Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Arminian Idle
...a 'four point' sandy theology of faith



An encore presentation.

I am traveling back in town today after a tremendous weekend of ministry at the Toledo Reformed Theological Conference and a wonderful church in MIchigan. Thus, because of time restraints, I am reposting this article and trust it will be challenging to your thinking as well as an encouragement as to what genuine saving faith and the gospel of Jesus Christ truly is (and in some cases, isn't).

I wrote a song years ago called, "Shake Me to Wake Me" - it was my autobiographical journey out of the sand of Arminianism to the solid rock of biblical Christianity. Maybe you can relate to the following as well.

Grace and peace to you,
Steve
Col. 1:9-14



Here is the essence of an easy believism gospel. This is not meant to be an exhaustive treatment of Arminianism, but a thumb nail approach. For a more thorough study visit A1M.org and go to the 107 THESES or click on the "End of the Spear" banner to be connected to the doctrines of grace. You can also click on the "End of the Spin" banner here at COT to be taken to an in depth "what we believe" statement of faith which includes the doctrines of grace. Or better yet, go to monergism.com for hundreds of excellent historical, theological, biblical articles on Arminianism and Calvinism.

Initiated by man
Salvation by Arminianism is dependent on man accepting Christ; being a seeker; and responding to the gospel because he chose to do so out of his own free volition. IOW, the A.I. rendering of 1 John 4:19 reads, "He loves us, because we first loved Him." We were not chosen before the world began (elected); Jesus did not actually redeem us on the cross (particular redemption); and the Holy Spirit didn't actually regenerate us prior to faith being exercised (1 Cor. 12:3; Titus 3:6-7); or that it was God alone Who must grant to us saving faith to receive Christ as Lord of our lives (Eph. 2:8-9); but Jesus only provided a way of salvation for us at the cross and now sits in the heavenlies waiting for lost people to seek Him, choose Him, find Him, accept Him and "select Him". This is a picture, beloved, of an impotent Lord--not the great omnipotent Sovereign of the universe. Compare that with Ephesians 1:4-14.

Dependent on free will
Man is not so depraved and lost that he cannot, once presented with the right truth by compelling methods, accept Christ by his own merit and choosing. Man is not solely drawn to Christ by the Father (John 6:44), but decides of his own free volition to follow Jesus. We've all sung it a myriad of times haven't we? "I have decided to follow Jesus..." In the Arminian school, man's will is not so bound and corrupted by original sin or by the penalty and guilt of Adam's disobedience and sin (Rom. 3:10-18; 5:12-17); nor is he so completely dead in trespass in sin, or by nature a child of wrath (Eph. 2:1-3) as to be restricted from "choosing Christ" as his Savior. Compare that with John 6:37-44.

Lip service enough
Repentance is a verbal assent to the truth--not a change of mind and life. It is, for example, a common sinner's prayer that I was taught in my church as a child was, "Jesus I believe in You, Jesus I receive You..." and if you really meant it, you're born again - that's all it took. (But is that really how someone becomes a follower of Jesus Christ?) You are now free to baptize them, put them on the roll, have them serve in missions; even teach a Sunday School class or go to seminary. No repentance required (the non-Lordship position), just come as you are in the rags of your own righteousness. If you're really sincere when you said that prayer, you are now a Christian--welcome to the family of God. Compare that with Matthew 16:24-26; Luke 14:25-30.

Evidence not necessary
Once you have made a verbal profession of faith you are saved for eternity. If you bear fruit or no fruit to that end in your life (John 15:1-5) it is deemed as non-essential. If you were sincere in saying your sinners prayer, then you are saved forever - regardless of how you live. Sanctification is divorced from justification and an elective in the school of Arminian theology and gospel preaching--not a necessary by-product of salvation. IOW, a verbal profession of faith secures your "fire insurance." Carnal Christianity is an acceptable state for some and ultimately leads to an antinomian view of grace. But I like what Dr. Tozer used to say, "to speak of a carnal Christian is to talk of a heavenly devil." In Arminianism, here is how 2 Cor. 5:17 reads, "if any man is in Christ Jesus he can remain the same; old things don't necessarily pass away, behold, nothing needs to become new." Remember the true words of John Jasper: "If you is, what you was, you ain't." Compare that with Titus 2:12; Matt. 7:21-23; Col. 3:1-14. (Or if you prefer keeping the acronym the "traditional IDOL", substitute 'obedience optional' for 'evidence not necessary.')

No wonder some denominations have so many names on their membership rolls, but dramatically less in their pews each Sunday. Many have been baptized according to their profession, but how many are truly born again? That is the bane of the "George Barna stats" when calculating the millions upon millions of born again evangelicals in America today claiming to be followers of Christ... Millions asserting they are saved by grace, but not living a grace-changed life. That really doesn't add up, does it?

The doctrines of grace do not accommodate man's sin and sinfulness like "The Arminian Idle" does (Rom. 6:1; Titus 2:12). For further reading on this, may I suggest to you three excellent tomes among several: "The Gospel According to Jesus" by my friend and mentor, Dr. John MacArthur; "The Almost Christian Discovered" by Matthew Mead; and "By His Grace and for His Glory" by Dr. Tom Nettles. All of these books are not easy, fluffy reading--there is no 'Paula Abdul' in them. It is pure 'Simon Cowel.' (And you may want to order some copies for Dr. Caner as well--it just might be enlightening for him.)

We preach not ourselves (Arminianism) but Christ Jesus as Lord (Calvinism).
I close with a quote from brother Spurgeon the Calvinist:

"If the professed convert distinctly and deliberately declares that he knows the Lord's will but does not mean to attend to it, you are not to pamper his presumption, but it is your duty to assure him that he is not saved. Do not suppose that the Gospel is magnified or God glorified by going to the worldlings and telling them that they may be saved at this moment by simply accepting Christ as their Savior, while they are wedded to their idols, and their hearts are still in love with sin. If I do so I tell them a lie, pervert the Gospel , insult Christ, and turn the grace of God into lasciviousness."

58 comments:

Brian Thornton said...

This IDLE-ness and lack of Lordship is evident in one of Saddleback's policies regarding baptism. Mark Dever referenced it in an entry over at Together for the Gospel. Saddleback (Warren's church) will gladly baptise someone who makes a profession but remains living in unrepentant sin.

This is a good example of Arminian theology. As long as the person makes a profession and is "sincere", then they are welcomed with open arms to the ordinance of baptism. The hypocrisy of Saddleback's stance on this is evident when they say they will baptise someone living in unrepentant sin but they will not allow that person to become a member of their church.

This is what happens when the theology is driven by purpose instead of promise. Being purpose driven always leads to law, while being promise driven relies on the gospel...on grace. Putting hope in purposes leads to hopelessness, because we always fail to keep the seven steps to this or that, while living according to the promises we have from God keeps us focused on the gospel.

Arminianism = purpose driven = man-centered = law.

Monergism/Calvinism = promise driven = god-centered = gospel/grace.

Great post, Steve. Keep up the outstanding work!

Mike Ratliff said...

Should I use my Purpose Driven Life book for kindling?

Also an Ex-Arminian.

Mike Ratliff

Nathan said...

Depends. You think the Purpose-Driven Life is capable of lighting a real fire?

Mike Ratliff said...

I'll bet my Gas Grill could do a number on it.

newlyreformed1 said...

Great post Steve. Let us continue to sound the alarm and tell it like it is. Our "pop" Evangelical culture continues to fall deeper and deeper into the Laodicean church of the 1st century. Keep it up brother!

Soli Deo Gloria

donsands said...

There seems to be a distinct difference in Pelagianism, and Semi-Pelagianism. I just read a great article by R. C. Sproul on this subject as well.

Non-reformed Christians do vary in their treatment of election. Bottom line is the Lord grants mercy to whom He will, and that's not fair to the Arminian, but it's magnificient to the Calvinist!

Very good words for the Church to chew on. I pray that all Christians would want to seek the Lord concerning this most essential doctrine of the Bible. Amen.
Enjoyed all the good comments as well.

candleman said...

Steve,

I really had hope that at some point you will stop misrepresenting the salvation experience of millions of people just because it does not totally fit into your theological system, however I think that day more than likely will never come.

Initiated by man: Your characterization of this is a total misrepresenatation of my experience of “accepting Christ”. Your forgot forgot to mention in your misrepresentation a long series of events that helps lead one to “accept Christ as their personal Lord and Savior”. You missed other Christians that are praying for them, that God would till the ground of their soul, so when they hear they will believe. You forgot the worship service setting, the preaching of the Word, and most importantly, the work of the Holy Spirit, who convicts of sin and draws the sinner to his need of a Savior. That in no way is a picture of a "impotent Lord". Nor is it “picking Christ”. It is the conversion point of millions of Christians, and for you to constantly deride the true, repentent salavation experience of millions of your brothers and sisters in Christ, just because it does not line up in totality with the theology of John Calvin is shamefull.

Calvinisim is not the Gospel.

The Gospel is the death, the burial, the resurection of Jesus Christ as a perfect attonement for the forgiveness of sins.


Theological systems bearring the names of men, should be consistant with the Gospel, however they are not the Gospel.

Evidence not necesarry – Another total misrepresentation. I know of no one in my circle of Christians, nor those you would claim to be in the easy believisim corner –Charles Stanely, Johnny Hunt ect., that would not emphatically state that “If any man be in Christ he is a new creature, old things pass way, all things become new” and along with this teach and preach a call to personal holiness. The way you live should be different as a direct result of your new found faith and the way it is lived should be a witness to a lost world of your new faith.

“We preach not ourselves (arminian) but Jesus Christ Our Lord ( Calvinism).”

Another misrepresentation: Pastors who preach and ask listeners to “accept Christ”, ...also preach Jesus Christ Our Lord … and for the Calvinist corner and you to represent that those who preach “accepting Christ as their Personal Savior” as if it is a different Gospel than the Gospel message as found in the scriptures is shameful.
For you to co-opt the Gospel message and make it the Calvin message is one of the signs that you are in Danger Of Loving A Theological System More Than A Savior.


{{{Candleman}}}

4given said...

Wow... candleman.
As I tell others, Calvinism, the doctrines of grace, the 5 solas, are all mere theological labels pointing to Biblical truth. I couldn't see Camp patting himself on the back as though he were some holier than thou, theological system loving, truth compromising man lost in fantasy land. Not that he needs me or anyone else telling you that. What I see is a man that truly labours over the Gospel knowing that he will have to answer for ever dot and tiddle he writes, and every word that procedes from his mouth... a man with an appropriate fear of God.

Again... not that Camp needs defending.

In spiritu et veritate,
Lisa

SJ Camp said...

Candleman What I represented here is the orthodox view. The issue is not general atonement; the atonement is only efficacious for whom God in Christ has purposed "from times past eternal" (Titus 1:1; 2 Tim. 1:9).

You wrote: "You forgot the worship service setting, the preaching of the Word, and most importantly, the work of the Holy Spirit, who convicts of sin and draws the sinner to his need of a Savior." Could you help me understand your position further by defining your statement biblically?

Especially this phrase: "the work of the Holy Spirit who... draws the sinner to his need of a Savior?" Again, I don't see this in the Scriptures. Let me ask you, it sounds like you're saying that salvation is cooperative: The Spirit creates the need of a Savior through various agencies and then we decide whether or not to act upon that need. Is that a fair assumption of what you are trying to say here?

Let's begin there.
Steve

donsands said...

I'd like to chime in with one thought. The whole "did you accept Christ?" way of saying, have you been saved [delivered, redeemed, forgiven, regenerated], is backwards.
I believe it should be will the Holy Lord of heaven accept us. Not really! He will not accept us at all. The only human who was acceptable in the sight and presence of God was Jesus of Nazerath. When we say "do you want to accept Christ?", for me, it makes it sound like we are giving out tickets for a ride.
The gospel is so much more than accepting Jesus.
I may be too strong on this point, but it just doesn't sit well with me.
No offense to those who like the phrase "I accepted Christ".
"Accepted in the Beloved." Ep. 1:6b

Mike Ratliff said...

We must be honsest with ourselves. The only salvation we can really somewhat understand is our own.

After God opened my eyes to the truth about the Doctrines of Grace I reexamined my salvation minutely.

Before I became Reformed I never could give a viable testimony that made any sense to my Southern Baptist brothers and sisters.

However, after my Reformation it became very clear that God grabbed me and saved me one Sunday morning without any warning, without any prior conviction or sense of need. None of that happened.

One Sunday morning I was sitting in Sunday School next to my wife minding my own business. I suddenly knew I was lost. It overwhelmed me. It was all I could "think".

Sometime between that event and church that evening my "I am lost!" changed to "I am saved!" Before we left the house to return to church that night I surrendered. I simply beleived God and turned to Jesus for salvation. I remember it being like me sending up a white flag of surrender.

I wasn't saved like "candleman" insinuates. I was saved because God grabbed me and would not let me go until I beleived.

Many of my Baptist friends shake their heads in disbelief when I share this. They can't see where I could possible be a believer since I said no sinner's prayer.

God saves His people His way in His timing. We must present the Gospel to all, but only in a way in which there is no room for easy-believeism.

Prior to that wonderful day I was a lost Church member who was relying on a religious experience as a child.

Praise the Lord He saves those who are His!

Mike Ratliff

centuri0n said...

Candleman said:

Calvinisim is not the Gospel.

The Gospel is the death, the burial, the resurection of Jesus Christ as a perfect attonement for the forgiveness of sins.


You have omitted "for whom". I suggest to you that the object of the work of Christ is equally eesential as the work and the worker. Christ did not do some abstract work: Christ did something in particular for "us" (cf. 1Cor 15:3).

You might say otherwise, but then you're talking universalism.

Castusfumus said...

Go get em Frank!! Will we see you this wed?

marc said...

Rock Solid Campi! Love the AI Logo.

Brian said...

I like a lot of what Camp has to say but I tell you...this whole divisiveness (and elitism in relation to "calvinism") is starting to get old.

I mean seriously, do you think because you label yourself a "calvinist" you are somehow better than the Christian that you label an "arminian". Do you somehow think your theology is that much better than theirs (or Jacobus Arminius').

We are Christians...followers of Christ, Paul spoke against dividing ourselves up as being of this person or of that person.

Just an FYI, you should call yourself a Beza’ian instead of a Calvinist if you insist on labeling yourself something other than a Christian (though I am against that). John Calvin did not come up with the Canons of Dort (5 points of Calvinism). In fact, if you do a little historical reading you may find that even John Calvin wasn't a "5 point calvinist".

Another little fun fact...

* Man can neither of himself nor of his free will do anything truly good until he is born again of God, in Christ, through the Holy Spirit.

That is one of Articles of Remonstrance...though accused of such, Arminius and his followers were not Pelagians.

AMDG

Gordan said...

Brian,

A read through the French Confession of 1559 will quickly disabuse you of the revisionist notion that maybe Calvin wasn't a Calvinist.

He wrote that particular confession and it is every bit as Calvinistic, in terms of the ideas expressed under the classic TULIP acronym, as any other of the more well-known Protestant confession.

Breuss Wane said...

>if you do a little historical >reading you may find that even >John Calvin wasn't a "5 point >calvinist".

This revisionist myth that has been propogated by Arminians since time immemorial has been thoroughly bebunked time and again by those who have read *all* of Calvin. It's also interesting that this myth is at the heart of liberal Protestant theology as well as that of Protestants who claim the Reformation is over and there's nothing wrong with Roman Catholic soteriology.

4given said...

When you put yourself out there to speak the truth in love, there will be divisiveness. Isn't Christ the true example of that? He never hesitated to do it. To call a wolf a wolf... a sheep a sheep... a goat a goat. And yet His example is so perfect. He was even perfectly sarcastic... look at how he handled the Pharisees.
I am a Calvinist not because I chose to be labeled that. I am a God-fearing Christian that sought to know what I believe and why... I was whole-heartedly Arminian when I began this journey. It was natural to be Arminian.
And it is not like I went looking to be a Calvinist. I actually fought it. It sounded so holier than thou to me. BUT IT ISN'T. If anything it has given a totally opposite affect.
There is not a seeking of divisiveness in this. It happens because the truth does divide. This is no longer milk... and when you get to the meat of the word, it gets this way. Some dish out the leathery, looks like meat but is more like mystery meat.. like Armenianism, hyper-calvinism, unversalism, Mr. Smily's-make-everybody-happy-Osteenism... Biblical Theology is well-marbled steak... just so happens it is given a label... The Doctrines of Grace.
Sorry to ramble.
Ex Animo... His servant for His glory.

donsands said...

Good stuff we're discussin'.
I try to tell people up front that I am reformed in my beliefs, or a Calvinist, which causes a variety of remarks and thoughts.
Some think he's one of the "frozen chosen". Some think he believes God predestends people to hell. Or you're one of those "robot" Christians with no free will. I suppose there could be some who tag me an elitist, but not many. Like 4given says, reformed beliefs are the opposite of "holier than thou theology".

Saying I'm reformed is just a way of letting the body of Christ know where I'm coming from, and that's important I would think.
Enjoyed reading these last few comments.
And I have many non-reformed brothers and siters who do love the Lord, and I feel unworthy to tie their shoes, but we still get inot arguing election/free will.

Mike Ratliff said...

The reformed Christian should actually be more humble because of the reality of God being totally sovereign over our salvation. We have nothing about which to boast.

In Christ

Mike Ratliff

4given said...

"What the Arminian wants to do is to arouse man's activity: what we want to do is to kill it once for all---to show him that he is lost and ruined, and that his activities are not now at all equal to the work of conversion; that he must look upward. They seek to make the man stand up: we seek to bring him down, and make him feel that there he lies in the hand of God, and that his business is to submit himself to God, and cry aloud, 'Lord, save, or we perish.' We hold that man is never so near grace as when he begins to feel he can do nothing at all. When he says, 'I can pray, I can believe, I can do this, and I can do the other,' marks of self-sufficiency and arrogance are on his brow." - C. H. Spurgeon

Righteous Sinner said...

I am continually baffled that there is an argument over Lordship. That non’s accuse us of promoting salvation by works. Why is it so hard for them to see that a genuine work of God, which produces saving faith, also produces fruit? I appreciated this sentence:

“Sanctification is divorced from justification and an elective in the school of Arminian theology and gospel preaching–not a necessary by-product of salvation.”

You nailed it! With the Arminian, sanctification must be divorced from justification. The strange thing is, non’s seemingly want to avoid works and promote grace, yet divorcing sanctification from justification ignores God’s transforming work (grace) and instead makes the work our own.

I am baffled, but then I am reminded that a Calvinist believes God initiates our knowledge of Him by revealing Himself to us (Eph 1:17-18), and that it is not a matter of us being smart enough to see Him. This reminds me to continue presenting the truth with patience and humility. Continue presenting – because God has commanded us to go and make disciples, and God accomplishes His will through the means such as prayer and the preaching of His word. Patience - because ultimately their right understanding comes as a revelation of God, and not my ability to persuade. Humility – because these truths remove my ability to boast in either my own knowledge or that of others. It is God’s sovereign and efficacious work.

G. Alford said...

"Calvinism is the Gospel!” – C.H. Spurgeon

I agree with Dr. Akin when he says:

"The Gospel is the death, the burial, the resurrection of Jesus Christ as the perfect atonement for the forgiveness of sins."

But his statement that “Calvinism is not the Gospel.” is not helpful in light of the current Anti-Calvinism ranting coming from some of the SBC Leadership. Unfortunately this will leave the wrong impression to some that Dr. Akin is not very found of Calvinism.

Notice he did not say that Calvinism does not contain the Gospel, or that Calvinism is another Gospel, or even that Calvinism is not Biblical. So to just pull his comment that “Calvinism is not the Gospel” out of context is simply wrong.

When Spurgeon said “Calvinism is the Gospel” what he meant was that the five doctrines of Calvinism contain, in summary, what the Bible teaches concerning mans helpless condition and absolute need of the Gospel and Gods means of applying the Gospel to meet those needs. The Arminians ERROR greatly from what the Bible teaches on both of these.

So I agree with what both Spurgeon and Akin have said… however, both comments need to be taken in context and not misrepresented.

Mike Ratliff said...

Hey Righteous Sinner - Right ON!!!

SJ Camp said...

Brian:

Thank you for your comment. It is with great humility and brokenness that i speak and write about the doctrines of grace (Calvinism) for the precise reason that it represents historic orthodox biblical Christianity. I don't care much for labels, but it helps to clarify in this discussion.

You wrote: "Do you somehow think your theology is that much better than theirs (or Jacobus Arminius').

Yes I do--without question. What Arminius stood for was not in accordance with Scripture and historically has been refuted. This is not a bent towards sectarianism as your comment suggests. I do reject as you do, the "I am of Paul, I am of Appollos mentality (cp 1 Cor. 3:1-7).

BUT, sound doctrine and theology in evangelicalism today is on such short supply, that we need to declare it whenever we can. Interesting footnote here: the SBC, for example, doesn't make the case for its theological moorings primarily due to biblical or doctrinal considerations; but more to pragmatic concerns (numbers mostly).

THAT is the concern here. I do appreciate your words of caution--noted--but at the same time we need to be men of God's Word that will "instruct in sound doctrine and refute those who contradict" (Titus 1:9) amen? And we should do this with impartiality considering not person, platform, politics, power, or prominence as part of the plumbline of determination (cp, 1 Tim. 5:17-20 Paul's charge to Timothy confronting sinning elders).

All of us should submit our lives and ministry to the scrutiny of God's Word; the accountability of the local church; and to the constructive criticisms of other believers. IOW, we all need to remain teachable and charitable.

And without compromising the truth...

Yours for the Master's use,
Campi

Brian said...

Steve,

Hard to argue with that comment. I was weighing in with an "anti-divisiveness" comment. I believe similar issues were taking place in NT times which is why Paul cautioned them (us) on it.

I am not totally against labels, however, they are so subjective that I prefer not to use them these days. I prefer to call myself after Christ alone (a Christian). If I am discussing specific doctrine with people I will discuss it one issue at a time.

Both sides of this argument (calvinists vs arminians) have erred IMO.

Historically, I would have been considered an arminian, then a calvinist, and now I would say I am neither.

My goal is to preach Christ crucified. I see good teaching coming from both arminians and calvinists. I just attempt to rightly divide the word of truth as it is presented.

To all others that like to make general sweeping accusations about arminians and feel that calvinists are somehow superior in their theology...I would caution you against that attitude (it is definitely not Christ like).

Try to keep in mind that there is only one thing that gets a man/woman to heaven and it isn't whether he/she agrees with the Canons of Dort.

AMDG

Mike Ratliff said...

Brian,

I suggest you reread the book of Galatians. There is only one gospel and it is offensive. It does divide. Ir purifies the body. You seem to be adovcating a "soft-sell" approach to the real gospel in a way that offends no one. I believe God will ask you, when you stand before Him, which is more important, not offending people or offending Him by soft-selling the truth.

Mike Ratliff

Brian said...

Mike,

Not sure where you get that. I don't water down the Scripture in any way when I discuss it. Many people are offended when I start to teach out of Romans (i.e. Romans 9).

However, the manner in which it is taught is important IMO. I am always open to hear and discuss the Scripture.

Hyper-Calvinists are notorious for thinking they are right and all Arminians are wrong (they have attained a level of Scriptural enlightenment that no Arminian can attain)...and that simply isn't true.

I realize it is difficult to judge tone via text but the tone of your message seems to suggest that you think you have a much better understanding of the Scripture (and better theology) than I do...suggesting that I read Galatians again...saying that I advocate a "soft-sell" approach of the gospel...

It is arrogant and unthinking to make such assumptions (and statements).

AMDG

Mike Ratliff said...

Well Brian,

That goes both ways doesn't it? Your tone is one of that suggest that unless one accepts the Arminian position then one is a Hyper-Calvinist. I am not, I detest that aberration as much as I do Pelagianism, Semi-Palagiansim, Arminism, The Free Grace Movement, et cetera.

The Gospel can be completly known. That is the message of Galatians. That is why I suggested it to you. Brother, look at Galatians 1:6-17. Read it carefully. There is only one Gospel and it can be known. Why else did Paul plead with the Galatians the way He did?

Arrogance. I may be somwhat fierce in defense of the Gospel,but I know better than to think I'm any better than any other brother or sister in Christ.

My statement about watering down or diluting or soft-selling the Gospel is simply what I derived from your objections to centering the Gospel on the revealed word of God. Any attempt to hijack the Gospel and make it acceptable to the masses is a great sin.

Your statements are full of the mess of man-made things I have heard my whole life that imply that God works a certain way in our salvation that are not Biblical Brother.

I hope you can detect my pleading attitude. I pray that you will forgive me for the tone of my message. I never intended it to insult, only to state the truth.

And Brian, yes the Gospel is one and it can be known and understood. That is the point of our Doctrine, isn't it?

Plural understandings of the Gospel are wrong. There is only one.

I suggested that you reread Galatians because you obviously don't know what it says or you are ignoring it. Your previous statements suggested that.

Go ahead, prayerfully exegete Galatians then come back and tell me that the Gospel is open to various interpretations.

In Christ

Mike Ratliff

Mike Ratliff said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Mike Ratliff said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Brian said...

Mike,

Where do you get that I defend arminianism? I am not an arminian. I speak out against false doctrine all the time.

Perhaps you are misunderstanding me...I am not making a claim that we cannot understand the gospel. I am making a claim that you cannot fully understand the scripture and how everything works.

I don't know how you are reading so much into my comments...as far as where I stand on issues, what I preach, etc etc...

If you are claiming that you fully understand the scripture, you are the only person on the face of the earth I have run into to make such a claim.

If that is your claim then how come you can't end all the debate on doctrinal issues.

In addition, how is it that you fully understand things like predestination? To fully understand that concept you must not be bound by time...however, you are bound by time...how can you possibly comprehend how God is not bound by time and how events take place from His perspective? How is it that you completely understand how the Trinity operates? How is it that you completely understand how I am free yet I do nothing outside of God's will? How is it that you completely understand God holding all things together at all times and being everywhere at all times?

Do you think that all of the doctrine in the scripture is rolled up into Galatians?

You see, what I am saying here is that you cannot fully understand the scripture and how all things operate. Men spend their whole lives studying the scripture and they still haven't ended some age old doctrinal arguments (because there is no crystal clear answer & we cannot fully understand all the things of God) --at least not until we see face to face, then we will know fully just as we are fully known.

There is only one truth in the scripture, however, there are multiple interpretations whether you like it or not (which means some will be wrong and some will be right). The bottom line is that your hermeneutic is going to affect your interpretation of certain scriptural passages. Some of those interpretations are going to be arguable and some of them are going to be wrong. You are fooling yourself if you think any different.

Since this is getting long...this will be my last comment on this post.

Have the last word if you wish.

AMDG

candleman said...

Hi Steve,

What happened to “Baby Got Book”?? that was hilarious? Are you trying to not have the entire blogesphere upset with you at the same time? A half a year ago when I put posted on that and linked to the video, I heard from the KJV only crowd for a week….

Any way.. on to clarification:


You asked for some clarification of this statement:

“You forgot the worship service setting, the preaching of the Word, and most importantly, the work of the Holy Spirit, who convicts of sin and draws the sinner to his need of a Savior.

And you go on to state - "Again, I don't see this in the Scriptures. Let me ask you, it sounds like you're saying that salvation is cooperative: The Spirit creates the need of a Savior through various agencies and then we decide whether or not to act upon that need. Is that a fair assumption of what you are trying to say here?”



I believe the Holy Spirit convicts of sin in the unbeliever’s life and makes the sinner woefully aware of their lost state. (Jn 16:8-9 "And He, when He comes, will convict the world concerning sin and righteousness and judgment; concerning sin, because they do not believe in Me;)

It is accomplished solely by the power of the Holy Spirit, through the Word of God, so when a repentant sinner, enabled by the conviction of the Holy Spirit, responds in faith to the salvation message. It is the sinner’s responsibility to repent and trust Christ as Savior and Lord. Hence the expression: “trusted/accepted Christ as my Savior”. Salvation is cooperative to the extent that the repentant sinner must believe and acknowledge their lost state
Eph 1:13 - And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.

Questions for you:

Why are you quantifying my salvation experience purely through your lens of Calvinism?

Why are you making post after post of misrepresentations of what your fellow believers in Christ salvation experience is, because you can’t tolerate the phrase “accepted Christ”?

Why are you misrepresenting people who have “accepted Christ”, And equate that to “lip service”?

Why are you making the claim that people who have “Accepted Christ” believe that “no evidence is necessary”? I have been around evangelical Christianity for a long time, and in my circles there has always been a call to personal holiness, and life of service to Christ.

I don’t see it on your blog, perhaps I missed it, can you point me to your personal testimony, at what point in time do you believe you were saved, and how did that come about?

Mike: I agree with you when you wrote - We must be honest with ourselves. The only salvation we can really somewhat understand is our own.

And you go on to relate your salvation experience:

One Sunday morning I was sitting in Sunday School next to my wife minding my own business. I suddenly knew I was lost. It overwhelmed me. It was all I could "think".

Sometime between that event and church that evening my "I am lost!" changed to "I am saved!" Before we left the house to return to church that night I surrendered. I simply believed God and turned to Jesus for salvation. I remember it being like me sending up a white flag of surrender.


Now Steve….. Mike’s salvation experience is not my salvation experience, but you won’t see me blogging in an attempt to invalidate his salvation experience, I rejoice in the fact that this is the way the Holy Spirit choose to work in his life.

I am at a loss as to why the five point Calvinistic corner can’t do the same for those of us who describe our salvation experience in slightly different terms than this.

You know we both have a high view of scripture, the trinity, that Jesus is the only way to the Father and the only means to salvation. So why are we getting bogged down on the nuances of someone’s personal salvation experience? No one on either side is stating, “yeah, I got saved one day when I stuck my toes in some mud and a warm and fuzzy feeling came over me.” So why the acrimony… I don’t get it.

So Steve… when Mike uses the words – “I surrendered, I simply believed and turned to Jesus for salvation”, “I remember it like being a white flag of surrender”. Is this synergisim? How is that different than someone being at a meeting where the Word is preached, coming under the conviction of the Holy Spirit, perhaps walking forward at an invitation to “accept Christ”, and responding to the Gospel message of believing in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins?

PS – Have you been able to connect to Dr. Akin’s message yet? Do you have any comments?

Alfred:
I in no way want to misrepresent what Dr. Akin’s says in his message, “Do you love a theological system more than a Savior?” However I think I made it clear that he is a 4 point Calvinist, (something by the way, in some 5 point Calvinist circles is not permissible, it is either all the points or none of them, as they say, "pull out one petal and the whole tulip wilts").
But I also want to make it clear that he does emphatically state that we are not to state Calvinism is the Gospel. And as I stated, he goes on to state that a theological system should be consistent with the Gospel, and he goes on to state that since he is a 4 point Calvinist, he does believe that Calvinism does in deed do that from his perspective, but he warns against people who will co-opt the Gospel message, which he defines as the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the perfect atonement for the forgiveness of sins, and put that on the same level of a theological system. There by making the theological system the Gospel that must be believed and not the Gospel it self. Something that it seems to me is being done on this blog and other blogs like it.

Grace and Peace

{{{Candleman}}}

donsands said...

candleman,
Well spoken words. And good thoughts.

The fine line of disagreement, which is a huge controversy, is that Calvinism says that the response of the one who comes to Christ is 100% pure grace. This person was totally blind, callous, and dead in his sins, and in no way could believe, much less repent, and feel godly sorrow.

However, the one who hears the gospel, and sees his sinfulness, and the need to repent and then crys out to God for forgivenss, is in fact genuinely experiencing the Lord's salvation.

There is no way I could have repented, and trusted the Lord. He sought me out and He rescued me from my inescapable dilemma.(2 Cor.:3-4)
He chose me before the foundation of the world to be His own, a blasphemer, and drunkard, and rebellious self-centered enemy of the Cross. God did it all, for His glory and the glory of His grace. I'll never understand why He would give His precious Son to be mocked, spit upon, and crucified, even when I'm in glory with Jesus.

It's completely and totally a work of the Lord. This is where we disagree I would think.

"..whom He did predestinate, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified." Rom. 8:30

Mike Ratliff said...

My white flag was just the only way I can remember it. There was a point where I was in the crucible and out of it the next. I can't remember "doing" anything other than believing. And of course that is exercising the faith He gave me by grace. It sure wasn't by my own initiative.

Mike Ratliff said...

Brian my last word as well.

No the whole gospel is not wrapped up in Galatians. However, it tells us it CAN be known and there is only one.

Your analysis of the Gospel is the eptiomy of what is wrong with the post-modern church. It refuses to say, "This is the Gospel." Instead it says, "It can't be known pricisely." That leads to the mess we have now.

In Christ

Mike Ratliff

SJ Camp said...

Candleman:

I don't disagree that from man's perspective we will see people: confess their sins; receive the Lord; be baptized; attend worship services; repent of sin; read their Bibles, respond to the gospel of grace, etc.

THAT is not the issue I am addressing. Those things are the fruit of regeneration; not the root of it.

What I am addressing is the biblical theology from God's perspective of salvation that must be protected and guarded in the pragmatic of human responsibility. Salvation is only of the Lord and not depended on man whatsoever in any manner. Even man's response to the gospel is God's work alone.

Arminianism at its core doctrinal distinctives, is anthropocentric - man cooperating with God in salvation--and that sir is not true biblical Christianity (Eph. 1:4-14; Titus 3:4-7, etc.). It is worthy of our discussion and an important distinction. Any true conversion is only a result of God "pursuing" the man, not because the man pursued God or responded to God of their own free volition.

Not even a 'good pagan' believes in free will and man's autonomy (to be discussed later).

Salvation is all of grace, all of Christ--even the faith to believe and our sorrow over sin leading to repentance is God's gracious gift to us (Eph. 2:8-9; 2 Cor. 7:6-10). This matters Candleman, because the content of the gospel and how we function in evangelism is directly related to ones theological convictions.

I think your confusion on this issue goes to more of a skewed view of depravity and harmatiology than it does with limited atonement.

My only question to you would be this: why would you want to embrace a theological system that wants to grant man any credit or glory in salvation? Arminianism, like Romanism, feeds the flesh of man that craves glory. It accommodates ones depravity rather than crucifies it.

The doctrines of grace leave no room for man's predilection for self-exaltation and boasting. The most infinitesimal opportunity for man's self-reliance and cooperation in salvation (even if masked in the language of humility and grace) robs the One Triune God of the glory that He alone deserves for the redemption of a lost sinner.

God won't share His glory with another. Arminius now understands fully that axiomatic truth and reality.

Steve
Col. 1:9-14

candleman said...

Hi Steve,

I really appreciate your response and the time you are taking to explain things. I am teachable. These things are not totally made up in my mind yet. As I stated in previous posts, I am on a search, since I have never had someone so directly challenge my salvation experience as those in the reformed world have.... and for that I am grateful. I am hoping to discuss some of these issues with my pastor in the next day or two.

I am sure you are busy man, you say you are teachable too, therefore I really wish you would answer my question directly concerning Dr. Akins message, and comments you may have about it. Also I am interest in hearing your personal testimony, if time permits.

Grace and Peace

{{{Candleman}}}

SJ Camp said...

I haven't heard Dr. Akin's message yet. Could you send me the link again? I think the first one didn't work.

Steve

SJ Camp said...

Charles:

I don't respond to anonymous posts. You have been warned by many individuals on other blogs as well. You have not chosen to honor the rules of engagement here, therefore, you are permanently banned from this site.

I will pray for you.
Steve
Col. 1:9-14

candleman said...

Hi Steve,

At your post of contagious-infectious-doctrines I posted links to 3 different servers that have Dr. Akins message. Scroll down to my post with the date/time stamp of - February 26, 2006 10:12 PM and hopefully one of those three connections will work out for you.

Blessings

{{{Candleman}}}

Michael Nevarr said...

Sinking sand...the perfect illustration of a theology based squarely on the traditions and vainglory of men.

Thank you for the standing firm and proclaiming the sovereign grace of our majestic and awesome God!

2 Tim 2:19 ...the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, "The Lord knows those who are His,"

The firm foundation is that Jesus is a perfect Savior and He will perfectly save all who were given to Him by the Father. The Scriptures know of no hypothetical atonement contingent of the "will" of the fallen creature. Nor do they speak of a sufficient/efficient atonement either. Jesus is perfectly satisfied with the travail of His soul because if accomplished exactly what it was intended for...the redemption of all "who are His."

Soli Deo Gloria!

P.S. James White has patiently and fairly reviewed messages by Aiken, Stanley, Vines, both Caners, Rogers, and Steve Gregg most recently on the Dividing Line. (AOMIN.org)

Pastor_Frank said...

Steve, I'm disappointed. As a pastor, I can say, this article is a very shallow take on the theological stance called, Arminianism. God's sovereignty and man's free-will can co-exist. God must initiate the act of salvation and draw man to Him, but man still possesses the freedom to resist...well, not for a Calvinist...that whole irresistable grace thing that John invented. BTW, no I am not an Arminianist. Neither am I a Calvinist because I believe in the Biblical Jesus who said, "Come unto ME ALL ye who are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest for your souls." NOT one who could say, "Come unto me, only ye elect, for I will send the rest to hell never having given them a chance at eternal life.

Calvinism also teaches what you fault Arminianism for...believing and never being able to fall away. Eternal Security/Perseverance of the saints was not taught prior to Augustine!!! Iraneus and Polycarp (a disciple of apostle John) both taught a believer could fall away and become unsaved. Who's more likely to be correct, the fellows closest to Jesus or Calvin who got his security doctrine from Augustine and not scripture? It results in inconsistent theological stances. For instance, in the MacArthur Study Bible, John says that believers cannot fall away in some of his notes and in others warns believers into falling into apostasy. John can't have it both ways. Apostates aren't saved, if they are, they're not apostates! Calvism is replete with such theological double standards.

If you're going to try to refute a doctrinal stance, at least do it with dignity and not parody by comparing it to childish TV show.

donsands said...

"Come unto ME ALL "

No one would disagree with you here Pastor Frank.

How about if we back up to the previous verses:

"All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him."

It doesn't say everyone and anyone can know the Lord, and everyone and anyone can know the Father. Seems to say only those who the Son reveals the Father to will know Him.

Calvinism leaves the spiritual missing link where it is; right between Matt. 11:27 and 11:28.

We are finite beings, and there is this one mystery to salvation, God calls everyone, and He elects whom He desires to.
Salvation has nothing to do with the effort, or merit of man.

Praise Jesus Christ fo His His perfect love to His Father, and the Father's perfect love to the Son, all praise and glory to God.
And what a blessing, and incredible honor, to be extended this same love! An eternal love, that will always be amystery to those whom Christ laid down His life for.

And this salvation is complete as well. "It is Finished"! Praise God!

He takes His lost sheep in His hand, and He will never let us go. What a wonderful Savior, and kind Father we have.

The Trousered Ape said...

Is the Son perfectly obedient to the Father?

Shawn

cyd said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chris said...

And yet we continue to wage war...

Excuse my simple exegesis.

For I have a plank in my eye.

REV. CHRIS HILLIARD said...

I'm new to your blog Mr.Camp but enjoyed your post. Though I don't fully fit the label "Reformed" in my theology, I have a great appreciation for those who do. I was wondering about your take on a a particular passage of Scripture in light of the following statement you wrote:

"sits in the heavenlies waiting for lost people to seek Him, choose Him, find Him, accept Him and "select Him". This is a picture, beloved, of an impotent Lord--not the great omnipotent Sovereign of the universe"

I have a buddy who holds to reformed theology that doesn't like the hymn "Softely and Tenderly" because of the image of a waiting, pleading Jesus. I do think we have to be careful with the those terms and images but I don't think we have to go overboard with it because of passages like this: "Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
2 Cor 5:20 (NASB)

REV. CHRIS HILLIARD said...

"But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental." Gal 4:9 (NASB)

Doesn't the above verse show that we don't need to be so hard on we phrase certain things? Some say "I received Jesus" or "I found God" and yet understand that ultimately and truly, He received/found us. Paul writes that we have come to know God and then clarifies that more correctly, God came to know us. It wasn't that the first statement was false (it was spoken from the human experience view point) but it is that the second statement is more accurate.
So, I say "I chose/received/found/etc. Jesus". That is how it felt/appeared to me humanly but I understand that ultimately it is that He found/chose/received/etc. me.

SJ Camp said...

Pastor Frank:
I appreciate your words greatly and thank you for sharing them with me.

The issue comes down in part to your use of "free will." I don't believe that Scripture ever teaches or acknowledges sinful man as having a will that is free (see also "Bondage of the Will" by Luther).

Divine sovereignty and human responsibility can co-exist - but that is something different altogether. Human responsibility means man is culpable for his sinful choices and rebeillion against God; divine sovereignty in salvation means that God, irrespective of man's depravity, has chosen some vessels unto salvation (mercy) (cp, Romans 9:25ff).

Free will is a misnomer. No man's will is free (Roms. 3:10-18). It is hopelessly bound up by sin and renders us all by nature chidlren of wrath. To suggest that in salvation it is a question of man deciding his eternal fate over against another "not getting it" then we have a problem: man has something to glory in pertaining to eternal life - he was smart enough and able enough to choose well after evaluating all the data. That means that man may share in the glory reserved for God alone... God forbid!

Scripture is clear that "salvation is of the Lord." Man has no say whatsoever in his eternal destiny. It is a work of God (grace by faith in Christ alone) a gift and not of works lest any man should boast (cf, Eph. 2:8-9).

I cannot get excited about an Arminian gospel or cross: it represents a Jesus who is hopelessly waiting for man to accept him; rather than a God who saves man while he is dead and trespasses and sins... IOW, regeneration preceedes faith.

I wasn't trying to be flippant; but at its core, that is how Arminianism treats the doctrines of grace - with flippancy.

Titus 3:4-7: "But when the kindness of God our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, Titus 3:5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit, Titus 3:6 whom He poured out upon us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, Titus 3:7 so that being justified by His grace we would be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life."

Notice in Paul's wonderful and powerful statement of faith concering our salvation, man's free will and response is not even mentioned, hinted, or included--it is God glorifying, Christ-centered; and Spirit regenerating.

We do not participate in salvation - that is solely a work of God to man. Amen?

SJ Camp said...

Shawn:
The Son cannot be otherwise;

He is perfect in nature as Son of Man (Heb. 4:15; 7:26-27); perfect in fulfilling the role of our High Priest (Heb. 2:10); and He is perfect (impeccable) as God the Son (John 1:1, 14, 18).

He is God of very God; in incarnation He is fully man, and yet without sin...

Donsends:
Good thoughts, thank you...

Grace and peace,
Steve
Col. 1:9-14

gigantor1231 said...

Pastor Frank

Having been a hard line arminianist for many years myself, I would like to make this challenge to you.
1.Biblically support what you say by using contextually relevant scriptures.
2.Explain to me how, as a arminianist, you can know for sure that you are saved in light of your asserted fact that it is always possible to lose your salvation!
3. Explain to me how salvation attained by the act of willfully choosing Christ is not a work in light of Eph. 2:8 and 9.
I have to be honest with you, I am a little dissappointed with you in the fact that I have to ask you for supporting scriptures in order to establish what you believe, I would have thought that would be something that you would naturally provide since you are a teacher of God's word!

Arthur Sido said...

Steve,

>>Free will is a misnomer. No man's will is free (Roms. 3:10-18). It is hopelessly bound up by sin and renders us all by nature chidlren of wrath.<<

Amen to that. Thank God that He did not leave me in my own free will to hope that I would be smart enough or holy enough to choose Him, for I never would have. The Bible is so very clear on the extent of man's sinfulness, deadness, stoney heartedness and enmity toward God. Had God not changed my heart of stone to a heart of flesh, I would have remained lost in my sins and ended up in hell, led straight there by my "free-will"

Pastor Frank, at he risk of being flippant with a fellow pastor, have you read Calvin's writings? I can hardly think that anyone who has read his Institutes or his commentaries would believe that he didn't turn to the Scriptures as his source of authoritative teaching.

Daniel said...

Straw men burn too easily.

As one commentator pointed, the first generation followers of Arminius didn't believe in free will.

Historical Arminianism is worlds apart from the misrepresentations presented here.

Arminius believe that salvation was initiated by God.

I suggest that you read someone like Grant Osborne to read a better idea of what Arminians actually believe.

That man will not look towards men but towards Jesus! said...

I have alot of Respect for you Steve bu this article was "out of season"

When Christian brothers begin to attack each others Theology and blame the others for the problems in the church then the Church has become like two men who are stranded on an island and who have run out of food: They become cannibals.

It is a prophectic sign of the sad state of the church when instead of keeping our eyes focused outwards on a dying world we insead turn on each other.

maijaydl said...

Rom 8:35 WHO SHALL SEPARATE US FROM THE LOVE OF CHRIST? shall tribulation, or anguish, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36 Even as it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; We were accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,
39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Jesus talking to His disciples...
JOHN 15:3 remain in me and i will remain in you (NIV)

John 15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

Joh 15:9 Even as the Father hath loved me, I also have loved you: abide ye in my love.
10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.

1Jn 2:24 Then what you heard from the beginning, let it abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you will abide both in the Son and in the Father.
25 And this is the promise which He promised us: everlasting life.
26 I wrote these things to you concerning the ones leading you astray.

if you are in God's love you are secure, and remaining in God's love is a different thing. it is a choice to make.

maijaydl said...

Rom 8:35 WHO SHALL SEPARATE US FROM THE LOVE OF CHRIST? shall tribulation, or anguish, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
36 Even as it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; We were accounted as sheep for the slaughter.
37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers,
39 nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Jesus talking to His disciples...
JOHN 15:3 remain in me and i will remain in you (NIV)

John 15:6 If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and they gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.

Joh 15:9 Even as the Father hath loved me, I also have loved you: abide ye in my love.
10 If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments, and abide in his love.

1Jn 2:24 Then what you heard from the beginning, let it abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, you will abide both in the Son and in the Father.
25 And this is the promise which He promised us: everlasting life.
26 I wrote these things to you concerning the ones leading you astray.

if you are in God's love you are secure, and remaining in God's love is a different thing. it is a choice to make.

Ali said...

You are like many who are following a system and not Jesus Christ. From what I see from your comments, your passion is Calvinism and reformed theology and not the God revealed in the Bible. I say that because in the New Testament, both the sovereignty of God and the freewill of man is taught. I believe the Bible, and that is my theology. So I believe man is dead in sin and would never chose God unless God opens their hearts, enabling them to believe. I believe in election but also man's freewill. Is that rational? Does that fit within human logic? No. That is what system driven believers do. They try to rationalize truths in scripture that cannot fit into the human mind. Don't agree? Then explain to me the trinity? I agree with the other writer who said you should be ashamed of yourself.
And let me ask a side question? I'm half African American. Where are the millions of African American Calvinists? I've often asked myself why God then has not chosen to bless Calvinism within the Black community.
This whole argument we are having is shameful. I've been to Poland and Africa and Bolivia, and no Christian group in these countries are having this argument. I wonder in Iran if the Christians there are having this argument. My Mom is Iranian. I know there are believers there, some of whom are suffering for their faith. I wonder if they are having this argument in China or in India, or in Afghanistan? I wonder if Asia Bibi in Pakistan had this discussion with other believers in her village. I wonder if Christianity where illegal in the US, if we would being having this discussion right now? These believers are more interested in spreading the gospel to people who are going to hell soon. That's what Asia Bibi did and now may lose her live. Satan loves this. He loves me writing this, and he loves you writing your rebuttal. He loves the division this has caused. He loves that the church has lost it's mission. I'm wrong for writing this, but I'm tired of you hyper-Calvinist speaking this venom toward your own family in Christ. I challenge you to put down your theological books, and pen, and reread all of the gospels again. And look at who Jesus is, what He reveals about God, what Jesus' mission was and how He treated people (Pharisees, Sadducee, the crowds, the Jewish nation as a whole, His disciples, sinners, the sick, the hurting, the religious, the poor, etc.)