John Piper: Salvation Not 'A Decision'

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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

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Watched this online and

Watched this online and agree. I am sure there will be a lynch mob assembled--would expect nothing less.

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Oy vey. He continues drifting

Oy vey. He continues drifting further and further from the ranch. I hear his posse coming, though, to save the day. Now Piper does say some true things which are quoted in the article, those are not up for debate but 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.

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Quote: taking what is plain

Quote:
taking what is plain and confabulating it.
Huh? He takes what is plain and then converses or chats about it?

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Larry wrote: Quote: taking

Larry wrote:
Quote:
taking what is plain and confabulating it.
Huh? He takes what is plain and then converses or chats about it?
Maybe on some occasions he does but on others he is the master of confabulating what is plain by doing far more than just "chatting" about it and it continues to injure many souls.

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Yes, Piper Does Complicate Things

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.

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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,” 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.

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On the surface....

Let's just do a quick exploration of some of the more common salvation passages.

But first--defining decision:
"The act of reaching a conclusion or making up one's mind."
"A determination arrived at after consideration."
"A choice made between alternative courses of action in a situation of uncertainty."
"The process of making a choice after thinking carefully."

Now, some passages of note--
Acts 2:37-38 "Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost."

Acts 16:30-31 "And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house."

Acts 9:6 "And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do....[Acts 22:12-16 ] And one Ananias...[said ]...And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord....[Rom. 10:13 ] For whosoever shall call upon the name of the LORD shall be saved."

Repent, believe, call. Is it just me, or do these fall under the definition of decision?

If Piper were IFBx I'd likely conclude he wasn't expositing Scripture but bolstering his paradigm. But we know that could never be.

Lee

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Alex Guggenheim wrote:Maybe

Alex Guggenheim wrote:
Maybe on some occasions he does but on others he is the master of confabulating what is plain by doing far more than just "chatting" about it and it continues to injure many souls.
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/confabulate ]Confabulate means to talk informally http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/confabulate ]or chat/converse. It doesn't appear to mean "doing far more than just 'chatting.'" So I am not sure what you are trying to say here. What do you think he does, particularly here? Do you mean he confuses things?

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What you refer to is the most

What you refer to is the most common or basic properties of the word but it also extends to this use:

http://medical-dictionary.thefreedictionary.com/confabulation ]unconscious filling in of gaps in memory with fabricated facts and experiences, commonly associated with organic pathology. It differs from lying in that the patient has no intention to deceive and believes the fabricated memories to be real.

I will say that my choice of the word could be replaced by a more definitive one for my point so substitute as you like. My point was that Piper was filling in with things he believes are true but are not though, unlike one who deliberates to add untruths, he is convinced these are genuine ingredients to believing the gospel, though his error is not benign in the least.

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Decision

The core issue is: 1) Does the sinner's making a decision trigger regeneration? Or, 2) Does regeneration trigger the sinner's decision?

G. N. Barkman

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I suspect a heavy pursuit of

I suspect a heavy pursuit of this sub-text will not serve the interest of the thread's creation but my guess some will pursue it anyway, oh well. Besides, regardless of where one places regeneration, a decision is still being made and Piper is still wrong.

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Simplicity is your friend....

G. N. Barkman wrote:
The core issue is: 1) Does the sinner's making a decision trigger regeneration? Or, 2) Does regeneration trigger the sinner's decision?

The issue is not as you described. It is this--any individual who repents towards God (Acts 20:21), believes on the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31), or calls on the name of the Lord (Rom. 10:13) is regenerated (saved). All semantic acrobatics aside, that is plain Scripture.

Now, your core tangent may be as you described, but it is not the core issue.

Lee

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Lee

You had to bring Scripture into this Theological discussion.

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There are a lot of

There are a lot of untransformed people out there who never evidence being a new creation in Christ. Yet they hang their hopes on some qucik prayer decision they made at some time in their life. While I cannot see inside a person's heart, the Apostles in God's Word made it clear, that people people in this situation ought to be deeply concerned about their standing before God. They ought to examine themselves to see whether or not they are in the faith.

Also, when you read testimonies of saving faith before the modern revivalist movements, the terminology in these testimonies usually does not describe some decision like is often called for today.

I do think the churches need to be careful about being satisfied and declaring themselves successful because they have a number of people who recited a prayer for salvation even though there is often no evidence of salvation.

In Jesus time, people declared they made decisions to follow Him but then it was exposed that they really did not follow Him.

So, it seems to be that there is more to it than quick-prayerism decision making that is so often touted today.

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I agree with Lee (almost)

Lee wrote:
G. N. Barkman wrote:
The core issue is: 1) Does the sinner's making a decision trigger regeneration? Or, 2) Does regeneration trigger the sinner's decision?

The issue is not as you described. It is this--any individual who repents towards God (Acts 20:21), believes on the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31), or calls on the name of the Lord (Rom. 10:13) is regenerated (saved). All semantic acrobatics aside, that is plain Scripture.

Now, your core tangent may be as you described, but it is not the core issue.

You are using the terms regeneration and salvation synonymously. Monergists do not use them that way, and is why we insist that http://sharperiron.org/forum/thread-regeneration-precedes-faith ]regeneration precedes faith .

I agree with your statement except for your synonym-izing regeneration and salvation. I would put regeneration at the beginning of your statement, affirming that the individual who is regenerated will: repent towards God (Acts 20:21); believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31); call on the name of the Lord, and be saved.

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I appreciate John Piper's

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.

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Pastor Joe Roof wrote: There

Pastor Joe Roof wrote:
There are a lot of untransformed people out there who never evidence being a new creation in Christ. ...So, it seems to be that there is more to it than quick-prayerism decision making that is so often touted today.
While what you say may contain some truths it does not approach the issue at hand which is that when we believe we do make a decision. It is true that the parts of the process of our believing on Christ is not summarily only a decision but there is no salvation without a decision.

Piper exacerbates an already unnecessarily confused issue with taking on the element of decision making out of its contexts and creates a false division and/or contention and then adds ingredients one cannot even find in the Scripture with regard to believing the gospel unto salvation. A decision is made and without it there is no salvation and John Piper's inconsiderate words need to be disclaimed.

BTW what testimonies are you talking about and I was saved "after the revivalist period" and I certainly made a decision. So now based on this post-revivalist view we are to question the salvation of everyone who testifies they made a decision and are conscious of it. I will also tell you that before the revivalist period there are many testimonies of those who were practicing a very Jesus-satisfied life but never made a decision to believe on Christ as Savior.

In fact, I will go so far as to say that Mr. Piper demonstrates strong asceticism in his teaches which makes it no surprise to me he attempts to include this the gospel formula. He isn't the first and he won't be the last and though he is sincere, he is sincerely in error.

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Greg Long wrote: I appreciate

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

I believe you need to watch how you describe my view of John Piper's teachings, here you are implying you know my motive and you do not and cannot and that is a sinful thing to do. More importantly, it is not about John Piper, though personal considerations may anecdotally become involved, it is about his doctrine.

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Salvation decisions

Surely there can be no question that salvation involves and includes a decision on the part of the sinner. Perhaps other questions would encourage helpful discussion of this issue:

1) Why does the sinner make a "decision" to trust in Christ and follow Him?
2) When does the sinner make such a decision, before or after he has been regenerated by the Holy Spirit?

G. N. Barkman

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Let's not make more into this

Let's not make more into this than what it is.

If I decide to go to the store for my wife, I may or may not actually go to the store. Maybe I decide to and then not actually. The same is true with salvation. Simply deciding to believe in Jesus isn't the same thing as actually believing in Jesus.

Piper appears to be addressing this usage. A person should not think he is saved because he decided to believe. This doesn't nullify that an actually decision needs to be made for salvation. I agree that some people overstate things, but let's try to focus on what he actually said.

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The funny thing is...

that Piper's linguistic paradigm of "being satisfied" in Jesus will eventually encounter the same problems that the previous paradigm has. Where people once doubted whether or not they have made "the decision" properly to be saved, they will now doubt whether or not they have "been satisfied" enough to be saved. And where they once may have taken comfort in their decision instead of Christ, they will now take comfort in their emotions instead of Christ.

In my mind, the solution is to turn people back to Christ from the human tendency to stray from him--it's not going to come from simply changing the terminology by which we describe the relationship.

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Jn 6:35

I was curious about Piper's translation of Jn 6:35, so I went and retranslated it myself. This is what I came up with, and I'd appreciate any feedback you all might have on it.

Quote:
John 6:35
[And ] Jesus said to them, 'I myself (double pronoun - Egw eimi) am the bread that gives life. Those who are coming to me will not ever (ou mn - double negative) be hungry [again ], and those who believe in me shall not ever (the double negative 'ou mn' is here as well) be thirsty at any time.

It's a little wooden, but I was trying hard to capture the meaning and avoid the typical English translations. Bracketed words are words I supplied to add clarity or to add a more complete meaning that the Greek conveys but English would not.

This passage reminded me a lot of Matthew 5:6 as I was translating it, and there is an OT verse as well, but I don't know the reference off the top of my head.

I think Piper's point - and I agree with Greg Long (and others) that Piper can be confusing in how he presents material - is that once we see ourselves as the sinful creatures that we are, we become aware that the only hope we have is in what Jesus did, and therefore realize that we must keep going back to 'the bread that gives life' for cleansing and forgiveness, just as OT Israel had to keep going back to the Temple with new sacrifices to atone for their sin.

As for the whole 'delighting in God as salvation' thing, Piper does a pretty good job in explaining that in his book 'Desiring God', which is available for free as a PDF from Desiringgod.org.

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Piper's Definition

I went and looked at Piper's introduction to see if there's a succinct definition of what he meant available. This is a little more than succinct, but I think it's pretty clear what he's getting at.

Desiring God, p. 11-12 wrote:

The older I get, the more I am persuaded that Nehemiah 8:10 is crucial for living and dying well: “The joy of the LORD is your strength.” As we grow older and our bodies weaken, we must learn from the Puritan pastor Richard Baxter (who died in 1691) to redouble our efforts to find strength from spiritual joy, not natural supplies. He prayed, “May the Living God, who is the portion and rest of the saints, make these our carnal minds so spiritual, and our earthly hearts so heavenly, that loving him, and delighting in him, may be the work of our lives.” When delighting in God is the work of our lives (which I call Christian Hedonism), there will be an inner strength for ministries of love to the very end.

J. I. Packer described this dynamic in Baxter’s life: “The hope of heaven brought him joy, and joy brought him strength, and so, like John Calvin before him and George Whitefield after him (two verifiable examples) and, it would seem, like the apostle Paul himself…he was astoundingly enabled to labor on, accomplishing more than would ever have seemed possible in a single lifetime.” But not only does the pursuit of joy in God give strength to endure; it is the key to breaking the power of sin on our way to heaven. Matthew Henry, another Puritan pastor, put it like this: “The joy of the Lord will arm us against the assaults of our spiritual enemies and put our mouths out of taste for those pleasures with which the tempter baits his hooks.”

This is the great business of life—to “put our mouths out of taste for those pleasures with which the tempter baits his hooks.” I know of no other way to triumph over sin long-term than to gain a distaste for it because of a superior satisfaction in God. One of the reasons this book is still “working” after seventeen years is that this truth simply does not and will not change. God remains gloriously all-satisfying. The human heart remains a ceaseless factory of desires. Sin remains powerfully and suicidally appealing. The battle remains: Where will we drink? Where will we feast? Therefore, Desiring God is still a compelling and urgent message: Feast on God.

I never tire of saying and savoring the truth that God’s passion to be glorified and our passion to be satisfied are one experience in the Christ-exalting act of worship—singing in the sanctuary and suffering in the streets. Baxter said it like this:

Quote:
[God’s ] glorifying himself and the saving of his people are not two decrees with God, but one decree, to glorify his mercy in their salvation, though we may say that one is the end of the other: so I think they should be with us together indeed.

We get the mercy; He gets the glory. We get the happiness in Him; He gets the honor from us.

Link to the book: http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/online-books/desiring-god

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Jay C. wrote: I went and

Jay C. wrote:
I went and looked at Piper's introduction to see if there's a succinct definition of what he meant available. This is a little more than succinct, but I think it's pretty clear what he's getting at.
Desiring God, p. 11-12 wrote:

The older I get, the more I am persuaded that Nehemiah 8:10 is crucial for living and dying well: “The joy of the LORD is your strength.” As we grow older and our bodies weaken, we must learn from the Puritan pastor Richard Baxter (who died in 1691) to redouble our efforts to find strength from spiritual joy, not natural supplies. He prayed, “May the Living God, who is the portion and rest of the saints, make these our carnal minds so spiritual, and our earthly hearts so heavenly, that loving him, and delighting in him, may be the work of our lives.” When delighting in God is the work of our lives (which I call Christian Hedonism), there will be an inner strength for ministries of love to the very end.

J. I. Packer described this dynamic in Baxter’s life: “The hope of heaven brought him joy, and joy brought him strength, and so, like John Calvin before him and George Whitefield after him (two verifiable examples) and, it would seem, like the apostle Paul himself…he was astoundingly enabled to labor on, accomplishing more than would ever have seemed possible in a single lifetime.” But not only does the pursuit of joy in God give strength to endure; it is the key to breaking the power of sin on our way to heaven. Matthew Henry, another Puritan pastor, put it like this: “The joy of the Lord will arm us against the assaults of our spiritual enemies and put our mouths out of taste for those pleasures with which the tempter baits his hooks.”

This is the great business of life—to “put our mouths out of taste for those pleasures with which the tempter baits his hooks.” I know of no other way to triumph over sin long-term than to gain a distaste for it because of a superior satisfaction in God. One of the reasons this book is still “working” after seventeen years is that this truth simply does not and will not change. God remains gloriously all-satisfying. The human heart remains a ceaseless factory of desires. Sin remains powerfully and suicidally appealing. The battle remains: Where will we drink? Where will we feast? Therefore, Desiring God is still a compelling and urgent message: Feast on God.

I never tire of saying and savoring the truth that God’s passion to be glorified and our passion to be satisfied are one experience in the Christ-exalting act of worship—singing in the sanctuary and suffering in the streets. Baxter said it like this:

Quote:
[God’s ] glorifying himself and the saving of his people are not two decrees with God, but one decree, to glorify his mercy in their salvation, though we may say that one is the end of the other: so I think they should be with us together indeed.

We get the mercy; He gets the glory. We get the happiness in Him; He gets the honor from us.

Link to the book: http://www.desiringgod.org/resource-library/online-books/desiring-god[/q...
He says many things but the plain Gospel.

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Alex, was the context of the

Alex, was the context of the above limited to the plain Gospel? Was Piper trying to explain how a person is saved?

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If it is not then it is not

If it is not then it is not germane to the issue and your objection is with Jay's use since the gospel and deciding to believe is the context of the thread discussion and objections.

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Jay C. wrote: I went and

Jay C. wrote:
I went and looked at Piper's introduction to see if there's a succinct definition of what he meant available. This is a little more than succinct...

Understatement much?

Lee

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Salvation is not a decision

It seems that Piper is saying, "Salvation is not obtained by merely making a decision," something akin to "Try Jesus." He goes on to say that some of his hearers have not "waved the white flag of surrender to Jesus."

Isn't this another way of saying that saving faith is more than raising a hand, walking an aisle, praying a prayer? He is saying that saving faith includes surrender to the authority of Christ. Since the essence of our alienation from God is our sinful rebellion (defying God's authority, deciding for ourselves what is right and wrong, "for me"), salvation is a change of attitude toward God's rightful rule. Saving faith includes repentance, which is a change of mind regarding sin. No longer defending and justifying it, we now acknowledge it, and agree with God's perspective concerning it. As sinners, we formerly defied Christ's authority. "We will not have this man to rule over us!" As believers, we now acknowledge His rightful rule, and become lifelong repenters who evaluate every action in the light of His revealed will.

Unquestionably, many who have "made a decision for Christ" know nothing of this kind of repentant faith. Biblical assurance of salvation is not based upon what I did, ie "made a decision." It is based upon what God has done and is doing. When we see clear evidence that God has changed our hearts, made us a new creation, and is continuing to mold us into the likeness of His dear Son, we will have true evidence of salvation.

Piper is correct, and this message needs to be proclaimed widely.

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JohnBrian wrote: ...I agree

JohnBrian wrote:
...I agree with your statement except for your synonym-izing regeneration and salvation. I would put regeneration at the beginning of your statement, affirming that the individual who is regenerated will: repent towards God (Acts 20:21); believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31); call on the name of the Lord, and be saved.

I do not understand this straw you grasp. A regenerated individual is a born again individual, is an individual who is a new creature in Christ, is saved. How is it that saved cannot be the synonym that covers this phenomenon?

Lee

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Alex, Jay posted something

Alex, Jay posted something that had to do with how Piper explains delighting in God. He...even...said...that...

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not a straw

Lee wrote:
I do not understand this straw you grasp. A regenerated individual is a born again individual, is an individual who is a new creature in Christ, is saved. How is it that saved cannot be the synonym that covers this phenomenon?
Regeneration is what CAUSES salvation, and is what God does.

Monergism affirms that God is the active agent in saving His people (the elect).

Synergism affirms that God is the passive agent in salvation - you know - the Christ that stands at the door knocking, waiting and hoping that someone will open the door and let Him in. If they don't open the door, he goes away sad.

The difference between these views is significant for HOW one does preaching and evangelism, so it's not a straw as far as I am concerned.

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Of course this is another

Of course this is another topic, but this is not how Monergism and Synergism were originally thought of. All Christians affirm Monergism. Catholics affirm synergism.

John, what you are trying to push is a rather recent concept of Monergism.

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Larry wrote: Alex Guggenheim

Larry wrote:
Alex Guggenheim wrote:
Maybe on some occasions he does but on others he is the master of confabulating what is plain by doing far more than just "chatting" about it and it continues to injure many souls.
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/confabulate ]Confabulate means to talk informally http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/confabulate ]or chat/converse. It doesn't appear to mean "doing far more than just 'chatting.'" So I am not sure what you are trying to say here. What do you think he does, particularly here? Do you mean he confuses things?

You conveniently omitted its other definition which is my understanding of the term, that of 'filling gaps in one's memory with fabrications that one believes to be facts'.
Much better to speak in plain simple English rather than using big and confusing terms.

Richard Pajak

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I don't believe one should

I don't believe one should assume the language of others is poverty stricken nor that they do not delight in discoveries of new riches in ther vocabulary. I believe it is better to esteem than to approach with lesser assumptions.

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Since some have considered a

Since some have considered a more broad view of Piper's theology, here is a very good article from 5 Point Salt (the author is a classic 5 Point Calvinist):

http://5ptsalt.com/2012/01/06/how-christian-hedonism-uniquely-denies-the... How Christian Hedonism Uniquely Denies the Necessity of the New Birth

He deals with John Piper's re-articulation of the "5 Points" where John Piper modifies them with his erring Christian Hedonism and here is a sizable excerpt from the article which conveys its core:

Quote:
On January 4th, 2012, Dr. Piper posted http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/christian-hedonist-calvinism ]this interesting, short article:

“What would the doctrines of grace sound like if every limb in that tree were coursing with the sap of Augustinian delight. (that is, Christian Hedonism)?

* Total depravity is not just badness, but blindness to God’s beauty and deadness to the deepest joy.

* Unconditional election means that the completeness of our joy in Jesus was planned for us before we ever existed as the overflow of God’s joy in the fellowship of the Trinity.

* Limited atonement is the assurance that indestructible joy in God is infallibly secured for us by the blood of the covenant.

* Irresistible grace is the commitment and power of God’s love to make sure we don’t hold on to suicidal pleasures, and to set us free by the sovereign power of superior delights.

* Perseverance of the saints is the almighty work of God not to let us fall into the final bondage of inferior pleasures, but to keep us, through all affliction and suffering, for an inheritance of fullness of joy in his presence and pleasures at his right hand forevermore.”

What would the doctrines of grace sound like? I’ll answer that. Like complete unorthodox heresy.

Listen brethren.

Total depravity is regards the necessity of the new birth, not joy.

It means the depravity of man extends to the whole being of a man, that, being born in sin, he requires the new birth to be reconciled to God.

Unconditional Election regards the necessity of the new birth, not joy.

It means that God chose to save some not at all based on their own merit, and therefore the new birth is required to be saved.

Limited Atonement regards the necessity of the new birth, not joy.

Christ came for and with a purpose, and He accomplished it, to redeem those given to Him by the Father to be redeemed….not all mankind- and the new birth, regeneration, is required.

Irresistible Grace is about the necessity of the new birth, not joy.

Because God chose to save some, He does indeed! They will be saved. How? Regeneration, the new birth! New creatures!

Perseverance of the Saints also regards the necessity of the new birth, absolutely not ‘joy’.

Those whom God has chosen to be redeemed, will be, and they will continue in belief by the upholding power of the Holy Spirit of God Himself. They will sin, they will stumble, but they will persevere, and be preserved – and it will not be because they pursued the hedonistic joy of God.

Bottom line? You must be born again!

In this short article by Dr. Piper, the necessity of the new birth, as usual in Dr. Pipers teaching as well as that of new Calvinists in general, is conspicuously absent. It is standard, New Calvinism teaching. It is subtle. It sounds so pious and right, yet it is incredibly harmful to Christians in understanding the whole counsel of God.

Brethren, there is more to Christianity than the pursuit of joy in God. If you follow that path, you may indeed be ignorant of whether you are even saved at all. I cannot emphasize enough how dangerous New Calvinism is, and Christians should be running as fast and as far from these guys as possible.

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Quote: You conveniently

Quote:
You conveniently omitted its other definition which is my understanding of the term, that of 'filling gaps in one's memory with fabrications that one believes to be facts'.
No, I didn't "conveniently" leave it out. It is actually listed in both links I gave. I did not quote that meaning here because it made even less sense than the normal or common meaning of it.

The usage you reference is a psychiatric use of it to refer to filling in memory losses with fabrication. I doubt that even Alex, with all his dislike for Piper's theology, is suggesting that Piper has a memory loss and is filling that in with a fabrication. There's no indication of any memory loss on the part of Piper. I imagine that Alex believes that Piper remembers just fine, and that Piper is saying something incorrect. Not having listened to it, I don't know what Piper actually says.

I think Alex used a word that he was confused about, and he comes very close to admitting that. His later statement says that he thinks Piper is mistaken, but not intentionally lying.

The fact is that the word "confabulate" according to its dictionary definition does not seem to have any legitimate application here unless you believe that Piper was chatting or conversing informally, or that he has a psychiatric condition of memory loss and just makes stuff up to fill in the memory gaps. Neither makes sense.

You are correct that it is "Much better to speak in plain simple English rather than using big and confusing terms." We don't sound as smart when we do that, but we communicate better.

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Alex, you disagree with both

Alex, you disagree with both of those positions. Is your point simply that some calvinists dislike what Piper espouses? I think he far too often tries to come across as cutting edge and so gets caught saying things like he did above. The question is whether or not it is biblical though is it not?

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Larry wrote: I think Alex

Larry wrote:

I think Alex used a word that he was confused about, and he comes very close to admitting that. His later statement says that he thinks Piper is mistaken, but not intentionally lying.
No Larry, I am quite familiar with its definition and in fact, it was you who demonstrated ignorance of its additional meaning which resulted in your confusion. But I do realize for some talking about the loose employment of a word is much more important than the issue itself so if that is you I will pardon myself from that end of this discussion and if that is not you, then I am sure you will pardon yourself from this end of the discussion as well.

And that is, btw, how it was used, loosely, with that definition. I invited you or anyone else to use a more effective word if they so chose but that was my preferred word.

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James K wrote: Alex, you

James K wrote:
Alex, you disagree with both of those positions. Is your point simply that some calvinists dislike what Piper espouses? I think he far too often tries to come across as cutting edge and so gets caught saying things like he did above. The question is whether or not it is biblical though is it not?

James,

One of those falls within orthodoxy (the classic 5 points), the other (Piper's modification) which 5 Point Salt calls heretical, does not and I agree with its classification. In fact, this is the very meaning of the Greek word and the context of the warning in 2 Peter 2:1b where it states:

Quote:
They will secretly introduce destructive heresies

The word for secret, here, is (παρεισάγω) pareisagó which means to place something along side of something else (in order to hide it). Get the picture? It is behind the façade of orthodoxy that false teaching is introduced. The erring Teacher depends on orthodoxy in order to introduce his (or her, unfortunately to the many in the body of Christ asleep at the wheel) parasitic philosophy.

We don't deal with error, as you know, by putting up orthodox expressions to justify, minimize or hide it, even if our favorite Teacher is asserting it (I am not saying he is your favorite I am just using that for the extreme case). And I believe the taking of license by Piper, here, is alarming enough to have more than one articulate Calvinist no longer lamenting Piper's excesses but now seeing them as "unorthodox heresy". And this isn't the first time he has modified an orthodox expression in order to subtle introduce his novel and erring doctrine of Christian Hedonism.

While I may disagree with some theological expressions, if they fall within orthodoxy they are objected to on different grounds.

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Quote:No Larry, I am quite

Quote:
No Larry, I am quite familiar with its definition and in fact, it was you who demonstrated ignorance of its additional meaning which resulted in your confusion
Just to be clear, I wasn't ignorant of the "additional meaning." It isn't "additional," and as I already pointed out, it is in the links I gave above.

My confusion stems from the fact that neither usage makes sense in this context. It seems incredulous that you are arguing that Piper's comments can be described by a psychiatric term dealing with memory loss and making stuff up to fill in the gaps of history that have been lost. But I suppose it's possible. On the other hand, perhaps Piper hasn't forgotten anything and just believes something different than you do.

But I am glad to put that to rest.

My guess is that, as someone has already said, Piper is arguing against decisionism, not making a decision per se. And if that is true, then he is right, and that is a good thing. If that is not true, then I am not sure what he is saying.

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Alex, I understand your

Alex, I understand your point, but you disagree with 5pt calvinism (so do I). You have said it lacks exegetical support. That is the issue that should deal with Piper's points. A covenantist would disagree with many of my positions, and I rightly could not care less. They may fall within orthodoxy, but hardly an exegetically true position.

A person's joy is not God's supreme goal. It is a byproduct. Piper flubbed this one, but not because some covenantist said so.

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Larry wrote: ... Piper is

Larry wrote:
... Piper is arguing against decisionism, not making a decision per se. And if that is true, then he is right, and that is a good thing. If that is not true, then I am not sure what he is saying.

OK, somebody threw this term across my desk a number of years ago without definition, and it was what eventually drove me to an internet discussion forum, and this forum in particular, as it seems to be the re-occurring issue du jour of this forum and in independent, fundamental, never-varying-a-bit Baptist circles in general.

Please define. You say he is correct with his mumbo-jumbo if it is against decisionism, when in reality you are "not sure what he is saying." What is this "decisionism" that is so insidious and where is it outlined in Scripture as the despicable monster you and a plethora of others make it out to be?

Anyone else please feel free to chime in. I really would love a concise Scriptural definition on this one.

Lee

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His point

James, I think Alex's point is to show that even the larger theological tradition Piper identifies with does not support his view of the desires/affections/joy in God, etc. (Whether Alex is right about that is another question)

For my part, I think it's unfortunate that Piper says some things the way he does. But what is a "decision"? Isn't it the expression of the will? What is the will? Isn't my will pretty much "what I desire"? And isn't "what I desire" pretty much "what I find joy in"?
Similarly, what is repentance? That's a long standing debate, but I'm pretty sure that in Piper's view, it's also an intentional act of the will/affections.
So denying that salvation is a decision seems incompatible with Piper's own system. Perhaps in this case he simply meant that it is not a superficial decision, or that it is more than a "there was this moment and that was it" thing... that is, God has a much bigger agenda than getting us to "make a decision" then forget about it.

Maybe the best way to settle that question is to a) revisit the context of his remarks or b) ask him?

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Lee wrote: where is

Lee wrote:
where is [decisionism ] outlined in Scripture as the despicable monster you and a plethora of others make it out to be?

Where are Emergence or Mormonism or abortion outlined in scripture as some great heresies/sins?

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Doubling Down

A few people I know linked to http://www.desiringgod.org/blog/posts/know-a-christian-who-seems-to-love... ]this article this weekend. I'm quoting it here because I think it provides a good illustration of the point that Piper is making.

Quote:
What should you do if you know someone who seems to be more excited about movies than Jesus?

Many professing Christians give little evidence of valuing Jesus more than the latest movie they have seen. Or the latest clothing they bought. Or the latest app they downloaded. Or the latest game they watched. Something is amiss.

We are not God and cannot judge with certainty and precision what’s wrong. There is a glitch somewhere. Perhaps a blindness going in, a spiritual deadness at heart, or a blockage coming out. Or some combination. Christ doesn’t appear supremely valuable. Or isn’t felt as supremely valuable. Or can’t be spoken of as supremely valuable. Or some combination.

Here’s my suggestion. Instead of dampening their enthusiasm for movies, clothing, apps, and events, let that go as an expression of God-given personality. Instead, model expressive joy in Jesus. Over time, if there is no resonance from their heart with your joy, query them humbly:

Quote:
I love your enthusiasm for the things you get excited about. You’re so free and expressive about good movies and nice clothes and cool apps. It seems odd to me that you don’t seem to be as expressive about the way you feel about Jesus and what he’s done for us. Have you thought about why that might be?

The point of this query is to help them see that the problem is not joyfully loving good created things. The problem is the apparent absence of similar affections for Christ.

If similar affections for Jesus are not possible, then the specter of idolatry becomes serious. But they may sense this themselves without your having to start with that indictment, if you draw their attention not to the excitement that’s there, but to what’s missing.

We don’t want them to lose their exuberance about anything good. We want Christ to be supreme in their hearts so that all their exuberance comes under him and for his sake. When Jesus is felt as supremely valuable in our hearts, all other values gradually become properly ordered and purified.

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?

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DavidO wrote: Lee

DavidO wrote:
Lee wrote:
where is [decisionism ] outlined in Scripture as the despicable monster you and a plethora of others make it out to be?

Where are Emergence or Mormonism or abortion outlined in scripture as some great heresies/sins?


Are we purposefully trying to muddy the waters?

The idolatry of Mormonism (faith plus works) is clearly delineated in Scripture.

The idolatry of Emergence (universalism [Rob Bell, et. al. ] and other syncretizational tendencies) is clearly condemned in Scripture.

Every instance of true salvation in Scripture is accompanied by a decision of some sort, and the presentation of salvation calls for a decision of some sort--repent, believe, call, etc.

So what is your point?

Lee

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Jay C. wrote: So Piper's

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.

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Lee wrote: Are we

Lee wrote:
Are we purposefully trying to muddy the waters?

The idolatry of Mormonism (faith plus works) is clearly delineated in Scripture.

The idolatry of Emergence (universalism [Rob Bell, et. al. ] and other syncretizational tendencies) is clearly condemned in Scripture.

Every instance of true salvation in Scripture is accompanied by a decision of some sort, and the presentation of salvation calls for a decision of some sort--repent, believe, call, etc.

So what is your point?

My point is you are requiring the opponents of decisionalism to meet a burden you do not hold yourself to even in your response to me. Mormonism itself is not outlined, nor is emergence outlined. You require decisionalism to be outlined?

The objections of the opponents of decisionaliwm would parallel your statements above: Scripture clearly condemns the error(s) of decisionalism. James is a good place to start.

I do admit that this is somewhat peripheral to Piper's specific statements in these articles, but I didn't bring it up.

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This is why I don't waste my time.

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

Alex,

This will probably be my last comment directed to you on this thread.

That article is a very, very basic summary of Piper's Christian Hedonism; he is saying that we should seek to prioritize God above all things and then giving advice to other Christians on how to confront idolaters. That's Scriptural. I'm not sure why you insist that he's teaching some kind of aberrant doctrine, and was hoping that providing a very simple example would be helpful to you and the others here. It appears as though you're more interested in attacking Piper than understanding what he's saying, so there's no point in weighing your criticism that Piper is "drifting further and further from the ranch."

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Lee, The term decisionalism

Lee,

The term decisionalism is another point of contention in the larger discussion regarding Calvanism and Arminianism. The issue comes down to control. This is the point John Brian was trying to make earlier. This is why monergists speak of irresistable grace and are more likely to refer to someone's receiving Christ than accepting Christ.

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

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Chip Van Emmerik

Chip Van Emmerik wrote:
Lee,

The term decisionalism is another point of contention in the larger discussion regarding Calvanism and Arminianism. The issue comes down to control. This is the point John Brian was trying to make earlier. This is why monergists speak of irresistable grace and are more likely to refer to someone's receiving Christ than accepting Christ.

Is there an "official" definition of decisionalism or is it one of those things that means whatever you want it to mean whenever you are on the stump about something (like Pharisaism, legalism, and other)?

In reference to DavidO: My concern is definition. I must not have made that clear.

Mormonism is clearly defined so its antagonism to Scripture is clear to anyone who wishes to see.

Emergence is defined, though somewhat loosely, and its antagonism to Scripture is very discernible.

Not sure what the word games on these are about in comparison with decisionalism, which, to date, I've heard no cogent definition of. How would I expect to determine its agreement to Scripture or antagonism to Scripture if, when you ask 10 people for a definition you receive 11 possible answers?

Piper is against decisionalism and waxes eloquent on it (we think), and we have to spend 50 posts discussing it with nobody being sure what he is trying to communicate yet. Do you see my concern for a clear definition?

Lee

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 .

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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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