Sunday, July 24, 2005

Baptist Fire--who are these people and why do they hide?

Baptistfire.com has a firm grasp on its place as the National Enquirer of the internet. Many of the articles have the same appeal as the old carnival hawkers of my youth ("Come see the Man Eating Chicken!"). They intentionally imply what they carefully avoid saying. I have been wise to this tactic ever since I wasted hard-earned money to watch a man chow down on a bucket full of chicken when expecting to see the opposite.

Case in point--this is from an article on their website entitled, "Crept in Unawares."

"As far as we can tell, Founders Ministries does not advocate a return to slavery. Which makes it a rather odd name for the organization."


I am glad they cleared that up! People are always calling our offices and asking if we are advocating a return to slavery. I have read similar types of subtle mischaracterizations, but often they have come from people on drugs. Let me hasten to add, however, that as far as I can tell, the people behind baptistfire.com are not currently smoking marijuana.

The writer(s) of the articles on this site are obviously Fundamentalist(s) and they (he/she) are (is) may be (a) coward(s) because they (he/she) refuse(s) to sign their (his/her) name(s). Whew! The cloak of anonymity leaves me pronominally challenged when responding to their (his/her) writings. In addition, I wonder whether I ought to engage them at all. It is sort of like sizing up a tar baby. You may be pretty confident that you can win the fight but after it is over, you will look at your ruined clothes and wonder if it was really worth it.

But over the years I have received numerous questions and comments about the screeds that appear on their site and recently I have been made aware that their misinformation has been used to run off pastors from churches. Do not misunderstand, I firmly believe that there are occasions when pastors should be removed from a church (see my article on this in the Founders Journal), but the cases that I am aware of where deacons and others have employed the lies, distortions and half-truths of baptistfire.com are examples of worldly men using worldly means to accomplish worldly goals.


So, because of the spiritual damage that they are doing I am calling attention to their (his/her) sad abuse of truth. Violation of the 9th Commandment permeates their (his/her) website. Good Fundamentalists still believe in the 10 Commandments--or at least 9 of them, including (presumably) the 9th. Yet, baptistfire.com violates the 9th commandment by twisting truth, distorting truth, and misrepresenting those with whom they (he/she) disagree(s).

I learned long ago in ministry to put no stock in anonymous letters. If a man (woman/group) does (do) not have enough integrity before God to sign what he (she/they) write, then I will not give any credence to the charges he (she/they) make. If the person (people) behind Baptistfire.com have integrity, let him (her/them) quit hiding behind anonymity. Let him (her/them) sign his (her/their) name(s) to the articles on his (her/their) site.

Come out into the light--where Jesus calls us to live. Be willing to put away the cloak of darkness and discuss our differences like children of light. Perhaps we both (or all) might learn something that will help us better follow our Lord.

17 comments:

RC Williamson said...

I took a peak at BaptistFire and saw the article in question. I am sadden at their support of attacking what they call Calvinism, But I could not help myself but chuckle a little when WA Cristwell was on the top of their page. Do they not know that Cristell called himself a calvinist.

GeneMBridges said...

Compounding misrepresentation of truth, they also prohibit free discussion of the issues on their message board here: http://www.baptistfire.com/cgi-bin/ikonboard/register.cgi

Anybody posting anything that seeks to correct them is automatically banned. Rule one is Pro-Calvinism posts are prohibited. This is done in the name of their board being a "safe haven" for non-Calvinists. Of course, it's a board for "Bible-believing" Baptists, which infers that if you're a Calvinist, you don't believe the Bible, and so on and so on. On top of that, I am well aware from watching discussions in the Versions, Fundamental, and Calvinist/Arminian forums at www.baptistboard.com, where freedom of speech still has a home, that certain members of the baptistfire community are not above posting at baptistboard and occasionally running over to the other board and referencing a discussion with a Calvinist they had elsewhere.

Current threads of interest involve the Founders Conference and a desire the SBC give them "the boot," as well as one from the webmaster explaining that they don't allow Calvinists to post for equal time is because "they" (Baptistfire) "are equal time" themselves and that they will rethink their policy when the number of Baptist websites seeking to refute Calvinism equals the number of Baptist sites promoting it. I guess the logical fallacy 'appeal to the popular' carries much weight in their minds). They are convinced that we are some kind of cult that is trying to spread our views and steal their followers. (I'm not kidding, take a look here:

http://www.baptistfire.com/cgi-bin/ikonboard/topic.cgi?forum=2&topic=127

Quote:

This is probably due to the obsession many Calvinists have to convert every Christian on earth to their belief that Jesus predestined millions to hell fire. Some blatantly and openly post their theology here, thinking it is their God given right. Many of late have been more subtle, trying to draw our members into argument via questions. Some have joined and then tried to engage our members into debate via the message feature of the board (thus prompting complaints to us from our members).

End Quote

A few things deserve to be said:

A. Where's the honor of your brothers in Christ in that? Why is it necessary to slander persons and their misrepresent their views if they aren't allowed to defend themselves? What are you so afraid of that you feel it necessary to keep your opponents from responding?

B. Where's the honor for truth in that? If Arminianism and "4 Point" easy believism Arminian dispensational soteriology is biblically correct, then surely the best way to expose it is to engage us mean, nasty, divisive, unbiblical Calvinists in a discussion of the issues?

C. It smacks of thought control and insecurity. "We don't want Calvinists in here, lest they turn people here against our views." However, if what you believe is, in fact, biblically correct, then shouldn't it withstand the light of a discussion from the Scriptures? Running through the boards it is painfully apparent that all one must do to establish one's position is to claim that those Calvinists are taking something out of context. If that's true, then why can't you state what that context is correctly and why can't you allow one of us to articulate a defense or, at a minimum, articulate our position without resorting to inflammatory rhetoric?

Unfortunately, in some churches this goes unchallenged. Two or three years ago, one of the local independent Baptist churches with a television ministry featured a hour long "expose'" on the evils of Calvinism from its pulpit. Every last word was a straw man, and every last word was, quite literally, taken from Baptistfire.com. It was sad, and, unfortunately, this pastor and his church are both quite influential in this area.

Fortunately, there are three strong PCA churches (one of which is rather large), one Orthodox Presyberian, and two Reformed Baptist congregations in our area. I'm also aware of one SBC church who's pastor is Reformed, though not the majority of the congregation, and of a sitution in an independent Baptist church that is in transition at this time. The contrast between the way the elders in those churches and those in the church I have referenced stand behave and teach stands in stark contrast to each other.

I continue to be amazed, but not shocked, that only one side in this debate, particularly in Baptist circles, actually appears to address the issues in the open in the light of Scripture and accurately representing the other.
I would like to challenge the folks that run Baptistfire.com to open their discussion boards to Calvinists and actually discuss the issue openly without fear of reprisals. If what you are saying about us and about doctrine is correct, then surely your views can withstand debate.

GeneMBridges said...

I forgot to note that one of our Presbyterian cousins from Ireland has reviewed a great many of these kinds of websites here:

http://www.geocities.com/cfpchurch/anticalvinistsites.html

Baptistfire is one of them, though the treatment is brief.

Rob Wilkerson said...

Tom,

I'm one of those pastors whom half my congregation tried to run off using this website! It was cited in three different documents used to oust me and the deacons. Fortunately, God used our bylaws to keep us in place. Unfortunately, those bylaws weren't clear enough to avoid the lawsuit these people brought against me to oust me for being a Calvinist! Thanks for the great post.

james said...

I was banned from BaptistFire.com for challenging some assertions made by the webmaster. I was told that I was being banned for posting pro-Calvinist material. However when examining which of my posts were deleted I discovered the odd pattern that my more theologically oriented posts were left in place while my challenges against the webmaster's assertions were the ones actually removed.

I chronicled the entire ordeal at these two posts on my blog:

http://thompsonsites.com/personal/2005/07/15/10

http://thompsonsites.com/personal/2005/07/22/12

The members said said...

Mr. Wilkerson

The right to vote!!!

Anonymous said...

Why do you preachers from Founders and any other organization akin to Founders want to stay where you're not wanted? If you love Christ the way you purport to love Him, then show your love by leaving. Just shake your sandels, BUT leave! Your mirth in staying even when you're threatened with a lawsuit and splitting churches in the name of reform is absolutely absurd. You talk about "hiding" when you mentioned Baptistfire, but what about you guys? Our preacher came in two years ago and he is trying to reform our church to believe this non-sense. No mention of it before he was hired and even now he refuses to take a stance when questioned corporately. He wants us to meet with him one on one. He lies (we've caught him several times) , and cannot be trusted. You call yourselves men of integrity? No wonder the world stays lost. I know unsaved people who exhibit more integrity and hold higher values for their life than this!!!

Tom said...

Dear Anonymous Poster:

Since you didn't sign your name, I cannot address you by it. I suppose you went to the Baptistfire.com school of integrity and courage. I pastor a local, autonomous, independent Baptist church that voluntarily cooperates with other such churches in connection with the SBC. Every Southern Baptist church is local, autonomous and independent. You are suggesting that we should leave because we are not wanted. Would you give that same advice to our missionaries? Should we take a popularity poll before we decide where to plant churches? Those of us who believe the doctrines of grace are simply staying true to the theological heritage of our grandfathers and great grandfathers. That may give you a cramp, but it strikes me as faithful stewardship. If you think we do not belong, then kick us out. If you think what we believe is nonsense, then bring charges of heresy against us. If your pastor has lied, then dismiss him. I will even give you a blueprint of how to do it. Read "How to Fire Your Pastor" at http://www.founders.org/FJ51/editorial.html

Blessings,
Tom

Anonymous said...

Talk about integrity. Our church is listed on your Founder's website as a Founder's Friendly church. This was placed there without the church's knowledge. We have requested on several occations and by sevral methods to have it removed. Our pastor has also been told by the deacons to remove it. Yet, as of this moment we are still there. When our pastor was being interviewed he was asked about his beliefs on predestination and he explained that he believed what the Bible says. He hid his beliefs from us and kept them to his himself until he was ready to expose them. And he has only done this on a one on one meeting. He has not yet addressed the congregation as a whole. He has operated just like the article on Baptistfire.com stated. He crept in unawares. You may disapprove of Baptistfire.com. but I have seen with my own eyes that every word in the article is true. I believe that only 6 out of the one hundred largest Southern Baptist Churches are Calvinistic. Therefore I don't think that the movement is as large as you believe. We , as Southern Baptists, Need to take a stand for the truth and expose false doctrine for what it is, a sign of the end times. Becky

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Anonymous said...

The book A Quiet Reformation is in some ways very disturbing, especially in the chapter entitled "Walking without Slipping." Now, I will say that I agree with Dr. Reisinger on issues such as the need for solid doctrinal teaching and God-centered evangelism.

I am just a little bothered by his apparent lack of discernment between the definitions and use of the terms "restoration" and "reform." He almost always uses the word "reform" when the Bible describes a need for or a period of restoration, which is an unwarranted imposition (eisegesis). This transference of meaning would only seem awkward and quirky, but essentially harmless, if he left it at that -- but the chapter continues.

In this chapter, Dr. Reisinger establishes his view of the need for reform, the means to achieve that reform, and the possible consequences of such attempts. These ideals may sound noble until one realizes that Dr. Reisingers need for reform is actually an attempt to foist a doctrinal position on unsuspecting congregations; his means to achieve that reform include evasion and deception; and his consequences involve splitting churches. I will not only show these assertions to be true, but I will show that the Founder's Movement, "the Scions of Reisinger," condones and facilitates these church splits.

First, Dr. Reisinger addresses the need for reform. Since Calvinism is the only doctrinal position with intellectual merit, all churches, especially SBC ones, must be brought into the fold of Calvinism.

What doctrines are we talking about? The doctrines that are worth dying for are foundational, biblical doctrines, not secondary ones. . . We speak first of all of the doctrines of grace. . . . We proclaim a powerful God who actually saves. Not a "little god" who can do no more than to help man save himself. Not a puny god who pleads with sinners to come to him and stands by helplessly, wringing his hands, while man makes up his mind. . . . We proclaim a faith that is utterly and completely God-centered. Our God is the source and end of everything that is, both in nature and in grace. He is sovereign in creation, sovereign in redemption, and sovereign in providence. History is nothing less than the outworking of God's preordained plan. . . . [J]ust as the Holy Spirit of Calvinism is a Spirit whose calling cannot be resisted, the Jesus of Calvinism is a Jesus who came to save, not to merely make salvation possible.

If you read this book, you cannot escape the conclusion that, according to Reisinger, there is no restoration ("reform") apart from the Doctrines of Grace. But he is not alone in such arrogant assertions. C. Matthew McMahon states: "People who want to be right in their understanding of the doctrines of the Bible, adhere to Calvinism." He then goes on to characterize every deviance from Calvinism as acceptance of another gospel; Calvinism is the Gospel.

I am in no way criticizing Calvinism per se, but the attitudes of those who hold to it and pretend to be humble. There is no humility in a mindset that believes its own assumptions to be unassailable facts, illumined solely for them by the "Holy Spirit of Calvinism," and that others who do not have this same mindset are thoroughly wrong. In fact, they are not just wrong, they are sinfully wrong and probably lost in their sins, unable to come to the truth that is Calvinism without the Spirit's intervention.

What is more is that Calvinists do not even agree amongst themselves. If Calvinists alone had the Holy Spirit, wouldn't He reveal these important truths in the same way as a uniform body of knowledge? When Calvinists disagree, who has the Spirit?

So, the reform that is needed is a foisting of the Doctrines of Grace on unsuspecting churches. Since everyone else's doctrine is wrong (by definition of being not Calvinistic), they must be educated properly--whether they want it or not. The wise Calvinists alone know what is best for everyone else. The problem is that some people might actually have a different doctrine (to their shame) and might not believe in Calvinism as it is presented (to their double shame). Dr. Reisinger's answer is to evade the doctrinal issues (which are so dear to the Calvinist) until the time is right--when the pastor has developed a core of loyal followers. If you donÕt believe me, read for yourselves the sections labeled "accommodation," "planning," "restraint," "literature," etc. I have included the section on "clarity" as an example:

Clarity. In the pulpit, don't use theological language that is not found in the Bible. Avoid terms such as Calvinism, reformed, doctrines of grace, particular redemption, etc. Most people will not know what you are talking about. Many that do will become inflamed against you. Teach your people the biblical truth of these doctrines without providing distracting labels for them.

You Founders would be furious (and justly so) if an Arminian tried these tactics in one of your churches.

In practical experience, this teaching has borne bitter fruit in many of our churches. Others have posted in this blog about the sneakiness and deceptiveness of Founders pastoral candidates. This is your reputation and you ought to acknowledge it and repent. Those of you who don't condone these tactics ought to rebuke those who do. It seems unlikely to happen; the Founders seem to be cut from the same cloth.

The Founders Movement is a conspiratorial agency, fostering and facilitating these infiltrations. These may seem to be harsh words, but they are true. The Founder's Movement assists these subversions by maintaining a secret, screened database of pastoral candidates. Churches can easily be "seeded" with Founder's Friends who, by their hard work and willing attitude, quickly come into influential positions in the church. This allows a church with one or two of these "quiet but influential" Calvinists to secretly recruit a Calvinistic pastor, especially if these members are deacons or a members of the pulpit committee (and often times these duties overlap.) In this way, churches can by quietly pried away from the lifelong membership. This is not just a possibility. It has already happened. Not only that, but the Founders Movement offers instructions (in the form of Dr. Riesinger's book and others) and encouragement to press on into conflict and win for Calvinism, all the time claiming innocence and martyrdom for themselves those who have been discovered and ousted. Men and brethren, these things ought not so to be.

Finally, Dr. Reisinger not only acknowledges that church splits are inevitable, but he actually encourages them on the basis that those who reject Calvinist doctrine are wrong and need to go anyway.

[Under Tearing down the rotting superstructures] In genuine reformation of a church, three things will always happen: some will leave, some will want to get rid of the preacher, and thank God, some will get right with God. There will be results--but not always saving results. Remember, in John 6 there were results--Jesus preached the crowd away.

Remember, according to Reisinger, a "genuine reformation" equates to a shift to Calvinism. While I agree that teaching the truth will drive some folks away, I cannot see how anybody can support dividing a church by forcing the church to accept Calvinism as the sole basis of truth, especially when there are so many verses which cast doubt upon it (as an honest Calvinist would have to admit). It would seem that believing in Calvinism is equated to salvation, and those who don't accept Calvinism are unwanted, unsaved people anyway.

But to continue--I would simply ask the interested reader to read the following sections, which allow the perpetrator of a church split to claim a victimÕs status:

Suffering at the hands of the unregenerate. The pastor involved in reformation may have to suffer at the hands of a large, unregenerate church membership, and especially from unregenerate and religiously ignorant deacons and leaders.

Suffering in the form of being misunderstood. The pastor involved in reformation may also have to suffer the pain of being misunderstood by even well-meaning, but misguided church leaders, fellow ministers, and more painful still, sometimes by their own loved ones (for example, wives who do not understand their husband's position).

Financial sacrifice. The pastor involved in reformation may have to sacrifice financially, especially in some cases where carnal and ignorant church leaders will use money as a threat to drive preachers from the pulpit.
Calvinism or no Calvinism--any system which requires a pastor to evade telling what he really believes until the time is right (that is, until he has a large enough personal following), which encourages and contributes to the splitting of churches, is quite simply not of God. Even assuming that Calvinism is right, the methods taught and encouraged here are divisive and wrong. Founders, if you want to teach and preach and proclaim Calvinism, go ahead and do it--but do it the right way: persuade--don't divide. The servant of the Lord must be gentle, apt to teach . . . you know the rest. The question is, Will you do it?

Anonymous said...

I have to admit I have not read every article on the Baptist Fire webpage but I have read alot. Most of the articles I have read though had to do with Calvinism. I find it interesting that in all these articles, none of them deal with the passages of scriptures that we base our beliefs on. Personally, If I were to try to disprove someone's beliefs, I would go to the Scriptures that they use to support it. How come on the site, from what I have read, there isnt any articles that deal with passages such as Romans 8:29-30, most of Romans 9, or Eph 1? Maybe they are afraid that if they study it they might be "converted" to that evil Calvinism that goes against their traditions. This site did give me a good laugh. Also, I love your analogy with the tar baby. -Josh

Anonymous said...

I was going to sign my name to this but decided not to. I hope everyone will understand my decision. As a wise man once said, "surely we should give the benefit of the doubt to our brother before questioning his motives for remaining anonymous" Thomas K. Ascol, after publishing an anonymous article in Founders Journal.

The Founders have become known as a most arrogant, deceitful organization. It is a church splitting conspiracy. This is born out by their own web site. They come in unawares and then before you know it the church is divided. I could tell you the experience with my own church but it would be the same thing you have heard before. As the other post said, the founders "has borne bitter fruit in many of our churches. Others have posted in this blog about the sneakiness and deceptiveness of Founders pastoral candidates. This is your reputation and you ought to acknowledge it and repent."

20 years ago the churches would be in the dark. Now thanks to the internet we have sites like baptist fire and others.

I read the previous post that got deleted. It answered Tom Ascol's comment, "Since you didn't sign your name, I cannot address you by it". It said his church had gotten wise to a calvinist pastor. the pastor had a heart attack but the church was going to take care of him and see him through it which is more grace than he showed the church by slipping in unawares. I guess the post was too hot for the founders.

Tom says they are "staying true to the theological heritage of our grandfathers and great grandfathers" Good thing the germans don't hold to this line of thinking. Same with southern baptists. I really like my african-american friends and shudder at the thought that my "great grandfathers" believed it was alright to own them.

the founders are doing one thing very well. By listing their churches and pastors, baptist churches can now find out who not to call as their next pastor.

Tom said...

Mr. or Mrs. or Miss or Ms. Anonymous:

I guess its ok for you to remain anonymous like the author of the article in the Founders Journal who is working to bring people to Christ in places where such activity is punishable by death. Evidently in your mind your work is on par with his.

I find it sadly amusing that you hide in the shadows and complain about Founders, who have lived in the light for more than 20 years. Jesus has your number...men (and women) love darkness rather than light.

If you are getting your information from baptistfire.com then I pity you. They do not even allow different views to be voiced, much less the kind of rants that you are making here.

May the Lord have mercy on you.
-Tom

David B. Hewitt said...

Though I haven't yet read the work by Dr. Reisinger, it would not appear correct to assert everything that the above anonymous writer has stated. To say that anyone who doesn't understand and adhere to Calvinism/Reformed Theology/Doctrines of Grace cannot be saved is obviously not correct, and I would doubt seriously that people here at Founders would indeed believe that. Rather, I would have to think that the beliefs would be more in line with what CH Spurgeon said about it:
"I have my own private opinion that there is no such thing as preaching Christ and Him crucified, unless we preach what nowadays is called Calvinism. It is a nickname to call it Calvinism; Calvinism is the Gospel and nothing else. I do not believe we can preach the Gospel, if we do not preach justification by faith, w/o works; nor unless we preach the sovereigny of God in His dispensation of grace; nor unless we exalt the electing, unchangeable, eternal, immutable, conquering love of Jehovah; nor do I think we can preach the Gospel, unless we base it upon the special and particular redemption of His elect and chosen people which Christ wrought out upon the cross; nor can I comprehend a gospel which lets saints fall away after they are called..."
This is not to say that EVERY time we share the Gospel with someone that we expound upon the intricacies of how God works in the unrepentant sinner to convert him, but when we examine our evangelism, it should indeed be of this type, proclaiming God as the author of it. We call it "Calvinism" or whatever else, but the truth of the matter is that since it is how God works, we by sharing of justification and other critical matters to a lost person are indeed sharing the Gospel.

Also, the reason why I would hesitate to come to the table with people and proclaim "I'm a Calvinist, take it or leave it" is because there is so much widespread misunderstanding of what it actually means. Before I became a "5-point Calvinist" every time I heard that term I had a negative reaction, and honestly believed things about it that were not true. So, in essence, if I were to do that, I would in fact be catering to the rampant misunderstanding that exists about what true biblical Calvinists really do believe.

I am not a Calvinist because I have some secret agenda about a disputable matter that I want to perpetrate into Southern Baptist churches. I am one because I struggled with what the Bible had to say about election, sovereignty, predestination and the like. I had my fallacious belief that Calvinists were anti-evangelistic destroyed by godly men who were extremely passionate for missions and evangelism, including my professors who bore those titles at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary where I attended graduate school (Ron Rogers and Tom Johnston respectively). My change to this position wasn't because I thought it was the most popular thing to hit the trail or some kind of way to get into churches or whatever. It was a biblical conviction that I could not ignore, and when God convinced me of it, my perspective on Him indeed did change and I found myself glorifying Him much more than I used to.

If anyone is purposefully going into a church with the desire and expectation that the church will split he is violating the teaching of Ephesians 4 concerning unity. If he goes in there with deceptive intent, purposefully hiding what he believes and lying all the way, then in truth he denies biblical teaching, the very thing he claims to be perpetuating.

Everything I have seen from Founders Ministries so far has been directly counter to the accusations you (anonymous writer) have been leveling against it. No doubt there are those who affiliate with Founders who are wolves in sheep's clothing, but the truth is you will find such people in nearly every church everywhere. IT is a sad but true reality. Rather, it would behoove us to find out what groups and churches really believe, and if those beliefs are biblical, then we pray with and for them that God would strengthen them and that those people in their ranks who really are wolves would be converted by the awesome power our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

To Him be the glory forever and ever.

Sincerely,
David B. Hewitt

Allan said...

I posted this same comment earlier but realized I had gone to another place within this post and wrote it there. Sorry about the same post twice, sincerly. Here is the post intended for this page.
I disagree with the opening statement of re-formation is the same as growth in the Lord. If something is RE-formed it was something in the beginning and has to be changed to something else. by definition the first model is not as perfect as the ones after it. In truth the definition of the word reformed is: To improve by alteration, correction of error, or removal of defects; put into a better form or condition. Please do not forget we did not come from the reformation, (coming out of Catholicism) we are Baptists therefore the reformed theology is a complete misnomer. Growth however refers to not a (re)forming of something but to a building up of the current object, not recreating it. Even God fearing men can and (believe it or not) are often wrong in "some" theological beliefs of "theirs." Look in Acts at Peter when Paul had to set him straight. The Christian walk is about a relationship with God the Father that is what the Bible is all about in relation to us coming to know and growing in Christ Jesus. (Not as a Whole mind you, so please don't take this as a bashing, please)But I have yet to see anyone who adheres to a reformed theology viewpoint grow (through their viewpoint) into a closer relationship with God, because in its essence it states God will do what God will do, regardless of you. They are typically (again not a bash, just from what I'VE seen)so driven to make others fall in line with this view that they do not spend AS MUCH time in discipleship of Christian character, or reaching the lost souls of the world, because they are so focused on get others to their viewpoint. If God is about a relationship then by its very nature MUST be a mutual commitment between two people, however in a relationship, it must be initiated by someone, and committed to by the other (since the initiator is already stating desire for said commitment). I see no contradiction in Gods sovereignty and man's freedom to choose. Can God not be so sovereign that He WANTS all to come to Him, but KNOWS not all will. So His sovereignty states (due to His foreknowledge) there are some created for Him and others damnation. Not because He chose them to be dammed but we chose ourselves and HE calls them what they WILL be, just like He calls believers Holy, sinless, and pure. We are not (while alive) any of those but He still calls us (NOW) what we shall be. So to it is with the lost, not that He chose them to be separated but due to their future choice, He still allowed them to come into existence and calls them what they will be. Vessels of dishonor that He created (allowed to be even though they will choose against Him) that he may be glorified even in their choice. So His sovereighty is still absolute because He still has absolute control over all things. I find His Love more so present in this viewpoint because scripture backs up this point consistently without contradiction of His character. However, I still love you all in the Lord and I say continue to Preach the salvation of Jesus Christ in Love and let the gates of Hell tremble at OUR coming in the Name of our LORD. - AMEN

Allan said...

Actually it was not the opening statement but a consistant thread throughout. What can I say, I no seminary professor, just a man wh isn't good at setting his thought well in order. God Bless brothers!