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2007.03.29

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volfan007

peter,

this keith schooley guy makes a lot of doggone sense....doesnt he? that was very good. thanks peter for steering me in that direction. may we all have hearts that truly want to honor God.


david

peter

David,

You're very welcome, David. And I agree with you: Keith is a fine young theologian and biblical exegete. Not always agreeing with him, I have found him to be sane, sober and Christike during and after the disagreement.

Peace this evening. With that, I am...

Peter

selahV

Peter: I simply like Keith because he is genuine. And I value his opinion on multiple things. Wisdom is not subject to theological doctrines. Wisdom stands alone and cuts through rhetoric. That's Keith. At least that's who he is to me. selahV

Keith Schooley

Awwww, shucks. Tweren't nuthin'.

;^>

selahV

Keith; I'll bet your wife thinks you're cute, too, huh? selahV

Richard Coords

Keith makes a very profound point:

When I read the title, I expected to find some sweet, sappy, mello-dramatic "Rodney King" type article about how we all just need to "get along," but what I found was something much more profound. Don't misunderstand me. Certainly, if we are spirit-filled Christians, then we will LOVE our brother. (1st John 4:20) Certainly, Christ-honoring dialogue will turn others TO Christ, rather than turn others FROM Christ. However, what I found is something different.

Keith asks: "What I mean is, do you honor God by your *interest* in theology? Is your desire to read and write about it motivated by a *love* for God and a desire to honor Him?"

We fervently debate these points, Calvinism vs Arminianism, not because we want to argue, or because we always just want to be right, but because we were first motivated by a desire to want to KNOW God, and theology is precisely of knowing God, to know WHO He is, and to know WHAT He is all about.

So let me turn Keith's question around: Do you dishonor God by your lack of interest in theology? Is your lack of desire to read and write about it motivated by a lack of love for God and a lack of desire to honor Him?

I know of several Christians who couldn't give a hoot about theology, and one of those people used to be ME. Yes, I once used to think: Why do I need to read the Bible? After all, I know the story: God came to earth in the form of a man, died on the cross, rose again, I'm saved, the end. Why do I need to read the Bible?

That was my attitude. And then the Jehovah's Witnesses showed up at my door. Upon being presented with the Gospel according to the Watch Tower, as a spiritual infant, I was challenged to discover whether or not everything that I had ever assumed about God, from childhood, was true or not. It was through the Jehovah's Witnesses, and their zeal to want to discover God, that led me into a journey through the Bible, which started in John (not the john, but the Gospel of John). There I intently listened to what Jesus had to say about Himself, and about His Father, and it was from these words that I started to question what the Jehovah's Witnesses were telling me. I began to pour their theology books, seeking to know more about the Trinity, to know more about the Resurrection, to know more about whether we have a soul and a spirit, whether there is conscious life after death. Afterwords, I sought to learn more about God through the Old Testament. I bought the Bible on CD's and listened to them every day, on the way back and forth to work, until I had made it through the OT several times, so much so, that I remembered all of the quirky names. (Abishag comes to mind.) Keith's question makes me think back to the days when I couldn't give a hoot about theology, and what that must have translated to God.

Richard Coords

By the way, my dear brother in law, Darrell, a Hyper Calvinist only in the *physical* sense, would make fun of Adrian Rogers, and characterize him as merely an evangelist, and not a true theologian like Spurgeon, Edwards, MacArthur, Phil Johnson and Piper, because he is a non-Calvinist, and obviously all non-Calvinists are just theological donkeys in comparison. But I've discovered that Adrian Rogers is actually a theology professor whose theology had burst AFLAME into evangelism. Yes, before he was a theologian, he was a young evangelist, but it was his love for theology that made him a truly GREAT evangelist. When I listen to his tapes, I'm amazed at his theology-rich sermons. Today I came across a fine gem of his, where he answers the question of where sin comes from? I honestly feel that Adrian Rogers is one of church history's greatest theologians. I stand by that remark, not on emotion, but on raw data. He never ceases to amaze me, and I just cannot quote him enough. His insight on the meaning of "in Christ" has been instrumental, just instrumental.

Steve Grose

Richard, I agree with you about Adrian Rogers, probably the best preacher since Paul.
Steve

selahV

Richard: Thanks for your fabulous testimony regarding why you became interested in Theology. I, too, wasn't much interested in theology till of late. And it is very difficult to decide who's theology I truly want to devour. I try to ask questions of some folks theology but am a bit turned off at times by their dismissive tones and condescending remarks. However, I am not a quitter. So I keep seeking till I find someone who will talk with me, not above me or around me or beneath me. I find that person in Keith and in Timotheos. I find that person in Peter. And I've found that true of Bill Ascol of Founders. (Not Tom, but his brother, Bill)

I am most comfortable discussing about anything with Bart Barber, Brad Reynolds, Les Puryear, Geoff Baggett, Robin Foster, Tony Sisk, and am getting to know Jeremy Green. These are a few of my favorites. All are most amiable and are sure of what they believe but open to discuss and dialog in ways a lay-person can understand.

It's a blessing to be part of the blogworld. Your early thoughts of theology remind me of a country boy I knew back in 1979. You remember him, don't you Peter? He was a dear sweet guy. And I must say he did possess enough fire and enthusiasm to draw many a person to Christ in his revivals. He wasn't intimidated in the least with the knowledgeable or educated. But he had a real respect for scholars and theologians. He grew in wisdom and knowledge and you remember don't you, Peter? I've seen him now and then since '79. He's a great lover of words, books, theology, doctrine and apologetics today. I admire him greatly.
Well, so much for my verbose bloviation. Is that a word, Timotheos? selahV

Richard Coords

Steve,

Thanks for the comment. I should clarify that Darrell's comment on Adrian Rogers is purely his own, which comes from his feelings after listening to Adrian Rogers preach on the radio on Predestination and Election, in which Darrell had sharp disagreement. If Darrell were here, he would also mention that Rogers' series on Ruth was one of the best that he had ever heard.

I also want to say one other thing. This morning, as I do every Saturday morning, I attended a Bible study with Sovereign Grace Baptist Church, which is a Calvinist fellowship. It's senior Pastor is probably one of the most humble Christians that I have ever met. It is a truly wonderful men's Bible study group which is currently going through the book of Kings, and yes, God's sovereignty pops up in the discussions quite a bit. After that, this mixed group of Calvinist and Arminian Christians head off to the next Bible study together, which focuses on holding each other accountable. Today we happened to discuss the matter of Eternal Security. As a Classical Arminian, I profess Eternal Security, but not every Arminian in the group does, and this morning we had a lively discussion, but it was also with a lot of charity and respect. Sure, we have fun with the topic, and sometimes playfully tease one another in doctrine, but it's also from the standpoint of respect for one another as Christians. So can we get along? Absolutely, and I believe that the Bible was written in such a way so as to produce these kinds of discussions, and like Keith said, our love for theology is honoring to the Lord.

Richard Coords

SelahV,

One thing about the internet is that sometimes what is thought to be dismissive tones and condescending remarks are actually misunderstandings, because we cannot see the person's facial expression. That's the downside of the internet.

In your journey in theology, in my opinion, there is no more powerful tool than asking a pointed question. Jesus knew all things, yet asked more questions than anyone, in order to draw answers out of people. My favorite is this: What is it worth a man, if he gains the whole world, but loses his own soul? And then to the rich young ruler, He asks: Why do you call me "good," since no one is good but God alone? Question marks are like up-side-down fishhooks that draw answers out of people, like drawing fish from the water.

God bless,
Richard Coords

selahV

Richard: And many times I ask a question on sites where there is a debate going on (in which I'm trying my best to follow while the fiery breathing and LOUD keytapping are producing sound effects anyone with eyes can hear) and for my question I am accused of creating Straw Men and dismissed by a party within the conversational thread by them saying "I'm trying my best to ignore you", like I'm some kind of bug attached to their keyboard, in the way of their fingertips.

Most people are quite kind, but when discussing theology, some can be very dismissive. (With me.) I may not understand theology and doctrinal issues, but I can discern unseemly behavior and irritated tone between the written words. I really am an upfront kind of person. When I don't understand something, I keep asking questions till I do. When people have arrived at some pinnacle of knowledge which they feel others should someday attain, they might do well to offer a hand up, rather than letting go of the rope. Opps. I think I just typed in another straw man illustration. Sorry.

I really like your comments Richard. I understand your comments better than I do your posts on your blog. But I'm sure that is no fault of yours. I'm just beginning to learn all these different slants on what I've been following after for 31 years and it's mindboggling to me that I've actually remained faithful to Jesus without all the doctrines planted in my brain. It makes me shiver to think I may have not actually led anyone to Jesus, though many professed and have become teachers, deacons, ministers and leaders in their churches. Whew. I find myself babbling here. Forgive me guys. I needed to share. I wrote a blog on Straw Men. Click on my name and come over and tell me how far I'm off point with what it means. Thanks. selahV

Steve Grose

SelahV I felt that you have been mistreated by rude people a few times on some blogs. I think your comment on straw men is a fair comment. I apologise if I don't always respond to comments you may make. The time difference is a problem and sometimes it is just plain too busy.
Every Blessing,
I recognise you as a person greatly used by the Lord (whatever your theologcial position) :)
Steve

SelahV

Grosey: you do not have to comment on my every comment, bro. I know where I stand with you and feel if I want your input you would not only be very gracious with giving it, but also forthcoming. I know I can trust your honesty. That is a blessing. selahV

Peter: where are you bud?

peter

All,

Thanks for participating guys (generic term meant to include all gals as well:) It's refreshing to experience some diversity on the comment thread but end up in charitable relationships. This is definitively NOT the case on many well known blogs. I think our Lord is honored by such here and surely it is my desire to model what Keith recently posted.

My own approach in commenting on other blogs is that I see myself there as a guest. I feel free to state my own views regardless of whether some there think I've made a contribution to the thread or not.

Sometimes I've asked the host to clarify or challenged his/her proposition with no response. If they respond good. Perhaps a conversation can clarify. If they do not, so? I just move on.

What I do not do is allow the "gatekeepers" to the blog--that is, the blog host's circle of few who defend his/her every word--to shoooe me away like a fly.

The approach I feel is best and honors our Lord most is to simply not engage those whom you already know cannot produce an exchange that edifies both yourself and others.

This is really hard to accomplish when you take insults or rude comments from some gatekeepers. THERE IS NO HONOR IN EXCHANGING INSULTS. PERIOD.

There is undoubtedly no one on this thread that has taken more abuse and insults than David (volfan). I admire the tenacity and coolness by which he absorbs it and keeps right on going.

Thank you, my brother David, for inspiring me to focus on the issue at hand and not the hand in my face.

Grace to all. With that, I am...

Peter

Richard Coords

SelahV,

Can you think of an example in which you raised a particular question, and were accused of a straw man? If it happens again, please email me right away so that I can identify the basis for their objection.

The Calvinistic community, doctrinally speaking, is a very diverse community, and therefore what might not apply to the 4-Point Calvinist, might apply to the 5-Point Calvinist, or what might not apply to the Single Predestinationist, might apply to the Double Predestinationist. Some Calvinists affirm Free Will, while others deny it. Some Calvinists teach that belief in Calvinism is not necessary for salvation, while some Calvinists teach that belief in Calvinism is essential to salvation:

http://www.sgc-gettysburg.org/writings/argument2.asp

Calvinist, Phil Johnson, once commented that if you had a room of 100 Calvinists, you'd be hard-pressed to find 2 that agreed on every doctrine exactly the same way. Therefore, your question for a Calvinist will yield its best result when you first state a verse, and then ask the Calvinist to explain it, and then use their explanation as a basis for your probing question.

Thoughts?

SelahV

Richard: This is gonna be about as easy as understanding what Southern Baptists agree upon. I wonder, Richard. Are all faiths this split-minded regarding their beliefs? I mean do all Presbyterians agree? All Methodists agree? All Catholics? All Assembly of God? All Church of Christ? All Mormons?

I'm beginning to think that there is absolutely no hope of folks ever being like-minded and of one spirit. Are we never going to get Jesus back? Will there ever be a New Jerusalem?

Basically what you're saying is that Calvinist beliefs are as diverse as are individuals. That there is no Calvinist faith, really? Some folks think they know exactly how Calvinists believe. Yet, not all professing Calvinists agree with them either. So it might be a bit difficult to get a humongous denomination such as the SBC to agree on theology and doctrines if people keep changing the faith and message one by one.
Thoughts? selahV

SelahV

oh...and the straw man incident occurred over on Bart Barber's site. http://praisegodbarebones.blogspot.com selahV

Richard Coords

SelahV,

In terms of Calvinists vs Calvinists, here is an interesting battle:

http://www.sgc-gettysburg.org/writings/argument2.asp

4-Pointers vs 5-Pointers:
http://home.earthlink.net/~ronrhodes/Atonement.html

That said, SelahV, I still think that plenty of unity can be found between Calvinists and Arminians, especially since I happen to attend two Bible study groups where it is mixed between the two. I think that it is easier for an Arminian to co-exist with a Calvinist, than for a Calvinist to co-exist with an Arminian. The reason being is that many Calvinists, Charles Spurgeon included, steadfastly believed that "Calvinism" was just another name for the Gospel.

Richard Coords

To piggy-back on the prior point: If you don't believe in Calvinism, then you don't believe in the Gospel, and if you don't believe in the Gospel, then how can you even be a Christian?

I'd like to share this quote with you that was between one Calvinist and another: “A wonderful friend of our family once commented that coming to understand the Doctrines of Grace was akin to a type of salvation within salvation.” (oldtruth.com, emphasis mine)

So if you're not a Calvinist, then you're missing out on a "salvation within salvation." Therefore, while an Arminian can dismiss such Calvinists as misguided, the Calvinist, on the other hand, looks upon the Arminian in a far different light. Again, this is not a Straw Man Argument. I've supplied the links and the quotes:

Calvinist, Charles Spurgeon, states: “I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the gospel, and nothing else.” (A Defense of Calvinism, emphasis mine)

Steve Grose

G'day Richard,
Good comment there.
I think you have hit on some of the views of some calvinists, although I would contend that not all calvinists ( not me anyways) feel that non calvinists have a sub standard Christianity.
I came across a great book some years ago by Errol Hulse "The Believer's Experience" where Errol talks about his "conversion " from Elim Tabernacle pentecostalism to becoming a reformed baptist.
In the book he talks about several valid Christian experiences and contrasts them with the biblically invalid 2nd Blessing experience.
He speaks of the "Free Grace experience" of understanding election.
He then goes on to talk of other experiences that are even more valid biblically: Conversion, Law work,

The experience of Joy because of justification
The experience ofLove in Adoption.
The experience of full assurance.
The experience of patience in tribulation, desertion and chastisement.
The experience of the enjoyment of Christ.
in enjoying His unchanging love, the glory of His Person, the wonder of communion with Christ.
He is making the point to the charismatic there is so so much more to be experienced.
He is making the point to the reformed that there is so so so much more to be experienced than just understanding election.
I agree with his conclusions that the greatest joy we can experience is the joying in Knowing the Lord.
Jeremiah 9:23 Thus says the LORD:
“ Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom,
Let not the mighty man glory in his might,
Nor let the rich man glory in his riches;
Jer 9:24 But let him who glories glory in this,
That he understands and knows Me,
That I am the LORD, exercising lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth.
For in these I delight,” says the LORD.

John 17:3 This is eternal life: that they may know You, the only true God, and the One You have sent—Jesus Christ.
Hos 6:3 Let us know; let us press on to know the LORD; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth."

In short, knowing the Lord is so much more than just being a missionary to some limited experiences, whether free grace (reformed) or pentecostal. There is so much more that the Lord intends for you to experience. But the centre and vitality is the experience of pardon at the cross, and the cross must ever be the focus of our thoughts and affections.
Oh, Peter, good take on that Moran thingy on your next Post.. I'll say it ehre rather than on the next post so as not to draw unwarranted and unnecessary antagonism and ire from WB.
Steve

SelahV

Steve: uh, oh. Does commenting anything contrary to agreement with Wade draw unwarranted and unnecessary antagonism and ire from him? I'm toast. selahV

Richard Coords

Steve,

Thanks for the response. My brother in law, Darrell, who is a Calvinist, reflects the same perspective as you do.

I don't mean to stir up controversy in the midst of unity, but I really must inquire of your commentary from another Calvinist.

First, you wrote: "But the centre and vitality is the experience of pardon at the cross, and the cross must ever be the focus of our thoughts and affections."

But here is what one Calvinist explained to me: "Do Calvinists secretly believe that God chose them for some reason other than their need for salvation? Would I, as a Christian, believe that God chose me for some other reason than my need for salvation? Yes, I do. God chose me for His glory, for His pleasure, for His purposes. Sure I had a need for salvation. But that is not why He saved me primarily.”

He adds: "In the Bible, God does not say He chose us because of our desperate need. He chose us before our need ever arose."

How would you characterize their focus on the cross in contrast to your own? The way that I see it, I feel that they are using Calvinism to trivialize the cross, while in contrast, like Paul, the cross is your primary focus.

After you comment, I have a particular website that I would like for you to briefly reivew, and then offer your feedback. It's from the Sovereign Grace site.

Steve Grose

Very good question Richard...
You are right that the standard Calvinistic response is that the elect are chosen pruely for the glory of God..vis Ephesians 1:5,6 He predestined us to be adopted through Jesus Christ for Himself, according to His favor and will,
6 to the praise of His glorious grace that He favored us with in the Beloved.

I think paul clarifies this a little further on in Ephesians 3 (and sorry for the length of the quote but you know how Paul rarely used full stops.)

2 you have heard, haven’t you, about the administration of God’s grace that He gave to me for you? 3 The • mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have briefly written above. 4 By reading this you are able to understand my insight about the mystery of the • Messiah. 5 This was not made known to people in other generations as it is now revealed to His holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit: 6 the Gentiles are co-heirs, members of the same body, and partners of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel. 7 I was made a servant of this [gospel]by the gift of God’s grace that was given to me by the working of His power. 8 This grace was given to me—the least of all the saints!—to proclaim to the Gentiles the incalculable riches of the Messiah, 9 and to shed light for all about the administration of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things. 10 This is so that God’s multi-faceted wisdom may now be made known through the church to the rulers and authorities in the heavens. 11 This is according to the purpose of the ages, which He made in the Messiah, Jesus our Lord,

To put it in summary,
Paul saw his life by God's grace bringing glory to God, and the special foocus of this is in exalting the cross before men and angels as the wisdom and power of God. Hence for Paul, CHS and I hope me (I sure hope so!) 1 Corinthians 2:1-5 When I came to you, brothers, announcing the testimony of God to you, I did not come with brilliance of speech or wisdom. 2 For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. 3 And I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. 4 My speech and my proclamation were not with persuasive words of wisdom, but with a demonstration of the Spirit and power, 5 so that your faith might not be based on men’s wisdom but on God’s power.

I hope I know nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified in my ministry. It is so easy to get distracted with lesser things (even PDL things can be distracting from this).
Steve

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