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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.

Total Depravity...


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    I can't fly in and of myself, but I can buy a plane ticket and ride in a plane as it flies. (Flying, in this metaphor, being salvation.)

    Arminians* (if I understand them correctly) seem to agree up to that point that we don't save ourselves, but we choose to "get on the plane". (And, they would argue, we can choose to get back off.)

    Calvinists, however, take it further and would say, not only can I not fly, I have no money for the ticket, so it must be purchased by someone else. I agree.

    Going even further, some Calvinists would say that I'm also incapable of walking and must be carried onto the plane. Even this, I can agree with.

    Going even further, Calvinists would say that the entire idea of flying was introduced to me by someone else, and I wouldn't have even bothered had I not been made excited about the idea. This too, I have no problem with, and agree completely.

    With each of these scenarios, there remains an element of personal choice, diminishing as it may be, it's still there.

    So each of these steps within the Calvinist' scenario presume my choice to get on the airplane (just my inability to fly, afford a ticket, actually walk onto the plane or come up with the idea on my own.)

    Hyper-Calvinists (as I will call them) take it a step further and say even my choice to get on the plane is made by someone else, so, like a 2-year-old, I'm told I will fly on the airplane, am carried to the plane, and placed in my seat and buckled in.

    In the end, it seems the concept of Total Depravity very much depends on how absolute you define the term "Total".

    None of my pets could, on their own, go to the vet. If I go outside, open the car door and say, "In!" My dogs, more than likely, would jump into the car, excited to be going somewhere. My cat (when I had one) would need to be crated, in the house, and carried, hissing and spitting to the car and then we could drive to the vet. Thus the distinction between Calvinism and Hyper-Calvinism.

    I see what we call Calvinism as emphasizing how small our part in our salvation is, while still acknowledging there is at least a small part we play. 

    I am introduced to the idea of salvation. I am encouraged toward the choice. Once made, I am comforted and strengthened by the Holy Spirit in that choice as I grow. The choice places me within the ability to receive the sanctification purchased on the cross. My part seems very trivial and small, but nonetheless, it is still there, as minuscule as it may be.

    It becomes tempting, when embracing Calvinism, to try to push it further, but that leads to an illogical conclusion, which in the end makes God into a blindfolded guy reaching into a basket of apples, randomly selecting a few. It robs God (metaphorically) of His choice, since without any consideration of our contribution, it logically must be arbitrary and random.

    *Being unfamiliar with the arguments Arminians make, I'm only assuming I'm representing them accurately here.

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The problem with Calvinism is that it has an unbiblical definition of works. It applies that term to any thought or physical action man does. This is not found in scripture. In fact biblical works is always and only a reference to OT law. 
 

 

The idea that man’s biblical response to Gods offer of salvation based on the sovereign design of God is works does not meet scripture or logic. When someone gives a gift of any kind and the intended receiver of that gift reaches out and receives that gift do we then also credit the receiver as being partially responsible for giving himself the gift? 
 

Yet this is what Calvinism teaches or at least it’s proponents often claim. It’s unbiblical and faulty logic.

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2 hours ago, pastormitchell said:

The problem with Calvinism is that it has an unbiblical definition of works. It applies that term to any thought or physical action man does. This is not found in scripture. In fact biblical works is always and only a reference to OT law. 
 

 

The idea that man’s biblical response to Gods offer of salvation based on the sovereign design of God is works does not meet scripture or logic. When someone gives a gift of any kind and the intended receiver of that gift reaches out and receives that gift do we then also credit the receiver as being partially responsible for giving himself the gift? 
 

Yet this is what Calvinism teaches or at least it’s proponents often claim. It’s unbiblical and faulty logic.

The first problem is using the word "Calvinism" to describe things random people say, without regards to how well they line up with what John Calvin himself taught. Whatever label you want to call yourself, we can always find someone, spouting nonsense, under the same label. It doesn't mean that everyone who uses that label believes the exact same.

What you seem to be describing as Calvinism actually sounds like Arminianism, the polar opposite theological belief. 

The believe that we offer absolutely nothing at all to our salvation is in fact Hyper-Calvinism. And is illogical as I describe in the original post.

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Calvinism can be defined in a myriad of ways. The easiest point of contention is the idea that we have no role in our salvation. They say no man can come to God even if prompted by another, a Christian Holy Spirit filled Gospel breathing individual. 
 

This dichotomy that they present is actually an older heresy of Dualism, they deny that the exterior ( of our Soul, and Body ) can be used by the LORD to present himself. They suggest that only when the LORD is dwelling within the individual is then the LORD working the individuals salvation. - and there in lies the issue, they deny the existence of the Holy Spirit outside ones Body.

This is a form of dualism that is covered by re-definition of Biblical language. This doctrine ties into the doctrine of how they define the Sovereignty of the LORD. Which, is not a word ever found in scripture so they have more liberty to define, as it is not a word scripture bound. 

 

 

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Actually, Danny, what you call hyperCalvinism above is mainstream Calvinism - those who believe in all five points of Calvinism. Some choose not to believe in all five points and still call themselves Calvinism - but they represent those outside mainstream Calvinism, not mainstream Calvinism itself.

They teach that you have no choice in your salvation - not only is the gift of salvation of God (which I agree is a free gift offered to mankind because of what Jesus has done for us on the cross), but that your will was basically overridden by God, your faith was given by God, therefore your response itself was dictated or moved by God (ie. you were not given the ability to respond, but that God Himself caused you to respond).

Also, Calvinism teaches a form of works - ie. that you must endure to the end to be saved. Your enduring to the end ensures your salvation. If you don't endure to the end, ultimately you are not saved even if you thought you were for all those years. Whereas the Bible teaches God's preservation of the saints, not the perseverance of the saints (ie. for salvation). (Yes, true believers will cling to Christ - but if they struggle, doubt, or backslide, the Lord is still keeping them in His hand and will still bring them home to Heaven when they die - they are still His children. I am not referring to those who reject the Lord and His Word somewhere down the road after professing to be saved for so long. 1 John 2:19 indicates that those "professors" of salvation were never really saved in the first place - ie. they didn't lose their salvation; they never had it).

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7 minutes ago, Jerry said:

Actually, Danny, what you call hyperCalvinism above is mainstream Calvinism - those who believe in all five points of Calvinism. Some choose not to believe in all five points and still call themselves Calvinism - but they represent those outside mainstream Calvinism, not mainstream Calvinism itself.

They teach that you have no choice in your salvation - not only is the gift of salvation of God (which I agree is a free gift offered to mankind because of what Jesus has done for us on the cross), but that your will was basically overridden by God, your faith was given by God, therefore your response itself was dictated or moved by God (ie. you were not given the ability to respond, but that God Himself caused you to respond).

Also, Calvinism teaches a form of works - ie. that you must endure to the end to be saved. Your enduring to the end ensures your salvation. If you don't endure to the end, ultimately you are not saved even if you thought you were for all those years. Whereas the Bible teaches God's preservation of the saints, not the perseverance of the saints (ie. for salvation). (Yes, true believers will cling to Christ - but if they struggle, doubt, or backslide, the Lord is still keeping them in His hand and will still bring them home to Heaven when they die - they are still His children. I am not referring to those who reject the Lord and His Word somewhere down the road after professing to be saved for so long. 1 John 2:19 indicates that those "professors" of salvation were never really saved in the first place - ie. they didn't lose their salvation; they never had it).

I’ve never talked with a cal that believed one must endure to the end to be saved. Everyone I’ve spoken with( which is many) believe you will endure to the end because you are saved. 

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1 hour ago, Hugh_Flower said:

Calvinism can be defined in a myriad of ways. The easiest point of contention is the idea that we have no role in our salvation. They say no man can come to God even if prompted by another, a Christian Holy Spirit filled Gospel breathing individual. 
 

This dichotomy that they present is actually an older heresy of Dualism, they deny that the exterior ( of our Soul, and Body ) can be used by the LORD to present himself. They suggest that only when the LORD is dwelling within the individual is then the LORD working the individuals salvation. - and there in lies the issue, they deny the existence of the Holy Spirit outside ones Body.

This is a form of dualism that is covered by re-definition of Biblical language. This doctrine ties into the doctrine of how they define the Sovereignty of the LORD. Which, is not a word ever found in scripture so they have more liberty to define, as it is not a word scripture bound. 

 

 

Odd that you say it can be defined in many different ways, then proceed to give a definitive definition. I would say that to claim any particular believe is real Calvinism, you'd need to show where in Calvin's Institutes it teaches exactly that. 

20 minutes ago, Jerry said:

Actually, Danny, what you call hyperCalvinism above is mainstream Calvinism - those who believe in all five points of Calvinism. Some choose not to believe in all five points and still call themselves Calvinism - but they represent those outside mainstream Calvinism, not mainstream Calvinism itself.

They teach that you have no choice in your salvation - not only is the gift of salvation of God (which I agree is a free gift offered to mankind because of what Jesus has done for us on the cross), but that your will was basically overridden by God, your faith was given by God, therefore your response itself was dictated or moved by God (ie. you were not given the ability to respond, but that God Himself caused you to respond).

Also, Calvinism teaches a form of works - ie. that you must endure to the end to be saved. Your enduring to the end ensures your salvation. If you don't endure to the end, ultimately you are not saved even if you thought you were for all those years. Whereas the Bible teaches God's preservation of the saints, not the perseverance of the saints (ie. for salvation). (Yes, true believers will cling to Christ - but if they struggle, doubt, or backslide, the Lord is still keeping them in His hand and will still bring them home to Heaven when they die - they are still His children. I am not referring to those who reject the Lord and His Word somewhere down the road after professing to be saved for so long. 1 John 2:19 indicates that those "professors" of salvation were never really saved in the first place - ie. they didn't lose their salvation; they never had it).

It sounds like you are basing your definition of Calvinism on one or two people, who may or may not actually be true Calvinists. Again, Calvin's Institutes would be the source to go to to find what is or isn't Calvinism, not what some guy said who claimed to be a Calvinist.

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No offense, but why would I want to read a book by a heretic, whose doctrines came straight from Augustine? I can deal with modern day Calvinists - but I have no desire to read a book written by someone who literally supposedly just got saved the within two years of writing his "great" Institutes and coming out of the Catholic church. If he truly did get saved, there is no way he would have any solid understanding of the Bible within his first year or so of being saved. God would have opened his understanding the year before and then he would start building a foundation - instead he wrote these huge theological works, mostly founded on Augustine (who is a father of the Catholic church).

And you're doing the same thing you think I am doing - picking a few people to represent the mainstream of Calvinism. Calvinist doctrine is based on the "five points" of Calvinism. I think it is fair to say that those who don't hold to all five points of Calvinism are only Calvinists in name or do not represent mainstream Calvinism. They may have a brand of Calvinism and may call themselves Calvinists. Spurgeon called himself a Calvinist, but the longer he preached the Bible the more he realized that limited atonement that Calvin taught was not true. I'm sure there are many that only hold to parts of Calvinism but want to be considered Calvinists (and therefore those who refute ANY of them really never know what they are talking about, according to those they debate with).

Calvinism is heresy/false teaching pure and simple. So is Arminianism (not sure if I spelled that right). The truth lies somewhere in the middle and was not taught by either of them or their systems of theology.

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26 minutes ago, Danny Carlton said:

Odd that you say it can be defined in many different ways, then proceed to give a definitive definition. I would say that to claim any particular believe is real Calvinism, you'd need to show where in Calvin's Institutes it teaches exactly that. 

It sounds like you are basing your definition of Calvinism on one or two people, who may or may not actually be true Calvinists. Again, Calvin's Institutes would be the source to go to to find what is or isn't Calvinism, not what some guy said who claimed to be a Calvinist.

I did not define Calvinism, the entire TULIP does it for me, Now separating John Calvin and his theology and Calvinism is another topic.

I don’t care to argue semantics - which is what Calvinism does.

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For the sake of the argument, even if those I read or heard (and the same with every other poster here - those they have heard or read) speak about Calvinism do or do not represent mainstream Calvinism or Calvin himself - that doesn't matter. There are so many different views and they all state you can never truly latch on to their exact brand of Calvinism. What matters is Calvinism is a system of false theology, not founded upon the Word of God in any of its primary points. Instead of debating this or that viewpoint, maybe it would be better to show where they differ from the Bible on each primary point.

Total Depravity - yes, man is depraved, but God gives us a will, the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin and need of the Saviour, and we are able to receive or reject the Saviour and His salvation. This is seen in both instances, for example, in the book of Acts. Calvinism teaches man is unable to respond unless the Holy Spirit regenerates them first, then they are born again (however, regenerate means born again! - so they are born again in order to be born again...).

Third point: Limited Atonement - that is clearly not according to the Bible. The NT even states Jesus died for the world (John 3:16; 2 Corinthians 5:19), for all (1 Timothy 2:6; Isaiah 53:6), for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2), died for every man (Hebrews 2:9; 1 Timothy 4:10), died for false teachers (2 Peter 2:1), died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6), etc. - whereas Calvinism teaches Jesus only died for the elect.

All five points of Calvinism can be clearly refuted from the Bible, taking every verse in context, without twisting anything.

And part of Calvinism is the teaching that God elected some for salvation and some for damnation. The Bible does not teach either. It teaches that those who trust Christ for salvation are predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ, given an inheritance in Christ, given a home in Heaven, given eternal life - not predestined to Heaven or Hell regardless of their personal choice in the matter.

Edited by Jerry
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The following is taken from the Way of Life Encyclopedia (just using or for a basic definition):

Total Depravity: Man is totally corrupt and dead in his sin so that he cannot even respond to the gospel unless God sovereignly enables him, which only happens if he is one of the elect. God not only must enable the dead sinner but must sovereignly regenerate him and give him the gift of faith. In the words of the Westminster Confession Total Depravity is defined as follows: “Man, by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation; so as a natural man being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.”

The Calvinist doctrine of Total Depravity does not mean merely that the sinner has no righteousness of his own or that his heart is depraved. It means also that his will is in bondage to sin in such a fashion that he is unable to believe the gospel. Further, it means that he must therefore be born again before he can believe. Arthur Pink states this doctrine as follows: “Faith is not the cause of the new birth, but the consequence of it. This ought not to need arguing. ... Faith is a spiritual grace, the fruit of the spiritual nature, and because the unregenerate are spiritually dead--‘dead in trespasses and sins’--then it follows that faith from them is impossible, for a dead man cannot believe anything” (The Sovereignty of God, p. 73).
 
---------
The Bible itself teaches man can respond to the Gospel - receive it or reject it. Of course, the Holy Spirit is doing His work of convicting and testifying of the Lord Jesus Christ, but never forces anyone to be saved apart from their own will and response to the truth.
 
Acts 7:51-53 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.
 
Regeneration comes after a person receives the Gospel, after he trusts in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation - and is not the reason for their salvation. That would be putting the cart before the horse, so to speak.
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Arthur Pink is someone that teaches you must endure to the end to be saved. Macarthur SEEMS to teach it at various points in his books (I am saying seems because I don't have a perfect memory and it is possible I am misremembering or misunderstanding him - however, if he is not teaching this and that is what I am getting out of his Calvinistic teachings, then he needs to be clearer if that is not what he was intending to say). I have appreciated some of his writings lately (especially in defense of the Scriptures as being all we need for our Christian walks and beliefs); however, when he starts presenting his Calvinism in certain chapters, those I do not appreciate or endorse in any way, shape or form. The statements he makes in those parts of his books clearly contradict the rest of the Bible, and at various places seems to be an attempt at forcing this doctrine where the Bible isn't even speaking about the issues he is speaking about.

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1 hour ago, Jerry said:

The following is taken from the Way of Life Encyclopedia (just using or for a basic definition):

Total Depravity: Man is totally corrupt and dead in his sin so that he cannot even respond to the gospel unless God sovereignly enables him, which only happens if he is one of the elect. God not only must enable the dead sinner but must sovereignly regenerate him and give him the gift of faith. In the words of the Westminster Confession Total Depravity is defined as follows: “Man, by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation; so as a natural man being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.”

The Calvinist doctrine of Total Depravity does not mean merely that the sinner has no righteousness of his own or that his heart is depraved. It means also that his will is in bondage to sin in such a fashion that he is unable to believe the gospel. Further, it means that he must therefore be born again before he can believe. Arthur Pink states this doctrine as follows: “Faith is not the cause of the new birth, but the consequence of it. This ought not to need arguing. ... Faith is a spiritual grace, the fruit of the spiritual nature, and because the unregenerate are spiritually dead--‘dead in trespasses and sins’--then it follows that faith from them is impossible, for a dead man cannot believe anything” (The Sovereignty of God, p. 73).
 
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The Bible itself teaches man can respond to the Gospel - receive it or reject it. Of course, the Holy Spirit is doing His work of convicting and testifying of the Lord Jesus Christ, but never forces anyone to be saved apart from their own will and response to the truth.
 
Acts 7:51-53 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.
 
Regeneration comes after a person receives the Gospel, after he trusts in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation - and is not the reason for their salvation. That would be putting the cart before the horse, so to speak.

I agree but what is missing is that faith comes by hearing the word of God. Romans 10:17

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Yes, certainly. I wasn't focussed on that - but I agree. Man cannot respond to the Gospel until he has first heard or read the Gospel. Then the Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to convict him of his sins and his need for the Saviour, and the person is left with the choice of what to do with Jesus/the Gospel. When someone responds positively and receives the Lord Jesus Christ, trusting Him alone for salvation, then the Holy Spirit regenerates him and he becomes a born again child of God.

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On 11/9/2021 at 1:20 PM, Jerry said:

No offense, but why would I want to read a book by a heretic, whose doctrines came straight from Augustine? I can deal with modern day Calvinists - but I have no desire to read a book written by someone who literally supposedly just got saved the within two years of writing his "great" Institutes and coming out of the Catholic church. If he truly did get saved, there is no way he would have any solid understanding of the Bible within his first year or so of being saved. God would have opened his understanding the year before and then he would start building a foundation - instead he wrote these huge theological works, mostly founded on Augustine (who is a father of the Catholic church).

And you're doing the same thing you think I am doing - picking a few people to represent the mainstream of Calvinism. Calvinist doctrine is based on the "five points" of Calvinism. I think it is fair to say that those who don't hold to all five points of Calvinism are only Calvinists in name or do not represent mainstream Calvinism. They may have a brand of Calvinism and may call themselves Calvinists. Spurgeon called himself a Calvinist, but the longer he preached the Bible the more he realized that limited atonement that Calvin taught was not true. I'm sure there are many that only hold to parts of Calvinism but want to be considered Calvinists (and therefore those who refute ANY of them really never know what they are talking about, according to those they debate with).

Calvinism is heresy/false teaching pure and simple. So is Arminianism (not sure if I spelled that right). The truth lies somewhere in the middle and was not taught by either of them or their systems of theology.

So you can know for sure that what people say about him is actually true. Wouldn't you want people to read your writings in the event someone started calling you a heretic?

On 11/9/2021 at 1:32 PM, Hugh_Flower said:

I did not define Calvinism, the entire TULIP does it for me, Now separating John Calvin and his theology and Calvinism is another topic.

I don’t care to argue semantics - which is what Calvinism does.

Since it bears his name, it would be logical that true Calvinism would adhere to what John Calvin wrote, not what other people, using him name, claim it means. We certainly don't let just anyone define Christianity.

On 11/9/2021 at 1:38 PM, Jerry said:

For the sake of the argument, even if those I read or heard (and the same with every other poster here - those they have heard or read) speak about Calvinism do or do not represent mainstream Calvinism or Calvin himself - that doesn't matter. There are so many different views and they all state you can never truly latch on to their exact brand of Calvinism. What matters is Calvinism is a system of false theology, not founded upon the Word of God in any of its primary points. Instead of debating this or that viewpoint, maybe it would be better to show where they differ from the Bible on each primary point.

Total Depravity - yes, man is depraved, but God gives us a will, the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin and need of the Saviour, and we are able to receive or reject the Saviour and His salvation. This is seen in both instances, for example, in the book of Acts. Calvinism teaches man is unable to respond unless the Holy Spirit regenerates them first, then they are born again (however, regenerate means born again! - so they are born again in order to be born again...).

Third point: Limited Atonement - that is clearly not according to the Bible. The NT even states Jesus died for the world (John 3:16; 2 Corinthians 5:19), for all (1 Timothy 2:6; Isaiah 53:6), for the sins of the whole world (1 John 2:2), died for every man (Hebrews 2:9; 1 Timothy 4:10), died for false teachers (2 Peter 2:1), died for the ungodly (Romans 5:6), etc. - whereas Calvinism teaches Jesus only died for the elect.

All five points of Calvinism can be clearly refuted from the Bible, taking every verse in context, without twisting anything.

And part of Calvinism is the teaching that God elected some for salvation and some for damnation. The Bible does not teach either. It teaches that those who trust Christ for salvation are predestined to be conformed to the image of Christ, given an inheritance in Christ, given a home in Heaven, given eternal life - not predestined to Heaven or Hell regardless of their personal choice in the matter.

You can't define it, but it's false. Seems to me you've just defined what you claim can't be defined.

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On 11/9/2021 at 1:54 PM, Jerry said:

The following is taken from the Way of Life Encyclopedia (just using or for a basic definition):

Total Depravity: Man is totally corrupt and dead in his sin so that he cannot even respond to the gospel unless God sovereignly enables him, which only happens if he is one of the elect. God not only must enable the dead sinner but must sovereignly regenerate him and give him the gift of faith. In the words of the Westminster Confession Total Depravity is defined as follows: “Man, by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation; so as a natural man being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.”

The Calvinist doctrine of Total Depravity does not mean merely that the sinner has no righteousness of his own or that his heart is depraved. It means also that his will is in bondage to sin in such a fashion that he is unable to believe the gospel. Further, it means that he must therefore be born again before he can believe. Arthur Pink states this doctrine as follows: “Faith is not the cause of the new birth, but the consequence of it. This ought not to need arguing. ... Faith is a spiritual grace, the fruit of the spiritual nature, and because the unregenerate are spiritually dead--‘dead in trespasses and sins’--then it follows that faith from them is impossible, for a dead man cannot believe anything” (The Sovereignty of God, p. 73).
 
---------
The Bible itself teaches man can respond to the Gospel - receive it or reject it. Of course, the Holy Spirit is doing His work of convicting and testifying of the Lord Jesus Christ, but never forces anyone to be saved apart from their own will and response to the truth.
 
Acts 7:51-53 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.
 
Regeneration comes after a person receives the Gospel, after he trusts in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation - and is not the reason for their salvation. That would be putting the cart before the horse, so to speak.

Again, does this definition actually conform to Calvin's writing? I know lots of people who call themselves Calvinists, that believe a lot of varied things regarding the entire ZTULIP thing. Ultimately there are only three opinions that matter: What do I believe is true (which should conform to scripture), what did Calvin himself teach and ultimately, what does the Bible say. It's dangerous to latch onto a raw concept and defend it while disregarding everything else. That's what (who I call) Hyper-Calvinists do. It seems like what you are doing, too. 

I started this thread to discuss the scriptural backing for Total Depravity. Calvin's teachings themselves come second to that and are ultimately only important in defining what Calvinism is or is not. Whatever Calvinism actually is, is at best secondary to scripture. The concept of TULIP, to me, is useful only as it is defined by scripture, not by Calvinists, Hyper-Calvinists, Ne-Calvinists, Arminians, or any other group. 

On 11/9/2021 at 3:14 PM, pastormitchell said:

I agree but what is missing is that faith comes by hearing the word of God. Romans 10:17

But isn't saying "Faith comes by hearing" similar to "To make a cake you need flour"? Hearing the gospel is a vital ingredient, but not the only ingredient. I agree that the idea that we contribute absolutely nothing to our salvation is flawed in the face of both Scripture as well as Logic (by what, then, is God basing His decision to choose us on?) I'm not saying you're wrong, just pointing out that that verse is part of the answer, but a part Hyper-Calvinists ignore.

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On 11/9/2021 at 3:38 PM, Jerry said:

Yes, certainly. I wasn't focussed on that - but I agree. Man cannot respond to the Gospel until he has first heard or read the Gospel. Then the Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to convict him of his sins and his need for the Saviour, and the person is left with the choice of what to do with Jesus/the Gospel. When someone responds positively and receives the Lord Jesus Christ, trusting Him alone for salvation, then the Holy Spirit regenerates him and he becomes a born again child of God.

I think the crux of the problem in regards to -isms, is that rather than starting with Scripture, then applying Logic, we have people embracing slogans and vague concepts and only then trying to fit Scripture and Logic in, and limiting both to what conforms to the original precept. Whether that -ism is Calvinism, Hyper-Calvinism or a blind rejection of anything that labels itself Calvinism. 

Labels can help us identify important aspects of an original document, but too many -isms place the label as more important than the original document, to the degree that the original is tossed and the labels alone remain. 

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Thank the good Lord that I don't have to stand on either side of the Calvinist/Arminian debate...Too much time is spent on the "I am of Calvin" argument, as it does on the opposing side. It hasn't been settled in over 400 years, and it won't be settled on any forums on the internet. It's time wasted, and is divisive. I'm thankful to say the "I am of Jesus Christ." I'm a Christian first and foremost....

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BrotherTony, I agree with what you said above. I am not in either camp - I am a Biblicist. I strive to make sure that I get all my theology from the Bible. I can learn from a teacher, but I do not follow a teacher above the Bible - I follow them (if I do follow them in any sense) inasmuch as they follow Christ/the Bible.

I will add though, there is a time and place to refute false theology, to stand for the truth, to teach others the truth. It's great that we believe (and are absolutely convicted) we are standing where the Bible would have us stand - but we need to also (when and where appropriate) help others to know where to stand. Endless debates for the sake of debates is of the Devil - refuting error and reinforcing the truth is of God. Of course, we also need God's wisdom to know which is which (James 1:5).

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On 11/9/2021 at 11:38 AM, Jerry said:

Total Depravity - yes, man is depraved, but God gives us a will, the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin and need of the Saviour, and we are able to receive or reject the Saviour and His salvation. This is seen in both instances, for example, in the book of Acts. Calvinism teaches man is unable to respond unless the Holy Spirit regenerates them first, then they are born again (however, regenerate means born again! - so they are born again in order to be born again...).

Let's start with the above quote. Is man depraved? Yes. So depraved that he is unable to respond positively or negatively to the Gospel? No.

Of course, man cannot come to the Lord unless the Holy Spirit is convicting him and drawing him; however, Jesus said If He be lifted up (ie. crucified on the cross) He would draw all men unto Himself.

Can someone reject or resist the Saviour/the truth? Yes. There are various passages in the OT and the NT that teach this.

John 5:39-40 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.

Matthew 23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!

Genesis 6:3 And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.

Can someone respond to the Gospel without hearing the Word of God (ie. the Gospel specifically)? No.

Romans 10:12-17 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

I have already mentioned John 16, about the convicting and testifying work of the Holy Spirit. Are there any passages anywhere in the Bible that teach or show someone being controlled by the Holy Spirit that they have no choice in the matter of their salvation?

Even Saul/Paul was given a choice. The passages teach that he was kicking against the pricks - his conscience - and when he saw the risen Christ, he realized all his rebellion was against the truth/against God, and repented and trusted Christ. His response shows that.

Acts 9:5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

Acts 9:6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.

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