Old Doxoblogy

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Your Comments, My Response!

This is something I've never done before. The questions here are from the previous post. My response is in blue.

Joe Joe said...

I certainly believe in the absolute sovereignty of God and the total depravity of man.

But I also believe in "free willism" and free grace.

O wretched man that I am!

I am unlabelable!

Joe, It will surprise many I'm sure to read this, but I agree with you! Not that it is a surprise that I would agree with you, but that I would believe in a free will and free grace. IF by free will we mean the ability to choose based upon what I want to do, and, IF by free grace we mean that God freely gives us his grace which was not really free but purchased for us by Christ's death which is liberating us from our sins.
Wes Kenney Wes Kenney said...

While I see so much of the debate as semantics, there is one element of it that bothers me.

Calvinists say that their view of salvation is God-centered, while others are 'man-centered.' While I try not to personalize rhetoric, this annoys me.

I certainly recognize that God is the Author of salvation, and without His provision, it wouldn't be possible. But because I believe that salvation is freely offered to man who, having been drawn by the Spirit, freely chooses to submit to that drawing or not to submit, I don't then say that man is sovereign in that relationship.

We all believe that man is the object of salvation. We all believe that God is the Actor in salvation. We all believe that Jesus is the Provider of salvation. In light of that, is not "God-centered vs. man-centered" just a rhetorical device with division as its objective?

Wes,
I don't think the difference between Calvinists and Arminians is merely semantics. I think there is a very real distinction between saying, "God chose me because I chose Him", and "I chose God because He chose me." The former makes me sovereign in my salvation by making God responsive to me, while the latter recognizes that God is sovereign in my salvation by making me responsive to God.
I'm sorry to annoy you:-), but as you can tell by my first response to you, it's the truth. I too believe that God is the Author of salvation and not just by making salvation possible, but actually accomplishing salvation for the elect. The elect are irresistibly drawn by the Spirit who regenerates them and gives them the freedom of will to choose Christ, which freedom they were devoid of from the first. Again, by my first response you can see that I do not believe this to be a rhetorical device meant for division, but a truth that should unite us.

Sojourner said...

Wes,

The reason that Calvinist get so uptight about your description is because the ultimate choice of salvation lies with man and not with God. That is, God decided He wanted to save you, but He actually can't unless you agree to it. This makes man the final arbiter of salvation. This is seen to contradict John 15:16 especially. For Calvinists, God must not only offer salvation; He must also make us able to choose it. Which, by the way, is not very far from the "prevenient(sp?) grace" idea of John Wesley. But alas, I digress...

Darth Doxo,

I have a question about the "T" from your perspective. What remains of the image of God in a non-regenerate person? Or, if you are really feeling like having fun, what is the image of God?

Brad, Good point about prevenient grace and Wesley. Wesley, a man that I hope I have some in common with, and yet also some differences, recognized that man's will could not be truly free unless liberated in some way by God's grace. His solution was the wrong one, but shows that he knew the issues better than some today. The big bad "T" in my perspective is that they will breeze through March madness.:-) Ohhh...You meant Total Depravity. In a sense the image of God is not there at all, and in another sense it is.
Boice used an illustration of a young girl who was sent out by her mother with some money and a pitcher to buy some milk. Along the way the girl tripped and fell and the pitcher was broken. A man happened by and saw the young girl sitting and crying. When he asked why she was so sad, she retold the incident and added, "I'm sure to be spanked." So the man willing to help her tried to fit the pieces of the pitcher back together. After several unsuccessful attempts it was found to be impossible. So the man picked the little girl up in his arms, took her to the store, bought a new pitcher and milk, and then carried her home to her mother. The pitcher in the story was made for carrying milk, but the ability of the pitcher to carry milk was impaired when the pitcher was broken. The pitcher was useless as to its original purpose. Boice then remarks that old pieces of pottery are not invaluable, however. Archaeologists can use broken pitchers to date civilizations and many have used broken pottery for ashtrays or artwork. Job used pieces of pottery to scrape his boils. But that pottery is useless as far as its original intent.
So the question then becomes, "What is man's purpose?" To glorify God and enjoy Him forever by exhibiting Godlike character. Man is useless to fulfill this purpose. The great thing about the Gospel is that it restores the ability to fulfill this purpose. Instead of only glorifying God indirectly or passively, it is our passion to glorify Him. Instead of enjoying the good things that we have from God, we can enjoy Him, and instead of doing good because it seems good to us, we do good in order to display God's character here on earth. The image of God in man is the ability to reflect His glory back to Him.

26 comments:

Jeff Wright said...

Isn't Boice's illustration voided by your explanation?

By that I mean, you say the little girl gets a new pitcher, milk, and is carried home. According to the story, the old pitcher is useless as regards its original intent.

On the other hand you write that man, unable to fulfill his purpose, (via the Gospel) is "restore[d to] the ability to fulfill this purpose."

Isn't that a contradiction to the illustration? By that I mean, wouldn't the illustration be better if the man could supernaturally fix the original pitcher?

Have we talked enough about pitchers?

I hope some of that made sense.

Jeremy Weaver said...

If you think that God puts us back together then the illustration is void. But if we recognize that we are new creatures (new pitchers), then the illustration stands.

Jonathan Moorhead said...

I'm still waiting for a good Arminian response to the anthropocentric question over at my blog. Particularly, no one will fess up that their choice to believe in God is boastworthy because they chose wisely and others have not.

If faith is not a gift from God, then man will be able to boast that there was something in him that resulted in his salvation.

Wes Kenney said...

You mischaracterize what I'm saying by putting "God chose me because I chose Him" into my mouth. I did not choose God in a vacuum, I chose to respond positively to His drawing of me. I have seen people weep under the conviction and drawing of the Holy Spirit, but decide they prefer to follow their own desires and reject the righteousness offered in Christ. It was reminescent of the rich young ruler who, when given the choice by Christ to keep his riches or sell all and follow Him, went away sad.

I believe He draws everyone at some point, whether by natural revelation (Romans 1), which when responded positively to will ultimately lead to that person hearing the Gospel as God gives more light, or by growing up in a context where the gospel is readily available.

The one thus saved has nothing in which to boast because obedience to God's call requires the emptying of self. Those who choose not to respond to God are the ones boasting, all the way down that broad road.

Wes Kenney said...

By the way, if you're going to put my beautiful face on your front page, couldn't you at least make sure the link works? Talk about annoying...


;-)


Sorry, I already regret using that word.

Thanks for the debate...

Jeremy Weaver said...

Wes,
I'm sorry if it seemed like I was putting words in your mouth, but my intent was just to point out that I do not believe that semantics are the only problem we have to deal with in the Calvinist Arminian debate.
May it be hereby known that I did not mean to suggest that Wes Kenney said, "God chose me because I chose Him."
It merely a rhetorical device to illustrate the difference between Arminian and Calvinist thought.

Wes Kenney said...

No need to apologize; I understand what you were saying. But since you used my comment as a beginning point for that argument, I wanted to clarify that I wouldn't have made that statement in that way.

By the way, thanks for your acknowledgement that rhetorical devices are used... ;-)

Wes Kenney said...

I should point out that I am an equal opportunity critic when it comes to rhetoric. I may agree with the sentiment, but "Elected because I selected" was over the top...

Rose~ said...

Hi Jeremy,
What Wes said.
:~)

Jeremy Weaver said...

Rose,
I have many things to say to you, but I cannot now. I want to wait until I have time to give clear, thoughtful answers to your objections to what I will say.
But to get you started, here's the topic:
Christ's Death As Our Liberation From Sin And The Degree To Which We Have Been Liberated.

Rose~ said...

Jeremy,
That is funny to find that comment from you ... for two reasons.

1. When I leave a substantial comment on your posts, you never respond to it anymore. Here, I leave a three word comment, almost as a joke, and you say "I have many things to say to you." LOL

2. You haven't written this post yet, (I think you have just stated the tilte of a future post) and you already think I will object to it. I wonder how you could know.
:~)

Breuss Wane said...

So the hooded one who watched Mel Gibson's beyond belief flogging was none other than the Doxoblogist? I refuse to believe it! :-)

Joe said...

Actually, it does surprise me that you would agree with me.

It even surprises ME that I agree with me, on those rare occasions that I do.

Joe said...

BTW: It has not gone without notice that you have listed me as a blogger you would like to meet.

For your information, I would give my eye tooth (if I had any teeth at all) to meet you.

Your mix of fun and cerealness strikes my fancy.

I am very jealous of Rose...who HAS met you.

Steve Weaver said...

Joe,

I've met him. It's not all that!

Jeff Wright said...

Hey man,

Sorry I didn't get back here more recently.

What I was asking in my original post was whether or not your explanation of the work of Grace was accurate when you used the word "restored" to refer to man's ability to glorify God, considering the story didn't "restore" so much as "replace."

I fear I've failed to communicate myself well (shocker!) and aren't coming across clearly.

Bhedr said...

Hey Doxo,

I have shut down. I am this time truly getting out of blogging. No blogs or any team blogs.

I just want to thank you and your brother Steve for being such patient men of God with me. I have gone through a lot of struggles and proclaimed them on the internet. in retrospect I now see that i shouldn't have. Thanks to you and your brother for being patient.

I now see that I agree with Antonio, but I look at it from Spurgeons perspective instead, Here is a quote of his:

"I do not come into this pulpit hoping that perhaps somebody will of his own free will return to Christ. My hope lies in another quarter. I hope that my Master will lay hold of some of them and say, "You are mine, and you shall be mine. I claim you for myself." My hope arises from the freeness of grace, and not from the freedom of the will."
Charles Haddon Spurgeon

in reality it is not Spurgeons perspective but Gods. Stand by for another post for more explaination.

Jonathan Moorhead said...

When I was a frothing-at-the-mouth Arminian I was resolved to write a book entitled, "Chosen by Choice." Catchy huh?

Bhedr said...

I guess you remember that Last summer I was acting no differant than Antonio and some others today do. This is why I must forgive them and hope that they do me.

I have learned by receiving the same treatment to myself how not to reach the lost anymore.

Truly faith in Christ is the only transport to eternal life. When Jesus cursed the fig for not bearing fruit out of season. He told them, "Have faith in God." not repent.

The prodigal son came to himself when he thought of his fathers house.

Repentance is not the condition for Salvation only faith.Faith comes first. Repentance follows faith as the tail follows the dog. It happens and is spawned by faith in the wounds that fall from the saviours side. Only look to Christ. Blue collar man has been doing a wonderful job of getting this message out.

The blogdome is becoming fast like the TV episode "Survivor" and the topic of the grace of God much like the immunity idol. We chide and taunt one another for being pig-headed and "not getting it" and thinking, "Youll get yours one day" while we think of tactics and plot with others to vote one another off the Island. But "ta ta" we have the immunity idol and that sorry schmuk over there just doesn't "get it" Though this attitude seems to be in Antonios camp I have seen it as well in others including myself. I wish to flee it.

Well, I hope you consider this as I leave the Island.

you have been a friend doxo and I hope to meet you one day.

Jeremy Weaver said...

Brian,
I'm sorry to hear you say that.
Conversion is the the theological term and it includes faith and repentance.
You can't turn to Christ without turning from something else. You must turn from sin in order to turn to Christ.
Sin is incompatible with the purpose of Christ's death. He came to save us from our sin. That's why the angel told Mary to call Him Jesus.
So if our salvation is not from sin, then Christ has failed in His purpose.

Jeremy Weaver said...

Jeff,
I'm still me, but I have a brand new nature. Does this mean that I am not me anymore?

Wes Kenney said...

This is obviously part of another conversation, but I need clarification. Are you saying that the regenerate do not sin?

Jeremy Weaver said...

Wes,
Absolutely not. I probably sinned while I was writing that comment!
Instead, although Christians do sin, they do not make it their practice, just as unbelievers who do good do not make righteousness their practice.
That's a paraphrase of I John for the modern reader.:-)

Wes Kenney said...

That's what I thought you meant. But when you write things like, "...Christ has failed..." you cause people to wonder...





Ain't context wonderful?

;-)

Bhedr said...

Take Care Doxo,

you can't repent without first having faith, but be that as it may..take care, and I love you bro. Let it be known that I agree that faith is born of God and both faith and repentance are a result of God's regenerative power.

Joe said...

Rose: In order to understand how Jeremy can tell that you will object to a post that he has not yet written, you need to visit Jeff H. over at Think Sink.

His post is most timely.

I truely think either on of you could easily take offense to it for very different reasons or not.