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    Joyfully Growing In Grace engages in an examination of beliefs found in the Hebrew Roots Movement, Messianic Judaism, and Netzarim streams of thought and related sects.

    The term “Messianic” is generally understood to describe Jews who have come to believe in Yeshua/Jesus as their Messiah. Jews who are believers in Jesus/Yeshua typically call themselves Jewish/Hebrew Christians or simply, Christians.

    Many Christians meet folks who say they are ‘Messianic’ and assume that those folks are Jewish Christians. Most aren’t Jewish at all, but are Gentile Christians who have chosen to pursue Torah observance and have adopted the Messianic term, calling themselves Messianic Christians, adherents to Messianic Judaism, or simply, Messianics. Some will even try to avoid that label and say that they are followers of "The Way".

    These Gentiles (and to be fair, some Messianic Jews) preach Torah observance/pursuance for Christians, persuading many believers that the Christianity of the Bible is a false religion and that we must return to the faith of the first century sect of Judaism that they say Yeshua (Jesus Christ) embraced. According to them, once you become aware that you should be 'keeping' the edicts and regulations of Mosaic Covenant Law, if you do not, you are then in willful disobedience to God.

    It has been my observation that Christians who adopt the label of Messianic identify more with the tenets of Judaism than they do with the tenets of Christianity. Many reject the label of Christian altogether and some eventually even convert to Judaism.

    1 Thessalonians 5:21-22 says, "But examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil."

    Joyfully Growing in Grace examines the methods, claims, and fruits of the Hebrew Roots Movement, Messianic Judaism, and Netzarim streams of thought and related, law-keeping sects.

    To borrow from a Forest Gump quote, “Law ‘keepers’ are like a box of chocolates - ya never know what you’re gonna get!” The goal of JGIG is to be a resource to help those affected by the Torah pursuant movements to try and sort out what they’re dealing with. Make use of the tabs with drop-down menus found at the top of this site – there’s tons of info there, and it’s very navigable.

    Be sure to click on the many embedded links within the posts here - there's lots of additional and related information for you to access that way, as well.

    Welcome, and may God grant you wisdom and discernment as you consider all of these things.

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Calvinism/Reformed Theology (And What I Think is an Obvious Disconnect)

Discussions here  . . . here . . . and here have prompted me to write a few thoughts here on my own blog. Let’s Talk About Calvinism was the first post to start one of what I conclude are many, many debates over what Calvin taught/believed as well as what his teachings/beliefs morphed into in the hands of others over time.  I think it’s important to note that until comment #87, the parameters of the discussion asked “readers to post comments, questions, arguments, etc.”  Well, that’s what happened, and then the parameters of the discussion got edited.  Comments pretty much petered out after that, with the balance of the comments (10 at last count) consisting mostly of a Calvinist Mutual Appreciation Society =o).   That’s fine . . . the author of the post pulled the plug as is her prerogative.

The disconnect?  From what I gather so far, the Calvinist view is very concerned with God getting all of the glory, man getting none, and keeping salvation a total result of God’s Grace and Soveriengty and none of man’s doing.  I get that.  I even agree with that.  My question is this:  Is the Kingdom of God being furthered or hindered by such heated debate?  [Re-reading this I guess in the world of Calvinism's concepts no one but God can truly affect His Kingdom anyway, so maybe the point is moot?]  Are the Fruits of the Spirit being demonstrated by either/both sides?  Are believers (those in the Body of Christ) being built up or torn down as the concepts are discussed?

I get the impression that while those who ascribe to Calvinism view the Word as the final authority, they are still viewing the Word through an external lens.  And those who react/respond with disdain or even pain toward some of the “harder” teachings of Calvinism do so with almost a hand-in-the-flame reflex.  Those who have been deeply wounded and saved by a loving and gentle God cannot fathom those “hard” teachings, for they portray a god they don’t recognize.  To which Calvinists may retort that maybe they do not know the real God after all.  Again, Fruits of the Spirit?  The furthering of the Kingdom of God?

Is all of this perhaps an exercise in futility?

Does it really matter how we “get” redeemed?

Okay, let me qualify that.  Of course it matters that we believe on Jesus Christ and the Gospel as communicated in the Bible.  What I mean by does it really matter how we “get” redeemed is this:  What difference does it make whether or not we know when we actually become “regenerated”?  If it was the moment before we submitted to the Truth of the Gospel or after?  How is it that God gets any more or any less glory or gains any more or has any less sovereignty – whichever way we find out it actually happens?

God’s glory and His sovereignty, in my opinion, are demonstrated in a most obvious and wonderful way in the changing of a person from a state of spiritual death to spiritual life.  Is at what exact instant that transformation takes place – God regenerating a person to enable them to receive the Gospel, or a person freely receiving the gift of salvation extended to all mankind (raising my shield in anticipation of what some of you Calvinists will have to say about that “all mankind” thing) – really a place we need to put great focus or have disagreements over?  Does God, in reality, lose any of who He truly is based on what view we in the Body of Christ take on the matter?

Do not we (the Body of Christ) all, in reality, believe that no one comes to the Father but by the Blood of Jesus?   I guess one of the reasons I get kind of frustrated about this kind of debate is that I don’t see much beneficial fruit that comes from it.  While one side swears up and down that the grace, sovereignty and justice of God is at stake, another side swears up and down that the love and compassion, grace and justice of God is at stake from their perspective, as well.

Me?  I see it all as a big pile of chicken wings sitting on my table, not sure that I want to put the time and effort into picking it all apart ’cause, back to my question, does it really matter for us to know the exact instant and in exactly what order our redemption “processed”, or does it matter more that we are redeemed.  Speaking for myself, I know  Who saved me.  I know  I did nothing to merit or earn what it took to redeem me.  I know  that God orchestrated my conversion circumstances.  I know  that His Holy Spirit prepared my heart and drew me to Himself.

I also know  that God put it all out there and allowed (let) me choose whom I would serve.  Did He foreknow me?  Yes.  Did He predestine me?  Yes.  That’s what the Word says.  Do I fully understand all of that?  No.  There are actually several things I need to ask God about that I’m pretty sure I won’t understand ’till I’m completely restored at the Resurrection.  Can I still trust in the God of my salvation even if  I can’t conclusively for sure have every bit of the process nailed down pat?  Yup.  Maybe I’m too simplistic, but then I see things in the word like this:

For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere men?  What, after all, is Apollos?  And what is Paul?  Only servants, through whom you came to believe – as the Lord has assigned to each his task.  I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.  For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.  1 Corinthians 3:4-9  

Does God, in the view of Calvinism lose some of His glory because of the planters and waterers?  And this:

When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God.  For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.  I came to you in weakness and fear and with much trembling.  My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power.  1 Corinthians 2:1-5

The rest of that chapter is good to keep things in perspective, too. 

Calvin, Arminius, Wesley, Knox, Augustine, Tyndale, and dozens and dozens of others have written many many many more pages on theology than the Bible itself contains!  I’m thinking we need to focus where??, exactly, with our time and effort?

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Edited to add:

Click here for a good video summary of Calvinism and Arminianism by Mark Driscoll from Mars Hill Church.  I really like what he has to say about being in different camps and still loving one another and functioning as the Body of Christ.  Mark Driscoll is in the Calvinist camp, and I like also how he distinguishes Arminianism, with its 5 points and theRemonstrants, and Calvinism, with its 5 points and the Synod of Dordt, from the men Arminius and Calvin themselves.

A brief telling of the long history of the Calvinist-Arminian debate can be found here.  Yeah, it’s just Wikipedia, but it will give anyone wanting to do further study a good jumping off point should they choose to do more research on the subject.  [Did I just say "choose"?  =o)]

This is an excellent 21 minute broadcast about predestination, election, and free will.  It lays out a scriptural foundation . . . what does the Bible really say about those things?  Listen HERE and click the play button for the audio.  Stick with it through to the end . . . the teaching does come full circle.

Check out this article in Christianity Today by Roger E. Olsen.

I came across this post at “Christ is Deeper Still”.  A really good perspective on functioning in love within the Body of Christ from a Calvinist perspective.

This reviewer of “What Love is This?  Calvinism’s Misrepresentation of God” makes some points that I really like.  See the review hereIf you take the time to read more reviews of the book, her point is well-made.

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Further edited to add (3/28/13):

I’m sorry to add here that Anne, the author of the ‘Let’s Talk About Calvinism’ post referenced above, and one who staunchly defended Calvinism, is now (again) a practicing Pagan.  My prayer for her is that she would encounter the Gospel of Grace as opposed to the Doctrines of Grace.

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24 Responses

  1. Wendy – I’m going to run through your post with a few comments and then lay out a response to a bit of what you said in the comments at my blog.

    First: I think it’s important to note that until comment #87, the parameters of the discussion asked “readers to post comments, questions, arguments, etc.” Well, that’s what happened, and then the parameters of the discussion got edited. Comments pretty much petered out after that, with the balance of the comments (10 at last count) consisting of a Calvinist Mutual Appreciation Society =o).

    I think this is an inaccurate and unfair statement of what happened there. The comments had taken a blasphemous turn and it was my impression that the blog authors were asking the people to get back to the discussion at hand, which was the historic five points of Calvinism and what each camp thinks. Ad hominem, blasphemy, and emotional responses to imaginary attacks did not fit the inital parameters of the blog post and discussion at all – so the parameters did not get edited, they got revisited and everyone was asked to abide by the original parameters. That caused the comments to peter out somewhat because only one side of the debate at that point had fallen to logical inconsistencies and personal attacks. Once those stopped, the real debate continued with folks from many points on the theological spectrum respectfully interacting with each other – for the most part.

    Is the Kingdom of God being furthered or hindered by such heated debate?

    The difficulty with blogs is that we don’t know who is reading and interacting with the topics we present. This is not a new problem, writers have dealt with this forever. Pearls written for a Christian audience is not intended to be read by non-believing swine (sorry, that was God’s analogy, not mine). I absolutely believe that the Kingdom of God is furthered anytime we come to a fuller understanding of the character of God and the truths of God from his Word. Even the heated debate is beneficial when the heat, anger, and vitriol are all coming from one side of the argument. That shows quite clearly that that side of the argument is scripturally bankrupt and should quite likely be rejected. That’s one of the many side benefits of debate – determining the strength of each sides argument.

    Are believers (those in the Body of Christ) being built up or torn down as the concepts are discussed?

    They are being built up as they interact with scripture and torn down as they interact with philosophy and emotion. I leave it to you and the other readers to determine which side is losing the scriptural debate and which side is showing emotion.

    Does God, in reality, lose any of who He truly is based on what view we in the Body of Christ take on the matter?

    No – God does not lose any of who he is, but we lose the ability to evangelize when we create a God and a salvation of our own imagination. We need to follow scripture, which calls all people to repentance. No where in scripture do we see unbelievers being evangelized by telling them that God loves them all and died for all of them. Non of the apostles or Jesus were liars, so they did not present the gospel in this way. We should not either. We should present it in exactly the way they did – call all to repentance, tell them that Jesus died to save sinners, tell them that if they turn to Christ in belief relying on nothing in themselves they will be lovingly welcomed into the Family of God. Improper soteriology destroys evangelism.

    While one side swears up and down that the grace, sovereignty and justice of God is at stake, another side swears up and down that the love and compassion, grace and justice of God is at stake from their perspective, as well.

    I agree with both sides on this. If we don’t demand truth about God as shown in his revelation of himself to us, God’s grace, sovereignty, justice, love, and compassion are at stake. All of these things must be proclaimed and none of them may be proclaimed at the expense of the others. Although depending on our mission at any given time, some of these may be emphasized more highly than the others (the “don’t cast your pearls before swine” concept again).

    When we evangelize, we must proclaim God’s righteousness, holiness and justice – thereby requiring sinful men to repent. After this has been established we must proclaim God’s love, compassion, and mercy, through which he provided a perfect substitute to take the total penalty for the totality of the sins of all those who will believe.

    This is the gospel according to the Word of God. It is the gospel proclaimed by those who hold to the doctrines of grace. It is not the gospel proclaimed by anyone holding to any other soteriology (at least not that I’ve heard). If we inject our own ideas of “free will,” “a God who will not force you,” and the like, we are adding to the message given us by God and we are diminishing the character of God by making inappropriate theological statements that should be kept in the realm of theological discussion amonst Christians, not evangelistic outreach to nonbelievers.

    The person who holds to the doctrines of grace would agree that God does not force anyone to believe, but he won’t bring it up when he is sharing the gospel with an unsaved person becuase it is of no importance at that time and could sidetrack the discussion. The important thing is, if you believe in Christ you will be saved.

    ———

    1 Corinthians 3:4-9 does not actually impact this discussion at all for most people who call themselves Calvinists. When you’re traveling in a foreign country, it’s much easier to say, “I am an American” than to explain the geographic location of our country. When a political discussion comes up and we want to say a lot about ourselves at once, it is much easier to say, “I am a liberal” or “I am a convervative” or “I am a libertarian” than to go through each individual issue one by one and explain why we believe what we believe. A lot of groundwork is covered by using those labels, even though every one of us disagrees with something that is generally assumed about the labels that apply to us. So saying “I am a Calvinist” does not in any way indicate that the person reveres John Calvin.

    The philosophical red herring of the passage from 1 Corinthians is something promoted by the anti-Calvinist camp to distract people from the scriptural basis for the theology they oppose. The better thing to do is to argue their own point from scripture.

    Which brings me to the end of your post, where I must say that I proclaim the truths of the doctrines of grace so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power. And that brings me to something you said on my blog

    Some of the more controversial points of both have, in my opinion, tenuous basis in scripture (exegesis vs. eisogesis).

    Please lay out the eisegesis you see in the Doctrines of Grace camp. I am firmly within that camp and believe that I have been very careful in my study of scripture. Scripture is what led me away from my initial semi-Pelagian thought through 3-point, then 4-point, and finally 5-point (and probably 7-point, according to Piper’s definition) Calvinism. I don’t believe that any of my beliefs have a “tenuous basis in scripture, but will be glad to have you point to the ones that you think do, whereupon we can lay out the applicable scriptures and see who is exegeting and who is eisegeting.

    I have no problem with those who have not yet come to an understanding of the doctrines of grace, but when a debate arises, I lay out my beliefs and interact with others who lay out their beliefs. If the beliefs that differ from mine are based on ideology, philosophy, or emotion, I reject them out of hand and do not interact much at all with those people. I think that is what the blog authors were trying to reign in. Emotionalism certainly does not further the Kingdom of God, the intellect, or friendship. But careful study of scripture, even in the context of a disagreement, always improves all of these things.

    Isaiah 55:11: So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.

  2. I’m sorry – that was my comment up above. I was signed in under my son’s blog at the time.

  3. I really like this post.

    To me, while Calvinism says it’s alla bout God getting the glory, I disagree. It’s only about God getting all the glory *if* they are correctly discerning what God is all about.

    For example, if God chose to design man so that man has free will, then the Calvinist position isn’t giving God any glory by teaching things contrary to the way God has designed things.

    If God has chosen to give man an element of free will, then the way we best glorify God is for giving Him the glory for allowing free will.

    I’m a both/and person, myself. I believe that God saved me, 100%. I believe that I chose Him, 100%. I believe He gave me the grace to choose Him, 100%. I believe that I could have denied that grace and not chosen Him, 100%. I give Him the glory for giving me the freedom to choose AND for giving me the grace to choose, both/and, 100%.

  4. Btw, I am that way because of Scripture. If I were a Calvinist, I’d have to interpet John 3:16 a little funky, as well as any other verses with annoying phrases like, “whosoever will,” etc. But because I sit in the both/and camp, I can let passages that seem to imply predestination sit right alongside passages that imply free will, and not have to do any explaining or backpeddling or adding. I can just let them sit, in tension, and believe that both/and gives glory to God. :)

    I admit to wincing a bit at your comment above, Richard, that seems to say logic is on the Calvinist side and emotionalism is on the other side. I think logic is on both sides. We have to choose the side that rings most true to our reading of Scripture.

    To me, and I’ve studied Calvinism well, I do not see reasonable truth on the side of Calvinist thought, though I do understand the arguments and I do agree that they can logically make sense. I just think that other positions also make logical sense. Thus it’s up to me to determine which one makes the most sense to me, Scripturally and personally.

    I would not call you emotional or illogical because I see things differently than you—I would just say that I see things differently. I find Calvinism offensive as well as do not think it represents the whole of Scripture, but I know that you do not mean to be offensive, nor do you see Scripture that way. So I don’t think it would be appropriate for me to say that you aren’t compassionate, nor would it be appropriate for me to say that Scripture isn’t on your side. In the same way, I find it frustrating to be dismissed as if I’ve chosen an unscriptural side. In reality, I’ve chosen a side with a different Scriptural *interpretation.*

  5. Molleth – My comments about the emotionalism are not intended against any one person. I was speaking in broad generalities. There are individuals who come to this theology from their interpretation of scripture and using logic based on their interpretation. I believe you to be one of these people. I think Wendy is one of these people as well. I have no problem whatsoever with anyone doing that. If we are each yielding to the Holy Spirit, He will guide us into truth and will reveal to each of us what is necessary for us to know.

    Regarding John 3:16, however…. That vese does not teach either side of this issue. What it says, if we get down to the original meaning of the words used, is that God loved the world in this way – that He gave His Son to die for the believing ones. That does not prove Calvinism or free will.

    My problem with free will is that it is a doctrine that is held to tightly and not positively directly addressed (as in there IS free will) anywhere in scripture, although it is negatively addressed in many places (as in man CANNOT chose).

    So this is why, when you say: I’m a both/and person, myself. I believe that God saved me, 100%. I believe that I chose Him, 100%. I believe He gave me the grace to choose Him, 100%. I believe that I could have denied that grace and not chosen Him, 100%. I give Him the glory for giving me the freedom to choose AND for giving me the grace to choose, both/and, 100%. – I agree that God saved you 100%. I agree that you chose Him 100%. I agree that He gave you the grace to choose Him 100%. But no where in scripture does it say that you could ultimately have denied him. Once your heart was regenerated, you may have fought long and hard, but in the end He will become irresistible to you because to the regenerated heart He is irresistible. And the fact is, you did choose Him. So at least in your case your experience supports my side of this and not the “free to reject” side.

  6. Hi Richard D (aka santafeboy),

    Try not to hold back, next time, will ya? =o)

    About your contention that my first paragraph was an unfair or inaccurate statement of what happened there: Comment #76 suggested that the post title be changed to “Let’s Talk About Calvinism” instead of the original “Let’s talk about Calvin”. Then in comments #85 and #86, I reiterated the original parameters of the post as stated by the author. And in comment #87, the post’s author said that perhaps she needed to edit the post – and she did. She also changed the title of the post as per the suggestion of commenter #76. All AFTER so many comment horses had already left the gate. I’ll let readers check out the link to “Let’s Talk About Calvinism” and take a look to see if they think my statement concerning what happened there to be inaccurate or unfair.

    You said, “Pearls written for a Christian Audience is not intended to be read by non believing swine . . . . even the heated debate is beneficial when the heat, anger, and vitriol are all coming from one side of the argument. That shows quite clearly that that side of the argument is scripturally bankrupt and should quite literally be rejected.”

    A couple of things:

    1) I think it is really important to write whatever we write conscious of the reality that unbelievers may very well read what we write here on the blogosphere. Judging by the hits that come to JGIG from searches on “chicken wings” alone, I’m quite confident that unbelievers do come here at least occasionally, and I have consciously tried to weave the Gospel throughout JGIG for their benefit. Back to your comment – I’m not sure – were you implying that the “pearls” are the Calvinist view and the “swine” are anyone that disagrees with that view?

    2) A passionate defense of what one believes to be true does not mean that that person’s viewpoint is scripturally bankrupt! The commenter to whom you refer made some logical, and yes, even some scriptural points. She was then pelted with cold recitation of scripture – interpreted through the Calvinist lens. Why was it okay for the Calvinists to comment through their lens and for her not to comment through hers? She was not diminishing the Gospel. She was absolutely lifting the Blood of Jesus and the soveriegnty of God high and stating that it is NOT works, but grace through faith by which we are saved. The “blasphemy” to which I gather you are referring was her description of a god she does NOT believe exists – she was not maligning the God she worships. You yourself made a cold and over-the-line comment fro which you felt the need to apologize for. An apology that the “she” to which we’re referring to here graciously accepted, by the way, which I think speaks well of her. Again, I’ll let the readers here slog through those comments and come to their own conclusions about our takes on the matter.

    Next point . . .

    My question, “Are believers being built up or torn down as the concepts are discussed?”

    Your viewoint, “They are being built up as they interact with scripture and torn down as they interact with philosophy and emotion . That may not be how you intend for that to come off, but that’s how those of us outside the total Calvinist camp see it. It seems that the Calvinist is more concerned with proving themselves theologically “correct” and being willing to inflict wounds to do so, if that’s what it takes. I’m all for “Faithful are the wounds of a friend . . .” (Proverbs 27:6), but it must be coupled with Colossians 4:6, “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” Seeing the wounds that the “hard” teachings of Calvinism inflict on some, the Calvinists tendency is to rub salt in the wounds, turning Colossians 4:6 upside down to “let your conversation be full of salt, seasoned with grace.”

    Random points you’ve made here, at WWF and your blog . . .

    “Doctrines of Grace” – I find that Calvinists use that term interchageably with Calvinism. In my opinion, using the term doctrines of grace is disingenuous, as Calvinism is an “ism” which preaches not grace at all if there is no free will extended to mankind.

    You asked me for some examples of what I see to be eisegesis in the “Doctrines of Grace” camp.

    You said in comment #48 on “Let’s Talk About Calvinism” you say, “When Jesus preached Calvinism to His disciples in John 6 . . .” Hmmm . . . I think I’ll let your statement there speak for itself.

    You reference John 17 in that same comment and try to use it to support the Calvinist idea of “limited attonement” using the phrase “the men whom you have given me out of the world” and “I pray not for the world but for those whom you have given me, for they are Yours.” In that portion of John 17 (vs. 6-9), Jesus is praying for his disciples. No, not all, as in as-many-as-there-would-ever-be disciples, but the ones who walked with Him physically when He walked the earth. Read on in John 17 and Jesus does indeed pray for “all who will believe in their [the disciples'] message” with further references to the world. That would be everybody. Verses 25 and 26 are pretty clear, “Righteous Father, though the world does not know you, I know you, and they know that you have sent me. I have made you known to them, and will continue to make you known in order that the love you have for me may be in them and that I myself may be in them.”

    I’ll go to your comments on the matter of eisegesis again. Comment #89 on “Let’s Talk About Calvinism” you say, “Christ died in some way [???] for every person on earth. This is how God is able to bless the righteous and the unrighteous with rain. Christ purchased that blessing through His death.” HUH?? Wanna throw out a contextual verse or two for that one, please?

    Continuing in comment #89, you say that there is actually a verse that says that there are some people who have not had their sins atoned for, referencing 1 Samuel 3, verse 14 specifically: “Therefore, I swore to the house of Eli, ‘The guilt of Eli’s house will never be atoned for by sacrifices or offering.” Not sure what translation you were using there or if you were paraphrasing. I’m confident that Eli’s descendants would not be atoned by sacrifice or offerings in the post-cross age. You may also want to take a look at the Hebrew word there translated as “forever” (the word used in the KJV and the NIV). It does not always mean for eternity as you would have it mean here . . . you might want to look into that. For example, if you were to apply “forever” across the board in the OT as you do here, you should be observing the Jewish Sabbath and the Mosaic Law as one who is grafted in as Israel. Reading from the Bible in Basic English, 1 Samuel 3:24 reads this way, “So I have made an oath to the family of Eli that no offering of meat or of meal which they may make will ever take away the sin of his family.” So that negates descendants of Eli from accepting the atoning sacrifice of Christ? No one’s sins can be taken away by offerings or sacrifices! And look at 1 John 1:9, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” I don’t see a disclaimer about the House of Eli there, do you?

    John 6:44 is one example that comes up as evidence for point 3 of Calvinism (limited atonement), and ironically enough by those that try to refute the same point, in that “no one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up on the last day.” The Calvinist viewpoint will take that and say that only those who are predestined are drawn. Couple John 6:44 with 2 Peter 3:9, however, and see the picture that develops: “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” The word “elect” was not used there, was it? The words “anyone” and “everyone” were. I find this to be a case of eisegesis on the part of the Calvinist view in regard to John 6:44 and what they extrapolate from that passage. When looked at with other scriptures pertaining to issues of salvation, the meaning becomes somewhat different than the Calvinist view espousing limited atonement.

    About 1 Corinthians 3:4-9 being a red herring promoted by the anit-Calvinist camp . . . I did not know that! It was just a passage that came to mind as I considered all of these things. No “camp” influenced my choice in posting that verse.

    About evangelizing from a Calvinist point of view . . . I’m going to think on that one for a while. My first thought is that if you’re a Calvinist witnessing to someone, you kind of have to pull a bait-and-switch about the love and compassion of God. Kind of like, “Oh, now that you know that you’re one of the elect, I can tell you that you’re one of the “chosen” ones, and there are some that God views as cast offs without a chance.” Yuk.

    I’ve about developed all the thoughts I have time to develop about this right now . . .

  7. The kicker in all this – and the reason that I commented here only after being entreated to do so:

    They are being built up as they interact with scripture and torn down as they interact with philosophy and emotion .

    I do not have time to teach anyone how to think. I am way to busy to debate someone who wants to debate themselves rather than interacting with what I’ve said. I did not use code. But your clear dislike of my theology rather than a reasonable exchange of thought makes further discussion of this a waste of time.

    I’m sorry – I just don’t have the time for this rabbit trail.

  8. Hmm… dishes it but does not take it? I thought this post was very well thought out.

    “I do not have time to teach anyone how to think.”

    Did you ask him to teach you how to think? Good Grief!

    “But your clear dislike of my theology rather than a reasonable exchange of thought makes further discussion of this a waste of time.”

    I came to the same conclusion concerning the person on the other thread. *sigh*

  9. The would be… “This person” not “the person” in the last line of the previous comment. ;-)

  10. Richard,
    I will happily agree to disagree.
    :)

  11. Molly – Happily agreeing to disagree is fine. I disagree about something with pretty much everyone. The time issue becomes a problem when I have to restate what I have said because the person I am talking to is putting additional meanings into the words that I did not intend and that were not reasonable to assume.

    Wendy has done that at least three times in the three interactions we have had on this. I don’t have the time to restate what I’ve said and try to parse the words in just the right way to make my meaning understood. I’m a good communicator. This should not be necessary.

  12. I understand some of the emotion. I also understand not weighing in Scripturally. (I know that I’ve already “been there, done that” and have no interest in doing so, but in no way does that mean that it’s because I’m overwhelmed by the vast amazing argumetns of Calvinism and thus cannot respond…which is sort of the picture you paint sometimes, of those who aren’t Calvinist)… You have a very strong stand in Reformed theology—that’s cool. I just really don’t see things in a similar way, nor do some others.

    I also saw a woman commenting on the other thread who was deeply in pain, yet was given very little compassion. No one asked her *why* she would make such bold statements about not following God if Calvinism was true, rather, folks slammed her for making them. (That was emotion on *both* sides, not cold clear logic). The woman just needed a big huge hug. Sometimes it’s not about being right. This is sort of like the story of the Good Samaritan, come to life in blogland… someone is laying on the side of the road, broken and bleeding, and no one stopped to help because they were busy with their mission of being right.

    It just wasn’t cool. That’s all.

  13. Richard, I’m sorry if the comment I made was a little frustrated in tone… I wish I could go in and edit it and make it a little less blunt. I apologize. I really mean no ill will toward you (or any others). I know you can’t understand how Calvinism could be so painful to anyone. Even so, that commenter was bleeding all over the place…there’s a time to parse Greek verb tenses and there’s a time to pull out the oil and wine and start binding wounds.

    She got left on the side of the road.

  14. No offense taken, Molly. I understand what you’re saying. I probably need to steer clear of the ladies blogs because I don’t feel that I can give a hug when a hug is needed. I’ve done it in private emails with a few people who I knew were hurting at times (when I had their email addresses). But it just doesn’t seem appropriate to do so in public on the blog.

    However, I also did not think of this in the terms you laid out here. You’re absolutely right. And my first thought was that if she hadn’t used so much venom against everyone, someone may have been more inclined to extend a little grace. But that is a complete and total violation of my theology.

    I believe that we sinners are hateful and spiteful to God right up until he removes our heart of stone and replaces it with a heart of flesh. So God is extending his favor and grace to us in spite of our venom and hatred.

    Admonishment understood and accepted. Thank you, Molly.

  15. Molleth,

    I’m with you . . . I think the way I do because of Scripture.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Katherine,

    My brain and I thank you; my emotions and I appreciate you =o).

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Richard,

    I went back and re-read my post and my comment to you in light of your comment, “I don’t have time to teach anyone how to think. I am way too busy to debate someone who wants to debate themselves rather than interacting with what I’ve said . . . ”

    About debating with myself:

    You gave me your opinion about what you thought was a less than fair statement in my post regarding the discussion of “Let’s Talk About Calvinism” at WWF. I addressed that and left it to the reader to evaluate the post’s fairness/unfairness.

    About you not using “code”. Actually, you are right about that. You did come right out and say, “I have no problem with those who have not yet come to an understanding of the doctines of grace, but when the debate arises, I lay out my beliefs and interact with others who lay out their beliefs. If the beliefs that differ from mine are based on ideology, philosophy, or emotion, I reject them out of hand and do not interact much at all with those people . . . . Emotionalism certainly does not further the kingdom of God, the intellect, or friendship. But careful study of scripture, even in the context of disagreement, always improves all of these things.”

    I do understand what you’re saying there, but you must admit, saying something like ” . . . I have no problem with those who have not yet come to an understanding of the doctrine’s of grace . . .” gives one the impression that your view is one of mere tolerance while waiting for everyone else to agree with a system of belief you have deemed correct and chosen to embrace.

    Point by point, I addressed your comment (which I did invite you to make, as you had mentioned on your blog, “I have read your post and wasn’t sure I should comment on it. I don’t want to torque off all of my online friends.” I said, “Feel free to comment . . . I don’t offend easily . . . I can take it =o).”

    In your original comment here on JGIG you asked me, “Please lay out the eisegesis you see in the Doctrines of Grace camp.” I did that, point by point – things that stood out to me in the broader discussion of Calvinism – most of the points I addressed were ones that you had made.

    My response to you laid out specific examples of eisegesis I saw as you requested. I was not debating myself. I wasn’t even debating you. I was debating Calvinist thought!

    What I find so intriguing is that a point by point debate about just a few thoughts about Calvinism resulted in an emotional response from you. The reason I find your response so intriguing is something you said in your earlier comment about whether or not believers are being built up or torn down as concepts [of Calvinism] are discussed. You said, responding to that point, “They are being built up as they interact with scripture and torn down as they interact with philosophy and emotion. I leave it to you and the other readers to determine which side is losing the scriptural debate and which side is showing emotion.”

    You said in your comment to Molly that you feel like you have to restate what you’ve said because additional meanings are being put into them. Well, while I disagree that I’ve done that, the beauty of having it all written down here is that people can go back and read what you wrote and draw their own conclusions.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Molly,

    You captured so well what I saw happening to the wounded commenter at WWF.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

    Richard,

    I know you have a soft heart and compassion . . . I’ve read your blog. I guess that’s why I’ve been sort of surprised by your tone throughout this debate. Sometimes we need to put aside our right to be right (when we think we are =o)) and just love someone, even though we disagree with them.

    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

  16. Molly~

    You captured what I saw, as well – and to a lesser degree, felt. Thank you.

    Richard~

    I apologize for getting a little snarky. That was not necessary. As Molly said – agree to disagree, and as you said, parsing words to each other to try and make meaning clear is a waste of time. I actually don’t think our meaning is unclear – in either direction. ;-) I think we just see thing from a very different perspective. Probably best to leave it at that. ;-)

  17. Thank you, Katherine. I appreciate that.

    I’ve thought about what Molly said and I think we all bleed a little differently. I did not recognize the blood flowing from the person we’ve discussed. I think what has brought most of us together in blogland is a commonality of painful experiences and we need each other. I know a little bit about Molly’s pain. I know quite a few of the backgrounds of the folks at WWF – and many of them have very painful backgrounds. Sometimes I forget that we’re all bleeding in our own ways.

  18. Richard~

    Yeah, me too. I admit I am still bleeding and reacted out of that. I have realized (through painful experience) that arguing Scripture out of pain and/or anger is always pointless, at best, and often damaging – to me and those around me. Sometimes, though, I forget… ;-)

    Thank you for your gracious response. I appreciate that, too.

  19. Richard,
    You are a cool guy. :)

  20. Thanks, Molly. I’ll make this one exception:

    {{{{{{{{Molly}}}}}}}}}

  21. While I appreciate your concern about what I encountered as a Christian, I guarantee you that I encountered the gospel of which you speak and simply found that the religion you follow was not the easiest way for me to connect to the divine. I was never a Calvanist, so that wasn’t the issue.

    • Hi Anne, nice to hear from you; I hope you and your family are doing well. My prayer is still that you would encounter the Living God in Christ as He intends. Grace and Peace to you.

      -JGIG

      • Peace to you, as well. I appreciate the spirit in which that is intended. For my part, I feel that I have, I just connect to the creator through a different means. But I do appreciate the thought. :)

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