The scariest and perhaps the strongest argument in front of me that I might a Christian is that, all of a sudden, I find Kirk Cameron interesting. Kirk Cameron was once my poster child for the intellectually retarded, but now, shockingly, it seems I have no choice but to grant that there might be some genius to his approach to showing people the basics of the light of Christ, and it might be worthwhile. I might need some Christ-amine.
Which definition of “light of Christ” are you using?
Seriously, I like Kirk and his methods. Some will say he and Ray Comfort are somewhat legalistic because they witness to everyone the same way whereas Jesus, being led by the Father at all points, witnessed to each person uniquely. A valid point, however, I say, “Win as many people to the Lord as Ray Comfort has, THEN criticize him.”
Which definition of “light of Christ” are you using?
I don’t think it can be defined, sort of like the term “philosophy”
I think Kirk’s motives are great…but his method is lacking.
He reduces it all to a formula. The gospel cannot be formula-ized.
‘Have you ever stolen a paperclip? What does that make you? What does God think of thieves? But Christ came and died for thieves like you and I. And now all He wants is for you to make a decision for Him.’
It’s all neat and tidy. One problem…it turns the gospel into just one more law. There’s now just one little thing that is left for us to do.
It might just be one little work. But it is one little work too many.
And besides…how would those poor folks really know if their decision really reflected a true love for God…or were they just afraid of going to hell and were out to save their own skins?
This very short read dovetails nicely (methinks) into my last comment:
Fortunately, interest and affection for Kirk is not a true sign of belief. Now if you have an urge to suddenly see Nick Cage’s Left Behind movie, you might be on to something. 🙂
theoldadam, your gospel sounds like, “Repent! . . . On second thought, no, don’t repent!—that would be too much work.” How do you guys spread the gospel, anyway?
You said, “how would those poor folks really know if their decision really reflected a true love for God…or were they just afraid of going to hell and were out to save their own skins?”
My theory is that for starters, we come to the Lord to save our own skins, then as we progress in Christ, as his love displaces our old natures, we become more and more concerned about others, too. Does that make sense?
Where’d Kullervo go? I miss his humor.
Here’s what the Bible says about it; We don’t save our own skins. We can’t.
So when people believe that they ARE saving their own skins…are they really? There is such a thing as false faith. And I believe that may happen in a lot of cases where people are led to believe that what matters is their decision for Christ.
I recognize that a lot of the people who are led into a “sinner’s prayer” are not sincere. When I got saved I toyed with the fine line between sincerity and insincerity. The first time I prayed the Sinner’s Prayer I purposely didn’t mean it to see if anything would happen. Nothing did. Then I prayed it again, really meaning it, and felt peace come over me. I then knew for the first time that I had been, then and there, stamped as one of God’s own and that I was now headed toward heaven. I had received God’s gift.
What I’m concerned about is this: Are the views of your church causing the members to be slow to command “all people everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30)? If God makes our decisions for us, what’s the point in commanding anyone to repent? Does your church believe in spreading the gospel? On this blog you are spreading the gospel so you apparently believe in it. But why bother if no one’s capable of making a decision for Christ?
Repentance is not a work that we do.
It is God working in us. For us it is passive. It is what God is doing in us through the belief that He has created in us.
The sort of ‘active repentance’ that I think you are speaking of, stopping doing bad things, and doing good things, etc. …is pretty much worthless where God is concerned.
We have a will. It is bound (to the self).
When it comes to the things of God, we will never choose the good and right thing, because of the taint of sin that is a part of us. That is why we refuse to stop sinning. We don’t want to stop!
First: Kirk Cameron. Wow. I have little interest in Him, frankly.
Second: Repentance. I am inclined to believe more of what theoldadam has said. Its God working in us that leads us to repent, not actions of our own. Of course, this may be where I differ with adam, but we do have the ability to choose or choose otherwise. We don’t always follow God’s work in us. When we choose to go against God, we sin. When we choose to follow God, we are clean. When we choose to do anything apart from God, that is sin.
Now, when we choose to follow God, is that us or is that God? Who cares? We can spend a lot of time discussing that question but to what avail. It is an area where Christians have divided that I don’t see as necessary. There is room within Christianity to disagree on some areas, and this is one. The bottom line is that we line our beliefs up with Christ’s message and we follow his directives in full faith of Christ’s saving power and our powerlessness to save ourselves. When we do that we are OK.
I’d be interested in what you think of this class on “free-will”:
It’s a very easy listen. I do think you’ll find it enjoyable, even if you don’t agree with everything said.
I agree with everything slowcowboy said except the “Who cares?” part. I think God cares because he wants us to move into all the clarity and understanding that he has made available to us in Christ. I was raised in a Calvinistic church and I saw people, including myself, get confused by it. People are especially confused by the question, “Why does God allow (or cause) all the evil in the world?”
In any case, as slowcowboy said, we don’t want to divide over it, as so many have in the past. The church I attend now has both Arminians and Calvinists in it—even the small group I’m in is mixed (which is one reason this has been on my mind recently). One website claims the evangelical view borrows from both viewpoints on point one (Calvinism has five points & Arminianism five corresponding counterpoints), then goes with Arminianism on points 2-4, then goes back to Calvinism for point 5 (eternal security vs. conditional eternal security).
Anyway, you guys—theoldadam & slowcowboy—are my brothers & buddies no matter what!
By the way, here’s the site I referred to above: http://kentcrockett.com/biblestudies/Calvinism_vs_Arminianism_vs_Evangelicalism.htm
And your mine!
Cal–Kullervo is totally slammed at work and he’s been taking a social media break to focus there, and when he’s home he never looks at a computer if he can help it. He misses y’all though, not that he’d ever say it.
Thanks, Katy. Give him my regards!
Hey guys, the reason why I ask the question who cares is ultimately because I don’t view it as something to get too worked up over. We can beat our heads on the wall until we pass out discussing it, and ultimately, it is faith in Christ’s saving ability that matters, not what we can do about it.
Certainly, our role in salvation is a big part of the nature of God. But question is not new, and has been discussed for hundreds of years. I don’t see that we will resolve it any time soon. My personal opinion is that God is in control, knowing what we will do long before we do it. But that does not take away our choices and our actions. This knowledge God has sometimes breaks his heart, but he would not be a loving God if he directed our every move. And if God needs to, he can intervene. He is God, after all.
I will review the links above and comment on them accordingly, but wanted to express my opinion before reviewing them.
Cal, I guess I fall into the Evangelical portion of your link and Kent Crockett’s list. I don’t like his wording, though, concerning resistable grace. I don’t see it as a ‘resistable’ thing but more something to be accepted or rejected. “Resisting” something assumes there is a pull towards it. Maybe that is the correct term, as God is calling everyone to him.
Anyway, looking at some of the other items, I do see a connection between each. For instance, election is based on his sovereignty, whether we respond to him or not. Further, it is his decision, not ours, even if we are making the choices. It is a convoluted mess, yes, because it is pretty nutty to think that something that appears to be our decision really isn’t. But I think in the foreknowledge part of it there is an inferred point that decision has already been made.
Alas, I could go through all of these point by point, and show how I think neither of the two sets of points are completely accurate and how I think the truth is found in a combination of them. But that would take a long time, and books are out there discussing them.
I come back to the point wherein I say who cares? Not that it is not an important discussion, but in getting into the trees, do we miss the forest?
Adam, I am listening to your video now. I think he makes a lot of sense. However, I still don’t see how his thoughts on the issue of free will is necessarily contrary to what I believe. In other words, I believe God is supreme above and beyond my free-will. This is why this gets to be a very difficult issue to work through, and ultimately why I place my faith in Christ, not my own actions.
If I have an objection to the issue of full on Calvinistic election, it is that it leaves little room for dedication of our lives to God. It goes to the other extreme of Arianism’s logical conclusion of power over God to the point where it seems to push passiveness to let God do everything.
I don’t think that is the message of the Gospel. I think action takes conscious decisions to act,and action is required of Christians. Action does not save us. Thought does not save us. Only Christ saves us. Do we have to choose to realize that Christ saves us? What if Christ saves us but we never acknowledge it? I think we will know, but how will we know? How much of this is our choice to so acknowledge? God is all powerful, yes, but that does not mean we are tethered to God such that we don’t have to do a thing in God’s kingdom.
This is why I don’t take a hard stand on the issue of free will v. election. I don’t understand it all, sure, but think the better thing to do is to put all our faith in God, not in our own actions or choices.
Adam, I’ll add that the narrator is bit harsh in that he lumps all evangelicals into one pot. I happen to agree many evangelicals can sacrifice God’s message in lieu of bringing people in. This is a discussion of “seeker churches” and whether they are good. My only response is that not all evangelicals are so shallow and not all sacrifice God’s truth. Some do, sure, but not all.
Wow, slowcowboy, I think you covered everything—just like the snow is covering everything here in New Hampshire. We’re having a Christmas-like snow/sleet/rain storm!
Cal, I’m in Wyoming. We’ve no snow now and it is in the 40’s. Very, very mild here.
Wyoming. That’s where your handle comes from! (We’re planning to visit the Black Hills this summer, including Devil’s Tower.)
Difficult issues. Free-will, election. But they are biblical (or not, as the case may be) and we need to deal with them.
I’m happy that you took the time to listen.
Thank you, friend.
Cal, yup. The Cowboy State, as it were. Not from here originally, but its a good place. The Black Hills are beautiful, as is the NE corner of Wyoming. Devil’s Tower is impressive.
Adam, I agree. I don’t mean to dismiss the issue as unimportant. We need to understand the nature of God, but how we interact with God’s plan of salvation is to some extent a mystery. I honestly can see it both ways: I can’t deny God’s sovereignty, but I also don’t think we are pieces on a giant chess board, either.
Merry Christmas, guys!