Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Are Christians Narrow-Minded?

Photo of Needle's Eye by Lyn Mcleod


In today’s climate of wishing to be “politically correct,” many promote tolerance of all opinions so as not to offend anyone. Although well-intentioned, such “open-mindedness” can be disastrous for Christians and for those they encounter. As the saying goes, let’s not be so open-minded that our brains fall out.

As Christians, our mandate is to speak the truth in love, motivated by genuine concern that no one would go to hell (Luke 16:22-26; Psalm 9:17; Matthew 5:29-30; 10:28;18:9;23:33, etc.), but instead would come to a saving knowledge of that truth (John 8:32,36; 2 Timothy 1:7-13). Many followers of other religions ask if God is unfair, or why a loving God would send people to hell. God does not send anyone to hell, as His desire is that none would suffer eternal damnation, but that all would come to repentance and salvation (2 Peter 3:9). He offers salvation to all as a free gift, but He created us with free will, so it is up to each of us to accept or reject it.

God is a Righteous Judge, and His holiness demands that sin be punished (Psalm 7:11; Revelation 19:11). If a criminal is found guilty in our courts, it is the duty of the judge to determine a fitting punishment, not to let the criminal go free because of some good work he had also done. What is amazing is not that God’s holiness requires punishment for sin, but rather that His grace and mercy allow those who trust in His Son to have abundant, eternal life (John 10:10).

If we believe in the Triune God – Father, Son and Spirit – described in the Bible, then God’s divinely inspired, infallible Word must be the sole basis for our doctrine and beliefs (2 Timothy 3:16). Jesus Christ, Who is Son of God and God Himself (2 Corinthians 1:19; 1 John 4:15; 5:5; 2 John 1:9), said “I am THE way, THE truth, and THE life, and no one cometh unto the Father BUT BY ME” (John 14:6; emphasis mine).

Yes, Christianity is narrow-minded, excluding other faiths as paths to salvation, for as Jesus said, many paths lead to destruction, and many follow those paths. Yet there is only one, narrow, straight gate leading to eternal life, and few find it (Matthew 7:13-14). For those who have achieved riches or worldly success that may create a false sense of pride, being saved may be more difficult than it is for a camel to go through a needle’s eye (Matthew 19:21-26).

Sadly, the world is full of people with sincere, yet misplaced, faith in their own path. Some of these people may appear to be kinder, more loving, more moral, and certainly more tolerant than many professing Christians, so who are we to question their beliefs? Yet if we don’t, we will have to answer for our silence, which may have contributed to their destruction.

Many of the false religions offer some semblance of hope, satisfaction, and moral structure. Their adherents follow the traditions of these religions to justify themselves in their own eyes, and to work their way to divine acceptance and eternal happiness. Even those brought up as Christians may fall into the trap of thinking they are worthy of God’s acceptance because they were baptized, attend church, tithe, pray, study the Bible, visit the sick, or do other good works.

But all have sinned and cone short of God’s glory (Romans 3:23), and any attempts at our own righteousness are as filthy in God’s eyes as putrid bandages falling off a leper’s sores (Isaiah 64:6). We are not saved by our own works, but by His grace through our faith (Ephesians 2:8-9) in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, sinless Son of God, as the only Way to Heaven (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) Through a mystery we can’t begin to understand until we reach glory, when God looks at believers, He sees not our sins, but only the perfect righteousness of His Son (Romans 4:6-8).

God created Adam and Eve in perfection and innocence but with free will. When they chose to disobey, sin and death entered the world (Genesis 3). God, being perfectly pure, holy and just, had to cleanse us from that sin if we are to enter into fellowship with Him and have eternal life. His perfect plan of salvation was to offer His only Son, Who had no sin, as the sacrifice to pay for all our sin (John 3:16; 2 Corinthians 5:21).

Salvation through Jesus (Yeshua), Whose very Name means salvation, includes propitiation, or appeasing the wrath of God (1 John 2:2); redemption, or paying the purchase price to buy us out of slavery to sin (1 Peter 1:18-19); remission, or removal of sin (Acts 10:43); and justification, or making us “just as if” we had never sinned. Once we trust Christ as our Lord and Savior, we receive immediate, priceless blessings and eternal rewards.

Acts 4:12 Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.

As sin entered the world through Satan’s deception and man’s disobedience, so did false religions. Satan is the father of lies (John 8:44) and continues to deceive many by adding to God’s Word, taking away from it, or changing it (Genesis 3:1-5). False prophets abound, more so as we reach the end times, appearing to be godly, yet deceiving many and leading to their destruction (Matthew 7:15; 2 Timothy 3:5-7).

Misleading anyone, whether a child or adult, into believing that there is more than one path to eternal life could result in that person’s damnation. As Jesus said, judgment will be particularly harsh for anyone who offends (misleads) a child who believes in Him (Matthew 18:6, Mark 9:42; Luke 17:2).

Born-again Christians who have placed their faith in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-4) as the only way to Heaven have a responsibility to know what they believe, and to teach others the truth about salvation, no matter how exclusive it may seem.

If there is only one cure for a fatal disease, what good is it to tell others about false “cures” to avoid offending anyone? If they trust the false “cure,” they may not be offended, but they will surely die. Born-again believers know the cure for sin and death, and the way to eternal life! (Proverbs 8:35). It comes only through faith in Jesus Christ and His completed work of salvation on the cross as the perfect Sacrifice to pay for the sins of the whole world.

It is not up to us to Christians to judge who is saved, for only God knows the hearts (Psalm 44:21; Luke 16:15; Acts 15:8). Nor is it our job to “save” anyone, for only the Holy Spirit can do that. Our job is to witness to others of what God has done in our life and to teach them Bible truth – the Good News of the Gospel – so that they will know it and can believe it, and have eternal, abundant life with Him in Heaven (Romans 10:14).

May we not be ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, which alone has the power to save everyone! (Romans 1:16) May we be bold and faithful to proclaim Jesus Christ, no matter how “narrow-minded” it may seem!


© 2013 Laurie Collett
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43 comments:

  1. Hi Laurie,
    so true that no man can come to God except through Jesus, and so very important to spread that good news.
    God bless

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    1. Amen, Brenda! May we boldly tell others of His saving grace!
      Many blessings to you,
      Laurie

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  2. It depends also on what someone understand as "narrow-minded". For example, in 20th century Poland there was movement in Protestant churches, which condemmed all kind of knowledge. People in this movement threw away all books. In my opinion it is not good, because Bible encourage as to learn (for example in Proverbs of Salomon). And in this case I'm not amazed, why people tell about us that we are narrow-minded.
    But there is another site of this problem: politcal correctness. In Europe there are countries, where You can't tell anything bad about homosexuals and Muslims. In my opinion it is sick! Greetings from beautiful and sunny Cracow :)

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    1. Thanks for your interesting comment, Zim! It's ironic that many who accuse Christians of being intolerant are themselves intolerant of our views. Glad to hear the weather is better in Cracow! Many blessings & greetings to you,
      Laurie

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  3. It is considered criminal negligence to not provide warning to others of a dangerous condition such as a washed out road or leaking gas pipe. We are encouraged to warn people about the potential dangers of drinking while driving or a failure to disinfect the handle on a shopping cart. While the danger is real, it is by no means certain. On the other hand, every moral decision will have certain emotional or psychological consequences, whether one believes in God or not, and often physical ones as well, although they are only temporary, ending at death if not sooner. It is for this reason every religion has some kind of moral code.

    If God exists, and the evidence indicates he does, then the consequences of ignoring the principles he has established are eternal, and failure to warn people is far worse than failing to warn them about some physical or emotional danger. We usually wouldn't hesitate to question whether a drunk person should drive home, although we know he will probably get angry at the suggestion.

    Great post.

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    1. Amen, Donald! It is not loving to avoid offending someone if we fail to share truth that has eternal consequences.
      Thanks so much for your insightful comment, & God bless,
      Laurie

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  4. Hi Laurie,
    If God does not send anyone to hell, then who does send them to hell?
    Is there someone else out there who sends them to hell?

    My God is a salvation giver and He does not offer salvation, and neither is He a Triune God as you suggest.
    That idea does not come from the Bible or the Spirit of the Lord but from a creed book, originally Catholic.
    Kind regards
    Paul

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    1. Hi Paul,
      God created each of us with free will. Therefore He does not send anyone to hell; those who reject His freely given offer of salvation and eternal life (to whosoever will believe) send themselves to hell.
      Evidence for the Trinity in Scripture is plentiful, as I discussed in several of my posts, e.g. http://savedbygracebiblestudy.blogspot.com/2012/06/gods-nature-attributes-of-trinity.html
      A clear picture of all three Persons of the Trinity is in Luke 3:22: "And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him {Jesus], and a voice came from heaven [Father], which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased."
      Thanks for your comment,
      Laurie

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  5. Replies
    1. Thanks, Denise! Many blessings to you,
      Laurie

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  6. I am definitely narrow minded! :) Because only in Christianity are there accurately fulfilled prophecies of a coming Messiah. Only in Christianity do we have the person of Christ who claimed to be God, performed many miracles to prove His claim of divinity, who died and rose from the dead, and who said that He alone was the Way, the Truth, and the Life. It is our responsibility to sincerely share these truths with "believers" who don't believe that Jesus is the ONLY truth.

    Lovely post Laurie!
    Blessings!
    Denise

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    1. So true, Denise! Born-again Christians are the only blessed to serve a risen Savior! He alone is God -- praise His Holy Name!
      May you have a blessed week in Him,
      Laurie

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  7. Dear Laurie,
    This is a brilliant post about salvation and redemption through faith in Christ.
    I like the photo posted above. You try and get a camel to pass through that Needle's Eye rock formation. Yet Jesus himself said that it is easier for a camel to pass through an eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God. Sometime I wonder if Jesus had a sense of humour.
    May God bless you,
    Frank.

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    1. Thanks so much, Frank! I always appreciate your encouraging comments! I was happy to find that photo, as I agree that it does so well illustrate Jesus' saying. I definitely think Jesus had a sense of humor, as events of this past weekend illustrated to me and my husband! Hope to share that in a blog post soon!
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  8. Laurie, nobody in their right mind would chose to go to hell.

    There is absolutely no evidence for a Trinity in the entire Bible, to the contrary all the Scriptures point to a single God and that is to Jesus Christ our Lord.
    (Luke 3:22) is not a clear picture of three persons as you have said. A dove is not a person but a bird. There was only one person standing in the water the Lord Jesus Christ and He 'IS' the Holy Spirit (2 Cor.3:17), and the voice from heaven is the Holy Spirit speaking to John, you and me and everyone who believes that on whom we see the Holy Spirit remain is the ONE we ought to proclaim to be our Lord and only God (Jude 1:25).

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    1. Unsaved people may not rationally choose to go to hell, but they will go to hell if their choice is to reject Jesus Christ and His free gift of salvation through faith in His death, burial and resurrection as the only way to Heaven.

      The Trinity is One God in Three Persons. God is a Spirit Who was manifest in the flesh only in the Person of Jesus Christ the Son. "And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him {Jesus], and a voice came from heaven [Father], which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased." The Holy Spirit took on the form of a dove to be visible to those who witnessed Christ's baptism. As you said, Jesus the Son was in the water. The third Person of the Trinity, God the Father, spoke from Heaven regarding His Son. Clearly the Father's voice speaks of Christ as the Son, a Person of the Trinity distinct from the Father. Yet all Three are One God through a mystery we cannot understand fully until we reach glory.
      God bless,
      Laurie

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  9. Laurie, it seems to me that you think that the free gift is by doing something, which amounts to works.
    A free gift is that which you have in your possession and not that which you will get if you do something like applying your faith.

    Yes I know that you believe that there are three persons who make up One God.
    But that is not true but a lie.
    There is only ONE person who is the Lord God the Almighty and that is Jesus Christ our Lord and God and beside Him there is no other person who is also God. There was no god formed before Him nor shall there be one after Him (Isa.43:10). He is the same yesterday, to day and forever.

    Laurie, it troubles me that you think that the the Lord our God would take on the form of an animal, a bird.

    And why do you explain a mystery which you can not understand?
    Yes! I do understand that which is a mystery to you, but to me the mystery has been revealed namely Christ (Col. 1:27 and 4:3).
    By believing the Trinity you are transgressing the first commandment of the Lord and that is a very serious transgression with serious consequences.

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    1. Paul, you should be able to tell from the name of my blog, Saved by Grace, that I do not believe in a works-based salvation. We are saved by grace through faith, not by works (Eph. 2:8-9). Once I trusted Christ as my Saviorr, I was as saved as I ever will be -- that gift of abundant, eternal life was and is mine, and no power can take it away.
      I agree with you that the Lord our God is One God, and that Jesus Christ was present from the beginning (John 1:1) and is unchanging. Yet the Bible clearly states that He is a Triune God comprising God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Ghost (Spirit or Comforter). All are equally God , and they all act in concert with one will, yet they are distinct. Numerous references are made to the distinct aspects of the Trinity, as I plan to cover in a blog post in the near future. Jesus Himself, in His last words before ascending into Heaven, told the disciples to "1Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:" (Matthew 28:19).

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  10. Replies
    1. Thank you, Sateigdra, and Amen, to Him be the glory!

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  11. Yes Laurie, I know that you believe that you are saved by grace and so you are. The problem is that you do not FULLY understand the outworking of 'salvation by grace' and I think that is because of this devilish doctrine the trinity. This evil doctrine the 'trinity' is the root cause of all misunderstanding of the Scriptures, in fact it pollutes all or most of any other doctrines you believe.

    Laurie, 'Saved by Grace' is only a statement, all Christians believe that statement, but not all understand it.
    If you say that we are saved by grace, but in order to be saved we must believe that and have faith etc., then obviously you don't understand salvation by grace and you are preaching a salvation which is by works. Grace is not mingled with works; by 'works' I mean doing something to obtain salvation whether faith, belief or whatever.

    No Laurie! You don't agree or believe that the Lord our God is ONE. You clearly believe, teach and proclaim that the Lord our God is THREE, a trinity of people.
    This teaching is not in the Bible but it is from Satan the father of all lies and if you teach the trinity, then you carry out the works of the deceiver and deceive all your blog readers. Therefore it is of great importance that you eradicate that doctrine from your soul with the help of the Lord.

    If the Lord Jesus Christ would have a Father, then He would NOT and could NOT be the Lord God, because it is impossible for the Lord God to have a Father, and for that reason the Scriptures said that Jesus has NO father (Hebr. 7:3)

    (Mat. 28:19) I'm not trying to be difficult, but even that command of the Lord you are transgressing just like every trinitarian does. Perhaps if you read that command of the Lord slowly and think about what He has said, then you might be obedient to the Lord and do exactly what He has said and not what some false teachers (trinitarians) say and do.
    I am willing to help you out of this dilemma if you like, here on your blog or on my blog site wherever you like. It is also important for your blog-readers who perhaps had also been ensnared by this evil doctrine of the trinity and its associated doctrines.

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    1. Dear Paul,
      The Scripture speaks for itself, and God is not the author of confusion but of peace.
      Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved THROUGH FAITH; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast.
      Saving faith is belief in the death, burial & resurrection of Jesus Christ as the only Way to Heaven (1 Cor. 15:1-4). Belief is different from works (attending church, being baptized, tithing, etc). However, true faith results in works (James 2:20-26).
      Jesus Christ, like God the Father and the Holy Spirit, was present from the beginning (John 1:1) and is self-existent. All three Persons of the Trinity are equally God and are one God, acting in concert. In addition to the 2 passages that clearly refer to all three Persons (Matthew 28:19; Luke 3:22), there are numerous passages where Jesus prays to the Father or where He tells the disciples that He will leave but that the Comforter (Spirit) will come. I plan to discuss these in an upcoming blog post. .
      It is clear we disagree on fundamental issues. I appreciate your zeal but feel it is misplaced and misguided, and I therefore do not feel that my blog is an appropriate place for you to accuse me of spreading "evil doctrine." If you have any further questions and are sincerely seeking answers, please contact me via email and I will respond with grace and truth as led by the Spirit.

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  12. Thank you for the post, Laurie. I was thinking in the car today, on the way to my son's school, about something someone said to me about sharing my faith, and I kept coming back to what you've said here. Have a wonderful day!

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    1. Thanks, Rosey, for your encouraging comment! I'm glad the post helped get you thinking about sharing your faith. Have a wonderful weekend & God bless!
      Laurie

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  13. Hi Laurie! Great post my friend and truthfully said! Our mandate as a Believer is to speak the Truth "in love" so that we may draw others to Him! Love the way you responded to your readers, regardless of their disagreement with you...just the way a believer should. :-) Have a blessed weekend my friend!

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    1. Thanks so much, Michell, for your lovely and supportive comment -- I needed that today! :-)
      May you have a blessed week in Him!
      Laurie

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  14. Hi Laurie,

    I apologize if I offended you by "copying and pasting" one of my posts regarding Predestination on my blog as a comment on your blog. I realize that it is a faux pas according to internet etiquette, but I view it as preaching the Gospel, and I don't think Jesus requires me to prepare an individualized "sermon" for each person with whom I share his Good News.

    So to our point of discussion: Does the Bible teach that God chooses those who will go to heaven, but man sends himself to hell? Does the Bible teach that Christ shed his blood for all mankind, not just the "Elect"? Does God desire all to be saved? Is it true that God sends NO ONE to hell?

    I believe that the simple, plain, interpretation of the Bible says "yes" to all of these questions.

    But the idea that God has chosen who will be saved, but has NOT chosen who will go to hell doesn't make sense, does it? It defies human logic and reason. For this reason ALL Reformed denominations (including Calvinists, Arminians, Baptists, and evangelicals) refuse to accept this paradox. The Calvinists fill in the gaps of this mystery and state that God DOES predestine people to hell. The Arminians and Calminians state that God predestines no one: that predestination is based on God foreknowing that YOU, at some point in the future, would make a free will decision for him. Problem is, there is not ONE passage of Scripture that states this. Yes, the Bible does say "for whom he did foreknow them also did he predestine..." but that passage does NOT contain these words "for whom he did foreknow would make a free will decision at some point in the future."

    Lutherans find it strange that the Reformed (Presbyterians, Baptists, and evangelicals) refuse to accept the paradox of the Doctrine of Predestination, but accept without question the paradox of the Godship of Christ.

    What sense does it make to believe that Christ is the Son of God but just as eternal as his Father, without a beginning??? That concept defies reason, logic and common sense. How can a son be as old as his father? How can a son not have a beginning? The very definition of the word "son" implies a beginning, a "begetting".

    Presbyterians, Baptists, and evangelicals need to stop relying on human reason, logic, and common sense when interpreting the Bible. Christ told us to have the faith of a small child. Small children do NOT demand that their father conform to human reason and logic. Small children believe whatever their father tells them...just because Daddy's always right!

    Believe the plain, simple Words of God...even when it defies common sense!

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    1. Hi Gary,
      No offense taken -- it is a policy I have had to adopt as there have been a lot of copy-and-pastes lately, and I feel that each writer's blog is the appropriate forum for them to post their completed essays. Comments, in my opinion, should be responses to a specific point in a post.

      God's created beings clearly have free will -- Lucifer rebelled; Adam & Eve disobeyed; and people throughout history are free to place their faith in God or reject Him. Otherwise we would all be automatons, not beings capable of fellowship with God, and what pleasure would He take from that? Yet clearly we are created for His pleasure.

      When reading any Bible verse, we must be careful not to take it out of context, or we will not be rightly dividing the word of truth. The first question we should ask when reading any passage is to whom the writer is speaking.

      Paul's writings are always addressed to believers in the church age, not to the unsaved. So when Paul speaks about predestination, he is speaking to that group that has already placed their faith in the Gospel of Grace -- the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ as the only way to Heaven. Please read Ephesians 1:1-10 with that in mind, and I pray that you will see that terms like "chosen" and "predestinated" refer not to WHO is saved, but to WHAT God has planned since the beginning of time for those who accepted His gift of salvation, offered freely to "whosoever" would accept.

      2 Peter 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

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    2. How would you interpret this passage of Scripture, Laurie?


      Acts 13:48 (ESV)

      48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.

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    3. Acts 13:38 KJV 48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.
      Matthew Henry Concise saqys: "As many as were disposed to eternal life, as many as had concern about their eternal state, and aimed to make sure of eternal life, believed in Christ, in whom God has treasured up that life, and who is the only Way to it; and it was the grace of God that wrought it in them."

      It is clear that we can only be saved through the power of the Holy Spirit, and I also agree that the Spirit pursues us and works on our heart before we trust Him. Because of our free will, we choose to trust or to reject Him, and if we accept Him, He accomplishes our salvation. He also knew from the beginning who would and who would not be saved..

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    4. But isn't there a big difference between "as many as were ordained to eternal life believed" and "As many as were disposed to eternal life believed"?

      In the first phrase "ordained" means that someone else has made the decision for belief to occur. In the second phrase belief occurs due to the "disposition" of the believer.

      Did God or the writer Luke make a mistake in their choice of words?

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    5. Gary, the debate over predestination and free will is one that has engaged Bible scholars for centuries, with great theological minds represented on both sides of the debate. Thankfully, His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts than our thoughts, and I do not believe anyone will be kept out of heaven for being on the "wrong" side of this debate. I for one won't understand it fully until I reach glory, and I am looking forward to complete understanding of this and other mysteries when I see Him face to face.

      God desires fellowship with us, which is not possible if we have no free will, for then we would be His playthings, not His friends and His children (or His enemies, for that matter, before we are saved or if we remain unsaved).

      That being said, God knows all, including who will and won't be saved. But that doesn't, in my mind, prevent us from choosing to believe or to reject Him, any more than my knowing my husband's preference in food, and therefore accurately predicting what he will order from a menu, in any way interferes with his free choice.

      The best article I have read on this is at Coherent Faith Apologetics: http://coherentfaithapologetics.weebly.com/1/post/2011/06/what-is-predestination-all-about-do-we-have-freewill-0609-1011-robert-a-rowlett.html

      Please accept this reply as a response to all your comments below -- I'm afraid time constraints prevent me from debating this further, as interesting as it would be! :-)

      God bless,
      Laurie

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  15. How would you interpret this passage, Laurie?

    Acts 2:39

    For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.

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  16. Romans 8:28-30

    28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

    29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.

    30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.

    Verse 28 uses the term "the called", it doesn't use the term "the disposed" or "those that have made a decision"

    The simple, plain rendering of verse 29 says that God knew who would be his "called" and he therefore predestined them to be like his Son. The idea that God predestines based on knowing what sinners would choose to do at some time in the future is pure speculation.

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  17. Dear Sister in Christ, Laurie: How would you interpret this passage of Scripture:


    Ephesians 2:1-10 (KJV)


    2 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;

    2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

    3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

    4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,

    5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)

    6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

    7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.

    8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

    9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

    10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

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  18. kids are screaming as i am trying to read your post. pinning it so i can read it later. excited to hear what God has laid on your heart! and thanks for linking up to the all things pretty party

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    1. Hi Chrissy! Wishing you a peaceful evening! Thanks for your sweet comment and for hosting, & God bless!
      Laurie

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  19. Dear Laurie: You are either away from the computer or not interested in continuing this discussion. Therefore I will make ONE LAST COMMENT unless you indicate that you would like to continue this interesting discussion.

    So why does the Doctrine of Predestination matter?

    First, the Doctrine of Predestination should NEVER be used as an excuse to not perform our Christian duty to "preach the Gospel" of the Good News of eternal salvation, given by God's grace as a FREE gift, received through faith in Jesus Christ to EVERY "creature". We do not know who is and who is not the Elect, so we should share the Gospel message with everyone and leave the issue of Election to God.

    Secondly, the reason the Doctrine of Predestination is so critically important to the Christian Faith is this; if the sinner is required to provide any action/deed/or work, including making the "correct" decision to believe, then salvation ceases being a gift...and becomes a REWARD! God states in multiple passages of Scripture that salvation is a FREE gift. God doesn't require that YOU do anything to receive his free gift. NOTHING! That is why sinners and even many Christians find it so mind-boggling that salvation through faith in Christ requires NO action on your part. The passages of Scripture above make that critical Christian doctrine very clear:

    1. God chose YOU before the world existed to be his child.
    2. At some point in your life, God quickens your spiritually dead soul, gives you faith, and you believe! Its that simple! It is like when you flip the light switch...the light bulb doesn't make a decision to "turn on" and be filled with light, it does so as an automatic reaction to the surge of "quickening" from the electrical current.

    In Salvation, God "flips the switch", sends a current of "quickening" into your soul, and your automatic response is to be filled with light...to believe!

    The Christian Church believed and taught the above paradigm for 1,500 years, until Anabaptists in Switzerland and other sects decided that God DOESN'T give salvation as a FREE gift, but man must do something FIRST to receive God's gift, and this is why the historic teaching of the Church to baptize our infants was abandoned by these Christian groups.

    Babies cannot assist or cooperate with God by making a free will decision. They are helpless before God. God has to do ALL the work to save an infant, and since these groups did not believe that salvation really does come with NO strings attached, they left our infants in a spiritual limbo until an Age of Accountability which is never mentioned in the New Testament, and cannot be found in any historical documents of the Early Church.

    Baptists and evangelicals have bought into this sixteenth century false teaching by believing that the sinner must assist God in his salvation by providing a "decision" to "close the deal". There is not one passage of Scripture that states that sinners' are capable of making a free will decision to believe. Not one!

    Sinners believe because God has "predestined" them, "appointed" them, "called" them. God makes the decision for salvation, not spiritually dead sinners. DEAD MEN CANNOT MAKE DECISIONS! Yes, the sinner has a free will to choose which breakfast cereal to eat in the morning, which NFL team to rout for, and who to marry, but the sinner does NOT have a free will in spiritual matters!

    "There is none righteous, no not one."
    "No one seeks God."

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  20. I guess you didn't see my comment above, indicating that time constraints prevent me from continuing this apparently endless debate, so I'll repost it below.

    Gary, the debate over predestination and free will is one that has engaged Bible scholars for centuries, with great theological minds represented on both sides of the debate. Thankfully, His ways are higher than our ways, and His thoughts than our thoughts, and I do not believe anyone will be kept out of heaven for being on the "wrong" side of this debate. I for one won't understand it fully until I reach glory, and I am looking forward to complete understanding of this and other mysteries when I see Him face to face.

    God desires fellowship with us, which is not possible if we have no free will, for then we would be His playthings, not His friends and His children (or His enemies, for that matter, before we are saved or if we remain unsaved).

    That being said, God knows all, including who will and won't be saved. But that doesn't, in my mind, prevent us from choosing to believe or to reject Him, any more than my knowing my husband's preference in food, and therefore accurately predicting what he will order from a menu, in any way interferes with his free choice.

    The best article I have read on this is at Coherent Faith Apologetics: http://coherentfaithapologetics.weebly.com/1/post/2011/06/what-is-predestination-all-about-do-we-have-freewill-0609-1011-robert-a-rowlett.html

    Please accept this reply as a response to all your comments below -- I'm afraid time constraints prevent me from debating this further, as interesting as it would be! :-)

    God bless,
    Laurie

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  21. Excellent explanation of predestination Gary!
    I give you a big AMEN!
    Paul

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  22. Hi Laurie,

    Thanks so much for your thought provoking post :).

    Are Christian's narrow minded? is such a large subject to discuss isn't it. it's hard within the confines of a blog post.

    As illustrated by the comments above, many come from such varying ideas of what is and what isn't truth. It kind of makes me deeply sad really, as we are sent out into the world to proclaim the Good News, but often the focus becomes about arguing about doctrine.

    I have had many conversations over the years with those who say they couldn't ever follow God if He was anything like Christians... it kind of makes you numb. How are we presenting the truth? Is it through love or judgement? Sometimes I think it comes across more about the importance of being right, rather than being humble in grace.

    Everywhere we look the 'many paths' are being highlighted, and also what I like to call - Pick & Mix Theology, choosing from a variety of belief systems. Worryingly the Universe is something I have seen talked about a great deal!

    We have to stand strongly on God's foundation and know our Bibles in detail, to answer the world's lies with God's truth. If we can't do it ourselves, how can we explain it to others?

    I am so thankful for the gift of grace. Yes, let's not be ashamed of the Gospel.

    Blessings :)

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    1. Amen, Anita! Beautifully said. Without His freely given gift of grace, we would be so lost. And whatever we say or do without love, it means nothing. Praise God for the truth of His Gospel.
      Many blessings to you,
      Laurie

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