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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Sun Mar 27, 2016 11:19 pm 
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theJack wrote:
And that raises another problem with your assessment: you are confusing knowledge with belief. It is one thing to say that I believe that my mother who reared me is my biological mother. It is another thing to say I know it. You are not challenging the nature of belief but rather the nature of knowledge.

Who said anything about KNOWING who my biological mother is? :scratch: Nothing I said indicates that I KNOW who my biological mother is. It is quite possible for someone to believe that the mother who reared them is their biologically mother without KNOWING that she is their biological mother, and it is possible for someone to believe that the mother who reared them is their biological mother and be wrong in that belief.



theJack wrote:
I reject your claim that any of those examples prove that there are various degrees of belief. You either accept the propositions in question to be true or you do not. All your various examples show is that various propositions have various degrees of warrant, such that to disbelieve one proposition is true is more obviously foolish than to disbelieve another proposition is true. If you doubt any of those propositions to any degree, then you simply do not believe them. Perhaps you are being rational in disbelieving them precisely because the warrant is not sufficient to grant assent. Or perhaps you are being irrational in disbelieving them precisely because the warrant is sufficient in granting assent.

To put differently, the strength of the warrant does not change the fact that a belief is something held as true. You can believe silly things, and you can believe very serious things for very silly reasons.

And that raises another problem with your assessment: you are confusing knowledge with belief. It is one thing to say that I believe that my mother who reared me is my biological mother. It is another thing to say I know it. You are not challenging the nature of belief but rather the nature of knowledge. You and Gettier would get along well here, I think.

Finally, having said all of that, I would point out one last problem with your assessment in the context of our conversation. My claim is that John 3:16 says that everyone who believes has everlasting life...
...To doubt is to fail to believe, and therefore, you cannot both doubt and believe at the same time. Therefore, to doubt is not to believe. And since John 3:16 speaks of believing, then it necessarily says that you cannot doubt, for if you doubt, then you do not believe the gospel.
and therefore, according to you, you will have everlasting punishment.

Are you aware of how utterly extreme your assertion is? You are saying that the slightest doubt means you will be damned for ever. That belief could literally drive people insane. Your assertions are contradicted by experience and an understanding of psychology. Sanity in our beliefs is required. I understand that if I have a degree of doubt, it's nothing to worry about, it's just part of the process of thinking deeply about things, being human and being honest with oneself. Whereas you think that if you have a fragment of doubt you won't be saved, you'll be damned for ever. I don't have to worry that I will be damned for ever if I have a little bit of doubt somewhere in me. That's a crazy belief no matter how many fancy words you try to dress it up in. It's clearly psychologically unhealthy and shows a complete lack of understanding of human psychology. How could you even be honest with yourself if you dreadfully fear even the slightest doubt?

We can still believe something while having a degree of doubt. I DO believe that Mark Chapman killed John Lennon more than I believe that OJ Simpson killed Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman. Do you believe me? And yet I very much believe that OJ Simson killed Nicole and Ron Brown, if I was in a jury now, I would find him guilty. Do you believe me? What is it that you find so difficult to believe? Nothing that I have said is difficult to believe.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2016 6:55 am 
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theJack wrote:
Bottom line: there are not various levels of belief or faith. Belief or faith is binary. We can only come to believe or have faith in more things. There are, however, various levels of knowledge. Knowledge is not binary. We can come to a deeper knowledge of any individual thing.

Jack, how come Jesus didn't understand that "faith is binary"?

"O ye of little faith.” (Matthew 6:30; 8:26; 14:31; 16:8; Luke 12:28)

If his disciples either had no faith whatsoever or had total faith, why would Jesus refer to them as having "little faith"?

If they had little faith, they had some doubt. You say that if you have any doubt whatsoever, you do not have faith. "Belief or faith is binary", you say. And yet Jesus does not refer to them as having no faith. He refers to them as having little faith. Clearly in the situations in which Jesus said "O ye of little faith", the people to whom he was referring did not have complete faith. And yet, Jack, you maintain that faith is binary, and so therefore they had no faith. Why then would they even be following Jesus if they had no faith, and why would Jesus refer to them as having "little faith" if he should have said "no faith"?


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Mon Mar 28, 2016 11:31 am 
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BHM, I'll wait to respond to your post until you finish your reply.

Daisy,

Quote:
Who said anything about KNOWING who my biological mother is? Nothing I said indicates that I KNOW who my biological mother is. It is quite possible for someone to believe that the mother who reared them is their biologically mother without KNOWING that she is their biological mother, and it is possible for someone to believe that the mother who reared them is their biological mother and be wrong in that belief.

I said somthing about it. I'm saying that you are confusing the difference between knowing and believing. You're statements are couched in language of belief, but your questions and arguments relate to knowledge. That's evident from the last statement I've highlighted here. Whether we hold a belief or not has nothing to do with whether or not we are right about it. It is possible to believe something and be wrong about it. It's possible to refuse to believe something because you think it is very likely that it is wrong. But that just underscores my point. Belief is binary. You either believe or you do not. You may believe correctly. You may believe incorrectly. You may believe with warrant correctly. You may believe with apparent warrant incorrectly. You may believe without warrant correctly. You may believe without apparent warning incorrectly. But the belief itself is binary. You either believe or you do not.

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and therefore, according to you, you will have everlasting punishment.

Are you aware of how utterly extreme your assertion is? You are saying that the slightest doubt means you will be damned for ever. That belief could literally drive people insane. Your assertions are contradicted by experience and an understanding of psychology. Sanity in our beliefs is required. I understand that if I have a degree of doubt, it's nothing to worry about, it's just part of the process of thinking deeply about things, being human and being honest with oneself. Whereas you think that if you have a fragment of doubt you won't be saved, you'll be damned for ever. I don't have to worry that I will be damned for ever if I have a little bit of doubt somewhere in me. That's a crazy belief no matter how many fancy words you try to dress it up in. It's clearly psychologically unhealthy and shows a complete lack of understanding of human psychology. How could you even be honest with yourself if you dreadfully fear even the slightest doubt?

We can still believe something while having a degree of doubt. I DO believe that Mark Chapman killed John Lennon more than I believe that OJ Simpson killed Nicole Simpson and Ron Goldman. Do you believe me? And yet I very much believe that OJ Simson killed Nicole and Ron Brown, if I was in a jury now, I would find him guilty. Do you believe me? What is it that you find so difficult to believe? Nothing that I have said is difficult to believe.

Now you've moved away from lexicology--the meaning of belief--into theology, the implications of belief being binary for everlasting life. And I would simply say that I reject this theology. I don't believe you can lose your salvation. I say that if you have EVER believed then you are absolutely saved. Eternal life cannot be lost. (That's a belief I hold! It's part of what I understand to be an affirmation of what Scripture plainly says.) If you, Daisy, have ever believed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, then you are saved, and nothing you can do can change that. You clearly do not believe that right now, since you don't believe that every single person who believes in Christ has everlasting life. But the fact that you don't believe it now doesn't mean that you've never believed it.

The point is that far from having a negative psychological impact, a free grace theology has exactly the opposite. This is the only theology that provides any objective assurance of salvation. In fact, it is the critical difference in my theology and yours. In Catholicism (and much of Protestant thought, too), the best we can have is moral assurance of our salvation. There can be no objective assurance of salvation. Yet on free grace theology, the only kind of assurance that exists is objective assurance. It is a simple syllogism:

1. Whoever believes has everlasting life;
2. I have believed;
3. Therefore, I have everlasting life

If there is a negative psychological impact, then far from being one of scrupulosity and fear, it is one of over-confidence and licensiousness. And, from a strictly personal perspective, I can tell you the psychological benefits are huge and account for a lot of the emotional ferocity with which I defend the gospel. I literally used to cry myself to sleep at night afraid I was going to hell. I would look at my life, see sin, and because of the nature of my theology conclude that I was not a "true Christian." Like BHM, I thought and taught that God would necessarily make certain changes in the "true Christian's" life, such that fruit becomes a necessary consequence of salvation. Where there is no fruit, there is evidence -- nay, proof -- that salvation is not genuine. THAT is a terrible way to live! You only have two options: either you become a self-righteous pharisee convinced you are "good enough" or else you water down the standards of the Bible as to what real righteousness is in hopes that a lower bar is more doable so that you might be good enough. Either way, it's a fear driven theology, and whether you become self-righteous and arrogant or fearful and unconfident, the common effect is an intensive focus on the self. Free grace theology finally allows you to stop looking at yourself and live in a true confidene not that you are good enough but that Christ is good enough regardless of all your faults, such that now you are free to love and serve without any inhibitions or fear of failure. Or in the words of Paul, it is for freedom that Christ has set us free.

Quote:
Jack, how come Jesus didn't understand that "faith is binary"?

"O ye of little faith.” (Matthew 6:30; 8:26; 14:31; 16:8; Luke 12:28)

If his disciples either had no faith whatsoever or had total faith, why would Jesus refer to them as having "little faith"?

If they had little faith, they had some doubt. You say that if you have any doubt whatsoever, you do not have faith. "Belief or faith is binary", you say. And yet Jesus does not refer to them as having no faith. He refers to them as having little faith. Clearly in the situations in which Jesus said "O ye of little faith", the people to whom he was referring did not have complete faith. And yet, Jack, you maintain that faith is binary, and so therefore they had no faith. Why then would they even be following Jesus if they had no faith, and why would Jesus refer to them as having "little faith" if he should have said "no faith"?

"Little faith" does not mean that their faith was not "deep," but just what it says: it is "little." It does not believe enough things. The disciples had a "small" faith about Jesus. They believed a few things about Him. But they did not believe enough things about Him. They had not yet come to believe, for instance, that He was God in the flesh, that He was absolutely sovereign, and so on.

That's what growing in faith is about. It's not about believing more fervently. It's about believing more things that are true.

In short, the disciples had "total faith" about a few things. They had no faith about a great many more things. Even after the resurrection, that growing in faith and seeing more truth about Jesus continued. How many years to Peter live as a racist? How long did it take him to understand that God loved the Gentiles and was saving them just as much as He was the Jews? Quite a while! And yet, Peter came to believe that over time, too. And so it is with me and you.

None of that changes the fact that faith/belief is binary. You either believe or you do not. Doubt = unbelief.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2016 5:26 pm 
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theJack wrote:
1. Whoever believes has everlasting life;
2. I have believed;
3. Therefore, I have everlasting life
Except that 'believes' and 'have believed' aren't the same thing.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Tue Mar 29, 2016 5:48 pm 
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Verses like John 3:18 and 11:27 would seem to disagree with you. :)

Your argument, of course, presumes that we can lose our salvation. You may be right, but that's unrelated to my point to Daisy. She is suggesting that free grace theology would have a terrible psychological impact by causing us to fear hell. But free grace theology insists you cannot lose your salvation (that is, it insists that to believe and to have believed are the same thing in this context). Therefore, free grace theology would have no terrible psychological impact. You can say it is WRONG, of course. But that's a totally different argument. So Daisy may say something like, "Okay, I agree that there is no terrible psychological impact. But I also think that it is wrong for the following reasons," and then quote your argument. And that's legitimate. But I'm sure, again, you can see that such is necessarily a different argument.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2016 9:27 am 
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theJack wrote:
Verses like John 3:18 and 11:27 would seem to disagree with you. :)

Your argument, of course, presumes that we can lose our salvation. You may be right, but that's unrelated to my point to Daisy. She is suggesting that free grace theology would have a terrible psychological impact by causing us to fear hell. But free grace theology insists you cannot lose your salvation (that is, it insists that to believe and to have believed are the same thing in this context). Therefore, free grace theology would have no terrible psychological impact. You can say it is WRONG, of course. But that's a totally different argument. So Daisy may say something like, "Okay, I agree that there is no terrible psychological impact. But I also think that it is wrong for the following reasons," and then quote your argument. And that's legitimate. But I'm sure, again, you can see that such is necessarily a different argument.

I definitely would NOT say "Okay, I agree that there is no terrible psychological impact."

I think you may have missed my point. Jack. I didn't say that it could be psychologically extremely damaging to anyone who never has any doubt, I said it could be psychologically extremely damaging to anyone who has even the slightest doubt.

Thus, while someone who has somehow convinced himself that he has no doubt, absolutely no doubt whatsoever, may find reassurance in this:

1. Whoever believes has everlasting life;
2. I have believed;
3. Therefore, I have everlasting life

the corollary for someone who has even a whisper of doubt knocking about somewhere in his head is:

1. Whoever believes has everlasting life
2. I have believed as best I can, but I have a very slight doubt somewhere in the back of my mind;
3. Therefore, I will suffer everlasting punishment.

If that's not psychologically damaging, I don't know what is.

At least if a Catholic has a serious fear of everlasting punishment, he can go to confession and a priest will tell him what he should do which is always doable, even with a degree of doubt.

But if a person who believes your theology has a slight doubt which he can't force away, which doesn't go away even if he asks it nicely to please go away, which persists - if he is honest with himself and admits that an element of doubt remains, however slight or otherwise insignificant - he could be driven insane with the belief that he may be punished eternally. Insanity and psychological damage manifest in many different ways, sometimes obviously, sometimes more subtly.

Everytime you or anyone who shares your theology tries to convince someone that they must have no doubt whatsoever, when you raise the bar that high, you risk the possibility that they may have at least a very slight element of doubt (which is not unreasonable to have) somewhere in their complicated mind, and they will consequently believe, if they believe you, or even just half-believe you, that they are quite possibly going to end up being eternally punished no matter how good a life they lead, no matter how much they sacrifice and serve others, no matter how kind and charitable they are, no matter how devout they are, the little fragment of doubt that they have, and can't get rid of, will - according to how you and others like you have tried to convince them - ensure that they will suffer everlasting punishment.

Are you aware of that risk to the mental health of people who, unlike you, may not be able to convince themselves that they have no doubt whatsoever? Or do you somehow deny that such a risk exists?


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2016 9:44 am 
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This is a Catholic discussion board. People come here to learn about Catholicism, not to be led astray by false teachers and not to read blasphemy against Christ's Holy Catholic Church.

This is a warning to theJack not to continue in this line of argument in this or in any other thread on this board.



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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Wed Mar 30, 2016 10:05 am 
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And I, of course, tell you that Jack has bought into a comforting falsehood, but I also tell you that your confidence should be in Jesus Christ, not in your own moral goodness.


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