Saturday, January 23, 2010


I SIMPLY Can not believe how many trained theologians buy into the belief that God created men (most men at least) to eternally boil them in lava.  God, Father Son and Holy Spirit is not like that.
Those God predetermined to save are already functionally safely in.  All of the rest, were created for the express purpose of boiling in lava for eternity.  It is as if Jesus' sacrifice was not adequate to assuage GOD's wrath for man's sin.  So he withheld salvation from most of mankind so that the real wrath of god could be vented.  That's goodness imagined.

It's funny how the Lord, my Lord brings stuff up in the week to illustrate the point:
I have a new friend at work who is steeped in power anthropology:  "The people who rule the world are all about retaining power and keeping the little guy down."  I'm more concerned with what happens in my own sphere.  I told him:
"You know that saying  s--t rolls down hill?  [sorry reader for the vulgarity; it is germaine],  I'm convinced that it is part of the human condition to only care about the s--t if you are down hill of it.  If you are up hill of it, it won't roll onto you; then you care about different s--t, say middle class taxes, or hackers stealing your identity.  We have large boxes on pallets used for garbage.  Many full garbage bags will fit into one box.  Then some poor sucker has to empty the box.  If the box is full only of clean tied bags, no problem, one can empty the box hopefully without wearing any of the stuff.  If people just throw their loose debris and sweepings, soda cans etc into the box without a bag, someone is going to get poluted emptying the box.  That's o.k. as long as it ain't me.   It's part of the human condition, [and evidence of our lostness] to not care." 
So we show ourselves guilty as we judge the power brokers, as we wield a little power of our own.  By carrying that garbage another 10 feet, we can find a proper receptacle for it, and save another person getting filthy unnecessarily.  All the caterwallin' about Haiti, and you will not lift a finger to help your neighbor.

I do not expect to encounter that same attitude from my brothers and sisters in Christ:

"In Romans 9, God says we are all just like clay, and he is the potter, so if he wants to make me a vessel of honor and boil you in lava for eternity because you're guilty, then I guess that's tough luck for you.  PRAISE THE LORD I'M SAVED!"

You see, in his mind, he is up hill of the s--t.  It can not roll onto him so tra la la.

Or perhaps as in the case of some Christian workers, it is not tra la la, they genuinely love the lost  and work to see them saved.  Then they elevate themselves up above the God of their theology, because they love Esau, whom God has hated since before creation.  Is it unusual for someone to love a relative or neighbor who may never trust Christ?  It must be that God did not love that one?  How can his church have more love than God?

The easy answer is that this theology is rotten to the core.  It's core is not Jesus, as is supposed, but an "unmoved mover" "sovereign god" philosophy.  God recognizes the believers who believe in Him.  God does not recognize this vain philosophy.

Explain one passage to me:

"34 Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: 35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. 36 Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. 37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not."

Come on Jesus, aren't you sovereign God?  Just annuciate it, and it is so.  Believe Jerusalem!

Sorry, gentle reader, I assure you, I do not mock Jesus who hung on the cross for me, and every man woman and child ever born, so that they might be saved.  I mock the philosophy that says He did not.
I doubly mock the philosophy that says He died for all of us, but then only picks a few of us to actually receive that salvation.  It also occurs to me that among theologians, semi-pelagian and arminian are pejoratives.  The peer pressure is on to eshew all appearance of these -ians, even if one must make God look like a human cooking monster to do it. 

It's so sad, because the vicarious life of Christ holds such promise for the struggling Christian, but there is no-one left to develope it because they've all gone to watch the lava flows:

"There goes another one into the pit."
"Ooh there goes another one, did you see the look of surprise on his face?"
"That one has a beam jammed in his chest.  He must have come from Haiti."
"That one's still beating on his wife!  Too bad God didn't decide to save her at least."
"Ha! There goes one with his gin bottle.  Poor sucker, I'm sure thankful God opted to love me and save me from demon gin."

"Oh no, (shudder of horror) I think that was my brother......."

How abstract and inconsequential the dark side of our theology seems to us.

Really?  Love is optional to God? 


Diane said...

Hi Duane,

Very interesting post. You have a way of getting to the point that makes sense. Appreciated the article.


Alvin said...

Hi Duane, I hear what your saying! Here are just a few Scriptures that have given me some light on the subject. I don't really care to discuss Calvinism much it's a sore subject for me, too much pain in the past.

Jesus rejoices over the Fathers revelation to babes:

21 In that hour Jesus rejoiced in the Spirit and said, “I thank You, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent and revealed them to babes. Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight. (Luke 10:21)

Acts 17
22 Then Paul stood in the midst of the Areopagus and said, “Men of Athens, I perceive that in all things you are very religious; 23 for as I was passing through and considering the objects of your worship, I even found an altar with this inscription:


Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: 24 God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. 25 Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. 26 And He has made from one blood[a] every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, ‘For we are also His offspring.’ (Acts 17:22-28)

Heb 11

6 But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

John 3:16

16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

That my friend means everyone, even Esau. So that tells me that God did not literally hate Esau just as Jacob did not literally hate Leah, but is using a comparison.



Hi Diane and Alvin!
Thanks for visiting!
I apologize, I guess I don't know how to turn off comment moderation.

Yes Alvin and Diane, I have very strong opinions on this issue that I see as defending the nature of God. I don't defend any man's right to salvation, we have no such right. I demand (against human detractors) that God is as creative, and as loving as I know Him to be.
1. He is creative enough to want to make a people who are real, and really free to individually choose separation from Him or union with Him.
2. I accept that the ability of man to move toward God is broken because of the fall, man is dead in his sin. I believe that God's creativity in concert with His love created a way to bring us salvation, which HE provides 100% of, and leaves us to accept or reject union with Him. If He had not chosen that route, He would have simply yanked the whole lot of us over (universal salvation).
Bobby Grow, who is a Calvinist of a different school says that the Federal Calvinists go too far in declaring that God made a decree. We don't know why some are reprobate. I accept that explanation. We can not answer questions that scripture has not answered, but I still oppose the decree in defense of who God Is, and I would not recognize Him if He were as they say He is.

Thanks for dropping in. I hope to do more soon on the Free grace Life side.


Alvin said...

I can tell you Duane if it's 100% God than Calvinism would be true.


Alvin said...


Most Calvinist are not consistant.

Not all Calvinist, however, retreat from the obvious implications of Unconditional Election--that dead infant is as equally liable to be "elect" or "reprobate." The most consistant Calvinist was Augustine, who held to the damnation of "non-elect" and non-baptized infants. (Webb, pp. 312-313; Schaff, History, vol. 8, p. 56.) "The Other Side Of Calvinism" Laurence M. Vance page 398

Craig and Heather said...

Hi Duane,

Interesting stuff you have here.

I've definitely struggled with trying to accept any of the pre-fab frameworks of how salvation "works".

One of the things your posts have brought to mind is when the Israelites were complaining about God's provision in the wilderness and He sent snakes to bite them. Many died but the ones who were left went running to Moses, admitting they had sinned against God and His appointed leader.

Numbers 21:9 And Moses made a serpent of bronze, and put it upon a pole. And it happened that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he looked upon the serpent of brass, he lived.

All who looked lived. They didn't have to understand how the healing worked or go through painful contortions or continue to beg and plead or go climb a mountain. They had to believe that Moses told the truth and they had to act on that belief and look at the symbol of suffering that was lifted up.

I do think we sometimes (to our shame) make salvation inaccessible to others simply because we pridefully think we know what God's up to when He isn't obligated to reveal all His reasons. Our efforts at explaining often either exclude huge swaths of humanity from being able to receive of God's grace OR we place heavy burdens on their backs by demanding that they follow some set of rules that is supposedly designed to help them "keep" the salvation that Jesus freely offers.

Actually, after sweating over the "election" aspect of Romans 9, I finally realized that it echos the end message of Job.

God is God and He is supremely good and can be trusted. It isn't any of my business to know why He chooses to do what He's doing. My job is to trust His Word and obey what He has chosen to reveal to me personally.

God bless.


Oh, if you want to turn off comment moderation, click on "customize" (should be at the top of your pate on the blogger bar).
Then, click the "settings" tab.
On this page, the fourth button from the left should say "Comments". Click that one and scroll down the page to "comment moderation". You can customize your option there.

Diane said...

Duane, your articles really make us think. Thank you for that.

Alvin told me about an article that Zane Hodges just wrote in the newest GES Journal (the memorial issue of just his writings). I haven't received my copy yet, but Alvin sent me a portion of what Zane said on this subject. Hopefully he'll post it here to!

Main point..... God LOVES all people. He doesn't create them to torment them forever. He genuinely wants ALL to come to Him because they want Him. He paid the price for them. Anyone who doesn't want Him has no excuse.

Enjoy the Lord because He is enjoying you.

All because of His wonderful grace,

Alvin said...

Hey Duane, here are a couple post from Zane Hodges that should be very helpful.

Sorteriology Subjugated To Determinism

If there is one thing five-point Calvinists hold with vigorous tenacity, it is the belief that there can be no human free will at all. With surprising illogic, they usually argue that God cannot be sovereign if man is granted any degree of free will. But this view of God actually diminishes the greatness of His sovereign power. For if God cannot control a universe in which there is genuine free will, and is reduced to the creation of “robots,” then such a God is of truly limited power indeed.
We would agree quite differently. The God of the Bible is in fact great enough to create creatures with genuine powers of choice. Yet so perfect is His omniscience of all choices, possible and actual, that He can devise an almost infinitely complex scenario for mankind in which His sovereign purposes are all worked out perfectly through—and even in spite of—the free choices made by His creatures. This view of things is sometimes called “Middle Knowledge. . . . .end quote (Zane Hodges “New Puritanism Part 3”).

Alvin said...

1. There Is No Place For Human Responsibility.

It is a logical (though unadmitted) corollary of theological determinism that there can be no true concept of human responsibility. If man has no free will, he can make no other choices than those for which he has been programmed. Man cannot be held truly responsible for “choices” which were illusions of choice and which are really the inevitable outworking of a predetermined program to which he is unconsciously subjected. If the word “responsible” is assigned to such “choices,” the word loses any real significance at all, Determinist who use the word are playing a word-game. We might as well say that the table, on which I have just laid some books, is “responsible” to hold them up!
It is part of the creed of the theological determinist that unsaved man cannot really be called upon to believe the Gospel, since he has no capacity to do so at all. It follows, then, that faith must be a divinely imparted gift which man receives only as a part of his conversion……

It follows that an unsaved man could not possibly believe unless God first regenerates him. The non-elect, therefore, are faced with the horrible reality that God has chosen not to regenerate them and that, therefore, they cannot believe even if they want to.

Yet biblically, the failure to believe is the basis of the condemnation of the unsaved, as John 3:17 declares:

He who believes is not condemned. But he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only-begotten Son of God.

The result …….is that non-elect people are hopelessly bound for hell because God declines to regenerate them. Thus they are unable to believe.

Yet they are condemned for that unbelief!

The picture of God that emerges from this is a hideous distortion of His loving character and nature. (Zane Hodges “New Puritanism Part 3”)


Yeah Alvin,

It is 100% God's work. 0% our work.

And I, If I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me.

He draws, the Spirit woos, we passively receive (accept believe or trust) or actively reject. I think.


Alvin said...

Duane, that's not quite the whole picture. God does not search the Scriptures for us to see if these things are true. And that is where the free will of man is exercised, whether he will diligently seek God, we do that by going to Church or searching our Bibles to see if what someone is telling us is true. We allow the Holy Spirit to persuade us through the written word, and once we are convincd that what God has said is true we have believed.
It is true that no one seeks God if left to themselves but God has not left us to ourselves but His desire is for ALL men to be saved. I like the story of the father playing hide-n-seek with their little child. The father wants to be found, so the father wispers in the dark to the little child over here, over here. Then the little child gets all excited and say's "Daddy I found you! I found you!" Jesus has revealed to us WHO the Father reveals the truth to and that is to babes, He has hidden it from the wise and prudent. We can only come to God on His terms as a little child in childlike faith. God has come to seek and to find but not everyone wants to be found.

Alvin said...

Duane, Calvinist have bought into a man-made system that came right from Satan. Even believers can say things that are right out of the pit, for example:

Matt 16:
21 From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.
22 Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!”
23 But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.”


Luke 9
53 But they did not receive Him, because His face was set for the journey to Jerusalem. 54 And when His disciples James and John saw this, they said, “Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?”[a]
55 But He turned and rebuked them,[b] and said, “You do not know what manner of spirit you are of.

Duane, Calvinist make God out to be of a different spirit then He is by saying He reprobates for no other reason then to bring Himself glory. This is the spirit of Satan who is filled with violence.

God did not come to destroy men's life but went to the cross because He loves ALL men, and does not want for ANY to perish but have the free gift of everlasting life.

And ALL are invited to take of the water of life FREELY!!!
And that is GOOD NEWS!!!!
For everyone!


Alvin said...

I'm sorry Duane, were on the same page. 100% God's work concerning the gift of salvation 0% mans.
Good thing I have Diane around to straighten me out:)


Alvin said...

Duane, you know what the Five-Point Calvinist means by 100% God 0% man? Were dead like a rock so God has to regenerate us first, then gives us the gift of faith, then the "L" He paid for all our sin. Irrisitible grace makes it where we will do what He wants and the "P" we will not fall for to long.
Now I don't believe in this type of 100% God 0% man. But, after re-reading your article it's clear you don't either. I can't remember how many points Bobby is?


Alvin said...

Duane, if you don't believe that God chose some just to cook in the lava why do you have Bobby's Blog "Evangelical Calvinist" on your site who does believe in double-predestination? And also believes that it is Jesus faith not your own?

Duane, this is what Dr. Myk Habets says what a Evangelical Calvinist is, which Bobby who you mentioned also claims to be . Notice Bobby's question and his belief of double-predestiation.

Myk Habets said...
Hmm - if Barth is an EC then that makes it easier! :-)
I am not sure how narrowly or specifically I would wnat to define EC at this stage - ie - it should be more about exemplifying a position than noting what it is not etc. But the two are not mutually exclusive.

Here is a start:

1. an EC believes in one divine decree (albeit in several parts)
2. is not slavishly committed to Dort or Westminster. ie respects both as Reformed confessions but does not see either as being the definitive standard. Drtrecht was an historical response to an historical situation so the 5 points were never meant to define Calvinism or the Reformed faith in toto, they were simply a response to the 5 points o the Remonstrance, and Westminster, while very good, is couched in its own very specific Puritan context and logic which again is specific to that context and as such does not necessarily translate well into other contexts. The same would go for the other confessions.
3. related to #2, probably likes the Heidelberg Catechism and the Scots Confession more than Dort and Westminster :-)
4. sees no compulsion to work with strictly logico-deductive logic in their systematic theology but prefers to follow the biblical narrative and systematise that (ie I love the way Partee characterises Calvin as biblical over logical in his book on Calvin - I think he is quite right).
5. as a result of #5 an EC has no doctrine of the Divine Decree of Election of humans to Hell but rater holds to a doctrine of Divine reprobation in which he leaves the nonelect to their own choices. ie the double decree is out or at the very least very weak.
6. Structures the ordo salutis (if indeed they have or want one - I do but...)from the basis of union with Christ and not some Divine decree as Beza, Perkins, Williams etc do. Not that this becomes the central dogma or a philosophical centrum but from union with Christ all the blessings and benefits of Christ flow - such as justification, sanctification, glorification, etc.
7. Can genuinely preach the Good News to all that Christ has died for them and their salvation and has forgiven their sins. ie holds to universal atonement, universal forgiveness.
8. Is not a univeralist.
9. can affirm the 5 points of sovereign grace and defend them from Scriptre and Reformed hsitory, but would want to nuance limited atonement to what the Reformed divines meant this to signify, not what a system of thought came to make it signify.
10. Sees penal substitution as the central Pauline metaphor for slavation but not the only one and understands that upon this metaphore Paul et al were able to incorporate the otehr metaphors - war, realtionships, moral, etc. EC's would do the same today.

How's that for 10 lashings to start with. I look forwad to what others think.
August 26, 2009 9:08 PM

Bobby Grow said...

Thanks, that was helpful.

Could you clarify what you're getting at on #5? I had kind've incorporated Barth's recasting of election into my understanding; but then of course tweaked through Torrance (i.e. per your essay, the distinction between carnal and spiritual union). In other words, I have been approaching this through the lens of Christ as the center, relative to double-predestination.

Duane, their universal forgiveness is a joke because of their belief of Penal Substitution. They really contradict themselves by saying the Good News is for ALL when they know it's not.



Hi Heather!

Welcome aboard! Thanks for checking us out and commenting.

I like that you relate salvation to the snake sitck in the wilderness. Jim Reitman does that too. It definitely simplifies salvation. Alvin believes also that believing in Jesus is so simple that any child can do so.
In fact, if we would come to Him, we must come as a little child. I agree. "Nothing in my hands I bring, simply to thy cross I cling"
I also like what you said about the end of Job. It's Job's friends, who assume they have those answers that I object to.

One of my thoughts on this goes back to college almost 30 years ago. I heard a quote recently. Nietche or somebody said something like "I learned that under God, my life was determined by God. I wanted to be free, so I chose to be an atheist." that's my best memory of what was said, not a quote. On the contrary what I discovered in college was that in naturalism, our entire makeup, everything we think feel and do is determined by biochemistry, social conditioning, and everything that happens to us. There is absolutely no freedom possible in a purely naturalistic universe. So when I returned to the Lord, I was convinced that the Creator, who is above nature, would give us a freedom to have a say in our own destiny, because God would want to one up His creation (nature).
He may take us move us, practically across the threshold into salvation, and those who reject it, like the ball player kicking sand up on the umpire's feet. I don't know, I just by faith believe that no-one goes to hell without a realistic opportunity to trust Jesus.

Alvin there's alot there to respond to, and I'm in my 12 on 12 off week, so have ta wait until probably Sunday eve.

Bobby does not to my knowledge ascribe to TULIP. He has many issues with the westminster confession. Beyond that, I'll lete Bobby speak for himself lest I put words in his mouth that are unpalatable to him.

Oh dear! It's 8:00 am! Good night.

God Bless


Oh And Alvin,

Did I neglect to mention that Bobby is my friend and brother?
As are you.

Yes I did.

'nuf said

Alvin said...

Duane, I figured he was because you mentioned him in your paper and your first post. From what I could tell the only problem he had with Dr. Myk was with #5 double-predestination. I don't know if you knew that or not when you used him as an example of one who is a Evangelical Calvinist?

I don't know how any Calvinist that believes in perseverance of the saints can know they have everlasting life for sure until they persevere until the end of their life because they could always fall away and prove they were never really the elect. Unless they know also at the moment they believed they also knew they would persevere, and the Apostle Paul didn't even know that.

To believe Jesus promise of everlasting life is to know you have everlasting life based solely on His word to the one who believes. If works are connected in anyway even as a result it makes it impossible to know at the moment of faith.
As John Calvin has said God gives some just enough light to think they have the gift of reconciliation but the Lord better to convict them and leave them without excuse (Calvin, op. cit., III:ii, 11-12)
Does Bobby KNOW he has everlasting life or is he just hopeing he does?
Jesus says you can know based upon His testimony alone (1 John 5:9-13).


Alvin said...

Duane you said:

I like that you relate salvation to the snake sitck in the wilderness. Jim Reitman does that too. It definitely simplifies salvation. Alvin believes also that believing in Jesus is so simple that any child can do so

Yes Jim is amazing! I hear he has found the key that unlockes the Bible now, and it agrees with his own experince. The only problem is a little child will need his theological teaching to understand the word "believe" we find in our English Bibles because Jim doesn't believe that is enough but is only Intelectual accent unless they understand the Greek word to mean trust as something more than believe.
Jim, probably also knows where the Ark of the Covenant is?




Bobby is an off shoot of that branch that is Calvinism. If you visited "pyromaniacs" the blog of disciples of John Macarthur, you would soon learn that Bobby has huge issue with modern Calvinist theology. He calls perseverence language, faith plus works framing.
He agrees that such framing takes the focus off of the work of Jesus Christ, the true subject (savior) in salvation, and puts it on the object (the saved).
I don't want to change the subject, but this subject-object distinction reminds me of something Glen Scrivener links to an essay written by a pastor-Matt Jenson was that sentence clear;)?):
Anyhow the subject (this time subject means topic) was the nature of faith. The subject (the actor) asks the object (our writer) how she can tell if her faith is of the saving kind. (Now we know that if asked the same question, Macarthyites may ask some questions in return, but ultimately if the person has nothing to show for their faith at the end of a lifetime, then it was probably spurious faith). But the writer's answer is that too many treat faith as a thing when in truth faith is nothing: "Do I have the right faith?" (sound familiar?) Is it real faith? (does it pass the acid test?)
Well lets ask Fred Lebrand (I forget if I got his name right) or Hodges, or Macarther. Either way we can take about 98% of Christ's church historically and relegate it to the lava flows.
This is what the writer Matt Jenson has to say:
"Phil Cary puts Luther’s view nicely in writing that ‘to believe Christ’s word is to be uninterested in the fact that I believe but captivated by what Christ has to say to me. Even apart from its character as word of address, the gospel is good news for me because it is Christ’s story, not mine….I appear in Christ’s story as object, not subject – not the doer but the one on the receiving end of the good things Christ has done.’

When I was first turned on to GES, I heard Wilkin on Philly radio. I was elated to hear the simple Gospel. Then I discovered a forum GES had at the time (I think it was GES) When they worded the Gospel as believing in your eternal life nothing doubting, I began to doubt, because I have never had a conscious moment without doubt my whole life, not without doubt anyway. So rather than reinforce my doubts, I doubted the GES gospel.
The point is, once again the Object (the saved) becomes the subject (the savior).
The point is, salvation is indeed in Jesus Christ alone. The finer we define faith, and define the object's requirements, the more we take salvation from the Savior, and the stronger the Calvinists' argument for regeneration first, in order to be able to believe, love, work, save ourselves.

Praise the Lord! JESUS Saves!
I can get everything else wrong.
My faith can be infinitessimal, (isn't that the point of the mustard seed-relative infinitessimality?) and co-exist with doubt (doubt co-existing with an endless laundry list of sins),
and still be saved, because faith is nothing at all. It is not quite literally faith that saves, it is Jesus WHO saves. He has saved those who believe (trust) in Him.

EVERY theology complicates the Gospel. Why? Control? Rites of passage? To make separating wheat and tares (which the Lord said not to do until harvest time) doable now? Redeem the time for the days are evil.

Your Brother


Hi Friends!

I decided to pay GES Journal a visit. I found this article:

Mr Makidon pays homage to a group of 18th century Scottish reformers who have rejected the 2nd generation reformers' (Luther's Phillip Malancthon, and Theodore Beza) compromise with Rome. Beza's axiom was "A faith that works is not alone".
I read this article before, and wanted to mention a part of it to Bobby, but then could not find the reference again. The author says that Calvin's Institutes originally contained only 6 chapters, which without reserve, confirmed "assurance as the essence of saving faith". But then under pressure from Rome's charges that the reformation was antinomian, Calvin included the idea that good works would necessarily follow salvation in his next, much longer edition of Institutes.

I think that Bobby would be in agreement with these "Marrow men" as these Scottish reformers were called, because they rejected the leaven of works.

My message to you my dear brother Alvin is that GES journal embraces these Marrow men as fellow laborers in Christ, even though they probably continued to be Calvinists in that they supported the Calvinist line on election, which I know, both you and I roundly reject.

In His Love,

Alvin said...

But the writer's answer is that too many treat faith as a thing when in truth faith is nothing: "Do I have the right faith?" (sound familiar?) Is it real faith? (does it pass the acid test?)

This is just ridicules to say that faith is nothing, because it is the very condition Jesus gives determining whether a person is eternally condemned or eternally saved on whether they believe Jesus words. Jesus gives content that MUST be believed, with the woman at the well she needed to know what the gift of God was and who Jesus was BEFORE He would give her the living water. To believe that He was the Christ was to have life in His name. And John in his First Epistle makes clear to believe in Jesus as the Christ is to be born of God. Jesus gave Martha facts and then asked her if she believed those facts. They were, the one who believes in Him if they die they will live that's resurrection (I'm the resurrection) and if you live and believe you will never die, that's eternal life (I'm the life). Then Jesus said DO YOU BELIEVE THIS? She didn't say well I think so, or hope so . . . .NO! She said Yes Lord, I believe that you are the Christ the Son of God who was to come into the world.
Duane, the biblical definition for "faith" in our Bible is being fully convinced that what Jesus promises is true. That is no different than what we are told about Abraham, HE WAS FULLY CONVINCED. This is why in 1 John 5:9-13 to BELIEVE the testimony of God is to KNOW you have everlasting life. If someone has never KNOWN that they have everlasting life it's because they have not BELIEVED what Jesus promises to the one who believes is true. This is not the testimony of man we are asked to believe BUT God Himself. We either believe Him or we do not, to not believe Him is to call Him a LIAR!!!! I believe that Jesus promise of eternal life to the one who believes is true! I'm convinced because I KNOW God cannot lie!!!! This is a gift that I have taken freely, there are no other strings attached or I could not know. I understand why Jesus can give this gift freely because He paid for the sins of the world, that means me!

This is why what Jim is teaching is so dangerous he blurs the lines between a gift that is offered freely and following Jesus which cost everything. He puts the emphasis on ongoing faith. He was told something that was false that a person could block themselves from the gift by asking what would be expected of them if they were to take the gift. This thinking would mean if you had more light concerning discipleships costs you would (have to wait until Jesus changed your heart) to say yes to more than the gift of eternal life. Jim insinuates that is the reason Nicodemus came by night and had to make a choice, and the choice was MORE than believing in Jesus for eternal life but a faith that was willing to work. Jim believed that he had blocked himself from the gift of eternal life because he was not willing to give up his name. So God had to work in Jim's heart to be willing to give up his name so Jim would take the gift....ha!ha! Clearly, Jim didn't believe Jesus promise to give the one who believes eternal life or he would have known he already had it~! Jim has made the word believe not enough . . . .just to believe Jesus promise BUT you MUST CHOOOSE to believe AND trust as if that was MORE then to believe Jesus is telling the TRUTH (Most assuredly I tell you he who believes in Me has everlasting life John 6:47).

Craig and Heather said...

I believe Alvin has a point.

I recently came across something that downplayed the role of faith in that we ought not put too much importance on it or else it becomes "works". At least, that was my understanding.

I think the author meant well. And I can see the point that if we are worrying about our quality or quantity of "faith" we are certainly not trusting in Christ's faithfulness.

But the presentation was confusing and frustrating. Especially in light of the fact that Adam sinned precisely because he chose to disbelieve God's word in favor of Satan's lies.

And Noah built a gigantic boat in preparation for a flood that God's word alone indicated would happen.

And Abraham was credited with righteousness because he believed God was telling the truth about an heir.


He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"
Simon Peter replied, "You are the Christ, the Son of the living God."
And Jesus answered him, "Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jona! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven.
And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the powers of death shall not prevail against it. Matthew 16:15-18

Peter believed Jesus is the Messiah and that belief is the rock on which Jesus said He would build his Church.

As far as I can see, it is simple, childlike faith in Jesus' life and word that saves.



Yes Heather and thanks for your comment and Alvin too:

Yes I agree Heather. Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.
In fact it may have been the same resource to which we refer, over at Glen's. As a matter of fact I was just over there again making the argument (I hope this doesn't muddy the waters) that if regeneration of the elect preceeds faith, then faith as the gateway to
salvation is almost irrelevant.
I'll try to illustrate:
The argument is that God regenerates the sinner, then irresistably draws him to believe.
Suppose you are on a train bound for St Louis. You have to cross the Rockies. Your train enters a tunnel, and a voice comes over the intercome: "attention passengers, you must complete the passage through this tunnel or you will not make your destiny in St Louis."
What? was I in danger of, disembarking? Why would it be necessary to announce what is already a forgone conclusion: My train is in the tunnel and will complete the traverse of the tunnel. To tell the elect, who will do exactly as the Lord has decreed them to do (as is supposed) is to state (in the Bible again and again and again) what is already determined by God. Now the commenter there just countered to me that faith is the gateway done in us by God, and not some hard thing, so that we don't think that we did it ourselves. I am going back over there to counter counter that
1. "you already think that faith is a work that I could boast about, or else God would not have to do it for me."
2. "you already argue that God must irresistably cause me to believe that He is ready and willing and able to save me without price, What prevents Him from irresistably causing me to believe that He has done some good works through me unto salvation, that He did it and I have no pride in the matter?"

To restate the point here: if regeneration (which is irrevocable) preceeds faith, and God has decreed that the regenerate will do whatever is necessary unto salvation, then that (whatever it is) is only a detail, because God will irresistably cause that person to do that.

I hope that helps.

On to Alvin's point in the next post.


Now on the other question (others have called it the cosf or "content of saving faith" question). The reason we got into this is I was having to defend some dear friends and brothers from Alvin, and I merely wanted to assert that his own position in my opinion is not unassailable.

My contention in principle agrees with Alvin. We agree that the gospel is so simple a little child any child, not only the elect, can come to Jesus, and thereby be secure forever in Him (thank Jesus for that). I'll even add that the GES gospel to which he refers AKA "free grace" may be the best standard of cosf out there. Most everyone else in delivering the Gospel says "you must commit, or give your life to Christ, You must surrender". These are all very good works, which are very important to do for one to grow in Christ. But these works are not the way to Christ. Jesus did indeed say to Martha:
"I am the resurrection and the Life. He who BELIEVES in me though he die, yet shall he live. And he who lives and believes in me shall never die.
Do you (Martha) believe this?"
This is the salvation message, as is John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave his only Begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Now Alvin's contention is that one must believe that
Jesus is the Christ and has saved me only because I believe that I will be secure in Him forever, and nothing ever can ever cause me to lose my salvation. I must believe exactly that. And I must believe that without any doubt, or else I am not saved.

My contention is that this child (me), while believing these truths stated very much, most of these past 32 years (I had a time of open rebellion) may have possibly never had a moment free of the sin of doubt. Why? I can't say, but
he says, if true, I don't qualify. That, to me makes the GES gospel too restrictive. Additionally, there are many in the church who believe that Jesus has saved them, but they must remain believing to the end. I disagree with them, but I believe that they have believed in Jesus just the same. Alvin contends that the one who does not believe in the security of the believer, is not a Christian at all because they call God a liar in saying that HE did not save them all the way. I contend that Alvin is wrong with the Calvinists, because both cause otherwise secure Christians to doubt their faith, and prevent others (if they can)from coming to the faith, by making it too hard for them.

One might say "I can't believe that right now. I CAN believe Jesus died and took away my sins, but if I forsake Him in the end, I will be lost." Alvin would say such a person is not ready to receive Jesus.
Another (myself) might say
"Yes! Thank God! I believe that Jesus took away all my sins, past present and future, and God will never ever cast me away...Praise the LORD...I'm saved!.... Ah but what if I'm wrong. I do make alot of bad decisions, have believed a lot of foolish stuff. There are alot of churchs who say you must persevere to the end. What if I'm wrong?"
Such a person to Alvin needs additional convincing before he is ready to receive, believe trust Jesus. Again, I say even the simplest organized Gospel, along with calvinists, straight jacket God, and make Him out to be what He is not.
My contenton is that God seeks those who will trust Him to save them, knowing that they can do nothing to save themselves. Surely if they believe they must endure to the end they are reserving some effort on their own. I don't believe God is looking for a perfect score on the salvation quiz. If we are getting to heaven based on the commandments, yes we need a perfect score. Not by Grace, because it is literally Jesus who saves, not my faith. Jesus seeks for and woos those who will believe in HIM to save them

Heather, does this help?

Craig and Heather said...

Heather, does this help?

Thanks, I think it helps clarify the differences in perspective.

Lots to consider, here. I don't know where I'd fall in the "eternal security" debate. I believe Jesus said He won't lose any that have been given to Him. And I believe He is 100% trustworthy. Beyond that, I'm in over my head.

Say, I was reading in Ezekiel 18 this evening and thought it might be an interesting addition to this topic. Verses 23-32 I think are especially relevant to the concept of God being loving and merciful to sinners who are willing to repent.



OK. My computer was threatening to automatically shut down so I have to post in a hurry. Allow me to retype that last paragraph;

I do not believe that God requires a perfect score on a salvation quiz. If we are trying to get to heaven by keeping commandment, that is not Grace. If we had to show a depth of knowledge about our salvation, that too would be a work, which would make it understandable why the calvinsts would think one could not succeed in this test unless they were 1st regenerated.

You see, in the final analyses it is not literally my faith that saves. Jesus saves, literally. He seeks and woos those who will believe in Him (trust HIM) to love them and save them.
That, my dears, is so simple, a little child can come to Jesus

Your Brother

Kc said...


I’m really sorry I have not had more time for discussion these days. I’ve really been blessed reading your blogs and comments. I may not be able to follow up here but I thought I’d let you know I’m in agreement with your understanding. I perceive the “5-point” Calvinist system as being “faith+works” and the the GES system as “faith+understanding”, neither of which represents child-like faith from my perspective.

Craig and Heather your comments have been a blessing too and Alvin you know I love and appreciate you even though we disagree on certain points. ;-)


Hi KC!

Welcome aboard!
Thanks so much for piping up.

Your 2 cents is worth about 5 or 10 bucks to me at this stage of the conversation.
Hey, and if you can't talk, thanks for looking (that goes for anybody.

By the way y'all I haven't found a place for brothers and sisters to just chat and pass the time of day, without the pressure to agree or disagree doctrinally. Also, I often find that I pull topical blogs off topic.
SO I set up a coffee house just next door. Everyone's welcome.
I'm on my 12 hour shifts next 4 days, so I won't be around much. That's ok! The doors always open. Fellowship may be slow motion (as people show up to respond to your hale (hail?).
If you're concerned about something, want some prayer, if you have something on your mind, or if you just want to say "hi there's 20 inches of snow in the yard." (Honest there is). Ya'all come. Bring your own coffee.

Your brother

Thanks Again KC

Your Brother


Hi KC!

Welcome aboard!
Thanks so much for piping up.

Your 2 cents is worth about 5 or 10 bucks to me at this stage of the conversation.
Hey, and if you can't talk, thanks for looking (that goes for anybody.

By the way y'all I haven't found a place for brothers and sisters to just chat and pass the time of day, without the pressure to agree or disagree doctrinally. Also, I often find that I pull topical blogs off topic.
SO I set up a coffee house just next door. Everyone's welcome.
I'm on my 12 hour shifts next 4 days, so I won't be around much. That's ok! The doors always open. Fellowship may be slow motion (as people show up to respond to your hale (hail?).
If you're concerned about something, want some prayer, if you have something on your mind, or if you just want to say "hi there's 20 inches of snow in the yard." (Honest there is). Ya'all come. Bring your own coffee.

Your brother

Thanks Again KC

Your Brother

Diane said...

Hi Duane and all my other friends,

Thank you for the discussion. Makes me think.

The moment we pass from death to life God sees our faith in Christ. He alone knows if we have trusted in Him for eternal salvation. If we have, then we KNOW at THAT MOMENT that we WILL be in heaven (eternally saved) with Him. AT THAT MOMENT all the theological questions haven't even entered our mind. The light that comes on for us is the truth that Jesus alone HAS saved us eternally and we WILL be forever with Him safe in His care.
At that moment there is no confidence in our works to save us..... only Jesus. We're saved even before we can utter a word to say thank you to Him... even before the theological questions come up.

If a person believes he can loose his salvation NOW, he may or may not be saved. Only God knows if he passed from death to life. Only God can see faith. But if he IS saved NOW, there was that time that he KNEW he was safe forever with God because of Jesus. It's IMPOSSIBLE to pass from death to life with any doubt that you are saved forever. At that moment you KNOW your eternity is settled~!!! You KNOW that you're going to be with God when you die because of Jesus alone.

I can never be sure of someone else's salvation who tells me that he believes you can loose your salvation. If a person is believing that, he is not believing the saving message that comes from Jesus. But it's POSSIBLE he once did. Only God knows. So I will never know if that person is saved. I don't think it's wise to give that kind of a person security that he's saved because he might not be. Because I love him, I want to tell him what I KNOW ***WILL**** save.

John 3:16..... For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but HAVE EVERLASTING life.

Just think....... you pass from death to life. Can you pass back into death again? No way.

So I say all of this not to argue with anyone or win a debate, but because I love the people for whom Christ died. I don't want to take a chance on giving them a false hope. Someone who believes he can loose his salvation MAY have been saved and now in error. But I'm not willing to take that chance. I will always tell them the truth when I have that opportunity. Jesus gives eternal life to the one who alone believes in Him for it. It's ETERNAL life, not probationary life. If anyone believes in Him alone for ETERNAL life (life that can never be lost), then I KNOW I've shared with that person God's saving message, and that's the only message I will ever share because I love people.

Thank you for allowing me to make a comment on your very good blog.

Enjoy the Lord who loves you with an everlasting love.

Your friend because of Jesus,


Hi Diane!

Thank you for your kind comment.

I'm not interested in arguing with anyone or winning a debate either. We share a love for the lost, and a need to help people who assume they are Christians understand that their salvation is in Jesus Christ alone. We also share the concern that Christians have assurance of their salvation, so that they do not live in fear of the eternal wrath of God, or toil their lives away for acceptance from God, instead of responding out of love and gratitude for the love they've been given.

Your Brother

Diane said...

Hi Duane,

I just wanted to clarify something that I said above.

I don't want to ever cause a "saved" person to doubt their salvation. I realize that a lot of Christians (born again people) struggle with assurance. What's important is that they know NOW that they are forever saved. They don't need to be concerned about the past as to WHEN they think they were saved or IF they REALLY believed. TODAY is what's important!!! Today they can have that assurance by simply believing the promise of God as recorded in His Word.... "that whoever believes in Him (Jesus) should NOT PERISH, but HAVE everlasting life."
John 3:16

Just simply believe the promise of God and you will not doubt your salvation. If in the future you struggle again with assurance, just go back AGAIN to the promise. That's the ONLY place to find assurance. A WONDERFUL PLACE OF REST~!!!

Duane, I love your heart for people.
Thanks for letting me comment again.

In Jesus love,