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Daniel of Doulogos Name:Daniel
Home: Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
About Me: I used to believe that evolution was reasonable, that homosexuality was genetic, and that people became Christians because they couldn't deal with the 'reality' that this life was all there was. I used to believe, that if there was a heaven - I could get there by being good - and I used to think I was more or less a good person. I was wrong on all counts. One day I finally had my eyes opened and I saw that I was not going to go to heaven, but that I was certainly going to suffer the wrath of God for all my sin. I saw myself as a treasonous rebel at heart - I hated God for creating me just to send me to Hell - and I was wretched beyond my own comprehension. Into this spiritual vacuum Jesus Christ came and he opened my understanding - delivering me from God's wrath into God's grace. I was "saved" as an adult, and now my life is hid in Christ. I am by no means sinless, but by God's grace I am a repenting believer - a born again Christian.
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Friday, July 21, 2006
Apostasy
I was reading a post over at Jonathan Moorhead's blog and found the discussion there quite interesting.

If you follow the link to the thread and read the meta you will see that Matthew (A.K.A. Dyspraxic Fundamentalist) is teaching that saving faith is (or can be) temporal - that is, you can believe the gospel for a second or two, and having believed you become "saved" - and now that you have a lock on heaven you need not believe anymore - in fact, you can live another sixty or eighty years as an Anti-Christ, Muslim, Buddhist, or simply as an Atheist - and be as soundly saved as anyone else.

One would wonder what one has to do to be an apostate under such a soteriology, but one needn't wonder long, because Matthew defines apostasy as just another sin committed by a Christian that Christ will forgive them for:
A believer may potentially fall into apostasy and do the work of an antichrist. - Matthew (A.K.A. Dyspraxic Fundamentalist)
I think this is an error on Matthew's part.

I draw your attention to something John the apostle wrote:

Children, it is the last hour, and as you have heard that antichrist is coming, so now many antichrists have come. Therefore we know that it is the last hour. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. But you have been anointed by the Holy One, and you all have knowledge. I write to you, not because you do not know the truth, but because you know it, and because no lie is of the truth. Who is the liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, he who denies the Father and the Son. No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also. Let what you heard from the beginning abide in you. If what you heard from the beginning abides in you, then you too will abide in the Son and in the Father. And this is the promise that he made to us --eternal life. - 1 John 2:18-25


It is clear that John believes that those who leave the Christian faith demonstrate that they were not -of- the Christian faith. Whatever profession of belief they may have made was in fact a false profession - they demonstrate by their apostasy the fact that they were never saved in the first place.

I am reminded at this point of that law case a while back, where a fellow's heart stopped on the operating table. The fellow, having a life insurance policy, thought he had hit pay dirt, since his heart and breathing stopped long enough for him to be declared clinically dead. The judge took one look at him, pronounced him "alive" and threw the case out of court.

I confess - that's my kind of judge!

The fellow was hoping, no doubt to frivolously cash in on the wording of his insurance clause, but the judge wasn't swayed by the man's tomfoolery. It was clear that the policy was a "life insurance" policy - and that the man couldn't cash in on that policy while still being in full possession of the life that was insured - no matter how the claim was worded.

It happens from time to time that we read of someone handling God's word with all the tender care of a man trying to get something fraudulently on account of the text - as though the intent of the scripture could be circumvented by ignoring context in favor of some grammatical "possibility." I call this, well, it doesn't matter what -I- call it, it is enough to say that we shouldn't do it if we can help it.

When Jesus Christ opened my eyes to the truth - something happened. They were opened in such a way that they could never again be closed.

That is, I cannot deny the faith that saved me, it would be like denying truth itself - I could mouth the words all I wanted, but I know... I KNOW the truth, and while I may ignore it, or while I may walk all over it in my pride and sin, while I may refuse to bend to it - yet I cannot deny it! Truth is like that - I cannot deny that my wife gave birth to four children - I was there when each of them was born. You could as soon convince me that I was Napoleon Bonaparte as try and tell me that my wife didn't give birth to these four children. It isn't that I "believe" it - as though I could simply make a choice to believe it or not - it is that I am in possession of a truth that cannot be denied by a sane and rational mind. It isn't something some persuasion that I can be argued out of - it is truth itself. I know that my eyes were opened, and that Jesus is the Christ, the son of the Living God - and I know that however I might fail my Lord, I can never deny that Jesus is the Christ.

If you are born again - neither can you.

That is to say, that no believer can stop believing, apostasy is not a Christian option. If you are a believer, you cannot stop being a believer. It doesn't work that way. Anyone who can stop being a "believer" has never believed. End of discussion. That is what John is saying. They went out from us because they weren't of us. They named the name of Christ for a while, but they were never Christians. They wore the label "Christian" and came to the love feasts, but they were false as could be.

Apostasy isn't the sin of a believer, but the sin of an unbeliever. It isn't that you are Christ's and then you fall away, it is that you joined the church superficially in the face of genuine truth - and having always rejected the truth, you eventually fall away from the church. That is apostasy.

The "believer" who believes for a time then falls away is no genuine believer and never was. An apostate was never saved in the first place. Apostasy can be forgiven only once - when a person comes to genuine faith. After that, there is no such thing as apostasy - since the reality of Christ cannot be denied by anyone who has received Christ's Spirit in truth.

Apostasy is not a genuine believer falling into sin, it is a counterfeit "Christian" finally laying aside their hypocrisy.

Believers can fall into sin, and have trouble getting out of it - they can look, for all the world to be fruitless - but they cannot deny Christ with their hearts - their mouths might be able to mumble something - but they won't believe it - they cannot.

So when I read Matthew's quote, I am left more than a little confused. It is as if he defines apostasy as being a period of backsliding - and not as unbelief, or possibly when Matthew (A.K.A. Dyspraxic Fundamentalist) says "believer" he isn't speaking of someone in possession of saving faith, but rather someone who has come to a "momentarily persuasion."

This sort of confusion can only lead to more confusion.
posted by Daniel @ 10:17 AM  
12 Comments:
  • At 12:08 PM, July 21, 2006, Blogger Even So... said…

    Head faith, said faith., etc., etc. - yes it is or can be confusing, but those that would walk away wouldn't care anyway.

    To me these issues point out the difference between OSAS and Perseverance - the latter being correct, I believe.

    I do wonder, because I was "saved" in 1974, but between 1988-1993, and then 1996-1999 I was "away" from the Lord, far away at times, it seemed. I never denied Jesus by my words directly, and even defended my beliefs and gave witness to them occasionally, but overall my life did not bear witness to the fact of saving grace. I prayed once in a while even once when I was about to do something terribly wicked.

    God, in His grace, saw to it that I "came back"; I have an assurance of my faith, and to ask others, fruit is evident. So was I really saved during this period? What if I would have died during this time?

    I have answeers to this in my mind, but these sorts of scenarios bring up a host of relevant questions.

    Hope I was not too far off topic, but Matthew always responds in hunility - this perhaps is what he means by "shoes off" :) - and I know others consider these types of things often...

     
  • At 12:10 PM, July 21, 2006, Blogger Even So... said…

    Hunility? - is that what Atilla had?

    whoops, that might be construed as the opposite of what I meant - humility

     
  • At 1:49 PM, July 21, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    JD ~ I think there is a world of difference between ignoring the Spirit of God that saved me and denying in my heart that Jesus is the Christ.

    The one is a mark of spiritual immaturity, the other describes spiritual impossibility.

    Matthew certainly strikes me as a gentleman and while I don't agree with some of his convictions, I believe he comes by them honestly enough, and defends them even when it becomes tiresome to do so.

    I only singled Matthew out because I quoted directly from him in Jonathan's meta, and I wanted people reading my blog to have the opportunity to examine his quote in context in which it was made (in case I had misrepresented him).

    Truly, I was not addressing Matthew in my post, I was addressing the idea that apostasy is the same as backsliding. It isn't.

     
  • At 2:47 PM, July 21, 2006, Blogger Even So... said…

    I agree apostasy isn't backsliding but one, backsliding, can lead to another, in a sense...if one was headed in that direction anyway, because they were never a believer to begin with...it all comes down to how you define terms...

     
  • At 3:44 PM, July 21, 2006, Blogger Jonathan Moorhead said…

    Daniel, thanks for picking up on this debate. Matthew's treatment of 2 John is truly amazing. I will say that he is consistent in the "Free Grace" theology by taking it to its logical conclusions.

     
  • At 10:46 PM, July 21, 2006, Blogger jazzycat said…

    Daniel,
    Amen. I think it is important to expose the free grace error as unsound doctrine should be refuted.

    Jazzycat

     
  • At 1:55 AM, July 22, 2006, Blogger Antonio said…

    A quote from my blog which can be found here: Exposition on the Parable of the Sower

    ----------
    Rocky soil
    In the pro-life movement for plants, life begins at germination. Life has occurred in the rocky soil.

    The devil failed to prevent the salvation of the hearer who is represented by the rocky soil. This is evident. The seed remains, sprang up, and produced life. Satan has to get it out of their heart “lest they believe and be saved,” and in this endeavor he is unsuccessful. This parable explicitely shows that those represented by the rocky soil believe!

    The Traditionalist (Reformed advocate) asserts that you aren’t saved by believing! but by believing and believing and believing and believing (and believing…): a perseverance in faith. You are saved at the end by perseverance in a linear faith, and not at a distinct moment of time upon a simple act of faith.

    John 4:13-14
    Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”

    Notice the phrase “drink of”. All one must do is merely “drink of” the water Jesus gives and he will never thirst again. Why? Because that one drink becomes a perpetual fountain. The single exercise of faith in Christ for eternal life brings with it absolute eternal security/eternal well-being.

    According to the Traditionalist, salvation is contingent on linear faith. Jesus' offer to the Samaratan women at the well thus turns from "whoever drinks of the water that I shall give them shall never thirst again" into "whoever continues to drink of the water I give them shall never thirst again".

    To this I say: of course if you continue to drink something you will never thirst! How is that contrasted with the physical water in John 4 that must continually be drawn (and drinken)? “Keep drinking and you will never thirst!” This becomes quite the prolific statement Christ makes here (sarcasm, for those of you in Rio Linda). Yet, such an understanding fatally extinguishes Jesus’ emphatic declaration here: take a drink and never thirst again – an initial act of faith that results in a permanent and unchangeable result in the person who has believed.

    Eternal life is a definitive result!: you hear the voice of the Son of God and you have life; you believe and you pass from death unto life, you believe and you have eternal life.

    It is a false premise that since they only believe for a while that they are not saved. That was good enough! It was good enough to get them saved! Satan didn’t have his way, the person represented by the rocky soil “believed” and therefore was saved.
    ----------

    Antonio da Rosa

     
  • At 8:58 AM, July 22, 2006, Blogger jazzycat said…

    Seems to me the life that sprang up from the rocky soil died. That means dead. Dead is not the word the Bible uses to describe eternal life.

    Eternal life mean one never dies? The rocky ground hearer gave a false profession as did the throny ground hearer. Thus death resulted and the purpose of the farmer planting the seed was thwarted.

    Daniel covered this a few weeks ago as I also did on my blog.

    Jazzycat

     
  • At 5:48 PM, July 22, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    In the pro-life movement for plants, life begins at germination. Life has occurred in the rocky soil.

    I don't think anyone would argue that.

    What is argued however is what that pictures.

    The a germinating seed does not represent salvation - it pictures what happens when the gospel isn't immediately rejected. There are three ways the gospel is received - one is received superficially (rocky soil) one is received half heartedly (thorny soil) - and one is received sincerely (the good soil).

    Only the seed planted in the good soil produces fruit, and only fruit represents salvation.

    The seed that dies in the birds belly, the seed that germinates and dies in the sun, and the seed that is choked out and dies in the weeds - they have this in common - they all die, and they all fail in what they were sown to do.

    When the gospel fails in what it was sown to do, it doesn't "produce" a Christian, it produces something else - something that is superficial, or half hearted - but not something we would rightly call a "Christian."

    I appreciate your comments as always Antonio - they are consistent with the rest of your theology.

    Dan

     
  • At 7:30 PM, July 22, 2006, Blogger Antonio said…

    Daniel,

    Notwithstanding your lack of comment on John 4, I want to bring you to task for your lack of precision.

    I see that in your theology, the third soil MUST die. But I just combed all three accounts (Matt 13; Mark 4; Luke 8) and the third soil does not die. Furthermore, it bears fruit, yet not of the "mature" variety. What is said is that the third soil brought "no fruit to maturity" (Luke 8:14). Not only did it not die, it brought forth immature fruit.

    Furthermore, the second soil, "sprang up" with life; growth being a sense of "fruit".

    The seed remains in the second and third soils, the seed being the word of God. The word of God's function is to create regenerate life, along with its great potentials. The seed does just this: creates life.

    James puts it this way:

    James 1:18
    18 Of His own will He brought us forth by the word of truth
    NKJV

    The word of truth, when sown in a heart, produces regeneration.

    Too, Jesus states that the reason that the seed is taken OUT OF THE HEART by Satan is "lest they should believe and be saved" (Luke 8:12).

    The seed sown in a heart represents both faith and its consequence: regeneration.

    When Jesus' explicit statement in Luke 8:12 asserts that believing produces salvation, how is it you relegate the second soil to hell when in fact those who are represented by this soil, Jesus refers to as those "who believe" (Luke 8:13)?

    This is where Calvinism's house of cards comes into play. It presents secondary assumptions not present in the text to explain away the tension, totally modifying one facet of the data (Luke 8:13 which asserts that the second soil believed, albeit for a short time [notwithstanding Jesus in John 4 states that a single "drink of" the water He gives produces eternally definitive results]) in order to accomodate it with another apparantly contradictory one (that Jesus says believing produces salvation in Luke 8:12).

    They modify the first experimental fact (that the second soil believed) by introducing the secondary assumption that the text does not support, rather negates, that the faith in verse 8:13 is not really faith, but a spurious faith. They do this even though Jesus uses the same word for "believe" and states categorically that believing will bring salvation in the exact verse preceding it (Luke 8:12).

    Instead of modifying one of the facts of the parable, they ought to search for a higher synthesis, larger than each fact, which will explain both:

    namely that one may believe, be saved, and later lose his faith.

    But this would falsify the doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints, and there will be none of that!

    It is in this way that the Perseverance of the Saints doctrine is passed down and adhered to: by the never-ending introduction of secondary assumptions. This continual addition of ad-hoc explanations render the theory useless. It has become incabpable of falsification because any contrary data to it is simply negated by additional assumptions, and in this way, text after text is often ignored.

    In 8:12 Jesus states that Satan MUST remove the seed from the heart so that they will not believe and thus be saved.

    In 8:13 Jesus states that the seed in the second soil germinated (was brought forth by the word of truth), experienced some growth, and explicitly states that they believed!

    In order to keep the doctrine of the Perseverance of the Saints from being discarded, the Traditionalist must modify one or the other of these facts by introducing secondary assumptions.

    Take the text for what it says, and if your doctrine does not line up with it, it must be discarded!

    Antonio

     
  • At 7:59 AM, July 23, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    I see that in your theology, the third soil MUST die

    Antonio, I am sure that you see it this way - the lens through which you examine these things would make it next to impossible to see it otherwise.

    However, my theology in no way requires the death of the plant in the third soil. All it requires is that the plant in the third soil "be unfruitful" (as Matthew and Mark describe it) or "bring no fruit to maturity" as Luke describes it.

    Using scripture to interpret scripture, and having two witnesses that describe the plant in the third soil as being unfruitful, I regard Luke's comment as synonymous to the other gospels, and reason that if there is "incomplete fruit" in Luke's account - that this doesn't contradict Mark and Matthew's account which state that the plant was "unfruitful" - that is, if Matthew and Mark both understand that the plant was unfruitful - so did Luke, he just described it differently.

    It is one thing to say Luke is saying the same thing as Mark and Matthew - that is, that the plant was unfruitful - but it would be impossible to make a credible argument the other way around - that is, to suggest that Luke is saying that the plant is in fact fruitful, though less so, and then try and prove that Mark and Matthew by saying it was unfruitful, meant that it was slightly fruitful. I hope you see how irrational such an assertion would be.

    No, we see, and I think I can say "clearly" that the plant in the thorny soil was "unfruitful" - and that is all that matters for the orthodox theological position.

    I do appreciate however your correction on this one point however (and I confess to my own carelessness on this point) - scripture doesn't explicitly say that the plant in the thorny soil dies.

    I am thankful to God that you pointed this out to me, because as always, all things work together for good to those who love God and are called according to his purpose.

    You see, the reality is that all three plants "die" - the thorny soil, the rocky soil, and the good soil. Two will die unfruitful, but one will bear fruit before it dies. The seed is the gospel, and it produces salvation, and while all three plants die - one will produce fruit. In the same way, even genuine believers will die physically, but for those who have received the gospel in good soil - they will have salvation.

    I love the way even the parables don't break down one bit when you have the right understanding!

    Anyway - the point is my theology has nothing to do with whether or not the plant is "alive" - it has to do with whether or not it bears fruit to maturity, that is, whether or not the gospel produces salvation.

    I can reword my previous statement to accommodate your correction:

    The seed that dies in the birds belly, the seed that germinates and dies in the sun, and the seed that is choked out in the weeds - they have this in common - they all fail in what they were sown to do.

    As you should see, "my" theology in no way hangs upon the death of the plant - in fact, I thank God you noticed that the thorny ground plant isn't explicitly described as dying - since that makes my position much stronger - as we understand that -all- these plants will die (even the one on good soil), but only the one on good soil will be fruitful.

    Antonio said, Notwithstanding your lack of comment on John 4

    Concerning your interpretation:

    Notice the phrase “drink of”. All one must do is merely “drink of” the water Jesus gives and he will never thirst again. Why? Because that one drink becomes a perpetual fountain. The single exercise of faith in Christ for eternal life brings with it absolute eternal security/eternal well-being.

    The imagery in that historical account is perfectly beautiful. Here comes this sinner to the well. On her head we see the empty jar, she finally arrives at the well to draw water. She puts down the jar, and taking the rope and bucket she begins the laborious task of, hand over hand, pulling pails full of water out of the well and pouring them into her jar, then lifting the heavy jar atop her head or shoulder perhaps, she must trek back up to Samaria. Jesus speaks of an artesian well (one in which the water pressure forces water up so that it needed be drawn) springing up within her.

    It doesn't picture her taking one sip and never being thirsty on account of that one sip (an artesian well would have no value if that were the illustration) - it pictures her never being thirsty (on account of having no water), since the water would always be available.

    Now, Christ isn't speaking about water here, he is talking about spiritual life.

    Here is this sinner whose religion requires the answer for her sins to be an unending, daily drawing from a distant source - a manual labor that she must continue to perform. When Christ speaks of the gift of God it isn't about manual labor, and drawing the Holy Spirit to yourself day by day through your own effort - but of the living water being within her and springing up unto eternal life.

    Interestingly enough, when she asked for this water, Christ didn't say "just believe" - he immediately addressed the soil condition of her heart - "call you husband!" We see here that the relationship between repentance and receiving the gospel is clear as ever. Thanks for bringing that up. ;-)

    On a personal note, I don't really live on the computer, my time is at a premium (I have a wife, four kids, a job, and serious responsibilities in the church). Because my time is at a premium, I try to stick to the topic at hand, and let the rabbit trails alone. That is why I sometimes don't follow the conversation when it wanders away - I don't mind if others do, conversation works that way - but I do try to avoid "my pet theology vs. your pet theology" meta discussions, as they just eat up time, and seldom produce anything more than a long, drawn out "we agree to disagree" final statement. Why not skip to the chase?

     
  • At 3:53 PM, July 23, 2006, Blogger Jonathan Moorhead said…

    Nice work Daniel.

     
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