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March 29, 2011



"The chosen cannot choose otherwise.... thus there is no real and meaningful choice."

So, when I always chose strawberry ice cream, which I could have chosen otherwise, but refuse to since I like that flavor better, I didn't really make a real and meaningful choice. Hmm...Really? Sounds like Calvinists have a broader view of freedom of choice.

Hi Jeff, I'm glad your referencing an established reformed teacher and critiquing his statement. I still see your bias in reading into his statement a false reading. I hope you'll hear and consider my response--not for the purpose presupposing that what I say is wrong or unbiblical, but to try to understand why I believe it to be biblical. Then, you'll find it easier to be accurate in restating what the opponent is acutally holding to and then forcing me to reconsider if I see you accurately point to error.

I think two things need to be addressed. First, if there are other instances in the scriptures where God commands men to do something when they cannot obey, will you consider that He also regards inability to "come" to be no excuse for not obeying that call also?

Try this scripture reference for openers:

Jer. 13:23"Can the Ethiopian change his skin Or the leopard his spots? Then you also can do good Who are accustomed to doing evil."
In other words, fallen man cannot please God even with the standing command to believe.

Now it's clear that God calls in His law for men to obey him perfectly. Even with His patience and long suffering displayed to prove the point that perfect obedience was not even being required,[He has made allowance for even imperfect obedience if even possible]. The thing that is evident from the scriptures is that men are as able to please God in obedience as if he were able to change his skin color.

Next, I still wonder if you read the whole of chapter 11 of Matt. since you are still wanting the selected section say something it obviously isn't saying. As far as this statement by Jesus: " Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest" What would you say if you considered this statement two ways one prescriptive and one descriptive. If you consider this statement prescriptive, you would not call this an offer in the strict sense of offer/bargain/deal/negotiation. Think of a doctor prescribing a course of action, this would be a prescription for wellness. He as an authority is not necessarily making any kind of negotiation as much as he's making a declaration of what is to occur if the prescription is followed. What if the prescription given by Jesus was to "go wash in the river and it will give you rest", would you call that an offer? It doesn't sound like an offer, it sounds like an imperitive-a command.

Jesus' prior statement in vs 27 is very pregnant with exclusivity in the revelation of truth. All in vs 28 is NOT what you want to make it to be. It is all who labor and are weary of the impossibility to please God by works of the law.

"My question is a practical one- how do I determine which conflicting "authorities" (I use that word in quotes because I think it is more an issue of skill than authority) really have been given the gift of teaching? And even if they have been given the gift, might it be possible that they are still wrong from time to time?"

Hi Austin, the short answer to this is, never do it alone.

It would be best to have a church home that has qualified leadership. I will tell you when you have a pastor or teacher who cannot answer questions on doctrinal variances or questions about why there'r distinctions between denominations/religions, I'd suspect that the person who's over you is not really qualified. This doesn't mean you have no responsibility to be a good bible student, but even the apostle Peter said that the apostle Paul taught many things that are hard to understand, so we should be depending on the Church and it's objective true message. As far as what this objective truth is, there is only one and it's 100% coherent so although we will not be able to plumb the depths of all that the biblical revelation holds, we'll be able to test it for coherency. I believe that the Reformed faith is by far the most internally coherent faith as it's systematic theology presents.

A quick flip-through these comments brings me to one salient question:

Why should anyone care?

I think that's the problem, especially in mainline churches. It's not an intellectual discourse that catch the interest of most teens. It's application!

A teen who is exposed to Calvinist thinking will more easily tend towards the "I am not part of the elect" line of thinking than they would "how do I determine that?" Likewise exposure to the Arminian interpretation might wonder why their daily choices need to be examined rather than enjoy the grace found in Christ's sacrifice.

More than likely, though, a teen would wonder what the big deal is if the only point to "the church" is "discussing" the two views in such a way that it sounds like arguing to them.

More than likely a teen would wonder what it's got to do with their daily lives!

That's where I see the church today failing miserably. The "high church" liturgy isn't easily applied the rest of the week, let alone on Sunday. The "Charismaniac" emotional high fails when something nasty comes crashing down on you. The bottom line is that life in Christ is more than church!

Until we experienced Christians dig ourselves out of the rut we've worn for ourselves, how can we expect to lift the next generation out of that same rut?

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