Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Word of "Faith"

I’ve made no secret about my one time involvement with Word of Faith (WOF) teaching. It’s a confession that one visitor to this blog has tried to use against me. On more than one occasion (here and elsewhere) he has tried to use it to discredit who I am and what I now believe.

Accompanying that attempt has been an assumption about the extent of my involvement and the effect it continues to have on my life. From the tone and the content of insinuations made I can see he assumes my attraction to WOF was inspired by greed.

While my involvement with WOF has never been hidden, I don’t recall writing about my reasons for getting involved with that teaching. I now want to address those reasons.

For several years I had been involved with a Pentecostal denomination that continually presented a Christian reality that I was not experiencing. No matter how often they insisted that healing and miracles were valid today – they were demonstrating nothing of that professed reality. There was a huge gap between professed belief and actual experience. It was a gap that didn’t seem to exist in scripture. What was the problem?

My introduction to WOF came at a midweek home fellowship meeting. Members of the group had been listening to tapes from one of Kenneth Copeland’s conferences and they were sharing some of the things that had excited them. I offered significant resistance to the things they were saying but eventually their enthusiasm got through to me.

Was I won over by the promise of a prosperous life? Or was it the claim that Christians could and should live in total health?

It was neither. The thing that broke down the wall of my resistance was a realisation of what faith meant. At that stage I didn’t know about the WOF teachings of faith being a force that anyone could utilise. I knew nothing about the emphasis on positive confession (confess and possess or the less reverent blab it and grab it). All I knew was that I gained an understanding of faith for the first time. It became much more than an “airy-fairy” mystical word that seemed to have no practical use.
At best my previous understanding of faith involved a lot of uncertainty and had more in common with “wishing” than with a firm trust in my redeemer.
For the first time faith became something more certain and firm, something concrete.

Having faith in God meant to trust Him no matter what.
It meant taking Him at His word and having confidence in what He had said. Primarily, in practical terms, that meant accepting His word as being the truth even when our circumstances or experience offered contradictory evidence. If God had promised something in scripture, and if all conditions of that promise were met, then we should have the total confidence of receiving what was promised, because God is not a liar.

The biblical faith I discovered was not a vague uncertain trust in God. It involved an absolute confidence in Him and His character. His word became the standard by which God and His purposes could be known. Through scripture His desires and plans for mankind were revealed. By knowing His will and in particular through knowing what He had provided for His children, we could have the foundation upon which our faith could firmly stand.

That is the area of WOF that attracted me. It was not the promise of health and wealth – it was the promise of living as a genuinely effective Christian witness, actually LIVING and demonstrating the Christian life described in the New Testament instead of tolerating the hypocrisy of professing one thing and living another. It gave a tangible reality to faith and it was no longer merely a theological concept.

THAT is what drew me to WOF. Its teachers were the first to give me a real understanding of what faith is and at the time they were the only ones who seemed to be teaching that truth.

However, their message came with a lot of excess baggage that was not so helpful. While their doctrines were always (supposedly) based on ‘the word” – like all false doctrines they were based on PARTS of the word. I became very adept at quoting scripture to promote the teaching I was receiving. But my quotes were learned mainly via Copeland recordings and not through turning to scripture for myself. I was therefore never aware of the correct context of those quotes. I was only familiar with the interpretations placed upon those verses by the Copelands and associated ministries.

While the understanding of faith that I’d initially gained was still valuable (that is trusting God’s word to be the truth): all validity was dependant on it REALLY being GOD’S word and not a false assumption that I mistook for God’s word. Believing in an assumption or a wrong interpretation of scripture is NOT an expression of faith in God. That is where my departure from WOF began. There were too many inconsistencies between what I was being taught and what I was reading in scripture for myself. Too much of scripture was being ignored or misapplied.
At first I pushed aside my concerns. After all no one is perfect and I couldn’t expect the teachers to get everything right – and they were the ones who had given me an insight into the nature of faith when my church and its leaders seemed to be as much in the dark as I had been.

Instead of being attracted to WOF by their teaching on prosperity, it was the increasing emphasis on earthly wealth that gave me most cause for concern. While I was struggling financially I could see these men and women living highly extravagant lifestyles, financed by the donations they solicited. It seemed that the way for me to get out of financial difficulties was by sending them money (?) – and their lifestyles showed how it all worked (and could allegedly work for me) with God clearly blessing them and their ministry with wealth. None of this (their extravagance) seemed compatible with anything that Jesus said about wealth. Those parts of scripture were among those conveniently ignored.

A major area of their teaching on faith that I could not reconcile with anything in scripture was the idea that faith is a force that works when it principles are put into practice. Even unbelievers were tapping into this force of faith and were reaping its benefits without realising what they were doing. This teaching made faith into something impersonal with a power of its own. It was not a matter of having faith in someone (God), it was important to have faith in your faith. This is where “positive confession” came into play. Continued positive confession was the means of reinforcing and expressing faith to obtain a desired outcome. Negative confession was equally effective, but the outcome was nothing to be desired.
I was never comfortable with this aspect of WOF teaching and when I read “The Seduction of Christianity’ by Hunt and McMahon the reason for my discomfort was made clear. The authors showed there was a relationship between these beliefs and practices with occultism and eastern mysticism. It was around that time that I broke away from WOF teaching.

WOF teaching is riddled with false doctrine and false practices (and I think that has increased in the 20+ years since I abandoned it). But like the majority of heresies there is enough truth to disguise the lies. In the case of WOF I gained a much stronger understanding of what faith is (and is not). Faith revolves around relationship; knowing God, His ways and His desires well enough to trust Him totally. Faith requires an understanding of His will and is focused on His will. It is not focused on our desire or our assumptions and it definitely is not a “force” to be operated.

Looking back now I can say that my understanding of faith began with my involvement with WOF teachers – but it developed and matured DESPITE their teaching and not because of it.

26 comments:

Bob Brewer said...

Thanks for sharing a part of your journey. Truly the devil is a roaring lion seeking someone to devour, but thankfully greater is He that is in us then he that is in the world!

God bless you,

Bob B

Onesimus said...

G'Day Bob,
None of us is immune to deception and we all need to remain diligent.

Jesus had a reason for warning against the rise of false prophets, teachers and apostles.

It took many years for me to recover from the mess I got into through putting my faith in man's teachings instead of being diligent enough to search the scriptures for myself.

Some would try to use my former WOF involvement against me - but there are many more false theologies out there that seem much more "respectable" than the one I fell for.

Bless you mate.

dlt said...

Jesus' encounter with Zacchaeus provides a lesson on the proper kingdom use of money and possessions.
Zacchaeus's actions reveal that his repentance and faith are genuine ("Bear fruits in keeping with repentance."). The example of Zacchaeus, who gave away half of his goods, underscores the kind of openhanded generosity that characterizes those whose hearts have been transformed by the gospel.

"Sell your possessions, and give to the needy...For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also."
In contrast to the world's preoccupation with possessions, the disciples are to be characterized by exceedingly great generosity, especially in giving to those in need (lit., “to give alms”). This even has eternal implications—for, as Jesus solemnly warns, where your treasure is (whether on earth or in heaven,) there will your heart be also. This emphasizes the importance of the disposition of one's heart, which throughout Scripture represents the center of one's being and one's deepest desires, including one's reason, convictions, emotions, and will. The nature of one's heart is reflected in the things that one values most.
In Matt. 6:19–34, Jesus tells us that the righteousness of the kingdom of heaven works out in the details of one's personal life. Jesus calls his followers to choose their master, either God or wealth (vv. 19–24), and to choose their outlook on life, either faith or worry (vv. 25–34). And He says, "if your eye is bad, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!" The eye (similar to the “heart” in Jewish literature) is a lamp that reveals the quality of a person's inner life. A healthy eye (clear vision) suggests loyal devotion to God, while a bad eye (impaired vision) connotes moral corruption. Here in the context of these teachings, we hear that we are full of darkness--great darkness!--when our bad eye fixates on mammon. Truly, Kingdom life is upside down to the world. Has Jesus Christ set you free, or do you placate your conscience with your "tithes"?
“One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me” Luke 18:22. One thing you still lack refers not to higher piety but to the kingdom of God (vv. 24–25), salvation (v. 26), and eternal life (v. 18). The man has replaced direct trust in God and its reward (treasure in heaven) with earthly riches. He thus fails the first commandment, “You shall have no other gods before me” (Ex. 20:3). Jesus shows that the ruler has not really kept the commandments, and he clarifies the meaning of true repentance. Jesus' strategy is to turn this man from focusing on external conformity to the law to examining his heart, revealing his ruling god. The man had no doubt given some money to the poor, as the giving of alms was considered a pious duty, especially among the Pharisees. But Jesus calls him to give everything away, exchanging the god of wealth for the eternal treasure found in following Jesus as the one true God. And the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness."
I asked: When you, by your "free will" gave God "the gift" of your repentance and faith, did you do as Christ commands? When you escaped from the cult of "lovers of money" who "justify themselves before men" while they exalt what is an "abomination in the sight of God" (Luke 16:15), did you renounce all your possessions? If not, can you truly claim Biblical repentance? Are you a steward of the temporal gifts of God, or do you yet see yourself as a "deserving" possessor? I do not seek to condemn you, but to turn you from the external conformance of your supposed "free will" to examining your heart. This will, Lord willing, reveal your ruling god.

Onesimus said...

And when did your God-enforced repentance cause you to sell all of YOUR possessions?
Or are you merely demonstrating your hypocrisy?
Or maybe you god's enforced repentance isn't really sufficient to bring about the required change!

And please tell me what possessions I have that I have refused to sell?

Why not ask me how much I've given away? Why not ask me how many of my former possessions I destroyed?

Your regular diatribes prove one thing darren. You are ignorant of the TRUE God and His ways.

Abandon your man-centred smug doctrines of election and turn to the scriptures darren. Discover the TRUE God-exalting gospel of Jesus Christ.

I have repented of my involvement with the false doctrines of men and I have abandoned WOF.
When are you going to do the same darren? When are you going to abandon your demonic Calvinism?

Trenton D. Adams said...

Yes, the WOF teachings are very interesting. It can be difficult to sort through the truth, and the error.

Confession of our faith, is a biblical precept, but the WOF teachers twist it into something it is not. The confession of our faith can do nothing mystical, and has now power of it's own.

Philemon 1:6 That the communication of thy faith may become effectual ----->by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus<-----.

Essentially, as we confess our right standing in God, through the blood of Christ, we are acknowledging every good thing which is in us, in Christ Jesus. As we do this, we essentially are conforming our minds to the truth. There is nothing mystical about that aspect of it. Practise makes perfect, and if we continually confess something good, in Christ, then eventually we are going to believe that thing is true.

How often do people encourage their children to believe they can do anything, be anything, etc? Truly, they are brainwashing their children to believe it. And we must do the same. We must work to conform our flesh, to the light of the gospel, but rely on Christ to perform a divine work in us. Part of this work, is doing our best to believe, and eventually, with diligence, we will.

But, just because we believe something, doesn't make it so; it still requires God to do that thing.

Onesimus said...

Very true Trent.

The foundation of faith is God's will not our own.
To "exercise" faith we need to be totally in line with God's will and CONFIDENTLY KNOW we are in line with His will.

WOF tends to encourage its followers to act on an assumed will of God that results from a shallow familiarity with God's revelation in scripture.

Too often WOF practices (and confessions) arise from the use of out of context verses of scripture. In my case these verses were learned from the preaching I was absorbing and not from a diligent personal involvement with the bible.
That process gave me a loaded understanding of the verses I used that had nothing to do with their intended contextual meaning.

Onesimus said...

Trenton D. Adams said...

Essentially, as we confess our right standing in God, through the blood of Christ, we are acknowledging every good thing which is in us, in Christ Jesus. As we do this, we essentially are conforming our minds to the truth.

------

Conforming our minds to the truth is EXACTLY how I see the effects of confession.
Confession of the truth plays a part in the renewing of our minds mentioned by Paul in Romans 12.

It helps us to think HIS way instead of the world's way. It is through the renewal of the mind that our lives begin to change. What we feed into our minds will affect our actions and attitudes.

It's like that saying, "you are what you eat". I see the same thing applies with our spiritual health. If we feed ourselves on carnal junk the result will be carnal lives. If we feed ourselves on the things of God the result will be a life conforming to Him.

One thing I've noticed in my own life, is that I'm less likely to be tempted (and to give in to temptation) when I'm more diligently seeking God.

Trenton D. Adams said...

ONESIMUS Said: Confession of the truth plays a part in the renewing of our minds mentioned by Paul in Romans 12.


Yes, that was exactly what I was thinking when I wrote it. ;) Wasn't sure where it was, and didn't have time to look it up at that moment.

dlt said...

Why so bitter, tim? No grace in your answer. And no thankfulness to God for freedom in Christ, but that is to be expected, I suppose, from one who seeks to establish his own righteousness by his philosophical (not Biblical) "free will".

Turn to the Scriptures, tim? What about this one: "If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person's religion is worthless." Or this: "Can a fig tree, my brothers, bear olives, or a grapevine produce figs? Neither can a salt pond yield fresh water." Or this: "the anger of man does not produce the righteousness of God"--the quick-tempered, selfish anger of the world (“the anger of man") betrays lack of trust in God and lack of love for others. The self-reliant anger of man, even when directed against some wrongdoing, fails to recognize that mere human reproach cannot change another person's heart, and thus it does not produce the righteousness of God; nor indeed is such anger fully righteous itself. God is holy and righteous, requiring that his people emulate his righteous character. “Righteousness” here is not Pauline legal or forensic righteousness proclaimed in God's court of law but is closer to the usage of the OT (Isa. 61:3) and Jesus (Matt. 3:15; 5:6, 10, 20; 6:1,33; 21:32), in the sense of conducting one's life by the will of God, according to his standards. Or how about this one: "Have I then become your enemy by telling you the truth?" See, the false teachers there in Galatia were flattering the believers, but only to receive flattery back. Paul was no flatterer. Now, in their days it was bondage to Jewish ceremonial laws that formed their "club"; today it is "believe in your free-will righteousness--or else!" Basically the same flattery for flattery from man to man for his own actions. Self-congratulatory self-deception in self-made religion.

Man-centered doctrine of election?
From the mouth of one who claims to have elected himself by his dead-in-sin "free will"? Who boasts against Scripture that he was capable of true faith and spiritual life in Christ before the work of God the Holy Spirit effectually regenerated him? What you ignorantly call calvinism is actually right there in Scripture yet you are blind to it due to your arrogance in your boasting of your ability to obtain spiritual life not by the work of God the Holy Spirit but by your own "free will." Pride in your autonomous self, tim. No, tim, I cannot join your "club" of man-exalting religious moralists. I will not "fall for" such a "false theology", for the Holy Spirit constrains my heart with love for the Lord Jesus Christ, my Redeemer, Who said, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him." He also said, "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all." The flesh (i.e., human nature including emotions, will, and intellect) is completely incapable of producing genuine spiritual life (see Rom. 7:14–25), for this can only be done by the Spirit. In that one sentence alone your doctrine of free-will election and salvation is shown to be a doctrine of demons. Can one who argues against the plain teaching of the Lord claim to know Him and love Him?

dlt said...

tim wrote:

"The biblical faith I discovered was not a vague uncertain trust in God. It involved an absolute confidence in Him and His character. His word became the standard by which God and His purposes could be known. Through scripture His desires and plans for mankind were revealed. By knowing His will and in particular through knowing what He had provided for His children, we could have the foundation upon which our faith could firmly stand.

That is the area of WOF that attracted me.
It gave a tangible reality to faith and it was no longer merely a theological concept.

THAT is what drew me to WOF. Its teachers were the first to give me a real understanding of what faith is...
I became very adept at quoting scripture to promote the teaching I was receiving. But my quotes were learned mainly via Copeland recordings and not through turning to scripture for myself. I was therefore never aware of the correct context of those quotes.
While the understanding of faith that I’d initially gained was still valuable (that is trusting God’s word to be the truth): all validity was dependant on it REALLY being GOD’S word and not a false assumption that I mistook for God’s word."

So, His word became the standard, though you did not turn to it yourself; and these peddlers of God's word gave you the head knowledge of what faith is so that the Truth was no longer just a "theological concept". So, you measure others by your own experience--all who are drawn to Christ have no love for the Word which reveals our need and His blessed grace, nor for the Holy Spirit who speaks of Him and righteousness and sin in the heart; but all who are truly born again need something more than the Cornerstone and the foundation of the apostolic teachings and the continuing works of God in the heart and the fellowship of faithful believers--they need more to make faith in Christ more than a theological concept, and this is secured through men.

No wonder you cling so vehemently to the prideful will of man!

Onesimus said...

dlt said:
I will not "fall for" such a "false theology", for the Holy Spirit constrains my heart with love for the Lord Jesus Christ, my Redeemer, Who said, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.

----

Darren,
You make it obvious that you are setting yourself up for a great fall.
In considering yourself to be immune to false theology you make it clear that you are already deceived.

You are blind to the arrogance in your statement above; you who consider yourself to be personally elected by God and therefore can never be misled.

Repent of your pride and false humility. Turn to the TRUE God and away from that Calvinist idol you are currently exalting.

Trenton D. Adams said...

Darren,

if onesimus has not been elected, then why bother as only god can elect him.

Also, why bother discussing it with anyone, as doctrine surely does not matter if salvation is entirely chosen by god's will alone; for it is election thar saves and not the preaching of the word.

Onesimus, the bantering seems useless, as Only God can change his beliefs, and bring him into right standing with Himself. We can only lead the horse to water, we cannot make him drink, especially when the pure water of the word seems bitter to him.

Onesimus said...

Unlike Darren I do not believe that God has preordained our eternal destiny and therefore I can live in the hope that one day his eyes will be opened to the truth. But for that to happen darren needs to hear and believe the word of God instead of clinging to the theologies of man.

As long as he insists on esteeming man's theology above the truth of the gospel he will remain blind.

God will expose him to His word for a time, giving him the opportunity to turn to the truth, but eventually God gives everyone over to the thing they have chosen instead of Him and His truth.
We can see that in Romans 1 and also 2 Thess 2.
In the latter we see that God will ultimately send a strong delusion to some, effectively sealing them AGAINST the truth they refused to receive.

Onesimus said...

I have written elsewhere on my blog about the very different theologies of the most recent churches I've been involved with.

One followed the path set of by TACF and its associated "ministries" - descending into extreme charismania.

The other was steeped in Calvinism and its historical traditions of man.

Despite the differences BOTH promote a false security; considering themselves to be immune to deception.

The Calvinist view was demonstrated by dlt (darren) a few comments above when he said:

"I will not 'fall for' such a 'false theology', for the Holy Spirit constrains my heart with love for the Lord Jesus Christ, my Redeemer..."

The charismanics had a similiar view, claiming a similar immunity because their "Father would not give them a snake if they asked for a fish".

Trenton D. Adams said...

--quote--
Onesimus said:
God will expose him to His word for a time, giving him the opportunity to turn to the truth, but eventually God gives everyone over to the thing they have chosen instead of Him and His truth.
We can see that in Romans 1 and also 2 Thess 2.
--quote--

Yes, that is why I indicated that at some point, you have to just let them go. It may be that they will hear, at some point, but it also may be that they are damning themselves.

dlt said...

Trenton D. Adams said...
--quote--
Onesimus said:
God will expose him to His word for a time, giving him the opportunity to turn to the truth, but eventually God gives everyone over to the thing they have chosen instead of Him and His truth.
We can see that in Romans 1 and also 2 Thess 2.
--quote--

Yes, that is why I indicated that at some point, you have to just let them go. It may be that they will hear, at some point, but it also may be that they are damning themselves.

Well, tim, that may explain your will-worship following your decades of sitting under the demonic teachings of a man that proclaims "you don't have a god in you--you are a little god!" Are you so arrogantly foolish? By your own comments you condemn yourself--read Romans 2 vv 1-16, where the sin of the moralist is condemned. God does not condemn them merely because they judged others but because they practiced the same sins they condemned in others. A soft and repentant heart is needed to avert God's wrath on the day of wrath, the final judgment. Such repentance would express itself in trust in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of sins--not trust in your idol, your sinful will. Paul disagrees with much of the Jewish teaching of his day, according to which the Jews were not storing up wrath but were in good standing with God through their covenant relationship, not needing to meet God's standard of perfect obedience but needing only an intention to obey God. Do you, who admits to being deceived, and to having tasted the mercy of God, have no softness in your hard heart towards another? I am young in Christ; would you cause me to stumble? This is where all our long doings culminate. At no time have you tried to teach with gentleness and respect and a knowledge of your own frailty; you have consistently attacked me for asking you questions that touched on not your outward cleansing of the cup, but rather on the motives of a heart that upholds the sinful will of man above the purpose and will of God. And even at those times you purposed to teach, you did so from your philosophy of the false freedom of man's will to constrain the will of God. No, I will not entertain such lies, for it seeks to corrupt the Word, and is horribly false to the experience of my own heart. "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all." The flesh (i.e., human nature including emotions, will, and intellect) is completely incapable of producing genuine spiritual life (see Rom. 7:14–25), for this can only be done by the Spirit. In that one sentence alone your doctrine of free-will election and salvation is shown to be a doctrine of demons. Can one who argues against the plain teaching of the Lord claim to know Him and love Him?
"The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is NOT ABLE to understand them because they are spiritually discerned." Did your will make you able? Can the natural person hold true faith in Christ? Can the natural person understand things of the Spirit? Against the counsel of God in Scripture, you say yes--"faith comes first, then regeneration." From this faulty premise, you have constructed your religious moralism. May God in His longsuffering kindness bring you to true repentance of your idol that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you from darkness into His Light.

Onesimus said...

Darren,
NOWHERE have I said that that I was involved with WOF for decades. My involvement lasted for about two years in the mid 1980s.

I have CLEARLY written of the extent of my involvement with WOF.

You also say:
“I am young in Christ; would you cause me to stumble”

How long have you been a Christian now Darren? Three years? And yet you are more conversant with Calvinist theology and its terms of abuse (Arminian, Pelagian, Sem-Pelagian, Finneyite etc.) than you are with the TRUE gospel of Jesus Christ. And your understanding of God and His ways is CLEARLY influenced by Calvinist doctrine and not by the revelation God has given of Himself throughout the whole of scripture.
I have pointed out elsewhere how much you have relied on men’s writings to “prove” a point you are trying to make; posting lengthy excerpts of Calvinist writings.

Have you followed Calvinist doctrine for all of those years? Then you have been involved with Calvinism for longer than I was involved with WOF.

I have recognised and repented of my involvement with WOF. I pray that your eyes will be opened, allowing YOU also to repent of your involvement with the destructive heresies promoted by man, namely Calvinism.

Spend your time in SCRIPTURE Darren, steeping yourself in the revelation that God has given of Himself. Put aside your theological texts and spend time with God ALONE. I know it’s not easy to clear your mind of false teachings, it is not easy to read scripture without being influenced by the preconceptions instilled by man’s doctrine; but with time, with scripture and with the help of the Holy Spirit God’s truth will replace those lies of men.

Trenton D. Adams said...

Darren, I am certain that onesimus does not believe he can save himself, or be free from sin through his own will, or any of the things you claim that he believes along those lines. We all know that it is only God that can produce fruit in us, and it is only God who can enlighten our hearts enough that we have an opportunity to accept the truth of His free grace, by faith. But ultimately, our acceptance of it, is our own free will, though God works in us to be "able" to accept. Once we have made our free will choice, to put our faith in God, it is up to God to perform his promises to work in our hearts to draw us to him. As it is written, "draw nigh to me, and I will draw nigh to you". But we must first draw nigh to him by accepting his free gift.

I believe one of the big errors in Calvinism is that they believe they are saved, before they choose to follow Christ, and it is because of Christ's irresistible grace, that they have chosen to follow him. But, that is a false precept. People are not saved prior to accepting His salvation BY FAITH. YES, they are enlightened by the Holy Spirit, but they are not yet saved; YES they are given faith by Christ to use in acceptance of His salvation, but they are not saved unless they use that faith they have been given. As it is written, all are given a measure of faith.

A person is not necessarily unsaved, because they believe in Calvinism; in a lot of cases it simply shows that they are immature in the knowledge of the gospel. I hope and pray that is the case with you Darren.

Trenton D. Adams said...

Oh, one more thing Darren, what you call "will worship", we call faith in Jesus Christ. We cannot worship our own wills, when we know that it is Christ who does the work in us, when we simply TRUST IN HIM.

dlt said...

Which comes first: your "free will choice" or the work of God in your heart?

"Once we have made our free will choice, to put our faith in God, it is up to God to perform his promises to work in our hearts to draw us to him." So, Almighty God cannot "perform" unless you will Him to do so?

So, hypothetically speaking, along the lines of your philosophy, Jesus may have shed His blood for none, for all dead sinners could still "will" themselves right to hell. Is that what you find in the Bible?

"we must first draw nigh to him"

But Jesus said, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me DRAWS HIM." No one can come to me means “no one is able to come to me” (Gk. dynamai means “to be able”). This implies that no human being in the world, on his own, has the moral and spiritual ability to come to Christ unless God the Father draws him, that is, gives him the desire and inclination to come and the ability to place trust in Christ.

Regeneration, right? New birth?

So what comes first (say it outright--don't just nod your head at what God performs, and then boast of your "free will" decision): regeneration and its immediate fruit (faith and repentance) or the "free will" decision of a dead sinner? And can we trust God to complete every good work He begins? Yes, I know my will must be compliant, but is the will of a dead sinner compliant? Can the natural man will himself to be a spiritual man?

And what do you make of "predestined" in Romans 8:29,30 and Ephesians 1:5,11? Paul qualifies and stresses God's plan and initiation of redemption with the phrase according to the purpose of his will. Am I wrong to believe that God cannot be constrained by any outside force, and his inexorable will for believers is to pour out his grace and goodness on them in Christ Jesus? No. Is there a definite redemption--not a mere hypothetical one--according to the counsel of God? Yes.

"enlighten our hearts enough"? How about: "For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." To know the glory of Christ (2 Cor. 4:4) is to encounter the life-transforming glory of God. Do you know the gospel in power or in word only? Do you know there is a difference?

Why a "new creation" if the old man could "will" himself well, as if in the fall he only broke his little finger?

But the height of spiritual maturity is to become an arminian?

Trenton D. Adams said...

I certainly see how deceived you are on this Darren. I do not believe anything but a work of God in your heart can free you from your deception. You didn't even realize all the scriptures I was using, did you? You're so stuck in your proof texts, rather than actually knowing the word.

To answer your question, it is God first who works in us (which is what Jesus was referring to, when He said that no man can come to him, except he be drawn). Many are called but few are chosen. God calls them, but do they respond? THAT IS THE QUESTION!

It would be foolish for me to continue. I will certainly pray that God shows you THE truth, not what I believe, or what you believe, but what is truth, the way the truth and the life.

Onesimus said...

Darren I will try to address your questions and statements.

(PART 1)

dlt said...
Which comes first: your "free will choice" or the work of God in your heart?
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What comes first?

First comes God's sovereign right to give ALL men the ability to respond to His gospel.

Man does not give himself free will or the right to choose. GOD has given that right and ability because it suits HIS purposes and HIS desires to adopt a willing people into His family.

So what comes first?
God giving free will to man comes first, then comes the gospel; this is followed by man exercising his choice to repent or to remain in rebellion. To do things GOD’S way by trusting in Jesus or to continue trusting in himself and his own abilities. To submit to God’s truth or to remain clinging to man’s wisdom

God works in our hearts through His gospel and by the moving of His Spirit, but since God does not want to adopt puppets He has given us freedom regarding the WAY we respond (repentance/rebellion).

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dlt said:
“So, Almighty God cannot "perform" unless you will Him to do so?”
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By saying “cannot”, the wording of your statement is loaded and is misrepresentative of my views. God WILL NOT respond on our behalf unless we allow Him to do so. He does not force His affections onto anyone.
He has already done what was needed in the giving of His Son. Now it is up to man to respond by believing in His Son in order to receive the intended benefits of God’s gift.
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dlt said:
“So, hypothetically speaking, along the lines of your philosophy, Jesus may have shed His blood for none, for all dead sinners could still "will" themselves right to hell. Is that what you find in the Bible?”
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Not quite right, Jesus shed His blood for EVERYONE and that would never change no matter how many or few accepted His sacrifice. Even if “hypothetically” no one received the benefits of that sacrifice it would not annul the fact that Jesus blood WAS shed for ALL.
BUT God knew that the hypothetical situation would not arise because of His foreknowledge. His salvation plan was created with His full knowledge that people from every nation, tribe and language would respond and turn to Him in faith.

Onesimus said...

PART 2

Trenton said: “"we must first draw nigh to him"

dlt responded: “But Jesus said, "No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me DRAWS HIM."… “This implies that no human being in the world, on his own, has the moral and spiritual ability to come to Christ unless God the Father draws him, that is, gives him the desire and inclination to come and the ability to place trust in Christ.
Regeneration, right? New birth?”

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But Jesus also said: “I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to myself”.
An interesting word jumps out of your statement above : "IMPLIES". I don’t base my faith or my understanding on IMPLICATION. I base them on the clear and simple revelation of God that comes through the scriptures as opened by the Holy Spirit. And there is big jump made to conclude that God’s drawing and enablement comes through “regeneration”.
I suggest you actually search the scriptures and see exactly how many (or rather how FEW) times “regeneration” is mentioned – and then compare that to the importance and interpretation that some theologies have placed upon that concept. Then compare the frequency to the number of times the requirement to have faith in God is mentioned.
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Dlt said:
“And what do you make of "predestined" in Romans 8:29,30 and Ephesians 1:5,11?”
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What do I make of “predestined” in those verses?
What do those proof-texts actually SAY about predestination and to who are they addressed? Do they specify that predestination involves taking an elect few from the unregenerate masses in order to give them eternal salvation? NO!!!

Romans 8 speaks about being predestined to be conformed to His likeness. That is the destiny of those who ARE following Christ – to become like Him.
God’s plan is not to save an elect few from hell, it is to bring people into conformity with His Son. And notice also the reference to “those He foreknew” – so foreknowledge was involved in the process. It was not some kind of “unconditional” choice being made.

The thing that is most noticeable about the Ephesians reference is the number of times the terms “IN CHRIST” and “THROUGH CHRIST” and similar expressions are used. It is those (collectively) who are IN CHRIST who are predestined for a certain outcome. It is not about individuals being predestined to be in Christ, or for individuals to be saved. CHRIST is the elect, and IN HIM we become part of the Elect.

This reliance of a couple of isolated texts is typical of far too much doctrine. I continue to say that the WHOLE of scripture must be taken into account. God did not provide His words in a collection of individual verses to be taken as expressions of individual doctrinal truths. Scripture is a compilation of whole books that provide a total history of God’s relationship with mankind. Instead of trying to understand that relationship by closely examining select verses – we need to see HOW God relates to man through the very practical examples He has given throughout the whole of scripture.
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Dlt said:
“Do you know the gospel in power or in word only? Do you know there is a difference?”
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I DO know the difference and the power of the gospel has RADICALLY changed my life and continues to do so.

dlt said...

"You didn't even realize all the scriptures I was using, did you?"

Sure. Like this: "As it is written, all are given a measure of faith." Are you applying that to unbelievers? That would be misapplication according to context. But surely you did not mean to imply that unbelievers are given a measure of faith in Christ.

Mr. Adams, you also get very convoluted in your arguments. Like you say that God must enable us first, but then we must use our "free will". If our will is free, why must we be "enabled"? What does this "enabling" do? Does it free us from our "free will"? And does God have "free will" as we do--to sin or not to sin, to be holy or not to be holy? How about the angels or the glorified saints? Have they lost their exalted sovereign and supreme power of free choice as you would describe it?

And then you say something silly like this: "Many are called but few are chosen. God calls them, but do they respond? THAT IS THE QUESTION!" Do you not see the word CHOSEN? Chosen by whom--by themselves that respond? And you think THE QUESTION is will man respond?

Onesimus said...

dlt said:
"And then you say something silly like this: "Many are called but few are chosen. God calls them, but do they respond? THAT IS THE QUESTION!" Do you not see the word CHOSEN? Chosen by whom--by themselves that respond? And you think THE QUESTION is will man respond?"


darren,
go to the actual story that Jesus told where this quote comes from.
All of those invited to the feast made excuses and did not attend. They CHOSE not follow the King's will for them to be His guests.

Then look at those who DID attend. One of them did not to wear the appropriate attire and was cast out (the imagery used makes it clear that that was into hell).

It is THAT context that the statement "many are called but few are chosen" applies.

The whole things is a demonstration of the King's subjects applying their own choice and their own will to the matter of attending the feast.

But in the end it is those who followed the King's requirements that became part of those chosen to remain at the feast to benefit from the King's generosity.

Onesimus said...

No more room will be given for the promotion of the doctrines of Calvinism.

May the Lord open the eyes of those who have been blinded by those demonic perversions of the truth.

May they see God in His TRUE Glory. May they recognise His holiness, righteousness and justice and experience the salvation that He desires for all.