Tuesday, June 29, 2010

New Monasticism Redivivus

Note: The following is a response to a person who left a comment a few days ago in the combox of an article written by us over a year ago titled New Monasticism. My response is in blue font.

Lindsay stated:
You said that they [the New Monastics] accept everything nominally Christian, even thought 2 denominations might be mutually exclusive. I don't see this as a bad thing, Paul himself warned us about denominations. Being Christian means believing that Jesus is the one savior, that should be what brings us together, denominations should not get in the way. We may have different approaches to things, but we can still worship together, love each other, and love the world, together, we still believe the same core beliefs, we all believe in Jesus, the trinity, and the apostles creed, these are what matter, not the the different ways we go about believing in them. Jesus is not divided, nor should we be. Paul himself warned us about denominations.
Hi Lindsay,

Thank you for your comments. We also agree that there must be essential unity in the church of Jesus Christ and that Christians must strive for such so as to maintain a strong and effective witness to a lost and dying world. However, I have several disagreements that I would like to share:

1. Paul was not warning against denominations in 1 Cor. 1:10-17, for such a reading would be anachronistic. Instead, he's condemning sectarianism/factions within the local church at Corinth. This is not the same thing as denominationalism as it has been historically understood. Denominationalism has been historically rooted in a core set of Protestant beliefs; i.e., The Five Solas of Protestant Reformation, the doctrine of the Trinity, the virginal conception of Christ, and the literal resurrection of Christ and of all people at His second coming. In other words, various local churches could have different views on say the mode and subjects of baptism but in order to be considered a true church of Christ they had to adhere to
certain cardinal doctrines of the faith in order to be considered truly Christian.
Lindsay: Being Christian means believing that Jesus is the one savior, that should be what brings us together, denominations should not get in the way. We may have different approaches to things, but we can still worship together, love each other, and love the world, together, we still believe the same core beliefs, we all believe in Jesus, the trinity, and the apostles creed, these are what matter, not the the different ways we go about believing in them. Jesus is not divided, nor should we be.
2. Roman Catholics also believe in the Apostle's Creed, believe that Jesus is the "one savior . . . believe in Jesus, the trinity", etc. However, they deny one of the essential truths of the Christian faith, justification by faith alone (Sola Fide). In The Council of Trent, Catholic Church declared,
CANON XI.-If any one saith, that men are justified, either by the sole imputation of the justice of Christ, or by the sole remission of sins, to the exclusion of the grace and the charity which is poured forth in their hearts by the Holy Ghost, and is inherent in them; or even that the grace, whereby we are justified, is only the favour of God; let him be anathema. [http://history.hanover.edu/texts/trent/ct06.html]
CANON XII.-If any one saith, that justifying faith is nothing else but confidence in the divine mercy which remits sins for Christ's sake; or, that this confidence alone is that whereby we are justified; let him be anathema.
CANON XIII.-If any one saith, that it is necessary for every one, for the obtaining the remission of sins, that he believe for certain, and without any wavering arising from his own infirmity and disposition, that his sins are forgiven him; let him be anathema.
CANON XIV.-If any one saith, that man is truly absolved from his sins and justified, because that he assuredly believed himself absolved and justified; or, that no one is truly justified but he who believes himself justified; and that, by this faith alone, absolution and justification are effected; let him be anathema.
CANON XV.-If any one saith, that a man, who is born again and justified, is bound of faith to believe that he is assuredly in the number of the predestinate; let him be anathema.
CANON XXIV.-If any one saith, that the justice received is not preserved and also increased before God through good works; but that the said works are merely the fruits and signs of Justification obtained, but not a cause of the increase thereof; let him be anathema.

CANON XXX.-If any one saith, that, after the grace of Justification has been received, to every penitent sinner the guilt is remitted, and the debt of eternal punishment is blotted out in such wise, that there remains not any debt of temporal punishment to be discharged either in this world, or in the next in Purgatory, before the entrance to the kingdom of heaven can be opened (to him); let him be anathema.
By virtue of their clear denial of Sola Fide, Catholics and other pseudo-Christian groups like them are preaching a damning lie. Here's an example of modern Rome's heretical denial of the exclusivity of Christ:
--> -->
841 The Church's relationship with the Muslims. "The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day."
Thus, according to 2 Corinthians 6:14-18, Christians cannot have fellowship and work together in mutual ministry with anyone who preaches a false gospel and says that Christ is not the only mediator between God and man, no matter how nice they are (Acts 4:12; 1 Tim. 2:5). That is because those who wholeheartedly affirm such things are not Christians.
Lindsay: You also said: "Jesus didn't command us to cozy up to people who did not believe in the truth of the gospel. A lie believed by a thousand people is still a lie." I agree with you to an extent, you're right that a lie is a lie no matter what. However, I think we are called to cozy up to people who don't believe in the truth. That is what Jesus did, did he not? He was friends with the tax collectors and the prostitutes. He said himself, a doctor doesn't try to heal the healthy, a doctor is there for the sick. We are here to form relationships with those who don't know him, and to show His love to them, we are not here to surround ourselves only with other believers, what good does that do the world? Being close with unbelievers does not mean that we support their beliefs, and it doesn't mean we have to deny ours, but we are called to go to the poor and the sick and the lost with God's love and God's truth. I don't believe that a Christian can love another and not be sharing God's truth.
We are not saying that we shouldn't develop relationships with unbelievers so as to bring the gospel to them. We wholeheartedly affirm such things! During the semesters, we do weekly evangelistic outreaches on our local college campuses as we seek to engage the lost at every turn. We engage in cordial conversations, welcome debate (formal or informal) because we fully believe in the life-changing power of the gospel.

However, to reach people with the gospel we, as professing Christians have to first be agreed on what the gospel actually is. Feeding the poor is no good if the feeders are trumpeting uncertain and inconsistent sounds. If my Catholic friend wants to yoke with me in ministry to bring the gospel to abortive mothers, he must first renounce his Catholicism and then put his faith in Jesus Christ and embrace the true gospel as it is presented in the New Testament. Anything else is merely another welfare movement, and not a fulfillment of the Great Commission of Matthew 28:19-20.

Lindsay: I understand your concerns, and they are definitely important to consider, but I urge you to look more closely into the beliefs on the New Monastic movement.
I have read their books, listened to their presentations, and weighed them in the balances and found them doctrinally wanting.
Lindsay: I find a lot of truth in their lives,
According to what standard? Yours or Scripture's? Truth is that which corresponds to the mind of God. We only come to know the mind of God by studying the word of God. Anything else is guess-work. If people do not speak according to His word in the main and plain things, it's because they have no light in them, no matter how many poor people they've clothed and fed (Isaiah 8:20). Remember, Ghandi helped a lot of poor people, but Ghandi rejected the gospel and is in Hell today. Feeding poor people isn't going to matter for a hill of beans if you and they don't embrace the gospel of Christ. People can feed the poor till the cows come home, but without Christ, all of them will burn in Hell.
Lindsay: . . . and they aren't claiming to be right all the time, they want to live a life glorifying God and spreading his love, Shane Claiborne said so himself in his interview with Tony Campolo.
"Claiming to be right all the time" isn't the issue, the gospel is the issue. I am not expecting anyone to be "right" all the time because no one individual person understands all parts of Scripture with equal clarity due to the noetic effects of sin on our minds. We all have false beliefs about Scripture to one extent or another, but to flatten out all doctrinal propositions with the result that you confuse the Catholic "gospel" with the Biblical gospel in order to promote helping the poor and indigent is grossly mistaken at best and heretical at worst.

The bottom line: We do not yoke ourselves with unbelievers who clearly deny the Biblical gospel in order to work together in mutual ministry nor can we share fellowship with them (2 Corinthians 6:14-18).

I'll conclude with a statement from the article you commented on:
The only problem with the New Monasticism movement is its foundation--and therefore everything built upon the foundation. There is no clear theological basis for New Monasticism; they accept anything & everything that is nominally Christian, promoting what Pastor Dustin describes as a "buffet bar" mentality to Christianity.
"Buffet bars" are great when it comes to getting a meal with the family after church, but they are horrible when it comes to doing theology and developing theological foundations for ministry. New Monasticism is wrong because it confuses Biblical discipleship with social justice; and the two are not the same. We are not commanded to go into the world by first adopting a least common denominator faith that allows us to strategically join forces together with heretics in order to feed the poor. Instead, we are told to preach the gospel, make disciples, and then baptize them. If we do that, everything else Christians are supposed to be doing will follow.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Informal Fallacies - Part I

An introductory discussion of informal fallacies:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sharia in Dearborn, MI 2010 - Part II

American Christians: Pay attention to what is happening in YOUR country. Please note that dhimmitude is taking place in Dearborn, MI in 2010, only 9 years after one of our major metropolitan cities was terrorized by jihadists and thousands of American were brutally killed. If you can't see what's going on, you are blinded to the truth!

HT: Alpha and Omega Ministries and Answering Muslims

Monday, June 21, 2010

“Some of you are lost, that is why you are not serving”

We had our church picnic a few weeks ago and Pastor Dustin was talking to us and made this statement,
“Some of you are lost, that is why you are not serving”.
My first thought was, where did that come from?

I thought on this for weeks saying, Lord is that possible? I mean, isn’t that more likely to take place in a larger church where you can just go in and get lost in the crowd and then go home thinking, well, I did my church duty for the week.
The Bible is preached so clearly here and Jesus is lifted up at every service. Can people come in here week after week and still be lost? Can our service or lack of be an indication of whether or not our faith is genuine?

As a teenager I would be telling my mom about how pretty some girl was, and she would say,” pretty is as pretty does”. Well according to the book of James, genuine faith is as genuine faith does.

James 2: 14 says What does it profit, my brethren, though a man say he has faith, and has not works? Can faith save him?
James 2 : 17 says Even so faith, if it has not works, is dead, being alone.
James 2 : 26 says For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

There is no such thing as working for salvation, but saving faith does produce good works.
Service to Jesus and to this body is just part of our works. We cannot say dogmatically that someone who does not serve is lost, but our works day after day, week after week, year after year reveals our true nature.

Can people really attend here for months and years and be lost? I’m afraid the answer is yes.
But, I believe that there is another big reason people don’t serve or serve as little as possible. To be continued next month. . . .

Deacon Somers

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Sharia in Dearborn, MI 2010

Please pray for some of our beloved apologists over at Answering Muslims who got to spend the night in jail after merely attending the 2010 Dearborn Arab Festival in Dearborn, Michigan. This festival is open to the public. Please read that last sentence again. You can see what happened to some of them at the same festival in 2009 after they attempted to have a discussion with a Muslim representative regarding an erroneous pamphlet at an "Ask a Muslim" table!

I am all for the original understanding of tolerance; i.e., that we can strongly disagree with one another yet live in the same community in harmony. However, what I linked above is a fine example of the spiritual deception that America is experiencing in the name of religious pluralism and political correctness. I see it on the campuses all the time and I believe it is a grievous symptom of the present state of Western culture. Most people I talk to are so brainwashed by political correctness and religious pluralism that they have mud for brains when it comes to intelligently discussing the subject of Islam. The fact that Americans can allow for nonsense like this to take root in their communities only 9 years after jihadists attacked one of our major metropolitan cities is evidence of God's wrath (Romans 1:25). In other words, we are just plain stupid to the truth because we want to be and God is giving us what we want.

God have mercy on us.

For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. 2 Thessalonians 2:11-12

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Introduction to Logic

The following video is a series we are beginning on elementary logic on Tuesday mornings @ 10:00 a.m. at Shepherd's Fellowship of Greensboro. Enjoy!

For more videos in this series, click here.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

SF Abortion Outreach Videos

The following videos are examples of our church's ministry efforts outside "A Woman's Choice" abortion clinic at 201 Pomona Drive in Greensboro, NC. We make it a practice to go out at least twice monthly to preach the gospel and offer practical help to abortive mothers and pro-death clinic workers. I post these videos to encourage your church to do the same!

"Don't Be A Pre-Born Hit Man!"

Double-Minded Pro-Life Politicians

An Open Letter to Florida Governor Charlie Crist.

"a double minded man is unstable in all his ways . . ."
James 1:8

Governor Crist,

You are a professing pro-lifer who obviously hasn't the courage of your convictions to support the Fla. bill requiring ultrasounds for women seeking first-trimester abortions. Instead, you state that you "prefer changing hearts to changing laws."

With all due respect Gov. Crist, it looks like you misunderstand what it means to be "pro-life". Let me define it for you in three simple points:

1. If the preborn is a human person, then abortion is murder.
2. The preborn is a human person (cf. Exo. 21:22-25; Psalm 139:13-16).
3. Therefore, abortion is murder.

Again Gov. Crist, abortion is murder. This means that you must take all Biblical and lawful means necessary to stop it. The problem is, you really aren't pro-life, you are modified pro-choice. So let's make sure we state clearly what you believe:
Even though you truly believe that abortion kills an innocent human child, mothers should still be allowed to kill their own children and we shouldn't legislate against it.
Just pause for a second and let the logic of that statement sink in. How about this statement for comparison:
Even though you truly believe that raping a woman is wrong, men should still be allowed to do it and we shouldn't legislate against it.
The absurdity of the second statement is obvious, just like the first. However, given your statements, it appears that you really don't believe that the unborn is an innocent human being.

Mr. Crist, if you love children you will hate abortion. Your hatred for it will change the way you behave, starting with your own legislation. Sadly, your stance reveals that you are a typical compromising politician that is full of flowery rhetoric.

Your job is not to change bad hearts, but to change bad laws.

If you want to change bad hearts, then preach the gospel. According to Romans 13:1-5, you have the God-given responsibility to protect your constituency by punishing the evildoer. This means that you are to change bad laws into good laws; laws that protect your people instead of putting them in harms way. This includes the most defenseless of your constituency, namely the unborn. Requiring an ultrasound by law before a first trimester abortion will cause women to face the truth that they have a little person growing within them. However, this means decreased abortion rates and angry pro-death voters. Don't worry about them, stand for the truth, regardless of the consequences; one of which may be the end of your political career. It's better to be a physically dirty garbage man with a clean conscience than a governor with dirty conscience due to a dirty, double-minded legislation history. If you are pro-life, then legislate consistently with your pro-life convictions since they are grounded in the Christian Scriptures and supported by modern medical science.

My exhortation to you is this:

Stop compromising and start standing against the genocide that is taking place in the womb at the rate of approximately 4,000 babies per day, a statistic that makes Hitler look like a sweet little Dutch grandmother.


Dustin S. Segers, Pastor
Shepherd's Fellowship Baptist Church

Answering Fools/Atheists with Guts . . .

The following articles demonstrate not only the absurdity of atheism but also shows that my favorite old school atheist had the guts to admit that morality's a wash without the Christian God:
Answering a Fool as His Folly Deserves

When Atheists had guts…

You are probably wondering why a guy like me would say that Nietzsche was my favorite atheist. I can answer you with one word: consistency.

HT: American Vision

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Serve by Sacrifice: Preferring Others Above Ourselves

Shepherd's Fellowship Deacons and Titus II Women encourage and exhort our church body as an integral part of our Corporate Worship. New Covenant Worship needs no building, sanctuary or place other than the Christian's normal daily routines. Shall we Worship today as we serve others?

"As I considered how to encourage the body of Christ at Shepherd’s Fellowship this morning, I thought of Paul’s words to the church of Philippi. At the end of Chapter 1 he says the following:

For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain. 22But if I am to live on in the flesh, this will mean fruitful labor for me; and I do not know which to choose. 23But I am hard-pressed from both directions, having the desire to depart and be with Christ, for that is very much better; 24yet to remain on in the flesh is more necessary for your sake. 25Convinced of this, I know that I will remain and continue with you all for your progress and joy in the faith, 26so that your proud confidence in me may abound in Christ Jesus through my coming to you again. 27Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or remain absent, I will hear of you that you are standing firm in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; 28in no way alarmed by your opponents—which is a sign of destruction for them, but of salvation for you, and that too, from God. 29For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake, 30experiencing the same conflict which you saw in me, and now hear to be in me.
And he follows with this admonition:
Therefore if there is any encouragement in Christ, if there is any consolation of love, if there is any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and compassion, 2make my joy complete by being of the same mind, maintaining the same love, united in spirit, intent on one purpose. 3Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; 4do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others. 5Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, 6who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, 7but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. 8Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. 9For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, 10so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. 12So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; 13for it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure. 14Do all things without grumbling or disputing; 15so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you appear as lights in the world, 16holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain. 17But even if I am being poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrifice and service of your faith, I rejoice and share my joy with you all. 18You too, I urge you, rejoice in the same way and share your joy with me.
Oh that we will follow these words of instruction, admonition and exhortation from the Holy Spirit through the apostle Paul. Unity, preferring others above ourselves, obedience to Christ, allowing the Spirit to work in and through us, without complaining, and willing to suffer for Christ! These are just a few of the principles taught.

I encourage you to watch for opportunities to serve this body. There are many openings through the summer months to clean the church. Please sign up on the sheet on the back wall. Thank you for your service to this body. "

Deacon Wilson

Checklist of Defects in Unbelieving Arguments

Below is the first YouTube video discussing a checklist of defects in unbelieving arguments:

If you want to see the rest of the videos, click here.

Monday, June 07, 2010

Should This Be The Last Generation?

My good friend Steve Hays over at the Triablogue pointed me to this article by Peter Singer, the infamous bioethics prof. at Princeton U. who has argued that we ought to be able to legally kill born children. Here's more of Singer's drivel:

Should This Be The Last Generation?

It is amazing how atheologians Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens whine about the supposed evil and brutality of Old Testament ethics, yet the secular ethics of a Peter Singer are supposed to be better?

Assurance and the Man in Romans 7 - Dr. Kim Riddlebarger

Friday, June 04, 2010

Protecting and Contending - A Pastoral Perspective

The following message was delivered at the No Other Gods Conference during the summer of 2006. I trust you will be encouraged as you listen to it.

On John 6:44

When Dr. Michael Brown debated Dr. James White on the topic of Calvinism back in January of 2010, I posted an advertisement on our blog encouraging all who were interested to listen in to this debate. In the comments section of that blog, non-Calvinist Daniel Gracely has offered a friendly challenge to the Calvinist understanding of John 6:44. I had asked Daniel to post his exegesis of John 6:44 in it's surrounding context so that we could have a more fruitful discusssion. I will post his relevant exegesis below and then answer his assertions in blue font - DSS. I will provide the verse in question in its context here:
All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out. 38 For I have come down from heaven, not to do My own will, but the will of Him who sent Me. 39 This is the will of Him who sent Me, that of all that He has given Me I lose nothing, but raise it up on the last day. 40 For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day. 41 Therefore the Jews were grumbling about Him, because He said, "I am the bread that came down out of heaven." 42 They were saying, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does He now say, "I have come down out of heaven"? 43 Jesus answered and said to them, "Do not grumble among yourselves. 44 No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day. (John 6:37-44 NAU)
Daniel: Here, then, is my general take on John 6, justifying “may”:

James White (and I think other Calvinists) point to the double occurrence of “him” in John 6:44, and also to the word “can,” understood by them as “to be able to” (hence, “No man is able to come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.”)

Dusman: Actually, when interpreting John 6:44, Calvinists are simply using the primary dictionary definition for the Greek word translated as "can" (Gk. dunamai) is in reference to capability/ability. Calvinists aren't pulling this stuff out of thin air.
According to the standard Baur, Danker, Arndt, Gingrich lexicon (2000), the definition for dunamai is "to possess capability (whether because of personal or external factors) for experiencing or doing someth., can, am able, be capable."

Volume II of the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament says this about dunamai, "Words deriving from the stem duna- all have the basic meaning of 'being able,' of 'capacity' in virtue of an ability. . . 'to be able,' 'to be capable of.'"

The classic Greek dictionary by G. Abbott-Smith defines dunamai on p. 123 as "to be able, have power, whether by personal ability, permission, or opportunity . . . to be able, capable, powerful."
Thus, when the Calvinist interprets John 6:44 to be saying that no man has the ability to come to Christ apart from the Father drawing him, they are justified in assuming the primary definition given the context.
Daniel: And so I think here is the Calvinist argument: If the Father will raise “him” whom He also draws to the Son and who in fact comes to the Son, then surely only some are drawn, since not all come to the Son.

Dusman: That is correct. It could be written this way to make it easier to understand:

Premise 1 - All that the Father draws to the Son will be raised up to eternal life on the last day.

Premise 2 - Not everyone will be raised up to eternal life on the last day.

Conclusion - Therefore, not everyone will be drawn to the Father.
Daniel: However, I think this conclusion by the Calvinist relies chiefly on his presumption that the Father’s means of drawing is irresistibility, not provisionary atonement.

Dusman: The means of drawing is the Holy Spirit. The fact that men are irresistibly drawn to Christ per John 6:44 is grounded in the electing purposes of God since all that the Father has already given to the Son in eternity past will come to the Son (vv. 37ff.). I will say more below regarding your understanding of how this relates to the atonement.

Daniel: That is, the Calvinist sees the Father’s means of drawing as the irresistibility of human ‘will’, not just the provision of Christ as the Manna from heaven for the consideration of human will. In other words, I am contending it is by the provision of the Manna of heaven that God positions all men so they may come, and that it is in this primary sense that He “draws” them. Note that it is the provision of Christ being lifted up on the cross in John 12 which draws men: “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.” James White has objected to this verse from chapter 12 being introduced into the John 6:44 discussion, claiming eisegetical foul. But, in fact, I merely mention it to show that besides John 6 there is yet another instance in which the divine drawing of men is via the means of a provided atonement.

Dusman: James White is quite right to cry eisegetical foul for those who run to John 12:32 to avoid the clear meaning of John 6:44! This is for at least two reasons:
1. John 12:32 is a different context, one in which the "all men" are defined for the readers by verse 20, which refers to Gentiles, not Jews only. This is referring to all types of people, not all people who have ever lived or will live till the second coming. If that were the case, then Jesus failed since many people have perished from the earth without ever hearing the gospel of Christ.

2. Using John 12:32 doesn't help defend against universalism since John 6:44 still asserts that all who are drawn will be raised up to eternal life.
Daniel: For, indeed, nothing requires us to go outside John 6 to establish that the drawing is through the means of the provided atonement.

Dusman: Then why do it if it is unnecessary?

Daniel: Why do I say this? Because the primary issue in John 6 is whether man shall live by bread alone and not by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. We see this in the narrative. . . . The entire theme relating to all of chapter 6 is this question about physical versus spiritual manna, and about whether man shall live by bread alone. And so I believe the point Jesus is making about Himself in John 6:44 is that “no man MAY come toward the Son unless the Father pulls him.” [Incidentally, “to” in the phrase “to me” is not “into,” but the Greek word pros, which means “toward”.] So I understand John 6:44 in context to be saying that man MAY not come by human protocol (which seeks to live by the manna which perishes), but MAY come by the Father’s protocol (which is to receive the Manna from heaven which never perishes).

Dusman: My friend, this doesn't help bolster your interpretation at all. Calvinists aren't arguing that men come to Christ by human means (i.e., "human protocol"), but that Christ is the Bread of Life, the sole source of spiritual life for all who come to Him and that their coming is contingent upon the Father's choosing and drawing them, not vice versa (vv. 37-39, 44, 65).

Daniel: Furthermore, by understanding Gr. dunamai as “may,” in John 6:44, the double occurrence of “him” poses no problem because of an assumed (minor) ellipsis. In other words, if you were an owner of a company and said to me: “No man may work for my company unless he recognizes my son as his Boss; and I will give him a salary bonus at the end of the year,” it would be obvious to me that the year-end bonus would be contingent on my accepting your son as my boss. Even so, the “him” whom Christ raises is contingent on whether the “him” comes in accordance with the Father’s drawing.

Dusman: No, this is not right my friend. Your illustration is not a parallel to John 6:44. You are equivocating "recognizing" with "drawing", but these two are not the same. To "recognize" in your illustration is to acknowledge the company owner's son as your boss. Acknowledging a man as your boss in the natural realm is something that you would actively do and given the illustration you have used, it is also something you would have the natural capability to do. That is not the case with John 6:44. In that verse you are drawn to the Son by the Father. Again, the Father is doing the drawing, not you. If you are not drawn, you cannot come. Your illustration would be more accurate if it read this way:
“No man may work for my company unless my Father who has put me in charge causes him to acknowledge me as Boss; and I will give him a salary bonus at the end of the year,”
My friend, with all due respect, you have turned John 6:44 on its head. The Reformed understanding of this verse does justice to the context, grammar, and historical situation, and comports with reality. There is no prevenient grace here and no libertarian free will is to be found in this text. Please reconsider your position and do justice to the grammar, syntax, and historical context so that the word of God can be honored.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Would he have greeted you as a fellow SERVANT?

Romans 16

"I'm sure that all the Deacons and Titus 2 ladies will join me in saying, what a blessing it is to this body and to us when you choose to serve in some capacity. It was much easier for me when others would do the organizing and say,"Larry, would you mind doing such and such"? When you volunteer to serve, or cheerfully say yes when asked to,it blesses those of us who organize and try to see that all servant positions are filled.Now your motive to serve should not be just to help out.It should come from a heart filled with thanksgiving for Jesus Christ, who paid the sin debt for us that we could not pay.Still, there are blessings that start to go out to others from this.

As I read what the Apostle Paul said in the 16th chapter of Romans,I can't help but sense that he had been blessed by certain people who were willing to serve. 16:1-2 I commend unto you our sister Phoebe,who is a SERVANT of the church which is at Cenchrea; that you recieve her in the Lord in a manner worthy of the saints,and that you help her in whatever matter she may have need of you; for she herself has also been a HELPER of many and of myself as well. 16:3-4 Greet Prisca and Aquila,my fellow Workers in Christ Jesus,who for my life risked their own necks,to whom not only do I give thanks,but also all the churches of the Gentiles. 16:6 Greet Mary , who has WORKED hard for you. 16:9 Greet Urbanus,our fellow WORKER in Christ and Stachys my beloved. 16:12 Greet Tryphaena and Tryphosa,WORKERS in the Lord.Greet Persis the beloved,who has WORKED hard in the Lord. I'm hearing a grateful heart as Paul greets these fellow SERVANTS.
I couldn't help but wonder if Paul, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, would have said,"Greet Larry who is my fellow SERVANT in Christ."

Would he have greeted you as a fellow SERVANT?"