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Steve Newell

This is very similar to my blog posting called "Born Dead", http://www.extremetheology.com/2007/11/born-dead.html which I posted in November 2007.

Steve Newell

Also, I would add Josiah 24:15 to Rev. 3:20 since Joshua was saved and he was not making a decision as to salvation but to obedience.

lyn

Excellent! Praise God for this truth-filled post. May I add these favorite passages as well? From Ezekiel 36:26,27 - A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them.
These passages are just as crystal clear as all the others given, God alone is the Giver of life...all according to His glorious grace!!!
May the Lord glorify Himself through this post.

Pastorboy

Amen

This is excellent stuff, Chris.

Neither method is acceptable, but the all to prevelant one is that all we need to do is pray a prayer and we are saved. It is a lie from the pit of Hell. Last night I was witnessing to a hindu/new age/episcopalian who believed that we all are going to heaven if we obey a god of our own understanding. He believed since he was baptized as an episcopalian he had the christian thing covered, and was okay.

Revelation 3:20 in context, boys...he was speaking to whom? THE CHURCH AT LAODECIA not to individuals. Note how the CHURCH had shut Jesus out. They needed to repent of being lukewarm. They had shut Christ out, and taken over as Lords of their own churches. Sounds like the american circus churches. How do we exalt Christ while dancing to Highway to Hell?

S McKee

Outstanding! Thanks! You know I was at a church on Easter Sunday (seeker sensitive/purpose driven) where the pastor was preaching about the “keys to freedom” the gist was, if you have a problem, financial issue, need healing, porn addiction, etc. Jesus can take care of it for you. Pure bunkum. Anyway the usual alter call went out ...every eye closed, every head bowed, now raise your hand if you made a decision and if you’d like a relationship with God. A few hands went up as they do every week. Then the pastor says “After the service come to the front someone will congratulate you and say a prayer with you.” (the words “sin” and “repentance” were thrown in but as an afterthought) ....I thought to myself that’s it? Voila! You’re now a “Christ-Follower”. Where does this guy get off?! Funny because the day before I listened to Paul Washer on the farce of decisional regeneration.

Brent

Most of the time we are analyzing the "decisional" converts teach the other "decisional" converts how to be like them. Most of the time we are not even watching and listening to a 'born from above by God' person. Since wrestling with the issue of how can these men keep rpeaching this stuff and when confronted they never change their preaching I realized this simple truth:
Most are tares because the enemy has come and planted them and they keep reproducing the same way, like the weeds they really are.
Some are not, and those, after being told the truth of the Gospel and how the early Called Out Ones preached and taught...will not teach like that anymore.
Depart from those who have been shown the error of this type preaching and let the Holy Spirit do the work of convincing them of Truth.
To those who still attend these types of 'congregations' and their 'services', depart from error it will only confuse the sheep.

Matthew 13:24-26 (King James Version)

24Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is likened unto a man which sowed good seed in his field:

25But while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat, and went his way.

26But when the blade was sprung up, and brought forth fruit, then appeared the tares also.


WAF

You should not follow a teaching of a man but Christ alone. Calvinism is not consistent with scripture. I'll post a few articles handling Calvinism, but I'll also post a few points. It's always important to let scripture interpret scripture. If one interpretation is precluded in another passage, you must find a better interpretation.

John 1:9 - 13. "...who were born of God..." refers to the new birth. They were born again of God.

1Pet. 1:3. We who believe are born again by the gospel.

John 6:43. You must look at the entire context. Verse 45, "Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me..."

John 6:61-65. Again, the context. Why could they not come to Jesus? They did not believe. That's always the crux: repentance and belief in Christ.

Acts 16:13-14. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention - TO PAY ATTENTION.

How do people hear and learn from the Father today? By the gospel of Jesus Christ, that man is inherently sinful and cannot do anything to reconcile himself to God and deserves His wrath. The good news (gospel) is that Jesus Christ suffered the wrath of God in our stead. Don't get me wrong. I'm not advocating the sinner's prayer or anything like that. To be born again, you must repent and believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ. We certainly have the ability to do that, though some will not. Even in the Old Testament, God did not rejoice in killing the wicked but wanted them to turn from their sin!

http://www.zionstrumpet.org/5.%20Audio/Chat%20Room/11_2_08.pdf

http://www.zionstrumpet.org/5.%20Audio/Chat%20Room/1_05_08.pdf

http://bible-truth.org/FAQ-Calvinism.html

Larry Phillips

This is an excellent presentation of the "The True Gospel" of Jesus Christ.

Christ's work is complete and effectual for all for whom He died for.

What GREAT assurance for God's sheep!

Larry Phillips

http://www.sermonaudio.com/housechurch

Chris Rosebrough

WAF,

I'm not a Calvinist.

And what you're defending is the heresy known as Pelegianism.


Tim the Cyanide-Gargling Faith Gladiator

Hello WAF,

To be born again, you must repent and believe in the gospel of Jesus Christ. We certainly have the ability to do that, though some will not.

No, we don't have the ability to do either of those things. Fallen man hates God; he has no interest in believing the Gospel or in repenting. Thus it is not an issue of us doing something. Instead, the Holy Spirit regenerates us through the preaching of the Word, and thus grants us the ability to believe and to repent. This is the apostolic teaching of Christ, and it is borne out by all the passages that have been mentioned so far.

The problem is with the idea that fallen man has the "ability" to believe in Christ, because this indicates that man retains at least some level of neutrality with respect to God. However this is not the case, because fallen man is God's enemy and is opposed to everything that God has to say, no matter how sensible. It is only by the regenerative intervention of the Holy Spirit that man gains the ability to believe the Gospel.

However, the trick is that the Holy Spirit always goes together with the Gospel; if you hear the Gospel, the Holy Spirit is working on you. No ifs, ands, or buts. There is no such thing as a "spiritless" or "dead" Word--the Word is always living and active. This is precisely why people often believe the Gospel when they hear it. (Note that it is your natural, sinful tendency to resist the Holy Spirit's influence, but that's beside the point.)

This view may be contrasted with the popular, Arminianistic view which divorces the Holy Spirit from the Word. The Gospel is seen as a rational message, designed to appeal to the sensibility of those who hear it. To put it crassly, the Gospel is God's high-powered sales pitch. Thus after "choosing" to believe the Gospel (much as one might choose to buy a particular product), the person then receives the "benefits" (i.e., the product), namely, the gift of the Holy Spirit. This is precisely the sort of thinking that results in the seeker-sensitive, entertainment-driven crap infesting much of Christendom. (Maybe we need an even better sales pitch than the Gospel!)

At any rate, it is all completely backwards. Fallen man hates God and has no interest in sales pitches, however awesome they may be. We cannot be persuaded to "choose" Christ. In fact, the Gospel is completely irrational to fallen man. It makes no sense whatsoever, as is made clear throughout Scripture (e.g., Christ crucified is a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles). This is why the Holy Spirit accompanies the Gospel--that is, why He must accompany it. Without the Holy Spirit there, actively conditioning us to believe, we would all simply follow our natural inclinations and spit in God's face. This is why the popular progression (hear, believe, repent, receive) makes no sense. Without the Holy Spirit, we would all be like those who have ears, but do not hear; we would never get to step two. The Holy Spirit must be there, with the hearing. Indeed, He is the reason why we believe and repent.

Also, being born again is the same thing as being baptized.

Jason B

Chris,

I see scripture supporting salvation by faith and grace but I don't see scripture supporting repentance is a must for salvation - I'm not saying I disagree I would just like more insight from you. I also see you have quoted Ephesians 2:8-9, if salvation is a gift, which I believe it is, how do you receive a gift without "accepting" it?

Mark La Roi

"Conclusion: if an evangelist is not preaching repentance of sins and the forgiveness of sins in Jesus name (aka the word of Christ) then he is not preaching a message that God will use to impart the gifts of repentance, faith and peace with God through the forgiveness of sins in Jesus' name."

~I always get a little confused at the derision shown "altar call" type salvation. What about when the repentance and forgiveness in Jesus name is taught before such a call is made? I know and agree that it is God who saves, but how does one make that transitional point from death to life clear to the convert?

Again, I know it's not the work of any person that saves them, but the work of God. Still, if you have a person who God is saving at that moment and you given them opportunity to make public profession of it, is that bad?

Chris Rosebrough

Mark,

What does the scripture say on this matter. Look at the book of Acts. Start in chapter 2

Tim the Cyanide-Gargling Faith Gladiator

Hi Mark,

What about when the repentance and forgiveness in Jesus name is taught before such a call is made?

You make a very valuable point. Why is the altar call always wrong, even if it is preceded by catechesis and disconnected from decision theology? Because the "adult conversion event," where one formally and publicly professes faith in Christ and officially receives the benefits of His saving death, is Baptism.

However, the radical pietist sects rejected Christ's teaching on Baptism and replaced it with the altar call. Baptism is administered later, merely as an act of obedience. That is why the altar call can't be tolerated; it divorces two things which God has joined together. Baptism goes together with a public profession of faith and the Holy Spirit and salvation.

Mark La Roi

"Mark,

What does the scripture say on this matter. Look at the book of Acts. Start in chapter 2"

~Repeatedly in Acts it say "repent and be baptized". Acts 2 quotes Joel "everyone who call on the name of the Lord will be saved." I'm not seeing the disconnect unless I am misunderstanding what you are thinking of when you use the term "altar call". When I've seen it in good churches it has been just walking up front to accept what you could accept from your seat, but doing it up there as a declaration before the church, with baptism following later.

Tim - It seems that you are saying baptism saves you when you say "officially receives the benefits of His saving death...". I have not encountered many churches with the facilities to baptize open and ready every Sunday. Yet some of these same pastors have said that there is no reason, based in Scripture, why a convert shouldn't be baptized immediately.

I didn't get baptised until weeks after my salvation, yet I know The Spirit sealed me the instant I believed, not waiting until baptism.

Chris Rosebrough

Mark,

I tackled your question on my radio program today. Take a listen.

http://www.fightingforthefaith.com/2009/04/a-dangerous-and-radical-idea-regarding-baptism.html


Kelly

Jason B-- it depends on what you're calling "repentance." Most properly, repentance is God showing us the Law, turning us from our sin, and granting us faith in Christ through the Gospel. In other words, it's a gift of God through his Word, given to us for salvation and forgiveness. It's true that many define repentance as pure Law, but I doubt Chris is using it in that sense.

Many Christians who believe in decision theology deliberately use the word "accept" to describe how they are saved because they are not willing to let God do 100% of the work to save them. In theory, they *want* to give the Holy Spirit all the credit, but can't mentally get around the fact that they think that some people should be saved because of something they *did* (i.e. respond properly to Jesus, be less resistant to the Spirit than unbelievers, etc). So the term "acceptance" implies that they have looked over God's offer of salvation as an arbitor, and have decided of their own will to take salvation upon themselves as a personal commitment (another popular term). How do you receive a gift without "accepting" it in this arbitor's sense? Simple-- how does an infant receive the gift of life, or the gift of new clothing or a warm blanket? It's simply *given* to them, whether they understand everything about it right away or not. It benefits them immediately. They don't sign on the dotted line to say "I choose to accept this gift, thanks." How pompous that would be. Even adults don't speak that way when they talk about a gift they received from a friend.

Tim the Cyanide-Gargling Faith Gladiator

Mark,

Of course Baptism saves you.

Yet some of these same pastors have said that there is no reason, based in Scripture, why a convert shouldn't be baptized immediately.

Well, it is necessary to make sure the new convert understands precisely what they are getting themselves into. Public profession of faith accompanies baptism, so it is helpful to have a period of preparation and catechesis beforehand.

I didn't get baptised until weeks after my salvation, yet I know The Spirit sealed me the instant I believed, not waiting until baptism.

We know that the Spirit operates through the preaching of the Word, and that salvation comes from the Gospel. But this does not diminish the importance or effect of Baptism. Baptism makes your salvation official and public. It buries you with Christ, grants you the Holy Spirit, washes away your sins, clothes you with Christ's righteousness, and makes you a member of the Church; these are the benefits of baptism according to Scripture. It is furthermore the point at which you publicly profess your faith in Christ before the Church. The trick is to not pit baptism against the Gospel; as usual, they go together. Just as we say, "Believe the Gospel, and you will be saved," we also say, "Baptism now saves you." They are complementary, not contradictory.

S McKee

Read the John McArthur's book "The Gospel According to Jesus"

Prodigal Knot

Chris,
I agree with your take on scripture, for it surely says that we do not save ourselves. In this sense I agree with Calvinism. However, once God has opened our hearts (Acts 16:14) and made us alive through the gospel (Romans 10:14, Ephesians 2:4-6) we still need to be baptized. The problem, as noted, is that people tend to confuse baptism with works or put baptism above belief and repentance. Baptism is ordained and commanded. Anyone who says baptism does not save contradicts Peter twice (Acts 2:38 and 1 Peter 3:21) and Paul in Tius 3:5 "He saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit".

The Nicean creed also states "We believe in one baptism for the REMISSION OF SINS". Modern day evangelicals have negated the emphasis that God and the Apostles, as well as the early church, placed on baptism. I agree completely with Tim on this. Reducing baptism to a simple formality, or only an "act" of obedience, makes it independent of saving grace. Peter, Philip and Paul preached and all who believed were baptized (Acts 2;41, Acts 8:12, Acts 18:8). The Holy Spirit directed Philip to join the Ehtiopian official and "carried him away" only after the eunuch was baptized. This was the full "good news" that the Ethiopian needed to take to his country.

I hate the way baptism is sometimes given more emphasis than preaching repentance and saving faith through Christ. Baptism is required, yet it is the "seal" on a transaction initiated by God alone. We put on Christ's righteousness through faith and baptism (Galatians 3:27, Hebrews 10:22).

catransplant48

Tim and Prodigal Knot,

If a baby dies and is not baptized, where do you believe it spends eternity?

If an adult dying of HIV/AIDS accepts Christ and dies within an hour and has not been baptized, where do they spend eternity?

Tim the Cyanide-Gargling Faith Gladiator

cat,

Pay attention: "The trick is to not pit baptism against the Gospel; as usual, they go together. Just as we say, "Believe the Gospel, and you will be saved," we also say, "Baptism now saves you." They are complementary, not contradictory."

But since you like pointless, rhetorical questions: Consider a person who has both heard the Gospel and been baptized, yet rejects the benefits of baptism and systematically defends false teacher who pervert God's Word. If such a person dies without repentance, where will they spend eternity?

Steve Newell

Catransplant,

We cannot say with any certainty that if a bady dies outside of Holy Baptism that child will be saved. We do know that those who are not saved will spend an eternity separated from God. We cannot speculate any more than this. We do know that when one is baptized, regardless of age, there is the forgiveness of sins. What is why we are instructed to baptize.

As for your second question, one does not have to be baptized to be saved. One can be saved by the hearing of the Word of God. If the adult is brought to faith by the Holy Spirit through hearing of the Word, then they are saved. One cannot accept Christ since that implies that a non-believer has the capacity to make make such a decision. God is the only decision maker.

There is not such thing as an "age of accountability" since a new born is sinner just like you or I. This is one of the greatest false teachings in many "evangelical" churches because it is not supported by scripture but runs contrary. As one raised in a Southern Baptist church, I am very familiar with this "doctrine". If there is any scriptural support for such a teaching, I have yet to see it.

Brian of the Hill People

I would tend to think of it in terms of Job. There was no baptism in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit way back then, of course. However, Job, a righteous man before the Lord, did not think it useless or foolish to offer sacrifice on behalf of his children whom he thought may have sinned. If it were in vain, shouldn't scripture have made it known?

I understand that the book of Job does not offer direct scriptural support for this type of baptism. It does provide food for thought, though.

catransplant48

"We cannot say with any certainty that if a bady dies outside of Holy Baptism that child will be saved"

So Steve, are you saying you think it's a possibility that aborted babies will be spending eternity separated from God?

"One does not have to be baptized to be saved. One can be saved by the hearing of the Word of God."

Have aborted babies and infants that die hear the Word of God? Are they "accountable"?

Brian of the Hill People

Some thoughts:

Can God comdemn anyone at any age who has not heard the Word of God?

This is not a problem if one believes what the Bible states regarding man being conceived in sin, otherwise known as original sin/total depravity and that none seek after God because their hearts are evil and they unable to love God.

It is only a problem if you believe man is born innocent, in a neutral state, and can likely be swayed in their neutral free will to see how much better it is to love God rather than hate Him if it is presented to them.

Or to put it another, it becomes a problem only if you think people become children of wrath (as we once all were) some time after birth.

How about we just trust God to be good, merciful, and just as we all claim we believe He is? And if aborted babies do end up in hell, God did not wrong them.

There is no scripture saying vicitms of murder at any age get special consideration toward salvation. There is no scripture saying there is an age of accountability. We do have scripture where we are admonished not to prevent little ones from coming to Him. We do have scripture telling us not to lean to our own understanding.

God is just and good. No one will wrongly be sent to hell, regardless of the length or shortness of their earthly lives. Unless you secretly suspect God wrongly sends righteous people to hell.

Truth Unites... and Divides

catransplant48: "Have aborted babies and infants that die hear the Word of God? Are they "accountable"?

Read this article.

Prodigal Knot

Brian,

Job practised what he knew was accepted by God beginning with Cain and Abel. The brothers obviously learned that kind of worship from Adam and Eve. Christ also obviously endorsed baptism (Matt 3:15) and commanded it be done (Matt 28:19). Circumcision was the old sign of God's covenant beginning with Abraham and ending with the Lord's Supper (Luke 22:20) and did not guarantee anything if one's heart wasn't right (Romans 4:10). Baptism was practised regularly and without any delay throuht the New Testament. It was part and parcel of conversion then and should be now.

Brian of the Hill People

Prodigal Kent: I agree. I absolutely believe in the benefits of baptism and am not an opponent of infant baptism, which was why I referred to Job in the first place.

Matthew 28 is interesting. Just as we cannot divorce baptism from the conversion experience, we cannot divorce the other half of the command Christ gave in the same breath, which is to go forth into the nations, making disciples, teaching them all things Christ commanded.

If we are not consistent, it's easy to refute our stance. If we cry foul when others divorce baptism from conversion, they can cry foul if we (allegedly) divorce the command to baptize from the same sentence requiring us to disciple. I think incredulity may be found in that opponents of infant baptism may have difficulty believing parents who baptize their infants are also faithfully discipling them. And there may be individual cases in which they are right, however, even if so, it does not negate the benefits of baptism merely because a parent(s) fails in their obligation.

Brian of the Hill People

That was to Prodigal Knot.

I have no idea why I typed Prodigal Kent.

Silly me.

Prodigal Knot

S'okay Brian!

I would be okay with infant baptism if it could be scripturally proven to be the "new circumcision". However, if baptism truly is a replacement for circumcision, then why didn't this come up as the "new circumcision" during the great debate in Acts 15? This would have been the perfect time to rebutt the idea of physical circumcision.

We can assume that infants were or were not included in the household baptisms, but cannot prove either case scripturally. Is infant baptism acceptable to God? I can't prove that it is, so I have to infer that it is not.

Prodigal Knot

Chris,
I finally got around to listening to your broadcast on "A Dangerous and Radical Idea Regarding Baptism". I didn't have time to listen to all of it, but the gist is that you believe baptism is something that should not be deferred and is instrumental in conveying to a convert that he is being born anew and taking on a righteousness not his or her own. I believe Paul had the very same idea :)

I am glad to see that someone actually reads and believes what Peter says in Acts 2. We know the churches of Christ, Christian churches and Disciples of Christ believe this exact thing. I was not raised church of Christ, but I believe that they as well as some of the old German Brethren have the right idea about baptism. Peter Nead, a very influential German Brethren preacher in the early 1800's, wrote something called "Theological Writings on Various Subjects and A Defense of Primitve Christianity" which can be read online at

    http://books.google.com/books?id=S2I9XrKOaREC&printsec=frontcover&dq=Peter+Nead#PPA8,M1
.

In this book, on page 245, he defends the idea that baptism is by immersion and is NOT just an outward ceremonial act and was not held as anything but an unquestioned part of the conversion process in the early church. I believe he errs, as do the Brethren, in thinking that kneeling and being dunked three times is necessary for proper baptism. I believe the root Greek renders the Great Commission "baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit" as singular, not plural as in "the names".

Regardless, I think you hit the nail on the head. The big debates about the efficacy of baptism would be largley dismissed if every person who professes faith in Jesus Christ was immediately baptized. It would eliminate any discussion about whether baptism is required. For those who think it is not, then no harm done anyway. But, for those who, like me, felt compelled to be baptized because we knew the Bible said we should be as followers of Christ, it would reduce the doubts of many who ask, "How can I know I am really saved?" It takes God-given humility and grace to be baptized immediately before people you may or may not know in order to confess publicly that you have decided to follow Jesus.

Brian of the Hill People

PK:

This is why I have things I will be dogmatic with and things I won't. I do not publically like to go further than the scriptures because my opinion isn't the Word of God, it's just what I think based on my imperfect knowledge of God's character. I think a number of things I cannot prove scripturally.

If I think something I cannot prove and share it with others dogmatically, and I am wrong, I'm now guilty of corrupting brethren with false doctrine.

This leads back to what happens to infants who die. Scripture does not indicate any other way of salvation other than faith in Jesus Christ. To be dogmatic beyond that is to take the chance you teach your opinion as theological fact without the authority of clear scripture and are wrong, thus teaching a lie. It isn't to be callous about infants dying or being murdered in the womb. We could comfort others with our mere opinions, but what happens if we are wrong in our opinions?

The best thing we can do is circle back to God's character. We know he is loving, merciful, kind, and fair. We know He would not damn a single soul unjustly.

What I do know is baptism saves. I know the prayer of a righteous one avails much with God. And we have at least one OT example of a saint expecting to see his dead child in Heaven and another OT saint who thought it not insane or useless to offer sacrifice for his children for their sins.

I don't oppose infant baptism. But I am wary to teach as doctrine what is the compilation of reason through scripture yet not expressly stated (to my knowledge) in scripture itself.

This is my problem with Limited Attonement in the Calvinism TULIP. It is very logical reasoning based on scripture. But scripture clearly states that Christ died for the sins of the world. Reason never trumps clear scripture. It doesn't matter if it seems paradoxical that Christ died for the sins of the world yet the entire world isn't obviously saved. God's thought are higher than mine. I am fully prepared to accept that I may not understand everything concerning my infinite God that I may like.

And while I greatly appreciate Calvinist apologists, who defend truth grandly and with whom I nearly always agree, every attempt I have seen to make the word 'world' fit something else as part of the context to defend this position has been quite awkward and obvious stretching. The same with baptism. They dismiss much of what scripture clearly states about it. I gladly and thankfully stand on a huge deal of common doctrinal ground with Calvinists but those are a couple of examples of where I disagree with them.

*******************************************************************

Incidentally, this thought just came to me about Arminianism. If you believe you must choose to generate your own faith in Christ, the thought of really young ones dying must be terrifying (moreso than normal, I mean, it's not joyful for anyone).

They aren't old enough to understand and generate their own faith, are they? And for an Arminian, for God to choose to save infants without consulting their will first is wrong, so He'd just have to let them be condemned. God couldn't 'force' anyone to love him, not even infants.

(disclaimer: I know we who believe in full grace and not free will do not see God as forcing us to love Him, but rather, making one who was incapable of doing it to now have that capability through regeneration. I was using the phrase as it is popularly used by Arminians as an argument.)

pastorharold

Brian,
I think our hills are so close that we might even be on the same ridge.
I agree totally with you on baptisim, Calvinism, dogmatics and doctrine. Very well said. (accroding to me)

Tim the Cyanide-Gargling Faith Gladiator

Hi Prodigal Knot,

Is infant baptism acceptable to God? I can't prove that it is, so I have to infer that it is not.

I don't think you have to infer any such thing. :)

The key point is to recognize that the rejection of infant baptism is not an isolated issue. Rather, it is entangled with all of radical reformation theology. If you accept the radical reformation; i.e., that the institutional church is bad, that ceremonies and rituals cannot have any power, that the Holy Spirit operates without the Word, that man must decide to accept Christ, etc cetera, then infant baptism makes no sense.

If conversion is fundamentally man's decision to accept the Gospel, and baptism is merely a symbolic act intended to reflect this decision, then why baptize babies? What good will do them? None. In fact, it would implicate that they have made a decision for Christ, which is obviously not the case.

However, if one understands that conversion is fundamentally the work of the Holy Spirit, and that the Holy Spirit operates through the water and Word of baptism, and if one understands that baptism washes away our sins, regenerates us, and *is* in fact our gateway into the holy ark of Christendom, then infant baptism is self-evident.

The issue, thus, is not infant baptism. The issue is radical reformation theology vs. historic reformation theology.

Prodigal Knot

Thanks Brian.

I agree with your well-rounded views in the first part of your response.

The portion following I am not sure about. I have not claimed or said that anyone is capable of "generating" their own faith. Each one of us is given a portion of faith according to scripture. We are required to use it and thereby grow in it.

Brian of the Hill People

Sorry, PK. That second part after the line of asterixes was just a rhetorical observation to the world at large. In hindsight, I should have made that clear. It was to no one in particular, just for people to think about. It was certainly not specifically to you as it obviously had nothing to do with baptism, which were we commenting on.

Just something I thought about right before sending my comment out and added, that had nothing to do with everything above it.

John C

Tim,

There's a deep rut in the Christian faith, as most believers experience it. It's like a ditch that you run your car into and can't get out of. Unless God tows a believer out of the rut, he or she will never fully live out of their union with Christ.

The rut is this: most of us believe that in the depths of our being we are both good and bad. Or, to put it in theological terms, we are both righteous and sinful. Using a common illustration, we believe that we have within us both a white dog and a black dog, a good nature and a bad nature, that are fighting for control.

But that is not true. It is vital that we know it's not true, because if we believe that we are both righteous and sinful, it will be impossible to live out of our union with Christ and to rest, trusting that He lives through us moment by moment. Instead, we will be focused on ourselves, on getting our act together, on winning the war that supposedly rages within us, trying to suppress the bad part of us so that the good part will reflect the character of Christ. This endless self-effort is the complete opposite of what Paul wrote:

I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God... (Galatians 2:20)

The only way out of this dilemma, of believing that we are both good and bad, is to understand that the realm of the spirit, above the line, is singular. It is one. The realm of appearances, below the line, is a duality. It is two.

In the realm of appearances, there is constant evidence of good and evil, both outside and inside us. If we judge by appearances, we arrive at the logical conclusion that we are both good and bad. That looks entirely valid. Christians have believed this for centuries. Except for a small minority who have come to know their true identity in Christ, the whole Christian world accepts the lie. Unfortunately, although something may not be true above the line, if below the line we think it is true, it still controls us. We must choose to live out of what is singular, rather than what is dual.

The realm of the spirit, the singular realm, is eternal reality. That is where our spirit being lives, and where our true identity is settled forever. The realm of appearance, although we must live in it in the here and now, is false as far as our identity goes. All of life depends on which realm is ultimate reality to you: the realm of spirit or the realm of appearances. That's going to determine what you believe and how you live.

Choosing to believe that you are not both good and evil can be difficult. All of the external proof, all of the apparent evidence, all of the sight, supports the opposite: that you have two natures. "You are good, yes, a little good, but boy, you are still wicked; you are still evil." Only the Holy Spirit can reveal to you that you only have one nature, not two. In the core of your being you are not both righteous and sinful; you are only righteous.

Dan

Thanks for posting this. I'm starting to feel like I'm on a deserted island on this one, just found your blog recently. Know any good churches in Northwest Indiana that preach this kind of stuff? I'm checking out a Nazarene church soon, the pastor seems to understand this stuff, not sure yet. Any advice?

Tim the Cyanide-Gargling Faith Gladiator

John C,

Why do you sin? Surely you see that this conversation cannot progress until you answer.

John C

Tim,

I will answer your question, consider the following. Jesus said that which is of the flesh is flesh, that which is of the spirit is spirit. He makes a distinction. He also tells us "not to judge by appearances" meaning, you can't trust everything your (natural) eyes see because truth is anchored in the unseen, eternal realm of the spirit.

We hear Paul telling us "we look NOT at the things which are seen/visible for they are merely temporal (not lasting, not the "real") but to look upon that which is unseen/invisible with the eyes of our hearts (spirit man) for they are eternal (there we will find the true, the trustworthy). 2 Cor 4:18. We can't trust our natural eyes so he goes on to say "that the eyes of our hearts (inner, spirit man) may be enlightened".

The issue for us is this, where is our reality? In the flesh or the spirit? What will we believe? The lie or the truth? Are we anchored down in the flesh (realm of appearances) or the spirit (realm of truth)? Remember...if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. Romans 8:10. We have to learn to stop living from a "dead" perspective. Or as Jesus said in the Lords prayer " may it be on earth (the physical) as it is in heaven (the spiritual). We walk by faith, not by sight (what our natural eyes tell us). We need a new perspective, His.

If we (our true self's) are sinners then how are any of us going to ever have the right to the tree of life as described in the end, Revelations? Can any sin (darkness, death) dwell in the holy light of eternity in the very presence of God? Heavens no. So "sin" cant be the...true. What's the answer? To finally comprehend what has already been transacted in the cross, the death and resurrection. To really know the..."things which are freely given to us" which pertain to life and Godliness, to walk in the spirit.

As long as I continue to walk in the spirit, then no I dont sin and that (spirit man) is the real me. If I cease to abide in Christ (within) and try and "live" from a dead identity (the old flesh man, adam) then the natural result is inevitable sin because sin is the offspring, the rotten fruit of the flesh nature...but that's not who I (really) am because that man is truly..dead, do you see this? So no, I (that is the true me) does not sin because sin is dead and I (the real me) is alive in Christ. But, if I dont abide...then yes the false, old identity is very capable of sinning...but that's not who I (really) am. It all boils down to who you really are and the truth is in the eternal, unseen realm of the spirit.

It's impossible to do both good and evil while in the spirit, there is no duality there. Are we flesh or spirit? Which is the true? Temporal or eternal? So we dont "look upon that which we see, but that which is unseen". This does not mean that I have fully arrived by any means, God is still forming my nature after the nature of Christ (Gal 4:19) and that will never stop while I am still "in the body". After the many wars of David comes the peaceful reign of Solomon. Victory in Christ, through the spirit within is not only possible, but we are commanded to "leave the elementary principles...let us GO ON to perfection...Heb 6:1.

I am not the perfect One, but the Perfect One lives within us (Col 1:27) and if we will abide in Him then "we" will not sin because "we" are then in union with Christ (1 Cor 6:17) and it is impossible for Christ to sin, get it? This is not blasphemous as you would think, rather it represents a stubborn and righteous refusal to not accept anything less that the fulness of His sacrifice and what it accomplished for us, in us.

How can we be content to live in a duality of natures? Who is the true...you? Christ in you or your old (dead) sin nature that WAS crucified? With which pair of eyes do we see? Our natural/fleshly, untrustworthy eyes or with the eyes of our hearts/spirit man?
We must learn to discern between flesh (the unreal) and spirit (the real, though unseen) of us. This is all part of the progressive revelation of our inheritence in Christ.

Behold (awaken) the Bridegroom cometh, go ye out (of our old dead selves and false identities) and meet Him.

Blessings in Christ...

Walker

John
"It's impossible to do both good and evil while in the spirit, there is no duality there. Are we flesh or spirit? Which is the true? Temporal or eternal?"

According to Paul we are both. I know people on this thread have tried to point you to Romans 7 several times but let me lay it out once more.

"18For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. 20Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me."

Paul does not treat his flesh as a mere "appearance" or "lie" as you call it, but a reality that must be acknowledged and dealt with.

All your talk of the flesh being a non-reality and the spirit realm being truth is not Christianity, it's Gnosticism. I've noticed that you have a habit of inserting meaning parenthetically into the vast majority of your scripture quotes. Were the words of the apostles not good enough that you have to constantly insert a higher spiritual meaning into them?

Did Christ die only in spirit? Was he resurrected only in spirit? When Christ returns will we only be resurrected spiritually, or will our whole selves, body and soul, be brought into the kingdom?

You also said this:

"If we (our true self's) are sinners then how are any of us going to ever have the right to the tree of life as described in the end, Revelations? Can any sin (darkness, death) dwell in the holy light of eternity in the very presence of God? Heavens no. So "sin" cant be the...true. What's the answer?"

Allow me to answer you.

50I tell you this, brothers: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. 51Behold! I tell you a mystery. We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised imperishable, and we shall be changed. 53For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. 54When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written:

"Death is swallowed up in victory." 55 "O death, where is your victory?
O death, where is your sting?"
56The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

John C

Walker-

Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the subject, greatly appreciated. So there in Romans 7:20 that you referenced what does it say about who is doing the sinning? V20...Now if I do what I do not want, IT IS NO LONGER I WHO DO IT, but sin that dwells within me." Do you see that? Paul says it is no longer "I" doing the sinning??? So who is it that is doing the sinning if it's not Paul??? Do you see this? Who is Paul saying he really is? Who is this "I"? Let's go fwd one chapter to see..."if Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is alive because of righteousness. Romans 8:10. That old body of death is what Christ did away with on the cross, he took our inherited, sinful humanity to the grave and now He, His spirit is resurrected in us, and IS our (only) life. Christ in you is the mystery of the ages as Paul declares.

Why did Jesus rebuke Satan while responding to, speaking to Peter when Peter spoke against Jesus being crucified and raised again on the road to Jerusalem??? Peter said it, then immediately we hear Jesus rebuking Satan?? Here's the secret, we are mere containers for Him, the kingdom of heaven being within us. Whatever or whoever we give ourselves to becomes our master, Christ or that fallen, dead man, the man of rebellion, of sin. But if we sin, as Paul says...its not us (the real us) doing the sinning, like you just quoted.

The pinnacle revelation is union with the Father & the Son through the spirit in the same way the pattern Son (Jesus) our Lord, Savior and model for the spirit led life demonstrated. We will never be fully united to our Head (Christ) as long as we are comfortable containing both kingdoms within. So what does scripture say? CAST OUT the bondwoman and her son, for the son of the bondwoman (slave to sin) shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman" Gal 4:30.

At one time I believed as you do now, so I understand where you are coming from, But then I came to understand these true words "He whom the Son sets free is free indeed!" John 8:36. Christ died to set us free, completely free my friend...and that we truly are if we will only...believe.

I appreciate you, journey on beloved, He is the Lord of the journey.


Brian of the Hill People

Man is flesh and spirit.

God first formed the flesh then breathed in spirit. God's intent at the beginning was man as a being of flesh and spirit.

His intent in the end is man as a being of flesh and spirit.

In between, because of sin, man's spirit became dead and his flesh corrupt. Christ's work on Calvary allowed man's spirit to be made alive with a promise in the future to exchange his corrupt flesh for incorruptable.

We are commanded to live in the spirit and make our flesh the slave of our spirit even as our spirit is a slave to Christ.

Yet we do fail and must needs repent, as provided for in scripture.

Paul's illustration in Roamns 7 is that his sin is not the fruit of the new creation which is no longer bound to slavery to sin (his quickened spirit) but the fruit of his corrupt flesh which freely revels in it. Yet it is still his sin.

It is still called our sin, when we repent as per 1 John, and we are obligated (and graced) to repent of it. We are not repenting of the sin of some third party as a spokesperson but our own real sin. I cannot repent of another's sin, only my own.

Why the call to repentence if it is not our own sin?

As per John 8, we whom the Son set free are free indeed. We are no longer bound ONLY to sin but able to love God and our neighbor. We indeed set free from condemnation and wrath. We are set free from death.

There is no duality. We are regenerated hearts in corrupt flesh. The completion of our salvation comes when we exchange the corrupt for incorruption. Until then, we can no means distance ourselves from our sin which we have sinned as though it were done by some devious third party. It is still ours.

The flesh did not begin corrupt. It became corrupt because of transgression. So did our spirit. One has has been quickened and made new. The other has not yet. We are to identify with the spirit but divorce ourselves from responsibility for the flesh.

If such were true, no man would be damned, for all inhabit corrupt flesh. If the responsibility for it did not lie with the man, who could God condemn?

Brian of the Hill People

Excuse me, I made a typo:

Next to last paragraph, last sentence should read:

"We are to identify with the spirit but NOT divorce ourselves from the responsibility for the flesh."

One little missing word really changes the whole meaning, glad I caught that before I got hammered! lol

John C

Dont worry, you would never get hammered from me my friend. Genesis is full of mystery, it goes unfathomably deep, especially when we are deep in the spirit. I for one am not fully convinced that we were originally encased in flesh, that's its not the result of our "falling" from the realm of the spirit to the lowered state of the flesh. I am not alone with this (crazy ha) assertion, here's why. The realm of flesh represents a "lowered state" compared to the realm of spirit. Spirit is above, higher than flesh. We know God is spirit (John 4:4) and Genesis states that in the beginning we were made in God's very image and likeness. I see the distinct possibility that our true, original, created state was as a spirit man in the manner of the heavenly state.

So we have a true restoration to the original matrix, the restoration of all things. There is much we dont understand "down here" for we "see through a glass darkly", one day our (true) sight will be completely restored and the mysteries unraveled. What a glorious day that will be, I'm sure we can both agree on that much.

Warm regards.

Brian of the Hill People

John C:

Howdy!
Firstly, I thought of another way of going about the ongoing topic (and then I'll respond to your latest comment below that).

Here's maybe a better way for me to get at the point I am making. Perhaps coming at this from a different tact illuminates my understanding.

When Paul remarks about himself doing good, or having a victory, or having strength, he always attributes it to Christ. He says thing like "I did xxxx, but not I, but Christ in me."

All good comes from Christ in us. Where does the bad come from?

And this is the life of faith. We look unto Him for the redemption of our souls and bodies. Should we all live better? I pray so. "Be perfect as your Father in Heaven is perfect."

Yet I am not justified by how well I keep this law, but rather by faith. The works of my flesh are sin indeed but I am not saved by the works of my spirit, rather, they are to the praise of Him in me, His strength made perfect in my weakness. I am saved by faith.

Paul states he sees 2 laws at work in himself. Oh that it were only one, we would be perfect.

Secondly, as to your latest comment, general thoughts I have:

I believe Genesis is clear Adam was formed of clay of the ground and that God breathed His Spirit into him. To put our wearing of flesh after the Fall but not before, makes the chronology of Genesis nonsensical (or bluntly, a lie). Adam clearly was flesh (and spirit) before the Fall.

But what was the scope of incorrupt flesh? What is the scope of our promised glorified bodies? We were not witnesses as man's state before the Fall. We can only speculate only bodies that did not weaken and grow infirm, that did not grow tired so easily, that were not marred by blemish and the drudges and dangers of a life of toil on a cursed Earth.

Speculating here, mere opinion without scriptural support, but perhaps in an incorrupt body, everyone is a genius. Perhaps everyone is beautiful to look upon. Perhaps it cannot be broken. Perhaps it has great strength (such as how chimps, roughly the same mass of humans are yet 5 to 7 times stronger). What man alive has witness just how much we lost in just physicality in the Fall?

But remember this, God made man flesh as well as spirit. Flesh as low and evil eternally is a gnostic concept. Originally, it was not so. Flesh is the type of the sinful nature while spirit is the type of godly nature. It is used as a visible illustration to separate what men can see from he now cannot. Furthermore, Christ has a very real (yet now glorified) body. His flesh is not low but very God choosing to wear it.

Being made in His image is a great honor but not to be confused with being as Him. Only God, of all creation, alive or no, great or small, is sufficient unto Himslf. No man is. He is holy, holy, holy (separate, separate, separate).

God is spirit, true. Now our God also wears flesh. We shall see Him in His flesh and sees the scars upon Him that bought our peace. God did not make man to primarily exult man. God made man to exult His holy name. We are children of God. This implies an eternal relationship with Him over us. And so it, for Christ is the Head of the Church.

John C

Brian...many good thoughts on your part, thx for sharing. One thing we must always do when contemplating these matters is to look upon the earthly life of Christ, for He is the pattern Son and we are to model, have the same quality and manner of relationship with the Father that He did while in the earth. In John 17 Jesus prays that just as He and the Father are One (in perfect union) so also should we be (paraphrased).

This is why I say that, ultimately this "union" which some believers tend to dismiss as heresy is actually the pinnacle height in the life of a believer, a Son of the living God. When we finally (fully) die to self, reckon ourselves (our old lives and external identities) fully dead, then we can move into union (one must usually go thru an extremely trying time to purge this old nature first) and then He is truly Lord over all of us, our whole being is sanctified, body, soul and spirit. Only then can we "be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect" as you said.

Regarding Adam, keep in mind the great disparity between the words "created" and "formed". I am not the only nutcase who considers our original state to have been spirit, there are some respected, learned men of God who share this hunch as well. There is also some further suspicion of this tied to the mystery of marriage that Paul referred to. I believe the spirit aspect of our beings represents the male while the soul is the female. There's a lot more here than you may currently appreciate, I would simply encourage a more open posture here since we really do not know much about the true nature of man prior to the fall. Man was created as one being like God having both male and female attributes, then due to sin (nature split) had to be re-formed, separated spirit/soul from the dust of the ground. We will just have to "check out the video" when we get there and have some heavenly popcorn together ok?? lol

All the best my friend...and remember Jesus is perfect theology!

Walker

John,

I really would like to hear you respond to the points that both I and Brian have made about the Resurrection. I noticed that in responding to me you jumped on my mention of Romans 7, although you still did not show that Paul viewed sin as anything less than a very real reality present within himself, which must be dealt with.

However you said nothing about my quoting 1 Corinthians 15, which was the main thrust of my post. If you look back you'll notice Paul describes a drastic and instantaneous change that will occur in the resurrection. This is not a transition from body to spirit, but a complete remaking of the whole being, body included.

Let me reiterate my former questions:

Did Christ die only in spirit? Was he resurrected only in spirit? When Christ returns will we only be resurrected spiritually, or will our whole selves, body and soul, be brought into the kingdom?

If you don't mind I actually have one more.

At the beginning of 1 Corinthians 15, where Paul gives one of the most plain definitions of the Gospel found anywhere in scripture, is our primary hope placed on Christ "in" us, or Christ "for" us?

John C

Walker,

Thanks, I am grateful for the Light in you, that you have received. Yes, we may see different jewels in 1 Cor 15 but nevertheless they are precious jewels indeed!

Yes, the first part is a beautiful description of the many benefits of the love of God for us in Christ, what Love has done (Himself), we are in great agreement there my friend and it is wonderful.

Concerning our past discussions regarding sin, its inevitability, etc, please see verse 34 in your passage (1 Cor 15) Paul says..."Awake to righteousness, and do not sin (how could he tell us not to sin if it were not possible?)...for some have not the knowledge of God (I believe he means...within, His nature, His life within, or else why would he say...do not sin?)...I speak this to your shame". Paul's words not mine.

Yes, He is both for you and in you, He MUST be Walker because there is only one (uncreated, of eternal quality, Zoe) kind of Life in the entire universe, that Word (Christ) that was both with God and was God in the beginning that Word that became...flesh. While faith is the mechanism of recipience by grace, He (His very Life within) is the substance, the means or evidence thereof (now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his) Romans 8:9.

As for your excellent resurrection thoughts, I agree there is a glorious resurrection in store, a new heavenly (meaning spiritual, of the heavenly plane/type/kind, quality) praise God, I have never said otherwise and rejoice in this marvelous truth with you.

As for the rest, I think the danger, the loss of NOW truth is something we must gaurd against so we dont miss out on all the benefits of His extreme sacrifice and in so doing trample His blood underfoot, we must be careful not to assign so much to the "afterlife" alone. God lives and operates outside the boundary of time, is not limited as we are (are we?) and thus, as Jesus said "repent" (translated as metanoi in the original greek which means to literally have a new mind, His which was our's before the fall) for the kingdom HAS come". Mark 1:15.

Remember the Kingdom of God is within you. Luke 17:21 Keep in mind everything Jesus did (concerning us) was a restoration to what was before the fall. In the same way we have difficulty in this life conceiving of "heaven", we are similarly challenged to comprehend the original, paradaisical state, and our true selves/nature before the fall and that's what Christ came to restore, our true selves, so who were we? What were we really like? Jesus.

Back to your most insightful 1 Cor 15 thoughts...here's an example where we tend to mistake the now benefit for the afterlife only. Verse 49 reads...and as we have borne the image of the man of dust (man of the earth, natural, fleshy), we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man. As I once did, I imagine you view this from a future perspective right? But please understand Adam is the man "of the dust" even his name means that. Christ is the "heavenly" man the second Adam and we are now IN Him so we are in fact "heavenly" beings...now having an earthly experience. When scripture uses the word heaven, or heavenly we need to understand that means of the spirit kind, it is not just referring to a place in the after life called...heaven, do you see that?

In the Lord's prayer we hear Jesus say "may it be on earth (our physical lives, bodies, this temporal realm) as it is in heaven (as it is in the undefiled, spiritual, heavenly state with Father). We have heard that prayer, those words of Jesus' our whole lives but have we ever really considered it's true meaning? Jesus brings this "heavenly" state into our fallen condition, earth (our physical bodies, temporal existance). Jesus is the intersection of heaven and earth.

Going on...so we move from being "mere" men as scripture says who hold to an earthly ancestry and identity to spiritual (spiritually minded, spirit identified) men who live "above" the corrupted, fleshly, world and its many plagues of iniquity. Christ is a type of the Ark we know, we get IN Christ and so rise above the flood of corruption in this world. Noah "walked" with God. If we "walk" in the spirit (God is spirit) so will we. The flesh/natural plane is a lowered state (that we are only in due to the fall) and the spirit is a higher realm, a loftier level/plane if you will. We are NOW that "heavenly" man that Paul refers to (since we have been regenerated in Christ). That "new creation" in Christ Jesus.

Why do we insist on holding so tightly to a physical form (our old corrupt humanity) that is...dead? Romans 8:10. Or as CS Lewis phrased it "you dont have a soul, you have a body, you are a soul". The first revelation we need is that our bodies are not (the real) us, we wont have these (same physical) bodies in the celstial state. There is more than meets the eye, the mirror lies (2 Cor 4:18).

Let me ask you this...who was it (in you) that was born a second time? John 3:3. That new (spirit man) that you cant see with your natural eyes, and who is that man in you that you cant see? This true man created in the image of God, in truth according to (Eph 4:23-24)?. He has to be Christ...that's the only eternal Life there is, consider it carefully and remember this mind-blower...there is one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, AND IN YOU ALL. (Eph 4:4) Yes, Walker, The Father is IN you...too if you be IN Christ because...the Father and the Son are...One. (*revelation, light, awakening, fellowship). The Lord is One. Christ IN you is the mystery of the ages, Col 1:27.

Going on, but since the fall we have lost the divine/spiritual sensitivities and are more "fleshly" than spiritual. This is what Paul means when he says just as we have taken on adam, been earthy, natural we will also be...spiritual, like Jesus who, while He was in the flesh here was actually present with God (in union, was One) with the Father the whole time...he was of a spiritual nature (John 17).

And we read that we have been (past tense) translated into the kingdom of His dear Son, or the Son of His love....so where does this mean we are...right now...too in the spirit? Eph 2:6 says "And He HAS (past tense) raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus". This is why I say union/oneness is the pinnacle. This life is all about discovering our true (heavenly, spiritual) selves, it’s a process, a progression.

We have to get past this "we down here Him up there mentality, Christ didn’t teach or live that at all (see John Chapters 14 & 17). It's Christ in you.

There is more, there is so much more to this Christ than we (yet) know...blessings on you, mighty, mighty blessings

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