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Thread: Our Unreasonable Faith

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    Our Unreasonable Faith

    I wrote this for my own blog but would be interested in any comments. It is not directed particularly at predestinarian.net but at a variety of different problems I have seen in thinking of God is reasonable.

    There is a book that summarizes the teaching of Herman Bavinck, called Our Reasonable Faith: A Survey of Christian Doctrine. I have read parts of the book but not all of it and I certainly do not claim to be an expert on the book itself. But the title is interesting. I don't know if this title was chosen by Bavinck or by later editors. "Reasonable" is used in variety of different ways. I don't think the the person intended to say that our faith is inexpensive (at least I hope not). Most likely, the idea is that our faith is rational and/or logical. Then there is the question of what is meant by "our faith?" Faith can be belief itself or that which is believed. Since the book is a survey of Christian doctrine "faith" must be referring to doctrines that are believed. So the book could be retitled The Rational Things That We Believe.

    Referring to the Christian faith as rational things that we believe is entirely irrational. The sinful believer rejects the Christian faith because it is unreasonable and the sinful believer distorts and twists it to try to make it a little more reasonable but reasonable it is not. Some Christian apologists have written books in defense of the resurrection and some do a good job of showing the probability that Jesus actually rose from the dead. People probably would not have been willing to be tortured and killed for a resurrection that they knew did not really take place. Because of the resurrection we can be certain that what Jesus teaches us is true but that doesn't make the content of the teaching rational or reasonable.

    The core teachings of the Christian faith have to be ignored before anyone can call them rational or reasonable. The agnostic is rational and reasonable, the polytheist can be rational and reasonable, the monotheist can be rational and reasonable, the Tritheist can be rational and reasonable, the Arian can be rational and reasonable, but the Trinitarian cannot. If Trinitarianism were reasonable the Athanasian Creed would say "The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, so there are three gods." But it doesn't. It says that there are not three gods but one God. 1+1+1=3. God is three persons but only one being and there's nothing reasonable about that. I don't know of any other entity that is only one being but three persons. Even when well-intentioned and well-trained folks try to give examples to explain the Trinity they usually end up teaching a Trinitarian heresy--usually modalism. When the radio pastor comes on and starts trying to explain the Trinity by saying that he's both a father to a children and a son to his own father we end up with something very reasonable but absolutely not Trinitarian. But the Trintarian position is the only position that takes what all of the Scriptures say seriously.

    The same is true when it comes to the doctrine of Christ. It is entirely unreasonable for someone to be completely God and completely man. The Nestorians and Arians and all the other guys have a much more reasonable understanding of who Christ is. Even the idea that God would take on a human nature is entirely irrational. It's insane. No lunatic would ever make it up.

    But for some reason, even though God Himself is completely unreasonable, theological systems are constructed to make what God does reasonable. Why should we expect things to start getting more reasonable all of a sudden? The Calvinist and Arminian have both constructed systems to make the doctrines of salvation more reasonable which is the most irrational thing a person could possibly do. Just look at the bare bones of what we are working with:

    1. God creates man.
    2. Man sins.
    3. God becomes man.
    4. God dies to pay for man's sin.

    There's nothing reasonable about any of that. This kind of makes sense:

    1. God creates man.
    2. Man sins.
    3. God destroys man.

    Or:

    1. God creates man.
    2. Man sins.
    3. God says, "I'm God, why do I care?"

    Or:

    1. God creates a man incapable of sinning and they live happily ever after.

    Or:

    1. God doesn't create anything and just enjoys His perfect Trinitarian family.

    All of these other options are reasonable but the truth is not. If the Scriptures teach that by nature we are dead in our sins shouldn't we just affirm that? If the Scriptures teach that God has elected a people for Himself from all eternity shouldn't we just affirm that (without speculating about an election to damnation)? If the Scriptures teach that Jesus came to take away the sins of the WORLD and to taste death for everyone can't we just affirm that? Since God dying for our sins does not make any sense at all, do we really think that we can figure out what is going on in God's head well enough to say that there were some He didn't die for? Since the Scriptures say that some people fall away from the faith can't we just admit that they do without trying to pretend they were never there to begin with?

    I saw an advertisement on the local religious station for a financial guide based on the parables. I have not read the book but anyone who tries to draw financial principles from the parables should be checked into the nearest psychiatric ward. How is God portrayed in the parables? He's a crazy farmer who just starts throwing seeds everywhere. He throws them on the road, in the weed, to the birds. You go start a farm where you just start throwing seeds everywhere and let me know how it turns out.

    God is also compared to a rich man who has a steward that is wasting away his money. The reasonable thing to do would be to escort the steward out of the building and perhaps try to sue him. Instead the rich man tells the steward to give Him a final accounting. The steward goes out and decreases everyone's debt by half. Now there is a rather lengthy list of reasonable things you could do to a steward like that. You could punch him in the face, stab him, etc. All of these would be reasonable things. Instead the rich man (God) expresses His admiration for what the steward did. He praises the steward.

    What the steward knew is that his Master was not reasonable man. His Master was merciful. His Master was not stingy with His grace. His Master wanted him to trust in His mercy. If there were a guy who kept the books straight all the time (or at least thought he did) such a person would have no need for the grace of the Master.

    All of this should humble us. We should be content to let Scripture speak to us and tell us what God wants us to know. Attempts at logical deduction as to what God can or cannot do are futile since He operates outside of the bounds of what is reasonable. The Scriptures are constantly warning against adding to God's Word.

    1 Peter 4:11 If someone speaks, let him speak as announcing oracles of God; if someone provides service, let him provide it as deriving from strength that God provides, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ; to whom belong the glory and the power forever and ever, Amen.

    Do not introduce your sophisticated logical deductions--Bring God's Word!!! If you're not certain that you are speaking God's Word then shut up!

    Deuteronomy 4:2 You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of Yahweh your God that I command you.

    2 Corinthians 10:4-5 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

    The part in verse 5 translated as casting down arguments could literally be translated as "tearing down/demolishing reasoning." To hell with your clever reasoning! Your mind is an idol factory. How could you possibly trust it? Your mind is always tainted with sin and trying to make a god in its own image.

    You must not only speak the truth about what is revealed but must remain silent about what is not.

    Deuteronomy 12:32 Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it.

    1 Timothy 6:3-6 If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the doctrine which accords with godliness, 4 he is conceited, understanding nothing, but having a sick craving for controversies and word-battles, from which arise envy, strife, abusive speech, evil suspicions, 5 constant irritations between people of a corrupt mind and deprived of the truth, who think that religion is a means of gain. Withdraw from such people. 6 But religion with contentment is great gain.

    If you teaching the same doctrine as Christ you should be able to use the same words as Christ and not explain them away. You should never be trying to tell people what Christ really meant because Christ knows how to say what He wants to say even if it is completely unreasonable. Where reasonableness is king, its even eviler step-sister pragmatism will no doubt rear her ugly head.

    So rejoice in your unreasonable God! Only a completely unreasonable God would ever die for you! Only a completely unreasonable God could ever truly be God.
    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: Our Unreasonable Faith

    Quote Originally Posted by wildboar View Post
    I wrote this for my own blog but would be interested in any comments. It is not directed particularly at predestinarian.net but at a variety of different problems I have seen in thinking of God is reasonable.

    There is a book that summarizes the teaching of Herman Bavinck, called Our Reasonable Faith: A Survey of Christian Doctrine. I have read parts of the book but not all of it and I certainly do not claim to be an expert on the book itself. But the title is interesting. I don't know if this title was chosen by Bavinck or by later editors. "Reasonable" is used in variety of different ways. I don't think the the person intended to say that our faith is inexpensive (at least I hope not). Most likely, the idea is that our faith is rational and/or logical. Then there is the question of what is meant by "our faith?" Faith can be belief itself or that which is believed. Since the book is a survey of Christian doctrine "faith" must be referring to doctrines that are believed. So the book could be retitled The Rational Things That We Believe.

    Referring to the Christian faith as rational things that we believe is entirely irrational. The sinful believer rejects the Christian faith because it is unreasonable and the sinful believer distorts and twists it to try to make it a little more reasonable but reasonable it is not. Some Christian apologists have written books in defense of the resurrection and some do a good job of showing the probability that Jesus actually rose from the dead. People probably would not have been willing to be tortured and killed for a resurrection that they knew did not really take place. Because of the resurrection we can be certain that what Jesus teaches us is true but that doesn't make the content of the teaching rational or reasonable.

    The core teachings of the Christian faith have to be ignored before anyone can call them rational or reasonable. The agnostic is rational and reasonable, the polytheist can be rational and reasonable, the monotheist can be rational and reasonable, the Tritheist can be rational and reasonable, the Arian can be rational and reasonable, but the Trinitarian cannot. If Trinitarianism were reasonable the Athanasian Creed would say "The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God, so there are three gods." But it doesn't. It says that there are not three gods but one God. 1+1+1=3. God is three persons but only one being and there's nothing reasonable about that. I don't know of any other entity that is only one being but three persons. Even when well-intentioned and well-trained folks try to give examples to explain the Trinity they usually end up teaching a Trinitarian heresy--usually modalism. When the radio pastor comes on and starts trying to explain the Trinity by saying that he's both a father to a children and a son to his own father we end up with something very reasonable but absolutely not Trinitarian. But the Trintarian position is the only position that takes what all of the Scriptures say seriously.

    The same is true when it comes to the doctrine of Christ. It is entirely unreasonable for someone to be completely God and completely man. The Nestorians and Arians and all the other guys have a much more reasonable understanding of who Christ is. Even the idea that God would take on a human nature is entirely irrational. It's insane. No lunatic would ever make it up.

    But for some reason, even though God Himself is completely unreasonable, theological systems are constructed to make what God does reasonable. Why should we expect things to start getting more reasonable all of a sudden? The Calvinist and Arminian have both constructed systems to make the doctrines of salvation more reasonable which is the most irrational thing a person could possibly do. Just look at the bare bones of what we are working with:

    1. God creates man.
    2. Man sins.
    3. God becomes man.
    4. God dies to pay for man's sin.

    There's nothing reasonable about any of that. This kind of makes sense:

    1. God creates man.
    2. Man sins.
    3. God destroys man.

    Or:

    1. God creates man.
    2. Man sins.
    3. God says, "I'm God, why do I care?"

    Or:

    1. God creates a man incapable of sinning and they live happily ever after.

    Or:

    1. God doesn't create anything and just enjoys His perfect Trinitarian family.

    All of these other options are reasonable but the truth is not. If the Scriptures teach that by nature we are dead in our sins shouldn't we just affirm that? If the Scriptures teach that God has elected a people for Himself from all eternity shouldn't we just affirm that (without speculating about an election to damnation)? If the Scriptures teach that Jesus came to take away the sins of the WORLD and to taste death for everyone can't we just affirm that? Since God dying for our sins does not make any sense at all, do we really think that we can figure out what is going on in God's head well enough to say that there were some He didn't die for? Since the Scriptures say that some people fall away from the faith can't we just admit that they do without trying to pretend they were never there to begin with?

    I saw an advertisement on the local religious station for a financial guide based on the parables. I have not read the book but anyone who tries to draw financial principles from the parables should be checked into the nearest psychiatric ward. How is God portrayed in the parables? He's a crazy farmer who just starts throwing seeds everywhere. He throws them on the road, in the weed, to the birds. You go start a farm where you just start throwing seeds everywhere and let me know how it turns out.

    God is also compared to a rich man who has a steward that is wasting away his money. The reasonable thing to do would be to escort the steward out of the building and perhaps try to sue him. Instead the rich man tells the steward to give Him a final accounting. The steward goes out and decreases everyone's debt by half. Now there is a rather lengthy list of reasonable things you could do to a steward like that. You could punch him in the face, stab him, etc. All of these would be reasonable things. Instead the rich man (God) expresses His admiration for what the steward did. He praises the steward.

    What the steward knew is that his Master was not reasonable man. His Master was merciful. His Master was not stingy with His grace. His Master wanted him to trust in His mercy. If there were a guy who kept the books straight all the time (or at least thought he did) such a person would have no need for the grace of the Master.

    All of this should humble us. We should be content to let Scripture speak to us and tell us what God wants us to know. Attempts at logical deduction as to what God can or cannot do are futile since He operates outside of the bounds of what is reasonable. The Scriptures are constantly warning against adding to God's Word.

    1 Peter 4:11 If someone speaks, let him speak as announcing oracles of God; if someone provides service, let him provide it as deriving from strength that God provides, so that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ; to whom belong the glory and the power forever and ever, Amen.

    Do not introduce your sophisticated logical deductions--Bring God's Word!!! If you're not certain that you are speaking God's Word then shut up!

    Deuteronomy 4:2 You shall not add to the word that I command you, nor take from it, that you may keep the commandments of Yahweh your God that I command you.

    2 Corinthians 10:4-5 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ,

    The part in verse 5 translated as casting down arguments could literally be translated as "tearing down/demolishing reasoning." To hell with your clever reasoning! Your mind is an idol factory. How could you possibly trust it? Your mind is always tainted with sin and trying to make a god in its own image.

    You must not only speak the truth about what is revealed but must remain silent about what is not.

    Deuteronomy 12:32 Everything that I command you, you shall be careful to do. You shall not add to it or take from it.

    1 Timothy 6:3-6 If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the doctrine which accords with godliness, 4 he is conceited, understanding nothing, but having a sick craving for controversies and word-battles, from which arise envy, strife, abusive speech, evil suspicions, 5 constant irritations between people of a corrupt mind and deprived of the truth, who think that religion is a means of gain. Withdraw from such people. 6 But religion with contentment is great gain.

    If you teaching the same doctrine as Christ you should be able to use the same words as Christ and not explain them away. You should never be trying to tell people what Christ really meant because Christ knows how to say what He wants to say even if it is completely unreasonable. Where reasonableness is king, its even eviler step-sister pragmatism will no doubt rear her ugly head.

    So rejoice in your unreasonable God! Only a completely unreasonable God would ever die for you! Only a completely unreasonable God could ever truly be God.
    Hi Wildboar,

    I have read this post with much interest and enjoyment.

    The thoughts you have presented here are rich, deep and entirely meaningful. I DO enthusiastically endorse what you are saying here, in the overall sense.

    I was, then, richly blessed and edified by what you wrote, in the main. There was, of course, one thing you said that I cannot agree with. You made this statement:

    "Since the Scriptures say that some people fall away from the faith can't we just admit that they do without trying to pretend they were never there to begin with?"

    How you arrive at this erroneous conclusion entirely BAFFLES me! This ONE statement absolutely SPOILED an otherwise excellent piece of writing that I will store in my memory banks and save to my computer for future profitable reference. However, I am NOT your judge and I would never want to be. I am relaxed in the fact that you know that YOU (like all of us) stand personally before a wise, just and gracious God who KNOWS ALL THINGS. I will, then, not bring this matter up again with you. You are entirely RESPONSIBLE for yourself, I have no doubt.

    The rest of the writing I can rejoice in and it found a resonance and accord in my heart which exclaimed SWEETLY 'AMEN'!

    Cheers, In Christ Craig
    I believe I am ETERNALLY SECURE based on the FINISHED WORK OF CHRIST! My faith is belief In Christ
    apart from works (Romans 4:5).

    "...for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith. Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?"
    (1 John 5:4-5 NRSV)

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    Re: Our Unreasonable Faith

    The Christian Faith is not according to NATURAL reason, on that we can all agree. Smart and logical damned souls come up with all sorts of ways to kick God off of His throne. But we will NEVER agree on the notion that God's truth is unreasonable to the REGENERATE mind. If it is, there is no point in confessing anything to be true for certain, regardless of what it is. We could never be sure whether we were right.
    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: Our Unreasonable Faith

    I don't disagree with what you posted Bob, but I just had one comment in response.

    Back when I professed a theology of free-will, law justification and pre-trib with all the fixin's, I was absolutely positive that I was right until I learned I was wrong. As a matter of fact I have been positive I was right on many issues to find out I was wrong...or at least I think I was...


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    Re: Our Unreasonable Faith

    Well, we do have to be cautious in the Lord about our assertions. But as Luther stated to Erasmus, without assertions there is no God, Christ, or salvation.

    When someone asks me "Do you actually believe you are right" I answer according to the age-old wisdom "Most certainly, don't you?"
    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: Our Unreasonable Faith

    Quote Originally Posted by Mickey View Post
    I don't disagree with what you posted Bob, but I just had one comment in response.

    Back when I professed a theology of free-will, law justification and pre-trib with all the fixin's, I was absolutely positive that I was right until I learned I was wrong. As a matter of fact I have been positive I was right on many issues to find out I was wrong...or at least I think I was...
    Well that is true I mentioned that in my blog too I was so heavily involved in the false baptist religion, that I grew up in since 3rd grade really. I was on staff for Jr high, I went to a California Baptist U. to get a major in womens ministry or childrens ministry. I learned alot of nonsense at that College that I truly believed in. It wasn't until I started asking questions like isn't there more to life than this? And where is the Grace and Forgiveness in this church? in these so called Christians I am around? Why dont they understand Grace this cant be what Grace is about. I wasn't satisfied at all.. and then of course you came along Mike! lol And showed me this place, and that Gods grace is about what God has done for His people. And when I was introduced to these Truths it was hard to stomach for awhile, I had lots of questions just see my very very old posts on this forum!! lol like how can a loving God cause a child to be raped. Till this day its hard for me to understand but I KNOW without a doubt that God is sovereign over all things.

    How can I be sure that my beliefs now are the "right" ones? Well Ive asked that question before and the Bible says...
    2 Cor 13:5, (NASB), Test
    yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves! Or do you not recognize this about yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you unless indeed you fail the test?

    I have examined this new belief over and over, throughout the last years. I have tried to refute the beliefs I now have, and yet the more I try the more I solidify them the more verses I find for them then against them. The more it begins to make sense then not make sense. I even think about what I used to believe, see if maybe it was correct.. but nothing nothing points to it being right. I was decieved... I thought I knew the truth about God and yet I didn't.. I didn't really KNOW Gods Word. I just followed what people told me instead of knowing for myself what I believe.

    So in conclusion I wouldn't say we have unreasonable faith. There is much reason to our faith... we examine our faith, we have the mind of Christ.. and believe me Christ is very reasonable. Though we are hindered by our own human nature... our finite minds. WE cannot fully grasp what God does, we are not God.. Christ can reveal things to us, and we can comprehend as much as He reveals and somethings are not reasonable in the sense of what this world calls reason... but God is not bound by the worlds logic.. but His own. The worlds logic is nothing compared to Gods. The ultimate most reasonable logic is that which comes from Gods mind.. the world is what is messed up but God is pure, holy, all knowing... Im not sure if my thought is coming across right.. I'll just stop for now and think more about it later.
    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: Our Unreasonable Faith

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Higby
    The Christian Faith is not according to NATURAL reason, on that we can all agree. Smart and logical damned souls come up with all sorts of ways to kick God off of His throne. But we will NEVER agree on the notion that God's truth is unreasonable to the REGENERATE mind.
    Even to the regenerate mind how does "God died for you" ever become logical? I look at how sinful I am and realize I don't even know how sinful I really am and yet God took on human flesh and died for me? How is that reasonable? How does the Trinity ever became reasonable?

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Higby
    If it is, there is no point in confessing anything to be true for certain, regardless of what it is. We could never be sure whether we were right.
    We can be certain that what we confess is true if God has directly revealed it and we did not arrive at the doctrine after a series of logical inferences.
    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: Our Unreasonable Faith

    Quote Originally Posted by Craig
    How you arrive at this erroneous conclusion entirely BAFFLES me! This ONE statement absolutely SPOILED an otherwise excellent piece of writing that I will store in my memory banks and save to my computer for future profitable reference. However, I am NOT your judge and I would never want to be. I am relaxed in the fact that you know that YOU (like all of us) stand personally before a wise, just and gracious God who KNOWS ALL THINGS. I will, then, not bring this matter up again with you. You are entirely RESPONSIBLE for yourself, I have no doubt.
    Praise be to God that I am not responsible for myself! But I'm sure that's not how you meant it.

    I don't know why the people fall away but the Scriptures say that they do. I'm no better than those who do fall away.

    Matthew 13:3 And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. 4 And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. 5 Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, 6 but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. 7 Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. 8 Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. 9 He who has ears,[1] let him hear.”
    10 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in parables?” 11 And he answered them, “To you it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been given. 12 For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. 13 This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 Indeed, in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled that says:
    “‘You will indeed hear but never understand,
    and you will indeed see but never perceive.
    15 For this people's heart has grown dull,
    and with their ears they can barely hear,
    and their eyes they have closed,
    lest they should see with their eyes
    and hear with their ears
    and understand with their heart
    and turn, and I would heal them.’

    16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see, and your ears, for they hear. 17 For truly, I say to you, many prophets and righteous people longed to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it. 18 “Hear then the parable of the sower: 19 When anyone hears the word of the kingdom and does not understand it, the evil one comes and snatches away what has been sown in his heart. This is what was sown along the path. 20 As for what was sown on rocky ground, this is the one who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy, 21 yet he has no root in himself, but endures for a while, and when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately he falls away.[2] 22 As for what was sown among thorns, this is the one who hears the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and it proves unfruitful. 23 As for what was sown on good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it. He indeed bears fruit and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.”
    Hebrews 6:4 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted the heavenly gift, and have become partakers of the Holy Spirit, 5 and have tasted the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, 6 if they fall away,[b] to renew them again to repentance, since they crucify again for themselves the Son of God, and put Him to an open shame.
    2 Peter 2:20 For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. 21 For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them.
    These people are said to have actually escaped the pollutions of this world through Jesus Christ but the return to their own vomit. If we can't use this Scriptural language then there is something wrong with our theology. I can't imagine someone who actually believes in the Calvinistic doctrine of the perseverance of the saints preaching this way anymore than I can imagine an Arminian preaching the passages that speak of God electing us from before the foundation of the world.

    All who God has elected from eternity will certainly be saved but some who have faith do fall away.
    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: Our Unreasonable Faith

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert R. Higby View Post
    Well, we do have to be cautious in the Lord about our assertions. But as Luther stated to Erasmus, without assertions there is no God, Christ, or salvation.
    Very true.

    Quote Originally Posted by Robert R. Higby View Post
    When someone asks me "Do you actually believe you are right" I answer according to the age-old wisdom "Most certainly, don't you?"
    OOOO I like that! If it's okay with you I'm going to use that.


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    Re: Our Unreasonable Faith

    Quote Originally Posted by W.B.
    All who God has elected from eternity will certainly be saved but some who have faith do fall away.
    This is one of those statements where someone says: "this is this, but maybe not".

    W.B.: I am sure that as a Greek scholar, you know the difference from "having faith" and having "the faith of God". You may not admit that there is a difference, but you know that even in the Bible, people have some semblance of faith in God, which was mostly a "positive stance" or a "favorable opinion" but not necessarily the FAITH that is Given by God to the Elect.

    I will admit that those who have "faith in God" based upon some necessity or eminent crisis, or even are good enough to "go to church" may eventually fall away and I would adventure to say that MOST will fall away. Since we cannot identify who has GENUINE God given faith, THE FAITH OF GOD, or the FAITH that comes from God as a gift, (other than their confession) and those who want to be beneficiaries of a "positive stance", we quickly say when the latter falls away from faith, that "it is possible to fall away".

    In the other hand, however, we know that the ELECT is secured and ASSURED BY GOD IN THE BIBLE of his security. If we could not know that we are secure, I would give up Christianity as a cult! If I had to perform rites, do, do, do, perform, perform, perform, in order to SECURE my "security", then Christianity would be no better than eastern religions and other sects akin to paganism. We either believe the witness of the Spirit, his power to draw us back when we drift away, His illumination and comfort when things do not go as we believe they should, or, my friend, we should start self mutilating ourselves and finding other means to acquire our assurance!

    In summary, I can accept your statement quoted above if you are speaking of those who have their "own faith" but not the God given faith that the Elect receives from God.

    Let me do the work of an evangelist here:

    Are you assured, thus SURE of your Salvation? I don't mean where you base your faith, where you ground your faith, but WHO IS THE GUARANTOR OF YOUR FAITH and if He is capable AND DOES INDEED, assures you of this guarantee.

    By the way, the answer is not in Calvinism, not in predestinarianism, not in anything earthly although these things are ways given by God for us to understand where our assurance comes from. Are you secure of your security?

    Milt
    Grace Ambassador
    A pitiful servant of God; a pitbull guardian of the message of Grace

    My pledge to other members:
    A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. Prov 15:1
    A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver - Prov. 25:11

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    Re: Our Unreasonable Faith

    Quote Originally Posted by Milt
    W.B.: I am sure that as a Greek scholar, you know the difference from "having faith" and having "the faith of God". You may not admit that there is a difference, but you know that even in the Bible, people have some semblance of faith in God, which was mostly a "positive stance" or a "favorable opinion" but not necessarily the FAITH that is Given by God to the Elect.
    James speaks of those who say they have faith but by their actions show that they do not. It is also possible to believe in various things or that various things will happen and this belief is not a gift of God.

    However, the Scriptures do not make these catagorizations in the examples I provided. They simply say that they had faith and fell away from the faith. They do not distinguish it as a different faith or a faith derived from a different source. Since the Scriptures say that nobody can say that "Jesus is Lord" apart from the Holy Spirit I have to assume that the faith that was worked in them by the Holy Spirit even if they fall away from it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Milt
    Are you assured, thus SURE of your Salvation? I don't mean where you base your faith, where you ground your faith, but WHO IS THE GUARANTOR OF YOUR FAITH and if He is capable AND DOES INDEED, assures you of this guarantee.
    1 Thessalonians 1:9 For they themselves declare concerning us what manner of entry we had to you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for His Son from heaven, whom He raised from the dead, even Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come.

    Jesus is the guarantor of my faith. He is the guarantor of my own resurrection.
    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: Our Unreasonable Faith

    Quote Originally Posted by WB
    ...However, the Scriptures do not make these catagorizations in the examples I provided. They simply say that they had faith and fell away from the faith. They do not distinguish it as a different faith or a faith derived from a different source. Since the Scriptures say that nobody can say that "Jesus is Lord" apart from the Holy Spirit I have to assume that the faith that was worked in them by the Holy Spirit even if they fall away from it.
    Correct! But if you judge that "speaking" is the mere act of dispensing breath through the vocal cords and articulate words with the tongue, then every Mormon has been inspired by the Holy Spirit. I don't want to digress from the core issue of this thread, but this issue is key and requires our attention.

    So much as the verb "to hear" in the Bible does not mean the simple ability to capture sounds by the ears, but "take heed" or "act upon it", the verb to "speak" has a deeper meaning, otherwise anyone who says "oh Lord" even in an sinful "orgasmic spasm" has been endued by the Holy Spirit to utter such words. (excuse me being graphic but it is for "emphasis").

    There is also the issue of the definition of "falling away" as well. Can we affirm, beyond shadow of doubt, that "falling away" is the same as "losing salvation"? Is every example in the Bible where the term "fall away" and its related variances, is quoted about someone or a group, meaning that this person or group moved from SALVATION TO DAMNATION? Even an immoral guy in the book of Corinthians had Paul pronounce over him the ultimate act of spiritual discipline: Let the devil take his body so his soul can be saved. That guy had some REALLY immoral issues if you want to study it! Would you not think that a fellow with that kind of a problem was one who "had fallen away" even if the Bible does not qualify him as a fallen away?

    Did Jesus not tell one of the churches to "go back to their first love" lest Him would vomit them out of His mouth? Would you not say that this group "had fallen away", at a minimum, from their first love? It does not appear to me, as the fellow in Corinthians, that they lost their Salvation, does it to you?

    So, in summary:
    I don't think that the biblical mention of "to speak" is uttering words.
    I don't think we can be sure that every time the Bible speaks of "fallen away" is the same as having the reverse of the Salvation process, i.e, that someone has been moved, or moved himself, from Salvation into Damnation.

    Thanks,
    Milt
    Grace Ambassador
    A pitiful servant of God; a pitbull guardian of the message of Grace

    My pledge to other members:
    A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. Prov 15:1
    A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver - Prov. 25:11

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    Re: Our Unreasonable Faith

    Quote Originally Posted by wildboar View Post
    Even to the regenerate mind how does \"God died for you\" ever become logical? I look at how sinful I am and realize I don't even know how sinful I really am and yet God took on human flesh and died for me? How is that reasonable? How does the Trinity ever became reasonable?
    We can be certain that what we confess is true if God has directly revealed it and we did not arrive at the doctrine after a series of logical inferences.
    I like this article/book by Vincent it explains alot about reason and our faith, and how God is reason and logical.. how we have the mind of Christ, etc. Its called "Captive to Reason"
    http://www.vincentcheung.com/books/c...reason2009.pdf
    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: Our Unreasonable Faith

    I noticed Wildboar was posting things on reason in other threads, like Roberts on God using good people or something like that. Iwas going to respond there but felt it was the wrong thread so I came back here. He said something about confusing reason with the Holy Spirit... and here he is talking about faith being unreasonable... one question do you believe reason is only part of our human nature and not part of Christs mind in us? Does God not use reason wb?

    Let me say here the definition of reason is: the power of comprehending, inferring, or thinking especially in orderly rational way, proper exercise of the mind, the sum of the intellectual powers, etc. Now look to see what wisdom is: accumulated philosophic or scientific learning b: ability to discern inner qualities and relationships c: good sense generally accepted belief 2: a wise attitude, belief, or course of action3: the teachings of the ancient wise men

    I'd say reason and wisdom almost go hand in hand, they are not exactly the same thing but close. Here are some Bible verses to consider:


    Isa 1:18, (NASB), "Come now, and let us reason together," Says the Lord, "Though your sins are as scarlet, They will be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They will be like wool.
    Dan 4:34, (NASB), "But at the end of that period, I, Nebuchadnezzar, raised my eyes toward heaven and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High and praised and honored Him who lives forever; For His dominion is an everlasting dominion, And His kingdom endures from generation to generation.
    1 Cor 13:11, (NASB), When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things.
    Jas 3:17, (NASB), But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, unwavering, without hypocrisy.
    Ps 51:6, (NASB), Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, And in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom.
    Prov 1:20, (NASB), Wisdom shouts in the street, She lifts her voice in the square;
    Prov 2:2, (NASB), Make your ear attentive to wisdom, Incline your heart to understanding;
    Prov 2:6, (NASB), For the Lord gives wisdom; From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.

    Isa 11:2, (NASB), The Spirit of the Lord will rest on Him, The spirit of wisdom and understanding, The spirit of counsel and strength, The spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord.



    Well theres alot more but I dont have time right now, you get the idea.
    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: Our Unreasonable Faith

    Quote Originally Posted by wildboar View Post
    Praise be to God that I am not responsible for myself! But I'm sure that's not how you meant it.

    I don't know why the people fall away but the Scriptures say that they do. I'm no better than those who do fall away.







    These people are said to have actually escaped the pollutions of this world through Jesus Christ but the return to their own vomit. If we can't use this Scriptural language then there is something wrong with our theology. I can't imagine someone who actually believes in the Calvinistic doctrine of the perseverance of the saints preaching this way anymore than I can imagine an Arminian preaching the passages that speak of God electing us from before the foundation of the world.

    All who God has elected from eternity will certainly be saved but some who have faith do fall away.
    Hi Wildboar,

    I promised you that I would NOT bring this matter of the 'FALLING AWAY OF A TRUE BELIEVER' up with you again. I will certainly keep to my promise!

    However, your post has aroused my curiosity levels on several points. Therefore, I will feel free to ask you a few questions - if you don't mind - NOT to challenge or attack your position in any way (as per my promise) but to gain accurate historical and theological information.

    1. Is this the OFFICIAL POSITION of the Lutheran Church and where do I find this position clearly spelled out in the Creeds?

    2. Was this the settled and cogent position of Martin Luther himself and if so where do I find this in his writings?

    3. I hear you saying this: ALL the elect are given SAVING FAITH, which is a work of God; SOME who are NOT elect are also given SAVING FAITH WHICH IS A WORK OF GOD; however, SOME from the latter group of people DEFECT from the faith and LOSE their salvation due to their own sinfulness and rebellion.

    Have I got your position right? Have I fairly stated your position? I REPEAT I will not challenge your answer at all; I simply wish to learn in an informed way of your true position.

    I DO appreciate many of your writings and have profited by reading them. I look forward to your responses.

    Cheers, In Christ Craig
    I believe I am ETERNALLY SECURE based on the FINISHED WORK OF CHRIST! My faith is belief In Christ
    apart from works (Romans 4:5).

    "...for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith. Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?"
    (1 John 5:4-5 NRSV)

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    Re: Our Unreasonable Faith

    Quote Originally Posted by GraceAmbassador View Post
    This is one of those statements where someone says: "this is this, but maybe not".

    W.B.: I am sure that as a Greek scholar, you know the difference from "having faith" and having "the faith of God". You may not admit that there is a difference, but you know that even in the Bible, people have some semblance of faith in God, which was mostly a "positive stance" or a "favorable opinion" but not necessarily the FAITH that is Given by God to the Elect.

    I will admit that those who have "faith in God" based upon some necessity or eminent crisis, or even are good enough to "go to church" may eventually fall away and I would adventure to say that MOST will fall away. Since we cannot identify who has GENUINE God given faith, THE FAITH OF GOD, or the FAITH that comes from God as a gift, (other than their confession) and those who want to be beneficiaries of a "positive stance", we quickly say when the latter falls away from faith, that "it is possible to fall away".

    In the other hand, however, we know that the ELECT is secured and ASSURED BY GOD IN THE BIBLE of his security. If we could not know that we are secure, I would give up Christianity as a cult! If I had to perform rites, do, do, do, perform, perform, perform, in order to SECURE my "security", then Christianity would be no better than eastern religions and other sects akin to paganism. We either believe the witness of the Spirit, his power to draw us back when we drift away, His illumination and comfort when things do not go as we believe they should, or, my friend, we should start self mutilating ourselves and finding other means to acquire our assurance!

    In summary, I can accept your statement quoted above if you are speaking of those who have their "own faith" but not the God given faith that the Elect receives from God.

    Let me do the work of an evangelist here:

    Are you assured, thus SURE of your Salvation? I don't mean where you base your faith, where you ground your faith, but WHO IS THE GUARANTOR OF YOUR FAITH and if He is capable AND DOES INDEED, assures you of this guarantee.

    By the way, the answer is not in Calvinism, not in predestinarianism, not in anything earthly although these things are ways given by God for us to understand where our assurance comes from. Are you secure of your security?

    Milt
    Thanks Milt,

    I found your post here ENORMOUSLY satisfying and edifying.

    I agree with your post. You said something of HUGE IMPORTANCE:

    "If we could not know that we are secure, I would give up Christianity as a cult! If I had to perform rites, do, do, do, perform, perform, perform, in order to SECURE my "security", then Christianity would be no better than eastern religions and other sects akin to paganism. We either believe the witness of the Spirit, his power to draw us back when we drift away, His illumination and comfort when things do not go as we believe they should, or, my friend, we should start self mutilating ourselves and finding other means to acquire our assurance!"

    AMEN! Praise God!

    You also said something of COLOSSAL AND STAGGERING IMPORTANCE:

    "By the way, the answer is not in Calvinism, not in predestinarianism, not in anything earthly although these things are ways given by God for us to understand where our assurance comes from. Are you secure of your security?"

    I absolutely love the ability you have - shown many, many times in your writings - to CUT THROUGH COMPLEX ISSUES and get to the "real deal" and the "crux" of the matter. What you have said here does this powerfully for me. There is for me a 'redeemed earthliness and practical winsomeness' that shines from you.

    Thank you!

    In Christ, Craig
    I believe I am ETERNALLY SECURE based on the FINISHED WORK OF CHRIST! My faith is belief In Christ
    apart from works (Romans 4:5).

    "...for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith. Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?"
    (1 John 5:4-5 NRSV)

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    Re: Our Unreasonable Faith

    Quote Originally Posted by GraceAmbassador View Post
    Correct! But if you judge that "speaking" is the mere act of dispensing breath through the vocal cords and articulate words with the tongue, then every Mormon has been inspired by the Holy Spirit. I don't want to digress from the core issue of this thread, but this issue is key and requires our attention.

    So much as the verb "to hear" in the Bible does not mean the simple ability to capture sounds by the ears, but "take heed" or "act upon it", the verb to "speak" has a deeper meaning, otherwise anyone who says "oh Lord" even in an sinful "orgasmic spasm" has been endued by the Holy Spirit to utter such words. (excuse me being graphic but it is for "emphasis").

    There is also the issue of the definition of "falling away" as well. Can we affirm, beyond shadow of doubt, that "falling away" is the same as "losing salvation"? Is every example in the Bible where the term "fall away" and its related variances, is quoted about someone or a group, meaning that this person or group moved from SALVATION TO DAMNATION? Even an immoral guy in the book of Corinthians had Paul pronounce over him the ultimate act of spiritual discipline: Let the devil take his body so his soul can be saved. That guy had some REALLY immoral issues if you want to study it! Would you not think that a fellow with that kind of a problem was one who "had fallen away" even if the Bible does not qualify him as a fallen away?

    Did Jesus not tell one of the churches to "go back to their first love" lest Him would vomit them out of His mouth? Would you not say that this group "had fallen away", at a minimum, from their first love? It does not appear to me, as the fellow in Corinthians, that they lost their Salvation, does it to you?

    So, in summary:
    I don't think that the biblical mention of "to speak" is uttering words.
    I don't think we can be sure that every time the Bible speaks of "fallen away" is the same as having the reverse of the Salvation process, i.e, that someone has been moved, or moved himself, from Salvation into Damnation.

    Thanks,
    Milt
    Hi Milt,

    Once again a great post from you, one that has my heart-felt agreement!

    I think your ANALYTICAL ABILITY here is spot on; accurate, precise and right on the money.

    I have gained a lot from these posts.

    In Christ, Craig
    I believe I am ETERNALLY SECURE based on the FINISHED WORK OF CHRIST! My faith is belief In Christ
    apart from works (Romans 4:5).

    "...for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith. Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?"
    (1 John 5:4-5 NRSV)

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    Re: Our Unreasonable Faith

    Quote Originally Posted by mccoving
    I like this article/book by Vincent it explains alot about reason and our faith, and how God is reason and logical.. how we have the mind of Christ, etc. Its called "Captive to Reason"
    Cheung is able to conceive of a reasonable Christianity because he placed the cross on a bookshelf somewhere. The book does not even speak of the crucifixion. It speaks briefly of the fact that if we were to find Jesus' bones that would disprove Christianity. But it absolutely misses the point of Christianity because it misses the cross. Cheung's book might be a fine defense of rationalism but it is not a defense of Christianity. I've asked the question before and I will ask it again--to any who believe that Christianity is rational/reasonable. I don't care if your brain is regenerate or not. How is God dying for me reasonable? This is the core teaching of Scripture--this was the entire content of Paul's preaching--Christ crucified. So how is Christ crucified by any stretch of the imagination reasonable? If you can't explain that then you have no business calling Christianity reasonable--the only other option would be to promote a christianity in which Christ does not get crucified or the crucifixion is ignored and a non-Trinitarian god.
    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: Our Unreasonable Faith

    Quote Originally Posted by GA
    So much as the verb "to hear" in the Bible does not mean the simple ability to capture sounds by the ears, but "take heed" or "act upon it", the verb to "speak" has a deeper meaning, otherwise anyone who says "oh Lord" even in an sinful "orgasmic spasm" has been endued by the Holy Spirit to utter such words. (excuse me being graphic but it is for "emphasis").
    The passage is dealing with spiritual gifts and their use in the church. I think the point is that the utterances of those claiming that they are moved by the Holy Spirit should be judged based on what they say about Jesus but it is their actual speaking that is being judged. Nobody can look into another person's heart. Teachers in the church that are proclaiming Jesus as Lord are doing so under the influence of the Holy Spirit. Some teachers that some here would probably consider unregenerate do so every week. Some teachers have proclaimed Jesus as Lord but then fallen away from the faith. The Scriptures provide real warnings to "brothers and sisters" in the faith who have fallen away from the faith that they are in danger of their salvation. In the passage in Hebrews I think it's probably referring specifically to Jews who had become Christians but wanted to go back to the temple and offer the sacrifice and it says that there would remain no more forgiveness of sins for them even though they were partakers of the Holy Spirit--if they went back to offer the sacrifices they would probably not only lose their souls but also their physical lives in the destruction of Jerusalem. It may very well be that somehow the faith of the person who has not been elected to eternal salvation is somehow qualitatively different from that of the elect but the Scriptures don't really say that anywhere and I prefer to rely on the clear testimony of Scripture rather than try to comfort myself by saying than saying, "I am truly one of God's elect because I have this elect faith feeling and I know for certain than none of them reprobates ever felt this way." The Scriptures are constantly directing us to Christ, not to our own faith or whatever else. My own faith can be a scary place if I spend enough time looking at it--do I really believe hard enough, etc.
    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: Our Unreasonable Faith

    The Scriptures are constantly directing us to Christ, not to our own faith or whatever else. My own faith can be a scary place if I spend enough time looking at it--do I really believe hard enough, etc.
    Let's start by the agreement on this one! Faith in faith, as Gerhard would put it better, is not faith at all... Three "f"s" (don't be irreverent!") are unacceptable as "evidence" of anything: FAITH in faith, FEELINGS, and FOOLISHNESS. They were all practiced in the history of Christianity.

    As to the other points where I can see disagreements, let me point out that I think God is sufficient, ready, willing and able, and has provided a way to PRESERVE the Saints. The Saints will PERSEVERE because God will PRESERVE them. I don't even know if the people mentioned in Hebrews were actual people or were just being used rhetorically for teaching sake. That's why there is so many "if's" in the text.

    I also agree that, if one is descending into apostasy and is about to fall, God may discipline him with and untimely (in our calendar, not God's) death. The same book teaches three levels of Godly chastisement, the higher one is scourging... (rebuke, chastening, scourging). It is my opinion that scourging may refer to an untimely death. God will kill a son before he falls into apostasies. Preservation and Perseverance of the Saints IS NOT an unreasonable and unbiblical doctrine and is an act of God toward every single elect.

    I can't help but use 1 John 2:19 to say that the first REAL ekklesia fathers, did believe that if one falls into apostasy, or "falls away irreparably from the faith to the point of losing his soul, or even becoming an anti-Christ" this one "was never one of us".

    Thanks!

    Milt
    Grace Ambassador
    A pitiful servant of God; a pitbull guardian of the message of Grace

    My pledge to other members:
    A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger. Prov 15:1
    A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver - Prov. 25:11

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    Last Post: 11-30-05, 11:52 AM
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