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From Calvinist to Catholic
Holy Spirit Interactive ^ | Rodney Beason

Posted on 05/26/2007 4:32:30 PM PDT by Titanites

I am a convert to the Catholic Faith from Calvinism. I loved Calvinism and owned a library full of Calvin, Luther, Warfield, Hodge, Murray, Owen, Machen, etc. as well as helped plant a local Orthodox Presbyterian Church. I knew Reformation Theology and how much hatred it generates for the Catholic Church. As a Calvinist, I could boast with the best of them. I even persecuted the Catholic Church and went after every one of them I found, beating them back with Scripture, upon Scripture, upon quotes of Luther, Calvin, etc. I found great pleasure in debating Catholics.

My one flaw was learning what the Early Church Fathers believed. A Catholic who had not fared well in a debate with me, mentioned I should read the Early Church Fathers to see just how Catholic they were. I honestly thought I would just gain more "ammo" to use in my battles.

I found Ignatius of Antioch and Polycarp with my first visit to the University Library. I poured over them for months until finally I pounded the books on the table with my fists, tossed them from the fourth to the third level of the library and wept. It seemed these great martyrs for the Faith were Catholic. It had taken about 8 months of going over Clement, Augustine, Athanasius, etc. to see the Catholic Church was the Early Church. I kept coming back to Ignatius and Polycarp as I could not get them out of my mind.

Over the next two years, I read more and more on the Catholic Faith and became less and less convinced the Reformed Faith was correct. It became clear to me; it was nothing more than a novelty, spewing forth doctrines that had never been believed before. Christ promised the Holy Spirit to His Church and stated the gates of hell would not prevail against it. I thought that was a lie and for 1500 years, the Church had been without truth and the gates of hell had prevailed. It is very humbling to come to the conclusion you have been horribly wrong, even to the point of not trusting the words of our precious Lord and Saviour. Yet, I still was not ready to become a Catholic.

Then one day when I was reading the Scripture I read Paul talking about how he was the most religious Pharisee, the most upright, and you know my heart was pierced and I actually laughed about how I could claim I had been one of the best Calvinists around, but then it hit me. Was that even something to boast about? So I looked up one of the most wonderful examples of boasting the Lord mentioned. Luke 18:9-14 (Please read the Scripture as this is my paraphrase)

'Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Calvinist and the other a sinner. The Calvinist (that would be I) stood and was praying thus to himself, God, I thank thee that I am not like other people, sinners, Catholics, heretics, or even like this sinner beside me. I planted your church in this god-forsaken part of the country, I read the Scriptures and Calvin and Luther twice a week, and the rest of the week I read nothing but reformers and your Scriptures. But the sinner standing a little off to the side, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast saying, God, be merciful to me the sinner. I tell you this man went down to his house justified rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself shall be humbled but he who humbles himself shall be exalted."

You know who the sinner was? I turned next to Luke 5:8 because I was then looking for others who admitted they were sinners for I knew I was once the boaster but now I was the sinner. "But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus' feet saying, Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord." Peter then was able to go on and follow Jesus. Peter came home, this home became the Church, and he was the Rock it was built upon, and he was justified.

At that moment, it finally became clear I could not stay a Calvinist or stay in the OPC. I had plans to attend Westminster Seminary and those were discarded. I lost friends and was informed I must have never been a Christian in the first place.

As I became least, Christ became more. I decided the only place I could go was the home where the Apostle Peter went. I was accepted into the Catholic Church in Easter 2002. I have never been happier and I wish and pray this joy for all. I will never be the same after taking the Body and Blood of our Lord.


TOPICS: Apologetics; Catholic; Ministry/Outreach; Theology
KEYWORDS: beason; calvinism; conversion; convert; flamebait; presbyterian; reformed; rodneybeason; truthnotflamebait
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To: Uncle Chip
Believing is not a work ---- nor is receiving ---- either scripturally or in the real world.

Do believing and receiving involve a function of the will?

Is belief something you do? Is receiving something you do?

151 posted on 05/28/2007 7:56:55 AM PDT by Frumanchu (Jerry Falwell: Now a Calvinist in Glory)
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To: P-Marlowe
My belief is and was along the lines of that of Abraham, the father of our faith ---- and Paul says that Abraham's faith was not a work, but his faith was accounted unto him for righteousness.

Isn't that what Paul says in Romans 5:4???? Yes or No ——

152 posted on 05/28/2007 8:03:43 AM PDT by Uncle Chip (TRUTH : Ignore it. Deride it. Allegorize it. Interpret it. But you can't ESCAPE it.)
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To: Frumanchu
Is belief something you do? Is receiving something you do?

So is "breathing" --- Is that "a work"?

153 posted on 05/28/2007 8:05:29 AM PDT by Uncle Chip (TRUTH : Ignore it. Deride it. Allegorize it. Interpret it. But you can't ESCAPE it.)
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To: Uncle Chip
So is "breathing" --- Is that "a work"?

Is breathing a moral, volitional act?

154 posted on 05/28/2007 8:14:18 AM PDT by Frumanchu (Jerry Falwell: Now a Calvinist in Glory)
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To: Uncle Chip
Paul says that Abraham's faith was not a work, but his faith was accounted unto him for righteousness. Isn't that what Paul says in Romans 5:4???? Yes or No ——

Yes.

Now answer my questions.

Did God draw you to him?

Is your belief the product of God directly intervening in your life to bring you to a saving faith in Christ?

Or is this something that you did on your own?

Yes or no.

155 posted on 05/28/2007 8:16:55 AM PDT by P-Marlowe (LPFOKETT GAHCOEEP-w/o*)
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To: Frumanchu
That said, I stand very firmly grounded in the doctrines of the Reformed faith and it is equally irritating when I see others condemn something they clearly do not have a firm grasp of. Such is the case with some of the comments in the original article and in some of the responses following.

Unfortunately there is much guilt to go around among defenders of both Catholic and Reformed doctrine. There are possibly more posters who are engaged in sincere and inquisitive discource, but these voices often seem overwhelmed by those involved in theology baiting and name calling, much of it based on ignorance ("Calvinism is intellectually lazy", "Catholics believe that Mary is the redeemer", etc.)

Converted protestants often make the best Catholics (Fr. Neuhaus, Cardinal Newman, etc.) I'm not sure that the same would hold true in the other direction since the days of the original reformers.

156 posted on 05/28/2007 8:20:58 AM PDT by Huber (And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. - John 1:5)
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To: Frumanchu
Is breathing a moral, volitional act?

It is if you want to live --- though it is also autonomic.

After this post I am going to lay down and rest for 5 minutes. Just because I am exercising my will and choosing to do so, does that make my 5 minute nap "a work"???

157 posted on 05/28/2007 8:25:26 AM PDT by Uncle Chip (TRUTH : Ignore it. Deride it. Allegorize it. Interpret it. But you can't ESCAPE it.)
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To: Uncle Chip
It is if you want to live --- though it is also autonomic.

It is indeed autonomic, and as a matter of course it is NOT a moral act. The act of breathing is not in and of itself a moral act of the will.

After this post I am going to lay down and rest for 5 minutes. Just because I am exercising my will and choosing to do so, does that make my 5 minute nap "a work"???

That depends entirely upon whether or not a moral inclination is the impetus for it. If you are doing so as the outworking of a moral choice you are facing, then indeed it is.

Perhaps, since you seem so intent on insisting faith is not a work, you could define for us exactly what a work IS.

158 posted on 05/28/2007 8:32:04 AM PDT by Frumanchu (Jerry Falwell: Now a Calvinist in Glory)
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To: P-Marlowe
Paul says that Abraham's faith was not a work, but his faith was accounted unto him for righteousness. Isn't that what Paul says in Romans 5:4???? Yes or No ——

Yes.

Good ---- then believing in God's word is not a work.

Did God draw you to him?

He certainly did just as He does to all men as the scripture says: "If I be lifted up from the earth, I will draw all men unto me". But He didn't say that He would make all men believe in him.

Is your belief the product of God directly intervening in your life to bring you to a saving faith in Christ?

Yes --- just as He promises to intervene in everyone's life to draw them to His Son, but believing in the salvation that He provides through His word was still ultimately in my hands not His. I couldn't "work" my way to eternal life, but I could "believe" in the work that God had done as revealed through His Word. My "believing" was not "a work" anymore than opening my hands to receive a gift at Christmas time is a work or an effort on my part.

Is opening your hands to receive a gift an effort for you? Is it work to accept a gift?

Or is this something that you did on your own?

I did nothing more or less than Abraham, who believed God, and his belief was not a work, as you have correctly acknowledged. But his belief was accounted to him for righteousness.

Has your belief in God's Word been accounted to you for righteousness, like Abraham's was, or do you consider it work to open your bible and receive what is written therein?

159 posted on 05/28/2007 9:04:59 AM PDT by Uncle Chip (TRUTH : Ignore it. Deride it. Allegorize it. Interpret it. But you can't ESCAPE it.)
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To: Uncle Chip
Believing is not a work ---- nor is receiving ---- either scripturally or in the real world.

Lucifer BELIEVES in God, yet he is fallen. Belief without love of the Lord is nothing at all.

160 posted on 05/28/2007 9:09:14 AM PDT by tioga (Fred Thompson for President.)
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To: Frumanchu
Perhaps, since you seem so intent on insisting faith is not a work, you could define for us exactly what a work IS.

So you now want to put me to work on a holiday??? What is wrong with what Paul means by it there in Romans 4 ----

161 posted on 05/28/2007 9:16:49 AM PDT by Uncle Chip (TRUTH : Ignore it. Deride it. Allegorize it. Interpret it. But you can't ESCAPE it.)
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To: Uncle Chip
So you now want to put me to work on a holiday??? What is wrong with what Paul means by it there in Romans 4 ----

We obviously differ on what we think Scripture tells us about faith and works, so I'm asking you to simply tell us what a "work" is. Seems to me we'll never get very far in arguing over whether or not something is a "work" if we're operating from different definitions of the term.

So I ask again...please define for us exactly what constitutes a "work."

162 posted on 05/28/2007 9:40:31 AM PDT by Frumanchu (Jerry Falwell: Now a Calvinist in Glory)
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To: Uncle Chip
but believing in the salvation that He provides through His word was still ultimately in my hands not His.

You really need to think about that statement for a while.

Do you really believe it? You have made your belief your work (not God's), by taking the ultimate determination as to your eternal destiny out of the hands of God and into your own hands. Are you sure you want to do that?

If salvation is ultimately in your hands and not His, then you are in fact your own savior. Christ then becomes some kind of potential generic savior, but you become the ultimate Savior.

Think about that for a while.

163 posted on 05/28/2007 10:20:04 AM PDT by P-Marlowe (LPFOKETT GAHCOEEP-w/o*)
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To: Frumanchu
We obviously differ on what we think Scripture tells us about faith and works, so I'm asking you to simply tell us what a "work" is. Seems to me we'll never get very far in arguing over whether or not something is a "work" if we're operating from different definitions of the term. So I ask again...please define for us exactly what constitutes a "work."

Shouldn't your question be to define what Paul means by the word "work or worketh" there in Romans 4??? Your Concordance works as well as mine.

Mine lists "exertion of effort, toil, labor, deeds, action". What does yours say?

164 posted on 05/28/2007 10:36:23 AM PDT by Uncle Chip (TRUTH : Ignore it. Deride it. Allegorize it. Interpret it. But you can't ESCAPE it.)
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To: P-Marlowe
If salvation is ultimately in your hands and not His, then you are in fact your own savior.

Nope --- your characterization is incorrect. I didn't die for my own sins, but I do believe in the Word of the God who did die for my sins. How does that make me my own saviour??? It no more does than Abraham who believed God and his belief was accounted to him for righteousness. Did that make Abraham his own promise-giver? He believed in the promise of the promise-giver. What's wrong with that???

165 posted on 05/28/2007 10:52:07 AM PDT by Uncle Chip (TRUTH : Ignore it. Deride it. Allegorize it. Interpret it. But you can't ESCAPE it.)
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To: Uncle Chip
He believed in the promise of the promise-giver. What's wrong with that???

He would never have believed if God had not made him willing to believe.

Did God make you willing to believe?

Did he take away your unwillingness?

166 posted on 05/28/2007 11:07:02 AM PDT by P-Marlowe (LPFOKETT GAHCOEEP-w/o*)
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To: P-Marlowe
He would never have believed if God had not made him willing to believe.

Where does it say that in the text?

Did God make you willing to believe? Did he take away your unwillingness?

Where is that addressed in scripture???

167 posted on 05/28/2007 11:56:43 AM PDT by Uncle Chip (TRUTH : Ignore it. Deride it. Allegorize it. Interpret it. But you can't ESCAPE it.)
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To: Uncle Chip
Where does it say that in the text?

It says it all throughout the Bible.

Where is that addressed in scripture???

I will take that as a "no."

I will therefore have to assume that you believe that by the exercise of your own free will, independent of any compulsive influence of the Holy Spirit, that you made a rational and natural decision to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

I believe that is Pelagianism.

Would you identify yourself as a Pelagianist?

168 posted on 05/28/2007 12:46:14 PM PDT by P-Marlowe (LPFOKETT GAHCOEEP-w/o*)
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To: Uncle Chip
HD-Where precisely does your faith come from?

UC-From the word of God

Does God generate this faith or do you?

169 posted on 05/28/2007 12:57:02 PM PDT by HarleyD
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To: P-Marlowe
It says it all throughout the Bible.

Chapter and verse please.

Where is that addressed in scripture???

I will take that as a "no."

Why? Because you can't answer my question?

I will therefore have to assume that you believe that by the exercise of your own free will, independent of any compulsive influence of the Holy Spirit, that you made a rational and natural decision to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.

And that is your assumption for what it is worth. But why is any way that a person winds up believing on the Lord Jesus Christ the right way or the wrong way? Is your way the only way? Is believing the gospel irrational?

I believe that is Pelagianism.

Now that belief is a work. You had to work hard to come up with that conclusion and the following question.

170 posted on 05/28/2007 1:55:50 PM PDT by Uncle Chip (TRUTH : Ignore it. Deride it. Allegorize it. Interpret it. But you can't ESCAPE it.)
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To: HarleyD
HD-Where precisely does your faith come from? UC-From the word of God Does God generate this faith or do you?

Faith comes by hearing --- hearing the word of God. It is embedded in the word of God.

171 posted on 05/28/2007 2:02:09 PM PDT by Uncle Chip (TRUTH : Ignore it. Deride it. Allegorize it. Interpret it. But you can't ESCAPE it.)
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To: Titanites
A Catholic .... mentioned I should read the Early Church Fathers to see just how Catholic they were.

The problem is not how "Catholic" the early church fathers were, but how "unCatholic" the church of Rome became over the years. I am not one who believes the Roman church is antichrist (although I wince at some of the language in ch 12-14 of the Council of Trent). NEITHER DID LUTHER. His goal was to REFORM the church. Their response was "recant or die" and so we have the split. Schisms in Christendom are always unpleasant, and never happy and always unfortunate. Rectifying them always calls for repentance.

I hope it does not sound too terribly mushy and dismissive of truth to say that we Protestants should ALWAYS be willing to look at our history with Roma and be willing to repent. On the other hand Rome should certainly be willing to repent and renounce its schismatic ways in denying the teaching of the church fathers even as it lauds them. My opinion is that the Roman church left the true biblical and apostolic faith over the issues of:

1) Infused vs Imputed righteousness. Imputed righteousness is just the corpse of Pelagianism, all dolled up to look different. It is, as Augustine clearly understood, a modified works righteousness. Men save themselves, and God helps. Thank God that even those who advocate it do not seem to truly understand what they are pushing. Otherwise, they would be damned. Trent accurately called it (the issue of justifying faith) an issue for "anathema" (the word rendered damned or condemned in Galatians 1. They are simply, two different gospels.

2)The authority of church tradition vs the authority of Scripture. No protestant denies that we ALL reverence the opinions of good and godly men who have gone before. I truly believe that protestants disservice themselves by being so ignorant of the luminaries in the pre and post Reformation Roman Church. Also, I will be the first to tell you that Luther was a wack job in his tirades against the Jews (Himmler used his suggestions as to what to do with Jews as an operational plan for the 3rd Reich), the covenanters were a bunch of hotheads, many Reformers will have to answer SERIOUS questions before God over what they did to the anabaptists, and that the burning of Servetus was not Calvin's, er, "most glorious moment" (let's leave it at that). However the Roman Church has an UNbiblical view of tradition, which prevents it from (as a church) repenting over its clear and unambiguous errors, whether they be the "reverse jihadism" of the Crusades, or the Council of Trent, or the monstrous wickedness of Torquemada. Once they have been pronounced by the Pope, they become a part of the word of God as it is handed down by tradition. This is horrid. The idea that the church speaks with the voice of God (there seems to be some merit for a modified view of this in Matthew 18, when Jesus talks about being "present" when excommunication is being pronounced) is ONLY as the church speaks in submission to the spoken word of God. There is a great deal of foolishness, poppycock, and downright damnable heresy that exists in the "authoritative" declarations of the Roman Church and they simply need to repent of this wickedness. Scripture judges church tradition, even as tradition helps us understand the proper (including the historical) view of the word of God.

3) Marioloty and reverence for saints is nothing more than syncretism with the pagan tribes which came into the church. The foolishness and idolatry of praying to Mary and/or saints who have gone before is simply unbiblical and idolatrous. On this, the reformers were dead on, and the Roman church is simply in error.
That said, I DO understand and I DO have a great deal of sympathy why the "praying to the saints" stuff happens. I had a dear brother in Christ die of cancer this past week. I commented to a friend that I understood why there this practice (praying to saints) could happen. Bill (not his real name) is not "up there" with Christ, but I still have a very real and substantive connection with him. There is a biblical union with ALL of Christ's people, not just the ones who have gone on. Death is horrid obscene and a rupture in the union and connection I share with this man. Christ has spit in the face of death, and stomped the "life" out of it, and the rupture betwee "Bill" and I is, in fact, an illusion. I am one with this man, and his death has not changed that. The ancients instinctively knew that, and the spiritists and witches actually have a better view of the fact that we inhabit a spirit world than most Christians do. They (the pagans) err in rejecting the one true door (Christ, through faith) INTO that spirit world, but they are more cognizant of it than most Christians, who are functional rationalists except at 11:00 am on Sunday mornings. There is more room for "mysticism" in the Roman church, and so this reality is received (that is GOOD), and transformed into a spirtual discipline of praying to human beings who have died and gone on (most decidedly BAD and a direct violation of the first commandment).

When asked why do I not return to the "mother church" when some very kind souls (I believe very sincere and saved people) inform me that the age of indulgences is over, my response is "to be sure. Rome should repent of these unbiblical practices and join the true faith." If we could have unity on these issues, I personally would not care who joined who, to be frank.

172 posted on 05/28/2007 2:44:06 PM PDT by DreamsofPolycarp (Ron Paul in '08)
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To: HarleyD
Does God generate this faith or do you?

"you" most decidedly do NOT generate this faith. This is scriptural, and at the core of the argument by Augustine against Pelagius. The Roman church was decidedly "Reformed" in its earlier years. Augustine differed very little from Calvin and Luther on this.

173 posted on 05/28/2007 2:52:38 PM PDT by DreamsofPolycarp (Ron Paul in '08)
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To: P-Marlowe
Did God make you willing to believe? Did he take away your unwillingness?

The historical orthodox view of this is that men are spiritually dead in their transgressions and sins. They are no more responsive to the gospel than a dead dog on the side of the road will rise to its feet and yelp for a freshly cooked steak. Faith is a GIFT (Eph 2 :8,9) and NOT of ourselves precisely because it is the natural response of a man who has been MADE ALIVE (the theological term is regenerated, or what Jesus called being "born again") Just as the NATURAL response of the unregenerate is to remain in unbelief, so the NATURAL response of the regenerate man is to gladly embrace Christ.

Two points:

1) Modern protestantism is actually more Roman Catholic than it realizes, in that it makes faith a work we "do" and then states that regeneration "follows" (logically, if not temporally) faith. This is unbiblical, and a modified version of Pelaginanism, which is condemned by the church of Rome and then embraced about a thousand years later.

2) Salvation is a TOTALLY FREE GIFT. The biblical picture is that man contributes NOTHING (no, not his "faith", or his "decision for Christ, or any other unbiblical and historically unfounded buncombe). We are dead in sin, God sovereignly gives life to us and then we "freely" respond, but as we "freely" rejected when dead in sin.

It is all about GRACE. Salvation is God's work from front to back, and end to end.

174 posted on 05/28/2007 3:02:27 PM PDT by DreamsofPolycarp (Ron Paul in '08)
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To: DreamsofPolycarp

You have a warped sense of what you call the “Roman Church”.


175 posted on 05/28/2007 3:13:36 PM PDT by Titanites
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To: Titanites
I found Ignatius of Antioch and Polycarp with my first visit to the University Library. I poured over them for months until finally I pounded the books on the table with my fists, tossed them from the fourth to the third level of the library and wept. It seemed these great martyrs for the Faith were Catholic. It had taken about 8 months of going over Clement, Augustine, Athanasius, etc. to see the Catholic Church was the Early Church. I kept coming back to Ignatius and Polycarp as I could not get them out of my mind.

That is most interesting. I wonder what he read that I missed in these guys. I too fell in love with the early Church Fathers while in Seminary (I am a graduate of Westminster, btw. I spent two years at Reformed and then graduated from WTS). The first paper in Church History I did was on Clement of Alexandria. I was fascinated with the Ante and Post Nicene Fathers and REALLY enjoyed reading lots of Aquinas (ok, NO ONE reads all the works of Aquinas. If someone tells you they have, they will lie to you about other stuff too!), Bernard of Clairvaux (what a study in contrasts!), Anselm, St Francis, and other "mighty men." I deliberately veered away from Calvin, Luther, Knox, Beza, Zwingli, Hus (a reformer before the reformation), Cranmer, Latimer, and the reformers, as I had read about them and had spent a summer in Switzerland (L'Abri) and took a bunch of side trips to Protestant "shrines" associated with these guys.

I have to say, I wonder what books this guy read on the church fathers!!!! I found them to be men of contrasts, to be sure. I found some weird weird weird views (origen was a universalist, and a proto Arian when he wasn't cutting off his own balls in the name of seeking Christ) among some of them, but what I also found was that LUTHER WAS RIGHT. He had argued that the church had in fact, abandoned the simple message that Salvation is of God alone through faith alone and that man can no more "contribute" to his salvation than he can sprout wings and fly to the moon. The reformation forced the church to articulate and codify the orthodox faith re: justification, just as Arius and Athanasius were at loggerheads over the deity of Christ, necessitating a fissure in the church at Nicea (the fissure was "sealed" by Constantine picking sides and using the power of the state to enforce it, but that is another story).

The bottom line is that the early church fathers were, in fact, REFORMED. I can't understand "pounding the table" and wailing in frustration here, as the very men this guy quotes would have been aghast at the crap that came from the council of Trent.

Did he have books on these guys that I just missed?

176 posted on 05/28/2007 3:28:01 PM PDT by DreamsofPolycarp (Ron Paul in '08)
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To: Uncle Chip

You’re skirting the issue and you know it. Either 1) God give you your faith or 2) you generate it from hearing God’s word. You can pick door #1 or door #2 but there isn’t a door #3.


177 posted on 05/28/2007 3:32:28 PM PDT by HarleyD
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To: Titanites
You have a warped sense of what you call the “Roman Church”

Doubtless this is true, and I find joy in repenting when my understanding is made more complete. I don't want to hate or speak contemptously of other professing believers.

That said: Do you deny the Council of Trent?

specifically, the following:
CANON 9: "If any one saith, that by faith alone the impious is justified; in such wise as to mean, that nothing else is required to co-operate in order to the obtaining the grace of Justification, and that it is not in any way necessary, that he be prepared and disposed by the movement of his own will; let him be anathema."

CANON 12: "If any one shall say that justifying faith is nothing else than confidence in the divine mercy pardoning sins for Christ's sake, or that it is that confidence alone by which we are justified ... let him be accursed"

Canon 14: "If any one saith, that man is truly absolved from his sins and justified, because that he assuredly believed himself absolved and justified; or, that no one is truly justified but he who believes himself justified; and that, by this faith alone, absolution and justification are effected; let him be anathema."

Canon 23: "lf any one saith, that a man once justified can sin no more, nor lose grace, and that therefore he that falls and sins was never truly justified; or, on the other hand, that he is able, during his whole life, to avoid all sins, even those that are venial,- except by a special privilege from God, as the Church holds in regard of the Blessed Virgin; let him be anathema."

Canon 24: "If any one saith, that the justice received is not preserved and also increased before God through good works; but that the said works are merely the fruits and signs of Justification obtained, but not a cause of the increase thereof; let him be anathema."

Canon 30: "If any one saith, that, after the grace of Justification has been received, to every penitent sinner the guilt is remitted, and the debt of eternal punishment is blotted out in such wise, that there remains not any debt of temporal punishment to be discharged either in this world, or in the next in Purgatory, before the entrance to the kingdom of heaven can be opened (to him); let him be anathema."

Canon 33: "If any one saith, that, by the Catholic doctrine touching Justification, by this holy Synod inset forth in this present decree, the glory of God, or the merits of our Lord Jesus Christ are in any way derogated from, and not rather that the truth of our faith, and the glory in fine of God and of Jesus Christ are rendered (more) illustrious; let him be anathema.

Let me hasten to add, that although NO ONE CAN TRULY HOLD TO THE ABOVE AND BE SAVED, yet I believe many Roman Catholics either have
1) hearts better than their heads -- they don't really understand that stuff, or
2) no knowledge that the Church teaches such horrible doctrine, or
3) believes that this was just a "lapse" in the church, that men, including popes, are sinners and just in error, and that "no one really believes that anymore"

I know many precious Roman Catholic believers, and I should add that the abortion issue was addressed ONLY by Catholics for many years (1973-1980) while protestants were silent. Those people (many of whom I know) are true 20th century Christian heroes.

178 posted on 05/28/2007 3:39:46 PM PDT by DreamsofPolycarp (Ron Paul in '08)
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To: Frumanchu
Because God in His wisdom and grace has chosen the preaching of the Gospel by men to be the instrumental means by which He accomplishes the salvation of His people. As Scripture says, "How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!"

Amen, Fru!

"The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light." -- Romans 13:12.

"How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation; that saith unto Zion, Thy God reigneth!" -- Isaiah 52:7

"Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus." -- 2 Timothy 1:13

179 posted on 05/28/2007 3:39:46 PM PDT by Dr. Eckleburg ("I don't think they want my respect; I think they want my submission." - Flemming Rose)
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To: Uncle Chip
But why is any way that a person winds up believing on the Lord Jesus Christ the right way or the wrong way?

If you believe that you can come to Christ independent of the compulsive influence of the Holy Spirit, then you are flirting with Pelagianism. God must (one way or another) make you willing and take away your natural unwillingness to repent and believe. It therefore requires a supernatural act. If you believe you did it on your own, then your salvation is the result of a natural act.

Is believing the gospel irrational?

It is both unnatural and irrational. No man who is uninfluenced by the direct intervention of the Holy Spirit will ever make a rational decision to embrace the gospel of Christ. If, at the time you received Christ, you believed it to be a rational decision, it was only because the Holy Spirit put the ability to see that as a rational choice in your heart. It didn't grow out of some kind of natural tendency in mankind. The natural tendency of mankind is to reject the Gospel, as it makes no sense to the person who is not under the direct influence and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Now that belief is a work. You had to work hard to come up with that conclusion

No, your answers were classic Pelagianism. Even Arminians would refute them.

180 posted on 05/28/2007 4:14:15 PM PDT by P-Marlowe (LPFOKETT GAHCOEEP-w/o*)
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To: HarleyD
You’re skirting the issue and you know it. Either 1) God give you your faith or 2) you generate it from hearing God’s word. You can pick door #1 or door #2 but there isn’t a door #3.

My understanding of the reformed view is that it is not "either or" but "both and." That is, it is YOUR faith. It is not God's faith, but truly yours, exercised by a moral, choosing being. Nevertheless, that faith is the natural and irresistable choice of a regenerate nature. Ask a child whether he "chooses" spinach or ice cream, and he will choose ice cream every time. No one forces him to do so, he simply chooses (with a hat tip to Jonathan Edwards) according to what seems best to him, or most desireable to him. I personally believe (and there is some degree of biblical evidence for this) that faith is an act of the will. However, the biblical picture is that our will is in bondage (again, hat tip to Luther) to our sinful nature, and only chooses as our sinful minds and natures dictate. Therefore, when God makes us alive by a sovereign act of the regenerating Holy Spirit, suddenly we see the beauty and glory of Christ (we were blind before), the danger of our own unbelief (at which we mocked before) and the great love of Christ in dying for ME! The natural and most reasonable thing in the world for a man made alive is to fling himself into the promises of Christ...., and he does.

So is faith a gift? Sure! Not in the sense that it is not MY faith. I exercise faith. God does not do it FOR me. However, because it ONLY comes from a regenerate spirit, it can truly be said to be a GIFT.

181 posted on 05/28/2007 4:25:29 PM PDT by DreamsofPolycarp (Ron Paul in '08)
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To: HarleyD
You’re skirting the issue and you know it. Either 1) God give you your faith or 2) you generate it from hearing God’s word. You can pick door #1 or door #2 but there isn’t a door #3.

And what is wrong with door #3 --- Romans 10:17: "Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God"

Show me from the scriptures where one is born again before he hears the word of God???

182 posted on 05/28/2007 4:54:56 PM PDT by Uncle Chip (TRUTH : Ignore it. Deride it. Allegorize it. Interpret it. But you can't ESCAPE it.)
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To: DreamsofPolycarp

Absolutely. Actually I would say that Calvin and Luther differed very little from Augustine. ;O)


183 posted on 05/28/2007 5:29:30 PM PDT by HarleyD
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To: Uncle Chip
Show me from the scriptures where one is born again before he hears the word of God???

Unless God opens up our hearts like Lydia, we cannot attended to the things that are of God.

184 posted on 05/28/2007 5:32:39 PM PDT by HarleyD
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To: P-Marlowe
No, your answers were classic Pelagianism. Even Arminians would refute them.

Another typical Calvinistic refrain --- and you think that classic Calvinism is biblical???

Already today we have discovered that the Calvinistic claim that "believing" is a "work" is unbiblical. How many more of its invented doctrines are as well?

Show me from scriptures where faith comes to anyone before or apart from the word of God.

Show me from the scriptures where one is regenerated [born again] before or apart from the gospel, aka the word of God?

I won't hold my breath ---

185 posted on 05/28/2007 5:48:47 PM PDT by Uncle Chip (TRUTH : Ignore it. Deride it. Allegorize it. Interpret it. But you can't ESCAPE it.)
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To: xzins

Perhaps. But my point was that the “discrepancy” between 2001 vs. 2002 was, in itself, not worth pointing out as anything indicating that the story was not on the level. That there may or may not be other indicators of prevarication is, of course, debatable.


186 posted on 05/28/2007 6:18:16 PM PDT by magisterium
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To: Uncle Chip
Another typical Calvinistic refrain...

Interesting comment in light of the fact that I am not a Calvinist. But then to a Pelagian, even an Arminian is a Calvinist.

--- and you think that classic Calvinism is biblical???

Everything that Calvinism asserts is biblical. There is a verse for every point they make. I think some Calvinists take it too far, but the general theological position of Calvinists is biblical.

Show me from scriptures where faith comes to anyone before or apart from the word of God.

The Centurion. (Matthew Chapter 8) John the Baptist. (Faith exhibited in the Womb).

Show me from the scriptures where one is regenerated [born again] before or apart from the gospel, aka the word of God?

I don't make that argument. The Calvinists have all the verses. I am non-committal in regard to the point at which the new birth takes place. Regardless, you cannot be saved unless God first changes your heart. If you have a cold dead heart, you will not respond to the gospel. If you responded to the Gospel it is because God made it possible. (The Calvinist would argue that God not only made it possible, but made it impossible to reject the gospel). I'm not sure I'd go that far. God may make it possible for all, but it is clearly "irresistible" to those whom he has chosen.

Whatever it is, the fact remains that if you embraced the gospel, then the glory goes to God alone.

I won't hold my breath ---

You don't need to.

187 posted on 05/28/2007 7:08:07 PM PDT by P-Marlowe (LPFOKETT GAHCOEEP-w/o*)
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To: HarleyD
Act 16:14 And a certain woman named Lydia heard us, a seller of purple of the city of Thyatira, who worshiped God; whose heart the Lord opened, so that she attended to the things which were spoken by Paul. Unless God opens up our hearts like Lydia, we cannot attended to the things that are of God.

Thank you. I have no problem with your characterization. She wasn't saved or regenerated [born again] when God opened her heart. God was preparing her heart so that she would receive the word from Paul --- and that word would eventually accomplish those things in her.

188 posted on 05/28/2007 7:26:32 PM PDT by Uncle Chip (TRUTH : Ignore it. Deride it. Allegorize it. Interpret it. But you can't ESCAPE it.)
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To: Uncle Chip
Show me from the scriptures where one is regenerated [born again] before or apart from the gospel

John the Baptist leapt in his mother's womb for joy at the sound of Mary's voice. No gospel preached there.

What is NORMAL is not necesarily NORMATIVE

189 posted on 05/28/2007 7:33:29 PM PDT by DreamsofPolycarp (Ron Paul in '08)
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To: Uncle Chip
......the Calvinistic claim that "believing" is a "work" is unbiblical.

I defy you to show me anywhere in classical Calvinistic soteriology where believing is counted a "work." You got that idea somewhere else. It is most definitely NOT Calvinism

190 posted on 05/28/2007 7:35:57 PM PDT by DreamsofPolycarp (Ron Paul in '08)
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To: DreamsofPolycarp

John the Baptist might just be a special case ===


191 posted on 05/28/2007 7:51:21 PM PDT by Uncle Chip (TRUTH : Ignore it. Deride it. Allegorize it. Interpret it. But you can't ESCAPE it.)
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To: DreamsofPolycarp; P-Marlowe
I defy you to show me anywhere in classical Calvinistic soteriology where believing is counted a "work." You got that idea somewhere else. It is most definitely NOT Calvinism.

Then where does it come from because it is said often in this forum by those of the Reformed persuasion.

192 posted on 05/28/2007 8:08:24 PM PDT by Uncle Chip (TRUTH : Ignore it. Deride it. Allegorize it. Interpret it. But you can't ESCAPE it.)
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To: DreamsofPolycarp
"Faith is a GIFT (Eph 2 :8,9) and NOT of ourselves precisely because it is the natural response of a man who has been MADE ALIVE (the theological term is regenerated, or what Jesus called being "born again") Just as the NATURAL response of the unregenerate is to remain in unbelief, so the NATURAL response of the regenerate man is to gladly embrace Christ."

There’s nothing in the Bible that says "born again" is a requirement for salvation.

The problem where you put "born again" is you make the person both lost and born again at the same time.

That does not happen - Only saved people are born again.

The first step God takes the person through is repentance. God does NOT use born again during the process of repentance.

The component God uses is CONVICTION !!

It’s only by the power of the Holy Spirit that a person is CONVICTED of their sins AND convicted they are a sinner.

The Holy Spirit convicts the person of judgment.

The Holy Spirit convicts the person of Jesus righteousness.

Therefore it’s by the power of CONVICTION the Holy Spirit uses to bring the person to a saving faith. Not being born again.

Now let’s take a look at the verse that speaks of born again (regeneration) ....

2 Cor 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

Notice the above verse is a IF-THEN statement....

IF any man be in Christ, THEN he is a new creature:

The person must first be "in Christ".

"In Christ" means they already are identified in Christ’s death. Only saved people are "in Christ".

IF any man be in Christ, THEN he is a new creature:

Therefore the person is saved, THEN they become born again.

After being saved it’s born again that brings a new life to the person.

193 posted on 05/28/2007 9:06:51 PM PDT by KenTone
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To: Uncle Chip
Then where does it come from because it is said often in this forum by those of the Reformed persuasion.

No, it is not. You are confused. Reformed persons have accused Arminians of making a saving faith a "work" ( I think this is misguided as an accusation, btw), but no one who knows his head from a hole in the ground would say such a thing. It is profoundly unbiblical and I have never heard of any Reformed person saying such a thing. You are simply in error.

194 posted on 05/28/2007 9:17:02 PM PDT by DreamsofPolycarp (Ron Paul in '08)
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To: KenTone
The first step God takes the person through is repentance. God does NOT use born again during the process of repentance

Dead people don't turn to Christ from their sin of unbelief. A natural man does not receive the things of the spirit of God. Indeed, He CANNOT, because they are spiritually perceived. An unregenerate man will no more repent than he will grow fins and swim underwater to china. He won't because he can't and the can't because he won't. You have a very low view of the effects of sin, and a very high view of your own abilities to respond to God. Both are unbiblical. The problem where you put "born again" is you make the person both lost and born again at the same time.

Lost me there, partner. I can't see that I have done any such thing.

Only saved people are born again.

Rather, only born again people are saved.

The component God uses is CONVICTION !! It’s only by the power of the Holy Spirit that a person is CONVICTED of their sins AND convicted they are a sinner.

A dead person cannot be savingly convicted of sin, although they can experience an ungodly sorrow for the consequences of sin and may feel something of the guilt of it. Hell, of course is slap full of that kind of "conviction." You make a huge and unbiblical assumption in stating that the human heart, under pressure from God's law, can change itself from a dead heart to a living one. This is, again, unbiblical. Only God gives a new heart. Faith follows (again, logically, if not temporally).

Therefore it’s by the power of CONVICTION the Holy Spirit uses to bring the person to a saving faith. Not being born again.

I am sorry. This statement is simply unbiblical and inconsistent with what the scripture says about the saving work of the Holy Spirit and the abysmal state of human nature. We are not "sick" according to scripture. We are "dead." Dead people cannot choose. They can only be brought to life.

II Cor 5:17 says nothing about the order of salvation. It simply states that if one is IN CHRIST (joined to him) then one is a new creature. The verse in fact could just as easily be predicating the first condition (being in Christ) on the last (being a new creature).

Your problem here is your unbiblical belief that dead people can respond to the offer of the gospel. I can share with you a boatload of scriptures which demonstate the opposite, if you wish.

195 posted on 05/28/2007 9:36:23 PM PDT by DreamsofPolycarp (Ron Paul in '08)
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To: KenTone
Your reply is really a rather classic illustration of what is called "Arminianism." A summary of the arminian view of the state of man is as follows:
Although human nature was seriously affected by the fall, man has not been left in a state of total spiritual helplessness. God graciously enables every sinner to repent and believe, but He does not interfere with man's freedom. Each sinner possesses a free will, and his eternal destiny depends on how he uses it. Man's freedom consists of his ability to choose good over evil in spiritual matters; his will is not enslaved to his sinful nature. The sinner has the power to either cooperate with God's Spirit and be regenerated or resist God's grace and perish. The lost sinner needs the Spirit's assistance, but he does not have to be regenerated by the Spirit before he can believe, for faith is man's act and precedes the new birth. Faith is the sinner's gift to God; it is man's contribution to salvation.

The orthodox and biblical counter to this runs more or less like this:

Because of the fall, man is unable of himself to savingly believe the gospel. The sinner is dead, blind, and deaf to the things of God; his heart is deceitful and desperately corrupt. His will is not free, it is in bondage to his evil nature, therefore, he will not - indeed he cannot - choose good over evil in the spiritual realm. Consequently, it takes much more than the Spirit's assistance to bring a sinner to Christ - it takes regeneration by which the Spirit makes the sinner alive and gives him a new nature. Faith is not something man contributes to salvation but is itself a part of God's gift of salvation - it is God's gift to the sinner, not the sinner's gift to God.
(hat tip to Thomas and Steele)

Again, I have a TRUCKLOAD of scriptures to demonstrate this teaching if you need em.

196 posted on 05/28/2007 9:46:46 PM PDT by DreamsofPolycarp (Ron Paul in '08)
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To: Uncle Chip
John the Baptist might just be a special case ===

Of course he is. That was the point.

197 posted on 05/28/2007 9:57:13 PM PDT by DreamsofPolycarp (Ron Paul in '08)
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To: P-Marlowe
It is both unnatural and irrational. No man who is uninfluenced by the direct intervention of the Holy Spirit will ever make a rational decision to embrace the gospel of Christ. If, at the time you received Christ, you believed it to be a rational decision, it was only because the Holy Spirit put the ability to see that as a rational choice in your heart. It didn't grow out of some kind of natural tendency in mankind. The natural tendency of mankind is to reject the Gospel, as it makes no sense to the person who is not under the direct influence and guidance of the Holy Spirit.

I think you would find Jonathan Edwards on the "Freedom of the Will" to be very enjoyable. Edwards is great because he is brilliant and a wonderful theologian, yet he is not some abstract theoretical guy. He wrote most of his stuff in the middle of a mind blowing, Spirit drenched revival that literally shook the hinges off the church doors. We have never seen in our age something to compare. He is a theologian of the heart. We could stand some more of what followed his ministry. His theology ain't bad, either.

198 posted on 05/28/2007 10:06:37 PM PDT by DreamsofPolycarp (Ron Paul in '08)
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To: DreamsofPolycarp; KenTone
Your problem here is your unbiblical belief that dead people can respond to the offer of the gospel. I can share with you a boatload of scriptures which demonstate the opposite, if you wish.

I would like to see them --- because though scripture says that we are dead in our trespasses and sins, it never says that in that condition we are incapable of hearing the word of God.Calvinism on this point underestimates the power of the word of God through which the Holy Spirit works.

A whole lot of those "dead in their trespasses and sins" heard and responded to the Word of God during His earthly ministry. And they were commended for their faith in what He had to say.

Interestingly enough, medical science now knows that people in comas who cannot move, open their eyes, or do anything, can still hear the voices of those around their bed, and the hearing of those voices is often the turning point in their recovery.

A good question might be: When was Lazarus raised from the grave: before or after he heard the words: "Lazarus, come forth"?

199 posted on 05/29/2007 4:08:01 AM PDT by Uncle Chip (TRUTH : Ignore it. Deride it. Allegorize it. Interpret it. But you can't ESCAPE it.)
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To: DreamsofPolycarp
Because of the fall, man is unable of himself to savingly believe the gospel.

Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for righteousness [Romans 4:5].

The sinner is dead, blind, and deaf to the things of God; his heart is deceitful and desperately corrupt. His will is not free, it is in bondage to his evil nature, therefore, he will not - indeed he cannot - choose good over evil in the spiritual realm.

And yet when the apostles could not pray with Jesus for one hour, He said "the spirit indeed is willing, the flesh is weak" [Mt 26:41]. The will was not the problem.

Consequently, it takes much more than the Spirit's assistance to bring a sinner to Christ - it takes regeneration by which the Spirit makes the sinner alive and gives him a new nature.

Show me proof from the scriptures that a person is regenerated before he can hear and believe the gospel.

Faith is not something man contributes to salvation but is itself a part of God's gift of salvation - it is God's gift to the sinner, not the sinner's gift to God.

Granted that everything that we have is a gift from God --- time, life, energy, feeling, seeing, tasting, hearing, trusting --- but one still chooses how to spend those things he has received. They can be spent in the direction of the eternal life, or in some other direction. It's their choice:

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

If the regeneration necessary for eternal life is that reward, then it comes after they have diligently sought him and spent their faith in God's direction.

200 posted on 05/29/2007 5:06:11 AM PDT by Uncle Chip (TRUTH : Ignore it. Deride it. Allegorize it. Interpret it. But you can't ESCAPE it.)
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