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  #16  
Old 02-23-09, 02:30 AM
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It is easy to see that what James is teaching is that our works reflect our faith.
There is a huge difference between reflecting faith and completing faith. The latter sounds very compatible with the Sacraments and the process of infusing righteousness. Of course the RCC teaches the primacy of faith but acknowledges that it is completed and justified by works as the Bible says it is in the passages you quoted.

I am not trying to say that infused righteousness is or is not the best interpretation for Christians today. I only wish to save it from the catalogue of “non-biblical”, “nonchristian” and/or “deceptive”. The title of this thread, not yours I realize, is of course very enflaming. I think there are Biblical grounds for infused righteousness but is it the best overall interpretation? I am not very much interested in that resolution. I would rather agree to disagree on such an issue. It is the negative connotations in the title of this thread that I find more objectionable and worthy of discussion. Hence, the defense of the RCC by myself.


[QUOTE]This passage clearly says that we are saved by faith, and if you believe as I do Salvation begins and ends with God not only does He grant us repentance but also the faith to believe in Him. Because the nature of man is so dirty and bend following his sin nature that he would never seek after God. /QUOTE]

I believe that we have to accept God. He bridges the gap that we never could have on our own, but we still have to choose to cross it. His grace is what made it possible and He may even empower our journey but I still believe a human act must occur. I do not accept Calvinism in any way, shape or form. I believe in libertarian free will and disagree with the notion that God will (arbitrarily?) empower some to salvation and then condemn the rest to hell. Predestining a person to be sinful and then condemning that individual to hell for it appears to be the work of a malevolent, omnipotent sadist, not an omnibenevolent, omnipotent deity. I do not wish to caricature your position, however. So if I am misunderstanding what you are saying please feel free to correct me.

I realize the bible supports notions of predestination and the sovereignty of God but I can quote a hundred passages in support of free will as well. These two trains of thought in scripture has forced (forced, not convinced) some theologians to accept that free will and predestination are not mutually exclusive.

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Hopefully I made sense and did not come across as condescending.
Perfect sense without any condescension. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this issue.

Vinnie
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  #17  
Old 02-23-09, 02:40 AM
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Vinnie I must say that your view of God has changed since I remember. If this is indeed true than praise God. I will look over your post in more detail later, I just had to comment on that.
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Old 02-23-09, 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Vinnie View Post
I am not trying to say that infused righteousness is or is not the best interpretation for Christians today. I only wish to save it from the catalogue of “non-biblical”, “nonchristian” and/or “deceptive”. The title of this thread, not yours I realize, is of course very enflaming. I think there are Biblical grounds for infused righteousness but is it the best overall interpretation? I am not very much interested in that resolution. I would rather agree to disagree on such an issue.
That is far enough however at some point we have to draw a line on what are essentials of the Christian faith and what is not and I believe this could be considered on.
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Originally Posted by Vinnie View Post
I believe that we have to accept God. He bridges the gap that we never could have on our own, but we still have to choose to cross it. His grace is what made it possible and He may even empower our journey but I still believe a human act must occur. I do not accept Calvinism in any way, shape or form. I believe in libertarian free will and disagree with the notion that God will (arbitrarily?) empower some to salvation and then condemn the rest to hell. Predestining a person to be sinful and then condemning that individual to hell for it appears to be the work of a malevolent, omnipotent sadist, not an omnibenevolent, omnipotent deity. I do not wish to caricature your position, however. So if I am misunderstanding what you are saying please feel free to correct me.

I realize the bible supports notions of predestination and the sovereignty of God but I can quote a hundred passages in support of free will as well. These two trains of thought in scripture has forced (forced, not convinced) some theologians to accept that free will and predestination are not mutually exclusive.
I would love to do nothing more then talk about the Doctrines of Grace with you however since it can become a heated topic this is probably not the place to do that. I can think of at least one grumpy admin that may not enjoy this type of conversation.

My only question is do you think that our will can thwart God's Sovereignty or do you lean toward a Open theist view. Just so you know my view, I do not think that Calvinism is an essential for the Christian faith however I do believe that Open theism is out right heresy. Sorry for the strong language put it is something I feel is necessary.
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  #19  
Old 02-23-09, 11:51 PM
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Well we have only one admin and this particular old grump is enjoying reading these posts. So if you can continue to be as polite and (dare I say it?) even cordial as you have been please go for it. Of course if you (either of you who are in the discussion at present or anyone else who may want to get in on it) can not be polite please do refrain.
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And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. ... Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. Matthew 25:40 & 45

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  #20  
Old 02-24-09, 12:39 AM
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That is far enough however at some point we have to draw a line on what are essentials of the Christian faith and what is not and I believe this could be considered on.
Agreed but drawing the line sharply is bad practice since litmus tests have changed over the years and will undoubtedly change in the future. Specialized interpretations of doctrine should not be made a litmus test in my humble opinion. For example I am content to say that God makes us righteous. That is official doctrine. Whether it is imparted, infused or imputed is not official Christian doctrine.

As far as a litmus test goes, and I generally dislike these, The Nicene Creed works for me.

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I would love to do nothing more then talk about the Doctrines of Grace with you however since it can become a heated topic this is probably not the place to do that. I can think of at least one grumpy admin that may not enjoy this type of conversation.
I understand completely.

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My only question is do you think that our will can thwart God's Sovereignty or do you lean toward a Open theist view. Just so you know my view, I do not think that Calvinism is an essential for the Christian faith however I do believe that Open theism is out right heresy. Sorry for the strong language put it is something I feel is necessary.
No problem in regards to the strong language. Just don't burn this open view theist at the stake

I find open view theism strongest on philosophical grounds. It has some scientific support in quantum uncertainty and probability and there are even a number of Bibilical statements supporting the notion. Though the latter are often relegated into "anthropomorphisms" in regards to God, as if the entire Bible itself isn't anthropomorphic?

On a strictly Biblical basis you can make a very strong case for Calvinistic doctrine but OVT is in there as well as other trains of thought. The big issue for me is the huge number of verses supporting both predestination and free will. I simply find Calvinism morally objectionable and philosophically problematic. I only find it scripturally problematic in that it doesn't appear to be the only viewpoint. Hence the great debate in Christianity. I don't find open view theism heretical either. It retains the omniscience and omnipotence of God. God knows all that can be known but the free will actions of humans, by definition, and by God's own doing and set up, are not things that can be known. There is scripture that appears to both support and contradict the open view in my opinion so there is no need for proof-text hunting (e.g. 'I knew you in the womb before you were born' --Isaiah I think). Of course OVT doesn't mean God does not have a good guess of choices we will make since our mind-body soul is connected somehow.

I find modern notions of omnipotence much more plausible as well. God had all the power but in creating free beings with genuine power of their own, he voluntarily surrendered some of his own power to us. If we think quantitatively that God had and has all the power exhaustively then we can effect nothing, free will is meaningless and IMO, life itself. But imagine the Greatness and Worth-Ship of an omnipotent being surrendering a bit of his own power out of love so that his creation can share in volition and his love. The Son isn't the only one who made a sacrifice! I find that this notion raises God up higher, not lower. A bonus side perk of this view is avoiding a few philosophical difficulties.

I guess I find evidence of three different views in scripture and I am not sure how to resolve them. I simply move to morality and philosophy and weed them out that way. I suppose if God didn't want us thinking about this issue in a lot of depth the Bible would have been more clear on this point. Or maybe we simply can't understand the ultimate nature of reality//God and hence the free will//predestination dilemma as outside of the Bible there are problems with both determinism and free will (logical and scientific).

Vinnie
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  #21  
Old 02-24-09, 03:23 AM
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"Open view theism" is a phrase I have heard before but never heard defined. Can you help me out on that? I can make some guesses from what I've heard and from your post but guesses can miss the mark a mile. Thanks.
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  #22  
Old 02-24-09, 11:09 AM
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It's about time we had a good theological discussion to liven this place up. Even if I have nothing to contribute, it's nice to see Vinnie back.
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  #23  
Old 02-24-09, 02:43 PM
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Yep it is.
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And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. ... Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. Matthew 25:40 & 45

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  #24  
Old 02-24-09, 04:21 PM
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"Open view theism" is a phrase I have heard before but never heard defined. Can you help me out on that? I can make some guesses from what I've heard and from your post but guesses can miss the mark a mile. Thanks.
Some of you may be familiar with "Letters From a Skeptic" by Greg Boyd. A nice apologetic text. He happens to be one of the most popular open view proponents today. I will quote his Biblical reasons for his view:

Quote:
* The Lord frequently changes his mind in the light of changing circumstances, or as a result of prayer (Exod. 32:14; Num. 14:12–20; Deut. 9:13–14, 18–20, 25; 1 Sam. 2:27–36; 2 Kings 20:1–7; 1 Chron. 21:15; Jer. 26:19; Ezek. 20:5–22; Amos 7:1–6; Jonah 1:2; 3:2, 4–10). At other times he explicitly states that he will change his mind if circumstances change (Jer. 18:7–11; 26:2–3; Ezek. 33:13–15). This willingness to change is portrayed as one of God’s attributes of greatness (Joel 2:13–14; Jonah 4:2). If the future were exhaustively and eternally settled, as classical theism teaches, it would be impossible for God to genuinely change his mind about matters.

* God sometimes expresses regret and disappointment over how things turned out—even occasionally over things that resulted from his own will. (Gen. 6:5–6; 1 Sam. 15:10, 35; Ezek. 22:29–31). If the future was exhaustively and eternally settled, it would be impossible for God to genuinely regret how some of his own decisions turned out.

* At other times God tells us that he is surprised at how things turned out because he expected a different outcome (Isa. 5:3–7; Jer. 3:67; 19–20). If the future was eternally and exhaustively settled, everything would come to pass exactly as God eternally knew or determined it to be.

* The Lord frequently tests his people to find out whether they’ll remain faithful to him (Gen. 22:12; Exod. 16:4; Deut. 8:2; 13:1–3; Judges 2:20–3:5; 2 Chron. 32:31). If the future were eternally and exhaustively settled, God could not genuinely say he tests people “to know” whether they’ll be faithful or not.

* The Lord sometimes asks non-rhetorical questions about the future (Num. 14:11; Hos. 8:5) and speaks to people in terms of what may or may not happen (Exod. 3:18–4:9; 13:17; Jer. 38:17–18, 20–21, 23; Ezek. 12:1–3). If the future was exhaustively and eternally settled, God could never genuine speak about the future in terms of what “may” or “may not” happen.
http://www.gregboyd.org/qa/open-thei...ou-espouse-it/

All these verses suggest an open future. So far from being heretical, a partly open future is found within scripture. There are of course just as many, if not more proclaiming a settled future. The resolution to people like Boyd is that some of the future is settled and some of it is open. To me it is a wonder that more inerrancy advocates do not flock to this view. It resolves two trains of thought which appear incompatible in scripture. Here is what he has to say as to open theism:

Quote:
Open Theism is the view that God chose to create a world that included free agents, and thus a world where possibilities are real. The future is pre-settled, to whatever degree God wants to pre-settle it and to whatever degree the inevitable consequences of the choices of created agents have pre-settled it. But the future is also open to whatever degree agents are free to resolve possibilities into actualities by their own choices.

In the open view, God knows everything perfectly, including the future. But since the future is partly comprised of possibilities, God knows it as partly comprised of possibilities.
I take it that the free choices of humans are not something that can be known but can be known only through possibilities by definition and that is how God knows them perfectly.

Vinnie
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  #25  
Old 02-24-09, 04:24 PM
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Originally Posted by Breni Sue View Post
It's about time we had a good theological discussion to liven this place up. Even if I have nothing to contribute, it's nice to see Vinnie back.
Miss you too! Do you have a facebook? If so add me. I have kind of given up on myspace
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Old 02-24-09, 07:47 PM
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To me it is a wonder that more inerrancy advocates do not flock to this view.
I am working on a response to Open theism, but first is this a clue that you do not hold to the inerrancy of Scripture. If that is true than perhaps that is part of the problem to you hold to this unbilical view.

But for your consideration have your read this Beyond the Bounds which is available in it's entirely here there is also the resources found at CARM which deal nicely with the verse Mr. Boyd likes to use. Also this is part of a debate with Dr James White and John Sanders that is very good.
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  #27  
Old 02-25-09, 01:32 AM
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I am working on a response to Open theism, but first is this a clue that you do not hold to the inerrancy of Scripture. If that is true than perhaps that is part of the problem to you hold to this unbilical view.

But for your consideration have your read this Beyond the Bounds which is available in it's entirely here there is also the resources found at CARM which deal nicely with the verse Mr. Boyd likes to use. Also this is part of a debate with Dr James White and John Sanders that is very good.

No, I am not an advocate of verbal, plenary inspiration. Discussing the reasons for this are outside of this site's terms of service so I shall not comment on it further lest the admin does get grumpy .

My comments stemmed from the Arminianism//Calvinism debate that has been ongoing for centuries. Each side can literally quote dozens of scriptural passages in support of their position and generally they do and round and round the debate goes. If I were a skeptic seeking to discredit or debunk the Bible I would quote 50 passages in support of free will and 50 passages contradicting it as the ultimate Bible contradiction. It would literally spans from cover to cover in the Bible, dozens of different authors and over a thousand years of time. Sometimes you even get these within the same work! In my humble opinion, Open theism allows for an adequate resolution of this conflict, and that is one of the reasons I am surprised by its lack of popularity in evangelical circles.

Re Carm: it is a good resource but this is generally how they explain away Open Theism:

"The issue, of course, is whether or not God actually goes through a process of changing His mind due to learning something as the open theists would maintain. But, is God actually reacting to knew information or is He working on our level, in our reference, for our benefit?"

They ignore the plain, literal meaning of the Bible in these verses, when this method is most always preferred, though not exhaustively, and claim God is working on our level and in our reference. Well, of course the Bible does not claim the latter. It is an interpretation that is added to the Bible that may or may not be correct. This hinders God's intended function of scripture in my humble opinion. Scripture cannot serve as conscience and corrector when its contents are reinterpreted and force-fitted into preconceived ideology. Its voice is muffled when we put our own interpretation muzzles on it.

I understand that the plain literal meaning is preferred but not to be used exhaustively. But why should we reinterpret the passages to support Calvinism and Arminianism instead of Open Theism? Why not say Open Theism is correct and those verses about controlling things are God talking on our level, reinforcing us by telling us about his power and the parts of the future he does know. Why go one way and not the other? I suppose that is my biggest question. For me, I find philosophical reasons to be the strongest in regards to open theism but there are certainly enough indications in scripture so as to not label the view heresy.

A verse that says God knows everything (e.g. John something) does not contradict this. With God all things are possible, He is omnipotent, but bring me a theologian who supposes God can will himself out of existence or do the logically impossible because he can do all the things. If free choices are not "something that can be known" then it would be logically impossible for a being who knows everything to know them since they are not something that can be known. Omniscience means God can know all that can be known. Something, such as a free act, which by definition, cannot be known is not an action included in this category. That is how I understand omniscience.

Vinnie
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Old 02-25-09, 02:37 AM
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Miss you too! Do you have a facebook? If so add me. I have kind of given up on myspace
Sending you an add right now! Amy has Facebook too.
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  #29  
Old 02-25-09, 02:47 AM
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Sending you an add right now! Amy has Facebook too.
I was able to find her through your friends list. I have Jason, Shaun, Kathryn and a bunch of others from here on my friends list as well.

Vinnie
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Old 02-25-09, 06:13 AM
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Can it be possible that we genuinely have free will and even so God knows exactly what we're going to do? A parent may know exactly how their child will react in a situation, but I don't think that necessarily means that the child is devoid of free will. It's simply that the parent knows and has a very deep understanding of the child. Doesn't it make sense to apply the same ****ogy to God relative to us?

Why does 'free will' have to associate with 'unpredictable?'

(Don't take this as an indication necessarily of my own views, I'm looking to learn something and advance the discussion.)
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