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    • By Jim_Alaska in Jim_Alaska's Sermons & Devotionals
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      Closed Communion
      James Foley
       
      I Corinthians 11:17-34: "Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that ye come together not for the better, but for the worse. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you. When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's Supper. For in eating every one taketh before other his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken. What? have ye not houses to eat and to drink in? or despise ye the church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not. For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do show the Lord's death till he come. Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body. For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world. Wherefore, my brethren, when ye come together to eat, tarry one for another. And if any man hunger, let him eat at home; that ye come not together unto condemnation. And the rest will I set in order when I come."

      INTRODUCTION

      Historic Baptists, true Baptists, have believed in and still believe in closed communion. Baptists impose upon themselves the same restrictions that they impose on others concerning the Lord’s Supper. Baptists have always insisted that it is the Lord’s Table, not theirs; and He alone has the right to say who shall sit at His table. No amount of so called brotherly love, or ecumenical spirit, should cause us to invite to His table those who have not complied with the requirements laid down plainly in His inspired Word. With respect to Bible doctrines we must always use the scripture as our guide and practice. For Baptists, two of the most important doctrines are Baptism and The Lord’s Supper. These are the only two doctrines we recognize as Church Ordinances. The Bible is very clear in teaching how these doctrines are to be practiced and by whom.

      We only have two ordinances that we must never compromise or we risk our very existence, they are Baptism and The Lord’s Supper.

      The moment we deviate from the precise method God has prescribed we have started down the slippery slope of error. True Baptists have held fast to the original doctrine of The Lord’s Supper from the time of Christ and the Apostles.

      Unfortunately, in this day of what the Bible describes as the age of luke warmness, Baptists are becoming careless in regard to strictly following the pattern laid out for us in Scripture. Many of our Bible colleges are graduating otherwise sincere, Godly and dedicated pastors and teachers who have not been taught the very strict, biblical requirements that surround the Lord’s Supper. Any Bible college that neglects to teach its students the differences surrounding Closed Communion, Close Communion and Open Communion is not simply short changing its students; it is also not equipping their students to carry on sound Bible traditions. The result is men of God and churches that fall into error. And as we will see, this is serious error.

      Should we as Baptists ignore the restrictions made by our Lord and Master? NO! When we hold to the restrictions placed upon the Lord’s Supper by our Master, we are defending the "faith which was once delivered to the saints" Jude 3.

      The Lord’s Supper is rigidly restricted and I will show this in the following facts:

      IT IS RESTRICTED AS TO PLACE

      A. I Corinthians 11:18 says, "When ye come together in the church." This does not mean the church building; they had none. In other words, when the church assembles. The supper is to be observed by the church, in church capacity. Again this does not mean the church house. Ekklesia, the Greek word for church, means assembly. "When ye come together in the church," is when the church assembles.

      B. When we say church we mean an assembly of properly baptized believers. Acts 2:41-42: "Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers."

      The church is made up of saved people who are baptized by immersion. In the Bible, belief precedes baptism. That’s the Bible way.

      Acts 8:12-13, "But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done."

      When we say properly baptized, we mean immersed. No unbeliever should take the Lord’s supper, and no non-immersed believer should take the supper. Those who are sprinkled are not baptized and cannot receive the supper. The Greek word for baptize is baptizo, and it always means to immerse.

      "In every case where communion is referred to, or where it may possibly have been administered, the believers had been baptized Acts 2:42; 8:12; 8:38; 10:47; 6:14-15; 18:8; 20:7. Baptism comes before communion, just as repentance and faith precede baptism".

      C. The Lord’s Supper is for baptized believers in church capacity: "When ye come together in the church," again not a building, but the assembly of the properly baptized believers.

      D. The fact that the Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance, to be observed in church capacity, is pointed out by the fact that it is for those who have been immersed and added to the fellowship of the church.

      E. The Lord’s Supper is never spoken of in connection with individuals. When it is referred to, it is only referred to in reference to baptized believers in local church capacity I Cor. 11:20-26).

      I want to quote Dr. W.W. Hamilton,

      "The individual administration of the ordinance has no Bible warrant and is a relic of Romanism. The Lord’s Supper is a church ordinance, and anything which goes beyond or comes short of this fails for want of scriptural example or command".

      “The practice of taking a little communion kit to hospitals, nursing homes, etc. is unscriptural and does not follow the scriptural example.”

      IT IS RESTRICTED TO A UNITED CHURCH

      A. The Bible in I Cor. 11:18 is very strong in condemning divisions around the Lord’s table. For first of all, when ye come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it.
      19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.
      20 When ye come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord's supper.

      There were no less than four divisions in the Corinthian church.
      I Cor. 1:12: "Now this I say, that every one of you saith, I am of Paul; and I of Apollos; and I of Cephas; and I of Christ."

      Because of these divisions, it was impossible for them to scripturally eat the Lord’s Supper. Division in the local church is reason to hold off observing the Lord’s Supper. But there are also other reasons to forego taking the Lord’s Supper. If there is gross sin in the membership we do not take it. Here is scriptural evidence for this: 1Co 5:7 Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us:
      8 Therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven, neither with the leaven of malice and wickedness; but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth. 9 I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators:
      10 Yet not altogether with the fornicators of this world, or with the covetous, or extortioners, or with idolaters; for then must ye needs go out of the world. 11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

      B. At this point, I want to ask these questions: Are there not doctrinal divisions among the many denominations? Is it not our doctrinal differences that cause us to be separate religious bodies?

      IT IS RESTRICTED BY DOCTRINE

      A. Those in the early church at Jerusalem who partook "continued stedfastly in the apostles’ doctrine" Acts 2:42. And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

      B. Those that do not hold to apostolic truth are not to partake. This means there is to be discipline in the local body. How can you discipline those who do not belong to the local body? You can’t. The clear command of scripture is to withdraw fellowship from those who are not doctrinally sound.

      II Thes 3:6: "Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye withdraw yourselves from every brother that walketh disorderly, and not after the tradition which he received of us."
      Rom. 16:17: "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them."
      To commune together means to have the same doctrine.
      II Thes. 2:15: "Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle."
      II John 10-11: "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds."

      C. Some Baptists in our day have watered down this doctrine by practicing what they call “Close Communion.” By this they mean that they believe that members of another Baptist church may take communion with us because they are of the same beliefs. Once again, this is unscriptural.

      The welcome to the Lord's Table should not be extended beyond the discipline of the local church. When we take the Lord’s Supper there is supposed to be no gross sin among us and no divisions among us. We have no idea of the spiritual condition of another church’s members. If there is sin or division in the case of this other church’s members, we have no way of knowing it. We cannot discipline them because they are not members of our church. This is why we practice “Closed” communion, meaning it is restricted solely to our church membership. 
      So then, in closing I would like to reiterate the three different ideas concerning the Lord’s Supper and who is to take it. 
      Closed Communion = Only members of a single local church. 
      Close Communion = Members of like faith and order may partake. 
      Open Communion = If you claim to be a Christian, or simply attending the service, you may partake. 
      It is no small thing to attempt to change that which was implemented by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. 
      Mt. 28:20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen. 
      Many of our Baptist churches have a real need to consider the gravity of the act of observing The Lord’s Supper. It is not a light thing that is to be taken casually or without regard to the spiritual condition of ourselves or our church.
      1Co. 11:27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord.

       28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup.

       29 For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body.

       30 For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep.

John Calvin Had It All Wrong


Calvary

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  • Advanced Member

My "fairly complicated theological argument" is less complicated than your post deeming it so, and your conclusion misrepresents me - I have never said a Calvinist can't be saved.


"But if you base your salvation on anything other than the blood of Christ, you are not saved. And the Calvinist bases his salvation on the choice of God not the blood of Christ."

I don't deny that topics can get complicated--people write books on theology don't they? My point was that while most folk believe that, despite being wrong about a lot of stuff, ultimately Calvinists really are putting their faith in Jesus Christ and his work on the cross when they say they are, and that therefore they are Christians in the same way we are, you and a select few others on here say that this isn't enough--that the Calvinist also has to delve deeper and make sure they've dotted the i's and crossed the t's regarding underlying theological points, lest they put a foot wrong and end up 'not really' basing their salvation on the blood on Christ. And although you don't say it directly and explicitly (and you are right--you do not) the takehome message for others like me is going to be, 'wow, if you can think you're believing one thing but in the eyes of God you're believing another, to that extent, then what hope do I have when I think I believe something?'.
 

I have also never said that people need to define doctrines before they can be saved. But it serves to add confusion to the subject for you to do so........


True, I've never seen you explicitly and directly say it, but I didn't say you had. What I said was that it was the OBvious conclusion of your reasoning for why Calvinists aren't saved.

I believe the same and John81 and Salyan--that the Gospel is very simple. And I think people can be wrong on all sorts of stuff and still be saved. For example, I believe someone can not have a clue about the trinity, or have a view of it that is skewed, say closer to modalism, and be saved.
 

And your whole argument is about what people have said about the argument - well some of the people who have commented here are just as wrong - using their argument to somehow invalidate my words is just plain silly.

 

Where I responded to a point made by another then I responded to a point made by another. If you make a point that someone else has made earlier on and at the time they also made related points, what's wrong with me bringing those in and discussing them all at the same time? It's all on the table for discussion. If you think my responses to yours or anyone else's points were wrong, missed the mark or were irrelevent, then you'll be furthering the discussion by showing me how and where.
 

Just as it is silly to try to invalidate the circular reasoning argument by showing where some else has used circular reasoning.

 

That would be true if the point I was making there was "don't worry about circular reasoning because everyone's at it!" But that wasn't the point I was making at all. The point I went on to make was that many Calvinists--or at least all the one's I've spoken to--don't justify their beliefs by using a tautology but rather "their testimony is that they've come to believe through evidence, like everyone claims."
 

The young man I spoke of had precisely this issue and it was entirely because of calvinism. I know this because we spoke at length about it.
It is he that pointed out this circular reasoning to me.


Yeah and I said I didn't doubt the conversation had happened. So where do we go from here? Is it a belief that just one Calvinist has held or is it a pretty standard Calvinist belief? The way you were arguing against it, using words like 'they' as if it's a common Calvinist belief, prompted me (and several others) to say that's not how we've been hearing Calvinists justify their beliefs. Is it ok to put that on the table, or is only one anecdote allowed?
 

So your misrepresenting my words does not invalidate them, and your introduction of side issues and accusations does not invalidate them.


Well to say that I've 'misrepresented' instead of misread or misunderstood is to accuse me of doing something deliberate, which I totally reject. If I've misunderstood some or all of your points then I'm sorry--show me where and I'll apologise. From my perspective, at the moment it looks like you've misunderstood my responses (and not responded to any of the main points).
 

People don't get saved because of calvinism - they get saved because of the Gospel.
People get saved in spite of calvinism.

 

I believe that folk get saved because of the Gospel too.

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

But you have misrepresented me - you did it again in that post.
I have never said a Calvinist can not be saved.
I am talking about the teaching, which teaches another Gospel.

You twist the words, you add side arguments to cloud, you misrepresent, reject what is pointed out - what is the point when you seem to be deliberately misunderstanding me?

I have better things to do than be run around.

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I put this to Winman back near the beginning of this thread when he was arguing (as he maintains) that if God only died for an elect few then it is impossible to know that one is saved. At the time I argued that whether salvation is offered to all or a few is irrelevent to individual knowledge of salvation given that both Calvinists and non-Calvinists maintain that the evidence of salvation for the individual is what's seen 'at this end' as it were, i.e. what one sees and hears, what one confesses to, what they believe in, and what happens to them. Calvinists, like non-Calvinists, believe that true believers will show fruits of salvation.

(As far as I can see the only people who can say that the offer of salvation to all is in itself evidence that a given individual is saved are universalists, because they believe that Jesus dying on the cross means all will be saved.)

Winman responded to my argument by saying yes but Calvinists can't rely on the fruits of salvation because Calvin teaches 'evanescent grace', which is the idea that God engineers it so that the unsaved can appear to be saved, both to themselves and to others, meaning that according to Calvinism we can't tell the difference between real and fake salvation.

I didn't have time to respond to Winman at the time, but since this bit of the debate has popped up again I'll do it now.

I don't see how 'evanescent grace' supports the argument that Calvinists can't believe they are saved because of limited atonement, since it has nothing to do with limited atonement. It's actually a completely different argument for why Calvinists apparently can't know they are saved. This is demonstrated by the fact that if Calvinists didn't believe in limited atonement but did believe in evanescent grace, the argument that they couldn't know they were saved because of evanescent grace would be unaffected.

So what about 'evanescent grace' itself then? Well, if a Calvinist does believe in it then I can see how that would lead them to ask 'how do I know whether my salvation experience was real or fake'?

Thing is, non-Calvinists say pretty much the same thing. They don't attribute authorship of 'fake salvation' to God but they do maintain that you can think you're saved and appear to show fruit when actually you're not saved, so the effect on the individual is equivalent.

 

There are two reasons why Calvinists cannot know they are elect. First, if you believe in Limited Atonement, you cannot positively know Jesus died for you. 

 

If you asked a Calvinist, "Did Jesus die for you?", they will say YES. I would then ask, "How do you know?" The only answer they have is, "Because I believe"

 

That is not proof that Jesus died for you, folks believe false things all the time. Like I said, you can believe a gun is empty and put it to your head and pull the trigger, and you will kill yourself. This is in fact how the famous guitarist for the band Chicago died. He put a gun to his head, and a friend said, "Be careful". He said, "Don't worry, it's not loaded!". He then pulled the trigger and killed himself instantly. If Jesus did not die for everybody, you have no possible way to know he died for you, that is impossible. Just because you believe it does not make it true. 

 

And if Calvin was correct, you cannot even know if your faith is real. Calvinists are taught that unregenerated men cannot believe, and that they cannot even understand spritual matters. How in the world can they know what faith is? To complicate this, Calvin taught that God deceives many persons with an "evanescent faith" that seems so real that the person is deceived. Now how in the world can you know if your faith is real if this is true? 

 

Calvinism is designed to make people doubt, not believe. And it is a fact that Calvinists doubt their salvation more than any other Christian groups. That is a FACT. 

 

Here is what a well known Calvinist wrote on his blog concerning Calvinism and assurance of salvation:

 

 

 

It may surprise you to know that just about every contact I have had with people who are doubting their salvation are Calvinistic in their theology. In other words, they believe in unconditional election. These are the ones who believe in perseverance of the saints. These are the ones that believe that we cannot lose our salvation! Yet these are the ones who are doubting their faith the most.

 

Their issue has to do with their election. Are they truly among the elect?  If they are, they believe their faith will persevere until the end. But if they are not, there is no hope. But how are they to know for sure whether they are elect? Maybe their faith is a stated faith? Maybe it is false. The gentleman I talked to today was so riddled with doubt, he was having thoughts of suicide. “How do I know my faith is an elect faith?” He wanted assurance so badly, but felt that his Calvinistic theology prevented him from ever having such assurance.

 

http://www.reclaimingthemind.org/blog/2013/05/doubting-calvinists/

 

See for yourself, google "how can I know I am elect?" and you will see dozens of Calvinists who are not certain they are elect. And if Limited Atonement is true, they are correct, there is no way to know if Jesus really died for them, or if their faith is even real. 

 

It's tragic. 

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  • Independent Fundamental Baptist

Anyone who believes one can lose their salvation finds themselves in the same boat. If one must "persevere" to be truly saved, then they can't know until the end whether or not they persevered or not. The same is true of those who believe they have to be "good enough" or they will lose their salvation. They can't know until the end whether or not they have achieved and/or kept that elusive status of "good enough".

 

Scripture has the antidote to such worrisome conundrums.

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This is a different matter altogether. First, most Baptists do not believe you can lose salvation. But most Baptists believe in Preservation of the Saints, not Perseverance. 

 

I don't know I am saved because I will always be faithful to Jesus or that I will persevere. If my salvation depends on my faithfulness, I am in serious trouble. 

 

No, I know I am saved because Jesus will always be faithful to me. Jesus promised that any person who came to him would in no wise be cast out (John 6:37). I know I am saved because I have Jesus's promise, and Jesus cannot lie. 

 

Arminians who believe they can lose salvation believe that only happens if they knowingly reject Jesus, if they quit believing the gospel on purpose. For them it is a willful decision. 

 

That is not the prOBlem Calvinists have, they aren't even sure what faith is. How can you know your faith is real when you have been taught you do not have the ability to believe or comprehend belief? Faith is a complete mystery to Calvinists, they have no idea what true faith is. 

 

Ask a Calvinist what faith is. Watch, they will describe works salvation. 

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I was taught in Methodist Sunday school that one had to be "good enough" to get into heaven. I've known many Methodist, and others, taught the same false teaching, which leaves them continually being on edge that little lie they told will keep them from heaven or that lustful thought they had will doom them to hell.

 

There is a lady in our church who spent most of her life in a church that taught it's impossible to know if one is saved or not. She was taught it's arrogant and prideful to declare oneself saved and heaven bound. Even today, after hearing the biblical truth of the matter preached and taught in our church for several years now those old teachings rear their ugly head and cause her concern.

 

Anyway, back to "Calvinism": while I understand how you see some of their beliefs conflicting with one another, I've not encountered "Calvinists" who don't know what biblical faith is, who don't believe they can't know if they are saved. The "Calvinists" I know best all believe if one is saved, they are eternally saved. While that might stand in contrast to some of the tenants of "Calvinism" you point out, that's their belief.

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But you have misrepresented me - you did it again in that post.
I have never said a Calvinist can not be saved.
I am talking about the teaching, which teaches another Gospel.

You twist the words, you add side arguments to cloud, you misrepresent, reject what is pointed out - what is the point when you seem to be deliberately misunderstanding me?

I have better things to do than be run around.

 

Dave, you've consistently defined a Calvinist as one who holds to Calvin's teachings, and you say that one who believes Calvin's teachings isn't saved:

 

"But if you base your salvation on anything other than the blood of Christ, you are not saved. And the Calvinist bases his salvation on the choice of God not the blood of Christ."

 

QED. And when I responded ages ago, offering my own view about how I thought that when Calvinists claim they believe in the work of Jesus Christ on the cross, all things being equal they really do, and that I didn't see how this needed to be an either/or with their belief that God chose them (since we all believe that God chose to save), instead of responding to the actual points you just had a childish moan about something to do with me needing to explain your points to others or something, and then left it at that. And that's been about the level of all your responses to me, the last two included. What's surprised me about you--because I don't know anyone else on the forum who does it--is that you seem to carry on under the fixed belief that once you've proclaimed on a matter then that must be the correct view, as exemplified by your comment to me just now--apparently I "reject what is pointed out", as if once you've said it, it must be true, and if I disagree then I must be rejecting the truth. I got the feeling that's what you were about when you once responded to me by simply restating all your original points and not addressing a thing I'd said--I'm now further convinced of it.

 

Anyway, although I've been patient in the hopes of better dialogue, I'm not going to miss talking to you one bit and am perfectly happy to put you on block, which I will do, so that we don't accidentally cross paths in future.

 

The scurrilous accusations in the rest of your post dosn't merit a response, of course.

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I was taught in Methodist Sunday school that one had to be "good enough" to get into heaven. I've known many Methodist, and others, taught the same false teaching, which leaves them continually being on edge that little lie they told will keep them from heaven or that lustful thought they had will doom them to hell.

 

There is a lady in our church who spent most of her life in a church that taught it's impossible to know if one is saved or not. She was taught it's arrogant and prideful to declare oneself saved and heaven bound. Even today, after hearing the biblical truth of the matter preached and taught in our church for several years now those old teachings rear their ugly head and cause her concern.

 

Anyway, back to "Calvinism": while I understand how you see some of their beliefs conflicting with one another, I've not encountered "Calvinists" who don't know what biblical faith is, who don't believe they can't know if they are saved. The "Calvinists" I know best all believe if one is saved, they are eternally saved. While that might stand in contrast to some of the tenants of "Calvinism" you point out, that's their belief.

 

How can you know you are elect if Jesus did not die for everyone? Is your name on a list somewhere? 

 

You may not know of any Calvinists who lack assurance, but I promise you there are thousands of them. Even John Piper said he struggles with assurance. 

 

The most agonizing prOBlem about the assurance of salvation is not the prOBlem of whether the OBjective facts of Christianity are true (God exists, Christ is God, Christ died for sinners, Christ rose from the dead, Christ saves forever all who believe, etc.). Those facts are the utterly crucial bedrock of our faith. But the really agonizing prOBlem of assurance is whether I personally am saved by those facts.

 
This boils down to whether I have saving faith. What makes this agonizing - for many in the history of the church and today - is that there are people who think they have saving faith but don't. For example, in Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus says, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.'"
 
So the agonizing question for some is: do I really have saving faith? Is my faith real? Am I self-deceived? Some well-intentioned people try to lessen the prOBlem by making faith a mere decision to affirm certain truths, like the truth: Jesus is God, and he died for my sins. Some also try to assist assurance by denying that any kind of life-change is really necessary to demonstrate the reality of faith. So they find a way to make James 2:17 mean something other than what is seems to mean: "Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead." But these strategies to help assurance backfire. They deny some Scripture; and even the minimal faith they preserve can be agonized over and doubted by the tormented soul. They don't solve the prOBlem, and they lose truth. And, perhaps worst of all, they sometimes give assurance to people who should not have it.
 
This is one of Calvinism leaders, and he is not sure he has saving faith. This is the result of teaching people that they do not have the ability to believe. 
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As I said, I'm not defending "Calvinism" so much of this is beyond what I've been attempting to discuss.

 

I've no doubt, as I stated above, that there are many professing Christians, "Calvinists" and non-Calvinists alike, who have doubts regarding their salvation. Such doubt can come for many reasons.

 

The first few years after I was saved there would come times I wondered if I were really saved, if I had done what Scripture says I must. However, once I was finally discipled and sat under the teaching of a wonderful pastor, I learned what the Word says about these matters. I examined my faith by Scripture, I checked for that confirmation from the Holy Spirit, I looked at the evidence in my life, I took note that my being born again in Christ occurred in accord with Scripture. Now, just as Scripture says, I KNOW I'm saved, I KNOW I have eternal life.

 

I'm only slightly familiar with Piper. Some time back there were links posted here to Piper that I checked out. I didn't care for what he had to say or how he said it.

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As I said, I'm not defending "Calvinism" so much of this is beyond what I've been attempting to discuss.

 

I've no doubt, as I stated above, that there are many professing Christians, "Calvinists" and non-Calvinists alike, who have doubts regarding their salvation. Such doubt can come for many reasons.

 

The first few years after I was saved there would come times I wondered if I were really saved, if I had done what Scripture says I must. However, once I was finally discipled and sat under the teaching of a wonderful pastor, I learned what the Word says about these matters. I examined my faith by Scripture, I checked for that confirmation from the Holy Spirit, I looked at the evidence in my life, I took note that my being born again in Christ occurred in accord with Scripture. Now, just as Scripture says, I KNOW I'm saved, I KNOW I have eternal life.

 

I'm only slightly familiar with Piper. Some time back there were links posted here to Piper that I checked out. I didn't care for what he had to say or how he said it.

 

And what did the scriptures say you must do? 

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I've posted verses on this many times, including recently, and each time AVBB uses the opportunity to denounce the verses (including those others have posted regarding being born again) so he can promote his opinion that there are several different Gospels for different people and for different times.

 

The way of salvation is simple, as I know you understand. It's man that complicates the issue by trying to add traditions, false teachings, works and assorted hoops to jump through.

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Winman, John, that quote from Piper could apply to people with all sorts of theology -

How can I know I am elect?

How can I know my decision for Christ is sincere?

How can I be sure that the assurance I was given by the person who talked me through the sinners' prayer is real?

Adrian Rogers ("disgrace to grace" sermon on Lot) told me that having said the sinners prayer, I am saved forever, even if I live a filthy rotten life - but can I really trust him? [i heard that sermon on radio, & checked it on line.]

 

The answer must be: Build your relationship in love with CHrist & his people, read his Word, pray & meditate on his Word, hate sin & seek to live a life in the Spirit. Those aren't works for salvation, they are evidence of salvation. Our Chrstian life is a walk with God in faith & love.

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How can you know you are elect if Jesus did not die for everyone? Is your name on a list somewhere? 

 

You may not know of any Calvinists who lack assurance, but I promise you there are thousands of them. Even John Piper said he struggles with assurance. 

 

The most agonizing prOBlem about the assurance of salvation is not the prOBlem of whether the OBjective facts of Christianity are true (God exists, Christ is God, Christ died for sinners, Christ rose from the dead, Christ saves forever all who believe, etc.). Those facts are the utterly crucial bedrock of our faith. But the really agonizing prOBlem of assurance is whether I personally am saved by those facts.

 
This boils down to whether I have saving faith. What makes this agonizing - for many in the history of the church and today - is that there are people who think they have saving faith but don't. For example, in Matthew 7:21-23, Jesus says, "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven. Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?' And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; depart from me, you who practice lawlessness.'"
 
So the agonizing question for some is: do I really have saving faith? Is my faith real? Am I self-deceived? Some well-intentioned people try to lessen the prOBlem by making faith a mere decision to affirm certain truths, like the truth: Jesus is God, and he died for my sins. Some also try to assist assurance by denying that any kind of life-change is really necessary to demonstrate the reality of faith. So they find a way to make James 2:17 mean something other than what is seems to mean: "Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead." But these strategies to help assurance backfire. They deny some Scripture; and even the minimal faith they preserve can be agonized over and doubted by the tormented soul. They don't solve the prOBlem, and they lose truth. And, perhaps worst of all, they sometimes give assurance to people who should not have it.
 
This is one of Calvinism leaders, and he is not sure he has saving faith. This is the result of teaching people that they do not have the ability to believe. 

 

 

He is not my leader.

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I could be wrong, but from what I've read Piper is only embraced by a subset and is not well liked among the broader "Calvinists".

 

 

Our lives should reflect our salvation, even as Scripture says.

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I don't recall who, but I know some have put forth Piper links in the past.

 

I did - in this thread in fact. Piper is absolutely main stream thought - he is in fact a TULIP based theologian, reformed theology most definitely. I quoted him as winman to demostrate that main stream calvisinm does in fact teach that the souls salvation by limited atonement

Winman may not be my theology as far as his ideas about Christ go, but his conclusion on no one can know oif they are elect is in fact spot on.

 

John 81, you are a fence sitter brother - always riding along in the middle, not making any waves.

If you cannot speak conclusively to what calvinism teaches, in the main, then perhaps you should refrain from speaking about it all. Or educate your self and stand up and be counted on one side or the other. We are speaking to doctrine here. Not personal relations or experiences.

Calvinsim - is it Biblical or not? A plain yes or no should suffice, and then present your evidence.

I am convinced that this thread has demsotrated Calvinism in the main is a false and heretical teaching.

 

God bless,

calvary

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I'm not sitting on a fence, my position has been made clear time and again here for years.

 

It's not your posting of Piper I was thinking of, I was thinking of someone who posted Piper as a positive example of someone/something they agreed with.

 

As far as Piper is concerned, I can only go by what I've read of him. From what I've read, he makes a lot of "out there" statements so that even many Calvinists/Reformed don't care for him. He does seem to have a strong cult type following among a subset. You are correct, Piper is Calvinist/Reformed, and I didn't dispute that.

 

Just a guess, but thinking about the matter I would say R.C. Sproul is much more widely accepted among the Calvinist/Reformed "mainstream". Myself, I know very little of him either.

 

The only "Calvinist" I can think of I'm really familiar with their preaching/writing would be Spurgeon.

 

The many books I have from Sword of the Lord Publishers are of non-Calvinist IFBs. I don't listen to many sermons online but will occasionally listen to FBN. The book I'm currently reading is by non-Calvinist IFB Pastor Scott Markle. I was discipled by a non-Calvinist IFB pastor.

 

If this thread had been only a matter of doctrine, it's likely I would have read and studied the postings without comment; unless I had a question. However, this thread has also gone in the direction of making assumptions and assertions that are directly opposed to reality.

 

I've no prOBlem with sound anti-Calvinist postings but when postings are made that claim to be what Calvinists believe when in fact that's not their belief, such should be confronted. Those sort of postings only weaken any anti-Calvinist stance and open the door for confusion among onlookers and makes way for Calvinists to have a clear shot at an exposed weak point. (I'm speaking in general here and not directly at you)

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Has no one meditated on why Israel must be BORN AGAIN?

 

You consider yourselves to be students of God's word, yet this simple questions alludes you?

 

You would do well to stop arguing and bantering throughout this forum and just take time to ask God to reveal to you this simple truth.  And don't come back to the forum until he has revealed it.

 

Why must Israel be born again?

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