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Brother Mark
Feb 2nd 2012, 02:22 PM
I recently saw in a thread where someone stated the many of the doctrines in the church today started out with in the Gnostic sect. I found that interesting and did some research. Consider this thread a chance to talk about the biblical basis for your belief and to trace the history of said belief through history. Admittedly, I have done little research on the matter yet. Having just started, I am intrigued. Here is the link to the second article I read on the subject.

http://openairoutreach.wordpress.com/2011/04/04/did-augustine-corrupt-the-church-with-gnostic-doctrine/

I don't know anything about the people that wrote the article because I am just getting started. But he quoted Calvin in something that I found fascinating.


Regarding the term “free will,” John Calvin admitted “As to the Fathers, (if their authority weighs with us,) they have the term constantly in their mouths…”31 He said, “The Greek fathers above others” have taught “the power of the human will”32 and “they have not been ashamed to make use of a much more arrogant expression calling man ‘free agent or self-manager,’ just as if man had a power to govern himself…”33 He also said, “The Latin fathers have always retained the word ‘free will’ as if man stood yet upright.”34 It is a fact that cannot be denied even by those who most ardently oppose the doctrine of free will, that the doctrine of free will and not that of inability was held by all of the Early Church.

Here are the footnotes he referred to.


31. John Calvin (Institutes of the Christian Religion, Volume One, Published by Calvin Translation Society, 1845 Edition, p. 308)
32. John Calvin (An Equal Check to Pharsaism and Antinomianism by John Fletcher, Volume Two, p. 202, Published by Carlton & Porter)
33. John Calvin (A Treatise on Predestination, Election, and Grace, Historical, Doctrinal, and Practical by Walter Arthur Copinger, Published by James Nisbet, 1889 Edition, p. 320)
34. John Calvin (Doctrine of the Will by Asa Mahan, p. 60, Published by Truth in Heart)

I find it fascinating that Calvin basically threw out the entire early church Father's teaching on free will and went with Augustine. Augustine came out the Gnostic movement. It appears that after he got saved, he believed in "Free will" but later changed his mind when debating Pelagius. It also appears that Gnostics believed man was bound and had no free will at all and was totally depraved.

That's about as far as I have gotten and have not researched much further. But I am interested in many things.

For those of you that think depravity of the will is not true, then how do you handle Romans 7?

For those of you that think man is completely and totally deprived, how do you handle the apparent universal belief among the early church fathers in free will? (I am not asking you about biblical references here simply because I have seen your responses to things like John 3:16 and the like but feel free to give them if you wish.)

Grace to you,

Mark

Butch5
Feb 2nd 2012, 03:08 PM
I recently saw in a thread where someone stated the many of the doctrines in the church today started out with in the Gnostic sect. I found that interesting and did some research. Consider this thread a chance to talk about the biblical basis for your belief and to trace the history of said belief through history.

Admittedly, I have done little research on the matter yet. Having just started, I am intrigued. Here is the link to the second article I read on the subject.

http://openairoutreach.wordpress.com/2011/04/04/did-augustine-corrupt-the-church-with-gnostic-doctrine/

I don't know anything about the people that wrote the article because I am just getting started. But he quoted Calvin in something that I found fascinating.

[COLOR=#333333][FONT=Georgia]

Here are the footnotes he referred to.



I find it fascinating that Calvin basically threw out the entire early church Father's teaching on free will and went with Augustine. Augustine came out the Gnostic movement. It appears that after he got saved, he believed in "Free will" but later changed his mind when debating Pelagius. It also appears that Gnostics believed man was bound and had no free will at all and was totally depraved.

That's about as far as I have gotten and have not researched much further. But I am interested in many things.

For those of you that think depravity of the will is not true, then how do you handle Romans 7?

For those of you that think man is completely and totally deprived, how do you handle the apparent universal belief among the early church fathers in free will? (I am not asking you about biblical references here simply because I have seen your responses to things like John 3:16 and the like but feel free to give them if you wish.)

Grace to you,

Mark

Hi Mark,

One reason the Gnostics held that man was in bondage is from their Greek philosophical ideas. The philosophy of the Greek culture in Jesus' day was that matter was inherently corrupt. Having been taught this thinking Christianity was a whole new concept to them. The problem was that many tried to fit Christian teaching into their Greek philosophy. For instance, Jesus coming as the Christ presented a major problem for the Greek mind. If matter was inherently corrupt that meant that the flesh was inherently corrupt. They had a problem trying to reconcile how the Christ who was pure could inhabit a flesh body that was corrupt. They developed several ways to deal with this problem. Some said that Jesus was not the Christ, but rather that Jesus was a man like every man and that the Christ simply came dwelt in Jesus until he went to the cross at which point He left him. Others said that Jesus was not real but only appeared to be a real man, kind of like a ghost. This is the major issue John deals with in both his gospel and first two epistles. He begins both his gospel and his first epistle proving that Jesus "Is" the Christ, they are one and the same. Another big problem they had was the resurrection of the body. They believed that since the flesh was corrupt and the Spirit was pure that there was no point in a resurrection of the body. They saw the spirit being in body as trapped within this material world. To them salvation was to escape the bonds of the flesh and ascend to through the heavens to the father/mother. It is what the heavenly destiny doctrine is today. The Gnostics taught that the goal of the Christian was to ascend into heaven upon death. That is not what the Church taught. See the dichotomy they had created between the spirit and the flesh one can easily see how they would draw one of two conclusions. Some Gnostics said that since the flesh was corrupt they needed to live as righteously as possible, others said that since the flesh is corrupt and the body will die anyway it didnít matter who they lived, they spirit was pure and would be saved. Some went so far as to say one must indulge in every conceivable wickedness because it was through these experiences that one gained knowledge and it was knowledge that would ultimately get one into the heavens. We see the same thing in Calvinism today. Some hold that one must live a righteous life while others say nothing they can do will cause them to lose salvation so their lifestyle doesnít matter.

To answer your question in regard to Romans 7, I have heard the some Scholars believe that in that passage Paul is referring to himself before he became a Christian, while he was still living under the Law.

Brother Mark
Feb 2nd 2012, 03:17 PM
Hi Mark,

One reason the Gnostics held that man was in bondage is from their Greek philosophical ideas. The philosophy of the Greek culture in Jesus' day was that matter was inherently corrupt. Having been taught this thinking Christianity was a whole new concept to them. The problem was that many tried to fit Christian teaching into their Greek philosophy. For instance, Jesus coming as the Christ presented a major problem for the Greek mind. If matter was inherently corrupt that meant that the flesh was inherently corrupt. They had a problem trying to reconcile how the Christ who was pure could inhabit a flesh body that was corrupt. They developed several ways to deal with this problem. Some said that Jesus was not the Christ, but rather that Jesus was a man like every man and that the Christ simply came dwelt in Jesus until he went to the cross at which point He left him. Others said that Jesus was not real but only appeared to be a real man, kind of like a ghost. This is the major issue John deals with in both his gospel and first two epistles. He begins both his gospel and his first epistle proving that Jesus "Is" the Christ, they are one and the same. Another big problem they had was the resurrection of the body. They believed that since the flesh was corrupt and the Spirit was pure that there was no point in a resurrection of the body. They saw the spirit being in body as trapped within this material world.

Got it. Not too many disagree with these statements from what I can gather.


To them salvation was to escape the bonds of the flesh and ascend to through the heavens to the father/mother. It is what the heavenly destiny doctrine is today. The Gnostics taught that the goal of the Christian was to ascend into heaven upon death. That is not what the Church taught.

Can you expound on this? I have no idea what is meant by "heavenly destiny doctrine". Please also expound on "what the church taught" that you are referring to above.


See the dichotomy they had created between the spirit and the flesh one can easily see how they would draw one of two conclusions. Some Gnostics said that since the flesh was corrupt they needed to live as righteously as possible, others said that since the flesh is corrupt and the body will die anyway it didn’t matter who they lived, they spirit was pure and would be saved. Some went so far as to say one must indulge in every conceivable wickedness because it was through these experiences that one gained knowledge and it was knowledge that would ultimately get one into the heavens.

OK. I see where scripture talks about the body being the temple of God, meaning it is not inherently evil. I also see where the Spirit of God lives in us. Just going to think on this for a while.


We see the same thing in Calvinism today. Some hold that one must live a righteous life while others say nothing they can do will cause them to lose salvation so their lifestyle doesn’t matter.

I don't know any Calvinist that think lifestyle doesn't matter.


To answer your question in regard to Romans 7, I have heard the some Scholars believe that in that passage Paul is referring to himself before he became a Christian, while he was still living under the Law.

So? Does that still mean he had free will when he was lost? He couldn't choose to do right seems to be the point of Romans 7. Does that not agree with Calvinist thinking? (I have my own thoughts on this issue but am wanting to hear more from those that are directly opposed to total depravity first.)

Thanks Butch for taking the time to explain. I really appreciate it.

shepherdsword
Feb 2nd 2012, 03:35 PM
I think many carry "total depravity" too far. They extrapolate the term to mean that we are so depraved we can't make a decision to believe. I think that therein lies the error. I hold to total depravity but I don't think the term demands that I cannot freely choose to believe and thereby gain the grace for full repentance.

Brother Mark
Feb 2nd 2012, 03:39 PM
I think many carry "total depravity" too far. They extrapolate the term to mean that we are so depraved we can't make a decision to believe. I think that therein lies the error. I hold to total depravity but I don't think the term demands that I cannot freely choose to believe and thereby gain the grace for full repentance.

I understand. But is depravity then "total" depravity if you still have the ability to choose? Would not what you describe be better stated as "depravity of man" instead of the "total depravity of man"?

Rullion Green
Feb 2nd 2012, 03:44 PM
Did Agustine corrupt the church with Gnostic doctrine ?

Talk about a loaded question. What i would like to see is a lots of quotes from Augustine compared with Gnostic teachings and the Bible, and let us see for ourselves the corruption. Unfortunately this is lacking, I came out of Catholicism so if i teach people i will be corrupting people with catholic doctrine, this is the logic being used here. There is no doubt Augustine was heavily influenced by Manichaeism prior to conversion, and i dont hold to everything Augustine says but given the choice between Augustine and Palagius i know where i'll be going.

Pelagius, who is historically known for teaching free will in the days of Augustine, was in perfect agreement with the Early Church on this point. He said, “In all there is free-will equally by nature…”

It seems from the above quote the blogger is a advocate of Pelagianism, I dont think this is an unreasonable inference for me to make. I do not agree with Pelagianism (http://www.theopedia.com/Pelagianism)at all, so no surprise i'm not on board.

If you would like the other side to weigh up the argument, you can listen to lectures about Augustine warts and all rather than read through the city of God and his confessions. Great resource site. I highly recommend listening to the lectures on Athanasius also !

http://www.theologynetwork.org/historical-theology/

Brother Mark
Feb 2nd 2012, 03:52 PM
Did Agustine corrupt the church with Gnostic doctrine ?

Talk about a loaded question. What i would like to see is a lots of quotes from Augustine compared with Gnostic teachings and the Bible, and let us see for ourselves the corruption.

I am hoping that comes out of the thread.


Unfortunately this is lacking, I came out of Catholicism so if i teach people i will be corrupting people with catholic doctrine, this is the logic being used here.

Not at all! Such logic would require us to treat Paul the same way. He was a Pharisee and thus his doctrine was tainted. What is being suggested is that the early church fathers did not believe in total depravity to the extent that man could not choose and that such doctrine was introduced by Augustine several hundred years after Christ. It just so happens that a similar doctrine was taught in a sect that Augustine held to. Is there a line that can be drawn? I am not sure yet. But I do find it interesting.


There is no doubt Augustine was heavily influenced by Manichaeism prior to conversion, and i dont hold to everything Augustine says but given the choice between Augustine and Palagius i know where i'll be going.

Well, teach us about each. I am open to hearing both sides.


Pelagius, who is historically known for teaching free will in the days of Augustine, was in perfect agreement with the Early Church on this point. He said, “In all there is free-will equally by nature…”

It seems from the above quote the blogger is a advocate of Pelagianism, I dont think this is an unreasonable inference for me to make.

I can agree with some beliefs that a heretic may hold if those particular beliefs are true. I don't see this debate as Pelagius against Augustine. Both had issues, no doubt. But I am curious about tracing the beliefs through history.

Question: Do you know of any of the early church fathers that held man did not have the ability to choose to trust God? We know Augustine did. Anyone else prior to him?


I do not agree with Pelagianism (http://www.theopedia.com/Pelagianism)at all, so no surprise i'm not on board.

I don't think the author was a full supporter of Pelagius either. But maybe I am mistaken.


If you would like the other side to weigh up the argument, you can listen to lectures about Augustine warts and all rather than read through the city of God and his confessions. Great resource site. I highly recommend listening to the lectures on Athanasius also !

http://www.theologynetwork.org/historical-theology/

Care to break some of it down for us in the thread?

Butch5
Feb 2nd 2012, 04:19 PM
I would like to suggest something for this thread. I think it would be most beneficial if we tried as much as possible to provide "Prmiary" sources. We find writers who agree and disagree with Agustine and the ECF's,if we really want the truth let's try to stay with the writings of the authors themselves.

Butch5
Feb 2nd 2012, 04:46 PM
Can you expound on this? I have no idea what is meant by "heavenly destiny doctrine". Please also expound on "what the church taught" that you are referring to above.

Iíve got to be careful with this one because itís not popular on the board. Because they saw the body as being corrupt their idea of salvation was to be freed from the body, therefore a resurrection of the body was simply a return to corruption. This idea was creeping into the church even in Paulís day. He writes to the Corinthians.
12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?
13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:
14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.
16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. (1Co 15:12-17 KJV)

There were different beliefs in Gnosticism similar to denominations, however, they generally believed that to be saved one had to have certain knowledge (Gnosis) which of course they had. They claimed that the apostles had given them special knowledge that they did not make available to all Christians. It was through this life that one attained this knowledge. Upon death one would ascend through different spheres (heavens) to reach the Pleroma which means the fullness. This ascending into the heavens was not taught by the earliest Christians, those directly connected to the apostles. However, by as early as the year 200 AD it was making entrance into the church. Those taught by the apostles taught that the Christians destiny was not heaven but rather was to enter into the kingdom of God on the restored earth and that it was this earth that is the destiny of the redeemed. And this teaching can be found throughout Scripture.

I don't know any Calvinist that think lifestyle doesn't matter.

I do. I have a friend who believes this. He also believes that his soul cannot sin but that only his flesh can sin. One can clearly see the Gnosticism in his theology

So? Does that still mean he had free will when he was lost? He couldn't choose to do right seems to be the point of Romans 7. Does that not agree with Calvinist thinking? (I have my own thoughts on this issue but am wanting to hear more from those that are directly opposed to total depravity first.)

Thanks Butch for taking the time to explain. I really appreciate it.

Youíre wlecome! To tell you the truth, I have not studied this a great depth that is why I presented it as some Scholars have said. I would have to look more deeply into this to really expound on it further.

shepherdsword
Feb 2nd 2012, 04:56 PM
I understand. But is depravity then "total" depravity if you still have the ability to choose? Would not what you describe be better stated as "depravity of man" instead of the "total depravity of man"?

Not if the term is a synecdoche. I agree we are totally corrupt but that we can always make a decision. The alternative,makes us automatons with no choice in the matter.
It places the entire responsibility for choice on God. An unsavory accusation against justice.

Brother Mark
Feb 2nd 2012, 04:56 PM
I would like to suggest something for this thread. I think it would be most beneficial if we tried as much as possible to provide "Prmiary" sources. We find writers who agree and disagree with Agustine and the ECF's,if we really want the truth let's try to stay with the writings of the authors themselves.

Sounds good to me. But to be quite honest, I am not so good at this kind of research. Most of my research has been strictly looking at scripture and speaking with my fellow believers about doctrines.

I look forward to more direct resources in this thread. I will admit that was one reason I quoted the article above was that he quoted Calvin directly. But even I know that those quotes could be taken out of context.

Brother Mark
Feb 2nd 2012, 04:57 PM
Not if the term is a synecdoche. I agree we are totally corrupt but that we can always make a decision. The alternative,makes us automatons with no choice in the matter.
It places the entire responsibility for choice on God. An unsavory accusation against justice.


OK. What you teach is different than what the calvinist teach even though you both hold to the same term. I think I believe in the depravity of man but not the "total depravity" of man. But that's for my simplicity in thinking not saying it's technically right.

Brother Mark
Feb 2nd 2012, 05:01 PM
I’ve got to be careful with this one because it’s not popular on the board.

I understand. Especially since you refer to 1 Cor. 15. There's a tough verse or two in there that follows what you referred to that rarely people address at all!


Because they saw the body as being corrupt their idea of salvation was to be freed from the body, therefore a resurrection of the body was simply a return to corruption. This idea was creeping into the church even in Paul’s day. He writes to the Corinthians.
12 Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?
13 But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:
14 And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.
16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. (1Co 15:12-17 KJV)

There were different beliefs in Gnosticism similar to denominations, however, they generally believed that to be saved one had to have certain knowledge (Gnosis) which of course they had. They claimed that the apostles had given them special knowledge that they did not make available to all Christians. It was through this life that one attained this knowledge. Upon death one would ascend through different spheres (heavens) to reach the Pleroma which means the fullness. This ascending into the heavens was not taught by the earliest Christians, those directly connected to the apostles. However, by as early as the year 200 AD it was making entrance into the church. Those taught by the apostles taught that the Christians destiny was not heaven but rather was to enter into the kingdom of God on the restored earth and that it was this earth that is the destiny of the redeemed. And this teaching can be found throughout Scripture.

I agree with you in this as far as I understand what you are saying. We will be in the New Jerusalem and New Earth. Also, I do believe the kingdom of God is for the here and now and not only some future event. It is both. Also, I do believe we will be in heaven until the new earth and new Jerusalem are built.


I do. I have a friend who believes this. He also believes that his soul cannot sin but that only his flesh can sin. One can clearly see the Gnosticism in his theology

I could understand better if he said his spirit would not sin, that part of Him born of God. It would check him and tell him no. But I am not sure even this is correct. Sometimes the Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Seems to me the soul and flesh work together in sin.

Also, I think at some point, sin will need to be clearly defined. I think a lot of things are considered sin today that are not sin.


You’re wlecome! To tell you the truth, I have not studied this a great depth that is why I presented it as some Scholars have said. I would have to look more deeply into this to really expound on it further.

I am looking forward to this entire discussion.

PneumaPsucheSoma
Feb 2nd 2012, 05:02 PM
There's a WHOLE lot of ground between full-blown Pelagianism and even a modestly-extreme post-Calvin Reformed view.

This is all SO unnecessary. Is anyone ever going to contrast God's will (thelema) with man's will (boulema)?

Boulema cannot inherently accomplish that which it resolves and takes counsel to do. The Reformed accusations are irrelevant. Even Pelagius could not effect his own salvation. There is no compromise of God's sovreignty to insist man has a cooperative choice in fulfilling God's will THROUGH OUR OWN.

The will is a soul faculty. It was originally designed to accomplish everything in synergy with God's OWN will by being conjoined with our spirit and its communion faculty. The soul lost that innate access to God's will, but remains self-functional. There's no need for double-throwdown predestination and all the other trappings. Just a thorough understanding of man's constitution.

I'd say it would also be a great help if everyone would suspend their constraint of thought to time-space-matter based reasoning. Maybe someone could define "past, present, and future" in an eternal realm. This whole argument is poor metaphysics.

For God, is time linear and sequential with elapsation?

Is time created? Or does it govern God himself?

Brother Mark
Feb 2nd 2012, 05:09 PM
There's a WHOLE lot of ground between full-blown Pelagianism and even a modestly-extreme post-Calvin Reformed view.

Agreed!


This is all SO unnecessary.

Perhaps. But if it does bring understanding, is that not helpful?


Is anyone ever going to contrast God's will (thelema) with man's will (boulema)?

Boulema cannot inherently accomplish that which it resolves and takes counsel to do. The Reformed accusations are irrelevant. Even Pelagius could not effect his own salvation. There is no compromise of God's sovreignty to insist man has a cooperative choice in fulfilling God's will THROUGH OUR OWN.

I think this is the central argument for sure. It's the reason I do not like the term "free will". Nor do I like the idea of "sovereignty" as presented by the Calvinist.

Brother, would you please expound further on these issues you post above about the will? I would b interested in what you have to say.


The will is a soul faculty. It was originally designed to accomplish everything in synergy with God's OWN will by being conjoined with our spirit and its communion faculty. The soul lost that innate access to God's will, but remains self-functional. There's no need for double-throwdown predestination and all the other trappings. Just a thorough understanding of man's constitution.

I think we are going to agree a lot in this thread. I am still curious as to the history of "total depravity" as it's being taught today though and that is part of why I started the thread.


I'd say it would also be a great help if everyone would suspend their constraint of thought to time-space-matter based reasoning. Maybe someone could define "past, present, and future" in an eternal realm. This whole argument is poor metaphysics.

For God, is time linear and sequential with elapsation?

Is time created? Or does it govern God himself?

I will have to think about this one. It is something I have considered a little before. The last statement is one I have wrestled with little, but some. Care to expound?

Rullion Green
Feb 2nd 2012, 06:00 PM
Not at all! Such logic would require us to treat Paul the same way. He was a Pharisee and thus his doctrine was tainted. What is being suggested is that the early church fathers did not believe in total depravity to the extent that man could not choose and that such doctrine was introduced by Augustine several hundred years after Christ. It just so happens that a similar doctrine was taught in a sect that Augustine held to. Is there a line that can be drawn? I am not sure yet. But I do find it interesting.

And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body[a] and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—[B]by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.



Well, teach us about each. I am open to hearing both sides. I'm in no position to teach anyone, i have gave you links that will serve you in this purpose if your interested.




I can agree with some beliefs that a heretic may hold if those particular beliefs are true. I don't see this debate as Pelagius against Augustine. Both had issues, no doubt. But I am curious about tracing the beliefs through history.

I see this exactly as a Augustine v Palagius debate ? just my opinion though.


Question: Do you know of any of the early church fathers that held man did not have the ability to choose to trust God? We know Augustine did. Anyone else prior to him?

How about Paul in Ephesians 2 ?




I don't think the author was a full supporter of Pelagius either. But maybe I am mistaken.

Whether he is semi palegian or a full palegian it matters not. No man comes to Christ without the Father drawing him. This is not a denial of free will and human responsibility it's a biblical truth which came form our Lord.





Care to break some of it down for us in the thread?

Thats too much typing for me which is why i posted the link, take it or leave it, it's up to you my friend. Interesting topic.

Butch5
Feb 2nd 2012, 07:28 PM
Sounds good to me. But to be quite honest, I am not so good at this kind of research. Most of my research has been strictly looking at scripture and speaking with my fellow believers about doctrines.

I look forward to more direct resources in this thread. I will admit that was one reason I quoted the article above was that he quoted Calvin directly. But even I know that those quotes could be taken out of context.

Hi Mark,

The article was good because it gave references that can be checked for context. Mark, I'm going to post a site below where you can look at the church fathers and Calvin and Luther in their own words. The link below is dierectly to the church fathers however, if you type Calvin or Luther into the search box it will take you to their works. My study has been primarily in the Ante-Nicene church. After the Coucil of Nicea there were drastic changes in the church and quite a bit of false teaching began. In order to avoid this I've stuck mainly with the Ante-Nicene period. However, the link includes all volumes of the fathers including Augustine. There is also available for purchase a book called "A Dictionary of Early Christian Beliefs". The author David Bercot (sited in the article) has organized many quotes from the Ante-Nicene writer topically. You can take a topica such as salvation or baptism and look up quotes from the Ante-Nicene writers. He also gives the location of the quotes so you can go to the Church fathers writings and make usre the quotes is being used in context.

http://www.ccel.org/fathers.html

The dictionary is actually on sale at the moment

http://www.scrollpublishing.com/store/more-dictionary.html

Butch5
Feb 2nd 2012, 07:41 PM
I understand. Especially since you refer to 1 Cor. 15. There's a tough verse or two in there that follows what you referred to that rarely people address at all!



I agree with you in this as far as I understand what you are saying. We will be in the New Jerusalem and New Earth. Also, I do believe the kingdom of God is for the here and now and not only some future event. It is both. Also, I do believe we will be in heaven until the new earth and new Jerusalem are built.

Ok, we differ only slightly, in that I don't believe we go to heaven at all, but again this comes from the ECF's




I could understand better if he said his spirit would not sin, that part of Him born of God. It would check him and tell him no. But I am not sure even this is correct. Sometimes the Spirit is willing but the flesh is weak. Seems to me the soul and flesh work together in sin.

Also, I think at some point, sin will need to be clearly defined. I think a lot of things are considered sin today that are not sin.

I am looking forward to this entire discussion.

Yes, from the Gnostic perspective that the body and the soul are separate (Dualism) many believed that soul could remain pure while that body was in sin. John refutes this when he says, if we say we have no sin we lie and the truth is not in us. It was the Gnostic contention that the sins of the flesh didn't affect the spirit.

Butch5
Feb 2nd 2012, 07:52 PM
Hi Mark,

Hey, regarding Gnosticism and the heavenly destiny, here is a link that will give some understanding of this issue. Click on the link and scroll down to the very bottom of the page and either click the link, "Debate Report to Oasis Christian Church", to listen or you can right click and download the file.

http://www.heirsofthepromise.org/

PneumaPsucheSoma
Feb 2nd 2012, 08:03 PM
Agreed!

Perhaps. But if it does bring understanding, is that not helpful?

Certainly. It's not a reflection on your thread topic; rather it's in regard to the historicity of this conflict.


I think this is the central argument for sure. It's the reason I do not like the term "free will". Nor do I like the idea of "sovereignty" as presented by the Calvinist.

Brother, would you please expound further on these issues you post above about the will? I would b interested in what you have to say.

I'll do so as I have time. I'm a bit pressed today, so I'll do so late this evening.


I think we are going to agree a lot in this thread. I am still curious as to the history of "total depravity" as it's being taught today though and that is part of why I started the thread.

Butch is pretty much on point. One other issue is that the early church view isn't Arminian either, though the "free will" concepts are shared by name. It's a great study, and I applaud your desire to research it.


I will have to think about this one. It is something I have considered a little before. The last statement is one I have wrestled with little, but some. Care to expound?

I'll elaborate further as I have more time. Time is a relative measurement of comparative movements of created celestial bodies that is sequential and has elapsation. God is either bound by this or He is not. I contend that He is not, since He knows the beginning before the end.

Foreknowledge isn't so much an application of time as it is God's perspective of time from timelessness. God is "everywhen". Foreordination and/or predestination is much the same.

Reformed doctrine is very much constrained by the temporal concept of time. It's a perspective of God's timelessness from within time.

Cosmologically, I see time as the relative movement of major created celestial bodies within spatial orientation of proximity. I see it as the exhalation of God's breath at creation, within which He uttered forth the content of Himself; including the substance and identity of Himself (His own singular self) to ultimately become Incarnate.

I see an inverse Panentheism, where instead of seeing everything IS in God, everything WAS in God. In a descriptive sense, I see time as one of the measurements of the exhalation of God speaking forth the Logos. It's not a stand-alone "thing".

Brother Mark
Feb 2nd 2012, 10:40 PM
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body[a] and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind. 4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—[B]by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.

Been down this road before. Do I need to go get all the verses where God died for the whole world? Where he implores all men to believe? Where he desires all men to believe? That's part of the issue. Instead of reconciling all of scripture, calvinist ignore much of it, IMO. Words have to have meanings changed so that "world" no longer means "world" but instead means "elect".


I'm in no position to teach anyone, i have gave you links that will serve you in this purpose if your interested.

Then discuss if you desire.


I see this exactly as a Augustine v Palagius debate ? just my opinion though.

That debate would be MUCH broader than this one. This thread is simply about tracing the belief of total depravity in the sense that it is so total, man cannot choose God at all and that God has to choose for them. That's different than saying man cannot save himself through his own will, nor will he come to God without God drawing him, but he can choose to trust God or choose to reject God.


How about Paul in Ephesians 2 ?

Or Romans 1? God put the inner call in those in Romans 1 and they rejected it. I don't think Paul taught total depravity to the point that man cannot respond to the gospel as God calls him.


Whether he is semi palegian or a full palegian it matters not. No man comes to Christ without the Father drawing him. This is not a denial of free will and human responsibility it's a biblical truth which came form our Lord.

I don't know of anyone who believes differently.


Thats too much typing for me which is why i posted the link, take it or leave it, it's up to you my friend. Interesting topic.

OK. If it's for a reference fine. But in general, this is a discussion board to be discussed. I'll check out the link and see what it has.

Brother Mark
Feb 2nd 2012, 10:43 PM
Ok, we differ only slightly, in that I don't believe we go to heaven at all, but again this comes from the ECF's

OK. Not to side track the thread, but when Paul says that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, and Stephen says that the Lord is seated in heaven at the right hand of the Father, it seems to me we go to heaven at death. What is your belief, in brief. You can PM if you don't want it on the open board. And I certainly don't want to side rail this thread.


Yes, from the Gnostic perspective that the body and the soul are separate (Dualism) many believed that soul could remain pure while that body was in sin. John refutes this when he says, if we say we have no sin we lie and the truth is not in us. It was the Gnostic contention that the sins of the flesh didn't affect the spirit.

OK. That's a major misunderstanding of the soul, spirit and body, IMO. I think the soul is greatly impacted by our sin in many, many ways. I would argue that the soul is the seat of our emotions and will and mind and that it is what often determines if we choose to sin or choose to walk in the spirit. The fleshly body just carries out the will of the soul.

Anyway, thanks for the clarification. Not wanting to side rail the thread but this is interesting too.

Brother Mark
Feb 2nd 2012, 10:51 PM
Certainly. It's not a reflection on your thread topic; rather it's in regard to the historicity of this conflict.

OK. I understand.


I'll do so as I have time. I'm a bit pressed today, so I'll do so late this evening.

I am looking forward to it.


Butch is pretty much on point. One other issue is that the early church view isn't Arminian either, though the "free will" concepts are shared by name. It's a great study, and I applaud your desire to research it.

I am less familiar with what "Arminian" really is than Calvinism. I've been to all kinds of churches, from non-denominational, to southern baptist, independent baptist, pentecostal holiness, presbyterian, assemblies of God, church of God, etc. I've been exposed more to calvinist thinking than arminian. I suppose at some point, I need to know what Arminians really believe.


I'll elaborate further as I have more time. Time is a relative measurement of comparative movements of created celestial bodies that is sequential and has elapsation. God is either bound by this or He is not. I contend that He is not, since He knows the beginning before the end.

Again, looking forward to it.


Foreknowledge isn't so much an application of time as it is God's perspective of time from timelessness. God is "everywhen". Foreordination and/or predestination is much the same.

I like that. Everywhen. I've had it described to me as God being outside time. He sees all at the same time so to speak.


Reformed doctrine is very much constrained by the temporal concept of time. It's a perspective of God's timelessness from within time.

I partly understand. Not sure I get your main point but I think I do.


I see an inverse Panentheism, where instead of seeing everything IS in God, everything WAS in God. In a descriptive sense, I see time as one of the measurements of the exhalation of God speaking forth the Logos. It's not a stand-alone "thing".

OK. I look forward to you expounding on it further.

Butch5
Feb 2nd 2012, 11:06 PM
OK. Not to side track the thread, but when Paul says that to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord, and Stephen says that the Lord is seated in heaven at the right hand of the Father, it seems to me we go to heaven at death. What is your belief, in brief. You can PM if you don't want it on the open board. And I certainly don't want to side rail this thread.

Briefly, Jesus taught that Lazarus was in Abraham's bosom and the Rich man in torment. The ECF's understood these to be regions in hades. Regarding Paul's statement and Stephen's for that matter, David says,

8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. (Psa 139:8 KJV)

In the Septuagint, the word for Hell is Hades. If God is in Heaven and Hell, (omnipresent) then it would seem no matter where we went we would be with the Lord.

If you would like further information I can email or pm it.




OK. That's a major misunderstanding of the soul, spirit and body, IMO. I think the soul is greatly impacted by our sin in many, many ways. I would argue that the soul is the seat of our emotions and will and mind and that it is what often determines if we choose to sin or choose to walk in the spirit. The fleshly body just carries out the will of the soul.

Anyway, thanks for the clarification. Not wanting to side rail the thread but this is interesting too.

It is interesting, as you study the Gnostics much of the NT will take on new light. Suddenly certain passages will jump out at you.

Brother Mark
Feb 2nd 2012, 11:14 PM
Briefly, Jesus taught that Lazarus was in Abraham's bosom and the Rich man in torment. The ECF's understood these to be regions in hades.

Yea. I see it that way too. There's just a few passages that make me think that changed after the crucifixion and resurrection. But we don't need to further that here.


Regarding Paul's statement and Stephen's for that matter, David says,

8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. (Psa 139:8 KJV)

In the Septuagint, the word for Hell is Hades. If God is in Heaven and Hell, (omnipresent) then it would seem no matter where we went we would be with the Lord.

OK. I see where you are coming from now.


If you would like further information I can email or pm it.

I am often interested in different view points. I read the link you provided above and didn't see much where I disagreed with the thought train. One last question, what do you make of these verses:

Rev 4:1-2
After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, " Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things."
NASU

and later one we see this passage...

Rev 7:13-15

13 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, "These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?" 14 I said to him, "My lord, you know." And he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 "For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them.
NASU

Feel free to answer me in PM if you wish and especially so if you think it will side track this thread.


It is interesting, as you study the Gnostics much of the NT will take on new light. Suddenly certain passages will jump out at you.

What passages in particular? I have heard since I was a boy that 1 John was written to combat the Gnostics. I guess I really need an understanding of their beliefs in order to grasp the full intent of what John was going up against, and what his words were designed to accomplish.

Caleb
Feb 3rd 2012, 12:17 AM
Matt 13:15 For the heart of this people has become dull, and their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes have closed, lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their hearts and turn back, that I should heal them.'
Matt 13:16 "But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears, because they hear.
Matt 13:17 For assuredly I say to you, that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and they did not see, and to hear what you hear, and they did not hear."

Jesus said to the disciples that they were blessed to see and hear and believe, and that if the others had been blessed to see, hear and understand with their hearts, they would turn and be healed by the Lord.

More often than not, what we choose is in accordance with our understandings and desires. So, can our will (volition) be free if it is deaf and blind to the truth? If our will is guided or governed according to our desires and understanding, then we are told not to lean on our own understanding, then I would believe that God is telling us that our will is not free.

I tend to believe that only God's will is truly free, because He has perfect understanding and knows all things. Our will is only free when we do His will.

As for total depravity.
If there was anything worthy of saving then I guess that God would save it, but God will completely destroy (we are crucified with Christ) and make all things new.

Rullion Green
Feb 3rd 2012, 05:56 PM
Been down this road before. Do I need to go get all the verses where God died for the whole world? Where he implores all men to believe? Where he desires all men to believe?

No you dont have to go get the verses, i dont know why it;'s being brought up? i thought you were asking about the depravity of man. But if it is Gods will to save all then why does it not get done ? because man in his free will frustrates god ?



That's part of the issue. Instead of reconciling all of scripture, calvinist ignore much of it, IMO. Words have to have meanings changed so that "world" no longer means "world" but instead means "elect".

This charge could be pointed at libertarians who deny Gods drawing to His and quickening sinners, So it works both ways.

PneumaPsucheSoma
Feb 3rd 2012, 06:55 PM
OK. I understand.

I am looking forward to it.

I am less familiar with what "Arminian" really is than Calvinism. I've been to all kinds of churches, from non-denominational, to southern baptist, independent baptist, pentecostal holiness, presbyterian, assemblies of God, church of God, etc. I've been exposed more to calvinist thinking than arminian. I suppose at some point, I need to know what Arminians really believe.

Butch would be a great candidate for an expose on the differences between Ante-Nicene and Arminian differences, since he has a specifically Restorationist view and isn't a legalistic lunatic.


Again, looking forward to it.

I like that. Everywhen. I've had it described to me as God being outside time. He sees all at the same time so to speak.

I partly understand. Not sure I get your main point but I think I do.

OK. I look forward to you expounding on it further.

I'm thinking it's more a stand-alone topic that would derail this thread, but I'll throw out some highlights.

Before the utterance which was the Divine Expression, nothing was or had ever been external to God. Everything came from His objective heart and mind. Time is a part of that creation in company with space and matter, which are all interdependently juxtaposed. Time is a measure of material objects' movement within space. Thus it is a part of the temporal framework for relative reference. "When" and "where" are tangible temporal parameters for subjective reality. God exists objectively, but could/can not be subjectively perceived as real. There was no one/nothing to observe or experience Him.

Out of Himself, God uttered an entire subjective realm of existence by/through/from which He could be subjectively perceived. He created the "real"-ization of Himself by subjective experience and observation. The natural universe is the backdrop for painting Himself upon a tangible, experiential vivified canvass. Within this utterance, the divine content of Himself proceeded forth as His own Logos to be embodied as an immanent man, thus completely making Himself "real"-ized by those with spiritual eyes to see and spiritual ears to hear. God uttered the transcendent substance and identity of Himself to be "real"-ized by mankind.

Time was necessary as a parameter for the subjective "real"-ization of His objectively unobservable transcendence. He remains teanscendent, but pervades all existence external to Himself. He utilized time-space-matter to embody the essence of Himself as substantial in the sense of these subjective parameters.

He created the natural universe solely to be "real"-ized by that which was created out of His heart by the utterance. The Logos is the externalization of His own singular self within the vast expanse that represents the immensity of His heart. The Logos "seeded" all life from His life by dividing asunder His vivifying Spirit which proceedeth to be externalized into subjective reality as the Logos was. An exhalation of God's breath.

To constrain this to a linear, sequential pattern from our human persoective and call it election and predestination, etc., is quite a small understanding. Confiniing our understanding of timelessness within a conceptual framework of time is absurd.

"Before" and "after" are feeble terms in regards to eternity. Reformed thought is an immanent attempt at transcendent understanding. And not a very good one, at that.

Butch5
Feb 3rd 2012, 07:55 PM
I am often interested in different view points. I read the link you provided above and didn't see much where I disagreed with the thought train. One last question, what do you make of these verses:

Rev 4:1-2
After these things I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven, and the first voice which I had heard, like the sound of a trumpet speaking with me, said, " Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after these things."
NASU

and later one we see this passage...

Rev 7:13-15

13 Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, "These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?" 14 I said to him, "My lord, you know." And he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 "For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them.
NASU

Feel free to answer me in PM if you wish and especially so if you think it will side track this thread.

Hi Mark,

It seems to me that in the first verse there John is being called into heaven to receive the vision. However, in the passage from chapter 7 it seems to be describing the Kingdom of God established on earth. Notice he says there are they who came out of The Great Tribulation. As I understand it Christ returns at the end of the end of the tribulation. So, if they came out of it it would seem that they are in the earthly kingdom.




What passages in particular? I have heard since I was a boy that 1 John was written to combat the Gnostics. I guess I really need an understanding of their beliefs in order to grasp the full intent of what John was going up against, and what his words were designed to accomplish.

Some would probably be different for me than you because I began studying the ECF's, Gnosticism and the Heavenly Destiny at pretty much the same time. Your study of the ECF's Will turn your Christianity upside down is you hold many modern doctrines. Many of the doctrines held today either cannot be found in their writings or are being denounced. John's first epistle will take on new light as you begin to understand Gnostic thinking. Some of Paul's writings will also begin to come into knew light because as you begin to understand Gnostic thinking you will also gain insight into the thinking of the Greek mind of that time. Much of Paul's writings are battling that mindset. I believe that is why many Christians today misunderstand Paul. The mindset was Fatalism or determinism, whatever was meant to be will be. This is where Augustine's idea of predestination comes from, he just attributes it to God instead of fate. You see in the Scriptures the denial of the resurrection in the Greek mind. When Paul was at Mars Hill they mocked him when he began to speak of the resurrection of the dead. When you understand the Gnostic teachings on sin you should really see passages jump out of 1 John. For instance, John says, if we say we have no sin. What Christian today would make that claim? Most believe that it's impossible to go without committing sin. However, the statement makes perfect sense if your talking to a Gnostic.

Brother Mark
Feb 3rd 2012, 08:16 PM
Hi Mark,

It seems to me that in the first verse there John is being called into heaven to receive the vision. However, in the passage from chapter 7 it seems to be describing the Kingdom of God established on earth. Notice he says there are they who came out of The Great Tribulation. As I understand it Christ returns at the end of the end of the tribulation. So, if they came out of it it would seem that they are in the earthly kingdom.

OK. This is where we differ. They did come out of the tribulation, but judgement is getting ready to fall on the earth from the wrath of the Lamb and the New Heaven and New Earth and New Jerusalem have not yet been built. Other than this small detail, I think we are basically in agreement. Also, the white robes were around the throne.


Some would probably be different for me than you because I began studying the ECF's, Gnosticism and the Heavenly Destiny at pretty much the same time. Your study of the ECF's Will turn your Christianity upside down is you hold many modern doctrines. Many of the doctrines held today either cannot be found in their writings or are being denounced. John's first epistle will take on new light as you begin to understand Gnostic thinking. Some of Paul's writings will also begin to come into knew light because as you begin to understand Gnostic thinking you will also gain insight into the thinking of the Greek mind of that time. Much of Paul's writings are battling that mindset. I believe that is why many Christians today misunderstand Paul. The mindset was Fatalism or determinism, whatever was meant to be will be. This is where Augustine's idea of predestination comes from, he just attributes it to God instead of fate. You see in the Scriptures the denial of the resurrection in the Greek mind. When Paul was at Mars Hill they mocked him when he began to speak of the resurrection of the dead. When you understand the Gnostic teachings on sin you should really see passages jump out of 1 John. For instance, John says, if we say we have no sin. What Christian today would make that claim? Most believe that it's impossible to go without committing sin. However, the statement makes perfect sense if your talking to a Gnostic.

Yea, I don't buy the belief that one cannot walk sin free. That doesn't fit with what many of the scriptures teach. I do believe that there can be sin we are unaware of (i.e. like the OT unintentional sins). Also, there are things the Lord doesn't deal with us now that are sinful, that as we mature, he does deal with us in. So yea, we can certainly walk without sin. That's my thinking on the issue and it never seemed a contradiction to me. What do you see it as after studying Gnostics?

I do think I need to read into more about the Gnostics and what it was they believed.

Butch5
Feb 4th 2012, 04:04 AM
OK. This is where we differ. They did come out of the tribulation, but judgement is getting ready to fall on the earth from the wrath of the Lamb and the New Heaven and New Earth and New Jerusalem have not yet been built. Other than this small detail, I think we are basically in agreement. Also, the white robes were around the throne.

One thing I forgot to mention was that It seems to me that John is seeing heaven and earth at the same time. He mentions those souls under the altar. I believe it is Victorinus that speaks of the Brazen altar as the earth. This would make sense if we understand that souls are in Hades which is said to be under the earth. I think this also bears on the issue.




Yea, I don't buy the belief that one cannot walk sin free. That doesn't fit with what many of the scriptures teach. I do believe that there can be sin we are unaware of (i.e. like the OT unintentional sins). Also, there are things the Lord doesn't deal with us now that are sinful, that as we mature, he does deal with us in. So yea, we can certainly walk without sin. That's my thinking on the issue and it never seemed a contradiction to me. What do you see it as after studying Gnostics?

I do think I need to read into more about the Gnostics and what it was they believed.

I agree with you, howwever, I think the majority of Chrsitians believe it is impossible to go without sin. I think it would help you immensely to get an understanding of Gnisticism and the Judaizers. Both of these are issues that plagued the early church. Understanding the Judaizers gives new light to Paul's writings.

Brother Mark
Feb 5th 2012, 10:59 PM
One thing I forgot to mention was that It seems to me that John is seeing heaven and earth at the same time. He mentions those souls under the altar. I believe it is Victorinus that speaks of the Brazen altar as the earth. This would make sense if we understand that souls are in Hades which is said to be under the earth. I think this also bears on the issue.

Well, to discuss a little further, look at this passage.

Rev 7:15-17
15 "For this reason, they are before the throne of God; and they serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits on the throne will spread His tabernacle over them. 16 " They will hunger no longer, nor thirst anymore; nor will the sun beat down on them, nor any heat; 17 for the Lamb in the center of the throne will be their shepherd, and will guide them to springs of the water of life; and God will wipe every tear from their eyes."
NASU

They were around the throne and in the temple and the tabernacle was over them. This was between the 6th and 7th seals.

But Jesus, ascended to minister in the temple.

Heb 9:23-25

23 Therefore it was necessary for the copies of the things in the heavens to be cleansed with these, but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. 24 For Christ did not enter a holy place made with hands, a mere copy of the true one, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us; 25 nor was it that He would offer Himself often, as the high priest enters the holy place year by year with blood that is not his own.
NASU

Since the things in Revelation were not yet completed, and the saints were around the throne and in the temple, and we know that Jesus had to sprinkle with blood the things in heavens, then doesn't it lead that what John saw was still in heaven? IOW, the New Jerusalem had not yet been built for the saints to be in and around when it was written. Yet, they were there. It appears to me that they were in heaven, where the holy of Holies is at for now.


I agree with you, howwever, I think the majority of Chrsitians believe it is impossible to go without sin. I think it would help you immensely to get an understanding of Gnisticism and the Judaizers. Both of these are issues that plagued the early church. Understanding the Judaizers gives new light to Paul's writings.

I don't know if it is a majority or not. But there are plenty out there that do not believe we can overcome sin. That is sad because if you don't believe you can, you won't.

Ascender
Feb 6th 2012, 02:11 AM
Free Will is a Early Doctrine and pre-Pelagius -- it is found in a simple search of the "Whosoever" verses of the NT. It is capped by: Rev 22:17 And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely. Depravity is the condition of the Natural Man due to Adam. It is total in the sense that, "Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;" but is not total in the sense that those lost in trespass and sin cannot have any knowledge of God, for "Romans 1:18-21 KJV For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; (19) Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. (20) For 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: (21) Because 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." Since God revealed it to all it is not total for with knowledge come choice and choice mandates action either active or passive. Those who lay down and are passed by are condemned already, those who pursue and desire will find if they seek with all their heart. The Gnostics were heretic in that they professed a way other than Christ and Him crucified.

glad4mercy
Feb 8th 2012, 02:50 PM
I think many carry "total depravity" too far. They extrapolate the term to mean that we are so depraved we can't make a decision to believe. I think that therein lies the error. I hold to total depravity but I don't think the term demands that I cannot freely choose to believe and thereby gain the grace for full repentance.

I believe that until the Spirit draws an unsaved person to Christ, they are completely dead, ( Ephesians 2:1) and cannot come to God without divine intervention, for Jesus said, "No man can come to me unless the Spirit draws Him." ( John 6:44) Many know that they are sinners, and some even know that Jesus died for their sins, yet they remain unsaved. Why? Because they love their sins too much. Jesus said that "this is the condemnation, Light has entered the world yet men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. ( John 3:19) An unregenerate person has a will, but it is a bound will, bound to powerful lusts and desires.

I believe that an unsaved person cannot just "choose to believe" apart from the Grace of God that precedes his/her choice, because they basically won't want to.

Romans 3: 11-There is none who understands; There is none who seeks after God. 12They have all turned aside; They have together become unprofitable; There is none who does good, no, not one. 13. "Their throat is an open tomb; With their tongues they have practiced deceit"; "The poison of asps is under their lips"; 14 "Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness." 15. "Their feet are swift to shed blood; 16 Destruction and misery are in their ways; 17 And the way of peace they have not known." 18"There is no fear of God before their eyes."

The natural man does not seek God, fear God, or know His Ways. The convicting ministry of the Holy Spirit teaches the heart to fear, awakens the first desires to know the true God, and points them the Way of Peace, Jesus. ( Twas Grace that taught my heart to fear, and Grace my fears relieved...) Often a person thinks that they are seeking God from their own volition, when it is in fact the Holy Spirit that has awakened this very desire in them. Additionally, Jesus said "...if I be lifted up, I will draw all men to myself...", though some accept and others reject the invitation of the Spirit and the Bridegroom who say "Come."

Once the Spirit convicts and draws a person to Jesus, they can either obey the Heavenly Call and be saved or reject it and perish. So I basically believe in total depravity, but I don't believe in irresistable grace.

Secondly, Total depravity, to my understanding, doesnt mean that a person is totally devoid of any goodness, as far as what we consider goodness. They may still love their wives and children, have compassion on the needy, be honest, etc. Total depravity to me means that a person in their natural state is so far cut off and alienated from God that they will never truly repent and come to Him unless He draws them. We do not find God, the Shepherd leaves the ninety and nine and searches the mountains, hills, and plains until He finds us, then He lays us on His Shoulders and carries us home, rejoicing.

Baruch HaShem

VerticalReality
Feb 8th 2012, 04:29 PM
What passages in particular? I have heard since I was a boy that 1 John was written to combat the Gnostics. I guess I really need an understanding of their beliefs in order to grasp the full intent of what John was going up against, and what his words were designed to accomplish.

I may need to brush up on my history, but I believe 1 John is partly a refutation of the gnostic belief that we are all spiritual beings, and the spiritual part of us is the "real us" rather than the physical aspects that are solely evil. The gnostics would stretch that belief into saying that it doesn't matter what actions are taken in the flesh because that is not the "true us." Therefore, a person could practice a lifestyle of sin and it not matter because we are spiritual beings.

GregoryAlanLewis
May 23rd 2018, 09:38 PM
Found this very old thread when looking up Gnostic Teachings and Free Will.


I find it fascinating that Calvin basically threw out the entire early church Father's teaching on free will and went with Augustine. Augustine came out the Gnostic movement.

In reality Calvin was much more deceptive that just throwing out the early church fathers (which nearly all taught free will). Calvin claimed

John Calvin [a.d. 1509-1564]


Institutes of the Christian Religion
BOOK 2 - CHAPTER 2. MAN NOW DEPRIVED OF FREEDOM OF WILL, AND MISERABLY ENSLAVED.
http://www.ccel.org/ccel/calvin/institutes.iv.iii.html


“Moreover although the Greek Fathers, above others, and especially Chrysostom, have exceeded due bounds in extolling the powers of the human will, yet all ancient theologians, with the exception of Augustine, are so confused, vacillating, and contradictory on this subject, that no certainty can be obtained from their writings. It is needless, therefore, to be more particular in enumerating every separate opinion.”

Pbminimum
May 23rd 2018, 09:56 PM
I understand. But is depravity then "total" depravity if you still have the ability to choose? Would not what you describe be better stated as "depravity of man" instead of the "total depravity of man"?

Hence " carry it too far " ....

Pbminimum
May 23rd 2018, 10:01 PM
In reality Calvin was much more deceptive that just throwing out the early church fathers (which nearly all taught free will).

Much more indeed. Calvin expressly places sin directly in God's will. He in fact claims that God Himself orchestrates and ordains all sin. But in all reality this is where the theology ends. If one follows Calvin's teachings to the letter they must wind up there too.

verity
May 29th 2018, 04:36 PM
I recently saw in a thread where someone stated the many of the doctrines in the church today started out with in the Gnostic sect. I found that interesting and did some research. Consider this thread a chance to talk about the biblical basis for your belief and to trace the history of said belief through history.

If the many doctrines in the church today started out with the Gnostic sect, then the so-called church "fathers" were led astray.

gnostic- The gnostics were a sect of philosophers that arose in the first ages of Christianity, who pretended they were the only men who had a true knowledge of the Christian religion. They formed for themselves a system of theology agreeable to the philosophy of Pythagoras and Plato. They held that all natures, intelligible, intellectual, and material, are derived by successive emanations from the infinite fountains of deity.

Greek Philosophy

Act 17:16* Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry.*
Act 17:17* Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him.*
Act 17:18* Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection.*
Act 17:19* And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is?*
Act 17:20* For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean.*
Act 17:21* (For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)*
Act 17:22* Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.*
Act 17:23* For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.*

Why give credence to philosophy and doctrines of men? Whether Greek or Latin of Asian or any number of other philosophies, they can not be depended upon as a sure foundation. That is given to us in the Word.

Col 2:8* Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.*

*

randyk
May 30th 2018, 05:58 AM
I recently saw in a thread where someone stated the many of the doctrines in the church today started out with in the Gnostic sect. I found that interesting and did some research. Consider this thread a chance to talk about the biblical basis for your belief and to trace the history of said belief through history. Admittedly, I have done little research on the matter yet. Having just started, I am intrigued. Here is the link to the second article I read on the subject.

http://openairoutreach.wordpress.com/2011/04/04/did-augustine-corrupt-the-church-with-gnostic-doctrine/

I don't know anything about the people that wrote the article because I am just getting started. But he quoted Calvin in something that I found fascinating.



Here are the footnotes he referred to.



I find it fascinating that Calvin basically threw out the entire early church Father's teaching on free will and went with Augustine. Augustine came out the Gnostic movement. It appears that after he got saved, he believed in "Free will" but later changed his mind when debating Pelagius. It also appears that Gnostics believed man was bound and had no free will at all and was totally depraved.

That's about as far as I have gotten and have not researched much further. But I am interested in many things.

For those of you that think depravity of the will is not true, then how do you handle Romans 7?

For those of you that think man is completely and totally deprived, how do you handle the apparent universal belief among the early church fathers in free will? (I am not asking you about biblical references here simply because I have seen your responses to things like John 3:16 and the like but feel free to give them if you wish.)

Grace to you,

Mark

Those who teach that Augustine birthed the "sin nature," and that the Early Church spoke of "Free Will" minus the "Sin Nature," are, I think, off the wall. The idea of being conceived in sin is thoroughly biblical, and the Early Church obviously understood the need to be redeemed by Christ from the sin nature.

Though Gnostics and various heretical and non-Christian groups have taught fatalism, of one kind or another, this is not to be confused with Calvinism or Predestination. Personally, I don't go as far as Luther in his idea of the "bondage of the will." Like his friend and compatriot Melanchthon I believe in the operation of free will together with the bondages associated with the sin nature. My belief is that we do have authentic freedom of choice, but are indeed bound in sin to the degree we have become disconnected from "the Vine."

Though nobody can operate in the fruit of Christ's nature apart from becoming "born again," even unredeemed men are able to produce a certain amount of good as men who do have access to God's nature. What Christ does for us is to liberate us from living a life independent of God, only sometimes doing good, to enjoy a continuous partnership with God, secured eternally by grace.

Keep in mind that any act independent of God's word is considered rebellion against the Kingdom of God, and is deserving of death. Christ enables us to not only go on trying to live in obedience to God's word, but also to enjoy a guarantee of eternal life based on our choice to live in the realm of regular obedience.

The problem with evil works is that it is predicated upon the choice to accept the right to independent living separate from God's word. This is tantamount to rejection of Christ, and is the basis for the rejection of "works" in the matter of salvation.

The "bondage of sin" has to do with the inescapable production of evil out of our human works when we deviate from God's word. And having inherited the independent nature of Adam we all are born with the tendency to act on our own, independent from God's word. We are "bound" to produce evil works.

On the other hand, we are indeed free to choose to live a life in dependence upon God, living in partnership with God, and in essence, accepting Christ as our way, truth, and life. In choosing this we do good works, although we continue, inevitably, to do and tend towards independence, producing, by necessity, evil works. To keep this independence and this evil at a minimum is the goal of one who has devoted his life to Christ.