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Does Running A Biblical Church Require Five Point Calvinism?

Posted by Job on November 7, 2007

I had no idea that I was wading into such a doctrinal thicket when I posted TD JAKES HAS A GAY SON! As he is wont to do, IndependentConservative responded with some doctrine that was very hard for me to hear and that I did not agree with but unable to contradict Biblically. My whole point motivation for making the post was that Jakes was steering his ministry into a pro – homosexual direction to accommodate his son. IndependentConservative raised the bar by stating that TD Jakes should step down from the pulpit because his children were not believers, a violation of the requirements for the office of pastor according to the Bible: Titus 1 and 1 Timothy 3.

Now this is my problem with his statement. It is not his interpretation or application, both of which quite frankly cannot be disputed. Trust me, if there was a way, I would have done so! Why? Because of the real problem: IT IS IMPRACTICAL IN THE MODERN WORLD. Now in earlier times when the culture was more repressive and tradition and public sanction acted as an unnatural and un – Christian form of social control, this was not much of an issue because people did not get divorced no matter how unhappy or shamefully treated they were, homosexuals repressed their desires or stayed in the closet (or committed suicide), and kids were not getting pregnant out of wedlock. So it was very possible for a pastor to keep up the public appearance that his children and family were believers and that he had them under subjection, despite what was going on behind closed doors or as it were in hearts and minds.

But now in this decadent culture in these last days, keeping up appearances is a thing of times past for better or for worse (I say better). But in practice, how are churches to find and keep ministers in hire? No matter how much he loves and faithfully obeys God, a man cannot help if his wife decides to leave him or his children reject Jesus Christ! Claiming otherwise is heresy. So what are churches to do in order to operate according to the Bible?

I do concede that Roman Catholicism’s “tradition” of the celibate priesthood was almost certainly a practical concession to this point: if you have no wife or no children, then you will not be subject to removal for having wives and children that rebel against God and you. However, that is a worldly method of circumventing the Bible, trying to mock or outsmart God by getting away with elevating men and retaining men that would have no hope of meeting the Bible’s standard, not a spiritual way of obeying it, and even taking their willingness to reject the Godly institution of marriage as being evidence of their spirituality and piety.

One strategy would be for churches to be fully autonomous under the headship of Jesus Christ alone with the guidance of the Holy Spirit, and as such the pastors would be elevated to their positions from among the ranks of the members based on who best fits the requirements of Scripture. If at any point the pastor would be found to be in violation, he would be removed and replaced by the most worthy candidate. This certainly would reoriented our church culture from being centered around a professional pastorate – and building a cult of personality around a particular pastor – to focusing on God, and moreover returning the office of pastor from the current position of prestige, privilege, and entitlement to one of humble service, and in the process solve a lot of problems. However, I see where such a situation might lend itself to much controversy and instability. What better way to remove a pastor that you dislike than to tempt his wife or children with sin? And how would these matters be adjudicated without descending into endless accusations? It would make the problems created by the “accountability groups” that are in many churches tame by comparison. I am not saying that it is not impossible, however, merely not ideal.

What, then, would be the ideal? Simply, to have a pastor called by God to start or lead a congregation. And that goes back to the Five Point Calvinism issue. Since God created these requirements by inspiring them to be written in His Word, then we must strongly consider the possibility that God alone can raise up men that can fill them. In other words, we must consider the existence of a God that predestinates and elects and controls the events of history on both a macro and a personal scale. As such, if a man is truly meant to be a pastor, he will be one that God has predestined and elected to salvation in advance AND his wife and children will have been elected and predestined to salvation likewise. In short, the God that foreknew us would apportion and appoint to the man of God a family that is born – again.

So do not think of the evidence of a man being called to preach would be such that he would be so filled with the Holy Spirit and the gifts and fruits thereof and would have such a magnetic charismatic personality that he would be able to cause the salvation and obedience of his family by his own efforts. Such a person would not be a man of God but rather a coercer and abuser that deprives his family of his free will; a witch. Rather, this man’s born again in Jesus Christ and obedient to that same Jesus Christ family would be a demonstration to the church that God chose him for service as a pastor, elder, deacon, bishop, etc.!

Consider Philip the evangelist as an example. Now this man of God had four daughters, all prophetesses (Acts 21:9)! It would certainly seem that God apportioned spirits of men that would be saved that would live on this earth as Philip’s human daughters. Why? They were all given the Holy Spirit gift of prophecy, yet scripture does not record Philip having that gift! He is known to church history as Philip the Evangelist, not Philip the prophet! Even after the Holy Spirit took over Philip after the Ethiopian eunuch was baptized, he neither prophesied or spoke in tongues, but rather “went on rejoicing” (recall that though we focus on miracles and tongues joy and praise are gifts of the Holy Spirit). If it had been Philip’s doing in any sense, his daughters would have been evangelists like him. As it was, they were what the Holy Spirit selected them to be: prophets!

So from the evidence available to us in Scripture, God chooses those that He would have be our pastors and church leaders, and this same God gives these church leaders saved children to serve as evidence to the church not that they are legitimately saved, have legitimate spiritual gifts, or are living a lifestyle in obedience to God, but rather that they were truly called by Him. I cannot come to anything else that is workable in the practical world. Others, though they might perform great works and produce mighty sermons that God uses to draw scores to Himself – a fact easier to be reconciled with if following the Calvinist doctrine that these people were simply meant to be saved and any legitimate agent of the gospel would do, and yes we are ALL called to deliver the gospel so even if they were not called to pastor they were called to PREACH – then they are acting outside of God’s intended purpose in their lives.

If anyone else can come up with such another way of resolving this dilemma in the practical world, please let me know Otherwise, we have a generally workable way of discerning whether a person was legitimately called by God to hold a church office or not. It is rather fitting that in these last days without the social controls that would have caused a nonbeliever to pretend otherwise that such a thing is becoming apparent for all the church to easily see whether a man is truly called to church leadership or not.

In closing, let me add a qualifier of caution: salvation does not mean perfection. So the pastor that has a child that commits a crime or becomes a parent out of wedlock, for instance … that child may well repent of his sins and be forgiven, restored. So this is not a call to outward legalism by saying that the pastor with the son serving a 25 years in jail or the daughter with three kids by three different males should be removed. We are talking about being obedient to Jesus Christ according to scripture, not putting scarlet letters on people. If the son repents and becomes a model prisoner and the daughter does the same and counsels people against sexual immorality using her own example, then let it be to the glory of God, and if a congregation will not accept a pastor such as this that repents, then that is their affair. The said pastor and all of the righteous in that congregation should shake the dust off their feet and go elsewhere, and it will be more tolerable on the day of judgment for Sodom and Gomorrah than it would be for the synagogue of Satan unable to forgive whom God has forgiven. But ask yourselves: does the same apply to a congregation where the pastor himself or his wife and children continue in sin? If you have never considered such a thing before, now is the time to do so!

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37 Responses to “Does Running A Biblical Church Require Five Point Calvinism?”

  1. Ken said

    Wow, that is a hard teaching. Church government isn’t something that I like to think about a lot, but it is hard, looking at both passages together and considering those terms throughout Scripture, not to realize that having believing (not just well-behaved) children (as far as one could know, obviously) is a necessity for church leadership.

    “In other words, we must consider the existence of a God that predestinates and elects and controls the events of history on both a macro and a personal scale. As such, if a man is truly meant to be a pastor, he will be one that God has predestined and elected to salvation in advance AND his wife and children will have been elected and predestined to salvation likewise. In short, the God that foreknew us would apportion and appoint to the man of God a family that is born – again.”

    I see your point, although I’m not convinced that it fits in with an understanding of the actual differences between Calvinism and the other systems of soteriology. Don’t most of the traditional Arminian views of God also insist on his perfect foreknowledge of future events, the core difference being the the role/ability of the believer in coming to salvation? Also, if you know of any quality debates that have taken place on the issue (Calvinism v Arminianism or slightly modified variants thereof) I would love to read some.

  2. I have a very hard time with church theology, because it tends to weigh men down with burdens. Much time is spent debating what one pastor’s doctrinal beliefs are over another.

    As far as when Paul was alive goes, I would have to disagree that everything was “morally” hunky-dory. The book of Romans and the book of Galatians comes to mind. The culture and society is just as base as in the time of Paul and the time of Yeshua. Orgies were big back then, homosexuality was a huge part of pagan worship as they had both male and female prostitutes. The delphi were a big hit among the Greeks, and women in that culture idolized them for their “prophecies” and teachings. It is also why women were not allowed to teach or preach. Women could teach other women, but not preach to men. There was a sexuality to the delphi that appealed to the flesh of both men and women and the church was not to imitate that. It was worldly. Has anything really changed since those times?
    With regards to church doctrine, pastors and children, we need to read the bible. I believe that children means children. Not adult children who are grown and living out side their father’s house. If that were the case, then every preacher from the Lord (and I make that distinction)would have to step down from serving. I am not talking about heredical teachers and preachers. I am talking about preachers who preach the word of God and live their lives in dedication to the Lord. These men, of whom I have had the pleasure of knowing quite a few, have always had this struggle. Their inability to be candid and open with congregations about the actions of their children (young and living with them) created a separation and a sense of loss with in them. These are men who led lives that expressed “the heart of God” and were true shepards. They lived under a doctrinal microscope and their wives and children also become astranged from the congregations. It leads unfortunately to a pastor disciplining his children far beyond what is necessary, and embitters them. This in turn creates more rebellion. There is a careful balance that must be struck concerning a pastor and his family. It is in this realm that the enemy attacks his ministry and uses the congregation to do the work. There is more gossip and slander about a pastor and his family then probably any other member of a particular church. Pastors have lessons to learn as well, and because he has not attained “spiritual perfection”, he is growing. (Most congregational members would like to think their pastor is spiritually perfect!) He is a man, and his wife, a woman. The inner suffering of a pastor and his wife is beyond belief if they were to confide in someone and tell of their inmost struggles. They are not God, nor should they be treated like him. Instead, with compassion and love, they should show true understanding.
    I am talking in generalities, and I am not making a blanket statement, but I think that if other pastors were to leave comments on this board that many would agree that this topic of their wives and children is a source of deep concern for them.
    As for Jakes’ son…if he is in ministry at the church, his son should step down. Jakes should still show all the love that a father has for his child and that includes the love that is expressed through discipline as it says in the book of Hebrews.

  3. Ken: “Don’t most of the traditional Arminian views of God also insist on his perfect foreknowledge of future events, the core difference being the the role/ability of the believer in coming to salvation?” Excellent point. You are right as far as that goes. I have resisted wading into the Calvinism/Arminian thicket because of my thin knowledge on the subject. I have come up with things on Internet searches, sure, but I have difficulty in evaluating their quality due to my own lack of knowledge. I will say that I have started leaning towards the Calvinist side recently for but practical reasons – they are more doctrinally conservative without being legalistic … I have difficulty imagining a prominent Reformed minister going on national television and hedging on whether Jesus Christ is the only way – rather than a true understanding of or agreement with them. When I learn more about the debate I will deal with it more. But as of right now this is the only thing that I have on this weblog on the issue: http://www.the-highway.com/compare.html

    Incidentally, I am not alone on this. A lot of refugees from the decadent charismatic/evangelical megachurch scene are seeking out Calvinist and Reformed congregations.

  4. Last night the Lord urged me to get a book off my shelf downstairs. It is a book I hadn’t read for years, so I went and got it. The book is a short read of compiled works of A.W. Tozer called “Gems from Tozer.”
    So this morning I open the book to page 45 and I would like to write what he said. It may or may not have anything to do with this topic, but I have been urged on none the less…

    “Contrast New Testament Christianity with Christianity Today”

    The (Early) Church was not an organization merely, not a movement, but a walking incarnation of spiritual energy. The Church began in power, moved in power and moved just as she had power. When she no longer had power she dug in for safety and sought to conserve her gains. But her blessings were like the manna: when they tried to keep it overnight it bred worms and standk. So we have had monasticism, scholasticism, institutionalism; and they have all been indicative of the same thing: absence of spiritual power. In Church history every return to New Testament power has marked a new advance somewhere, and every diminution of power has seen the rise of some new mechanism for conservation and defence. If this analysis is reasonably correct, then we are today in a state of very low spiritual energy.
    The only power God recognizes in His Church is the power of His Spirit; whereas the only power actually recognized today by the majority of evangelicals is the power of man. God does His work by the operation of the Spirit, while Christian leaders attempt to do theirs by the power of trained and devoted intellect. Bright personality has taken the place of the divine afflatus.
    Only what is done through the Eternal Spirit will abide eternally.
    The essence of true religion is spontaneity, the sovereign movings of the Holy Spirit upon and in the free spirit of redeemed men. When religion loses its sovereign character and becomes mere form this spontaniety is lost also, and in its place come precedent, propriety, system-and the file-card mentality. Back of the file-card mentality is the belief that spirituality can be organized.
    For centuries the Church stood solidly against every form of worldly entertainment, recognizing it for what it was-a device for wasting time, a refuge from the disturbing voice of conscience, a scheme to divert attention from moral accountability. But of late she appears to have decided that if she cannot conquer the great god Entertainment she may as well join forces with him and make what use she can of his power.
    Christianity is so entangled with the world that millions never guess how radically they have missed the New Testament pattern. Compromise is everywhere. The world is whitewashed just enough to pass inspection by blind men posing as believers.
    Evangelical Christianity is now tragically below the New Testament standard. Worldliness is an accepted part of our way of life. Our religious mood is social instead of spiritual. We have lost the art of worship. We are not producing saints. Our models are successful business men, celebrated athletes and theatrical personalities. We carry on our religious activities after the methods of the modern advertiser. Our homes have been turned into theaters. Our literature is shallow and our hymnody borders on sacrilege. And scarcely anyone appears to care.
    Much that passes for New Testament Christianity is little more than objective truth sweetened with song and made palatable by religious entertainment.
    Christ calls men to carry a cross; we call them to have fun in His name. He calls them to forsake the world; we assure them that if they but accept Jesus the world is their oyster. He calls them to suffer; we call them to enjoy all the bourgeois comforts modern civilization affords. He calls them to self-abnegation and death; we call them to spread themselves like green bay trees or perchance even to become stars in a pitiful fifth-rate religious zodiac. He calls them to holiness; we call them to a cheap and tawdry happiness that would have been rejected with scorn by the least of the Stoic philosophers.
    A new Decalogue has been adopted by the neo-Christians of our day, the first word of which reads “Thou shalt not disagree,” and a new set of Beatitudes too, which begins “Blessed are they that tolerate everything, for they shall not be made accountable for anything.” It is now the accepted thing to talk over religious differences in public with the understanding that no one will try to convert another or point out errors in his belief. Imagine Moses agreeing to take part in a panel discussion with Israel over the golden calf; or Elijah engaging in a gentlemanly dialogue with the prophets of Baal. Or try to picture our Lord Jesus Christ seeking a meeting of minds with the Pharisees to iron out differences.
    The blessing of God is promised to the peacemaker, but the religious negotiator had better watch his step. Darkness and light can never be brought together by talk. Some things are not negotiable.
    One hundred religious persons knit into a unity by careful organization do not constitute a church any more than eleven dead men make a football team. The first requisite is life, always.
    The modern vogue of bringing science to the support of Christianity proves not the truth of the Christian faith but the gnawing uncertainty in the hearts of those who must look to science to give respectability to their faith.
    Science, the seet talking goddess which but a short time ago smilingly disposed of the Bible as a trustworthy guide and took the world by the hand to lead it into a man-made millennium, has turned out to be a dragon capable of destroying that same world with a flick of her fiery tail.
    The Bible tells of another world too fine for the instruments of scientific research to discover. By faith we engage that world and make it ours. It is accessible to us through the blood of the everlasting covenant.

    (I haven’t gone through to proof read my typing skills so if there is are mispellings and backwards letters, I appologize.)
    😉

  5. Eden Hadassah: I was not speaking of when Paul was alive, but rather during the few centuries past in the west when there were heavy sanctions and controls on personal behavior. If you note, I did not call that scene any more morally pure than our current situation. Quite the contrary, I oppose imposing repressive systems of social control and calling it morality. That hypocrisy is what the religious right wants to take us back to under the guise of “social conservatism” and “Christian values”, and what the left is imposing on us by way of political correctness and multiculturalism.

    As far as Jakes specifically, the fellow is a heretic. As such, he has no love for God or his son. A real pastor would not be subtly over a number of years trying to maneuver and manipulate his congregation to accept homosexuality. Jakes knows that if he starts preaching that homosexuality is OK now, then his congregation will get up and leave and he will lose everything like Carlton Pearson did. But he knows that 10 or 15 years from now, he will lose 2000 members but gain 3000. So this is not about Jakes but rather the issues that the Jakes case inadvertently raised. But you can be a great loving father without being a pastor, and that is what the Bible calls the father of an unbeliever who chooses to live in sin to be. Jakes, unfortunately, is neither a pastor or a loving father.

    Church theology … well that is not really what I was trying to engage in. Most of that is studying the various doctrines that these denominations have come up with on their own over the years. What I was speaking of was how to interpret and apply the scriptures on the topic. What I have noticed that in contrast with the detailed specifics of the old covenant, the New Testament church was given few details and specifics. There really are only a few rules and they aren’t that burdensome. And this is where the comparison with the Pharisees in Christ’s time comes. What is burdening these pastors in many cases is NOT the failure of their wives and children to meet the Bible’s standard. It is their failure to meet MAN’S standard, which is not higher by the way, but far more burdensome because they are substituting God’s grace for man’s self – righteousness. That was why I appended my portion at the end pointing out that it is quite possible to be a believer and have trouble with sin. (It is equally possible to not have trouble with outward sin while not being saved!) So if these congregations KNOW that the pastor’s family is born again but are grumbling against the pastor because his family has troubles, then that is the problem of the congregation. In that case, the pastor should simply leave that congregation to its own demonic hypocrisy and go elsewhere. But in our Christian culture, pastors see that as “an inability to manage a congregation” and as a personal, spiritual, and professional failure instead of seeing that it is the congregation’s failure, shaking the dust off their feet, and moving on to a more godly congregation.

  6. HTL:
    I agree with almost everything you said, accept for the part about a pastor leaving to find a more godly congregation. It is a part of the pastor’s calling to shepard those with in the congregation, and the struggles that these pastors must endure is a part of the love and tenacity that they have in Yeshua. Why leave? It is the very reason that the pastor is called in the first place. What he faces is the reality of human nature. It is that doctrinal microscope that must go. In his growth process, and as he also protects his family, he must learn to find the balance. All too often the congregation is a direct reflection of it’s leaders, this too is a hard lesson for a pastor. If he is called to an “ungodly” church, many times the things that the church suffers from, he and his family suffers from as well…making them perfectly suited for one another, to grow up together and learn the lessons that God has for them all. The symptoms of the church may not be clearly evident in the pastor or his family’s outward life, but it may be evident inwardly, and the Lord seeks to refine this as well.

  7. Kingskid said

    Eden,

    Very timely article, and so relevant for today. I am not very familiar with A.W., and wonder in what period of time did he record these observations?

    Thank you for sharing.

    Peace

  8. First I’ll say that there are plenty of men God has placed in church leadership positions, that meet that Titus 1 and 1 Timothy 3 guidelines. I think we are often led to feel “they’re all messed up”, but there are many who have their house in order.

    Also keep in mind that CHURCHES ARE SUPPOSED TO HAVE A PLURALITY OF ELDERS/PASTORS ALL VIEWED ON EQUAL FOOTING. One is simply the speaking elder/pastor, but others could take that role if needed. When one is unable to work as an elder, the other elders would have the person sit down and continue the duties of leading that particular church group.

    We did find agreement, that when a pastor’s children are grown if they stray, than the same church discipline methods used for all other church members could be applied to the pastor’s children by that pastor, 1 Corinthians 5. So long as the pastor follows that with his adult children he’s doing well and it would be best for saints not to try and remove him. If the pastor/elder does not carry out proper discipline with adult children as should be done with other church members than the pastor/elder should be sat down until they are willing to do so. Basically you can’t have a child who is an adult, a homosexual and claiming they do production work for your “ministry”.

    If the children are young, than yes the pastor/elder would need to sit because they are in his house and he must have time to get his house in order. Once order is restored, the other elders can decide to have that former pastor/elder restored to their old duties.

    This all becomes a real mess when you have the entire congregation “voting” because then it’s all about popularity. But if you have an established group of elders that meet the Titus 1 and 1 Timothy 3 guidelines, they are to deal with these matters. Not some various church boards, not even the decons, but the elders.

    Yes these church leaders should always come from within the local congregation. How do you know the man that you hire based on a newspaper ad, who moves in from where ever? Yes those who best meet the standard are to lead. Titus 1 and 1 Timothy 3 note men known in the area by both believers and unbelievers, so it has to be select men from the local congregation.

    When we do things as God commands, we find those who should be church leaders.

    I speak of what is in scripture and I find the burden from Christ to be light, not impractical for any time. The churches in Corinth had issues to deal with too.

    I don’t use the term “Calvinism”. Like I said, I don’t read much from the man. If his words agree with scripture, of course that’s a good thing, but 1 Corinthians 1:10-13 notes that we are to represent Christ and Him alone. I speak of what the Holy Spirit has helped me see in scripture.

    Philip was an evangelist, but given 1 Corinthians 14:3, it’s likely he had the gift of prophesy too. In scripture, those acknowledged as evangelists were always men (something I’ve had to recently admit to myself). Women would prophesy, but were not evangelist, elders, deacons or apostles. When thinking of prophesy, remember 1 Corinthians 14:3. Marriage is reflection of our relationship with Christ. I think Ephesians 5 explains this far better than I ever could. And once we accept that and digest Ephesians 5 well, we can better follow sound doctrine regarding church leadership. Because from marriage, to church leadership, these reflect our relationship with Christ. So these are not trivial matters and that’s why I started speaking strongly about it.

    Women are to be the ones who are helping keep the family in order. While the man might be a church leader out doing ministry, his wife is to be trying to keep things at home in check while he’s away. I’m not saying all women should never work, I’m saying somebody has to be a little more rooted in being home for the kids as needed. If God calls certain men to be out leading and God puts the burden on men to provide for the household, 1 Timothy 5:8, we have to accept that while women might work, things must be arranged so they can also be homemakers, Titus 2:1-5.

    I just find all this co-pastor nonsense to be interesting. The married apostles never made their wives to be “co-apostles” 😆 .

    And as I always hope although I don’t always say it, if I have made an error, please offer correction.

  9. Eden Hadassah:

    Why leave? Well there is Revelation 22:11 – “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” If a congregation decides that they are going to reject God and be unrighteous, in that instance they are no longer sheep but goats. As such, if you are going to try to hang around, ultimately you will wind up confirming to their unrighteousness in order to retain your position. In that case, it is no longer about serving God but serving the congregation, and in reality it is serving yourself because you are trying to hold onto your worldly position of prestige, influence, and steady employment: doing whatever you can to keep your job just like any lawyer, businessman, or politician. I think we can agree that there is a lot of that going on these days, and a great deal that caused the rise of the megachurch/Christian broadcasting culture is preachers giving congregations what they want, which is to be entertained.

    Please recall that Jesus Christ Himself left places where He was rejected, and He told the 70 that He sent out two by two to do the same. God may have called a pastor to shepherd a particular flock, but in some cases some pastors may have to go about seeking and gathering that flock. If you have a church where the congregation has rejected God and is without love, understanding, patience, and forgiveness, then they are not God’s sheep and as such they are not the pastor’s sheep either.

  10. IndependentConservative:

    Well, John Calvin has been accused of writing and saying a lot of things that do not line up with scripture, and it would appear that in some cases his detractors made good points. But please realize that Calvin did not invent Calvinism … he merely was the popular articulator of pre – existing doctrines. The doctrines of total depravity of man, unconditional election, limited atonement, irresistible grace, and perseverence of the saints long preceded him, but were taught by Luther, Augustine, and may others. Calvin’s contribution was presenting those doctrines in a form where they were easily understandable even if his presentation was by his own admission overly simple and incomplete (sort of like “the Romans road to salvation” gospel presentation popular with evangelicals and similar). One of the reasons why he also is associated with those teachings is that he publicly defended them in debates with Catholics and free will Christians shortly after the Reformation. Though Luther had the same views, because of his place and time he is associated with the Reformation, the guy who nailed the 95 Theses on the door. After the Reformation itself was done with and Luther departed the scene and people saw that the movement was not going to die with him, it was left to Calvin to explain the doctrines.

    What we now call free will Christianity developed because of three reasons: 1. humanist Christianity (which came about by studying the Greek philosophers that Calvin and Luther hated but Augustine strangely enough embraced), 2. Catholicism (which taught salvation by works, infant baptism, etc.) and 3. according to “Tell The Truth” by Will Metzger, what motivated Armin himself which was certain liberal congregations using the doctrines that gave rise to TULIP to justify taking the grace of God for lasciviousness. They were the forerunners of the modern liberal Presbyterians (NOT the D. James Kennedy sort but the group that people like D. James Kennedy split off from to form their own denomination). It began as a CONSERVATIVE reaction AGAINST those that were trying to mock God with their doctrines.

    “Also keep in mind that CHURCHES ARE SUPPOSED TO HAVE A PLURALITY OF ELDERS/PASTORS ALL VIEWED ON EQUAL FOOTING.” I do not know about that. Peter and John were acknowledged as the leaders of the Jerusalem church, and after the apostles left the church James the Just was viewed as the head elder. I would say that there has to be an ultimate human authority in order for there to be ultimate human accountability. But I do agree that the culture should be such that where a person could easily be replaced temporarily or permanently without controversy.

  11. I am not sure about all that. Because, if what you are saying is the case, you should probably close up shop and end your blogging days…don’t you think? (I am not trying to be sarcastic, pithy or witty.)

    “Revelation 22:11 – “He that is unjust, let him be unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let him be holy still.” If a congregation decides that they are going to reject God and be unrighteous, in that instance they are no longer sheep but goats.”

    If you were to go on this scripture, then why bring up all the stuff going on in the false church? If they are goats, why call it out for what it is? I know why you do it, I am just making a point.
    There are pastors that are merely working for a meal and trying to support their families, but even so, it is the heart of God to show mercy and forgiveness in the face of these things. I think that it is very different from what you were talking about with the disciples. They were traveling from town to town, and began their jobs as evangelists in a sense. Each gifting from Holy Spirit is different, each with it’s own set of challenges. Pastors have one set of challenges, prophets have another. Evangelists and many other giftings carry with them still other hurdles, and each should be used in proportion to the faith that God provides. Churches that run into trouble have red flags…one is the total submission to the leader’s authority. If those with the gift of prophecy are present in the church, they are told that they must submit to the authority of the church first. This is a fracture, on the verge of a break! It is just one of the many signs of a breakdown in the church leadership and body.

  12. Eden Hadassah:

    Do not worry about the qualifiers, I am one that recognizes your rhetorical devices :-)!

    I acknowledge your point about the pastor of a church in this era being different from those that Jesus Christ being sent out two by two. I also am aware that there is the temptation for a pastor to get puffed up in his own self – righteousness and say “enough of these people, they are all going to be destroyed, so I am just going to leave them to their sins” rather than staying and fighting. I recall the excellent Frank Peretti novel “This Present Darkness” where the pastor had to fight to retain leadership of a congregation that the devil was trying to destroy so that he could take over the entire town, and use that town in his plot to take over the whole nation! And the pastor suffered precisely what I spoke of in the post … a false accusation.

    But ultimately scripture is scripture. All I am asking is how the church can and should obey it. Like Moses in the desert, serving the Lord is always going to be a fight no matter what you do. It is reassuring to know that if God is going to call you to do it, then He is fighting the battle for you and that it is already won. But you have done an excellent job of convincing me that things are not as simple as I thought, and for that reason we need to support our pastors with patience, encouragement, forgiveness, compassion, mercy, and prayers.

  13. I do not know about that. Peter and John were acknowledged as the leaders of the Jerusalem church, and after the apostles left the church James the Just was viewed as the head elder. I would say that there has to be an ultimate human authority in order for there to be ultimate human accountability. But I do agree that the culture should be such that where a person could easily be replaced temporarily or permanently without controversy.

    We are talking about elders, not apostles, lets see what scripture says:
    Titus 1:5, Elders, not singular were to be appointed in every city.

    James 5:14, if someone is sick, they are to call on the ELDERS of the church. A plurality.

    Acts 14:23, ELDERS (plural) appointed in every church. Multiple appointed to EVERY CHURCH. A plurality.

    The “Speaking” elder is often confused with being the “head”, but all the elders together are to be the “head”. No dictatorship, but multiple elders ruling well.

  14. HTL:
    Thank you.
    I have known different types of pastors…the puffed up ones, (anyone got a pin?), beautifully humble ones that show the heart of G_d, and down right heredical ones who spiritually abuse everyone who doesn’t bow down and worship their wormy existance! I have also known pastors who sing for their meals to the highest bidder at church amongst the business men, and have made these men, whether christian or not, members of their board, and part of their “inner circle.”
    These men look like they have it all together, with the trophy wife and three sterling children. The women in the church try to dress like the pastors wife, and in turn also try to seduce her husband the pastor. The men of these churches spend their many hours of free time on the weekends brokering business deals while their sons long to play ball with them. I have also seen within this kind of church, a huge youth group, but no parents serving in the ministry. It has a leadership core that devours each other, and tries to micro-manage everyone elses ministry. And they love the spot light.
    That is why I was saying in my original comment that I was speaking in generalities. Each church is different with it’s own pulse. (For some the pulse is faint, and almost non-existent) Others are on the verge of a heart attack.
    But I tell you what, I have loved them all, and G_d has taught me something new in each one that I experience.
    Soon we will be visiting a new church for a while. G_d is calling me to visit with the body.
    It is unnerving for them, because we are strangers, and we make our intentions clear…
    When we go, my husband and I made the decision that we would always call the pastor and tell them that we will be coming to observe and take part in their church for a while. It could be a month, it could be a year. It all depends on how the L_rd leads us. With this approach, there is no pretense, and people are far more open and receptive. We have been to churches doing this for some time, and when we don’t announce what we are doing there, not a single person will bat an eye at us. No hello’s, not even a warm smile. The church is cold as ice! We have attended their bible studies, prayer groups, home groups and so on. We go to churches that claim that they really care about the community and about the lost. That is not what we find there. In the end we give our report card. It is our intention to always know the pastor first, and find out what his burdens are, and then to know the church and other leaders. Many times they are closed. But you would be amazed what people in church will tell a total stranger that isn’t intent on staying too long. It has allowed us to see what is really going on with the state of the body of believers.

  15. KingsKid:

    My father, after going to seminary, passed on all his Tozer books to me. Tozer’s work and the Complete Works of Oswald Chambers are among my all time favorite authors.
    Here is a link to a bio on wikapedia about Tozer:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aiden_Wilson_Tozer

  16. Also regarding the need for a plurality of elders, I found this blog post that might help you. The author gives plenty of references from scripture. Some I mentioned and others I did not, that show a plurality of elders should be in each church body: Elders, Southern Baptists and Church Structure, pt. 2.

    Notice the title is about Southern Baptists, because this is one of several areas that denomination DESPERATELY needs to change. SBs are notorious for setting up church assemblies with 1 dictator running things. They’ll have groups under the dictator, that might vote on things and even have power to suspend the dictator, but those groups are NOT elders. If an SB church assembly feels the speaking pastor should be removed, it usually has to be done via a church wide vote (popularity contest). And so a bad elder can usually remain if he’s popular enough with the masses who may have zero handle on scripture. Even if SB leadership stepped in to remove a bad speaking elder, he could go independent (take the whole assembly independent) with enough support from the group. Many other church groups have this same issue. This is why an AME like Jamal Bryant can have a litany of scandals and not be removed. He brings in too much money and AME leaders know he would go independent if they tried to remove him.

    Eddie Long and others are notorious for removing oversight so they can run dictatorships that have a faux board that they control, if anything at all other than themselves ruling. I heard Long once rant how he felt no board of deacons should be able to remove him and I beleive he did away with his Club’s deacons being able to remove him. (Not that they had the guts to boot him anyway, they’re too busy enjoying delusions of “prosperity”.) With no elders on equal footing, Eddie runs the show.

  17. Diane said

    Healtheland, on the issue of predestination, what would you make of Jesus’ statement “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I WANTED TO gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but YOU WERE NOT WILLING!

    Christ states here very clearly and with strong emotion that it was “their will”, not His or the Father’s.

  18. Diane:

    There are scriptures in the Bible that support both predestination and free will. It would take quite a while of study to see on which side the balance of the scriptures fall and which are most convincing especially when you consider the strength and context of the scriptures. I will say, however, that there is probably a reason why the early (i.e. pre – Roman Catholic Church) supported predestination, and the the early Reformers supported it as well. It is also true that pre – modern Judaism, for what it is worth, believed in predestination and election. The free will doctrines in both religions are both far newer historically, especially if you separate the “works” doctrines of Catholicism from the discussion and deal only with Christianity outside of it. I think that the person most responsible for the explosive growth and now ultimate dominance of Arminian Christianity was John Wesley, who is considered the founder of the “evangelical” movement.

  19. It was predestined that the Jews would reject Christ way before he even came to earth in flesh, Psalm 118:22. Peter reminded the Jews of this afterwards as noted in Acts 4:11.

    God made them through Christ and He always knew what they would do and always had it in scripture. Sure they were not willing and it was foretold they would be unwilling. It was ALWAYS the predestined plan. In the beginning was the Word, with God was God and came among us as flesh (John 1) and the Word of God always included Psalm 118:22, John 1:11 and Acts 4:11. We just found out in due time.

  20. Diane said

    I do agree somewhat. I believe that you can find scriptures that would seem to support both sides, and that the early church also taught “that God is ‘not willing’ that any should perish”.

    As Jesus drew near, He saw the city (Jerusalem) and wept over it, prophesied of their desolations because “they did not know the time of their visitation” (Jesus wept because it wasn’t His will that they reject the things that made for their peace).

    If Christ predestined their rejection, then why would He weep because of it?

    Why would Jesus ‘marvel’ at the faith of others?

  21. I do agree somewhat. I believe that you can find scriptures that would seem to support both sides, and that the early church also taught “that God is ‘not willing’ that any should perish”.

    A read of 2 Peter 3:1-9 in full helps clear this up. God has Peter sending a letter to SAINTS. It starts in verses 1-5, Peter is telling SAINTS that they should remember that before the Lord comes, people will come to scoff and mock that Christ has not returned. The SAINTS are not to fall for this (and they won’t). Verse 7 notes that the fire is reserved for UNGODLY MEN. UNGODLY MEN are not SAINTS and SAINTS are not UNGODLY MEN. Two totally separate groups of people. In verse 9 God has Peter talking about how He is not slack regarding His promises. How God is longsuffering to US-WARD, that would be to the people Peter is addressing, SAINTS, not willing that any (saints) should perish.

    Let me make this perfectly clear JESUS DID NOT DIE FOR THE SINS OF THE ENTIRE WORLD! OK Healtheland I’ve got to come out and say it now instead of leaving it to be figured out, JESUS DIED FOR THE ELECT AND THE ELECT ALONE!

    John 10:11 (King James Version)

    11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

    HE GAVE HIS LIFE FOR THE SHEEP, not the whole world, not Satan’s children, not the goats, but for the SHEEP. That would be the SAINTS. Those who know Christ and those who are SHEEP, that He’s still waiting for their appointed time when they will come to know HIM.

    What did Jesus say to the Jews that did not believe?

    John 10:26-31 (King James Version)

    26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.

    27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:

    28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.

    29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

    30 I and my Father are one.

    31 Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.

    In that same portion of scripture Christ makes it clear, He will die FOR THE SHEEP and tells some they are NOT His sheep, He was NOT dying for them and Christ did NOT die for those today who don’t repent. They were never meant to repent, they were never Christ’s sheep just like those unbelieving Jews were never His sheep. Those who repent are Christ’s sheep, they are the ones who hear His voice, because the Father gave us to Him before the foundation of the world. We are SLAVES to Christ, bought with the price of His blood (Revelation 1:1) and were His from the beginning.

    Romans 9:6, all Israel is not those who came from “Israel”.

    There are sheep and there are goats, the Lord did not die for the goats, but the sheep alone and the reward for the sheep was established before the foundation of the world, Matthew 25:32-34.

    Jesus gave His life for the sheep and ONLY THE SHEEP.
    John 10:15 (King James Version)

    15 As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep.

    As Jesus drew near, He saw the city (Jerusalem) and wept over it, prophesied of their desolations because “they did not know the time of their visitation” (Jesus wept because it wasn’t His will that they reject the things that made for their peace).

    Why did they not know? Because GOD WILLED THAT THE TRUTH BE HIDDEN FROM THEIR EYES.
    Luke 19:42

    This all plays out perfectly as those who accept and those who reject, but all was established before we came into being.

    The builders were going to reject the chief corner stone and it was foretold WAY BEFORE Christ came in flesh, Psalm 118:22.

    If Christ predestined their rejection, then why would He weep because of it?

    This is like asking, why did God as Adam where he was in the Garden of Eden, Genesis 3:9. Did God not know where Adam was? Of course He knew and knows all, just like He knows who will reject Him, because they are NOT His sheep.

    If you want to know why Jesus wept, read Luke 19 in full and then the rest of the book of Luke. Then it becomes clear. They were praising Him in verse 38, but He knew many of those praising him were not His and that they would REJECT HIM, that they would fulfill the PREDESTINED PLAN NOTED IN Psalm 118:22.

    God does love all mankind, He created us all, He allows rain to fall on both the just and unjust, Matthew 5:45, this is common grace, but saints through Christ have saving grace which is not the same thing. God hated Esau, Romans 9:13, but rain would fall on the head of Esau just as it would on the head of Jacob who God loved.

    Why would Jesus ‘marvel’ at the faith of others?

    Do you think Christ was actually “shocked” by the faith of some or that HE KNEW who had great faith and who did not? Did Christ not know the thoughts of those who mocked Him and came with lame questions before they asked? Likewise, did God in flesh (Colossians 2:9) not know who had faith before they said a word?

    There is a matter of SOVEREIGNTY here that must be understood. God knows all, God MADE ALL and FLESH CAN DO NOTHING BUT EVIL, Genesis 8:21. Any who accept the Lord, it is only because they are HIS SHEEP that GOD CALLED, Hebrews 5:4. Why, for God’s glory.

    Romans 9:20 (King James Version)

    20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?

    We are moving in God’s plan, not the other way around.

  22. Diane said

    IC,

    according to you, Jesus willed Israel to refuse to be gathered by Him, and then declare “I wanted to gather you”.

    Jesus’ statement is true “I WANTED to gather you”

    The force of this statement is undeniable.

  23. Before Luke 19 there was Psalm 118:22.

    Their refusal was the plan all along. Now if they all had received Him, YOU and I as Gentiles would have had no hope for salvation. You should rejoice that God has a plan in motion that granted Gentiles an opportunity for salvation.

    Romans 11 explains it all.

  24. Again, all scripture carries equal weight and must be read as such, or you construct a theology that is not consistent with scripture. Those who try and say well Jesus said this so it outweighs that will always find conflict. Scripture is totally consistent. All that is in scripture is the Word of God, it ALL is Christ speaking! Whether by His mouth while on Earth in flesh or inspired by the Holy Spirit through the mouths of others.

    Perhaps this video on predestination will help you.

    But until you see ALL SCRIPTURE on equal footing, you’ll never honestly grasp this or many other things.

  25. Diane said

    IC,

    Jesus does not teach “I will you to refuse Me”, and that is problematic for you because the foundation of your belief is soterism/calvinism not the Word of Christ. Calvin believed that God ordained Adam’s fall.

    Throughout history we see God striving with men, and mens’ continual refusal to turn from sin has always led to hardness of heart, spiritual blindness and deafness, which then leads to God giving them over to delusion and judgement. God’s will is that we turn and live,….salvation.

    No contradictions can hold up to the Eternal Truth of “How often I WANTED TO GATHER your children…..but YOU WERE NOT WILLING!”

    I WANTED TO….. but YOU WERE NOT WILLING cannot be explained away.

  26. God ordained ALL including Adam’s fall, which is why Christ was ordained BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD to reconcile and the BOOK OF LIFE listed with names of His sheep, before the foundation of the world. If all were going to be saved there would be no need for a book of record with those who would be saved. Christ would have never said He was coming to man. All was designed for God’s glory, period.

    To act as if God did not know of Adam’s coming fall and already have prepared reconciliation is to deny God His own omniscience.

    This is not an explain away matter, you and nobody else will ever be able to claim “free will” to explain how Psalm 118:22 could exist in scripture literally hundreds of years before Christ said anything noted in Luke 19. It was ALL planed WAY BEFORE and Christ knew this. Israel’s refusal was no freak act of “free will” it was the documented plan!

    For Christ to cry because HE KNOWS they will refuse Him is confirmation that their fate was predestined. Prophesy by it’s very definition requires predestination. Christ did not say that perhaps they would figure it out later, He said they would NOT be willing. He knew their predestined fate. He knew and he said it:
    John 10:26 (King James Version)

    26 But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.

    If my foundation is not the Word of God, please explain this:
    Romans 9:1-26 (King James Version)

    1I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,

    2That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.

    3For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:

    4Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;

    5Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.

    6Not as though the word of God hath taken none effect. For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel:

    7Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.

    8That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.

    9For this is the word of promise, At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son.

    10And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac;

    11(For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;)

    12It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger.

    13As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

    14What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.

    15For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion.

    16So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy.

    17For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.

    18Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.

    19Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?

    20Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?

    21Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

    22What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:

    23And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory,

    24Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

    25As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved.

    26And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.

    It was pre-planned that the Jews would reject Christ and the way be made for Gentiles:
    Hosea 2:23 (King James Version)

    23And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.

    Are you even reading HALF of the scriptures I’m referencing here?

    Ephesians 1:3-6 (King James Version) (Some terms made bold to help others understand.)

    3Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

    4According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

    5Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,

    6To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.

    He predestinated us, I didn’t make it up and no theologian told it to me.

    You can toss out all the names and charges at me you want, I’ve got the scriptures for my foundation, the WORD OF GOD. My flesh did not decide to follow Christ, God decided to give me to His Son. And I am thankful for that. Not my will, but His be done.

  27. Diane said

    IC,

    your statement that “God ordained Adam’s fall” is false teaching.

    Psalm 118:22 The Stone which the builders rejected has become the Chief Cornerstone :23 This was the Lord’s doing; it is marvelous in our eyes.

    “This was the Lord’s doing” is either referring to “the Stone which the builders rejected” or “The Stone has become the Chief Cornerstone regardless of the builders rejection” I argue that what is “marvelous” is that regardless of man’s teachings, blindness, sin, rejection, CHRIST is the Chief Cornerstone, not that God delighted and ordained Israel to reject His Son.

    Christ will not retract His Word to suit your personal theology. He wept over Jerusalem. HE said “I WANTED TO GATHER…., but YOU WERE NOT WILLING”

  28. johnkaniecki said

    I don’t find find a problem accepting predestination and free will at the same time.

    Christ paid the penalty for the sins of the entire world. I John 2:2 clearly says this. Jesus was the sacrifice as the Lamb of God. This involved the shedding of blood. Hebrew 9:22 says ” And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.” The key is the blood and it’s washing. We can get into that later as I have some question myself on it. Suffice it to say we are forgiven when we get into a covenant relationship with God. The sacrifice was made gave the possibility that all everyone could have their sins forgiven. I don’t disagree that God predestined some to be saved that is clear. Most reject God. We have free choices. For example the life style we live. God does not control us as robots. But God can act like any human being and more so. God puts things into our lives for his purpose. For example I am sure I threw my neighbour Frank the football that started our relationship for a reason. (Frank was the key human instrument in leading me to Christ.) The thousand other times I played catch with a football didn’t have a reason.

    Predestination doesn’t negate the fact that we should work out our salvation with fear and trembling.

    I’d like to hear comments on once saved always saved.

    Love,

    John

  29. Hi John,

    Christ’s sacrifice was so great, that it was the propitiation for all sin, however He made it clear that the sacrifice was being carried out on behalf of the sheep. He died for the sheep and it was sufficient propitiation for all sin. It brings redemption to the elect and judgment to the unjust. Because He will reconcile all to Himself when all are resurrected. That’s when the elect get the reward of eternal life and the wicked will receive an eternity in the lake of fire.

    The thousand other times I played catch with a football didn’t have a reason.

    If you had never before had any interest in the football, you would not have tossed one to Frank. If Frank had no clue of it (what a football was) he would not have been able to leverage it as a means to help you learn about Christ. Every movement of every molecule in the universe is God’s doing, set in motion by God’s design. Even when Job lost all he had, it was what God allowed in telling Satan of Job and setting parameters for what Satan could do to Job and knowing Job would endure it all for His glory and Job grew in the process. And because of Job we know to endure for an even greater prize than any that could be received in the flesh.

    Predestination doesn’t negate the fact that we should work out our salvation with fear and trembling.

    This is absolutely correct. While this is all God’s plan we each will be held responsible for ourselves and God knows who will do what, when and how, because it was all designed by Him and for His glory. What we don’t understand of it now, we only wonder if he might allow us to understand more fully when we are joined with Him in new bodies.

    I’d like to hear comments on once saved always saved.

    A person who is honestly saved is sealed by the Holy Spirit.

    Ephesians 1:13-14 KJV

    13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

    14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

    Baptism in and by the Holy Spirit is instantaneous the moment God calls someone to Himself, they feel the call and must accept. Because they feel the conviction of their sins and know He is their only hope. That completes the process of making them one of the Lords and it is IMPOSSIBLE for them to be removed from the Lord’s hand, John 10:27-30.

    Nothing can separate someone who is truly saved from Christ, Romans 8:35-39.

    It is clear that once God calls one of the sheep to His Son that they accept, are sealed with the Holy Spirit and His forever.

    Paul had no desire at all to accept Christ. He even killed Christians and had them setup for torture. He was like the world’s most dirty cop. The flesh of Saul had no desires for Christ at all. But the Lord knew Saul was to be Paul. He was one of the elect and the Lord called Him and changed Him. While for the rest of us it is far less dramatic, most of us are not as hurtful to the body of Christ as Saul was and we’re not called to be an Apostle. But when the Lord calls, you can’t refuse and are sealed forever with Him by way of the Holy Spirit. Those who are truly converted, we can best identify by their works once they claim to have accepted Christ, James 2:14-26. Those who are true will carry out works as a display of their faith. Of course faith is what saves, Romans 3:28, but we with faith have the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and are moved to do works. None of this is of flesh, but all of God.

    Those called to the Lord, are instructed to make that call sure by enduring.

    2 Peter 1:10-11 (King James Version)

    10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall:

    11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

    And the elect will not be duped by false prophets.
    Matthew 24:24 (King James Version)

    24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.

    It is impossible for a false prophet to deceive any of the elect. A false prophet might toss a true saint around for a bit, but a true saint can’t be fully deceived and lose Christ, it is not possible. If it were possible a false prophet would fully deceive the elect, but they can’t, it’s not possible as the Lord Jesus said. They might have an elect looking at them for a moment, but as a true saint grows in Christ, they know not to be in the false prophet’s presence. As we grow in Christ we stop being tossed by varied doctrines and draw closer to Christ, Ephesians 4. The elect know, there is no hope anywhere but in Christ.

  30. Fran said

    Why would someone with the Holy Spirit living on the indeside of them(dwelling), deny the gifts of the Holy Spirit? Would a lack of faith cause this?

  31. Fran: It happens quite often, usually the result of either false doctrine or spiritual immaturity.

  32. djenk23 said

    if we can choose to sin or not sin while the Holy Spirit indwells us, how is it any different when it comes to God calling us to repentance initially?

  33. djenk23:

    Man is going to sin regardless due to the effects of the fall, which include but are not limited to our being born in sin/sin nature, our flesh, and living in a world ruled by Satan. Eternal salvation and sin have nothing to do with each other. Romans is clear that the purpose of salvation is not to keep us from sinning, but to save us from the punishment of sin, the lake of fire. That was why Paul, after relating that teaching, had to quickly backtrack and admonish us not to take his sayings as license to sin with one of his famous “God forbid!”

    But improper mixing of the topics salvation and sin, which can actually almost be considered two separate issues, is a common doctrinal error that is the source of legalism. This is not an endorsement of predestination, partial atonement, or election by the way, just stating that that the Bible teaches that for the born again Christian sin should not be a prominent concern, and even for the unsaved the only purpose of sin is to convict the unbeliever and demonstrate to them that without a savior they will perish. It is religion that causes believers to obsess about sin and tries to make unbelievers renounce sin, and both inevitably wind up trying to do so with their own works of the flesh, making failure equally inevitable with guilt, anger, bitterness, and fear oft being the result.

  34. Charles said

    Must be nice. Dude read my email! Themn get back to me.

  35. djenk23 said

    hmmmmmm…i was strictly speaking in the sense of having freewill to choose God or not….but i think you’re right in what you’re saying tho…im trying to get free from that COGIC way of thinking,lol…

  36. Charles: Read and replied to.

    Fran … read but have not had a chance to comply with your request.

    djenk23: “i was strictly speaking in the sense of having freewill to choose God or not” Yep. And that was why the issue of a believer choosing to sin has nothing to do with whether a believer can choose salvation. Whether you are free will or predestination, Calvinist or Arminian, sin doctrine and salvation doctrine are two different things. The only relationship that the former has with the latter is to show us why we need it and that we cannot accomplish it through works.

  37. Charles said

    HTL: Okay, then you must have gotten my second one. Anyway, that one did not require a response. Later. Chas

    Fran: I realize you weren’t speaking to me and I am coming in ob the butt end of something directed elsewhere, however, you and I are close enough that we can “Ralph Bunche” each other’s comments and not be offended. You asked (and maybe rhetorically as I often do, then, spend eternity clarifying): So, you asked “Why would someone with the Holy Spirit living on the inside of them(indwelling), deny the gifts of the Holy Spirit? Would a lack of faith cause this?”

    A couple of things come to mind. 1) The person could honestly and innocently not know about the gifts because they have not reached that level of spiritual maturity. 2) A person could conceivably come from a conservative background or maybe refuse to believe because they have no experience with the gifts. My experience have been that God through the person and ministry of Holy Spirit will not give a gift (not even wisdom) until that person is attuned through maturity to receive and use the gifts to the glory of God and His people.

    I knew a person who actually prayed for gifts. OKAY WHAT I AM ABOUT TO SAY IS PERSONAL, NOT SCRIPTUAL: I do not believe that a person has to pray for spiritual gifts I believe it is the total province of God. God recognize before the person will, whether he is ready for gifts, which gift(s) are suitable for a gift, and more importantly, whether that person will USE the gift as God intend. I’ve seen people and I believe you have to who would use a gift to flaunt the gift as a badge of spiritual superiority; “I’m holier than those people because God favored me above them.”

    Getting back to your question though, I do not believe it is because of a lack of faith per se, I do believe it is a lack of something, maybe lack understanding. A person can grieve the Holy Spirit as in Isaiah 63:10. There are numerous ways in which the Spirit can be grieved, spoken in both, the Old and New Testament; e.g., in the OT, Forgetting God, Grumbling, Disobedience, and Disbelief. In the NT Eph 4:30; Pride, Self-effort, Resisting the Spirit, Hypocrisy, and Legalism. So, the person that denies the gifts has already grieved the Spirit by both, Old and New Testament standards.

    Take care Baby Sister

    Charles

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