Thursday, May 12, 2016

[part 1] GRACE
.Lil’ Charlie
.Doctrines of grace
.Calvin, Geneva
.The elect
.Hyper- Calvinism?
.Whitefield- 4 points
PAST POSTS [verses below]-
(790)  . ROMANS 8:29-30 ‘for whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed into the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: whom he justified, them he also glorified’. Let’s talk a little. When I first became a Christian I began a lifelong study of scripture, where I continually read a certain amount of scripture every day for many years. Over the years I have varied on how fast I should read [that is how many chapters per day and so forth]. But during the early stages I always took these verses to teach predestination in the classical sense. Simply put, that God ‘pre chose’ me [and all whom come to him] before we ‘chose him’. The Fundamental Baptist church I began to attend [a great church with great people!] taught that ‘classic Calvinism’ [predestination] was false doctrine, and they labeled it ‘Hyper Calvinism’. I simply accepted this as fact. But I never forgot the early understanding that I first gleaned thru my own study. I also was very limited in my other readings outside of the scripture. I did study the Great awakenings and Charles Finney. I read some biographies on John Wesley and other great men of God. These men were not Calvinistic in their doctrine [which is fine], as a matter of fact Wesley would eventually disassociate from George Whitefield over this issue. Whitefield was a staunch Calvinist! Over time I came to believe the doctrine again, simply as I focused on the scriptures that teach it. Eventually I picked up some books on church history and realized that Calvinism was [and is] a mainstream belief among many great believers. I personally believe that most of the great theologians in history have accepted this doctrine. Now, for those who reject it, they honestly struggle with these portions of scripture. Just like there are portions of scripture that Calvinists struggle with. To deny this is to be less than honest. The Arminians [Those who deny classic predestination- the term comes from Jacob Arminias, a Calvinist who was writing and studying on the ‘errors’ of ‘arminianism’ and came to embrace the doctrine of free will/choice] usually approach the verses that say ‘he predestined us’ by teaching that Gods predestination speaks only of his foreknowledge of those who would choose him. This is an honest effort to come to terms with the doctrine. To be ‘more honest’ I think this doesn’t adequately deal with the issue. In the above text, as well as many other places in scripture, the idea of ‘Gods foreknowledge and pre choosing’ speak specifically about Gods choice to save us, as opposed to him simply knowing that we would ‘choose right’. The texts that teach predestination teach it in this context. Now the passage above does say ‘those whom he foreknew, he also did predestinate to be conformed into the image of Christ’ here this passage actually does say ‘God predestinated us to be like his Son’. If you left the ‘foreknowledge’ part out, you could read this passage in an Arminian way. But we do have the ‘foreknowledge’ part. So I believe Paul is saying ‘God chose us before we were born, he ‘knew’ ahead of time that he would bring us into his Kingdom. Those whom he foreknew he also predestinated to become like his Son.’ Why? So his Son would be the firstborn among many. God wanted a whole new race of ‘children of God’. Those he predestinated he ‘called’. He drew them to himself. Jesus said ‘all that the Father give to me will come to me, and him that cometh to me I will in no way cast out’. Those who ‘come’ are justified, those who are justified are [present tense] glorified. Gods design and sovereignty speak of it as a ‘finished task’ like it already happened. God lives outside of the dimension of time. I believe in the doctrine of predestination. Many others do as well. You don’t have to believe it if you don’t want to, but I believe scripture teaches it.

ROMANS 8: 31-39 ‘What shall we say then to these things? [what things? The fact that God predestined us and has guaranteed completion of the purpose he has designed us for!] If God be for us, who can be against us?’ Paul teaches that Christ is the only one with the ‘right’ or authority to pass judgment. If the only person in existence who can ‘officially’ condemn and pass legal judgment has actually died for us for the purpose of ‘freeing us from a state of condemnation’, then who ‘gives a rip’ about others opinions and views of us? Most of us struggle with how others view us. Paul did teach that Elders should have good character and a fine reputation in the community. But there is another type of ‘persona’ that preachers can fall into. A sort of ‘concern’ about what the critics are saying. In this context Paul says ‘If the opinion of the only person in existence whose opinion really matters, is one of “I accept you unconditionally, I declare you free from what others think, you are my beloved son in whom I am well pleased. Ever since I have known you, you have been pleasing in my sight” [all true scriptures by the way] Then who cares what others think! Paul also teaches that nothing can separate us from Christ’s love ‘not tribulation or distress or famine or persecution’ IN all these things we are more than conquerors thru him who loved us. Most times we view this passage from a ‘Calvinistic’ lens. I want you to see the impact of this statement thru a different lens. In the American church we have taught people ‘would a good father not pay the bills of his kids? Would a good father allow his kids to suffer? If you were really partaking of the New Covenant you would have it made’. While I do realize that many well meaning ministers have taught these viewpoints with honest and sincere hearts, I also have seen how this mindset accuses the saints. It basically tells the struggling believer ‘what kind of father do you have? If he
The 6th session of Trent was the one where the church dealt with justification [how we become saved in Gods sight].

Rome made a distinction between mortal and Venial sin in the council- the church said that Baptism is the INSTRUMENTAL CAUSE of justification. Yet faith is the Root- Foundation and Initial act that justifies.

Rome also taught that Mortal sin kills the grace in the soul that brings justification- and when a person commits a mortal sin- they need the ‘2nd plank of justification’ in order to be brought back into a state of Grace.

This 2nd Plank is the Sacrament of Penance [confession]. Catholic Moral Theologians use an example to show the difference between Mortal and Venial sin.

Drinking- if you take a drink [alcohol] not a sin.  If you get tipsy- Venial- and if you get flat drunk- mortal.

This is a true teaching by the way- not making this up.

Catholic scholars are not in total agreement on all the Mortal/Venial sins.

Some teach that missing Mass on Sunday is a Mortal sin.

I just threw this in to show you the debates that take place.

The teachings from Trent are referred to as Tridentine.

The Protestants [early on] rejected the belief that a person can lose Gods grace once he has it- later on the Protestants would divide- severely- over this teaching- Predestination and the Perseverance of the Saints.

But early on all the major Reformers did indeed teach this.

Luther believed in the doctrine of Predestination just as much- if not more- than John Calvin.

But sometimes in these history shows they get this wrong and say Luther and Calvin disagreed on it- that’s a common mistake that you hear every so often.

Luther actually wrote a book dedicated to the subject [The Bondage of the Will] Calvin never wrote a book solely on the subject.

Okay- as we end this brief study of the Protestant Reformation- you could also call it a primer on Catholic doctrine [short one].

Why is it important that we study this?

In John chapter 17 Jesus said that he desired unity for all of Gods people- and many of these divisions- which date back 500 years- are commonly misunderstood on both sides.

It is common in our day to run across an ex Catholic who might say ‘you know- I left the church because I don’t believe I need to confess to a priest’ or ‘the Catholic church teaches you are saved by works’.

The original Reformers did not have a problem with confession- the Lutherans carried the practice over into their communion.

And like I just showed you- the Catholic church rejected the doctrine of being saved ‘by works’ [Pelagianism] and simply emphasized the teaching found in the bible- the book of James- and focused more on James than Paul [who the protestants focus on].

So yes- there are still differences- but if we are not informed- then it makes it harder to strive for unity- and at the end of the day God does desire unity for all his people.

The other day I quoted the great Civil rights leader- MLK. In one of his famous speeches that’s played when we celebrate his life- you hear Martin say that not only was he seeking unity among the races- but also in the church.

He said he wanted to see Catholics and Protestants- as well as Blacks and Whites- sit down together- he referred to us all as Gods kids.

I think we should strive to achieve the desire of Martin- and Jesus.


Note- Do me a favor, those who read/like the posts- re-post them on other sites as well as the site you read them on. Thanks- John

. Notes- Jesus knew he finished his mission and was going back to God.
The men he revealed God to- were given to him by God.
He spoke the words that the Father gave him- he did not speak ‘of himself’- meaning not just ‘good teaching’- but he communicated the Father to his men.
Many good preachers- who speak good things- might be missing the mark in the end- if they did not communicate the Father to people.
For instance- you might teach people how to live a positive life [which is good] but Jesus taught that the true riches were not simply living a successful life on earth [measured by material stuff].
He prayed for unity among believers- that when Christians live in harmony- then the world would know- see- God in us.
For the past 2 thousand years- many good men- churches- movements- have seen truth-
And in many cases this divides us. [We can even use this chapter as an example- Jesus clearly teaches the sovereignty of God- the only ones he prays for are the believers. There are aspects of Predestination taught here- which is a good doctrine. Yet- taken to the extreme- it has also been a source of division among many believers].
So- read the chapter for yourself- see the heart- intent- of Jesus.
He is going back to the Father- yet the believer will ‘be with him’ even now.
In John’s gospel he explains it- because if a man loves him he will keep his word- and the Father and the Son will manifest themselves to us.
His leaving them- physically- will not mean they are alone.
But we will continue to have active communion with God- thru the Spirt- and yes-
When we die we will also be with him.

Plotinus- a philosopher from the 3rd century- 3 main ideas-
1-     The ONE
2-     The soul
3-     The intellect
Called a Neoplatonist [by later thinkers] because he reintroduced Platonism [Plato] with some new ideas.
Although Christianity falls under the category of Theology- yet- in the 1st few centuries of the Common Era it was also seen as a ‘threat’ to some classical ideas.
It did indeed become the major ‘philosophy’ of the time.
His view of God?
The ONE- in Plotinus thought- was a ‘non being’ and ‘non existing’ [tough stuff- and in a way- nonsense]. Yet later he talks about this One as existing- but not in the way we understand it.
He talks about The One as potentiality [dynamis] but not as the way Christians define God.
Some of his ideas had Christian aspects-
True happiness cannot be found in material things [money- etc.].
But he also taught what many of the Eastern religions teach.
That you attain happiness when becoming one with the universe.
Christianity teaches a personal- real God.
Yes- he is Spirit [non matter] but real- with mind and consciousness.
Some see God as a divine principle- not a real being.
The Greek thinkers saw all matter as evil- and felt when one gets in tune with the immaterial realm- then he finds peace.
In Christianity- we do practice a form of contemplation- meditation on the things of God.
We focus our thoughts on a higher realm-
But when we do this- we are not simply ‘connecting’ to the universe-
But entering into contemplation of God and the things he has done for us.
There is a debate about how much Plotinus influenced Christianity.
Some of the early Christian leaders had a past in philosophy [St. Augustine being one of them].
And some think that the historic/orthodox church got off track by allowing the philosophers to have too much influence on their ideas.
In the end- Plotinus resurrected- in a sense- the teachings of Plato-
Not as a ‘help’ to Christian thinkers- but as a counter world view.
Though many of the philosophers had an ‘idea’ of God- and used terms theologians use [transcendence].
Yet they do not hold the view of most Christians when they use these terms.
Plotinus taught that existence emanates from all 3- The One, The Intelligence and the soul- a sort of Pantheism [God is everything].
Contemplation was not simply a passive act- but productive- in a sense- it is the act of creation [the bible says the Logos- God speaking- is the act. Yet scripture does say God founded the heavens and earth- thru wisdom and knowledge. But the biblical teaching is different from Plotinus idea. God is an actual being- who uses these things to create].
And like others after him- he taught that the perception of a thing actually can shape- or effect the thing perceived [if a tree falls in the forest- and no one is there to hear it- does it still make a sound type thing].

REVELATION 6.  [Update- just dropped Pop’s off- some girl was involved in a hit n run- I stopped to help her. I’ll talk about it on the next video]

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