The Sole Cause of Salvation

Posted September 30, 2009 by strangebaptistfire
Categories: Darrin, Soteriology

 I trust it’s alright to use excerpts from a recent post on another blog below, with just a few comments of mine interjected. I felt that these thoughts from Steve Camp’s blog are interesting and relevant.

Steve posted a quote from an unknown author which speaks of the biblical concept of God’s “grace alone” as the cause of our salvation. This also means that Christ is Lord of everything, even the conversion of sinners. I’ve tried to use quotation marks properly to show which words are not mine. I believe the concepts expressed are important, not too difficult, and well worth the time to read and consider thoughtfully.

“Lordship Salvation emphasizes that a love for Christ springs from our new nature (granted freely by God) which desires to believe the gospel as well as submit to Jesus Christ as Lord over one’s life. Both faith and obedience are the result of God’s invincible and indelible grace, not the cause of it.”

The author speaks of those who “mistakenly ascribe belief in Christ as something within the ability of the old nature… This is where they fall off the horse away from historic Christianity by rejecting the biblical doctrine of salvation by grace alone in Christ alone. By not giving glory to God for their faith they add conditions for their salvation.”

The writer sees that this approach is problematic mostly due to the “misapprehension of the work of the Holy Spirit in giving rise to our faith and affection for Christ. For how can an unregenerate man see Christ’s beauty, excellence or anything to desire in Him at all? One must have a new heart and the mind of Christ in order to understand and love spiritual things.”

Issue is taken with this synergistic viewpoint (God + man accomplishing regeneration) also because of the problem of “making faith itself a contribution to the price of their redemption. i.e. grace + faith.”

This is an excellent point, in that there is a danger in viewing “grace + faith” as separate components of salvation, whereas the Scriptures teach that it is “by grace through faith”. Perhaps a seemingly subtle, but truly a very important difference. All flows from God’s grace; faith is the means through which He bestows the grace of regeneration (new life) upon us. All good things come from above.

“[We] believe faith and obedience are the result, not the cause of the new birth. Unless the Holy Spirit changes the disposition of our hearts from hostility to affection for Christ, no one would exercise saving faith. Any ‘faith’ which exists apart from the work of the Spirit is spurious and of the flesh (Luke 8:4-15) [the parable of the sower]. God alone does the work of regeneration which infallibly gives rise to a spiritual faith that desires to obey and commit itself to Christ. In this case God gets all the glory.”

However, the alternate, “no-Lordship” position “would have us believe that one could produce faith from our unregenerated human nature. The question is, why do some believe and others resist? Are some more wise or humble? Isn’t it grace itself which makes us wise and humble? The Scripture says, ‘What do we have that we did not receive?’. So, in fact, the ‘no-Lordship’ position is admirably attempting to protect the doctrine of ‘faith alone’, but in the process it has cast aside the biblical doctrine of ‘grace alone’. ‘No-Lordship’ may believe in a salvation by grace, but not salvation by grace alone (sola gratia).”

“[To say] that man must somehow cooperate with God to be born again, as they hold, is to say that some men innately have the natural capacity to believe, independent of God’s action of grace, while others do not. How is this different than salvation by merit? So in reality the burden of proof to explain belief apart from grace alone is on those who hold to ‘no-Lordship’. Different understandings of the work of the Holy Spirit in our regeneration is the key to the debate.”

Indeed, a study of the Spirit’s role in man’s conversion is surely one that appears worthwhile.

High Holy Days

Posted September 18, 2009 by strangebaptistfire
Categories: Darrin, Uncategorized

 

This evening at sundown begins the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashanah, or the Feast of Trumpets. It is traditionally a time of celebration and prayers for the coming year, and a time of repentance through the next ten days leading up to Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. The realizations of God’s judgment and of atonement are strong through these days. As believers in Christ, we are thankful for God’s provision of His Son and His forgiveness of all the sins of His people. 

One tradition many Jews hold to on Rosh Hashanah is casting pieces of bread, or pebbles, etc., into naturally flowing water. This is symbolic of the casting off of sin, and originally based on the concept of God graciously taking our sins away such that they are gone forever. The use of water is based on the passage from Micah 7,

“Who is a God like You, pardoning iniquity and passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us, and will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.”

These days are yet another great opportunity to reflect on our spiritual status, to consider where we have failed in sin and to repent, and also to praise Him for the blessings and victories He has given us.

Though the waters ahead are as yet uncharted by us, we press on with sober resolve to walk closer to the Lord, who knows all and holds all things in His sovereign, mighty, blessed hands.

Happy New Year.  Grace and peace to you.

“Calvinism” in “Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (1859-2009)”- excerpts from the book by Dr. Gregory A. Wills, compilation

Posted August 12, 2009 by strangebaptistfire
Categories: Andrew, Southern Baptist Convention

Part 1: “Calvinism” at SBTS and in the SBC at the founding of Southern Seminary

Part 2: “Calvinism” in both Landmark and non-Landmark churches during the early days of the SBC

Part 3: The “Calvinism” of the SBTS founders

a. The “Calvinism” of James P. Boyce

b. The “Calvinism” of John A. Broadus

c. The “Calvinism” of William Williams and Basil Manly Jr.

Part 4: “Calvinism and Denominational Doubt”


“Calvinism” in “Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (1859-2009)”- excerpts from the book by Dr. Gregory A. Wills, Part 4

Posted August 11, 2009 by strangebaptistfire
Categories: Andrew, Southern Baptist Convention

Part 4: “Calvinism and Denominational Doubt”

[The entire post below is a quote from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (1859-2009), pages 542-543, with links added.]

Moderates were astonished to discover that Mohler advocated Calvinism and attacked him for it. Most conservatives in the Southern Baptist Convention rejected the doctrine of predestination but were little troubled by Mohler’s views. Since the 1940s, Calvinism had grown in popularity in evangelicalism generally. London preacher Martin Lloyd-Jones influenced many evangelicals in the United Kingdom to embrace Calvinism through his preaching and his promotion of interest in the Puritans. A number of publishers reprinted Puritan writings to meet the growing demand. The writings of John Stott and James I. Packer popularized these emphases in Great Britain and in the United States. In the United States, such preachers and authors as R.C. Sproul, John Piper, and John MacArthur taught an explicitly Calvinistic understanding of the Bible. Francis Schaeffer and Carl Henry, whose writings spurred an intellectual renaissance within American fundamentalism and evangelicalism, also contributed greatly to the spread of Calvinism’s popularity. Mohler had studied appreciatively the writings of many of these.

In the Southern Baptist Convention, Calvinism’s popularity was spreading at the same time, drawing in part on the same influences. But many Southern Baptists were looking to their own past and discovered there a rich stream of Calvinist evangelicalism. They reprinted and read the theological works of nineteenth-century Baptists, especially of such men as James P. Boyce. Some formed the Founders Ministries, an organization that produced a quarterly journal and hosted an annual conference dedicated explicitly to the promotion of “the doctrines of grace,” as Calvinism was also known. Tom Nettles, professor at Mid-America Baptist Theological Seminary, published in 1986 an extensively documented history of Calvinism among Baptists, which served as an influential introduction to Calvinism for many Southern Baptists. Nettles joined Southern Seminary’s faculty in 1997. Read the rest of this post »

Book Sale on Founders Press Titles Related to Southern Seminary

Posted August 10, 2009 by strangebaptistfire
Categories: Andrew, Southern Baptist Convention

The following sale announcement is relevant to the recent series of posts I’ve been doing from Dr. Wills’ history of Southern Seminary.

From Founders Ministries Blog [with links added]:

The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year and Founders Press is putting several books related to the seminary on sale until September 4, 2009.

Included are books by Tom Nettles, Michael Haykin and James P. Boyce along with a DVD and CD of the Baptist Catechism by Jim Orrick.

The list of books on sale are found HERE.

“Calvinism” in “Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (1859-2009)”- excerpts from the book by Dr. Gregory A. Wills, Part 3c.

Posted August 8, 2009 by strangebaptistfire
Categories: Andrew, Southern Baptist Convention

3: The “Calvinism” of the SBTS founders

[After the following heading, the remainder of this post is a quote from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (1859-2009).]

c. The “Calvinism” of William Williams and Basil Manly Jr. (96)

Williams also argued the Calvinist distinctives in traditional fashion. He taught that God’s decrees determined “whatever takes place” and included “all things.” He taught that God imputed Adam’s guilt to his posterity, resulting in “universal total depravity,” in which all persons lacked the “moral ability to do what is spiritually good” and were “totally destitute of any love of God or any inclination to do his will or engage in his service.” He explained that scriptural election was “God’s eternal and unchangeable choice of certain persons to salvation of his sovereign will.” He taught that Christ’s death was a “limited atonement,” because a “true substitution and satisfaction” necessarily involved specific “persons whose place is taken and not an indescriminate mass,” and because the Bible taught that the atonement actually purchased and procured faith, repentance, and salvation. He held that the Holy Spirit’s work of “imparting spiritual life and renewing the will” was “irresistible grace” and was granted to “the elect only.” He taught also that the “perseverance” of the saints was a “necessary inference from the doctrine of election” and from the nature of the union between the Christian and Christ.” Read the rest of this post »

“Calvinism” in “Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (1859-2009)”- excerpts from the book by Dr. Gregory A. Wills, Part 3b.

Posted August 6, 2009 by strangebaptistfire
Categories: Andrew, Southern Baptist Convention

3: The “Calvinism” of the SBTS founders

[After the following heading, the remainder of this post is a quote from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (1859-2009).]

b. The “Calvinism” of John A. Broadus (94-96)

Broadus undertook a study of Calvinism in 1857. He wrote Charles Hodge in an effort to acquire an edition of Calvin’s works. He asked his uncle Andrew Broaddus, a veteran Baptist preacher, “how far Calvinism should be carried.” His uncle affirmed both that God was completely sovereign and that humans were fully accountable to repent and believe in Christ, but their perfect compatibility was beyond human understanding: “I can not fathom the mystery connected with God’s sovereignty and man’s accountability.” Broadus concluded that the Calvinist approach was scriptural. Read the rest of this post »


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