An Ironic TULIP and Similarities of Baptist Confession

December 5, 2007

chris-johnson.jpgWe are pleased to welcome as a guest writer at SBC Today one of our more frequent commenters, Chris Johnson. Chris is currently the Pastor of Grace Church at Hermitage which is located eleven miles east of downtown Nashville. He is a full-time employee of Fresenius Medical Care, the world’s largest dialysis provider, with headquarters in Bad Homburg Germany. Chris is the Manager of Information Systems specializing in Network Architecture and Engineering for over 2200 clinics serving 175,000 patients.

Irony belongs to history as one notable contemporary leader steering theology through the lens of Calvin pens a comment toward another prominent leader seen leveraging theology through the lens of yet another historic teacher named Arminius.

“More than any other individual, Paige Patterson was the man who put all at risk for the sake of what he so profoundly believed. Confronted by a looming denominational disaster, and aware of what this would mean to the cause of the Gospel, Paige Patterson threw himself into the controversy, defined the issues, mobilized an army, educated a denomination, and paved the way for a new generation to continue the work he so boldly began.”

– Albert Mohler

 

The question is still brewing today: Can both lenses, that of Calvin and Arminius, rest in the same set of spectacles, sit comfortably in place before the eyes of a Baptist? The answer to that question, without a nanosecond of hesitation, is emphatically Yes! And the spectacles should be worn with thankfulness and caution.

But here’s the rub: there are individuals that require and insist there must be a fight, and fights often ensue with myopic endeavors and motive which consequently never engage in the reality and mission of true theology. It would be very possible to label these prideful endeavorists’s as educated “clip-ons.” These opportunists really have little to do with the spectacles, but when attached these “clip-ons” tend to color and induce theological myopia one way or the other, or they tend to fly off and clutter the floor, most often seeking personal profit and emotional gain.

In times past, much like our current landscape, various theologians were involved in the myopic formulation of the TULIP (musing on Calvin and Arminius), but of course this never came from Jacobus Arminius or John Calvin, since the writing of the Synod of Dort of 1619 from which these arguments emanate did not appear until both Calvin and Arminius were already in the grave, a grave left unmarked for Calvin.

So where does this fit into the current Baptist theological landscape? Well for one thing, thankfully…. Mohler and Patterson are not in the grave! So the real benefit to this generation is that these two leaders understand the reality of what Calvin and Arminius believed and each of them are more than willing to bring the practical fruit of their predecessors to the surface. In the spirit of Mohler and Patterson, Arminus commented that his sole ambition was:

“to inquire in the Holy Scriptures for the divine truth,for the purpose of winning some souls for Christ”

And Calvin also testified:

“it is enough that I live and die for Christ, who is to all his followers a gain both in life and in death.”

Calvin and Arminius were passionate concerning the cross of Christ and demonstrated their affection to Christ as hard working Pastors serving a local congregation to the end of their respective earthly lives. In fact, more seemly ironic comments of Arminius rang out about his forerunner John Calvin:

“They (Calvin’s commentaries) occupy second place only to scripture. I recommend that the Commentaries of Calvin be read. For I affirm that in the interpretation of the Scriptures Calvin is incomparable, and that his Commentaries are more to be valued than anything that is handed to us in the writings of our Fathers – so much so that I concede to him a certain spirit of prophecy in which he stands distinguished above others, above most, indeed, above all.”

So what is the difference in Calvin and Arminius, and now their implicated ancestors called Baptists? It is merely the intelligible fact of God’s power in salvation. Well that’s easy enough to understand, isn’t it? Is freedom really that hard to understand? Isn’t it for freedom that anyone in Christ has been set free?

It is an essential truth to recognize that the gospel is not like soteriology. This fact is true for any Baptist and really anyone else for that matter, especially those endeavoring in the art of theology. Holy Scripture defines that the gospel is outside of us completely. The gospel is the possession of God alone. The gospel is power. As justification, the gospel is present in us. As sanctification, the gospel changes us. As glorification, the gospel transitions us. Soteriology is a system. Soteriology is a presentation of man. Soteriology is the possession of humans alone. Soteriology is not present (like the gospel) in us. Soteriology does not (really) change us. Soteriology will never (really) transition us. God does not concern Himself with a system of salvation. He simply is the power unto salvation and reveals it to us as the Gospel.

Therefore, any pastor or teacher must answer the following question. When does the teaching of a soteriological system become heretical? Oh, but be very careful to remember that not all heretics wind up in hell. Thank God for that! The truth really being that the only heretics that wind up in hell are those that are not in Christ. So, when does soteriology become heretical? Well here it is: A system of salvation becomes heretical when it places any opportunity for salvation in the will of man.

Why? Because the Gospel is unknown to the will of man, but it is manifest in his knowledge. So in order for man to change, God provides the Gospel. Therefore, any willing man is responsible, because God’s assurance is His sanctifying application for His Glory.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

– Romans 1:18-21

The principle difference then, between those that follow Arminian logic and that of Calvin is simply the level of heresy which is modeled by what is “apprehended” in the ability to know the mind of God, and the passion to explain it. Both Arminius and Calvin demonstrated a comprehension of the essential elements of the Christian faith and articulated the facts with clarity and passion to their respective congregations and apprentices, yet were seemly confident to forgo what was apprehended. The subsequent TULIP conversations on the other hand, blossomed in yet another generation, vaulting onto the scene out of the bold apprehension of aspiring protégé’s. The results are constantly bantered about in similar fashion even today as theologians continue to passionately place in view persuasive pictures of the indefinable mind of God, lovingly playing havoc on the simple minds of human flesh who are no doubt acutely aware of God, as our friend Paul has so aptly illustrated to us in his letter to the Romans.

So there is really a simple foundational difference between a Calvinist and an Arminian. And that difference is based upon how one apprehends the indefinable mind of God. But more importantly, you must understand, this apprehension was little issue for Calvin or Arminius, but it became a voluminous issue for those who followed. So any Baptist, or any human for that matter looking back at theological history, will in some fashion decide which dancing partner they are willing to romance, an Arminian jazz step or a Calvin ballet. But looming ever present in each dance step is the tendency for heresy. But there is always the rescuer–the gospel–the alien remedy for the restless soul that becomes attracted toward heresy. So, spend an exorbitant amount time with the gospel, while you hammer out your soteriological advantages. Not the bumper sticker version of the gospel we see advertised in our churches and on our cars these days, but the real gospel that, when preached clearly and with clarity, rushes about like a mighty wind arousing the will of man, giving light to the blind eye, making audible His word to a deaf ear, and all to the glory of God forever!

Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, To the only wise God our Saviour, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.

– Jude 1:24-25

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Tim Rogers

Brother Chris,

Job well done. I like the way you distinguish between the Gospel and Soteriology. The Gospel is power and Soteriology is a system. Very well articulated.

Blessings,
Tim

Tim G

“So, spend an exorbitant amount time with the gospel, while you hammer out your soteriological advantages.”

Man that line will preach and preach some more. Great article!

Josh

I like the spectacles image and the rest of the article’s pretty good too.

Thomas Twitchell

Is this why Jesus explained to Nicodemus soteriology when Nicko came to him? Seems to me Jesus spends alot of wasted words explaining something that is just a system when he could’ve just spoken Gospel power words. I guess the question is, was Jesus preaching the Gospel to Nicodemus, or not?

Chris Johnson

Thomas,

Good point….its easy to sympathize with ole Nick as well, since he brings things to Jesus after his death.

Nicodemus said to him, “How can these things be?” Jesus answered him, “Are you the teacher of Israel and yet you do not understand these things? Truly, truly, I say to you, we speak of what we know, and bear witness to what we have seen, but you do not receive our testimony. If I have told you earthly things and you do not believe, how can you believe if I tell you heavenly things?
(John 3:9-12)

Jesus was simply explaining what Nick should have already known, but was blind because of Adamic sin. No doubt, there was an awful lot of soteriological teaching going on with the disciples and with the many other spiritual leaders that were following Jesus. Jesus was critically pointing out to Nicodemus the difference of knowing and not knowing. And the power is Christ to make it known.

O righteous Father, even though the world does not know you, I know you, and these know that you have sent me. I made known to them your name, and I will continue to make it known, that the love with which you have loved me may be in them, and I in them.”
(John 17:25-26)

Blessings,
Chris

Chris Johnson

Tim,

I’m not sure if I really answered your orginal question….but the article was the first thing that entered my brain…..

Ole Wes is a great editor!!

Blessings,
Chris

Phil Guthrie

I have a good pastor friend who calls me a “Calminian” and I call him an odorless flower. We butt heads in a friendly joust of theological jargon on occasion, yet we always part as friends. I always admonish him to “preach the gospel” and leave the harvest to God.

There seems to be a resurgence of “hyper-Calvinism” (any five point variety) of late, especially in many small rural churches. I have to wonder of what source this turn might consist.

As to your article, you have hit the bulls-eye. The Scripture as a whole and the Gospel in specific is to be our authority. Who among us can honestly claim to have gained the “mind of God”. Any absolute position based on any mans system of theology will always end in heresy. And yes, there will be many a “good” Christian heretic in heaven.

Darby Livingston

While I agree that the Gospel is an event that happens outside of us, it is possible to come to faith in a different gospel that is no gospel at all. Ask the Galatians. I think it’s dangerous to separate the Gospel from the doctrine that properly explains what exactly is happening in that event. Is the substitutionary atonement the Gospel, or a step in the system? What about the sovereignty of God to decree and work out in history the crushing of his Son in fulfillment of the Scriptures? And while I agree that heretical people may be in Heaven, especially if we believe Christ atoned for the noetic effects of sin, we’re not universalists. We do believe correct doctrine matters in order to put faith in the correct Gospel. The true Gospel is a narrow path.

Also, Phil, hyper-calvinism is a technical term with a specific definition. It is not helpful to label any five point calvinism as hyper-calvinism. That is a re-definition of the term. That’s the same as saying any red vehicle is a firetruck.

volfan007

phil,

it might be helpful to you to use dr. danny akin’s term for many of today’s five point calvinists out there….extreme calvinist. they are not technically hyper-calvinist, because they do believe in witnessing and missions. but, they’re extreme calvinists in that they try to convert others to five pointism, and it seems that all they can think about or preach about is the five points in one way or another. they’re obsessed with calvinism. anyway, i hope that this helps you.

while i understand man’s attempt to try to completely figure out God and His plans and purposes, arminians and calvinists and all the other “isms” need to understand that some things are really a mystery down here. they need to be content with just believing what the bible teaches us and leave the mystery to eternity when we will see things very clearly.

note: i love calvinists and arminians. this was not written to be mean to anyone.

david

Chris Johnson

Darby,

Your right,… you don’t have to go far to see a different gospel. And as the Galatians proved, it was easier drop kick the real gospel and travel back to traditional opportunities for salvation. Paul became pretty worked up about that. What if Paul walked into your church today….would he feel at home, ready to be edified by your church family like the Roman congregation he was eager to visit as he penned in his letter ….

No doubt there are a lot of systems, but don’t hear me wrong… scripture is not ambiguous concerning soteriology. Yet, the discernable fact is that the gospel is not dependent on any human or system. If it were it would not be the gospel.

Blessings,
Chris

Scott Gordon

Chris,

Excellent article. I, too, like the distinction between Gospel and soteriology.

All,

I am reticent in bringing this to your attention, but a 5-pointer does not a hyper-one make. An extreme focus on philosophic extension of any system creates problems. Those who hijacked Reformed theology to the point of negating evangelism and responsibility are errant, aberrant forms of Calvinism…and Christianity, too. Those who hijacked Arminian theology to the point of universalism are aberrant as well.

These points, however, would not make John Edwards, George Whitefield, John Wesley, or Charles Wesley heretics guilty of those other extremes.

SOLA GRATIA!

Thomas Twitchell

Again we see the propagandist ignorance. Someone once said five-point Calvinism is hyper-Calvinism, so it is. Go figure. Should we start naming names of those who should know better and are “leaders” in the SBC, who either do not know the difference, or do and are so hateful and bigoted in their position, that the only thing that matters is their getting their way? Shall I turn the Page, or send a tele-Graham or just let it flow through the sour grape Vines?

Paul’s Gospel to the Galatians was undermined by those who wanted to spit the decision and work of salvation between God and man, “Having begun in the Spirit are you now seeking to complete it in the flesh?” It was he who started the work in Galatia and was their father in the faith and it was against those who brought in the “reponsibility of man’s moral choice arguement,” that he declared his anathema. If the free-will choices of man had anything to do with the work of salvation, Paul would not have written, “For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.” That want to do, is thelo, and I like the KJV’s way of putting it: “so that ye cannot do the things that ye would” ref. John 1:13. And if you read 13, and then 12, you will better see the ordo salutis.

What point of five-points makes it hyper? The “L”? Is it hyper because it sustains the Biblical doctrine of the omnicient God over against the “just now learning what happens next” god of Keathley? Or is it the “U” which denies that there is any merit of good in man, again sustaining Scripture, over against the doctrine of the spark of goodness which God can use, if we let him, to fan inherent faith into a flame? Or is it the “T” which upholds Scripture by denying the Romanish doctine of “free-will”; the “hingepin” doctrine as Luther called his “bondage of the will” is what makes us protestants and not Romanists? Just which doctrine is it, the “I” which speaks of the Scriptural view of regeneration, in which the love of God is spread abroad in the hearts of those Jesus prayed for in John 17.9; a love which rules out resistence because it overcomes all?

I am still waiting for a calminian to explain the “P” if they believe that their will is free to choose against God. Or is it that God has “sealed” their will so that it is not free? And, I would like to know how it is that we have been recreated in the image of the Son with a will able to deny the will of the Father? Its sounds Hobbsian. Ole Hershcel believed that man was created originally with a will, neutral, that it was free to choose against its good self. He said of Eve that she was created also with a tendency to evil. It is an amazing image of God, who is able to choose either good or evil, but is good because he doesn’t choose evil. It is not the God- image of the Bible, but it is the god-image of the “free-willer”. That is Hobbsian theology, the basis of the 1963 BFM, though you really wouldn’t know that unless you’ve read this vastly influential theologian. It has never been explained to me how God is both good and evil in ability to will, and that that is the free-will image in which man was created. But, that is the position that must be taken if libertarian free-will is to be maintained.

So, just who is hyper? Keathleyans, Hobbsians, Yarnellites, Grahamists, Pageans? And the list goes on. Until we get past the caricatures and misinformation, the differences will continue to degrade into guilt by association and “firetruck” pyric polemics. Shouldn’t we just answer the question, “Who do men say that I AM.”

Chris Johnson

Brother Twitchell,

I hope more will come to the understanding that doctrine of the TULIP is impotent in comparison to the gospel. The TULIP is simply an attempt to describe the power that God has made known unto salvation. TULIP could be the most famous acronym, but there are many other systems attempting to knock “him” off the hill. Although systems can be exciting and helpful there is always the tendency to remove our eyes from the author…. “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2)

Paul warns us that we may have the answer to lot of things, but if we have not love, we truly are ignorant of what the power has afforded us.

And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
(1Corinthians 13:2)

Blessings,
Chris

Darby Livingston

Chris,

Thanks for your reply. I agree with you completely. I often pray God would show me where I’m faulty in my theology, and fall on his amazing grace to save even my numerous mental frailties! The Gospel is organized in human minds through systems, but the Gospel transcends any system, and the power of God for salvation is mightier than our ignorance and arrogance. I rejoice for the humble spirit with which you’ve written, and respond to comments. As for the Paul question… I can only pray our people reflect the the truth of the Gospel working out in love.

Rick

I understand this different. “Soteriology is a system.” Well, not really. The etymology of soteriology is the study of salvation. In the Bible salvation is the gospel, the good news to mankind (I Cor. 15:1-4). The fruition of thinking about salvation, a.k.a soteriology, may develop a system such as Calvinism. So, the distinction of gospel / soteriology may not be as accurate as the simple traditional way of just referring to Calvinism, Arminianism and so forth.

The blogger asks, When does the teaching of a soteriological system become heretical? The answer proffered is “A system of salvation becomes heretical when it places any opportunity for salvation in the will of man.” Perhaps a better way to answer the question is “A system of salvation becomes heretical when it fails the Scripture.” And, if we use the Bible as the standard then maybe all the Arminian’s aren’t heretics after all. :D

Chris Johnson

Rick,

I like your line of thinking…. We understand that the Word was made flesh….or the written Word was and came to us “theonuestos”….God breathed to us the infallible resource…even the Jews were entrusted with the oracles …… yet the gospel makes effectual change and union with Christ, and all for God’s glory, not ours.

Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, “That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.” But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) By no means! For then how could God judge the world?
(Romans 3:2-6)

I think you have made my point. The gospel cannot fail the scriptures. It is impossible for God to lie.

Blessings,
Chris

Chris Johnson

oops, sorry about the spelling….
“Theopneustos”

Thomas Twitchell

Chris-

I agree, speaking in love requires that we speak with the utmost clearity and erudition. Every idle word will be brought into judgement and if we speak at all we are to speak as oracles of God. The love of God compels us, Paul would say. Yes, it constrains us to the Gospel which is both experienced and understood.

Acronyms and pneumonics are used often as teaching tools. It is not the letters or the word that they form that have the power, it is the ideas that are expressed by them, and in terms of the Gospel, we use this to encapsulate what Jesus said: “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” That tulip is a means to express this thing. It is truly unfortunate that some imply that it is what we believe that saves us, but this results in exactly one of the things that we divided from the Roman Church, implicit faith. Our faith is in Christ. And who he is is our faith. It does not reside outside of him. So, our systems, our beliefs, are not Faith. They merely reflect our understanding of Him.

In the end we must reject that which cannot be sustained in Scripture, for it is not love which abides not in the truth. As Paul demonstrated the greatest love, that he was willing to lay down his life for his brothers where Peter was not (ref John 21:15-19). In confronting Peter and James and the rest of the Jerusalem Council who had sent their falsehoods to Galatia, Paul asked rhetorically, “what are they to me? Answer: “Nothing!” Christ is all and in all. This is love in the extreme, willing even to confront the most suprememe Council of the Church. Bold, pure love.

How we need that today.

Chris Johnson

Thomas,

Thanks again for the comment.

It is truly a great day when we come to an agreement within our own hearts that Christ is our all in all. The writer to the Hebrews ended the letter leaning forward into that same substance….

Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.
(Hebrews 12:28-29)

Blessings,
Chris

Phil Guthrie

Extreme or Hyper . . . hmmmmmm.

I do not buy the current thinking of the day that suggests that one must never openly dissent or take such a strong stand as to cause some to cringe for fear that someone out there might be offended. This is not a matter of disrespect, but of honesty. What has happened to our ability to disagree agreeably? Or to deal with the substance of an issue without squabbling over which words we use?

The majority of five-point Calvinists with whom I come into contact are more interested in converting other believers to their system than reaching the lost. But this is just my own experience from the Ozark Hills. Label me a “Hillbilly” and don’t call me late for dinner!

God Bless y-all

Scott Gordon

Phil,

I’m here to break the stereotypes!
:-)

Sola Gratia!

Darby Livingston

Phil,

Could your words be construed as trying to convince “hyper-calvinists” to adopt a differing system?

Thomas Twitchell

Hillbilly-

Can I call you Hillphilly, or how about Philbilly?

Isn’t it funny that the establishment of these doctrines in Europe lead to the great missionary movements of modern times. Thank God for them, eh?

volfan007

thomas,

was it the doctrines that caused the great missionary movements, or could it have just been the working of the Holy Spirit? could it have been the work of God, or was it really the work of calvinism?

phil, i, too, am a hillbilly. i’m from tennessee. in thomas’ comments i believe you see a prime example of the extreme calvinist. i dont believe that he’s a hyper calvinist…..he believes in missions. but, if you will notice every comment he makes is to prove calvinism, to promote calvinism, to try to influence people to believe calvinism, t0 teach calvinism, etc. his comments, especially #12, show that everything is about five points to them, and if you and i dont believe the five poiints, then something is very wrong with you and me. phil, just like i tried to tell you in comment #9, they are obsessed with the five points and in trying to convert people to the five points. and, everything in the bible has to fit into the five points…no matter how round the hole may be, they’re gonna squeeze thier five sided box into it some way or another.

phil, God bless you, bro. hang in there and just believe the bible. and, dont let the extremes out there scare you away from great bible truths like election and predestination. they will bless you.

david

Thomas Twitchell

wolfanoo7-

Hardly-

The system or organization of Biblical Doctrine called Calvinism is besided the point. The doctrines the system contained, which Luther and Augutine held in part, which Calvin began to systemize and latter men formalized, where the organizing means by which God through the Holy Spirit used to revitalized Christianity throughout Europe and then worldwide.

Let me ask you, do you try to convince people of what you believe the Scripture says? What I find most disheartening about anti-Calvinists is their hypocrisy. For, you would disingenuously try to convince everyone that you are a Biblicist, but in that very attempt you propose a systematic to which you are trying to covert everyone you meet. Every time you open your mouth, pen a word or e-write, you are expressing a system of beliefs that you believe is the best system of Biblical truth.

You write on this site, and on others and you express your distain of calvinism and you’re not trying to convince others that you’re right? Right! So, don’t look down your nose at those who do nothing other than what you’re doing and then claim for yourself immunity from pride and arrogance. Engage the issues, or don’t, but don’t claim you’re not a proselytiser.

Chris Johnson

This is a little off topic…..but, we should never become as confused as Mitt Romney. He believes, as evidenced by his political speech last night, that a “system of faith” is what is important as long as there is freedom to express it. He stated,

“I believe that every faith I have encountered draws its adherents closer to God.”

God’s gospel is alien to this type of thinking no matter how much you name the name of Christ…..and every gospel pastor in America and abroad needs to take notice. The purpose of the gospel is to make effectual union to Christ and unity with His people. If I have to jettison Calvin or Arminius for that cause, …I am willing.

Good comments guys,
Blessings,
Chris

Thomas Twitchell

Absolutely Chris-

I have never disagreed that to enthrone a system usurping the place of the Gospel is wrong. If I had to jettison “Calvinism” for the sake of the Gospel, I would too. The arguement then becomes, and has always been, the truths of that system. Are they the Gospel? When Spurgeon said that Calvinism was the Gospel, he by no means exalted the system to equallity with it. It is the truths that are proclaimed in it. The term the Gospel is just that a term, a label. We could use evangel, if you want, or Euaggelion, if you like. In fact I kind of like that.

Now, if I drop the label Cavlinism, and just layout the doctrines of the TULIP, with out labeling those doctrines such, I would still expect that labels would be thrust upon them. The red herring is introduced so that the doctrine itself is not the focus. What usually takes its place, is some other argument that is often a caricature and not relevant, which usurps the focus of the discussion of any particular doctrine mentioned.

Systems, I agree cannot save. That is implicit faith. We do not have faith in faith, and we do not have faith in the gospel, we have Faith in the One revealed by that Gospel. Everywhere in Paul’s teaching he uses the term Faith most often and is it synonymous with Gospel. The Faith, it is clear, is a system of beliefs pertinent to the message of the system of knowledge known as the Gospel. For Jesus, it was the entirety of Scripture: “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” For Paul, it was as he said to Timothy, 2 Tim 3:15. Scripture is another name, a label, that Paul used as a synonym for the Gospel.

What is disturbing about the Romney quote is not just the univesalist claim that there is no difference in the systems of religion of the world as far as their efficacy in bringing men to God, which is definitely false, but that we in the church say that there is no difference in the various system within Christianity, as if they were all equally efficacious is proclaiming the Gospel.

You and I agree that the Gospel, that is the salvation that is revealed in Scripture, is without us, alien, and that it is the content of that Gospel that saves us, not our agreement with it, nor our understanding of it. But, despite us. I think, if I have followed you. God works his grace in us monergistically, forming in us the image of the Son who always does the will of His Father. The Son, irresistably returns to the Father. Obedience to the Gospel, repentance, and believing into Christ are gifts and do not inhere in us natively. But, being perfect, coming down from the Father of lights, they always do that thing which they were sent to do. May God then grant us understanding of the knowledge of Christ as revealed in the system that we call Scripture. By any name, the Gospel does not change.

volfan007

thomas,

i’m not looking down my nose at anybody….just telling it like it is.

also, i am a biblicist. i dont try to make the bible fit into a system. i just believe it like it’s written. and, you not being able to understand that just tells me a lot. believe me, i’ve studied calvinism….and ariminianism…and dispensationalism….and several other “ism’s.” and, if you want to be a five point calvinist, then fine. be one. more power to you. but, dont come down on the rest of us who are not five pointers as if we dont believe in the soveriegnty of God, or in grace, or we cant believe in the perseverance of the saints. also, dont try to tell us non-five pointers that we add works to salvation, either. okay?

also, while i’m at it….something that i get all the time from five pointers are that they think they are somehow more intellectual and more spiritual than the rest of us normal christians, because they believe in the five points. that somehow that’s the most intelligent way to believe, and they’re more spiritual because they’re willing to believe the five points. i have found this kind of arrogant pride in a lot of five pointers that i’ve dealt with in the past…not all of them….but, a lot of them. i have found in my experience that people who are into extremes of theology and practice usually do have a prideful arrogance about them. you know, i speak in tongues, and you dont. so, i’m more spiritual than you. or, i belong to the right and true church, and you dont. so, i’m more spiritual than you are. or, i’m thin and into fitness….our body is a temple you know, and you’re fat and dont exercise enough, and you drink caffeine and eat fatty foods, so i’m more spiritual than you. this really annoys me bad. super duper saints. and, thomas, sadly, i’ve found that to be very true amongst the five point crowd. i hope that you’re not one of those.

david

Thomas Twitchell

David-

You said that you were a biblicist. You believe in biblicism, so your argument that you do not believe in system or ism or try to make the bible fit your system, is false on its face. You just did try to convince me of the systems of your beliefs. That is the problem. I do not mind you trying to convince me of the truths you hold to; systematic truths that you just demonstrated that you have. And, I hope that you do not mind me doing likewise. Isn’t what is good for the goose, gravy for the gander? But, it is dishonest to say that you do not believe in a system when you obviously do, or you would not be disagreeing with me. All of us try to make the bible fit in to the system of our understanding. Or we lack understanding. It is called our belief system. So, I would ask you the same thing: “don’t try to convince me that you do not believe in works”. I say that facetiously, because what you are doing is trying to convince me of the system of your beliefs. And I have not accused you of works salvation because you have not articulated how you think you are saved, or continue to be. The moment that you do, as you are doing when you offerered your apologetic for your Biblicism, you have entered in to the arena of polemics, offering a defense for you systematic beliefs.

As a matter of fact, whenever you share the Gospel with anyone, you are offering an apologetic, a system of beliefs, a defense of the hope that is within you, which you, just like me, believes is the Way.

Chris Johnson

Pastors need to acquire the same attitude that Paul displayed to the church at Rome. His aim was to supply the truth concerning their connection to Christ and to be edified by them. To be edified by them is an extremely important statement.

For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you– that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.
(Romans 1:11-12)

So,… members of our churches, including those gifted by the Spirit of God to be pastors must learn how to be edified by fellow pastors and members of sister churches. I believe this has been lost in our “church” culture. I pray we will continue to overcome the sin that so easily besets us and learn to love one another.

I appreciate your comments,
Blessings,
Chris

Thomas Twitchell

Paul was quick to admit that though his desire was to impart some spiritual gift, his desire was also to be mutually edified. The communion is often not looked at in this way. We tend to think of it only in regards to Christ, and not his body, the Church. Perhaps that is why John does not include a discription of the Supper, but does the foot washing with Jesus concluding that seeing he had done this for them, the likewise ought to do it for each other.

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