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Prevenient Grace & Apostacy

joneszj
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1/22/2012 2:33:16 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
Arminianism teaches that human will is Totally Depraved as does Calvinism, and Lutheranism. The key differentiating doctrine being Prevenient Grace. Prevenient grace as taught in Arminianism negates Total Depravitiy to the extent of allowing man to make the decision to believe unto Christ for salvation free from the effects of the fall. If the man makes the decision to believe unto Chrst he is then granted salvation. Arminianism teaches predestination in the sense that God for-knowing that the man would chose to believe he then predestines them unto glory.

My question is how then is it possible for anyone to become apostate (loose their salvation)? Arminain and Wesleyan theology both teach that it is possible to fall from salvation. How can this be if once the decision is made to believe that God predestines them to glory? Either God must take back what He predestined or His predestining was never actually effectual.
MyVoiceInYourHead
Posts: 260
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1/22/2012 2:48:19 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/22/2012 2:33:16 PM, joneszj wrote:
Arminianism teaches that human will is Totally Depraved as does Calvinism, and Lutheranism. The key differentiating doctrine being Prevenient Grace. Prevenient grace as taught in Arminianism negates Total Depravitiy to the extent of allowing man to make the decision to believe unto Christ for salvation free from the effects of the fall. If the man makes the decision to believe unto Chrst he is then granted salvation. Arminianism teaches predestination in the sense that God for-knowing that the man would chose to believe he then predestines them unto glory.

My question is how then is it possible for anyone to become apostate (loose their salvation)? Arminain and Wesleyan theology both teach that it is possible to fall from salvation. How can this be if once the decision is made to believe that God predestines them to glory? Either God must take back what He predestined or His predestining was never actually effectual.

People change their minds when they grow up.

Even the Bible admits that some fall away (Hebrews 5?). Most religions issue threats about leaving the religion. How else could the psychological virus perpetuate? At least agnosticism and atheism don't threaten you if you leave!
joneszj
Posts: 1,202
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1/22/2012 3:01:57 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/22/2012 2:48:19 PM, MyVoiceInYourHead wrote:
At 1/22/2012 2:33:16 PM, joneszj wrote:
Arminianism teaches that human will is Totally Depraved as does Calvinism, and Lutheranism. The key differentiating doctrine being Prevenient Grace. Prevenient grace as taught in Arminianism negates Total Depravitiy to the extent of allowing man to make the decision to believe unto Christ for salvation free from the effects of the fall. If the man makes the decision to believe unto Chrst he is then granted salvation. Arminianism teaches predestination in the sense that God for-knowing that the man would chose to believe he then predestines them unto glory.

My question is how then is it possible for anyone to become apostate (loose their salvation)? Arminain and Wesleyan theology both teach that it is possible to fall from salvation. How can this be if once the decision is made to believe that God predestines them to glory? Either God must take back what He predestined or His predestining was never actually effectual.

People change their minds when they grow up.

Sure do!

Even the Bible admits that some fall away (Hebrews 5?). Most religions issue threats about leaving the religion. How else could the psychological virus perpetuate? At least agnosticism and atheism don't threaten you if you leave!

The passage you are referring to is Hebrews 6 and it may be interpreted for apostasy while others interpret it as not (http://www.reformationtheology.com...). It is my position that it does not but that is not the topic as is the rest of your comment.
Gileandos
Posts: 2,394
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1/23/2012 12:22:17 AM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/22/2012 2:33:16 PM, joneszj wrote:
Arminianism teaches that human will is Totally Depraved as does Calvinism, and Lutheranism. The key differentiating doctrine being Prevenient Grace. Prevenient grace as taught in Arminianism negates Total Depravitiy to the extent of allowing man to make the decision to believe unto Christ for salvation free from the effects of the fall. If the man makes the decision to believe unto Chrst he is then granted salvation. Arminianism teaches predestination in the sense that God for-knowing that the man would chose to believe he then predestines them unto glory.

My question is how then is it possible for anyone to become apostate (loose their salvation)? Arminain and Wesleyan theology both teach that it is possible to fall from salvation. How can this be if once the decision is made to believe that God predestines them to glory? Either God must take back what He predestined or His predestining was never actually effectual.

If I may point out.
Total depravity as viewed by the remonstrance =/= Total depravity of Calvinism.

Calvinism Total depravity = total inability to choose for God.

The remonstrance view Total depravity cured upon the 'first action of God'. He acted first to allow the evil sin nature to "never" stand in the way of our free will decisions.

Your state of salvation is always affected by your continued choice of obedience to God's will. That is, you must continue to choose for God.

Predestination in the remonstrance is also not the predestination of the reformed.
All mainstream Christians agree with an Augustinian idea of predestination.
Augustine taught a concept of you are predestined to be born into a certain country, family, gender etc...
This does not mean you have a set status as heaven bound only that you have a certain "called" walk with God. You can of course deny or reject this "called" walk within the mainstream views.

Hope this clarifies.
joneszj
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1/23/2012 2:38:52 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/23/2012 12:22:17 AM, Gileandos wrote:
At 1/22/2012 2:33:16 PM, joneszj wrote:
Arminianism teaches that human will is Totally Depraved as does Calvinism, and Lutheranism. The key differentiating doctrine being Prevenient Grace. Prevenient grace as taught in Arminianism negates Total Depravitiy to the extent of allowing man to make the decision to believe unto Christ for salvation free from the effects of the fall. If the man makes the decision to believe unto Chrst he is then granted salvation. Arminianism teaches predestination in the sense that God for-knowing that the man would chose to believe he then predestines them unto glory.

My question is how then is it possible for anyone to become apostate (loose their salvation)? Arminain and Wesleyan theology both teach that it is possible to fall from salvation. How can this be if once the decision is made to believe that God predestines them to glory? Either God must take back what He predestined or His predestining was never actually effectual.

Gil I always appreciate your input on these matters but I do not agree. Here is why:

If I may point out.
Total depravity as viewed by the remonstrance =/= Total depravity of Calvinism.

Calvinism Total depravity = total inability to choose for God.

Total Depravity according to Calvinism is mans inability to do (any) good as a result of the fall. Arminius said "In this [fallen] state, the free will of man towards the true good is not only wounded, infirm, bent, and weakened; but it is also imprisoned, destroyed, and lost. And its powers are not only debilitated and useless unless they be assisted by grace, but it has no powers whatever except such as are excited by Divine grace."

Also, not that it means much but wiki says that Calvinism and Arminianism agree on total depravity. (http://en.wikipedia.org...)
"Arminians agree with Calvinists over the doctrine of total depravity. The differences come in the understanding of how God remedies this human depravity." Which I pointed out to be (as I understand it) Prevenient Grace. Stirctly speaking Total Depravity by itself is the same for Calvinists and Arminians.

The remonstrance view Total depravity cured upon the 'first action of God'. He acted first to allow the evil sin nature to "never" stand in the way of our free will decisions.

That is how the remonstrance says it was 'cured' but the doctrine as and in itself is agreed upon.

Your state of salvation is always affected by your continued choice of obedience to God's will. That is, you must continue to choose for God.

I see that if a choice is made it can also be being constantly made or maintained. But my question is not about the tense of the choice but instead on the tense of the predestining. I agree that the mans choice must be maintained but when God predestines is that not a decree? Can anything stay the hand of God? I can see that if God for-knowing that a man is or would be apostate He would never predestine them unto glory. I know you mention that predestining as used in Arminianism is different then how I am using but that too I disagree with and will try to point out. Keep in mind that when I use the term predestining in the context of Arminian theology I am not equating it to Calvinists theology.

Predestination in the remonstrance is also not the predestination of the reformed.

I agree with you here. I was not using it in the sense of Reformed theology. The way I have understood it is everyone believes in predestining (its clearly mentioned in scripture); but not everyone agrees on the means of predestining. Calvinists say God eternally decreed the elect (predestined) with no regard to for-knowing that man would chose in faith to believe Christ. Arminians believe that God determined the elect (predestined) by for-knowing that they would (of their own free will) chose to believe unto Christ.

According to Arminianism: "Predestination is not the predetermination of who will believe, but rather the predetermination of the believer's future inheritance. The elect are therefore predestined to sonship through adoption, glorification, and eternal life." (Pawson, David Once Saved, Always Saved? A Study in Perseverance and Inheritance (London: Hodder & Staughton, 1996), from http://en.wikipedia.org...)

All mainstream Christians agree with an Augustinian idea of predestination.

examine: Augustine of Hippo marks the beginning of a system of thought that denies free will (with respect to salvation) and affirms that salvation needs an initial input by God in the life of every person. While his early writings affirm that God's predestinating grace is granted on the basis of his foreknowledge of the human desire to pursue salvation, this changed after 396. His later position affirmed the necessity of God granting grace in order for the desire for salvation to be awakened. However, Augustine does argue (against the Manicheans) that humans have free will; however, their will is so distorted, and the Fall is so extensive, that in the postlapsarian world they can only choose evil. (http://en.wikipedia.org...)

Now, do all Christians agree with the Augustinian idea of predestination (I am not trying to mock)? Arminians clearly do not agree with the above. Augustinianism is the Reformed position on predestination as well as Augustinians position on the freedom of the will. I know wikipedia is not fact but for the most part its never let me down. This in particular lines up with everything I have learned. Its also easier to read then http://plato.stanford.edu... which states:

he presents these views in a manner that is austere and uncompromising. So damaging are the effects of the original sin that the human will is free only to sin [De Correptione et Gratia 1.2; 11.31; Rist 1972, pg. 223]. Thus, the human race is comprised of a massa damnata [De Dono Perseverantiae 35; see also De Civitate Dei XXI.12], out of which God, in a manner inscrutable to us [De Civitate Dei XII.28], has predestined a small number to be saved [De Civitate Dei XXI.12], and to whom he has extended a grace without which it is impossible for the will not to sin.

Augustine taught a concept of you are predestined to be born into a certain country, family, gender etc...

Can you make this more evident? If he did it still would not take from his notion predestination in regards to salvation.

This does not mean you have a set status as heaven bound only that you have a certain "called" walk with God. You can of course deny or reject this "called" walk within the mainstream views.

Augustine taught a form of predestining that means exactly that we have a certain 'called' walk with God. It may not be the predestining you refer to but it is what I am referring to.

Hope this clarifies.

Thanks. I consider you a friend Gil and by no means intend any disrespect. Yet, I am not entirely sure how to continue without being forward. You are saying that I am using the terms wrongly? My evidence shows I am using them properly. Regardless of all this (lolz) I think I answered my own question. God predestines not just anyone who believes initially but also only those He for-knows will believe until 'the end' according to Arminianism. Because if God predestined someone unto glory and that person became apostate then that would raise a serious question on the omnipotence and sovereignty of God.
Gileandos
Posts: 2,394
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1/24/2012 7:53:29 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
@Jones,
I deeply thank you for your kind words.

Also please never concern yourself with being forward in our discussions. You will not hurt my feelings :P

I would like to continue the discussion if you do not mind.

First, I would like to give a great website that does a topical overview of this problem of Wesley's and Jacob Arminius' beliefs on Total Depravity and yet how the entire world of synergism winds up functionally different.

I dealt with the Dean of a Calivinist Seminary from New York on this very issue of the Beliefs and teachings from Augustine to Wesley and their practical application.

It was a great exploratory time in my life.

Here is the website:

Part 1
http://chadelliott.wordpress.com...
Part 2
http://chadelliott.wordpress.com...
Part 3
http://chadelliott.wordpress.com...

Despite 3 parts it is very succinct and brief.
I want to put forward that the idea that is being taught about Total Depravity of the Remonstrance is different than the Calivinist Idea of Total Depravity.

The article of the remonstrance only on its surface appears to be the same.

I would start with the logical argument. If Total Depravity is in agreement by both parties does that not raise the question, why are they so dramatically different on this point?

I suggest to you some very different ideas that permeate their belief and worldview.

***
The Augustinian view of predestination:

The Dean adamantly pointed to Augustine and the council of orange and I began to struggle with my Calvinism at this point.

The council of Orange was late at 529 A.D. and was a local council of only 12 elders. It was never affirmed by the Catholic Church during that day.
This was a huge issue for me as I thought this was a consequence of Augustine's teachings, but obviously was not the mainstream belief of the Church during that day. Only a small geographical branch of the church seemed beset by the idea of Predistination similar to today's Calivinism.

So I began to read Augustine's works directly.
Now I had much experience reading the Early Church fathers and late English translations. Some of the language in the translations was ‘thick' but I was able to work through it due to reading so much of the early church fathers translations from the 16th century to the 18th century.

I want to lay out real quick some concepts:
We will agree with these forms of Grace without any merit to the person:
Grace received– We were born
Grace received – We are sustained with natural sustenance.

We will also recognize and agree in these consequences of predestination (pre-designed plan of God) for all persons:
Predestined into a certain family
Predestined into a certain century
Predestined into a certain body
Predestined into a certain gender
Predestination of the plan for Israel in the communication of God's message
Predestination of God's plan for the Church
Predestination of God's plan for the nations
Predestination of God's plan for the spiritual gifts of the believers

Any consequence that follows is a direct result of the Predestination for all persons.

Now as you can see I will agree, as will most all in the Christian Church, that there is a pre-designed plan for many things. However, I would reject that this means that the person is pre-designed to go to heaven or hell.

I recognize had I been placed into the body of a Thai brothel owner I would have made identical choices as that brothel owner.
This is how Augustine used the distinction of a predesigned plan and Grace in my opinion.
http://www.newadvent.org...
Chapter 19 and 20.

So do I truly merit my decisions without God's direct intervention in so many ways? No, but yet I will still merit my punishment as I reject the plan and expectations that God has predestined me into this Body.

Our choices are very very much involved.
We see a similar concept spoken by Augustine as he works through his ‘Perseverance of the Saints'
I quote:
'For as in those whom God elects it is not works but faith that begins the merit so as to do good works by the gift of God, so in those whom He condemns, unbelief and impiety begin the merit of punishment, so that even by way of punishment itself they do evil works'— I spoke most truly.
Chapter 8 (Ibid)

Our choices directly merit our salvation and our punishment. We can reject the Grace given to us by God while being within the pre-designed plan of God.
Chapters 19 and 20 really spell this out in Augustine's viewpoint.

I do not believe Augustine taught what Calvinism articulates today but certainly a stricter form of God's designed plan.

I am also still out on whether or not if Augustine understood that Paul was referencing the national (or corporate) plan for Israel in Romans or if Augustine believe it was the church or even individuals. His statements many times do not give hint in any direction.

Thank you for your time reading over this information.
joneszj
Posts: 1,202
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1/25/2012 4:26:47 PM
Posted: 4 years ago
At 1/24/2012 7:53:29 PM, Gileandos wrote:
@Jones,
I deeply thank you for your kind words.

Also please never concern yourself with being forward in our discussions. You will not hurt my feelings :P

I would like to continue the discussion if you do not mind.

First, I would like to give a great website that does a topical overview of this problem of Wesley's and Jacob Arminius' beliefs on Total Depravity and yet how the entire world of synergism winds up functionally different.

I dealt with the Dean of a Calivinist Seminary from New York on this very issue of the Beliefs and teachings from Augustine to Wesley and their practical application.

It was a great exploratory time in my life.

Here is the website:

Part 1
http://chadelliott.wordpress.com...
Part 2
http://chadelliott.wordpress.com...
Part 3
http://chadelliott.wordpress.com...

Despite 3 parts it is very succinct and brief.
I want to put forward that the idea that is being taught about Total Depravity of the Remonstrance is different than the Calivinist Idea of Total Depravity.

The article of the remonstrance only on its surface appears to be the same.

I would start with the logical argument. If Total Depravity is in agreement by both parties does that not raise the question, why are they so dramatically different on this point?

I suggest to you some very different ideas that permeate their belief and worldview.


***
The Augustinian view of predestination:

The Dean adamantly pointed to Augustine and the council of orange and I began to struggle with my Calvinism at this point.

The council of Orange was late at 529 A.D. and was a local council of only 12 elders. It was never affirmed by the Catholic Church during that day.
This was a huge issue for me as I thought this was a consequence of Augustine's teachings, but obviously was not the mainstream belief of the Church during that day. Only a small geographical branch of the church seemed beset by the idea of Predistination similar to today's Calivinism.

So I began to read Augustine's works directly.
Now I had much experience reading the Early Church fathers and late English translations. Some of the language in the translations was ‘thick' but I was able to work through it due to reading so much of the early church fathers translations from the 16th century to the 18th century.

I want to lay out real quick some concepts:
We will agree with these forms of Grace without any merit to the person:
Grace received– We were born
Grace received – We are sustained with natural sustenance.

We will also recognize and agree in these consequences of predestination (pre-designed plan of God) for all persons:
Predestined into a certain family
Predestined into a certain century
Predestined into a certain body
Predestined into a certain gender
Predestination of the plan for Israel in the communication of God's message
Predestination of God's plan for the Church
Predestination of God's plan for the nations
Predestination of God's plan for the spiritual gifts of the believers

Any consequence that follows is a direct result of the Predestination for all persons.

Now as you can see I will agree, as will most all in the Christian Church, that there is a pre-designed plan for many things. However, I would reject that this means that the person is pre-designed to go to heaven or hell.

I recognize had I been placed into the body of a Thai brothel owner I would have made identical choices as that brothel owner.
This is how Augustine used the distinction of a predesigned plan and Grace in my opinion.
http://www.newadvent.org...
Chapter 19 and 20.

So do I truly merit my decisions without God's direct intervention in so many ways? No, but yet I will still merit my punishment as I reject the plan and expectations that God has predestined me into this Body.

Our choices are very very much involved.
We see a similar concept spoken by Augustine as he works through his ‘Perseverance of the Saints'
I quote:
'For as in those whom God elects it is not works but faith that begins the merit so as to do good works by the gift of God, so in those whom He condemns, unbelief and impiety begin the merit of punishment, so that even by way of punishment itself they do evil works'— I spoke most truly.
Chapter 8 (Ibid)

Our choices directly merit our salvation and our punishment. We can reject the Grace given to us by God while being within the pre-designed plan of God.
Chapters 19 and 20 really spell this out in Augustine's viewpoint.

I do not believe Augustine taught what Calvinism articulates today but certainly a stricter form of God's designed plan.

I am also still out on whether or not if Augustine understood that Paul was referencing the national (or corporate) plan for Israel in Romans or if Augustine believe it was the church or even individuals. His statements many times do not give hint in any direction.

Thank you for your time reading over this information.

Gil I was up till midnight enjoying every paragraph of the articles you gave me! The best read I have had in some time! I have not read the article you gave for predestination yet but I will when I get home. I do not see how the articles on Total Depravity differ from what i was saying though. I will explain more when I get a better chance to review it!