Matthew 16 discussion follow up

Dear Chris,

It is not unfair that I have said that you make the person’s will or assent or choice that base or foundation. You said: “Ahh. Humans have creative choice. They decide to go right or left. Alternative they have no choice. ” And you said that their belief is their assent. The question of why assent or not to assent, you leave in the creative choice of the person. That choice [or not] becomes [if they believe] the base or foundation of their faith. Why does one believe? I say because God reveals truth to them. You say because they assent to head knowledge.

But it is unfair for you to say I put the base or foundation on the person for their belief. It is unfair because I have already and several times in this series of posts clearly emphasized God’s initial action with human response as a response. A respinse can be a foundation. Your qualification that the will of man plays a part is accurate. It is the statement made next that is irresponsible

The part about God’s initiative, in the Word, by the Spirit, with the witness (of love) by the Church and man being enabled by such to make a free response (yea or nay) is classical Armenian theology.

But not without the person’s response . They must repent and believe in the truth and not let the cares of this world or the shallow thinking push out the truth .

if obedience is a choice of the will, is not disobedience also a choice of the will?

if a man acts based on revelation by following that truth, why would you call that using his own wisdom and understanding? what if his wisdom and understanding, in a particular area, is modified by God’s wisdom? THIS IS TRUTH says GOD. Yes, I agree, then man has to act (choose–make a choice) on that basis. and sometimes man makes the wrong choice. That is why you and I knowing truth still sin.

The above are quotes from you and I from our discussion.

What I said then, and see no reason to change it, is that we see different foundations for faith.

So while it is quite true that classical Armenianism has God initiate action, the foundation for faith in that theory is what you pointed out: man’s response is the foundation. Since man has creative choice, his assent to head knowledge si the basis or the foundation, or the beginning of his faith.

It seems strange that you would go there after I quoted 1st Cor. 2:

And when I came to you, brethren, I did not come with superiority of speech or of wisdom, proclaiming to you the testimony of God. For I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God.

That man must weigh the evidence and choose, to go left or right, But after saying that and other similar things, you asked:

if a man acts based on revelation by following that truth, why would you call that using his own wisdom and understanding? what if his wisdom and understanding, in a particular area, is modified by God’s wisdom? THIS IS TRUTH says GOD. Yes, I agree, then man has to act (choose–make a choice) on that basis. and sometimes man makes the wrong choice. That is why you and I knowing truth still sin.”

There is three wrongs things in your paragraph that I want to point out.

One. Here is the scenario you set up: God initiates action by giving man revelation. But man has to judge for himself whether he should act positively on it or not. And yet you ask: “if a man acts based on revelation by following that truth, why would you call that using his own wisdom and understanding?

If the man has to judge and choose to accept or reject, whose wisdom and understanding is he using BUT HIS OWN? Certainly if he used God’s wisdom and understanding, he would choose God EVERY time.

So what is happening here? You, on the one hand, want to avoid the charge I leveled at you by saying the man is not using his own wisdom and understanding because he is deciding his fate on revelation God has given him. But on the other hand, are seeking to defend the need for man to have the freedom to do what -to be able to use his own free will in deciding his fate. What you did there was double talk, plain and simple, and whether you realized it or not.

There is simply no escape from the plain words you are using. The basis for you for the foundation of faith [to believe or not] is the man’s own wisdom and understanding. For you, and for classical Armenianism, the faith of the man rests on the man’s own wisdom or if he doesn’t have sufficient wisdom to choose God, he perishes.

Two. “Yes, I agree, then man has to act (choose–make a choice) on that basis. and sometimes man makes the wrong choice. That is why you and I knowing truth still sin.” It seems that you see no difference between obedience and faith as if faith in God is but an obedience. Of course such a view follows the one I just pointed out. Thus it could be said, that you understand that salvation comes about by obedience since faith is just the same and in fact is obedience.

Now you jumped on me for not reading Armenian literature, but you were quite wrong in doing that. It is just that the literature you look to for answers falls short. In fact, most Calvinistic literature falls short as well. That is because they write not to defend truth or to understand truth but to defend their own versions of truth. One must look hard and long to find writers who will bother to touch on the truths of these subjects.

There is a major difference between Law and Gospel. Between obedience and faith. That is why I [as you said I was being patient] allowed you to question me. Certainly if I was wrong in some place, you would have found it out. But I said nothing wrong, save some typos and a miscommunicated thought which I later corrected. That is because Christians everywhere and for the most part hold the exact same views as I do as to the things you asked of me. You probably hold to my answers as well. But holding to those things and incorporating them into one’s theology are two different things. If one is defending a system like Calvinism or the other, system prerogatives take precedence over common sense.

Biblically speaking we read in Hebrews 11 that it is by faith we understand. It is by faith, we obey. By faith we hope. By faith we choose. By faith we perform acts of righteousness. By faith we are made strong in our weaknesses. By faith we live. And by faith we die.

In 2nd Cor. 4 we read:

But having the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed, therefore I spoke,” we also believe, therefore we also speak, knowing that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and will present us with you.

Thus it in the spirit of faith, we choose to speak and confess Jesus as Lord.

And as already mentioned, this faith has its basis or its rest on the foundation of the power of God. And not the wisdom of any man or men or even ourselves.

Third. Since this discussion started with Matthew 16, let me end there.

You did so well in grasping the truths of the passage. The church overcoming the gates of death, through the Word. But when it came to reconcile those things with theology, you balked. Again you became two handed. For in one hand you were quite willing to sing the praises of the Church and the Word in rescuing those trapped in the bonds of death. But on the other hand, you ended up praising the enslaved ones because the Word and Church were powerless to overcome what they really needed, a change in their wills. That final piece you leave in the hands of the lost.

So why does the Church and the Word praised for prevailing over the gates of Hades, when more are left in there than brought out? When their ‘prevailing’ is but a delivery of information to the prisoner? Information that only frees the prisoner if he assents to it?

And what you can not show is the victory over the brokenness sin has wreaked on the mind that binds the prisoner in the first place and thus necessitates the Church and the Word to assault hades and bring out the captive though its gates.

Finally, my dear brother, this disagreement we have is not about me. I know we have always competed, chess and basketball and all, but in this matter, I am not competing against you. My goal is to serve you as a brother in the Lord with humility and gentleness. Its not about me being right and you wrong. I know that in my theological understanding that in every place I am right it is only by the grace and mercy of God. And in every place I am wrong it because of my sin, my selfishness, and my brokenness. And as far as I know, this matter is not one of our individual destinies, but as one as teachers being held to higher standards we should seek to be as true to His Word as possible as we pass the faith down to those younger.

Your servant in Christ,

mike

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About parsonsmike

seriously into the Word of God
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