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    • By Jim_Alaska in Jim_Alaska's Sermons & Devotionals
         14
      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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Hi Calvary. Since you say I haven't studied the writings of 'actual Calvinists' enough to understand their teachings, I'll lay out what I have done in the interests of sharing. About seven years ago, before I was saved, and when I first learned there was such a thing as Calvinism (the Baptist church I was being taken to by a friend was reformed and I did not know it until I read their declaration), I decided to read up on it. I found out about Institutes and knew that I would never get through it, so I did a bit of searching on the net for books that Calvinists themselves were recommending and the title that came up again and again was Loraine Boettner's 1932 book Reformed Doctrine of Predestination. So I bought it and I read it. And after I read it, I tested it by looking on the net to see what other Calvinists were saying about reformed theology and for the most part I found that the book agreed with what they were saying.
 
I believe the way I summarised reformed teaching on free will in my earlier post is consistent with what Boettner says about it and what I've OBserved others who say they are Calvinist claim. Example from Boettner:
 
"...we believe that, without destroying or impairing the free agency of men, God can exercise over them a particular providence and work in them through His Holy Spirit so that they will come to Christ and persevere in His service. We believe further that none have this will and desire except those whom God has previously made willing and desirous; and that He gives this will and desire to none but his own elect."
 
Example from the Westminster Confession:
 
"All those whom God hath predestinated unto life, and those only, He is pleased, in His appointed time, effectually to call, by His Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death, in which they are by nature to grace and salvation, by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God, taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them an heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and, by His almighty power, determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ: yet so, as they come most freely, being made willing by His grace."
 
Now I just googled the three paragraphs you quoted above and the first two contain within those same paragraphs an affirmation that man is brought to a state where he freely chooses God (and it is all from one writing). Here are the ends of the first two paragraphs you quoted:
 
1. "He is not limited in His work of applying salvation by man's will, nor is He dependent upon man's cooperation for success. The Spirit graciously causes the elect sinner to cooperate, to believe, to repent, to come freely and willingly to Christ."
 
2. "A dead person is lifeless and not able to do anything. If you wish to move a dead person without any assistance, from one end of a place to another you must drag him. That is exactly what the Holy Spirit has to do to sinners to bring them to salvation. The Holy Spirit regenerates the unregenerate by turning a spiritually dead will that is in rebellion against God to one that is spiritually alive and willingly accepts Jesus as Savior and Lord."
 
So I think the way I've defined Calvinist teaching on free will is consistent with one of the major reformed confessions, with a work that Calvinists 'on the ground' recommend (example) as a staple on the subject, and with the source you yourself decided to use in this discussion.

 

Yes, Calvinism teaches that the sinner is free to choose, but he will always chose according to his nature, and thus will always choose against God. Calvinism also teaches that God regenerates the sinner so that he "most freely" chooses Jesus. 

 

The prOBlem is that scripture easily refutes that a sinner is unable to trust Jesus. 

 

Rom 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to OBey, his servants ye are to whom ye OBey; whether of sin unto death, or of OBedience unto righteousness?
17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have OBeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
 
In Romans 6:16 Paul shows that men have the ability to "yield" themselves "whether" (option) of sin unto death "or" (option) of OBedience to righteousness, both sin and righteousness being personified here. This utterly refutes Total Inability. 
 
This is further proven in verses 17 and 18. In verse 17 Paul says these Romans "were" the servants of sin, nevertheless they OBedyed the form of doctrine delivered them (the gospel). Verse 18 says "Being THEN" made free from sin, ye "became" the servants of righteousness. 
 
Again, this scripture utterly refutes the T of TULIP. This scripture directly says men who were slaves of sin OBeyed the gospel, and that AFTER OBeying the gospel they were THEN made free from sin and became servants of righteousness. 
 
Total Inability is absolutely false doctrine easily refuted directly by scripture. 
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That´s what I said, brother, I did not say that you don´t understand them on your own. I am stating that my understanding of classic reformed theoloigy is right on the money.


Well if you're 'on the money' and I'm saying you’re wrong, then clearly I don't understand them on my own do I? Both can't be true at the same time. For what it’s worth I wasn't trying to imply you were belittling me in any way, nor do I think that, and I'm really enjoying our exchange.
 

You still seem to backpeddle a bit on what the true classic reformed doctrine teaches. Irresisitble grace is not a softening of the heart, a breaking down of the defenses of man´s free will


As to the charge of backpedalling, here is my very first sentence to you:

"Every explanation I've ever read of Calvinism specifically addresses this OBjection and says that what happens is that a man's inclinations are changed so that he freely chooses Christ and has no desire to do otherwise, not that his free will is removed."

Here's the second para of my last post:

"I would argue that you mischaracterise the Calvinist position in point (2). They claim that 'therefore' the drawing of the Holy Spirit changes man's inclinations so that he now freely chooses God, not that he ends up with no free will."

How has my position changed?

Now you've twice tried to say that I ascribe to Calvinism this idea of a gentle yielding or 'softening of the heart', as opposed to the 'overthrowing' that you speak of, as if I'm trying to characterise irresistible as resistible. But I've nowhere said this. What I've said is that Calvinists claim that the 'overthrowing' is of a man's inclinations and desires, not his ability to make choices. Now if you want to argue 'so what's the difference?' then we're onto point [C] in my previous post.
 

- it is fact clearly bleieved by reformed theologians to be exactly what I presented it to be - a complete overpowering of the will, by a precursor regeneration that elads to salvation - a process that the BIble nowhere teaches, nieher by verse nor example.

 

On the contrary, I think that this claim of yours is undermined by the numerous quotes I've provided of Calvinists stating that God's overthrowing of a man's desires doesn't violate his free will. If you want to argue that this is logically inconsistent, fine, or if you want to argue that anyways neither position is supported by scripture, fine too! But right now we're talking about what Calvinists claim about their own beliefs.
 

Let´s try John Piper -
The doctrine of irresistible grace means that God is sovereign and can overcome all resistance when he wills. "He does according to his will in the host of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand!" (Daniel 4:35). "Our God is in the heavens; he does whatever he pleases" (Psalm 115:3). When God undertakes to fulfill his sovereign purpose, no one can successfully resist him.

That’s exactly what calvinism teaches. God´s grace is imposed upon the sinner as it is apparent that he has no free will to do the right thing, due to TOTAL DEPÄVITY. - in fact one cannot discuss the TULIP points or 5 pillars of reformed theology without crossing over the lines of each tenant as they all stand together or all fall by one being removed.

 

I agree that we need to cross-reference the five points to discuss them in detail and I'd go further and say that we need to discuss all of what Calvinists say about each of the five points. Calvinists very clearly state that they don't believe man's free will is negated by irresistible grace. That needs acknowledging in order to give Calvinism a fair hearing, even if it is only to argue that the claim is logically inconsistent with the other beliefs held.
 

Again, John Piper -
Someone may say, "Yes, the Holy Spirit must draw us to God, but we can use our freedom to resist or accept that drawing." Our answer is: except for the continual exertion of saving grace, we will always use our freedom to resist God. That is what it means to be "unable to submit to God." If a person becomes humble enough to submit to God it is because God has given that person a new, humble nature. If a person remains too hard hearted and proud to submit to God, it is because that person has not been given such a willing spirit. But to see this most persuasively we should look at the Scriptures

John Piper understands classic calvinism perfectly and he presetns the truest sense of the meaning of Irresistible grace - a grace that negates the free will of man, thereby requiring a "willing spirit" to be forced upon the unwilling reciepient of God´s grace. Irresisitible grace is only true oif (and I say IF) Total depravity is true, as defined by calvinism.

 

Providing more sources isn't going to help if we haven't dealt with the ones we have so far and it is my contention that you are selectively quoting Calvinists' words and not directly dealing with some of what they say. All I'm doing is acknowledging that Calvinists claim that free will isn't negated when God ‘regenerates’ a man by changing his character/inclinations, directly resulting in his choosing God--it's plainly OBvious that they claim this, as shown in the quotes I've already provided.
 

The previous aticle I quoted, (and there really is no need to quote endless sources, that site is succint in rpesenting the clearest definition of reformed doctrine) continues to say, -

 

The reason I provided one other source was because you tried to claim that I hadn't studied the writings of actual Calvinists sufficiently to question your claims. I was responding to that charge by being open about the extent of my studies.

Plus, it’s not as if I’m responding to you by just providing quotes of my own and never responding to yours—that would be talking past one another and is something that annoys me too. On the contrary, I've examined your quotes and directly responded by including the bits I feel you need to acknowledge—i.e. that Calvisists claim that free will is left intact while inclinations are wholly changed.
 

The Apostle John speaks of those for whom some would make the claim were drawn and yet refused this offer of grace. He says of them in 1 John 2:19, "They went out from us, but they were not really of us; for if they had been of us, they would have remained with us; but they went out, so that it would be shown that they all are not of us." As this passage indicates, one can appear to be a Christian, to be "of us," and not actually be as he seems. What is the one thing we learn from this passage? It is that genuinely born again people, drawn to Christ by the Father, never fall away. They remain. But those who refuse God's grace by turning from Him, no matter how authentic they may have appeared, prove that they were never truly born again to begin with.

Again, the IG cannot stand upon its own merits as it is dependent upon the "perserverance of the saints" (and that does not mean once saved always saved for a minute)
Exactly as the TD must have IG to lean upon, the PofS must be an outcropping of the IG, and on it goes., The 5 pillars are inter dependent, take one away, it all crumbles as the man made doctrine it is.

 

Agreed, but nothing to do with what we are discussing, which is what do Calvinists specifically say about irresistible grace? Do they claim that free will is preserved when it occurs? Yes they do, even in your own source.
 

Your further quote of a source I presented does nothing to diminish the reality of the theological clap trap that the reformed doctrines comprise. It solidifies the nonsense.

 

No, but what those quotes do is refute (i.m.o) your original claim that Calvinists believe free will is eradicated by irresistible grace; that Calvinists do not claim this has been my point all along.

 

Sorry for the long post

 

Carl

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Yes, Calvinism teaches that the sinner is free to choose, but he will always chose according to his nature, and thus will always choose against God. Calvinism also teaches that God regenerates the sinner so that he "most freely" chooses Jesus.


Ok, Winman. That's what Calvinism claims, according to you and me. But Calvary denies that Calvinism includes the bit I've highlighted, and that's what I've been arguing with him about.
 

The prOBlem is that scripture easily refutes that a sinner is unable to trust Jesus. 
 
Rom 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to OBey, his servants ye are to whom ye OBey; whether of sin unto death, or of OBedience unto righteousness?
17 But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have OBeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you.
18 Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness.
 
In Romans 6:16 Paul shows that men have the ability to "yield" themselves "whether" (option) of sin unto death "or" (option) of OBedience to righteousness, both sin and righteousness being personified here. This utterly refutes Total Inability. 
 
This is further proven in verses 17 and 18. In verse 17 Paul says these Romans "were" the servants of sin, nevertheless they OBedyed the form of doctrine delivered them (the gospel). Verse 18 says "Being THEN" made free from sin, ye "became" the servants of righteousness. 
 
Again, this scripture utterly refutes the T of TULIP. This scripture directly says men who were slaves of sin OBeyed the gospel, and that AFTER OBeying the gospel they were THEN made free from sin and became servants of righteousness. 
 
Total Inability is absolutely false doctrine easily refuted directly by scripture.


I deny total inability, though I wouldn't have been able to refute it scripturally so precisely as you have done there.

Btw, thanks for your other very enlightening response. I'll try to respond ASAP, hopefully this week.

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You have to be careful of the doublespeak.
They claim that man's freewill is preserved but deny that man can go against the will the will of God. That is what irresistible grace means......
It can not be resisted......

This is a roundabout that they spin endlessly on, going round and round using different meanings to make each of two opposing concept "fit" when they simply don't.

Secondly, in dealing with total depravity, they rest on an illustration (which is a dangerous thing - illustrations support concepts, they do not establish them) of a dead man being unable to do anything.

The prOBlem is that this use of the illustration - which someone has posted in this thread - is an incorrect use age and an over application of the illustration.

In a Biblical sense a dead man can indeed do things - for instance:
Rom 6:2 God forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

A saved person is "dead to sin" and yet;
1 John 1:8  If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.

So although the Bible says we are dead to sin, yet we do still sin.
How is this possible if to be dead means that you are incapable of doing anything?

These passages tell us that even though we are dead to sin, we are still capable of sinning.

The Biblical usage of death goes against the application of the illustration of death to mean total inability.

In every conversation I have personally had face to face with any Calvinist about these issues they always fall back onto this illustration as to why a man must be made alive before he can believe.
But it is a false premise based upon an unbiblical application of an illustration.

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Ok, Winman. That's what Calvinism claims, according to you and me. But Calvary denies that Calvinism includes the bit I've highlighted, and that's what I've been arguing with him about.
 


I deny total inability, though I wouldn't have been able to refute it scripturally so precisely as you have done there.

Btw, thanks for your other very enlightening response. I'll try to respond ASAP, hopefully this week.

Sorry, I am not familiar with your argument yet. 

 

Different Calvinists say different things. The WCF says men "most freely" accept Christ and that God does not violate man's free will.

 

I. All those whom God hath predestinated unto life, and those only, He is pleased, in His appointed time, effectually to call, by His Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death, in which they are by nature to grace and salvation, by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God, taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them an heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and, by His almighty power, determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ: yet so, as they come most freely, being made willing by His grace.

 

On the opposite end, R.C. Sproul has written of "the holy rape of the soul" in the past. That absolutely sounds like FORCE to me. 

 

So, it is hard to nail Calvinists down, they say many contradictory things. One Calvinist might believe quite different from another, and you will always be accused of misrepresenting Calvinism, even if you quote their creeds or teachers verbatim. 

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Yes!

 

 

John 5:25

 

It doesn't say they dead shall be made alive, before they hear: It says the dead shall hear the voice of the son of God.

 

Lazarus was dead when he heard the voice of Jesus; the same, majestic, powerful voice of Psalm 29.

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Sorry, I am not familiar with your argument yet. 

 

Different Calvinists say different things. The WCF says men "most freely" accept Christ and that God does not violate man's free will.

 

I. All those whom God hath predestinated unto life, and those only, He is pleased, in His appointed time, effectually to call, by His Word and Spirit, out of that state of sin and death, in which they are by nature to grace and salvation, by Jesus Christ; enlightening their minds spiritually and savingly to understand the things of God, taking away their heart of stone, and giving unto them an heart of flesh; renewing their wills, and, by His almighty power, determining them to that which is good, and effectually drawing them to Jesus Christ: yet so, as they come most freely, being made willing by His grace.

 

On the opposite end, R.C. Sproul has written of "the holy rape of the soul" in the past. That absolutely sounds like FORCE to me. 

 

So, it is hard to nail Calvinists down, they say many contradictory things. One Calvinist might believe quite different from another, and you will always be accused of misrepresenting Calvinism, even if you quote their creeds or teachers verbatim. 

 

My 'argument' has only been that every Calvinist writing I've read affirms what you've just highlighted from WCF and that therefore if we want to talk about what Calvinists claim about free will, that needs dealing with.

 

Sure there will be a range of views from Calvinists--nothing news there--but we can always focus on the most common. It's not as if I've just set my wits about me looking for a source that claims to be Calvinist but says something different to that of most other Calvinists so that I can play 'gotcha' with folk.

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I'm not sure how, or if, this fits into the current conversation, but I just came across this quote online.

 

"At the heart of Reformed theology this axiom resounds: Regeneration precedes faith." R.C. Sproul

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I'm not sure how, or if, this fits into the current conversation, but I just came across this quote online.

 

"At the heart of Reformed theology this axiom resounds: Regeneration precedes faith." R.C. Sproul

If regeneration precedes faith, then this would make faith unnecessary since the person would already be saved. If a person is regenerated, then he is born of God, a member of God’s family and a possessor of eternal life. If you are a member of God’s family and a possessor of eternal life, then you are already saved. So what need is there for faith?

 

Does Regeneration Precede Faith?|Calvinism's Other Side

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If regeneration precedes faith, then this would make faith unnecessary since the person would already be saved. If a person is regenerated, then he is born of God, a member of God’s family and a possessor of eternal life. If you are a member of God’s family and a possessor of eternal life, then you are already saved. So what need is there for faith?

 

What does RC Sproul mean when he uses the word 'regeneration'? If his interpretation of that word isn't the same as the one you've just given in bold, then your argument (and the whole article you linked to) relies on equivocation.

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I'm not sure how, or if, this fits into the current conversation, but I just came across this quote online.

 

"At the heart of Reformed theology this axiom resounds: Regeneration precedes faith." R.C. Sproul

Yes, Calvinism insists that regeneration precedes faith. Calvinism believes unregenerated man is UNABLE to believe. They teach that a man must be made spiritually alive before he can believe, repent, or even will to come to Jesus. 

 

The prOBlem with this view is that until you believe you are DEAD IN SIN. No one can be spiritually alive until AFTER they believe. All scripture supports that a person must first believe before they are made spiritually alive. 

 

Jhn 20:31 But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.

 

John 20:31 says you must believe to have life, as do many other famous verses like John 3:16.

 

Calvinism will use many proof texts to support their view that regeneration precedes faith. One famous such verse is John 3:3;

 

Jhn 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

 

Calvinists will say unless you are regenerated (born again) you cannot "see" the kingdom of God. They interpret the word "see" to mean "understand". Calvinists will teach that an unregenerated man cannot possibly understand the gospel. They also use 1 Cor 2:14 as a proof text for this view. 

 

But John 3:3 does not say one word about believing or faith.

 

Another favorite passage Calvinists love to quote is Eph 2:1-5;

 

Eph 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;
2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disOBedience:
3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
 
Calvinists will say, "See, you had to be regenerated, you had to be quickened, because you were dead in sin before you could believe"
 
But does this passage mention faith? NOPE. Calvinists simply read that into scripture when it is not there. They will also misinterpret verses 8 and 9 to say that faith is a gift from God, and that unless God regenerates you , you could not possibly believe. 
 
There are a few other verses Calvinism misinterprets to support their false view that regeneration precedes faith, but they are easily refuted. 
 
The word regenerated literally means to be made "alive" "again" as Jesus said in Luke chapter 15 twice.
 
Luk 15:24 For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to be merry.
 
Luk 15:32 It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad: for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and was lost, and is found.
 
When the prodigal son repented, twice Jesus said he was alive AGAIN. This is why I personally do not believe the doctrine of Original Sin that teaches we are born dead in sin. If we are all born dead in sin, then it would not be possible to say we are alive AGAIN, but that is exactly what Jesus said twice. 
 
And that is the literal meaning of "regeneration" to be made alive AGAIN.
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What does RC Sproul mean when he uses the word 'regeneration'? If his interpretation of that word isn't the same as the one you've just given in bold, then your argument (and the whole article you linked to) relies on equivocation.

Regeneration means born again; given new life; spiritually renewed.  Sinners are regenerated when they trust Jesus Christ (Titus 3:5).

 

Titus 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

 

Instead of making assumptions about what R. C. Sproul means by the word "regeneration....why don't you read the entire article?  I just posted a small portion of it.

 

Are we "born again before we are born again"?  No reliance on equivocation.

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Instead of making assumptions about what R. C. Sproul means by the word "regeneration....why don't you read the entire article?  I just posted a small portion of it.

 

I've not made any assumptions about what RC Sproul means. You've commented on his quote and provided a definition of regeneration which you've presumed in your argument is the one Sproul is using. Your definition of regeneration is synonymous with 'saved', so I'm asking if Calvinists like Sproul mean 'saved' when they say 'regenerated'.

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What does RC Sproul mean when he uses the word 'regeneration'? If his interpretation of that word isn't the same as the one you've just given in bold, then your argument (and the whole article you linked to) relies on equivocation.


That was exactly my point a few posts ago.
Redefinition of words....

But you should do a study on regeneration and see what the Bible says as bout it.

That is where our definitions should come from.
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But we're not discussing the Bible at the moment, are we, Dave? We're discussing Calvinism. Whether or not Calvinists like Sproul are using the term Biblically, they mean something when they say it, so it's fair to ask what that is.

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But we're not discussing the Bible at the moment, are we, Dave? We're discussing Calvinism. Whether or not Calvinists like Sproul are using the term Biblically, they mean something when they say it, so it's fair to ask what that is.


But that is exactly my point.
If they redefine words - which every cult does - then their argument changes.
This is exactly what the Calvinist does with free will and how you end up on the roundabout.
The BIBLE defines what it means, and if a man puts a different definition on a word for the purposes of an argument, then that man has an agenda which is likely to be less than truthful.

Do the study, figure out what the Bible says about regeneration, then read the Calvinists comments in light of Biblical definitions.

In light of biblical definitions the Calvinist says you must be saved before you can believe or have faith, and that happens when God by His choice makes you alive - therefore salvation actually has nothing to do with the blood of Christ - it is done before the blood is applied.

And that is another Gospel which is not another.

Biblical definitions are important.
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9) Believes that the AV has a built in Dictionary to Define the English words used in the AV text

10) Believes that the AV has a divine built in cross-reference for establishing Bible Doctrine

Dave is on the right track.  Calvinism is not using rightly defined terms of the Bible.  Definition of all words used in a bible believers doctrines should be defined from the Bible because it has its own built in dictionary. these definitions are there for us to rightly divide and rightly come to sound doctrine.

 

If Calvinist use a plethora of English and Greek dictionaries to establish the meaning of words then those meanings are not necessarily of God or of His Word the AV Holy Bible.

 

First establish the meaning from God's word then establish your doctrine from those meanings and contexts.  If they are not there in God's words then they are not the Doctrines of God.

 

Jesus said it this way, John 7:16, 17 Jesus answered them, and said, My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me.   If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.   Calvinism cannot make its own doctrine it must be of God's word.  the way to determine is to study out (God's will for us is to study), the words in context and define the meaning from those words contexts.   The way to know if it is of God and see if it is of the word of God, is to rightly divide and define those words from Scripture context.  When we do this, we see that Calvinism is of man and not of God because it fails to study out the meanings in the Bible and its context.  the proponents of Calvinism (like JW's) go to Greek and English Dictionaries to establish the meanings and ignore God's words, found in the ONLY Book of his word's, the AV Holy Bible.  The link I posted earlier to the article on Calvinism the person who wrote it does just that.  Studies the words according to God's word and establishes the contextual meaning and set forth sound doctrine that Calvinism is not Biblical in any way.

 

Take time to go back and click the link and read through the article.

 

 

Biblical definitions are important.

They are not just important they are the basis upon which we build sound doctrine without them we are teaching the doctrine of men and devils.

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But that is exactly my point.
If they redefine words - which every cult does - then their argument changes.
This is exactly what the Calvinist does with free will and how you end up on the roundabout.
The BIBLE defines what it means, and if a man puts a different definition on a word for the purposes of an argument, then that man has an agenda which is likely to be less than truthful.

Do the study, figure out what the Bible says about regeneration, then read the Calvinists comments in light of Biblical definitions.

In light of biblical definitions the Calvinist says you must be saved before you can believe or have faith, and that happens when God by His choice makes you alive - therefore salvation actually has nothing to do with the blood of Christ - it is done before the blood is applied.

And that is another Gospel which is not another.

Biblical definitions are important.

 

Bible definitions are important for finding out what the Bible says; to find out what a man is saying, you have to look at their own definitions, if they provide them. I agree with you that some people continually redifine their own terms, making that task fruitless, but not everyone we disagree with does that.

 

It's just plain common sense that if you want to understand a person's own arguments, you need to look at their own definitions of their words, if they expand on them, which verbose puritan/Calvinist writers tend to do. That goes for anything, not just Bible discussions. If I start talking about urban regeneration, you'll be totally off-track if you use the Biblical definition of regeneration to try to understand what I'm talking about.

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Calvinism is not using rightly defined terms of the Bible.  Definition of all words used in a bible believers doctrines should be defined from the Bible because it has its own built in dictionary. these definitions are there for us to rightly divide and rightly come to sound doctrine.e.

 

Let's assume Calvinists get every single Biblical word wrong. Let's assume that when they use the word 'regeneration' they actually mean 'camel', as in 'I loaded up my regeneration with goods to sell at the market'. That a person doesn't use words properly may be a valid criticism, but it doesn't change the fact that if you want to understand that person properly you have to examine what they mean when they say things.

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Yes, it's important to note what a person's actual definition is, as they see it, of any given word or term.

 

As an example of this, years ago when discussing Christianity with a Black Muslim, he kept getting hung up on the Christian concept of not being part of the world and aspects of that. My first attempts to deal with this met with frustration from him. At that point I asked him what he thought was meant by "the world". That's when we were able to make progress. He was thinking of the physical world, in terms of creation and all the things in the world; which is very much different than the Christian definition as relates to particular passages of Scripture.

 

Once we came to an understanding of where each was coming from, we were able to make progress in our discussions.

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