Ateist volitional will and what Christians can do...

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Ateist volitional will and what Christians can do...

#1

Post by DRDS » Mon Apr 11, 2011 10:10 pm

I saw something very interesting on one of the religious broadcasting networks not too long ago, it was something mentioned by Dr. Charles Stanley who pastors a church in Atlanta Ga. He was answering a question that someone asked him regarding what to do, or more specifically what to pray about when dealing with unsaved loved ones and friends who are so cold and have such a volitional will against the gospel that nothing that you or anyone says could bring them to know Christ.

He said something somewhat controversial but at the same time, to me, really makes a lot of sense when you think about it long enough. He said to pray and ask God to allow hard and difficult times to come into that person's life that their hateful, stubborn wills will be broken to the point that they turn to God for support and thus end up committing their life to Christ.

Now with that said, I was curious, would that be a good method that we should try on our atheist friends? Because after all, they perfectly fit the description of the kind of people Dr. Stanley was describing. Most of them act like they have intellectual doubt, that their doubt is all based on facts, evidence, and so on. But since the overall case for Christian Theism easily trumps the case for atheism/naturalism as I briefly shown in my overall case summaries of the two,
(http://discussions.godandscience.org/vi ... =6&t=35600) it seems that most atheist doubt that we see currently is either emotional, volitional or a combination of the two with the majority going to volitional.

And since volitional doubt can't be removed by us or by anything we do (the most we can do ourselves as Christians is to peal back the thin layer of intellectual doubts and show that all intellectual doubt is unwarranted) the only thing we are left with is to rely on God to act supernaturally with each atheist in a way that breaks their volitional will that they have against God.

Anyway that's the way I currently see things as far as our discussions with atheists, l was wanting to see what the feedback is from fellow apologists whether or not you think this is a good plan to go with. Anyway, thank you all for reading and God bless.

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Re: Ateist volitional will and what Christians can do...

#2

Post by Canuckster1127 » Tue Apr 12, 2011 3:55 am

I'd pray for the Holy Spirit to draw them to Himself. Difficulties can bring us toward God. In fact, that's a theme in places, not for Atheists or those in rebellion but for Christians. The servant is not greater than the master. I don't see praying for God to bring suffering into people's lives. As I understand it, that leads to a misunderstanding as to the nature and character of God. Neither though does simplifying life to a formula where God only allows that which we deem good to come into our lives, seem right to me. God tells us to do good to those who do us evil. To love our enemies. To turn the other cheek. By doing this often people are often brought to Christ. In the end, it's God who does it, not us. We simply obey and leave the results to God.
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Re: Ateist volitional will and what Christians can do...

#3

Post by Katabole » Tue Apr 12, 2011 6:13 am

Hi DRDS,

Charles Stanley more than likely got the idea of asking God to allow hard and difficult times to come into a person's life in order for their hateful stubborn wills be broken from a couple of verses of scripture.

In 1Corinthians chapter 5 there is an example of a person who is having sexual relations with his own mother and is evidently a member of the Corinthian church. Paul declares that because the Corinthians are lukewarm regarding what this person is doing and have not taken action, verse 2, and that something has to be done. So in verse 5 Paul says:


1Cor 5:5 To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. (KJV)

Another example is in 1Timothy. Hymenaeus and Alexander were evidently two persons of faith. But because they did not take their faith seriously, it led to them having s seared conscience and blaspheming for which Paul again states:

1Tim 1:20 Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme.

Christ gave us these examples as expressed by Paul to show that there are Biblical ways of dealing with such persons. By handing them over to Satan, which scripture claims is the lord of this world, Satan will break them due to their gross disobedience and unrepentant sin and hopefully they will change.

These are examples of those within the church that It is more than likely that Hymenaeus is same person Paul spoke of in 2 Timothy 2:17. In his second letter to Timothy, Paul mentions that Hymenaeus “swerved from the truth,” i.e., he began teaching false doctrine. Alexander is also mentioned in 2 Timothy 4:14 as someone who did the apostle Paul “great harm.” Bottom line, these two were causing trouble and dissention within the church, and they needed to be dealt with.

As for those outside the church, atheists and people of other faiths, I agree with Canuckster and pray to the Holy Spirit to draw them to Himself.
Well it may be the devil or it may be the Lord but you know you gotta serve somebody. Bob Dylan

Every one that is of the truth hears my voice. Jesus from John 18:37

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Re: Ateist volitional will and what Christians can do...

#4

Post by jlay » Thu Apr 14, 2011 9:00 am

He said something somewhat controversial but at the same time, to me, really makes a lot of sense when you think about it long enough. He said to pray and ask God to allow hard and difficult times to come into that person's life that their hateful, stubborn wills will be broken to the point that they turn to God for support and thus end up committing their life to Christ.
Re: 1 Cor 5. Paul is speaking of one who is a believer, who has gone astray into sin. I would agree with Paul. It is perfectly acceptable to pray that a believer will not find comfort in their sin, but that the Lord will chasten His children.

IMO, it is absolutely absurd to pray for hard times for the lost, when they Bible says that we should pray FOR our enemies, and love them. Now I won't condemn Stanley, because this is heresay at this point. But, if he said it, it is my view that he is promoting bad theology. Regarding this, Jesus said, pray that the Lord of the harvest will send forth laborers. And then realize that you have been called to labor.
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Re: Ateist volitional will and what Christians can do...

#5

Post by PaulSacramento » Thu Apr 14, 2011 12:56 pm

I think that Paul's passages mean that at times we have to accept and allow people to learn things the "hard way".
I am sure that Paul did all he could until he realized that if the person wants to learn the "hard way" then that is how they will learn.
One still prays for them and asks Our Lord to forgive them and help them of course.
As jlay mentioned, we are to pray for our enemies and for those that persecuet us and as Christ showed us in his greatest moment of suffering, we forgive them and ask Our Father to forgive them too.

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Re: Ateist volitional will and what Christians can do...

#6

Post by mandelduke » Fri Apr 15, 2011 8:06 pm

There in nothing controversial about Pastor Stanley’s statement, That is sound doctrine for a believer. However you never want to stop intercession for an unbeliever!


Matthew 18-15:17

15Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.
16But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.
17And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.


Delivering people unto Satan does not mean we are damning them to hell, nor does it mean they are going to die physically. This is a withdrawal of our intercession on the behalf of others and a retaining of their sins to them. This means they start reaping what they've sown because we aren't canceling Satan's activities through our prayers. This is done in the hope that these "hard knocks" will bring them to their senses.


Of course this should be a last resort, and when the brother repents he should be back in fellowship like nothing happened. As was the case of the man in 1 Corinthians5:5

2 Corinthians 2:6-7
6 The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient. 7 Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.

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Re: Ateist volitional will and what Christians can do...

#7

Post by neo-x » Sun Apr 17, 2011 9:54 pm

it was something mentioned by Dr. Charles Stanley who pastors a church in Atlanta Ga. He was answering a question that someone asked him regarding what to do, or more specifically what to pray about when dealing with unsaved loved ones and friends who are so cold and have such a volitional will against the gospel that nothing that you or anyone says could bring them to know Christ.

He said something somewhat controversial but at the same time, to me, really makes a lot of sense when you think about it long enough. He said to pray and ask God to allow hard and difficult times to come into that person's life that their hateful, stubborn wills will be broken to the point that they turn to God for support and thus end up committing their life to Christ.
This form of ideas are basically from people who think that the period of revelation is at hand and that the wrath of God will ultimately show non-believers that they must come to God. It makes some sense but I think most of the time, charismatic preachers cross their own boundaries which results in such kind of teachings.
remember luke 9, i think - "And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Eli'jah did?
But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of."


I know they wanted to consume them with fire not the issue you asked about but i hope you see my point. Jesus always maintained and for that matter the saints too that we are to shine in the world with the love of Christ and the gospel and through it the non-believers will know we are the children of God.
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Re: Ateist volitional will and what Christians can do...

#8

Post by mandelduke » Fri Apr 22, 2011 11:31 am

1st I would hardly call Dr. Stanley a charismatic preacher
Dr. Stanley joined the staff of First Baptist Church of Atlanta in 1969 and became senior pastor in 1971, and he is still there today.

2nd This is not something you do to non-believers, this is something you do to a Christen who will not repent from a sin that is being harmful to himself as well as the Church.


Like Paul did in1 Corinthians 5:5
5 I have decided to deliver such a one to Satan for the destruction of his flesh, so that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.

But after that person repented Paul said what to do in 2 Corinthians 2-6:7
6 The punishment inflicted on him by the majority is sufficient. 7 Now instead, you ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. 8 I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him.

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Re: Ateist volitional will and what Christians can do...

#9

Post by jlay » Fri Apr 22, 2011 1:20 pm

mandelduke wrote:There in nothing controversial about Pastor Stanley’s statement, That is sound doctrine for a believer. However you never want to stop intercession for an unbeliever
I think you are missing the main point what is being discussed in the thread. Your comments, and the verses you quote only support turning a believer over. Which, I believe there isn't any disagreement on.

This is the statement in question. And FWIW, we don't know verbatim what Stanley did or didn't say. So, since we don't have his quoted words, we don't know if he was referring to the lost or belivers.
He said to pray and ask God to allow hard and difficult times to come into that person's life that their hateful, stubborn wills will be broken to the point that they turn to God for support and thus end up committing their life to Christ.
Delivering people unto Satan does not mean we are damning them to hell, nor does it mean they are going to die physically. This is a withdrawal of our intercession on the behalf of others and a retaining of their sins to them. This means they start reaping what they've sown because we aren't canceling Satan's activities through our prayers. This is done in the hope that these "hard knocks" will bring them to their senses.

Jesus' words here say, "if thy BROTHER,.." and, "tell unto the church." This is clearly for the believer. As he also compares to the heathen. (non-beleiver)
-“The Bible treated allegorically becomes putty in the hands of the exegete.” John Walvoord

"I'm not saying scientists don't overstate their results. They do. And it's understandable, too...If you spend years working toward a certain goal and make no progress, of course you are going to spin your results in a positive light." Ivellious

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Re: Ateist volitional will and what Christians can do...

#10

Post by mandelduke » Fri Apr 22, 2011 6:19 pm

jlay wrote:
mandelduke wrote:There in nothing controversial about Pastor Stanley’s statement, That is sound doctrine for a believer. However you never want to stop intercession for an unbeliever
I think you are missing the main point what is being discussed in the thread. Your comments, and the verses you quote only support turning a believer over. Which, I believe there isn't any disagreement on.

This is the statement in question. And FWIW, we don't know verbatim what Stanley did or didn't say. So, since we don't have his quoted words, we don't know if he was referring to the lost or belivers.
He said to pray and ask God to allow hard and difficult times to come into that person's life that their hateful, stubborn wills will be broken to the point that they turn to God for support and thus end up committing their life to Christ.
Delivering people unto Satan does not mean we are damning them to hell, nor does it mean they are going to die physically. This is a withdrawal of our intercession on the behalf of others and a retaining of their sins to them. This means they start reaping what they've sown because we aren't canceling Satan's activities through our prayers. This is done in the hope that these "hard knocks" will bring them to their senses.

Jesus' words here say, "if thy BROTHER,.." and, "tell unto the church." This is clearly for the believer. As he also compares to the heathen. (non-beleiver)
I’m sorry! Now let me set the record strait I have heard Dr. Charles Stanley’s message for over 30 years, you can believe this. He would never ever tell you to give up on a lost person!

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Re: Ateist volitional will and what Christians can do...

#11

Post by jlay » Sat Apr 23, 2011 7:31 am

Exactly. I am highly suspicious of what is claimed in the OP. Not that Stanley is above making an error. But without any actual link or direct quote, it is hearsay.

I too have listened to Stanley for many years. With Adrian Rogers gone, Stanley has become the most recognized Southern Baptist preacher. Although I'd take an Adrian Rogers sermon any day. One of my friend's is a gospel music singer and his trio perform often at 1st Baptist Atlanta, and also accompany Stanley on those Christian ocean cruises. Personally, I am more for crusades than cruises.
-“The Bible treated allegorically becomes putty in the hands of the exegete.” John Walvoord

"I'm not saying scientists don't overstate their results. They do. And it's understandable, too...If you spend years working toward a certain goal and make no progress, of course you are going to spin your results in a positive light." Ivellious

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