Well I tried  posting once before but that all went south so I’ll try once more.

I hate writing profiles about myself. I guess if you want  to know  who I am, what I  think about any given subject and what I believe; the best way is either ask or wait until I share an opinion on something.

I am a follower Of Jesus Christ so I am a Christian. That being said most people will ask what denomination. I don’t belong  to a denomination I belong  to Jesus Christ through the faith He has given me as a gift  to believe in Him. So far as doctrinal and theological views are concerned I have a lot in common with  the reformers such as Calvin, Luther and that camp. The first response  of most other Christians who are familiar with  those names would identify me as a Calvinist. That would be true if my faith was in John Calvin as my lord and savior however my faith is in Jesus Christ. What Calvin and others  have said  about how we come  to faith, who initiates faith, and my standing before God, I believe is a fair and true description of how that is borne out.

So  the issue  then is do we have free will  to choose or reject  the offer of salvation? My understanding of what the bible says is this. Faith is  the gift of God therefore it is initiated by Him Ephesians 2:8-9 say this, Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
Eph 2:9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

I am aware that many Christians would start pulling out proof texts  that imply we freely choose to follow Christ because   we have free will. They would accuse me of cherry picking scripture  to make it say  something it doesn’t however the premise  the text I quoted above in its context is based in this  thought that the author of Ephesians states earlier; Eph 2:1 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins,
Eph 2:2 in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience.
Eph 2:3 Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest.
Eph 2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us,
Eph 2:5 even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
Eph 2:6 and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,
Eph 2:7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.

So if we are dead in our sin how can we respond  to the Gospel? Paul, the author of Ephesians is not talking about   being physically dead but spiritually dead in that we are unable  to respond  to  the call   to repent from our sins without God first making us able  to hear he truth. Many would object to this whole way of looking at faith and say “But I responded   to it I heard  the call of God on my life and received forgiveness when I asked Jesus into my life!”

Firstly I would ask that person  to show  me where the bible says  to become a Christian we must invite Jesus into  our hearts. The bible  does say in Acts 16:31 “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

Acts 15:7  implies  that we are  to hear and believe, Act 15:7 After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe.

Note in this verse that God made the choice  for Peter  to take the Gospel  to the gentiles. But my point is  the emphasis is on believing. To add   to this I should mention Romans 8:28-30, Rom 8:28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
Rom 8:29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren;
Rom 8:30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified. Many will say  this is  the standard proof text the Calvinists run  to that some call  the golden chain of redemption. But it is emphatically implied that God is  doing the willing and  the calling. But lest not  just stop there once more we can’t  just state this without looking at the context or premise of the text. The whole book of Romans is a defense of grace by faith. It points out our guilt and inability  to please  God by our own works. Most importantly  it points  out that we have no righteousness of our own  on which  we can  come before God  and plead merit on our part. If we have no merit or righteousness of our own then on what basis can God hear us if we ask forgiveness and confess belief? Shockingly  the answer is we don’t have any. Romans is a dissertation on the fact  that we can’t  do anything that would change  God’s view of us, however through what Christ has done and by  the work that He completed we are able  to approach God’s Holy seat of mercy. What I am trying  to say here is that it is God who has initiated and completed  that work of salvation by Himself, we are merely bystanders. Nearly all Christians would agree with  that statement and say “Yes God did it all, but we need  to respond!” I never used   to like this analogy very much but it is true  none the less  that dead people can’t revive themselves. Where does the bible say  that after  the fall of Adam there was enough spiritual life  or goodness left in man that  he could please God? It doesn’t say  that anywhere!. If  you look at Paul’s reasoning in Romans 8 alone from the context there is nothing that implies any goodness or ability on our part without first  there being an intervention by  divine influence. It  goes further  to say  that God planned it and orchestrated it all   for a purpose. God even chose who would be  the recipients of His blessings.

This  could get very long winded because it raises  the question regarding  the whole nature and intention of God’s character and purpose. Does God want all   to be saved   or just an elect few? Why would God choose some  and not others, is God fair in his choices. I will leave that   for  my next post

Why would i raise  this issue right off  the bat and get in peoples faces you may ask? Well, firstly I don’t want anyone  to  be mislead as  to my stand on this issue. Secondly it shows that CONTEXT is important. You can’t arrive at a consistent or fair estimation of the truth if  you build  your world view around sayings  and ideas that are quoted in isolation. To give  you an example of what I mean lets  use   an instruction manual and a work of fiction  to get my point across.

Firstly if  you were  to  build a kit car  you would follow  the instructions. Sure   you can start putting parts  together like wheels on axles, connect the engine  to  the transmission and the drive shaft and so on. however if  you don’t follow  the correct steps you may find  that  if  you put all  the chassis, dash board cockpit and other parts  together first as well as   do the other fore mentioned  things you may have a problem getting the drive train and  other things in without difficulty. In the same  way when we read a novel or a letter  someone has  written  we follow the stream of thought so we can understand  the context and flow of  the work. If we don’t we can draw false conclusions about   the letter or manuscript we are reading  that could lead  to false assumptions.

In the Christian protestant church this is not uncommon practice. Over the last three or four hundred years  there has been a plethora of very bad theology created by both men and women which lead  to disastrous consequences for those  who followed them. Even  today  some of the more nonsensical beliefs about   the end times (eschatology) and even past events persist that play into conspiracy theories over translations or even how God’s plan of salvation has worked in different epochs (dispensationalism); that are nonsensical.

So having put the cat among the pigeons, and the fox in  the hen house. I will sign off  here. I  don’t know if anyone will ever read this but if  you  do and  you care  to respond, go right ahead. From the outset if  you disagree with me,  you have   the formula  that I  will follow. Nothing about  my methodology is hidden if  you disagree with  me on  the view  that we  do not  have free will is defended from Scripture please feel free  to object. Before  you  do ask  yourself if  your  view is consistent with  the over all message of the bible. Ask  yourself  where   you  got  your views from and if  you have critically  evaluated  them and thought  them through. So in other words is your point of view a consistent reading of the bible or are your views based in tradition?



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