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Theological, Doctrinal, and Spiritual Musing - and whatever other else is on my mind when I notice that I haven't posted in a while.
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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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Daniel's posts are almost always pastoral and God centered. I appreciate and am challenged by them frequently. He has a great sense of humor as well.
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[He has] good posts, both the serious like this one, and the humorous like yesterday. [He is] the reason that I have restrained myself from making Canadian jokes in my posts.
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Monday, November 06, 2006
Things That Make You Go Hmmm.
John Doe receives the Lord as a young man - and is on fire for God every day of his life for ten years solid. Not a day goes where John does not redeem every moment for the Lord whom he loves and is entirely sold out to. In these brief years John starts three missions, builds an orphanage, plants a dozen churches, and leads thousands to the Savior He knows and loves. John is the real deal.

One day, John falls off a ladder, and konks his noggin, and goes into a coma. He is in the coma for eight months and when he wakes, he no longer remembers the last twelve years of his life. He doesn't know his wife, and doesn't remember the Lord, or anything related to his faith. He doesn't remember his congregation, nothing. It is as if the last 12 years didn't happen.

John is released into the care of his wife, but because John used to be a steadfast atheist, and hedonist, he can't stand his "new" bride - you see, John the Christian could overlook her speech problem and birth defect, but John the atheist has no desire to hang around with this lady no matter how good she cooks. He gets in touch with an old girlfriend, moves away from his family, and moves in with his old flame.

What do we, as Christians make of that? Is John saved, or has John lost his salvation - is salvation dependent upon our intellect or our current walk? Do we invalidate John's former profession of faith because John now suffers from amnesia?

Do we leave room for God's grace, or do we demand that if John is a genuine believer, then God must commence with the chastening and the rebuking pronto. What do we think of God's character? How do we reconcile such a scenario to our understanding of faith, carnality, and how God deals with both of these.

Questions of this nature are good for identifying how we really think it all works.

I would be interested in hearing some comments. Is John still saved? Was he ever saved? Must God slay John? etc. etc.
posted by Daniel @ 3:30 PM  
  • At 4:48 PM, November 06, 2006, Blogger Craver Vii said…

    "John's" evidence from the past twelve years is not what saves him. It is possible that everyone (John included) was duped all along. I can't see how the indwelling Holy Spirit would permit such a scenario. Furthermore, this hypothetical happenstance is totally unrealisic, because what kind of moron would leave a wife who can cook?! I don't care if she's mean and shaves her back. If she cooks, she's a keeper. (BTW, Mrs. Craver is an outstanding cook, plus a whole list of nice extras that I do not deserve.) Anyway... totally unrealistic.

    But that was not my answer. As I consider your hypothetical situation, I must firmly say, "I'm stumped; I don't know; I'll have to think about it and get back to you..."

  • At 4:49 PM, November 06, 2006, Blogger Jim said…

    Daniel, I am not quite sure where you are going with this?

  • At 7:55 PM, November 06, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    Jim - You don't really need to know where I am going with this in order to give your opinion.

    Craver - In the scenario, John's profession of saving faith is as genuine as they get.

  • At 8:01 PM, November 06, 2006, Blogger Even So... said…

    What God starts God finishes...

  • At 8:03 PM, November 06, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    JD - very true.

  • At 9:20 PM, November 06, 2006, Blogger Frank Martens said…

    If John moves in with his old flame, and he's really God's, his conscience will bear him witness. And God will draw him back.

    IF He's God's.... did he loose his salvation? I guess only time will tell, but us as believers had better be vigilant in persuing him and praying for him.

  • At 9:20 PM, November 06, 2006, Blogger Frank Martens said…

    Sorry that statement makes it sound like I believe he could loose his salvation. I do not, but rather what I'm saying is... was He a believer? Was he saved? Is he saved? ... Only time will tell.

  • At 9:42 PM, November 06, 2006, Blogger Jim said…

    Daniel, I think this is a hypothetical situation where I see the main issue not in whether or not the man was saved, but why his state of amnesia continues.

    I for one would not rule out the possibility of demonic control over his mind.

    I would have no doubts as to his salvation, and I think those who would are totally missing the point here.

  • At 10:08 PM, November 06, 2006, Blogger Even So... said…

    If God wanted him to recover he would, and acting in accordance with that it would be us praying for him that we would see in our view, as God then eventually brought him back.

    We do not know if John was ever saved, if he was he will persevere, but that doesn't mean that we can define what persevere means by some outer standard...we could guess but it would be just that, speculation... informed, qualified, but speculation nontheless...

    As far as a determination having to be made it would not have to be a decision we would have to make. If he were not to come back to a professed faith, obviously we would not have to exclude him from the church as an institution, he would exclude himself, not wanting to be a part of it...we cannot answer the question with absolute certainty, we only need pray for him, not worry about what God determines...

  • At 11:41 PM, November 06, 2006, Blogger jazzycat said…

    I think there was ever reason to believe that God's grace was active in John Doe's life right up to his accident. This accident certainly caused some kind of brain damage that changed John drastically. I think Romans 8:37-39 might fit in this case and I would say that he was truly saved and he certainly can't lose his salvation due to brain damage.

    Grace is what saved him in the first place and grace will complete the job.


  • At 1:00 AM, November 07, 2006, Blogger Craver Vii said…

    If he had been drawn by irresistible grace, I have confidence that he will be made to remember the Lord, even if God allows him to suffer amnesia for a while. I would not expect John to continue believing he is an atheist indefinitely. We would do well to pray for the poor wife in this situation, but let God do what seems good to Him.

    Interesting scenario, Daniel. I'm eager for your feedback. You're making me really think here. Hey, do you guys smell smoke?

  • At 11:43 AM, November 07, 2006, Blogger Rose~ said…

    This is easy! (unless of course TULIP is your grid).

    This is not dissimilar to the real case, not hypothetical, of a believer who gets alzheimers. I knew one. There are other examples of mental illness or injury which do not jeapordize our position as sons!

    One is saved the moment he believes and receives. If you add all these other works, fruit and persevering etc... as the "requirements" or "proof," then ... you come up scratching your head on this one.

    "We HAVE BEEN reconciled..." It is finished. Christ has done it. We have access through FAITH, not persevering in mental health, not even persevering in faith. We HAVE RECEIVED eternal life. ... or do we believe that eternal life is yet to be received by believers, based on persevering? The gift of God IS eternal life, the indwelling HS in the vessel of clay. One cannot lose something that is eternal. One does receive that eternal life in a moment of time, not over a process of years. We have been born again unto eternal life, as Peter says.

    Think about this:
    If a young man goes off to war and gets a head injury ... and he can't remember who his parents are ... does he not remain their son?

  • At 1:43 PM, November 07, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    Rose, you are correct - it -is- an easy question; and you also correctly identified the primary factor that makes this sort of question difficult for some of us to answer - our natural penchant for turning theological summaries into theological absolutes.

    Paul summarized the whole of the Old Testament message into "Love your neighbor" - a point which demonstrates that there is nothing ungodly about summarizing theological truths. A theological generalization can help us to understand complex truths, but it also can become a shorthand juggernaut that takes on a life of its own when we apply it as an absolute to every situation.

    In my soon to be posted discussion on "carnal Christians" I may well offend some name-brand Calvinists™ if I do not begin my case with such an introduction as this scenario I have painted...

    I will post my full thought shortly, but this is where I was going.

  • At 3:25 PM, November 07, 2006, Blogger Jim said…

    Rose: great answer!

  • At 5:40 PM, November 07, 2006, Blogger jazzycat said…

    Uh. Excuse me, but I am a Calvinist and I said essentially the same thing as Rose. Check it out. Rose, this view is consistent with "Tulip".

    Daniel, this case has absolutely no similarity to the 'so called' carnal Christian.


  • At 6:23 PM, November 07, 2006, Blogger jazzycat said…

    One final point...
    The p for perseverance in 'tulip' is about what God does and not about what man does. It is about God's grace and not man's works or effort. That is the meaning of the Scripture referance I gave earlier (Rom 8:37-39). The accusation that Calvinism means a perseverance based on human merit is a false charge. John 6:37 affirms this as well

  • At 9:38 AM, November 08, 2006, Blogger Craver Vii said…

    Rose, I did the head-tilting “Huh?” as I read your comment, because it’s not clear whether you are agreeing with the “P” in TULIP(acronym/not shouting). Simply put, the “P” means that if God saves someone, they stay saved. That’s the point that is made when someone says the daisy is the symbol of Armenianism: “He loves me; He loves me not…”

    Therefore, if he was truly saved, (which God knows for sure) then he stays saved, regardless of the folly resulting from head trauma or whatever. The question for me is more of one that seeks to know whether he was truly saved in the first place. We cannot know that with absolute certainty because it is possible to be a counterfeit. Also, it's tricky because we're talking about a hypothetical scenario created to make a point which is still at least partially veiled.

    And Daniel, I'm not sure where you intend to land this plane, but I say again, if this dude walked away from a good cook, he should be shot. Nuff said.

  • At 12:40 PM, November 08, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    I am in the process of "unveiling the point" What I want to discuss/define is the notion of carnal Christianity. I hope to demonstrate that false converts are not carnal Christians, but merely carnal - though because they are false converts they are in our congregations representing themselves to us brothers, not out of malice but because they are decived themselve in the matter.

    I hope to show also, in coming posts, that there are indeed Christians who can remain carnal for a time - and I hope to show why that is.

    Finally, I hope to tie it all together and demonstrate that genuine, informed Christianity will never remain carnal - and why.

    It should take me a few more posts, but that is where I am going.

    Along the way I hope have opporunity to to demonstrate how Calvinism (rightly understood) makes such things plain - but that is an aside that I may not bother with.

  • At 10:27 PM, November 26, 2006, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Hello all. I've never posted to a blog before but I'd like to throw something out and see how badly I get thrashed for it (if this thread is even looked at anymore).

    I think we all tend to get a little "puffed up" in thinking that the view from our position is necessarily meaningful. As a single blood pressure reading that is abnormally high is meaningless, so our perspective of what we perceive to be a big event (as in the effects of the head trauma) may also be relatively meaningless. God is at work; the events we cling to for our "prideful" interpretation may be an infinitesimal piece of a masterpiece God is painting, one in which we are incapable of comprehending in it's scope. Judging a human being as carnal or otherwise for a "slice of time" behavior may not be something we have a right to do (or are competently capable of doing). Of course, this doesn't really resolve how we would deal with such a hypothetical case (if we had to "deal" with it in the first place).

  • At 10:17 AM, November 27, 2006, Blogger Daniel said…

    fmpros - I am honored that you would choose my blog to make your first comment! Thank you!

    Even Peter the Apostle had to be withstood to his face by Paul because "[Peter] was to be blamed" - that is, if we were to examine Peter's faith (as some "sin sniffers" are so wont to do) according to his failure at Antioch, we certainly wouldn't have a very good picture of Peter's walk with the Lord. Surely, there are times in even a mature believer's walk where he falls into error, and is deceived into acting sinfully.

    Many people who are right to avoid judgment toss out discernment as well, and there is a grave danger in doing that. Still some will cling to judgment and pretend that they are only being discerning - so even exercising a right discernment is not without its perils.

    When we speak however of what we have the "right" to do, we must go to scripture and qualify our rights according to what God has said, and not according to any other measure.

    This hypothetical scenario opens a greater discussion on carnality in Christianity.

    At the heart of this discussion is whether or not repentance is part of saving faith, but the discussion will wander through the various notions of carnality (failure to repent) before it strikes the iron.

    There are a few fringe elements in Christianity - on the one side you have the Antinomians who would argue that one can be saved without ever turning to Christ - but that salvation happens because one sincerely is convinced that Jesus can and will save them - that is, their faith is in their own sincerity, though they lack the spiritual depth to perceive it as such. On the other side, in that fringe are those who imagine that if your repentance can't be measured on their scale it indicates that you are a poser, a fake, and in no way Christian.

    It is for the sake of the truth in these matters that I begin this discussion - with the purpose of showing that there is such a thing as spiritual immaturity, and it isn't tied to how little we know, but rather how inconsistent our repentance is. Along the way, I hope to demonstrate both the impossibility of faith without repentance, and the inevitability of either repentance or chastisement in the genuine believer.

    It would be foolish of anyone to judge another as carnal - but when we define what carnal is, we should be able to judge ourselves as to whether or not we are carnal.

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