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Why are so many christians closed-minded? (my rant)

Discussion in 'Interfaith Discussion' started by Rudy, Apr 20, 2004.

  1. quick

    quick Member

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    If we believe the Bible to be the Word of God, as Paul says in 2 Timothy, "16 All Scripture is God-breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;
    17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.", then exactly what do you expect us to do if you argue the Bible is incorrect? Agree with you? How are we supposed to "open our minds" on this issue?

    The entire religion lives and dies on the truth of the tenets and precepts of the Bible. Non-Christians need to remember that as they criticize us.
     
  2. quick

    quick Member

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    You misunderstand how one is saved under Christian theology--we are saved by grace, not by "good deeds". Ephesians 2: "8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that (25) no one may boast. "

    Most folks who call Christians "do-gooders" are just anxious and feel guilty about their own behavior and the fact that they confront Christians makes them nervous. What such folks do not realize is they do not have to behave better to get to heaven; they have to accept Christ, and then the Holy Spirit will help you to live better through grace. As miserable sinners, we all are incapable, on our own, of doing "good deeds", at least in God's eyes. We must have God's grace to overcome our sin-nature.
     
  3. LCMS Sprecher

    LCMS Sprecher Member

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    I agree with quick on the Christian belief of salvation through the grace of God and not our own good works. It is a common misconception by people that Christians only do good because that's how we get into heaven. That belief is wrong, because heaven is already ours (through God's grace poured out to us through Christ's death on the cross) and all good works then stem from Christ's love for us.
     
  4. quick

    quick Member

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    This is what the Bible says--Jesus is THE WAY--to say otherwise is to deny the Bible. You simply cannot ask a Christian to do that. "Christians" who agree with you are simply ignoring or hopelessly twisting the Bible.

    Here are a couple of key verses (John 14:6 is pretty clear):

    Matthew 7
    14 "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.

    John 14
    6 Jesus said to him, "I am (1) the way, and (2) the truth, and (3) the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.


    Romans 3

    19Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. 20Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.

    Romans 5

    12Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned-- 13for before the law was given, sin was in the world. But sin is not taken into account when there is no law. 14Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who was a pattern of the one to come.
    15But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God's grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! 16Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man's sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. 17For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God's abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ.
    18Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men. 19For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous.
    20The law was added so that the trespass might increase. But where sin increased, grace increased all the more, 21so that, just as sin reigned in death, so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
     
  5. dan

    dan Well-Known Member

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    Your notion of grace is a horribly prevelant opinion, but it is false. We are saved (ultimately) through grace, but only after all we can do. Faith is what makes grace possible, correct? Well, faith without works is dead. That point is so important that it is repeated word for word three times in one chapter. There are very few instances of principles being repeated three times in succession in the scriptures, but they are always the most important principles.

    We can lose our salvation, and we can be deemed unworthy of it. It is not some universal lottery, and if God's grace happens to fall on us then hoorah. Every human being will be judged based on the way they lived up to the light and knowledge they were exposed to on earth.
     
  6. LCMS Sprecher

    LCMS Sprecher Member

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    Faith come from the Holy Spirit via God's Word not by our works. Secondly, God's grace is given to anyone. Dan... you have the idea in your mind of predestination which isn't true. Everyone can get to heaven. They just can't refuse God's gift of salvation. Good works flow from recieving Christ's love not in an attempt to gain it. This is truly grace.
     
  7. quick

    quick Member

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    What I am saying is what Paul says, dozens of times. You must be Catholic, as your argument appears to be consistent with their theology.

    May I suggest to you that what James really means is this--if you are saved through grace, then you will do good works, i.e. there will be a by-product to your being saved, and it will be how you act. Your acts will not save you, but will be evidence of your being saved and a by-product of it.

    By way of analogy, if you say you are a basketball player, but never play the game, then it is doubtful you are a basketball player.

    Here are the key verses from James 2:

    14What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save him? 15Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. 16If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? 17In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.
    18But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”
    Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by what I do.
    19You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that–and shudder.
    20You foolish man, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless[4] ? 21Was not our ancestor Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar? 22You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23And the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,"[5] and he was called God's friend. 24You see that a person is justified by what he does and not by faith alone.
    25In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.


    Verse 18 is really on point. IF you are saved by grace, THEN you will show it in your actions. Verse 24 is the only place in the entire New Testament that seems to imply you are somehow actually saved to some degree by your works, and to harmonize all of this passage internally (verses 14 through 26) and with the rest of the Bible, I think my interpretation makes sound theological sense. Your works are evidence of, not a cause for, your salvation. OF course, the process of sanctification, or purification, over the course of your life will surely be through the interplay over the balance of your life between God and you, as you live and act--but your ability to even do good works is through grace. God's call is efficacious--just ask Paul when he was on the road to Damascus. He had no chance to deny what happened.

    Your concern over the "lottery mentality" I think shows that you do not agree that all men are dead to sin and deserve death. Yes, some will be saved and some will not (the wind blows where it will blow--John 3), but since we all deserve death, how can anyone complain for simply getting what they deserve, even if others get a Holy gift?
     
  8. quick

    quick Member

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    Why do you say predestination isn't true? Paul uses the term many, many times. Here is one example.

    Ephesians 1


    The Blessings of Redemption

    1 Paul, (1) an apostle of (2) Christ Jesus (3) by the will of God, To the (4) saints who are [1] at (5) Ephesus and (6) who are faithful in (7) Christ Jesus:
    2 (8) Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
    3 (9) Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in (10) the heavenly places in Christ,
    4 just as (11) He chose us in Him before (12) the foundation of the world, that we would be (13) holy and blameless before [2] Him. (14) In love
    5 He (15) predestined us to (16) adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, (17) according to the kind intention of His will,
    6 (18) to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in (19) the Beloved.
    7 (20) In Him we have (21) redemption (22) through His blood, the (23) forgiveness of our trespasses, according to (24) the riches of His grace
    8 which He lavished on us. In all wisdom and insight
    9 He (25) made known to us the mystery of His will, (26) according to His kind intention which He (27) purposed in Him
    10 with a view to an administration suitable to (28) the fullness of the times, that is, (29) the summing up of all things in Christ, things in the heavens and things on the earth. In Him
    11 also we (30) have obtained an inheritance, having been (31) predestined (32) according to His purpose who works all things (33) after the counsel of His will,
    12 to the end that we who were the first to hope in [3] Christ would be (34) to the praise of His glory.
    13 In Him, you also, after listening to (35) the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation--having also believed, you were (36) sealed in Him with (37) the Holy Spirit of promise,
    14 who is (38) given as a pledge of (39) our inheritance, with a view to the (40) redemption of (41) God's own possession, (42) to the praise of His glory.


    I do not think all get into heaven. Here is one key bit from Matthew 7 (Jesus speaking):

    13 " Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is broad that leads to destruction, and there are many who enter through it.
    14 "For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.
     
  9. dan

    dan Well-Known Member

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    I'd like to state that this is - bar none - the most foul and contemptable doctrine I have ever heard. "We're all bound for Hell unless God's little game of eenie-meenie-minie-mo lands on one of us." That is sick and absolutely deplorable. I am not Catholic and I don't know why you see fit to lump everyone that thinks differently than you into the Catholic category. I have no idea what religion you may subscribe to, because I've never heard such an apostate doctrine, and I've known a lot of religions.

    All men do not "deserve death." Your logic is ludicrous. So, basically, we came here only to die. We had no choice, and we did nothing to bring it upon ourselves, but that's just the way it is, deal with it? That doctrine is a disgrace to the name of Christianity, and you would do well to distance yourself from it.
     
  10. dan

    dan Well-Known Member

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    Where do they get these people?

    Holy cow. That word is translated wrong. Geez, get a lexicon. It should be "forordination," not predestination. God does not predestine us to anything. Every man, woman and child could be saved, but we make stupid decisions, and we sometimes screw it up for ourselves. We all chose to come here because we wanted to succeed. He wouldn't send us here with a blessing of failure.
     
  11. quick

    quick Member

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    The "foul doctrine" you condemn is absolutely Biblical and is Christian doctrine. I must tell you that I am "suggesting" nothing--What I say is straight from the Word. If it offends you, so be it.

    If you want to see the basis for the theology, simply pull up the sofa and read Romans all the way through. It addresses the original sin of Adam--the basis for all men deserving death; actual sin--the fact that original sin has condemned us to live sinful lives absent grace; grace--that we are saved by grace, not by works; and finally, that we are foreordained/predestined to our end. Of course, since none of us know who has been chosen, nor when it will be revealed, we must treat everyone with equal respect before God as today's sinner may be tomorrow's saved sinner, at God's good pleasure. We need look no farther than the thief on the cross who accepted Christ moments before his own death to know that anyone may be chosen.

    I would suggest to you that being saved by grace not works is what makes the Gospel "good news", as God's law demands that we be perfect, as he is perfect; since no man is perfect, I know I am condemned absent God's grace.

    As to suggesting you are Catholic, I assumed you were Christian (I must be wrong) and Catholic because they subscribe to a view of the Book of James that is not the same as the reformed Protestant faiths. I explained previously this difference in interpretation.

    I am a Presbyterian. Foreordination and predestination are often used interchangably. The translation I quoted is the NASB, one of the most accurate English translations.
     
  12. dan

    dan Well-Known Member

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    And just how do you reconcile James with your apostate doctrine (and I'll thank you to not toss around the terms "Biblical" and "Christian" until you show that you have something to do with the terms). Romans is a closed book to the sectarian world, and an open volume of inspiring scripture to the saints of God. I don't know what sterile, cold religion would endorse such ideas, but I call upon you to back them up.
     
  13. LCMS Sprecher

    LCMS Sprecher Member

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    "I do not think all get into heaven. Here is one key bit from Matthew 7 (Jesus speaking):"- quick

    No, one can refuse God's grace and thus damn his or herself. However this is not to say that God's grace is for the few "predestined elect." God's grace is free to everyone, some refuse it and are therefore not going to heaven.
     
  14. dan

    dan Well-Known Member

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    I repeat my question, how do you reconcile your doctrine with James chapter the second?
     
  15. quick

    quick Member

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    \

    Let me say that if you are a believer, I am not interested in getting into a war of words. The full scope and depth of the complicated interplay of grace, predestination, works, faith, justification and sanctification we may never know until the next life. What is most important is that you accept Christ as your savior.

    First, this is not "my" doctrine. It is basic Reformed theology coming from Scripture. Also, if this appears to you to be unfair or unjust, then are you not trying to argue your way is more just than God's way? How can miserable sinners like we are be more just than the Almighty?

    Second, if you are saved by works, not by grace, which is how you are discerning James (I gave my interpretation above), then how do you ever know if you are saved? How many "good works" are enough? Also, this is just like every other world religion where people are asked to work hard and study hard so people can try to become worthy of God's mercy. This is not Christianity, this is not grace. In fact, this "works" theology leaves man in a cruel state of spiritual limbo, never knowing if he has done enough "good works" to make the grade.

    I read James with, not in contradistinction to, Paul's theology, so as to say if you are are a member of God's elect, sooner or later this will result in your effectual calling, and you will be able to accept God's grace. Your eyes will be opened, and your heart will be changed. You will be dead to sin and then born again, a new person. After that time, you will be able to do the good works God had planned for you in advance to do. See Ephesians 2: 1-10 (NASB):


    Ephesians 2


    Made Alive in Christ

    1 And you were (1) dead in your trespasses and sins,
    2 in which you (2) formerly walked according to the course of (3) this world, according to (4) the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in (5) the sons of disobedience.
    3 Among them we too all (6) formerly lived in (7) the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were (8) by nature (9) children of wrath, (10) even as the rest.
    4 But God, being (11) rich in mercy, because of (12) His great love with which He loved us,
    5 even when we were (13) dead in our transgressions, made us alive together [1] with Christ ((14) by grace you have been saved),
    6 and (15) raised us up with Him, and (16) seated us with Him in (17) the heavenly places in (18) Christ Jesus,
    7 so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing (19) riches of His grace in (20) kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
    8 For (21) by grace you have been saved (22) through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is (23) the gift of God;
    9 (24) not as a result of works, so that (25) no one may boast.
    10 For we are His workmanship, (26) created in (27) Christ Jesus for (28) good works, which God (29) prepared beforehand so that we would (30) walk in them.


    Thirdly, and this will get quite long, but as you seem like a sophisticated student, here are some key excerpts from the Westminster Confession of Faith that explain original sin, election and grace. I have cited the online web page (below) for the Confession so you can read the entire Confession and more importantly, perhaps, see the Scriptural footnotes and do your own background study.

    Chapter VI
    Of the Fall of Man, of Sin, and the Punishment thereof
    I. Our first parents, being seduced by the subtilty and temptations of Satan, sinned, in eating the forbidden fruit.[1] This their sin, God was pleased, according to His wise and holy counsel, to permit, having purposed to order it to His own glory.[2]

    II. By this sin they fell from their original righteousness and communion, with God,[3] and so became dead in sin,[4] and wholly defiled in all the parts and faculties of soul and body.[5]

    III. They being the root of all mankind, the guilt of this sin was imputed;[6] and the same death in sin, and corrupted nature, conveyed to all their posterity descending from them by ordinary generation.[7]

    IV. From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good,[8] and wholly inclined to all evil,[9] do proceed all actual transgressions.[10]

    V. This corruption of nature, during this life, does remain in those that are regenerated;[11] and although it be, through Christ, pardoned, and mortified; yet both itself, and all the motions thereof, are truly and properly sin.[12]

    VI. Every sin, both original and actual, being a transgression of the righteous law of God, and contrary thereunto,[13] does in its own nature, bring guilt upon the sinner,[14] whereby he is bound over to the wrath of God,[15] and curse of the law,[16] and so made subject to death,[17] with all miseries spiritual,[18] temporal,[19] and eternal.[20]

    Chapter IX
    Of Free Will
    I. God has endued the will of man with that natural liberty, that is neither forced, nor, by any absolute necessity of nature, determined good, or evil.[1]

    II. Man, in his state of innocency, had freedom, and power to will and to do that which was good and well pleasing to God;[2] but yet, mutably, so that he might fall from it.[3]

    III. Man, by his fall into a state of sin, has wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation:[4] so as, a natural man, being altogether averse from that good,[5] and dead in sin,[6] is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.[7]

    IV. When God converts a sinner, and translates him into the state of grace, He frees him from his natural bondage under sin;[8] and, by His grace alone, enables him freely to will and to do that which is spiritually good;[9] yet so, as that by reason of his remaining corruption, he does not perfectly, or only, will that which is good, but does also will that which is evil.[10]

    V. The will of man is made perfectly and immutably free to do good alone in the state of glory only.[11]


    Chapter XI
    Of Justification
    I. Those whom God effectually calls, He also freely justifies;[1] not by infusing righteousness into them, but by pardoning their sins, and by accounting and accepting their persons as righteous; not for any thing wrought in them, or done by them, but for Christ's sake alone; nor by imputing faith itself, the act of believing, or any other evangelical obedience to them, as their righteousness; but by imputing the obedience and satisfaction of Christ unto them,[2] they receiving and resting on Him and His righteousness by faith; which faith they have not of themselves, it is the gift of God.[3]

    II. Faith, thus receiving and resting on Christ and His righteousness, is the alone instrument of justification:[4] yet is it not alone in the person justified, but is ever accompanied with all other saving graces, and is no dead faith, but works by love.[5]

    III. Christ, by His obedience and death, did fully discharge the debt of all those that are thus justified, and did make a proper, real and full satisfaction to His Father's justice in their behalf.[6] Yet, in as much as He was given by the Father for them;[7] and His obedience and satisfaction accepted in their stead;[8] and both, freely, not for any thing in them; their justification is only of free grace;[9] that both the exact justice, and rich grace of God might be glorified in the justification of sinners.[10]

    IV. God did, from all eternity, decree to justify all the elect,[11] and Christ did, in the fullness of time, die for their sins, and rise again for their justification:[12] nevertheless, they are not justified, until the Holy Spirit does, in due time, actually apply Christ unto them.[13]

    V. God does continue to forgive the sins of those that are justified;[14] and although they can never fall from the sate of justification,[15] yet they may, by their sins, fall under God's fatherly displeasure, and not have the light of His countenance restored unto them, until they humble themselves, confess their sins, beg pardon, and renew their faith and repentance.[16]

    VI. The justification of believers under the Old Testament was, in all these respects, one and the same with the justification of believers under the New Testament.[17]

    Chapter XVI
    Of Good Works
    I. Good works are only such as God has commanded in His holy Word,[1] and not such as, without the warrant thereof, are devised by men, out of blind zeal, or upon any pretence of good intention.[2]

    II. These good works, done in obedience to God's commandments, are the fruits and evidences of a true and lively faith:[3] and by them believers manifest their thankfulness,[4] strengthen their assurance,[5] edify their brethren,[6] adorn the profession of the Gospel,[7] stop the mouths of the adversaries,[8] and glorify God,[9] whose workmanship they are, created in Christ Jesus thereunto,[10] that, having their fruit unto holiness, they may have the end, eternal life.[11]

    III. Their ability to do good works is not at all of themselves, but wholly from the Spirit of Christ.[12] And that they may be enabled thereunto, beside the graces they have already received, there is required an actual influence of the same Holy Spirit, to work in them to will, and to do, of His good pleasure:[13] yet are they not hereupon to grow negligent, as if they were not bound to perform any duty unless upon a special motion of the Spirit; but they ought to be diligent in stirring up the grace of God that is in them.[14]

    IV. They who, in their obedience, attain to the greatest height which is possibly in this life, are so far from being able to supererogate, and to do more than God requires, as that they fall short of much which in duty they are bound to do.[15]

    V. We cannot by our best works merit pardon of sin, or eternal life at the hand of God, by reason of the great disproportion that is between them and the glory to come; and the infinite distance that is between us and God, whom, by them, we can neither profit, nor satisfy for the debt of our former sins,[16] but when we have done all we can, we have done but our duty, and are unprofitable servants:[17] and because, as they are good, they proceed from His Spirit,[18] and as they are wrought by us, they are defiled, and mixed with so much weakness and imperfection, that they cannot endure the severity of God's judgment.[19]

    VI. Notwithstanding, the persons of believers being accepted through Christ, their good works also are accepted in Him;[20] not as though they were in this life wholly unblamable and unreproveable in God's sight;[21] but that He, looking upon them in His Son, is pleased to accept and reward that which is sincere, although accompanied with many weaknesses and imperfections.[22]

    VII. Works done by unregenerate men, although for the matter of them they may be things which God commands; and of good use both to themselves and others:[23] yet, because they proceed not from an heart purified by faith;[24] nor are done in a right manner, according to the Word;[25] nor to a right end, the glory of God,[26] they are therefore sinful and cannot please God, or make a man meet to receive grace from God:[27] and yet, their neglect of them is more sinful and displeasing unto God.[28]





    http://www.reformed.org/documents/
     
  16. LCMS Sprecher

    LCMS Sprecher Member

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    "I repeat my question, how do you reconcile your doctrine with James chapter the second?"- dan

    The book of James essentially says that good works is a sign of faith not a creator of faith. Since faith (which is gained from reading the Bible and the Holy Spirit working through that Holy Word) in Christ's atonement for our sins on the cross is the only requirement for salvation; good works don't play a part.
     
  17. dan

    dan Well-Known Member

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    The spirit confirms your calling and election as sure when it is so, but until then it is never a sure thing. That is why Paul speaks of the race. He has fought the good fight. He didn't quit. If you quit you can't win.

    The scriptures you refer to speak of the rebirth that is accomplished at the reception of the Gift of the Holy Ghost. It changes your heart and you are spiritually reborn of Christ (thus the birth of water and fire, and thus and so).

    I'm not in a situation right now in which I can take the time to read and ponder the rest of your page, but I'll get to it in a little bit. At the moment I have to go.
     
  18. LCMS Sprecher

    LCMS Sprecher Member

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    I don't think you can go to either extreme in santification. Pre-destination's end result is that we don't need religion (i.e. If there are a pool of predestined elect then why bother living a good life or going to church for that matter- you are either damned or saved from the get go. A similar situation springs up when you say everyone is saved via pre-destination- why have religion if everyone is already saved.) You run into the same problem with the other end of the justification spectrum- works righteousness. How do you know you have done enough? If you have to work for your salvation why did Christ have to die on the cross? Why do we even need religion again, if all you have to do to get into heaven is to live a good life? If works is a requirement of salvation then devout Muslims, Jews, Buddhists, Hindus, etc... can also get into heaven by living similar good lives. While I know what you are speaking about dan, the Catholic version would couple both faith and works as requirements for eternal salvation (I go to a Catholic high school so I know that religion fairly well too). It would also say that God gave us grace by giving Jesus as atonement on the cross, and we have to work for that atonement. Again, you get down to the "have I done enough to be saved?" question. So both extremes don't work. They can both be disproved. The only way to heaven is through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. That gift is given freely to everyone. Now God gives us a choice, (p.s. this is not decision theology) we can let the Holy Spirit work faith in us or we can refuse the gift of salvation. We as sinful humans cannot even accept Christ's love. It is given to us already, but we can refuse to accept it (that leads to damnation). Again, I hold that good works come faith and that faith is worked in us by the Holy Spirit through the Bible and the Holy Sacraments of Holy Baptism and Holy Communion.
     
  19. quick

    quick Member

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    This is a classic debate, and a difficult one. I prefer to see it from a different perspective.

    God's predestination and election is not known to anyone but God. You must try your best to live by his rules and precepts, whether it earns you anything or not, because of one simple reason--we will be content if we live in accord with our maker's rules for our lives, and that is God's promise to us. That is reward enough. Proverbs, for example, tells us how to live and in many ways tells us how we will benefit from so living. I believe these rules will work for all humans, even non-believers, to a great extent. This, of course, will not get us salvation, but it will help us practically in the here-and-now.

    Predestination may simply be that God knows our hearts from before we are born, knows where we'll end up, and simply permits us to continue in the direction he knows we in our hearts seek to go. He "gives us over" to the desires of our hearts. If so, then pursuing some passive approach of "I'll do what I want and let God convert me if it's his plan" is clearly an indication of where your heart is headed. We cannot afford to be so cavalier, in my opinion. In fact, such an attitude may well be the indication you are not a member of the elect, or at least it has not been revealed to you, although it may be so revealed in God's good pleasure. "Work out your salvation with fear and trembling, " as Paul says.

    There are many other ways to look at predestination, but it must be dealt with as it is in the Bible repeatedly. Let me just say that for me, who was formerly an aggressive non-believer but steeped in Christian beliefs as a child, I KNOW the Spirit opened my eyes--there is no other way I would have gotten to this point in my life. Heck, there is simply no other way I would be a believer.

    God calls us to do certain things--witness, love our neighbor, love God. I cannot think God would expressly call us to do these things if they are meaningless, either to others or to ourselves. We do these things not because it earns us salvation, but because it is the correct response to God's love for us. Also, there is no question but that a believer's sanctification, after we are justified, is surely furthered by what we do for Christ, and I have no problem suggesting that these actions of sanctification are furthered by God's grace as well. There is a symbiosis at work here.

    This is a mysterious interplay, but none of it, in my mind, changes the fact that God's grace, and his grace alone, saves. God's greater glory is furthered by his goodness and mercy.
     
  20. LCMS Sprecher

    LCMS Sprecher Member

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    I am curious, where does the doctrine of pre-destination stem from? I mean I don't think it is from the Bible. I know that it finds its root in Calvanism, but I don't know how he reached the conclusions he did. If you by chance have some Biblical verses or evidence to back up pre-destination quick, I would very interested in seeing them.
     
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