Colossians Against Calvinism

July 7, 2016

Dr. Michael A. Cox | Pastor
First Baptist Church, Pryor, OK

***Editor’s Note: Dr. Cox’s book, “Not One Little Child: A Biblical Critique of Calvinism” is available for purchase HERE.

Calvinism teaches that the human will has been so utterly destroyed by the sin of Adam that it cannot choose to place faith in Christ even if it wanted to do so. It also claims that certain humans are unconditionally elected by God for salvation, while all others are left unelected and have no hope of experiencing God’s grace. It further asserts that the atoning work of Christ on the cross is absolutely limited in its extent only to the elect. It additionally declares that God’s grace is completely irresistible for the elect.

Conversely, Col. 1:25-29 boldly announces that God revealed the riches of the glory of the mystery of the gospel of Jesus Christ because He wants every person presented to Himself complete in Christ, as expressly stated in v. 28. God’s desire is for every person to be saved and to grow into full maturity in Jesus Christ.

This verse, therefore, and its theme of “every person,” is the focus of this article, as I contend that The Book of Colossians argues here not only against Gnostic-like false teachings prevalent in Colossae in terms of the verse’s interpretation, but also against the teachings of Calvinism and Reformed theology in terms of the verse’s application. Colossians is against Calvinism, particularly as seen in Col. 1:25-29.

25Of this church I was made a minister according to the stewardship from God bestowed on me for your benefit, that I might fully carry out the preaching of the word of God, 26that is, the mystery which has been hidden from the past ages and generations; but has now been manifested to His saints, 27to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. 28And we proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, that we may present every man complete in Christ. 29And for this purpose also I labor, striving according to His power, which mightily works within me.

God Unveiled the Riches of the Glory of the Mystery
Most of the world only knew God as the God of the Jews. The Jews had, somewhat purposely, kept a lid on the extent to which God wished to bless the world through Abraham, doing a grossly inadequate job of missionary outreach, as The Book of Jonah adequately attests; yet, God wanted himself known as the God of the Gentiles too, which is how things had begun with Adam and continued with Abraham, both antedating Israel/Jews as a people group. Thus, Paul explains that God willed to make known the riches of the glory of the mystery to His saints. So what are the riches of the glory of the mystery? We can identify at least four rich truths of the mystery revealed: (1) Christ in you, thus indicating a union with Christ resulting in righteousness and salvation[1]; (2) admission of the Gentiles into union with Christ the same as Jews, even though vestiges of this had already been revealed in the covenant with Abraham (cf. Gen. 12:1-3); (3) Christ is not just for the Jews, but for all people everywhere; (4) Christ in us is our only hope of glory.

God Wants Every Person Presented Complete in Christ
Paul’s practice was to proclaim, admonish, and teach. He proclaimed Christ to every person, then he admonished, or warned, every person, which involved notifying both believers and unbelievers, Jews and Gentiles, of the consequential risks related to choices, character, and conduct, and such admonitions were done without distinction of race or nationality, clearly implying that every human soul is priceless to Christ. Then, Paul says he taught every person with all wisdom. This means instruction is necessary both before and after salvation, that discipleship is the obligatory tail-side of the coin whose head-side is evangelism.

Now to the gist of the passage and my focus in this article. Paul wanted desperately to present every person complete in Christ. This means that people are, by nature, not in Christ, and certainly not complete in Him, which raises a question: If all are saved by the atonement, as Universalism teaches, then why does Paul suggest that anybody is outside of Christ? Universalism, therefore, is wrong!

Further, if only an exclusive few are predestined, that is elected, for completion in Christ, and salvation by grace through faith is the necessary first-step toward completion, then why does this verse teach that Paul’s God-given purpose was to present every person complete in Christ, and every person is repeated three times so as not to miss its emphatic, inclusive scope?

Judaism had no place in salvation for every person. Neither the Gnostic-like false teachings plaguing Colossae, nor later Gnosticism, had any place in salvation for every person. Similarly, Calvinism has no place in salvation for every person. It is, therefore, inexplicable how the emphatic clarity of the inclusion of every person within the scope of presentation in Christ-like completeness to God can be so easily abandoned.

Presentation to God the Father in Christ-like completeness, and therefore salvation, is not the exclusive privilege of either the enlightened few or the elect few. There is no such thing as a spiritual or intellectual aristocracy with Christ. Relationship with Christ is not simply for some spiritually elite caste. God wants every person saved and every saved person to grow to full spiritual maturity. Colossians is against Universalism. Colossians is against Judaism. Colossians is against Gnostic-like teachings. Colossians is against Calvinism.

Paul preached for a verdict, and so should we. The final purpose, or goal, is the presentation to God the Father of every person as a fully mature, complete believer who is being and doing what God wills. “Every” means that God desires that not even one person be lost, undoubtedly stressing the universal scope of the gospel message, the unlimited extent of the atonement, and the genuine possibility of redemption for every person, conditional, of course, upon faith in Christ and repentance. It would be profoundly disingenuous to proclaim the universality of the gospel if some, because of so-called non-election, could not actually respond to it in faith.[2] To preach the gospel and then invite hearers to make a decision to place faith in Christ is only sincere when we actually believe that it is possible for every hearer to place faith in Christ and be saved. To do otherwise lacks integrity and is sorely at odds with Colossians.

The entire Church of the Lord Jesus is hereby, again, charged with evangelizing the world (cf. Matt. 28:18-20; Acts 1:8) with the full confidence that every person is important to Christ and every person can receive Christ. William Barclay states this succinctly when he writes, “The fact is that the only thing in this world which is for everyone is Christ.”[3]

Conclusion
Paul labored for the purpose of presenting every person complete in Christ and he says he labored according to God’s power, not his own, acknowledging that God’s power was working in him (v. 29). Perhaps by losing sight of the riches of the glory of the mystery revealed, especially the scope of the riches and Paul’s God-given purpose in proclaiming, admonishing, and teaching, we have also forfeited the power of God in proclaiming, admonishing, and teaching Jesus to the world. It’s time to rethink the implications of Colossians against Calvinism and get back to the plain meaning of v. 28 — that all Christians do their part, especially preachers, to present every person complete in Christ, knowing that this is both possible and is our God-given purpose.

 

[1]E. Earle Ellis, The Epistle to the Colossians, in The Wycliffe Bible Commentary, ed. Charles F. Pfeiffer and Everett F. Harrison (Nashville, TN: The Southwestern Company, 1962): 1339.
[2]I am indebted to David L. Allen, former Dean of the School of Theology and new Dean of the recently launched School of Preaching and Distinguished Professor of Preaching at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, for this observation made at the Connect 316 dinner held 14 June 2016 during the week of the Southern Baptist Convention in St. Louis, Missouri. Allen was speaking on the extent of the atonement based on his forthcoming book entitled, The Extent of the Atonement: History and Critique, by B & H Academic Publishing.
[3]William Barclay, The Letters to the Philippians, Colossians, and Thessalonians, in The Daily Bible Study Series, vol. 11 (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2003): 147.

 

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Alan House

Very helpful writing. Probably the reformed have any number of reasons why “every” *really* means “NOT every” which can only be understood if one is privy to Our Heavenly Father’s “secret” decrees and is also able to place them in the correct order. I guess they really haven’t been much of a secret since around 1500?

rhutchin

Pastor Cox begins, “Calvinism teaches that the human will has been so utterly destroyed by the sin of Adam that it cannot choose to place faith in Christ even if it wanted to do so.”

We should do better than that. Calvinism says that the corruption caused by Adam’s sin resulted in the loss of faith. While the human nature also became depraved, it also lacks the faith necessary to follow Christ. This conclusion is supported by these verses.

1. “Without faith, it is impossible to please God.” Hebrews 11
2. “Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.” Romans 8
3. “…not everyone has faith.” 2 Thessalonians 3

Faith must first be restored before a person can choose Christ and “faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Thus, the imperative, “Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” The person who does not hear the gospel will never have any desire for Christ or the faith to follow Christ.

    Andrew Barker

    rhutchin: You demonstrate time and time again, that all you can do is quote scripture. But you don’t understand it …. at all. The faith which is talked about in Hebrews 11 is not something which was ‘given’ to any of those mentioned. Abel, Noah Abraham none of these are recorded as having been given faith. They all express their faith by their actions. Moses was saved by the ‘faith’ of his parents who hid their child for three months. They weren’t ‘given’ this faith beforehand, it was something which they always had. Their job was to express the faith they had, not conjure it up from somewhere. 2 Thess 3 says nothing specifically about faith so quite how this becomes relevant in your ‘argument’ is a mystery. The only lack which is obvious is your inability to string a coherent statement together.

      rhutchin

      2 Thessalonians 3 – “…pray that we may be delivered from wicked and evil men, for not everyone has faith.”

      Paul asks prayer to be delivered from wicked and evil men (the unsaved are wicked and evil men) because not everyone has faith – – referring to the wicked and evil men not having faith. From this verse, we can understand that the unsaved are unsaved because they do not have faith; by contrast, believers have faith. Hebrews is clear – without faith no one can please God. Faith is that characteristic of a person that marks him as a believer as Paul explains in Romans 8. Faith in the Scriptures is faith in God and those who exercise faith exercise faith in God as is easily seen in the actions of Moses’ parents and those mentioned in Hebrews 11.

        Andrew Barker

        rhutchin: As I pointed out, believers are those who act in faith, unbelievers do not. Your inference that this ‘faith’ has therefore to be given to them is simply that …. inferred on your part and not stated in scripture. In addition, you have still made no comment on why Abel Noah and Abraham were men of faith without any hint of God giving them their faith! Your cherry picking approach to doctrine doesn’t bear close scrutiny.

          rhutchin

          I’ll go with 2 Thessalonians 3 as to the unsaved not having faith reinforced by Romans 8.
          Hebrews 11 is silent as to the source of the faith demonstrated by those listed. We would have to look elsewhere in the Scriptures to discover if those people were born with faith or were given that faith as a gift from God.

        Nelson Banuchi

        “not everyone has faith” because they *refuse* to believe. Faith is not something God plops on “the elect” as if they do not have it, like a missing limb. Faith is the attitude of the heart, which men as sinners cannot and refuse to exercise until the grace of God provides them with the opportunity; then they can either receive the grace or remain in their unbelief, refusing grace.

          rhutchin

          That’s a basic Pelagian description and I just don’t buy it.

            Andrew Barker

            rhutchin: I’m not sure if you’re vying for a new fallacy to be called after you, but you must be in the running! Your constant recourse to Pelagian (and Open Theism when it suits you) ‘heresy’ indicates that you have no answer yourself. You can’t even quote Pelagius on this either, since it’s highly likely he never wrote it down the way people say he did.

            The fact that you “just don’t buy it” is a poor attempt to cover up the fact that you are theologically bankrupt!

    Bud Wiley

    Dear rhutchin
    Calvinists often teach that preaching the gospel to the unregenerate is like preaching to a dead man in a coffin who cannot repent and believe the gospel.But you say that faith comes by hearing the word thus the imperative of preaching the gospel to every creature.The Calvinist also teaches Christ did not die for everyone and that God does not will for every creature to be saved or to repent and believe the gospel and that God does not love everyone.Bible says God is commanding all men to repent so that he might have mercy on all but according to Calvinism he only wants to have mercy on a few

      rhutchin

      Faith is a gift from God per Ephesians 2. The means that God uses to extend faith to a person is the preaching of the gospel. Absent the preaching of the gospel, no one could receive faith and none could be saved. It appears that God does not give faith to all people who hear the gospel preached.

      God may have mercy on some or all. If God wills to save all, the Calvinist has no problem. The Scriptures strongly indicate that God will not save all – e..g, Matthew 7.

      Jim Poulos

      The target for that gift mentioned in Ephesians 2 is not ‘faith. The target of the gift in Eph. 2 is ‘salvation.’ Just a little bit of knowledge of Greek here would go along way in this.

      Faith is an inherent quality in every person. It comes alive (born again language) when God’s Spirit is at work in that person life.

      The Gospel is the ‘power of God’ unto Salvation. Once that ‘faith’ comes alive in a person that person becomes knowledgable about God and that knowledge makes that person accountable, making that faith more and more precious.

      ‘Without faith it is impossible to Please God.”

        rhutchin

        My understanding is that the “gift” encompasses both grace and faith as well as salvation a as whole – everyone agrees that salvation is a gift . The “gift” is place opposite “works” which seems to point to the means of salvation – grace and faith – as the gift; at least part of it. But we will have to let the Greek guys sort it out.

        That faith is inherent to the individual is a fine Pelagian concept. I don’t buy into that like you do.

            rhutchin

            Thanks for the reference. I bought the book (Kindle) and read it (pretty much). It is a solid treatment of the art of diagramming sentences and I found it a good refresher of high school and more (more than I really wanted to know about diagramming sentences). Nonetheless, it has one major failing – it diagrams the English translations of the Scriptures and not the original Greek text. Coincidentally, this failing shows up in the treatment of Ephesians 2:8. The book takes the phrases “by grace” and “through faith” as prepositional phrases because that is how they are translated in the English text. Not so in the Greek text. In the Greek text, we read, “ta(i) chariti,” and it is a noun in the dative case so normally an indirect object. In this case, I think it is labeled a dative of means. Then the word “saved” is a participle and should be understood as “having been saved.” So, a somewhat literal rendering could be, “You are having been grace saved.” It would have been neat to see this sentence diagrammed following the Greek text. Anyway, the main thought of Ephesians 2:8 is that salvation is by grace. Paul then adds, “through faith,” and this is subordinate to the main thought. What does it all mean? Well, that’s where no solid explanation seems to exist. It would have been nice to see the sentence diagrammed following the Greek text. In the end, the book is good and didn’t cost me a lot of money, but it was not useful for understanding Ephesians 2:8.

        Jim Poulos

        You don’t need to be a Greek guy. You just need to study and think just a little bit.

        ‘Through faith’ is how it is stated. The gift of ‘salvation’ is appropriated ‘through faith.’

        Just saying what some else says and throwing labels onto others is not thinking for yourself.

        Thinking for your self is what salvation is about.

          rhutchin

          Jim writes, “‘Through faith’ is how it is stated. The gift of ‘salvation’ is appropriated ‘through faith.’”

          In 1 John 5, “This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.”

          Faith is the means by which a person appropriates salvation and then lives a life in submission to Christ. Ultimately, a person is saved by grace.

          Then, “Thinking for your self is what salvation is about.”

          Salvation is about renewing your mind and thinking like God thinks.

            JIm Poulos

            Oh, Brother!

            Andrew Barker

            As a statement on its own …. “Ultimately, a person is saved by grace.” this is demonstrably incorrect. The correct wording is as follows … “It is by grace that we are saved through faith”. There is nothing about ‘our’ faith that means God must or is duty bound to save us. Our ‘faith’ means nothing of itself. It is only because our ‘faith’ is based in truth (that Jesus saves those who come to him through faith) that our faith actually amounts to anything. If we place our faith in someone or something else, that very same faith will come to nought.

            If salvation was ever just a gift which God doled out to whomsoever he wishes, then you have the extremes of Calvinism or Universalism. The Universalists say that God chooses to save all and the Calvinists say that God chooses to save some. But either way, it would be entirely at God’s discretion. Both camps are of course wrong in their assumptions. God instead has chosen to save all those who come to him …. through faith.!

              rhutchin

              “God instead has chosen to save all those who come to him…”

              In John 6, Christ says, “No one can come to me…” (v44)

Ron

Did I understand you to say that “salvation is not the exclusive privilege of . . . the elect”? And you seem to suggest that the fact that Paul preaches to and tries to persuade every person to come to faith in Christ (which is literally all that verse 28 says and which all non-hyper-Calvinists believe is our duty) is all we need to know to understand the extent of man’s depravity and God’s desires, purposes and decrees. Sorry, there’s too big a gap in your logic.

Ken

Dr. Cox:

Outstanding treatise of this subject. Your understanding of God’s plan of salvation is irrefutable by scripture. It proves that Calvinist theology is man-made, not God-made.

I just wish every SB in particular but also every man, woman, and child in the world could read your message with an open mind.

May God bless your ministry.

kyle

The argument falls flat from even a plain reading of the verse being used against God’s sovereignty.
Every person describes those presented complete in Christ. Not ever person, as this writer so badly twists the term, is going to be presented complete in Christ. The fact Christ paints the opposite picture. That is, the way is broad leading to desctruction. The argument is completely silly and reveals a very poor unerstanding of English grammer, let alone the whole of scripture. I wouldn’t want this guy in any pulpit where I was a church member. He can’t get a simple grammer correct on one verse. Lord help the rest of the verses in scripture. He should resign from pulpit work.

    Ken

    kyle:

    Since you are quite critical of DR. Cox’s “grammer” allow me to point out that the correct spelling of the intended word is “grammar.”

    From what should you resign?

kyle

From getting upset when I hear weak arguments and auto spell check on my phone.
I would be happy to come to ok and debate this issue with Mr. Cox’s in his church. He doesn’t even correctly outline the teaching of God’s Word regarding man’s inability and that is always a very poor start to an argument. In the words of A.W. Pink, who’s in charge of this world God or the devil? Sadly, it has gotten worse in the meantime. If Pink were to rewrite his book today, he would have to ask…who’s in charge of this world, God or man? For 90 percent of evangelical people the answer would be man.

    Andrew Barker

    kyle: Your bad spelling is the least of your problems. If you persist in quoting the hyper-calvinist Pink you’re going to end up self identifying with him and his beliefs. Perhaps you already do?

      Randall Cofield

      If you persist in attending an Anglican Church, Andrew Barker, you are going to end up self-identifying with them and their beliefs. Perhaps you already do? Baptized any babies lately?

      Your penchant for correcting others is quite comical given your own gaping ecclesiastical and and soteriological inconsistencies.

        Lydia

        Randall, Are you kidding? the Anglicans are much more likely to allow differing views than your lot who beat with clubs.

        I am not Anglican and can assure you I encourage people to look at Pinks life and especially his death. He ended up a church of one because only he had the purist truth. I Honestly believe he was most likely manic depressive.

          Randall Cofield

          “Randall, Are you kidding? the Anglicans are much more likely to allow differing views…”

          No, I’m not kidding, Lydia. Indeed the Anglicans do “allow differing views”–even affirming the homosexual lifestyle, not unlike the liberal CBF churches with which you associate. They are also quite fond of your liberal egalitarian views.

          Both yours and Andrew’s antics on this site are rather comical, not to mention hypocritical, given the liberal theological baggage you both bring to the table.

          But neither of you want to talk about that, do you? Notice how quickly Andrew tried to distance himself from the Anglican church he attends regularly?

            Lydia

            Randall You left out Jezebel. And Pelagian. You are slipping.

            Where have I affirmed homosexually? I do not believe it was God’s intention for one single minute. I admit I am a live and let live person that does not believe we have a lot of control over what others do outside our venues. I am not happy that nine unelected judges are making law, either.

            It might really benefit you to work in the real world for a change. Get out of the bubble or compound. But then you might have to actually work with homosexuals and get along with them as real human beings. Your female boss might even be one. I would buy a ticket to see that one.

              Mary

              Lydia, Was it Miller who recently called a woman a lesbian for posting a dissenting view? That’s a new one.

                Lydia

                “Lydia, Was it Miller who recently called a woman a lesbian for posting a dissenting view? That’s a new one.”

                And liking cat pictures. Turns out he had the wrong person. When it comes to ESS, I was cheering Kitty.

                  Mary

                  You have to wonder why she didn’t show up for the ESS thread??? Wait, no we don’t have to wonder why since it’s Miller we’re talking about. Calling a woman “liberal” just isn’t insulting enough anymore I guess.

                    Lydia

                    My guess? Kitty did not show up for the ESS thread because she was making too much sense and had to be censored. Or, Kitty realized what she was dealing with and how low some “men of God” will go to shut people down. Sad stuff.

                    Mary

                    “……. had to be censored.”

                    Some women just get uppity and need to be shut down.

              Randall Cofield

              “Where have I affirmed homosexually?”

              You affiliate with gay-affirming CBF churches, defend gay-affirming Anglicanism, and maintain a libertarian “live and let live” attitude while homosexuality destroys many of your fellow man. Bottom line, you are a liberal masquerading on this site as a watchdog on conservative issues. That is hypocrisy.

              “It might really benefit you to work in the real world for a change.”

              I’ve spent 40 years working in the “real world,” and fifteen of that as a bivocational pastor. You, on the other hand, while away your days alternating between hobnobbing on egalitarian blogs and commenting here, pretending to be conservative while venting your hatred of the SBC. Again, that is hypocrisy.

              “But then you might have to actually work with homosexuals and get along with them as real human beings. Your female boss might even be one.”

              I’ve ministered to a number of homosexuals over the years. Even had the privilege of seeing a few converted. Perhaps it is you who should get up from behind you keyboard and engage a homosexual with the gospel?

              And I’m guessing you would like to be my “female boss”?

              You are a closet liberal, Lydia-no-last-name.

                Lydia

                Actually Randall, I am an outspoken libertarian. Sadly, the above comment sounds like you are a stalker or a Soviet informant. Surely you are not reading egalitarian and homosexual affirming blogs? Perhaps it is for oppo research? :o)

                Your lot seeks to control people. You are woefully ignorant if you think all CBF churches are on the same page. I have visited two looking for the horns. One was extremely liberal but had more scripture reading then I have heard in an SBC church in 10 years. And as an adult I am extremely offended when anyone tries to tell me who I should or should not vote for. And that includes both the left and the right and in between. One positive point is that the pastor did not try to make himself the star of the show as so many YRR do today.

                The other CBF church is in the country and the teaching was focused on Jesus Christ. No politics at all. That is my extent of “CBF” affirming.

                You sound a lot like the Soviets in that a horrible accusation was that one was known to be associating with dissidents. Will I be brought up before the peoples collective tribunal? You can’t “church discipline” me for not towing your party line. You can’t insult me. Whatever can you do? The lack of control must be maddening for you.

                  Lydia

                  Randall, reading your comment again, I have come to the conclusion you were born 500 years too late. You really need a state church where you are one of the policy makers and enforcers. Just think of the control you would have had over people! 5

                  My advice is to read only the Gospels for several years and stop with the gurus. Get to really know Jesus Christ. The irony is he had more to say about the religious leaders of his own tribe than he did the occupying Roman Pagans. There is your clue.

                  Randall Cofield

                  As per usual in these exchanges, you are hyper-ventilating again, Lydia. Try breathing into a brown paper bag.

                  I have no desire to “church discipline” you, nor am I affiliated with the KGB. I’m merely pointing out that you bring a significant amount of liberal baggage to these discussions (which you try to hide, though poorly), not to mention an irrational hatred of the SBC in general.

                  No need to wig out on me.

                    Mary

                    Lydia, you emotional woman you. All these L insults. Just think what a Baptist preacher could do alliteration wise.

                    An uppity woman could be:

                    1. Liberal
                    2. Libertarian
                    or gasp maybe even
                    3. Lesbian who
                    4. Loves cats

                    Lydia

                    Randall,

                    As a Southern woman, I would never hyperventilate. I would get the vapors.

                    I am glad you know the definition of a liberal these days. The lines are blurring. The very Calvinist Gospel coalition promoted a homosexual church planter. Russ Moore is hijacking the typical liberal political issues on behalf of all Southern Baptists. And so on.

                    You gotta keep up, man! I think I will take to my bed with some mint tea. Excellent remedy for the vapors in this heat.

                    Lydia

                    Mary,

                    when I overcome the vapors, I will change loves cats to loves dogs. I am convinced cats are from the Fall. :o)

                    Your uppity sister

                    Randall Cofield

                    Your feminist roots are showing beneath your Christiany egalitarian coiffure, ladies.

                    Lydia, you said: “You are woefully ignorant if you think all CBF churches are on the same page. I have visited two looking for the horns…That is my extent of “CBF” affirming.”

                    Either you are being dishonest here or you were being dishonest over at TWW. Which is it?

                    And I wouldn’t expect you to notice the liberalism in CBF churches as you have drunk the kool-aid.

                    Lydia

                    “Either you are being dishonest here or you were being dishonest over at TWW. Which is it?”

                    Randall, Glad to see you are reading or doing oppo research. :o). I outlined my experience with 2 CBF churches to you in a comment stuck somewhere. I have moved on to visiting a few Episcopalian churches. They don’t have kook aid but the real stuff. :o)

                    If you can link to the TWW comments in question, it would help in clearing up any misunderstanding. Then you can call off Torquemada. :o)

                    Randall Cofield

                    Lydia, you commented at TWW that you have attended a number of CBF churches over the last decade, leaving the impression that your experience with CBF churches was significantly more substantive than merely two.

                    Now you are visiting Episcopalian churches…sheesh. Are you unaware of their utter capitulation to the LGBT lobby?

                    You are not only liberal, but you are growing more liberal in your ecclesiastic affiliations. Which brings me to the whole point of my engagement here.

                    You, like Andrew, presume to chide and deride Calvinists on this site, all the while descending further into theological liberalism yourself.

                    I’ll tell you the same thing I told Andrew: We Southern Baptists may have our internecine squabbles, but we are not so paralyzed as to be debating the inerrancy and authority of Scripture concerning the sinfulness of homosexuality.

                    Perhaps you should do a little housekeeping of your own before you presume to come and sweep our back porch? Isn’t that just a wee bit arrogant?

                    Yes, it is.

                    Lydia

                    “Lydia, you commented at TWW that you have attended a number of CBF churches over the last decade, leaving the impression that your experience with CBF churches was significantly more substantive than merely two.”

                    Randall, Again, I respectfully ask you to link to the comments. I have visited 2 CBF in the last 5 or 6 years. One is rural and quite conservative with lots of old people. Another was more urban and liberal with a classical music program. We have visited there 3 times mostly because my daughter is a classical vocalist. It was more liturgical lthan I expected with lots of in depth scripture reading in spite of their views.

                    I realize in your world these are heinous sins. Perhaps I can can find absolution in attending a Presbyterian church soon where my daughter will be singing some religious Mozart.

                    The Episcopalian adventure was interesting. Did you know the big gold hat folds? I was trying hard not to think of Henry the 8th. The cool thing was all the scripture. Whole chapters. Beside the hat and other accoutrements, the bishop was not the star of the show with only a 10 min homily on the resurrection. A far cry from the YRR showman who tell us their sermon is the mist importsnt event of our week. I have no plans to swim the Thames.

                    Again, I remind you- your tribe is busy going native. They are taking up typically liberal causes all over the place. Homosexual church planters, promoting Mosque building and the ever low hanging fruit issue of racism/white guilt instead of promoting the value of each human. Your tribe is even telling us if we vote for a certain person we should question our salvation. And worse, they teach Jesus is a lesser god with ESS. No thanks.

                    You might want to check your definition. Have you so quickly forgotten Mohlers words not long ago at a convention about homosexuality could very well be genetic?

                    Are you sure you should be associating at all with such types? Or have you packed them all in for Montana? Btw: Are your comments indicative of how church discipline is dealt with in your church. They are branded liberals if they visit a CBF church?

                  Randall Cofield

                  Lydia, you are the gift that just keeps on giving. I point out that you are a liberal and your objections reveal, well, a liberal.

                  While I have no intention of wading through that cesspool of comments over at TWW to find your exact quote, surely you are not going to contend that you do not maintain a very different persona on that site as compared to here? That you are attending and affirming CBF AND Episcopalian churches speaks volumes. That you do not recognize such is further affirmation of your blind liberalism.

                  Notice your approval of 10 minute Episcopalian homilies. Didn’t Paul tell us that liberals :-) would not endure sound doctrine, but would heap to themselves teachers having itching ears…who preach sermonettes for liberal christianettes? You betray your liberal rejection of the Word of God yet again, as if attending inspiration-denying churches were not enough.

                  Now to your grab-bag of petulant and petty “liberal” accusations:

                  “homosexual church planters”–my tribe is the SBC. We have no homosexual church planters that I am aware of. Perhaps you can enlighten me?

                  “Mosque building”–since when did religious liberty become a “liberal” cause?

                  “Racism/white guilt”–Your hatred of the SBC is simply clouding your understanding on this one.

                  “Lesser Jesus/ESS”–Please. Such debates can only take place where there is clear submission to the authority of Scripture. The fact that egalitarian, authority-denying vultures are trying to hijack the conversation is rather comical.

                  “Mohler/homosexuality may be genetic”–I was in the convention hall when that took place. He did not say that homosexuality may be genetic. This is typical for liberals like yourself, Scott Shaver, and K.D., et al, and I have watched you do it repeatedly over the years. In your rabid hatred of all things SBC, you overlay things with conjecture, repeat them vociferously for six months, then begin stating them as fact. You don’t even recognize what you are doing.

                  You have sold out to liberalism, Lydia-no-last-name. That you hypocritically use this site to rail against the SBC is at the same time evidently arrogant, theologically blind, and sadly comical.

                    Lydia

                    Randall, Most topics discussed on TWW are not discussed here. It could be just basic manners. A bull in the China shop approach is bad manners. A blog is like a public but private backyard gathering. One is a guest and comports themselves accordingly. I appreciate blogs that allow other views. In the SBC/Neo Cal blogosphere the issue of debating Calvinism has been controlled and censored by most blogs.

                    Your approach diminishes you. It is a laser focus bent on ruining people. JD Hall comes to mind.

                    Have you even given thought to how important it is to you to do all you can to personally marginalize a person who disagrees in order to censor them. That is a legacy of the Reformed movement.

                    Randall Cofield

                    “It could be just basic manners…Your approach diminishes you. It is a laser focus bent on ruining people.”

                    That’s pretty rich, Lydia, given the kind of dishonest, derisive, character assassination I’ve watched you practice for years here. Scripture teaches that we are to expose works of darkness, so what I am doing here has nothing to do with “ruining people.” Further, your accusation is quite preposterous when one stops to consider that you post anonymously.

                    “Have you even given thought to how important it is to you to do all you can to personally marginalize a person who disagrees in order to censor them.”

                    Lydia, I’ve not marginalized you. You marginalize yourself at the SBC table when you deny the inerrant, authoritative, and sufficient nature of Scripture. Every single time someone appeals to scripture you dismiss such and seek to reorient the discussion along ideological lines–a typical liberal ploy. We have already fought that battle, and your side lost.

                    Now, this is not to say that you are never welcome to return to the table. You are welcome, but you know full well the prerequisite. Perhaps this is why you find CBF and Episcopalian churches preferable.

        Andrew Barker

        Randall: Ha ha, thanks for the laugh Randall. The difference is that even though I attend an Anglican church, you won’t find me quoting any liturgy or ‘confessions’ unlike your ‘brethren’ from the Reformed side. As far as baptism is concerned, I do not hold to covenant theology (unlike the vicar) and in fact I had the delight of hearing the news that my eldest boy was being baptised at the church he attends during Uni. It was his decision alone and made entirely independently of us although I like to think that he learned a bit from us regarding baptism and what it means. Oh, and yes, it was full immersion!

        You are obviously entirely ignorant of what the C of E (C in W) is like. There are plenty of vicars who will baptise by immersion and it falls well within the limits of orthodoxy as far as the church is concerned.

        As far as influencing my beliefs, I think it’s more likely to go the other way round. I’m presently considering getting training to take a more active part in teaching/preaching and ministry in general. I can assure you that I won’t be doing this as a clone of some ideal vicar/curate. It may never happen of course, but I’m looking at possibilities.

        And as far as having a penchant for correcting others, brother you are a complete joker aren’t you! I mean, when you comment it’s different from when I comment?

          Randall Cofield

          That’s an awful lot of “explaining” Andrew, especially given that scripture teaches us to disassociate ourselves from works of darkness.

            Andrew Barker

            Well, Randall, you’re scraping the bottom with that comment. I think I’ll leave you wallowing in your own mire thanks! :)

              Randall Cofield

              Andrew, in my experience, “scraping the bottom” and hitting too close to home is only a matter of perspective when dealing with liberalism.

              And you are welcome.

                Andrew Barker

                Randall: “works of darkness” followed by “liberalism”. Have you any more tunes to play? Mind you, there’s nothing to back up your comments as usual. Nothing more than your opinion. Oh yes, wild accusations that the Anglican communion is gay-affirming demonstrate your inability to engage in proper debate. Not that I’m here to defend Anglicanism in any way. It’s simply not that big an issue for me. But tell me when you can define what you mean by “works of darkness”. Perhaps I’m engaging in them unbeknown to me :-o !!

                  Randall Cofield

                  “wild accusations,” Andrew? I find it difficult to believe you are unaware that LGBT issues are threatening to fracture the Anglican Communion worldwide. And the Primates, even the conservative ones, have absolutely no idea how to confront this, so they kicked the can three years down the road. The BBC recently reported: “With same-sex marriage now part of civil law in England, the Church’s insistence that it should not form part of Canon law is increasingly contested by some of its own clergy and members of its congregation.”

                  A classic case of failure to separate from works of darkness if I’ve ever seen one.

                  My point is simply this: Your chiding of Calvinists on this site is rather ridiculous given the deplorable conditions that prevail in the Church of your choice. We Southern Baptists may have our internecine squabbles, but we are not so paralyzed as to be debating the inerrancy and authority of Scripture concerning the sinfulness of homosexuality.

                  Perhaps you should do a little housekeeping of your own before you presume to come and sweep our back porch? Isn’t that just a wee bit arrogant?

            Lydia

            “That’s an awful lot of “explaining” Andrew, especially given that scripture teaches us to disassociate ourselves from works of darkness.”

            So, a guy like NT Wright teaches works of darkness? Randall, are you living in a compound in Montana?

              Randall Cofield

              N. T. Wright has bought into the New Testament-perverting “New Perspective” of Sanders, et al. As you are seemingly unaware of this, perhaps it is you who are living in a “compound”?

                Lydia

                “NT. Wright has bought into the New Testament-perverting “New Perspective” of Sanders, et al. As you are seemingly unaware of this, perhaps it is you who are living in a “compound”?”

                I have never read Sanders. I have read a bit of Wright. Most recently, “Paul and the Faithfulness of God”. Obviously there are things I disagree with Wright. I totally agree with his position on the resurrection. Yes and yes!
                But as an inquiring NT scholar he is most interesting. I fear your lot is too focused on indoctrination. You were indoctrinated and that is all you know how to do. NPP is sadly misnamed. There are quite a few positions and teachings that came out of the Reformation that need to be questioned. He has outlined his disagreement with Sanders position just as a real scholar would do, amicably. He appeared on unbelievable radio with James White? It is interesting to hear him interact with indoctrinators.

                Years ago, Piper tried to position Wright as a heretic over their differences on Justification. That was the first I had heard of him. If Piper thought that –it was like a promotional ad to me. So I started listening to him.

                Piper is now sending out tweets about Exodus passages showing God mooning the Pope. Wrights latest is “Simply The Good News”.

                I know nothing of the man personally. He could be torturing kittens in the basement of his home in saint Andrews for all I know . But he is one of the few scholars who can teach in layman’s terms .

                If you think him bad, it is just another promotional ad to me. You think he teaches darkness but not John Calvin? Strange.

                  Randall Cofield

                  “NPP is sadly misnamed. There are quite a few positions and teachings that came out of the Reformation that need to be questioned.”

                  That is the canned liberal response on NPP that is offered when the liberal really has no idea what NPP entails.

                    Lydia

                    “That is the canned liberal response on NPP that is offered when the liberal really has no idea what NPP entails.”

                    And this is a canned response to any disagreement: Liberal

                    You really need to look into blurring definition of what passes for liberal these days in the SBC. Ever think the guy representing the SBC in the media would be involved in supporting the legal wranglings of building a Mosque?

                    Randall Cofield

                    Since when did religious liberty become a liberal issue?

          Les Prouty

          Well, I’ve been generally not commenting here lately. But I’ll come out to somewhat defend Andrew here. I don’t know about his particular congregation in Wales, but I’ve visited several times over the years at St. Helen’s Bishopgate in London. It is an Anglican congregation, but not one towing the line of the liberal fall of the church in general. They are a conservative Anglican congregation and I could easily attend there regularly. http://www.st-helens.org.uk

          I’ve also partnered with some conservative and evangelical Anglicans in Cambridge. So Andrew’s congregation may be a good one as well.

          Lydia

          Andrew, trust me there USED to be independent thinking in the SBC and it was profitable for iron sharpening iron. Now, you have to be an indoctrinated clone or be “church disciplined” by a guy like Randall. :o(

    Lydia

    “If Pink were to rewrite his book today, he would have to ask…who’s in charge of this world, God or man? For 90 percent of evangelical people the answer would be man.”

    Who carries responsibility in this world?

kyle

The claim is that man has libertarian freewill. After a person comes to Christ, do they loose that freewill? You will have to say yes. Otherwise, you cannot count on eternal life. Just a person chooses to believe, in libertarian freewill, that person can choose to not believe. Otherwise, after salvation they have lost a least one aspect of their freewill. Let’s take that further…when a truly born again Christian (born again by their freewill of course in this system as their decision precedes regeneration) goes into eternity in heaven. Consistent freewillers’ will say they continue to have freewill in heaven. Therefore, after moments or millenia after being in heaven than can choose to rebel against God and turn their back on the gospel and blow the whole program. You can’t get around it if you are a proponent of libertarian freewill. Once saved always saved is an illusion in this system. At least consistent arminian’s like the assemblies of god, see this issue and say they can loose their salvation because just as they can choose to exert their will to believe, they can exert their will to disbelieve.
Who’s in charge of this world, God or man?

    Rick Patrick

    Before a man is sealed by God’s Holy Spirit as Christ’s own forever, he has the response ability to say yes or no to Jesus. After he has genuinely received that salvation, and his name has been written in the Lamb’s Book of Life, for which there is no eraser, it is no longer possible for that man to say no to Jesus—not that he would ever want to do so.

    I can think of many situations in which a one-time free decision has eternal and irreversible consequences. I can choose to cook an egg or not to cook an egg, but once I cook it, I can never “uncook” it. I can choose to write someone a letter or not to write them a letter, but once I write it, I can never “unwrite” it.

    One aspect of Traditionalism that I think you highlight here is that we are neither Calvinists nor Arminians. For some reason, you believe that consistency dictates that we must choose to be one or the other. But Traditional Southern Baptist doctrine lies between the two.

    By the way, God is in charge of this world. The way that He has chosen to exercise that Sovereignty is to give man libertarian, contra-causal free will to say yes or no to Jesus.

      rhutchin

      Pastor Rick writes, “Before a man is sealed by God’s Holy Spirit as Christ’s own forever, he has the response ability to say yes or no to Jesus.”

      I think the problem that occurs is that some preachers present salvation as believing Christ only for forgiveness of sin. True salvation includes confession of Christ as Lord. Here we know that, “no-one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no-one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.”

      rhutchin

      Pastor Rick writes, “God is in charge of this world. The way that He has chosen to exercise that Sovereignty is to give man libertarian, contra-causal free will to say yes or no to Jesus.”

      If a person has libertarian contra-causal free will, he will say yes. Saying no is evidence that the person is still ruled by his sin nature.

Chuck

“But avoid foolish and ignorant disputes, knowing that they generate strife.” 2 Timothy 2:23. Why in the world are people still debating Calvinism. I know Calvinists that are more evangelistic than most Armenians are. I know some angry, self-righteous Hyper-Calvinists that I wouldn’t give 2 cents for. Meanwhile Satan ravages our churches while we debate. Shame on us.

    rhutchin

    Healthy debate helps one to remember Scripture, gain proficiency in the use of Scripture, develop sound exegetical practices, and other things. If believers are not discussing the Scriptures among themselves, what are they to discuss? Satan ravages churches because people do not know the Scriptures.

      Jon Estes

      rhutchin,

      As a Calvinist I ask myself are these tit for tat debates really helping anyone gain profeciency or to remember scripture better than when they started?. I doubt anyone here is going to give 2 cents of serious thought about what those who see things differently are really saying. Those here have a set mind (I do and you do along with the others) and the things said here ar enot changinng that. It seems what we want to do is have people be changed by our words as they want us to be changed by theirs. Not happening.

      Satan is not ravaging the churches because we do not know scripture, Satan is ravaging the churches because we do not live what we knowe scripture says. ie. We know the bible says we must pray… The church is not praying. We know the bible says we must evangelize.. The church is not evangerlizing. Its not our knowledge – it is our lack of application of that knowledge which is opening the door for the battle.

      Got to go – church starts in 45 minutes.

        Lydia

        Jon, I sure hope the “application’ does not resemble Calvin’s Geneva even though a big part of his application is illegal now in the USA. So wondering how one applies Calvin without the state power. It had no where else to go but social gospel or Shepherding cult unless it stays small like the Frozen Chosen types. The Shepherding cult road is the one SBC Neo Cals took.

        rhutchin

        “Satan is ravaging the churches because we do not live what we knowe scripture says”

        I tend to think that those who know what the Scriptures say are actually living according to those scriptures. I have visited several churches over the last few months (my church sold its property and is moving) and almost every one has a strong focus on the need for prayer. I maintain that many people who go to church do not really know what the Scriptures say.

      Ken

      rhutchin:

      Shock of all shocks! I do believe I have finally found something you have posted with which I agree.

      That gives me hope for you.

Jon Estes

Lydia – I hope not too.

rhutchin

Pastor Cox writes, “Conversely, Col. 1:25-29 boldly announces that God revealed the riches of the glory of the mystery of the gospel of Jesus Christ because He wants every person presented to Himself complete in Christ, as expressly stated in v. 28. ”

Colossians 1
24 Now I rejoice in what was suffered for you, and I fill up in my flesh what is still lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions, for the sake of his body, which is the church.
25 I have become [The Church’s] servant by the commission God gave me to present to you [Colossians] the word of God in its fulness–
26 the mystery that has been kept hidden for ages and generations, but is now disclosed to the saints.
27 To [the saints] God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles the glorious riches of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.
28 We proclaim him, admonishing and teaching everyone [of the saints?] with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone [of the saints/] perfect in Christ.
29 To this end I labour, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me.

According to v28, of whom does Paul refer when saying, “admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom,” and “that we may present everyone perfect in Christ.” Certainly Paul was “admonishing and teaching [the saints]” and his goal is to “present [the saints] perfect in Christ.”

Does this language pertain to those who are not saints but everyone else in the world as Pastor Cox says? Only if the goal is to draw them to Christ by the preaching of the word and to see them submit to the Lordship of Christ. However, this is what the Calvinists say, because the preaching of the gospel is the means that God uses to draw His elect out of the world. So, what is the beef with the Calvinists on this point? Even Pastor Cox knows that God does not intend to save everyone and has known from the beginning those that would be saved (regardless how they would come to salvation). We cannot say that God truly wants everyone “presented to Himself complete in Christ” because God has already decided that such is not to be.

Ken

rhutchin:

You wrote, “However, this is what the Calvinists say, because the preaching of the gospel is the means that God uses to draw His elect out of the world. So, what is the beef with the Calvinists on this point?

The beef is that short but consequential term “elect” that you Calvinists use. Your restriction upon the God-given right to all people everywhere to accept or reject Jesus as Savior and either inherit or reject eternal salvation is the crux of the Christian faith, a fact which is an indisputable biblical given.

While you Calvinists consider “the elect” to be persons chosen before the foundation of the world for salvation we true Bible believers such as Reverend Cox know for certainty that “the elect” refers to anyone born into this world who exercises his or her God-given free will choice to accept Jesus as Savior

Calvinists refuse to accept the fact that there is a great difference between foreknowledge and foreordained. God certainly knew who would accept or reject His offer of salvation but He didn’t decree that He would decide who would be able to do so or not.

Simply biblical truth!

    rhutchin

    Ken writes, “Your restriction upon the God-given right to all people everywhere to accept or reject Jesus as Savior and either inherit or reject eternal salvation is the crux of the Christian faith, a fact which is an indisputable biblical given.”

    All the Calvinist says is that God is carrying out the plan He devised before the foundation of the world – “God chose His elect in Christ before the creation of the world.” (Ephesians 1) Do you mean to deny that God had such a plan and is ad hocing everything He is doing. Calvinist do not deny that everyone everywhere have the right to accept/reject Jesus. They say that no one ever accepts Jesus; all reject Jesus. Nonetheless, if you want to argue that some actually accept Jesus, do so. However, it is from those who reject Jesus that God chooses some to save. Why you should object to that is a mystery to me.

    Then, “…“the elect” refers to anyone born into this world who exercises his or her God-given free will choice to accept Jesus as Savior”

    That’s what the Calvinists say also.

    Finally, “God certainly knew who would accept or reject His offer of salvation but He didn’t decree that He would decide who would be able to do so or not.”

    That’s a fine Pelagian statement, but I don’t buy it. I think God must enable a person to be saved else that person cannot be saved and God has decreed to enable His elect.

      Ken

      rhutchin;

      Thanks for confirming my point that Calvinists deny the God-given right of every person born into this world to make a decision as to whether to accept Christ and inherit eternal salvation or reject Him and receive eternal damnation.

      The Calvanist definition of “the elect” is more phony than the proverbial three dollar bill.

        rhutchin

        Calvinists understand the Scriptures to tell us that people are slaves to their sin nature – “For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering….Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; …The mind of sinful man is death,…the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so…Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.

Lydia

“Your feminist roots are showing beneath your Christiany egalitarian coiffure, ladies.”

And only manly men say such edufying things to Ladies. :o)

“Either you are being dishonest here or you were being dishonest over at TWW. Which is it?”

If you would be kind enough to link to the comments in question we could clear up any misunderstandings and call off Torquemada .

“And I wouldn’t expect you to notice the liberalism in CBF churches as you have drunk the kool-aid.”

No. have been visiting some Episcopalian churches more recently that serve the real stuff. One, a Cathedral, where I tried very hard to put Henry the 8th out of my mind. I was struck by the scripture reading. Almost entire chapters.. And two, another very small but historical Episcopalian where a school friend of my daughter was playing violin for the service. I even thought of my fellow heretic friend, Andrew of this blog, while there. (Waving to Andrew)

All the above has been much more edifying and even adult than the YRR SBC churches here where I am required to follow a 30 year old SBTS grad instead of Christ. Trust me when I say they are not the same thing.

    Andrew Barker

    Lydia: It would appear that Randall is totally incapable of distinguishing style from substance! Especially when it comes to hair! :-D I’ve long ceased to worry about the label of the church I attend. I’m far more interested in what actually goes on and what is said plus the people who are doing and saying it. Not that I agree with everything which goes on in the church I attend, but then ….. isn’t that pretty much true everywhere?? :-)

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