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Unreasonable Doubt

February 2, 2009

Hey I just read a post by someone by the name of Daniel Florien: a gentleman whose site you can find at www.unreasonablefaith.com.  He seems to think that he was a Christian at one time or another but now is a self styled skeptic. Let me tell you something Daniel: you can call yourself what you want, give yourself any title you desire…but one title is not open to you and that is the title of Christian. God has been clear in His word which also you seem to think is worthless… but be that as it may…a Christian is someone who has been interfered with by God. A Christian is someone who has heard the call of God in His Holy Word and through His Holy Spirit. The effectual call of God always results in a sinner being saved, transformed and sealed for eternity. Christian is a title that God bestows upon a sinner when He calls them to Himself in saving faith. The name Christian literally means “Little Christ” or “Like Christ.”

It is very interesting that you use the same excuses all sinners use: other people. “They act like that and call themselves Christians. Hah!” Or, “if thats what a Christian is, I don’t want anything to do with it. It doesn’t matter what others are doing. The point you must focus on is this; what have you done? Where do you stand as far as Jesus Christ is concerned? It is clear from your writings that you were never a Christian, merely a hypocrite. Now before you turn me off, let me define that term. A hypocrite is someone who wears a mask. You merely wore the mask of Christianity for a time until you grew tired of it or the cares of this world choked out your seeming desire to serve God, or because of the fact that you had no root.  If you ever read the bible before you will recognize the word pictures of the Parable of the Sower. There is only one type of ground that bears fruit and that is good soil, soil that has been prepared by the Holy Spirit. The seed which falls into good soil always bears good fruit. The rest is only temporary.

You must understand that the general call of the gospel goes out in pulpits throughout our land and many people hear it. Some even respond to this general call in a general way. They are coerced into saying a prayer or being baptized or joining a church or all of these things. But because they were not first dealt with  by the Holy Spirit they will fall away. God never called them and they merely responded to a series of outward stimuli.

But the effectual call of the gospel is the result of the Holy Spirit speaking through the word of God calling the people of God to rest in the Son of God. These seeds bear fruit and this fruit remains. There is no falling away for the truly God called sinner. This is the difference between you and say Kurt Warner who truly loves his teammates and desires with all of his heart to see them born again. He wants them to find what he found in Jesus. I am writing this to you because I want you to find what I have found, or rather Who found me!

I would ask you to do me a favor if you are willing: and click on the catagory titled “Are You A Good Person?” Humor me please.

I truly pray that God will bless you with the knowledge of Himself.

Mike

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Matt permalink
    February 5, 2009 10:18 pm

    Mike,

    I was intrigued by your post, but I can’t tell if you are being completely Calvinist or not. Does God call everybody? For all those people you say were in church but not called by God, were they doing something wrong, or are you saying God just didn’t decide to call them? And in writing to Mr. Florien, are you just trying to be God’s call, in case he is one God is calling? If so, do you know whether in fact you truly were God’s call? In other words, is it a priori knowable that every person you talk to like that is someone God is calling, since you are talking to them? Or are you just trying to get God in their minds so that they are ready when the true call comes, IF it comes? If the latter, then what is the point of that, if the call of God never fails? Nothing you say would increase or decrease the likely success of God’s call in that instance. But maybe God’s call can fail, if the person isn’t ready for it. Can you reject God’s call, or is that a contradiction? I guess the sum of my questions is, if salvation is totally the product of God’s calling you, not you seeking him, then what is the point of inviting Mr. Florien to read “Are You a Good Person” and of talking to him at all? He was already in church, and apparently wasn’t called by God there. This is why strict Calvinism makes no sense to me. Surely there must be a combination of God’s call and people’s wills.

    Matt

    • February 5, 2009 11:44 pm

      Hey Matt:

      Thank you for your response and questions. There aren’t many people who would ask the type of questions you have. Most merely snort and curse. If you will indulge me I will seek to answer all of your questions. But the first point I must clear up is the calvinist point. You see, many people see calvinism as a fatalistic position. I do not. I see calvinism as merely a biblical approach to the Bible. That may sound redundant but let me clarify my point. Many people come to the bible with a preconception that it is merely the work of men; the best that men have to offer. I understand that the Bible is the message of a Holy God speaking to sinful man. I see God as the Bible portrays Him, Omnipotent, (all powerful) Omniscient (all knowing) and Omnipresent (everywhere at once.

      The way many people speak of God, you’d think He was up in Heaven wringing His hands and hoping against hope that someone, somewhere would spend time with Him. But Acts 17:25 clearly says “nor is He served by human hands, as though He needed anything, since He Himself gives to all people life and breath and all things.”

      The God of the Bible is Sovereign, the absolute ruler of all of His creation. He didn’t create the world and then step back to see what would happen but He upholds all things by the word of His power!

      Now as to the call of God; specifically the call of God to salvation, it is true that every week, week in and week out preachers all over the world call men and women to salvation in Jesus Christ, at least the biblical churches do. And they use many methods; some biblical (using the Law of God: The Ten Commandments, which is described as a schoolmaster to bring us to God). Others use psycological arguments to coerce men and women to ‘make a decision’ for Christ. (Remember the hand wringing illustration.) Now even in the psycological churches, most of them use the Bible.

      In these two types of churches we have the general call of the gospel. That means the word of God is being preached and men hear the word intellectually. But consider trying to argue a point with a friend. You present your side and he presents his. You may like some of what he has to say and he may like some of your stuff as well. And so you may ‘decide’ to adopt some of his views though still clinging to your point. This is how many ‘decide’ for Christ. They have listened to the arguments and have liked some of what they have heard. And so they walk down an aisle in the church and say they have ‘decided for Christ.’ But they still cling to their old lives and have merely become religious.

      Now the scriptures tell us that men and women are dead in trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1) and that they are helpless (Romans 5:6). How helpless are we? Jeremiah 13:23 says “Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then you also can do good who are accustomed to doing evil. Now you haven’t seen dead people make decisions have you? And though [people can take medications to change their skin color (Michael Jackson) if they stop the medication, their skin will return to its natural pigment. We cannot change ourselves. We can make resolutions to change and we can ‘reform our ways’ but honestly, how long does that last? New Year’s resolutions are usually broken in the first week!

      But there is hope for the sinner. We can’t reform our lives so as to be pleasing to God because God’s standard is perfection. This is why people who say they are living by the Ten Commandments in order to please God are in a hopeless situation. But there is hope for sinful men and women…Ro 8:3 For what the law was powerless to do in that it was weakened by the sinful nature, God did by sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful man to be a sin offering. And so he condemned sin in sinful man,

      And having made a perfect offering for sin in the sacrifice of His Son, God purchased with His blood, men from every tribe, tongue and nation on this earth (Revelation 5:9) And now He calls men everywhere to repent. Listen to an example of the call of God from Matthew 11:28-30 “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. And in Ac 2:39 we read “For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.”

      How powerful is the call of God? I say that God’s call is His command. Ps 110:3 Your people will volunteer freely in the day of Your power… Again we are talking about God here. Your question was “can you reject the call of God?” My answer to you is this; if you can reject Gods call, Gods command, then you are more powerful than God. Now God is the creator of heaven and earth; the universe and all that we see, and even the things we don’t see. (microscopic organisms) I would dare say that God is far more powerful a being than I can conceive of. Now you may have heard the argument made “God is a gentleman and would never force Himself on anyone. In the area of human will God has made himself subservient to man.” There is no place in the Bible, the revealed will and mind of God, where you can find such an argument. On the contrary you will find that God is God and we are not. God’s call is His command. So if God has truly called someone, they will come for they will be made willing, they will volunteer freeling in the day He exercises His power and issues the command to dead sinners to ‘come forth!.’

      This is a short picture of the sovereignty of God over His creation and in the salvation of sinners. There are those who are called in the Bible ‘the Elect’ meaning the chosen ones. God knows who these people are for He has chosen them before the creation of the world. you can read this in Ephesians 1 beginning around verse 3 and following. These are the ones Jesus was referring to in the Gospel of John chapter 10 as His sheep. In that chapter Jesus makes a clear distinction between His sheep and religious people. In Joh 10:26 He says to the religious leaders: “But you do not believe because you are not of My sheep.” The reason the Pharisees and the Saducees and all the other ‘sees’ didn’t believe was because they were not part of the elect.

      Now as I said, God knows who the elect are. But I don’t. Therefore I have no problem with pointing men and women to the Savior of sinners. Who knows but that God will call them to Himself, giving them the gifts of saving faith and saving grace. (Ephesians 2:8-10)
      In the 1800’s there was a preacher by the name of Charles Spurgeon. He too was a calvinist and one day a man came up to him and asked “If your a calvinist why don’t you just preach to the elect?” Spurgeon replied, “Sir if you can show me where there is a E tattooed on their backsides I will oblige you. But until then I will preach to everyone who comes within the sound of my voice.”

      All true Christians have a mandate to proclaim the gospel to everyone with the understanding that we can’t save anyone. The Apostle Paul put it this way in 1 Corinthians 3:5-7. You see there were groups of people taking sides with certain preachers and saying that they were on “Pauls side” or “Apollos’ side” And Paul’s answer to this was “What then is Apollos? And what is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, even as the Lord gave opportunity to each one. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God was causing the growth. 7 So then neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything, but God who causes the growth.

      Who knows whether God will have mercy upon Mr. Florein. As you pointed out, he has been in the church. But may I point out that he also left it and indeed has called himself an enemy of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ. Now the bible is really clear about such people when it says in 1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us. Mr. Florien has stated his position clearly and has embraced the philosophy of Richard Dawkins no less; also a stated enemy of the cross of Christ.

      But while there is still life is there not still hope. The bible says that it is appointed unto man to die once and after that to face judgment. But while he is still alive is not Mr. Florien able to avail himself of such things as “Are You A Good Person.” I say yes. And here is where your final question concerning human responsibility comes into play. God has given us His word; the Holy Bible. He has appointed men to preach and teach from His Holy Word through which He calls men to repentance. Further still God has lit up the sky with the message that He does indeed exist; “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:” Ro 1:20

      No one can say “I didn’t know.” God Himself has declared us to be without excuse for refusing to acknowledge Him. God sovereignly revealed Himself in a myriad of ways and men are indeed responsible to fall before Him and worship, repent of their sins and acknowledge Him as Lord. And those who do not have to do so in the face of overwhelming evidence, suppressing the truth in unrighteousness. And such only have nothing to look forward to but eternal torment because they would not bow the knee to God in this life!

      My prayer is that God will indeed call both you Matt, and Mr. Florien by His Spirit and give you both a new heart and a new spirit and new life in Jesus Christ.

      God Bless you!
      Mike

  2. Matt permalink
    February 6, 2009 6:40 am

    Hi Mike,

    I read and appreciated your long reply. I don’t mean to argue in circles, especially with another Christian (whether I am a member of the “elect” I don’t know, but I have yet to give up on Christ, or he has yet to give up on me).

    But briefly, aren’t you expressing the fundamental contradiction of Calvinism? You said yourself, “But while he is still alive is not Mr. Florien able to avail himself of such things as “Are You A Good Person.” I say yes.” Avail himself? But he can’t avail himself; God must call him, and if God is not calling him at that moment, there’s nothing he can do about it. And you go on to say, “No one can say “I didn’t know.” God Himself has declared us to be without excuse for refusing to acknowledge Him. God sovereignly revealed Himself in a myriad of ways and men are indeed responsible to fall before Him and worship, repent of their sins and acknowledge Him as Lord.”

    Well, every bit of that language implies that men have a choice to do as you say they are responsible to do. It seems to me that if Mr. Florien is not and will not in the future be a Christian, one of these possibilities has to be true: 1) Mr. Florien cannot possibly follow Christ, because God has not called him; or, 2) Mr. Florien could and should believe in Christ, since God called him through church and/or nature, but Mr. Florien chooses not to answer the call, proving that God’s call is not always effectual. You want a third possiblity: 3) Mr. Florien is not a Christian, because God has not called him with his irresistible call; yet Mr. Florien could and should believe in Christ, and is responsible for failing to do so, because God calls all men through church and nature.

    I think what you’re really saying is that Mr. Florien is responsible for his sin, because all men have seen enough to know that there is a God and to follow his law. In other words, Mr. Florien cannot claim to be the victim of injustice for not being saved. But that is different than saying he is responsible for following God now that he has sinned and requires the saving grace of a sovereign God.

    Fair enough, if that’s what you mean. It’s not necessarily unjust for God to only call some of all the humans that freely choose to sin, since by their sin they got themselves to the point where they need calling. But the die is cast on that front. You, me, and Mr. Florien sinned before we turned four. Or 13, if you go by the old Jewish law. That can’t be changed. If only calling can save us, now, and calling cannot be resisted, we might as well eat, drink, and be merry, for our fate as of now depends solely on the whim of the sovereign God, under this theory.

    Like I said, I don’t expect the riddles of Calvinism to be solved here. But I am content just to note the tension in the Bible, to understand the competing philosophical schools (sovereignty v. justice) from which the tension derives, and to go with the one that both saturates the Bible (justice and individual responsibility) and matches common sense, rather than the one (“electness”) that appears in a few places and makes individual effort to find God pointless.

    Thanks again.

    • February 24, 2009 4:35 pm

      Hey Matt;

      I hope this doesn’t catch you unawares. We spoke via my blogsite quite a while ago and you were speaking of an apparent contradiction in my ‘Calvinism.’ First let me say that I would rather be regarded as a Biblicist rather than a Calvinist. Now we were discussing the ability/inability of Mr. Florien coming to Jesus for salvation. I will be short here. The bible tells us that we are to preach the Gospel to everyone and it says that the Lord adds to the Church daily those who are being saved.

      So Christians are responsible to proclaim the truth of the word of God to all people. We are to plant the seeds of the Gospel. And we are to rely upon God for the growth of those seeds. I cannot save anyone; neither can anyone save themselves. We preach and pray and wait upon God. Lost sinners are called to Jesus through the Gospel and as the Holy Spirit applies the word to their consciences they will respond. But it is God who calls, chooses and saves.

      People don’t like to hear such things because it takes salvation out of our hands and puts it where it rightly belongs, in Gods hands. Mr. Florien must call upon Jesus for the salvation of his never dying soul. But apart from the hand of God, he can’t/won’t. This is why Jesus said, ‘with men this is impossible but with God all things are possible.

      Do we go to sinners and say, “you need to be saved but you can’t be saved unless God draws you to Himself.” NO! We tell sinners that they must call upon God to save them period. Such things would make no sense to them and would probably drive them away from the things of God.

      The truth of the matter is that God will call whom He will and will have mercy on whom He will have mercy. Christians are responsible to preach the Gospel. And sinners are responsible for their sins. This is upside down thinking in the ‘modern’ world where everyone is a victiim. But the truth stands.

      Let me close with this illustration from Harry Ironside. He had an illustration called “Ironside’s Door.” On the outside of that door we read the words; “Whosoever will may come.” As sinners respond in repentance and trust in Jesus Christ they pass through this door. And when they turn around they read these words written on the inside of that door…”Predestined from the foundation of the world.” That’s it in a nutshell.

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