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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2016 2:33 pm 
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Closet Catholic wrote:
It's not 'disrespectful' to disagree with you. You agree that those who do not believe are not believers.

Of course it isn't. But I do expect you to respond to arguments I've made to your points rather than just repeating those same points and ignoring what I did say about them. That feels like it amounts to saying that the time I put into my other replies isn't worth consideration, and so my characterization. And note I said it "maybe" disrespectful. It could just be that you missed a post . . .

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What happens to them, if they do not again start to believe?

Lots of things. They're under judgments of various kinds. There will be discipline, some of it harsh (fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God, and such things). It may bring about premature death. It brings shame to the body of Christ, and in a properly functioning body, it brings excommunication and all its associated problems. It brings mental distress, which can result in physical distress. It results in a much poorer eternal state--a loss of rewards, if you want to put it that way, and shame at the Second Coming of Christ. You know, things like that.

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Will God force himself on them?

Well no, obviously. God is God. What would it even mean for Him to "force" something, as if opposition to Him meant anything at all? That question betrays a category error in thinking. Ask me what blue smells like.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2016 9:15 pm 
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Daisy wrote:
TheJack wrote:

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OK. but I don't see a present participle having to mean "who has never believed." That seems like it's coming from outside to me.

I don't think it does have to mean "one who has never believed." It's just addressing a present reality. If you are a believer, you have everlasting life. Full stop.

What if you're not quite sure?

What if you're 99 per cent sure?

What if you're honest with yourself and admit that you're not 100 per cent sure?

What if you can't be honest with yourself and you convince yourself that you are 100 per cent sure but somewhere inside yourself you are not so sure as you want to pretend you are?

What if you are intellectually convinced that you are 100 per cent sure but your heart isn't convinced?

What if in your heart you are convinced, but intellectually you are not entirely convinced?

What if you have no doubts during the daytime but you have doubts at nighttime or when you wake up in the morning?


TheJack wrote:

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OK. but I don't see a present participle having to mean "who has never believed." That seems like it's coming from outside to me.

I don't think it does have to mean "one who has never believed." It's just addressing a present reality. If you are a believer, you have everlasting life. Full stop.


Jack, can you clarify what you mean by "a believer"?

If you believe to some extent, but somewhere inside you there is a little bit of doubt, are you "a believer"? Do you need to have 100 per cent belief, without any doubt whatsoever, to be "a believer"?

If you believe most of the time, but when you wake up early in the morning and have some doubts for about half an hour, but those doubts fade and stop troubling you when you get up and start to get going in the morning, are you "a believer"?

If you believe and have no doubt at one point in your life, but you have doubts for most of your life, are you "a believer"?

If you never have 100 per cent belief, there is always a little doubt, but you nevertheless have almost 100 per cent belief throughout your entire life, but never quite 100 per cent, always slight doubt, but never have any very serious doubt, just continuous slight doubt, are you " a believer"?

If you feel in your heart that you totally and simply believe, 100 per cent, but intellectually, when you start to analyse your belief, you have a little bit of doubt, are you " a believer"?

If you have intellectually convinced yourself that you totally believe, but you can't even admit to yourself that somewhere deep down you have doubts, are you "a believer"?

So, you see what I mean: explain what you mean by "believer" when you say "If you are a believer, you have everlasting life."

To be "a believer" do you have to totally believe at some point and then continue to totally believe from that point onwards throughout your entire life? Or is "a believer" someone who totally believes for one moment in his life regardless of how mich or how little he believes throughout all of the rest of his life?

It would be helpful if you give a clear answer to this question at this point.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2016 9:25 pm 
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I'm not trying to be trite, Daisy, but it really is a simple thing. "A believer" is one who believes that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God--one who believes that Jesus is their Savior. Period. If you believer that, you're a believer. The only added nuance is one who "entrusts" themselves to Jesus. But there's no room there to start finding places for ten million questions. Again, if you believe that Jesus has saved you from your sins--if you believe the gospel about Him (that He is the Christ (which means your Savior, in this context), the Son of God -- if you are trusting that to save you), then you are a believer.

If you doubt that, then you just don't believe it. If you don't doubt it right now and in an hour you do, then right now you are a believer and an hour you are not. If you wake up believing it, then you wake up a believer. If you fall asleep not believing it but doubting, then you aren't a believer. It really is that simple. As a corollary, if you think you might not be saved, then you aren't a believer. Why? Because to believe that Jesus is the Christ is to entrust yourself to Him as your Savior. If you don't think you're saved, then you don't believe He has saved you. So you don't believe Him when He says that everyone who believes has everlasting life. If you doubt your salvation, then you're just doubting your Savior.

Now, if right now you don't doubt your salvation, then you can say you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. If in an hour you doubt your salvation, then you can't say that believe that He is the Christ, the Son of God.

Bottom line: how do I know if I'm a believer? By believing. If I don't believe, I'm not a believer. If I do believe, I am. If I doubt, I'm not a believer. If I don't doubt, I am. It truly is that simple.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2016 10:06 pm 
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Jack, I am not stupid, and neither are you, so I know that you can see what I'm getting at, even though you are refusing to face up to it. Merely asserting that it's all very simple and then avoiding answering the question is just not good enough.

You said "If you are a believer, you have everlasting life. Full stop." So I want to know what kind of a "believer" do you have to be to have everlasting life?

Do you need to be a "believer" with no doubt whatsoever to have everlasting life?

Do you need to be a believer for most but not necessarily all of your life to have everlasting life?

Do you need to be a believer without any doubt whatsoever from the moment you wake up in the morning until the moment you fall asleep at night to have everlasting life?

Or if there are brief times during some parts of some days, e.g. when you wake up early in the morning, when you struggle with doubts, but most of the rest of the time doubts don't bother you, are you "a believer" who has everlasting life?

If you are telling me that "believers" have everlasting life, then it is a very relevant and important question I am asking: what exactly do you mean by "believers"?

When you say that "believers" have everlasting life, by "believer" do you mean someone who has no doubts whatsoever? Or do you mean someone who believes to some extent?

Do you mean someone who never stops believing? Or do you mean someone who believed possibly for just one moment in his life and all of the rest of the time has great doubts?

Unless you clarify what you mean, then your assertion that "believers" have everlasting life could mean anything. It's no good merely repeating "it's all very simple" when what is required is clarity. Clarity is clarity, nothing else will suffice.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2016 10:15 pm 
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TheJack wrote:
See the aforementioned Stanley Porter, Verbal Aspect in the Greek of the New Testament, with Reference to Tense and Mood (1989). Also his Idioms of the Greek New Testament (1992). Buist Fanning's Verbal Aspect in the Greek New Testament (1991), along with Porter's Verbal Aspect, helped get this whole ball rolling and is an important read. Daniel Wallace refers to Fanning a lot, and where Fanning and Porter part ways, Wallace tends to follow Fanning.

So that gets you started in issues around aspect. With regard to discourse grammar, I'd start with Steven Runge's Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament. That's the best text I know out recently that gets into that material, but it does a good job of showing the impact of linguistics on the field of exegesis (a need first really popularly recognized in the English world, I think, in James Barr's The Semantics of Biblical Language (1961)). There's a lot more that could be said about DG, but that text alone will get you a long way.

Other than that, again more generally, I'd highly recommend Moises Silva's Biblical Words and their Meaning, which is less about DG or even verbal aspect than it is just about getting a good grasp on lexicography vs semantics, as such things a very easy to confuse. That work was first published in '83, so you may be familiar with it; it was revised and expanded in '94, and I think it made one of the more important contributions to the field in relatively recent history.

Thanks! I'll have to look into these. I do have Silva and it's been so long I don't remember much!

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It sounds like we come near a similar conclusion, but we get there different ways. I don't think the election/predestination approach (a la Calvin) is biblical (with all due respect to Chafer and those who followed him at DTS). If you're thinking of DTS, I'm much more in Hodges' mold on such matters.

I don't equate election with Calvin, I don't think he handled it well. I think Aquinas handled it much better. I had Hodges for first year Gk, and I'm sure he believed salvation was 100% by grace. I don't understand the point you're making here. I don't know much about Hodges theology.

Quote:
Other than that, we agree on the idea of krinw (which gets at what I was hinting at to CC). We might disagree, though, on the appropriateness of applying theology to exegesis. For me, that application is a one way street. Exegetical theology leads to biblical theology which leads to systematic theology. We are never permitted to go backwards. That is, our conclusions drawn from systematic theology may never inform our exegetical theology. Where this gets a little more nuanced is when we are looking at progressive revelation. Obviously a NT writer like Matthew is very familiar with the theology of Isaiah, and so a "(systematic) theology of Isaiah" might be permitted to have a role to play in the exegesis of Matthew's texts. But I think at this point we're getting pretty far away from the questions around John 3:18. My point is just that, whatever interpreters tend to do (myself included) when it comes to picking lexical, semantic, and syntactical meanings, they simply should not, as you put it, "nudge it . . . so it fits their perceived theology." An easy error to fall into, I grant. Perhaps it is harder not to fall into it than it is to avoid it. But it's unacceptable all the same. Our job is to get our theology from the text, and absolutely never vice-versa.

Yes, but once you've done a lot of Systematic Theology, you'll notice you have "problem verses." I'm not as wild as you might think! You have to deal with passages that omit certain details, certain things that are just expected but not stated. I search around for details and conditions that aren't stated in parallel passages.

For instance, let me give an example of a different passage only to show my methodology (not to derail the thread away from Jn 3).

Jn 14
13 Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14 If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.

OK, Jesus told them if they ask Him anything in His name, He will do it. Case closed. That's it. Anything. "You can camp on this." Linguistically. Grammatically. Etc.

But elsewhere James says this:

Jas 4
3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.

So now you ask and do not receive because of a wrong motive. Was Jesus wrong? Jesus didn't give this condition. But I sense from doing Systematic Theology for a while that it is just expected that you ask with the correct motive. It's not stated, but expected.

Just like Jn 3:16. Elsewhere we see the gospel saves if we hold fast (1 Cor 15:2), one is in His household if they hold fast (Heb 3:6, 14), one is reconciled if they continue in the faith, not moved away (Col 1:22-23).

So when I see promises, my method is to look around and gather the details, the conditions, etc. They might just be expected but not stated every time. This is the case in Jn 14. Jesus wasn't wrong. But He did have certain expectations - or if He stated them, the writer omitted them. Either way, we've got promises with things expected but not always stated. That's part of my methodology.

Does this mean anyone who truly believes will eventually turn away and never believe? I'm not saying this will happen, I just don't know. But that's irrelevant to the warnings...they are still true and should be taught just as Jesus taught them.

Quote:
"in a sense" of on-going actually is of critical importance. The "ongoing" faith is not speaking to the reality of a faith that persists moment to moment, much less day to day or year to year. It just means here that John isn't looking at the beginning or end of faith. He's just saying "the believer has everlasting life." It's up to other passages and our theological inferences to ask what that means about issues relating to the question of losing your salvation. What you can't do, which is what CC seems to be doing and what Wallace is certainly doing, is suggest that the present's "ongoing tense" means that not just faith, but continuous faith is a condition for salvation, such that a non-continuous faith is therefore insufficient to bring salvation. That's just doing more with the tense than tense allows us to get out of it. And you can't even say, with CC here, that if it is true that believers have everlasting life that it is therefore true that non-believers do not have everlasting life. Again, that's just not what the text says, and to try to get that out of of tense/aspect is just an abuse of the language.

I understand. And the warnings are true, both at the same time. Hey, all whom the Father gives Jesus will indeed come (Jn 7:37). They'll all be saved. But then the devil has sown tares in with the wheat. Those whom the Father gives Jesus will persevere and "pass" the warnings. The tares will not. But the critical thing here is that I believe what is "looked at", again, is real change/fruit. Jesus said unless one was born again (Jn 3:3), not unless one had a once-for-all-time imputed righteousness, 'Jesus' perfect life of obedience' is looked at in our place to satisfy any requirement, etc.

Sorry, I'm digressing.

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You aren't thinking of that, of course. And neither was John. CC is, because he is importing questions and a theology into the text. It's just eisogesis. I'll withhold comment on Mt 24-25 or Jas 2:24 for, as important as those passages are in their own right, they have no bearing on the exegesis of John 3.

True, but they stand true, so Jn 3 can't contradict them. Systematic Theology must tie things together, not hold up a bunch of contradicting teachings.

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With all due respect, this is all what you've drawn from your systematic theology and just irrelevant to John 3. After all, suppose, just for the sake of argument, that John 3 contradicted your systematic theology. At worst you would have a contradiction in Scripture. But more likely, that would mean that you've misunderstood those other verses. So, again, as I told CC, I'm just not going to engage in conversations about other verses, much less in conversation about big theological constructs like predestination and election in order to understand John 3. That's exactly backwards as an approach.

I'm all about putting things together. I believe Jn 3 has things that are just expected, and are detailed out in other passages. You seem to be fixated on one verse.

Quote:
The only real question here is what the word "believe" means in John 3. And that is a lexical and semantic question, not a theological one.

Sure, one should address the lexical and semantic questions first. Then one folds it in with their theology later, and if there appears to be unstated expectations there, when the expectations are spelled out elsewhere, then one might end up interpreting with those expectations. Not translation, just interpreting.

Quote:
I don't think it does have to mean "one who has never believed." It's just addressing a present reality. If you are a believer, you have everlasting life. Full stop.

"If you ask anything in My name, I will do it." Full stop. But it's just expected that one asks with the correct motives. However that's not stated here.

-BHM


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2016 10:58 pm 
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Daisy wrote:
Jack, I am not stupid, and neither are you, so I know that you can see what I'm getting at, even though you are refusing to face up to it. Merely asserting that it's all very simple and then avoiding answering the question is just not good enough.

Of course neither of us are stupid. Maybe you should take that to mean that I'm trying to tell you something, not trying to "face up to" something. I meant exactly what I said.

Quote:
You said "If you are a believer, you have everlasting life. Full stop." So I want to know what kind of a "believer" do you have to be to have everlasting life?

There's no such thing as different kinds of believers. One either is a believer or not. Full stop. Look, I'll demonstrate by going through all your supposed exceptions. You'll see this is an exercise in futility, because it just comes back to whether you are a believer or not. Period. It's only complicated if you try to draw distinctions where there are none.

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Do you need to be a "believer" with no doubt whatsoever to have everlasting life?

To be a believer is to have no doubt. If you have doubt, you are not a believer.

Quote:
Do you need to be a believer for most but not necessarily all of your life to have everlasting life?

Of course not. The text says nothing about continuing in faith. In the moment that you are a believer, you have, in that very moment, everlasting life. Now, CC will argue that if you stop believing that you lose everlasting life because you are not a believer. And I agree that when you stop believing that you are not a believer. But the text does not say that if you stop believing you lose everlasting life, now does it? He's just adding to the text. But even if you accept that he's right, it doesn't change my point. If you believe, you have everlasting life. So at most you can say that when you start doubting and therefore stop believing that you don't have everlasting life. Fine. It's still very simple. If you believe, you have everlasting life. Full stop.

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Do you need to be a believer without any doubt whatsoever from the moment you wake up in the morning until the moment you fall asleep at night to have everlasting life?

Again, to believe is to not have doubts. To doubt is to disbelieve. If you have doubts during the day, then you are not a believer during that part of the day. You want to ask if a person who loses their faith still has everlasting life. And that's a fine question to ask. But it is distinct from the question of whether or not it is true that all believers have everlasting life. And since John 3:16 and 6:47 and many others say, "Whoever believes has everlasting life," then that's what we assert. Feel free to agree with CC that a person who doubts/loses their faith/is no longer a believer no longer has everlasting life. If that bothers you, then just stop doubting and believe. Then you'll know that you have everlasting life.

Quote:
Or if there are brief times during some parts of some days, e.g. when you wake up early in the morning, when you struggle with doubts, but most of the rest of the time doubts don't bother you, are you "a believer" who has everlasting life?

If you struggle with doubt in the morning, then in the morning you are not a believer. If by the afternoon you have no further doubts, then by the afternoon you are a believer. And if you are a believer, then you have everlasting life. Full stop.

Quote:
If you are telling me that "believers" have everlasting life, then it is a very relevant and important question I am asking: what exactly do you mean by "believers"?

A believer is someone who believes. If you are a believer, you have everlasting life. That you fail to believe later doesn't mean that you don't believe now. Right now, I am 34 years old. Next year, I will be 35. The fact that I will be 35 next year does not mean that I am not 34 now.

Quote:
When you say that "believers" have everlasting life, by "believer" do you mean someone who has no doubts whatsoever? Or do you mean someone who believes to some extent?

There is no such thing as believing something to an extent. Either you believe or you do not. It is binary. To doubt is to not believe.

Quote:
Do you mean someone who never stops believing? Or do you mean someone who believed possibly for just one moment in his life and all of the rest of the time has great doubts?

I've never said anything about "never stop[ping] believing. As you said, I'm not stupid, and neither are you. I said exactly what I meant. If you believe, you have everlasting life. Full stop. If you stop believing, that doesn't change the fact that you did believe. I was a believer, now I doubt, so now I'm not a believer. See that? I was a believer. Now I'm not a believer. Later I no longer doubt. Now I am a believer again. Whoever believes has everlasting life. I am a believer, ergo, I have everlasting life.

Quote:
Unless you clarify what you mean, then your assertion that "believers" have everlasting life could mean anything. It's no good merely repeating "it's all very simple" when what is required is clarity. Clarity is clarity, nothing else will suffice.

It can't mean "anything." It can't mean that racecar drivers are great athletes or that my real name is Chris. It means exactly what it says: if you believe, then you have everlasting life. You keep asking questions assuming that I'm not saying exactly what I mean. You would do better to simply accept what I'm saying: I'm telling you that, as far as I read Scripture, "Whoever believes has everlasting life" (John 6:47--direct quote from Jesus!).


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Wed Feb 24, 2016 11:20 pm 
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By His Mercy wrote:
Thanks! I'll have to look into these. I do have Silva and it's been so long I don't remember much!

My pleasure! I hope they help. :)

Quote:
I don't equate election with Calvin, I don't think he handled it well. I think Aquinas handled it much better. I had Hodges for first year Gk, and I'm sure he believed salvation was 100% by grace. I don't understand the point you're making here. I don't know much about Hodges theology.

There's a thread around here somewhere basically saying that Calvin and Aquinas are more similar than not. Having studied both in some detail, I tend to agree with that. There are differences, of course. But suffice it to say, I don't think the Augustinian approach to election (which is the common fount of both Calvin and Aquinas) is correct.

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Yes, but once you've done a lot of Systematic Theology, you'll notice you have "problem verses." I'm not as wild as you might think! You have to deal with passages that omit certain details, certain things that are just expected but not stated. I search around for details and conditions that aren't stated in parallel passages.

I've done a lot of systematic theology (three degrees worth). I don't see "problem verses" anymore. I used to. When I thought in terms of systematic theology. I don't now. If a verse creates problems with my systematic theology, the problem is with my theology, not the verse. Again, we should never permit our systematic theology to influence our understanding of a verse (within certain qualifications re progressive revelation)

Quote:
For instance, let me give an example of a different passage only to show my methodology (not to derail the thread away from Jn 3).

Jn 14
13 Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
14 If you ask Me anything in My name, I will do it.

OK, Jesus told them if they ask Him anything in His name, He will do it. Case closed. That's it. Anything. "You can camp on this." Linguistically. Grammatically. Etc.

But elsewhere James says this:

Jas 4
3 You ask and do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, so that you may spend it on your pleasures.

So now you ask and do not receive because of a wrong motive. Was Jesus wrong? Jesus didn't give this condition. But I sense from doing Systematic Theology for a while that it is just expected that you ask with the correct motive. It's not stated, but expected.

I'm familiar with your method. I used it myself for a long time. I just don't accept it as valid anymore. That's not a Catholic v Protestant thing. That's just a proper hermeneutic thing. You don't need Jas 4:3 to see that you can't ask Jesus for a million bucks in His name and you will therefore get it. A person who gets that out of John 14 has misunderstood John 14 in its own context. Likewise, you don't need John 14 to make sense out of Jas 4:3. Jas 4:3 stands on its own and has its own message within its own context.

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Just like Jn 3:16. Elsewhere we see the gospel saves if we hold fast (1 Cor 15:2), one is in His household if they hold fast (Heb 3:6, 14), one is reconciled if they continue in the faith, not moved away (Col 1:22-23).

And, again, I reject the method you're using, and for a good reason comparable to the above. Your method above doesn't have Jas 4:3 complimenting John 14. You have James CONTRADICTING John. If you get "you can have absolutely anything you want" out of John 14--if you are saying that is what the text actually says, without the qualifiers from James--then you are saying that James is literally correcting the error of John 14.

And that demonstrates the problem with John 3:16. You don't have Paul complimenting Jesus. You have him CORRECTING Jesus, which is to say, you have him saying that Jesus is wrong. And that's bad theology as well as bad hermeneutics.

Quote:
So when I see promises, my method is to look around and gather the details, the conditions, etc. They might just be expected but not stated every time. This is the case in Jn 14. Jesus wasn't wrong. But He did have certain expectations - or if He stated them, the writer omitted them. Either way, we've got promises with things expected but not always stated. That's part of my methodology.

Does this mean anyone who truly believes will eventually turn away and never believe? I'm not saying this will happen, I just don't know. But that's irrelevant to the warnings...they are still true and should be taught just as Jesus taught them.

Yes, I know. Your method is to read a passage in light of a preexisting theology. And, with all due respect, I don't accept that method. It is well intended eisogesis. You would do better to let the text speak for itself.

Quote:
I understand. And the warnings are true, both at the same time. Hey, all whom the Father gives Jesus will indeed come (Jn 7:37). They'll all be saved. But then the devil has sown tares in with the wheat. Those whom the Father gives Jesus will persevere and "pass" the warnings. The tares will not. But the critical thing here is that I believe what is "looked at", again, is real change/fruit. Jesus said unless one was born again (Jn 3:3), not unless one had a once-for-all-time imputed righteousness, 'Jesus' perfect life of obedience' is looked at in our place to satisfy any requirement, etc.

Sorry, I'm digressing.

I don't think it's true that all whom the Father give Jesus will persevere and pass the warnings. I don't think that the "fruit" we look at is any kind of change. All of that you are doing there is more systematic theology that begs the question. You are assuming a doctrine, which John 3:16 contradicts, and then using that doctrine to reinterpret John 3:16 in such a way that it no longer means what it actually says. And you do that on the basis of this preexisting theology, all so that you can say, "See, the Bible actually does teach my theology!" Well of course it does. You reinterpreted it against what it says to make it say what your theology says that it says precisely by using your theology as the means and method of interpretation! But after all that, you can't get away from the fact that the words of Scripture, as written, contradict what you say that they mean.

And no worries on the digressions. We're just having conversation here. :)

Quote:
True, but they stand true, so Jn 3 can't contradict them. Systematic Theology must tie things together, not hold up a bunch of contradicting teachings.

John 3 doesn't contradict them. But even if it did, you wouldn't reinterpret John 3 so that it doesn't. Put differently, if John 3 contradicts those other passages, then it does so whether you reinterpret it or not. If you have to reinterpret it so that it means other than what it says, then you still have a contradiction. Now you're just explaining it away by saying that you think the contradiction is okay because you aren't going to accept the actual words as written.

And no, systematic theology does not have to tie things together. I just disagree with that point. That's the cart you have before the horse. Systematic theology is not a glue. It's not a tie. It's just the result of study. Take this silly example:

1. The only women Jack has ever seen are blonde
2. Jack has seen all women
3. Therefore, all women are blonde

So that's a valid argument. It's wrong, of course, because (2) is wrong. But let that pass. My point is that the conclusion doesn't tie together the two premises. They are what they are, end of story. Nothing more to say there. The conclusion is just the logical deduction we draw from comparing those two statements. And so it is with systematic theology. We compare two statements and draw our conclusions. But we don't use those conclusions to reinterpret the premises to say something that they don't say, because then, you're just back to eisogesis.

Again, this is a one way street. Exegesis theology to Systematic theology--NEVER systematic to exegetical.

Quote:
I'm all about putting things together. I believe Jn 3 has things that are just expected, and are detailed out in other passages. You seem to be fixated on one verse.

With all due respect, you aren't putting things together. You are taking the parts out of the box and deciding how you want them to fit together. And when they don't fit according to your own design, you are getting out a saw and cutting the parts down so that they fit the way you want them to. Then you are telling those of us who are putting things together using the actual parts that we aren't doing it correctly because we aren't building according to your design.

But that's what happens when you let systematic theology influence interpretation. You come to the text with your design, your theology, and read that into the text. Therefore, you don't get your theology from the Bible at all. You are using the Bible to illustrate your own theology. And that makes you the authority over Scripture, which means that where Scripture contradicts your authority (as John 3:16) does, you don't believe Scripture. And just as bad, where Scripture agrees with your theology, you do not agree with it because of what it says, but because it agrees with you. And therefore, you still do not believe Scirpture. You believe yourself and are willing to accept an "amen" by a witness who you think agrees with you.

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Sure, one should address the lexical and semantic questions first. Then one folds it in with their theology later, and if there appears to be unstated expectations there, when the expectations are spelled out elsewhere, then one might end up interpreting with those expectations. Not translation, just interpreting.

And I've explained why I don't agree. I know you have nothing but good intentions, but when your good intentions cause you to deny Scripture--and to deny what words actually mean--then your good intentions have lead you down a path of error. And the thing to do when you find yourself in error is to admit your mistake, repent, and get back on the right track asap. In your case, that starts with letting John 3:16 mean exactly what it says, no more and no less.

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"If you ask anything in My name, I will do it." Full stop. But it's just expected that one asks with the correct motives. However that's not stated here.

If you want to change subjects and talk about John 14, we can certainly do that. Everything I'm saying applies to John 14 just as well as it does to John 3.

God bless :)


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2016 5:56 pm 
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Closet Catholic wrote:
You agree that those who do not believe are not believers.

What happens to them, if they do not again start to believe?
TheJack wrote:
Lots of things. They're under judgments of various kinds. There will be discipline, some of it harsh (fearful thing to fall into the hands of a living God, and such things). It may bring about premature death. It brings shame to the body of Christ, and in a properly functioning body, it brings excommunication and all its associated problems. It brings mental distress, which can result in physical distress. It results in a much poorer eternal state--a loss of rewards, if you want to put it that way, and shame at the Second Coming of Christ. You know, things like that.
Ok. Let’s ignore John for a second. Take Mark 16,16. It states: «Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; but whoever does not believe will be condemned.» This verse tells us that those who do not believe will be condemned. So add that to the list.

Closet Catholic wrote:
Will God force himself on them?
TheJack wrote:
Well no, obviously. God is God. What would it even mean for Him to "force" something, as if opposition to Him meant anything at all?
It means exactly what it means. Will God force someone to be saved and be with him forever who does no longer believe in the Gospel, and does not want to be saved?

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That question betrays a category error in thinking. Ask me what blue smells like.
Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2016 6:45 pm 
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Closet Catholic wrote:
Ok. Let’s ignore John for a second. Take Mark 16,16. It states: «Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved; but whoever does not believe will be condemned.» This verse tells us that those who do not believe will be condemned. So add that to the list.

No thank you, let's not. I've already told you that I'm not interested in that game. It's dishonest. Why should I trust you? We'll spend all this time talking about Mark 16:16, and you'll just say, "Okay, just forget Mark 16:16. Let's talk about X instead."

It's called moving the goalposts, CC. I'm not playing that game. Now, if you want to concede my argument on John 3, then fine. But otherwise, you'll be talking about Mark 16:16 by yourself. And you should know me well enough to know it's not because I've no answer for it. Free grace theologians have commented on every single book in the Bible (there are Free Grace Commentaries on every book, and Mark is no exception). It's not hard to find such comments by going to faithalone.org, to use the sample site that we've been talking about. But I won't be getting into that.

Closet Catholic wrote:
It means exactly what it means. Will God force someone to be saved and be with him forever who does no longer believe in the Gospel, and does not want to be saved?

And, again, that's a category error. Saying God "forces" something is meaningless. You might as well be talking about a four sided triangle.

You can't even ask me if God would save someone who doesn't want to be saved. That demonstrates a basic misunderstanding of theology, of God as the ultimate good, of the nature of the will. All human beings desire the good, and the highest good, necessarily. When they see God face to face, they will desire Him, necessarily. And even beyond THAT, your question presumes a semi-pelagianism such that it ought to be ignored on its face.

And even if all that were still not true, none of that changes the text of John 3:16. It's rather telling that you're looking for reasons not to accept what it actually says.

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Quod gratis asseritur, gratis negatur.

Precisely. And unlike you, I've given sound reasoning and evidence for my positions, including the classification of your argument as being a category error at best and downright heretical at worst. So unless you would like to give an actual argument for your position rather than blind assertions, then right back at ya.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2016 9:26 pm 
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TheJack wrote:
There's no such thing as different kinds of believers. One either is a believer or not. Full stop.



To be a believer is to have no doubt. If you have doubt, you are not a believer.



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When you say that "believers" have everlasting life, by "believer" do you mean someone who has no doubts whatsoever? Or do you mean someone who believes to some extent?

There is no such thing as believing something to an extent. Either you believe or you do not. It is binary. To doubt is to not believe.

That's nonsense. I believe in Buddhism to some extent, not to any great extent, but certainly to some extent. I certainly believe in Buddhism more than I believe in Scientology. Therefore I believe in Buddhism to some extent. But according to you, Jack, I either totally believe in Buddhism or I don't believe in Buddhism any more than I believe in Scientology. That's nonsense.

There are many practicing Catholics, including on this message board, who believe in Pope Francis to some extent. Some believe in Pope Francis more than others. Few TOTALLY believe in Pope Francis, and very few practicing Catholics have absolutely no belief in Pope Francis. But according to you, Jack, all Catholics, who believe in Pope Francis, believe in Pope Francis to the same extent, 100 per cent, or they have no belief in Pope Francis. That's nonsense.

There are many people who believe in life after death. Some people who aren't too sure believe in an afterlife to some extent but are not totally convinced, they have doubts. Some people have slight doubts, some people have great doubts. But according to you, Jack, anyone who has any doubts whatsoever does not believe in an afterlife. Yet many Christians have slight doubts but nevertheless call themselves believers BECAUSE THEY ONLY HAVE SLIGHT DOUBTS. Yet according to you, Jack, they do not believe in an afterlife because they have slight doubts about it. They would tell you that your assertion is nonsense.

It's healthy to have doubts because it leads us to examine our beliefs and reject what we don't think is true, after examination and questioning. If you have no doubt whatsoever, you will not question your beliefs and you are in great danger of being deluded. People who are very seriously deluded have no doubts.

Many people suffer from anxiety, to a greater or lesser extent. It is common for people with anxiety to wake up feeling anxious, and full of doubt, but at other times their anxiety subsides and doubts don't trouble them so much. But Jack you are saying that anyone with doubts is not a believer and therefore do not have everlasting life. If any anxious person were to believe you, they would very likely become more anxious - the prospect of everlasting damnation due to having doubts is very anxiety provoking - and because they are made more anxious by this fear, they are more likely to be troubled by doubts. To suggest that anxious people cannot attain everlasting life unless they overcome ALL OF THEIR ANXIETY AND DOUBTS is nonsense.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2016 9:35 pm 
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"Buddhism" is not a proposition. "Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God" is a proposition. Either you believe that or you don't. Now, you may believe that and question a lot of related propositions, i.e., whether or not He established the Catholic Church, whether or not the Bible is inerrant, etc. But you cannot doubt that "Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God" is true and still say you believe it is true. That is the nonsense.

Nor did I say that if you have doubts you cannot have everlasting life, much less did I say that anxious people cannot have eternal life. Anxiety is a generalized psychological issue not related to any specific proposition. If an anxious person believes that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, they have everlasting life. If they later doubt that proposition, then they just no longer believe it. They still have eternal life, because eternal life, by its nature, cannot be lost (if it could, it wouldn't be eternal). But don't be so silly as to suggest that people who suffer from generalized anxiety disorder cannot believe something is true. Again, that is the nonsense.

So I go back to what I originally said: if you, Daisy, believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, then you have everlasting life. If you have ever believed that, then you have everlasting life. If you do not believe that, then you are not a believer. If you doubt that, then you are not a believer. If you have never believed that, then you do not have everlasting life. If you have always doubted that, then you do not have everlasting life. Again, it is very simple. You can either believe John 6:47 or not. Up to you. *shrug*


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2016 9:42 pm 
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Just a reminder (not for Daisy, who presumably knows, but for thread readers who might not know): theJack is not Catholic and some of what he says is not compatible with Catholic. Jack was challenged to explain what he believes and he has every right to make it clear. I just want to be sure that someone who happens upon this thread does not get the wrong impression.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2016 11:18 pm 
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TheJack wrote:
"Buddhism" is not a proposition. "Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God" is a proposition. Either you believe that or you don't.

You're nitpicking. "Practicing Buddhism helps people to live a better life" is a proposition. You say I cannot believe in that proposition to some extent, you say I either believe it or I don't. I say I believe it to some extent. I certainly believe that practicing Buddhism helps people to live a better life more than I believe the proposition that practicing getting drunk every day helps people to live a better life. But I do not practice Buddhism and I have no personal experience of Buddhism helping me to live a better life, there are many dedicated practicing Buddhists, monks, the Dali Lama, etc, who believe to a much greater extent than I do that practicing Buddhism helps people to live a better life.

If you accept that I believe the proposition that "Buddhism helps people to live a better life" more than I believe the proposition that practicing getting drunk everyday helps people to live a better life, then you must accept that I at least to some extent believe the propostion that practicing Buddhism helps people to live a better life. But that does not mean that I believe the proposition to the same extent as Buddhist monks believe the proposition that Buddhism helps people to live a better life.

How about the proposition that I will still be alive next week? You say I either believe that proposition or I don't. I have no life-threatening illnesses, I am still reasonably young, I have no reason to believe that I won't be alive next week, so yes of course I believe the proposition that I will be alive next week. If I didn't believe that I will still be alive next week, I wouldn't have wasted time buying a new pair of shoes today, my old shoes will last at least another week! So yes, of course I believe that I will still be alive next week.

But I do not totally believe that I will be alive next week. I am aware that there is a possibility that I may not be alive next week. Therefore I have some doubt about it. I believe to some extent that I will be alive next week, but I do not have 100 per cent belief that I will be alive next week.

Yet Jack you are asserting that I cannot believe it to some extent, you are saying that I either believe it without any doubt whatsoever or I don't believe it. That's not the reality. The reality is that I believe TO SOME EXTENT that I will be alive next week, otherwise I would not have bought new shoes, I believe it to a great extent, BUT I DO NOT BELIEVE IT WITHOUT DOUBT. You are saying that if I have any doubt then I don't believe it, but I have clearly shown that you are wrong about that, because of course I believe it even though I have a degree of doubt anot it.


Last edited by Daisy on Thu Feb 25, 2016 11:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2016 11:26 pm 
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Daisy wrote:
You're nitpicking. "Practicing Buddhism helps people to live a better life" is a proposition. You say I cannot believe in that proposition to some extent, you say I either believe it or I don't. I say I believe it to some extent. I certainly believe that practicing Buddhism helps people to live a better life more than I believe the proposition that practicing getting drunk every day helps people to live a better life. But I do not practice Buddhism and I have no personal experience of Buddhism helping me to live a better life, there are many dedicated practicing Buddhists, monks, the Dali Lama, etc, who believe to a much greater extent than I do that practicing Buddhism helps people to live a better life.

If you accept that I believe the proposition that "Buddhism helps people to live a better life" more than I believe the proposition that practicing getting drunk everyday helps people to live a better life, then you must accept that I at least to some extent believe the propostion that practicing Buddhism helps people to live a better life. But that does not mean that I believe tbe proposition to the same extent as Buddhist monks believe the proposition that Buddhism helps people to live a better life.

How about the proposition that I will still be alive next week? You say I either believe that proposition or I don't. I have no life-threatening illnesses, I am still reasonably young, I have no reason to believe that I won't be alive next week, so yes of course I believe the proposition that I will be alive next week. If I didn't believe that I will still be alive next week, I wouldn't have wasted time buying a new pair of shoes today, my old shoes will last at least another week! So yes, of course I believe that I will still be alive next week. But I do not totally believe that I will be alive next week. I am aware that there is a possibility that I may not be alive next week. Therefore I have some doubt about it. I believe to some extent that I will be alive next week, but I do not have 100 per cent belief that I will be alive next week. Yet Jack you are asserting that I cannot believe it to some extent, you are saying that I either believe it without any doubt whatsoever or I don't believe it. That's not the reality. The reality is that I believe TO SOME EXTENT that I will be alive next week, otherwise I would not have bought new shoes, I believe it to a great extent, BUT I DO NOT BELIEVE IT WITHOUT DOUBT. You are saying that if I have any doubt then I don't believe it, but I have clearly shown that you are wrong about that.

I'm not nitpicking. You asked me a question, I answered you, and then you misrepresented my answer to offer a critique. "Buddhism" is not a proposition. Yes, the proposition "Buddhism helps some people live a better life" is a proposition. I wouldn't deny it. In fact, I believe it. But on the other hand, "Buddhism leads to everlasting life" is a proposition I do not believe. And there is no such thing as believing it to an extent or not. It's either true or not.

So what about your proposition that I'll be alive next week. The answer is that I do believe that is the case. But that doesn't mean I couldn't be wrong. "Hah!" you say. "So you admit you could be wrong. That's doubt!" But that's not the case at all. Admitting a logical possibility of something doesn't mean you give it any credence. It's logically possible that someone could have secretly deposited one hundred kajillion dollars in my account in the past five minutes. I don't believe for one second that is actually the case.

And so it is with Christ. Is it logically possible that He could have been wrong? Of course it is. Does that mean I doubt? Of course not. I believe it to be true completely, with no doubt whatsoever. Just so, I believe I will be alive next week, with no doubt whatsoever. And so it is with the Gospel. Jesus said, "Whoever believes in Me has everlasting life." I believe that. I have zero doubts. If you have any doubts, then you don't believe it, which makes you an unbeliever. End of story.

It really is that simple, Daisy.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2016 11:28 pm 
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Obi-Wan Kenobi wrote:
Just a reminder (not for Daisy, who presumably knows, but for thread readers who might not know): theJack is not Catholic and some of what he says is not compatible with Catholic. Jack was challenged to explain what he believes and he has every right to make it clear. I just want to be sure that someone who happens upon this thread does not get the wrong impression.

Quite right. I don't know that anyone might think I am a Catholic or that I'm arguing from a Catholic perspective, but let me be clear, if it is at all necessary or helpful, for the sake of any readers who may not know as much: I am not a Catholic and I am not pretending to argue from a Catholic perspective. There are some things the Catholic Church says that I agree with. There are some things the Catholic Church says that I do not agree with. I'm simply explaining my own views because first CC and then BHM and then Daisy wanted to know what I believe. The moment people stop asking questions, I'll stop posting about it.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2016 11:33 pm 
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TheJack wrote:
So I go back to what I originally said: if you, Daisy, believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, then you have everlasting life. If you have ever believed that, then you have everlasting life. If you do not believe that, then you are not a believer. If you doubt that, then you are not a believer. If you have never believed that, then you do not have everlasting life. If you have always doubted that, then you do not have everlasting life. Again, it is very simple. You can either believe John 6:47 or not. Up to you. *shrug*



That is the most concise explanation of your theology that I've seen. It's how I understood it pretty much too. That's why I proposed the question- ignorantly, arrogantly, and perhaps illogically- with the creation of this thread. A sola fide type of Religion that gaurantees Heaven after a one time act of faith- completely divorced from discipleship, perseverance, and indeed any worship whatsoever (unless you consider the initial faith an act of worship.) If your authority is the Bible before the Church, then I suppose this is logical. I could argue against it using the Bible (very poorly) but I'm guessing all the proper defenses are already in place.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Thu Feb 25, 2016 11:50 pm 
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TheJack wrote:
Daisy wrote:
You're nitpicking. "Practicing Buddhism helps people to live a better life" is a proposition. You say I cannot believe in that proposition to some extent, you say I either believe it or I don't. I say I believe it to some extent. I certainly believe that practicing Buddhism helps people to live a better life more than I believe the proposition that practicing getting drunk every day helps people to live a better life. But I do not practice Buddhism and I have no personal experience of Buddhism helping me to live a better life, there are many dedicated practicing Buddhists, monks, the Dali Lama, etc, who believe to a much greater extent than I do that practicing Buddhism helps people to live a better life.

If you accept that I believe the proposition that "Buddhism helps people to live a better life" more than I believe the proposition that practicing getting drunk everyday helps people to live a better life, then you must accept that I at least to some extent believe the propostion that practicing Buddhism helps people to live a better life. But that does not mean that I believe tbe proposition to the same extent as Buddhist monks believe the proposition that Buddhism helps people to live a better life.

How about the proposition that I will still be alive next week? You say I either believe that proposition or I don't. I have no life-threatening illnesses, I am still reasonably young, I have no reason to believe that I won't be alive next week, so yes of course I believe the proposition that I will be alive next week. If I didn't believe that I will still be alive next week, I wouldn't have wasted time buying a new pair of shoes today, my old shoes will last at least another week! So yes, of course I believe that I will still be alive next week. But I do not totally believe that I will be alive next week. I am aware that there is a possibility that I may not be alive next week. Therefore I have some doubt about it. I believe to some extent that I will be alive next week, but I do not have 100 per cent belief that I will be alive next week. Yet Jack you are asserting that I cannot believe it to some extent, you are saying that I either believe it without any doubt whatsoever or I don't believe it. That's not the reality. The reality is that I believe TO SOME EXTENT that I will be alive next week, otherwise I would not have bought new shoes, I believe it to a great extent, BUT I DO NOT BELIEVE IT WITHOUT DOUBT. You are saying that if I have any doubt then I don't believe it, but I have clearly shown that you are wrong about that.

I'm not nitpicking. You asked me a question, I answered you, and then you misrepresented my answer to offer a critique. "Buddhism" is not a proposition. Yes, the proposition "Buddhism helps some people live a better life" is a proposition. I wouldn't deny it. In fact, I believe it. But on the other hand, "Buddhism leads to everlasting life" is a proposition I do not believe. And there is no such thing as believing it to an extent or not. It's either true or not.

So what about your proposition that I'll be alive next week. The answer is that I do believe that is the case. But that doesn't mean I couldn't be wrong. "Hah!" you say. "So you admit you could be wrong. That's doubt!" But that's not the case at all. Admitting a logical possibility of something doesn't mean you give it any credence. It's logically possible that someone could have secretly deposited one hundred kajillion dollars in my account in the past five minutes. I don't believe for one second that is actually the case.

And so it is with Christ. Is it logically possible that He could have been wrong? Of course it is. Does that mean I doubt? Of course not. I believe it to be true completely, with no doubt whatsoever. Just so, I believe I will be alive next week, with no doubt whatsoever. And so it is with the Gospel. Jesus said, "Whoever believes in Me has everlasting life." I believe that. I have zero doubts. If you have any doubts, then you don't believe it, which makes you an unbeliever. End of story.

It really is that simple, Daisy.

To say you believe you "will be alive next week, with no doubt whatsoever" is absurd and shows not that you have no doubt whatsoever but rather that you are afraid to admit tbat you have some doubt. At what point would you be willing to call it doubt? Do you believe you will be alive next month with no doubt whatsoever? Do you believe that you will be alive next year with no doubt whatsoever? Do you believe you will be alive in five years from now with no doubt whatsoever?


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2016 12:22 am 
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I'll call it doubt when that is what it is, Daisy--when I have reason to doubt. Now, I'm sorry if you are having some sort of existential crisis, but don't project. I am 100% convinced that I'll be alive tomorrow. I have no believe about whether or not I'll be alive ten years from now (I certainly hope so). I don't doubt that I will. I just don't have a belief one way or the other. I absolutely believe I will not be alive 100 years from now (except in the sense that I'll be in heaven with Christ, anyway).

And after you have played all of your semantic games, the question will still fall down to this: do you believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God? Or do you doubt it? You can attempt to justify your doubt all you want, but the Scriptures are clear. And when you stand before God, the only question He will have for you is, Did you accept My testimony as true, or did you call Me a liar? (See John 3:33.) And if you call Him a liar with your self-justifying semantic games, the result will be exactly the same.

I just encourage you to place your faith in Christ, Daisy. Stop arguing with God. It really is simple. Stop letting the foolishness of people and human religious inventions get in the way. Jesus was exceptionally clear: "Whoever believes in Me has everlasting life." If you need to pray, "Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief!" then at least be honest enough and believe that. But for the sake of your eternal soul (or, if you are already saved, which you may be, for the sake of the quality of your eternity with Christ and for the sake of those He may bring to Him through you), lay down your arms and believe the Scriptures.

Or don't. Harden your heart. And if that's your choice, hear the words of Scripture:

    7 So, as the Holy Spirit says:

    “Today, if you hear his voice,
    8 do not harden your hearts
    as you did in the rebellion,
    during the time of testing in the wilderness,
    9 where your ancestors tested and tried me,
    though for forty years they saw what I did.
    10 That is why I was angry with that generation;
    I said, ‘Their hearts are always going astray,
    and they have not known my ways.’
    11 So I declared on oath in my anger,
    ‘They shall never enter my rest.’ ”[b]
    12 See to it, brothers and sisters, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13 But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness. 14 We have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original conviction firmly to the very end. 15 As has just been said:

    “Today, if you hear his voice,
    do not harden your hearts
    as you did in the rebellion.”[c]
    16 Who were they who heard and rebelled? Were they not all those Moses led out of Egypt? 17 And with whom was he angry for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies perished in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did God swear that they would never enter his rest if not to those who disobeyed? 19 So we see that they were not able to enter, because of their unbelief. (Heb 3:7-19, NIV)

I'm praying for you, Daisy. Please know that I mean that. I'm truly praying for you.


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2016 12:32 am 
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TheJack wrote:
Daisy wrote:
You're nitpicking. "Practicing Buddhism helps people to live a better life" is a proposition. You say I cannot believe in that proposition to some extent, you say I either believe it or I don't. I say I believe it to some extent. I certainly believe that practicing Buddhism helps people to live a better life more than I believe the proposition that practicing getting drunk every day helps people to live a better life. But I do not practice Buddhism and I have no personal experience of Buddhism helping me to live a better life, there are many dedicated practicing Buddhists, monks, the Dali Lama, etc, who believe to a much greater extent than I do that practicing Buddhism helps people to live a better life.

If you accept that I believe the proposition that "Buddhism helps people to live a better life" more than I believe the proposition that practicing getting drunk everyday helps people to live a better life, then you must accept that I at least to some extent believe the propostion that practicing Buddhism helps people to live a better life. But that does not mean that I believe tbe proposition to the same extent as Buddhist monks believe the proposition that Buddhism helps people to live a better life.

How about the proposition that I will still be alive next week? You say I either believe that proposition or I don't. I have no life-threatening illnesses, I am still reasonably young, I have no reason to believe that I won't be alive next week, so yes of course I believe the proposition that I will be alive next week. If I didn't believe that I will still be alive next week, I wouldn't have wasted time buying a new pair of shoes today, my old shoes will last at least another week! So yes, of course I believe that I will still be alive next week. But I do not totally believe that I will be alive next week. I am aware that there is a possibility that I may not be alive next week. Therefore I have some doubt about it. I believe to some extent that I will be alive next week, but I do not have 100 per cent belief that I will be alive next week. Yet Jack you are asserting that I cannot believe it to some extent, you are saying that I either believe it without any doubt whatsoever or I don't believe it. That's not the reality. The reality is that I believe TO SOME EXTENT that I will be alive next week, otherwise I would not have bought new shoes, I believe it to a great extent, BUT I DO NOT BELIEVE IT WITHOUT DOUBT. You are saying that if I have any doubt then I don't believe it, but I have clearly shown that you are wrong about that.

I'm not nitpicking. You asked me a question, I answered you, and then you misrepresented my answer to offer a critique. "Buddhism" is not a proposition. Yes, the proposition "Buddhism helps some people live a better life" is a proposition. I wouldn't deny it. In fact, I believe it. But on the other hand, "Buddhism leads to everlasting life" is a proposition I do not believe. And there is no such thing as believing it to an extent or not. It's either true or not.

So what about your proposition that I'll be alive next week. The answer is that I do believe that is the case. But that doesn't mean I couldn't be wrong. "Hah!" you say. "So you admit you could be wrong. That's doubt!" But that's not the case at all. Admitting a logical possibility of something doesn't mean you give it any credence. It's logically possible that someone could have secretly deposited one hundred kajillion dollars in my account in the past five minutes. I don't believe for one second that is actually the case.

And so it is with Christ. Is it logically possible that He could have been wrong? Of course it is. Does that mean I doubt? Of course not. I believe it to be true completely, with no doubt whatsoever. Just so, I believe I will be alive next week, with no doubt whatsoever. And so it is with the Gospel. Jesus said, "Whoever believes in Me has everlasting life." I believe that. I have zero doubts. If you have any doubts, then you don't believe it, which makes you an unbeliever. End of story.

It really is that simple, Daisy.

Jack I am not having any kind of existential "crisis". I regard that remark as an ad hominem.

The issue is not how much you personally believe, that's important to you but irrelevant to this discussion, the issue is to what extent you claim it is necessary to believe in order to have everlasting life.

You say that it's impossible to believe "to some extent", that you either fully believe or, if you have any doubts whatsoever, you are not a believer. But I have clearly shown that I believe that I will be alive next week, and yet I cannot be sure about it, I have some doubt about it, but nevertheless I believe in fact to a great extent that I will be alive next week. I also believe that I will be alive in ten years from now, but I don't believe it to the same extent that I believe I will be alive next week. Its absurd to say that I cannot believe the propostion that I will be alive next week to a greater extent than I believe the proposition that I will still be alive in ten years from now. I honestly believe that I will be alive in ten years from now, but I cannot say that I believe it without any doubt. I have some doubt but I nevertheless believe it, yet I do not believe it to the same extent that I believe I will still be alive next week. That should be clear enough to anyone.

So now the question is, Jack, to what extent do you need to believe in Christ to have everlasting life? If you believe it as much as you believe you will still be alive in ten years from now but you're not entirely sure, is that sufficient? Or does the tiniest little bit of doubt exclude you from having everlasting life? And how do you know the answer to that question? Where is it stated authoritatively?


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 Post subject: Re: Is Free Grace Theology the logical end Protestantism?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 26, 2016 12:34 am 
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Nathan M. wrote:
TheJack wrote:
So I go back to what I originally said: if you, Daisy, believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, then you have everlasting life. If you have ever believed that, then you have everlasting life. If you do not believe that, then you are not a believer. If you doubt that, then you are not a believer. If you have never believed that, then you do not have everlasting life. If you have always doubted that, then you do not have everlasting life. Again, it is very simple. You can either believe John 6:47 or not. Up to you. *shrug*



That is the most concise explanation of your theology that I've seen. It's how I understood it pretty much too. That's why I proposed the question- ignorantly, arrogantly, and perhaps illogically- with the creation of this thread. A sola fide type of Religion that gaurantees Heaven after a one time act of faith- completely divorced from discipleship, perseverance, and indeed any worship whatsoever (unless you consider the initial faith an act of worship.) If your authority is the Bible before the Church, then I suppose this is logical. I could argue against it using the Bible (very poorly) but I'm guessing all the proper defenses are already in place.

I suppose I can get my point across without writing a dissertation every once in awhile. ;)

I would only object to the phrase "your theology." It's perfectly fine and I claim it as "mine." But I think the phrase runs the risk of suggesting an unfair connotation. It's only "my" theology in the sense that I'm just affirming the actual words of Scripture. You would probably ask, as most do, why my understanding of Scripture ought to be regarded as what it actually says. And I would just point you back to Scripture itself and say very plainly, without apology, that's for you to decide. Does the Scripture mean what I say that it means? You've seen my case. I've laid it out as clearly as I know how. And now you have to decide if I'm right, and if I am, if you are going to believe Scripture; or you have to decide if I'm wrong, and if I am, where and why I'm wrong. You can, of course, say that I'm wrong because I contradict what your church says. And that's a perfectly valid argument. I would just highlight (and here for the apologetics forum, I think it's appropriate) what you're argument actually is. Such a position simply says that the words of Scripture as far as you can tell don't mean what they say but rather what your church says that they say. And in that case, I would charge (as politely as possible) that, in my assessment, you don't believe Scripture at all. Not because you disagree with me, mind you! I would say you don't believe Scripture because your own position implies it. You believe your church. And your church demonstrates (on this argument) that she is not bound to the actual words of the page. The words say so and so (i.e., that every single person who believes has everlasting life), and your church says that is not true and offers an interpretation of those words that actually violate the meaning of the words as written.

And let me be clear--that's okay! I just want to be clear and honest about what that means. The Bible isn't your authority. The church is, and the church uses the Bible to illustrate her beliefs. That's my assessment, and you are, of course, free to reject that as well. It's just the best that I can see.

But to be, again, as clear as I can--per your comments above, I put the Bible before the church. I do not regard the church as an authority at all. For me, the sole authority is the Words of Scripture, which mean just what they say. No more and no less. The Bible says it, and for me, that settles it. I'll leave it to God to parse out all the rest. And, you know what . . . if that means I'm condemned to an eternal hell because I doubt (which is to say, I do not believe) that Jesus founded the Catholic Church and that He invested her with the authority to teach her dogmas, then that's fine, too. I'll be separated from Him for all of eternity, and He'll be just in condemning me. I'll go into eternal Hell having placed my faith in Jesus to save me for no other reason than the fact that He shed His blood on the Cross for me. Who am I to judge Him if I'm wrong and am thereby condemned? Like I said, I'll leave it to Him to figure all of that out. All I can do is try to understand His Word the best I can, and the best I can tell, His Word--His Son--says this: every single person who believes that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, has eternal life. And you know what? I've believed that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. Therefore, I am absolutely persuaded, with no doubt whatsoever, that I have eternal life. :)


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