To My Roman Catholic Readers…

…and others that disagree.  Consider this post a “for the record” type thing.  I’ve done it this way because, of those whom have commented on my Roman Catholic posts, most have made the same statements and have had similar misunderstandings of what I am trying to express.  I feel I should be more clear.  The main points which have been misunderstood have been, firstly, what Reformed/Calvinistic (Protestant) doctrine is.  Secondly, the relationship of faith and works in salvation.  Thirdly– and this actually comes from the misunderstanding of the second point- the difference between terms such as justification, sanctification, salvation, etc (and from this is the misunderstandings of Sola Fide).

In this note, I will not say anything about Roman Catholicism (as I have been attempting to do by juxtaposing the two positions), but simply outlining briefly what the Protestant position is on each point.  Whether you agree with me or not, the understanding of the historic Reformed soteriology is vital to any further dialogue, otherwise we will continue to talk around one another (likewise, if I don’t rightly understand the Roman Catholic position, then I will do the same).  **If there is only one point you are interested in, I would recommend just skipping to that number.**

1) Reformed Theology

When I talk of “Reformed Theology” or a Reformed Church, I mean to say Confessional.  That is, churches which adhere to a certain reformation confession.  These include:

The Augsburg Confession (1530)

The Belgic Confession (1618)

The Canons of Dordt (1618)

The Westminster Confession of Faith (1646)

The London Baptist Confession of 1689

The Heidelberg Catechism

I would say the Westminster Confession and the Canons of Dordt would best outline my specific theology.  The Baptist Confession is really nothing more than a word for word copy of the Westminster, with Baptist alterations.

I understand that many RCs would like to point out the various divisions within the Protestant church.  I won’t attempt to defend that, I will just point out that there is line drawn in the sand between a gospel Church and a non-gospel church, viz., a true church and a false church.  The distinctions which divide many Baptists, Presbyterians, Independents, Congregationalists, and even Anglicans, are on what might be considered “non-essentials” …or anything that does not affect the Gospel of Christ.  If it does affect that, then they are not considered a true church.

The Reformed faith could be summarized in five solas, which are often misunderstood not just in Catholicism but also within Protestantism.  I’m sure you know them, they are:

Sola Fide (Faith alone, is the instrument through which we are saved by the grace of God).

Sola Gratia (Grace alone, is what saves us.  God, and only God, grants salvation and enables us to respond to the gospel)

Solus Christus (Christ alone, we are justified in Christ alone, because of His work alone, His righteousness alone, etc.)

Sola Scriptura (Scripture alone, is sufficient for a right understanding of all things pertaining to the faith, and is the only infallible rule by which we base our lives and worship)

Soli Deo Gloria (To the Glory of God alone, God gives grace, salvation, faith, repentance, etc. to the end that His name alone is glorified)

Of course there is always more that could be said in regards to what reformed doctrine is, but this is already long-winded, so I would recommend reading the Westminster Confession if there are further questions, or just ask me.  Note: Calvinism is basically synonymous with Reformed, just to ease your mind.

2) Relationship of Faith and Works in Salvation

Since the confessional documents above do a more thorough job of explaining this relationship under the Chapters of Justification, Saving Faith, and Sanctification; and since I have explained it in other posts and comments on this blog (under the tag of Roman Catholicism); I’m not going to thoroughly explain every verse or argument, but am going to address the things which have been attributed to me or misunderstood.

First…I am NOT saying:

-That works have no place in our final salvation.  Only they have no place in our regeneration and justification (see point 3 for a more detailed description of those terms).  In other words, God does not see our works and then justify us based on whether they were good enough.

-That works have no place in the Christian life.  To the contrary, they are a sign that one is a Christian, and we will be judged finally by our works.  Which would be my response to those who argue that we will be judge based on our works (i.e. Matthew 25:31-46, Romans 2:6-7, 2 Corinthian 5:9-12).

-That our justification rests upon whether we perform good works or not.  This means that our justification is not dependent and thus is neither achieved nor lost due to our good works, or lack thereof.

Second…I AM saying:

-Our justification is based solely on the righteousness of Christ Jesus, applied to us by the imputation of the Holy Spirit, decreed and declared by the grace of God alone apart from all works, Mosaic or not.  If Ephesians 1:3-14 and 2:1-10 means something else to you, then we need to talk about that.

-Works have a place in salvation and the Christian life, but not in God’s free and sovereign choice to save those whom He so chooses.  The Reformed doctrine of unconditional election/predestination is the humbling doctrine that our works are nothing more than filthy menstrual rags (Isaiah 64:6) in the eyes of a holy God, and that it is only by His grace and mercy that we have any hope of salvation from an eternal hell.

-The works described by Paul are not just works of the Mosaic law.  Again, they are not just “works of the law.”  Yes, I understand that Paul says that most of the time (not in Romans 4 though).  If you still believe that it is works of the law, and not “other works,” then I would have to ask, is God’s law not the highest of laws?  If works according to that perfect law aren’t good enough, are we to expect the works of some other law to be different, or better?

Please don’t say that I- or any other Reformed Christian- don’t believe works have any place in the Christian life.  I realize, especially with my poor “Protestant” church background, that there has been a fear of the word “work” in those circles (much like the erroneous rejection of all things dealing with Mary), but it is wrong…and it inevitably leads to licentiousness, which is a legitimate fear if a Catholic has that fear.  For more on Good Works, see Westminster Chapter XVI.

3) Regeneration, Justification, Sanctification, Glorification

Here’s a big difference between RCs and Protestants which must be understood (to be honest, it needs to be better understood by all Christians, because it leads to A LOT of confusion).  These words must be differentiated and understood within their context, otherwise my opponents will not be able to understand where I believe works don’t belong and where they do.  What is important is to realize that to the Reformed Christian, the four words listed above all factor into “salvation,” but they are not the same.

Let me give a quick summary statement of each word, then point you to a better source on each:

Regeneration:  a.k.a. To be Born Again; Effectual calling; Quickening.  This is the unconditional act of God, whereby He quickens the soul of a dead/depraved sinner (John 3:7-8, Romans 8:30, Eph 2:1-5), having their eyes opened, and their hearts transformed from stone to flesh.  They are now able to respond to the Gospel of Christ in a saving way; i.e. Repentance and Faith.  No works.  See the Westminster Chapter X.

Justification: A legal declaration by God, whereby He declares a sinner to be righteous in His sight (Rom 5:1).  Based on the work and righteousness of Jesus imputed to them (2 Cor 5:21), through faith and repentance (both a gift of God), apart from any work.  See the Westminster Chapter XI.

Sanctification: Yes…yes.  When a person is justified they are technically “sanctified,” in the sense that they are set apart now as a holy thing.  The definition of this doctrine is the growth in holiness of a Christian following justification, because of God’s continual work in their hearts.  Here now is where works come into the picture.  Only now are works even considered good, because they are in the context of Christ, and they are pleasing to God.  Justification and sanctification are separate from one another, this is a distinction that Catholics do not make.  See the Westminster Chapter XIII (for Scripture proofs).

Glorification: a.k.a Heaven.  Where the Christian is now perfectly glorified, free from all presence and effects of sin.  I only add this because it is part of the Reformed soteriology.  Our glorification is certain at our justification (Eph 1:13-14), but it is not the same.  See the Westminster Chapters XXXII and XXXIII.

If the differences are not grasped, then what ends up happening is the accusations that I believe works have no part in any part of salvation.  People also begin to believe that I don’t believe that the Christian life is a life-long, on-going process, in which we daily become more holy by performing works pleasing to God.  But before Christ, good works do not exist.

I’m going to post this for now, and if while reading over it I realize I’ve been to brief or unclear, I will edit.  Comment with any problems, suggestions, or clarifications I need to make.  I tried to supply all the links to everything so you don’t have to go searching, hopefully that helps, and you don’t think less because I didn’t just copy/paste it…nothing I have said is original.

In Christ,

Jon

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~ by TSL on March 9, 2010.

6 Responses to “To My Roman Catholic Readers…”

  1. Hey, I hope you don’t mind a Catholic offering some insight. Actually I’ll admit I don’t understand a lot of Calvinist theology, but I am honestly trying to. What I have a difficult time understanding is “regeneration” or sanctification seems to be necessary for salvation, because a “redeemed heart”, one that honestly desires what is good, is one that has faith “living” inside it. Don’t you think we need to cooperate with the grace of justification that gives life to works? Doesn’t justification not begin a transformative process that we can either reject through the will or accept through the will? What of a person who “recrucifies” the Lord. Or a person who stands in his faith, but may fall?

    Works are “in grace” and “in faith” and thus not apart from grace. Any work of faith is a gift from God in man, thus there seems to be no contradiction between faith and works being necessary. I do agree that the human person need to be completely regenerated prior to death, the Catholic Church never insists on this. What the CHURCH insists on is a cooperation with that process of regeneration. If regeneration is the goal but a Christian does not seek it out, does that not mean he is desiring something other than the Kingdom of God?

    • Hey Chris,

      No, I don’t mind some insight from a Catholic at all. But I must be honest, I am having a little trouble understanding exactly what your question is. Our differences in theology may be causing me to misunderstand your meaning with some words. So if I don’t answer your question let me know.

      “Don’t you think we need to cooperate with the grace of justification that gives life to works?”

      I believe we will cooperate with our justification. That is, our justification will result in a cooperation with God’s law, which leads to good works pleasing to God. So to answer your second question:

      “Doesn’t justification not begin a transformative process that we can either reject through the will or accept through the will?”

      No. We will accept. The transformative process has already been performed in regeneration: “…thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed, and, having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness.” -Romans 6:17-18. “I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” -Ezekiel 36:26-27.

      There is no ultimate rejection once justification has taken place. Those whom have made a “shipwreck” of their faith, “recrucified” Christ, or “fallen,” were never truly justified.

      Sanctification is not a process whereby we become more justifiable. The person is already justified, now the proof of that justification will be played out in whether or not they are sanctified…i.e. daily crucifying their sins, denying themselves, and growing in holiness and love for God and neighbor.

      You say:
      “Works are ‘in grace’ and ‘in faith’ and thus not apart from grace. Any work of faith is a gift from God in man, thus there seems to be no contradiction between faith and works being necessary.”

      I have no problem with works performed “in grace” (as you say). Works and faith have a valuable relationship within the life of a believer. The point is that works done apart from grace have no merit, and therefore have no saving power.

      Lastly:
      “What the CHURCH insists on is a cooperation with that process of regeneration. If regeneration is the goal but a Christian does not seek it out, does that not mean he is desiring something other than the Kingdom of God?”

      This is where our confusion lies. I do not believe regeneration is a life-long process. I believe it is a one-time occurrence (to be born again), which results in a dead sinner being raised to spiritual life (Eph 2:1-10).

      By the way, there seems to be an ongoing trend among Catholic commenters to insist on the freedom of the will to accept and reject things. I do not believe this is the case, as I do not believe in the freedom of the will prior to regeneration. But this is for another time I suppose.

  2. Jon,

    Again I thank you for continuing the dialogue, though I wanted to point out that my initial interest in your blog had more to do with correcting the myriad untruths stated about the Church than clearing up the inconsistencies of reformation-era theologies. I will, however, engage a few points you have made in the preceding comment.

    “Those whom have made a ‘shipwreck’ of their faith, ‘recrucified’ Christ, or ‘fallen,’ were never truly justified.”

    This assertion contrasts perfectly with Matthew 7:21, Luke 8:13, Luke 12:42-46, John 6:70-71, John 15:1-10, Revelation 2:4-5, Revelation 3:5, etc, which all testify to the reality that we have within our means the ability to lose our Gift.

    “…there seems to be an ongoing trend among Catholic commenters to insist on the freedom of the will to accept and reject things. I do not believe this is the case, as I do not believe in the freedom of the will prior to regeneration.”

    And yet we must utilize our God-given free-will in order to first choose that which God offers: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Here we do not see God storming the gates, but offering a choice. Our ability to choose is never subverted; indeed, it is our choice to accept Him, and our choice(S) to continue in life-long service to our King that He takes into account.

    “I believe it is a one-time occurrence (to be born again), which results in a dead sinner being raised to spiritual life”

    Being born again is certainly a one-time occurrence, which is why the Church does not baptize multiple times. However, neither Ephesians 2:1-10 (nor Romans 6:17-18 for that matter) preclude the believer from further sinning or even falling away. As imperfect humans, we constantly require forgiveness for the sins we will continue to commit until we’ve “been perfected” by the fires of purgatory. Hence the Sacrament of Confession, instituted by Christ for this precise reason.

    It appears to me that much of the confusion about faith, justification, and salvation speaks to that great game of “theological jenga” I mentioned previously. Protestants obviously understand that there MUST be works, though they are not always sure where their works must fit in. Luther was so eager to abolish works entirely, that he boldly inserted the word “alone” following the word “faith” in his version of the Church’s Bible, and boldly defied the Church to force a correction. While he did spend several decades revising his countless errors, his theological descendants never quite resolved the mess he created with this particular gaffe. The game would have been easier for Luther, had he been allowed to scrap the Book of James as he intended. But that book remained, glory to God, and it would behoove us all to remember the words of its pages: no man is justified by faith alone.

    • Blume,

      You’re welcome to continue citing where I’ve made my misconceptions about the RC ‘Church’, I just felt clearing up my side would help a bit.

      I suppose the issue in this comment lies in whether or not a truly born-again, saved-by-God, washed-in-the-blood, believer in Christ, can actually and forever fall away from the faith. Interestingly enough, the verses you did cite were not ones I would have expected to be used, as I’m not quite sure how they can be made to say, “this person was once a believer…and now they’re not.” But I feel I only need supply about two verses for this:

      Romans 8:30 (esv)
      “…those whom He predestined He also called, and those whom He called He also justified, and those whom He justified He also glorified.”

      Now since I believe that God is the initiator- the Author and Finisher (Heb 12:2)- of our faith and that salvation is based solely upon the good pleasure and unconditional election of God alone; again, not based on any of our merit; that salvation cannot be lost. In other words, what you didn’t earn, you can’t lose.

      The other verse would be John 6:37-40:
      “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out…this is the will of Him who sent me, that I should lose nothing of all that He has given me, but raise it up on the last day. For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in Him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”
      Further in verse 44:
      “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him (same him as previous sentence) up on the last day.”

      Again salvation is attributed to God alone. Not based on the person.

      On to the “free will” subject now, and your use of Revelation 3:20. To impose upon this verse free will is a bit of a stretch. I would agree that Jesus presents a choice, no Calvinist will deny the offer of the Gospel given by Jesus or any preacher following Him, only that the person has no ability apart from God’s grace to accept that offer of the Gospel.

      You say: “Our ability to choose is never subverted.” I Wouldn’t say this verse does- others might- but then again our ability to choose is never granted either. If you were going to ask me how I look at this verse, I would say: The person inside this “house” that Jesus is knocking on is dead (Eph 2:1). It is the Spirit’s work to supernaturally revive that person (John 3:8, Eph 2:4-5, all of Ezekiel 36). The confusion between Christ’s work and the Spirit’s is often conflated, thus the misconception.

      One other thing…being a student of history, and one who has read Luther’s work extensively, this statement, “Luther was so eager to abolish works entirely, that he boldly inserted the word “alone” following the word “faith” in his version of the Church’s Bible, and boldly defied the Church to force a correction,” is rather incorrect. Abolish works entirely? I doubt it. Abolish works from justification? That I would agree with.

  3. “Interestingly enough, the verses you did cite were not ones I would have expected to be used, as I’m not quite sure how they can be made to say, ‘this person was once a believer…and now they’re not.'”

    Let’s take the first, Matthew 7:21. Because your theology does not acknowledge the proper place of works in justification, you operate from the assumption that this verse must only pertain to “belief.” Other than the fact that logically no one would call Jesus their “Lord” unless they DID in fact “believe” He is, our works matter to God because they are the evidence of our ongoing transformation; the very continuity of our belief. The people of whom Jesus speaks in this passage have joined the flock, they have believed but they are not “doing” (v. 24), and for that reason they are to be “cut away and burned.” We will not be Judged by a snapshot of our lives, and we have not been Judged yet. We will be supplying God with evidence for and against ourselves when we wake up and begin our day tomorrow, and still when we do the same each day many years from now. But the “day” of which this passage speaks (v. 22) is none other than the day of Judgment, when our justification is complete and we are granted absolute salvation. And so on.

    “Now since I believe that God is the initiator- the Author and Finisher (Heb 12:2)- of our faith and that salvation is based solely upon the good pleasure and unconditional election of God alone; again, not based on any of our merit; that salvation cannot be lost. In other words, what you didn’t earn, you can’t lose.”

    This is more theological jenga. You have taken justification and you have moved it into the past. But it rightly belongs in the past, present, and future. Justification is not over until we die, as the Pillar and Foundation of Truth has always taught. You are correct that salvation cannot be lost. The reason is because we are not Judged before we die. When we die and appear before God upon His great white throne, He will “Judge us according to our works” (Revelation 20:12). There will be no going back, and that is the reason why salvation cannot be lost. These things cannot be conceptualized apart from what they are.

    “Again salvation is attributed to God alone. Not based on the person.”

    The point of salvation cannot be moved to a point in this life. We receive the fullness of salvation when God Judges us, as repeatedly stated throughout the Scriptures. It cannot be otherwise, or things stop making sense. So yes, it comes from God alone. But no verse you have quoted negates Matthew 25:31-46, 2 Corinthians 5:9-10, Revelation 20:11-15, as your theology must hold.

    “On to the “free will” subject now, and your use of Revelation 3:20. To impose upon this verse free will is a bit of a stretch.”

    I see no reason to believe that the text would necessarily need to specify deciding to answer the knock between hearing it and opening the door. I know that personally, when I hear someone knocking on my door I have to decide whether or not I am going to answer it. I am not an automaton. If I am occupied and not expecting company then I usually decide not to answer the knock. It is my choice. And I have seen people refuse to answer Jesus’ knock once presented with the Gospel. For whatever reason, we have the capacity to choose and indeed both options are chosen. But more importantly, the Bible is not a technical manual. It is the Story and we must use our sense of reality to understand it. There is no reason to theorize about whether or not humans have free will because everyone of them knows they do, no matter what they believe. We will believe whatever we want to believe because it is our choice.

    “It is the Spirit’s work to supernaturally revive that person (John 3:8, Eph 2:4-5, all of Ezekiel 36). The confusion between Christ’s work and the Spirit’s is often conflated, thus the misconception.”

    None of the verses you quoted preclude the Son from doing the same as the Spirit, and there is nothing to “conflate.” It is the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ that we are baptized into: do you hold that the Spirit can “revive” us independently of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection? If so, then Christ did not have to die. Jenga.

    “One other thing…being a student of history, and one who has read Luther’s work extensively, this statement, “Luther was so eager to abolish works entirely, that he boldly inserted the word “alone” following the word “faith” in his version of the Church’s Bible, and boldly defied the Church to force a correction,” is rather incorrect. Abolish works entirely? I doubt it. Abolish works from justification? That I would agree with.”

    Yes, I wrote that in the context of justification. But I do wonder what the difference would be. The only way that James 2:20-26 can mean exactly the opposite of what it very plainly says is for Luther’s theories to be correct.

    • Blume: “Because your theology does not acknowledge the proper place of works in justification…”

      J: I do more than just not acknowledge their proper place in justification, I don’t acknowledge them at all in it. Work of grace alone received by faith alone…period. I would say, more correctly, you don’t acknowledge their proper place in the ordo salutis. Their proper place would be in post-justification…aka sanctification.

      Romans 6:17 “But thanks be to God, that you who were once slaves of sin have become obedient from the heart to the standard of teaching to which you were committed” v. 22 “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.”

      Blume: “You operate from the assumption that this verse must only pertain to ‘belief’.”

      J: I’m not entirely sure what that means. Please elaborate.

      Blume: “Other than the fact that logically no one would call Jesus their ‘Lord’ unless they DID in fact ‘believe’ He is, our works matter to God because they are the evidence of our ongoing transformation; the very continuity of belief.”

      J: Hmm…actually, I am not in total disagreement with that statement. Except you would probably define the “transformation” as an ongoing justification which rises and falls, and which might ultimately be lost, based on our works. Whereas I would say that ongoing transformation is sanctification, which may fluctuate, but never causes our justification to be lost finally. Again, our justification was and never will be based on us, or our doing good works, but on Jesus Christ and His work alone.

      Blume: “The people of whom Jesus speaks in this passage have joined the flock, they have believed but they are not ‘doing’ (v.24).”

      J: Verse 22 (In the same breath as 21, please note the caps) “On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many MIGHTY WORKS in your name?'” v. 23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I NEVER knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”

      Looks to me like they were doing plenty of “doing.” So what do you think the problem was? Were they not the right kind of works? Were they just not enough works? I mean, come on, clearly this passage is speaking about them not being in Christ (justified) in the first place, so their works have no merit. In fact they are false prophets (v. 15), who never bore any good fruit (v. 19), thus they were never actually believers (justified)…although they may have walked amongst the flock as you say.

      Blume: “The ‘day’ of which this passage speaks (v. 22) is none other than the day of judgment, when our justification is complete and we are granted absolute salvation.”

      J: Only if you impose your interpretation of justification into the text; i.e. eisigesis. I’d say it’s more like the day when the true and false believers in Christ will be revealed. Those who are justified already, will be glorified, the others will be rejected eternally. Which I believe is a much more honest interpretation of the text.

      So I repeat, I have no clue why this would be your verse to show me the loss of salvation…if anything it makes a great case for dead and living faith as expressed in James 2.

      Blume: “This is more theological jenga.”

      J: I happen to like jenga. And if you mean by jenga that the blocks represent my works and the ground upon which the pieces are laid and built up, is Christ, then I’ll roll with it. But I’m going to have to start calling yours theological Chutes and Ladders (interpret how you wish). And the section you just decided to call jenga is perfectly Biblical, which I have already defended, and will do so again if necessary.

      Blume: “You have taken justification and you have moved in into the past.”

      J: No. You’ve done that for me. I would say that I was justified, I am justified, and I will always be justified. All praise to God in Christ…alone (I’m gonna harp on that word).

      Blume: “You are correct that salvation cannot be lost.”

      J: Yes!

      Blume: “The reason is because we are not judged (justiified?) before we die.”

      J: Aww. You had it. Can I just give you this verse for consideration one more time?

      Romans 8:30 “And those whom He predestined He also called, and those whom He called He also justified, and those whom HE JUSTIFIED HE ALSO GLORIFIED.”

      Or…

      Romans 5:1 “Therefore, since we HAVE BEEN justified by faith, we HAVE peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

      And really all of this:

      Ephesians 1:11-14 “In Him we HAVE obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to the purpose of Him…so that we who were the first to hope in Christ might be to the praise of His glory. In Him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of you salvation, and believed in Him, WERE SEALED with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the GUARANTEE of our inheritance UNTIL we acquire possession of it, to the praise of His glory.”

      Blume: “We receive the fullness of salvation when God judges us, as repeatedly stated throughout the Scriptures.”

      J: Who disagreed?

      Blume: “I know that personally, when I hear someone knocking on my door I have to decide whether or not I am going to answer it.”

      J: Let’s pretend for a moment that your everyday trivial decisions are a bit different from salvation and your ability to raise your spiritually dead soul to life and saving faith in Christ. Then we can move on with more serious discussion, rather than a cutesy and unbiblical interpretation of a text.

      Blume: “I am not an automaton.”

      J: I’d say you’re really more of a puppet of sin and Satan prior to salvation. In all actuality you are not an automaton, but the bible does say you were a slave to sin (Romans 6:17, 18, 20, &22) and were dead spiritually (Eph 2:1), nable/unwilling to do any good apart from God (Romans 3:10 and following).

      So let me say again what I said in the last reply…if we are speaking of salvation in this verse (which I am not entirely convinced is the subject of this verse) then the person inside this house is DEAD on the floor, unable to choose to answer or not; which I feel was ignored from my last response.

      Blume: “I have seen people refuse to answer Jesus’ knock once presented with the Gospel.”

      J: Yeah. I know. Because they are dead, blind, lost, and deaf to that knock. You know what that means? God must give them the ears to hear and a mind to know (Matt 16:17, Eph 1:17-18). God must supernaturally resurrect them to a living faith, give them a new heart and a new spirit (Ezekiel 36:26-27), &c.

      Blume: “For whatever reason, we have the capacity to choose [salvation].”

      J: Please find me a verse for that one. NOT ones where we are commanded to choose, but where it actually states that we have the ability to do so. Hint: there is none.

      Blume: “There is no reason to theorize about whether or not humans have free will because every one of them know they do, no matter what they believe.”

      J: Not to be a nazi, but isn’t that considered theorizing? Since there is no Biblical warrant for a person to believe that, nor does it matter what people believe of themselves if the Bible is contrary to that belief. Did you know that most people believe themselves to be their own god (explicitly or implicitly)? Does that mean that it’s true no matter what you believe? This is as if I should say, “We all know that we are our own god, because we feel that way, and no matter what you believe it’s the truth.”

      One problem. The Bible says otherwise. And the same goes for free will. You believe we have a free will choice to choose Christ apart from God’s Spirit. I say the Bible makes very clear that you do not, and that your every inclination is to sin, apart from God (insert redundant use of verses). And while practically speaking you may see no reason to quibble over this issue, I believe it is what leads to the problems in most churches today (i.e. altar calls, easy-believism, false professions, self-esteem gospels, works based salvation (R. Catholicism), etc.)

      Blume: “We will believe whatever we want to believe because it is our choice.”

      J: Correction, we will believe whatever is not the truth because that is our nature.

      Blume: “None of the verses you quoted preclude the Son from doing the same as the Spirit, and there is nothing to ‘conflate.'”

      J: 1) The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit have declared their specific role in salvation. The Spirit did not die on the cross and the Father does not become incarnate…so there is a reasonable distinction. Simplistically speaking: The Father decrees, the Son redeems, the Spirit quickens/convicts/ and points to the Father and Son.

      2) This doesn’t prove anything for your point. Even if it is the Son doing the same work as the Spirit, you’re only admitting that it takes a supernatural work of God, and it is not based on our choice and will.

      Blume: “Do you hold that the Spirit can ‘revive’ us independently of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection?”
      J: Anser: No.

      Blume: “Jenga.”
      J: No, Bible.

      Soli Deo Gloria.
      -Jon

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