Wednesday, November 16, 2005

"Seek not to grow in knowledge chiefly for the sake of applause, and to enable you to dispute with others; but seek it for the benefit of your souls, and in order to practice....Practice according to what knowledge you have. This will be the way to know more...[According to Ps. 119:100] 'I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts.'"

Jonathan Edwards

8 comments:

Rand said...

This is very convicting. I'm afraid I must echo the words of John Brown of Haddington:

"Pity me, and cry mightily unto God on my behalf. It is shocking if you knew it, to think what a difference there is betwixt my sermons and my own inward life."

Thanks for putting this up,

Rand

Antonio said...

Julianne, this is a short and non-organized response to your discussion on my blog. These are just a few things for you to think about. God bless you and your family.

1) Man was created in the image and likeness of God. Obviously this is not talking about physical features.

1a) Men are able to love with agape love, even sinners and publicans! (Matt 5:46)
1b) Men reason, do moral and just things, even not having the Mosaic or any God-given written law:

Rom 2:14-15
14 for when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do the things in the law, these, although not having the law, are a law to themselves,
NKJV

Can you notice here that they "by nature" do the things in the law?

This is due to the moral image and likeness of God in which they were created in.

1c) Man has the constitutional ability to believe. Do you not believe things?

1d) The Bible conclusively shows that unregenerate man seeks God. See Cornelius and the Bereans as examples.

2) God draws all men, and his drawing is resistable.

2a) God draws all men:

John 1:7-9
7 This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. 8 He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. 9 That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.
NKJV

Witnesses do one thing: seek to persuade others of their testimony.

Jesus is the true light which gives light to everyone coming into the world. If man is in darkness Christ is the Light.

John 12:31-32
31 "Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world shall be cast out. 32 "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself."
NAS

Jesus has been lifted up. He is the light. Men can resist the light. Men can resist the drawing.

John 16:7-9
7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:

Jesus went to heaven and sent the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit is now here and is convicting the WORLD of sin, righteousness, and judgement. The Holy Spirit has a convicting ministry, Jesus is drawing all men to Himself, Jesus is the Light the True Light shining to every man in the world.

Heb 4:12
12 For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
NKJV

The Word of God is supernatural unto conviction, persuasion, and being convinced. The word of God, in conjunction with the Spirit of God, in conjunction with the Son of God, in conjunction with the image and likeness of God, in addition to the drawing of Jesus to all men, in light of God's invititation to all men, in lieu of Christ's death for all men, in observance of God's desire that all men be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth...

In light of the examples of Cornelius and the Bereans...

Oh. What about preaching the gospel and persuasion?

Some seem to deny that there is any soul winning or persuading men as to the gospel. Why do it when they are unable to hear and respond apart from sovereign regeneration and Irresistable Grace imposed? If one must be regenerated and then made to believe, then persuading someone as to the truth of the gospel really doesn't have a purpose in evangelism; preaching it seems pointless (men can't understand, are unable to hear and respond). There is no persuading or convincing the unregenerate sinner and it really would be a waste of time to do so.

I guess those who believe such doctrine will just be content to give a short gospel message and see if God is going to do his trick and "effectually call" his elect. If after a very brief gospel message the person does not respond, well either 1) he is elect and God is not ready to effectually call him with irresisitable grace at this time or 2) he is unelect. Either way, persuasion is MEANINGLESS for it is falling on deaf, totally inable ears. Go on to the next one to see if they are elect and if God is ready to effectually call them by irresistible grace imposed.

Yet Paul expended himself for Christ doing exactly this: disputing and persuading in the attempt to win people to Christ. As soon as he was converted, Paul "confounded the Jews...at Damascus proving that this is very Christ..."(Acts 9:22). Everywhere he went Paul "disputed...in the synagogue...and in the market daily..." (Acts 17:17). The last chapter of Acts tells us that even under house arrest in Rome, Paul was still at it: "...there came many to him, ... to whom he expounded... persuading them concerning Jesus..." (Acts 28:23).

1 Cor 9:16, 19-22
...woe is me if I do not preach the gospel!...
For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win the more; 20 and to the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might win Jews; to those who are under the law, as under the law, that I might win those who are under the law; 21 to those who are without law, as without law(not being without law toward God, but under law toward Christ), that I might win those who are without law; 22 to the weak I became as weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

Do you see what Paul is doing here? He is using "all means" so that he could win some to Christ! Someone needs to tell Paul about the Calvinist doctrine of "Total Depravity". This activity so desribed as Paul engaging in, if Total Inability is true, would be maningless.
Yet Paul did not think so...

Acts 10:1-5
There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, 2 a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always. 3 About the ninth hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God coming in and saying to him, "Cornelius!"

4 And when he observed him, he was afraid, and said, "What is it, lord?"

So he said to him, "Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God.
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Cornelius sought after God and God rewarded him. He feared God, gave to the poor, and prayed to God always. God heard his prayer and answered it. He sent Peter to him. Cornelius did this and was not even saved. How do we know he wasn't saved?
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Acts 11:13-14
13 And he told us how he had seen an angel standing in his house, who said to him, 'Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon whose surname is Peter, 14 who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved.'
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Yes. Cornelius was depraved and fallen. Yes he was separated from God. But God is moved when people seek Him! And Cornelius sincerely did so.

The whole idea that aren't people willing or seeking God is thus falsified. When Cornelius heard that Peter could tell him and his household how they could be saved, he jumped at the chance and sent his servants right away. He was WILLING and SEEKING and God met him and showed him the Way, the Truth and the Life.
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Acts 17:10-12

Then the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea. When they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews. 11 These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. 12 Therefore many of them believed
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The Bereans! They were open-minded. They were willing and ready. They diligently sought the truth. Look at the cause and effect: they willingly sought and THEREFORE many of them believed.
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Acts 17:26-27
6 And he made from one every nation of men to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they should seek God, in the hope that they might feel after him and find him.
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God has granted to all men that they should "seek God".
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Heb 11:6
6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
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When men and women respond to the drawing of God, God will send more light. God will reward those who seek Him.
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Luke 13:23-24

And He said to them, 24 "Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.
NKJV
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Bob Wilkin of the Grace Evangelical Society says it this way:

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Clearly the struggle involved here concerns finding the right gate to enter. The Lord's point is that those who don't know the way to eternal life should exert every effort to find out. It's as simple as that.

In John 6:27 the Lord told unbelieving Jews who were seeking more miraculous signs like the feeding of the 5,000 which had just occurred, "Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food which endures to everlasting life, which the Son of Man will give you, because God the Father has set His seal on Him." They then asked, "What shall we do, that we may work the works of God?" (v 28). Jesus' response has nothing do with change of lifestyle. It is a simple call to faith. He said, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent" (v29)!

Those who do not know the way to heaven are to strive to find out. They are to seek the truth.

Strive to enter by the narrow gate? You bet! (Of course, once you've entered, you no longer need to seek the gate anymore! You've found it!) That doesn't contradict the freeness of the Gospel at all. Indeed, that is what GES is all about. We aim to make the way to eternal life clear as a bell for all our readers, believers and unbelievers. We hope to lead many unbelievers to faith in Christ and many believers to share the Gospel clearly and boldly.

When sharing your faith, don't be afraid to challenge unbelievers who doubt the truth of the Gospel to strive to enter by the narrow gate. Challenge them to seek God. Invite them to read and study the Bible, particularly the Gospel of John. Encourage them to go to church and Bible studies with you. For God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

My Free Grace Theology Blog

Antonio

Rand said...

Wow!

A whole lot of TERRIBLE Bible interpretation in there...

One example: "The Bible conclusively shows that unregenerate man seeks God."

Oh yeah?

I guess I'll have to cut out Romans 3:11

There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

Go back to the Bible Antonio, and consider the whole councel of God before asserting your views.

Antonio said...

Rand,

Despite your spiteful and demeaning comment, I will respond to your Red Herring argument against my previous post here.

It is glaringly telling that you do not wish to deal with a single point or argument I make. You just wish to go to your arsenal of proof-texts to make it say something that it just does not say.

I provide much information concerning the depravity of man (which I believe in). I do not believe in the supposed FRUIT of depravity, vis-a-vis total inability.

Cornelius and the Bereans falsify the claim that unsaved men can't and don't seek God, but you do not wish to engage this argumentation.

The Spirit of God, the Word of God, Jesus Christ the light and drawer of all men, and many other points are left unanswered by you.

I believe that you must go consider what the texts you use really mean before you use them as bludgeoning weapons against the non-Reformed.

Rom 3:11
There is none who seeks after God.
NKJV

There are three things wrong with the use of this phrase by the Calvinists to prove the truth of Total Inability

1)the design of the passage it which it is found is not to teach man's inability
2)nothing is said about anyone not being able to seek God (although this is what the Calvinist asserts that it means!)
3)and the fact that seeking God as one's own initiative is not the same thing as seeking God in response to His drawing
4) Seeking God is not the same thing as believing in Christ for eternal life.

Look at the whole list:

Rom 3:10-18
"There is none righteous, no, not one;
11 There is none who understands;
There is none who seeks after God.
12 They have all turned aside;
They have together become unprofitable;
There is none who does good, no, not one."
13 "Their throat is an open tomb;
With their tongues they have practiced deceit";"The poison of asps is under their lips";
14 "Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness."
15 "Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16 Destruction and misery are in their ways;
17 And the way of peace they have not known."
18 "There is no fear of God before their eyes."
NKJV

First of all, what the Calvinists seem to forget is that Paul, in establishing the universal guilt of Both Jews and Gentiles (Rom 3:1,9), quotes from the Old Testament to give weight to his arguments, not to charge each individual of the human race in particular with every indictment, nor to teach the inability of the unregenerate man to believe on Jesus Christ. There is a difference between establishing the universal depravity of man and charging individual men with sins. As we have just seen, Cornelius and "all his house" feared God (Acts 10:2). We also see that sinners do good (Luke 6:33).

A Calvinist author, Donald Grey Barnhouse, states correctly : "Now we must not think that this passage is accusing every member of the human race of having committed all of these individual sins". An equally important observation is that nothing is said in the phrase in question (Rom 3:11), or the verse, or context about anyone not being able to seek God, although that is how every Calvinist reads it.

So therefore, please, in the future, take the whole counsel of God before you rip passages out of their context and claim they say something that they are not saying.

My Free Grace Theology Blog

Antonio

Rand said...

LOL...

What a joke.

I'm not going to continue with this, because I don't think Julianne will like you and I taking over her comment box.

Your arguments aren't Scriptural Antonio, and you clearly just made Romans 3:11 of absolute no effect. My answer to your 4 points are: Yes, it does; erm, actually, yes it does; agreed; and finally, I would like to know how one can come to Christ, if they do not seek God.

Finally, your "Cornelius and Bereans" argument is lacking. Clearly, Cornelius and the Bereans were born-again. If they weren't they wouldn't seek God, nor would they understand the Scriptures:

But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know [them], because they are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14)

Read Acts 10:30-31, Antonio. Tell me that these are the actions of a spiritually dead man.

Ridiculous.

Antonio said...

Rand. You are just not a nice guy. You are offensive, angry, and act un-Christian. You ought to be ashamed of how you have conducted yourself on Julianne's blog.

It is fine by me to take this somewhere else. Come to my blog and we will discuss these things, but in the meantime, here is my response to you:

You write:

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Finally, your "Cornelius and Bereans" argument is lacking. Clearly, Cornelius and the Bereans were born-again. If they weren't they wouldn't seek God, nor would they understand the Scriptures:
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Unless you take that Cornelius was born-again apart from the gospel being preached to him, you are wrong (paedo-baptism maybe?). The text clearly says that the reason Cornelius sent for Peter was so that Peter could tell Cornelius and his whole family words by which they could be saved.

Acts 11:13-14
13 And he told us how he had seen an angel standing in his house, who said to him, 'Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon whose surname is Peter, 14 who will tell you words by which you and all your household will be saved.'

The Spirit did not fall on him and his family until after Peter spoke the gospel to them. But Cornelius was seeking God prior to any of this as is manifestly clear by his acts of service, prayers, and alms.

1 Cor 2:14
But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

A Calvinist reads this verse like this : "But the natural man does not receive Jesus Christ, for He is foolishness to him; nor can he receive Him, because He is spiritually discerned." All Calvinists, whether they admit it or not, have to read the verse just like this if they are using it to teach their doctrine of Total Inability.

The context is clearly things, not Jesus Christ. This is infallibly determined by simply reading the chapter. Things are what is being discussed in 1 Corinthians 1:9-15. The word things occurs at least once in every verse. Those who have received "the Spirit which is of God" can know spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:12). And how does one receive the Spirit?

Gal 4:6
And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!"

God gives the Holy Spirit to his sons that they might have spiritual understanding; he doesn't give His Spirit to "alien sinners" that they might be able to believe in Christ for eternal life! But this is what in fact would be happening in the Calvinist scheme. And how does one become a son of God? John 1:12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name."

The Calvinist would have us believe that because the natural man cannot understand spiritual things, he cannot receive Jesus Christ. Receiving spiritual things and receiving Jesus Christ are two different things.

Paul (in 1 Cor 2) is not referring to the gospel that is to be preached to all mankind, but to "the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our [the believer's] glory...the things which God has prepared for them that love Him...the deep things of God...the things that are freely given to us of God...which the Holy Spirit teaches...[which] are spiritually discerned."In contrast to those deeper spiritual truths which can only be understood by God's children through His Spirit, the gospel can be understood by sinners as has been shown by Cornelius, his family, and the Bereans.

Antonio

Julianne said...

Antonio and Rand,

Clearly you are at odds and not willing to communicate with each in love. You guys can agree to disagree and leave it at that unless you want to continue discussing in private. There many facets to biblical theology that one must go through to arrive at complete thoughts on a matter. This is something which is rarely done on a blog. I appreciate both of your desires to uphold the Word of God.Please continue to seek the Truth and reform your thinking to the Word of God. God bless and thanks.

Matador190 said...

I just thought I'd mix it up and say that I disagree with everything that has been said here.

Thank you.