dave_l — 2017-03-19T15:31:05-04:00 — #1
We clearly see doctrines that destroy lives. “So-and-so went to this church where there is much divorce. And they divorced too.” Or “so-and-so became pregnant and her church said it was OK to have an abortion, so her parents made an appointment.” We do not need theology to understand. And any doctrine resulting in the death of anything or anyone needing love is suspect. Also those teaching it.
And doctrines that deceive are just as easy to spot without theological training, if we first define a few simple terms. Salvation is the major theme in scripture. And we hear much about salvation by Grace or Works. So if we accurately define those words, children can spot doctrines that promote either salvation by Grace or salvation by Works. Or doctrines that teach a combination of the two.
If Grace Means showing kindness, then someone shows kindness in the fullest sense when the recipient cannot give anything in return. If someone first demands action from the recipient, it is not kindness or grace, but Works. More like a business deal. They offer something of value in exchange for work. So if we define grace as kindness, and Works as action, even the casual listener can spot conditional grace schemes. In the Bible, Jesus fully bought us so we cannot. We cannot buy ourselves.
This is an example of how grace or works might view the same passage resulting in two opposite views. “God will save all who believe on Christ”. Through the grace lens, we would see faithfulness as a trait of the new nature God gives to those saved by his kindness. The spiritual fruit in their lives would be evidence God saved them. But through the works lens, an act of the Will becomes the means of salvation. It becomes a continuous mental state they must keep until death. Another example would be “God will save any who believe and confess Jesus as Lord”. The grace lens will see this as a common trait in all who God saves by grace. The works people will instead see how Christians think and act, and turn this into conditions they must meet for salvation. Churches teach less demanding sacramental versions of works too.
Any time evangelists make any of the fruits of the Spirit conditions for salvation, these simple guidelines will help guard against them. Grace produces the fruits of the Spirit in us. Only then will we believe and routinely confess Christ in any true sense. And others will begin seeing Christ in us. To one, the fruits of the Spirit are evidence of salvation. To the other they are conditions we must meet in the flesh.
Children can use these guidelines if they explore different churches. And help them see if the church might be bad for them spiritually. Sometimes the draw of youth groups cloud the issues. But I know if I had these basic definitions when younger, I would have had a much better Christian experience.
wolfgang_schneider — 2017-03-20T02:15:34-04:00 — #2
your ideas seem like a nicely devised but deceptive doctrine which has several things mixed up and mixed in ... and makes God responsible for people's damnation and/or salvation without man's response to God having anything to do with such ... contrary to what Scripture teaches, as Scripture is clear about the truth that God holds man responsible for his (man's) answer to God's call
dave_l — 2017-03-20T05:11:59-04:00 — #3
“Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.” (Romans 9:18)
“Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?” (Romans 9:21)
“What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,” (Romans 9:22–23)
wolfgang_schneider — 2017-03-20T06:32:37-04:00 — #4
An understanding from Scripture passage taken and understood out of context will of necessity be incorrect.
dave_l — 2017-03-20T06:36:40-04:00 — #5
Perhaps you could post some scripture. I will try to give an interpretation according to grace. Perhaps a few at a time so I don't become confused?
gao_lu — 2017-03-20T10:27:26-04:00 — #6
Take this passage above for instance. The context is addressing certain Jews who had rationalized their advantages into a false and unreasonable security. The passage is dealing with the fate of Israel (and Gentiles), not specific individuals. Paul uses the examples of Israel and Pharaoh to illustrates that God is reasonable and just and good in His choosing, and not the opposite.
Paul is saying that God is not bound by man's faulty theology, God is not bound by the caprice of man to judge God by man's theological rules. God is not bound by some cosmic rule of conduct outside of God's control. Salvation is not man's right, but it is of God's mercy and that is the point of the passage above. Emphasis is not just that God in choosing accepts or rejects willy nilly, like picking apples from a box, but the manner in which He does so.
To assume that God creates people and hardens them for destruction or to do evil, by any stretch of common sense, would be immoral and an utter misunderstanding of the character of God and a most unfortunate misunderstanding of this verse.
The "hardened one" may enjoy many blessings, even Pharoah and Hitler did, but their destiny was not set by the blessings of being a great ruler in a plush palace or by being Arayan, or in the case of Jews, by having a high dose of Abraham's DNA.
God does not behave in an immoral way by hardening a man or using the man for His purposes. God, being God, is capable of taking into consideration the man's own moral character and choices when He determines the man's destiny and use. Man is not a puppet tossed about on the horns of an angry bull. God is not fickle, acting on caprice, without rhyme or reason. God can allow man any measure of freedom He chooses. without placing His sovereignty at risk. And most of all, God does not perpetrate evil. And we don't need to throw out common sense or logic or redefine words to protect God's character.
Vessels of wrath are not changed into vessels of mercy by acts of force. God isn't forced to save by some technicality of man's theology, and for that matter, God can save a Gentile if He pleases. That is a primary point of the greater Rom 9 passage.
In conclusion, we recognize there are more layers of complexity here than can be covered in a few sentences, yet even the longest treatise would not conclude with God being the author of evil, but rather the author of good--as God defines such things. The goodness of God is seen not in deliberate and intentional destruction (not to say there is not judgment or hell--there is--justice too is good), but in kindness and loving mercy and grace.
dave_l — 2017-03-20T10:33:08-04:00 — #7
This is salvation for the self-righteous and not for helpless sinners who cannot do good.
gao_lu — 2017-03-20T10:35:15-04:00 — #8
You say that time and again, but that is the very thing Paul is arguing against, so that cannot be the case. The jews thought they were saved by being jews and Paul was clear that neither being a Jew nor being self-righteous was cause for salvation, but the mercy and grace of God was the cause.
Of course helpless sinners cannot do good. Paul is addressing the Jews saying that. So you are correct on those points.
The point you seem to miss is that God is not bound by Dave's theology, just as He is not bound by Pharisee's theology. He can save who He wants and he can save HOW he wants and he will not be immoral or act against His own goodness in the process.
dave_l — 2017-03-20T10:37:17-04:00 — #9
I keep saying this because it is a point those who deny grace cannot get around. It shows how false some teachings are, to even to those with no theological training.
gao_lu — 2017-03-20T10:40:57-04:00 — #10
Rather than camp on a point and refuse to discuss it, can you address the matters I have brought up? I do not see anything convincing from your comments that it is false, that it denys grace, that it "gets around" anything or what it has to do with theological training.
dave_l — 2017-03-20T10:43:11-04:00 — #11
Since you cannot answer this one simple claim, that you believe salvation is only for the self righteous, and not for helpless sinners, any further discussion is unnecessary.
gao_lu — 2017-03-20T10:46:38-04:00 — #12
Dave, I did answer and put a lot of time in it. You dismiss the whole thing and cannot/will not answer any of it.
Further more, your insisting that I believe salvation is only for the self-righteous, and not for helpless sinners, could not be further from the truth. Dave, I don't think that at all. Yet you keep throwing out something you know is not true and using that to smoke out any further discussion. I am willing to discuss if you are able. If you are not able, then I accept that.
dave_l — 2017-03-20T10:48:47-04:00 — #13
I appreciate your efforts but the fact remains. You believe salvation is for the self-righteous and not for those who cannot think, say, or do any good.
gao_lu — 2017-03-20T10:49:37-04:00 — #14
Then I accept that you are unable to defend your belief.
dave_l — 2017-03-20T10:51:13-04:00 — #15
I'm pointing out your errors and so far you cannot escape the points I'm making.
gao_lu — 2017-03-20T11:05:36-04:00 — #16
Let me try once more, Dave. You haven't pointed out any error that I can see. Would you do so, please? Don't merely make accusation which isn't very helpful, but can you actually point out my error with Scripture and explanation?
And could you kindly engage the matters I address above? I don't know how to take you seriously when you accuse without reason and cannot/refuse to address any of my reason. I can only assume you cannot if you will not, unless you have some other cause.
Am I supposed to just say, "Oh Dave said 'You are wrong!' so I must be wrong." Wouldn't that be foolish?
dave_l — 2017-03-20T11:11:32-04:00 — #17
This is where we began and you have yet to prove me wrong.
gao_lu — 2017-03-20T11:22:22-04:00 — #18
Must I prove you wrong? Are you right until proven wrong? What would it take to prove you wrong? Honestly, I would far rather just have Brotherly discussion than have a contest to prove each other wrong.
Aside from that, I think the arguments I indicated above do indeed prove your position wrong. Can you prove that they do not? Better yet, let's just discuss ideas together. I am not so sure some of my ideas are so right that they cannot contain error.
I invested a fair amount of thought when answered what I think is your error with some solid arguments. Can you take up those arguments and show them to be in error? If not, they remain as pretty solid evidence against your position.
Please note that I do not respond to you with, "Wrong! And my saying so makes me right!" The end.
dave_l — 2017-03-20T11:28:05-04:00 — #19
I'm saying this: you believe salvation is for the self-righteous. And not for helpless sinners who cannot believe or do any good. But Grace saves those who cannot believe or do any good. Giving them new natures they gladly welcome. Natures that believe on Christ and habitually do good.
gao_lu — 2017-03-20T11:37:12-04:00 — #20
What you say I believe is not what I believe, for the umpteenth time. I guess it is futile to discuss something with a person who makes up what you believe, tells you that you believe it, and then attacks you for believing it. Perhaps you are just a one-man band, who does not want to learn or discuss or teach, but only wants to wander about shouting to everyone on earth that they are wrong.
All that aside, Dave, you still will not or cannot engage my discussion. I should have dropped this long ago, and maybe I should now, but I am authentically hoping for an actual discussion of matters that I think are important. I began at your request and have yet to see you do what you asked others to do. I am trying to believe you, to trust your sincerity, to give you a chance to be authentic.
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