad if we didn't love them before their conversion. So thus.. we have God telling us to love our neighbors as ourselves and to love our enemies. Another good example those who loved Paul before he was converted even though he was persecuting CHristians. Love means to do good to them, not make fun of them, etc. Love also means discipline... the Lord disciplines us because HE loves us, a Father disciplines his child because he loves them. So if we are to discipline people for their wrong actions, speak out against them lieing, or believing in a false Gospel, or for example the Catholics, or Muslims etc.. if we speak for the Truth and against what is false that is IN LOVE, because IN LOVE are we tryingto share the REAL truth with them and bring them to our Lord, so maybe through us God will open their eyes so they may see, and cause them to walk in His ways.

    That is love... So we love everyone because we do not know who is reprobate. However even consider some of these verses in teh BIble, they are very harsh and I think they just say that if we were to know who was against God, and not a believer we would hate them like the Lord does.. the Lord hates Esau and everyone like him.

    Psalm 11:5 The Lord tests the righteous and the wicked, And the one who loves violence His soul hates. Upon the wicked He will rain snares; Fire and brimstone and burning wind will be the portion of their cup. For the Lord is righteous, He loves righteousness.

    Psalm 139:20 For they speak against You wickedly, And Your enemies take Your name in vain. Do I not hate those who hate You, O Lord? And do I not loathe those who rise up against You? I hate them with the utmost hatred; They have become my enemies".

    And the rest of Psalms people ask the Lord to keep them from evil men, people who devise evil things, so that they can stay steadfast and not tempted etc.
    A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold. - Wisdom

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    Re: Theological controversies and disputes

    Gospel language is not the gospel. The whole counsel of God as given in His final apostolic revelation is the only gospel we are to believe. In the Wesleyan theology of my upbringing, I heard gospel language (the terminology of salvation and justification) parroted continuously. The televangelists also continuously offer us an avalanche of gospel language. None of this is THE TRUE GOSPEL in all of its pristine fullness. The Lord is with those who worship Him in Spirit and in truth. If aspects of the gospel are confessed and others denied, the true gospel is not being proclaimed.

    Love your enemies. This refers to the fact that we are to do good to those who hate us and regard them as potential objects of the Lord's sovereign election. All of us were enemies of God prior to regeneration. But true love will always affirm the full counsel of God in the apostolic kerygma as the only acceptable basis of gospel unity.
    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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    Re: Theological controversies and disputes

    Quote Originally Posted by Fulminare View Post
    Matthew 16:24-25
    (24) Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.
    (25) For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.

    I believe the following verses more accurately describe what it means to "take up one's cross" as described in the preceding verses.

    Galatians 5:24-25
    (24) And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
    (25) If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
    1 Cor 1:18-18, (NASB), 18 For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

    I am not denying those things, but doesnt it appear that the truth of the cross is powerful in reguards to salvation?
    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: Theological controversies and disputes

    In response to Bryan,

    I'm not trying to contradict your point. I just thought that to "take up the cross" as described in Matthew is not about using the cross (or "word of the cross, i.e. the gospel) as a weapon, but rather it was about the crucifixion of the flesh as described in Galatians.

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    Re: Theological controversies and disputes

    Quote Originally Posted by Fulminare View Post
    In response to Bryan,

    I'm not trying to contradict your point. I just thought that to "take up the cross" as described in Matthew is not about using the cross (or "word of the cross, i.e. the gospel) as a weapon, but rather it was about the crucifixion of the flesh as described in Galatians.
    I kind of knew that, I just wanted to add what I had in mind that had become another source of edification and thought you would enjoy it

    And of course, the real bottom line to all the weapons in Eph. 6:10-15 from head to toe is the gospel which are founed on EJ, and all timely events, and especially the cross.
    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: Theological controversies and disputes

    I have been reading through this thread. I have had to skip over a lot of my own posts because of embarrassment for the absolute rubbish I wrote. Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers over the time I was away. I can see the love of God in all that was written in response to what I said. It is nice to be back and to be involved. I have enjoyed the fellowship that has been available to me here, and the conferences have been really good. Very thought provoking and passionate! Thank you all for your love and understanding.

    Love in Christ,

    Kevin.

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    Re: Theological controversies and disputes

    Quote Originally Posted by The Hawker View Post
    I have been reading through this thread. I have had to skip over a lot of my own posts because of embarrassment for the absolute rubbish I wrote. Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers over the time I was away. I can see the love of God in all that was written in response to what I said. It is nice to be back and to be involved. I have enjoyed the fellowship that has been available to me here, and the conferences have been really good. Very thought provoking and passionate! Thank you all for your love and understanding.

    Love in Christ,

    Kevin.
    I'm glad you're back Kevin.
    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: Theological controversies and disputes

    May God guide us in all we do and say for His glory!

    A Guide to Godly Disputation
    by John Newton

    Dear Sir,
    As you are likely to be engaged in controversy, and your love of truth is joined with natural warmth of temper, my friendship makes me solicitous on your behalf. You are of the strongest side; for truth is great, and must prevail; so that a person of abilities inferior to yours might take the field with a confidence of victory. I am not therefore anxious for the outcome of the battle; but I would have you more than a conqueror, and to triumph, not only over your adversary, but also over yourself. If you cannot be vanquished, you may be wounded. To preserve you from such wounds as might give you cause of weeping over your conquests, I would present you with some considerations, which, if duly attended to, will do you the service of a great coat of armor; such armor, that you need not complain, as David did of Saul’s, that it will be more cumbersome than useful; for you will easily perceive that it is taken from that great armory provided for the Christian soldier—the Word of God. I take it for granted that you will not expect any apology for my freedom, and therefore I shall not offer one. For methods sake, I may reduce my advice to three heads, respecting your opponent, the public, and yourself.

    1. As to your opponent, I wish that before you set pen to paper against him, and during the whole time you are preparing your answer, you may commend him by earnest prayer to the Lord’s teaching and blessing. This practice will have a direct tendency to conciliate your heart to love and pity him; and such a disposition will have a good influence upon every page you write.
    If you account him as a BELIEVER, though greatly mistaken in the subject of debate between you, the words of David to Joab concerning Absalom, are very applicable: "Deal gently with him for my sake." The Lord loves him and bears with him; therefore you must not despise him, or treat him harshly! The Lord bears with you likewise, and expects that you should show tenderness to others—from a sense of the much forgiveness you need yourself. In a little while you will meet in heaven—he will then be dearer to you than the nearest friend you have upon earth is to you now! Anticipate that period in your thoughts, and though you may find it necessary to oppose his errors, view him personally as a kindred soul, with whom you are to be happy in Christ forever.
    But if you look upon him as an UNCONVERTED person, in a state of enmity against God and his grace (a supposition which, without good evidence, you should be very unwilling to admit), he is a more proper object of your compassion than of your anger! Alas! "He knows not what he does!" But you know who has made you to differ from him. If God, in his sovereign pleasure, had so appointed, you might have been as he is now; and he, instead of you, might have been set for the defense of the gospel! You were both equally blind by nature. If you attend to this, you will not reproach or hate him, because the Lord has been pleased to open your eyes—and not his!
    Of all people who engage in controversy, we, who are called Calvinists, are most expressly bound by our own principles, to the exercise of gentleness and compassion. If, indeed, those who differ from us have a power of changing themselves, if they can open their own eyes, and soften their own hearts—then we might with less inconsistency be offended at their obstinacy! But if we believe the very contrary to this, our part is not to argue, but in meekness to "gently teach those who oppose the truth—if perhaps God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth."
    If you write with a desire of being an instrument of correcting mistakes, you will of course be cautious of laying stumbling blocks in the way of the blind, or of using any expressions which may exasperate their passions, or confirm them in their false principles, (humanly speaking).

    2. By PRINTING your article, you will appeal to the PUBLIC—where your readers may be ranged under three divisions:
    First, such as differ from you in principle. Concerning these I may refer you to what I have already said. Though you have your eye upon one person chiefly—there are many like-minded with him; and the same reasoning will hold, whether as to one or to a million.
    There will be likewise many who pay too little regard to true religion, who have no settled system of their own, and yet are biased in favor of those sentiments which are at least repugnant to the good opinion they naturally have of themselves. These are very incompetent judges of doctrine; but they can form a tolerable judgment of a writer's spirit. They know that meekness, humility and love are the characteristics of a Christian temper. And though they treat the doctrines of grace as mere notions and speculations, which, supposing they adopted them, would have no beneficial influence upon their conduct; yet from us, who profess these principles, they always expect such attitudes and dispositions as correspond with the precepts of the gospel. They are quick-sighted to discern when we deviate from such a spirit, and avail themselves of it to justify their contempt of our arguments.
    The Scriptural maxim that "man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires," is verified by daily observation. If our zeal is embittered by expressions of anger, invective, or scorn—we may think we are doing service of the cause of truth, when in reality we shall only bring it into discredit! The weapons of our warfare, and which alone are powerful to break down the strongholds of error, are not carnal, but spiritual. They are arguments fairly drawn from Scripture and experience, and enforced by such a mild address, as may persuade our readers, that, whether we can convince them or not—we wish well to their souls, and contend only for the truth's sake. If we can satisfy them that we act upon these motives, our point is half gained; they will be more disposed to consider calmly what we offer; and if they should still dissent from our opinions, they will be constrained to approve our intentions.
    You will have a third class of readers, who being of your own sentiments, will readily approve of what you advance, and may be further established and confirmed in their views of the Scripture doctrines, by a clear and masterly elucidation of your subject. You may be instrumental to their edification, if the law of kindness as well as of truth regulates your pen; otherwise you may do them harm.
    There is a principle of SELF, which disposes us to despise those who differ from us; and we are often under its influence, when we think we are only showing a fitting zeal in the cause of God.
    I readily believe that the leading points of Arminianism spring from and are nourished by the pride of the human heart! But I would be glad if the reverse were always true; and that to embrace what are called the Calvinistic doctrines was an infallible token of a humble mind! I think I have known some Arminians, that is, people who for lack of a clearer light, have been afraid of receiving the doctrines of free grace, who yet have given evidence that their hearts were in a degree humbled before the Lord. And I am afraid there are Calvinists, who, while they account it a proof of their humility, that they are willing in words to debase the creature and to give all the glory of salvation to the Lord—yet are of a prideful, harsh and bitter spirit. Whatever it is that makes us trust in ourselves, that we are comparatively wise or good, so as to treat those with contempt who do not subscribe to our doctrines, or follow our party—is a proof and fruit of a self-righteous spirit!
    Self-righteousness can feed upon doctrines—as well as upon works! A man may have the heart of a Pharisee, while his head is stored with orthodox notions of the unworthiness of the creature, and the riches of free grace!
    Yes, I would add—the best of men are not wholly free from this leaven; and therefore are too apt to be pleased with such caricatures as hold up our adversaries to ridicule—and by consequence flatter our own superior judgments. Controversies, for the most part, are so managed as to indulge—rather than to repress this sinful disposition; and therefore, generally speaking, they are productive of little good. They provoke those whom they should convince—and puff up those whom they should edify!
    I hope your article will savor of a spirit of true humility, and be a means of promoting it in others.

    3. This leads me, in the last place, to consider your own concern in your present undertaking. It seems a laudable service to defend the faith once delivered to the saints; we are commanded to contend earnestly for it, and to convince gainsayers. If ever such defenses were seasonable and expedient, they appear to be so in our own day, when errors abound on all sides—and every truth of the gospel is either directly denied or grossly misrepresented.
    And yet we find but very few writers of controversy who have not been manifestly hurt by it. Either they grow in a sense of their own importance; or imbibe an angry, contentious spirit; or they insensibly withdraw their attention from those spiritual truths which are the food and immediate support of the life of faith—and spend their time and strength upon matters that are at most but of a secondary value! This shows, that if the service is honorable, it is also dangerous. What will it profit a man if he gains his cause and silences his adversary—if at the same time he loses that humble, tender frame of spirit in which the Lord delights, and to which the promise of his presence is made?
    Your aim, I doubt not, is good, but you have need to watch and pray—for you will find Satan at your right hand to entice you. He will try to pollute your piety; and though you set out in defense of the cause of God, if you are not continually looking to the Lord to keep you—it may become your own cause, and awaken in you those tempers which are inconsistent with true peace of mind, and will surely obstruct your communion with God! Be upon your guard against admitting anything personal into the debate. If you think you have been ill treated—this will give you an opportunity of showing that you are a disciple of Jesus, who "when reviled—He did not revile in return; when suffering—He did not threaten, but committed Himself to the One who judges justly." This is our pattern, thus we are to speak and write for God, and "not paying back evil for evil or insult for insult—but, on the contrary, giving a blessing, since you were called for this."
    The wisdom that is from above, is not only pure, but also peaceable and gentle; and the lack of these qualifications, like the dead fly in the jar of ointment, will spoil the fragrance and efficacy of our labors. If we act in a wrong spirit—we shall bring little glory to God; do little good to our fellow creatures; and procure neither honor nor comfort to ourselves! If you can be content with showing your wit, and gaining the laugh on your side—you have an easy task!
    But I hope you have a far nobler aim; and that, sensible of the solemn importance of gospel truths, and the compassion due to the souls of men, you would rather be a means of removing prejudices in a single instance, than obtain the empty applause of thousands! Go forth, therefore, in the name and strength of the Lord Almighty, speaking the truth in love; and may he give you a witness in many hearts that you are taught of God, and favored with the unction of his Holy Spirit!

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