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2008.06.17

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Dave Miller

I apologize Peter. I read your response to Dr. Welty last night very late and the tone of it aggravated me.

I had made a personal commitment not to comment on your site, which I violated.

I apologize for insulting you.

Chris Johnson

Brother Peter,

This was certainly an interesting read. I must have missed the first few days and most of the fireworks.

This “foreseen faith” protest has been around for a long, long time and still seems to rustle feathers along the way. My question would be….if so-called “foreseen faith” really exists, what would be its purpose be when compared to “faith” that God explains runs throughout history.

Galatians 3:22-23 But the Scripture has shut up everyone under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. (23) But before faith came, we were kept in custody under the law, being shut up to the faith which was later to be revealed.

Paul’s inspired perspective on faith is consistent ……and God’s word, whether in Romans 9 or Ephesians or Galatians, is consistent on all accounts. God explains his motives to the Romans concerning human unforeseen events.

Romans 9:22-23 What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction? (23) And He did so to make known the riches of His glory upon vessels of mercy, which He prepared beforehand for glory,

So is Paul right to say that those in Christ are elect before the foundation of the world? Yes. That is his point..that is His glory. Is Paul right to say that those in Christ are predestined? Yes. That is his point…that is His glory. As John has told us….

Romans 4:16-17 For this reason it is by faith, in order that it may be in accordance with grace, so that the promise will be guaranteed to all the descendants, not only to those who are of the Law, but also to those who are of the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, (17) (as it is written, "A FATHER OF MANY NATIONS HAVE I MADE YOU") in the presence of Him whom he believed, even God, who gives life to the dead and calls into being that which does not exist.

Revelation 13:8 All who dwell on the earth will worship him, everyone whose name has not been written from the foundation of the world in the book of life of the Lamb who has been slain.

“Foreseen faith” seems to be a fictitious categorization for those begging the “call” of God. God has always promoted faith as “singularly existing” in one category made available to the true Israel. It seems possible that modern Arminians, or those leaning toward their defense have found new ways to recast the contention proposing slightly mitigating language for the singular gift of faith.

Blessings,
Chris

Chris Johnson

Obviously John did not give us Romans..... didn't realize I left in that passage at the end...but it was a good one.

:)

-Chris

Chris Johnson

Brother Peter,
You posed a good scenario when you said….

“My question is, Why? Grant, for argument's sake, that faith is given to the elect. To whom does faith belong when it is given? Is it still God's or is it now in the hands of the creature? Who exercises the faith? Does God believe for the creature or does the creature him/herself believe with their gift God gave them? If they believe and it is their faith since God gave it to them, how is it not also meritorious?”

It appears the Psalmist believes that faith or truth is kept forever by God and is dispensed at His pleasure.

Psalm 146:6-10 Who made heaven and earth, The sea and all that is in them; Who keeps faith forever; (7) Who executes justice for the oppressed; Who gives food to the hungry. The LORD sets the prisoners free. (8) The LORD opens the eyes of the blind; The LORD raises up those who are bowed down; The LORD loves the righteous; (9) The LORD protects the strangers; He supports the fatherless and the widow, But He thwarts the way of the wicked. (10) The LORD will reign forever, Your God, O Zion, to all generations. Praise the LORD!

Deuteronomy 29:29 "The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law.”

All things belong to the Lord, yet he revealed things that belong to us….giving sight so that we are able to observe. God through James also said it this way….

James 2:19-24 You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder. (20) But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless? (21) Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar? (22) You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; (23) and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS," and he was called the friend of God. (24) You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.

True faith can never be meritorious (not saying you believe that, I would think you believe the opposite of that), because it is a gracious gift where obedient works may even declare its existence. Another good question is, ….are those that believe actually adopted into the family of God? Do the elect, whom are predestined, actually believe? God through Paul teaches us His ways….

Romans 9:18-20 So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires. (19) You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?" (20) On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, "Why did you make me like this," will it?

So it does appear that God is faithful and that His children are believing and obedient unto faith.

Blessings,
Chris

peter

Chris,

Glad you logged on. And thanks for the responses. You make some interesting statements--some a bit confusing to me. Let's start with this conclusion:

“Foreseen faith” seems to be a fictitious categorization for those begging the “call” of God. God has always promoted faith as “singularly existing” in one category made available to the true Israel. It seems possible that modern Arminians, or those leaning toward their defense have found new ways to recast the contention proposing slightly mitigating language for the singular gift of faith."

First, what do you mean by "Foreseen faith” seems to be a fictitious categorization" in contrast to "faith as “singularly existing” in one category"? I do not understand what you mean.

Second, you conclude that "God has always promoted faith...in one category made available to the true Israel." Are you saying that God, through His creative powers, designed faith for the elect and the elect alone? If so, I'm wondering how, Chris, you escape the connection with Brine and his doctrine of eternal justification.

Peace. With that, I am...

Peter

Debbie Kaufman

Your comment leads me to a question Chris that is also my answer.

Who is God exactly and what are His attributes. Do you believe He hides or holds back those attributes and power which I believe to be unlimited and beyond our scope of understanding.

Secondly, God is God and so of course He would have foreseen sight. I don't believe God sits back and wonders, waits for us to come to Him. He is very proactive according to what I see in scripture.

Debbie Kaufman

Chris: I might add if I may that Ephesians 2:8-10 asI read it says that God gift to us is faith.

Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,
Eph 2:9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Do I understand how and who and why God chooses? No. But I do know this, God makes no mistakes, He is perfect, therefore, this mode is for His ultimate glory.

Debbie Kaufman

Paul Burleson gave a wonderful sermon on this very subject Sunday, and what he said is something I have believed for a long time.

Until one understands their condition before Christ, this will make no sense. That is the key I believe to understanding unconditional election, understanding who we were before Christ became Lord and Savior of our lives. Romans and Ephesians are terrific books that go into great detail on this.

Chris Johnson

Brother Peter,

That is a fair question. It appears to me that the concept of “Foreseen Faith” is a tool for misappropriating a historical biblical definition depicted as faith. To aspire to the thought that in some sense God is obligated to the faith of an individual as an alternative to His “call” is anti-biblical in its design.

Arminius subscribes to this type of thought when he said,….

“But this [supralapsarian] doctrine says, "since it is my will to give thee life, it is therefore my will to give thee faith:" which is a real and most manifest inversion of the Gospel.”

He goes on to instrumentally separate God’s will into clear categories of God’s “willingness” and in his orations supplies proof of his assertion.

“XVIII. This Predestination is in open hostility to the ministry of the Gospel.
1. For if God by an irresistible power quicken him who is dead in trespasses and sins, no man can be a minister and "a labourer together with God," (1 Cor. iii. 9,) nor can the word preached by man be the instrument of grace and of the Spirit, any more than a creature could have been an instrument of grace in the first creation, or a dispenser of that grace in the resurrection of the body from the dead.
2. Because by this Predestination the ministry of the gospel is made "the savour of death unto death" in the case of the majority of those who hear it, (2 Cor. ii. 14-16,) as well as an instrument of condemnation, according to the primary design and absolute intention of God, without any consideration of previous rebellion.
3. Because, according to this doctrine, baptism, when administered to many reprobate children, (who yet are the offspring of parents that believe and are God’s covenant people,) is evidently a seal [or ratification] of nothing, and thus becomes entirely useless, in accordance with the primary and absolute intention of God, without any fault [or culpability] on the part of the infants themselves, to whom it is administered in obedience to the Divine command.”

Arminius seems to place much faith in the faith of man…..which then becomes the so-called “Foreseen Faith” of his system of theology. Man’s faith has never been the faith that has been delivered to the saints. Arminius, throughout his orations, argues masterfully for the supremacy of Christ, but then seems to misappropriate his teaching (based upon emotion than anything else)of the origination and delivery of faith. Faith is the substance and the evidence, it is not some man induced recognition to cooperate with God.

Jude 1:3 "Beloved, while I was making every effort to write you about our common salvation, I felt the necessity to write to you appealing that you contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all handed down to the saints."

I am really not sure where John Brine is coming from….so we are probably in agreement on brother Brine.

Blessings,
Chris

peter

Chris,

Thanks. But I am unsure I still understand you, Chris. You define 'foreseen faith' as "a tool for misappropriating a historical biblical definition depicted as faith." I am sorry, brother. I simply haven't the faintest idea to what you are referring.

I cannot speak for all NonCalvinists, but I definitively can speak for some: When we're referring to 'foreseen faith,' it is nothing more than another way of saying the saving faith that God foresees, which, according to many NonCalvinists (particularly Arminians), is according to God's omniscience. Indeed that is the heart of the section in Welty's paper under review which, I'm sure, he would view 'foreseen faith' in precisely the same terms as I've just given--saving faith that God foresees. That's where the disagreement comes.

Hence, to muddy the waters by speaking of 'foreseen faith' as a "tool" that fits a "fictitious categorization" in contrast to 'faith as “singularly existing”' just doesn't make sense to me, Chris. Sorry.

Further you write: "To aspire to the thought that in some sense God is obligated to the faith of an individual as an alternative to His “call” is anti-biblical in its design."

I fear you lose me once again. Why would you place 'call' and 'faith' in such polarizing positions? Why an either or?

Nor is it clear why God could not obligate Himself to anything He so wishes, do you not agree? If so, why is it so strange that God would obligate Himself, if He so chooses, to respond to faith if a person believes?

In addition, Scripture could be compounded over and over again to suggest that God indeed does respond to faith: 'believe and live.'

But that's getting off topic, brother. Let's keep on the issues I've raised with Welty's paper.

I hope I've cleared it up pertaining to what we're talking about pertaining to 'foreseen faith' or 'the saving faith that God foresees.'

With that, I am...

Peter

Steve

Peter... choose #3... although i always read your blog, sometimes I don't comment because I don't have the available time to follow through with a discussion.
I have appreciated your blog and you have contributed valuable understandings.
Steve

Chris Johnson

Brother Peter,

Thank you for your patience with me. I probably have not made things all that clear. Your response sparked a few more thoughts when you said,….

“When we're referring to 'foreseen faith,' it is nothing more than another way of saying the saving faith that God foresees, which, according to many NonCalvinists (particularly Arminians), is according to God's omniscience.”

I guess if I was trying to explain “saving faith”, I would not use “foreseen” in the definition as to what drives the definition. If we have saving faith at all,….the presence of that faith reveals to us that God’s omniscience is not conditioned as a pursuit of our action, because his purpose is established from before time…. in that he already knows the beginning from the end. Any “saving faith” is outside of us and comes to us only in Christ. That is the anchoring thought of Ephesians 1:3-4.

Solomon portrays it this way…..

Ecclesiastes 3:11-15 He has made everything appropriate in its time. He has also set eternity in their heart, yet so that man will not find out the work which God has done from the beginning even to the end. (12) I know that there is nothing better for them than to rejoice and to do good in one's lifetime; (13) moreover, that every man who eats and drinks sees good in all his labor--it is the gift of God. (14) I know that everything God does will remain forever; there is nothing to add to it and there is nothing to take from it, for God has so worked that men should fear Him. (15) That which is has been already and that which will be has already been, for God seeks what has passed by.

God through Paul describes the same essence of faith that is provided as the model for assuring truth on vessels of mercy…..

Romans 9:15-16 For He says to Moses, "I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION." (16) So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.

You also asked….

“Why would you place 'call' and 'faith' in such polarizing positions? Why an either or?”

I do agree that “the call”, is not at all polarizing to “the faith” given. For without “the call”, the substance and evidence of “faith” is only informed by man’s will….yet it never depends on the man who wills or runs. So I would agree that.. “the call” is different than “saving faith” or “non-saving faith” for that matter, but it need not be necessarily polarizing.

Romans 1:16-17 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. (17) For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "BUT THE RIGHTEOUS man SHALL LIVE BY FAITH."

I think we both agree that a gospel that is the power of God for salvation contains a righteousness that is revealed from faith to faith. Every element of that gospel is outside of us, unless we have such a faith that the Law which is written on the heart can save.

Blessings,
Chris

peter

Chris,

Thanks. A final note and then I'll move on from here. To gut "foreseen" from "saving faith" makes zero sense as far as the Calvinist vs. NonCalvinist discussion goes in Welty's paper. If a priori, "foreseen" vanishes,there remains no point for discussion.

Steve,

Thanks, my brother. And, do not feel bad at all that you do not comment. Personally, I am finding myself much less willing to log on other sites and engage.

There is way too much useless dribble these days that focuses on insults, innuendo and pointless complaint, not to mention those whose first line of defense is to accuse the one who dares dissent of questioning their Christian motives.

I'm just going to relax a bit and write--perhaps with more substantial content, but without remaining mute to crucial issues that affect Southern Baptists particularly.

One such increasingly visible issue, at least from my end of the street, is the Calvinist Resurgence in the SBC. There are many, many Calvinists such as yourself, Steve, and other men of God like Scott Gordon, Chris Gilliam, Chris Johnson and others who, while possessing deeply embedded convictions about their Calvinistic leanings, do not also appear to embrace the Founders' vision to 'Reform' (theologically) the SBC.

Two prominent Georgia Churches within a month ago--Churches I am very familiar with, one of which I actually interviewed as Pastor a few years back--crashed. In both cases, the Pastor gutted the church and went down the street and set up shop there. In both cases, the divisive issue was Calvinism.

Jeff Noblit, one of the contributors to the Building Bridges Conference, and whose paper I'll get around to summarizing, says in his essay:

From my experience, the rise in Calvinism will produce better church splits. And by that I mean that it's healthy for humble, compassionate men to stand on truth even if it divides a congregation" ("The Rise of Calvinism in the Southern Baptist Convention: Reason for Rejoicing" in "Calvinism: A Southern Baptist Dialogue" p. 101).

Of course, when Noblit says to "to stand on truth" he is referring to Calvinist truth.

For myself, I will continue to post much in this area hoping to offer a voice for many NonCalvinists who feel overwhelmed by the claims of aggressive Calvinists who, like Noblit, think it's a healthy thing--a "Reason for Rejoicing"--when Southern Baptist Churches like the two I mentioned above split over Calvinism.

Grace. With that, I am...

Peter

Chris Johnson

I think you are probably right about that.....

Thanks,
Chris

Chris Johnson

Brother Peter,

I just finished reading the your most recent post entirely,....and you are very accurate and I can testify as well to several churches that have exploded because of men that depend on Calvin and not Christ to lead their church.

Obviously, that type of leading will spell disaster and creates an amazing amount of disunity.

Again, thanks for the post, and I may contact you later as I am working on some of the same issues that you have mentioned.

Blessings,
Chris

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