28 June 2006

I'm not asking: I'm telling

by Frank the Baptist

I blogged today at my home blog about John 5 and the particular nature of Christ’s earthly work in that passage, but that topic always gets me stirred up about the nature of the work of Christ.

Let me give you an example of what I mean, by way of what I do not mean:
How can a person have God's forgiveness, heaven and eternal life, and Jesus as personal Savior and Lord? By trusting in Christ and asking Him for forgiveness. Take the step of faith.

After you have received Jesus Christ into your life, tell a Christian friend about the important decision you have made. Follow Christ in believer's baptism and church membership. Grow in faith and enjoy new friends in Christ by becoming a part of His church and attending the Sunday School class a church has just for you. You'll find others who will love and support you.
That’s an invitation from a church blog which will remain nameless, but it’s a standard invitations which they lifted from one of a library of such invitation provided by their denomination. I have blogged elsewhere about the backwards Gospel, so I won’t get all out of joint here about the mistakes some people make when presenting the Gospel to all people. The point of this example is to show that the major mistake a lot of people make when thinking about Jesus’ work and talking to others about it is that they see Jesus’ work as a consequence of man’s consent.

Jesus’ work is not a consequence of anything but God’s intervention to save men who will otherwise be lost. You know: for example, God didn’t give the prophecy of the resurrection in Psalm 16 because he thought it sounded good and let’s see what will happen. God gave that prophecy because it was what He intended to happen in order to demonstrate and reveal the Messiah to men. He wasn’t rubbing heads with David to see what might play well in Jerusalem: He was revealing His eternal plan of salvation.

That’s such a great word! Salvation. Any dictionary you might find says this word means, “deliverance from danger or difficulty” – and think on it: “salvation” is not “making possible the escape from danger or difficulty” but in fact “deliverance”. You are not saved if you can now find your own way: you are saved if you are actually taken out of the way of danger. Standing outside a burning building and shouting the names of those trapped inside does not make one a savior; even running through the halls of that building shouting names and “follow me!” does not make you a savior: going into the flames, and breaking down the doors, and searching under the bed for the scared child who doesn’t know how to save herself, and then carrying her out through the flames makes you a savior. A savior is who who actually saves, who does the saving and has saved someone when it’s all over.

Whoever you are, and wherever you are, Jesus is not waiting for you to make a choice. He’s not a deal-maker. He’s not trying to negotiate a contract with you. Jesus isn’t the one who will call the ambulance if you can only dial the ethereal 9-1-1. Jesus is God Almighty, and if you can hear this word today, Jesus has been made Lord and Christ – Savior!

Jesus Christ saves. Jesus isn’t fretting about the Earth while Satan is like a lion going here and there devouring anyone he wants: Jesus closes the mouth of the lion and snatches the victims of the lion – who put themselves in harm’s way, and will die without Christ’s intervention; people who have placed themselves in danger and deserve the consequences – out of the jaws of death. He saves. He takes us out of harm’s way even if we are too wicked and too conceited to want to be out of harm’s way.

Our faith is not in some consultation with the Holy Spirit which gives us a Ben-Franklinesque list of pros-and-cons from which we can then make a rational choice. It is in the mighty hand of God which reaches down and takes us out of the filth and disease of our choices and washes us clean by the blood of Christ, and dresses us in the blinding white cloth of His righteousness.

Jesus is not waiting for you to make a choice: Jesus is saving right now. The call is not “do you accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior”: the call is “Jesus is Lord and Christ! Be baptized and repent in His name!”

It is a proclamation of fact, not a question to be debated. I cannot trick you into hearing it, either – because a savior is not a trickster or a con-man who makes you think you’re getting cotton candy when in fact you are getting your teeth drilled even if you need your teeth drilled.

Listen to me: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him -- this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, was crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. But God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.

This Jesus God raised up, and there are many witnesses of this fact. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.

Let everyone therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus who was crucified. And therefore, repent and be baptized for the sake of your forgiveness!

You! Jesus will not save you because you confess – confess because Jesus is a Savior: admit it! This is the Gospel – the Good News to men!

There will be no organ music during which you can mull this over. You are dismissed. Do the right thing.










63 comments:

Cultural Savage said...

Well Mr. Turk, You have officialy put into words what I have been struggling to say for a wile. Good post, and thank you for being such a nutter.

Don said...

"If you've prayed this prayer, get yourself into a good bible-believing church..." I always wondered how the new "convert" would recognize a bible-believing church.
Thanks for a rather simple description of salvation- well, of The Christ. Amen

Daniel said...

It's like a post from the old Frank - before all the hoopla. I knew you hadn't sold out to da' man.

BugBlaster said...

Right on.

James Spurgeon said...

Bravo. The gospel is a command to be obeyed, not a choice to be made. Even the invitations in the Bible are in the imperative.

centuri0n said...

The hoopla will not be televised.

And I am surprised that this has not drawn fire already.

Uncynic said...

Good post.

I think part of the problem is that the genetive "PISTEWS IHSOU CRISTOU" is usually translated objectively (faith in Christ). We can make, I think, a biblical argument that it should be translated subjectively (faith[fulness] of Christ).

It gives a bit more clarity to "from faith to faith" in Romans 1. So Ga2.16 moves from Christ's faithfulness (a man is not justified by the law except through Christ's faithfulness) to our faith (even so we trusted in Christ).

It makes sense in Romans 5 also, where we are justified by faith. But in Ro4.24,25, Christ is raised because of our justification. It makes sense to me (though I don't think the grammar demands it) that we were justified when Christ rose from the dead—prior to our faith in him. And so the focus of 5.1 is the faithfulness of Christ.

Good thoughts; thanks for offering.

Mike Y said...

I think folks get so tripped up by what is fairly clear doctrinally with respect to election and predestination. Nothing alleviates the sinner from his personal responsibility to repent.

But how can he truly repent unless God opens his eyes to what he needs to turn from and subsequently turn to?

Opponents of such doctrines think this equates to an exercise in futility. But it stands, instead, as a way of showing that even the sincerest man is utterly depraved and possesses a wicked and deceitful heart without the regeneration from God.

You've absolutely nailed the gospel in this! It's 100% the work of God.

Chip said...

The definition of "savior" and "salvation" was particularly good.

Broken Messenger said...

Our faith is not in some consultation with the Holy Spirit which gives us a Ben-Franklinesque list of pros-and-cons from which we can then make a rational choice. It is in the mighty hand of God which reaches down and takes us out of the filth and disease of our choices and washes us clean by the blood of Christ, and dresses us in the blinding white cloth of His righteousness.

This is the best "Turk quote" I have ever read. A hearty amen to this...

Brad

centuri0n said...

The "savior" thing is what cinched me up as a calvinist. What kind of saving does Christ do -- is he yelling "swim! swim!" to people who are drowning in the hope that they can suddenly tread water, or is he diving in and fishing people out -- you know, being a fisher of men?

If "offering and hoping it'll take" is "salvation", then so be it. In my book, "salvation" is not something a "savior" does passively.

C. T. Lillies said...

Preach on!

(Whew, I need a cold drink after that one.)

Josh

Hick working email said...

Amen! When discussing this with a synergist I go to Ephesians 2:8 and tell them to stop reading and start explaining after "for by grace you have been SAVED".

Gavin Brown said...

Right on. People (including Christians)can never hear it enough.

Our default setting is almost always Pelagianism. Thanks for the reminder.

TheBlueRaja said...

Dang, right ON, Turk!

Antonio said...

John 4:10

Jesus answered and said to her, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is who says to you, 'Give Me a drink,' you would have asked Him, and He would have given you living water."
NKJV

candyinsierras said...

What? No altar call after that?

Where's Finney when ya need him. :)

Excellent Frank.

centuri0n said...

Hey Antonio:

I thought grace was free and you didn't have to do anything to get it. "asking" looks a lot like "doing" to me.

And no, I will not go to your website to debate it so you can quit in the middle. you had your chance at DebateBlog, and you walked.

centuri0n said...

gavin:

Put a shirt on, man. You look like Mr. T with your shirt off.

Antonio said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
centuri0n said...

Antonio's random posting of scripture verses are going to be treated by me as a violation of rules 3 and 4.

He has had his chance to defend his beliefs over a long period of time, and trolling here in his usual hit-and-run fashion is out of bounds.

Kim said...

Wow, Frank. I think this is one of the best things I've ever seen you write.

Bravo!

Sojourner said...

Frank,

What a great post. Thanks.

Joanna Martens said...

The analogy you used about a burning house- to define salvation. But- in light of the gospel- people don't know they are being burned to death.
It's not that people are standing at God's door wanting in and He said "nope, sorry. You're not 'chosen'" but rather He is extending his salvation to all men and all men say "no!" So in His love and grace opens eyes to those who may not even know they're about to fry like chicken nuggets.

Even So... said...

Frank,

Rare is the 100% post.

But here was one, glory to God!

centuri0n said...

Much like the child under the bed, 9Digs.

One of the things I think that we who exercise this thing we call the Gospel often forget is that even the people who are spiritually dead know they have a problem they think they have to solve. That's what Romans 1 & 2 are all about, aren't they?

For example, the atheist may scoff at our definitions of sin and righteousness, but any atheist will admit that the world is full of suffering and full of evil that man perpetrates against his fellow men. They are not blind to the effects of sin -- they are blind to the fact that they themselves are part of the problem.

So what do they do? They don't seek to exit the burning building: they hide under the bed. The ponderize big ideas like, "if we only had more government that governs the way I think it should govern, we'd have less trouble," or "if more people were more like me and ate less meat, we'd have less trouble," or "if more people hated God instead of hating things like gay marriage and euthanasia -- just like I do -- we'd be far better off." The house is on fire, but rather than exit the house they climb under the bed, convinced that their sinfulness is not the problem but the solution.

God has to come into the house and drag us out. He doesn't just open our eyes: he saves us. As they said someplace in the OT, he saves us so good, our clothes don't even smell like smoke.

ib.carlos said...

Like the Man said: Good News!

Now, since this thread obviously ain't goin' nowhere excitin'...like: a good proposal for accepting the veracity of Scrooge's gospel), may I just ask: oh where do you Pyros get all your images?

I need to dress mah blog up some...

...I know, I know, 'waaay off topic,' but, like you said Frank, ain't no fires to put out here, so, may as well capitalize a bit...

¡sbgtfa!

Al said...

Oh my Frank, You are a Nutter! Great post brother! Man that was good

Al sends

Mathew Sims said...

True and Amen!

MBS
Soli Deo Gloria

Pastor Eldred said...

AMEN!

What a SUPER-CHUNKY NUTTER post. I am seriously thinking of using your concluding statements as the benediction this week. Awesome reminder of our inability to [say, think, do, etc.] anything.

centuri0n said...

Carlos:

Phil is insane. that's where we get all the graphics. I have over 500 images for my blog, but Phil turns out something like 200 a week every week.

Dude: there's enough graphics. We admire your Photoshoppiness. You win.

centuri0n said...

Pastor E:

If you mean the organ music thing, I need a footnote in the worship guide. If you mean the stuff before it, that's Peter full of the Spirit from Acts 2 -- it's in the public domain.

Kent Brandenburg said...

Let's just say that hypothetically, I agree with you, Frank. Let's also say hypothetically that I don't agree with you. Does that a mean a discussion would occur or immediate bomardment? Could a discussion matter for anyone but a Calvinist, because He alone can hear, or is it possible that a non-Calvinist could be saved and, therefore, hear Calvinistic arguments?

Your writing style got my attention more than a lifeguard watching a flailing swimmer. Or should I say sinner?

Patagonia Mike said...

"Whoever you are, and wherever you are, Jesus is not waiting for you to make a choice. He’s not a deal-maker. He’s not trying to negotiate a contract with you."

Great post Frank! One of the best I have read in recent history. This reminds me of another invitation that is pretty common. It says poor Jesus is on the outside of your hearts door lightly knocking and begging to come in. You must open the door and accept Jesus...

I'm just glad the Savior kicked down the door of the burning house and saved me. If it were left up to me I would be under the bed reading mad magazine or something.

Joanna Martens said...

"As they said someplace in the OT, he saves us so good, our clothes don't even smell like smoke."

--yah, i'll have to look that up.
Just Kidding. Thanks for the reply- I was in barns and noble today (am a nerd and that's ok), and I spotted a book titled, "The Sins of Scripture" authored by Bishop John Shelby Spong. I don't think he knows what he's talking about. Or he's hiding under the bed.

Thanks again- I enjoy reading your bodacious blogs.

Garet Pahl said...

The annoying thing is how basic and obvious this is, yet somehow it is a matter of contention...

chamblee54 said...

After reading as much of this post as I could take, and glancing through the comments, I feel as though I should "testify" that my alienation from Jesus is just as intense as ever.
I also suspect that most, if not all, of the applause from the gallery is from the already convinced.
Mr. Turk has generated a great deal of ill will with me. The fact that he makes a noisy speech about salvation will be very entertaining to the choir, but what about the rest of humanity?
What about he Moslems he preaches hatred against?
What about those who disagree with him about Santa Claus?
There was an incident at my former job about "salvation". Two men were speaking to each other. One was a frequent visitor to our store, who had given me ample reason to not trust him. He was speaking to a professional Jesus worshipper. The P.J.W. had shouted me down and humiliated me for Jesus countless times. The frequent visitor said, speaking of me, "We have got to work on this guy. He needs salvation and he knows it".
Now, I had never discussed my ideas about Jesus or life after death with this man. Apparently, someone had been talking behind my back. Of course, I was alienated from Jesus, and some would say this condemns me to hell.
Now, am I to change my mind about Jesus, forget all the verbal abuse and humiliation I have suffered in his name, because of a taunting comment made for the entertainment of a Professional Jesus Worshipper?
Of course, I knew better to say anything that day. I had a lot of work to do, and if I said anything back I could expect to be shouted down and humiliated, all because of Jesus.

centuri0n said...

Kent:

I have no idea what you're talking about. If you have an objection, raise it.

centuri0n said...

Chamblee:

Seems to me you measure the whole of your life's experience on one incident you relate over and over again as if it happened yesterday perpetually. When I posted on my personal blog that such a person is a bully and has the Gospel backwards, you said that wasn't good enough.

Well, fella, good luck to you. Eventually you will have a second story you can relate to people about why you hate Jesus Worshippers and you'll work that into your view that God is speaking to you through your art. It will probably be about a blogger who did you wrong on several blogs.

Thanks for stopping by.

BugBlaster said...

Chamblee,
You are like 7'7" or something, and could squish me like an ant, but I gotta say it to you... time to move on. Let it go, man.

Do you really believe that that episode, no matter how bad it is, will convince the God of the universe to let you pass? Do you think you're persuasive enough to get Him to set aside his standards just for you?

I advise you to read the post again (And since centuri0n smells so odious, just pretend that someone else wrote it. Someone nice... like say, Heinrich. Frank is jealous of Heinrich, you know.)

What was said in that post is the truth. Read it again, my friend.

Jesus Worshipper Neil

chamblee54 said...

1- As a matter of fact, this is the first time I have mentioned this specific incident. When you consider that I witnessed some 1600 hours of the P.J.W.'s "on the clock" ministry, you might realize that I have dozens of such stories to tell.
2- Your response is a personal attack, of the type that Jesus Worshippers are well known for. You did not answer any of my criticisms of your post, specifically the "preaching to the choir" syndrome or the hated of Muslims.
3- I am amazed that any fan of God would be offended at my giving God credit for giving me enjoyment.
4- "Eventually you will have a second story you can relate to people about why you hate Jesus Worshippers" Sir, when you hate someone, you hurt yourself worse than you hurt them. Jesus Worshippers are not worth it. I don't hate Jesus Worshipers; however, I have learned many ugly things about Jesus through them. My "virtual meeting" with you is a prime example.
Dispute the belief, Love the believer. Let someone else do the hating.

centuri0n said...

| 1- As a matter of fact, this is the
| first time I have mentioned this
| specific incident. When you consider
| that I witnessed some 1600 hours of
| the P.J.W.'s "on the clock" ministry,
| you might realize that I have dozens
| of such stories to tell.

It is strange how this one sounds exactly like the first one you posted over at my blog way back when you were just a guy passing through. And how Buggy and I both thought it was your other story.

| 2- Your response is a personal
| attack, of the type that Jesus
| Worshippers are well known for. You
| did not answer any of my criticisms
| of your post, specifically the
| "preaching to the choir" syndrome or
| the hated of Muslims.

Well, given that you made accusations and not anything else, I thought I'd let it go. Because if we try to secure something other than your say-so about these things, we will go nowhere.

However, for the record:

You can't substantiate that I preach hate against Muslims. You should link to it if you can find it. There's a working search bar in my blog, and I urge you to use it.

Those in the Santa thing got apologies -- Brad the broken messenger can vouch for that.

As for preaching to the choir, no kidding. My point here is a point being made in various corners of the Gospel-blogosphere this week: the Gospel is what it is and not what anyone would make it to be. That would include you, btw.

And last, in preaching to the "rest of humanity", I wonder: what exactly would you have me say? What I did here was restate, almost word for word, the evangelical discourse of Peter at Pentecost.

As I have told you before, that's the Christian message. If you want the Christian message to change until you like it some, it seems to me you want something from Christians you yourself are unwilling to give.

What would that be? See below.

| 3- I am amazed that any fan of God
| would be offended at my giving God
| credit for giving me enjoyment.

I think, Chamblee, that your glee at repeating this fantasy it a little egotistical and a little more than a little deluded. On the one hand, I think that if I am wrong about God but that he speaks through art to anyone, he has expressed himself much better in the past.

On the other hand, if I am right about God and you are merely blogging, your claim to be a prophet is offensive because it is false. For the record, you should run your thoughts about God speaking in your art to you past one of the Muslims you think I have offended -- the ones who were killing people over cartoons of Muhammed -- and see what they think about your claim here.

And that is what you will not give that you expect. You demand that the Christian change his message for the sake of your offense, but you wouldn’t dream of changing for the sake of the offense you cause the Christian.

| 4- "Eventually you will have a second
| story you can relate to people about
| why you hate Jesus Worshippers"
| Sir, when you hate someone, you
| hurt yourself worse than you hurt
| them. Jesus Worshippers are not
| worth it. I don't hate Jesus
| Worshipers; however, I have learned
| many ugly things about Jesus
| through them. My "virtual meeting"
| with you is a prime example.
| Dispute the belief, Love the believer.
| Let someone else do the hating.

The irony is that I don't hate you -- and you can't demonstrate that I do. I simply don't allow you to abuse the blogs that I contribute to. You have a very limited selection of subjects you want to cover, and they have been covered. When you have been engaged seriously, you have resorted to wise-cracks, and when you have been wise-cracked in return you have taken offense.

So: my suggestion is that you substantiate your claims in your next post or go find someplace else to play your game. I'm played out. If you'd like me to "evangelize" you, I'd start here: besides the hatred you perceive in Christians, what else is wrong with the world?

annecourager said...

Hey Frank,

First time commenter here (but occasional lurker), so be gentle. :)

I'm still sorting out some of these doctrines of grace in my head, having grown up in a church similar to the example you gave.

I agree with most of what you posted, but I'm still unclear on how this lines up with Jesus' standing at the door and knocking - and our opening the door to Him in Rev. 3:20.

He IS the Savior, whether or not I ever acknowledge that fact. But for Him to be MY Savior, don't I need to respond in faith to His accomplished work?

Just wanted clarification. Thanks.

The Clinging Vine said...

Marvelous post, Frank!

This is a permalink keeper, for sure. ;^)

Anne

Valerie (Kyriosity) said...

Is it just me, or does Frank's graphic on this post say "Romaniac"? Of all the people I never expected to see go papist....

Brad said...

Frank:
Excellent post. Really. But let this knee-jerk Arminian make an observation.

As our Saviour runs through the burning house, reaching under the bed and grabbing the terrified child, why would He rescue one child and yet consciously choose to leave another to die in the flames? This question becomes all the more important when you consider 1) He created the house 2) He created both children and 3) He knew, at creation, that he would chose to rescue one and leave the other to the (eternal) flames?

This has been hashed and re-hashed. But, you see, this is the very sticking point that I, and many others, hit when we are confronted with the Gospel of Grace.

This is not a troll. If you don't want to answer, that's OK. It won't be taken as some sort of "admission." And, of course, I realize that your word picture is merely that, and that every analogy breaks down if pressed too far.

But, it's where I'm stuck. I am on my knees grateful that He has pulled me from the building. That's Grace, and I know he didn't need to do even that. But I can't deal with the horror that God knowingly created, and chooses to not save, that child that had been huddled next to me under the bed.

You paint an alternate picture of the "Saviour" who ineffectually "suggests" that everyone inside might want to exit the burning building. As an Arminian, I know I need to deal with that part of your analogy. I know that, and that's why I appreciate your post. But, this "choice" part is what has me stuck.

Brad the lesser
(not to be confused with Broken Messenger)

centuri0n said...

annecourager:

Let's remember a couple of things about what I wrote, and then we can go over to revelation.

[1] I didn't say that there is nothing man ought to do now that Christ has done what He has done. What I said specifically is "Jesus’ work is not a consequence of anything but God’s intervention to save men who will otherwise be lost." That is: Jesus doesn't save after we have done "X". The paradigm I have advanced here is that Jesus saves therefore we should do "X".

[2] Man has a moral responsibility to God. Under the law, that moral responsibility results in man's moral guilt and condemnation. Period. No man is justified by the Law, right? But then there is Jesus Christ -- and as Peter said so well on Pentecost, Let everyone therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus who was crucified -- and therefore, repent and be baptized for the sake of your forgiveness!

At this point, we could talk about eternal decrees and whether or not God knows who the elect are, and by what means He knows, but oddly, we do not know, and by a long shot that is more relevent than a list God will never let us see. And that is especially true given that God's command to us is to preach the Gospel to every living thing.

Preach the Gospel! The Gospel is a command which goes like this -- Christ died for our sins, and was buried, and was raised from the dead exactly the way God said he would be, which is to say, "in accordance with the Scriptures", therefore (as John the baptist said) prepare the way of the Lord! Repent and be Baptized!

Now, as we open up Rev 3, we find that the passage you cited is not written to every person on the planet: it is written to the church at Laodicea, and it goes like this:

15"'I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! 16So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire, so that you may be rich, and white garments so that you may clothe yourself and the shame of your nakedness may not be seen, and salve to anoint your eyes, so that you may see.19Those whom I love, I reprove and discipline, so be zealous and repent. 20Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me. 21The one who conquers, I will grant him to sit with me on my throne, as I also conquered and sat down with my Father on his throne. 22He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.'"

Well, so what? This passage is a warning for the church at Laodicea to turn away from its apathy and carefree reliance on weath -- but notice something: the passage equates the discipline for those whom he loves with the knock at the door. Those whom I love, I reprove, so repent; I knock ata the door, and the one who opens the door is the one with whom I will come in and eat.

The opening of the door is the respone to reproof -- not some general call to all men. It is specifically to and for the church at Laodicea in context.

One last thing before I get "HYPER'd" by someone here: I am not saying that all men are not to hear the Gospel, or that all men are somehow not the object of preaching. What I am saying is that this particular passage does not say that Christ is knocking on the door of all men: it says he is knocking on the door of a sinful church with reproof and discipline, and if they get themselves corrected he will be there with them.

We must preach the Gospel to all men. The harvest is great, but the laborers are few. But in that, we must preach to them the actual Gospel and not some puppet show of the Gospel which is too weak to save anybody.

centuri0n said...

Brad:

I actually have a post on this subject at my blog right now called "the multitude of invalids". You should read that, but I'll add a couple of points here:

-- In the Calvinistic/reformed system, God knows all things because He is creator and sustainer. So, for example, God knows the elect not because He can see the future but because He has made, is making, will make (all in the eternal tense) the future. I think that's consistent with Scripture in that Scripture says that God knows the end from the beginning, right?

-- What you cannot forget in making your objection is that what every man deserves is condemnation and judgment. You know: Holy God cannot allow Sin to come before Himself -- something any good Southern Baptist would tell you. Men do not deserve to be saved: men deserve the judgment.

The remarkable thing is not that God doesn't save some of them: it is that God saves any at all. You know: in the Flood, God was 100% righteous in destroying the Earth, but he was 100% Merciful in sparing Noah and his family.

God is not obliged to save: God has saved out of Grace, and Grace is not required: Grace is only Grace if it is freely given.

-- The last thing I'll offer you, Brad, is that the image of Christ's work at the pool of Bathesda in John 5 doesn't paint a picture of Christ doing things simply because a need exists, and he doesn't do things because someone might, for example, make it into the pool when the waters are stirred. Christ does what Christ does because "the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise." (Jn 5:19) That is, it is for God's purpose and not for man's purpose.

Does that help? I hope I haven't been to war-like in my response because I think your question is a fair question.

centuri0n said...

valerie(k):

Thank heavens someone has finally "outed" me. I will no longer have to lead a double life. Or these stupid glasses, which were the worse disguise in the history of the world -- how could people be fooled by that?

CV(anne):

Thanks!

Brad said...

Frank:

I will read your "multitude of invalids" post. It'll be later [work is a bear today]. Thanks. And, no need to be concerned with being too combative. In fact, this is just the kind of "conversation" I need. I'm not a total newbie wandering into this issue. I've read tons. I try to read the "TR" blogs with an open mind. I've listened to hours of Piper sermons (and his excellent TULIP series). So, I'm not trying to be dense, and I appreciate the continued discussion.

I "get" the points you made in your kind response. Like I said in my original comment, I KNOW I don't deserve his grace. But, back to your analogy, that still leaves me standing in front of the burning house (under "the Calvinistic/reformed system") furiously kicking the Saviour in the shins, screaming at him to get back in there and save that other kid. I'm still left with a picture of a God who knowingly created two kids; one to burn and one to save.

I appreciate being the "graced" one; but that leaves me with a pretty funky picture of God. In fact, on my more rebelious days, it would make me want to say, "thanks, but no thanks" and run back into the house. Irrational...but you get the drift.

This was not the point of your original post. I don't want to hijack a thread. I don't want to be "high maintenance." You're not losing me. I'll continue to read and listen.

But one thing I won't do is obcess about it. To use another "house" analogy: The Father has invited us into His kingdom, and we're standing in His mansion. You and I are both there. Now, we've got a choice. We can either huddle at the front door and spend the rest of our time on earth arguing over how we got here (I was asked...I were chosen), or we can get about Kingdom business. I vote for getting about Kingdom business. I've learned enough after 32 years of study (as a layman) to know that I've got alot more to learn and that, frankly (no pun intended), I'm not really sure which "system" is right. But, I'm not going to freeze in place until someone can spoon feed me all the answers.

I also know that my "just get about the Kingdom's work" concept has it's limits. We do need to know what "gospel" we're preaching, after all. The original point of your post is well taken. Even if us Arminians believe that folks have a "choice" to make (and, as I said, I'm still examining that) that choice is to either bend the knee, or not.

Later, dude

Brad the lesser

LeeC said...

Brad,

As I have often heard said, all anaologies fall short.

The one I use usually is this.

We are ALL guilty and convicted murderers, adulterers, slanderers, disobiedient to parents and haters of God.

As such ALL of us are condemned to death...eternal seperation from God.

God in His grace and mercy as the ultimate governor deigns to pardon some of us, due to no merit of our own to show His grace and mercy, and glorify Himself.

He would be totally just and righteous to not choose any of us to pardon.

LeeC said...

One more thing guys.

The posters here should be some of the first to recognize that the non-christian is incapable of understanding the things of God, that he is a slave t the ruler of this world.

They should also recognize that Satan is a deciever, and will use anything be it professing Christians who aren't or the slight mishaps of real Christians to put a potemkin village up between the true Gospel and the nonchristian.

While God does choose His elect from before time, we are the instruments He uses, and we can also be accountable for being an improper stumbling block.

I am not saying we should allow those who are antagonistic to Christianity to come here and walk all over us unchallenged, but please search your hearts to make sure that the only stumbling block here is the true Gospel and not our demeanors.

Chamblee54,

Have you ever thought that your view, is exactly what the deciever would want to promote by using such circumstances?

As a historian I see time after time Satan creating false fronts to keep his people away from the Gospel.

Create a false church that starts inquisitions and crusades, raise up false prophets that make wild claims that never come true, nurture flim flam artists that call themselves men of God so that they can fleece the gullible and needy, or merely arrange for a weak or false Christian to work in a place being as offensive as possible so as to bias those around him...


That way when pesented with the truth the no-christian can say "Well what about the inquisition? Or Jim Jones? or that 90' Jesus vision of that one guy???


What Centuri0n has said in his post is true. Regardless of his, my, or anyone elses demeanor or your past experiences.

God is real, He is holy, and He must, and will judge sin. You and I are not just, or holy on our own and worthy of judgment, no more so, or less so than Muslims, who are equally culpable.

Christ died as a substitution for the price we owe His Father.

If you hear nothing else in this post here this passage Frank quoted:

Listen to me: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him -- this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, was crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. But God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.

This Jesus God raised up, and there are many witnesses of this fact. Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing.

Let everyone therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus who was crucified. And therefore, repent and be baptized for the sake of your forgiveness!


I've been praying for you.

Lee

centuri0n said...

Brad:

I think you should focus on being the one who ought to be in the fire. Then you have all the reason you need to be a firefighter -- that is, to be someone who is preaching the Gospel.

See -- the fact of grace ought not to cause us to say, "God is a stingy lout": it ought to cause us to say, "LOOK AT GRACE! UNDERSTAND GRACE! PRAISE GOD FOR GRACE!"

It is God's grace which must be preached to every living thing. In that, we will be workers in the fire team, um, God's field. If you are truly worried about the other kid under the bed, take Jesus back in there to him. Don't stand out here and say, "um Jesus? Are you sure there aren't any more kids in that burning house?"

How's that? :-)

centuri0n said...

leec:

This isn't my first conversation with Chamblee, but I appreciate your good advice.

JackW said...

Brad the lesser makes a point that I can relate to concerning our not getting hung up on systems and getting on with the Kingdom’s business. I know a pastor who likes to think he uses both systems, sort of like the triangulation theory where you supposedly place yourself above the extremes of either side.

Here’s the problem with that as I see it. The system we end up with colors the way we see God, Jesus and the Scriptures. The pastor who thinks he is triangulating reveals what he really believes by the focus of his teaching. I’ve seen this time and time again. God’s sovereignty is spoken of highly, but the focus is on human free will. Synergism seems to always lead to pragmatism.

While for me the Scriptures more heavily supported monergism, what really settled it for me was going before the Throne and realizing which system it was that I would rather have to try to defend if I was wrong.

annecourager said...

Thanks for the clarification on Rev 3, Frank. If I had a nickel for every time I've heard that passage used for salvation...

I'm still trying to hash out the whole monergism v.synergism here. Perhaps I don't have these terms properly defined in my own head (very likely).

I know that I contribute nothing to my own salvation. Christ quickened me when I was dead in trespasses and sins. The Father drew me to Christ--and I CAME. Does this make my understanding of salvation a synergistic one? Because I had to respond to the Father's drawing?

Realizing all illustrations have their limitations, I was not like the child underneath the bed, but more like one on top of it, reading Elfquest comic books, unaware that the house was in flames all around me--until the Savior came crashing into my room saying, "Wake up and smell the creosote!" and, as he dragged from the burning room, all of a sudden I recognized the peril in which I was, and said, "Hurry up and get me out of here, Lord!"


That said, I guess I don't understand your anti-example given here:
|How can a person have God's
|forgiveness, heaven and
|eternal life, and Jesus as
|personal Savior and Lord?
|By trusting in Christ and
|asking Him for forgiveness.
|Take the step of faith.

Jesus IS Savior. But unless I repent ("asking Him for forgiveness")and "trust" in His completed work - He isn't MY Savior.

I'm not trying to be argumentative here, just wanting to understand.

Then again, if godly believers have been wrestling with these issues for 2000 years now, what makes me think I'm going to get it all figured out? :)

centuri0n said...

annecourager:

Those who are called come -- that's John 6. Just because one does as one is told doesn't make the act "synergistic": it makes it obedient.

And that's the key issue, in the end. This is a somewhat nuanced thing here, so try to follow me.

The natural man (or woman) sins because he is a sinner: sin is a the fruit of the nature of the beast, and death as punishment is the wages of sin. Sin nature produces sin, sin produces death.

The flip side here is that the second birth gives us a new nature, and that new nature produces obedience. In that, we can be obedient to the call of the Gospel to repent and be baptized. So the new nature produces obedience, and obedience produces fruit -- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodnes, self-control, etc.

The source of the new nature is not my decision to repent and be baptized: my decision -- my action -- to repent or whatever is a result of my new nature. The Spirit of God is the source of my new nature.

In all of that mumbo jumbo, the question is whether we are using the Gospel as a question which has an answer that must be negotiated, or if we are treating the Gospel as a fact and a declaration of God that His kindgom is near and there is a Christ who will sit on the throne who died for sin and holds the power of life and death.

chamblee54 said...

This afternoon, I was sitting at a red light, watching the left eye roll around on the
Big Chicken
And God spoke to me.
She said, "You should go easy on Centurion. He can't help being like he is. You should forgive him"
Then the light turned green, and I drove off. God knows not to talk to anyone who is trying to drive.
But she was right.
Centurion, I forgive you for being mean to me.

centuri0n said...

Case closed.

annecourager said...

Ok, Frank, I see where you're coming from.

"The source of the new nature is not my decision to repent and be baptized: my decision -- my action -- to repent or whatever is a result of my new nature. The Spirit of God is the source of my new nature."

Must digest this for a bit! This seems like one of those chicken-and-egg debates; I've always regarded repentance/new nature as virtually simultaneous. Thanks for your insights.

C. T. Lillies said...

Anne,

I've been a toe-the-line Southern Baptist for my whole life--until about two or three years ago. From that perspective its not easy to get your head around some of this stuff. Monergism just about popped some cogs loose! Try R.C. Sproul's Chosen By God--it helped me get the basics down. Good read but brace yourself. It sneaks up on you about half way through.


Josh

brucewright said...

Hello,
Thank you for being consistant. I'm excited and relieved to learn that Jesus is not about manipulating me to be a good church member 3 times a week. I feel like I,ve been going to boy scout meetings to learn community service. I'm all for doing good works, it's a joy to be used. It just rings hollow when your only doctrine is WWJD.
(BE ONE OF US AND DO GOOD)
Around here you're given more respect as drug dealer than a Calvinist.
Thanks Again,
Your slow to learn brother,
Bruce

mxu said...

Hey, thank you for this post. We need more tellers sometimes.

I don't remember who said it, but I read somewhere: "The Lord needs prophets and not counselors."


I've linked it here.