Saturday, January 8, 2011

10,000 Hits!

Wow, I am truly amazed, humbled, and thank God that this little website I originally created to be notes to myself has already received 10,000 hits!  In commemoration, I have listed 10 online articles, online audio, and offline books, in no particular order, that have helped shaped the way I have thought and if you read them will make you smart (I promise!).

By the way, you really should be reading and listening to these resources instead of mine.

Online Articles


Online Audio
Books

1. Van Til’s Apologetic by Greg Bahnsen
2. No One Like Him by John Feinberg
3. The Many Faces of Evil by John Feinberg
4. Systematic Theology by Wayne Grudem
5. The John MacArthur Study Bible by God and John MacArthur (of course!)
6. The Cross Centered Life by C.J. Mahaney
7. The History of the Work of Redemption by Jonathan Edwards
8. The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges
9. Justification of God by John Piper
10. When I Don’t Desire God by John Piper

21 comments:

Just Jules said...

Tap-tap-tap...is this thing on? Stopping by for a visit, having seen your comment over at Pyromaniacs. I am also a Kansas Citian and am deeply concerned by the activities and influence of the IHOP.

Would love to chat!

The Predestined Blog said...

If you got Qs on IHOP - drop a line!


FYI:

I wrote an article about them here:

http://thepredestinedblog.blogspot.com/2008/10/ihop-manifesto.html

Flippy said...

Hi.

I stumbled upon this blog quite by accident, and happened to have a look at a couple of the links you provided. I was surprised to read in the link concerning Biblical Justification, that no man works together, in unison, with God/Jesus. Am I reading that right? Is that really accurate?

The Predestined Blog said...

@Flippy


If you are talking about HOW we become justified - the instrumentality or the vehicle by which justification is delivered is through our faith. So in the bestowing man and God have an active part. Just note that this is initiated by God.

If you are talking about the reason WHY then yes, nothing man did influenced that decision.

Flippy said...

Right. Ok. So the Reformers and the Catholics agree on that then?

Man can do nothing without the grace of God - God always initiates and enables, as it were, and man responds (or doesn't, as the case may be). So man is justified by a free act through the graciousness of God to which man only need respond through faith.

The difference between Reformed and Catholic is then that Catholics believe in faith working through love, rather than just faith 'alone'. Yes?

The Predestined Blog said...

@ Flippy

Justification in the Roman Catholic (RC) sense is a continuous act and one becomes actually becomes more righteous as time goes on ie via works. Thus you can lose your salvation via mortal sins and you can continue to atone for sins after you die in purgatory. You are continuously infused with grace.

For evangelicals its instantaneous legal declaration of your freedom from sins and imputation of righteousness from an external source ie Christ's and not your own works. You do not become more righteous, but you are given Christ's.

For RC it is justification = Faith + Works

for evangelicals it is justification = Faith alone


****

An easier way to see this is the answer to this questions: Who takes credit for your salvation

RS: God + Man

Evangelical: God (to Him be the glory alone).

Flippy said...

So, Evangelicals believe that justification, once attained, cannot be lost? But Catholics believe that justification has to be maintained?

Concerning the concept of 'increasing' righteousness - if Evangelicals believe that Christ's is their own, then, presumably, when it comes to faith, there cannot be any 'measure' as such. You either have it, or you don't?

The Predestined Blog said...

@ Flippy - Strictly speaking not all evangelicals say that your faith cannot be lost, but I believe (as you may see) it is an inconsistent view of the Bible and Justification. Many, including the Reformers, believe that you cannot lose your salvation. Rome does believe you can lose your salvation. Also remember that we are righteous via Christ's imputation of His righteousness and in Catholicism you actually continually made righteous (ie not imputation).

Regarding faith, there are different measures of faith. What you are pointing out is that we don't have justification in measure, rather we are either justified or not before God. Same with Christ, He is our God, brother, friend, savior, redeemer, head, or not.

Flippy said...

Sorry - I'm not clear on whether you're saying that you do believe we can lose our faith/saved status, or cannot?

Regarding imputed righteousness, then - the question seems to lie on whether righteousness actually is imputed or not.

If there are different measures of faith, then what 'measure' of faith is required to be justified. I mean, if we are talking quantities, then how does that work?

Does the early Church teach sola fidei? Can you direct me to any fathers who do? I've dipped into McGrath's volumes on justification, and he doesn't seem to be able to come up with anything before the reformation.

Thanks for your answers, and the conversation, by the way.

The Predestined Blog said...

@ Flippy.

I do not believe you can lose your salvation, but just wanted to add a footnote that not all evangelicals agree on this.

You are also correct in identifying the importance of imputed righteousness.

Faith is a gift given by God. Once that faith is given to you, then you are justified, no matter how small that faith may be. This is a question called ordo salutis (order of salvation) if you want more information.

Finally, the early church DEFINITELY believed in justifcation by faith alone or as it is commonly called in latin sola fide.

Here a some links for you regarding this topic

[1] http://members.truevine.net/shadrach/just.htm

[2]http://www.shepherdsconference.org/pulpit/4356/long_before_luther/

[3]http://www.apuritansmind.com/Justification/EarlyChurchJustification.htm

[4]http://www.apuritansmind.com/Reformation/Reformation.htm

God Bless

Flippy said...

Hi.

Thanks for the links. I haven't had a chance to have a proper look at them yet, but have glanced at the first link, and am glad to see that Clement of Rome is quoted there as, I'm sure you know, Clement (along with Ignatius and Polycarp, I think) were taught by the apostles - Clement by Peter and Paul.

In the meantime, before I get back to you on the patristics, can I just ask a couple of quick questions concerning other things?

1) I notice that you are very critical of Roman Catholicism, but I don't see any comments on the Eatern Orthodox. Considering that they agree 99.9% with each other, why the lack of EO criticism?

2)I'm quite stunned by the notion of one not being able to lose one's salvation. I don't think that that position is Biblical, but am open to the fact that I may be wrong, of course. Anyway, as you believe that it is indeed what is taught in Scripture, can you tell me how you would read this passage from Matthew, for instance?

'But whoever causes one of these little ones who believes in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea...See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of my Father who is in heaven. What do you think? If a man as a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly, I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish.' Matt 18:6;10-14 ESV.

These are little ones who have faith, and one goes astray and has to be brought back, although it is clear that it may not be 'found' as such. This seems to state clearly that salvation can be lost, does it not? I'd be interested to hear your answer.

Thanks again, and God bless you abundantly, too.

The Predestined Blog said...

@ Flippy

Sorry for the late response, I have been very busy.

For your first question, about Eastern Orthodoxy, the claims of proclaiming the wrong Gospel of faith + works certainly applies to them, there is just not as much interaction with that group and evangelicals. Also, you are very gravely mistaken to say they are 99.9% alike, in fact, they are INCREDIBLY different in their views of the Trinity (filioque debate), structure of the church (Pope vs 7 autocephalic churches), sacraments (chrismation vs confirmation), views of the atonement, icons in worship, etc., etc,. etc. These 2 religions are very different and nowhere near 99.9% alike.

As for losing one’s salvation. This parable is not a good example, as the main point is not about losing one’s salvation, but the rejoicing of a sinners conversion. I think one of the most common interpretation errors Christians make is to take verses that only slightly touch on the subject and not the verses that actually deal with the subject. Let me list for you some verses that explicitly cover the topic of whether you can lose your salvation:

John 6:. 39 This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”

Do you see what Jesus says here? That all the believers that the Father has given Jesus He will lost none! And what is “eternal” about our eternal life if we can simply lose it?

Even clearer:

John 10:27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me; 28 and I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will snatch them out of My hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of the Father’s hand.

No one can snatch us out of Jesus’ hands.

Paul goes onto say in Romans 8:29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He alsojustified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.

Salvation is one long process that has already been accomplished.

Paul repeats the idea of being kept in multiple verses:

1 Timothy 2:12 For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day.

1 Corinthians 1:8 who will also confirm you to the end, blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Philppians 1:6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.

The Predestined Blog said...

The question you can ask yourself is “What kind of a Father would dump his children?” If earthly father’s don’t dump their children, how much more so does our Heavenly Father who loves us so much. Seriously, we need to think about how much our Father (repeat Father) loves us as children that He would sacrifice Jesus! How can he say He will dump us, esp. if Jesus has died for those sins?

Also, what credit do we have in salvation? If you say it is your work (in this case anything that keeps you from sinning), some of the credit goes to you and not all to God. In fact, what you would be effectively saying is “God, thank you for Jesus’ sacrifice, but it is not enough for me” b/c you are saying your works need to be credited to your account so you can go to heaven. See here in Romans 4:4 Now to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. 5 But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness, 6 just as David also speaks of the blessing on the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:

Can you imagine standing before God the Father and Jesus Christ and say that Jesus death on the cross was not enough and that b/c of your works (baptism, communion, and/or good works outside of the church) They owe you salvation now? And that those works you would hold up to God’s face is filthy used menstrual rags (thats what God calls our good works in Isaiah 64:6 “...And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment...”)? Can you imagine offering used menstrual rags for salvation? This is the heresy of justification of faith plus works. A terrible offense to God, but more importantly a plain and rank admission that Christ’s death on the cross was not enough.

Flippy said...

Hi.

Thanks for the response - please don't apologise at all as:
a)I would expect nothing less than a considered response which takes time, obviously.
b) I, myself am busy too, and have not/cannot (and should not for the reason above) respond with haste.

I'll get back to you about your comments as soon as I can get them all down on paper, as it were.

I'd like to thank you, once again, for the dialogue. It's very nice to be able to ask and receive candid answers objectively and charitably, and I take no offence at all, of course, at your criticism of my own contentions, and hope that you will receive my own rebuttals in the same way. It is important to be direct - ambiguity, and beating around the bush, are not a luxuries we can afford when dealing with matters of life and death.

I'll get back to you as soon as I am able.

God bless you.

Flippy said...

Hi. Here's the first part of my response to your initial response. I have to thank you, once again, as I truly believe you have been an instrument of God in sending me back to the Scriptures and Church Fathers etc, and bringing the clarity I've been seeking to my spiritual life. I have to trust and hope that you will not find this gratitude insincere - which I assure you it most certainly is not - as what I have found does not correspond with your own position at all. Nor does it correspond with my own, previously, wishy-washy position, having been brought up in a nominally Anglican household with no religious input whatsoever. Anyway, it's time I got to the point, and the questions at hand, but could I just ask you to refrain from responding entirely until I have answered every point you have made - that will probably take another one or two posts, and a little bit more time, as I am so busy just now. Thanks again

Concerning your response to my question regarding your attitude toward the Orthodox Church etc - I shall take your word for your lack of criticism being due to a lack of interaction, as you put it, but certainly take issue with your appraisal of the differences between them and the Catholic Church as being very pronounced indeed. This is something I shall come back to at a later point, as it is a rather less pressing matter than the question more immediate to us of whether one can lose ones salvation.

As for losing one’s salvation itself. Firstly, you dismissed the parable that I quoted, and my question out of hand as 'not a good example', stating that the main point here was not one of losing salvation, but of rejoicing over a sinner's conversion. You then give me your opinion on common interpretational errors made by Christians who, to quote yourself: 'take verses that only slightly touch on the subject and not the verses that actually deal with the subject'.

The enormous irony here is that your response does precisely what you criticise above - it appears to be pure rhetoric, which attempts to distract from the issue at hand, and avoid answering the question posed in favour of posing questions one would rather answer. The verses I have supplied do not, as you claim, deal with the rejoicing over a sinner's conversion as their 'main point'. They deal squarely, and very plainly, with the issue of losing ones salvation.

Now, in your defence, you may have, mistakenly, been answering a question based upon the parable of the lost sheep used by Jesus at Luke 15:1-7, where He is, indeed, employing the 'lost sheep' parable to highlight the rejoicing over the conversion of a single sinner, but my question was on Matthew 18, not Luke 15, where Jesus absolutely employs this parable to directly address the salvation issue.

So, I ask you again to deal with the issue and the verses supplied, and answer my question in support of your position, if you believe it is possible.

Flippy said...

Part two...

As for your listing for me of verses that explicitly deal with this topic:

(John 6:39-40) This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.”

Firstly, let's put your quotation into context, shall we? In John 6:37, Christ begins the theme of 'all that which has been given to Him': All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out. He is explicitly stating that He never turns away, or turns away from, anyone who approaches Him. It is in no way a statement on those who wish to leave, and, in fact, in the wider context of John 6 is specifically linked to just that issue - After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, "Do you want to go away as well?" Simon Peter answered him, "Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life". (John 6:66-68) Christ does not cast them out, but they are, however, free to leave, and many of them do so. I would also simply refer you back to Matthew 18:13-14: And IF he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that never went astray. So it is not the will of my Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish. And also 1 Tim 2:3-4: This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim 2: 3-4)

God wills that all people be saved, but are they? No, of course not. Everyone who believes in Christ will be saved, of course, but that does not mean, or state, that a person cannot wander away, and thus lose salvation before the end: But the one who endures to the end will be saved. (Matt 24:13). And Jesus answered them, "See that no one leads you astray. For many will come in my name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and they will lead many astray." (Matt 24: 4-5) And, again, this is Christ addressing his disciples, and warning them to be on their guard lest they fall away.

To be continued...

Flippy said...

Part three...

Does Paul believe that he is saved no matter what, or does he too acknowledge the danger of falling away?

We must not indulge in sexual immorality as some of them did, and twenty-three thousand fell in a single day. We must not put Christ to the test, as some of them did and were destroyed by serpents, nor grumble, as some of them did and were destroyed by the Destroyer. Now these things happened to them as an example, but they were written down for our instruction, on whom the end of the ages has come. Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall.(1 Cor 10:13) And who is Paul addressing here? The church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours. (1 Cor 1:2) Note: those 'sanctified', 'called' and who 'call upon the name of the Lord'. These are the household of faith - believers, including Paul himself.

Your position is simply not Scriptural.

You ask, 'what is “eternal” about our eternal life if we can simply lose it?' You cannot lose it IF you have it, but scripture is absolutely packed with instances of that conditional 'IF'. There are simply too many instances to list them all, but here are a couple:

John 15:10 - Christ to His disciples: If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love. It is conditional.

Even more to the point , again, this is Christ speaking - Matt 19:17: If you would enter life, keep the commandments.

This is the eternal life you are talking of, and again, it is conditional. Whilst you are in the flesh, you can indeed choose, and enter into life, but if you stray, then you can just as easily exit it too. Why do you think that scripture is full of exhortations to be watchful, to strive, to work for salvation? If you need all of those statements sourced in Scripture, just ask and I will supply you with those and more. As pointed out above in John 6: 66-68, those who are disciples can 'turn back' and cease to 'walk with' Christ, Who alone has the words of eternal life: eternal life in John 6: 66-68 is indeed turned away from by disciples who previously walked with Him who raises us up.

To be continued...

Anonymous said...

I read your original post on IHOP, and I respect your opinion. However, One thing about IHOP that is very different from cults is that it is based on scripture and you are asked to question everything - to search things out on your own...like the Bereans in the Book of Acts. Cults spoon feed you, and you are not taught to think or question their doctrine or belief system. Also, they honor every believer. They do not have an elitist nature. I have visited the web stream and have not found it cultish at all. I do not live in Kansas City, but if anything it has encouraged me to be a searcher of TRUTH, and to love the GOD with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength...to live out the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5-7) and be connected to the VINE (John 15-17);
It grieves my Spirit that you would steer people away from an authentic ministry that exalts Jesus (our great Intercessor in heaven) - a ministry that prays 24/7 and does works of justice in a spirit of love and humility.
Perhaps, you could benefit from a closer look and praying the Lord bring revelation to your heart and mind to where His lamp stands are on the earth today. Blessings from a Florida Believer.

The Predestined Blog said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
The Predestined Blog said...

Dear anonymous,

I know your heart and your intentions, so I please don't take this as an attack.

BUT, I do think you are attacking my intentions and motives. You accuse me of not taking a close look at IHOP and not praying to God about this topic! This is a very serious attack on my Christian character. I think if you look at this blog and especially that article, I have deeply looked into the Word of God and trust me, I have prayed many times about this. I have also spoken to many people at IHOP as well. I don't think you meant to demean me and my Christian walk, but you did by accusing me of this.

Further more, you did not address any of my BIBLICAL arguments. You made it sound like I was just putting down IHOP b/c I was an ignorant mean person. Don't you think I want our Lord to be praised and bring people toward Christ. Your comment makes it seem like I want to do just the opposite.

I pray you don't take this as an insult, but an encouragement.... that you in fact have not tested IHOP against scripture b/c obviously you did not defend them against my BIBLICAL case against them. You basically said "I know they love God b/c of my experience." So does your experience trump my experience and the guiding of the Holy Spirit in my heart to warn people against them.

You are not the only one to do this, but most people (95%?) don't defend IHOP biblically and certainly cannot answer my case against them. You must fall back on saying "I know they love Jesus b/c they said so." And I know that you know this is inadequate. Furthermore, would you go to a church that condones homosexual pastors or even the opposite with Fred Phelps church, to go out of your way to hate homosexuals instead of loving them and bringing them to Christ. You realize both parties say "I love Jesus,' but both parties are in direct disobedience to God.

I have pointed out that IHOP is in direct disobedience to God due to their false prophesy and denigration of the sufficiency of Scripture. Simply saying "They said they love Jesus and I had a good experience there" is nothing more than any Mormon or Jehovah's Witness has said to me to defend their religion and experience.

Also, from my experience, challenging that fact that IHOP has committed multiple false prophecies does not go over well. It is very cultish in their denial and accuse you of being wrong. If you want to trade experiences, well... that is mine.

Gary said...

Is someone else's Salvation dependent on YOU?

One of the biggest criticisms of the Lutheran (and Calvinist) position on the Predestination of the Elect is that it removes the motivation to spread the Gospel/to do missionary work. "If God has already chosen who will be saved, why bother spending your time preaching the Gospel to sinners? God will take care of it, I don't need to worry about it."

It is true that Lutherans believe that God has already chosen those who will be saved (but they do NOT believe that God has predestined anyone to hell, regardless of what some people believe Luther may have said at one point in his life). It is also true that we Lutheranws believe that sinners do not have a free will to choose God. So no matter how hard we try to convince sinners of their need for a Savior, if God has not predestined them for salvation, they will NOT believe, they will not be saved.

The advocates of Free Will Theology say that a sinner IS capable of choosing God. Therefore, it is our job as Christians to witness to every human being with whom we come into contact in our daily lives, because our efforts may be the trigger for them to "accept" Christ." These Christians base their belief on the passage of Scripture that states, "for whom he did foreknow, those he did predestine...". They take this to mean that God's predestination is based on God foreknowing that at some point in the future, that a particular person would make a free will decision to believe in Christ.

Lutherans and Calvinists say that this is impossible since Romans chapter 3 tells us that no one seeks God. Making a decision for God is "seeking" God, and therefore an impossibility according to God's Word.

But are we Lutherans really off the hook when it comes to sharing the Gospel? It is true, we should do be out preaching the Gospel to our neighbors because Christ commands it, but, really, what are the consequences of our disobedience on this one issue? A slap on the wrist when we get to heaven, but no direct consequences for the "un-elect" person to whom we failed to share the Good News?

We Lutherans state that we do not know what criteria God used to choose/predestine those who will be saved. But I would like to propose this idea: Yes, it is true that a particular person's election is not dependent on HIS decision to believe since Romans chapter 3 states that this is impossible. But...is it possible that this person's election is dependent on God foreknowing that YOU would obey his command to go out into the world and preach the Gospel, and in particular, he foresaw that YOU would share the Gospel with this individual, and based on YOU being faithful/obedient and sharing the Good News with that person, God chose/elected that person to be saved??

To believe this would certainly increase our motivation as Lutherans to share the Gospel instead of sitting at home enjoying the blessings of salvation all to ourselves. (Maybe we should share this idea with our Calvinist Christian brothers and sisters to light the "evangelism fire" underneath their behinds also.)

Gary
Luther, Baptists, and Evangelicals