pheeweed wrote:According to Sproul, Martin Luther and Augustine also taught C - although they didn't call it that, of course. I've never read anything by Luther and only read Augustine's Confessions, so I can't say if he's right. But my point is that this doctrine is older than Calvin. No, Bea, I don't think they believe something false. But then, I struggle with thinking that John Wesley was wrong. I never really understood sanctification until I went to a Methodist church and learned what Wesley taught.
You are correct, Luther and Augustine also taught sola gratia. To say all of these great minds throughout Christian history and even until today were all wrong is, like Bea said, ludicrous at best.
John Wesley wasn't exactly a classic A. When he adopted the A beliefs he taught it with a passion for evangelism, which was lacking from the original concept. Even Wesley believed and taught that no man can come to saving faith apart from the aid of the Holy Spirit, which is more than some around here seem to believe.
Us westerners have been and are being poisoned by relativism. So much so that secular society will now say we can't know what truth is. Everyone has their own truth, it's all relative. This ideology is slowly and surely seeping into the church.
For example, I gave Romans 1 as an example of God's general revelation to mankind. The point of this chapter is to show men have no excuse to be ignorant of God's existence because God has made it plain through creation. And then someone says this:
Maybe there are those who respond to the "general call" to salvation and maybe there are those who are absolutely chosen
Romans 1 has absolutely nothing to do with salvation. If, by some stretch, it were speaking about salvation, and Paul meant to say, "All man ought to be able to come to saving faith just be seeing God's creation," then Paul would be hard pressed to explain why we need the gospel.
Let's get something clear, my friends. There is no Bible, and no Christian (who understands the Bible) who contests the fact that God has made a choice concerning who would be saved and who would be lost before the world began (Ephesians 1:4, Matthew 25:34, Acts 13:48, Ephesians 2:10, Romans 8:29). The thing we cannot agree on is how God chose. Did He look down through time and know who would say yes to Christ and choose those people, or did He choose people based on His sovereign good pleasure?
We can learn a lot from history. When the USA began, the majority of Christians were Calvinistic Presbyterians and not many questioned the reformed tenets of faith. Over time, with the infiltration of immigrants from largely roman catholic countries - Catholicism grew to be the largest denomination in the country. Catholicism (salvation by works + Christ) mingled with protestantism to form other denominations (although most protestants would never admit it. And as Dr. Sproul always asks, "if you claim to be a Protestant, what exactly are you protesting against?"). Myself being raised baptist, had never even heard of God's choosing or election, or predestination until I was 30. How sad is that? I take partial blame, of course. And now I think we would all agree we are living in a post-Christian, or at least quickly approaching, USA, where no one can know what truth is, and least of all is truth found in the Holy Bible. I said all of that to merely point you to the order of events - it doesn't go from bad to good does it?
While I know we are all writers here, bent toward prose and eloquent speak, let's not forget this is a theology forum and theology apart from Scripture is not theology at all. I see a lot of, "What this means to me..." "This reminds me of..." "I prefer to..." "Maybe it means..."
So, in the spirit of Truth being found in a Person revealed in a Book - let's prayerfully study The Book itself, read the great scholars, and then make an educated decision on what to believe.
Every thought is a seed. If you plant crab apples don't count on harvesting Golden Delicious. - Author Unknown