The Tail Between the Legs Calvinists
The Tail Between the Legs Calvinists
The expression “running away with your tail between your legs” has become quite relevant lately during my discussion with a group of Calvinists who attacked the DRC’s decision to accept same sex relationships and marriages, and also to accept gays as fully ordained ministers. As usual, the discussion on this blog ended in a cul de sac because a group of “tail between the legs” Calvinists did not have the guts to answer my penetrating questions.
It all started like this:
A sister in the Lord sent me the following video that I watched immediately.
(6) Algemene Sinode 2015 – Selfdegeslagverhoudings – YouTube
Here is an English transcript of the Afrikaans interview in the above video in behalf of our English readers. Dirkie van die Spuy is the newly chosen Assessor and Nelis Janse van Rensburg the newly appointed Moderator of the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa.
Dirkie van der Spuy:
Take note that views on same sex relationships had already been discussed at several previous synods. I think, as far as this meeting is concerned, a follow-up step has been taken, in that there is now more room and an openness for gay pastors to be ordained in the ministry and to be involved in the confirmation of a civil union. . . .
In other words, I think there is a wider openness for same sex relationships in the community. I think what reassures me is that there actually is an openness among different church councils who have different views on the matter, who interpret the Bible differently, and others who feel there is no room for a spiritual leader to live in a same sex relationship.
There is room for church councils to organize their own practices and to make their own rules in the light of Scripture. . . .
So, I don’t think this is an aberration that separates people. I do however believe an openness is given for a much wider acceptance of persons who want to live in same sex relationships, but no decisions will be forced upon church councils to abandon their principles the way they interpret it from Scripture.
Nelis Janse van Rensburg:
The reason why it took so long to [make a Synodic decision] is because it is a struggle of the church to really understand God’s will.
And where does the church go when it wants to discern God’s will? She goes to the Bible. And it is also a difficult process. Literally every scripture reference to homosexual behavior has been researched for decades.
Every aspect from every conceivable corner was taken into account. It must be read in the context of those days – the context in which those passages were used at the time.
And now we must ask ourselves: How to we use it now, today? How do we apply it today? There are evidently a diversity of perspectives on them. Also in this synod there was an in depth discussion on the different perspectives on Scripture.
It is not as if the church is not serious about the Bible. On the contrary, it was indeed the church’s seriousness that caused her to struggle so much with this matter. Of course there is much concern because there are certain passages in Scripture that seem to point to an opposite opinion – that point directly to the opposite.
And this discussion is an open discussion. And therefore the synod decided that we ought to continue doing research and to make sure it remains part and parcel of our thinking; that we had not come to the end of the road but that we actually should keep on thinking about it, and that we should still do some research.
What we are trying to do is to listen to one another and keep on listening and I really want to say that the listening process should remain open although decisions have been made.
Every Bible believing Christian should know…
That God’s ultimate will is that lost sinners repent, believe the Gospel and are saved (2 Peter 3:9; Ezekiel 18:32, 33:11). Please listen carefully to what the new Moderator of the Dutch Reformed Church in South Africa said about homosexual behavior because it has profound consequences for the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Bear in mind that the DRC is a Calvinistic institution and has now opted for a gospel that pleases and tickles the ears of its members. According to Nelis Janse van Rensburg –
Literally every scripture reference to homosexual behavior has been researched for decades. Every aspect from every conceivable corner was taken into account. It must be read in the context of those days – the context in which those passages were used at the time. And now we must ask ourselves: How to we use it now, today? How do we apply it today? (Emphasis added).
In our post modernistic society of interminable paradoxes, many highly polished stepping stones have been cemented into peoples’ paths and leading multitudes to hell. One of the most dangerous stepping stones is called “CONTEXT. Whenever the church’s smartly dressed pied pipers and their highly educated entourage of ear-tickling paradoxically orientated followers reach a point of no or little consensus, they throw the highly polished “context” stepping stone at you. Now, let’s turn our minds to this and think about it for a moment, as Janse van Rensburg suggested we do.
If homosexuality is a contextual sin that can only be applied to those days, as Janse van Rensburg said, and not to our more sophisticated modern times, then also the redemptive work of Jesus Christ on the cross can only be seen and applied in the context of those days. How can you say such a thing? – you may ask. Well, the Bible, in its correct context mind you, tells us exactly just that.
Romans 8:3: Amplified Bible (AMP)
For what the Law could not do [that is, overcome sin and remove its penalty, its power] being weakened by the flesh [man’s nature without the Holy Spirit], God did: He sent His own Son in the likeness of sinful man as an offering for sin. And He condemned sin in the flesh [subdued it and overcame it in the person of His own Son].
“As an offering for sin” are the key words in this verse. If homosexual behavior was a sin only in those days, then Jesus died and shed his blood only for the sins of the homosexuals in those days, that’s if passages in Scripture that deal with homosexual behavior can only be seen and read in the context of those days, as Janse van Rensburg said so poignantly. In fact, Nelis Janse van Rensburg and his co-worker, Dirkie van der Spuy, are suggesting that homosexuality cannot be defined as a sin in our time and therefore Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection can only be made applicable to the homosexual sinners of those days and not to our modern day more sophisticated homosexuals.
Make no mistake, these change agents are as slippery as eels.
Whilst they purport to be loyal to the infallible and immutable Word of God, they are actually giving every single Dutch Reformed Church council the go-ahead to interpret the Bible as they see fit. In Isaiah 3 God’s judgments were poured out in the form of weak leadership. In contrast with the people who considered themselves wise and prudent the Lord raised up foolish and weak leaders to sink the ship. Anybody who owned a cloak (a sign of authority) was placed in charge of the people because the leaders who were supposed to declare “So saith the Lord” had no solution to the problems. The reason God poured his wrath out on his people was because everything the leaders and the nation said and did was against God and his Word whilst they believed they were doing the sovereign will of God.
Your words have been strong and hard against Me, says the Lord. Yet you say, What have we spoken against You? (Malachi 3:13, Amplified Bible).
One of the most horrendous ways God passes judgment on people is to make them believe they are in the right with Him and are doing his will whilst they are so far off track that they fail to see their errors. In fact, it is God Himself who sends them strong delusion so that they may believe the lie.
And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (2 Thessalonians 2:11-12).
If Jesus is the Word made flesh (John 1:14) and if He is the same yesterday, today and forevermore (Hebrews 13:8), then his words and commands, especially with regards to sin and transgressions, cannot be contextualized by applying them only to ancient times.
Let us now return to the main purpose of this article.
After I read the ridiculous attack of Somerset (Sommie) Morkel and specifically on Ds Dirkie van der Spuy of the Moreleta Park Dutch Reformed Church, I could only label his “OPEN” letter to Ds van der Spuy as utter hypocrisy.
In my initial defence against their fanatic Calvinistic writings, I commented as follow:
I really cannot understand why Somerset Morkel is making such a fuss over Dirkie van der Spuy. Dirkie has always “ran with the hare and hunted with the hounds” – a two faced jackal – and don’t get mad at me for saying that because Jesus called someone a jackal once.
A few years back someone told me that Dirkie was not excited about warning the flock against the likes of Benny Hinn because there were numerous members in his congregation who endorsed his teachings very highly. What happened to honouring God and Christ instead of pleasing people and undermining the truth and authority of God?
When I wrote an article in 2010 on my blog “Waak en Bid/Watch and Pray” to warn Moreleta Park against Tony Campolo – who is a huge supporter of same sex marriages today – and in 2009 when he was invited by Moreleta as a guest speaker during their “Mission Fest”, they avoided me like the plague.
It was also then when my blog “Waak en Bid/Watch and Pray” was taken down by two hardcore Calvinists because I dared to call Calvin a murderer and pointed out his so called “teachings of grace” as pure heresy according to Scripture.
Somerset became so cross with me that he said “God will take him out”. Someone else that was just as upset referred to me as a “rhinoceros with a dead conscience” and a “piece of rotten meat that not even a Hyena would tolerate eating”. Other devoted Calvinists referred to me as “Antichrist” and “a moron” (Matthew 5:22) and “a person beyond evil”
My question now is this: If these Calvinists who believe that Jesus only died for the elect because He only loves them, why are they now suddenly concerned about gays and lesbians that God did not love and Jesus did not die for and that God has already BEFORE the creation of the world condemned to an eternity hell?
Is this not pure hypocrisy on their side?
Morkel accuses van der Spuy and the DRC of preaching another Jesus and another gospel (with which I totally agree) but he and his Calvinist friends should certainly remove the beam from their eyes first before attempting to remove the splinter from the eye of the DRC. Why? – because Calvinists also preach a different gospel and another Jesus.
The fact remains, God loves gays and lesbians just as much as anyone else and does not want anybody to perish. There are numerous gays and lesbians who have repented of their sins through the wonderful grace of God. Do the Calvinists believe this? No . . . because they believe ONLY the elect that God has chosen before the creation will be saved. How in this world are we going to reach the LGBT’s with the pure gospel when while we preach this heresy?
Oh, you could literally hear a pin drop over the internet after my comment but as expected, it was a silence before the storm. As usual their first reaction was, “you do not understand”
Wynand Louw, owner of the blog “hierstaanek” writes:
Tom, thank you for your interest in my blog. Your misunderstanding of the Creeds (Belydenisskrifte) and Calvinism is astounding. I picked up three misinterpretations in the matter in just one of your paragraphs. However, I declare this discussion closed because this is not the purpose of my blog. Maybe we can meet and delightfully continue this discussion in another forum.
This is so typical of the “tail between the legs” Calvinists. They make statements like “Your misunderstanding of the Creeds (Belydenisskrifte) and Calvinism is astounding” without clearly articulating these misunderstandings and then run away with a “see you later.” I hardly placed a follow-up on my commentary when our “tail between the legs fleeing Calvinists” wrote:
I am deleting Tom’s post here because I asked him to “please leave the discussion here”
Tom, like I said: another time and another place.
Hierstaanek (Here I Stand)
It reminded me of when Stephen told a group of Pharisees (who also believed they were pre-destined) the truth. They were so furious that they blocked their ears, picked up stones and stoned him to death. And just in case our “tail between the legs” Calvinists do not know what I am talking about, I would like to quote this relevant Scripture:
Acts 7:56 – 59 And he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” But they cried out with a loud voice and stopped their ears and rushed together at him. Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. And as they were stoning Stephen, he called out, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” (Acts 7:56-59).
The only difference is they do not wish to get their hands dirty and would rather leave the opportunity to God to “take me out” – just like Sommie who condemned me to death a few years ago.
Well old friend, here is an ideal opportunity for you to deal with my three “misunderstandings” on this blog and to honour your motto, Hierstaanek (Here I stand). Should it perhaps result in your Hierstaanek (here I stand) becoming Hiervalek (here I fall), I would gladly take you by the hand as a brother and help you stand again.
You see, as soon as Calvinists paint themselves into a corner and lose all ability to get out of it, they play the sovereignty trump card and that’s precisely what Sommie did when he accused me of not understanding God’s revelation of God’s sovereignty. The irony is that it is Sommie and his Calvinist friends who do not understand God’s sovereignty and that they reject it with interest. In my refuting his random accusation I then wrote the following: (by the way… it is this commentary that Wynand Louw deleted without ceremony).
Indeed, Let us look at the sovereignty of God.
The Westminster Confession of faith puts it like this: “God from all eternity, did, by the most wise and holy counsel of His own will, freely, and unchangeably ordain whatsoever comes to pass . . . (Chapter 3; God’s eternal decree)
This clearly tells me that gays are homosexual because that is what God ordained them to be in his sovereign decree. If God is sovereign – which is true without a doubt – and if He has simultaneously determined everything according to His unchanging decree, how can we criticize the DRC (a Calvinist institute)?
The fact that Sommie holds van der Spuy and the DRC accountable for their stance on gays is sufficient proof that he does not give a hoot about the sovereign decrees of God. And then he wants to attack me because he reckons that I am the one who rejects the sovereign decrees of God? . . . Shame!
Edwin H Palmer writes:
All things that happen in all the world at any time and in all history – whether with inorganic matter, vegetation, animals, man or angels (both the good and evil ones) – come to pass because God ordained them. Even sin – the fall of the devil from heaven, the fall of Adam, and every evil thought, word, and deed in all of history, including the worst sin of all, Judas’ betrayal of Christ – is included in the eternal decree of our holy God.
[If] sin is outside the decree of God, then the vast percentage of human actions . . . are removed from God’s plan. God’s power is reduced to the forces of nature . . . Sin is not only foreknown by God, it is also foreordained by God. In fact, because God foreordianed it, He foreknew it. Calvin is very clear on this point: “Man wills with an evil will what God wills with a good will . . . (Edwin H Palmer, The Five Points of Calvinism: Baker Book,. enlarged Edition. 20th prtg, 1999, 82).
Nonetheless, now Sommie and his Calvinist friends who support his attack against the DRC, want to throw God’s sovereign will in terms of gays out of the window and pretend that God has not – according to His holy decree – determined that gays must be what they are and that they are not to undertake in same sex relationships and marriages. It appears that the sovereignty and will of God can be altered and adapted to suit the “tail between the legs” Calvinists.
Makes me wonder if they can spell the word “sovereign” let alone understand it.
Their god, Calvin writes:
[W]e hold that God is the disposer and ruler of all things – that from the remotest eternity, according to his own wisdom, he decreed . . . that, by his providence, not heaven and earth and inanimate creatures only, but also the counsels and wills of men are so governed as to move exactly in the course which he has destined . . .
In short, Augustine everywhere teaches . . . that there cannot be a greater absurdity than to hold that anything is done without the ordination of God: because it would happen at random. For which reason, he also excludes the contingency which depends on human will, maintaining a little further on, in clearer terms, that no cause must be sought for but the will of God . . . I say, then, that . . . the order, method, end, and necessity of events, are, for the most part, hidden in the counsel of God, though it is certain that they are produced by the will of God . . . (John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, trans. Henry Beveridge [Wm. B. Eerdemans Publishing Company, 1998 ed.] l:xvi, 6,8,9).
No one understands a Calvinist’s doctrines?
Of course the “tail between the legs” Calvinists will immediately play their “you do not understand” trump card and accuse me of quoting them out of context. Really? You can quote their doctrinal heroes word for word and they would still try and silence you with their “you do not understand” trump card.
The moment I reminded Wynand Louw and Somerset Morkel what their own “Westminster Confession of Faith” syas about the sovereignty of God, they immediately blocked me. It reminded me of when I visited my uncle’s farm in the Free State every summer school holiday. I rolled rocks over to see what was underneath. It was a dangerous game of course with the chances of scorpions and poisonous snakes lurking in the shadows under these rocks. That is why I always used a long stick to roll the rocks over. I was amazed to see how the bugs scrambled to flee from the bright sunlight that was shining upon them.
Believe it or not . . . Rolling rocks over can teach you a lot about the Bible.
And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. (John 3:19-20).
Are the “fleeing tail between the legs Calvinists” evil?
To attribute to God which is not from Him and to declare that He has ordained everything – even the sins of gays and homosexuals is beyond evil. How do I know this?
And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed. (John 3:19-20).
Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20).
Please allow me a last question for Wynand Louw and Someset Morkel. Do you ever pray for the salvation of the gays and lesbians? Should your answer be “yes,” I have to warn you about your blatant rebellion against the sovereignty of God.
Should it be true that God, according to the Westminster Confession of Faith, John Calvin and many other leading Calvinists, decreed before the creation of this world that everything shall and must happen as He willed, you can all pray till you are blue in the face. You will never turn around or bring to naught the sovereign will of God for gays to be what they are. It is you who do not understand the sovereign will of God. May God have mercy on you to truly and sorrowfully repent.
See Afrikaans article here: Die Stert Tussen die Bene Calviniste
Can salvation be lost and if so can this person go to the lake of fire??
Salvation can not be lost. Read all articles here on Salvation here please: https://www.discerningtheworld.com/category/important-dtw-topics/eternal-security-backsliding-once-saved-always-saved/
IF as person could lose their salvation for sure their destination is hell because you can’t be saved twice. The apostle Paul is pretty clear on this:
Hebrews 6:4-6 4For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.
IF THIS WEBSITE IS PRO-GAY, GET ME OUT OF HERE! I AM BOTH A FIVE POINT CALVINIST AND A FULL TIME GRACE EVANGELIST. PLEASE ANSWER MY QUESTION. I BECAME A MEMBER HERE FOR 10 MINUTES AGO BECAUSE I LIKED THE BAPTISM FIRE ARTICLE. BOTH ME AND GOD ABHOR SODOMY. GENESIS 19:20.
First: DON’T SHOUT it’s rude.
Second: We are not pro-gay, homosexuality is a sin.
Third: God abhors the doctrine of Calvinism too.
I would respectfully ask the writer, do you read Greek and understand its various tenses, verbs,nouns and so forth? I ask because I would like to understand your exegetical insight of the text you quoted from Hebrews 6. What is your literal, grammatical, historical approach to that text of Scripture? I totally agree that a person cannot lose their salvation. I would just like to know where you’re coming from in that text scripture .
I suggest you read this article on Hebrews 6 I wrote some time ago.
Lost Your Salvation? Is it Possible?
Interesting exegesis. I must say respectfully that you not being very clear in that article . At times it sounds as though you are advocating a loss of a person salvation because you reference it by saying “tasting the heavenly gift” is a reference to someone who is genuinely saved. And later in the article you say that a person persevering in the faith is a type of work that does not save them. At least that’s what I’m understanding so there’s a form of contradiction here.
I do totally agree that perseverance on the part of the believer does not secure salvation. However God secures that salvation. Thus true believers are “kept by the power of God through faith for salvation,” (1 Peter 1:5. Those who do fall away from Christ give conclusive proof that they were never truly believers to begin with and this is found in first John 2:19. Look at what Jude encourages the believers to do in Jude 21 he says ” keep yourselves in the love of God” , and immediately points them to God, “who is able to keep you from stumbling” Jude 24. God does the securing or the persevering through the believer because God is sovereign.
As to Hebrews 6. This passage by far, the verses four through six, are the most difficult passages to interpret in the New Testament . To understand properly one has to look at the entire context and the whole counsel of Gods word. The entire book of Hebrews if read in context was written to three specific groups of people . The first and primary group were Hebrew Christians who are being persecuted by fellow Jews. The second were Jewish unbelievers who were convinced of the basic truth of the gospel but who had not placed their faith in Jesus Christ as their own Savior and Lord . Intellectually they got it but spiritually they were uncommitted. The third group addressed were Jewish believers who were not convinced of the gospel truth but had experienced some exposure to it And chapter 9 is largely devoted to them see verses 11, 14,15, 27 and 28.
The phrase once enlightened is often taken to refer to Christians, and the accompanying warning taken to indicate the danger of losing their salvation if they “fall away” and “crucify again for themselves the son of God.” But there is no mention of their being saved and they are not described with any terms that apply only to believers such as “holy,” “born-again,” “righteous,” “brethren,” “saints,” “brothers,” and so forth . These terms are commonly used throughout the New Testament. And as you can see they are absent in this context. Just a cursory look at the original text in the Greek you will see that.
The problem that arises here is when one inaccurately identifies the spiritual condition of the ones being addressed. So the big question is who is being actually addressed. I think it’s very clear here that it’s not a believer. I know many people have been enlightened by the Gospel and they have an intellectual assent to it but they never remain. Just as first John chapter 2 says they left us because they were never of us. In this particular case they were unbelievers who would have been exposed to God’s truth, His redemptive truth and perhaps made a profession of faith but had not exercised genuine saving faith. I know that you probably have known people who have done just that and then what happens….they disappear. Take a look at Hebrews 10:26 the reference once again is to an apostate professing Christian, not to genuine believers who are incorrectly thought to lose their salvation because of their sins.
The Greek term in Hebrews 6:6 “fall away” occurs here only once in the New Testament. In the LXX it was used to translate terms for severe unfaithfulness and apostasy. If one follows context in the whole counsel of God’s word, apostasy cannot refer to someone who is born again. That’s impossible . Because to aposticise by biblical definition is to be enlightened or intellectual ascenting to the truth and yet walk away later. This is evidenced in first John chapter 2. One of the first principles in hermeneutics for biblical exegesis is Scripture interprets Scripture. And this is one of those examples.
They had rejected him with full knowledge and conscious experience described in verse five and six with full revelation they rejected the truth concluding the opposite of the truth about Christ and thus had no hope of being saved. They could never know more knowledge than they had when they rejected it . They have concluded that Jesus should’ve been crucified and they stand with his enemies. There’s no possibility of these verses referring to losing salvation . Or to referring to Christians in any way.
Those who want to make this verse mean that believers can lose their salvation somehow will have to admit that it would then also say that one could never get it back again. Do you see where I’m coming from. I just want to understand what you’re trying to say about Hebrews chapter 6 . So please forgive my lengthy writing here brother .
I made a mistake here. I made a comment on your Hebrew six post about falling away. But I needed to put it in this post. So let me try again. Sorry for the mistake .
Weirsbe is wrong in his definition of falling away being the Greek word parapipto. Parapipto is the verb form of the word (actually used in the Greek text) parapesontas. Parapesontas is the correct word rendered in the Greek text because I’m looking at it now. It means in the grammatical structure of this sentence….To fall away from the true faith and from the worship of Jehovah. It also means to apostatize.
I read Greek and have studied it for 30 years and I always find it amazing when people work hard to try and validate their own presuppositions and ideas by going to vines dictionary to find only a partial rendering of a Greek word rather than look at the actual grammatical structure of the text and get the proper meaning . Never ceases to amaze me . Weirsbe was known for that quite often. I don’t say that to be facetious. In fact I am only trying to be lovingly instructional.
Now as to the bulk of your article, it is rather confusing to say the least. What I can gather is you don’t like anyone who supports calvinistic doctrine and I must say it is unbecoming and lacks the fruit of the spirit as you try so hard to insult other people. In fact this article seems to convey the idea of insulting others who disagree with your doctrines. What I can see is that you obviously don’t like hearing about God being sovereign and I honestly don’t understand the thesis or point to your article. I am not a Calvinist by the way. In all honesty and as loving as I can be, I ask you why you try so hard to insult and imply that those people you disagree with are stupid? If they are brothers in Christ that is wrong to write in that way. If they are unbelievers it is equally wrong and counterproductive to the furtherance of the gospel.
My question is simple, since you do not believe in the sovereignty of God of God’s sovereign will, is God, then, bound by some other outside force or is He in control of everything? I truly want to know your answer.
You correctly underscore the importance of context but fail to adhere to it yourself? Do you really think Paul (the author of Hebrews) would have written the following to unbelievers?
How do you interpret God’s sovereignty in salvation? Does man have any say whatsoever in his salvation? The article deals primarily with the acceptance of gays’ as pastors in the church. What connection do you see God’s sovereignty having with this?
No Tom I disagree with you. Let me explain. First of all let’s get correct here, Paul did not write Hebrews. Almost all biblical scholars agree to this. In fact it could be argued that the apollos might have written Hebrews. But nonetheless the authors not stated so let’s be fair about that. If you want to believe that Paul wrote the letter, then so be it I don’t have a problem with that.
As to Hebrews 6 verse one , that is a very fair question. And I thought it a very good question. And I would like to explain that if you will allow me. Actually to understand this question that you’re asking one has to understand a little bit of the Old Testament. Remember the writer of Hebrews is addressing Jews specifically.
The same Greek root found in verse 14 in chapter 5 is translated perfection in chapter 6 verse one and is elsewhere translated perfect 7:1, 19,28; 9:9; 10:1,14. It is used in Hebrews, including this text, as a synonym for salvation. In that sense, it refers to the completion which comes when a person becomes a believer in Christ, rather than referring to a Christian who has become mature. As you know, Jesus invited unbelieving Jews to the salvation perfection which came only through following him in faith in Matthew 19:21. Paul wrote that those who had come to Christ by faith were thereby mature and able to receive the wisdom of God in first Corinthians 2:6. He described believers as mature when he referred to those whose righteousness was in Christ Philippians 3:2-20, as opposed to those who had confidence in the flesh. Paul also declared that the apostles warned and taught everyone that we may present everyman perfect in Christ Jesus in Colossians 1:28. Now I think you would agree that the deeper, more solid truths about the priesthood of the Lord Jesus could only be given to those who knew him as Savior. Athletic training and competition form the metaphor implied by this particular word “exercise” in the text. The person who is come to Christ for spiritual completion is then trained by the Word to discern truth from error and holy behavior from unholy behavior found in second Timothy 3:16 and 17. As you can see, and I’m sure that you know this, what I’m doing is applying a principal and hermeneutics called synthesis. Let me go further. The word leaving in chapter 6 verse 1 of the text, does not convey the idea or mean to despise or abandon the basic doctrines . They are in place to start, not stop. They are the gate entrance on the road to salvation in Christ. Let’s look at that phrase elementary principles of Christ. As the oracles of God found in chapter 5 verse 12 it refers to the Old Testament and so does this phrase. The writer is referring to basic Old Testament teaching that prepared the way for Messiah, the beginning teaching about Christ. The Old Testament principles includes six features listed in verses one and two. In verses one chapter 6 the verb phrase “go on to perfection” is passive so as to indicate “let us be carried to salvation.” This is not a matter of learners being carried by teachers, but both being carried forward by God. The writer warns his Jewish readers that there is no value in stopping with the Old Testament basics and repeating (“laying again”) what was only intended to be foundational. That statement repentance from good works, is tricky. This Old Testament form of repentance is the turning away from evil deeds that bring death, (Ezekiel. 18:4; Romans 6:23) and turning to God. Too often that you only turn to God in a superficial fashion fulfilling the letter of the law as evidence of his repentance. The inner man was still dead (Matt. 23: 25-28; Rom. 2:28-29). Such repentance was not the kind that brought salvation , see verse 6 , 12:17, Acts 11:18, and second Corinthians 7:10. Under the new covenant, however, “repentance toward God” is coupled with “faith in our Lord Jesus Christ” Acts 20:21. Christ Jesus atoning sacrifice Saves from dead works, verse 14 of chapter 9, and faith directed only toward the father is unacceptable without faith in his son Jesus Christ . So as you can see obviously he is not addressing just believers. He is addressing Hebrew people who professed Christ but had not gone all the way onto salvation. It was a warning. A good example of this would be most churches in the world. For example when a preacher gets up and preaches, it would be a foolish thing for people to believe that everyone within that congregation is born again. This is the same gist of the passage. I hope that explains it well and answers your question.
As to your question about God being sovereign in salvation, and does man have a choice . You will think I’m crazy but I once was a very strong Calvinist , then turned Armenian, and now I’m right down the middle. If you will allow me I will try to explain what I mean by that. I’m very reformed in my doctrine. But I believe that both Calvinist and Armenians are correct in some respect. I do believe that God is totally sovereign over everything. I also believe that man is responsible for his choices. Man has choice and God is sovereign. They are two principles that are both true and yet diametrically opposed to one another. In the Scriptures where you find one you will find the other. That’s where the confusion lies. However it is not confusing to God to us it’s called a paradox. Quite frankly I can’t explain why it is true but it just is and I can rest in that. It’s just one of those things, the paradox, we have to leave to the Lord . I don’t understand why God is totally sovereign and yet we have a choice in the matter. But it is obviously true because Scripture teaches both. Do you see where I’m coming from?
Now as to homosexuals in the church, well I am totally against homosexuality because God hates it and Scripture teaches against it. Enough said I will say this there is no such thing as a homosexual Christian or homosexual marriage, they are both an oxymoron.
Would you have written a letter to your sweetheart ridden with paradoxes so that she should guess whether you loved her or not? I can tell you upfront that paradoxes are the worst enemy of true love because it confuses one, as you so rightly said. OK, let’s simplify it a little. Do you really think God would weave one paradox after the other into his love story so that those who come to Him for salvation should be totally confused? Or, do you think his absolute sovereignty (which I too happen to believe He is), will hinder anyone who seeks salvation, from finding it just because He sovereignly chose not to save that person? Did you know a simple prayer can sway God’s sovereign decrees and persuade Him to change his sovereign decisions?
Tony Griffen wrote:
You sound exactly like John MacArthur when he was asked: “How do you tell them that God loves them but that Jesus did not die for them?” He answered as follows,
So, next time, when you present someone with the Gospel and you are confronted with this ugly dilemma called “PARADOX,” say to the person: “My brother, I feel your pain.” Should the person ask you what you mean, you can tell him that you can already feel the pangs of hell in his behalf; it is an excruciating pain he will have to endure the moment he dies and is cast into hell because Jesus loves him but did not die for him.
I can only say that your and MacArthur’s paradoxical gospel is a gospel directly from hell where it was inaugurated by Satan himself.
Well obviously I don’t agree. I think Dr. MacArthur honestly has the credentials to back up what he says but also that does not mean that he’s right about everything. I will say this I spent over 30 years researching these kind of subjects like this and whether you want to agree that paradoxes exist, they do . There are just some things that we cant understand about. And frankly I think that is quite egotistical and I’m not saying that you are, to believe that you can understand everything of the mind of God. For instance you can’t tell me that you know fully the concept of the Trinity. And you can’t tell me that you know fully the ramifications and the concepts surrounding substitutionary atonement. Because if you said that you could completely understand them and I would have to say that you’re not being truthful. In fact the way you describe things frankly sounds a lot like Creflo dollar and Kenneth Copeland when they are talking about being little gods, meaning that they understand things that peons like myself don’t understand. That’s just how I feel. I never once said anything about the gospel being paradoxical. I don’t even know where you’re getting that from.
Let me pose a question to you. would you agree that there are people today that have died and gone to hell and are dying and going to hell? And my next question is very simple , if God is not completely sovereign as the Scriptures say that he is sovereign, then as I asked you before is there some outside force outside of God that is forcing his hand in a different direction than what he wants to go? My next question is that if God is not totally sovereign over all things , then wouldn’t that mean that he is not really God ? My last question is this, the scriptures teach that God chose us in Him, before the foundations of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. Was my salvation and your salvation secured before the creation of all things or not?
Your very last question, ” . . . the scriptures teach that God chose us in Him, before the foundations of the world, to be holy and blameless in His sight. Was my salvation and your salvation secured before the creation of all things or not?” clearly demonstrates why you believe in salvific paradoxes.
The simple answer is: God, having known from eternities past who would respond in faith and repentance to his Gospel in order to be saved, chose THEM to be holy and blameless in his sight.” It does not mean that God sovereignly chose to save some (the elect) and damn the rest (the non-elect). God has never and will never force anyone to respond to his love. That’s not love. That’s pure and simple despotic coercion.
In fact, it is a stone-age kind of love where man is depicted as a despot who clobbers a woman over the head, drags her to his pad and forces her to love him. Moreover, it equals to perfection the kind of abominable sin that led to the Great Flood in Genesis, i.e. “And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.”(Gen 6:1-2). The women had no choice; they were forced to enter into a marriage with them.
God doesn’t work that way. God’s love is a reciprocal love. Once again, Calvinists do not believe that man is able to love God of his own accord. In other words, he cannot love God because he has no free-will and needs to be regenerated monergistically before he is able to love Him. How did you get married? Did you say to your sweetheart. “OK, listen up, doll. You don’t have a free-will to choose either to hate or love me. But don’t fret. I will supply you with a free-will and a love so that you may love me after our compulsory marriage.” That’s preposterous.
I cannot explain the Trinity but does that make Him a paradox? Faith and paradoxes do not go well together. Can you explain your own make-up, i.e. spirit, soul and body? Of course not. You simply believe it is true because the Bible teaches you that we have a spirit, a soul and a body (1 Thessalonians 5:23). You may argue that there are no specific verses that tell us that God is a Trinity. True! Nonetheless, there are various places in the Bible that point us to this fact. For instance, when the SON was baptized, the SPIRIT (in the form of a dove) came to rest on Him and the FATHER spoke from heaven and said: “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” And here, as you can see, we have the TRINITY fully explained. What more do you need? How you can see this a a paradox, is inexplicable.
Your statement “And you can’t tell me that you know fully the ramifications and the concepts surrounding substitutionary atonement. Because if you said that you could completely understand them and I would have to say that you’re not being truthful” is very troubling. Not knowing what the ramifications (consequences, results, effects) of salvation is, prompts me to quote to you the following:
And by the way, I have exposed the heresies promulgated by Kenneth Copeland and Creflo Dollar umpteenth times on this blog and elsewhere on the internet, in the same way I exposed the abomination called Calvinism – election and predestination. So, I would suggest that you read some of them before you accuse me of their abominable belief that I am a little god. You are much more than what I am. You are a teacher; I am nothing.
Tony Griffen wrote:
This is what I call a perfect paradox. MacArthur has the credentials (authorization, qualifications) to back up what his says but his credentials are untrustworthy? Did you know it was primarily false teachers in Paul’s time who bragged about their credentials?
The only credentials you need is the Spirit of Truth (Holy Spirit) to guide you into all the truth and declare to you things to come. (John 16:13).
Tony Griffen wrote:
Are you saying Jesus lied when He said:
Everything God has revealed to us in his Word is humanly comprehensible, knowable and understandable. He even said that we can understand how He created the cosmos.
To say and to believe that the doctrine of salvation (the doctrine of substitutionary atonement) is a paradox and therefore somewhat incomprehensible is completely reprehensible. Even a child can understand it. In fact, Jesus Himself said,
If you want to know how paradoxes work, please read this article I wrote some time ago.
Do you see that only adults wear paradoxical spectacles and not children? Kids see more clearly than adults.