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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.


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  1. With all due respect this is a TOTAL MISREPRESENTATION of my theology. In fact these accusations bear false witness against another Christian (which is a sin). So to reiterate: 1. Man is NOT basically good but a sinner by birth (via Adam) and also a sinner by choice (through the sin nature), and ALL have sinned and come short of the glory of God. 2. Total Depravity is FALSE because all men are not continuously wicked or evil, even though they are sinners. The Bible teaches that even the Gentiles who do not have the Law can "work good" through the influence of their conscience (Romans 2:6-16). 3. No man can take glory to himself since "salvation is of the Lord" but men have given Augustine and Calvin glory which they do not deserve. 4. Catholic semi-Pelagianism may teach that salvation is a combination of grace + works, but the Bible is very clear, and I have clearly asserted this many times -- SALVATION IS BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH IN CHRIST AND HIS FINISHED WORK OF REDEMPTION, since "It is not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy that He has saved us".
  2. Lucas

    Essential Soteriology?

    After I gave a detailed reply, the post disappeared altogether. So all I will say is kindly study Romans 2:6-16 for positive proof.
  3. I have addressed this already in the "Essential Soteriology" thread. I am not here to give offence, but by the same token all false doctrine has to be recognized as such. It is a real shame that so many Christians have boxed themselves into Calvinism, but that's how it is.
  4. Lucas

    Essential Soteriology?

    Since I have already demonstrated with Scripture that Pelagianism is TOTALLY FALSE how can I be Pelagian? I reject that nonsense. At the same time I have shown from Scripture that men indeed have free will and are asked to choose between serving God and not serving Him. So I also reject Calvinism, since TULIP is totally false. And I also reject Arminianism, which has its own issues. You may think that those are the only options for a Christian, but that is not so. We do not need to pigeon hole ourselves into any of these theologies, and it is only because the Reformers boxed themselves into Augustinian theology that we have TULIP. As you already noted, the Israelites did serve God while Joshua was alive, which means that they could have continued serving Him had they chosen to do so. And Israel served the LORD all the days of Joshua, and all the days of the elders that overlived Joshua, and which had known all the works of the LORD, that he had done for Israel. (Joshua 24:31). Which means that human beings do have free will. Even the unsaved can and do follow the dictates of their consciences (as noted by Paul through Divine inspiration in Romans 2). However, Calvinism teaches "total depravity" which would mean that all human beings are continuously wicked. That is simply not true, which means that the very foundation of TULIP is false. DEPRAVITY: moral corruption; wickedness: synonyms: corruption · vice · perversion · deviance · degeneracy · immorality ·debauchery · dissipation · profligacy · licentiousness · lechery · pru-rience ·
  5. "Total depravity" is simply a man-made doctrine since you will not find that term in the Bible. So let's see what Scripture says. 1. Original sin -- absolutely. Since all have descended from Adam, all have been made sinners by birth, and all choose to sin because of the inherent sin nature. 2. The "depravity" of man -- there is NONE righteous, no not one, and Romans 3:10-18 describes the sinfulness and lostness of the human race. On the other hand "depravity" would mean that all are continuously evil (depraved), which is utterly false, and even Paul points that out in Romans chapter 2. 3. Desperate need of a Savior -- absolutely, since without the blood and the righteousness of Christ applied to the soul, there is no salvation 4. Incapable of obeying the Law in our own strength -- absolutely, since it is only by the power of the indwelling Holy Spirit that Christians can obey the Law of Love.
  6. God. They could not believe because in spite of everything that Christ had done and said THEY WOULD NOT BELIEVE. So first they wilfully would not believe, and then finally they could not believe because their hearts were hardened by God (just like Pharaoh). Those who repeatedly resist the Holy Spirit and harden their hearts eventually have their hearts hardened by God. Therefore we have this Scripture (Hebrews 3:7-13): 7 Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice, 8 Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: 9 When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. 10 Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in theirheart; and they have not known my ways. 11 So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.) 12 Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God. 13 But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin. The nation of Israel was judicially blinded by God AFTER they rejected Christ and rejected the Gospel. But each one had multiple opportunies to repent before that.
  7. Lucas

    Essential Soteriology?

    Let's look at the false doctrine of Pelagius (as summarized here, so we will assume that the summary accurately reflects Pelagius): Pelagius believed that man had not been entirely corrupted by Adam’s fall -- the words "entirely corrupted" are not found in Scripture pertaining to how mankind was affected by Adam's fall. What Scripture says is Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned (Rom 5:12). Which means that all men are sinners because of Adam, and all have also sinned by their own choice. This does not automatically mean that all men are continuously evil, since the Bible says that even the Gentiles who have no Law are governed by their conscience and do right accordingly (Rom 2:12-29). and that he could, by his own free will, do works that pleased God, and thus be saved. That is totally false, since Scripture says that no man can be saved by good works:For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: (Rom 3:23,24). This led Pelagius to deny the doctrines of original sin -- since "original sin" means humankind are all sinners because of Adam, this is obviously false. and predestination -- since predestination is NOT for salvation but for glorification, then predestination does not apply, and this is neither here nor there. and to deny the need for special grace to be saved -- if by "special grace" it is meant that the power of the Gospel and the power of the Holy Spirit are not necessary for salvation, then this is obviously false. Essentially, he believed that man is basically good and moral -- this is obviously false, since As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: (Rom 3:10) and that even pagans can enter heaven through their virtuous moral actions -- this is utter nonsense since no sinner can enter Heaven without the blood and righteousness of Christ applied to his soul. So in fact, I reject Pelagianism as false doctrine, and I also reject Calvinism as false doctrine. As I indicated in another thread, there is another option, which is Biblicism. And Biblicism teaches that all sinners do have free will, all are invited to be saved, and none are compelled to be saved.
  8. There is no way that TULIP represents Pauline doctrine. It is simply man-made theology which distorts the Gospel and Bible truth. We could take John 6:44 and reinterpret it in the light of all Scripture, so let's take another look at this verse in the context of all of chapter six, and all the words (not just cherry-picking):. Verse 2 -- And a great multitude followed him -- which indicates that the words of Christ which follow are addressed to all, not merely "the elect". Verse 28 -- Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? -- this question came from the entire multitude Verse 29 -- Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent. -- if all were commanded to believe, then all could have believed, had all chosen to do so. Was not this the Father drawing ALL men to the Son (since the Son is in the Father, and the Father is in the Son)? Verse 37 -- All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.​​​​​​​ -- since all were invited to believe on the Son, was not the Father giving ALL to the Son? Had all chosen to believe, they all would have been given to the Son, Verse 39 -- And this is the Father's will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.​ -- once again, this does not indicate that the Father was giving the Son only a few, but all would be given and none would be lost if all would obey the Gospel. Verse 40 -- And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.​​​​​​​ -- Was not everyone commanded to believe on the Son? Would that not mean that all could have believed on the Son? Would that not mean that all could have received everlasting life? Verse 44 -- No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.​​​​​​​ -- does this not teach that the Father draws all men to Christ, and that all could be saved, and not the opposite, in light of all that has gone before? ​​​​​​​We know that all will not be saved, but that is not because the Father failed to draw all men to the Son. That is why Christ said And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.​​​​​​​ (John 12:32). Does this verse not -- all by itself -- confirm that both the Father and the Son draw all men to the Savior? And do you not see how TULIP distorts this Gospel truth so that people are led to believe that only "the elect" are drawn to Christ?
  9. Lucas

    Essential Soteriology?

    The term "freewill" and the Hebrew word from which it is derived, as well as the whole tenor of Scripture, establishes that free will goes well beyond the offerings under the Law. Please note carefully (Joshua 24:15-22): 15 And if it seem evil unto you to serve the LORD, choose you this day whom ye will serve; whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the flood, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land ye dwell: but as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD. 16 And the people answered and said, God forbid that we should forsake the LORD, to serve other gods; 17 For the LORD our God, he it is that brought us up and our fathers out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, and which did those great signs in our sight, and preserved us in all the way wherein we went, and among all the people through whom we passed: 18 And the LORD drave out from before us all the people, even the Amorites which dwelt in the land: therefore will we also serve the LORD; for he is our God. 19 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye cannot serve the LORD: for he is an holy God; he is a jealous God; he will not forgive your transgressions nor your sins. 20 If ye forsake the LORD, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good. 21 And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the LORD. 22 And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the LORD, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses. Please note the use of "choose" and "chosen" which goes well beyond offerings, and is a choice to either serve and obey the LORD, or not serve Him and obey Him. So if you wish to call this autonomous or libertarian free will, then so it is. But the fact remains that in spite of the sin nature, men can and do make free will choices to serve the Lord. When it comes to believing the Gospel and receiving Christ, there is no doubt that the Word of God and the Holy Spirit work on the sinner to bring him to repentance. But in the end, God compels no one to be saved, and all men must freely choose Christ. If it were not so, God would have compelled all Israel to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved. After all Israel was the chosen people. Since few believed on their Messiah, that is conclusive proof that free will was at work.
  10. Lucas

    Essential Soteriology?

    Actually Sue was quoting William who said the above. However, while the Bible does not use the terms "autonomous" or "libertarian" the Bible clearly teaches that men have free will, since men can make freewill offerings. Deut 16:10 -- And thou shalt keep the feast of weeks unto the LORD thy God with a tribute of a freewill offering of thine hand, which thou shalt give unto the LORD thy God, according as the LORD thy God hath blessed thee: Lev 22:18 -- Speak unto Aaron, and to his sons, and unto all the children of Israel, and say unto them, Whatsoever he be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers in Israel, that will offer his oblation for all his vows, and for all his freewill offerings, which they will offer unto the LORD for a burnt offering; 2 Chron 31:14 -- And Kore the son of Imnah the Levite, the porter toward the east, was over the freewill offerings of God, to distribute the oblations of the LORD, and the most holy things. [TABLE=align: center, border: 0, cellpadding: 0, cellspacing: 0] [TR] [TD]◄ 5071. nedabah ►[/TD] [/TR] [/TABLE] [TABLE=align: center, border: 0, cellpadding: 0, cellspacing: 0] [TR] [TD]Strong's Concordance nedabah: voluntariness, freewill offering Original Word: נְדָבָה Part of Speech: Noun Feminine Transliteration: nedabah Phonetic Spelling: (ned-aw-baw') Short Definition: offering[/TD] [/TR] [/TABLE] freely (1), freewill offering (12), freewill offerings (9), plentiful (1), voluntarily (1), volunteer freely (1), willingly (1). How could anyone offer a "freewill offering" unless he had free will and could voluntarily, willingly, and freely offer what he chose to offer? When Christians deny that men have free will, then they deny what the Bible affirms.
  11. Only God and Jesus know what is your relationship to them. A person who receives Christ as his Lord and Savior has the Holy Spirit within, and the Holy Spirit is God. He is the one who can drive all evil spirits from you. So make sure you have a genuine relationship with Christ, and know that you have been born again. Following that obey the Lord Jesus Christ by being baptized as a believer, and make the Bible your constant companion and authority.
  12. Of course, we have Lutherans and Anglicans within the Reformation, and they retained many Catholic ideas also. But both Calvin and Luther were influenced by Augustine, as were other Reformers.
  13. Correct. Also correct. Not exactly. Here is what Scripture says (Matthew 24:14): And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
  14. "Reformed" is related to the Reformation, and consists of Protestant doctrine. But since Calvinism was a very strong influence in Protestantism, Reformed doctrine is essentially Calvinistic and also includes Covenant Theology and Amilleniallism. The Westminster Confession of Faith is a summation of Reformed Theology, and while other Christians can agree with much of it, they cannot agree with all of it. The Reformers believed that the Bible was the ultimate authority for Christians (hence Sola Scriptura), but the influence of Augustine ((who was actually Catholic) is evident in Calvinism, and TULIP (the Five Points of Calvinism) actually goes back to Augustine. At the same time there were many Christians who were never within the Roman Catholic church, therefore were never part of the Reformation. In fact the Reformers were bitterly opposed to Anabaptists and Baptists, and persecuted and killed them.
  15. You are absolutely correct, since "by the Law is the knowledge of sin". At the same time, many Christians have failed to see that the Ten Commandments were condensed into the two Greatest Commandments by Christ, and then made into the Law of Christ (or the Law of Love). So according to the Law of Christ, the one who loves fulfils this Law, but the Law itself remains and is "fulfilled" (Romans 13:8-10). 8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. 9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. Paul alludes to the last five commandments here, and in another Scripture he alludes to the commandment to honor father and mother. He does not touch on the first four commandments (which pertain to loving God with one's whole being) since that is not the purpose here. However, the sabbath commandment is the fourth and is related to loving God. So when Christians dedicate one entire day (the Lord's Day) to worship and good works (as did the Puritans), that is in fact upholding the sabbath commandment. What the apostles teach is that while no one can establish one's own righteousness by law-keeping, walking in the Spirit means obeying the Ten Commandments through the Law of Love. That is after we are justified by grace through faith, and is a part of the process of sanctification.

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