[Ray D]

THIS IS AN EXAMPLE OF INCONSISTENT CALVINISM.

What you have just given us is an example of inconsistent Calvinism. Let me explain:

1. Calvinists (like me) believe in salvation comes to a person by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8), and not by works.

2. You seem to believe that salvation if by grace through faith, PLUS understanding, in quite some detail, that the mechanism of salvation is by grace through faith.

3. Therefore by adding theological knowledge which must be arrived at by study (how many people were Calvininsts at the moment they received Christ?) you are adding a WORK as a requirement for salvation.

4. Therefore, you are not a consistent Calvinist. Indeed, by your own testimony, I think you would be damned, for adding a work as a requirement for salvation.

It's a good thing that God doesn't require us to be right about everything before we can be saved!

[Marc]

"WHOSOEVER TRANSGRESSETH, AND ABIDETH NOT IN THE DOCTRINE OF CHRIST, HATH NOT GOD. 2 JOHN 9.

Ah -- a common accusation. If I were guilty of what you accuse, then I would not be saved.

It all comes down to THE GOSPEL.

For a more detailed response to an accusation of this kind, please see:

http://www.outsidethecamp.org/letters21.htm

Please get this distinction in your head: Belief in the gospel is not a PREREQUISITE to salvation; belief in the gospel is an INEVITABLE RESULT of salvation.

When God regenerates someone, He gives them FAITH. Faith in what? Faith in whom? Or is there just some mystical, nebulous 'faith' that just makes a person shiver all over without any knowledge of anything?

Remember -- it all comes down to THE GOSPEL.

Arminians do not believe THE GOSPEL. Most who call themselves Calvinists do not believe THE GOSPEL. One does not have to be able to articulate the Doctrines of Grace in order to be judged saved; but one who is saved will never believe anything contrary to the Doctrines of Grace and will not speak peace to others apart from the righteousness of Christ revealed in THE GOSPEL.

Certainly everyone reading this judges saved and lost. I assume everyone reading this would judge a prostitute lost. The question is -- BY WHAT STANDARD do you judge a person saved and lost? It must be by whether or not they believe THE GOSPEL.

Perhaps the point will be made more clear if I insert some other words into Ray D.'s response. Suppose I say that I judge those who are prostitutes to be lost. Here would be Ray D.'s response:

'What you have just given us is an example of inconsistent Calvinism. Let me explain:

1. Calvinists (like me) believe in salvation comes to a person by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8), and not by works.

2. You seem to believe that salvation if by grace through faith, PLUS not being a prostitute.

3. Therefore by adding the requirement of not being a prostitute, you are adding a WORK as a requirement for salvation.

4. Therefore, you are not a consistent Calvinist. Indeed, by your own testimony, I think you would be damned, for adding a work as a requirement for salvation.

It's a good thing that God doesn't require us to be right about everything before we can be saved!'

Hey, let's go all-out. Suppose I said that Buddhists and Muslims and atheists are not saved because they do not believe in Jesus. Here would be Ray D.'s response:

'What you have just given us is an example of inconsistent Calvinism. Let me explain:

1. Calvinists (like me) believe in salvation comes to a person by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8), and not by works.

2. You seem to believe that salvation if by grace through faith, PLUS belief in Jesus.

3. Therefore by adding the requirement of belief in Jesus, you are adding a WORK as a requirement for salvation.

4. Therefore, you are not a consistent Calvinist. Indeed, by your own testimony, I think you would be damned, for adding a work as a requirement for salvation.

It's a good thing that God doesn't require us to be right about everything before we can be saved!'

Get it?

It all comes down to THE GOSPEL.


[Dave]

WE ARE SAVED BY BELIEVING IN A PERSON, NOT A DOCTRINE.

You confuse the doctrine of Calvin, Luther, Zwingli, et al., with the doctrine of Christ. We are saved by faith in a Person, not in propositions about that Person.

The Reformers made honest attempts to explain *why* we should place our faith in the Person of Christ, and to explain the objective basis for the salvation found in Christ. But the Reformers understood the difference between faith in a Person and faith in a doctrine about that Person. If you are trusting in your assent to certain theological propositions as your basis for justification, your warnings fall upon your own head. You are relying on the 'work' of believing a doctrine. If you are trusting in a Person who has suffered, died, and rose to atone for sin, then you will understand that theological constructs are secondary.

[Marc]

DOCTRINE-LESS BELIEVING????!!!

Hmmm... believing without doctrine -- now there's an interesting thought! So tell me: In your 'belief' in Christ, what part of it is not doctrinal? Please give me just one example of belief (faith) in Christ that is not based on doctrine. Just ONE!

For I decided not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ [the doctrine of His person], and Him having been crucified [the doctrine of His work]. (1 Corinthians 2:2)


[Ryan]

YOU WERE ONCE AN ARMINIAN.

I would have to disagree with you on that stance that there are no regenerate armininans. If that is the case neither you or I could ever be regenerate because we are all by nature arminian and have to be taught the real truth (i.e. Calvinism).

[Marc]

ARMINIAN BY NATURE.

Yes, every person is an Arminian by nature. By nature, we have an Arminian heart of stone. By nature, there is no fear of God before our Arminian eyes. By nature, we in our Arminian minds do not understand the truth and do not believe the gospel. All by nature go about trying to establish a righteousness of our own, which is the essence of Arminianism.

Thus, since all are Arminian by nature and can do nothing to change our totally depraved Arminian nature, it takes a miracle of regeneration to change an Arminian into a Christian. Whereas before, we walked in the darkness of Arminianism, now we Christians walk in the light of the gospel. This miraculous transformation has nothing to do with us; it is solely the work of the sovereign Redeemer. Praise God that He has caused us Christians to believe the gospel and change us from God-hating Arminians into God-loving Christians.

Yes, all by nature are lost, God-hating Arminians. The Holy Spirit's wondrous work in the new birth changes all that. There is not and never has been a person whose heart has been changed by God who remains an Arminian. He has become a new creature; old things are passed away, and all things are become new (2 Corinthians 5:17). Glory to God!


Marc: The Holy Spirit regenerates and miraculously enables the person to believe the gospel.

Robert: "You have asserted an idea here, that the HS infuses the new believer with a full understanding of the Gospel, including the Reformed distinctives. You need to prove that against the weight of contrary Scripture and personal experience."

Marc: I assert what the Bible asserts. No one who does not believe the gospel is saved. Regarding your mention of "full understanding of the gospel," I take this to mean that you believe that God gives people only a partial understanding of the gospel upon conversion. I would ask you to tell me what part of the gospel is so non-essential that it can be left out.

How about the deity of Christ? Is anyone who denies Christ's deity saved? Consider the following scenario: Suppose Mr. Smith says that he believes Jesus came to the earth to die for the sins of his people. When asked who he believes Jesus is, he says that Jesus was fully dog and fully man, that he was the dog-man. Would you judge Mr. Smith to be saved or lost? After all, he understands some of the gospel; he just has his Christology mixed up.

And, of course, I could go on: How about the atonement of Christ? How about the imputed righteousness of Christ? Which part can be left out?

Regarding "the Reformed distinctives": I say here (as I have said many times in other posts) that I am not saying that one must be able to systematize and articulate the Five Points of Calvinism in order for me to judge that person saved. I don't how many times I need to say it.



Regarding "Scripture and personal experience": I will follow Scripture. Personal experience, if it is contrary to Scripture, is but dung. Suppose most professing Christians came to you and said, "I continued to be a Satanist for years after my conversion." Would that weight of personal experience sway you to believe that someone can be a Satanist and a Christian at the same time?

Robert: "1. Romans 10:9-10 2. John 3:16 3. You get my point. All verses that say 'believe this to be saved' and the 'this' is not the vast knowledge you assert."

Marc: "Vast knowledge"? The gospel is a simple message: Salvation based on the blood and imputed righteousness of Christ alone. It is simple enough for even a child to understand.

Romans 10:9-10 mentions confession of the Lord Jesus and belief in the resurrection. Confession of the Lord Jesus includes confessing His person (God-man mediator) and His work (atoning blood and imputed righteousness). Belief in the resurrection includes belief in God the Father's acceptance of Christ's blood and righteousness. Also look at the preceding verses. Romans 10:3 says that those who are IGNORANT of God's righteousness as revealed in the gospel (see Romans 1:17) are lost. Romans 10:2 says that those who have a zeal without KNOWLEDGE are lost. No one has answered these verses when I have quoted them. I wonder why not.

John 3:16 mentions belief in Christ. What does it mean to believe in Christ? Is anyone who says "I believe in Christ" saved? If you say "yes" to this, you've just invited the Mormons and Moonies into your fellowship (which, of course, isn't any worse than inviting Arminians into your fellowship). Believing in Christ means believing in His PERSON and HIS WORK.

Robert: "Prove from Scripture that all believers of all times are infused with knowledge, which is supernaturally communicated, which has as its content Reformed soteriology."

Marc: Here's the "Reformed soteriology" thing again. I can confidently prove from Scripture that the Holy Spirit supernaturally gives gospel knowledge upon conversion. This knowledge is the belief in salvation based on the blood and imputed righteousness of Christ. Anyone who believes in salvation based on the blood and imputed righteousness of Christ will not believe anything contrary to the Doctrines of Grace, although he might not be able to systematize and articulate the Doctrines of Grace. The Scripture proofs are numerous, because the whole Bible points to the person and work of Christ and to the salvation He gives His people that includes knowledge of His person and His work. And it clearly contrasts the difference between those who are saved (those who know and understand and believe the gospel) and those who are lost (those who do not know and do not understand and do not believe the gospel).

In the following verses, pay close attention to the importance of understanding and knowledge.

Descriptions of unbelievers:

But also if our gospel is being hidden, it has been hidden in those being lost, in whom the god of this age has blinded the thoughts of the unbelieving, [so that] the brightness of the gospel of the glory of Christ who is the image of God, [should] not dawn on them. (2 Corinthians 4:3-4)

For I testify to them that they have zeal to God, but not according to knowledge. For being ignorant of the righteousness of God, and seeking to establish their own righteousness, they did not submit to the righteousness of God. (Romans 10:2-3)

[There is] not [one] understanding; [there is] not [one] seeking God. All turned away, [they] became worthless together, not [one is] doing goodness, not so much as one! Their throat [is] a tomb being opened; they used deceit with their tongues; [the] poison of asps [is] under their lips; whose mouth [is] full of cursing and bitterness. Their feet [are] swift to shed blood; ruin and misery[ are] in their way; and they did not know a way of peace; there is no fear of God before their eyes. (Romans 3:11-18)

They do not know nor discern; for He has smeared their eyes from seeing, their hearts from understanding. (Isaiah 44:18)

Because of this, I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. And the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled on them, which says, In hearing you will hear and in no way understand, and seeing you will see yet in no way perceive. (Matthew 13:13-14)

Why do you not know My speech? [It is] because you are not able to hear My Word. You are of the Devil as father, and the lusts of your father you desire to do. That one was a murderer from [the] beginning, and he has not stood in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks [a] lie, he speaks from [his] own, because he is a liar, and the father of it. And because I speak the truth, you do not believe Me. Who of you reproves Me concerning sin? But if I speak truth, why do you not believe Me? The [one] who is of God hears the Words of God; for this reason you do not hear, because you are not of God. (John 8:43-47)

having been darkened in the intellect, being alienated [from] the life of God through the ignorance which is in them because of the hardness of their heart, (Ephesians 4:18)

If anyone teaches differently, and does not consent to sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ and the teaching according to godliness, he has been puffed up, understanding nothing, but [is] sick concerning doubts and arguments, out of which comes envy, strife, evil-speakings, evil suspicions, meddling, of men whose mind has been corrupted and deprived of the truth, supposing gain to be godliness. Withdraw from such [persons]. (1 Timothy 6:3-5)

Everyone transgressing and not abiding in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. ... (2 John 9)

always learning, but never being able to come to a full knowledge of [the] truth. (2 Timothy 3:7)

But these as unreasoning natural beasts, having been born for capture and corruption, speaking evil in that [of] which they are ignorant, they shall utterly perish in their corruption, (2 Peter 2:12)

Man, [though high] in honor, but understanding not, is like the animals; they shall be cut off. (Psalm 49:20)

Descriptions of believers:

Because [it is] God who said, "Out of darkness Light shall shine," who shone in our hearts to [give the] brightness of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6)

But that sown on the good ground is this: the [one] hearing the Word, and understanding it, who indeed bears and yields fruit, one truly a hundredfold, and one sixty, and one thirty. (Matthew 13:23)

And we know that the Son of God has come, and [He] has given to us an understanding that we may know the true [One], and we are in the true [One], in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and the life everlasting. (1 John 5:20)

And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. (John 8:32)

But they will not follow a stranger, never! But [they] will flee from him, because they do not know the voice of the strangers. (John 10:5)

All who came before Me are thieves and plunderers, but the sheep did not hear them. (John 10:8)

I am the Good Shepherd, and I know those that [are] Mine, and I am known by the [ones that are] Mine. (John 10:14)

And this is everlasting life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom You have sent. (John 17:3)

... The [one] abiding in the doctrine of Christ, this one has the Father and the Son. (2 John 9)

But thanks [be] to God that you were slaves of sin, but you obeyed from [the] heart the form of doctrine to which you were delivered. And having been set free from sin, you were enslaved to righteousness. (Romans 6:17-18)

but even as it has been written, They shall see, to whom nothing was announced concerning Him; and the ones that have not heard shall understand. (Romans 15:21)

to give a knowledge of salvation to His people by remission of their sins, (Luke 1:77)

who desires all men to be saved and to come to a full knowledge of truth. (1 Timothy 2:4)

So says Jehovah, Do not let the wise glory in his wisdom, and do not let the mighty glory in his might. Do not let the rich glory in his riches. But let him who glories glory in this, that [he] understands and knows Me, that I [am] Jehovah, doing kindness, justice and righteousness in the earth; for I delight in these, says Jehovah. (Jeremiah 9:23-24)

Before conversion, a person does not understand the gospel. After conversion, a person understands the gospel. What brought about this great change? It is certainly not something man can do in and of itself. It must be a miracle of the new birth.

Robert: "Personal experience comes into play, in that you discount the conversion experience of every believer in the world."

Marc: "Every believer in the world"??? What are you talking about? What of all those who I know who were unregenerate Arminians and then unregenerate Calvinists before God saved them and gave them a knowledge of the true gospel of salvation conditioned on the work of Jesus Christ alone, causing them to repent of all their former false religion and causing them to make their judgments based on the true gospel? Would you discount their "conversion experience"?

Marc: "Consider this: If someone believes that Christ died for all without exception and also believes that some will go to hell, then he obviously does not believe that salvation is based totally on Christ's work. Are you telling me that those who dishonor all of God's redemptive attributes by saying that some part of salvation is based on the sinner BELIEVE THE TRUE GOSPEL? May it never be."

Robert: "Please understand, sincere belief is not salvific. But you assert, using emotional appeal, that someone who believes something that dishonors God cannot believe the true Gospel. This is also an invalid proof (emotional plea). Please prove to me, outside your unproven assertion that the HS infuses all true believers with your doctrinal position, why my critique is of invalid argument is not valid."

Marc: "Emotional appeal"? Hmmmm ....

I notice that you left out a key phrase. I did not say that someone who believes something that dishonors God is necessarily unsaved. I said that someone who believes something that dishonor's all of God's redemptive attributes is not saved. This again is the distinction between gospel and non-gospel issues. Some believers believe God-dishonoring things in the area of eschatology or ecclesiology. But there is not a single believer who believes God-dishonoring things in the area of the gospel.

Robert: "You seem to be judging people's hearts, essentially equating immaturity with apostacy. How small the Body of Christ must be in your estimation."

Marc: We are commanded to judge.

Do not be unequally yoked [with] unbelievers. For what partnership does righteousness [have] with lawlessness? And what fellowship does light [have] with darkness? (2 Corinthians 6:14) How can we obey this commandment if we do not judge who the unbelievers are?

Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are from God; for many false prophets have gone forth into the world. (1 John 4:1)

Everyone transgressing and not abiding in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. The [one] abiding in the doctrine of Christ, this one has the Father and the Son. (2 John 9)

Do not give that which [is] holy to the dogs, nor throw your pearls before the pigs, that they should not trample them with their feet, and turning they charge you. (Matthew 7:6) How can we obey this commandment if we do not judge who the dogs and swine are?

But beware of the false prophets who come to you in sheep's clothing, but inside they are plundering wolves. From their fruits you shall know them. Do they gather grapes from thorns, or figs from thistles? So every good tree produces good fruits, but the corrupt tree produces evil fruits. A good tree cannot produce evil fruits, nor a corrupt tree produce good fruits. Every tree not producing good fruit is cut down and is thrown into fire. Then surely from their fruits you shall know them. (Matthew 7:15-20)

The Bible is quite clear. Those who do not judge are in disobedience.

Regarding the smallness of the body of Christ: Yes, it certainly is small -- much smaller than modern day religionists think. Go in through the narrow gate; for wide [is] the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and many are the ones entering in through it [the way of the self-righteous -- salvation conditioned in some part on the sinner]. For narrow [is] the gate, and constricted [is] the way that leads away into life, and few are the ones finding it [the way of the gospel -- salvation conditioned solely on the blood and imputed righteousness of Christ]. (Matthew 7:13-14)

I want everyone who has read this far to know that I definitely DO NOT say that since all Arminians are lost, then all professing Calvinists are saved. Just because one says he believes in the Doctrines of Grace and can say them backwards and forwards doesn't mean that person is saved. Lost "Calvinists" are everywhere.

Robert: "Does your position deny the nouetic (did I spell that right?) effects of sin? I seems to argue for a form of perfectionism, a purely theological form. All the standard arguments against moral perfectionism upon salvation that the 'real' Pentacostals (sorry Steve) argue for would seem to apply here. The Bible does not teach a 'mental' perfectionism in any area. Or would you take the verse 'You have the mind of Christ' as teaching that?"

Marc: No! I am not a perfectionist! Sin affects the whole man, including the mind (the word is "noetic," by the way). There is still the old sin principle within all believers that wars against the spirit. Here's the difference between Christians and Arminians in this area: Christians believe the true gospel and are in warfare against that sin principle. Arminians LIVE BY that sin principle (seeing that they have no other principle in them) and are FRIENDS with it!!

Marc: There are some things that a person believes as an immediate result of regeneration. There are some things that a person grows in. A Christian does not "grow" from believing the false gospel to believing the true gospel!! Just think of this: "Well, I didn't believe that Jesus was God until a period of time after my conversion. I grew into that belief." Would you consider that person to be saved?

The gospel is the good news of salvation conditioned on the blood and imputed righteousness of Christ alone. Anyone who believes anything contrary to this is lost.

Robert: "You must prove your assertions. I want those who are following our discussion to see your presupposition of immediate infusion either refuted or confirmed from Scripture."

Marc: Very interesting that you did not answer my question about considering a person who did not believe Jesus is God to be saved. I wonder if you believe that FAITH is an immediate result of regeneration. If you answer that you DO believe that faith is an immediate result of regeneration, I would ask you the following questions:

1. Faith in whom or what?

2. Is there such a thing as faith without knowledge?

3. If you say that faith includes knowledge and is an immediate result of regeneration, then is it true that you believe in "immediate infusion" of faith?

Very interesting discussion! I hope some of you reading this have been convinced of sin (you do not have a righteousness that answers the demands of God's law and justice), righteousness (Christ's blood and imputed righteousness is the only ground of salvation), and judgment (judgments of saved and lost are made on the basis of this gospel). The gospel is the only thing that matters.


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