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dkkev

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Posts posted by dkkev


  1. You already said how it could: "The doctrine of creation also affects the doctrine of sin. In Romans 5, the Apostle Paul speaks of the doctrine of original sin, clearly assuming and believing that Adam was indeed the first man."

    I was speaking specifically and only of the gap theory.

    If there's any sort of gap between this:

    In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.

    And this:

    And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.

    Then that wouldn't have any implications on Romans 5.

    If all there was in this "gap" (of however long) was an earth without form and void, covered only with darkness and water (and no living organism), then would that have an effect on Romans 5? I don't think so. Because even if there was a gap, every living thing still would have been created in the six days following the gap.

    Once again, I don't believe in the gap theory. I'm just saying that accepting it doesn't create major theological problems like theistic evolution or something similar.


  2. In Acts 17:22, Paul begins his address to the men of Athens. After a short introduction, Paul launches straight into the doctrine of creation, discussing how God made from one man every nation of mankind. The doctrine of creation, then, is not a side issue. It's something that's very central to who God is.

    Furthermore, other important doctrines within the Christian faith are based on what took place within the creation account. In Matthew 19:3-9, Jesus' basis for the covenant of marriage is on the fact that in the beginning God made them man and female (and He commanded that "a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh").

    The doctrine of creation also affects the doctrine of sin. In Romans 5, the Apostle Paul speaks of the doctrine of original sin, clearly assuming and believing that Adam was indeed the first man.

    Man is entirely unique in creation. He is made in the image of God. He is separate from the common animal.

    I could go on, but I'll stop there. The point is that there's a lot to lose if you try to force Genesis 1 and 2 to somehow agree with the theory of evolution. I would not outright reject someone's Christianity if they believed that God used evolution to create the world. I would, however, be skeptical. Chances are, if someone rejects what is clearly taught in Genesis 1 and 2 (and in many other parts in the Bible-- keep in mind that all throughout the OT and NT God is consistently portrayed as Creator), there are other problems lurking beneath the surface. When does such a person start believing that what the Bible says about history? Once Cain and Abel arrive? Once the flood occurs? Once Abraham is born? Or maybe not even until after the Exodus?

    Up until now, I haven't said anything regarding young earth or old earth. You can believe in an old earth and still reject evolution. You could, for instance, argue that there is some sort of gap in between Genesis 1:1-2 and Genesis 1:3-4. Personally, I don't agree with the gap theory, and I think it's a bit of a stretch, but I don't see how it would create any major theological problems.


  3. A good biblical example of this can be found in Acts 5:29. Peter and the other apostles had been ordered to stop proclaiming the gospel (Acts 2:28). Peter refused to submit to this authority and said, "We must obey God rather than men". This, of course, has wider application. Say, for instance, the government instructs you to commit murder, theft, or some other crime. The Christian response would be refusal. Why? Because it would directly violate God's law. God's law, so to speak, "trumps" the laws that human governments create.

    The conclusion, then, is that Christians are to obey the civil authorities/government in all things in so far as they do not contradict God's law.


  4. Although this might be a little hard to believe, it's a good thing that you are questioning what you believe.

    You said that you've never had a problem believing that Jesus is the Messiah. But why not? You really believe that Mary became pregnant without another man? You really believe that a Carpenter's son in Nazareth was actually the King of Kings? You really believe that Jesus came back from the dead? You really believe that God created the world and that it's not just the random results of time and chance?

    I would argue that it's good to ask these questions. Because there comes a point in which you have to make your faith your own, and not your parent's. So I think, perhaps, one of the most important questions you could ponder would be this: Is your faith your own? Is your faith based on a supernatural conversion whereby God changed your heart and showed you the glories of Christ? Or is your faith just something you believe because it's what you've always been told?

    My best advice would be this: First, soak yourself in the gospel. Read about it, ponder it, pursue it. Spent time meditating on the fact that Christ came to this earth and lived a sinless life. He bore the curse of God on the cross of all those who would believe in Him. He bore the wrath of God-- the wrath of God that everyone deserves. If you're not quite sure where to start, this sermon might help:

    Second, make sure that you are truly Christian. This is a biblical practice, as Paul said in 2 Corinthians 13:5, Examine yourselves, to see whether you are in the faith. For this I would recommend reading the book of 1 John. Read carefully and really think about what you're reading. A while back I read through 1 John once a day for 30 days-- and it was life changing.

    Third, once you are soaked in the gospel and once you see that you are truly His, no matter what you have done, then you can take the time to examine the common charges made against Christianity. It's then that you will be in the right place to defend what you believe-- because you will know that you really do believe it! There is the possibility, of course, that you already really do believe it-- which would be awesome. In that case, yes, there are time when you can read charges against Christianity and you might struggle with how to provide a proper response. That's natural. It takes time and effort to learn what you believe and learn to defend it. And if you are interested in being able to better defend your faith, I would recommend to become incredibly familiar with your Bible. Make it your food; don't live by bread alone, but by every word from the mouth of God.

    I hope that I was of some help. PM me if you have any questions.


  5. Are devotionals books good for knowing or figuring out how and where to read the bible? I actually have an "x-treme teen bible" and its really helpful about where to read and what is it about.

    If you're really interested in reading the Bible and understanding, in addition to everything I said in the previous post, I would recommend purchasing the MacArthur Study Bible. If you're not interested in that one, you could also look at the ESV Study Bible.

    Devotionals can be good or bad, it really just depends on the author. Definitely never let devotionals become a substitute for simply reading pure Scripture.


  6. I'm a little new here. I have some questions, and this seems like the place to ask it. I would put this in Ask a Christian, but I'm already a Christian, so...

    Matthew 16:24.

    1. What do we need to deny? Self-denial for the sake of it or denying what gets in the way of Jesus?

    Well, we need to deny ourselves for the sake of Christ. I think the next two verses clarify the meaning of Matthew 16:24:

    For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will find it. For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? (Matthew 16:25-26)

    Denying ourselves means that we are not seeking after earthly gain. We are not seeking after the momentary, but fleeting pleasures of sin. It means that we are not boasting in ourselves and our own accomplishments. Instead, it means that we are boasting in God alone and recognizing that we can do nothing apart from Him.

    2. Taking up the cross is taking up the work of the Lord and/or crucifying the flesh, right? Though it could help that I got up less than an hour ago, I don't know.

    In context of the passage, it would refer to being willing to give up your life for the sake of Christ. Jesus is literally saying to pick up your death for His sake-- because it is through picking up your death that you will find life.

    1 John 2:15. Also, James 4:4 is fitting here too.

    1. What is friendship with the world? And what does it mean not to love the world? I used to love some things in the world and I definitely loved the Father! (I mean, sure, it was likely from the joy of new-found faith, but still!) I have never truly gotten this verse.:sad:

    Regarding the James 4:4 verse, take a look at the previous three verses. There James outlines the many practices that would be considered "friendship with the world". The practices in James 4:1-3 include: fighting, murder, coveting, and adultery.

    Regarding the 1 John 2:15, notice that John defines in the next verse what he means by the world. What is in the world? The lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and pride.

    So, in the context of these verses, the world is defined as all the fleeting sinful components of this fallen world. Obviously, these passages are not labeling everything that is in the world as inherently evil. There are many good things in this world that can be enjoyed as long as they are done for God's glory (Whatever you do, whether you eat or drink, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31).

    1 John 3:3-10. Does this mean that true Christians cannot sin? I know I sin regularly, so now I'm wondering if I'm saved. I also see Christians sinning regularly. Now I'm wondering if anyone is/can be saved. Sorry if that's breaking the rules, I toned myself down a little there to avoid questioning anyone's salvation other than mine.

    Notice that John is talking about an overall lifestyle in these verses. Both the NASB and the ESV use the word "practice" throughout 1 John 3:3-10. John is basically saying, is the overall pattern of your life one in which you are growing in holiness? Is sin the defining characteristic of your life? Or is your love for Christ the defining characteristic of your life? Notice that John has already clearly pointed out in 1 John 2:1-2 that Christians do sin-- and when Christians do sin, they have an Advocate! (Praise God for that :) )


  7. I have a few recommendations which you will hopefully find helpful.

    (1) Lots of people like to read a chapter in Proverbs everyday. Since Proverbs is 31 chapters long, just take the date of the month and read that chapter. For instance, today is October 13th, so you would read the 13th chapter in Proverbs today. Tomorrow is October 14th, so you would read the 14th chapter in Proverbs.

    (2) A few books (such as Proverbs and the Psalms) do not necessarily need to be read in order. However, for most books, you should start reading in the first chapter of the book and continue reading until the last chapter of the book. This will help you follow the overall theme and argument within the book you are reading.

    (3) I highly recommend this: read the Bible with repetition.. For instance, try reading the book of 1 John once a day for the next thirty days. I did this a while ago and I found it quite effective. If you do the reading prayerfully in order to grow in Christ, you will not grow bored reading the same thing. Instead, you will love the book more and more everyday.

    (4) Read Psalm 1 everyday until you memorize, and then continue meditating upon it. It will likely change your life!

    Let me know if you have any questions, feel free to send me a PM.

    Also, for a few years I was following a schedule to read through the Bible in a year. I would recommend doing this for the OT, and I would recommend doing this for the NT at least once. However, after reading straight through the NT once, I would recommend reading through the NT with repetition (as I explained in point 3). For instance, you could read the first 7 chapters of Matthew everyday for 14 days, and then read the next 7 chapters of Matthew for 14 days. It will take you a few years to get through reading the NT like that, but you will retain a lot more.

    And lastly, I would recommend downloading the English Standard Version Audio Drama New Testament. It's helpful for those times when you don't feel like reading, but do feel like hearing! You can download it free at this site below:

    http://www.faithcomesbyhearing.com/


  8. Hi guys! :)

    So one of my dear friends and I were having a conversation about religion, and she mentioned in passing this thing called "speaking in tongues", but we really didn't discuss it in detail. I was just wondering what in the heck it is hahahahahaha :P

    Anyone know?

    In some extreme parts of the Pentecostal movement, speaking in tongues is a practice where someone empties their mind and speaks gibberish. This practice is usually done in prayer, or perhaps a church service. Such a practice is obviously completely foreign to Scripture.

    Speaking in tongues, as explained in Scripture, is quite different. In Acts 2:1-13, for instance, when the apostles "spoke in tongues," the miraculous gift enabled the apostles to speak and have the crowds hear their voice in their own specific language.

    There are a few different views on whether speaking in tongues exists today. I would certainly be an advocate of the view that the gift of speaking in tongues was present only in the first century. Just like the apostles having the ability to heal people of sickness (for example, Peter with his shadow Acts 5:15), so too speaking in tongues was a temporary gift of the first century that afterwards disappeared. I believe that 1 Corinthians 13:8 can be used to support this view (by the way, the view that the gift of tongues has ceased is called "Cessationism").

    There are those who believe that the gift of tongues has not ceased today. I do not agree with this view. Not only do I not agree because of Scriptural reasons, but the evidence that tongues have continued into today seems to be lacking. It seems that if people really could speak in tongues as the apostles did, those people would all be on the mission field, helping all these missionaries who are giving up their lives to reach an unreached people group by learning their language and translating the Bible into their language.

    That being said, I would certainly question someone's salvation if they believe that in order to be saved you need to be able to speak gibberish.

    Note that Paul says a lot about tongues in his letter to the Corinthians. It is important to be familiar with the letter as a whole because many of Paul's comments regarding speaking in tongues are sarcastic-- and if you read those verses out of context you will likely end up misinterpreting them.


  9. For OSAS people: If that doctrine is true than what about christians who have strayed from the faith? What if a christian doesn't want to but is tempted and eventually believes a lie?

    I prefer to call this doctrine The Perseverance of the Saints (instead of once saved always saved). The essence of the doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints is this: if you are truly Christian, if you have truly become a new creature in Christ Jesus-- then ultimately, you will endure until the end. Why? Because God saved you. He is the one who gave you a new heart. You cannot lose your salvation because your salvation never depended upon your own efforts or works in the first place. Salvation is a gift.

    As John 10:28 (ESV) states:

    ...I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will ****** them out of My hand.

    Take a look at 1 Peter 1:3-5

    Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.

    If I could lose my salvation, I would. How could I not? Have I ever, for every second of an entire day loved the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength? Sadly, no. And that is the greatest command-- and I fall short of it every day!

    So in short, to answer your question, no Christian has ever abandoned the faith. Why? Because saints-- because Christian always persevere. God chose Christians before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before Him (Ephesians 1:4). It is by His power that any person is saved, and that same power keeps that person saved for all eternity.


  10. Shera441, some of this was certainly good. I was encouraged by your many Scripture citations, but I would encourage you to exam the Scriptures to see if you find terms such as "personal Saviour," and especially: "accept Jesus". I am not saying that these are inherently bad terms, but it is clearer to simply stick to the biblical language of "repent" and "believe".

    The Scriptural consistency of your post took a nose-dive near the end. The idea of a "sinner's prayer" is not found in the Scriptures. Let me put it this way: if someone has truly come to the place where they realize that they have sinned against the infinitely holy God, and that in His sight they are nothing but vile and deserving of His eternal wrath-- do you really think that person is going to ask what kind of prayer they should pray? Or is that person going to desperately cry out to God for His mercy?

    Also, just to point it out, your post had very little about the atonement, which is at the very heart of the gospel.

    Let me know if you have any questions. I'm happy to help you. And by the way, welcome to CTF :)


  11. Welcome to CTF! Although I cannot guarantee that the rest of my post will be all that welcoming :P

    It really comes down to this: if evolution is true, the Bible is false.

    It is more honest for a person to simply state, "I do not believe the Bible when it discusses matters of origin," than for a person to twist Scripture in order to make it compatible with the latest worldly philosophies which seek to deny God as Creator (and ultimately as Judge).

    The Bible is unmistakably clear when it comes to matters of origin: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. There is nothing in the first two chapters of Genesis which gives the slightest hint of any sort of evolutionary process. In addition, the testimony of Scripture is clear that in the beginning both animals and men were vegetarian-- which means there was no death, something required by evolution.

    The Apostle Paul was not afraid to speak out on matters of origin to unbelieving Gentiles. Paul clearly stated that God made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth (Acts 17:26). Jesus spoke of the early events in Genesis as historical events, not allegories. He even compared the unexpectedness of His second coming to the unexpected nature of the flood in the days of Noah.

    Denying what the Bible teaches about origins affects the very gospel itself. Jesus did not die because of a symbolical sin committed in a symbolical garden by a symbolical man. If the Bible cannot be trusted when it comes to matters of origin, it cannot be trusted on anything else. And if you believe that the Bible is inspired by God, then you should certainly believe that God is capable of accurately explaining matters of origin.

    As a Christian, the Bible is the very center of my worldview. I would never have been led to believe that God created the world in 6 days apart from Scripture. Apart from God's special revelation through Scripture, no man would know any details about how the world was created because God was the only one there to witness creation. God's act of creating the world cannot be proven through science because it was not a natural event, but a supernatural event. Sure, you can examine what the universe looks like, feels like, smells like, etc-- but that does not give you the information you need. After Jesus rose Lazarus from the dead, you could have interviewed Lazarus all day: asking him how he felt, what he ate for lunch, what it was like to be alive-- but none of that would tell you anything about how Jesus supernaturally raised him from the dead.

    If you do not start from the firm presupposition that God has spoken clearly through the Scriptures, then you will end up with a mess.

    That being said, it can be interesting to exam the creation and see how it gives evidence of the flood/creation. AnswersInGenesis.org has some good articles on that kind of stuff. I've also found some of the stuff in this book interesting, which examines the compatibility of Genesis 10 with pagan genealogical records. Just know that if you do not believe what the Bible states about origins your problem is not a lack of evidence, but unwillingness to believe that God has spoken authoritatively and accurately through His word. Feel free to PM me if you have any questions.


  12. I've always found this quote from William Gurnall helpful; it's an amazing illustration:

    ...you may be asking yourself, 'What can I do of a practical nature to withstand Satan when he comes to criticize my duties for Christ?'...

    ...What a wonderful opportunity again to acknowledge your own sinfulness, and the overriding mercy of God! By this attitude, we take the very bricks Satan is throwing at us, and use them to build a monument to the glory of our gracious Lord.

    Now that I think about it, perhaps it might be something like this:

    The feeling that you are good enough is pride.

    The feeling that you are not good enough can lead to depression.

    But, the feeling that you are not good enough, when it is combined with looking to Christ, who is good enough, leads to true joy.


  13. I long for a relationship with Jesus. I want him in my life more than absolutely anything. I want to love him, and have him in my life every day.

    From your post, it does appear that you are seeking Him. But how hard? Do you, as Psalm 1 states: meditate on the Scriptures day and night?

    As a Christian myself, I would certainly be able to say: I want to love Christ more. I want more of Him throughout the daily routine of life. And indeed, I would be willing to say that my love for Him is absolutely pitiful in comparison to His great love. I guess what I'm trying to say is this: do you love Him at all? Because if you don't love Him, then you are certainly in dangerous territory. But if you do love Him, but just want your love for Him to increase (because you see how pitiful your love for Him can be at times) then you are probably in a good place.

    I would recommend reading through the book of 1 John a couple times, as it tends to be helpful it matters like this.

    I don't know what I'm doing wrong. I pray every single night, I ask for he and I to have a relationship. The first thing I did when I joined my new church was asked about being baptised, and I was baptised february 2011. I buy christian support books (ie: crazy love, the me I want to be, etc), I write to him in a journal, I listen to christian songs, I read my bible.

    Know that while good works are certainly... well, good. They ultimately cannot bring anyone into a right standing with God. Salvation is a gift; it cannot be earned. It is, at times, very easy to deceive yourself or the people around you. You can read Scripture in order to know God more and be able to humbly teach others-- or you can read Scripture in order to know more and impress others with your knowledge. Ultimately, it all comes back to your motive-- why you do what you do.

    Is Jesus precious to you? Are you sorrowful/do you weep when you see your great wickedness? And then when you see that great wickedness, do you run to Christ? Do you set your gaze upon the cross where Christ bore the wrath of God that you justly deserve? You cannot trust in your own works, you have to trust in Christ-- and Him alone.

    I just don't know what I can do to feel him or hear him or whatever it is I'm supposed to feel!

    Perhaps, in a sense, your expectations are not realistic. I can see God working in my life, and communing with Him is just... awesome. But if you're expecting to hear Him speak in an audible voice-- it probably isn't going to happen unless the events in Revelation come to fulfillment in our lifetime. Plus, God doesn't need to speak to us in an audible voice. He has spoken clearly through the Scriptures.

    I just feel so lost. I long to have a personal relationship with Jesus, but I feel like I'm doing something wrong. My Christian friends are always like "God is truly changing my heart out here", "So blessed for God's love today", "So awesome to see God changing the hearts of so many at camp." But I don't feel any of that stuff!

    Understand that sometimes people can unintentionally speak of their experiences as being better than they are. Also know that God does not change a Christian and make him perfect overnight. Sanctification (growing in holiness) is a process. Sometimes Christians shrink in holiness, and sometimes Christians grow in holiness-- but if you look at the big picture, the Christian in the long term is on an upward climb... it can certainly be a very bumpy climb, but ultimately it is an upward climb.

    I'm sorry if this is confusing. I just feel so lost and I have no clue who to turn to besides this forum. I guess, in a nutshell, I'm trying really hard to have a relationship with Jesus, but I don't feel or hear him, so I feel like I don't have a relationship with him.

    I hope I have been of some help. Everything I wrote might not be fully applicable for your situation, but I had to keep it broad since I don't know much about your situation, either way hopefully something in there was ultimately helpful.


  14. I would encourage you to read and study through the book of Galatians. The essence of the entire book is that we can do nothing to earn salvation. Just to pick one verse out, Galatians 2:16 states, nevertheless knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law but through faith in Christ Jesus, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we may be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the Law; since by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified.

    "accept Jesus into your heart" is not language that can be found in Scripture (Ephesians 3:17 is probably the closest you can get). What can be found in Scripture is that we are saved by grace through faith alone in Jesus Christ. What can be found in Scripture is that God commands all men to turn (i.e. repent) from their sin and believe the gospel.

    As for the 144,000 in Revelation... I would be in agreement that this passage it talking about 12,000 people from each of the tribes (for a total of 144,000) who will be saved. Revelation 6:11 also touches on this subject in a similar way.

    Acts 13:48 is also quite interesting: When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.


  15. i dont think religion should have anything to do with money.

    Jesus disagrees with you, so you should probably re-examine your views. Matthew 6:24 (NASB) states, "No one can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth."

    i am a good christian and I also do charity work. i think if you give back to the community it is ok to love yourself and spoil yourself if you have the means to do so. i didn't kill anyone to get nice boots i just go them because i have the money but i still pray everynight.

    If the proof of your Christianity is that you are a good person who does charity work, and prays every night-- then you should, as Paul stated in 2 Corinthians 13:5, "Test yourselves to see if you are in the faith; examine yourselves!" Your good works cannot save you. You may give to the poor. You may refrain from killing anyone, but that cannot save you... because you have broken the law of God in other areas.

    In fact, you have broken the greatest commandment there is to break. I can guarantee that you have not loved the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength every moment of your life-- no one has.

    If you are placing your hope in yourself you are in dangerous territory. The hope of the Christian is ultimately in Christ-- and Christ alone. I would encourage you to read through the book of 1 John.

    do you think i am un-christian? what can i do to repent for the expensive boots i bought? Should I share my love of god with the homeless?

    That being said, there is nothing inherently wrong with owning or buying something expensive. Just make sure that your heart is in the right place, that you are not motivated by a love for the things of this world, and that whatever you are buying is bringing glory to God.


  16. The "plans to prosper you"-- the "you," is referring to Israel. Although, some might see some sort of future fulfillment of this in the millennial kingdom.

    Regardless, it's not a good idea to rip verses straight out of their context like many do to this particular verse.

    You could, perhaps, say something along the lines of, "If God said such things about Israel, are there not greater things for the church?" But even that sort of argument would require the verse to be read in its proper context.

    Another verse people tend to do this to is, "I can do all things through Him who strengthens me" (Phil. 4:13). If you read the verse in context, it becomes pretty clear that Paul probably did not intend for what he wrote to be used as a slogan for a football team.


  17. There is a lot of scripture to support the idea that Judas was saved.

    What Scripture?

    I've always seen Matthew 26:24 to be pretty clear on this matter:

    The Son of Man is to go, just as it is written of Him; but woe to that man by whom the Son of Man is betrayed! It would have been good for that man if he had not been born.

    it just seems like it would be more sensible (to me anyway) that Pharaoh's heart was already hardened. All God did was remove the restraint He put on his heart.

    God restrains all men on the earth from sin. It's common grace, and just think of how much more terribly this world would be without it. What if man acted out every sinful action he thought of? What if there was nothing to hold man back from committing such atrocities?

    I would hope that we are in agreement that however God hardened Pharoah's heart (whether indirectly through not restraining him, or directly), that God indeed was the one who caused Pharaoh's heart to be hardened.

    Pause for a moment and just think... don't we all deserve to have our hearts hardened by God? It's a rather terrifying question to ponder. Because we all know that we do deserve to have our hearts hardened by God. We have all sinned against the God of infinite glory. We deserve to have our hearts further and further hardened by God's wrath for all of eternity. God would be perfectly just to punish us for all eternity.

    Romans 9 tends to be quotes a lot in these discussion, mainly, I think, because it addresses the issue most directly (and it's quite lengthy). But I though I'd throw this one out too:

    For this reason God will send upon them a deluding influence so that they will believe what is false, in order that they all may be judged who did not believe the truth, but took pleasure in wickedness. But we should always give thanks to God for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and faith in the truth. (2 Thessalonians 2:11-13)

    Granted, this is speaking of people on the earth during the time of the anti-christ, but it seems similar to "hardening the heart". Actually "deluding influence" seems more direct.


  18. Explain.

    Well, I guess the best place to start at when it comes to Calvinism is this: all people are born in sin... right? Ephesians 2:3 states quite clearly that we are, by nature, children of wrath. In short, we are born in sin. We are born in the image of fallen Adam, just like Seth was (Genesis 5:3). All of this, so far, has been a short description of what is called The Doctrine of Original Sin.

    But it goes a step farther. Man is dead in his sin (Colossians 2:13 for example). In fact, those in the flesh (as opposed to those in the Spirit) cannot please God-- they are not even able to do so (Romans 8:7). That is how deep sin is. That is how vile sin is... sin is so enslaving that man cannot break free of it. And even if man could break free of it, he would not want to. Why? Because men love sin-- they have no desire to flee from it. In many places Scripture speaks of the desire of the flesh, or perhaps more understandable, the desire of the Gentiles (1 Peter 4:3).

    So how is it that a man can be saved? Well... we are in good company if we are asking such a question! The apostles asked the very same question. And Jesus' response to their question was this: "With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26)

    That's why Jesus says in the book of John: "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day." (John 6:44) Now, let's clear something up. Why can no one come to Christ unless they are drawn by the Father? Well, remember the passage above which states that no one can come to Christ unless they are drawn to the Father. Without God's intervention, man will continue in his sin-- man will continue to love evil and hate good.

    Just to mention... to keep this short (in hopes that you will read all of this!), I'm only providing a few Scripture references for many of the points I'm making (if you want me to provide a few more for a certain point, just send me a PM or reply to this!).

    So let's review real quick. So far we have said... (1) Man is born in sin. (2) Man does not come to God on his own because man loves sin. (3) No one comes to God unless God draws him.

    Perhaps the next question to be addressed is... When does God do this "drawing"? When does God decide to draw a man? Ephesians 1:4-5 provides an answer: He [God] chose us in Him [Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself. God chose those who would be saved before the foundation of the world... and all of those whom He chose, will come to Him.

    Clearly, salvation is not a work of man-- it is a work of God, and God alone. God is the one who saves... and remember, we don't deserve any of this. God would be perfectly just if He had just sent everyone to hell. But since salvation is totally a work of God, those whom He saves... He protects. In other words, if He saves you, He's never going to let you go (John 10:28 -- I give eternal life to them, and they will never perish; and no one will ****** them out of My hand).

    This, in short (really short), is a summary of Calvinism (also called the "Doctrines of Grace," also loosely called "Reformed"). The "Five Points of Calvinism" are commonly remembered by the acronym T.U.L.I.P.

    T = Total Depravity (that man cannot come to God because he loves sin)

    U = Unconditional Election (what Ephesians 1:4-5 states)

    L = Limited Atonement (see below)

    I = Irresistible Grace (when God calls a man to come to Him, God makes that man willing to come, thus the man God calls always comes to Him)

    P = Perseverance of the Saints (once God saves you, He keeps you)

    The Limited Atonement point basically states that Christ's death on the cross paid only for the sins of those whom God chose before the foundation of the world. Perhaps a good text to show this with is Matthew 1:21, where the angel states that Jesus will save His people from their sins.

    I'll stop here, just so I don't lose your attention. But if you want to learn some more about this, feel free to PM me. I'll leave you with two more things: (1) To answer your "Explain."-- there are many verses in John which give very direct support to TULIP (particularly the John 6:44 verse I included above, and many others). and... (2) I would recommend reading through Romans 9 a few times and pondering that chapter (though if you're not very familiar with Romans, I would recommend reading through the whole book as well!)


  19. You are definitely right. John 1:1 certainly supports the accurate conclusion that Jesus Christ is God.

    Perhaps you haven't looked into this yet, but the Greek word λόγος (logos) was commonly used in pagan philosophy. From what I have gathered (from the very meager amount of reading I have done on the subject), the word λόγος was used to describe the mystical unknown force which causes the universe to operate.

    What's the point? Well, some people believe that John was making some sort of connection to pagan philosophy here-- that John was basically saying: You know that λόγος? And how the λόγος is the reason that the universe has being? Well, I know who that λόγος is. That λόγος-- that force that causes everything to work, is Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is the reason that the universe has being.

    Some people, however, reject that John was trying to make any connection to pagan philosophy-- which is a respectable conclusion. Regardless, you can probably see why λόγος is a hard word to translate. And "word" isn't necessarily the best translation.

    Also, you might find this blog post (written a loooooong time ago) interesting; you can read right here.

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