Still Confused What The Emerging & Emergent Church Are?

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114 thoughts on “Still Confused What The Emerging & Emergent Church Are?

  1. To really moderate a person’s comments we need to understand the metanarrative – we need to stop to reflect and to treasure the words, to turn them over and over in our minds, repeating them, whilst distancing ourselves from the evangelical agenda and discover new and fresh voices and how these ideas interact in loose communal ways so that we might be deeply moved by the words like the early Desert Fathers.

  2. Mosco, just what I was going to say …

    Seriously, the desert fathers were interesting characters.

    And for something different, here is a quote from one of the desert mothers,

    Amma Syncletica said, “There are many who live in the mountains and behave as if they were in the town; they are wasting their time. It is possible to be a solitary in one’s mind while living in a crowd; and it is possible for those who are solitaries to live in the crowd of their own thoughts.”

    I probably don’t agree with a lot emerging/ermergent people and the desert hermits, but I have much more respect for those who love God with all their hearts and seek first the Kingdom of God, then many who seem to live their lives promoting a brand. Was invited to a church by someone this week, and it’s like a lot of churches these days. There was so much more talk about the church, the leaders, the movement, what they were doing, how great they were, how unique they were, etc etc – God seemed to be a minor player. Like someone at the tail end of the credits of a movie. Disappointing.

  3. Kimball’s eh? Ages back I read his book, ‘They Like Jesus but not the Church’. I didn’t get anything out of it.

  4. @Churchman – understand what you are saying but I really find the “innovative”, “cutting edge”, “everything must change”, painfully reductionistic emerging/ermergent movement more ridiculous than anything it denounces.

    I like what G.K. Chesterton said about the resulting state of affairs when “change” itself become object or ideal, in a chapter in his book “Orthodoxy” called “the suicide of thought” –

    “It is true that a man (a silly man) might make change itself his object or ideal. But as an ideal, change itself becomes unchangeable. If the change-worshipper wishes to estimate his own progress, he must be sternly loyal to the ideal of change; he must not begin to flirt gaily with the ideal of monotony. Progress itself cannot progress.”

    it wants an understanding of truth that facilitiates “a way out of doctrinal conflict and impasse” (Maclaren) but fails to realise that there will never be anything of substance TO understand without those thorny questions of thruth “that have so vexed the modern mind” (Al Mohler)

    they long for “a kinder, gentler’ version of evangelicalism that is devoid of the doctrinal dogmatism, moral certainty, and absolutist mindset” (Sam Storms) but the cost will be that of clarity in matters of truth.

  5. I have very much trouble believing that the emergent movement is a movement at all. It died as a movement as soon as it started. This is why I’ve had so much trouble embracing it as a movement.

    I honestly think for Christianity to thrive, movements cannot be the focus. I think ‘mere Christianity’ is it. A lot of Christian’s don’t like the fact that it’s just them and God. If Christian’s are part of a building, movement, church-planting team or healing ministry, then it feels like they are accomplishing FOR God. I think we forget what dying to self means when we feel we MUST be apart of something great.

    When I first heard of the emergent/emerging church, I predicted rightly that there would be ministries popping up with the latest answers, war cries and books as what is making them relevant and the way forward for today’s Christianity.

    After enjoying the company of Heretic and RP a few times in the last few years, just hearing their stories with their family, friends and church brothers and sisters have helped me appreciate that Christianity is all about living and not being associated with any movement, including the emergent. I’m dead with all those movements and conferences too. I just live Christianity, not apart of it (if you catch me).

    Good luck with Dan Kimball and his emergent trends. I wish him the best in winning and helping people to the Lord. I can only see that if you slap a label on yourself and associate yourself to a movement, then something isn’t dead in you.

    We keep up with the times by living with the times, but not conforming to it’s practices. That will always be emerging as new technologies, events and fads affect the ways we live our lives.

  6. Interesting that they started out the conversation about how to reach Generation X. They’ve had so many conferences, books and generative friendships that they are now talking about Gen Y. Soon the Gen-Y’s will move out to the suburbs and watch Masterchef on a Sunday night instead of finding innovative ways to be missional in trendy coffee shops. The emergents will have to turn to Gen Z, the kids of the original Gen Xers.

  7. @Mosco

    “Calvinism is simply biblical Christianity”

    Which bible you reading Mosco? Coz there’s nothing in the Holy Bible that says that God chooses to save some and leave the rest to suffer eternal punishment. Calvanism is man-made doctrine pure and simple.

    It’s good to be back. Signposts has been so boring of late. About time we added some interesting debate again!

  8. @TVD – for someone who endorses modalistic heretics and doesnt consider the Trinity an essential doctrine of the faith, you are hardly striding the high ground of orthodoxy when it comes to man made doctrines are you?

    Anyway – yet STILL the rest do in fact suffer eternal punishment…. so if it is free will that got them there, and had nothing to do with the eternal decree of the Creator, you still have the philosophical dilemma of an omniscient God who created creatures knowing that the consequences of their so-called libertarian free-will would ultimately result in their eternal demise…

    Let me ask you something – what is mercy? if it is something that God is obliged to render to all – is it still mercy? none of “the rest” who will suffer eternal punishment will recieve injustice from God will they?? eternal punishment must therefore be just…

    Which do you want TVD? – God’s justice or his mercy?

    Like I said before, show me a consistent Arminian and I will show you an Open Thiest

  9. TVD says “Which bible you reading Mosco? Coz there’s nothing in the Holy Bible that says that God chooses to save some and leave the rest to suffer eternal punishment. Calvanism is man-made doctrine pure and simple.”

    Is God subject to our evaluation? Perhaps we need to ask the question, “why does He elect anyone or why does He have mercy on anyone at all?”

    Why does he say I (will have) mercy on whom I (will have) mercy.

    Time to read Romans 9 in context and consider God’s sovereign choice (and mercy). A good Monday morning study

  10. @RP

    “So why do you bother with the bait, Mosco? ”

    “Baiting”, as you call it, is Mosco’s modus operandi. It’s what he does. He takes pleasure in offence – the more offensive the better. I know he’s S&P’s poster boy, but if he can’t take a little of his own medicine he’d be better just playing Farmville and leave the intelligent conversation to us adults.

  11. I wouldn’t call it “baiting”, just an encouragement to think outside our emotional/spititual boundaries – that protective hedge we put around ourselves rather than be challenged by another’s opinion.

    But then I’m admittedly of the Mosco persuasion! 🙂

  12. I like Mosco just as much as I do you TVD. I enjoy both of your colourful personalities. We’re all fairly characterised on Signposts02 by what we say.

    That’s the way I like it. I don’t play the favourites game. Let mega-churches play those games instead.

  13. Romans 8 comes before 9, and then is followed by 10, although, in reality, there are no chapters or verses, and the Epistle should be read as a whole. Context before dogma.

    Calvinism’s doctrine of the elect, in fact, if you think it through, makes no room for either grace or mercy. It’s judgement alone. and prejudice, at that, being, apparently, preconceived opinion.

    Mercy comes with every case as it is considered. Grace comes despite guilt. God’s grace is extended to all. How does that line up with prejudice?

    The cross was once and for all, not for a select few.

  14. @Newsong
    “The cross was once and for all, not for a select few”

    Unless you are a universalist, I assume that you believe in eternal damnation & punishment – so you must be saying that the atonement is limited in its efficacy as opposed to its scope, either way you are limiting the atonement.

    “Let there be no misunderstanding at this point. The Arminian limits the atonement as certainly as does the Calvinist. The Calvinist limits the extent of it in that he says it does not apply to all persons…while the Arminian limits the power of it, for he says that in itself it does not actually save anybody. The Calvinist limits it quantitatively, but not qualitatively; the Arminian limits it qualitatively, but not quantitatively….the Arminian places more severe limitations on the work of Christ than does the Calvinist.”
    (Lorraine Boettner, The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination)

    “The question that needs a precise answer is this: Did He or didn’t He? Did Christ actually make a substitutionary sacrifice for sins or didn’t He? If He did, then it was not for all the world, for then all the world would be saved. (Palmer, The Five Points of Calvinism, p. 47.)”

    Newsong if you maintain a “universal” atonement, that is, that Christ died substitutionarily in the place of every single man and woman in all the world, then you are forced to either say that:

    1) everyone will be saved; or
    2) the death of Christ is insufficient to save without additional works.

    “We say Christ so died that he infallibly secured the salvation of a multitude that no man can number, who through Christ’s death not only may be saved, but are saved, must be saved, and cannot by any possibility run the hazard of being anything but saved. —Charles Haddon Spurgeon

    So – do you think Christs death accomplish its intention? Did He come simply to make salvation possible, or did He come to actually obtain eternal redemption for his people? (Hebrews 9:12)

    Its a fact that the Bible says that Christ is able to save men completely. He is not limited simply to a secondary role as the great Assistor who makes it possible for man to save himself. SO – why is He able to save COMPLETELY those who come to God through Him? Because He always lives to make intercession for them (Hebrews 7:24-26).

    In light of that Newsong – It is impossible that anyone for whom the Son intercedes could be lost?

    If you say “yes” can you imagine the Son pleading before the Father, presenting His perfect atonement in behalf of an individual that He wishes to save, and the Father rejecting the Son’s intercession? – The Father always hears the Son doesn’t he?? (John 11:42).

    When Christ prays to the Father, He does not pray for the “world” but for those that have been given to Him by the Father (John 6:37).

    She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save HIS people from their sins (Matthew 1:21). Well, did He? Did He save His people, or did He not?

  15. Doesn’t change the context or meaning if you read chapters 8 and 10. Doesn’t change the context even if I read Genesis through to Revelation.

  16. Copied from the thread where this discussion belongs:

    mn says:
    October 13, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    Mosco: “…still slightly intrigued why you believe that no one has the right to believe he or she has assurance of salvation?

    Why is that?” and

    “…could you just explain this comment in the last thread:

    “The arrogance comes from assuming the position of being numbered amongst the elect, justifying all manner of theological preening.”

    Firstly, I don’t and I never said that – your interpretation, not what I said. I actually am inclined to believe that one cannot lose one’s salvation, but have great sympathy for Bull’s position that it is possible and we have to work at it. Can put both views from Scripture – will elucidate in a minnie.

    Secondly, the issue about the elect. It’s there – no issue with that. But what that means is in a lot of ways not for us – probably more in the way of a comfort than anything.

    However the whole concept of the elect is often hijacked for nefarious ends. Let’s face it the only people who really talk about the elect generally see themselves as part of that exclusive club. And that is often the point – its an exclusive club, with all the arrogant pride and crap that comes with it – that Go hates.

    Now while I might side with the notion that one can’t lose one’s salvation, and can trot out all manner of Scripture providing a basis for assurance (not quite the same thing) about our salvation, but….

    this is where I switch sides (Bull)…. there are also heaps of Scriptures hammering us to make sure of our salvation (why, if we can’t lose it), salt having lost its saltiness is no good, if we fall away we can’t get it back, and even more about what we need to do to attain that salvation and then see in our lives to see the evidence of it…to retain and confirm that assurance.

    Forget the election and predestination – it is a comfort but not something to be assumed or taken for granted by us. Its fruit is often spiritual pride and an arrogance that is unbecoming.

    Scipture places a much stronger emphasis on daily following Christ, not taking him for granted and practising how to love as He did. This is not works; it is the evidence and part of our assurance, and above anything a command. This is more conducive from a position of grateful humility, than elect pridefulness which serves not useful purpose and just pisses people off.

    I’m coming to the position that (unfortunately for those for whom the doctrine of the elect is a driving force, and use it to exclude overtly or covertly) that God’s grace and His elect is much greater than we could possibly understand (that does not equate to universalism or a form thereof). I’m happy about that (not that God is hanging on my good opinion). But the other point about that as in the case of my views on judging, is that its not my concern – God chooses His elect for His purposes in His way, and what I think is irrelevant. What is relevant is whether I do what He says or not, or at least progressively come on board over time – stuff the elect.

  17. “I know he’s S&P’s poster boy,”

    Apologies S&P. I meant the Signposts02 community, not you specifically. Slip of the fingers!

  18. We seem to always come back to this subject – is it important? It certainly generates a lot of heat! Is it a salvific “hill to die on”? NO.

    To me it boils down to God’s sovereignty in all things including His electing, to His glory.

  19. @Mosco, you do two things: first you argue Arminianism from a Calvinist position, with predictable results; and, second, you assume that a person who disagrees with the Calvinist position is, therefore, an Arminianist. Then you set up your arguments accordingly, and hit the weaknesses of both.

    Yes of course Christ died once and for all. The scripture, on more than one occasion, reveals this. Universalist arguments are not necessary for this to be correct. Universalism’s major flaw is that it permits sin, which God does not.

    Therefore if salvation is for all, all have the opportunity of salvation. But what you conveniently leave out, being a Calvinist, is the will of man, which God gave, and which accesses his grace and free gift of salvation by faith.

    Whether this faith is of the human will, or of the will of God imparted to man, is neither here nor there, because it is required, on the part of the recipient of grace. We are not saved by grace alone, but by grace through faith. There is no evidence that God is selective about receives faith or grace, but that grace is accorded to all, to be received through faith, which is accorded to all, but clearly not accepted by all.

    This limits nothing, but the human capacity for making the right decisions about their eternal destiny. God is merciful in declaring that he is not a preferrer of persons, an that the Door is open to all who will receive his grace through faith.

    This faith, then, is accessible to the human will, but only through the preaching of the Word of faith, the gospel. It comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of Christ. No one can hear without preacher, and no one can preach unless they are sent. All believers are sent, by Christ, to preach the gospel, so it is by the hearing of the Word of faith that a person is saved.

    The Word is that Christ has died once and for all, so that all have access to the work of his cross through faith in him.

    The truth is that not all will hear, not all will believe even when they do hear, and not all will accept the free gift when it is offered through the preaching of the cross.

    The Father draws all men to himself trough the cross of Christ. “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believes on him should not perish, but have eternal life”, and, “I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me”.

    Those that reject the preaching of the gospel will be damned. Those that accept it and believe will be saved.

  20. Agreed – not a salvific hill to die on but nonetheless important…

    by the way TVD, if i have suceeded in one thing on this endeavor – its NOT making friends!!

  21. @ teddy: It is the work of the Holy Spirit, at the preaching of the gospel, to convince me of sin, righteousness and judgement. Thus the sin nature is overcome by the power of the gospel. The gospel of Christ convinces me of my status as a sinner, and need of a Saviour. It is the Word of faith preached. It is the Word of faith heard. It is the Word of faith believed. It is the Word of faith confessed on the part of the hearer. “The gospel is the power of God unto salvation for those who believe’.

  22. My point is, are you a wretch as Paul says of himself. We still sin and sin much. Is your “free will” able to overcome that to the point of no longer sinning?

  23. @Newsong –

    1 – you talk about me beating up strawmen!!!! can you please show me in any of Calvin’s works where it is asserted that man does not have a will??

    2 – you said “you assume that a person who disagrees with the Calvinist position is, therefore, an Arminianist” – wrong! because I would call a person who makes a comment like this “We are not saved by grace alone, but by grace through faith” That is not even the Arminian prevenient grace view!!! at best it is semi-pelagian but at worst pelagian – that is a far cry from being an Arminian – have you ever read Ravenhill or Tozer?

    3 – “There is no evidence that God is selective about receives faith or grace, but that grace is accorded to all, to be received through faith, which is accorded to all, but clearly not accepted by all.”

    ON FAITH AS A GIFT

    3(a) – take note of three passages relating to saving faith. Ephesians 2:8-10.
    “Clearly the “gift” of God is salvation in its totality, a salvation that flows out of God’s grace and becomes ours through faith. From beginning to end, from its inception to its consummation, salvation is a gift of God to his elect. Consequently, that faith by which we come into experiential possession of what God in grace has provided is as much a gift as any and every other aspect of salvation. One can no more deny that faith is wrapped up in God’s gift to us than he can deny it of God’s grace. All is of God! Salvation is of the Lord!” (Sam Storms)

    3(b) Philippians 1:29 “For to you it has been granted for Christ’s sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake.” what may seem easy to twist in Ephesians 2 is inescapably lucid in Philippians 1:29.

    3(c) 2 Peter 1:1. There we read, “Simon Peter, a bond-servant and apostle of Jesus Christ, to those who have received a faith of the same kind as ours, by the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.” What is of paramount importance here is the word translated “have received.” It is related to a verb that means “to obtain by lot” (see Luke 1:9; John 19:24; Acts 1:17). Thus, faith is removed from the realm of human free will and placed in its proper perspective as having originated in the sovereign and altogether gracious will of God. For it is not by chance or the luck of the draw that some come to saving faith, but by virtue of the righteousness of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”

    MUST GRACE BE ACCORDED TO ALL?

    Newsong can you merit God’s grace or otherwise – is God obliged to give grace to all – if so – is it still grace? Obligated or demanded mercy/grace is a contradiction in terms!!!

    4 – what action preceded those who come to Christ in John 6:44? no one has the ability in and of themselves to come to Him unless the Father draws him. The construction is precise – no one is able – ou dunatai — a phrase of ability. As Paul would later state, it is a principle of the spiritual realm that the natural man is not able to take in spiritual things. This is here expressed by Jesus as the reason the people are unable to understand or accept His divine origin. Absolutely necessary is the “drawing” of the Father. The term helkuso is used elsewhere in John of Jesus drawing all to Himself when He is lifted up (John 12:32 – though here it is Jesus who does the drawing) and at the end of the gospel when Peter “drags” the net full of fishes onto the shore. It is impossible to maintain a “universal” drawing here, for all who are drawn are also raised up – the Father draws, and the Son raises up those who are drawn.

  24. @ teddy: Is there now yet condemnation for those who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit? Did the work of the cross pay for my sin, forgive me and cleanse me of all unrighteousness, or not? Am I a new creature in Christ, or not? Have I put on the new man, or not? Am I made the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus or not? Does God still accredit my transgressions to me as a saint, or not? Am I sanctified? Am I justified? Do I have the power, in Christ, to be a weapon of righteousness rather than a weapon of sin? Am I under grace or law?

    Or was Christ’s cross in vain? Wa his resurrection pointless?

    Paul was, indeed wretched. Hence his need of a Saviour. The point is, did he receive Christ? Was he then forgiven? Did he put on he new man, created after Christ?

    Living in Romans 7:24 without moving on to Romans 8:1 is a sad place to be! Paul certainly didn’t stay at 7.24, hence 8:1.

  25. 2 Corinthians 5:4 “For while we are in this tent, we groan and are burdened, because we do not wish to be unclothed but to be clothed with our heavenly dwelling, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.”

    = sanctification, an ongoing process.

  26. @Mosco: more strawmen than a pagan festival! I’m not sure we’ll get anywhere, dear chap, because you see everything through calvin-tinted glasses. You need to switch over to at least 3D glasses! For instance:

    ‘what action preceded those who come to Christ in John 6:44? no one has the ability in and of themselves to come to Him unless the Father draws him.’

    I take it you assume, through adherence to the doctrine of the elect, that God doesn’t draw all men unto himself through the cross of Christ. Yet Jesus himself says that if he is lifted up he will draw ALL men to himself, which is, surely, the Father’s will revealed.

    When is ALL a few?

    And why wouldn’t grace be accorded to all?

    When is whosoever not whosoever? It is one of the keys to this discussion. Why would Jesus say whosoever believes, when he would have in his mind that there was, in fact, a preordained select group?

    I’ll accept that Calvin allowed for human will, but it was strangely omitted from your previous comment, as if it was irrelevant, whereas, in reality, it is crucial to the discussion.

  27. @teddy: Well, I can agree that ‘pas’ is neither conclusively ‘everyone’ or ‘everything’, but nor can it be, in any way, defined as ‘some’, or a preordained, fixed number, which the elect would have to be.

    This a subjective argument. Contextually, you would have to say that is referring to an open number defined by response to an opportunity rather than a exclusive number defined by prearrangement.

    The difficulty of arguing by these kinds of semantics is that it proves neither point conclusively, but you would be disingenuous to say it absolutely confirms election.

    The Spirit of the Word here is that God has opened heaven to whoever will believe on the Christ. That us the way the interpreters have seen it, and that is the most logical contextual conclusion.

  28. I agree with Newsong. We are saved by grace, through faith – which does come from God – but we have the free choice to reject the gift of salvation. It’s not forced upon us. I believe that God foreknows the choice we will make. I also believe he is sovereign. People can label me whatever they like; in certain hands every label sounds like a swear word.

    I appreciate the return of the focus to Jesus that the Reformed people bring, but I don’t appreciate the arrogant, unpleasant attitude.

    ““I know he’s S&P’s poster boy,”

    Apologies S&P. I meant the Signposts02 community, not you specifically. Slip of the fingers!” – TVD

    TVD, you may misunderstand the community here. Teddy and Mosco are Calvinists. Other regulars here share some views but not all, and I personally am most definitely not a Calvinist. Doesn’t mean I disagree with everything they say, but I have a strong aversion to a certain attitude that seems to go with that territory.

    I came across this in my previous church, and it was one thing that I reacted against in joining C3. The issues I have with C3 are quite different from those I have with this type of Calvinist.

    Unfortunately Mosco seems to have that attitude in a very concentrated dose, which doesn’t do his cause any favours. Not that that matters, since we have no choice about any of it of course.

    I probably won’t participate much in future discussions going over the Calvinist/Arminian debate. It wont get anyone anywhere.

    I’d just recommend to anyone reading that whatever they do, they read the bible and at least pick their local church based at least partially on evidence of the fruit of the spirit in the leadership. If the leadership hate or disparage those who disagree with them, or patronise and condemn them, then you are better off somewhere else, whatever the denomination. If they abuse people with law, then you are better off elsewhere. If they tell you you need to buy or work in some way to obtain God’s blessing, approval or your salvation, you are better off elsewhere.

    On the other hand, if they act with love and respect towards others, especially towards those who disagree, and are comfortable with questions, and respect the authority of scripture (even if they debate its meaning), then it’s probably a good community, whatever it is. We are to be known by our love for one another. And that can take a lot more strength sometimes than the alternatives.

  29. @Newsong

    1. For progress’ sake – would you at least agree Obligated or demanded mercy/grace is a contradiction in terms?

    2. When is whosoever not whosoever? simple really – every text without a context is merely a pretext

    I assume you are referring loosely to how many times “whosoever” appears in english translations and and drawing conclusions based upon the appearance of the English word, not seeming to understand that the term would come from a number of different Hebrew and Greek words or phrases. It should be remembered that there is no specific word for “whoever” or “whosoever” in the Greek text: this comes from the joining of “all” with “the one believing,” i.e., “every one believing.”

    Dr James R White:
    The point is that all the “ones believing” have eternal life. There is no such thing as a believing person who will not receive the promised benefit, hence, “whosoever.” This is a common form in John’s writings. For example, in his first epistle he uses it often. Just a few examples:

    If you know that He is righteous, you know that everyone also who practices (Greek: pas ho poiwn) righteousness is born of Him. (1 John 2:29)

    One could translate the above phrase as “whoever” or “whosoever practices righteousness.” Likewise,

    Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves (Greek: pas ho agapwn) is born of God and knows God. (1 John 4:7)

    Likewise one could use “whoever” here as in “”whoever loves is born of God,” etc. And a final relevant example,

    Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him. (1 John 5:1)

  30. @RP “I believe that God foreknows the choice we will make.” –

    For those whom He foreknew He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Romans 8:28-29)

    this term foreknew as a verb is NOT the same thing as the noun to simply have foreknowledge.this is an active verb.

    “This is something God is doing and every time God is the subject and this is the verb in the New Testament, the object is personal it is never actions. To simply say God knew who was going to believe, there is no example of that statement in the New Testament. It is not there. It is not an untrue statement but it doesn’t answer anything and it doesn’t tell us what it means for God to foreknow someone.” (Dr JR White)

  31. @RP – you need to remember the reality that words actually mean something – in a meaningful discussion you cant play Peter Rollins like post-modern gymnastics with someones language without ending up in a long river in Africa called “denial”

  32. It seems labels are thrown around if there’s a disagreement – as I said these are not salvific issues (though as Mosco said, they are nonetheless important). I would also see them as important from the point of refuting the strange “theology” that has crept into the church. Churches or denominations that focus on that “you must do this, you must do that” as if Christ’s finished work can be added to.

    And then you have this……

    @ RP – I agree, this discussion isn’t going anywhere.

  33. @ Mosco – did you listen to Chris Rosebrough’s debate with Doug Pagitt on “The Doctrine Of Hell”?

    The live audio wasn’t very good so hopefully Chris will put it up on “Fighting For The Faith”. And will definatley post it here – it will be eye-opening re emergent theology on that subject.

  34. I would be interested to hear Greg The Explorer’s thoughts on hell. And I’m still “confused” about his views on the the “virginity” of Mary and it’s part or lack thereof in Christ’s conception.

  35. I’d like to hear Greg’s views on hell too.

    Teddy – is that debate ’emergent’ or ’emerging’? Just checking for my own education.

    I wasn’t able to get the Driscoll video to work, so am none the wiser re what he says at the top of this post. So couldn’t really get the topic of this thread to start with. But I really do like the link that Greg has to the chart of the spectrum of views, and to the description of the ‘Emergent’ group as opposed to the ’emerging’ church.

    I don’t like the term ’emerging’, because it makes it difficult to use the word in its normal sense without having some kind of theology attached to it. Yet every Christian movement has ’emerged’ from some other one, so there are always new emerging churches. Some of these probably get caught up in judgements about their theology when there really isn’t any new theology at all.

  36. from memory Mark Driscoll was originally part of Solomon’s Porch? (Doug Pagitt’s church) but has since distanced himself from the group….

    “In the mid-1990s I was part of what is now known as the Emerging Church and spent some time traveling the country to speak on the emerging church in the emerging culture on a team put together by Leadership Network called the Young Leader Network. But, I eventually had to distance myself from the Emergent stream of the network because friends like Brian McLaren and Doug Pagitt began pushing a theological agenda that greatly troubled me. Examples include referring to God as a chick, questioning God’s sovereignty over and knowledge of the future, denial of the substitutionary atonement at the cross, a low view of Scripture, and denial of hell which is one hell of a mistake.” Mark Driscoll

    The debate is between Doug Pagitt (emergent pastor) and Chris Rosebrough (Lutheran theologian) – by the way, they are good friends in spite of the “vast divide”!

  37. Yes, that is pretty funny coming from Driscoll. I can see that he does make a distinction between the Emergent stream and the ‘Emerging Church’. Shame I can’t get the video working.

  38. If you go to http://www.extremetheology.com/, one of Chris Rosebrough’s blogs, on the sidebar he covers emergence, emergent and emerging. He’s doing his Masters on the emergent movement and its dangers, at the same time maintaining a healthy, friendly relationship with those involved.

  39. “Chris Rosebrough has a degree in Religious Studies and Biblical Language from Concordia University-Irvine and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from Pepperdine University. He’s also the host of an Internet radio program called, “Fighting for the Faith”.

    Chris recently attended a conference in Chicago concerning the growing Emergent Church Movement (in fact attends most emergent conferences). One leading emergent leader is Tony Jones, who is popularizing the thinking of German theologian Jurgen Moltmann from his 1964 book, Theology of Hope.

    A key to understanding the “Emergent Movement” is their eschatology (the doctrine of last things). Moltmann bases his thinking on 19th century theologian/philosopher, G.W.F. Hegel. Hegel embraced contradiction, pitting a thesis against an antithesis with the outcome being a new synthesis.

    As a result, Moltmann sees Christ’s death and resurrection as two contradictory events. The resulting synthesis is a new world and a hope filled eschatology with no second coming or judgment. Thus “Emergent Theology” teaches that God is renewing the world; that the gospel is good news for everyone, so Christians need to stop telling people they are sinners etc etc etc……”

    I think we are back on track! 🙂

  40. In response to a question from Mosco that is on the thread much of this discussion belongs on:

    mn says:
    October 13, 2010 at 11:07 pm

    Mosco: “…still slightly intrigued why you believe that no one has the right to believe he or she has assurance of salvation?

    Why is that?” and

    “…could you just explain this comment in the last thread:

    “The arrogance comes from assuming the position of being numbered amongst the elect, justifying all manner of theological preening.”

    Firstly, I don’t and I never said that – your interpretation, not what I said. I actually am inclined to believe that one cannot lose one’s salvation, but have great sympathy for Bull’s position that it is possible and we have to work at it. Can put both views from Scripture – will elucidate in a minnie.

    Secondly, the issue about the elect. It’s there – no issue with that. But what that means is in a lot of ways not for us – probably more in the way of a comfort than anything.

    However the whole concept of the elect is often hijacked for nefarious ends. Let’s face it the only people who really talk about the elect generally see themselves as part of that exclusive club. And that is often the point – its an exclusive club, with all the arrogant pride and crap that comes with it – that God hates.

    Now while I might side with the notion that one can’t lose one’s salvation, and can trot out all manner of Scripture providing a basis for assurance (not quite the same thing) about our salvation, but….

    this is where I switch sides (Bull)…. there are also heaps of Scriptures hammering us to make sure of our salvation (why, if we can’t lose it), salt having lost its saltiness is no good, if we fall away we can’t get it back, and even more about what we need to do to attain that salvation and then see in our lives to see the evidence of it…to retain and confirm that assurance.

    Forget the election and predestination – it is a comfort but not something to be assumed or taken for granted by us. Its fruit is often spiritual pride and an arrogance that is unbecoming of who Christ was and is and calls us to be like.

    Scipture places a much stronger emphasis on daily following Christ, not taking him for granted and practising how to love as He did. This is not works; it is the evidence and part of our assurance, and above anything a command. This is more conducive from a position of grateful humility, than elect pridefulness which serves no useful purpose and just pisses people off.

    I’m coming to the position that (unfortunately for those for whom the doctrine of the elect is a driving force, and use it to exclude implicitly/explicitly, overtly or covertly) God’s grace and His elect is much greater than we could possibly understand (that does not equate to universalism or a form thereof). I’m happy about that (not that God is hanging on my good opinion or anyone else’s here). But the other point about that as in the case of my views on judging, is that its not my concern – God chooses His elect for His purposes in His way, and what I think is irrelevant. What is relevant is whether I do what He says or not, or at least progressively come on board over time – stuff the elect.

  41. “Hegel embraced contradiction, pitting a thesis against an antithesis with the outcome being a new synthesis.”

    Have to laugh at this. Only because it reminds me of ‘theory of design’ lectures at university. We were supposed to analyse as the first part of the creative process, then come up with a new synthesis. We studied partnered opposites as part of the same subject. The subject was not a religious one, but it always felt like a lecture about religion. Those of us who were Christian all had a bit of an issue with that course. It’s just funny to hear a line like that in the context of a religious debate.

  42. Yes, it brings to mind my favourite quote from Chris Rosebrough……..

    “Blue sleeps faster than tuesday”.

  43. My favorite line in the above discussion is Teddy’s.

    “We seem to always come back to this subject”

    As long as Mosco and Teddy are here!

    Can you imagine if there were ardent Calvinists and Arminians among the 33 miners in Chile. I think they would have had to have limited theological discussions to time limits. Imagine having nowhere to escape.

    I made a comment on another thread that something Teddy said really got me thinking. She said that she really prays for her daughter. This is a terrible confession, but I know so little about Calvinism that I wasn’t sure about how Calvinists pray for people. Further reading made me learn some things. If we forget the terms like Calvinism and the other isms, what we believe about salvation, grace, is not some much theoretical, what it’s everyday life. Do we pray for people? How do we pray for people? Maybe non-Calvinists often in reality pray similar prayers as Calvinists. Maybe our prayer lives tell more about our theology than what we think.

    That’s my way of saying that I like this discussion. My only problem with it is that some of the posts are so long with so many scriptures that it’s hard to keep up.

    It’s worthwhile for Christians to pray, think, discuss and learn what Jesus meant when he said things. And Paul. So, I for one want to go back again and learn about what it means that “i will draw all men unto me” All? etc etc

    Teddy, you posted a link of that guy critiquing a sermon of Houston’s. I listened to one before and I must confess that my initial reaction was that I agreed but that it was just “not cricket” to go over every line of a sermon. The ultimate fried preacher.

    But the second time, I got it. Someone like Houston is trying to “empower local churches” and impact the world. He has an incredible influence and maybe thousands of young potential leaders of the church look to him as a model and mentor. Some probably just plain copy him. So, his sermons and the way he handles the Word of God are important. And the sermon he gave really was …. problematic.

    Truth sets us free. So right from Houston down to someone lowly like me, we have to get back to truth. What does the bible say.

    I actually like that Christians believe different things but still love, and call on one another. Look at a cult, and you see that everyone believes the same thing right down to the jots and tittles – and it’s what the leader says.

    P.S TEddy, you sure listen to a lot of podcasts!

  44. Hey Teddy, was Jurgen Moltmann anyway associated with the Fuller Theological Seminary? Are his works highly studied and pushed into students there?

    What else do you know about Hegelianism? I am personally researching this, hoping to post my findings soon…

  45. @Churchman – you nailed it, and I think you would get alot out of this article by Phil Johnson “Closet Calvinists: How Arminians Presuppose the Doctrines of Grace (Calvinism)” http://audio.gracechurch.org/sc/2007notes/Johnson,%20Closet%20Calvinists.pdf

    – Phil Johnson’s curiosity was stirred the same way as yours – ever wonder why we should pray about anything in the realm of human relationships if God never intrudes on the sanctity of human free will?

    I really like this comment: “the truths of Calvinism so much permeate the heart of the gospel message, that even if you think you are a committed and consistent Arminian, if you truly affirm the gospel, you have already conceded the principle points of Calvinism anyway.” Phil Johnson

  46. Here is the website for the Society for Evangelical Arminians, which contains many articles refuting the errors of Calvinism.

    http://evangelicalarminians.org/

    Our society exists to glorify God by edifying his people, protecting them from error, and fostering the proper representation of our magnificent God to the world by lovingly and respectfully promoting and advancing sound, biblical doctrine and theology in the area of soteriology (the doctrine of salvation). That means teaching and defending Arminianism, the system of theology that we believe most accurately reflects the teaching of the Bible, the very word of God. It also means refuting Calvinism, a system of theology that lies within the pale of basic Christian orthodoxy, but that is at odds with Arminianism on many key points and that we believe seriously errs in its understanding of God, salvation, and the Bible.

    The society stresses that it regards Calvinists as brothers in Christ, and won’t allow membership to those who disagree with that.

    On the front page of their website currently, are the two youtube songs, “I think my wife’s a Calvinist” and “I think my daughter’s an Arminian”.

    My purpose in putting this link up is just to provide a resource where anyone actually interested can find responses to articles by prominent Calvinists. We seem to have a lot of links here to popular reformed teachers, but not many to their evangelical alternatives.

  47. If I knew Piper personally, I would have given him flack for inviting Rick Warren. I was shocked when I heard Piper did that.

  48. “God is the cause of people going to heaven, however the cause of people going to hell is their own sin.”

    http://www.str.org/site/News2?page=NewsArticle&id=5130

    I’ve been thinking about this discussion that’s generated here about Calvinism and why it seems to cause so much angst. Wondering why it started in the first place? Was it FL’s initial reaction to my lauding John Macarthur? I think it was.

    I read and listen to a lot of different Christian apologists and rarely find any on both sides of the “argument” getting so upset/annoyed with the subject!

  49. I know exactly what you’re saying Teddy and I wish we could just drop this whole conversation it is so unedifying and unprofitable – why do people keep bringing it up? STOP IT OK!!!

    I love these beautiful words of Jean Cauvin in 1550 asking why can’t we all just get along????

    “Le calvinisme est le christianisme biblique et arminiens ne sont que des hérétiques – surtout ravingpente et émergentes Greg”

    selāh….

  50. Mosco or Teddy, how does being a Calvinist affect your practice of Christianity? Does the understanding of pre-destination and the elect affect your decisions as to who to witness to? Do you wonder if you are in the elect, or are you sure that you are? How can you be sure if it is purely God’s decision?

    Or in other words, if you succeeded in converting us to Calvinism – how would it affect our lives for the better?

  51. Teddy as I’ve shared before I sat in the middle of a church that imploded over this issue, stayed another 2 and a half years and then after thinking it through for myself moved to a reformed church after that for another 17 years.

    I have witnessed first hand the spiritual bloodbath that differences over this can and do bring. If people have not thought about or been exposed to it, and then suddenly confronted with it and especially where it is a ‘take no prisoners’ approach for doctrinal purity sake to it – well I have seen it become the tipping point for people walking away from a theretofore staunch faith.

    Good question Wazza. I have my own view will but will keep it to myself for the moment.

  52. In effect the way reformed doctrine has been hawked has become a stumbling block – and I use those words deliberately.

  53. Teddy, you are not spoiling for a fight. Some others really enjoy that though, and these issues are very, very old. I’ve been touched by it before, and it put me off being a part of churches with that leaning. Being Berean is one thing, but burning people at the stake another (figuratively as much as literally). It seems that it is good to be Berean about everything except Calvinism, to some.

    It’s all about attitude to others, I think. The Beatitudes, etc.

  54. The truth is somewhere in the middle. Both extremes want ignore the ‘proof’ texts of the other side.

    There is assurance in the Gospel. There is Human Freewill. God has more freewill than I do. God softens hearts and hardens hearts. (That is a notion ‘we’ might have difficulty with!)

    It is not up to us which ground we choose to sow the seed of the Gospel. We just have to spread the faith as wide as possible. Then the holy spirit begins to work. The ground can be very easy or very tough … sometimes God breaks the ground and new life grows.

    Other times, God bakes the ground dry. However, the seed is still there, waiting for living water to flow over it.

    I hope this makes sense.

    It doesn’t matter what you believe re: Calvinism – Arminianism.

    What matters is that only God’s Grace can get me into a right relationship with the Father. I can’t do anything myself … and we can all agree with that.

    Shalom

  55. I’ve always had a niggling feeling that there’s a third part to this Calvinism and Arminianism debate that not many people have touched on. I don’t know what it is.

    Hey RP. Has Heretic read the books by James Thwaites about the Hebraic world view? If so, what does the Hebraic world view on this subject? I’ve always held the belief that the people who wrote the books and letters knew exactly what they were talking about.

    I’ve never imagined some writers in both the Old and New testament biasing towards JHVH aligning to Calvinistic or Arminianistic views. If they did, that would be hilarious and tragic. What does Heretic pr Thwaites know about the Hebraic world view that we don’t that can possibly help answer the problem?

    Maybe this is worth another thread…

  56. @ Wazza2 – hasn’t changed my passion for wanting to share Christ and what He’s done. Have a greater sense of security/assurance (as MN said), in fact have a total assurance and peace that I never felt in all the time at C3.

    No longer feel I have to strive to please man, (something that I battled with), C3 brought out the people-pleaser in me and I hated that – pastors telling us we have do, do, do when it’s been done.

    Listening to the Rick Warren lecture from the Desiring God Conference really highlights that problem.

    All the arguments for free will vs God’s sovereignty on the arminian side WERE MY ARGUMENTS FOR 22 YEARS, just never knew that was called “arminianism”! It’s an easy position to take under a church culture like C3 and I hated being exposed to the calvinist argument, fought for quite a while. I said here once before , once the “penny drops”, I just couldn’t see anything apart from God’s sovereignty and grace. Very challenging, very humbling.

    RP and I come from the same church, we went in different directions. RP to another C3 church that initially felt like home before being disappointed and leaving. I never had that experience, may have ended up at Newfontiers (Reformed Pentecostal) where other friends went, didn’t happen, and where we are is now has been great.

    More people are leaving C3, as time goes by, so if this is “Arminianism” in practice, it’s not bearing fruit? Now that’s a tough thing to say and I apologise if it offends, just a random thought.

    On a sidenote, people are leaving Saddleback/Rick Warren and going to a little Lutheran church nearby and a very humble pastor is suddenly dealing with a larger “hungry” congregation!

  57. I haven’t taken my position because of C3. It’s just my understanding of the bible, and I’ve done my own reading of various other teachers as well. C3 didn’t teach me anything about ‘arminianism’. The only time I learnt things relating to that debate was in my previous Anglican church, and in discussions with other Christians from outside C3. (Anglicans and Presbyterians.) It wasn’t discussed in my experience at C3. When I was there, at PP’s church before it all became about giving, the emphasis was on evangelism, but not the mechanics of salvation. Other teaching was on the Holy Spirit, gifts of the Spirit, being an overcomer, prayer and so forth. I did not go to Bible College there, where maybe it would have been taught on. Basically, since I didn’t go to new Christians classes at either of my C3 churches, this debate wasn’t touched upon at either of them. Election, predestination etc may have come up in discussions with people but never as a heated topic.

    I was taught about the basics of salvation in my Anglican church prior to C3. This church basically taught whatever Moore College taught. C3 never went over that ground for me. It held me in good stead, despite me debating some of the details these days. At the time, I debated nothing. I was very conservative, and very respectful of authority.

  58. My ex C3 church was very different from PP’s C3 church, until its leadership changed direction. It was more of an evangelical, charismatic church than a full on Pente church, and the teaching was better than in my old Anglican church.

  59. The mechanics of salvation that I learnt at C3 under PP were: Come down to the front, confess in front of the crowd and believe in your heart that Jesus is Lord, and you will be born again. (Or have new life… which sometimes was supposed to be a better, happier, more materially successful life… but won’t go there now!) That was it. And I’m not critical of the simple salvation appeal. There was probably more in the new Christians class.

  60. “More people are leaving C3, as time goes by, so if this is “Arminianism” in practice, it’s not bearing fruit? ” – Teddy

    I think that is not the root cause of the problems at C3! It’s not the only ‘Arminian’ church out there. There’s no doubt a spectrum of churches that have differences far beyond Arminian and Calvinistic mindsets. And some where it may not even be seen to matter much, where the emphasis is just on serving Christ.

  61. Sorry, RP – didn’t mean to imply something. Just pondering on the journey God takes us on and at its foundations, C3 being part of it.

  62. I should have used a different term, random thoughts are not always worth writing down! It’s semi-pelagianism not arminianism.

    Years ago I read a book called “Eternal Security” by Dr Charles F Stanley. It was so overwhelming I bought 6 copies and handed them out to our D group. Pastor in charge handed it on to Greg French – from memory Greg didn’t have a certainty about it. Our pastor just couldn’t accept it. (This same pastor had me running around in circles trying to be a people-pleaser).

    I’ve never forgotten the book and wish I had taken on board the message it offered – would have saved years of insecurity.

    Listening to a message going through 1st John and the topic of the dogma in the Roman Catholic Church that says “anyone who claims to have eternal security is anathema/cursed”.

    They don’t want you to ever feel secure because people who are secure can’t be controlled.

    If they are convinced someone is God’s man for the hour, a modern day prophet, fear can become the controlling factor not security.

  63. “They don’t want you to ever feel secure because people who are secure can’t be controlled. ” – Teddy

    I think that’s true, and many churches work on the insecurity people can feel for not doing enough to please God in some way, to get the people to do what they want.

    I think we can see a lot of those things looking back at PP’s church, and the doctrines that churches like it use to manipulate people.

    Most of the teaching we were used to relating to giving, submission and hierarchy has this end. Fear on the one hand, and hope (in some cases greed) on the other.

    Not expressing this very well, as I have to keep looking at my little girl’s ‘love heart book’ she’s making.

  64. The security issue is something that can apply anywhere including reformed focussed churches – it just takes a different formed.

    The discussion about an ‘elect’ is perversely one of those things that can do that, although for me not the one that resulted in us moving one.

  65. “I think that’s true, and many churches work on the insecurity people can feel for not doing enough to please God in some way, to get the people to do what they want.”

    @ RP – I don’t think they even realise they are doing it most of the time, they subject themselves to the same “discipline” too. I can only make that observation about the pastors I know/knew personally.

  66. Yes, I agree. Most of them don’t realise/are just as affected by it personally. That’s why I think that often the church staff including pastors can be the most hurt by the outworking of it all.

    It can manifest itself in any form of religiousness, really.

  67. I’ve been thinking for a while now to write a blurb explaining my background at C3 (vaguely), so that people can understand where I come from on SP02.

    RP and Teddy, you’ve continually had to write out your experiences again and again to let people know where you speak from. If you email me small blurbs, I can put up a page on SP02 which you can get people to read, so they know where you come from. It saves you from re-writing your testimony all the time. How does that sound?

  68. “They don’t want you to ever feel secure because people who are secure can’t be controlled.”

    True. I’ve observed that leaders make disciples for themselves. Then these discipled leaders make their own disciples. A huge error on their behalf in not knowing the scriptures… again.

    We are all equal as disciples. We are all disciples under One Teacher, Father and Leader. The flesh wants to find acceptance and assurance. Christian ‘leaders’ fill this fleshly need by lording over others and mothering them in Christ. There is no equipping in the sense that leaders are encouraging members to stand firm in the faith and walk independently under no man but God.

    Insecurity is a foundational stone on many ministries. It’s not just C3 but also Hillsong, the Australian AOG and the NAR movement. Security is made and felt when we’re apart of something. Security is assured when we have people below us and endorsed by people above us. Some early CLC preaching spoke against this form of security and identity calling this form of security and identity in earthly places, people and objects idolatry and an offense to Jesus.

    “I don’t think they even realise they are doing it most of the time, they subject themselves to the same “discipline” too. I can only make that observation about the pastors I know/knew personally.”

    Most don’t, some do. In C3 leadership there are indeed bad eggs that know what they do and continue to do so. Remember there are three different forms of leadership in C3: Pringle’s ‘Anointed’ Leadership, Good Leadership and Bad Egg Leadership.

    There are some beautiful leaders at C3 who simply genuine in the faith and want to see everyone grow joyfully in the Lord. They teach repentance, accountability and honest living in Jesus. Then there is the bad-egg leadership that chew up the good leadership, suck up to Pringle’s leadership and leave a wake of mess behind them.

  69. Enjoy…

    The Parable of the Boat: Illustrating Differences Between Pelagianism, Semi-Pelagianism, Eastern Orthodoxy, Roman Catholicism, Arminianism, and Calvinism

    Here is a quick illustration that I hope you find helpful to distinguish between the various traditions with regard to divine sovereignty, free-will, and salvation. It is certainly not perfect, but I think it works sufficiently.

    Pelagianism

    All the people are on the boat with the God. At this point, in their natural condition, they don’t need to be saved as they are not in danger. However, most (if not all) people will eventually jump in the water (sin) and find themselves in need of God’s grace. The reason why they jump in the water is because they are following numerous example of those who jumped before them. This example goes all the way back to the first two who jumped into the water, setting the first bad example. God them offers them a life preserver when they call on him for help. If they respond they will be saved (synergism).

    Semi-Pelagianism

    All people are in the water drowning. They are born drowning. This is the natural habitation of all humanity since the first man and woman jumped into the water. Their legs are cramping and they cannot swim to safety on their own. However, they may desire salvation on their own. Though they cannot attain it, they can call, with a wave of their arm, to God who is eagerly waiting on the edge of the boat. At the first sign of their initiative, God will then throw out the life preserver (grace). If they respond, they will be saved (synergism).

    Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy

    All people are in the water drowning. They are born drowning. This is the natural habitation of all humanity since the first man and woman jumped into the water. Their legs are cramping and they cannot swim to safety on their own. God, standing on the edge of the boat, makes the first initiative by throwing a life preserver to them (prevenient grace). Upon seeing this act, they make a decision to grab a hold (faith) or to swim away. If they grab a hold, God will slowly pull the rope connected to the life preserver. But they must do their part by swimming along with God’s pull (grace plus works; synergism). If at any time they let go or quit swimming, they will not be saved.
    Arminianism

    All people are floating in the water dead in their natural condition (total depravity). They are born dead because that has been the condition of humanity since the first man and woman jumped into the water and died (original sin). Death begets death. There must be intervention if they are to be saved. God uses his power to bring every one of them back to life (prevenient grace), but they are still in the water and in danger of drowning. With the regenerated ability to respond to God, now God throws the life preserver to them and calls on them all to grab hold of it. They then make the free-will decision on their own to grab a hold of the life preserver (faith) or to swim away. If they grab a hold, they must continue to hold as God pulls them in (synergism). They don’t need to do anything but hold on. Any effort to swim and aid God is superfluous (sola fide). They can let go of the preserver at any time and, as a consequence, lose their salvation.

    Calvinism

    All people are floating in the water dead in their natural condition (total depravity). They are born dead because that has been the condition of humanity since the first man and woman jumped into the water and died (original sin). Death begets death. There must be radical intervention if they are to be saved. While God calls out to all of them (general call), due to his mysterious choice, he brings back to life (regeneration) only certain people (election) while passing by the rest (reprobation). He does not use a life preserver, but grabs a hold of the elect individually and immediately pulls them onto the boat (monergism). They naturally grab a hold of God as a consequence of their regeneration (irresistible grace; sola fide). They forever stay on the boat due to their perpetual ability to recognize God’s beauty (perseverance of the saints).

    C. Michael Patton.

  70. I hear a faint buzzing…. Specks, do you still have that fly-spray?

    If we are all in the boat now, does it matter much how we got there?

    Is it very fruitful to be arguing in the boat about whether we grabbed on to the rope or whether we were plucked out of the water, when there are plenty of other people drowning?

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