John Piper: Salvation Not 'A Decision'

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“Believing in Jesus is a soul coming to Jesus to be satisfied in all that he is. That is my definition of faith on the basis of John 6:35. This is not…a decision

Aaron Blumer's picture
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Alex Guggenheim wrote: Jay

Alex Guggenheim wrote:
Jay C. wrote:

So Piper's points are twofold-
1. People love stuff more than Jesus. That's idolatry.
2. Christians who love stuff more than Jesus need to check their priorities.

Is that controversial?

No doubt everyone with objections are all just too stupid to see this is ALL Piper is asserting. Oy vey.

How about just answering the question? It's a pretty good one.
In any case, it's a real argument, and "I guess we're all stupid, Oy vey" is not a real counterargument.

Personally, I think Jay's observation speaks to the "shallow decision" sense of what Piper may have meant. I don't see much point in speculating about what exactly he meant, though. The terms he used are regrettable, but who doesn't overstate his/her own point once in a while? Sometimes we use hyperbole to emphasize differences between things and the hyperbolic statement doesn't stand well on it's own... only side by side with the thing it is responding to.

Some of Jesus' statements are pretty odd if we take them out of context... (hate your father and mother, for example).

(I anticipate someone blowing a gasket... What? Now you're comparing Piper to Jesus?! Of course. Every Christian ought to be very comparable to Jesus.)

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Well when someone claims they

Well when someone claims they are wasting time with me I am not the fool to chase them down I simply honor their attitude. As to the claiming Piper is simply asserting two points is prima facie wrong and needs no rebuttal but the objections already posted are its rebuttals since they rest in the more of what Piper said with which Jay did not interact in any substantial manner. And if these were simply Piper's points and they can be reduced to these statements then why didn't he just say this? Because he said much more. Attempting to reduce it avoids the substance of the objections. This is what is called minmizing in order to justify.

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There's no need to interact with your article.

Alex, your article starts out with:

Quote:
In a recent post, I mentioned theological reductionism. Christian hedonism is such an example. It basically reduces biblical teaching for the Christian to the pursuit of joy, which is self-centered and, at the very least, devalues the Biblical imperatives of Christian instruction regarding our training in righteousness. It is a gelded theology.

Dr. Piper is well known for the phrase, ‘God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him.’ I’ve recently read a book of his entitled God is the Gospel, which continues the promotion of his ‘Christian’ hedonism.


Piper is very clear that the source of supreme happiness is God, and it is not wrong to seek supreme happiness since God Himself is that most Supreme Being. So "Christian Hedonism" isn't about selfish desires to value something other than God - it's a cooperation with God to fulfill His own purpose in Glorifying God. Piper is very clear in Desiring God that this is not a inherently wrong desire since God seeks His own Glory (see Chapter 1 - "The Happiness of God: Foundation for Christian Hedonism" at http://cdn.desiringgod.org/pdf/books_bdg/bdg.pdf)

If that's wrong, then how does it err? Is Christianity about 'training ourselves in righteousness' or is it about God getting the Glory for everything he's done?

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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Jay before I allow myself to

Jay before I allow myself to continue am I to assume you no longer claim you are wasting your time and wish to pursue further dialog? I realize it may seem obvious but I am getting mixed signals and need clarity on the matter.

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Greg the Great

Greg Long wrote:
I appreciate John Piper's ministry in so many ways, and I don't have it out for him nearly as much as Alex does, but I agree that Piper clouds this issue. The clear NT question of "What must I do to be saved?" is Repent and Believe. Sometimes repentance is emphasized (Lk. 5:32; Acts 2:37; 3:19; 5:31; 17:20; Rom. 2:4; 2 Cor. 7:10), sometimes faith/belief is emphasized (Jn. 3:16; Acts 16:31; Rom. 10:9; Eph. 2:8-9), and sometimes both are mentioned (Mk. 1:14-15; Acts 20:21; Heb. 6:1). It is never "Savor Jesus" or "Treasure Jesus" or "Desire Jesus" or any of the other words that he emphasizes so much.

I think Piper is arguing against decisionalism--basing one's assurance of salvation on a decision made (praying a prayer, walking an aisle) rather than on biblical evidences of regeneration such as found in 1 John--and on that point I agree with him. But I wish he would focus more on biblical terminology when talking about salvation rather than his unique terminology.

Preach it, brother! Right on.

His terminology is not just unique, but so emotional. It is like so much gobbledegook we hear in the world. Sargento has a passion for cheese, etc.

As far as speaking against praying a prayer, etc., here's the thing. The people who think they are saved and aren't are very unlikely to examine themselves. The people who are truly saved are the ones most likely to examine themselves, IMO. So I do not think a tirade against easy believism, etc., is going to reach the right people anyway. It's like Ann Landers said about slobs, "The slobs of this world don't know they are slobs." Same thing with the unregenerate who think they are regenerate. I am not saying that we should not warn them, we should. I am saying that warning them will rarely -- if ever-- correct the problem, IMO.

"The Midrash Detective"

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Alex Guggenheim wrote: Jay

Alex Guggenheim wrote:
Jay before I allow myself to continue am I to assume you no longer claim you are wasting your time and wish to pursue further dialog? I realize it may seem obvious but I am getting mixed signals and need clarity on the matter.

Kind of. You said that I wasn't willing to interact (I think that was the term you used - not sure offhand) with the link you posted. I read some of it and found that it wasn't representing Piper's argument correctly, so I didn't see any point in continuing to read it. I may weigh in on this thread some more, though, depending on what happens.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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Thanks Jay. Until you are

Thanks Jay. Until you are more emphatic in your confidence I will forgo interacting with your posts for the sake of safety on my part as well. I don' t want to assume anything in this case. But as a courtesy I will say that your post befote this pertaining to CH does not represent the common articulation of the primary objections

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Glad I clicked on the new

Glad I clicked on the new comments here. So much more has been offered to the discussion.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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James K wrote: Glad I clicked

James K wrote:
Glad I clicked on the new comments here. So much more has been offered to the discussion.

Since you're glad you jumped back in, jump to #50 and provide a concise definition of "decisionalism" for me so I will know what Piper was referencing with his verbal fog.

Lee

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I thought I did in Post #19.

I thought I did in Post #19.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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Work with me here

James K wrote:
I thought I did in Post #19.

So, following your illustration, a guy who decides to go to the store, but doesn't go to the store, is likely to think that he went to the store?

Or, if a guy decides to quit smoking but doesn't stop smoking he will likely be confused for the rest of his life thinking he has actually quit smoking?

Personally, I'm not thinking there is a lot of this going on.

I can't help but assume that my above proffered illustrations have totally missed the thrust of decisionalism. But I obviously can't see the forest for the trees, so work with me here in providing a concise definition so I can apply it properly theologically and in any other appropriate manner.

Lee

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Lee, I was merely stating

Lee, I was merely stating that deciding to do something is not alone proof that it actually happened. The person who decided to believe in Christ 10 years ago may or may not have actually. The decision is not proof of conversion. That is what Piper is rightly critical of.

What is proof of life, that you were born or that you are breathing?

Deciding to sign a card, walk an isle, or lots of other religiosity does not prove life.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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James K wrote: Lee, I was

James K wrote:
Lee, I was merely stating that deciding to do something is not alone proof that it actually happened. The person who decided to believe in Christ 10 years ago may or may not have actually. The decision is not proof of conversion. That is what Piper is rightly critical of.

What is proof of life, that you were born or that you are breathing?

Deciding to sign a card, walk an isle, or lots of other religiosity does not prove life.


So noted.

But that does not seem to be the matter of discussion. I don't know a single minister in any camp that would assume that because a person filled out a decision card that they were automatically saved.

The term being bandied about is decisionalism, and it is being referenced much in the same way that Judaism or some other heretical Gospel-plus concept is referenced.

Obviously it is a hot button issue. Enough so that many are willing for a theologian in a high-profile position such as Piper to bring in a whole new nomenclature regarding the Gospel of salvation, terminology and identification which no one on this forum has ever considered as clearly communicated Gospel truth, and give it a free pass because it is supposedly expressive against this heretical decisionalism.

I want to be against heresy, and if decisionalism is heresy I want to know what it is so I can be against it. So again I ask--definition please!

Lee

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some links about decisionalism

http://youtu.be/Y4EsRuVFKO4 ]Decisional Regeneration on YouTube - 9 minutes

http://www.eternalsecurity.us/decisional_regeneration.htm Decisional Regeneration by Jeff Paton - an article

http://timmybrister.com/2007/10/25/the-pelagian-system-of-decisional-reg... ]The Pelagian System of Decisional Regeneration Detrimental to Evangelism, Says Packer from Timmy Brister's blog

CanJAmerican - my blog
CanJAmerican - my twitter
whitejumaycan - my youtube

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@Lee

Lee - I think the 'decisionalism' thing is simply a way of saying that some preachers push for 'decisions' for Jesus without adequately explaining salvation. Those people who make decisions for Jesus may not actually be saved, simply because it's some kind of logical agreement that "Jesus is Lord" without a change of heart/repentance. Think of Jack Hyles' claim that 10,000 people were 'saved' through the ministry of FBC Hammond with little people actually coming to their church.

Am I explaining that correctly, James?

@Matthew Richards - where's the video of Piper's preaching? I'd like to see it if I can.

@Alex - I'm not sure why conversing with me is 'unsafe', but OK. Let me know if/when you would like to resume the discussion.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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Jay I thank you for the

Jay

I thank you for the clarity so I believe it is safe for me to continue with you and look forward to the challenges.

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Jay C. wrote: Lee - I think

Jay C. wrote:
Lee - I think the 'decisionalism' thing is simply a way of saying that some preachers push for 'decisions' for Jesus without adequately explaining salvation....

So help me out with some for-instances......

For instance, if a minister makes a simple Gospel presentation (10 min. or so) and concludes with an invitation ("Would anyone like to come to Jesus now?") would he be guilty of promoting the heretical decisionalism?

Or, for instance, a person meets the evangelist at the door following the Gospel message and informs him that they have decided to follow Christ, and the evangelist responds with "Have you called upon Christ for salvation [Rom. 10:13 ]?" or something similar, and upon affirmation welcomes that person to the household of faith, that evangelist is guilty of heretical decisionalism?

Obviously, I am still vague on the application.

Lee

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Lee wrote: James K

Lee wrote:
James K wrote:
Lee, I was merely stating that deciding to do something is not alone proof that it actually happened. The person who decided to believe in Christ 10 years ago may or may not have actually. The decision is not proof of conversion. That is what Piper is rightly critical of.

What is proof of life, that you were born or that you are breathing?

Deciding to sign a card, walk an isle, or lots of other religiosity does not prove life.


So noted.

But that does not seem to be the matter of discussion. I don't know a single minister in any camp that would assume that because a person filled out a decision card that they were automatically saved.

Lee, I have known a LOT of pastors and evangelists who suggest that because a person prayed a prayer or walked an aisle or raised a hand, that they ARE saved--no doubts, no questions. Write the date in the front of your Bible, because you are now a child of God. There is no teaching on true biblical evidences of regeneration.

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Greg Long wrote: Lee, I have

Greg Long wrote:
Lee, I have known a LOT of pastors and evangelists who suggest that because a person prayed a prayer or walked an aisle or raised a hand, that they ARE saved--no doubts, no questions. Write the date in the front of your Bible, because you are now a child of God. There is no teaching on true biblical evidences of regeneration.

Then we obviously run in vastly different circles.

Now, care to jump in with a concise definition so I will recognize this phenomenon when it occurs?

Lee

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Greg Long wrote: Lee

Greg Long wrote:
Lee wrote:
James K wrote:
Lee, I was merely stating that deciding to do something is not alone proof that it actually happened. The person who decided to believe in Christ 10 years ago may or may not have actually. The decision is not proof of conversion. That is what Piper is rightly critical of.

What is proof of life, that you were born or that you are breathing?

Deciding to sign a card, walk an isle, or lots of other religiosity does not prove life.


So noted.

But that does not seem to be the matter of discussion. I don't know a single minister in any camp that would assume that because a person filled out a decision card that they were automatically saved.

Lee, I have known a LOT of pastors and evangelists who suggest that because a person prayed a prayer or walked an aisle or raised a hand, that they ARE saved--no doubts, no questions. Write the date in the front of your Bible, because you are now a child of God. There is no teaching on true biblical evidences of regeneration.

Nor, in these cases, is there ever any follow-up or later confrontation when the life being lived fails to show marks of conversion. The decisions is supposed to be evidence enough - even though this is not the teaching of Scripture.

Why is it that my voice always seems to be loudest when I am saying the dumbest things?

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evidences of 'decisionist' preaching.

Lee wrote:
Greg Long wrote:
Lee, I have known a LOT of pastors and evangelists who suggest that because a person prayed a prayer or walked an aisle or raised a hand, that they ARE saved--no doubts, no questions. Write the date in the front of your Bible, because you are now a child of God. There is no teaching on true biblical evidences of regeneration.

Then we obviously run in vastly different circles.

Now, care to jump in with a concise definition so I will recognize this phenomenon when it occurs?


Lee, you're a Masters' Seminary guy, right? If so, then you probably haven't seen this in your circles.

The emphasis with 'decisionalism' is almost completely external - the emphasis is on dates, places, times, people; there's usually something along the lines of - you trusted Christ, so go put a stake in the ground with the date on it and then when you have doubts you can look at the stake and remember that's where and when you got saved. (Yes, I have heard that specific line used myself.) You can also look for confusion as to what a person is saved from - decisionist preachers usually want people to be saved from Hell, not from the righteous wrath of God due to sin.

There is very little emphasis in 'decisionist' churches on current spiritual condition. Questions like "am I undergoing conviction for sin?" "Do I really love God and His Word and His People?", "Am I growing in righteousness or manifesting the fruit of the Spirit?", etc. This is why the Lordship salvation discussion became so huge - there were hundreds of people who were trusting in their decisions and not in Christ.

The book " http://www.amazon.com/Revival-Revivalism-Iain-H-Murray/dp/0851516602/ref... ]Revival and Revivalism " is pretty good, although I haven't finished it, and that might be helpful to you as well in understanding this topic.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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Alex...

You sound like a very bright guy. While it is impossible to truly interpret a person's tone in a post, yours do come across as a bit on the arrogant side. If I am wrong I truly apologize. If not, I would suggest:

Philippians 2:3-11
Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. ...

A spirit of humility would go a long ways with fellow believers.

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ppayette wrote: You sound

ppayette wrote:
You sound like a very bright guy. While it is impossible to truly interpret a person's tone in a post, yours do come across as a bit on the arrogant side. If I am wrong I truly apologize. If not, I would suggest:

Philippians 2:3-11
Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. ...

A spirit of humility would go a long ways with fellow believers.


ppayette

Allow me to suggest you stay on topic and not bring personal comments into the thread, that is what PM's (is the apostrophe correct here?) are for and I am sure you will now respect the protocol of SI and not pollute the thread with needless and unprofitable personal comments. BTW Yes you are wrong but don't worry, I don't wear my feelings on my sleeves so you are forgiven. Smile

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Jay C. wrote: Lee, you're a

Jay C. wrote:

Lee, you're a Masters' Seminary guy, right? If so, then you probably haven't seen this in your circles.

SWING!!! And a miss! Blum 3

Jay C. wrote:
The emphasis with 'decisionalism' is almost completely external - the emphasis is on dates, places, times, people; there's usually something along the lines of - you trusted Christ, so go put a stake in the ground with the date on it and then when you have doubts you can look at the stake and remember that's where and when you got saved. (Yes, I have heard that specific line used myself.) You can also look for confusion as to what a person is saved from - decisionist preachers usually want people to be saved from Hell, not from the righteous wrath of God due to sin.

There is very little emphasis in 'decisionist' churches on current spiritual condition. Questions like "am I undergoing conviction for sin?" "Do I really love God and His Word and His People?", "Am I growing in righteousness or manifesting the fruit of the Spirit?", etc. This is why the Lordship salvation discussion became so huge - there were hundreds of people who were trusting in their decisions and not in Christ.

The book " http://www.amazon.com/Revival-Revivalism-Iain-H-Murray/dp/0851516602/ref... ]Revival and Revivalism " is pretty good, although I haven't finished it, and that might be helpful to you as well in understanding this topic.

What you're providing here is a description of something you've observed, and not a definition. I agree that what you have described is unfortunate, and some minister somewhere has dropped the proverbial discipleship ball if it is as you say.

But you have neither defined nor described a heretical doctrine such as is intimated with the term "decisionalism" and is what is being allegedly decried in the most convoluted manner by the likes of Piper.

I think Peter makes a pretty good observation very similar to yours in II Peter 1 and 2.

In Chap 1 Peter describes those who are evidently not "undergoing conviction for sin;...love God and His Word and His people;...growing in righteousness or manifesting the fruit of the Spirit..." as those who are "...blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins. " IOW, this redeemed individual has no recollection of his redemption. Yet this is presented under inspiration without identification as possible heretical teaching. It is simply mentioning an observable, regrettable phenomenon.

In chap 2 Peter further identifies "just Lot" who he also describes as "...that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed [his ] righteous soul from day to day with [their ] unlawful deeds...." A quick study of Lot throughout Scripture pictures a man without a hint of a redemptive experience, but who was clearly justified and cleansed through faith in Christ at some point of his life.

Point being, Scripture obviously "allows" for the phenomenon you described, though it in no way promotes it. Clearly, one that is not "undergoing conviction for sin;...love God and His Word and His people;...growing in righteousness or manifesting the fruit of the Spirit..." will never have an assurance of relationship and is implored to "...give diligence to make your calling and election sure...." But that does not lessen the fact that the message of the Gospel is still primarily of a decisional nature--"repent ye, and believe the Gospel...[Mark 1:15 ]".

Lee

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You MUST be joking, right?

Alex Guggenheim wrote:
Allow me to suggest you stay on topic and not bring personal comments into the thread, that is what PM's (is the apostrophe correct here?) are for and I am sure you will now respect the protocol of SI and not pollute the thread with needless and unprofitable personal comments. BTW Yes you are wrong but don't worry, I don't wear my feelings on my sleeves so you are forgiven. Smile

That's pretty rich, coming from a guy that said that he was going to stop posting because http://sharperiron.org/comment/39537#comment-39537 ]he didn't feel safe interacting with me on this thread and who has repeatedly made 'unprofitable personal comments' on both Piper and several members in this particular thread.

You misunderstand the purpose for PMs. PMs are for private messages, not for complaints about behavior. If someone has a problems with another member or a particular post, they should contact one of the other mods or click on the 'flag' icon at the bottom of a post. If a person thinks that a mod or admin is out of line, they should contact Jim Peet or Aaron. If you want to read more on that, you can check out the http://sharperiron.org/sharperiron-forum-comment-policy ]comment policy .

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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Jay C. wrote: Alex

Jay C. wrote:
Alex Guggenheim wrote:
Allow me to suggest you stay on topic and not bring personal comments into the thread, that is what PM's (is the apostrophe correct here?) are for and I am sure you will now respect the protocol of SI and not pollute the thread with needless and unprofitable personal comments. BTW Yes you are wrong but don't worry, I don't wear my feelings on my sleeves so you are forgiven. Smile

That's pretty rich, coming from a guy that said that he was going to stop posting because http://sharperiron.org/comment/39537#comment-39537 ]he didn't feel safe interacting with me on this thread and who has repeatedly made 'unprofitable personal comments' on both Piper and several members in this particular thread.

You misunderstand the purpose for PMs. PMs are for private messages, not for complaints about behavior. If someone has a problems with another member or a particular post, they should contact one of the other mods or click on the 'flag' icon at the bottom of a post. If a person thinks that a mod or admin is out of line, they should contact Jim Peet or Aaron. If you want to read more on that, you can check out the http://sharperiron.org/sharperiron-forum-comment-policy ]comment policy .

I never said I was going to "stop posting" I said I felt unsafe interacting with you, there is a distinction. But I believe this volatile and/or mercurial post by you illustrates just why I have determined that you are not a safe participant for me. I have made no personal comments about anyone here and that accusation requires evidence which you did not cite.

Now, let's move back to the topic please and any remaining concerns you have about me I am requesting you place them in a PM so as to respect the intent of the thread and the needs of other participants who do not give a lick about this and would rather stay on topic. Thanks.

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Sigh

You continue to misunderstand the purpose of PMs.

My point was that it's pretty hypocritical for you to complain about 'unsafe posting environments' and then attack others in your very next post. If you have a problem with me or my posts, talk to Aaron or Jim...I'll even flag them for you.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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I don't have a problem with

I don't have a problem with you Jay, I simply find you unsafe on this thread, end of story. The problem is solved by not dialoging with you on this thread, hopefully other threads will not produce the same results. This reply out of courtesy in addressing your misunderstanding. Nevertheless, all the best to you.

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Alex Guggenheim wrote: I

Alex Guggenheim wrote:
I don't have a problem with you Jay, I simply find you unsafe on this thread, end of story. The problem is solved by not dialoging with you on this thread, hopefully other threads will not produce the same results. This reply out of courtesy in addressing your misunderstanding. Nevertheless, all the best to you.

"Unsafe"? What does that even mean? Your physical safety is threatened by Jay's post?

------------------------------
Pastor of Adult Ministries

Grace Church, Des Moines, IA

Adjunct Instructor
School of Religion
Liberty University Online

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Decision and Choice: Man Centered or God Centered Soteriology

Ed Vasicek wrote:
Alex said:
Quote:
this is a prime example of one of John Piper's characteristics, taking what is plain and confabulating it. We do make a decision when we believe the gospel and to say other wise is simply an attack on the prima facie of Scripture. No, our decision is not all that is involved but we still do make a decision and Mr. Piper is wrong, once again.

I think you have a point, Alex. We do make a decision, but God coaxes us and enables us to make that decision.

The statement below, though, is a better example of making the simple confusing. Instead of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ (a simple idea), he complicates it with a sort of emotional, nebulous, unmeasurable idea. Did I really find satisfaction in all that Jesus is when I turned to him in faith? Or did I merely sense my guilt and lostness before a holy God, understand that Jesus died and rose for me, and was drawn to trust in him alone and to turn away from my sin to him? That's how I describe it. Simple. Piper does confuse (and emotionalize) the simple.

Quote:
"Believing in Jesus is a soul coming to Jesus to be satisfied in all that he is. That is my definition of faith on the basis of John 6:35. This is not...a decision,” he said.

Piper gave his definition of salvation, explaining one concept in three different ways. He said that saving faith is “Seeing and savoring Jesus, being satisfied with all that God is for us in Jesus, and trusting Jesus,” and that those three things are “equivalent realities.”

Although the Psalms and other portions talk about finding satisfaction in God, that is not the crux of salvation.

It is not in making the Gospel more complex that we can prevent tares from growing around the wheat. The tares ARE going to be there. Let's expect what Jesus said rather than trying to preclude it.

Good grief, I know people who are fruitful strong Christians, tried and true, who were saved with the defective "ask Jesus into your heart" message. If it is even close, the elect will make the transaction.

Let's ask Jesus if it is true that we decide to follow Him, that is to say, if it is true that we actually CHOSE Him?

John 15:16 "You did NOT choose Me, but I chose you."
John 15:19 "I chose you out of this world."
Eph. 1:4 "He chose US in Him before the foundation of the world."

Not one of the texts mentioned in the quote actually teaches explicity or even implicity that we chose or decide for God. The question here regards the determining factor in salvation. Is that determining factor the result of a "Decision for Jesus," or is God choosing the antecedent to man's decision. The decision for Christ is nothing more than the outward and visible sign that God has performed the work of regeneration in a person's heart, assuming the decision is real. Decision is righlty placed under conversion. Yet, that decision cannot be verified, except over time. For many will come to Him and claim they know Him, but they lie. The gospel does not call upon men to make a decision for Jesus. How could an unregenerate, God-hating mind, filled with iniquity and blind to the truth ever arrive at a decision to adhere to that which it hates? I'm just saying.

I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth. III John 4

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I have come to a conclusion

After reading/watching JohnBrian's suggested links, and digesting the above post by the good doctor edingess, I have come to a conclusion. Actually, to state things more accurately, I should say that I have come to a realization.

Decisionalism is Calvin-speak for anything that does not absolutely affirm pre-conversion regeneration.

I'm liking it! It simplifies things. You are either a Calvinist, or you are a decisionalist. And since decisionalism is equivalent to baptismal regeneration, which is equivalent to Judaism, which is equivalent to heresy, you are either a Calvinist or a heretic.

Being an anti-decisionalist Calvinist allows you to say the most inane things and pass them off as the Gospel, such as "Believing in Jesus is a soul coming to Jesus to be satisfied in all that he is. That is my definition of faith on the basis of John 6:35. This is not...a decision...[saving faith is ] Seeing and savoring Jesus, being satisfied with all that God is for us in Jesus, and trusting Jesus...[those three things are ] equivalent realities...,” and not be saddled with the heretic label.

But, if you confront one to wash away their sins by calling on the name of the Lord right now, as Ananias did with Saul/Paul (Acts 22:16) or implore one to immediately believe as Paul did with Agrippa (Acts 26:27-29) then you are labeled decisionalist.

Just think how much time and bandwidth we would have saved if someone had just stated immediately to my question (post #41) with "if you are not a Calvinist you are a decisionalist." And it sounds so much better than Ariminian, Pelagian, or, heaven forbid, Synergist.

Lee

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Lee, I disagree with

Lee, I disagree with decisionalism as I and others described it. Those committed to regeneration prior to faith see everything else as some kind of graceless option. Their loss in not understanding reality.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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Born Again or Decision

The "born again" experience is either the result of a person's "decision" or a person's "decision" is the result of being "born again." If Jesus did not mean that we have not chosen Him, then what exactly did He mean when he said we have not chosen him?

Decisionalism, in my opinion devalues to work of the atonement, depreciates the nature of God, and exalts man. Oh, almost forgot, it's view of sin is far too mild.

I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth. III John 4

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Yes, edingess, that is pretty

Yes, edingess, that is pretty standard reformed talk for views not committed to reformed logic.

Salvation is not devoid of God's choice to save, nor man's repentance and faith. Trying to wedge the two is weak.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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@edingess

Edingess-

3 Questions for you:

When Jesus asked the disciples to come and follow Him, did He give them any choice in the matter?

And when Jesus refers to Jerusalem as people who would not come to Him, what did He mean?

Anyd how do you interpret the whosoever will may come passages?

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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Jay C. wrote:Edingess-3

Jay C. wrote:
Edingess-

3 Questions for you:

When Jesus asked the disciples to come and follow Him, did He give them any choice in the matter?

And when Jesus refers to Jerusalem as people who would not come to Him, what did He mean?

Anyd how do you interpret the whosoever will may come passages?

Of course they had a choice in the matter. Calvinism repudiates coercion of any kind. Their choice stood logically after God's, which means that technically and actually, their being disciples was the direct result of the choice of Christ Himself. After all, the Greek in John 15:16,19 is in the emphatic construction. If I were to adopt the Arminian view, it would leave Judas in a position of possibly not betraying Christ and frustrating the plan of God. Such a view is nowhere taught in Scripture and is foreign to historic Christian orthodoxy, regardless of its prevalence in various churches today. Are you implying that the existence of the Church and the fulfillment of various OT prophecies surrounding the eschatological nature of the Christ event depended entirely on the free choice of men? The Scripture nowhere provides a basis for this sort of reasoning. It is entirely alien to the text.

When Jesus referred to Jerusalem as people who would not come to Him, he meant that they would not come to Him. Calvinism does not teach that men do not decide to reject God, choosing rather to worship and serve the creature instead of the Creator. It teaches just the opposite. All unregenerate men, left to themselves would NEVER choose to follow Christ. That choice is only made after God regenerates the heart, opens the eyes, reforms man's reasoning, and then, and only then, men are converted. Regeneration precedes conversion, which is where the choice to submit to Christ takes place. I hope that makes sense. Men are unwilling and unable to come to God and even cooperate with God in the work of regeneration. They are dead. However, as God regenerates the heart, man's eyes open, his mind is renewed, and his will follows. As Edwards says, and I paraphrase, the will does what the mind thinks is best.

There are no whosoever will "may" come passages. There are "whosoever will" passages (in the KJV), but none of them imply that which you seem to think they do. It was Pelagius who introduced the wicked error that "ought" implied "ability." The Church recognize him for the heretic that he was. What exasperates me more than anything is those men who teach the exact same doctrine of Pelagius and Arminius but then take offense when this truth is pointed out to them. You may be very glad to wear the cloak of Arminius and of Pelagius, I do not know. But it is certainly this sort of doctrine you, at a minimum, seem to posit based on your questions.

To be fair, your questions may be mere inquiries and mean nothing more. If that is the case, then I hope my answer was helpful. On the other hand, if your questions are more akin to the challenge/riposte brand, then let us proceed to push the discussion forward.

I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth. III John 4

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Quote: If I were to adopt the

Quote:
If I were to adopt the Arminian view, it would leave Judas in a position of possibly not betraying Christ and frustrating the plan of God.

Egingess, I am not arminian, but this is factually incorrect. The classic arminian position affirms the complete foreknowledge of God. Being that they affirm that, then there really was no "chance" that Judas could betray Christ. The future was set. I hope that helps you sort some of this out.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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Question for Jame K

James, I'm just curious. If you reject five-point Calvinism, why do you use a portrait of John Bunyan as your logo? He was, as I'm sure you realize, a strong five point Calvinist.

G. N. Barkman

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getting caught up

Lee in post 81 wrote:
I'm liking it! It simplifies things. You are either a Calvinist, or you are a decisionalist. And since decisionalism is equivalent to baptismal regeneration, which is equivalent to Judaism, which is equivalent to heresy, you are either a Calvinist or a heretic.

See how easy that was! (do I need to add a smiley or is the exclamation mark enough)

edginess in post 86 wrote:
It was Pelagius who introduced the wicked error that "ought" implied "ability."

And the beloved (by Synergists) Charles G Finney shows his Pelagianism in his sermon http://www.gospeltruth.net/1836SOIS/01sois_sinners_bound.htm Sinners Bound to Change Their Own Hearts

Finney wrote:
It is a dictate of reason, of conscience, of common sense, and of our natural sense of justice, that if God require of us the performance of any duty or act, he is bound in justice to give us power to obey; i.e. he must give us the faculties and strength to perform the act. But if justice require this, why call it a gracious ability. Natural ability to do our duty cannot be a gracious ability. To call it so, is to confound grace and justice as meaning the same thing. The sin of disobedience then must lie, not in his having broken the law of God, but solely in his not having complied with the strivings of the Spirit. Accordingly the definition of sin should be, upon these principles, not that "sin is a transgression of the law," but that it consists in not yielding to the influence of the Spirit.

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Regeneration precedes..

edginess wrote:
Regeneration precedes conversion, which is where the choice to submit to Christ takes place.

Here is a http://sharperiron.org/forum/thread-regeneration-precedes-faith ]Regeneration Precedes Faith thread.

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JohnBrian wrote: Lee in post

JohnBrian wrote:
Lee in post 81 wrote:
I'm liking it! It simplifies things. You are either a Calvinist, or you are a decisionalist. And since decisionalism is equivalent to baptismal regeneration, which is equivalent to Judaism, which is equivalent to heresy, you are either a Calvinist or a heretic.

See how easy that was! (do I need to add a smiley or is the exclamation mark enough)

And with the new simplicity abounding I had an almost unconquerable urge to go through edingess's last post and correct his identifications of Arminian, Pelagian, and synergist with a strike-through and put in "decisionalist" just so we could stay on topic.

But I truly love you guys--you're as predictable as sunrise.

Lee

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James K wrote:Quote:If I

James K wrote:
Quote:
If I were to adopt the Arminian view, it would leave Judas in a position of possibly not betraying Christ and frustrating the plan of God.

Egingess, I am not arminian, but this is factually incorrect. The classic arminian position affirms the complete foreknowledge of God. Being that they affirm that, then there really was no "chance" that Judas could betray Christ. The future was set. I hope that helps you sort some of this out.

Are you acquainted with the Jesuits and Dominicans controversy over this very issue which resulted in the heresy of molinism? A heresy brought on by an attempt on the part of committed Arminians to harmonize divine foreknowledge with the most cherished doctrine of free will. William Lane Craig has made this false notion very popular today. Van Til often said that Arminians very often DO better than they believe. I think he was right.

I hold to a compatibilist view of freedom, which is the standard Calvinist position. This view harmonizes God's foreknowledge with human freedom. Based on the totality of what Scripture teaches about God, man, sin, reality, Christ, and the atonement, I see no other plausible alternatives. The intense desire to preserve libertarian freedom has produced a plethora of false doctrine, open theism and process theology among them. At any rate, no Arminian I know has ever been able to exegete all thet texts that teach a total depravity of the human person. William Lane Craig goes so far as to doubt there is such a thing as the sensus divinitatis. How could a scholar like Craig read Romans 1 and doubt such a clear doctrine of Scripture? Could it be because Craig's entire empire and reputation are threatened by the truth of such a doctrine? Perhaps. That unregenerate men know that God is and that they all suppress this knowledge because of their depraved condition is undeniable in my opinion. This makes synergism or any form of salvation other than monergism ipso facto false. Unbelievers do not make a decision to be a follower of Christ. By the time we decide to be a follower, we are already possessed by God's gracious gift of faith, having been regenerated by His glorious power.

I have no greater joy than this, to hear of my children walking in the truth. III John 4

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Although I understand what

Although I understand what 5pt calvinism tries to accomplish, John Bunyan was much more than just another 5pter. I like John MacArthur as well. Bunyan's writings demonstrate that New Covenant theology isn't some new movement, but what Christians have been preaching since the apostolic times. I affirm NCT with pretrib/premill eschatology.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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John Bunyan

True. John Bunyan was much more than a five-pointer. True again, so is MacArthur. But both are five point Calvinists. Any Calvinist who is a serious Bible student/teacher is much, much more than a five-pointer. But that in no way diminishes their embrace of the Doctrines of Grace.

If men like Bunyan believed and taught them, why the disrespect for those on this thread who believe them? ("you guys are so predictacle" etc.) It seems strange that you would identify yourself with a Five point Calvinist like Bunyan, and yet disrespect those who believe and teach today what he taught in his day. Just saying.

G. N. Barkman

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GN Barkman, you will not find

GN Barkman, you will not find where I make any remarks of Calvinism on this thread that are negative. Further, I do not put 5pt calvinism as a theological priority as to whether or not a person is worth listening to. John Bunyan, a calvinist, also suffered at the hands of those who embraced calvinism.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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edingess, Quote: Are you

edingess,

Quote:
Are you acquainted with the Jesuits and Dominicans controversy over this very issue which resulted in the heresy of molinism? A heresy brought on by an attempt on the part of committed Arminians to harmonize divine foreknowledge with the most cherished doctrine of free will. William Lane Craig has made this false notion very popular today. Van Til often said that Arminians very often DO better than they believe. I think he was right.

Strangely enough, I don't care what catholics argue about and what they determine is heresy. I further find it odd when evangelicals do care.

I don't know William Lane Craig. I have never met him. I have read his apologetics book (because it was a school textbook) and recently the 4 perspectives book that deals with sovereignty.

In addition, Van Til concluded that double predestination was biblical. Is that what you believe? I doubt it because you are a self described compatibilist. So you actually reject both Craig and Van Til. Yet you quote Van Til as an authority over against Arminians, which again, I am not and reject.

Quote:
I hold to a compatibilist view of freedom, which is the standard Calvinist position.

I have a lot of respect for compatibilists. In fact, the vast majority of theologians I like are that. It is not the standard calvinist position though. If you read the Van Til types, you will see them say that people like you are essentially arminian. Strange huh? Calvinist crime: saying or doing anything that might lead someone to think you are arminian. Calvinist on calvinist crime is what it is.

Quote:
This view harmonizes God's foreknowledge with human freedom.

Well, it makes attempts at it. How do you explain the origin of sin? Be careful on this, cuz I got a quote from a very influential, "standard" calvinists who admit he doesn't know the answer.

Unfortunately, many who are taught compatibilism simply assume that everyone else must be some form of quack or heretic because truth must be found singularly in compatibilism. This is not meant to insult compatibilism, but its attempts to harmonize Sovereignty and responsibility are good, but need to do more work.

1 Kings 8:60 - so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.

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Arminianism

Edingess,

We ran http://sharperiron.org/comment/32683#comment-32683 ]an article by the Society of Arminians awhile ago that proved to be very helpful in articulating what it is the standard classical Arminian view. I think it would be of interest for you; I have found that their view is the best and most Scriptural view and explanation after several years of studying and reading Calvinist literature.

I find that that a lot of 3 or 4 point Calvinists would actually agree with the classical Arminian view, which is what I believe.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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edingess wrote: The "born

edingess wrote:
The "born again" experience is either the result of a person's "decision" or a person's "decision" is the result of being "born again." If Jesus did not mean that we have not chosen Him, then what exactly did He mean when he said we have not chosen him?

The passage you are referring to comes from a context of the Last Supper where our Lord is with his Apostles. While he is giving them some specific teachings and instructions, the context, again, is Jesus just with the Apostles. This reference, in its context, is a reference to his choosing them to be the Apostles, it is not about salvation, especially in light of Judas' being present.

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Alex

Good answer, Alex...thanks for addressing that before I could.

"Our task today is to tell people — who no longer know what sin is...no longer see themselves as sinners, and no longer have room for these categories — that Christ died for sins of which they do not think they’re guilty." - David Wells

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sproul

A link to this article on http://www.ligonier.org/blog/john-316/ John 3:16 from R C Sproul showed up in my twitter feed this morning.

Quote:
The argument used by non-Reformed people is that the text teaches that everybody in the world has it in their power to accept or reject Christ. A careful look at the text reveals, however, that it teaches nothing of the kind. What the text teaches is that everyone who believes in Christ will be saved. Whoever does A (believes) will receive B (everlasting life). The text says nothing, absolutely nothing, about who will ever believe. It says nothing about fallen man’s natural moral ability. Reformed people and non-Reformed people both heartily agree that all who believe will be saved. They heartily disagree about who has the ability to believe.

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