Sunday, March 27, 2005

Salvation by Justification and Works

Mormons believe that our works play an important role in our salvation. President Spencer W. Kimball wrote:

“... However good a person's works, he could not be saved had Jesus not died for his and everyone else's sins. And however powerful the saving grace of Christ, it brings exaltation to no man who does not comply with the works of the gospel.”—Spencer W. Kimball, Miracle of Forgiveness, 206-208.

I love the foregoing quote by President Kimball as it clearly illustrates the dual roles of man and God in working out our salvation. I have written a brochure, which I will paste here, which addresses most of the TULIP vs. LDS issues. I present it with just a few modifications.

Mormonism is Far More Biblical:

Reformed Evangelism’s Fatal Errors Compared to LDS Doctrine

By RBV

Is it really just a Divine crapshoot to be saved? Reformed Christians, also commonly called Calvinists, adhere to a belief that there are 5 basic tenants of their faith, represented by the acrostic (fancy word for a beefy acronym) TULIP. The most fatal error is that it is unscriptural. We will see that in a moment. It is also based on the false Trinitarian concept of God.

Before we address TULIP and its stark contrast to Mormonism, here is what the parts stand for and some related scriptures:

T is for the total depravity of mankind. No way for man to find his way out of the sinful nature he has. Romans 7:18; Romans 3:9-10, 18; Romans 8:7-8; Eph 2:3,

U is for Unconditional Election. God chose whom he will save, and absolutely nothing we do can change that determination. Because of total depravity, you can do no good worthy of salvation. John 6:37,39, 44, 63-65; John 3:3,6; Romans 8:28-32; Eph 1:4-6, 11; Eph 2:1, 5, 8; Romans 9:11-26; 1 Cor 4:7.

L is for Limited Atonement or Particular Redemption. Christ only died for those he will save, not all mankind. Mt 25:33; Mt 7:22-23; Luke 10:20; Col 3:1-6; Acts 20:28; John 17:9; Eph 5:25.

I is for Irresistible Grace. Even if you don’t want to be saved, and when you are depraved you really don’t, God will drag you into salvation and you will respond when you hear the message of salvation. 1 Cor 4:6; Daniel 4:35; Ps 115:3; Romans 9:14-20; Jn 6:44, 64-65; 2 Cor 4:4-6; Acts 16:14.

P is for the Perseverance of the Saints. Once you are saved, there is no way to lose your salvation. Romans 8:30-39; Philippians 1:1-6; Hebrews 9:11-15; John 6:35-40; John 10: 22-30.

There is no Free Will or Choice in Calvinism!

The first problem, which is totally fatal to Calvinism, is the lack of Free Will or Choice. They have argued this since Calvin cooked up this idea, and it was affirmed at the Synod of Dordt. But mankind is free. It is a scriptural position: 1 Pet 2:16;

Matt. 7:11 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?

Mark 8:34 And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Galatians 5:1 ¶ STAND fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.

Paul is talking about our freedom to chose to be righteous or sinful. Even if he is talking about “saved” people, it would mean men could choose to sin and fall away.

Luke 10: 42 But one thing is needful: and Mary hath chosen that good part, which shall not be taken away from her.

The Spirit had not come yet (John 15:26; 16:13). So how did Mary choose the good part, if corrupt mankind is incapable of choosing good?

This is too silly in some ways to even argue. Calvinists don’t really believe people are totally depraved and incapable of doing good, or they would not be able to actually participate in legal processes, elections or believe in disciplining their children.

God is Sovereign

Evangelicals believe God is so powerful, he will overwhelm mankind’s freewill to complete his ends. Thus, he always gets what he wants. The problem is the tie-in to Free Will: God wants everyone to be saved:

1 Timothy 2:4 [God] will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

Not All Men Are Saved

Calvinists admit that all men are obviously not saved. They are unable to explain Paul’s statement in 1 Tim 2:4, but assert the rest of scripture supports their position, so it must just be accepted on faith that we are incapable of fully understanding.

Here is an illustrative quote: “We should never give the unsaved the idea that God loves them savingly or redemptively—for that would imply that He gave Christ to die in vain for the sins of the non-elect, or that He is powerless to save those He wishes to save.” (by Mitch Cervinka, a Calvinist explaining 1 Tim 2:4) http://www.planetkc.com/puritan/Articles/1Timothy2_4.htm Mr. Cervinka tries to force an interpretation to the Greek words which effectively means the phrase “all men” really means some men. Oy. He never deals with Romans 5:18 or 1 Cor 15:21-22, where "all" must mean "all", or we are reduced to a theology as the key for scriptural interpretation, and actually reading the words of scripture has no value.

More devastating to this non-Christian approach is the fact there is so very much scriptural support of God’s desire to save all people. Aside from 1 Tim 2:4, there are similar passages in almost every book of the New Testament:

2 Peter 2: 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.

Matthew 10:32 Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven.

Titus 2:11¶ For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,

Romans 9:33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

Revelation 3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Also Rev. 22:17 and Deut. 30:19

Faith is Offered to All Men Through Preaching the Gospel

Romans 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

For Paul, belief meant obedience.

Romans 10: 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?

Election is Because God Knows Who will respond, Not because he does not want everyone saved:

1 Peter 1:2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.

As I have described in a previous blog post, the Potter's clay is in fact the vehicle of salvation. God has chosen that. The analogy of the Potter's clay and God choosing Israel as the vehicle for those blessings to be funneled is the clear, historical meaning of the teaching in Romans. Every Jew was conversant with the teachings in Isaiah and Jeremiah 18:6, and so Paul aims his comments in Romans 9 to the Jews among the Christians of Rome. He says so in the text. To fail to understand the audience to whom Paul was writing is one of the main reasons Calvinists have twisted the argument of God foreknowing and selecting the vehicle of salvation into God pre-destining only some of His children into salvation, despite His express wishes for all of His children to be saved.

Did Christ Only Die For a Few People?

The idea that men are free to choose, but they will always choose evil because of their natures is the same as not having a choice. The Bible actually taught about this condition at some length. It is the argument of MANSLAUGHTER.

In the Pentateuch, Moses taught that if a man accidentally killed another man, he could run to a designated safe city called a city of refuge. There he could wait until the death of the High Priest, and emerge without penalty. If he were to leave before the death of the high priest, and he were caught outside by the family of the dead person, the family had the right to kill him. (Numbers 35).

It is clear from the passage that motives matter. If there is no ability to sin (or in TULIP’s case, not sin), then there can be no punishment. This is why Mormons hold that little children are saved (Moroni 8:22). If you cannot comprehend the act you perform, you cannot be held accountable. Jehova says in Num 35:29 that these are “statute[s] of judgment” for all generations. Did God’s Judgment change?

Mormons hold that Christ died for all mankind.

First, he died to provide the resurrection for all men (1 Cor 15:21-22). This act on Christ’s part justified all mankind into God’s presence. Let’s examine three critical passages:

Romans 3:22-25

22 Even the righteousness of God [which is] by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; 24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: 25 Whom God hath set forth [to be] a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;

Notice that because all have sinned, all have Christ’s sacrifice extended to them. It is unto all AND all that believe. Two classes are clearly taught here.

Paul follows this up by explicitly stating who is JUSTIFIED by the atonement of Christ:

Romans 5:18

18 Therefore as by the offence of one [judgment came] upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [the free gift came] upon all men unto justification of life.

To show this is not just a twisting or contorting of just a few passages from Paul by the Mormons, here is what John says on the subject as well:

He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world. (1 John 2:2, NIV translation)

Are Mormons Universalists?

No. But this is where the false constructs of the Sovereignty of God and Pre-destination just conceptually collapse. God absolutely wants all men to be saved. But he honors mankind’s agency. This goes back to the purpose of the Fall:

Genesis 3:22 ¶ And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil…

Calvinists would have you believe that the ability to choose was lost after God said it was what made us like Him. Of course God knows who will be saved. But knowledge of the future is not forcing it upon us. Mankind must be free to choose, and able to be saved, or God is a partial God, and a respecter of persons.

So Who Were Those Given to Christ?

Calvinists often quote John 6:44 which reads:

44 No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.

The problem is they fail to note that this passage is very limited in scope, and is fulfilled. Let us read a little further on in John:

John 17: 11 ¶ And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we [are]. 12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.


Christ leaves no doubt here. He was with those God gave him. He asks God to keep them. And he acknowledges he saved all of them, except Judas. His comments in John 6:44 are about his Earthly ministry. He considered everyone his sheep (Matt 9:36), and yet also realized that they would someday be separated, like sheep and goats (Matt 25:32-33). His teachings in Luke 15:1-7 on finding the lost sheep, and especially on sinners repenting cannot be construed as salvation to a certain prescribed class. All have sinned. A sinner repents, and the angels and God rejoice. It is an open call. In one of the most moving and prophetic passages in all scripture about Christ, Isaiah 53 describes all of us as sheep who have gone astray, and Christ suffered for us who esteemed him as nothing.

We Can Lose Our Salvation

Because of mankind’s free will, men can lose their salvation. This is taught all throughout scripture. (Ezek. 18:25-28; Matt 5:13; Luke 8:13; 1 Cor 10:12-13; Gal. 5:4; 1 Tim 4:10; Heb 6:4-6;10:26; James 5:19-20; 2 Pet. 1:10; 3:17; Rev. 2:5)

Calvin was a control freak. Thus we see him advocating a Control Freak God. Calvin found justification in the control freak mentality of God, as he saw him, for committing mass murders and torturing and hurting untotaled numbers of people. So of course God takes vengeance against the wicked. They were unsaved, and not really people anyway. He never really loved them or wanted to save them. But just in case, even if Calvin did a bad thing, his eternal security was assured, in his mind, so he could in fact murder, but it was OK. Paul teaches that all have fallen short. We are saved from our sins, as we apply our will with the will of God. President Spencer W. Kimball made this awesome observation:

“... However good a person's works, he could not be saved had Jesus not died for his and everyone else's sins. And however powerful the saving grace of Christ, it brings exaltation to no man who does not comply with the works of the gospel.”—Spencer W. Kimball, Miracle of Forgiveness, 206-208.

The Mormons get it right with three verses of scripture:

2 Nephi 25: 23 For we labor diligently to write, to persuade our children, and also our brethren, to believe in Christ, and to be reconciled to God; for we know that it is by grace that we are saved, after all we can do.

Alma 24: 11it has been all that we could do, (as we were the most lost of all mankind) to repent of all our sins and the many murders which we have committed, and to get God to take them away from our hearts…

Moroni 10:33 And again, if ye by the grace of God are perfect in Christ, and deny not his power, then are ye sanctified in Christ by the grace of God, through the shedding of the blood of Christ, which is in the covenant of the Father unto the remission of your sins, that ye become holy, without spot. (This verse also explains perfection in vs. 32).

Hopefully this is enough information to illustrate the clear LDS vs. Calvinistic position. I truly believe one of the main driving aspects of Calvin's doctrinal formulation was his candid realization of the horrific crimes he continued to commit after his supposed "saving" moment. The thought of losing his own personal salvation led him to a doctrine which essentially ignores what men do and delivers man into a kind of Divine lottery. The logical and practical inconsistencies this doctrine creates for interacting with daily life makes it worthy of the not-so-becoming title of "cheap grace". It also forces a person to ignore the very plain teaching by every prophet that sin is to know good, and do it not. (James 4:17)

The logical consequence of total depravity is that no person can know Good or Evil, and therefore cannot be convicted of transgressing the Law. Christ's atonement would therefore cover 100% of mankind. Otherwise a Calvinist must assert that even the unsaved among mankind can know good and evil, and have the ability to choose which to follow. But then logically God would have to accept them on their own merits and desires, thus providing the need for both absolute grace to absolve men of their sins, and a converted heart to desire to be obedient to the commandments of God. This is why Hebrews 5:8-9 states of Christ:

8. Although he was a son, he learned obedience from what he suffered 9and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him

Christ is our Saviour, our example and the only name whereby we must be saved. Calvinism destroys that by forcing the willful sinner in with those pursuing obedience, and making false all of the statements of scripture requiring our obedience for salvation.

Salvation is a free gift, but it is gift given only to those who answer the Kings call to enter the Wedding Feast (Matt 22:1-14). He requires us to wear His robes, which means not only responding to the call, but obeying His commandments. The story makes it clear that people choose to respond, of their own will, since the will of the King was for all to enter. That all do not enter means somehow mankind is able to assert their individual will's over that of God.

Come my friends, choose to enter the Feast.
Peace

4 comments:

Todd Leroy said...

Bob, I'm very curious, did you run into any calvinists outside general conference this time?

Have you ever run into any aside from Aaron and me?

I haven't seen any reports and they don't seem to update their site any more so I don't know if the Street Preachers' Fellowship was there but all of them would have few problems with what you wrote. (http://www.streetpreachersfellowship.com/Default.asp) You have the same misconceptions they do about Total Depravity (man isn't as bad as he could possibly be), Unconditional Election (man isn't responsible), Irresistable Grace (coercion), and Perseverance of the Saints (that perseverance doesn't mean that God who saves us also makes it so that we do not lose faith and live in patterns of sin but grow in holiness) Of course they would totally disagree on the issue of justification. (Did you see my reminder on the other post?) And all the mormon stuff. But all you've really done is argue for Arminianism. You like to point out that calvinism is the position of Calvin but not that your position is that of Arminius. Saying your position doesn't deserve a nickname because it is the Biblical position is something anyone can do.

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

Thanks for the notice Leroy. From the look of your picture, marriage is agreeing with you.

There were a couple of groups of Calvinists out at the gates this week. A family and group from Florida, and some very angry fellow who would not give me his name as I am apparently Satan's servant in his circles.

I will admit that I may be misguided in some of my opinions about reformed theology. That being said, I used primarily www.reformed.org for source material. Here is an article that speaks pretty directly to all of the points I made: http://www.reformed.org/calvinism/trf/index.html
I am glad to see you picked up on the irony of my saying that my position is the Biblical position, because I hear that all the time.

God sovereignly chooses whom he will save. Thus man has no choice, since an unelected person has no ability to influence the outcome. He may be "better" comported than any saved person, but the sovereign application of the atonement only to those chosen to be saved means their sins, no matter how small or large they may be, are worthy of death. So men can be "worse" than they are, but it does not matter since a little bad transgressing the Law is as bad as a serial ax murderer due to the inability of a person to atone or recognize the need to repent for their own sins.
The limited atonement means that even a less-bad person has no part in the redemption and justification offered by Christ.

Do you agree with the following statement from www.reformed.org by Loraine Boettner?

"The Calvinist holds that the atonement was an objective work accomplished in history which removed all legal barriers against those to whom it was to be applied, and that it would be followed by the work of the Holy Spirit subjectively applying the merits of that atonement to the hearts of those for whom it was divinely intended."

Without election, man is incapable of responding to God, and therefore is trapped into a system of continually failing works and evil transgression.

Quoting Boettner further:

"Therefore He created men and angels not as robots who would automatically produce good works as a machine produces bolts or tin cans but who would deserve no rewards, but as free moral agents, in His own image, capable, in Adam before the fall, of choosing between good and evil. He manifests His justice toward those whom He has purposed in grace to save by rewarding them for the good works that are found in Christ their Savior and credited to them, confirming them in holiness, and admitting them into heaven. And He manifests His justice toward those whom He has purposed to by-pass for their willing continuance in sin."

If the only way for a man to be saved is to apply Christ's good works to him, but the non-elected are left exposed to that certain wrath of their failed and sinful works, then the outcome is inevitable and it was chosen by God. Thus the Calvinist ignores all of those passages where God purposes to save all men. Could God have saved all men, if he really wanted to? Since he says explicitly that is what he wants, then Calvinism, in my view, is unBiblical.

Perseverance of the saints is also stacked against the non-elect. Since all of man's works are insufficient to gain heaven, only the atonement of Christ can save men. The atonement is only applied to the elect, and since the elect are chosen without regard to their works, perseverance involves no question of worthiness or obedience. Once saved, you cannot lose your salvation.

Quoting from Boettner again:

"The sinner is dead, blind, and deaf to the things of God; his heart is deceitful and desperately corrupt. His will is not free, it is in bondage to his evil nature, therefore, he will not - indeed he cannot - choose good over evil in the spiritual realm."

If obedience or good works or even responding to the message of Christ is the criteria for salvation, then in Calvinism God is capricious and unfair, since no person can qualify for God’s help out of their own sinful merits, and no person could retain such support without Christ’s atonement and the aid of the Holy Ghost. Scripture says all have sinned and fallen short, so without assistance, none can be saved. To contend it is actually a fair and open field because men still have choice is like saying a basketball team of 5 year olds matched up against Cleveland, with a lid on the basket which must be raised by hand to get a ball through, is a fair game. There is nothing fair about it. It is a rigged game, and such a rigged game violates the principles of Justice as taught in the Bible.

As to irresistible grace, I quote Boettner once more:

"In addition to the outward general call to salvation which is made to everyone who hears the gospel, the Holy Spirit extends to the elect a special inward call that inevitably brings them to salvation. The internal call (which is made only to the elect) cannot be rejected; it always results in conversion."

You may not like the fact that I see words like "cannot be rejected" as coercive, but what word would you prefer to use for someone who's will is overwhelmed and forced to accept another's will instead?

Here is B.B. Warfield's 11th point, in totality, as found at reformed.org:

"11. I believe that, being fallen in Adam, my first father, I am by nature a child of wrath, under the condemnation of God and corrupted in body and soul, prone to evil and liable to eternal death; from which dreadful state I cannot be delivered save through the unmerited grace of God my Savior."

Since man's corrupt nature was inherited from a corrupt father (Adam), non-elected men have no chance for salvation, except by unmerited grace.

I find Piper's attempt to show that God sometimes wills one thing but allows another an exercise in circular reasoning. http://www.desiringgod.org/library/topics/doctrines_grace/2wills.html

Piper positions the scriptures on free choice as if they prove God really allows choice. But since man's nature is inherently evil in Calvinism, and if God is soverign enough to elect and use Irresistible Grace to convert, then how can it be plausibly argued that men are free? If God's will is sovereign, who is there to resist God's will?

LeRoy, if I have some misunderstanding of Calvinism, I truly want to understand it accurately. I bristle when anti-Mormons like Rob or Aaron get it wrong, and I would expect nothing less from myself than accuracy. So point me in a direction to get the right info.

Lastly, I would disagree that I believe in Arminianism, though there are very strong similarities. Arminianism does not explore the idea that Election is the process whereby God used the House of Israel to bless the world with the gifts of salvation. Instead, for Arminianism the Elect are those who chose Christ and stay faithful. Arminianism also lacks the clear explanations of free choice provided by the Book of Mormon, which puts a finer edge on the interaction of Salvation by Grace and Works than the Arminians have available to them. Also, the LDS belief that in God’s House there are many mansions, meaning various degrees of salvation are available to all people, faithful or otherwise, so long as they do not commit the pardonable sin. This would be different than a simple saved/ not saved approach, though Arminianism makes provision for Christ’s atonement to be applicable to more than just the Elect. But in the end, they believe men are free to choose God and live, or to choose the world and suffer the wrath of God.

Limited atonement is also completely contradicted by scripture. 1Cor 15:22 “For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.” I note Paul teaches they “ALL WILL” be made alive. Not some, not a few, not the Elect, but all. The Resurrection came to pass because of the Atonement of Christ, and therefore at least this aspect of the Atonement is universal in its application. Beyond the resurrection as an aspect of the universal application of the atonement we have the issue of Justification. As I have posted previously, Paul makes at least two explicit, i.e. express and direct, statements on the subject of justification. They are:

Romans 5:16 And not as [it was] by one that sinned, [so is] the gift: for the judgment [was] by one to condemnation, but the free gift [is] of many offences unto justification.

Romans 5:18 Therefore as by the offence of one [judgment came] upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one [the free gift came] upon all men unto justification of life.

If the Free Gift came upon ALL MEN unto justification, then all have received justification to some degree.

Leroy, I posted my brochure on Calvinism to try and explain more clearly my concept of Justification. I just don’t know how to say it any clearer than Paul teaches here. His statements in Hebrews, Philipians and Romans on obedience’s role in salvation likewise seem clearer than anything I could write:

Hebrews 5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;
Philippians 2:12-13 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. 13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of [his] good pleasure.
Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. 16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?
Or John:
1 John 2:3 And hereby we do know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.

This is enough. Big reply, but I am trying to be 1 inch wide and ten feet deep instead to wandering around 10 feet wide and 1 inch deep.

Peace

Todd Leroy said...

Bob, I'm sincerely encouraged by your expression that you want to completely understand the Calvinist position. If I may made a recommendation it would be to fully explore each of the five points one at a time, beginning with Total Depravity.

You wrote:
"Since man's corrupt nature was inherited from a corrupt father (Adam), non-elected men have no chance for salvation, except by unmerited grace."

This is untrue. Since man has inherited a corrupt (totally depraved) nature from Adam, the federal head of all people born of the flesh, ALL men have no chance for salvation, except by grace.

You said 'non-elected men' have no chance. The Bible teaches that apart from God's grace, no men have a chance of salvation. That's the whole point of election and monergistic regeneration.

Don't take this next correction as picking on you but it is an important distinction about grace. You used the phrase 'unmerited grace'. Grace is by definition unmerited so either your phrase is redundant or you believe in a grace that is meritable. If you were being redundant, that's no problem, I do that too. If your definition of grace is not that it is totally unmerited, then I may want to discuss that.

If we can proceed with my recommendation, I would prefer to leave behind the quotes from Boettner and deal with each point one at a time from scripture. We should also leave behind the label 'calvinism', if you don't mind. A purer term that we can use to leave behind the names of men is 'monergism'. Monergism is another name for the 5 points of Calvnism but one that is more technical and less attached to a person.

So, I would like to do that, and I would like to recommend a document I have written as a good source of texts to look at, located here: http://www.disposablechristian.org/blog/2004/11/tulip.html
I've broken the 'prooftexts' out by point, in the order that they appear in the Bible, and without repetition between points. You can ignore all the stuff I wrote.

Now the only other thing I want to comment on in light of the study of monergism is what you've said about all men being justified and all men being made alive in Christ.

My interpretation of the texts is that you are justified if you are in Christ and you are made alive only in Christ. Not everyone is in Christ so not everyone is justified or made alive. My approach to show you that this was the correct interpretation was to inform you of the definition of what it means to be justified, intending to do that by first asking what was your definition was of 'justified'.

I found out in Utah that you believe all people were justified and that's what I saw again in your brochure, but I still don't know what justified means to you. To me it means standing blameless before God, receiving all of the promises of the New Covenant and eternal life with Jesus and the Father. It is just one part, but obviously a major one, in the order of salvation. It is one crucial event in the Christian's life. A justified person exhibits all of the characteristics of obedience and holiness that the Bible says will be characteristic of someone inheriting eternal life.

When you say all people are justified, I have to begin to assume that justification really doesn't mean anything. But I want to know what you believe accurately.

I think you will find that our beliefs about the obedience required for final salvation are very similar and that monergism articulates the grace required and given to dutifully and *joyfully* (which is to be redundant as joy is another duty) fulfill all obedience that we may obey by grace.

So, we can talk about justification too, and/or we can go with monergism for now, going '1 point' wide and as deep as the Word, if you will, is deep.

Blessings.

(Hey, thanks for the comment on marriage agreeing with me :) more at the website)

Bob the Anti-Anti said...

I think it a splendid idea to discuss each point of calvinism/monergism. I will start a new post as we move to each point. I will first post specifically on my definition of being justified and the meaning of grace, since they seem to continue to be points of confusion between us. For a change, I will try to keep it brief, though no promises.
Peace