Friday, June 15, 2012

Salvation Arguments - be for the home team


In my view of soteriology (salvation) I am a Calvinist.
I believe regeneration comes before faith.
Is regeneration always a simultaneous when faith is applied?
Does regeneration come a long time before faith in Christ?
How long can you stay regenerate before coming to Christ?  


Thanks for the easy to answer non–controversial question ;)
As you stated almost all Calvinist would say that regeneration comes before faith.
What all born agree believers can do is look and marvel and pray for wisdom in growing to understand more about the conversion, new-birth, the new –creation in Christ we become when we are saved.
As you know there are Calvinist, Armenians and all shades in-between.
To use a political analysis all Democrats are not alike.
President Obama does not share the core values of conservative pro-life like retired Georgia senator Zell Miller. 
Both men are Democrats but they definitely do not share a lot of core political beliefs. 
The same can be said of Calvinists, Armenians and other systems of understanding soteriology or salvation.

Is regeneration view from eternity or right before saving faith?
Everyone agrees in the Christian faith that there is regeneration and faith.
When this happens is when this intramural debate divides understanding.
Passion to defend one's specific doctrine then can get heated 
That depends on the human system you study.
All points are usually from Scripture from these various Christian traditions.

Concerning Calvinist-
R.C. Sproul, a well-known Calvinist theologian, would agree with you that regeneration comes before faith.
Norman Geisler, who describes himself as a soft Calvinist says that faith and regeneration could be viewed as simultaneously happening.   

The Wesleyan or Armenian View-
The Wesleyan view talks about previent grace in God preparing you to answer Him.
Previent grace in the Wesleyan view is followed by Justifying grace as you respond in faith.
Sanctification follows as we become more like Christ.
All Wesleyan's do not agree if this Sanctification is complete at salvation.
Most feel it is ongoing while some feel you can be sanctified completely on earth (perfection).  
Respect must be given to people who defend their position from a biblical view. 

All Christians should look to base their beliefs on doctrine from Scripture and not from a man developed belief system, despite how helpful they can be.
Our defense of doctrine should also follow this guideline.
If we are saved by grace why would we not just state our beliefs, if they align with scripture, and not buffoonishly ridicule other Christian and thus dishonoring the Author Of Our Faith?

A human limitation is time.
Time is a dimension God is Lord over.
The Armenian view of foreknowledge and the Calvinist view of election is shaped by this scripture passage.  

Romans 8:29-30 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
“29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; 30 and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.”

Foreknowledge has been described by Armenians as God looking down the hallway of time and then by after seeing our decision, predestines our salvation.
Calvinists could say the Lord had foreknowledge because He predestinated the outcome.

The Lord is Sovereign.
He can do as He pleases, and does.

Romans 9:21-22 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
“21 Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? 22 What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?”

But how does this square with other parts of God’s Word?

2 Peter 3:9 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
“9  The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.”

Here is another passage that must be considered about salvation.
The Jews are God’s “chosen people”. 
They, remember all of the first twelve Apostles were Jewish like Jesus was, and Paul was a Jew, had to respond and call on the name of the Lord to be saved.
To be saved they all, including the human author Paul, had to hear the gospel from a preacher (A vocal human witness ). 
Ananias witnessed to Paul the gospel, then he was filled with the Holy Spirit, scales fell off his eyes and Paul was then baptized in Acts 9:17-18. 
Acts 9:14 says the Lord had already before Paul’s conversion chosen Paul as His instrument  for witness to Gentiles, kings and sons of Israel.      

Romans 10:12-14 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
“12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, abounding in riches for all who call on Him; 13 for “Whoever will call on the name of the Lord will be saved.”14 How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?”

Criticism will abound from all camps that you are not a real Calvinist or real Armenian or Biblicist unless you describe salvation as - _ _ _ _”.

Christianity does not depend on you and me.  
We often feel we must defend fairness and that people are treated right. 
Not to worry. 
Our Judge in eternity is “Faithful and True.”

Revelation 19:11 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
“11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse, and He who sat on it is called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and wages war.”

Respect other Christians when they biblically talk of salvation.
We should not dishonor Christ in our discourse and example to unbelievers.

So when were we saved? 
-When we confess.
When was salvation decreed?
-From the beginning of time.
How is this best viewed?
-Study and learn.
You are not saved until you confess (Romans 10:13).
God had salvation decreed forever before time began .
Yet Men have to hear and respond.

My opinion
-It is not the doctrine of salvation which includes predestination, election and foreknowledge.
Our BIG problem is our doctrine of God.
It is never big enough as we have limited intellect.

Was God bound by foreknowledge of our choices looking down in time for our decision?
Was God unjust, ruthless and uncaring in His predestination and election with no concern for those he sent his son to die for?

 There is none like Him and His love.

 Psalm 100:5  New American Standard Bible (NASB)
 5 For the Lord is good;
 His lovingkindness is everlasting
 And His faithfulness to all generations.

Psalm 40:5 New American Standard Bible (NASB)
5 Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders which You have done,
And Your thoughts toward us;
There is none to compare with You.
If I would declare and speak of them,
They would be too numerous to count.

Romans 5:8 says while we were in our sin Christ died for us.
We heard and our regenerate heart bears witness to Christ as He became our sin on the cross.
And we who repented and turned to him receive forgiveness of sins, eternal life and peace with God.

Do not hurt the commanded witness by silly and stupid intramural debates.

He will save all who call upon His name.
I know one thing for sure.
If you are born again you are to share the gospel of salvation.

In Christ Alone!

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