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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Power, Authority and Control

The debate and discussion resulting from my charge that the concept of Lordship Salvation is actually parallel to Roman thinking has been enlightening to say the least. While few, if any, Lordship proponents would admit it, their doctrines establish a form of Sacramental Theology that is completely opposed to the Reformed Theology they claim to espouse. My dear friend and brother Adam has been kind enough to take up the debate and has agreed to discuss the merits of the Determinist philosophy behind the Lordship movement as a prelude to our theology discussion. Adam is likely one of the most honest people I know and without giving him a swollen head I will just say that his character and integrity have given me the confidence to freely debate with him on any matter, scriptural or otherwise. While I usually avoid purely philosophical debate I think this one critical in understanding the key concepts of Lordship Salvation and I am thankful to be able to do this with Adam due to the level of trust necessary in any productive philosophical debate.

As is the case in many such discussions, the arguments often return to, or revolve around theology and our discussion has us currently considering the concept of the sovereignty of God. One of my greatest sympathies for Lordship proponents is, and always has been, the appeal and argument for the sovereignty of God in all things. On this point I totally agree with my Lordship brethren. Where we fail to make a connection is on the definition of sovereignty. The Determinist perceives sovereignty as “being in total control” while I find the scripture to indicate that God’s sovereignty means that He has all power and authority. The difference is critical. The Determinist would say God has predestined all things and indeed even His own acts have already been determined so that even He has no choice in the present or future. I on the other hand claim the scripture to show that through foreknowledge God ordained that all things should work together for good for them that love Him and are called according to His purpose and that He either can or has accounted for the consequence of every choice He has appointed men should make. We agree that God “can” (power and authority) control man but the Determinist claims that logic dictates that God “must” control man.

My argument here, which by necessity is simple, if God “must” control men then what is the liberty we have in Christ? The Determinist says that men are bound by God. I say the scripture teaches that men are bound by sin and that God, by His grace, sets at liberty whosoever believes in His Son, Jesus Christ.

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98 Comments:

Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Real quick, I'll offer a more in depth response later, but if we are not 'bound' to God, being slaves of God, why are we 'bound' to sin, being slaves of sin?

Mat 6:24 "No one can be a slave of two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot be slaves of God and of money.

Joh 8:34 Jesus responded, "I assure you: Everyone who commits sin is a slave of sin.

Here is the idea of both being a slave to God and to sin. You may present this scripture,

Joh 15:15 I do not call you slaves anymore, because a slave doesn't know what his master is doing. I have called you friends, because I have made known to you everything I have heard from My Father.

as proof that we are not slaves to God. But if this is speaking such, why would Paul say this:

Rom 1:1 Paul, a slave of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle and singled out for God's good news--

and this,

Gal 1:10 For am I now trying to win the favor of people, or God? Or am I striving to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a slave of Christ.

The picture of the Christian being a slave to Christ and God, being bound to them is quite prevalent within Scripture. Do you deny this imagery? Is our freedom so advanced, as you see it presented within Scripture, that we are free slaves? Surely if we are slaves, but have freedom that a slave doesn't have, then the term 'slave' is quite meaningless...

Let me offer this explanation. As slaves of sin, we were bound to sin. But the scope and range of which one can act within sin's dominion is limited. Sin isn't as powerful as the Almighty. It is like being a slave of a small plantation owner.

But God is much bigger than that. His plantation is mightily bigger. It is huger ( ;) ). Therefore, if we are slaves to Him, we have more room to roam about. We are still bound to Him, yes, as we are still slaves. But our bondage is much more free than that while we were in bondage to sin...

Does that make sense?

5/17/2006 07:07:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Adam your reasoning is fine and you are very clear as always, even being hurried.

I think your understanding of the analogy of slavery is perfect when comparing the relationship we have with sin in the law. It is a cruel and controlling relationship but the relationship we have with Christ is a loving caring relationship as illustrated by God’s plan for marriage.

This great contrast between slavery and marriage is identical to the contrast between law and grace and the liberty we have in Christ is identical to the liberty a wife has with her husband. She is subject to him but not his slave. She rather submits to him in respect and love. She is instructed to submit and the husband is instructed to love her just as Christ loves the Church. This is not forced, but willful submission and it is the same as required of us. We are commanded, but not forced. The responsibility is to the wife to submit, not the husband to force her and it is our responsibility to submit to Christ. He will not force us nor will the Father.

I know this understanding cannot reconcile with Determinism but can you see it as scriptural?

5/17/2006 07:45:00 AM  
Blogger Gordon Cloud said...

Good thoughts, KC.

5/17/2006 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Thanks Gordon. ;-)

5/17/2006 09:24:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

That understanding reconciles completely with determinism. I think the major misconception with determinism is the automatic imagery of a puppet-master that pops into peoples head. That is a form of determinism, yes, but it is not the only form.

There is a form of determinism, of which I espouse, which allows God to be in complete control, getting exactly what He wants, and yet has the free agents (us) freely willing to do what He wants.

One form of determinism would say God wants me to eat a banana, therefore He bypasses all desire within me to not eat the banana and moves my hand to pick it up and put it in my mouth.

Another form of determinism would say God wants me to eat a banana, and my will is so that I want to eat the banana as well. Therefore, I freely pick up the banana and eat it because I want to.

The nondeterminist would have to say that God wants me to eat the banana, and I may or may not want to eat the banana. But in the end, there is nothing God can do to ensure that I will eat the banana. He just hopes and prays that I do. There is a chance that I may not, and God is left not getting what He wants.

I like the second form of determinism. It allows for the free agency of the man (free will of man), and yet doesn't have to resort to God forcing His will upon anyone. It neither allows for the damnable thought that God is left unsatisfied getting not what He wants (Job 42:2).

I think that the marriage analogy is wondrous, but I think we still must recognize the clear idea that Paul at least thought of himself as a slave of Christ. John as well (Rev. 1:1), as did Jude (Jude 1:1), Peter (2 Peter 1:1) and James (James 1:1).

So while it may be true that we have been freed from being the slave of sin and the law, you cannot be consistent with Scripture and say that as the bride of Christ, and as His friends and lovers, that we are not His slaves as well. It is just that our relationship with Him as slave consists of so much more freedom than we had while under the bondage of sin.

5/17/2006 09:56:00 AM  
Blogger Timothy said...

KC,
Good conversation. Allow me to add to what Adam wrote, Peter even uses the language of slavery... along with that of being a Royal Priesthood. All these imageries are true, whether we are called a building, bride or bondservant (sounds like the points of a sermon???). They show us the intimate relationship that we have with the King. Royal Priesthood because He is royalty, therefore we are to. Bondservant or slave, because He became such in His actions (washing feet) and we should to. We are bound to Christ at the same level as a slave is bound to his master, and thank goodness it is such. Otherwise, we would walk away if we were able to. Remember, He bought us with a price. Therefore we are owned by Him. And I'm truely grateful for this transaction. He has purchased me from slavery to sin, to being a bondservant for Christ. Hallelujah. What a savior.

The other point... you wrote:
The Determinist would say God has predestined all things and indeed even His own acts have already been determined so that even He has no choice in the present or future.

The problem in this thinking is that it seems to misunderstands God and His attributes. I don't believe the Alpha & Omega is bound by time. His decisions about the future are the same today, yesterday and tomorrow. Remember, this is the never changing God. There is no shadow or shifting in God. He is always the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. This is how we can know that His predetermined will is still fine with Him. He doesn't need to change His mind, although it may appear that He does to us, but the omniscient One would not find any problems being bound to HIs predetermined will. Therefore saying He has no choice is a bit moot. After all, that would indicate that He was wrong in His original choice of how He determined things to play out. I'm not real comfortable with that.
Just some thoughts
Blessings

5/17/2006 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

In brevity, my determinism does not teach that God forces His will upon His creatures. That is a misconception and a mischaracterization of what I believe. It teaches that God's will is consistent with what happens, and all that happens is in accordance with His will. He needn't force me to do anything, as I am always in the situation and my desires are always such, that what I do is what His will wants me to do...

5/17/2006 09:59:00 AM  
Blogger Timothy said...

Adam
Good points... I think the second view is the best as well... now if I just had a banana! My will is that I want one, but don't have one. So if God wants me to eat one... well then...
:)
Blessings

5/17/2006 10:01:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

I love you both and you know it so please take this joke in the spirit intended.

"Will the real Jesus please stand up!"

Guys think about what you're saying for a minute. You are always doing the will of God? No sin at all, really?

5/17/2006 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Kc, it was the will of the Father that Jesus be crucified. It pleased Him that Jesus be crucified. Jesus' death, for those that murdered Him, was a sinful act.

Act 2:23 Though He was delivered up according to God's determined plan and foreknowledge, you used lawless people to nail Him to a cross and kill Him.

It was God's deterimined plan and foreknowledge that Jesus be delivered up to die. Therefore, it was God's determined plan and foreknowledge that lawless people were to kill Him. Therefore, it was God's determined plan and foreknowledge that those lawless men sin by killing God.

Therefore, I see no problem in saying that we can act in the will of God, and yet still sin.

Unless of course you can show where Scripture says quite unequivocally that sin is acting against the predetermined plan and foreknoweldge of God.

5/17/2006 10:18:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Thank you for using the magic word, "foreknowledge".

Now if only we can agree on what that word means...

Does it mean that God wills us to sin or that He foreknew that we would?

5/17/2006 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Whatever the heck it means, we cannot deny the words that come before it. Luke doesn't just say that He was delivered up according to the foreknowledge of God, but that He was delievered up according to the predetermined plan of God AND the foreknowledge of God.

If I was to concede and say that foreknowledge is simply a fore knowing, without it being any manner of intimate relationship, then I would still have the predetermined plan to fall back on.

If we were to consider foreknowledge in accordance with the typical Arminian notion of simply divining the future, we would have to either reinterpret what God's predetermine plan is (make it so that it consists not of God planning that something occur), or we would have to accept the normal reformed idea of predetermined planning.

Whatever 'foreknowlege' is, it would not change the idea presented here. That God planned for these men to sin.

5/17/2006 10:26:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

The reason this is critical is because it defines to what extent God allows man to make determinations upon him self.

If His plan was made with foreknowledge and based on His predetermined will that man must make determinations himself then your version, let alone any version of determinism logically fails.

5/17/2006 10:31:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Does God plan their evil, or allow for it. Is His will determinate, or permissive.

Pastor I appreciate your thoughts as well and mean no disrespect. I know these discussions can be distracting and even tiresome the 300th time around. ;-)

5/17/2006 10:39:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

I think what you are failing to see is that the basis of God's plan doesn't change the fact that it is His plan nonetheless.

If God thinks within His mind that He wants these men to sin, and so plans based solely upon Hisself, then we have God planning these men to sin.

However, if God looks within the future and sees that these men will sin of their own determination, then we still have God planning these men to sin.

Whether He plans it based upon His foreknowledge or based upon His own determined will, this doesn't change the fact that God plans for sin to happen.

Which was originally what you disagreed with, that God wills for sin to happen or that sin was against His will.

5/17/2006 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

We do not know whether all of the actions of those involved in the crucifixition were foreordained. It is the even itself which was determined. As Scripture is silent as to the exact means by which God arranged this even, it is fruitless to speculate.

Even if all of the actions of those who carried out the crucifixtion were foreordained, that is not an adequate basis for a deternministic theology of sovereignty.

Anyway, good post, Kc.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

5/17/2006 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Not if God wants these men to make the choice. He may wish for all men to be saved but have determined that they must choose, as Abraham did, to believe Him.

5/17/2006 10:48:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Thanks Matthew, sorry we crossed. ;-)

5/17/2006 10:50:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

But if He determines that they choose, then their choice becomes part of His plan.

If God determines that x happen, then x is part of His predetermined plan.

Now, whether He wants x to happen because He knows ahead that I will do x, or whether He just finds it pleasant that x happens, either way, He still determines that x happens.

If God deterimines that I were to choose to eat the banana, then my eating the banana, and my choice to do so, is part of His predetermined plan.

5/17/2006 10:55:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

No one is arguing that God's plan can or will be altered. The argument is whether God's plan determines mans actions or allows for them. The latter corresponds to scripture while the former makes God responsible for the evil men do.

5/17/2006 11:02:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Kc, no it doesn't. Luke says that God did predetermine the man's actions. He doesn't say that God simply allowed their actions.

Being delivered up is an action. Jesus being crucified by those men was an action of the men.

Luke says that this action was part of God's predetermined plan. He doesn't say that God's predetermined plan was simply to have Jesus die, and the actions of these men by which Jesus did die was only allowed by God, it says that the action was predetermined by God.

5/17/2006 11:04:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Act 2:23 Though He was delivered up (action of men) according to God's determined plan and foreknowledge, you used lawless people to nail Him to a cross and kill Him.

The action of the men (Him being delivered up) was according to the determined plan and foreknowledge of God.

5/17/2006 11:06:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

I responded to Matthew, but I think it got lost...I forget what I said, so...I'll forget about my response.

5/17/2006 11:07:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

This may send us into a rabbit trail, Kc, but I wanted to respond to this statement:

'No one is arguing that God's plan can or will be altered.'

You are saying that God's plan cannot be altered?

What then do we think of perhaps the fall? If God's plan was for Adam and Eve to live forever within Eden, and yet they fell, wouldn't this suggest that God's plan was altered?

What about Him planning that all people get saved? I don't think that plan went very well did it?

5/17/2006 11:08:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Many had sought to kill Jesus prior to this. Was it God's will that they seek to kill him or His will that Christ lay down His life through His foreknowledge of their own desire to do so?

5/17/2006 11:14:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

In other words what part, specifically does His foreknowledge have in this event?

5/17/2006 11:16:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

If we consider that God is omniscient, and if we reject Open Theism, then we would have to say that God's foreknowledge entails, at least, all that does or will occur.

Therefore, in retrospect, if these men did kill Jesus, and if Luke says that it was according to God's foreknowledge that they 'deliver Jesus up', then we would have to say that God's foreknowledge entailed that they deliver Jesus up.

5/17/2006 11:18:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

I think that is what you were asking...

5/17/2006 11:20:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

This is the rub. You claim that God's wish is His plan and will. If God's wish was for Adam to remain sinless but His will is that Adam must choose to believe Him, then His will was accomplished but not His wish. Through foreknowledge of Adam's choice He provided for man in Christ before the foundation of the world. He did not determines Adamn's choice, but He did foreknow it.

5/17/2006 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

The rub is not necessarily present.

I would allow for a 'wish' of God and a 'will' of God. Sometimes...;)

But God wishing that Adam not sin doesn't mean that God cannot plan for Adam to sin. You said yourself that no plan of God's can be altered. Therefore, the plan of God can entail the sin of man, and yet the sin of man be against the wish of God.

But let us drop 'Adam' for a moment, despite the sexiness normally associated with that name.

Let us return to the cross. Luke doesn't speak about the 'wish' of God, He speaks about the 'plan' of God. He says that God 'planned' that those men 'deliver Christ up'. The delivering of Christ up was sin. Therefore, Luke says that God 'planned' that those men.

And you cannot say that God did not determine the choice of these men and only foreknew it. For Luke disagrees. Luke says that God both determined it and foreknew it.

That was my entire point. Regardless of what foreknowledge means or entails, we still have that 'predetermined plan' of God's to deal with. Which, as Luke claims, included the sin of man.

5/17/2006 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

I do not think there is any way of determining whether God decided which Roman soldier would drive the nails into Jesus' hands.

Would it make much difference whether He had?

5/17/2006 11:41:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Entail is exactly what I'm saying. He planned for Christ death but through foreknowledge He used them to accomplish it. His plan entailed the knowledge of their desire. He did not plant the desire, though of course He could. He foreknew it and planned that Christ lay down His life for us. Had their actions been determined by God alone, then foreknowledge would not be necessary and it would not read that they crucified Him, but rather that God did.

5/17/2006 11:42:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Oh no no no. I think you are confusing determination. Again you are thinking of the puppet master. God determining that something would happen doesn't mean that God did it. Only that He ordained it. That He decreed that it would happen.

Heb 4:7 again, He specifies a certain day

Same word used. God decreed or specified that this day was unique. He marked this day as special.

God's determination doesn't speak anything of God's actions (unless He determined to act...).

This you must recognize. God determining that these men sin, even if the foreknowledge wasn't present, doesn't mean that God did the sinning. That is not a good argument, it is off the point.

God determining that they were to act a certain way is no different than God specifying the day in Hebrews. It is an act of ordaining, an act of specification. It speaks nothing of God's actions.

I think your problem is that you cannot read 'determine' without reading 'forced'.

5/17/2006 11:51:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Matthew, Luke says that God foreknew the event, and that the event was in accordance with His predetermined plan. Therefore, if we say that God didn't decide which Roman soldier did the nailing, then we would have to call into question not only His determined plan, but His foreknowledge as well.

Roman soldier a did the nailing.

Luke says that this act of Roman soldier a was in accordance with God's predetermined plan and foreknowledge.

If we say that God didn't have any soldier specifically in mind, then we would have to say that Luke is incorrect. As Luke suggest that God did. Luke says that what happened was in accordance with what God planned to happen. Therefore, if Roman soldier a did the nailing, then Luke says that this act of Roman soldier a was in accordance with the plan of God.

Your argument would only stand if Luke had said that Jesus' death was the plan of God, but yet spoke nothing of the means to Jesus' death. However, Luke does speak of the means. He says that the delivering up was in the plan of God. Therefore, not only the end, but the means as well (who did what) was part of God's plan.

5/17/2006 11:54:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Is that my problem? (hehe)

Adam I think you just defined the puppet master scenario to a "T". If God ordains that something should happen that He Himself does not accomplish then what are those He uses to accomplish it other than puppets if they are not free to choose to submit and do so? ;-)

5/17/2006 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Is a Roman soldier a slave to God or to sin?

5/17/2006 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger Timothy said...

KC,
This is all very good conversation, and no offense has been taken on my part. I think Adam is doing a fine job of defining the points. I will add that, yes, God has predetermined that mankind would sin and fall from grace. And it was His will. Yet He is not the author of sin, nor responsible for it. Man is responsible for his own sin, even though that sin was predetermined. The two truths are hard to realize, but this is what the Bible presents to us.

Blessings
Timothy

5/17/2006 12:14:00 PM  
Blogger Timothy said...

A slave to sin... All are slaves to sin until they are freed by Christ. But he willing put Christ to death. He was only carrying out his desire...

5/17/2006 12:15:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Pastor I think we're closer on this than Adam and I are but I would allow that God predetermined that men must choose to believe Him and through foreknowledge made provision for the fact that they would fall.

5/17/2006 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

The only way they would be puppets, Kc, is if they were not the ones doing the acting. If they were not willing the actions. But simply because someone doesn't have a 'choice' this does not mean they are not freely willing.

That is where the confusion arises.

Most people bind together too closely the idea of freechoice and freewill. They assume that if there is no choice in the matter, then there is absolutely no freedom. But this is an assumption, it would be difficult to prove.

God ordaining something, and thus eliminating whether I can choose otherwise, speaks absolutely nothing about whether I freely will to do it or not. My will is not based upon my choice.

And the Soldier is a slave to sin.

Timothy, thank you for the compliment.

5/17/2006 12:20:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Adam that is the same argument that people use to excuse themselves from sin and why God is just in His judgment. This is also why I say we charge God unjustly when we choose to sin rather than obey.

Prior to the spirit birth we are slaves to sin and not God. It is not God that directs us but our own pride and lust. In Christ we are made free to choose and those who are blind to their responsibility to choose are the same ones whose salvation is being questioned by LS adherents. Our desire is to see them obey then we say there is no choice to do so? What should we then expect to see in the Church?

5/17/2006 12:35:00 PM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Kc, question: if we don't have a choice in the matter, are we still responsible?

5/17/2006 12:39:00 PM  
Blogger Timothy said...

Adam,
No problem. YOu are doing yeoman's work and are extremely clear in your thoughts and expressions.

KC,
I might ask, what is behind your rejection against this position? Sometimes we allow ourselves to take a position based upon emotions rather than what Scripture seems to reveal about God. I do strongly believe that He decreed all things, from the moment that I believed to the fact that my mother never believed, to the fact that He decreed a car accident in the 1970s that left her paralyzed for the rest of her life. I don't like it. But I believe it and accept it because all of that is from His hand. He is the potter and I truly am the clay. Some clay is for His glory, other for His wrath. He decreed that we would sin, but is not resposible for that sin. (Drives my mind into loops when I try to fathom it...) But still that was His decree and ultimate will. By seeing God this way, we do see Him as He truly is because He has every right to do as He pleases with His creation. And, I strongly believe, that when we do see God this way, we see the richness of His grace. He can do with us as He pleases... yet, He doesn't bring down wrath upon us, but sends us His sinless and beloved Son to bear it for us. He even allows us to put the Son to death. Who is responsible? Adam of the Garden onward! What grace that He has bestowed upon us. It is only by grace that we see a need for grace. How rich is that? We may not understand all this, in fact, because we wrestle with these truths so much, shows us we don't. But that is because our views and understanding is all skewed because of sin... even after being justified and indwelt with the Holy Spirit, we still wrestle. So we have to take God at His word. Remember, He is not confused... we are.

Well, I know I was going somewhere with all that, but got lost on the rabbit trail...

5/17/2006 12:41:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Adam I say no. I think that is made clear in Romans 5. Sin is not imputed where there is no law.

5/17/2006 12:46:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Pastor I think what is key in your examples is that the things which happened really are acts of God while the actions of others are their own choice and cannot be charged against God.

5/17/2006 12:48:00 PM  
Blogger Timothy said...

KC,
I would reverse that, if I understand you correctly. Because I believed... that was the action of God. Because someone does not believe, that is the inaction of God. He leaves them in their sin. For had not God moved in our hearts, we would not have believed. The charge is upon all to believe, but only upon those where He moves will they believe. All are responsible to accept the gospel, but only those where God's hand moves, do they believe.
Blessings

5/17/2006 12:52:00 PM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Next question Kc, those under the bondage of sin, have they a choice in the matter? Can they choose not to be in bondage and to not sin? or does being in the bondage of sin mean that they haven't a choice in the matter, they can only serve their master, they can only sin?

5/17/2006 12:53:00 PM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Sleep beckons my friends. I shall finish our conversation later.

The point I'm trying to make is that in bondage to sin, we serve sin. We are sinners, who sin while in the bondage of sin. We haven't a choice in the matter. We can't choose to not sin. We can only sin.

If we say that choice must be present or responsibility is not, then we would say that those in bondage to sin, without the choice to sin or not to sin, are not responsible for their sin...

I do have a final question, which I will not be able to stick around to hear the answer for right away.

Kc, you are so adament about using Scripture. Which is quite commendable, don't get me wrong.

But my question is where in Scripture do you find choice and responsibility so intertwined as to be unable to be divorced? Where do you find that choice must be present for responsibility to be given? Or are you assuming such?

5/17/2006 12:59:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Adam from the moment they hear the word of God they must choose to obey it or reject it.

Pastor this is the great debate. What does the phrase "all men" mean and we each interpret that through our own theological perspective.

5/17/2006 01:01:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Adam I will try to have a post on that tomorrow or the next day. "The first principles of choice" or "The necessity of choice", I'll have to decide. ;-)

5/17/2006 01:16:00 PM  
Blogger Timothy said...

KC,
It is a good debate. I hope you don't feel like we are ganging up on you. That is not coming across, so I will assume you are OK with all this.

As for all men, I believe that all men are responsible for both the Law and the gospel, even though they may have not heard the gospel (Romans 1:18ff -2:1ff). Common grace speaks enough to all men that they should pursue finding the living and true God, but do not. In other words, all men are without excuse (Romans 1:18). But I also believe that those who hear the gospel and reject it will be judged much more severly than those who never actually heard the gospel. Both groups will have the same end, but the former much more severe than the latter. the point is that all men are responsible to their Creator. We have no excuses whatsoever... again, it's by grace... we have been spared what we truly deserve.

BACK after while... got to get some lunch... :)

5/17/2006 01:21:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Not at all Pastor and I appreciate both you and Adam for your willingness to discuss these issues and honestly as long as they are edifying and not causing division I think they are wonderful.

I may be slow to respond for a while but I'll do my best to keep current with the comments.

I do have some questions concerning your last comment with respect to the "I". I was wondering what your perspective is on irresistable grace given your understanding that there are those who reject the Gospel.

Again thanks for the discourse. ;-)

5/17/2006 01:42:00 PM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Adam, I can see clearly that the event of the crucifixtion was according to God's plan.

Could you show me where Luke indicates that God decided which individual Roman soldier drove in the nails?

5/17/2006 02:14:00 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

WOW! I find myself AGREEING with all three of you, kc, Adam, and Tim. I can't explain it but I do agree. All of you are doing a great job in communicating to me(an okie)hehe, in this debate.

I may be assuming; but I am glad your back posting "Pastor Tim" gig-em. I finally had to get away from ER's place, I love ER but I couldn't continue to reason with the love I should with many who comment on there who say they believe in the same Name I believe. So better for me to just shut up.

Like KC, I would like to see how those who believe in the "I" explain how they understand this and the responsiblity to reject what is irresitable?

5/17/2006 02:45:00 PM  
Blogger Timothy said...

HI KRIS,
Yes, it's good and bad to be back. Good to dialogue, bad on time management so I must be careful. This debate was something that I felt I could contribute to in a positive way, so I jumped in with both feet. As for the controversial site you mentioned, my wife has banned me from it. :)

As for irristable grace, yes, when God effectually calls someone, they do respond. The difference of the call is inward verse outward and those who are called inwardly will respond. I love the idea of effectual calling, that God enlightened the minds of those whom He is calling, and our wills are renewed so that we will believe in Christ for salvation. The key in understanding this is that He has to quicken the soul for us to believe, otherwise we are dead and will not believe. The moment He quickens, we do respond to our greatest desire and that is to follow Christ, thereby not violating the will of man. When we see the truth of the gospel for what it is, which can only take place by the movement of the Spirit in our hears (a heart of flesh replacing a heart of stone), we freely choose it. It is the best decision for us. But that decision will not be made apart from the Spirit's movement in our hearts.

So is grace resistable? Not true special grace. Who would resist such a blessing?

OK... I need to go back under the radar for the rest of the day and tomorrow. Be back on Friday.
Blessings

5/17/2006 03:24:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Kris, thanks for the encouragement. I really appreciate your understanding as well.

Pastor I really am thankful you feel comfortable enough here to share your beliefs. I hope that we will always be able to count on our love and understanding in these debates and discussions (and sis Beth thanks for allowing us the time). ;-)

I believe God’s call is always effectual. Isaiah 55:11 states that His word always accomplishes His intent. It is the power of God unto salvation for those that believe (Romans 1:16) and condemnation to those who believe not (John 12:48). We have a great difference in understanding concerning those whom God quickens and this speaks to the “U”. While I believe in election I believe we are only elect in Christ and that for election to be truly unconditional God made it available to all men in that whosever will call on the name of the Lord shall be saved, or elect in Christ.

5/17/2006 05:26:00 PM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Matthew, I don't know how much more simpler I can state this. Luke says that Christ being 'delivered up' was according to God's foreknowledge.

Being delivered up is the process that results in the end of Christ's death.

If we say that God did not foreknow which individual soldier did the 'delivering up', then we have God glancing into the future and seeing an action taking place by a person, but being unsure as to which person is doing the action.

Luke says that the action of 'delivering Jesus up' was according to God's foreknowledge and His plan.

This is not a complicated issue. Whatever happened to deliver Jesus up, the actions involved and the people, are according to His plan and foreknoweldge. Luke says so quite plainly. If you cannot see it, then I am not the one to help you. Sorry. I wish I could, but I am only a little boy who likes chai tea.

5/17/2006 06:47:00 PM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

'Adam from the moment they hear the word of God they must choose to obey it or reject it.'

If they are slaves of sin, then you are saying they either choose to obey the word (become slaves of God) or reject it (continue to be slaves of sin).

But what sense does that make? What manner of 'slave' has the option to continue to be a slave or not be a slave? If they can choose not to be a slave, then they are not a slave in the truest sense, they are merely a servant.

You could say that perhaps they are slaves of sin, unable to choose to be not slaves. Until the point in time when Jesus comes and offers them a chance to leave. He bypasses all rule that is there of their previous slave-owner and says, 'either come with me, or stay here'. Then the option is the slave's. Either to stay or not to stay.

But the moment that Christ bypasses the rule of the previous slave owner, then He becomes, in a sense, the owner of the slave. Either that, or the slave is not a slave to the sin in the same manner that he was. He is more than a slave, he is freed (at least momentarily) from the sin's dominion.

Would you agree?

I cannot see how you would not. If you say that he is a slave all the way up until he chooses to accept or reject Christ's salvation, then you would have to reinterpret 'slave' to mean something that hasn't complete dominion. If sin is the slave owner, and has power and authority over the person, then until that power and authority is uplifted, the person hasn't an option to free himself or not...

5/17/2006 07:16:00 PM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Surely we have two concepts here, foreknowledge and determinate counsel.

Clearly, God foreknew which Roman soldier drove the nails in. There is of course, the philosophical question of whether foreknowledge equal foreordination.

However, I see no reason why determinate counsel should extend beyond the plan that the event should take place.

I think it is absurd to suppose that it makes the event any less according to God's plan if God did not select Soldier A as opposed to Soldier B. Certainly, such a selection might have taken place, but reading it into that text is pure eisegesis.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

5/18/2006 04:18:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

"If sin is the slave owner, and has power and authority over the person, then until that power and authority is uplifted, the person hasn't an option to free himself or not..."

While I believe that you extend this analogy beyond its intent I would say that I think we would both agree that God is sovereign regardless of the fact that prior to conversion we are slaves to sin. This is where I find grace irresistable. Sin cannot hold its claim against it. but I find no where in the scripture that God imposes His gift on any man. I do find, however that everyone who hears His word and rejects it is condemned.

5/18/2006 07:43:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Matthew, I never suggested that it did make the event any less according to God's plan if God didn't select soldier A, no wait, yes I would. If God plans that soldier b was to do the nailing, and yet soldier a did the nailing, then that would be against His plan. Likewise, if God does not select any soldier to do the nailing, and yet some soldier does the nailing, then yes, the nailing by the soldier was not part of God's plan.

If I was to plan for Kc to give you a book, and this was all I planned for, and yet Kc gave you a book and a pen, then the giving of the pen would not be part of my plan. The giving of the book was my plan. The giving of the pen was not part of my plan.

Likewise if God did not plan which soldier did the nailing, and only planned that Jesus was to die. Then ANYTHING that was not included within His plan was not part of His plan. This is common sense.

If you say that Soldier A doing the nailing was not part of the plan of God, then he was not part of the plan of God.

Yes Luke says that what did occur was according to the plan of God. Luke doesn't say that only Jesus' dying was part of God's plan, but Jesus' being delivered up. Therefore ANYTHING inclusive within Jesus' 'being delivered up', is by Luke's testimony part of the plan of God.

That is the last word I will say on this.

5/18/2006 09:15:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

So let me see if I understand the picture here Kc. Sin has claim to a person. Grace then comes in and irresistably takes a person from the dominion of sin. The person then chooses to either accept the gift or to reject the gift offered. The reason they can now accept is because they have been freed from the dominion of sin. While in the dominion of sin, they were controlled by sin. As accepting the gift of God is obviously something that sin would not allow, we cannot say that any accepting of the gift would be possible while in the dominion of sin. A person must first have been freed from the control of sin, then they would be able to accept the free gift of God.

Are we on the same page?

And no we would not both agree that God is sovereign regardless of the fact that prior to conversion we are slaves to sin. You want to know why? Because when you say 'sovereign' and I say 'sovereign' we mean two different things. So if we cannot even agree as to what 'sovereignty' is, then we cannot agree that God is 'sovereign'. ;)

5/18/2006 09:20:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Adam the lack of resistance is from the power of sin. The word of God is more powerful than any two edged sword...

Good point on the definition as I mean it is the power and authority of God that overcomes sin and death and you say it is His control of us that does it. Since that is a theological term and not a scriptural one, perhaps we should simply refer to the particulars of what we intend rather than our theological constructs. I will say God has all power and authority and you can say God is all controlling. ;-)

With respect to Christ sacrifice I'm wondering who you think delivered Him up to be crucified. Do you think it was the soldier?

5/18/2006 09:46:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

5/18/2006 10:05:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Kc, please, you know I am simple minded. This statement, 'Adam the lack of resistance is from the power of sin. The word of God is more powerful than any two edged sword...' is quite vague to me. Could you dissect the 'picture' that I painted and show me where you are in agreement or disagreement? Please?

I think that we would both agree that God has all power and all authority. We then just disagree on whether God has all control. Very good then, at least we do agree on something.

Kc, I believe that whoever delivered Christ up was in accordance with God's plan. Luke says so. He says the delivering up of Christ was in accordance with God's plan. Therefore, WHOEVER we say did the delivering up, we know their actions were in accordance with God's plan.

We have Scripture that says it pleased God to crush Him. Speaking of God crushing Christ. So, I think that the crucifixion can be attributed to God. God killed Christ. But we likewise have Christ saying that He lays down His own life. So we have Christ killing Himself. We then have the Jews who demanded that He be crucified. So they likewise played a role. We have the soldiers who did the nailing. We have Pilate who acted by ommission. And we have all of us sinners who gave reason for Him to die...

I hope we would all agree on those? Wouldn't we?

Regardless, WHOEVER did it, they did it in accordance with God's plan.

5/18/2006 10:07:00 AM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Adam, I am baffled by your logic.

God's plan was for Christ to be crucified.

Whether Soldier A or Soldier B crucified Him surely made no difference to the accomplishment of the plan.

Your analogy is peculiar because you have given no reason why Kc's giving me the pen interfered with your plan for him to give me the book.

If Kc's giving me the pen was contrary to your plan, then you might have taken measures to prevent him doing so. Had you been all-powerful, you could certainly have prevented him from doing so, if it affected your plan.

The choice of which soldier drove in the nails, as far as we can know, made not one iota of difference to the accompishment of God's plan for Christ to be crucified.

Of course, it may be that it did, but we cannot know this by the revelation of the event that we posess.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

5/18/2006 10:28:00 AM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Wow, this is a great discussion. Adam - I agree with you on one thing: I love Chai tea also! :~)

5/18/2006 10:32:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

See Rose, we have enough in common to be friends. :)

Matthew, very good.

5/18/2006 10:40:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Adam I'm sorry I was vague. What I was trying to say is that sin cannot resist God so we have no excuse for rejecting Him. We can't say I was a slave to sin and therefore could not believe. Though we are subject to sin, sin is subject to Him. He could force us to submit to His grace, no doubt, but the question is, "does He" force us or does He offer it to us and I hope to cover that with my next article.

5/18/2006 10:43:00 AM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Oh, and KC, that is a great post. I wish I could be as straight as you.

5/18/2006 11:05:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Rose it may only be a matter of perspective but I think the same thing about you sister. Thanks ;-)

5/18/2006 11:24:00 AM  
Blogger Dee O'Neil Andrews said...

Kc -

You have some really intersting discussions going on all the time over here at Just So You'll Know, including this present one, but I don't know how all you gentlemen find the time to go into such detail and depth on all of the topics like you do and there is no way I can keep up enough to jump in. So I won't.

Although a lot of things are written and believed by some of you I'd like to jump in on, certainly. Including your current post I read this morning and all 71(?!) comments.

But, I don't know that I could add anything cogent and certainly wouldn't change anyone's mind (among this group) about anything, I don't think.

I happen to agree with your overall take on the topic, Kc, and have long held that position based on my own years of study and inquiry. Your post is very well written and thought out, I think, and succinctly covers some very important aspects of our lives both before and after becoming believers.

Wish I had time and the concentration to spend discussing some of these things with you guys. I certainly would have done so when I was much younger. But these days I try to (and have to) spend my time with more practical Christian living matters and daily service. I have tons of questions, though. Wish I had time to ask them all and intelligently discuss them!

5/18/2006 03:43:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Dee, thanks for taking the time to read and to comment. Time really is an issue but this particular topic is one that we've been discussing around but never actually in particular. We usually discuss the scripture and not the philosphy so this is new ground here. I suspect things will get back to abnormal soon. ;-)

5/18/2006 04:29:00 PM  
Blogger Timothy said...

KC,
I will only comment on Isaiah 55:11... We too believe that His word does not return unto Him void. But what takes place in that, we probably differ. For the elect, the preaching of the word is used to convert the soul, for the non-elect, the preaching of the word is used to harden the heart... In both cases, it has accomplished what was pleasing to the Lord.

Sorry I can't get more involved today. An elder and I took our families to see the Braves play in Atlanta yesterday and I am now behind in my work. It was a good trip, but tiring. Atlanta is about 3 hours from here. It was also a fun game, but I can't say that Turner field was all that impressive. Quite frankly, I was disappointed. But... they didn't build it for my approval. :) Nothing like Minute Maid Park and the Ballpark in Arlington!
Blessings
Timothy

5/19/2006 10:03:00 AM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Kc, I agree, sin cannot reject God, but this inability of sin to reject God, does not necessarily mean an inability within us to reject God.

We are slaves to sin, and sin is subject to God (this is what you are saying...)

Let us consider the analogy again. If I was a slave to someone, and you were more powerful than my slaveowner, then that slaveowner would be unable to reject your command. Yes. We would agree. If you told that slaveowner to do something, you being more powerful, would have complete obedience.

However, simply because my slaveowner cannot disobey you, this doesn't mean I can disobey my slaveowner.

If my slaveowner told me to do something, me, as a slave, would have to obey, I would have no other option but to obey.

If my slaveowner told me to do something, and yet you told me to do something else, I would have to obey my slaveowner, as he is my master. You are not my master. You would first have to remove my slaveowner as my master, and make yourself my master, before I could obey you. Remember, we cannot have two masters...Jesus said that.

You could command my slaveowner all day long to do whatever the heck you so pleased, and he would have to obey, but you could not command me to do anything, and me obey, unless you first made me your slave.

That is all I'm getting at.

If you say that you could command me, and I would have to obey, then you would in reality be my master. My slaveowner would not be my true master, you would.

But I thought the picture presented within Scripture is that we are either a slave to sin, or a slave to God. Jesus says quite specifically that you cannot be the slave of two masters (Matthew 6:24). If we say that God is our master, then God is our master. If we say that sin is our master, then sin is our master. We cannot say that sin is our master and God is our master. That is nonsensical.

So, what I'm seeing is that we are a slave of sin, and God must first come and free us from the slavery of sin, then we either 'choose' to go back into slavery to sin, or we 'choose' to go into slavery to God.

Would you agree?

5/19/2006 10:06:00 AM  
Blogger Kris said...

Could I offer this:

Could the meaning of being a slave to sin simply mean being a slave and unable to keep God's Law, being a slave to sin is mankinds inability to be righteous.

Therefore the inability to keep God's Law is different then the inablility to believe God's testimony about His Son.

5/19/2006 11:30:00 AM  
Blogger Kris said...

Edit:

Therefore the inability to keep God's Law is different than the ablility and therefore responsiblity to believe God's testimony about His Son.

5/19/2006 11:31:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

I think we've come full circle in our discussion but I don;t think we're on a rabbit trail. We have found that we all agree that the word of God is the power of God unto salvation for them that believe and foolishness to them that perish. It seems obvious to me that the question then becomes who is required to believe and whether they have a choice in the matter. Would anyone disagree that these are the two unresolved issues?

5/19/2006 11:43:00 AM  
Blogger Kris said...

I think so kc, you know we both think along the same lines most all of the time.
I think both camps believe that belief is a requirement. The difference is one camp believes that conversion(by God) happens in order to believe and the other camp believes that belief happens before conversion(by God). Am I wrong?

5/19/2006 12:08:00 PM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

If those are the two questions, I don't see how they are two that are unresolved. I thought we both agreed that everyone is required to believe.

Perhaps the only unresolved is whether there is choice in the matter. That is the one I think we are disagreeing about.

5/19/2006 12:09:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

If we can make that determination then we should be able to resolve quite a few problems and I hope we can center our arguments around that philosophical question and try to answer it scripturally.

To make very certain of the argument you would say God gives no choice in the matter and I would say God requires us to choose. Is this correct?

5/19/2006 12:43:00 PM  
Blogger Timothy said...

KC,
Form the question with as much clarity as you can and start a new post... but you have to be rather proud of this one... with some 80 response!
Blessings
Timothy

5/19/2006 03:42:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Kris I've been thinking about your statement concerning conversion and it makes me question definitions again. From all I can gather it really does seem that it comes down to a matter of whether God requires us to believe or "instills"? (nothing derogatory intended) a belief in us.

You used the word conversion, many use the word regenerate. I suspect if we describe all we understand to occur we would be very close if not in full agreement with all but the one point. What does it mean to believe? Is it a determination made by men based on the witness of the Holy Spirit or a certainty or confidence automatically instilled in the ones that God chooses by the Holy Spirit?

Pastor that's why I'm trying to frame the argument so carefully.

5/19/2006 04:54:00 PM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Kc, I wouldn't say so much that God doesn't give choice, that is not really my problem. My problem is that I don't believe in choice. I think that 'choice' is some man made idea. There is no such thing as 'choice'. It is like saying there is such thing as pink unicorns. What the heck is a pink unicorn?

You would then say that pink unicorns MUST exist for certain things to happen. I say no, pink unicorns have never existed and do not exist therefore certain things can happen without this fantasy being real...

I think that if we could find Scripture that deals with this philosophical idea, then we would be doing great. I think the problem though is that we won't be able to answer this question with Scripture. It is philosophy my friend that we are dealing with. Simply searching the concordance for 'choice' is not going to answer our question. We have to get wet in the pools of the mind for this one...

5/19/2006 05:41:00 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

kc said:
"Is it a determination made by men based on the witness of the Holy Spirit or a certainty or confidence automatically instilled in the ones that God chooses by the Holy Spirit?"

If answer this the whole circle starts again LOL I think.

I don't know if I can answer this to fully satisfy me or anyone else. I will try next week

Have good weekend.

5/19/2006 06:17:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Well dear brother you are one of the few I'm willing to wade in there with.

What if it is a language problem? The scripture does use the word quite often. What do you think when you read where God required a choice?

5/19/2006 06:25:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Kris you too brother and thanks for your understanding.

5/19/2006 06:27:00 PM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

Kc, if I were to tell you to 'choose' to eat the banana or 'choose' to eat the orange, would I not in reality simply be telling you to eat the banana or to eat the orange?

I think you would agree.

I would be telling you to do this (eat the banana) or do this (eat the orange). I would be telling you to do something, anything, just act.

But simply because I tell you to do this (eat the banana), this doesn't mean that you really can eat the banana. There may be something that I am unaware about as to why you cannot eat the banana. It may very well be that you can only eat the orange.

But that doesn't matter to me. All I am doing is giving you a command. Eat this or eat that.

Do you kind of understand what I'm saying? The whole idea of throwing in 'choice' gives these impressions within the mind of ability and whatnots that I think confuse the matter...

5/19/2006 06:29:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

And so you associate choice with power and ability. What if choice is only defined as a selecting from one or more options? Doesn't this fit your banana example well?

5/19/2006 06:36:00 PM  
Blogger nathaniel adam king said...

If I don't have the ability to do something, then I haven't the 'choice' to do it. If I don't have the power to do something, then I haven't the 'choice' to do it either.

If I cannot fly, it being out of my power and ability, then flying is not a choice I can choose.

Make sense?

We can only 'choose' to do that which we are capable of doing.

5/19/2006 06:58:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

"I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:"

Given this verse can you see choice as a selection between the option of life and death?

5/19/2006 07:08:00 PM  
Blogger Kitty said...

Wow Kc, this is a great post and a fantastic discussion too. It must have taken me more than half an hour to read through all the comments above....I can certainly see that making choices is a matter of life and death.

well perspective is really an interesting thing. But I am sure we all agree on one thing - and that is that Jesus is the LORD! Hallelujah!

Bless you all brothers and sisters.

5/20/2006 01:47:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Thanks sis and absolutely I would think we agree but I think not all choose to submit to Him.

My concern is here is the necessity of choice. There will come a day when everyone shall confess Jesus is Lord but for today God requires that we choose to do so. If you believe that this is a reflex action you will certainly fail to make that choice even if you are fully persuaded that Jesus is Christ, the Son of God you must still choose to submit to Him and daily take up your cross.

5/20/2006 08:06:00 AM  
Blogger Timothy said...

HI KC,
My one comment for the day and then I have to finish my sermon... (please forgive me Beth... just had to say something.) Yes, the verse you pointed out does present a clear choice. Again, the choice is there to be made, but what I think Adam and I are saying is that the ability to choose is not there unless God moves in the heart of the one making the positive choice. The negative choice is not to choose at all, resulting in death.

We do have scripture tha speaks to this... John over and over shows us that God choose, we don't. Jesus told the disciples this. It wasn't their will that they be born again, but His will.

1:12ff But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

The will of man is not a factor in those being born again. It is the will of God. He had to move for them to believe and receive. It was not their heritage, their ability, their will, but God who moved and chose them so that they would choose Him.

And praise the Lord this is so... I write as one chosen by God. Not because of anything in me, but because of His grace towards me. Had it been up to me, I would laughing at all of you and calling you fools as I read my Da Vinci Code and lined up to see the movie! But God's grace overpowered my rebellios heart...
Back to the sermon.
Blessings

5/20/2006 10:21:00 AM  
Blogger Beth said...

I'm just thinking here, trying to sort all this stuff out.

Is the problem of not accepting Irresistable Grace is that it leads to not accepting the Soverignty of God, a fundamentlal to the basis of Christian beliefs?

There seems to be a a domino effect that occurs and it even goes against what God has revealed about Himself in Scripture. It removes God as God, and says His Word is a lie. Yikes!...That's not what we want at all!

It's like this:
If God moves in the heart of someone to make them believe, and He foreknew them (and all that stuff in Ephesians), how could they have any "choice" but to believe? His will is for them to believe. Nothing can go against His will, since He is Almighty. If something goes against His will, then He isn't almighty or soverign over all things. If so, then God lied about Himself. If God lied, then so did Christ. If Christ lied, then we have no hope of salvation for He would be sinful. If we have no hope for salvation, then God did not keep His word to Abraham in the covenant He made with him.

BUT, the Holy Spirit testifies to our spirits of what is true. That this isn't a lie. He verifies in our believing heart of hearts that God's Word is true!

I like what Adam wrote: "We can only 'choose' to do that which we are capable of doing." Outside of Christ moving in our hearts, the only thing we can "choose" is sin. And it's really not a choice, but a foregone conclusion...a current that sweeps unbelievers along and threatens to pull them under. They see the law and know that we have the responsibility to obey God, but will not. (Romans 1 and 2)They are then condemned. How can something that is "dead in it's trespasses and sins" come to life, regenerate itself, grow a new heart on its own? How can a dead person choose anything?

To me, free will makes no sense. Irrestible Grace seems to ring true and, better yet, line up to what God has revealed in Scripture. I can't find anything that stays in context that supports free will at all. I don't understand HOW God does what He does. I do understand THAT He does. Because Scripture is infallible and I am not, I have to accept it as it is, as humble and low as it uncomfortably makes man to be.
Just some thoughts that may prove I need to read some more. :)

5/20/2006 11:21:00 AM  
Blogger Kc said...

Pastor, sis Beth, I consider it a great honor that both of you are willing to discuss this so freely with me. If ever in anything I might say it would seem otherwise please know its not so. I think you both know how much I appreciate this opportunity. I will offer my response in a new post shortly. Again I very much appreciate your consideration and response.

5/20/2006 03:31:00 PM  
Blogger Nellie Bellie said...

I know this, the further away I am from God, the decisions I make are of the wrong nature, I have experienced this...The closer I am to Him and knowing His word, engaged with Him, I see clearly the choices I should make. Being closer to Him makes me want to know Him more and make the right choices. Is this my free will working or God's will in my life?

5/22/2006 03:16:00 PM  
Blogger Kc said...

Nellie, thanks for taking this on. ;-) Could it be that the difference is, as you grow closer to God you are more submissive to His will? Perhaps you grow closer because you are more submissive. I really appreciate the practical application here.

5/22/2006 03:30:00 PM  

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