John Wesley's theology

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Re: John Wesley's theology

#406

Post by Philip » Sat Dec 31, 2011 10:05 am

Do you really have a point to make Philip other than just asserting the same thing over and over again?
Yes, Byblos, I do have a point - one you obviously avoided by making ME the focus, and not answering my questions. My post asks an obvious question: why would any Five Point Calvinist think it of value to engage in rational arguments and apologetics in an effort to convince anyone to pursue or accept Christ (just as Paul obviously did)? Clearly, you and others holding Five Point beliefs are weighing in here on many rational/scientific arguments across this site. In fact, is not utilizing apologetic arguments to encourage belief in Christ a key stated mission of the site?

I'm not questioning the sharing of Scripture and the Gospel, but the SCIENTIFIC and rational arguments - so many articles and posts that are obvious attempts to PROVE Scripture and Jesus. Please explain these, as the Five Point Calvinists here (and particularly those that are also board administrators) appear to contradict belief in the very mission statement of this site, as I see their enthusiastic participation in other rational apologetics in their many posts. Otherwise, what is the purpose of all of these articles and answers to questions? Byblos, do you agree with the contents of the mission statement or not - as you are an administrator here? Because if all we're doing here is "preaching to the choir" as well as to other (future and inevitable) choir members, and IF unbelievers can't even grasp the truth of what we're saying here, then the efforts of this site don't match up with its mission statement, and are largely a waste of time.

Also, you also avoided the key question in my post, as to why PAUL was trying to persuade and convince unbelievers, and why that was even necessary - not to mention how such an approach could have been successful?

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Re: John Wesley's theology

#407

Post by Byblos » Sat Dec 31, 2011 12:10 pm

Philip wrote:
Do you really have a point to make Philip other than just asserting the same thing over and over again?
Yes, Byblos, I do have a point - one you obviously avoided by making ME the focus, and not answering my questions. My post asks an obvious question: why would any Five Point Calvinist think it of value to engage in rational arguments and apologetics in an effort to convince anyone to pursue or accept Christ (just as Paul obviously did)? Clearly, you and others holding Five Point beliefs are weighing in here on many rational/scientific arguments across this site. In fact, is not utilizing apologetic arguments to encourage belief in Christ a key stated mission of the site?

I'm not questioning the sharing of Scripture and the Gospel, but the SCIENTIFIC and rational arguments - so many articles and posts that are obvious attempts to PROVE Scripture and Jesus. Please explain these, as the Five Point Calvinists here (and particularly those that are also board administrators) appear to contradict belief in the very mission statement of this site, as I see their enthusiastic participation in other rational apologetics in their many posts. Otherwise, what is the purpose of all of these articles and answers to questions? Byblos, do you agree with the contents of the mission statement or not - as you are an administrator here? Because if all we're doing here is "preaching to the choir" as well as to other (future and inevitable) choir members, and IF unbelievers can't even grasp the truth of what we're saying here, then the efforts of this site don't match up with its mission statement, and are largely a waste of time.

Also, you also avoided the key question in my post, as to why PAUL was trying to persuade and convince unbelievers, and why that was even necessary - not to mention how such an approach could have been successful?
Philip,

First I don't know where you got the idea that I hold to 5-point Calvinism, I don't. But at the same time I know the difficulties in the subject matter, coupled with my own limitations, to recognize that FPC has more merit than can be summarily dismissed.

Second, Zoe and I (and others) have on numerous occasions answered your objections. Once again, the point is that NO ONE KNOWS who the elect are or will be, Philip. And since no one knows who they are or will be, we are obligated to preach the Gospel to ALL. It is really as simple as that.
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Re: John Wesley's theology

#408

Post by Canuckster1127 » Sat Dec 31, 2011 1:26 pm

Most Calvinists handle this objection by differentiating between "Outward Call" and "Inward Call" and point as well to other passages that make spreading a gospel message a matter of obedience coupled with the fact that we can't know who the elect are and who they are not.

In fairness though to phillip there are High Calvinists or Hyper Calvinists who do indeed make the argument he appeals to, if not overtly then certainly by a diminished sense of urgency toward Evangelism. It's a fair argument to point out the logical reductio absurdum extension of the basic 5 point theology but it's not fair to characterize all Calvinists in that manner.
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Re: John Wesley's theology

#409

Post by jlay » Sat Dec 31, 2011 2:04 pm

Second, Zoe and I (and others) have on numerous occasions answered your objections. Once again, the point is that NO ONE KNOWS who the elect are or will be, Philip. And since no one knows who they are or will be, we are obligated to preach the Gospel to ALL. It is really as simple as that.
Byb, no offense, but no you haven't. 1st, as I will show, in the context of Calvin election and predestination, you have not shown we are OBLIGATED to preach to all. You and I agree that we are obligated to preach to all, but that is not the issue. The issue, is under the doctrines of Calvinism, are we obligated, and is the Gospel message truly universal. That you have not shown. And in fact calling it an obligation, as I will show later, would be a logical contradiction.

2nd. We do, in general terms absolutely know who the elect are and will be.
The elect are those who trust Christ.
The elect will be those who trust Christ.

That's not the issue Philip has, And I, like Philip, am perplexed that yourself and Zoe seem to miss the gist of what we are saying.
If Calvin election is true, then why the Gospel message. Why is it universal? Why would God ask us to preach something that is IMPOSSIBLE for some to believe? And if they did believe, it still couldn't save them. (of course I am working withing the context of Calvinsm's terms of elect and reprobate.)

Is this a fair representation of the Gospel? "Jesus died to save you from your sins." (1 Cor. 15:3)
If that is a fair representation of the Gospel, holding to Calvin election, we are preaching a lie to many if not most. Because, under Calvin election Jesus most certainly did NOT die to save many if not most the people (reprobate) who hear this message. So, if the reprobate rejects the gospel, he is doing exactly what has been determined for him to do. And thus, we should applaud their rejection of it. They are fulfilling everthing they were predestined to do. There is no more reason to rejoice over salvation than damnation. In the Calvin view, God's soveriegn will is done.

Under Calvin election, If you preach this Gospel to all, you are either lying, being disengenous, or asking many to believe a lie. The lie being that Jesus died for them. (The reprobate) If Jesus did not die for the reprobate, then each time they hear the gospel, they are being told something that is NOT true. That Jesus died for THEIR sins. When in fact, under the Calvin view of election he did NOT die for their (the reprobate) sins. So, presenting the Gospel to them is asking them to believe a lie. And, if the Gospel is presented universally, it is being presented to the reprobate.

Furthermore, under Calvinism, regeneration happens apart from any volitional participation from the believer or other influence. Therefore, preaching the Gospel is nothing more than a formality. A person presenting the Gospel can not add to or faciliatate regeneration in any way. It offers no one salvation. Salvation is not offered. Either a person's will has nothing to do with it or not. That applies to the believer or any 3rd party/parties. And therefore there is no need to preach the Gospel. Because if a believer has an obligation (Your word) then there is personal responsibility involved in some facet, whether justication or other.

So, since Calvinism is the topic, how do you reconcile an OBLIGATION to preach the Gospel? What if an elect does not preach the gospel? As we know, people fail at this all the time. Is preaching the gospel a requirement for salvation? If so, then there is a condition on salvation, and that won't fit with Calvinism. If there is an obligaiton to preach the Gospel so someone can hear it, then there is also a condition beyond the finished work of Christ. Sorry Byb, but that creates more problems. The issue is the Calvin doctrines of election and predestination. You have to be consistent within that framework, and follow it to its logical ends. So how can you say preaching the Gospel to all is consistent with 5-point Calvinism. And further, how can you say there is an obligation?

We don't believe you are a 5-point Calvinist, but that is NOT the issue at hand. You are defending the tenets of 5-point calvinism. You say,
And since no one knows who they are or will be, we are obligated to preach the Gospel to ALL. It is really as simple as that.
No, it isn't that simple, for reasons shown above. That does NOT comply to the Calvin doctrines. One is either forced to amend the Gospel, distort the Gospel, or admit that evangelism is NOT an obligation, and that the Gospel is NOT universal.
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Re: John Wesley's theology

#410

Post by RickD » Sat Dec 31, 2011 3:04 pm

So, since Calvinism is the topic, how do you reconcile an OBLIGATION to preach the Gospel? What if an elect does not preach the gospel? As we know, people fail at this all the time. Is preaching the gospel a requirement for salvation? If so, then there is a condition on salvation, and that won't fit with Calvinism. If there is an obligaiton to preach the Gospel so someone can hear it, then there is also a condition beyond the finished work of Christ. Sorry Byb, but that creates more problems. The issue is the Calvin doctrines of election and predestination. You have to be consistent within that framework, and follow it to its logical ends. So how can you say preaching the Gospel to all is consistent with 5-point Calvinism. And further, how can you say there is an obligation?
Jlay, you mentioned something here, similar to what I mentioned before. If believing on Christ, is something that is added to Christ's finished work, then how is preaching the gospel, not something that is added to Christ's finished work?
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Re: John Wesley's theology

#411

Post by narnia4 » Sat Dec 31, 2011 3:13 pm

How can you say its an obligation? Very easily, because Scripture commands it.

There's more to it sure, but there's been answers (and responses to the answers) to these same questions, even in this thread... probably multiple times by now.
Last edited by narnia4 on Sat Dec 31, 2011 3:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: John Wesley's theology

#412

Post by Philip » Sat Dec 31, 2011 3:13 pm

it's not fair to characterize all Calvinists in that manner.
And nor would I want to. I believe in perhaps four of the five points myself. And I do apologize to Byblos if I have miscategorized him as a Five Point Calvinist, although he does seem to support it and apparently is irritated at my and others' reasonable, scripturally sensitive objections to it.

But here's the thing I truly don't get: Here we all are, on an APOLOGETICS FORUM, for crying out loud, in which anyone can drop by and watch our fierce "Five Point Debate Show," yet on a site whose very mission statement states a goal "to present the scientific and biblical evidence that supports a RATIONAL belief in the existence and love of God," and "encourage skeptics to examine the truth claims of Christianity," and yet quite a few of these people, who have otherwise prolifically and intelligently weighed in to positively buttress a great many of the arguments/topics here, supporting the truth of the Gospel (AND that God exists, that the universe was created by him, etc, etc - yes, that's ALL good) are also Five Point Calvinists who go to a great, ongoing effort to basically say that man can't know any truths of God nor even positively respond to Him unless they have FIRST been re-generated. And a few of these Five Pointers appear to be board members.

So, my question is why, why, WHY are the Five Pointers here bothering to make all these apologetic points and strong scientific and philosophical arguments all over the site, when they also apparently believe that, beyond merely sharing Scripture and the Gospel, that the rest of the materials here are basically worthless - to the "un-regenerated," and thus that the aggregate of the supporting philosophical and scientific "proofs" herein can have no impact on such people - at least none they can act on to receive salvation? And certainly not just because they have merely read them. And that would appear to be a schizophrenic use of this site by such people. Because, for them to be consistent, what that would apparently mean to them, except for the pure sharing of Scripture and the Gospel with unbelievers, that the enormous rest of the other materials (philosophic/scientific) on this site, would logically mean be to them merely fun intellectual topics FOR BELIEVERS. Guess what I'm saying is that if a major thrust of this site is supposed to be encouraging people to come to faith in Christ, then why are some here spending so much time saying that this is not yet something that is even available to them, as that is (supposedly) ENTIRELY a "God thing," and since (also supposedly) no amount of KNOWLEDGE they might glean would ever enable them to pursue God and His salvation?

Guys, if you knew my heart, you'd realize that I'm not DOING THESE postings just to be confrontational or a wise guy. But the subject has long been a hot button topic for me, as I just see this Five Point debate as 1) terribly destructive amongst Christian brothers; 2) incalculably, potentially harmful to seekers and unbelievers; 3) a contradicting use to the very stated mission of this site. And as Byblos stated, that there are "difficulties in this subject matter, coupled with my own limitations..." Well, if we can ALL admit these are deep spiritual concepts that are difficult to understand, and that as humans we ALL have significant "limitations" in our understanding of them, then I don't think anyone has any business of categorically stating on this site that God has shut off salvation to ANYONE (except one PERMANENTLY refusing to believe) - as they 1) don't know WHO these are individually; 2) nor do we unmistakably know how all this (salvation) SPECIFICALLY works; 3) we should err on the side of caution (even if we believe differently) of not risking any impediments to one potentially seeking God; and 4) of not causing unnecessary friction in our relations with out Christian brothers.

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Re: John Wesley's theology

#413

Post by Canuckster1127 » Sat Dec 31, 2011 3:26 pm

Phillip, those are fair questions.

A few things to keep in mind that might help are:

1. Moderators here are also participants and we each have our own beliefs some of which we are passionate about and we have different moderators who have different backgrounds. You've probably already identified those who are moderators and it's not hard over time to figure out where we're individually coming from. We're volunteers and some of us have been on this board for many years. It's hard sometimes to keep the lines between moderator and participant from blurring but we do work with each other to try to keep that from happening.

2. We have some discussion guidelines and a board purpose which are up on the top of most forums on the board index. One thing that will probably bring the most response is if there's a sense that someone's statements as we read them (not always the same as how they're intended but we can only go by what we read) is making broad sweeping statements or stereotyping and being human, we probably respond more when we feel like we're being lumped in with those.

3. We understand passion and the stakes. It's usually more effective to address statements toward issues and try to keep from making them personal evaluations of the intelligence or morals of the persons who are within a particular position.

4. We're not perfect with it, but we try to encourage people to listen to others who are trying to provide an explanation in response to a position and at least hear and understand what that person is saying even if there's not agreement. Continuing to hit the same points time and time again, without giving some indication that you've heard and understood the response is a pretty strong formula that almost always leads to an escalating of emotions and the tone deteriorating.

I hope those observations help. I personally regularly make mistakes in this area quite frequently and when I do I try to step back and cool things off.

You're free to hold your positions (many of which I personally agree with you by the way as I'm not a Calvinist), and promote and explain them and even note where you believe other systems or beliefs fall short, but please don't forget that there are real people with feelings sitting on the other side of the monitor and sometimes it can become wearisome for them to continue to field the same comments and feel like their previous responses have been ignored or not taken into account.
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Re: John Wesley's theology

#414

Post by BoniPastoris » Sat Dec 31, 2011 3:30 pm

Anyman wrote: 1. Atheist's here are also participants and we each have our own beliefs some of which we are passionate about and we have different Atheist's who have different backgrounds. You've probably already identified those who are Atheist. We're volunteers and some of us have been on this board for many years. It's hard sometimes to keep the lines between Atheist and participant from blurring but we do work with each other to try to keep that from happening.
I chuckled. Seems you Can replace the Word's and it still makes perfect sense, but seriously I love those atheist's they make me laugh some times.

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Re: John Wesley's theology

#415

Post by jlay » Sat Dec 31, 2011 3:32 pm

How can you say its an obligation? Very easily, because Scripture commands it.
Couple of things.
-By what exegesis do you consider it a command to you for today?

-Does the preaching of the gospel faciliate the gospel in any form or fashion? Is the salvation of a sinner dependent on, or tied to people preaching the Gospel, so that sinners can hear it?
-“The Bible treated allegorically becomes putty in the hands of the exegete.” John Walvoord

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Re: John Wesley's theology

#416

Post by Canuckster1127 » Sat Dec 31, 2011 3:33 pm

BoniPastoris wrote:
Anyman wrote: 1. Atheist's here are also participants and we each have our own beliefs some of which we are passionate about and we have different Atheist's who have different backgrounds. You've probably already identified those who are Atheist. We're volunteers and some of us have been on this board for many years. It's hard sometimes to keep the lines between Atheist and participant from blurring but we do work with each other to try to keep that from happening.
I chuckled. Seems you Can replace the Word's and it still makes perfect sense, but seriously I love those atheist's they make me laugh some times.
We have some atheists who have been active on this board for quite some time and those who come and go. Atheists are welcome on the board and have been successful participants on the boards, but when it becomes clear that the purpose is just to use us as a debating board or a soapbox to promote their own agenda we have a board purpose and discussion guidelines that we do our best to maintain so that this remains a friendly and helpful place for seekers.
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Re: John Wesley's theology

#417

Post by DannyM » Sat Dec 31, 2011 5:14 pm

Byblos wrote:Do you really have a point to make Philip other than just asserting the same thing over and over again? Please spare us your sense of incredulity, really, it is just insulting. Can you honestly say that you have it all figured out when theologians and apologists from all walks and disciplines still grapple with such a topic? And if you haven't gotten it all figured out at least allow others some skepticism of your position as they afford you the same courtesy of theirs.
Philip wrote:Yes, Byblos, I do have a point - one you obviously avoided by making ME the focus, and not answering my questions. My post asks an obvious question: why would any Five Point Calvinist think it of value to engage in rational arguments and apologetics in an effort to convince anyone to pursue or accept Christ (just as Paul obviously did)? Clearly, you and others holding Five Point beliefs are weighing in here on many rational/scientific arguments across this site. In fact, is not utilizing apologetic arguments to encourage belief in Christ a key stated mission of the site?
Lol - that made my day! Welcome to Calvinism, John! :lol:
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Re: John Wesley's theology

#418

Post by DannyM » Sat Dec 31, 2011 5:36 pm

neo-x wrote:I see you guys haven't gotten anywhere on this...I wanted to post and continue the debate but the there is so much jumping around old posts and new, by everyone that I decided to just read what you guys are discussing.
Indeed, brother Neo. It’s like an average movie that just took a turn for the worse. You know, the film was pretty solid, there was a plot and some good acting. But then some of the actors forgot their lines, ending up repeating previous lines in order to just keep the damn film running.
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Re: John Wesley's theology

#419

Post by narnia4 » Sat Dec 31, 2011 5:52 pm

jlay wrote:
How can you say its an obligation? Very easily, because Scripture commands it.
Couple of things.
-By what exegesis do you consider it a command to you for today?

-Does the preaching of the gospel faciliate the gospel in any form or fashion? Is the salvation of a sinner dependent on, or tied to people preaching the Gospel, so that sinners can hear it?
1. I'm not a preterist, if that's what you mean. So the Great Commission and verses like 2 Corinthians 4:13, I believe they apply to us as well. But under almost any view you could imagine with any respect for the words of Christ or accepting the writings of Paul as valid, its hard to imagine forming a belief that God doesn't want us to spread the Good News. The Scriptures are filled with verses that indicate the value of evangelism. Preaching the Gospel is a logical progression as well, it follows.

2. God called the elect, but it doesn't end there. I wouldn't say that God couldn't draw the elect unto Himself without me, but if he has chosen us as a means to reveal the Gospel... well that's a good thing.

Its not just the Scriptures, either. Its not like we're called and that's it, God continues to move in those that are secure. If the Holy Spirit prompts me to teach the Gospel to someone, who would I be to refuse? Refusing to preach the Gospel when God has specifically chosen you makes as little sense as any other Christian refusing to evangelize.
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Re: John Wesley's theology

#420

Post by Philip » Sat Dec 31, 2011 5:58 pm

Happy New Year, EVERYone - wishing God's blessings upon you all for 2012!

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