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Calvinism Questions and Comments:
The following are e-mails I have been receiving in 2002 asking general questions about Calvinism. The e-mailers' questions are in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My responses are in red.
>Subject: The nature of man post "confession of faith"
Gary, grace and peace:
About your site, I say most impressive!! I am in the process of starting a ministry myself and it is good to see that there are others with a similar theological perspective.
Concerning the message title, have you considered writing a series of articles on the condition of man through the various phases of election to redemption. For example, at one time, I thought I agreed with Neil Anderson, but some things about his position are not thoroughly justified. He seems to be, however, one of the few popular writers giving serious attention to the structure of man and its implications on sin for the believer. I think this in and of itself is why he has quite a following.
Having pointed out the problems with the trichotomous view, I thought you may have some ideas on the subject. Thanks in advance and keep up the pursuit of God's glorification.
Thank you for you email. I haven't really thought about writing on this subject per se. But the basic conception is as follows:
Before the Fall: Able not to sin.
After the Fall: Not able not to sin.
After conversion: Able not to sin.
After glorification: Not able to sin.
I hope that helps.
>Subject: once saved always saved
A young lady headed for college spoke with me today and stated something that tore at my heart. She said that she feels she is being torn in two. Her mother is telling her to live a godly life, and her friends are telling her to do anything she wants, as long as she believes, she will remain saved, no matter what she does. If you have a daughter, would you want her to follow the friends' advice?
If not, why not? Since according to your theology, it doesn't matter what a person does. They cannot lose their salvation.
Whose choice caused Satan to get kicked out of heaven?
Whose choice caused Adam and Eve to get kicked out of the garden?
Whose choice caused the Spirit of God to depart from Saul?
Why does the Bible contain the word IF?
Why does the Bible say whosoever?
Does it not bother the proponents of the OSAS doctrine that it is one of the leading causes of so many people making shipwreck of their faith? (1Tim. 1.49)
If someone is truly saved, then due to their regenerated nature, their innermost desire will be to live a life pleasing to God. So "doing whatever you want" would mean avoiding sin and pursuing righteousness.
Moreover, if someone is truly saved and they sin, then the Holy Sprit will convict them of their sin, and the person will be led to repentance. If someone can sin with impunity, then they are not saved. This is what I believe John meant by the following:
Everyone having been begotten from God is not practicing sin, because His seed abides in him, and he is not able to be sinning, because he has been begotten from God (1John 3:9; ALT).
True believers cannot be "practicing sin" because the Holy Sprit will convict them and turn them from their sin. If a person can continue in sin, then again, they are not saved.
So the problem here is not with the doctrine of eternal security (which is how the doctrine should be referred to), but with the very obviously false conversions of your friend's friends.
Note: It was this email that promoted me to write the article "Do whatever you want to do." See that article for further details on this subject. And see my Scripture Workbook for the Biblical basis for the doctrine of Eternal Security and responses to Scripture verses used in objection to it.
>Subject: Doctrine of Election
I recently found your web site and enjoy it much. I would say that I am in line with Calvinism and am enjoying the deeper side of understanding it. I believe that we are chosen of God and that it is not of ourselves, that we do have a responsibility to receive God's gift.
In my studies, I do believe that God, by His love has chosen those for eternal life with Him, allowing others to perish in hell. What I am finding is that the majority of Christianity (mostly I think because God's Word is not being soundly taught in a wide variety of churches) is more influenced by emotions than they are by truth. Having said that, in my discussions with others on the topic of God choosing us, the argument that I come up against the most is this: If God chooses some for Heaven, then He also chooses those for Hell. "That's not fair" is the general ending to this thought.
I do talk about the sin of Adam and that Adam is the perfect example of man, and that mankind is doomed to hell due to the sin that Adam acted on (not on the basis of Adam, but on the basis that mankind would act the same). Therefore, we're doomed to hell, but due to God's love for some, they get eternal life with Him. This is probably the argument that I would like info on the most.
But it still does not do much to the emotions of understanding why God would not just choose everyone to His pleasure and overwhelm everyone's rejection with His love.
I look forward to your comments,
Saved to Serve,
Thank you for your email. I've heard this argument many times myself. I usually respond with "Why should God choose everyone for salvation?" They usually respond by saying, "Why wouldn't He?" But then, I try to emphasize that He is in no way obligated to save anyone. And if He saves one person, He is still in no way obligated to save anyone else. To say that He is or that it is "unfair" is to judge God and to try to make Him conform to our rules and our concepts of right and wrong.
The main point is to try to emphasize the authority of God and that He does not answer to us. Our conceptions of right and wrong should be based on God's Word, not on our feelings. If someone does not "get" that last point, you'll probably get nowhere. But it is the most important point, not just on this issue but on many others as well.
You could try changing to the subject to one of ethics. The "feeling" of many today is that a person can do whatever they want to as long as they don't hurt anyone. But that is not what God says. The only way to answer ethical issues is to put aside our feelings and check God's Word. If the person still doesn't get it, I'd point out to them that they are arguing feelings, not the Scriptures. And if that doesn't matter to them, then the issue is one of Biblical authority, which is another whole discussion.
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