The Instigator
JonathanDJ
Pro (for)
Tied
0 Points
The Contender
honoryoo
Con (against)
Tied
0 Points

My brother in Christ is wisely seeking counsel to help him grow in his faith. He has good questions.

Do you like this debate?NoYes+0
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 0 votes the winner is...
It's a Tie!
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 3/24/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 512 times Debate No: 49820
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (5)
Votes (0)

 

JonathanDJ

Pro

Brother I would love to hear some of your questions again. I'd like the opportunity to share some thoughts about them if you'd be willing. Your desire to ask sincere questions in order to grow in your faith is a good and Godly thing not a bad thing. God is not afraid of the facts. I'm not a Presbyterian but I think I've got some valuable insights to offer.
honoryoo

Con

Brother, thank you for taking your time to make this arrangement. I am truly thirsty for understanding the scriptures both spiritually and mentally. Many people in the church tell me that I should just simply believe and with deep sorrow, it does make me frustrated. I know there are those that find it easy to take the words straight to the heart as the truth. In my case, I have always been a logical/rational thinker in which I comprehend and learn only through facts and experience. I have so many questions, and these are only from the amount that I have studied of the scripture (maybe one-third at max). So, without understanding fully, I fear that I may fall into a state of massive confusion if I were to simply read through the bible as other good fellow Christians do. I am personally not a huge advocate of doctrines, meaning that I do not differentiate a Christian from another due to doctrines. However, in my personal studies, I have found that there are quite some differences that may be more substantial that what most people may perceive. I have been a member of various doctrines such as Presbyterian, Protestant, Baptist, and etc. Before taking my serious attitude to understand God, these doctrines meant nothing, yet now knowing that they are quite different in their teachings, I am confused. So dear brother, please give me some insight, and maybe it will help me to resolve some of my questions to seek a closer relationship with God.

To begin with, and please correct me if I am wrong, although there are various differences between the doctrines, one of the most major differences is the perception of divine plan, which eventually would lead to free-will. To take it step by step, I'll start with God's divine plan. I believe you have read my previous debate post so I will eliminate the definition and such. So, since I am a selfish human being (no sarcasm intended), I naturally link the divine plan to how my life is to play a role in it. In my doctrine (Presbyterian), each individual's life is simply predetermined even before my existence (I guess as whatever I was in the voids of dust??). This is especially bothersome because my dreams are grandiose, and one that is far different from those of many others. Yes, everyone has different dreams, but mine is simply utmost ridiculous. But, the truth is that it feels so real to me and deep inside I feel that this is my calling of some sort. Getting back to my point, the reason I brought this babble up is to ask you, brother, how predetermination is to mix into our personal dreams. God has his will, and no matter what, his will is to be done because he is an almighty God. For example, a man who is predetermined to become a Pastor/Reverend/Servant of God who dreams of becoming an architect or a musician, how is this man supposed to live in happiness (which is what I believe God wants of us)? One part of the scripture says that to live as a Christian means to uphold the crucifix (hence, a life of sacrifice and servitude) while other parts say "ask and you will receive." It eventually led me to comprehend it as "I can ask all I want but eventually it won't matter because God will do what he has made me to be." Since I do both love and fear God, if this is the case, let it be, but I just can't see this from a creator who advocates love above all.

This leads to free-will, for everything we do is free-will. Simply put, it was intended as a gift, but now its a curse. So, in my doctrine it teaches that every action is free-will yet one that was planned/bound to happen. In other words, my debate/questionnaire that I am writing to you write now is also my free-will which was planned/bound to happen by God. When I was enlightened upon this during my fellowship, I just stood up and went home. It was not out of disrespect or anger but simply due to having the thought that I am a "byte" living in a computer system. Hence, my life, my actions all are programmed? Yes, people say that its not like that, because God loves us but lets face it; the Divine plan is the computer and I am one of many bytes making it possible. If my thoughts on this is wrong, which I truly hope is the case, I do feel that my relationship with God will strengthen. Yet, as of now, I feel like a lab rat of some sort...

Brother, I know I have babbled on and on, and I hope you understand. Religion/Faith itself is already quite abstract, but finding words to explain the doubts in my head... this is just a whole other task of greater difficulty. If you can, please give me some of your thoughts and insight on your understanding of the 1. Divine Plan, 2. Free-will, and 3. How you perceive yourself to be part of all this.
Debate Round No. 1
JonathanDJ

Pro

I feel that the first thing we might try and understand is that God is love. As it is written: 1 John 4:8 "Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love." From my perspective it's vital that I keep this at the center of my thinking and attention. This comforts me when I run across something that I worry about that God did or said. It reminds me that logically God has to have good intentions. So, the next question might be what is God's love? I feel it's the following words found in 1 Corinthians chapter 13:4
"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 8 Love never fails..."
If you think about it, the fruits of Holy Spirit could be seen as a description of God as well. What are the fruits of the Holy Spirit? The Word of God says in Galatians 5:22-23
New English Translation
22 "But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. Against such things there is no law."
The feeling of fear can really interfere with our walk with YHWH. Preachers, politicians, husbands, wives, and parents all think fear is a good tool to maintain their power and relationships. It appears to work. It gets the job done to a slight degree for a short period of time, but it's not worth the damage it does to the other persons heart and mind. Fear will never be as powerful as love. Fear will never give a person the physical strength to carry out a task the way love can give a mother the strength to lift a car off a trapped child or a father to run into a burning house to rescue his kids and end up burned alive himself. The Scriptures say: 1 John 4:18
"There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love."
Now finally, someone might ask; "How do you know that God loves you and the above words aren't just platitudes?"; the answer to the question can be found in the month of Nissan (April) 33 A.D. on top of a hill called Calvary. John 3:16 "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life." Love became a man.
I'm going to end here and let you respond. I know that this isn't what you asked but I feel there might be a need for some foundational work. I'm not accusing you of being ignorant of your faith but rather you sound like your in pain and living in fear. God did not mean for this to be the case for you brother. I will answer your questions though, please don't worry about that.
honoryoo

Con

honoryoo forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
JonathanDJ

Pro

Today I'm going to tackle freewill. I believe in the position called libertarian free will. I think that man has the ability to genuinely choose or choose otherwise. The purpose in the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil was not to test our obedience but rather to actualize human freedom. The tree fulfilled it's purpose the moment it's roots hit the soil. God was not guilty of setting man up for sin because that wasn't the point in the tree. For freedom to exist then choice must exist. Why does there have to be choice? Relationships require choice. There is no such thing as a forced relationship. God is love and loving us is what God is about. He wants to have a relationship with us. To do that we have to choose it. We know we have choices because God gives us commandments and instructions. He gives us ultimatums. He is angry about our disobedience. None of those things makes sense in a setting were everything is foreordained.
The next question is why do bad things happen? For the same reason. We have choices. If we have real choices then there will be real consequences. If God has four pieces of fruit; an apple, banana, pear, and a peach. If he says we can pick one and we pick the pear then He, necessarily, lacks control of the pear by His own choice and restraint. If God honors most of our free will decisions then when we choose evil the world is likely to become a very ugly place. God is Holy and Righteous, Loving and Kind because He honors our freewill but, we are guilty of the evil that comes of our decisions. He is not the one who misused our free will we are. We did not give ourselves freewill, He did. He is good and we are sinful.
The trouble with sinning in an ongoing way is that we can create such a mess of freewill choices that we severely limit what God can do to help us. Other peoples freewill also enters into the equation. It can get to the point where God can forgive us and restore us to Him but the consequences of our actions are pretty much unavoidable and at full force. Again the reason for this is that God honors our freewill.
honoryoo

Con

honoryoo forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
JonathanDJ

Pro

I'm sorry bro, I really let the time wind down and I haven't finished preparing what I want to say. I'll put up my comments on the next go round.
honoryoo

Con

honoryoo forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 4
JonathanDJ

Pro

We worry about what God has in store for us and if it will make us happy because we lack perspective. Tell me something; if you could choose to do what you love and have a good relationship with God throughout eternity or let Him chose for you and have a great relationship with God throughout eternity which one would you pick. If you pick the first then you lack perspective. This life lasts all of 80 years where as my time with God will go on forever. It makes more sense to invest in the eternal relationship. Even if we get what we want and we have a good relationship with God in Heaven, we will agonize over the fact that we didn't go for his best. We will then know what we did not know now. What God taught me to do was to surrender everything to Him completely. To pray to Him saying sincerely that I will let him and want Him to take everything away if that's what it takes for me to be to be a close as possible to Him in this life and eternity. If you can't do that then take it in steps. If not that then ask God to make you willing etc. After that always remember to put God's plans in ink and yours in pencil.
Pleasure in this life is a shadow. We can't let ourselves ever forget that. To be in the presence of God is to exceed the sum of all pleasure and fulfillment. We pursue pleasure and fulfillment because there is something that is missing. We lost it in the Garden when our parents fell. We no longer walk with God as they did. The pleasures we experience remind us of what we had and can have. We confuse the shadow for the light and spend our lives chasing shadows. Ecclesiastes 2:1-3:
1. I said to myself, "Come now, I will test you with pleasure. So enjoy yourself." And behold, it too was futility. 2. I said of laughter, "It is madness," and of pleasure, "What does it accomplish" 3. I explored with my mind how to stimulate my body with wine while my mind was guiding me wisely, and how to take hold of folly, until I could see what good there is for the sons of men to do under heaven the few years of their lives."
We come to realize that there is a form of suffering worse than we could have imagined; the weariness of pleasure. If we are sick of feeling good then what is left but to feel bad or nothing and neither of those is anything to look forward to. Victor Frankel hit on something when he said that what people needed was meaning in life. But he was wrong in that he wasn't specific enough about the meaning. Not just any meaning will do. The meaning for which we all seek and long is to Love God with all our selves and to love our neighbor as much as we love ourselves. For instance, the toys we most favored as children were probably the ones we used most often when we played with others. Watch commercials for toys and you'll see the child accompanied by their father, mother, grandparents, siblings, or friends. The toy is a mere catalyst for the relationship. I was watching a documentary about Ayn Rand. She talked about living for ourselves and our work. But if you look at her life she spent allot of time desperately trying to please academics and literary critics. She spent great deal of time living for others. I'm not putting down for that, we all do it.
Well brother, we can continue in private if you want or we can do another one these right now and just continue on. I need you to respond though.

Two teachers I like are:
Charles Stanley
Chuck Swindoll
honoryoo

Con

honoryoo forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 5
5 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Posted by lolzors93 3 years ago
lolzors93
You should read through Philippians. There's a really nice verse in there about how God makes us will and to do for Him.
Posted by JonathanDJ 3 years ago
JonathanDJ
Brother Hon,
I hope you didn't give up on me.
Posted by radz 3 years ago
radz
I am a Presbyterian. I was taught that God predestined everything to happen in such a way that he isn't the direct cause of it. This means that God allows something to happen even if it is bad or good based on his purpose.

Notice these verses:

Ephesians 1:11(GNT)
"All things "are done according to God's plan and decision; and God chose us to be his own people in union with Christ because of his own purpose, based on what he had decided from the very beginning.

Romans 8:28 ( GNT)
We know that in "all things" God works for good with those who love him,[d] those whom he has called according to his purpose.

All things are about God and his church. This verse sums it up:

Ephesians 3:21( NIV)
to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.

On Free Will

Totally depraved humans do not have an option to choose between life and death. All naturally chose death.They are slaves to sin( Romans 6:20).

Those whom God has chosen before creation will be regenerated, called, justified, sanctified, glorified -in short-- will be saved ( Romans 8:30, Titus 3:5)

The rest are called "reprobates" for they remain in their natural condition of being slaves to sin.

Those who have been saved by grace through faith (alone) not of works ( Ephesians 2:8-9) just need to obey God tin all things to give him glory ( 1 Corinthians 10:33).

But we still do sin ( 1 John 1:8-10).

In fact,we Christians saved by faith alone in Christ alone have now options to either choose blessings OR chastisement and loss of reward based on our actions. If we sin ( we'll be disciplined in order to continue in the Lord) and if we obey ( We'll be blessed and grow in grace and knwoledge of the Lord).

All of this are inevitable. Ponder on these truths. :) The LORD Bless You!
Posted by JonathanDJ 3 years ago
JonathanDJ
Brother Hon, I'm going to take a bit and reflect on your questions and pray ok? I'll get back to you soon.
Posted by lolzors93 3 years ago
lolzors93
The biggest hurdle most people have to overcome in order to understand predestination is that God determines our desires. Most people think God simply forces people to do things against their will. But this is irrelevant to the issue, since God determines the desires of people. He gives them the will to do for God, and He gives them the desire to not do for God. We do what our hearts desire, what our nature demands. Once a person understands this, it makes predestination a lot easier to accept.
No votes have been placed for this debate.