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We are chosen and Faith is a gift. Gotcha. So, everyone who has been chosen and has Faith is a Christian? No one has ever denied Christ? If someone has denied Christ didn't they make that choice? But if we follow your logic, those who are chosen and have Faith will never come to realize their gift because the Law and the Gospel aren't being preached? This is limiting God and what does it say to those in the far corners of our planet that haven't been preached to? They aren't worthy? Common Chris, you are putting a cap on God's Grace and His omnipotence? What do you say about Romans 10:13 "For whosever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved." And how about Revelations 22:17 "And whosever will, let him take the water of life freely." I do believe that God clearly chooses, but man must also accept God's invitation to salvation.



First, I wrote this and this is orthodox Christianity right out the Reformation.

1. We cannot make a decision for God, we can only make a decision to reject God. Our spiritual condition is that we are dead and God give us life. Only after God has saved us can we reject what he was done. (Eph 2:1-10)

2. Unlike the Calvinist tradition, we believe that the proclaimation of Law and Gospel is one of the means of grace by which we receive the gift of faith so that we can believe. Christ commanded us to proclaim the gospel as the means to bring salvation to men. Nowhere does scripture teach that salvation comes outside of the means of grace, Word and Sacraments.

3. As for Rom. 10:13, when one continues to reading we see that the ability to call on the name of the Lord is the result of the proclaimation of the Gospel and the creation of faith (v. 17).

4. Rev 22:17 is address to believers not to unbelievers. Since Revelation is addressed to the Chruch, it is for the Chruch.

Answer me this question: If we are spiritually dead in our transgression, how can we make a decision for God? (Eph 2:1)


Steve, Glad you answered Craig so completely and with christian love. There is nothing sweeter than the gospel, however you really stay in line with scripture in word and context. That makes these posts really nice to read, thanx! You mentioned how scripture is distorted by those who preach faith +works. And those very people will quote parts of scripture that seem to point to works as a "requirement" for salvation. The book of James is so clear, I can't reconcile anyone's reasoning for "falling" for such a lie of required works. It seems to be taken as added insurance. My understanding of the Law, Faith and Works is, the law shows me that I am a sinner, faith was given to me that I may be saved through Jesus who died for me, because I cannot become sinless on my own, my works are an expression of my own thankfulness and desire to help others because I didn't earn God's gift of salvation. He loved me to salvation through correction and His promise. I will always fall short of His glory and want to give others what I myself got freely. Thanks for your continued posts, they are refreshing and welcome reads!

bobby grow

Hi Steve,

interesting post. I thought you all were Lutheran, here, is that correct?

Didn't Luther see a discontinuity between Law and Gospel, in fact I'm sure he did vs. Calvin's third usage of the Law. This post sounds very Calvinistic.

Anyway you said:

The Roman Church teaches Faith + Works while many American “Evangelical” churches teach Faith + My Experience or Faith + My Acceptance. In any of these cases, it is faith plus something we do. This type of faith is not true faith, but provisional faith. When we understand that salvation is 100% God and 0% us, then we understand how sinful we are and how great God’s grace to us is.

Are you implying that "Evangelicals" by and large are lost souls, and that the only true representative of Prot. faith is to be found in the Reformed/Lutheran traditions?

It's interesting the Bible says, if you believe on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ you will be saved. Are you submitting that such passages are only providing an "existential" gloss, and that someone who professes Christ as Savior cannot be saved until they understand an Augustinian articulation of the gospel? I really think you have engaged in an hasty generalization that has serious serious implications that you will be held accountable for, as I will be for this comment (I Cor. 4:1ff).

I think most evangelicals hold to an idea that the only way they were saved is through simple faith in Christ, and experience/ acceptance (however you define that)are issues that are secondary to the appropriation of salvation. There is no doubt that evangelicalism is highly shallow in the US, and there is a moral laxity that must sicken the Lord, but this does not necessarily mean that evangelicals aren't justified, in general. Whether, within Prot., one follows Keswickian, Augustinian, or Lutheran soteriological contstructs is secondary to the definition of what separates Prot. from Cath. by definition and assertion. I.e. that we cannot merit salvation apart from the finished work of Christ flowing from the unilateral initiatory work of God upon the heart. All Prot. believe that, because that's what the Bible clearly communicates. If someone is trusting in their works or experience for salvation, instead of the finished work of Christ, then indeed they are lost, but this is not what Prot./Evanglicals have ever asserted or articulated.

In Christ


I am Lutheran and this post is based on Lutheran theology.

I never said that "Evanglicals" are lost soul, but I am saying that if one takes the position that an individual MUST accept Christ as their personal savior, then the act of the decision is a work that adds to salvation. I believe that when one "accepts" Christ as savior, they are already a believer since they have heard the Gospel and the faith created within them causes this action. All they are doing is confirming what has already happened. Unfortunity, they are confusing the response of God's grace with being the cause of God's grace. No one can make a decision for God.

I'm not sure of what you are referring to by saying:
"Are you submitting that such passages are only providing an 'existential' gloss, and that someone who professes Christ as Savior cannot be saved until they understand an Augustinian articulation of the gospel?" Please be a little more specific, it would help.

I disagree with your last paragraph since most "evanglical" churches have an "alter call". Consider this: If a individual is baptized, does that baptism save that person? If Yes why? If No Why?

What I find interesting is that I used the term "many" to discribe "evanglicals" while you used to the term "all" to apply to Protestants. I didn't make any gross generalizations since it was not treated as "universal" for an entire group.

bobby grow

Steve said:

. . . Please be a little more specific, it would help.


. . . Unfortunity, they are confusing the response of God's grace with being the cause of God's grace. No one can make a decision for God.

This is what I was getting at, with the "gloss" thing. Does a person have to be knowledgable of the fact that their response isn't motivated by themselves at the "moment" that they do respond to receive Christ in order for them to truly appropriate salvation? This is what I meant, by understanding Augustinian soteriology. When you came to Christ did you understand the cause/effect distinction you mention, or was this something you came to understand later as you grew in the knowledge of the faith?

Steve Newell

First, I didn't come to Christ, Christ came to me. This is an important distinction.

I became a believer long before "I made a decision". However, I didn't realize it until years latter. I always have problem with the concept of "rededication" of one's life in that it brought into question the "quality" of my decision. This can create uncertainty in one's salvation in that they question how "sincere" their decision. Our salvation is never in our decision for Christ; it is in Christ’s decision for us. Given how sinful I know I am, I cannot and could make any decision for Christ without the Holy Spirit first calling and saving me.

Since my children where baptized as infants, they can look to their baptisms at the point that they became believers. Since Holy Baptism is an act of God through Water and Word, they know that their salvation is based on God's promise and not their actions.

bobby grow


thanks. So you came to a "Lutheran" understanding after you had made a decision for Christ yrs. prior? That's all I was wondering. I'm well aware of the Augustinian/Lutheran view of salvation, and have certain affinities for it, but I am not Lutheran (although our daughter attends a Lutheran school [Wisconsin Synod]).

I'm not a paedo-baptist, but I do appreciate the emphasis that Luther and Lutheran's place on the promise of God vs. "actions" as the basis of justification (subjectively); I think this is contra the "Reformed" or Calvinist view of Law and Gospel. I think Luther was right on track.

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