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AtlGatekeeper
Oct 22nd 2009, 08:01 PM
Act 17:17 So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present.

David Taylor
Oct 22nd 2009, 08:03 PM
Got the verse.

What was the question?

:confused

AtlGatekeeper
Oct 22nd 2009, 08:05 PM
Well I just checked it to see what posted and a 15 minute post ended up being only the verse...:B Need a minute to retype the thoughts...

Thanks!

blessedmommyuv3
Oct 22nd 2009, 08:09 PM
Well I just checked it to see what posted and a 15 minute post ended up being only the verse...:B Need a minute to retype the thoughts...

Thanks!
Argh!!!! I can identify. I hate it when that happens.
Take your time. Compose your thoughts. Answer when you are ready. We'll be here. :hug:

In Christ,
Jen

AtlGatekeeper
Oct 22nd 2009, 08:15 PM
Ok, let's try again...
Act 17:17 So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present.

In considering the doctrine of Total Depravity as I have been taught it. I am having a hard time seeing how the Gentiles at Athens can be considered "God-fearing." It appears to me that for them to be "God-Fearing" while also unregenerate, they must have an internal sense of the holiness of God through creation bearing witness to their heart that they need to revere, honor, respect and worship God though they were not saved and still lost in their sin. THOUGHTS?

Act 17:26 -27 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;

Here it appears that God, through His Sovereign plans uses international crises in order to draw the hearts of men to himself. God expects the movement of international boundaries to cause men to seek Him and grope for Him. It seems to me, for men to seek God because of the issues of turmoil and crisis, it must be that they have an internal imprint that causes them to grope for God when they are made aware that they are subject to His ultimate leadership and guidance. It does not appear that the issue is grace upon their heart but rather the internal recognition of need, still intact through original design.

God moves the boundary lines of nations in order to cause men to grope for Him. Nothing is mentioned of the activities of irresistible grace or the impossibility of men to seek God, but rather the expectation appears to be that men will seek God, even grope and grasp for Him during times of crisis.

This would point to the concept of the eternal being stamped upon the heart and not irreparably destroyed through sin.

I'd love to hear thoughts/feedback on this!
Thanks!

John146
Oct 22nd 2009, 08:18 PM
Ok, let's try again...
Act 17:17 So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present.

In considering the doctrine of Total Depravity as I have been taught it. I am having a hard time seeing how the Gentiles at Athens can be considered "God-fearing." It appears to me that for them to be "God-Fearing" while also unregenerate, they must have an internal sense of the holiness of God through creation bearing witness to their heart that they need to revere, honor, respect and worship God though they were not saved and still lost in their sin. THOUGHTS?

Act 17:26 -27 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;

Here it appears that God, through His Sovereign plans uses international crises in order to draw the hearts of men to himself. God expects the movement of international boundaries to cause men to seek Him and grope for Him. It seems to me, for men to seek God because of the issues of turmoil and crisis, it must be that they have an internal imprint that causes them to grope for God when they are made aware that they are subject to His ultimate leadership and guidance. It does not appear that the issue is grace upon their heart but rather the internal recognition of need, still intact through original design.

God moves the boundary lines of nations in order to cause men to grope for Him. Nothing is mentioned of the activities of irresistible grace or the impossibility of men to seek God, but rather the expectation appears to be that men will seek God, even grope and grasp for Him during times of crisis.

This would point to the concept of the eternal being stamped upon the heart and not irreparably destroyed through sin.

I'd love to hear thoughts/feedback on this!
Thanks!All I can say is that I agree with everything you said. I have nothing to add. At least not at the moment.

goykodesh
Oct 22nd 2009, 08:28 PM
"God-fearer" (Gey) is a standard Hebraic label for Gentiles who believed in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob but had not been 'ritually converted' to the Judaism of that time (made Jews). Those seeking God through the witness of the creation and found knowledge of Him through their Jewish contemporaries were given that label. Their knowledge of God was mostly rubbed off from Jews living in diaspora (and many Jews were Hellenized). "God-fearers" were quite prevalent and a growing group, especially since the Alexandrian captivity and the publishing of the Septuagint. The label doesn't identify them as righteous any more than "Christian" identifies someone as righteous. It's just a term. If they lived in depravity it was most likely from plain ignorance. This actually was a huge problem around the Temple during the Roman occupation and circa 65 BC was addressed by the "18 measures"(gezerot) established by bet Shammai voters, who (some say by murder) outnumbered bet Hillel voters in the Great Assembly.

BroRog
Oct 22nd 2009, 08:37 PM
Ok, let's try again...
Act 17:17 So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present.

In considering the doctrine of Total Depravity as I have been taught it. I am having a hard time seeing how the Gentiles at Athens can be considered "God-fearing." It appears to me that for them to be "God-Fearing" while also unregenerate, they must have an internal sense of the holiness of God through creation bearing witness to their heart that they need to revere, honor, respect and worship God though they were not saved and still lost in their sin. THOUGHTS?

Act 17:26 -27 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;

Here it appears that God, through His Sovereign plans uses international crises in order to draw the hearts of men to himself. God expects the movement of international boundaries to cause men to seek Him and grope for Him. It seems to me, for men to seek God because of the issues of turmoil and crisis, it must be that they have an internal imprint that causes them to grope for God when they are made aware that they are subject to His ultimate leadership and guidance. It does not appear that the issue is grace upon their heart but rather the internal recognition of need, still intact through original design.

God moves the boundary lines of nations in order to cause men to grope for Him. Nothing is mentioned of the activities of irresistible grace or the impossibility of men to seek God, but rather the expectation appears to be that men will seek God, even grope and grasp for Him during times of crisis.

This would point to the concept of the eternal being stamped upon the heart and not irreparably destroyed through sin.

I'd love to hear thoughts/feedback on this!
Thanks!

I don't see the evidence that the God-fearers were unregenerate.

notuptome
Oct 22nd 2009, 08:54 PM
Ok, let's try again...
Act 17:17 So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present.

In considering the doctrine of Total Depravity as I have been taught it. I am having a hard time seeing how the Gentiles at Athens can be considered "God-fearing." It appears to me that for them to be "God-Fearing" while also unregenerate, they must have an internal sense of the holiness of God through creation bearing witness to their heart that they need to revere, honor, respect and worship God though they were not saved and still lost in their sin. THOUGHTS?
Through the fall all men received the knowledge of good and evil. Man can distinguish right from wrong. Jesus is the Light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world. I do not agree that these were God-fearing but were religious or devout persons. They did not have a right knowledge of who God is. These were some of the philosophers the thinkers of the city. They were curious of anything new to stimulate their thought. Total depravity describes ones inability to save oneself not to decern the need to be saved.


Act 17:26 -27 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;

Here it appears that God, through His Sovereign plans uses international crises in order to draw the hearts of men to himself. God expects the movement of international boundaries to cause men to seek Him and grope for Him. It seems to me, for men to seek God because of the issues of turmoil and crisis, it must be that they have an internal imprint that causes them to grope for God when they are made aware that they are subject to His ultimate leadership and guidance. It does not appear that the issue is grace upon their heart but rather the internal recognition of need, still intact through original design.

God moves the boundary lines of nations in order to cause men to grope for Him. Nothing is mentioned of the activities of irresistible grace or the impossibility of men to seek God, but rather the expectation appears to be that men will seek God, even grope and grasp for Him during times of crisis.

This would point to the concept of the eternal being stamped upon the heart and not irreparably destroyed through sin.

I'd love to hear thoughts/feedback on this!
Thanks!
Men are hopelessly religious. If God did not exist man would have to invent Him. Paul in Romans writes that God hath concluded them all in unbelief that He might have mercy on all. All men are lost in sin. All men need Jesus Christ as their Savior. It is again written in John that this is the condemnation that light has come into the world but men would not come to the light because they loved darkness because their deeds were evil. Men grope in darkness when God reveals Himself to these men they will either receive or reject Him.

For the cause of Christ
Roger

Butch5
Oct 22nd 2009, 09:18 PM
Ok, let's try again...
Act 17:17 So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present.

In considering the doctrine of Total Depravity as I have been taught it. I am having a hard time seeing how the Gentiles at Athens can be considered "God-fearing." It appears to me that for them to be "God-Fearing" while also unregenerate, they must have an internal sense of the holiness of God through creation bearing witness to their heart that they need to revere, honor, respect and worship God though they were not saved and still lost in their sin. THOUGHTS?

Act 17:26 -27 and He made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined their appointed times and the boundaries of their habitation, 27 that they would seek God, if perhaps they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us;

Here it appears that God, through His Sovereign plans uses international crises in order to draw the hearts of men to himself. God expects the movement of international boundaries to cause men to seek Him and grope for Him. It seems to me, for men to seek God because of the issues of turmoil and crisis, it must be that they have an internal imprint that causes them to grope for God when they are made aware that they are subject to His ultimate leadership and guidance. It does not appear that the issue is grace upon their heart but rather the internal recognition of need, still intact through original design.

God moves the boundary lines of nations in order to cause men to grope for Him. Nothing is mentioned of the activities of irresistible grace or the impossibility of men to seek God, but rather the expectation appears to be that men will seek God, even grope and grasp for Him during times of crisis.

This would point to the concept of the eternal being stamped upon the heart and not irreparably destroyed through sin.

I'd love to hear thoughts/feedback on this!
Thanks!

If you are speaking of Total Depravity in the Calvinistic sense then I don't think you will ifnd it. All men can seek God because Christ draws every man.

John 12:32 ( KJV )
And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me.


John 1:5-9 ( KJV )
And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John.
The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe.
He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light.
That was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

The idea of "irrisistible grace" does not hold up in light of Scripture.

theBelovedDisciple
Oct 22nd 2009, 09:23 PM
Through the fall all men received the knowledge of good and evil. Man can distinguish right from wrong. Jesus is the Light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world. I do not agree that these were God-fearing but were religious or devout persons. They did not have a right knowledge of who God is. These were some of the philosophers the thinkers of the city. They were curious of anything new to stimulate their thought. Total depravity describes ones inability to save oneself not to decern the need to be saved.

Men are hopelessly religious. If God did not exist man would have to invent Him. Paul in Romans writes that God hath concluded them all in unbelief that He might have mercy on all. All men are lost in sin. All men need Jesus Christ as their Savior. It is again written in John that this is the condemnation that light has come into the world but men would not come to the light because they loved darkness because their deeds were evil. Men grope in darkness when God reveals Himself to these men they will either receive or reject Him.

For the cause of Christ
Roger


Good post.. couldn't of put it any better.. Thank you...

AtlGatekeeper
Oct 22nd 2009, 09:29 PM
I don't see the evidence that the God-fearers were unregenerate.

It think its implied in the text since they are grouped with the Jews in the synagogue with whom Paul was reasoning. He was reasoning with them undoubtedly about Jesus and the scriptures as He did in Thesalonica, Acts 17:2.

In Thessalonica as in Athens there were Jews and God-fearing Greeks. These were unsaved people with whom Paul was sharing the Gospel.

Just to be clear, do you think that they were regenerate, as in born-again?

As far as what I have understood RE: total depravity and it's explanation from Rom 3:18, it is impossible for one who is Totally Depraved to fear God. Yet it seems obvious these were unregenerate God-fearers.

My Point is that if they were unregenerate, yet God-fearing, then it doesn't seem to jive with my understanding of Total Depravity and the inability of the lost to fear and seek God.

AtlGatekeeper
Oct 22nd 2009, 09:44 PM
Through the fall all men received the knowledge of good and evil. Man can distinguish right from wrong. Jesus is the Light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world. I do not agree that these were God-fearing but were religious or devout persons. They did not have a right knowledge of who God is. These were some of the philosophers the thinkers of the city. They were curious of anything new to stimulate their thought. Total depravity describes ones inability to save oneself not to decern the need to be saved.

Men are hopelessly religious. If God did not exist man would have to invent Him. Paul in Romans writes that God hath concluded them all in unbelief that He might have mercy on all. All men are lost in sin. All men need Jesus Christ as their Savior. It is again written in John that this is the condemnation that light has come into the world but men would not come to the light because they loved darkness because their deeds were evil. Men grope in darkness when God reveals Himself to these men they will either receive or reject Him.

For the cause of Christ
Roger

So... Total Depravity in the Calvinist sense does not mean, "there is no fear of God before their eyes" as Rom 3:18 says? Romans 3 has always been one of the starting points for me when trying to understand Calvinism.

Regarding men groping in darkness when God reveals Himself to them, the text actually says, that He determines the boundaries of their habitation, so that they would seek God. In other words He moves the boundary lines of nations, so that men will seek Him. It doesn't say that He reveals Himself to them and then they will grope for Him. It says He determines the appointed seasons for their nations (how long they will exist) and their boundary lines (their borders) so that they will seek Him. It appears that its not the revelation of God that then causes them to seek God, but rather the international crisis that causes them to turn toward God. This would say to me that He must be drawing on their internal sense through design of their necessity for God and thus seeking Him.

tt1106
Oct 22nd 2009, 09:52 PM
First, I don't believe you can separate out Total depravity as a doctrine and exclude everything else.

Although this is so easily done with this particular idea.
Simply because there are so many places in the Bible that teach that man does not seek God.
Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.

Sin passed through Adam to us. It's called Federal Headship, although you will get a stout argument from many on this board that this is not so.

Adam represents the human race.

Romans 3:10-12 says, s it is written, THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD; ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE.



Because of this condition

Romans 3:18:"THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES." They don't fear the holiness or Justice of God.

Prior to regeneration we are DEAD in our sins, Unrighteous and not seeking God.
Ephesians 2:1-6 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,"

Corinthians says
1 Corinthians 2:14-15 says: "But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one."

Romans 8:7-9 says: "The mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him."

This is basically the "doctrine" of Total Depravity.


God Bless.

tt1106

Butch5
Oct 22nd 2009, 10:06 PM
First, I don't believe you can separate out Total depravity as a doctrine and exclude everything else.

Although this is so easily done with this particular idea.
Simply because there are so many places in the Bible that teach that man does not seek God.
Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.

Sin passed through Adam to us. It's called Federal Headship, although you will get a stout argument from many on this board that this is not so.

Adam represents the human race.

Romans 3:10-12 says, s it is written, THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD; ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE.



Because of this condition

Romans 3:18:"THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES." They don't fear the holiness or Justice of God.

Prior to regeneration we are DEAD in our sins, Unrighteous and not seeking God.
Ephesians 2:1-6 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,"

Corinthians says
1 Corinthians 2:14-15 says: "But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one."

Romans 8:7-9 says: "The mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him."

This is basically the "doctrine" of Total Depravity.


God Bless.

tt1106



tt106---Romans 3:10-12 says, s it is written, THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD; ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE.

What are they like that?

BroRog
Oct 22nd 2009, 10:21 PM
It think its implied in the text since they are grouped with the Jews in the synagogue with whom Paul was reasoning.

And?!

First off, the term "God-fearer" is practically a synonym for "believer," because unlike the Jews who were born into their religion, these people chose to worship God. But these weren't converts to Judaism, they were converts to morality and the doing of good works out of a love for God. Like Cornelius and his family, when these God-fearers" heard the Gospel, they believed it. So no, I would not assume or presume that these were unregenerate people.


Just to be clear, do you think that they were regenerate, as in born-again?

Many of them were. The point is, we can't conclude their status one way or the other from the text.

notuptome
Oct 23rd 2009, 12:25 AM
So... Total Depravity in the Calvinist sense does not mean, "there is no fear of God before their eyes" as Rom 3:18 says? Romans 3 has always been one of the starting points for me when trying to understand Calvinism.
I don't really concern myself deeply with what Calvin thought. Calvin was influenced by what the catholic church taught and sought to understand the bible in that context so as to refute rome. He went a little overboard in spots. No fear of God before their eyes refers to the fact that men cannot see God as He is until God reveals Himself to them. Men by nature create a god of their own imaginations. Man is not righteous in the way that God demands righteousness by nature.


Regarding men groping in darkness when God reveals Himself to them, the text actually says, that He determines the boundaries of their habitation, so that they would seek God. In other words He moves the boundary lines of nations, so that men will seek Him. It doesn't say that He reveals Himself to them and then they will grope for Him. It says He determines the appointed seasons for their nations (how long they will exist) and their boundary lines (their borders) so that they will seek Him. It appears that its not the revelation of God that then causes them to seek God, but rather the international crisis that causes them to turn toward God. This would say to me that He must be drawing on their internal sense through design of their necessity for God and thus seeking Him.
Paul was standing on Mars Hill before a group of men that thought themselves well versed in every knowable god from all parts of the known world. Yet they were in fact groping for truth. Paul expounds to them the identity of the hitherto unknowable God. Light shines in. Paul references that God made all men "one blood all nations of men". God placed men in their national bounds but they are still all His and responsible to Him. God is soverign over all creation. God moves men to where He wants them and tends to their receiving the truth He means for them to have. The historical conquests of Israel and their subsequent captivities enabled the Jewish religion to be known throught the world. This prepared the world for the coming Messiah who Paul was about to reveal to them. Paul reminds them of their poets saying "For we are also his offspring" and since we are all Gods offspring then God cannot be idols of gold or silver and the such.

Men must feel about to find their way in darkness. God could be right beside them and they would not know Him in the darkness. I don't think the thrust of vs 27 is international crisis to turn men to God. God uses the word of God and the Holy Spirit to make Himself known to men. He alone is the Light in the darkness. The persecution of the church did result in the word of God going out into all the world because God now commands all men everywhere to repent.

For the cause of Christ
Roger

John146
Oct 23rd 2009, 04:02 PM
First, I don't believe you can separate out Total depravity as a doctrine and exclude everything else.

Although this is so easily done with this particular idea.
Simply because there are so many places in the Bible that teach that man does not seek God. As well as places where it says that he does.

Deut 4:29 But if from thence thou shalt seek the LORD thy God, thou shalt find him, if thou seek him with all thy heart and with all thy soul.

2 Chr 7:14 If my people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

Isaiah 55
6Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near:
7Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.

Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.


Adam represents the human race.

Romans 3:10-12 says,
s it is written, THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD; ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE.

Because of this condition

Romans 3:18:"THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES." They don't fear the holiness or Justice of God.Romans 3:10-12 is not saying that no one ever seeks God. I do believe that, left completely to ourselves, no one would. But I believe that after hearing the word of God (faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God) and having the Spirit speak to our hearts, we then have a choice to respond to the call to salvation and seek God and His forgiveness and salvation through repentance and faith or to reject the call to salvation. Many are called, but few are chosen (Matt 20:16, 22:14).


Prior to regeneration we are DEAD in our sins, Unrighteous and not seeking God. Where does scripture teach this? I know we are dead in our sins before we are saved but where does it say that we can't seek God prior to being regenerated (quickened) and saved?


Ephesians 2:1-6
And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,"This doesn't say that a person had not first been seeking God prior to being made spiritually alive and saved. Why would one still need to seek God when they are already saved?


Corinthians says

1 Corinthians 2:14-15 says: "But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one." That does not have anything to do with unregenerated man not being able to accept the gospel. Read on into 1 Corinthians 3 and you will see that even "babes in Christ" are described as carnal and not able to understand the meat of the word, the deeper things of the Spirit of God. That doesn't mean they didn't understand that they needed to repent and believe in Christ in order to be saved. They obviously did understand that or else they would not be called "babes in Christ".


Romans 8:7-9 says: "The mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him."

This is basically the "doctrine" of Total Depravity. This passage also does not say that you cannot seek God unless you have been regenerated. This does not say that people cannot help but have "the mind set on the flesh" without being regenerated. It says those who do have the mind set on the flesh cannot please God. Here is a parable about an unregnerate man humbling himself before God:

Luke 18
9And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.

There is no indication here whatsoever that the publican was already regenerated when he came before God in repentance. He was seeking God's forgiveness because he recognized that he was a sinner. Nowhere does scripture teach that one cannot recognize that they are a sinner in need of God's mercy, forgiveness and salvation without first being regenerated.

The publican did not trust in himself that he was righteous as the Pharisee did. He humbled himself. That was his choice. The Pharisee chose not to humble himself and thought he was righteous and not a sinner like the publican.

John146
Oct 23rd 2009, 04:08 PM
And?!

First off, the term "God-fearer" is practically a synonym for "believer," because unlike the Jews who were born into their religion, these people chose to worship God. But these weren't converts to Judaism, they were converts to morality and the doing of good works out of a love for God. Like Cornelius and his family, when these God-fearers" heard the Gospel, they believed it. So no, I would not assume or presume that these were unregenerate people. So, you think they were already saved when Paul was trying to lead them to salvation? That obviously wouldn't make sense. When one is regenerated they are saved. To be regenerated is the same as being quickened (made spiritually alive), which Paul relates directly to being saved:

Eph 2
4But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
5Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
6And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

BroRog
Oct 23rd 2009, 04:59 PM
So, you think they were already saved when Paul was trying to lead them to salvation? That obviously wouldn't make sense. When one is regenerated they are saved. To be regenerated is the same as being quickened (made spiritually alive), which Paul relates directly to being saved:

Eph 2
4But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us,
5Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
6And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

Eric, when something doesn't make sense to you, you should take responsibility for it. Just because it doesn't make sense to you doesn't mean it doesn't make sense to other people.

Having said that, I'm not saying that these folks were saved or unsaved, or regenerate or unregenerate. All I'm saying is that the text doesn't say either way and we can't assume one way or the other.

And yes, it certainly makes sense to me that a preacher of the Gospel, speaking to a crowd of people, will speak to a mixed group of people: some who are saved and others who aren't. This was typical, for example, of the Bill Graham crusades in which Christian believers would bring their friends and family to hear the Gospel. It's also typical of modern day churches in which Christian believers bring their unbelieving family to hear the message. It certainly makes sense that a Jewish Synagogue contained a mix of people, some who believed and others who didn't.

My point about the term "God-fearer" was to suggest that such a person was already a believer.

John146
Oct 23rd 2009, 05:39 PM
Eric, when something doesn't make sense to you, you should take responsibility for it.What do you mean by that?


Just because it doesn't make sense to you doesn't mean it doesn't make sense to other people. Obviously. I don't see your point in saying this. I think you may be confusing my saying that something doesn't make sense means that I don't understand it. No, I understand the opposing view. I don't agree with it because I don't think it makes logical sense when comparing it to what scripture teaches as a whole.


Having said that, I'm not saying that these folks were saved or unsaved, or regenerate or unregenerate. All I'm saying is that the text doesn't say either way and we can't assume one way or the other. You did say "I don't see the evidence that the God-fearers were unregenerate.". Doesn't that mean you lean towards believing that they were regenerate, even if you're not sure?

Anyway, my point is that we can assume that they were not regenerate because a person is saved when they are regenerated. Do you believe being regenerated and quickened is the same thing? If so, we can see in Ephesians 2 that Paul indicates that being quickened is the same thing as being saved. So, it would not make sense (yes, I said that phrase again) if Paul was trying to persuade those who were already saved to become saved.


And yes, it certainly makes sense to me that a preacher of the Gospel, speaking to a crowd of people, will speak to a mixed group of people: some who are saved and others who aren't. This was typical, for example, of the Bill Graham crusades in which Christian believers would bring their friends and family to hear the Gospel. It's also typical of modern day churches in which Christian believers bring their unbelieving family to hear the message. It certainly makes sense that a Jewish Synagogue contained a mix of people, some who believed and others who didn't. But in the text that we are speaking about in this thread that was not the case. We're talking about Acts 17 in particular so let's see how Acts 17 describes these God-fearing Gentiles.

1Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: 2And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,
3Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.
4And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few.

So, this indicates that these "devout Greeks" believed what Paul said and I believe it's safe to assume they were saved as a result because this means they believed Christ suffered, rose from the dead and is the Christ. So, they were not regenerate. To be regenerate is to be saved. They were not yet saved when Paul was preaching to them. Otherwise, what exactly was he trying to persuade them of?

Then there's this:

15And they that conducted Paul brought him unto Athens: and receiving a commandment unto Silas and Timotheus for to come to him with all speed, they departed.
16Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.
17Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him.

Why would he dispute with people who were already regenerate? How could regenerate people be given to idolatry? Again, this is a case of Paul persuading them to believe the gospel. If someone is already regenerate then why would persuasion and disputing be necessary in order to lead them to salvation?


My point about the term "God-fearer" was to suggest that such a person was already a believer.Maybe a believer in God, but a believer in Christ and the gospel? How can one believe what they have not yet heard? (see Romans 10:14-17 for the answer)

BroRog
Oct 23rd 2009, 07:02 PM
What do you mean by that?

Obviously. I don't see your point in saying this. I think you may be confusing my saying that something doesn't make sense means that I don't understand it. No, I understand the opposing view. I don't agree with it because I don't think it makes logical sense when comparing it to what scripture teaches as a whole.

Okay that is fair enough. Honestly, my intent is not to get on your case or anything. What I mean to suggest is that you either say it doesn't make sense to you, or if you understand it but don't agree with it, simply explain how the idea fails logically.

Obviously, what I say makes perfect sense to me and is logical in my estimation. If something doesn't make sense to you, then please ask for clarification.


You did say "I don't see the evidence that the God-fearers were unregenerate.". Doesn't that mean you lean towards believing that they were regenerate, even if you're not sure?


Yes.


Anyway, my point is that we can assume that they were not regenerate because a person is saved when they are regenerated. Do you believe being regenerated and quickened is the same thing? If so, we can see in Ephesians 2 that Paul indicates that being quickened is the same thing as being saved. So, it would not make sense (yes, I said that phrase again) if Paul was trying to persuade those who were already saved to become saved.


Yes, regenerated is part of being saved. But as I said, we have no basis to determine one way or the other whether anyone in Acts 17:17 is regenerate or not.

AtlGatekeeper's original assertion that the Gentiles in Acts 17:17 are unregenerate is debatable, since the fact is indeterminate. No conclusion about Total Depravity can be reached from this passage and neither does it offer a rebuttal of the doctrine.


But in the text that we are speaking about in this thread that was not the case. We're talking about Acts 17 in particular so let's see how Acts 17 describes these God-fearing Gentiles.

1Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: 2And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,
3Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.
4And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few.

So, this indicates that these "devout Greeks" believed what Paul said and I believe it's safe to assume they were saved as a result because this means they believed Christ suffered, rose from the dead and is the Christ. So, they were not regenerate. To be regenerate is to be saved. They were not yet saved when Paul was preaching to them. Otherwise, what exactly was he trying to persuade them of?


I believe the NT teaches us that God is able to save someone prior to them knowing the fact Jesus is the Christ. In Hebrews 11, for instance, Paul argues that the men of old found God's favor by faith having believed what he said. He even pairs down the essential requirement that a person believe that God exists and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him. in this we know that some are saved before they know the facts about Jesus and simply accept the truth of this fact when they hear it.

Can you show me how this relates to the doctrine of Total depravity? If as Paul says, "The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God . . ." Then is it illogical to assume that those who accepted the Gospel message were not "natural" persons?



Then there's this:

15And they that conducted Paul brought him unto Athens: and receiving a commandment unto Silas and Timotheus for to come to him with all speed, they departed.
16Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.
17Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him.

Why would he dispute with people who were already regenerate? How could regenerate people be given to idolatry? Again, this is a case of Paul persuading them to believe the gospel. If someone is already regenerate then why would persuasion and disputing be necessary in order to lead them to salvation?

When a preacher speaks into a crowd, we know that the crowd is a mixture of people: some are saved and others aren't. And so, when Paul speaks to a synagogue we know that some in attendance needed to hear the Gospel and others wanted to hear the gospel, and others have already heard the gospel.

Everyone, at some point in life, needs to hear the Gospel; but not everyone wants to hear it. At the same time, I think the overall picture the Bible paints shows that some are ready to hear the Gospel and readily accept it when they finally hear it. And though they readily accept it, only some of those have the heart to see it all the way to the end.

The gospel of Total depravity teaches that man, in his fallen state, is unwilling to trust God and believe what he says. But it also teaches that if God wills it so, he can prepare the hearts and minds of folks to hear and believe the Gospel. Thus, a passage like Acts 17 doesn't prove one way or the other whether Total depravity is true or false. It simply records what took place without any commentary on the state of mind of those who heard and accepted it.


[As a side note: Luke says that the city was "wholly given over to idolatry" not that each and every person was idolatrous. As we all know, our culture is prone to be licentious even while we as Christians are not. There are those who love God and wish to live as Godly men and women even while they live in an idolatrous culture.]


Maybe a believer in God, but a believer in Christ and the gospel? How can one believe what they have not yet heard? (see Romans 10:14-17 for the answer)

I suppose one could imagine a case in which a God-fearer would not accept the fact that Jesus is the Christ. Nonetheless, some such as Cornileus did accept it. And so we can not assume from a passage such as Acts 17:17 that all of them were unregenerate. Some of them undoubtedly were, which is why the believed the Gospel.

John146
Oct 23rd 2009, 09:09 PM
Okay that is fair enough. Honestly, my intent is not to get on your case or anything. What I mean to suggest is that you either say it doesn't make sense to youFine. I figured it was implied, but I will do that just for you. ;)


or if you understand it but don't agree with it, simply explain how the idea fails logically.And I do that most of the time.


Obviously, what I say makes perfect sense to me and is logical in my estimation. If something doesn't make sense to you, then please ask for clarification.I do. Again, I didn't say something didn't make sense because I didn't understand it. I was saying it didn't make sense to me as far as being in line with what scripture teaches as a whole.


Yes, regenerated is part of being saved.People are saved as a result of being regenerated (born of the Spirit). That's why Paul associates being quickened (made spiritually alive) directly with being saved. You seem to think that someone can be regenerate without being saved. I don't see that taught anywhere in scripture.


But as I said, we have no basis to determine one way or the other whether anyone in Acts 17:17 is regenerate or not. Why don't we? Would Paul try to persuade someone who is already regenerate to believe? One is regenerated and saved as a result of believing.


AtlGatekeeper's original assertion that the Gentiles in Acts 17:17 are unregenerate is debatable, since the fact is indeterminate. No conclusion about Total Depravity can be reached from this passage and neither does it offer a rebuttal of the doctrine. I disagree for the reasons I've already given.


I believe the NT teaches us that God is able to save someone prior to them knowing the fact Jesus is the Christ.I disagree. The NT teaches that someone is saved as a result of believing in Christ, which would include believing He is the Christ (John 3:16, Rom 10:9-10, Acts 16:31, etc.).


In Hebrews 11, for instance, Paul argues that the men of old found God's favor by faith having believed what he said. He even pairs down the essential requirement that a person believe that God exists and that he is a rewarder of those who seek him. in this we know that some are saved before they know the facts about Jesus and simply accept the truth of this fact when they hear it.How does what you're saying line up with what is taught in passages like this:

Romans 10
9That 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.
10For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

You are trying to say that one can be saved even before they put their faith in Christ as their Lord and Savior. That's not what scripture teaches.


Can you show me how this relates to the doctrine of Total depravity? If as Paul says, "The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God . . ." Then is it illogical to assume that those who accepted the Gospel message were not "natural" persons? Continue reading from 1 Corinthians 2 into 1 Corinthians 3. Paul describes "babes in Christ" the same way as he describes "the natural man". He calls them carnal and says they are not ready for the meat of God's Word. Do "babes in Christ" accept the gospel message? I would think so. Otherwise, how could they be called "babes in Christ"? So, the natural person not accepting the things of the Spirit of God is not referring to people not being able to accept the gospel without first being regenerate.


When a preacher speaks into a crowd, we know that the crowd is a mixture of people: some are saved and others aren't. And so, when Paul speaks to a synagogue we know that some in attendance needed to hear the Gospel and others wanted to hear the gospel, and others have already heard the gospel.But Acts 17 focuses specifically on those who are not already saved, including devout Gentiles. They were devout but did not yet believe the gospel. So they were not yet saved. It says Paul was persuading them to believe the gospel so I don't see how you can think they were already saved. Again, I'm speaking specifically of the people it mentions that he was preaching to: Jews and devout Greeks.


Everyone, at some point in life, needs to hear the Gospel; but not everyone wants to hear it. At the same time, I think the overall picture the Bible paints shows that some are ready to hear the Gospel and readily accept it when they finally hear it. And though they readily accept it, only some of those have the heart to see it all the way to the end. I agree. The parable of the sower proves that.


The gospel of Total depravity teaches that man, in his fallen state, is unwilling to trust God and believe what he says. But it also teaches that if God wills it so, he can prepare the hearts and minds of folks to hear and believe the Gospel.But I don't see where it teaches that He does not make man responsible to make a willful choice. I don't see where it teaches that He forces or causes a person to believe through no choice of their own.

If it was all up to God's choosing alone then why did Paul think it was necessary to spend days trying to persuade people to believe the gospel?


Thus, a passage like Acts 17 doesn't prove one way or the other whether Total depravity is true or false. It simply records what took place without any commentary on the state of mind of those who heard and accepted it. I disagree. It says the people of Athens in particular were "wholly given to idolatry.".

[As a side note: Luke says that the city was "wholly given over to idolatry" not that each and every person was idolatrous. As we all know, our culture is prone to be licentious even while we as Christians are not. There are those who love God and wish to live as Godly men and women even while they live in an idolatrous culture.]Right, but the people that Paul was focusing his preaching on were among those who were given over to idolatry. That's what I think you're missing here. Even the devout Greeks he was persuading and disputing with were guilty of that. Otherwise, it wouldn't include them among those who believed what he said and were converted as a result.

I suppose one could imagine a case in which a God-fearer would not accept the fact that Jesus is the Christ.I know of such people. They believe there is a God and fear Him, but not enough to want to surrender to Him and what He wants them to do, which is repent of their sins and put their faith and trust in His Son, Jesus Christ.


Nonetheless, some such as Cornileus did accept it. And so we can not assume from a passage such as Acts 17:17 that all of them were unregenerate. Some of them undoubtedly were, which is why the believed the Gospel.Since this thread is about total depravity, do you think that those who did not believe because they were totally depraved and God chose to not prepare their hearts and minds for accepting the gospel? If so, can you explain why people would be punished on the day of judgment and cast into the lake of fire while never having been given any opportunity to be saved?

BroRog
Oct 24th 2009, 12:41 AM
People are saved as a result of being regenerated (born of the Spirit). That's why Paul associates being quickened (made spiritually alive) directly with being saved. You seem to think that someone can be regenerate without being saved. I don't see that taught anywhere in scripture.

I wouldn't say someone can be regenerate without being saved. In my view, regenerate people are already saved. My contention is that a saved person can still be unaware that Jesus is Lord or that Jesus is the Christ. Which means that Paul could easily preach to a group of regenerate-saved people in a Synagogue and get them to respond to the gospel.


Why don't we? Would Paul try to persuade someone who is already regenerate to believe? One is regenerated and saved as a result of believing.
One-on-one no. But Paul is preaching to a group. Paul couldn't know, and we can't know, who is saved an who isn't in a group of people. And so we can't assume that those in Acts 17 are unregenerate.


I disagree for the reasons I've already given.Does the text say they were unregenerate? If not, then we can't argue from silence.


I disagree. The NT teaches that someone is saved as a result of believing in Christ, which would include believing He is the Christ (John 3:16, Rom 10:9-10, Acts 16:31, etc.).Cause and effect are indeterminate in these cases, and tend to be descriptive rather than prescriptive. John 3:16, for instance, simply says that those who believe in Jesus will get eternal life. It doesn't say how they came to believe or whether they were regenerate before they believed in him.

The doctrine of Total Depravity, on the other hand, is based on reasons the Bible gives for why people don't believe. These verses use words like "hardening", and "blindness", which are privations beyond their control. The Bible places the responsibility of their blindness and/or hardness on God.


And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing, in whose case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. 2Cor. 4:3-4

For this reason they could not believe, for Isaiah said again, "He has blinded their eyes and He hardened their heart, so that they would not see with their eyes and perceive with their heart, and be converted and I heal them." John 12:39-40

So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires. Romans 9:18

What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened; just as it is written, "God gave them a spirit of stupor, Eyes to see not and ears to hear not, Down to this very day." Romans 11:7

How does what you're saying line up with what is taught in passages like this:

Romans 10
9That 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.
10For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. This is descriptive of what happens. But it doesn't say one way or the other why one person will believe and another person won't.
The passage from Hebrews, however, explains the idea that someone is saved when they simply accept that God exists and believe that he is a rewarder of those who seek him.


You are trying to say that one can be saved even before they put their faith in Christ as their Lord and Savior. That's not what scripture teaches.
Sure it does, I already pointed you to several passages that say this.



Continue reading from 1 Corinthians 2 into 1 Corinthians 3. Paul describes "babes in Christ" the same way as he describes "the natural man". He calls them carnal and says they are not ready for the meat of God's Word. Do "babes in Christ" accept the gospel message? I would think so. Otherwise, how could they be called "babes in Christ"? So, the natural person not accepting the things of the Spirit of God is not referring to people not being able to accept the gospel without first being regenerate.
Again, Total Depravity seeks to explain why people don't believe. Paul says that the natural man doesn't accept the things of God. In his transition to chapter 3, he is no longer talking about why people don't understand, but about the suitability of talking to immature people about advanced knowledge. As he says, in their case, he had to limit his message to the cross of Christ.


But Acts 17 focuses specifically on those who are not already saved, including devout Gentiles. They were devout but did not yet believe the gospel.
We have no indication in the text that they were not already saved or whether they wouldn't believe the gospel if told about it. If a guest speaker comes to your church to preach the gospel, he isn't going to assume that everyone in your church is an unbeliever. There is going to be a mix.


So they were not yet saved. It says Paul was persuading them to believe the gospel so I don't see how you can think they were already saved. Again, I'm speaking specifically of the people it mentions that he was preaching to: Jews and devout Greeks.Again, I'm not saying that these people were saved or unsaved. I'm saying that we don't know that they were all unregenerate, which is the assertion being made in the OP.


But I don't see where it teaches that He does not make man responsible to make a willful choice.
Culpability is a different question. In Romans 11:7, for instance, Paul explicitly says that the elect obtained God's justification but God hardened the rest who were not part of the elect. And yet, God is going to judge those who didn't believe.


I don't see where it teaches that He forces or causes a person to believe through no choice of their own.No, I agree. The Bible never teaches that. What it teaches is that unless God removes the blinders from the eyes, a man will not believe. Unless a man is born from above, he will not recognize the kingdom of God. Unless God softens the heart and gives one a new spirit, he will not repent and turn to the Lord.

Every unbeliever is acting according to his or her own free will. At the same time, though, a man will not turn to God and repent unless God first opens his eyes, softens his heart, and opens his ears. The first move is always God's in order that salvation is by Grace.


If it was all up to God's choosing alone then why did Paul think it was necessary to spend days trying to persuade people to believe the gospel?Paul describes his ministry as a grace, by which he means that God is graciously allowing him to participate in the process. Paul doesn't know in advance which men and women God is healing of spiritual blindness. So he preaches to everyone. As he says, God brings the increase.


I disagree. It says the people of Athens in particular were "wholly given to idolatry."


Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was being provoked within him as he was observing the city full of idols. Luke 17:16

Right, but the people that Paul was focusing his preaching on were among those who were given over to idolatry. That's what I think you're missing here. Even the devout Greeks he was persuading and disputing with were guilty of that. Otherwise, it wouldn't include them among those who believed what he said and were converted as a result.
Aren't you assuming something about the entire population that is only true of some of them?


Since this thread is about total depravity, do you think that those who did not believe because they were totally depraved and God chose to not prepare their hearts and minds for accepting the gospel? If so, can you explain why people would be punished on the day of judgment and cast into the lake of fire while never having been given any opportunity to be saved?

If you accept the doctrine of transcendence then yes, I can explain it in those terms.

Right after Paul asserts that God hardens whom he desires, he asks the question you just asked. Doesn't this make God unjust? Isn't God unjust for convicting people of not believing in Jesus when they were blind and hardened against accepting him?

Paul argues that God is not unjust because he is the creator and we are the creatures. He has the same rights as a potter, for form his creation in any way that suits his purposes. And if it suits his purposes to make a person that will not believe and judge him for it, then that is his right.


Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? Romans 9:21

God has the right of authorship.

ThyWordIsTruth
Oct 24th 2009, 05:06 AM
First, I don't believe you can separate out Total depravity as a doctrine and exclude everything else.

Although this is so easily done with this particular idea.
Simply because there are so many places in the Bible that teach that man does not seek God.
Romans 5:12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned.

Sin passed through Adam to us. It's called Federal Headship, although you will get a stout argument from many on this board that this is not so.

Adam represents the human race.

Romans 3:10-12 says, s it is written, THERE IS NONE RIGHTEOUS, NOT EVEN ONE; THERE IS NONE WHO UNDERSTANDS, THERE IS NONE WHO SEEKS FOR GOD; ALL HAVE TURNED ASIDE, TOGETHER THEY HAVE BECOME USELESS; THERE IS NONE WHO DOES GOOD, THERE IS NOT EVEN ONE.

Because of this condition

Romans 3:18:"THERE IS NO FEAR OF GOD BEFORE THEIR EYES." They don't fear the holiness or Justice of God.
tt1106

I don't think Paul was talking about total depravity or even anything to do with total depravity in Romans 3:10-12. His context for quoting the verse from Psalm is that Jews are no better than Gentiles, they have all turned away from God and have sinned.

I feel that the doctrine of total depravity has been read into the verse, but the verse does not clearly teach this doctrine.

It does not say that we cannot come to repentance, or that man cannot believe the Gospel. We know that as humans even before we were saved, that we can repent of our wrongdoing towards other people, what more when we learn of what God has done for us. And we can believe in a God even as wicked men, as there are may religions in the world and they all seek and believe in a God, just not the right one.

Rom 3:1 Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the value of circumcision?
Rom 3:2 Much in every way. To begin with, the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God.
Rom 3:3 What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God?
Rom 3:4 By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, "That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged."
Rom 3:5 But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.)
Rom 3:6 By no means! For then how could God judge the world?
Rom 3:7 But if through my lie God's truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner?
Rom 3:8 And why not do evil that good may come?--as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.
Rom 3:9 What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin,
Rom 3:10 as it is written: "None is righteous, no, not one;
Rom 3:11 no one understands; no one seeks for God.
Rom 3:12 All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one."
Rom 3:13 "Their throat is an open grave; they use their tongues to deceive." "The venom of asps is under their lips."
Rom 3:14 "Their mouth is full of curses and bitterness."
Rom 3:15 "Their feet are swift to shed blood;
Rom 3:16 in their paths are ruin and misery,
Rom 3:17 and the way of peace they have not known."
Rom 3:18 "There is no fear of God before their eyes."

It is clear to us that Paul is using this as an illustration that both Jews and Gentiles have sinned. However, not all of us have feet swift to shed blood, even when we were unsaved.

The example of Cornelius also comes to mind. He was yet unregenerate, yet God favours him because of his righteous heart before God, his alms giving and also his prayers offered to God from a sincere heart. Because of this God sends Peter to preach to him the Gospel. Cornelius up to that point was still unregenerate, yet he also feared God and sought after God.

This is the original Psalm where that verse is quoted from.

Psa 14:1 To the choirmaster. Of David. The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good.
Psa 14:2 The LORD looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.
Psa 14:3 They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.
Psa 14:4 Have they no knowledge, all the evildoers who eat up my people as they eat bread and do not call upon the LORD?
Psa 14:5 There they are in great terror, for God is with the generation of the righteous.
Psa 14:6 You would shame the plans of the poor, but the LORD is his refuge.
Psa 14:7 Oh, that salvation for Israel would come out of Zion! When the LORD restores the fortunes of his people, let Jacob rejoice, let Israel be glad.




Prior to regeneration we are DEAD in our sins, Unrighteous and not seeking God.
Ephesians 2:1-6 And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,"

Yes we were all dead in our sins and transgressions prior to regeneration. But notice that all the verses does not say that we cannot repent or cannot believe the Gospel and turn from our wickedness. The people in Nineveh did repent, and they were all unregenerate sinners, yet from their king down to their animals, every single one of them repented before God and God spared them.

Cornelius again, being still unregenerate, also sought God and sought to do righteously in God's sight. So did Nicodemus, who was at the point of his conversation with Jesus, still unregenerate, yet he sought out Jesus to learn the truth.

History according to Josephus also tells us that Nicodemus was extremely wealthy, yet later in his life because of his faith he was greatly persecuted, and his daughter was seen digging up husks of wheat from the ground where the cart wheels had pressed them into the soil. It suggests that Nicodemus finally managed to find true saving faith and became a true believer who suffered greatly for his faith.


Corinthians says
1 Corinthians 2:14-15 says: "But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised. But he who is spiritual appraises all things, yet he himself is appraised by no one."

Again, this does not say that the unregenerate cannot believe the Gospel or repent. What Paul is saying, is that only those who have been regenerated, and have grown in maturity in the faith, will start to appreciate the full extent of the wisdom of God in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. To the unsaved world, this plan seems foolish to them. However to the mature spiritual person, the Spirit starts to reveal great truths of wisdom to him, as we all experience when we learn more about God's word and plan through Scriptures.

There were many things that we did not understand nor percieve when we read the Bible before we were truly regenerated, or even when we were newly regenerated. It was only after much careful study and work with the help of the Holy Spirit that the pieces start to piece together.

Even new believers who are newly renegerated will not appreciate the full measure of God's wisdom in his plan of salvation. This is the context of this portion of Scripture, for it says:

1Co 2:6 Yet among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away.
1Co 2:7 But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory.
1Co 2:8 None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.
1Co 2:9 But, as it is written, "What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him"--
1Co 2:10 these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God.
1Co 2:11 For who knows a person's thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
1Co 2:12 Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God.
1Co 2:13 And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.
1Co 2:14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.



Romans 8:7-9 says: "The mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, and those who are in the flesh cannot please God. However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him."

Yes, but note that it says "For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God.." Meaning if we determine, make up our minds to live to pursue the pleasures of our flesh...

Rom 8:6 For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.

If we set our minds to living according to the flesh, if we choose to live according to the flesh, we will be hostile to God, and will not submit to his commandments. But note that it is a choice there.

It does not say that natural man cannot repent and believe the Gospel.

However there are still certain verses, those spoken by Christ in particular, for which I still have no answer for. I'm open to both sides of the debate at this point, but I'm just pointing out what I feel are "misreadings" or "forced readings" of certain Scripture to support a particular view that I don't really agree with.

ThyWordIsTruth
Oct 24th 2009, 05:15 AM
And?!

First off, the term "God-fearer" is practically a synonym for "believer," because unlike the Jews who were born into their religion, these people chose to worship God. But these weren't converts to Judaism, they were converts to morality and the doing of good works out of a love for God. Like Cornelius and his family, when these God-fearers" heard the Gospel, they believed it. So no, I would not assume or presume that these were unregenerate people.

Many of them were. The point is, we can't conclude their status one way or the other from the text.

Actually Cornelius was unregenerate before Peter preached the Gospel to him because he only recieved the Holy Spirit at Peter's visit.

Another example I can think of is the Ethopian eunuch, whom God set Thomas to explain the Scriptures of Isaiah, he was also yet unregenerate but he sought God and then he believed the Gospel and put his trust in Christ and believed and was baptised.

Even Paul himself was a God fearer and sought God before his regeneration by the Holy Spirit, upon which the scales fell out from his eyes.

ThyWordIsTruth
Oct 24th 2009, 05:25 AM
All,
I found this saying on an article explaining Calvinism and Arminianism, which I think is very wise, and has guided me in my search for truth.

Basically it says that you cannot just look at the verses supporting your point of view and ignore the rest which opposes your view. We have to look at it all honestly in totality and then deciding if our theology fits all the verses. If it doesn't, or there are some things our theology cannot explain, then we have the wrong theology and should reconsider our theology.

If you have no interpretation for a verse or set of verses, that's always the wrong interpretation. It's a sign that something is wrong with your system. When a verse won't fit into your system, it's time to reconsider your system.

At this moment of time, I personally feel that both Calvinism and Arminianism (as proposed by his followers and not the original thoughts of the man himself) are faulty. I think the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle, we have perhaps misread or misinterpreted some passage of Scripture which led to wrong conclusions.

BroRog
Oct 26th 2009, 03:27 PM
Actually Cornelius was unregenerate before Peter preached the Gospel to him because he only recieved the Holy Spirit at Peter's visit.

Another example I can think of is the Ethopian eunuch, whom God set Thomas to explain the Scriptures of Isaiah, he was also yet unregenerate but he sought God and then he believed the Gospel and put his trust in Christ and believed and was baptised.

Even Paul himself was a God fearer and sought God before his regeneration by the Holy Spirit, upon which the scales fell out from his eyes.

Though Cornelius didn't speak in tongues prior to hearing the Gospel, I see no reason to suspect he wasn't regenerate. In my view, the very fact that he believed the Gospel proved he was already regenerate.

tt1106
Oct 26th 2009, 04:06 PM
All,
I found this saying on an article explaining Calvinism and Arminianism, which I think is very wise, and has guided me in my search for truth.

Basically it says that you cannot just look at the verses supporting your point of view and ignore the rest which opposes your view. We have to look at it all honestly in totality and then deciding if our theology fits all the verses. If it doesn't, or there are some things our theology cannot explain, then we have the wrong theology and should reconsider our theology.

If you have no interpretation for a verse or set of verses, that's always the wrong interpretation. It's a sign that something is wrong with your system. When a verse won't fit into your system, it's time to reconsider your system.

At this moment of time, I personally feel that both Calvinism and Arminianism (as proposed by his followers and not the original thoughts of the man himself) are faulty. I think the truth probably lies somewhere in the middle, we have perhaps misread or misinterpreted some passage of Scripture which led to wrong conclusions.

TWIT,
I don't know who you mean by we. But I hope you find what you seek. I am very comfortable in my interpretation. Mostly because I had the other interpretation previously. A diet of God's word led me to where I am today. In regards to Romans 3, I think it is important to consider the contaxt, as you have, but considering that Paul speaks of the depravity of man, I don't think you can apply his words to only a Jewish audience. Paul is talking of Jews and Greeks previously in Romans 1. Do you conclude that he was only speaking to Jews and Greeks or to everybody? We have already charged that both the Jews and Greeks are all under sin.
If you consider some of his other narratives, I think you would see that Paul sees us all in the same condition, otherwise what would be the point for any of the Bible that is specifically speaking to the Jews?
In any case, I hope you find what you seek.

God Bless,

tt1106

Ps, Isn't it pointless to argue whether Cornelius was regenerate or not? For those of us that are reformed, this would have to be a condition. God softens the heart in order to enable us to hear his word and he gives us faith to believe. :)

AtlGatekeeper
Oct 26th 2009, 05:23 PM
Though Cornelius didn't speak in tongues prior to hearing the Gospel, I see no reason to suspect he wasn't regenerate. In my view, the very fact that he believed the Gospel proved he was already regenerate.


I believe the NT teaches us that God is able to save someone prior to them knowing the fact Jesus is the Christ

You have said several times that an individual can be regenerate, i.e. Born-again, without hearing the Gospel and believing in the Lord Jesus.

This idea in no way squares with N.T. teaching. One of the most fundamental N.T. doctrines is faith in Christ for salvation (Heb 6:1). It appears you are using Calvinism as your starting point rather than the straight forward teaching of a multitude of NT verses.

It may be safer to compare how your claim holds up in light of a volume of NT Scripture rather than using a theological system as the basis for understanding the Bible.

1Jn 5:1 Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him.

1Jn 5:11 And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. 12 He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.

Joh 3:36 He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."

Joh 3:15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. 16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 18 "He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

Rom 10:9-10 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Rom 10:13 For "WHOEVER CALLS ON THE NAME OF THE LORD SHALL BE SAVED." 14 How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher?

John146
Oct 26th 2009, 07:43 PM
I wouldn't say someone can be regenerate without being saved. In my view, regenerate people are already saved. My contention is that a saved person can still be unaware that Jesus is Lord or that Jesus is the Christ. Which means that Paul could easily preach to a group of regenerate-saved people in a Synagogue and get them to respond to the gospel. A person becomes saved because of their response to the gospel. A response of repentance and faith. So, why would someone who is already saved have to respond to the gospel?

The doctrine of Total Depravity, on the other hand, is based on reasons the Bible gives for why people don't believe. These verses use words like "hardening", and "blindness", which are privations beyond their control. The Bible places the responsibility of their blindness and/or hardness on God.Yes, but it also says that the reason God blinds people and hardens their hearts is because they have already rejected Him. People will be cast into the lake of fire, not because that's what God wanted for them and because they had no ability to repent and believe in Christ, but because they willfully refused to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior.

Here are a couple examples of what I'm talking about:

Romans 1
20For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.
22Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools,
23And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.
24Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:
25Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.
26For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:
27And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.
28And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient;

God doesn't blind people and harden their hearts randomly and for no reason. He does it because "they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful", because of "the lusts of their own hearts", because they change "the truth of God into a lie" and worship and serve "the creature more than the Creator" and because "they did not like to retain God in their knowledge".

Here is another example:

2 Thess 2
9Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,
10And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.
11And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
12That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

Here, it talks about God sending them strong delusion, not randomly and for no reason, but "because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.". So, in reality the responsibility for their hardness and blindness is on them and not on God, as you claim.


This is descriptive of what happens. But it doesn't say one way or the other why one person will believe and another person won't.
The passage from Hebrews, however, explains the idea that someone is saved when they simply accept that God exists and believe that he is a rewarder of those who seek him.What's that? Are you suggesting that one is not required to repent and put their faith and trust in Christ in order to be saved? What do you make of scripture like John 3:15-18 and Romans 10:9-13 then?


Sure it does, I already pointed you to several passages that say this.

Again, Total Depravity seeks to explain why people don't believe. Paul says that the natural man doesn't accept the things of God.Paul was not speaking of a reason why people don't believe the gospel there. He even said in 1 Cor 3 that "babes in Christ" were not accepting the things of God (the spiritual meat) and yet they were Christians who believed the gospel. Immature Christians, but Christians nonetheless.


In his transition to chapter 3, he is no longer talking about why people don't understand, but about the suitability of talking to immature people about advanced knowledge.He is talking about advanced knowledge in that passage from 1 Cor 2 that you referred to as well.

1 Cor 2
9But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.


Unless God softens the heart and gives one a new spirit, he will not repent and turn to the Lord. Where does scripture teach this?


Every unbeliever is acting according to his or her own free will. At the same time, though, a man will not turn to God and repent unless God first opens his eyes, softens his heart, and opens his ears. The first move is always God's in order that salvation is by Grace.But it says this:

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

So, it's not right to say that God reaches out to some and ignores the rest, as you seem to believe. While He does graciously reach out to man, man is still responsible to respond with repentance and faith and this is a choice that each person must make.


If you accept the doctrine of transcendence then yes, I can explain it in those terms.

Right after Paul asserts that God hardens whom he desires, he asks the question you just asked. Doesn't this make God unjust? Isn't God unjust for convicting people of not believing in Jesus when they were blind and hardened against accepting him?

Paul argues that God is not unjust because he is the creator and we are the creatures. He has the same rights as a potter, for form his creation in any way that suits his purposes. And if it suits his purposes to make a person that will not believe and judge him for it, then that is his right.

Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use? Romans 9:21

God has the right of authorship.But what I believe is that your conclusions cause you to believe something about God's character that is not taught in scripture. Yes, He is the potter and we are the clay, however it also says that He desires all people to repent and to be saved and it teaches that He is impartial. It teaches that He has concluded all in unbelief so that He might have mercy upon all (Rom 11:30-32). Your conclusions contradict the character of God as described in scripture, IMO.

BroRog
Oct 26th 2009, 07:54 PM
You have said several times that an individual can be regenerate, i.e. Born-again, without hearing the Gospel and believing in the Lord Jesus.

Yes. To put in more accurately, the N.T. teaches that regeneration is a precondition to belief. In Jesus' parable of the sower, for instance, the heart must be prepared to hear the word, just as soil must be prepared to receive seed. Also, Jesus often remarks that his teaching will not be accepted unless that person has "eyes to see and ears to hear."


This idea in no way squares with N.T. teaching. One of the most fundamental N.T. doctrines is faith in Christ for salvation (Heb 6:1). It appears you are using Calvinism as your starting point rather than the straight forward teaching of a multitude of NT verses.

I agree that faith in Jesus Christ is a foundational teaching. The question here, though, is why do people believe it? And why do others reject it? The fundamental reason why people reject it, according to the NT is volitional, the result of a hardened heart that suppresses the truth.


It may be safer to compare how your claim holds up in light of a volume of NT Scripture rather than using a theological system as the basis for understanding the Bible.

Perhaps, but the scriptures you presented say nothing to the question at hand. They spoke of the fact that God is saving those who believe in Jesus. But they don't say anything with regard to the spiritual state of the person prior to believing it.

AtlGatekeeper
Oct 26th 2009, 08:02 PM
Yes. To put in more accurately, the N.T. teaches that regeneration is a precondition to belief.

Please give a sound explanation of this idea... and where the NT teaches it explicitly.

Thanks.

BroRog
Oct 26th 2009, 08:55 PM
Yes, but it also says that the reason God blinds people and hardens their hearts is because they have already rejected Him.

I would think that the very fact that God hardens anyone's heart is a problem for you, since at that point God has taken away freewill, which is sacrosanct in the view of some. If God desires that all come to repentance and that none perish, why would he take away that ability at all? Doesn't his forbearance last until death.

Also, if they already hardened their own hearts, why does God need to harden it again? How does it make sense for God to do something that has already been done? If I have already taken out the trash, why would my wife ask my son to do it if it's already been taken out? Likewise, doen't it seem odd for God to harden a heart that is already hardened?


People will be cast into the lake of fire, not because that's what God wanted for them and because they had no ability to repent and believe in Christ, but because they willfully refused to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior.

Of course, but If God hardens their heart before they die, he hasn't given them every opportunity to change their mind. Who knows, they might have changed their mind.


God doesn't blind people and harden their hearts randomly and for no reason.

No, I'm sure he doesn't. I'm just not sure that his reasons have to be our reasons.


He does it because "they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful", because of "the lusts of their own hearts", because they change "the truth of God into a lie" and worship and serve "the creature more than the Creator" and because "they did not like to retain God in their knowledge".

But doesn't this describe each of us at some point in our life? Don't the wicked need to be turned from their ways as James says?


Here, it talks about God sending them strong delusion, not randomly and for no reason, but "because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.". So, in reality the responsibility for their hardness and blindness is on them and not on God, as you claim.


I'm not saying that God is random or arbitrary. But I would think that God's work to cause strong delusion would bother us if we believed that God was trying everything possible to save everybody. What gives God the right to cause a delusion to come upon a free will being?


What's that? Are you suggesting that one is not required to repent and put their faith and trust in Christ in order to be saved?


Speaking from the bigger Biblical picture we can say that God is able to save those who have not heard the fact that Jesus is Lord, or the fact that Jesus is the Christ. None of the faithful in the OT, for instance, know the fact that it would be Jesus of Nazareth, who would be the coming messiah. They knew that God was going to send the messiah. And they believe in God and trusted that he would, indeed, send a messiah. But these men and women of faith weren't given to know the identity of the messiah.

Of Course, we understand that had a person like David, Isaiah, or Daniel lived to the first century, they would have accepted the fact that Jesus fulfilled their predictions. Accepting the fact that Jesus is the Messiah demonstrates a heart of faith. And those who rejected the fact that Jesus is the Messiah demonstrated a heart of unbelief.

And of course, I am not suggesting that God will save a man who rejects Jesus. The point I'm making, which I believe to be Biblical, is that God is saving folks who didn't necessarily hear the account of Jesus and are not privy to these facts.


What do you make of scripture like John 3:15-18 and Romans 10:9-13 then?

Same point as before. These passages reveal what will happen when a heart of faith encounters the good news that Jesus is Lord. It will believe the message.


Where does scripture teach this?


Just about everywhere. :) You brought up the passage in John 3 in which Jesus tells Nicodemus that unless a man is born again (from above) he can not see the kingdom of God. This is just one passage in which we learn that God must perform advanced work in a person's heart prior to them hearing the message so that they might believe.


But it says this:

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

So, it's not right to say that God reaches out to some and ignores the rest, as you seem to believe. While He does graciously reach out to man, man is still responsible to respond with repentance and faith and this is a choice that each person must make.

I'm not sure how Titus 2:11 proves your point that God has reached out to each and every human being. In the context of this passage, the phrase "all men" refers, not to each and every man, but to all kinds of "men", i.e. slaves, freemen, older woman, younger women, older men, younger men, husbands, wives, and etc.


But what I believe is that your conclusions cause you to believe something about God's character that is not taught in scripture. Yes, He is the potter and we are the clay, however it also says that He desires all people to repent and to be saved and it teaches that He is impartial. It teaches that He has concluded all in unbelief so that He might have mercy upon all (Rom 11:30-32). Your conclusions contradict the character of God as described in scripture, IMO.

Yes, but you really haven't dealt with the fact that the potter analogy places God above and outside of his creation such that he has the right to make pots for dishonorable use, to make vessels that are fit for destruction from the beginning and will be destroyed. The pots themselves don't chose which type of pot they are going to be. That's the scenario that Paul sets up and the reason for his question, "Is God unjust?"

As creatures, we need to come to grips with the fact that our creator has the right to make us into damnable creatures and he has the right to damn us. What would be the point of this line of argument if Paul held the view that God created every man as a morally neutral creature who had the right and ability of self determination? It isn't even a question that God has the right to condemn those who act in unrighteousness.

If the Pot asks, "Why did you make me this way?" all God would need to say, given what you believe, is "I made you into a pot, you chose to be a toilet." But Paul argues that God makes toilets on purpose; he chooses who among us will be the toilets.

John146
Oct 27th 2009, 08:56 PM
I would think that the very fact that God hardens anyone's heart is a problem for you, since at that point God has taken away freewill, which is sacrosanct in the view of some.It's not a problem for me at all because I believe the person was given a chance to repent and believe and chose not to and showed no signs of changing their mind. I don't believe God hardens someone's heart without first giving them plenty of opportunity to repent and believe first.

Notice that Romans 1 talks about people becoming vain in their imaginations and becoming fools and so on and that they formerly knew God before they became that way. So, that tells me it was entirely their choice to not retain God in their knowledge and to change the truth of God into a lie.


If God desires that all come to repentance and that none perish, why would he take away that ability at all? Doesn't his forbearance last until death. He knows people's hearts. I believe He hardens the hearts of those who have completely made up their minds to do their own thing and have closed their own eyes to the truth with no intention of ever opening them again.

Matt 13:15 For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

So, God hardening their hearts is only a case of Him giving them what they really want: to do their own thing apart from Him.


Also, if they already hardened their own hearts, why does God need to harden it again?He hardens them further. Look at 2 Thess 2:9-10. It speaks of people having been deceived and not accepting the truth, right? And that is even before God sends them strong delusion, correct? Didn't they harden their own hearts by not accepting the truth even before God sends them strong delusion? Yes. So, God hardens their hearts even further and gives them over to their wickedness.

Sometimes, He kills people who He has lost His patience with (the flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, etc.) and sometimes He gives them over to their wickedness. Why? I don't know in every case, but in the case of Pharaoah He said "Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth." (Rom 9:17).


How does it make sense for God to do something that has already been done?By asking this question are you denying that God would harden the heart of someone who has already hardened their own heart? If so, please explain Pharaoh hardening his own heart and God also hardening his heart.


If I have already taken out the trash, why would my wife ask my son to do it if it's already been taken out? Likewise, doen't it seem odd for God to harden a heart that is already hardened? I don't really care if it seems odd or not because scripture says that's what He sometimes does. But it's not odd in the case of Pharaoh because scripture tells us why He did it in that case.


Of course, but If God hardens their heart before they die, he hasn't given them every opportunity to change their mind. Who knows, they might have changed their mind. See, we're not God (obviously) and we don't know people's hearts like He does. He knows people's hearts so well that He can judge whether someone would ever change their mind or not. I believe it's possible for people to make an ultimate decision to follow Christ and also an ultimate decision to reject Him and God knows when people have done that. If someone says "I don't accept Christ and I never will!" is it not possible for them to mean that?


No, I'm sure he doesn't. I'm just not sure that his reasons have to be our reasons. I believe His reasons are given in scripture as we can see in passages like Romans 1:18-32 and 2 Thess 2:9-12.


But doesn't this describe each of us at some point in our life? Don't the wicked need to be turned from their ways as James says?This was regarding Romans 1:18-32. Sure, each of us probably would have fit somewhere in his descriptions of the things those people did at some point in our lives.

I admit this creates a dilemma of determining what the difference is between them (those who He gives over to their wickedness) and us (those who are saved). The only thing I can say to that is that I believe they are those who just repeatedly refuse to repent after being given many opportunities to do so. God is longsuffering and desires all people (yes, all people) to repent. So, He is patient but it doesn't say His patience can't ever run out. How He determines when He no longer has the patience to wait for someone to repent, I don't know. But, again, He knows people's hearts much better than we do.


I'm not saying that God is random or arbitrary. But I would think that God's work to cause strong delusion would bother us if we believed that God was trying everything possible to save everybody. What gives God the right to cause a delusion to come upon a free will being?Because He knows their hearts. I believe He can tell if someone's heart is so hardened that they are beyond hope and beyond the point of return.


Speaking from the bigger Biblical picture we can say that God is able to save those who have not heard the fact that Jesus is Lord, or the fact that Jesus is the Christ. None of the faithful in the OT, for instance, know the fact that it would be Jesus of Nazareth, who would be the coming messiah. They knew that God was going to send the messiah. And they believe in God and trusted that he would, indeed, send a messiah. But these men and women of faith weren't given to know the identity of the messiah.

Of Course, we understand that had a person like David, Isaiah, or Daniel lived to the first century, they would have accepted the fact that Jesus fulfilled their predictions. Accepting the fact that Jesus is the Messiah demonstrates a heart of faith. And those who rejected the fact that Jesus is the Messiah demonstrated a heart of unbelief.

And of course, I am not suggesting that God will save a man who rejects Jesus. The point I'm making, which I believe to be Biblical, is that God is saving folks who didn't necessarily hear the account of Jesus and are not privy to these facts. Saving them without requiring anything of them? Is that what you're saying?


Same point as before. These passages reveal what will happen when a heart of faith encounters the good news that Jesus is Lord. It will believe the message. Those passages imply that man is responsible to choose, IMO.


Just about everywhere. :)
You brought up the passage in John 3 in which Jesus tells Nicodemus that unless a man is born again (from above) he can not see the kingdom of God. This is just one passage in which we learn that God must perform advanced work in a person's heart prior to them hearing the message so that they might believe. That is not what Jesus taught. You are inserting your doctrine into the text here. Nowhere does it say that one must be born again before they can repent and believe and be saved. A person is born again and saved after they have repented and believed.

Eph 1
12That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. 13In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,



I'm not sure how Titus 2:11 proves your point that God has reached out to each and every human being. In the context of this passage, the phrase "all men" refers, not to each and every man, but to all kinds of "men", i.e. slaves, freemen, older woman, younger women, older men, younger men, husbands, wives, and etc. Come on. I'm really tired of you saying this about every single verse that contains the phrase "all men". I don't buy it.


Yes, but you really haven't dealt with the fact that the potter analogy places God above and outside of his creation such that he has the right to make pots for dishonorable use, to make vessels that are fit for destruction from the beginning and will be destroyed. The pots themselves don't chose which type of pot they are going to be. That's the scenario that Paul sets up and the reason for his question, "Is God unjust?"

As creatures, we need to come to grips with the fact that our creator has the right to make us into damnable creatures and he has the right to damn us. What would be the point of this line of argument if Paul held the view that God created every man as a morally neutral creature who had the right and ability of self determination? It isn't even a question that God has the right to condemn those who act in unrighteousness.

If the Pot asks, "Why did you make me this way?" all God would need to say, given what you believe, is "I made you into a pot, you chose to be a toilet." But Paul argues that God makes toilets on purpose; he chooses who among us will be the toilets.But scripture indicates that God does things for a reason and not randomly. Also, while it does say He will have mercy on whoever He wants to have mercy it also tells us that He concluded all in unbelief so that He may have mercy upon all. So, He doesn't randomly give mercy to some and withhold mercy from the rest. He gives mercy to those who repent and believe and everyone is capable of doing that.

Psalm 32:10 Many sorrows shall be to the wicked: but he that trusteth in the LORD, mercy shall compass him about.

Psalm 33:22 Let thy mercy, O LORD, be upon us, according as we hope in thee.

Psalm 86:5 For thou, Lord, art good, and ready to forgive; and plenteous in mercy unto all them that call upon thee.

Proverbs 28:13 He that covereth his sins shall not prosper: but whoso confesseth and forsaketh them shall have mercy.

Matthew 5:7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Radagast
Oct 28th 2009, 07:58 AM
Getting back to the OP, Acts 17:17 says "So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there."

That's two separate groups of people (1) Jews together with Greeks who shared Jewish beliefs -- these Paul met in the synagogue; and (2) unbelievers -- these Paul met in the marketplace.

In verses 22-34, Paul explains the Gospel to the unbelievers, using ideas they were familiar with, including two quotes from Greek philosophers (Epimenides and Cleanthes the Stoic).