Friday, March 25, 2011

Why I'm Writing a Book


It's because of stuff like this floating around online: Calvinism Declared By The Church Fathers.


TOTAL DEPRAVITY


Barnabas (A.D. 70): "Learn: before we believed in God, the habitation of our heart was corrupt and weak."

Ignatius (A.D. 110): "They that are carnal cannot do the things that are spiritual... Nor can the unbelievers do the things of belief."

Justin Martyr (A.D. 150): "Mankind by Adam fell under death, and the deception of the serpent; we are born sinners... No good thing dwells in us... For neither by nature, nor by human understanding is it possible for me to acquire the knowledge of things so great and so divine, but by the energy of the Divine Spirit... Of ourselves it is impossible to enter the kingdom of God... He has convicted us of the impossibility of our nature to obtain life... Free will has destroyed us; we who were free are become slaves and for our sin are sold... Being pressed down by our sins, we cannot move upward toward God; we are like birds who have wings, but are unable to fly."

Clement Of Alexandria (A.D. 190): "The soul cannot rise nor fly, nor be lifted up above the things that are on high, without special grace."

Origen: "Our free will... or human nature is not sufficient to seek God in any man."

Eusebius (A.D. 330): "The liberty of our will in choosing things that are good is destroyed."

Augustine (A.D. 370): "If, therefore, they are servants of sin (2 Cor. 3:17), why do they boast of free will?... O, man! Learn from the precept what you ought to do; learn from correction, that it is your own fault you have not the power... Let human effort, which perished by Adam, here be silent, and let the grace of God reign by Jesus Christ... What God promises, we ourselves do not through free will of human nature, but He Himself does by grace within us... Men labor to find in our own will something that is our own, and not God's; how can they find it, I know not."


(To read the rest, visit their website).


As you can see, they provide zero links directly to the Fathers and early Christian witnesses themselves. I don't think they want people to actually read them in context. And so I'm working on a book. It started out as a paper in response to several of my Christian hip-hop Calvinistic friends, but it's turning into a book. Below are some quotes of some of the Fathers and early Christian witnesses that they won't quote. And unlike a number of Calvinistic websites out there, I give direct links for all to see.

If we start with their belief about Free Will, then the rest should fall into place:


FREE WILL


Saint Ignatius (110 A.D.)

"For when ye are desirous to do well, God is also ready to assist you."


Saint Justin Martyr (150 A.D.)

"But lest some suppose, from what has been said by us, that we say that whatever happens, happens by a fatal necessity, because it is foretold as known beforehand, this too we explain. We have learned from the prophets, and we hold it to be true, that punishments, and chastisements, and good rewards, are rendered according to the merit of each man’s actions. Since if it be not so, but all things happen by fate, neither is anything at all in our own power. For if it be fated that this man, e.g., be good, and this other evil, neither is the former meritorious nor the latter to be blamed. And again, unless the human race have the power of avoiding evil and choosing good by free choice, they are not accountable for their actions, of whatever kind they be. But that it is by free choice they both walk uprightly and stumble, we thus demonstrate. We see the same man making a transition to opposite things. Now, if it had been fated that he were to be either good or bad, he could never have been capable of both the opposites, nor of so many transitions. But not even would some be good and others bad, since we thus make fate the cause of evil, and exhibit her as acting in opposition to herself; or that which has been already stated would seem to be true, that neither virtue nor vice is anything, but that things are only reckoned good or evil by opinion; which, as the true word shows, is the greatest impiety and wickedness. But this we assert is inevitable fate, that they who choose the good have worthy rewards, and they who choose the opposite have their merited awards. For not like other things, as trees and quadrupeds, which cannot act by choice, did God make man: for neither would he be worthy of reward or praise did he not of himself choose the good, but were created for this end; nor, if he were evil, would he be worthy of punishment, not being evil of himself, but being able to be nothing else than what he was made."


Tatian (160 A.D.)

"How, then, shall I admit this nativity according to Fate, when I see such managers of Fate? I do not wish to be a king; I am not anxious to be rich; I decline military command; I detest fornication; I am not impelled by an insatiable love of gain to go to sea; I do not contend for chaplets; I am free from a mad thirst for fame; I despise death; I am superior to every kind of disease; grief does not consume my soul. Am I a slave, I endure servitude. Am I free, I do not make a vaunt of my good birth. I see that the same sun is for all, and one death for all, whether they live in pleasure or destitution. The rich man sows, and the poor man partakes of the same sowing. The wealthiest die, and beggars have the same limits to their life. The rich lack many things, and are glorious only through the estimation they are held in; but the poor man and he who has very moderate desires, seeking as he does only the things suited to his lot, more easily obtains his purpose. How is it that you are fated to be sleepless through avarice? Why are you fated to grasp at things often, and often to die? Die to the world, repudiating the madness that is in it. Live to God, and by apprehending Him lay aside your old nature. We were not created to die, but we die by our own fault. Our free-will has destroyed us; we who were free have become slaves; we have been sold through sin. Nothing evil has been created by God; we ourselves have manifested wickedness; but we, who have manifested it, are able again to reject it."


Saint Irenaeus (180 A.D.)

"They will find in our dispensation, that "many are called, but few chosen"; and that there are those who inwardly are wolves, yet wear sheep’s clothing in the eyes of the world (foris); and that God has always preserved freedom, and the power of self-government in man, while at the same time He issued His own exhortations, in order that those who do not obey Him should be righteously judged (condemned) because they have not obeyed Him; and that those who have obeyed and believed on Him should be honoured with immortality."


Saint Irenaeus (180 A.D.)

"For He who makes the chaff and He who makes the wheat are not different persons, but one and the same, who judges them, that is, separates them. But the wheat and the chaff, being inanimate and irrational, have been made such by nature. But man, being endowed with reason, and in this respect like to God, having been made free in his will, and with power over himself, is himself the cause to himself, that sometimes he becomes wheat, and sometimes chaff."


Saint Irenaeus (180 A.D.)

"God therefore has given that which is good, as the apostle tells us in this Epistle, and they who work it shall receive glory and honour, because they have done that which is good when they had it in their power not to do it; but those who do it not shall receive the just judgment of God, because they did not work good when they had it in their power so to do. 2. But if some had been made by nature bad, and others good, these latter would not be deserving of praise for being good, for such were they created; nor would the former be reprehensible, for thus they were made [originally]. But since all men are of the same nature, able both to hold fast and to do what is good; and, on the other hand, having also the power to cast it from them and not to do it,—some do justly receive praise even among men who are under the control of good laws (and much more from God), and obtain deserved testimony of their choice of good in general, and of persevering therein; but the others are blamed, and receive a just condemnation, because of their rejection of what is fair and good. And therefore the prophets used to exhort men to what was good, to act justly and to work righteousness, as I have so largely demonstrated, because it is in our power so to do, and because by excessive negligence we might become forgetful, and thus stand in need of that good counsel which the good God has given us to know by means of the prophets."


Clement of Alexandria (195 A.D.)

"Whether, then, the Father Himself draws to Himself everyone who has led a pure life, and has reached the conception of the blessed and incorruptible nature; or whether the free-will which is in us, by reaching the knowledge of the good, leaps and bounds over the barriers, as the gymnasts say; yet it is not without eminent grace that the soul is winged, and soars, and is raised above the higher spheres, laying aside all that is heavy, and surrendering itself to its kindred element."


Clement of Alexandria (195 A.D.)

"Notwithstanding then since to obey or not is in our own power, provided we have not the excuse of ignorance to adduce. He makes a just call, and demands of each according to his strength. For some are able as well as willing, having reached this point through practice and being purified; while others, if they are not yet able, already have the will."


Clement of Alexandria (195 A.D.)

"But application to the training of ourselves, and subjection to the commandments, is in our own power; with which if we will have nothing to do, by abandoning ourselves wholly to lust, we shall sin, nay rather, wrong our own soul."


Clement of Alexandria (195 A.D.)

"And as the physician ministers health to those who co-operate with him in order to health, so also God ministers eternal salvation to those who co-operate for the attainment of knowledge and good conduct; and since what the commandments enjoin are in our own power, along with the performance of them, the promise is accomplished."


Tertullian (207 A.D.)

"I find, then, that man was by God constituted free, master of his own will and power; indicating the presence of God’s image and likeness in him by nothing so well as by this constitution of his nature. For it was not by his face, and by the lineaments of his body, though they were so varied in his human nature, that he expressed his likeness to the form of God; but he showed his stamp in that essence which he derived from God Himself (that is, the spiritual, which answered to the form of God), and in the freedom and power of his will. This his state was confirmed even by the very law which God then imposed upon him. For a law would not be imposed upon one who had it not in his power to render that obedience which is due to law; nor again, would the penalty of death be threatened against sin, if a contempt of the law were impossible to man in the liberty of his will. So in the Creator’s subsequent laws also you will find, when He sets before man good and evil, life and death, that the entire course of discipline is arranged in precepts by God’s calling men from sin, and threatening and exhorting them; and this on no other ground than that man is free, with a will either for obedience or resistance."


Origen (225 A.D.)

"But as the preaching of the Church includes a belief in a future and just judgment of God, which belief incites and persuades men to a good and virtuous life, and to an avoidance of sin by all possible means; and as by this it is undoubtedly indicated that it is within our own power to devote ourselves either to a life that is worthy of praise, or to one that is worthy of censure, I therefore deem it necessary to say a few words regarding the freedom of the will, seeing that this topic has been treated by very many writers in no mean style. And that we may ascertain more easily what is the freedom of the will, let us inquire into the nature of will and of desire."


Origen (225 A.D.)

"The result of our reasoning, therefore, is to show that those things which happen to us from without are not in our own power; but that to make a good or bad use of those things which do so happen, by help of that reason which is within us, and which distinguishes and determines how these things ought to be used, is within our power."


Origen (225 A.D.)

"In the Psalm, too, it is written: “If My people had heard Me, if Israel had walked in My ways, I would have humbled her enemies to nothing;” by which he shows that it was in the power of the people to hear, and to walk in the ways of God. The Saviour also saying, “I say unto you, Resist not evil;” and, “Whoever shall be angry with his brother, shall be in danger of the judgment;” and, “Whosoever shall look upon a woman to lust after her, hath already committed adultery with her in his heart;” and in issuing certain other commands,—conveys no other meaning than this, that it is in our own power to observe what is commanded. And therefore we are rightly rendered liable to condemnation if we transgress those commandments which we are able to keep. And hence He Himself also declares: “Every one who hears my words, and doeth them, I will show to whom he is like: he is like a wise man who built his house upon a rock,” etc. So also the declaration: “Whoso heareth these things, and doeth them not, is like a foolish man, who built his house upon the sand,” etc. Even the words addressed to those who are on His right hand, “Come unto Me, all ye blessed of My Father,” etc.; “for I was an hungered, and ye gave Me to eat; I was thirsty, and ye gave Me drink,” manifestly show that it depended upon themselves, that either these should be deserving of praise for doing what was commanded and receiving what was promised, or those deserving of censure who either heard or received the contrary, and to whom it was said, “Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire.” Let us observe also, that the Apostle Paul addresses us as having power over our own will, and as possessing in ourselves the causes either of our salvation or of our ruin: “Dost thou despise the riches of His goodness, and of His patience, and of His long-suffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance? But, according to thy hardness and impenitent heart, thou art treasuring up for thyself wrath on the day of judgment and of the revelation of the just judgment of God, who will render to every one according to his work: to those who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory and immortality, eternal life; while to those who are contentious, and believe not the truth, but who believe iniquity, anger, indignation, tribulation, and distress, on every soul of man that worketh evil, on the Jew first, and (afterwards) on the Greek; but glory, and honour, and peace to every one that doeth good, to the Jew first, and (afterwards) to the Greek.” You will find also innumerable other passages in holy Scripture, which manifestly show that we possess freedom of will. Otherwise there would be a contrariety in commandments being given us, by observing which we may be saved, or by transgressing which we may be condemned, if the power of keeping them were not implanted in us."


Origen (225 A.D.)

"If, then, God promises to do this, and if, before He takes away the stony heart, we are unable to remove it from ourselves, it follows that it is not in our power, but in God’s only, to cast away wickedness. And again, if it is not our doing to form within us a heart of flesh, but the work of God alone, it will not be in our power to live virtuously, but it will in everything appear to be a work of divine grace. Such are the assertions of those who wish to prove from the authority of Holy Scripture that nothing lies in our own power. Now to these we answer, that these passages are not to be so understood, but in the following manner. Take the case of one who was ignorant and untaught, and who, feeling the disgrace of his ignorance, should, driven either by an exhortation from some person, or incited by a desire to emulate other wise men, hand himself over to one by whom he is assured that he will be carefully trained and competently instructed. If he, then, who had formerly hardened himself in ignorance, yield himself, as we have said, with full purpose of mind to a master, and promise to obey him in all things, the master, on seeing clearly the resolute nature of his determination, will appropriately promise to take away all ignorance, and to implant knowledge within his mind; not that he undertakes to do this if the disciple refuse or resist his efforts, but only on his offering and binding himself to obedience in all things. So also the Word of God promises to those who draw near to Him, that He will take away their stony heart, not indeed from those who do not listen to His word, but from those who receive the precepts of His teaching; as in the Gospels we find the sick approaching the Saviour, asking to receive health, and thus at last be cured. And in order that the blind might be healed and regain their sight, their part consisted in making supplication to the Saviour, and in believing that their cure could be effected by Him; while His part, on the other hand, lay in restoring to them the power of vision. And in this way also does the Word of God promise to bestow instruction by taking away the stony heart, i.e., by the removal of wickedness, that so men may be able to walk in the divine precepts, and observe the commandments of the law."


Saint Hippolytus (225 A.D.)

"But God, who created it, did not, nor does not, make evil. He makes what is glorious and excellent; for He who makes it is good. Now man, that was brought into existence, was a creature endued with a capacity of self-determination, yet not possessing a sovereign intellect, nor holding sway over all things by reflection, and authority, and power, but a slave to his passions, and comprising all sorts of contrarieties in himself. But man, from the fact of his possessing a capacity of self-determination, brings forth what is evil, that is, accidentally; which evil is not consummated except you actually commit some piece of wickedness. For it is in regard of our desiring anything that is wicked, or our meditating upon it, that what is evil is so denominated. Evil had no existence from the beginning, but came into being subsequently. Since man has free will, a law has been defined for his guidance by the Deity, not without answering a good purpose. For if man did not possess the power to will and not to will, why should a law be established? For a law will not be laid down for an animal devoid of reason, but a bridle and a whip; whereas to man has been given a precept and penalty to perform, or for not carrying into execution what has been enjoined. For man thus constituted has a law been enacted by just men in primitive ages. Nearer our own day was there established a law, full of gravity and justice, by Moses, to whom allusion has been already made, a devout man, and one beloved of God."


Saint Hippolytus (225 A.D.)

"This Logos we know to have received a body from a virgin, and to have remodelled the old man by a new creation. And we believe the Logos to have passed through every period in this life, in order that He Himself might serve as a law for every age, and that, by being present (amongst) us, He might exhibit His own manhood as an aim for all men. And that by Himself in person He might prove that God made nothing evil, and that man possesses the capacity of self-determination, inasmuch as he is able to will and not to will, and is endued with power to do both. This Man we know to have been made out of the compound of our humanity. For if He were not of the same nature with ourselves, in vain does He ordain that we should imitate the Teacher. For if that Man happened to be of a different substance from us, why does He lay injunctions similar to those He has received on myself, who am born weak; and how is this the act of one that is good and just? In order, however, that He might not be supposed to be different from us, He even underwent toil, and was willing to endure hunger, and did not refuse to feel thirst, and sunk into the quietude of slumber. He did not protest against His Passion, but became obedient unto death, and manifested His resurrection. Now in all these acts He offered up, as the first-fruits, His own manhood, in order that thou, when thou art in tribulation, mayest not be disheartened, but, confessing thyself to be a man (of like nature with the Redeemer), mayest dwell in expectation of also receiving what the Father has granted unto this Son."


Saint Cyprian (250 A.D.)

"That the liberty of believing or of not believing is placed in free choice.

In Deuteronomy: “Lo, I have set before thy face life and death, good and evil. Choose for thyself life, that thou mayest live.” Also in Isaiah: “And if ye be willing, and hear me, ye shall eat the good of the land. But if ye be unwilling, and will not hear me, the sword shall consume you. For the mouth of the Lord hath spoken these things.” Also in the Gospel according to Luke: “The kingdom of God is within you.”"


Saint Cyprian (250 A.D.)

"That every one is tempted so much as he is able to bear.

In the first Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians: “No temptation shall take you, except such is human. But God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.”"


Arnobius (305 A.D.)

"But, my opponents ask, if Christ came as the Saviour of men, as you say, why does He not, with uniform benevolence, free all without exception? I reply, does not He free all alike who invites all alike? or does He thrust back or repel any one from the kindness of the Supreme who gives to all alike the power of coming to Him,—to men of high rank, to the meanest slaves, to women, to boys? To all, He says, the fountain of life is open, and no one is hindered or kept back from drinking. If you are so fastidious as to spurn the kindly offered gift, nay, more, if your wisdom is so great that you term those things which are offered by Christ ridiculous and absurd, why should He keep on inviting you, while His only duty is to make the enjoyment of His bounty depend upon your own free choice?"


Methodius of Olympus (311 A.D.)

"Because there is nothing evil by nature, but it is by use that evil things become such. So I say, says he, that man was made with a free-will, not as if there were already evil in existence, which he had the power of choosing if he wished, but on account of his capacity of obeying or disobeying God.

For this was the meaning of the gift of Free Will. And man after his creation receives a commandment from God; and from this at once rises evil, for he does not obey the divine command; and this alone is evil, namely, disobedience, which had a beginning.

For man received power, and enslaved himself, not because he was overpowered by the irresistible tendencies of his nature, nor because the capacity with which he was gifted deprived him of what was better for him; for it was for the sake of this that I say he was endowed with it (but he received the power above mentioned), in order that he may obtain an addition to what he already possesses, which accrues to him from the Superior Being in consequence of his obedience, and is demanded as a debt from his Maker. For I say that man was made not for destruction, but for better things. For if he were made as any of the elements, or those things which render a similar service to God, he would cease to receive a reward befitting deliberate choice, and would be like an instrument of the maker; and it would be unreasonable for him to suffer blame for his wrong-doings, for the real author of them is the one by whom he is used. But man did not understand better things, since he did not know the author (of his existence), but only the object for which he was made. I say therefore that God, purposing thus to honour man, and to grant him an understanding of better things, has given him the power of being able to do what he wishes, and commends the employment of his power for better things; not that He deprives him again of free-will, but wishes to deprives him again of free-will, but wishes to point out the better way. For the power is present with him, and he receives the commandment; but God exhorts him to turn his power of choice to better things. For as a father exhorts his son, who has power to learn his lessons, to give more attention to them inasmuch as, while he points out this as the better course, he does not deprive his son of the power which he possessed, even if he be not inclined to learn willingly; so I do not think that God, while He urges on man to obey His commands, deprives him of the power of purposing and withholding obedience. For He points out the cause of His giving this advice, in that He does not deprive him of the power. But He gives commands, in order that man may be able to enjoy better things. For this is the consequence of obeying the commands of God. So that He does not give commands in order to take away the power which He has given, but in order that a better gift may be bestowed, as to one worthy of attaining greater things, in return for his having rendered obedience to God, while he had power to withhold it. I say that man was made with free-will, not as if there were already existing same evil, which he had the power of choosing if he wished, ... but that the power of obeying and disobeying God is the only cause."


Archelaus (320 A.D.)

"The judges said: He has given demonstration enough of the origin of the devil. And as both sides admit that there will be a judgment, it is necessarily involved in that admission that every individual is shown to have free-will; and since this is brought clearly out, there can be no doubt that every individual, in the exercise of his own proper power of will, may shape his course in whatever direction he pleases."


Also, I've noticed that I'm not alone in trying to fight this. Our friend Maximus Scott over at Classical Christianity was tackling this issue at the same time I was. And he is doing a great job at gathering quotes.

I've noticed the Holiness Movement Arminians doing something similar. They are working on a movie/documentary called Beyond Augustine:



And so, it's not just me trying to do something about this: which is good.

40 comments:

Pr Mark Henderson said...

Best wishes with that book, John.
I look forward to reading it.
Perhaps you will send me a review copy?
:0)

Canadian said...

My Calvinism did not fall through the proof texting of scripture or the fathers. It fell when I was shown that what was true concerning our human nature must also apply to Christ's human nature. If we don't have free human will then neither does Christ because he received his from Mary and united it to himself without change. If our natural energy or human operation is overridden, overwhelmed, or replaced, then Christ's divinity did the same to his human energy because we are consubstantial with his humanity. These views destroy the incarnation and were dealt with when the ancient Council's condemned monenergism and monotheletism.

Jnorm said...

Thanks Pr Henderson!



Canadian,


I see you were reading Saint Maximus the Confessor or a book about him by Farrel.

Canadian said...

Jnorm,
Well, yes I just finished Disputation with Pyrrhus, but it was started a few years back reading Perry Robinson's blog and watching him also interact on some of the toughest Reformed blogs out there. I had never experienced anyone who always had Christology and Trinitarian Orthodoxy as home base for nearly every issue. Then I discovered that the Father's and the Council's did the same thing. The question then becomes "what does this doctrine do to the Incarnation or the Trinity" rather than the abyss of "can this be reasoned from MY personal interpretation of scripture."

Nathaniel said...

Their site also suffers from the classic yet fatal flaw that the term "elect" is the same as the later term "unconditional election." There are few modern Pauline scholars who hold that equation anymore.

Wesley said...

Canadian,

(1) What is man's natural energy or operation?

(2) What does it mean for man's natural energy or operation to be overridden, overwhelmed, or replaced?

(3) When and in what way is man's natural energy or operation overridden, overwhelmed, or replaced in Calvinism, and how exactly would that destroy the Incarnation?

(4) And since when has the Reformed hermeneutic ever been, "Can this be reasoned from MY personal interpretation of scripture"?

Jnorm said...

Wesley,

If you read the disputation with Pyrrhus by Saint Maximus the Confessor then you will see how Pyrrhus saw the human will of Christ as passive while the Divine will active. This is why they were called Monothelites or Monoenergists. They advocated determinism in Christ.


The Reformed, along with a number of others, have a view of Monergy that is very similar to the old heresy mentioned above. They view man as being passive in the area of Justification, and unlike a number of other western traditions, their form of monergy never brings free will back. It keeps one stuck in either hard or soft determinism.


Canadian can correct me where I'm wrong, but I think this is what he's getting at.

Theron said...

Keep at it...God Bless you in your efforts.

Wesley said...

Jnorm,

Thanks for answering. =]

Let me attempt to apply your response to my four questions.

(1) Man's natural energy or operation is free will?

(2) Man's natural energy or operation being overridden, overwhelmed, or replaced, sometimes referred to as monergy, is the human will being made passive, i.e., being determined by something outside of itself?

(3.1) Calvinism overrides, overwhelms, or replaces man's natural energy, i.e., teaches monergy, by its doctrine of divine sovereignty, positing some form of determinism, either hard or soft?

(3.2) It wasn't said how this would destroy the Incarnation.

(4) This wasn't addressed. It is a bit off topic. So we may safely put it aside.

Now, you say that in Calvinism man is passive in justification. I don't know what your view of justification is, but in Calvinist teaching your claim isn't true. Man exercises his will in repenting of sin, turning from darkness to light, and embracing the Savior by faith, which is all that is required to be declared righteous by God. That isn't a passive thing. Man is quite active in justification.

Nor does Calvinism deny that man has free will when properly defined. Just because classic Reformed theology does not teach libertarian freedom, that doesn't mean it rejects any semblance of free will whatsoever.

Jnorm said...

Wesley,


What I said about Calvinism is true. I will try and explain in more detail later. Lord willing.

Canadian said...

Wesley,
Thanks for your questions. I'm not a theologian so bear with me. And thank you Jnorm for your additions.
1)Energy is succinctly defined by St. John Damascene as the natural force or activity of an essence.It manifests the essence but is not itself the essence. God also has nature or essence and also energies distinct from the essence itself. The ancient Ecumenical Councils, especially the sixth discuss this.
2&3)Christ took our exact nature in union with his divinity (nature that is fallen NOT sinful) and that human nature is operated freely in it's natural capacity by the one divine PERSON of the Son(natures don't act, person's do.) Calvinism/monergism has God overriding/replacing man's depraved, sinful and dead nature, will and activity (energy) so that there is divine activity only in uniting man to God (exempting later sanctification). If this is true for us, then we must apply it to Christ as we are of the same essence (consubstantial) with him in regards to his humanity. The divine did not need to compel the human in Christ! (see Gethsemene)
This destroys the Incarnation because Christ was either not fully human or his humanity was determined by his divinity. There is free reciprocation between the human and divine in Christ.
4)Every version of Sola Scriptura reduces to Solo Scriptura. Ultimate authority is the individual's interpretation and even if he submits to a body of believers, he will do it based on their agreement with his personal interpretation.

Lvka said...

Man exercises his will in repenting of sin, turning from darkness to light, and embracing the Savior by faith, which is all that is required to be declared righteous by God. That isn't a passive thing. Man is quite active in justification.


Irrelevant, since monergistic regeneration, done without or even against man's totally-depraved will, precedes such "free" actions on his part.

Jnorm said...

Wesley,

Have you ever heard a Calvinist say that when it comes to the issue of Salvation, we are passive, but when it comes to the issue of Sanctification we are active? I just switched the word "salvation" with the word "Justification". When it comes to the issue of Monergy we have:
1.) Monergy in Regeneration
2.) Monergy in Justification
3.) There is a split among the Reformed when it comes to Monergy and Sanctification. Some believe in Monergy in the area of Sanctification, while others believe in some form of limited Synergy in this area.

Let's take a look at where it(Monergy) all starts with the "Effectual Calling" in Regeneration.

Westminster Confession of Faith

Quote:
""II. This effectual call is of God's free and special grace alone, not from anything at all foreseen in man, who is altogether passive therein, until, being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit, he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it."



Eventhough mainstream Calvinists say they believe in free will, they really don't. What they believe in is called "determinism". Most mainstream Calvinists are soft determinists or what some others would call compatibilists. You see, in the Reformed system, the regenerated person has no other choice but to belief and be justified. Thus the human individual was determined to be Regenerated and Justified.

This is what I meant by the word "passive".

Canadian said...

Wesley,
Please don't take this as piling on, but here's a couple questions that were formative in changing the direction of my thinking and can get to the heart of this.

1)Did Christ have free human will?

2)Where did he get it?

Wesley said...

Lvka,

You said, "Irrelevant, since monergistic regeneration, done without or even against man's totally-depraved will, precedes such 'free' actions on his part."

I don't think it's irrelevant at all. The claim was that man's will is passive in justification. I said his will is quite active in repenting, turning, and believing. These things are decidedly active. The issue was not the cause of these activities, only whether or not the will of man is active. It obviously is.

Wesley said...

Jnorm,

I'll just say up front that I am a Calvinist =]

There is certainly monergy in regeneration, for God alone regenerates a dead heart. Man does not regenerate himself. Must the sinner dead in trespasses and sins consent to regeneration beforehand? Not in classic Calvinism, for he cannot do so. Indeed, those who are in the flesh cannot please God. And we are not in the flesh but in the Spirit if and only if the Spirit of God dwells in us. Those are the only two options, and there is no middle or neutral ground. So regeneration, and the effectual call, are monergistic. God alone calls effectually and regenerates.

But initially you were talking about justification only. And it depends on what you mean by "monergy in justification." If you mean that man is completely passive in justification in the sense that justification is by faith alone apart from works, hence man does not work but only passively believes and receives justification, then of course it is monergistic. That's just sola fide. What harm does that do to the Incarnation?

But if you mean man in utterly inactive in any sense, that is wrong. Man repents of sin, turns to God from darkness, does not work but believes in God who justifies the ungodly, and resolves to walk in newness of life by the Spirit as an obedient disciple of Jesus. God certainly awakens faith and repentance and devoted, servant loyalty to Jesus, but God does not do those activities for man. Man does it himself, and he does it most freely. You and I are probably working with different concepts of what human freedom is.

Calvinists definitely believe in human will and human freedom, just not libertarian freedom. It's called cmpatibilism for a good reason =] God is all-sovereign, and man has limited, creaturely freedom. God causes man to be regenerated and justified the same way Jesus caused Lazarus to rise from the dead. But man himself must repent and believe just as Lazarus himself had to walk out of the tomb. God gives us new spiritual life, and then we must respond and live out of that. Is God's activity effectual? Yes, for his will cannot be thwarted. So there is definite passivity and definite activity on man's part at some point or another in the initial salvation process.

But again, how does any of this destroy the Incarnation??

Wesley said...

Canadian,

Thank you very much for your interaction and your direct answers to my questions. Keeping the same numbering scheme:

(1) So what is man's essence, and what is man's "natural force or activity"?

(2&3) You said, "Calvinism/monergism has God overriding/replacing man's depraved, sinful and dead nature, will and activity (energy) so that there is divine activity only in uniting man to God (exempting later sanctification)."

As a former Calvinist you should know that God does not override or replace man's energies in our salvation; quite to the contrary, he sets man's energies free. We were salves of sin. Our heart, mind, and will were held fast under the power of the evil one and under the slavery and tyranny of sin. And Jesus, by himself and for himself, set us free from the captivity and dominion of sin. Those whom the Son sets free are free indeed. All that the Father gives him will come to him, and he will never cast them out.

We were dead in our trespasses and sins, and God alone made us alive and raised us up. God, by his Spirit, draws us, calls us, and gives us effectually to his Son, who bore our sins in his own body on the tree, redeemed us from the curse of the law, and reconciled us to God, so that we might cease from sinning and live in righteousness, and we shall never perish, for we are sealed with the Spirit unto the day of redemption.

Salvation is all of God from first to last. It is the pure gift of the grace of God. This we were powerless to do and unwilling to receive, for we are the enemies of God, by nature children of wrath, sons of disobedience, sold under sin. But God, who is rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, made us alive together with Christ. By grace we have been saved.

Overridden and replaced energies? No, no, liberated and redeemed energies by an almighty Savior who cannot fail. Jesus Christ is a perfect savior. All glory to God! Amen! This is great news! O the Sovereign Joy! Remember how awesome your Calvinism was?

I simply do not at all see how any of this destroys the Incarnation. I have read over your answer several times, and I simply don't see the validity in what you're saying at all. How does God's being a perfect Savior who effectually raises dead sinners to new spiritual life by grace alone in any way entail that Jesus either wasn't fully human or didn't have a free-functioning human will?

(4) This is an important issue I would love to pursue further, but it's kinda off topic. So we'll leave it aside this time =]

In answering your two questions to me:

(Q1) Yes, Jesus had free human will.
(Q2) It was inherent in his human nature, which God created and the Word assumed.

Lvka said...

The claim was that man's will is passive in justification.


...and it is... (All you've argued for is that it's active in sanctification, which is something else altogether...)

Lvka said...

Wes,

do you think that regeneration-preceding-faith is a good or valid spiritual analogy of what Saint Paul is talking about in Romans 4:18-22? It seems to me from that particular passage that Abraham's faith preceded his bodily regeneration.

Canadian said...

Wesley,
If you acknowlege Christ has free human will which is inherent in the nature he assumed, how is it you deny that freedom to the source of that nature, namely us?

Jnorm said...

Wesley,

In Calvinism, the only option available is faith and repentance. The human was determined by God to believe and repent. In Monothelitism / Mono-energism the human will of Christ was determined by the Divine will.

Determinism, in both it's hard and soft form is not the same as Free Will. Calvinists don't believe in Free Will.

When the Church defended Free Will, they didn't have determinism in mind. Christian determinism came into christianity first with Origenism (in regards to the Saints in the eschaton) and later with Saint Augustin (shortly before his death he quoted the determinism of Plotinus) and certain forms of Augustinianism. This is where it comes from. Free will is not determinism and determinism is not free will. They are two different animals.

Canadian said...

Wesley,
Calvinism cannot avoid having Christ not be consubstantial with all men but only the elect, yet this is heretical. Calvinist's know intuitively that Christ is effectually doing something for man but misplaces this effectual work onto person's rather than nature and therefore restricts Christ's saving work to "some men" or "the elect." But in truth Christ has all humanity united to him at the level of nature. This is why the damned receive immortality as well as the redeemed, as immortality is not natural to us--we are not eternal by nature and all receive this as a result of the Incarnate one. He tastes death for "every man" not just the elect because he is consubstantial with all men. Salvation must be applied to person's through union with Christ in baptism and faith which unites us to the historical death and resurrection of Christ.

Wesley said...

Lvka,

I think you and I are not on the same page.

You said, "...and it is... (All you've argued for is that it's active in sanctification, which is something else altogether...)"

I'm not talking about sanctification. I am talking about forensic justification, the Protestant doctrine. You and I may have different doctrines of justification. I don't know. But in the doctrine of justification I'm talking about, man's will is active in repenting of sin, turning from darkness to light, and embracing the God who justifies the ungodly through Jesus Christ. That is what happens in the moment of justification. I've heard this called the moment of initial sanctification, where we experience that first radical cleavage or separation from sin by the powerful, internal operation of the Spirit in the effectual call through the gospel. There may be some validity to that. But I'm talking about man's will positively doing something in the moment he is justified, which it certainly is in the Protestant doctrine.

In Romans 4:18-22, Paul is describing the nature and character of saving faith, the faith which God freely and graciously credits as righteousness apart from works, which Abraham greatly exemplifies. Regeneration is not in the discussion. Perhaps you mean something different than I, as a Protestant, mean by the term?

Wesley said...

Jnorm,

You said, "In Calvinism, the only option available is faith and repentance. The human was determined by God to believe and repent."

The sinner always has the option to embrace Jesus in faith, hope, and love or to reject him and despise his gospel. And because the sinner is enslaved by sin and totally depraved, he is morally unable, spiritually incapable, to see the truth, beauty, goodness, glory, and worth of the Christ he spurns and ignores and rejects. Because man is by nature a child of wrath, a son of disobedience, sold under sin as it's willing slave, in the sway of the wicked one, a prisoner of the domain of darkness, held captive to the will of the devil, spiritually dead in trespasses and sins, alienated from the life of God's Spirit---he, therefore, always freely makes the wrong choice, the choice to resist, reject, and despise God's good news about his Son.

But when God comes down and singlehandedly quickens this rebel sinner's soul and releases him from his bitter bondage in the state of sin and misery, then he is able, for the very first time, to see truly and spiritually the truth, beauty, goodness, glory, and worth of God, and all that God is for us in Jesus. When the sinner sees that Savior, with all his desirable beauty and worth radiant to the eyes of the heart as in the transfiguration, he is overcome with compelling delight and desire to embrace that Savior and his gospel in faith, hope, and love, and have him for his own.

It's not that God is forcing anyone to repent and believe; much to the contrary, God is opening blind eyes and awakening deadened spiritual tongues to taste and see that the Lord is good. And when the lost sinner sees the light of the gospel of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, the God who said "Let light shine out of darkness" shines his light in the sinner's heart, and the sinner is irresistibly captivated by the wondrous love of God in the gospel, and he most freely runs out of darkness into God's marvelous light.

When men truly see with the eyes of their heart the self-attesting glory of God in Jesus Christ, they are irresistibly drawn to it. It is the most natural thing in the world for man to be so completely satisfied in God that they could never want anything more or anything else. That's the dynamic that is taking place in the effectual call.

Yes, God determines or causes our repentance and faith, but only in the sense that, according to his unchangeable decree, he determines or causes our release from the captivity of sin. Even then, the sinner always has the option to accept or reject, but because God is so wonderful to the soul that is freed from sin, we always make the right choice and choose God when we receive his effectual call. That's why it's effectual---no one says no to God when they see him as he is with the eyes of the heart wide open. And here we see very clearly both the passivity and activity of the will of man.

You also said, "Calvinists don't believe in Free Will." No, Calvinist's do believe in free will, just not in libertarian free will. Libertarian freedom is not the only viable option. You also said, "Free will is not determinism and determinism is not free will. They are two different animals." That's true. They aren't the same thing, but they are compatible when rightly defined.

Wesley said...

Canadian,

You asked, "If you acknowledge Christ has free human will which is inherent in the nature he assumed, how is it you deny that freedom to the source of that nature, namely us?"

I don't deny it. I'm interested to see what point are you trying to make here.

In your second post you said, "Calvinism cannot avoid having Christ not be consubstantial with all men but only the elect, yet this is heretical."

I simply don't see this at all. I'm honestly not trying to be difficult here. I really don't see it. I've had this discussion a couple of times in the past with some Roman Catholic folks. I didn't see it then, and I don't see it now. Calvinism fully and explicitly affirms that Jesus was fully human, that he was just as human as any man every was, whether elect or non-elect.

You will have to prove it before I can accept it. What is the one, decisive point, insight, argument, reason, or piece of evidence that made you come to this conclusion? That's what I want to see. Show me how I simply cannot avoid it. It's easy to make the assertion and state the position, but it's much harder to prove it. I want some proof, or at least some compelling arguments. I'm seriously willing to examine openly and honestly whatever you have to say. I am enjoying our discussion =]

Jnorm said...

Wesley,

In the Calvinistic system, the sinner who was regenerated doesn't have the option to disbelieve and not repent. The only option open to them is to believe and repent.




Wesley said:
"The sinner always has the option to embrace Jesus in faith, hope, and love or to reject him and despise his gospel. And because the sinner is enslaved by sin and totally depraved, he is morally unable, spiritually incapable, to see the truth, beauty, goodness, glory, and worth of the Christ he spurns and ignores and rejects. Because man is by nature a child of wrath, a son of disobedience, sold under sin as it's willing slave, in the sway of the wicked one, a prisoner of the domain of darkness, held captive to the will of the devil, spiritually dead in trespasses and sins, alienated from the life of God's Spirit---he, therefore, always freely makes the wrong choice, the choice to resist, reject, and despise God's good news about his Son."


In the Calvinistic system, the unregenerated sinner can't choose to believe and repent, and so the choice to believe and repent is not a real option. It would be like being tied to the floor and being told to get up. Getting up is not a real option if you are tied to the ground.

If God tells humanity to repent and belief, it's because He already granted us the power to do so. If you look at the quotes from the pre-Augustinians christians then you will see one constant theme.


Wesley said:
"But when God comes down and singlehandedly quickens this rebel sinner's soul and releases him from his bitter bondage in the state of sin and misery, then he is able, for the very first time, to see truly and spiritually the truth, beauty, goodness, glory, and worth of God, and all that God is for us in Jesus. When the sinner sees that Savior, with all his desirable beauty and worth radiant to the eyes of the heart as in the transfiguration, he is overcome with compelling delight and desire to embrace that Savior and his gospel in faith, hope, and love, and have him for his own."

In the Calvinistic system, that is the only real option they have. They can't choose to not believe and not repent. Their will was determined by the Divine will to repent and believe.



Wesley said:
"It's not that God is forcing anyone to repent and believe; much to the contrary, God is opening blind eyes and awakening deadened spiritual tongues to taste and see that the Lord is good. And when the lost sinner sees the light of the gospel of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ, the God who said "Let light shine out of darkness" shines his light in the sinner's heart, and the sinner is irresistibly captivated by the wondrous love of God in the gospel, and he most freely runs out of darkness into God's marvelous light."


In the Calvinistic system, this is the only real option. The sinner couldn't do otherwise. The Divine Will moved the Human will to repent and believe.


Wesley said:
"When men truly see with the eyes of their heart the self-attesting glory of God in Jesus Christ, they are irresistibly drawn to it. It is the most natural thing in the world for man to be so completely satisfied in God that they could never want anything more or anything else. That's the dynamic that is taking place in the effectual call."

The dynamic that is taking place is determinism.

Jnorm said...

Wesley said:
"Yes, God determines or causes our repentance and faith, but only in the sense that, according to his unchangeable decree, he determines or causes our release from the captivity of sin. Even then, the sinner always has the option to accept or reject, but because God is so wonderful to the soul that is freed from sin, we always make the right choice and choose God when we receive his effectual call. That's why it's effectual---no one says no to God when they see him as he is with the eyes of the heart wide open. And here we see very clearly both the passivity and activity of the will of man."


In the Calvinistic system, the sinner doesn't have the option to accept or reject. The only real option they have is to accept. Also, man's will is still passive because there is no synergy. An active will of man = synergy. A passive will of man = monergy.


Wesley said:
"You also said, "Calvinists don't believe in Free Will." No, Calvinist's do believe in free will, just not in libertarian free will."

What did the Pre-Augustinian fathers believe? How did they understand free will? They didn't believe in determinism. What did Saint Augustine believe about free will in his early christian years? It wasn't determinism. What did Saint Maximus believe about free will, which is also the theology behind the 6th council? They didn't have determinism in mind.

Calvinists don't believe in Free Will. Compatibilism(soft determinism) is not free will, and free will is not compatibilism(soft determinism). They are two different animals.


Wesley said:
"Libertarian freedom is not the only viable option."

What did the pre-Augustinian fathers teach and advocate? What did Saint Augustine teach in his early christian years? His middle christian years? What did Saint Maximus teach? What about Saint John of Damascus?

Wesley, hard determinism and soft determinism are not viable options.


Wesley said,
"You also said, "Free will is not determinism and determinism is not free will. They are two different animals." That's true. They aren't the same thing, but they are compatible when rightly defined."


If the definition is not the definition of the pre-augustinian fathers, Augustine in his early years, and in one place in his middle years, then it's not free will.

If the definition is not the definition of the Eastern fathers during the life time of Saint Augustine and after his death, then it's not free will. If the definition is not the definition of Saint Maximus, the 6th council, and Saint John of Damascus, then it's not free will.

Free will is not determinism and determinism is not free will.

Jnorm said...

Synergy in Christ According to Saint Maximus the Confessor

Canadian said...

Wesley,
What I am trying to get at is you imply that man's state is only darkness and depravity due to his nature. If our nature is powerless and unwilling toward the good and toward sin only, in bondage and slavery to sin, by "nature" (in this sense) children of wrath, then how do you avoid Christ's human nature having the same? He assumed it AS IT WAS FROM MARY. Was it like this? If not, why not?

Lvka said...

In Romans 4:18-22, Paul is describing the nature and character of saving faith, which Abraham greatly exemplifies. Regeneration is not in the discussion.


His unwavering faith in God's power contributed to his physical regeneration, a symbol of our own spiritual regeneration. Just like Abraham's dead body and Sarah's dead womb (Romans 4:19) signify our being dead in sins (Ephesians 2:1, 2:5; Colossians 2:13).

Wesley said...

Lvka,

I don't know how or why you are reading the passage that way. Again, I think we are profoundly talking past each other. Romans 4 is about justification, not regeneration or sanctification. Paul gets to regeneration and sanctification in Romans 6.

Wesley said...

Jnorm,

You said, "In the Calvinistic system, the unregenerated sinner can't choose to believe and repent, and so the choice to believe and repent is not a real option. It would be like being tied to the floor and being told to get up. Getting up is not a real option if you are tied to the ground."

You really need to go back and study what Calvinism actually teaches. What you have just stated is a gross misrepresentation of the position. This fallacious argument completely misses the mark and proves nothing.

You said this over and over and over again, "In the Calvinistic system, that is the only real option they have. They can't choose to not believe and not repent. Their will was determined by the Divine will to repent and believe."

When you constantly repeat your position with no substantiation, that isn't an argument; it's just redundency. I tried to explain very carefully what it means for the divine will to determine the human will in the moment of the effectual call. I was clear about what that means. You're not proving anything by repetitively stating your position without interacting meaningfully with my posts and offering some evidence for what you're saying. You gave quotations from me, but you ignored what I said.

You said, "Also, man's will is still passive because there is no synergy."

When is it passive? In what act is it passive? In what sense is it passive? And what's the problem if it sometimes, in some sense, is passive? Is it passive in being raised from spiritual death to spiritual life? Yeah, but so what? That's just obvious and shouldn't be troublesome.

You said, "Calvinists don't believe in Free Will. Compatibilism (soft determinism) is not free will, and free will is not compatibilism (soft determinism). They are two different animals."

Again, you are wrong. I'm a Calvinist, and I'm telling you we do believe in free will. Do we believe in libertarian free will? Most of us don't, although some in the vast minority do (they are Molinists). We are working with two different concepts of human freedom. Why isn't the compatibilist conception of human freedom a viable option?

"Wesley, hard determinism and soft determinism are not viable options."

Why not? Prove it. Let's see an argument.

Finally, you said, "If the definition is not the definition of the Eastern fathers during the life time of Saint Augustine and after his death, then it's not free will. If the definition is not the definition of Saint Maximus, the 6th council, and Saint John of Damascus, then it's not free will."

And why is that? Who ever said the Cappadocians, Maximus, the early Augustine, or John of Damascus are the final authorities on what free will is? What they taught and believed is important and has value, but it has no binding or infallible authority on what I must believe. They could be wrong.

Wesley said...

Canadian,

Part One

You said, "What I am trying to get at is you imply that man's state is only darkness and depravity due to his nature."

Well, I am saying that man's unregenerate state is only darkness and depravity due, not to his nature, but due to his Fall. Man is in the state of sin and misery due to his Fall from original righteousness and holiness into sin and misery. Now unregenerate man is totally depraved, which means he is thoroughly corrupted in all his faculties. Man is fallen and thoroughly corrupted morally, psychologically, emotionally, mentally or intellectually, epistemically, even religiously. But man isn't fallen ontologically.

Man didn't cease to be human in the Fall, nor is he corrupted at the level of being. We are still basically in the image of God, thus man's being is basically good, for the image of God is good, and it isn't a sin to be human. This means we didn't lose out mind, will, emotions, personality, psychological framework or wiring, etc. in the Fall. We still possess those things, but they are thoroughly corrupted, such that our fallen state, apart from grace, is only darkness and depravity.

You said, "If our nature is powerless and unwilling toward the good and toward sin only, in bondage and slavery to sin, by 'nature' (in this sense) children of wrath, then how do you avoid Christ's human nature having the same? He assumed it AS IT WAS FROM MARY. Was it like this? If not, why not?"

First of all, if you have a problem with those descriptions of fallen man, then you have a problem with Scripture, for those are the very descriptions the Bible gives us.

Powerless:

Jesus said "apart from me you can do nothing" (John 15:5).

"And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, 'Then who can be saved?' Jesus looked at them and said, 'With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God'" (Mark 10:26-27).

"No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him" (John 6:44).

"It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing" (John 6:63).

"For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God" (Romans 8:7-8).

"The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned" (1 Corinthians 2:14).

Wesley said...

Canadian,

Part Two

Unwilling Toward Good, Willing Toward Sin Only:

"The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually" (Genesis 6:5).

"The LORD said in his heart, 'I will never again curse the ground because of man, for the intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth'" (Genesis 8:21).

"Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then also you can do good who are accustomed to do evil" (Jeremiah 13:23).

"The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?" (Jeremiah 17:9).

"What then? Are we Jews any better off? No, not at all. For we have already charged that all, both Jews and Greeks, are under sin, as it is written: 'None is righteous, no, not one; no one understands; no one seeks for God. All have turned aside; together they have become worthless; no one does good, not even one'" (Romans 3:9-12).

"And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed" (John 3:19-20).

"Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds. They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity" (Ephesians 4:17-19).

Bondage and Slavery to Sin, Children of Wrath:

"And you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind" (Ephesians 2:1-3).

"Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin" (John 8:34).

"The whole world lies in the power of the evil one" (1 John 5:19).

"God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will."

Wesley said...

Canadian,

Part Three

The above quotations is what Scripture plainly and unequivocally teaches about fallen, unregenerate man, and you must believe it, for it is God's inspired word, bearing his divine authority. If that messes up your Christology, that's just too bad. You'll have to deal with it somehow.

Second of all, you tell me what "by nature children of wrath" means.

And third, I "avoid Christ's human nature having the same" by understanding that Christ did not have Adam as his father. All those born from Adam are liable to the curse and stained with original sin, for Adam is their federal head. But Adam was not Jesus' federal head. Jesus himself is the federal head of the new humanity he came to create in himself (see Ephesians 2:13-16). Therefore, Jesus did not inherit Adam's curse and corruption.

So Jesus received a fully human, fallen, sinless nature in his incarnation, fully human and fallen because of his mother Mary, yet without sin because of his father God.

I also accept the possibility that whatever stain Jesus may yet have received from his mother, who was a sinner, his divinity would have purified it when the Word assumed the humanity. And don't overlook the fact that Mary wasn't in a state of total depravity when she conceived Jesus. Mary was a regenerate believer, full of grace.

Wesley said...

By the way, Canadian, the reference of that last Scripture quotation in Part Two is 2 Timothy 2:25-26. Sorry about leaving it off.

Canadian said...

Wesley,
Thanks for the discussion.
You continue to confuse person and nature. I am not saying we are not personally slaves of sin etc, I am saying that grace builds on nature so we may freely partake of him who gives freedom from that sin. Calvinism requires irresistable monergistic regeneration that gives life to man before he can believe or act. Orthodox Christianity requires God to grant his life giving grace in Christ that man can freely come to regeneration (baptism).
Colossians 2:11-3:4 tells you where we are brought from the deadness of our trespasses and uncircumcision--baptism, which is not at all seen as separate from faith (v.12-13)This comports with Romans 6 where baptism is our death, burial and resurrection because it is union with Him. And also this is when we stop being slaves of sin v.6, and are set free from sin and became slaves of righteousness (v18). Or how about John 3:16 where born again is not monergistic regeneration, but comes by Water and the Spirit. How about Titus 3:3-7 where the same language is used "washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit."
And of course that famous verse in 1Peter 3:21 where baptism saves us---how?--through the resurrection of Christ!
This is all of grace! Grace is not some created thing or attitude of God which presupposes sin, it is the life of God himself and he chooses to give it to creatures who have the natural ability and freedom to come to be regenerated, set free, raised to life, united to Christ. They don't come because they are able to save themselves, they come because they are not. Our act of coming is not a self-saving act, and we do not need to be raised to life in order to come....we come by the conviction of the gospel to know we need new life. Here is where you push the "dead in sin" metaphor beyond what scripture declares. And the same natural free will and energy which Christ has is what we use in this process. Again, Christ accomplishes much in a monergistic way for our salvation at the level of "nature" in his person and work, by tasting death for every man, healing what he assumed, granting resurrection to the saved and lost alike and why limited atonement is unbiblical(confuses person and nature). Salvation is then applied to "persons" who freely partake of Christ and all his benefits by grace through faith working by love.
I will watch for a response from you but I need to end here due to time restictions, again thank you again for the discussion. Peace in Christ.

Canadian said...

Sorry, not John3:16 but 3:5 :-)

Wesley said...

Canadian,

I also appreciate this lively discussion as well. I understand completely the issue of time constraints. I myself have had to make time to follow along in this discussion. There is plenty more each of us could say, I'm sure. But since we both have other things that demand our time, I'm content to leave it here for now. Perhaps sometime in the future we can pick it up again. I look forward to it, brother =]

Grace to you and peace,
Wesley

Wesley said...

Lvka and Jnorm,

Thank you both for the discussion. I always enjoy the interactions and exchanges I have here because I usually learn something. I look forward to some more good discussions in the future =]

Grace to you and peace,
Wesley

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