Guess Who

On his blog, my dad often presents a quote from a book, and challenges readers to name the theologian. I thought I’d take a page from the old man’s book today. Can you name the author?

It is of paramount concern to know that Christ is presented to all without distinction to the end that they may entrust themselves to him for salvation. The gospel offer is not restricted to the elect or even to those for whom Christ died. And the warrant of faith is not the conviction that we are elect or that we are among those for whom, strictly speaking, Christ died but the fact that Christ, in the glory of his person, in the perfection of his finished work, and in the efficacy of his exalted activity as King and Saviour, is pressented to us in the full, free, and unrestricted overture of the gospel. It is not as persons convinced of our election nor as persons convinced that we are the special objects of God’s love that we commit ourselves to him but as lost sinners. We entrust ourselves to him not because we believe we have been saved but as lost sinners in order that we may be saved. It is to us in our lost condition that the warrant of faith is given and the warrant is not restricted or circumscribed in any way. In the warrant of faith the rich mercy of God is proffered to the lost and the promise of grace is certified by the veracity and faithfulness of God. This is the ground upon which a lost sinner may commit himself to Christ in full confidence that he will be saved. And no sinner to whom the gospel comes is excluded from the divine warrant for such confidence.

The author uses the word “warrant” a lot, which seems rather archaic. I found it helpful to read “warrant of” as “reason for” or “justification for”. Apart from who wrote it (and what was the work) what do you think of the passage?

In particular, I’m interested in the phrase (which is kind of tangential to the main point) “the elect or even to those for whom Christ died”. Christ died for more than the elect? In this thrust, I am interested in the relationship between 1 Tim 2:3-6, 1 Tim 4:10, and Limited Atonement.

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29 Responses

  1. I am guessing John Murray – Redemption Accomplished and Applied.

    As for 1 Tim 2:3-6 the standard observation “all = every last individual who ever lived without exception” vs. “all = all tribes, nations, cultures, people groups etc i.e. no longer just a Jewish phenomenon” still applies.

    As for 1 Tim 4:10, the focus there is not so much the “who” that is “all the world”, but who the Saviour is. Paul was polemicizing against a statue of Caesar [I believe it was Caesar, although it may have been a different emperor] commonly found through out the Roman empire which had the inscription “Julius Caesar, Saviour of the World”. Paul was pointing out that it is the living God who is that saviour. References available upon request.

  2. I am guessing that guess was too easy for you, since I literally took that page from your book — the one you loaned me!

    I’m not completely convinced. I think there is a sense that God ‘wants’ every last individual who ever lived without exception to be (have been) saved (For he is not willing that any should perish”), and we are to take that example to heart, and we should also desire for every last individual who is alive without exception to be saved. And outwork that desire with evangelism.

    And the Julius Caesar explanation is interesting, but 1 Tim 4:10 does not deny that the living God is the saviour of all people, but affirms it, adding “especially of those who believe.” In what sense are those who don’t believe saved by the living God? Who did Christ die for other than the elect?

    I think there’s something about the precise intent of Limited Atonement that I (and Arminians) need to understand. It is somehow more complex than “Jesus died only for the elect”. Over here and following), it seems like Echo’s answer is “Jesus died for (bought) the entire visible church” (everybody who has been baptized?), but “Jesus redeemed only the elect”. Limited Atonement is apparently not the beastie that Arminians think it is, but the more important point, the reason I posted this quote, is to show a famous Calvinist’s affirmation of the free and universal offer of the gospel.

  3. Rube, your statement, “Limited Atonement is apparently not the beastie that Arminians think it is” Would be valid IF, and only if, all Calvinist approached the doctrine as eloquently and precisely as John Murray. Unfortunately his opinion is not that of the majority but rather a small minority of balanced reformed believers.

  4. I can certainly speak for myself in this respect — a month ago I thought that Limited Atonement was as simple as “Christ died for and atoned only his bride, the elect, invisible church”. Apparently things are more complex. Maybe other Calvinists are already aware of this, and I just missed that meeting (there was that one week where I forgot the secret handshake and they didn’t let me in…). I guess that’s why there are people running around calling themselves 4-point Calvinists! I’m going to have another listen to my church’s Reformation Day service, with 5 pastors (from 4? denominations?) giving 5 mini-sermons on the 5 doctrines of grace (TULIP), and I recall my pastor spoke very eloquently on L. Here’s a link to the download page, and here’s a link to Limited Atonement all by it’s lonesome.

    But the bottom line is, predestination (for better or for worse) is an easy biblical doctrine, and EFFECTUAL Atonement/redemption (calling, regeneration, faith & repentance, justification, adoption, sanctification, and glorification, to attempt Murray’s ordo saludis from memory) is Limited only to the elect. And this does not mean that the offer of the gospel is not free and universal. Many are called, but few are chosen. Effectual Atonement is Limited to the chosen.

    Maybe if there was a different kind of flower called a TUEIP, the Arminians could have been beat back with something called “Effective Atonement” instead, and there wouldn’t be all this misunderstanding. That’s the danger of forcing your doctrine into Acronyms or Alliterative Applications Always. Some stuff just won’t fit.

  5. I absolutely agree that predestination and effectual atonement are easy to agree with biblical doctrines. I also find that when i sit down and talk with a Christian (no matter what denomination or camp they adhere to) they agree with those doctrines as well.

    sometimes it takes a lot of talking but they always acknowledge it in the end. It helps to avoid titles because those simply muddy the waters.

    I have a friend whom I met in Chicago at a Padres cubs game. He is from Canada. He is a atheist. He is a hyper liberal. We have only one thing in common, both he and I are Padres fans. For a conservative Christian minister to be friends with a liberal atheistic Canadian is strange, nearly impossible to imagine. But for two guys who enjoy baseball to be friends is not hard to imagine at all. Whats the difference? The titles. The stereotypes.

    This is why it annoys me so much that people trumpet their denominations (or non-denominations) in a superior attitude. It virtually destroys the possibility for any kind of agreement.

    Calvinist vs Arminian
    Reformed vs Wesleyan
    Baptist vs Non-Denominational

    AHHH

    The term, “born again” was a decent enough term but has been dilluted and could possibly include individuals who trust in their works for salvation. http://www.barna.org/FlexPage.aspx?Page=Topic&TopicID=8

    Recently the term, “evangelical” had taken on a fairly decent encompassing of what I understand a true Christian to be. http://www.barna.org/FlexPage.aspx?Page=Topic&TopicID=17

    Go ahead a review the definitions and let me know if you think you can have unity with “evangelicals”

  6. Interesting definitions. For those that might not care to read everything on those links, I’ll reiterate their definitions: BornAgain= two (self-identified) criteria:

    I have made a commitment to Jesus that is currently important to me
    when I die, I will go to Heaven because I have confessed my sins and have accepted Jesus Christ as my savior

    (about 40% of Americans self-identify as this definition of Born Again), and Evangelical = BornAgain + seven more criteria:

    faith is very important in their life today;

    believing they have a personal responsibility to share their religious beliefs about Christ with non-Christians;

    believing that Satan exists;

    believing that eternal salvation is possible only through grace, not works;

    believing that Jesus Christ lived a sinless life on earth;

    asserting that the Bible is accurate in all that it teaches;

    describing God as the all-knowing, all-powerful, perfect deity who created the universe and still rules it today

    (9% of Americans self-identify as Evangelical according to these stricter criteria).

    As for unity, there’s unity, and there’s unity. Born Again should be enough for me to call someone a Christian brother, but for the 31% of Americans in the self-identified Born Again category that miss any of the criteria for Evangelical, they’ve got some fundamental errors that imply they don’t really understand Christianity.

    At the easy end of unity there’s affirming somebody a Christian Brother. At the strict end, there’s agreeing with me 100% down the line (i.e. being right :-P). Near to this strict end, there’s being fit to proclaim the word of God from the pulpit of the church to which I have made myself accountable. No Arminians, Dispensationalists, tongues-talkers, Baptists, Baptismal Regenerationists, Paedocommunionists (FV/NPP’ers), gay- or woman-ordainers, etc. need apply. (Actually that’s not apparently strictly true, because our reformation service included Gene Cook (Baptist) and Neville Koch (CRC/woman-ordainer) — but still broadly reformed)

    Meeting the Barna definition of “Evangelical” falls somewhere in between.

  7. You contradict yourself as to whom you will and will not consider ‘fit to proclaim the word of God from the pulpit’. And you acknowledge it. OK?

    One of the biggest problems of the American church is the idea that the church you attend must agree completely with your beliefs. If thats the case why are you attending church at all? why aren’t you your own church?

    good to see that on your list of excluded ministers are gay-ordainer’s and tongues talkers.

    Lets see, something that is clearly taught as sinful in the Bible verses something that is clearly taught in the Bible. interesting…

  8. I’m really busy this week. This thread is interesting, but all I have time for is to briefly respond to the “not fit to preach in your reformed pulpit” list: Ready? Got your pens and notebooks out? Once again you effectively eliminated the Apostle Paul, and, by default, Albino Hayford. I guess neither one of us will be appearing any time soon behind your sacred desk.

    As you can tell, we are both emotionally devastated. :-)

  9. Well, the contradiction is not (purely?) mine, but my denominations. As I understand it, the PCA has “Ecclesiastical Fellowship” with OPC (and probably a few other Reformed denominations, I don’t know), but not with CRC, since CRC ordains women. What I thought that meant is that any man ordained (licensed?) by the OPC is automatically greenlighted to guest-preach/administer sacraments in any PCA. Not so CRC (but that doesn’t mean we think CRC are all going to hell). But our Reformation service had a CRC and a Reformed Baptist speaking from the pulpit. I don’t know what exactly the standards are, whether they are different for preaching vs “exhorting”, preaching vs sacraments, Sabbath Worship vs Sunday Night, guest preacher vs candidate for teaching or ruling elder, etc.

    As for Paul, we’ve read and interpreted what he wrote (as you have seen), but if God were to resurrect him early, I’m sure we’d eagerly beg him to preach at our church, and if he corrected us I sure hope we’d pray for repentance, stand corrected, and update confessional standards as necessary.

    As for Albino, ehh, not so much. You’d be lucky if we let you even sit in our Toddler room. Most visitors have to pass a 5-part essay examination before we’ll even give them a bulletin.

    Ha ha.

    So yes, I was contradictory, but I’m sure that’s mostly because I am unfamiliar with the actual standards set forth by my denomination. But just like every church (including yours) we have our list of doctrinal deal-breakers and grey areas for who is considered an acceptable pastoral candidate or guest preacher. At least ours are written down somewhere.

  10. Last chance to jump on a plane with T and meet up with us Shawn and Kathy’s place in Jersey next week! Could be fun…

  11. Would be fun indeed, but not feasible with 3 kids… Are you leaving your toddler behind?

    Be sure to eat some Cluck U for me! (Actually that satellite map looks like a big house in a fancy neighborhood, not a greasy fast-food joint — but Shawn must know where it is…)

  12. It’s so strange to think of a list of criteria for what passes as “born again” and what passes as “evangelical”. What strange titles.

    What about the Nicene Creed?

    Here ya go: if you can agree with the Nicene Creed, or rather, if a Christian church can agree with that, then that’s a Christian, or a Christian church. If you can’t agree with the Nicene Creed, you aren’t even Christian anymore.

    http://www.ccel.org/creeds/nicene.creed.html

    Before you object, go read it first.

    Rube, if I were you, and I’m surely not, but if I were, I’d be asking the ol’ session about that baptist/CRC business. They shouldn’t be in the pulpit. Right, that doesn’t mean we don’t think they’re Christians or whatever, but no one should be in your pulpit that can’t affirm the Westminster Confession of Faith. That’s the PCA’s confession of faith. That’s what they believe. When someone gets into the pulpit, they’re telling you what to believe based on Scripture. Now what sense does it make for someone to get into your pulpit and tell you what to believe if it’s something different from what your church believes?

    Albino wouldn’t let a cessationist into his pulpit. Imagine Albino letting someone from the OPC come and preach in his pulpit. The OPC guy would say all kinds of things that Albino would consider to be against his church’s “confession”. There’s a confession, even if it isn’t spelled out. We know that at least one thing in that confession is that tongues ought to be made use of. That’s a doctrinal statement. It’s what he believes. Thus it is, whether formally or informally, part of his confession. If I wanted to preach at Albino’s church, he wouldn’t allow it, because I don’t confess the same thing as him. My version of Christianity is different from his. If I were to speak from his pulpit, I’d be speaking against some of the things that Albino wants his people to believe.

    So Rube, your session, like it or not, by having someone from the CRC preach in your pulpit, is making the statement that women’s ordination is not that big a deal. By having a Baptist speak, they’re saying that what you believe about baptism and whatever else isn’t all that big a deal either. They’re saying that we have a lot to learn from people who are in error. They’re asking their congregation to submit to people who are in error and unorthodox. They’re therefore asking the church to listen and heed people who they don’t acknowledge to be soundly biblical.

    That’s not a small thing at all. You might be well served by at least asking about it. Having those folks preach from your pulpit is really a very bad idea. Unless of course your session doesn’t feel that strongly about the Confession that we confess. I mean, maybe they think women’s ordination is wrong, but maybe they don’t think this is all that important. You might be well served by finding out. It’s something I’d want to know.

    Now, I know how some of you are going to respond. You’ll say that I’m mean spirited and narrow minded, and it’s no wonder that my denomination is still so tiny after 70 years. You’ll say that I have no right to say what’s right and what’s wrong, and that I have no right to say who can and cannot preach. You’ll ask me who I think I am to make such statements.

    And you’d be quite right. Yes! You’re right! I have NO RIGHT to say what’s right and wrong. I have NO RIGHT to say who can and cannot preach.

    So now that we see that you’re right about what rights I do and do not have, let’s ask a question. Does ANYONE have the right to make these kinds of judgments?

    Well, again, I think you’re right that I do not have that right. But doesn’t GOD have the right to say what is right and what is wrong? Doesn’t GOD have the right to say who can and cannot preach?

    Only a completely irrational nut case would say that God does not have such a right. If you find yourself wondering if God does have the right to make these judgments, then don’t ever read anything I post here or anywhere else.

    God certainly DOES have this right. God is our Creator and Redeemer. He is the one who tells us what’s right, and he is the one who decides who is qualified to speak for him by preaching his Word.

    So that’s settled. But now, how do we know what God has said about these things? Oh, right! The Bible! God speaks to us in the Bible! Whew! That was close. So look at that – we have a standard by which we can judge according to GOD’s declaration of what is true and right. If God says the sky is blue, then anyone who says that it’s red is in disagreement with the Scriptures, and consequently with God. Yes, if you disagree with the Scriptures, you’re ignoring God, even opposing God.

    That’s why Albino is always saying that the Bible says that tongues are a good thing. He’s at least appealing to the proper authority. I have argued that he’s not interpreting what God has said properly, but he is, nonetheless, appealing to God’s authority, or at the VERY least we must admit that this is what he is seeking to do.

    So then we arrive at another complex problem. We all agree that the Bible is the final judge in everything, but we don’t agree on what the Bible says. UGH! We’re so sinful. Of course you realize that if we weren’t sinful, we’d understand the Bible in the same way. But since we’re sinful, we have many opinions about what the Bible says.

    Now enter Confessions and Creeds. In regard to the Nicene Creed, this is something all churches should be confessing, because it represents the common consent of the church long before there were any divisions in it. And we agree that it’s correct. And I’m sure if any Christian read it, they’d agree with it. It’s kind of a bare minimum thing – the basics.

    In regard to something like the Westminster Confession of Faith, this is the Confession of the Presbyterian churches. It doesn’t say that this is what “we” say precisely. No, rather it says that this is what we believe the Bible says. It is what we consider the Bible to be saying. It’s how we interpret the Bible. It’s really pretty straight forward.

    Albino finds the use of tongues to be biblical, and cannot fathom how I would read the same passages differently. This is a difference in confession. Both appeal to the Bible for support, but there is a difference of interpretation. These differences in interpretation are properly captured in a confession of faith. It is what your faith is IN. It describes the content of your faith; it describes what you believe. Albino believes in tongues, I don’t. We both believe in the Bible, but we read it differently.

    So a confession just captures your interpretation of the Bible. So if we disagree on what the Bible says – is that a problem with the Bible, or with us? I’ve said enough.

  13. Now, I know how some of you are going to respond. You’ll say that I’m mean spirited and narrow minded

    What’s funny is, the (Reformed) Baptist that spoke on Unconditional Election hosts the podcast called “The Narrow Mind

  14. Rube,

    Are you suggesting that being narrow minded is a Christian virtue? How dare you! It’s contrary to common worldly wisdom to think so. How dare you contradict commonly held worldly wisdom!

    E

  15. The toddler is staying with her grandparents…who knows? A new baby might be on the way. I told Esther, “If we can make it there, we’ll make it anywhere; it’s up to you, New York, New York!

  16. Echo, Am i correct in understanding that you believe then everyone who affirms the Nicene creed is considered a part of the visible church?

    Am I also correct in understanding that you believe everyone who doesn’t hold the same opinion of yours on the Westminster confession is in doctrinal error but is still a part of the visible church?

  17. Daniel,

    Re: 16

    No on both counts. No, not everyone who affirms the Nicene Creed is part of the visible church, but I don’t see how you can be part of the visible church without affirming the Nicene Creed. What I’m saying is that the Roman Church to my knowledge still affirms the Nicene Creed, but is obviously not part of the visible church anymore, being a synagogue of satan.

    No, my opinion of the Westminster Confession is not the standard of truth. What’s WITH you guys on this business about truth? Why do you insist that I’m the only authority behind my opinions? Will you please give UP your notions of autonomy and recognize that God has spoken in his Word and that it’s actually possible to figure out what he’s said!? Can you please acknowledge that if someone correctly figures out what the Bible has said, then it’s no longer his OPINION??? Can you do that?

    However, yeah, if you disagree with the WCF, you’re in error, but that doesn’t preclude you from being in the visible church necessarily. It depends on the error. You see, disagreeing with the WCF is the same as disagreeing with the Bible. NOT NOT NOT because the WCF has the same authority as the Bible, but because it says the SAME THING as the Bible.

    Now stop and think a minute. Note very carefully what I’m saying here, because I really don’t want to be misunderstood. The Westminster Confession does not have the same authority as the Bible. However, disagreeing with the WCF amounts to disagreeing with the Bible. Why? Because the WCF says the same thing as the Bible does.

    In the same way, if I say something that’s in the Bible, and you disagree with me, is it really me you’re disagreeing with, or the Bible?

    I am not the standard of truth. I am not the arbiter of truth. I am not the supreme judge of what is true and what is false.

    But that doesn’t mean that I cannot have any contact whatsoever with the truth. It doesn’t mean I can’t discover it and give my assent to it and rearticulate it accurately. It just means that I’m not the standard of truth or the ultimate judge of it.

    Big, big difference.

    E

  18. Echo, thanks for answering those questions, unfortunately I had lost this post before replying in some other threads (blog chaos). My point is this, what you seem to be failing to acknowledge is that there are many adherents to the WCF who do not understand it the same way you do. Likewise there are even more adherents to the Bible who do not understand it the way you do. So people keep saying things from the Bible and you keep disagreeing with me and telling them they are in sin. And then you say you are not the standard of truth. It’s confusing to say the least and polarizing to say the most. It is this polarizing nature that I am trying my best to fight against. The polarizing attitude that must insist upon labeling people Arminian is only hurting the Church, not helping it to grow.

  19. Careful, Echo…very careful…disagreeing with the WMC is the same as disagreeing with the Bible? Ouch. Think that statement through a little bit more. Wow! I’ll say it backwards: Wow! At least you have a pair.

  20. Albino,

    Re: 19

    You completely misunderstand.

    If I say what the Bible says, and you disagree with me, is that the same as disagreeing with the Bible?

    Think that question through a little bit.

    You think the EXACT SAME THING. Yep, when I disagree with what YOU think about tongues, you say that I’m disagreeing with Paul (by which you mean the Bible). Whoops!

    E

  21. Daniel,

    Re: 18

    I hereby acknowledge that not everyone understands the WCF as me and not everyone understands the Bible the same as me. I hereby acknowledge that it is possible for such people to be saved.

    I have never said anything contrary to that, and I bet if I looked long and hard enough, I’d find similar statements on this very blog.

    Nonetheless, if you – not me, YOU – are convinced that the Bible says “X”, and I come along and say “Y”, do you have any right to disagree?

    Since you have disagreed with ME over and over again openly, I can only assume that to be consistent with your actions, your answer must be yes. Yes, you do think you have the right to claim the Bible’s authority. You do make truth claims. You do claim to have some understanding of what the Bible says.

    Now, since you claim to have some understanding of what the Bible says, and you disagree with me BASED on that understanding, don’t you also perceive me as disagreeing with the Bible?

    If I claim to be a Christian who is in submission to Scripture, yet disagree with the Bible’s clear teaching, am I in sin?

    The Bible COMMANDS us to believe certain things, doesn’t it?

    1Ti 6:3 If anyone teaches a different doctrine and does not agree with the sound words of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching that accords with godliness,
    1Ti 6:4 he is puffed up with conceit and understands nothing. He has an unhealthy craving for controversy and for quarrels about words, which produce envy, dissension, slander, evil suspicions,
    1Ti 6:5 and constant friction among people who are depraved in mind and deprived of the truth, imagining that godliness is a means of gain.

    What do you think? Is it a sin to disagree with the Bible? Is it a sin to teach others your error? If you disagree with the Word, the BIBLE says you are puffed up with conceit and understand nothing. Pretty strong words. Do you think that has anything to do with sin?

    So let’s make this crystal clear. If you disagree with the Bible, it is because of sin. No if’s and’s or but’s about it. That’s what the Bible SAYS.

    1Ti 4:16 Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers.

    KJV says:

    1Ti 4:16 Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

    Is that a command to believe certain things? Is that a command to be conformed to Scripture? Is it sin to disagree with Scripture?

    Rom 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

    Rom 3:22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction:

    Is believing the right thing associated with obtaining eternal life? Is believing the wrong thing therefore sin?

    Gal 3:22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

    Those who believe what? The Scriptures perhaps? Jesus Christ perhaps? Where do we find out about Jesus? In the Scriptures or somewhere else? What is the source of truth?

    Joh 17:17 Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.

    That’s Jesus speaking to the Father there. The Word of God is truth. Are we supposed to believe the truth? If something isn’t true, is it a lie, or something else?

    2Th 2:9 The coming of the lawless one is by the activity of Satan with all power and false signs and wonders,
    2Th 2:10 and with all wicked deception for those who are perishing, because they refused to love the truth and so be saved.
    2Th 2:11 Therefore God sends them a strong delusion, so that they may believe what is false,
    2Th 2:12 in order that all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

    Is believing something contrary to the Bible here associated with sin? If the Bible is truth, doesn’t this say (v 10) that loving the truth is a means of salvation? “they refused to love the truth and so be saved.” “Your word is truth,” O God. And everyone who doesn’t believe the truth is condemned.

    Now I ask you, are we commanded to believe that the Bible is true? Is it a sin to disagree with the Bible?

    Well, at least, according to the Bible it’s a sin. But of course, if you don’t believe it’s a sin to disagree with the Bible, then you are free to disagree with this principle as well I suppose. Of course, your opinion doesn’t matter because it doesn’t make it true one way or the other.

    So what then? Disagreeing with the Bible is SIN. This is clear from Scripture. Do I now have the right, having proven it from Scripture, to make this claim? Are you happy now? Are you satisfied now that I have the right to say, “To disagree with the Bible is sin”?

    Well, guess what? When I say that, it’s not MY &%$#@ OPINION!!!

    IT’S NOT MY OPINION!!!

    Do you understand that? I’m not claiming my OWN authority! I’m saying, “The Bible says…” And if the Bible really does say it, then yep, if you disagree with it, you’re in sin and you need to repent!

    Do you have any idea how irrational you’re being? Suppose you go to a jail to do a prison ministry. And you tell one of the inmates that rape is a sin. He claims to be a Christian, but refuses to repent of the rape that he committed that landed him in jail in the first place. When he gets out, he tells you, he intends to go right back to raping. Raping, he says, is a time honored tradition in his family, and the Bible doesn’t condemn it. Astonished, you reply that the Bible surely does condemn rape as horrific sin.

    So he says to you, where is rape condemned in the Bible? You say, how about the 10 Commandments, you shall not commit adultery? He says, oh no, that doesn’t mean rape. Surely you don’t know what that word means. Adultery is something only a married man can do, and I’m not married. I am breaking no marriage vows. When and if I do get married, I’ll stop raping, because then it would be wrong.

    Now SERIOUSLY, is this man in sin? Do you have the right to tell him that the Bible says he is in sin, and that he needs to repent?

    Or do you have to do what you are irrationally demanding that I do: concede that he has the right to his own opinion about what the Bible says. After all, it’s a difficult book to understand. He might be right after all.

    Either it’s possible for us to understand the Bible or it isn’t. If it is impossible for us to understand, how does God figure that it will do any good to give it to us? Did he give it to us just to confuse us, or to show us the way of truth? You tell me. Is it possible for the Bible to be understood, yes or no?

    You sure seem to think you have it understood. And you demand that I conform to your understanding of it. You demand it. But when you make such demands, are you speaking for yourself only, or do you suppose to be relaying only what the Bible says?

    Here’s a truth claim of yours:
    “The polarizing attitude that must insist upon labeling people Arminian is only hurting the Church, not helping it to grow.”

    Ostensibly, you suppose that you know how to help the Church to grow. Now I’m not sure, but I don’t suppose that you figured out how the Church is supposed to function and grow on your own. God is the one who founded the Church, and that founding is recorded in the Word. So I can only assume (charitably) that you are basing your understanding on how the Church grows on the Word, or at least that you think that’s what you’re doing.

    But think about your claim here. Your claim is this: it is true for EVERYONE that being polemical does not help the church to grow. So, the implication is, anyone who disagrees with anyone else hinders the growth of the church. Perhaps that’s too broad an interpretation. Maybe a better interpretation is, anyone who insists that there is only one correct way to interpret the Scriptures is hindering the growth of the church. That’s your truth claim.

    Of course, you can see how this is self contradictory. Or maybe you can’t. I’ll show you.

    You don’t seem to think that there’s any one correct way to interpret Scripture. Anyone who claims such is hindering the growth of the church. But look at what you’re claiming. You’re claiming that there is only one way to understand how the church grows. The church, according to you, ONLY GROWS in a non-polemical environment. So the implication is that we must accept everyone, and that means that we must accept everyone’s ideas about how Scripture should be interpreted, and no one anywhere has any right to say, “That’s wrong; repent and believe.”

    But of course, this is completely ANTITHETICAL to the Scriptures. For the benefit of whoever might not understand what the word “antithetical” means, it means that Daniel is saying the complete OPPOSITE of what the Scriptures say. The Scriptures say up, and Daniel is saying down.

    Eph 4:4 There is one body and one Spirit–just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call–
    Eph 4:5 one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
    Eph 4:6 one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

    Where does it say that we should never make claims to truth to the exclusion of what disagrees? Paul here CLEARLY says that there is only ONE RIGHT ANSWER. And this is the basis for our unity. The unity of the church is not based on compromise and pluralism, but on the truth. As you cling to the ONE TRUTH, therefore you are united to the true church.

    I refuse – I REFUSE – to pander to pluralism. If you don’t believe what the Bible says, you are simply wrong and embracing the lies of the world, and you are doing so in order to embrace and fondle your sin. Repent.

    But if you DO agree with the Bible, then you are united to the church, because if you agree with the Bible, you do so by faith, and we are justified by faith alone. This faith unites you to Christ. Our salvation is completely wrapped up in what we believe.

    Go ahead and believe that no one has a right to claim to have any idea about what the Bible says. But you yourself make the same kinds of claims, you just claim not to. I find this inconsistent, perhaps even hypocritical.

    It boggles my mind that you can think in this way, but whatever. Do what you like. I’m going to continue to harp on this: believe what the Bible says. I believe that I have some understanding of what the Bible says, and I believe that my church has some understanding of what the Bible says. If you don’t believe the same thing about yourself and your church, then why on earth are you a part of it? Hasn’t God spoken in the Bible? Is it completely unintelligible? If so, why do we think we know anything at all? God helps us understand it, doesn’t he? Isn’t that why he gave it to us in the first place?

    But anyway, don’t be concerned if I say that the Bible says such and such, and to disagree is sin. I mean, that’s a true statement ONLY if I have understood the Bible rightly. But if I have understood the Bible rightly, then it is a true statement. Well, I’m confident that I have understood the Bible rightly, so I can confidently make the statement that the Bible says such and such, and sin prevents you from agreeing. I’m sorry you don’t have as much confidence in your understanding of the Bible, but don’t demand of me that I give up my confidence. I will continue to call those troubled by unbelief to repent and flee to Christ their only hope. I will continue to call them to faith in Christ founded on the Word of God.

    If I’m wrong, be at peace, my call to repentance is just a manifestation of my wicked heart. Don’t let it trouble you. Consider my views one of the many you have vowed to tolerate as “possibly correct”.

    You can’t say you tolerate patiently the views of everyone except those views of they who do not tolerate other views. That’s like saying I tolerate everyone except those who don’t tolerate everyone. All you’re saying is that you tolerate everyone who thinks like you when all is said and done. Why should you be proud of yourself for that?

    Don’t worry – I tolerate you and your views. But that doesn’t change the fact – the truth – that you need to repent of them. I can tolerate you despite your sin. But I don’t have to pretend you aren’t a sinner in order to tolerate you. God doesn’t pretend we aren’t sinners. He knows we are. But he made a provision for it. So in his presence, he’d be pretty offended if we pretended we weren’t sinners. He knows differently, and went to great lengths to fix the problem. To deny the problem is to call the price he paid meaningless. If we aren’t sinful, Christ died for nothing. So we come before him acknowledging our need for Christ because of our sin. So should we lie to one another and pretend that we’re all ok? Hardly. Wake up! You’re a sinner! So am I! But if the Spirit of Christ dwells in us, we can begin to desire to submit to his Word as he makes it clear to us. So we aren’t afraid to stand up for the Word of God insofar as we understand it. You stand up for what you understand about the Bible, and I stand up for what I understand about it. Why should it be otherwise? I refuse to apologize for the grace of God. I refuse to be ashamed of his Word and the truth contained therein.

    I’m sorry, but you and Albino are both asking me to be ashamed of what I believe, and I steadfastly refuse to do that. You aren’t ashamed of what you believe, why should I be? You think I’m in sin for denying the validity of your ecstatic utterances. I think you’re in sin for participating in them. I call you to repent, you call me to repent. Eventually, one of us will convince the other, or we’ll give up the debate, or we’ll die. Either way, eventually, we’ll all stand before God, and then you’ll see whether you were right or not. We’ll see whether you are ashamed in that day or not. Actually, we won’t see anything I don’t suppose. But you will know in that day.

    But as for me, I’d rather not be “proven right” on that day. I don’t care to be proven right. I care that the Bible is submitted to. I’m not asking you to submit to me, or to admit that I’m right or anything. I genuinely want to see you submit to Scripture. Don’t you want to see me submit to Scripture?

    E

  22. sigh echo, take your meds, calm down a bit. All that i am looking for is attempts to unify the church. I am looking for unifying factors to form an umbrella that everyone who claims to be a believer can come under. I think the Trinity, salvation by grace through faith, and the infallibility of scriptures are a good place to start. I don’t think the WCF is. There are some areas of the WCF that i think conflict with the Bible, but I still want to maintain fellowship with believers who do agree with the WC.

    Why are you upset with me?

  23. Daniel,

    I’m not upset with you. I just can’t sit back and watch while you say these things that consistently imply that no one has any right to make truth claims. That offends me to the very fiber of my being.

    You’re right that the Trinity, salvation by grace through faith and the infallibility of the Scriptures are a good place to start. You’re right. Does that have any relation to the Nicene Creed at all?

    And now I’m going to say something that may surprise you. Do you know that you actually don’t have to affirm the WCF in order to join our church? Astonishing, I know. YOU DO have to affirm it in order to be an elder, minister or deacon. And members have to swear submission to the government of the church. So they’re indirectly submitting to the confession. BUT, the point is, you don’t have to figure it all out before you can join the church and receive the Lord’s supper and have your children baptized.

    So look at that. It’s official. The OPC doesn’t say that everyone who is in a little bit of error needs to be kicked out of the church or not admitted to heaven. Amazing. But they don’t let you TEACH or GOVERN in any way unless you can affirm and confess the WCF as your own. (Sidenote: the URC is different from the Presbyterians in this regard. CRC and URC make all members affirm the three forms of unity.)

    Anyway, they don’t deny that those who disagree with the WCF are in error. They acknowledge it freely. They don’t operate under some delusion that the church can be or should be error free. But they shepherd and guide people and bring them into conformity with the WCF over time. The longer you’re a member, the more you realize what a great document it is.

    But that doesn’t change anything. To disagree with the WCF is sinful, because it says the same thing the Bible does. It’s a summary of what the Bible says, and it is true and correct. It’s not inerrant. There is room for different interpretations in some places. It’s not perfect either. It’s not a PERFECT summary. But it’s a summary of the Bible, and says the same thing as the Bible. Thus to disagree with it is to disagree with the Bible.

    So, you want to know why I’m “upset”? It’s not that I’m upset. I guess offended would be a better word. It’s like if I stuck my stinky exercise socks in your face when they’re all sweaty. How would you react? That’s how I react to your views.

    I’m sorry, I don’t know what else to tell you. Put your nasty sweaty exercise socks in my face and I’m going to shove them away and complain about it, and declare that the smell is disgusting.

    You continually demand that I compromise and admit that your beliefs are acceptable. Forget what you think. From my point of view, you’re asking me to say that sin is not sin. That’s like trying to get me to say that your nasty, sweaty socks smell like roses. No! What I say matters to me. I won’t affirm that your views are legitimate if in fact they don’t measure up to Scripture. I’m sorry, but how could you even ASK that of me? You have no right to ask me to behold sin and then declare it ok or acceptable.

    No. Sin is sin is sin. It’s disgusting, and I won’t admit anything else about it. It offends God, and it OUGHT to offend us. Yuck!

    E

  24. Reuben, I don’t even rememember which thread is which, and where I last opined, but I do remember promising to comment on your boy, Arminius tonight. Sadly, my remarks must wait, because I had to attend a wedding and then an evening service by Don McCurry (you can google him and see he is a well-known author and speaker), a (gasp) Presbyterian who trains Christians in how to share the Gospel with Muslims. He will be preaching in our church on Sunday night (I guess we do allow Calvinists to preach from our pulpit, eh?; although he said tonight that “limited atonement” something he embraces less and less, citing Jesus statement as He wept over Jerusalem in the Gospels), but I have to preach Sunday morning and my message is still incomplete.

    But never fear, my WMC, 5-point Calvinist friends, I shall return.

    Echo…As your brother in Christ, I urge you to get a good night’s sleep, and you may feel better in the morning. You can’t possibly mean all the extremely divisive and ugly things that you are saying in the name of Christ. The New Testament speaks pretty harshly to those “who sow discord among the brethren” — I John 1:9 might be in order here.

  25. Titus 1:7-11 For an overseer, as God’s steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined. He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it. For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach.

  26. Proverbs 6:16-19
    There are six things the LORD hates, seven that are detestable to him: haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, a false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.

    Titus 3:10-11
    Warn a divisive person once, and then warn him a second time. After that, have nothing to do with him. You may be sure that such a man is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.

  27. What’s trump?

    Only with sound doctrine can we worship the God who actually exists.

  28. Albino,

    Re: 24

    My refusal to compromise is not the source of discord in the church.

    Sure, we could all be pagans, and then war would cease on planet earth, right?

    Do your OWN beliefs mean anything to YOU? Or maybe only your one belief that we should all just get along.

    Yeah, that apostle Paul, he was a big fan of accepting multiple gospels. Never opposed the other apostles publicly, even when they were wrong. And he always said that there wouldn’t be divisions among us.

    You’re right, I’ve completely misunderstood the words of Jesus, because he said that broad was the way to life, and narrow-minded people who think that truth matters go to hell because they’re mean and sow discord. It’s the narrow minded people who refuse to compromise the gospel who are the enemies who sowed weeds among the wheat.

    You’re right. Unity through diversity is the message of the Bible. Why didn’t I see it before?

    E

  29. Albino,

    Re: 26

    The one who brings an alternative gospel is the “false witness who pours out lies and a man who stirs up dissension among brothers.”

    You know how I know? Because a little bird told me? Because I made it up? NO! It’s actually the Bible. Yes, you’re familiar with that book aren’t you? That’s the source of orthodox truth claims. In fact, that’s part of the definition of orthodox, that it lines up with the Bible!

    So let me ask you this question: if you EVER disagree with someone, are you a false witness and one who stirs up dissention? No. The one who is standing up for the truth does what is right. Did Jesus ever rebuke anyone for their unbelief?

    Hahahaha…I just realized you’d probably have rebuked Jesus for being mean and arrogant if you had heard him speak to the Pharisees. Haha, you would have been like, Jesus, you’re stirring up dissention…hahahahahahaha…you sure would have! Hahahahahaha… oh, brilliant, man, brilliant. And I bet when Paul opposed Peter to his face in public, you would have been all, oh, Paul, we can’t rock the boat and stuff…hahahahahaha…now who’s arrogant? hahahahahahaha…I’m not laughing with you so much as at you…hahahahahaha

    Your unity through diversity message and your alternative gospel message are nonsense and not founded on the Scriptures. It’s the fruit of sin. You know how I know? Because it’s antithetical to the Bible. You should beware that while you think what you’re saying is perfectly logical and makes sense, it looks really silly to me when I put it up against Scripture. It makes me giggle. Tee hee. It makes me giggle because you’re acting like a child who learned how to say some really big word but you don’t know what it means. I remember when I learned the word “propitiation”. I couldn’t understand it completely, so I kept trying to say it in like every sentence. Hahahaha…but I had no idea what I was talking about. My parents thought it was really funny. That’s what you make me think of when you say that a refusal to compromise amounts to stirring up dissent. Hahahahahaha…it’s like a kid using a big word he doesn’t really understand. Hehehehehe…the analogy is so apt it makes me laugh…hahahahahahahaha…I keep hearing the 7 dwarves from Snow White and their constant laughing…ho ho ho ho ho…heee heee heee heee heee…hahahahahahahahaha…

    Hi ho, hi ho, I won’t compromise you know….*whistling*…

    ECHO!

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