Stunning

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Friendly Debate Announcement!

"Perseverance of the saints" in Calvinism is not Biblical....

between myself (Mark-A Calvinist) and (Brody-A Non Calvinist) a participant at Steve Gregg's forums.

To be advised as we are working out the necessary format and stuff.

Mark

UPDATE 27TH JULY.......

I am not sure where this is heading, so I have decided to put up our email correspondence for the people reading and pray about the friendly/debate discussion.
It will be public and there is nothing in the emails that needs to be kept private....

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Brody,

I am about to simply start a new thread announcing a friendly and casual debate (self moderated) conversation between us on the 5 points.
Please do not post there until we have gone through this email and have some agreement!

If agreeable you will take the affirmative view that scripture does not teach Calvinism and by so doing, you would attempt to
present the five points accurately and then refute them by affirming the biblical position.

I would then negate your views under the general header of "Non Calvinist" view, and attempt to substantiate the 5 points
as indeed not only the Calvinist view but the Biblical view.

So in effect you are taking an affirmative view regarding the Non Calvinist position, and I am negating that view.

This should make sure we both have an intelligible grasp of each others views, plus allow us to defend our own position.

They key to presenting the best view shall ultimately depend on how scripture is utilized in both affirming our own position
and in negating our opposing positions.

Here is the format if you agree, with no time restraints between posts, and no limit on words, but an agreement to not use links or overly large
amounts of pasted material. Perhaps links to sound clips if relevant giving the time info in the clip for others to verify. I raise this in case either
of us refers to anything Steve or James may have said upon the subject of Calvinism.

I will place this email at the start of the debate, and you may add anything you think helps BEFORE I put up the email, but I do ask that I make a mild disclaimer that starting with the "P" of the TULIP, was your idea and I would have preferred to start with the "T", if you do not mind.

"Perseverance of the saints" in Calvinism is not Biblical....

1/ Brody.........Opening Statement--Explain briefly the Calvinist teaching and then do your best to refute it by presenting the Non Calvinist View.
2/ Mark..........Rebut the Non Calvinist position given by Brody and present the Calvinist view.

3/ Brody........Cross examine Mark asking questions to be answered. Limit of 5 main questions based upon opening statements.
4/ Mark.........Provide answers to Brody's cross examination.
5/ Brody........Final relevant comments on cross examination.

6/ Mark.........Cross examine Brody asking questions to be answered. Limit of 5 main questions based upon opening statements.
7/ Brody........Provide answers to Mark's cross examination.
8/ Mark.........Final comments on cross examination.

9/ Brody........Closing statement with no new arguments allowed.
10/ Mark.......Closing statement with no new arguments allowed.

Hoping this may not only help each of us to understand the scriptures, but a help to others upon their own journey who may read our exchange.
I await your comments brother.

Mark

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Reply





Everything I read sounds o.k...but why must it be a "debate"? I would rather consider it a "discussion".

Brody

Reply


Even though it kinda looks like a debate, it would not be a debate in the most technical sense, as their is no moderator, nor time and word constrictions etc.
I am thinking that by having some kind of format, we can best provide useful responses to our positions.
It is more like a friendly debate discussion than anything else.

A general discussion is much better in a face to face type situation, but I find those kind of discussions done via typing, often tend to deteriorate and or
go down the infamous rabbit trails and so on.

You and I appear to have strong convictions about the subject matter, so it makes sense to have us probe each other in such a way so as
to at the very least have some kind of structure, aim and purpose that might also help others.

That is why I have a blog. It is a means to help others as well as a means for my understanding to grow.

Anyways Brody, let me know what you want to do brother.

Mark


8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Looking forward to it Mark.

Terry

brody_in_ga said...

Hi Mark,

I will try and be as brief as possible in our exchanges, as I do not wish to spew out long winded essays that steer away from the original thought of the text of scriptures I will be presenting.

The Calvinist I have heard, teach that those whom God has elected to salvation can never fall away, thus they are eternally secure. I believe that scripture teaches that men can indeed fall away/depart from the faith. 1Ti 4:1
NOW the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons,.. The notion of "departing" implies that one was once at a certain location, after all, it would be silly to say "Tartan Army has departed from Brody's house" if Tartan was never there to begin with. Paul had certain people in mind whom the Spirit knew would depart from the Christian faith.
Jesus also teaches that we should "abide in Him", and that those who do not abide will be "cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast [them] into the fire, and they are burned."(John 15)Again, we see the concept of abiding in something(or someone), and we are explicitly told that it is possible to not abide in Jesus, and we are told what happens to those who do not abide. I am sure my friend Mark will say that only false converts are the ones who fall away, but lets look at what the Apostle Paul said in Romans 11:

You will say then, "Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in." 20 Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith.(Who stands by faith? The ones Paul is talking too) Do not be haughty, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either.(A curious thing to say if Paul held the Perseverance of the saints doctrine) 22 Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, [fn5] goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.(This one verse destroys the POTS doctrine altogether, for we have already seen that Paul is speaking to those who were "grafted in", and no unsaved man is ever "grafted into Christ" 23 And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in,

I will bring more when Mark responds.

Thanks for reading

Tartanarmy said...

Let me answer you and flesh it out a bit, capturing that first line of yours, with reference to the original thought of the text.

First, the Apostle in context here is writing to the “professing” Church.

He is alluding to the “mystery of Godliness” from previous verses, and is attempting to communicate to this Church, whom he hopes to visit, that they must “persevere” or “contend for”-“THE FAITH” once delivered to the Saints as he teaches elsewhere when dealing with false teachers etc.

Jud 1:3 Having made all haste to write to you about the common salvation, beloved, I had need to write to you to exhort you to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints.

He is not at any point saying that genuine “persevering” Christians shall depart from the faith or anything remotely connected with that.

We need to be precise with our words.

Paul understood the difference between “possessing” and “professing” the faith.

When Paul addresses the Church, he knows that it is a mixed congregation, so he tends to address what we call the Visible Church.

To get the idea that Christians who have been born of the Spirit can depart from the faith is not an idea Paul ever taught.

“The Faith” is not a “location”, which you have suggested in your analogy below.

Departing from the faith is when professing believers, and in this context here in 1 Tim, is when the visible Church members add or bring in serious errors to the faith, thereby departing from the true faith. (The one handed down mentioned earlier)

In this immediate case, Jews adding the law, and also the effects of gnosticism Paul speaks against in the Epistle.

Think also of John when he said that “others” departed from us, because they “were not of us” for if they were of us, they would have “continued with us”, IE Perseverance of the saints.

1Jn 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they were of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out so that it might be revealed that they were not all of us.

Now bear in mind that Paul would be utterly hypocritical to teach that “true persevering believers” could fall away, mainly because he has boldly stated elsewhere that “NOTHING” shall separate true believers from the Love of God.

-------------------------------
Romans 8:29- 35

For whom He foreknew, He also predestinated to be conformed to the image of His Son, for Him to be the First-born among many brothers.
But whom He predestinated, these He also called; and whom He called, those He also justified. And whom He justified, these He also glorified.
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Truly He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?
Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God who justifies.
Who is he condemning? It is Christ who has died, but rather also who is raised, who is also at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?
---------------------------------
Brody said,

The notion of "departing" implies that one was once at a certain location, after all, it would be silly to say "Tartan Army has departed from Brody's house" if Tartan was never there to begin with.
---------------------------------

As mentioned, this is a faulty analogy, because we cannot speak of “faith” as being in a location which your analogy connects to “departing,
but
if we say that Tartanarmy once professed as Brody believes but now has “departed” from that belief, then it makes sense to draw the accurate analogy, that

1/ Brody has the real truth
2/ Tartanarmy departed from this professed truth and hence never really was with Brody to begin with.

It is the difference between “profession” and “possession”.
---------------------------------
Brody said,
Paul had certain people in mind whom the Spirit knew would depart from the Christian faith.
----------------------------------

Again, departing from the Christian faith “assumes to you” that it was “genuine real faith” to begin with.

In Scripture, which I am using, such is not consistent with the term Christian nor faith etc.

Depending on your responses, we may get back into all of this in more detail.
So I will close this section with a question for you to answer.

Is it possible that departing from the faith can mean present tense, “professing” Christians are in view?

If so, I have covered this concern from the text in 1 Tim 4.
---------------------------------
Brody said,

Jesus also teaches that we should "abide in Him", and that those who do not abide will be "cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast [them] into the fire, and they are burned."(John 15)
Again, we see the concept of abiding in something(or someone), and we are explicitly told that it is possible to not abide in Jesus, and we are told what happens to those who do not abide. I am sure my friend Mark will say that only false converts are the ones who fall away, but lets look at what the Apostle Paul said in Romans 11:

You will say then, "Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in." 20 Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith.(Who stands by faith? The ones Paul is talking too) Do not be haughty, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either.(A curious thing to say if Paul held the Perseverance of the saints doctrine) 22 Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, [fn5] goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.(This one verse destroys the POTS doctrine altogether, for we have already seen that Paul is speaking to those who were "grafted in", and no unsaved man is ever "grafted into Christ" 23 And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in,
----------------------------------

Many Christians including Calvinists stumble at these scriptures you have raised, so yes, let us look at them.

My quick reply is that the New Covenant includes both believers and unbelievers. In the New Covenant, there are real privileges to be had even for unbelievers, but there are also warnings to unbelievers within the New Covenant, that unless they “abide” or “persevere” they most certainly shall be cut off.

These passages have no concerns for reformed Covenantal believers like me.

They are however, a concern for Calvinists who hold to a “Regenerate” only view of the New Covenant.

Now the longer answer.

Your view assumes that “grafting in” precisely means to be born of the Spirit, justified and made a new creation etc, yes?

But why?

Being “Grafted in” is Covenant language, and Paul was certainly a Covenant man in his understanding of scripture.

Paul teaches that the Jews had all the promises, privileges, covenants etc, and that the Gentiles were Aliens, cut off from the Covenant and strangers without God in this world.

Here in Romans 11, with everything that has gone before, is the language of just how the Gentiles are now “grafted” into the true vine, namely Christ.

This new Covenant being the fulfillment of the Old, is so much better, and now the Gentiles (the whole world) are entering into the Covenant.
The warnings he gives are severe, for he knows that false professors and false teachers etc, who add or take away from all that is in Christ, in the NC, have actually trampled under foot everything that the New Covenant stands for, and as such, they have cut themselves off through their unbelief and denial of what the New Covenant in Christ's blood is all about.

They are false converts and Covenant breakers.

Because of unbelief they are broken off as Paul teaches, and of course true believers shall persevere and hence shall not be broken off. (Why and how they shall persevere is the big question, we shall get to later of course!)

In Paul's world and language, not abiding and being broken off is synonymous with being in the Covenant not necessarily truly “of the Covenant”. Maybe we can get more into this idea later.

Most modern day Christians do not think like Paul and the biblical categories of thought he embraced sadly.

We really need to carefully read Paul. He speaks of the root being holy, and the branches being joined to the tree etc, but he carefully tells us that it is the root that truly bears us, and not we ourselves.

Just in that thought alone, we have the essence of perseverance of the saints doctrine that could be fleshed out.

For Paul, the big idea is the Nations being grafted into the root but also the warning that the root being holy may yet not bear these false branches. Rom 11:18

Paul is not thinking about true believers being ever cut off, never does he say or teach that!

If you follow the flow of his argument, you will see how he teaches that through the kindness of God (Rom 11:22), true believers shall not be cut off, and also the Jews can also by faith be grafted back in again (Rom 11:23), that is, become partakers in the fulfillment of the Old Covenant which is the New Covenant faith in Christ and His blood for the remission of sins Rom 11:27,.

He also tells them that what God is doing in His kindness and mercy is irrevocable, meaning sure and certain and without changing His mind, (another subtle defense of Perseverance doctrine)

See Rom 11:29 For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.

The apostle's argument here is this, that since there are a number of people among the Jews whom God has loved, and has chosen to everlasting salvation, and has in covenant promised to them, and secured and laid up gifts for them, and has determined to call them by his grace; and since all these are unchangeable and irreversible, the future call and conversion of these persons must be sure and certain.

If we do not see Paul as dealing with the big premise of “Covenant Theology”, we shall misread the Apostle of God's grace and turn him into one very inconsistent teacher indeed.

Now you may interact with what I have thus far attempted to say.

I have not yet started upon the scriptures that positively and unequivocally teach Perseverance of the saints, but already the reader may see indirect proof of the doctrine even from the scriptures you have thus far supplied in opposition to the doctrine.

I await your reply which I hope interacts with what I have said. If you feel I have only made assertions then please point them out, that is all I ask.

I believe your opening comments make assertions about the text, but sadly do not come anywhere near the context nor theology of the Apostle Paul, or anywhere near what the original audience would have heard and understood.

An after thought.
Those who are rejected by Christ at the judgment(Mat 7:23) as those He never knew, would they be considered as Christians or as those who considered themselves part of the New Covenant? Just wondering what you think. They certainly participated in the privileges of the New Testament community or the Visible Church here on the earth.

Mark

Tartanarmy said...

Whilst awaiting for a reply from Brody, I shall work on presenting some positive statements regarding the doctrine with scriptural support.

On a side, I am hoping that Brody may explain from "His" passages in Romans 11, how God's gifts and grace are revocable in light of his negation of POTS, when the text says they are not revocable ?

It will again come down to the huge invisible elephant in the room known as "Libertarian free will" perhaps, which trumps exegetical considerations of the plain text, but we shall see.

Later
Mark

Tartanarmy said...

Well, I do not know if this discussion will proceed anywhere,(please see here from Steve Gregg's forum) and if it does, I shall respond. BUT, just in case it doesn't, I will simply prove the POTS doctrine with one of many such scriptures, but this one is enough if we take God's Word seriously.

Joh 10:28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.

Brody said...

Hey Mark,

Sorry for the delay, my wife, child, and me have been sick with the something akin to the flu for about 3 weeks. So my time on the internet has been brief.

So we can continue the discussion our discussion.

You said "My quick reply is that the New Covenant includes both believers and unbelievers. In the New Covenant, there are real privileges to be had even for unbelievers, but there are also warnings to unbelievers within the New Covenant, that unless they “abide” or “persevere” they most certainly shall be cut off."

Unbelievers are part of the New Covenant? Really? That is strange, because according to Jer 31:33 all those in the NC have the laws of God written in their hearts, and all of them from the least to the greatest "know" the Lord
"But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
Jer 31:34
"No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."

The above scripture could never apply to unbelievers. The POTS doctrine requires such because it is built on a faulty premise. Namely that men and women could never depart from the faith if they were true believers.

Now regarding Romans 11 you go on to say many things, but the sum of your argument is "Because of unbelief they are broken off as Paul teaches, and of course true believers shall persevere and hence shall not be broken off. (Why and how they shall persevere is the big question, we shall get to later of course!)"

But why do you assume such? Paul is very clear in his warning to those who were grafted in, that they too would be cut off in they did not stand by faith.

Rom 11:20
Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear.
Rom 11:21
For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either.
Rom 11:22
Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness,[fn5] if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.

So your argument that Paul is dealing in some mystical covenant language that only applies to unbelievers and false teachers is not correct according to the text.

You see, I can just read the passage and take it for what it says, I do not have to read my theology in to it. Sorry to call you out on that Bro, but lets look at something else you said.
"Your view assumes that “grafting in” precisely means to be born of the Spirit, justified and made a new creation etc, yes?

But why?"


Where does the bible ever teach that those who are grafted in are unbelievers? Lets look at the text "Rom 11:19
You will say then, "Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in."
Rom 11:20
Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear."

Do you see in the above text how "grafted in" and "stand by faith" are used interchangeably? Is an unbeliever ever said to stand by faith? No. Even if Paul wanted to address those who were false teachers, he would not refer to them as "standing by faith".

You said "If you follow the flow of his argument, you will see how he teaches that through the kindness of God (Rom 11:22), true believers shall not be cut off, and also the Jews can also by faith be grafted back in again (Rom 11:23), that is, become partakers in the fulfillment of the Old Covenant which is the New Covenant faith in Christ and His blood for the remission of sins Rom 11:27,."

The above is self refuting coming from your position! For why did God break them off to begin with? UNBELIEF! And how would God graft them back into the tree "Rom 11:23
And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again."

The whole chapter is talking about the natural Jews in Paul's day who were not Christians, and how God deals with such matters. Now notice what Paul said just before regarding both those who were cut off, and those who were grafted in "Rom 11:22
Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness,[fn5] if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off."

Who is the "otherwise you will be cut off"? It can't be the ones who were false teachers, for false teachers are never grafted into Christ, nor would Paul use an analogy of false teachers having God's "goodness" on them, and God's severity on the Jew.

"An after thought.
Those who are rejected by Christ at the judgment(Mat 7:23) as those He never knew, would they be considered as Christians or as those who considered themselves part of the New Covenant? Just wondering what you think. They certainly participated in the privileges of the New Testament community or the Visible Church here on the earth."

Maybe me and you have a different idea of what the "church" is, there is only one body, and that body belongs to Christ(Eph 4) As far as false professors, the Apostle Paul said " 2Ti 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. The church is a spiritual entity made up of those who are saved, and part of the kingdom of God. No unbelievers are part of that. There may be false teachers and false Christians in the assembly, but they do not partake of the kingdom of God that is talked about in Rom 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost."

I will respond to more as I get the chance.

God bless.

Tartanarmy said...

Thanks for the reply Brody, I do hope you are all well and recovering from this flu. Is it me or are these kinds of things on the increase and more severe than the past brother?

My son came home from work tonight with an awful flu, and I just hope my wife does not get it as she is scheduled for major surgery not three days from now and has been waiting for like forever and the flu would mean cancellation.

Anyway, you have said a lot and I think I will need to precisely interact with what you are saying.

The Doctrine of POTS is built upon the foundation of scripture, but our understanding of Covenant and Church etc impacts how we understand this doctrine for sure.

If we do not have the right understanding of Church and Covenant then we will misread Paul especially and make him contradict himself. Remember, it is Paul who has certainly taught that true believers shall not perish elsewhere and yet when he addresses the Church elsewhere, he warns professing believers about perseverance etc.

He never ever teaches that true, genuine, bona fide believers can ever fall away and be lost. Nowhere
does he or anyone else teach that, but the opposite actually. So let us continue.
---------------------------------
Brody said,

Sorry for the delay, my wife, child, and me have been sick with the something akin to the flu for about 3 weeks. So my time on the internet has been brief.

So we can continue the discussion our discussion.

You said "My quick reply is that the New Covenant includes both believers and unbelievers. In the New Covenant, there are real privileges to be had even for unbelievers, but there are also warnings to unbelievers within the New Covenant, that unless they “abide” or “persevere” they most certainly shall be cut off."

Unbelievers are part of the New Covenant? Really? That is strange, because according to Jer 31:33 all those in the NC have the laws of God written in their hearts, and all of them from the least to the greatest "know" the Lord
"But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the LORD: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
Jer 31:34
"No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the LORD,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the LORD. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more."

The above scripture could never apply to unbelievers.
---------------------------------

The first thing to say is that this portion of scripture is found in a prophetic context, meaning that there is an end time fulfillment in context to the ultimate glorification of God's people when they finally reach the eschaton.

It also speaks to the view that God the Holy Spirit shall Himself teach persons as opposed to the Priests etc under the old dispensation. See also Zec_12:8, 1Th_4:9, 2Co_3:6

In the here and now or this Gospel dispensation, no one can say that we do not tell each other to “know the Lord”, but within the Church Visible we certainly do teach all, and that is why we have teachers and Elders etc, so to read it as if we have no need to be taught etc is read into the scriptures!

The full reality is when we are in glory (New Jerusalem), not now, for we still need to preach the gospel to unbelievers and to the professing Church.

If you do not have a robust doctrine concerning the “Visible” and “Invisible” Church, much of scripture shall not make sense. There is at any time a “Professing Church” and known only to the Lord is the “Possessing Church”.

Without these distinctions most if not all of the Epistles would not make much sense either.

It is no secret that Jer 31 is the great prophetic statement pertaining to the time and beyond when the Lord shall call out His people, remove their hearts of stone and regenerate His elect people (Church Invisible).

It is also no secret Brody, that your own Non Calvinism rejects Jeremiah when it comes to how the new birth comes about through the monergistic work of the Triune God (see Eze 11:19-20 And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God).... but that's another issue for another debate I suppose,

but it is worth mentioning here, as the POTS doctrine links with all of the five points concerning soteriology.

And, what does Jer say in Jer 32:40 I will make with them an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from doing good to them. And I will put the fear of me in their hearts, that they may not turn from me.

Not turn from me? This is what we teach as Calvinists regarding the POTS doctrine.

As you quote the passages in Jer 31, do you not read that the Lord “will” forgive and remember their sins “no more?” Jer 31:34.

If you teach that men who have been truly forgiven and can yet fall away, you then neuter the work that God is doing in the lives of His elect people. You undercut the very heart of what God is doing and make man the decider of salvation, sanctification and redemption. Scripture is against you Brody, even the very scriptures you have been bringing to this discussion my friend!

Please read the whole of Jer 31 for understanding what God is saying there. Please note the eschatological mood that builds all the way through, and triumphs in a crescendo toward the last verses, including the ones you quoted.

It does no good to grab a few verses and make them fit your view that believers can lose their salvation. You will not find that here or anywhere in scripture.
...................................
Brody said,

The POTS doctrine requires such because it is built on a faulty premise. Namely that men and women could never depart from the faith if they were true believers.

------------------------------------

The Christian shall persevere. Do you want proof? Read John 5:24, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life."

Is that not plain?
What is here true for him that heareth Christ's word and believeth? The Scripture does not state that this one might finally obtain eternal life, or that he shall conditionally receive it; but he has it already.

It is his now. And that one shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death into life. The promise is sure.
----------------------------------
Brody said,

Now regarding Romans 11 you go on to say many things, but the sum of your argument is "Because of unbelief they are broken off as Paul teaches, and of course true believers shall persevere and hence shall not be broken off. (Why and how they shall persevere is the big question, we shall get to later of course!)"

But why do you assume such? Paul is very clear in his warning to those who were grafted in, that they too would be cut off in they did not stand by faith.

Rom 11:20
Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear.
Rom 11:21
For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either.
Rom 11:22
Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness,[fn5] if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off.

So your argument that Paul is dealing in some mystical covenant language that only applies to unbelievers and false teachers is not correct according to the text.
--------------------------------


Mystical Covenant? I have no idea what you are referring to Brody.
In this text there is mentioned a cutting off from and a grafting into that olive tree.

But one who reads the passage carefully, understands that the apostle is comparing what happened to the church of the old dispensation with that which takes place in the new.
Throughout the old dispensation God had gathered His people from among the Jews. After Pentecost, He yet had many of His people from among the Jews, but many there were who were cut off in their generations.

At the time of Pentecost whole generations of Jews were separated from the church; and the Gentiles in their generations were brought in. Now the apostle warns these Gentiles that, in their generations, faithlessness results in this: rotten branches, generations, are cut off.
That happens too.

Not individual saints are being cut off from the living tree which is Christ, but disobedient generations which were formerly called "church," are cut off.
Or again, there is the reference to Hymenaeus and Alexander. There one notes the same thing as presented in Hebrews 6. Those men had put on a show of piety and faith. It is this pretended faith that they made shipwreck.

They departed. This is not a falling away of saints, but an exposing of hypocrisy. The "Arminian" texts do not disprove the perseverance of the saints.

Since we are talking about Paul, would you have him contradict himself when he says elsewhere,

“"Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Rom 8"

The point that this Word of God makes is exactly this: there is nothing that can or will separate us from that love of God in Christ. Nothing.

Or read Paul's own confession in II Timothy 4:7-8, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing."

Paul does not question whether finally the crown will be there, but he expresses the assurance that it IS laid up for him and for all the saints.

In II Tim. 1:12 we read, "...for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day."

Notice how Paul speaks. He does not say, "I am persuaded that I am able to keep that which I have received unto that day;" but, "HE IS ABLE." That is God Who is greater than all. He keeps us in the way of life. He preserves the saints so that they are assured that they shall persevere.

Or again, read in Romans 8:29-30, "For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom He did predestinate, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified."

You notice, God did not tell His church that He maybe will glorify them, conditioned upon their own action; but God declares, "Your final salvation is already an accomplished fact." God foreknew; God justified; God glorified. According to the eternal counsel of God that stands. We are preserved by our God.
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Brody said,

You see, I can just read the passage and take it for what it says, I do not have to read my theology in to it. Sorry to call you out on that Bro, but lets look at something else you said.
"Your view assumes that “grafting in” precisely means to be born of the Spirit, justified and made a new creation etc, yes?

But why?"

Where does the bible ever teach that those who are grafted in are unbelievers? Lets look at the text "Rom 11:19
You will say then, "Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in."
Rom 11:20
Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear."

Do you see in the above text how "grafted in" and "stand by faith" are used interchangeably? Is an unbeliever ever said to stand by faith? No. Even if Paul wanted to address those who were false teachers, he would not refer to them as "standing by faith".
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Now my turn to ask why?

How about Galatians 3, where he is addressing those professing faith as those who have become cursed for turning there backs upon grace?

Can you not see that your view of true believers falling away and being lost is what is being read into all these texts?

I am also providing scriptures and I am harmonizing them with other scriptures. My Theology is being shaped by scripture as a whole, not selections of individual texts!
And of course, thus far I am answering YOUR texts, and not really forcefully arguing for mine yet.
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Brody said,

You said "If you follow the flow of his argument, you will see how he teaches that through the kindness of God (Rom 11:22), true believers shall not be cut off, and also the Jews can also by faith be grafted back in again (Rom 11:23), that is, become partakers in the fulfillment of the Old Covenant which is the New Covenant faith in Christ and His blood for the remission of sins Rom 11:27,."

The above is self refuting coming from your position! For why did God break them off to begin with? UNBELIEF! And how would God graft them back into the tree "Rom 11:23
And they also, if they do not continue in unbelief, will be grafted in, for God is able to graft them in again."

You are not responding to what I quoted from your text, namely that the goodness of God is what causes true believers not to perish in the first place (Rom 11-23) That is proof of my position, found in your text against me, but actually defining why I believe in POTS!
AND who IS God breaking off? True believers? Where is that in the text? It is the Jews being broken off in the first instance and if they do not continue in unbelief, can be grafted back in again. None of these passages are talking about individuals but generations, and none of this is talking about true believers ever being cut off!

The whole chapter is talking about the natural Jews in Paul's day who were not Christians, and how God deals with such matters. Now notice what Paul said just before regarding both those who were cut off, and those who were grafted in "Rom 11:22
Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness,[fn5] if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off."

Who is the "otherwise you will be cut off"?
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It is the Gentile generations who are now being brought in Brody, it is not an individual “you” here being addressed and of course, this warning must be preached from all Churches as a means to encourage believers to persevere and also to bring in discipline and even the role of casting out unbelievers from our midst.

Nothing here about true believers being cast out my friend. You are bringing that idea to the text Brody.
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Brody said,

It can't be the ones who were false teachers, for false teachers are never grafted into Christ, nor would Paul use an analogy of false teachers having God's "goodness" on them, and God's severity on the Jew.
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Again why? Do you not believe in Common grace? Do you not believe there is a Visible and Invisible aspect to the Church?

Covenant reformed Theology answers all of this. Have you even ever tried to read a good reformed book on Covenant Theology. I recommend a very easy read by O Palmer Robertson, called “Christ of the Covenants”. It might help open up this huge area for you brother.
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Brody said,

"An after thought.
Those who are rejected by Christ at the judgment(Mat 7:23) as those He never knew, would they be considered as Christians or as those who considered themselves part of the New Covenant? Just wondering what you think. They certainly participated in the privileges of the New Testament community or the Visible Church here on the earth."

Maybe me and you have a different idea of what the "church" is, there is only one body, and that body belongs to Christ(Eph 4)
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I agree, and of course Eph 1 tells us, “Eph 1:4-5 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will,”

but my point was a simple one, namely that those false professors certainly were in the Church and professed to be Christian, hence why we need to have a robust doctrine of the Church and indeed what it is to be a Christian.

Let me ask another simple question.
How do you know who are in the one Body of Christ Brody?
Tell me who belongs to Christ?

When Paul spoke to the children and commanded them to obey their parents (Eph 6:1, Col 3:20) was he treating them like Christians or Pagans? When he goes on a few verses later to instruct his hearers to be strong in the Lord, is he addressing Christians or Pagans? Do you think every single person hearing Paul, including those Children were actually and really genuine born again Christians?
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Brody said,

As far as false professors, the Apostle Paul said " 2Ti 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity. The church is a spiritual entity made up of those who are saved, and part of the kingdom of God. No unbelievers are part of that. There may be false teachers and false Christians in the assembly, but they do not partake of the kingdom of God that is talked about in Rom 14:17 For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost."
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Again I agree, but in your haste to see the New Covenant members as “only” regenerate members, you must have knowledge that Paul certainly never had. The text you quote even says, “the Lord knows them that are His”

In fact, to see the Church as only the regenerate is gnostic, because no one can ever point to any particular member and say with certainty, that person is a true Christian.

I hope you get what I am trying to convey to you Brody.

I used to share your belief here about regenerate only New Covenant membership as does James White whom I greatly respect for example, but I no longer view the New Covenant in that restrictive and gnostic light.

I say Gnostic deliberately, because no Christian could ever point to another Christian and say that person (a) is in the New Covenant regenerate Church, and yet that is what believing in a regenerate New Covenant only position entails.

The Apostles and especially Paul never looked at Church that way.
I guess we moderns have lost the idea of Covenant community, but certainly Paul never did!

Remember this, we can only have “Apostasy” in the New Testament, if we have a New Covenant that can include unregenerate “professing” Christians. We can only have “professing” Christians treading underfoot the blood and turn our back upon the good taste of the Holy Spirit, if in New Covenant with all of it's privileges as “professing” Christians.

But none of that means that true believers can ever perish, for nowhere is that taught in scripture brother.

True believers are the ones who like you quoted are those in the Kingdom and have been made righteous by imputation, have peace and true joy in the Holy Spirit.

Also, the context of Rom 14 is about how believers are to exercise their faith and live in peace with other believers. One would imagine no use of such a chapter if everyone in the Church was regenerate, but we know that even believers can and do sin, for whatever is not of faith is sin, but even in this passage you quote there is a not so subtle little verse in harmony with the POTS doctrine, namely the following,

“ Rom 14:4 ........And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.”

Scripture is full of this “The Lord is able” kind of emphasis that Non Calvinists seem to miss!
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Brody said,

I will respond to more as I get the chance.

God bless.
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Me too, and thanks for the discussion. It is interesting to say the least. I just hope we do not lose the audience nor speak past one another.

Mark

Tartanarmy said...

This conversation does not seem to be going anywhere. I think the rapture will happen before Brody responds! That was just a joke, a bit of humor there Brody!

I will just say that there are no good responses against the doctrine of Perseverance/Preservation of the Saints.

And I never even got warmed up sadly. Did not get to present a positive case.

Mark