Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Entering the blogosphere

In 1978 I finally reached the age to play pee-wee football. As I walked onto the field in Tom Bean, Texas I was very nervous. My football knowledge was almost non-existent, and entering the unknown had always made me uncomfortable. Further, I was concerned about playing with boys who were much more experienced than I, and extremely concerned I would commit a huge embarrassing football faux pas. Interestingly, those feelings have returned, only more acutely, as I enter the blogosphere.

Why would a technologically-challenged individual such as myself ever enter this avenue of expression. I have avoided this arena for 2 months. And have had good reasons for such avoidance.

1) My wife and I are expecting our first child this December and of course I cherish every opportunity to give her the attention, love and tender care she deserves as my wife and as one with child.

2) As an educator, it is my sincere desire to be fully prepared for the courses I will be teaching this fall and to honor Christ in the ministry He has given me. Therefore, I typically spend much of my summers reading and prepping for the fall.

3) As a pastor, summer is a great-time to do door-to-door evangelism. Further, I have more time to spend with the flock, whom I love.

4) I have long desired to use the education, experiences, and studies God has given me to work toward getting the Intelligent-Design theory of origins taught alongside evolution in the public school system. I approach this as an educator, not as a scientist. And thus am a proponent of the foundational educational principle that the public education classroom is to be the "“free-marketplace of ideas."” In the words of John Milton, "Though all the winds of doctrine were let loose to play upon the earth, so Truth be in the field, we do injuriously by licensing and prohibiting to misdoubt her strength. Let her and Falsehood grapple; who ever knew Truth put to the worse in a free and open encounter?" However, it appears that the current application of this principle limits it to areas, which the NEA and Courts have sanitized from all religious thought save atheism. In other words, the public education classroom is now "“the free-marketplace of ideas, provided these ideas do not create metaphysical implications or provided these ideas fit into the indoctrination of the NEA."” In my opinion, the Courts’ adulteress affair with the NEA has removed our freedom to think openly about important questions like: 1) Why am I here?; 2) Is there something beyond man?; and 3) What is the goal of life?

In order to do my part in freeing the enslaved public classrooms from such unchallenged bondage I have determined to write a book this summer on this issue from the perspective of an educator.

Because of all these reasons and more I have successfully avoided the temptation to start this Blog. However, at this point in my life God has called me to serve Him in and through the SBC. And the happenings of the Greensboro Convention produced a burning within my spirit, which could not be quenched by anything except becoming a voice for truth in the SBC through this Blog and other avenues. I recognize, in many ways, I will be an anomaly here and at times, perhaps a lone voice, but truth shall prevail. I covet your prayers that I not neglect my time with God, my wife, the church I serve, my responsibilities at the Seminary, or personal soul-winning.

In my next post I will speak to the issues, which prompted this Blog, including the impact I think bloggers had on the Greensboro convention.

BR

29 comments:

Kevin Stilley said...

Welcome to the blogosphere.

brad reynolds said...

Kevin
Thank you for welcoming me. I read your profile and love your interest, especially "the war of Northern Aggression," as well as your music and books (specifically Luke Garrett and Killer Angels).

BR

J. Gray said...

Out of curiosity...how do you view yourself as a "lone voice of truth" or an "anomaly"?

Is that a sort of back-handed statement toward other bloggers?

brad reynolds said...

Gray
Perhaps I should have said a minority rather than anamoly and there may be times when I am a lone voice for truth on this blog.

BR

J. Gray said...

I think you'd be shocked with how much you and other bloggers will agree. Most of the ones I read, which granted are not a whole lot (I do have work to do), are very conservative and love the SBC.

No doubt there are some weird ones, but the caricatures presented at the SBC are verrrry misleading.
After all, maybe if you'd spend less time blogging you'd be baptizing more. ;)
Though I guess that argument could be made about a lot of things...less time golfing, less time traveling around the country on a bus, etc.

I mean all we do is blog, and nothing else. (Sigh)

Gotta run...I'm meeting with a group of 5 HS students who are all lost and need Jesus. Make sure you tell people that most of us actually do ministry, and simply blog (or read blogs) in between study time, sharing the gospel, and time with our families. The myths must end!

brad reynolds said...

Gray
I just finished praying for those 5 HSer's. Let me know how responsive they were. Thank you for your obediance.

I feel certain that many young pastors disagree with much of the blogging done on Wade Burleson's, Marty Duren's, and the like, Blogs.
BR

paulclay said...

You are the first person I met who like Napolean Dynamite and Southern Gospel music. Welcome to the blogosphere. I don't have a clue what's on Wade Burleson's plate, but I do know some of what is going on at the IMB and in the convention. I know it because I've been in the backrooms of both sides of the issue. I know it because I've been on the mission field, and then I've heard the IMB lie about what I know to be true because I've seen it. I hope you're willing to take an honest look at the issues, and that you won't just be a bullhorn for the SBC. The SBC is not the Kingdom. Long after the SBC is DOA, the Word of God will still be living and sharper than any two edged sword. Thank God for what He does through the things we do, but we would do better to support the truth of God's Word than our doctrines that don't line up with it. By the way, I'm not a young pastor either. So, don't think that all pastors who disagree with the current direction of the IMB and its policies are young, emergent types. I've been a Southern Baptist for 36 years. Given your life situation, I think that may be more years than you've been alive. I have already fought my own battles with liberal theologians, so don't throw me and others into that camp just because we disagree with the IMB. A liberal Baptist theologian nearly destroyed me teaching me to question the inerrancy of Scripture. I went through a decade of hell just after high school because of it. I do not want to discourage you, but I also will not agree with you just because. That is one of the great things about the blogosphere. Since we don't really know each other, if we are careful about speaking the truth with love in our hearts, we can speak much more truth than any of us dares speak in person.

brad reynolds said...

Paulclay
Thanks for your wise words and thanks for your service. And may God bless you for the fires of tribulation you went through with your professors. Rest assured that is no longer the case. I look forward to discussing more of the SBC with you.
BR

J. Gray said...

Brad,

Thanks for your prayers.

Only 4 showed up, but they were pretty responsive. I'm gonna need some more one on one time though to get much deeper into their lives. I'm meeting with 2 tomorrow at my house, maybe a few more will come. These kids are kids who grew up in church, but are still lost as the day is long. I take that back, 1 might be saved...maybe. But they need a lot of work. The Lord is faithful, and I'm just trying to share the gospel and help them as much as I can. It's tough in the south...some people you have to convince they aren't saved before they can be saved. You know?

I look forward to reading your blog in future days, my friend.

brad reynolds said...

Gray

I teach student ministries primarily at SEBTS and I admire your wisdom. This generation of youth are spiritual by in large but not necessarily Christian. They do seem to respond really well when someone simply spends time with them.

Sadly, the Bible-belt (South) has, by in large, become a works salvation forum. May the Lord go with you.

John said...

Dear Brad,

I'm not sure you saw my earlier comments elsewhere addressed to you:

Hi. I'm relatively new so let me get this straight: You sign an "Abstract of Principles" that you really don't believe (or you redefine them according to your own system so you can sign them)?

You: "I affirm 3 of the classic points of Calvinism provided I can define them. . . ." I can affirm the Qu'ran provided I can define it!

And you think that you understand the logical out-come of Biblical theology (i.e. "Calvinism") better than those like Edwards who wrote complex theological works on it?

And you claim that Biblical theology (i.e. "Calvinism") is a system, apparently imposed on scripture, while you impose Victorian era prohibitionism on the followers of a Lord who began His ministry by turning water into "wine" and used "wine" in one of His two ordinances.

May I assume that one of the "5 points" you don't affirm is "preservation of the saints" (i.e. eternal security). After all, you insisted on "free will." What sense would it make to say sinners only have free will right up until they are saved then they don't have free will any more, they can't freely choose to fall away?

Ok, maybe I'm being a little rough.

10:39 AM, June 29, 2006

About limited atonement: So did Christ die for the sins of Pharoah even though God hardened his heart? Did Christ die for the sins of Esau whom God hated? Did Christ die for the multitudes who died before His incarnation and who had no faith in God? Did Christ die for the sins of Judas who was the son of perdition, predestined to do what he did? You see, to prove limited atonement all one has to do is establish that there was one person for whom Christ did not make atonement. And how could (or why would) Christ make "atonement" for individuals God had hardened their heart, "hated", predestined to be the "son of perdition," or whom He knew (even assuming some Arminian presuppositions) that did not or would not believe?

Isn't it really the case that it is not the Bible that is determining the doctrine of many modern fundamentalist but what they see are the practical needs of their revivalism?

10:32 AM, June 30, 2006

brad reynolds said...

John

Sorry I didn't address your comments. Tom Ascoll arbitrarily decides which comments of mine to post and which ones not to. I sent him a legitimate comment twice and he refused to post it. I decided that such open-mindedness needs not my participation.

I’ve addressed your first concern on Ascoll’s Blog, describing the system of Calvinism. Total depravity in the system of Calvinism is linked to limited atonement. I cannot link it to such.

I’ve addressed alcohol semi-extensively on my comments on my post “what happened at the SBC.”

You said, “May I assume that one of the "5 points" you don't affirm is "preservation of the saints" (i.e. eternal security). After all, you insisted on "free will." What sense would it make to say sinners only have free will right up until they are saved then they don't have free will any more, they can't freely choose to fall away?”

I would rather call this point “Preservation by the Savior.”

Pharaoh also hardened his heart, read all of Exodus. Thus, he chose. And yes, Christ died for the sins of the whole world (I think that’s biblical:). What amazing love, that God died for his enemies.
BR

70 year old Brother in CHRIST said...

Dr. Reynolds,
How do you interpret?
John 17:9 I am praying for them. I am not praying for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are yours.
A Brother in CHRIST

John said...

Dear Brad,

Hi. Thanks for some interaction. But I don't see that you answered the question. Yes, I know, Pharoah hardened his heart. That's not the point under debate. The inerrant Word of God says that God hardened Pharoah's heart. Do you believe that?

It also says God "hated" Esau. And that before he had done anything good or bad. It says Judas is 'the son of perdition' (forgive me if I don't look up the reference right now). Are these scriptures true? Or are we supposed to impose an unBiblical philosophy over them and ignore them.

And the brother immediately above has quoted an interesting scripture: the Lord Jesus explicitly made a difference between His people, for whom He was praying, and other people in the world, for whom He was not praying.

We still have the question about how you sign an Abstract of Principles that you apparently don't believe. Redefining the terms to suit one's preferences is really no better than the liberals who did the same thing. Replacing he Biblical faith with a cultural "conservative" semi-Christiaity is really no better than replacing it with liberalism. The Lord Jesus was no less critical of the Pharissees than the Saducessees.

John said...

Brad,

Hi again! I don't understand how you can believe in "free will" for people "dead in trespasses and sins" (Eph. 2) but not for born again believers? In your system, aren't you arguing that people have free will to choose or reject the Lord right up until the time they choose Him and then they lose thier free will. Any scriptures to prove this lose of free will as part of being "saved"?

brad reynolds said...

70 year old brother
Welcome
Thank you very much for the spirit of your comment and an excellent question.

Without trying to be cute, and I fear I will come across that way to some. I have no choice but to interpret it as it is written.

If your question is how do I reconcile that verse in my soteriology, my answer is that I have yet to grasp how God's Sovereignty and Election work hand in hand with man's freedom of choice, and have yet to find a passage that adequately explains it. To deny man's freedom to choose implies the universal invitations in Scripture are deceptive.
BR

John said...

Dear Brad,

Hi. Could you find us some scripture to support "man's freedom of choice"? Please, just the scripture, not philosophical reasoning of what "must" be based on anthropocentric presuppositions. Where does the inerrant Word of God tell us that human beings are "free" to chose -- especially in light of the fact it tells us that "every inclination of [our] heart is only evil all the time" (Gen. 6:5), "the heart is desperately sick . . . wicked" (Jer. 17:9), that we are "slaves of sin" (Romans), "dead in our trespasses and sins" (Eph. 2).

You: "To deny man's freedom to choose implies the universal invitations in Scripture are deceptive." This is a philosophical system that you have imposed onto scripture. Scripture doesn't say this. I invite you to put aside your ego and your cultural Christianity.

brad reynolds said...

John

Your hook is working and you are drawing me into a conversation I have had numerous times and planned to have again in a few weeks on this Blog after I had addressed other issues – but I will be considerate of your time, as I’m sure you are busy, and thus try to answer your questions.

Concerning the Abstract, we have chased this rabbit. Perhaps you would be better served to ask Dr. Mohler, Dr. Patterson and Dr. Akin how they can hire people whom they know hold to three points of the Calvinist system without adopting the interrelatedness of the system. All 3 scholars believe one can affirm 3 points and still sign the Abstract. And I don't think these scholars are like liberals - redefining terms. That would be quite an accusation.

Concerning 1) Esau's choice to sell his birthright, 2) Pharaoh’s choice to harden his heart and 3) Judas' choice to reject the Lordship of Christ and how these choices are related to God's Sovereignty is supra-rational and you would be better served to ask Christ when we get to heaven, for I know of no scholar who can or has ever been able to adequately explain this.

Finally, just because Christ promises to keep those who come to Him does not mean they lose their freewill. God has elected me and I have chosen to love Him for all eternity. It has to do with Lordship salvation, one who refuses to trust his TOTAL life into the hands of Christ was never truly saved. "They went out from us for they were not of us."

Your turn,
How do explain the universal invitations, John 2:2, I Timothy 2:4, the unpardonable sin, and Jesus weeping for Jerusalem which he longed to gather like chicks but they "would not," if we have no choice?

Please handle these texts with the care good hermeneutics demands.
BR

John said...

Dear Brad,

Hi. With all due respect, you keep not dealing with the question asked.

I did NOT ask about: "Concerning 1) Esau's choice to sell his birthright, 2) Pharaoh’s choice to harden his heart and 3) Judas' choice to reject the Lordship of Christ."

I asked about why scripture tells us (1) God "hated" Esau before he did anything good or bad, (2) why God hardened Pharoah's heart and (3) why the Lord Jesus said Judas was a "son of perdition", predestined to do what he did. That's what I asked. Those are the questions. That Esau sold his birth-right, Pharoah hardened his heart, and Judas betrayed Christ is not contended. We're not arguing over those scriptures. We're seeing whether you really believe what the Bible says about what God did.

You see, you can believe in all of scripture, as Jonathan Edwards showed us in his (very difficult to read) "The Freedom of the Will", when one accepts what scripture says about human depravity and God's sovereignty. It is only when someone wants to accept the anthropocentric presuppositions that human beings must be "free" (a philogophical assumption not found in scripture), that certain scriptures have to be ignored (or twisted). Esau freely chose to give up his birthright because as someone "dead in trespasses and sins" that was the logical choice for him. (It was "free" in that God did not compell him to make that choice against "the better angels of his nature". Rather, he was expressing his nature. And God "hated" him by not extending His grace to Him and thereby enabling him to make a better choice. Likewise for the rest.

brad reynolds said...

John

Every theology professoe I took was either a 4 or 5 point Calvinists, so your accusation of cultural Christianity is empty.

Second, I wish it were as simple as just throwing my ego out. Sadly, the fight against pride is never-ending. The moment I claim humility I lose it. However, to imply pride is the culprit for my theology does a disservice to Scripture.

Scripture does not tell us "man is not free to choose." To hold to such, one commits the same flaw you accused me of: interpreting scripture with a philosophical grid. Scripture, no where, specifically says whether man does or does not have a choice. We must look to whether men made choices and if God gave them invitations to choose (both are answered in the affirmative). This is good hermeneutics.
BR

brad reynolds said...

John

Please answer my questions.

And I did answer your questions - How God's Sovereignty works with man's freedom to choose is beyond me. The Scripture's you reference and the Scripture's I reference are examples of God's Sovereignty and man's free choice - I admit I can't understand God's mind but I admire your assumed ability to do so.

Concerning Esau, you are placing your presuppositions above Scripture. Scripture does not tell us why he chose...you are assuming you know. Quite an assumption.
BR

John said...

Dear Brad,

Hi again!

You: "Finally, just because Christ promises to keep those who come to Him does not mean they lose their freewill. God has elected me and I have chosen to love Him for all eternity. It has to do with Lordship salvation, one who refuses to trust his TOTAL life into the hands of Christ was never truly saved. "They went out from us for they were not of us.""

No argument there on any point or level. I would add, that only after being regenerated (i.e. "born again") do we truly have "free will", because now we're no longer mere "slaves to sin"; we've been raised out of death "in our trespasses and sins", etc.

But there's, again!, the question you didn't answer. I'm glad you have no temptation to go back to the world. But what of the person who does? Why cannot they choose, freely, to give their "TOTAL life into the hands of Christ" and then later, freely chose to take their life back?

You see, I have no problems with what you wrote above because I believe that once we're regenerate we freely chose Christ. Those who are not regenerate freely chose to reject Christ -- because without God's grace that's the only choice they can make. I just don't understand how you can assert freedom of the will before salvation (for people who are "slaves of sin") and not for people who are saved.

John said...

Hi.

You: "Scripture does not tell us "man is not free to choose.""

"Every inclination of his heart is only evil all the time." Gen. 6:5(The "his" is for "man" in general.)

No such person is going to chose for God.

Then there's Jer. 17:9, Rom. 6 ("slaves of sin"), Rom. 8 (flesh cannot do good), Eph. 2 ("dead in trespasses and sins"), etc. That's the Biblical description of human nature. Explain to me how a person dead in sin, a "slave of sin", is "free". I'm not saying that people don't chose but as sinners they always chose sin unless God intervenes in their life.

You: "We must look to whether men made choices and if God gave them invitations to choose (both are answered in the affirmative). This is good hermeneutics." No, that's the imposition of a philosophical system onto scripture.

You still are avoiding the scriptures I named. Will you please deal with the holy, inerrant Word of God and stop calling on your philosophy to defend your system.

By the way, I've seen your basic cv and I simply don't believe that most of your professors were Calvinist.

John said...

Hi again!

You: "Concerning Esau, you are placing your presuppositions above Scripture. Scripture does not tell us why he chose...you are assuming you know."

No. I have never denied that Esau made a choice. Once again, that's not the scriptures we're discussing. We're discussing the scriptures that tell us that God "hated" Esau before he had done anything good or bad. (Romans 9:11-13).

And Paul's conclusion from this is: "It does not, therefore, depend on man's desire or effort, but on God's mercy."

The "it" is salvation (or election). You're position is that "it" does depend on man's desire. Scripture says it doesn't.

Please deal with these scriptures, not resort to your anthropocentric philosophical system.

John said...

Some assert that for God to be just, all must have the opportunity to choose salvation. (True, in a way, that there is nothing outside of the sinner compelling them not to believe.) They appeal to some scriptures such as John 3:16-17, 1John 2:2, and 1Timothy 4:10. On the surface, this looks convincing. The famous John 3:16-17 says God loved “the world”; 1 John 2:2 speaks of Jesus dying for the sins of “the whole world:’ and 1 Timothy 4:10 says that God is the “savior of all men.” But we must understand that “world” in scripture doesn’t always mean every individual. The same apostle who gave us those two “world” expressions – John – also wrote that the “whole world” lies in wickedness (1John 5:19.) Did he mean this to include everyone, even the Apostles? In another place, John 11:51f, he uses terminology very similar to his “whole world” expression in 1 John 2:2; there he comments that Jesus was to die “not for the nation only, but to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.” (A very similar idea is in Revelation 5:9, “with your blood you purchased men for God from every tribe and language and people and nation.”) In these verses we see that by “world” the inspired writers, especially John, can mean people from all over the world. This is especially evident when we remember the Jewish context of the New Testament. Many assumed that the Messiah came just for the literal Israel. But the apostle was saying that God loved and saved all kinds of people from all nations – not just national Israel.



On closer examination the scriptures that some believe teach a universal atonement really allow for a limited (or definite) atonement. John 3:16-17, for example, is often interpreted to mean that God sent His Son so that everyone “might be” saved (v. 17) – that Jesus only made salvation possible if only people “dead in their sins” (Eph. 2:1, 5) will somehow believe in Him. But the term “might be” is probably best understood as “will be”. In other words, this passage is saying that God sent His Son so that all kinds of people in the world “will be saved.” Certainly I am not denying that God has benevolence toward all people – or else we’d all get the punishment of hell we deserve. But does He provide for the salvation of all?



First Timothy 4:10 is especially relevant on this. “We have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.” On the one hand it does tell us that God is the only hope of salvation for all people. But note the “especially.” God is the savior “especially” of those who believe. In other words, Jesus’ sacrifice was for believers in a way that is different – and more intentional – than was His death for the unbelieving world. Then we add to this the insight about the origin of our faith. It is not originally from us but is a gracious gift, something made possible by God’s regenerating work in our hearts. So those who believe (in John 3:16 and 1 Timothy 4:10) are not those who managed – out of their own good judgement and noble hearts – to originate their own faith. No. We believe because God graciously decided to make us new. Now, why would He provide for the salvation of those who He knew beforehand He would not save? And what of those who died before Christ “gave His life a ransom for many” (not all)? If one is to hold that salvation was bought for all people without exception – a universal atonement – then we’d have to explain why the Father would send Him to die for people who had already rejected Him.

brad reynolds said...

John

God’s grace is amazing. That statement addresses your first two comments.

My theology profs – were John Pretlove, Danny Akin, and Kurt Richardson. One 4 and two 5 point Calvinists. Your implication I lied is not well received!

Actually, the it in Romans 9 contextually is Israel’s election, not salvific election…but I will grant, you could apply it there.

No where in scripture does “kosmos” mean ELECT. As I said please handle these texts with good hermeneutics.

And yes, in 1Timothy 4:10 Christ death is sufficient for all and efficient to those who believe (choice is implied).

BR

John said...

Hi Brad,

Please let me respond line by line:

You: "God’s grace is amazing. That statement addresses your first two comments."
Amen! Especially when it really is "grace" and not something dependent on man's "desire".

"My theology profs – were John Pretlove, Danny Akin, and Kurt Richardson. One 4 and two 5 point Calvinists."

I don't know the first and the last. The middle is not really a Calvinist, though winsomely orthodox (in all the ways I know of). A "four-point" Calvinist is just confused!

You: "Your implication I lied is not well received!"
I implied no such thing. I do however, believe that you don't know theology very well. I don't mean that as an insult. I'm just telling you what I believe based on my observation of your contradictory, anthropocentric philosophy.

You: "Actually, the it in Romans 9 contextually is Israel’s election, not salvific election…but I will grant, you could apply it there."

Actually, "it" is salvation (or more specifically election to salvation). To call it "Israel's election" is frankly absurd. Why would he deal with Esau or Pharoah (who obviously were not from Israel) as examples of people who didn't get "it" if "it" were Israel's election? Besides, in scripture the church (the assembly of the elect) is the true Israel.

It (salvation) doesn't depend on man's "desire". Because if it did, no sinner would desire to be saved. It depends on God's mercy.

You: "No where in scripture does “kosmos” mean ELECT. As I said please handle these texts with good hermeneutics."

I didn't say it did. Please go back and carefully read what I wrote.

"And yes, in 1Timothy 4:10 Christ death is sufficient for all and efficient to those who believe (choice is implied)."

Yes, Christ's dead is sufficient for all and, yes, we chose. Again, that's not the controversy. I (and most of those who hold to the Biblical gospel), do not deny that people chose. We could even say "freely chose." (That is, they are not compelled something outside of them to keep them from believing.) But as people whose "every inclination is only evil all the time" (Gen. 6:4), "sick" and "desperately wicked" (Jer. 17:9), "slaves to sin" (Rom. 6), in the "flesh" and cannot please God (Rom. 8), "dead in trespasses and sins", they will only chose the wrong; they will only chose to reject Christ unless God graciously makes them knew. The choice argument is a red-herring. The key issue is where does the choice come from. The anthropocentric philosophy wants to say that the choice ultimately comes from people "freedom". The Bible says it comes not from man's "desire" or effort but God's mercy.

John said...

Part of the problem is confusion over exactly what “atonement” is. It is “at-one-ment”, making God at one with the people who are atoned for. The pastoral staff of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA, headed by Dr. John Piper, defines the atonement as: “the work of God in Christ on the cross whereby He canceled the debt of our sin, appeased His holy wrath against us, and won for us all the benefits of salvation.” When Jesus died for us, He took our punishment and satisfied God’s just anger at us. That means that if you are one for whom Jesus “especially” died then there is no more punishment you deserve and God has no more anger towards you. It would be as if you were caught illegally parking and fined $100. I could go in to the police and pay your fine for you. If you later went to pay the fine, you’d be told that you have no more fine to pay. The clerk wouldn’t accept your $100 because a substitute paid it for you. This is why the atonement must be limited. If it is for everyone, then everyone will be saved. But they aren’t. If receiving the atonement depends on anything we do, then salvation is no longer by grace. And we know that can’t be the case either.



Scripture shows us that God acts to confine His blessings to His elect. God hardened Pharaoh’s heart so that He can bless Israel and glorify Himself (Ex. 4:21; 7:3; 14:4, 17); “It was the Lord’s doing to harden [the Caananite’s] hearts . . . in order that they should be devoted to destruction and should receive no mercy. . .” (Jos. 11:20); the prophet Isaiah asked God why He hardened the people’s heart so they wouldn’t revere Him (Is. 63:17); the Apostle Paul wrote that God “hardens whom He wants to harden” (Rom. 9:18). Further, Isaiah is commissioned by God to prophesy for the very purpose that Israel might “not understand”, that they might be dull, not repent and so earn God’s judgement (Is. 6:9-13). Jesus explained that He used parables not because it was an effective teaching tool (as many people today say) but precisely for the opposite reason: that the hard hearted people might not understand and repent (Mt. 13:13ff). Does it make sense that Jesus would have died for people whose heart He hardened or given Himself for those He purposely sought to cloak the truth from?

brad reynolds said...

John

You say you did not imply I lied. Perhaps I wrongly inferred your questioning my honesty when you said "I simply don't believe that most of your professors were Calvinist." After, I said they were.

This logic may help explain much of the existent confusion within our discussion.

You have been thoughly trained in Calvinist thought and are well versed therein. However, we have long exceeded my desire to pursue this rabbit. I will deal with it on a post in the future. This post was actually about my entering the blogosphere.

BR