This is a Tough One plus

bibleHere are two posts worth considering together.

What is the subject? The title of the first of the two posts states the issue. Once we accept Jesus Christ, are we always saved? As the title of the second post states, this is a tough one.

Each post is written by a fine, thoughtful, Christian writer. Are they in disagreement? To some extent, I suppose so. Am I going to try to resolve that disagreement? No. I don’t know enough. I left a comment at This is a Tough One, and that is just about all I feel competent to say.

Are you a Christian? Is this issue important to you? Then please visit each of the two posts.

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33 thoughts on “This is a Tough One plus

  1. Thanks,Tom. It can really be a fascinating debate, what it says about us as people,how we interpret scripture. I don’t know what the correct theology is, I just enjoy the discussion, how we define our relationship with the Lord, what we believe.

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  2. The key to understanding this conundrum is understanding both the nature of Original Sin and the nature of the Sacrament of Baptism.

    Simply, Original Sin completely degraded the human nature that God had bequeathed to Adam and Eve.

    The sacrament of Baptism, one of the many gifts given to us by Jesus, restores the degraded nature of man to its original divine condition.

    Modern man nevertheless, continues to possess freewill and continues to freely choose actions that are counter to God’s will.

    Also, each person is born into an intricately woven web of iniquity created by his own family and all his family’s ancestors going back and back to the first human family: Adam and Eve.

    The gift of Baptism enables man to work against his own inclination to sin and the integrity woven web of iniquity bequeathed to him by all of his ancestors.

    Baptism is irrevocable and permanent.

    Nevertheless, if a person does not learn and follow the Word of God, he will not be able to take advantage of the incredible gift that Jesus sacrificed Himself to give us.

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    1. total depravity is a pagan idea no one before augustine ever considered. instead, both testaments assert that grace and faith (god’s presence in the world, and an inclination to the *good*, ie conscience) lead to salvation. since god is goodness itself, atonement is found in the experience of participating with the good and salvation is the result of the transformation that comes with the encounter of atonement.

      were total depravity true, then no man could know if there were any meaningful difference between good and evil, god or satan … because with character can claim to be good. instead, all either can do is command worship of himself because of his superior ability to destroy you if you don’t. and like i said, that makes god akin to satan … no different in any real way other than power. but we all know that “might does not make right”.

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    2. @silenceofmind

      That sounds like the Catholic perspective. I suppose the notion that Baptism irrevocably and permanently restores the degraded nature of man to its original divine condition is why the some Christian dominations hated Anabaptists.

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  3. I always find the third of John most instructive CT. As we know there are no defects in scripture, and no contradictions, the fault must always lie with me. God’s word is too large for all truth to be contained in a sentence, so we glean insight here a little………..

    The master of Israel mind you, came at night. He was a rabbis rabbi. Revered in learning, but needed more light. So the better question: how does man become unborn?

    And this answer helps us I think get a grasp of salvation in all its tenses, And maybe we are just too plain selfish, as if we must always digest the scriptures through our point of view.

    Hello says God? I see not as man sees, for we would judge a man wrongly based on his clothing. 😉

    But one thing we do know. The Judge of all the earth shall do right.

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    1. LOL!

      who spoke to moses in the burning bush? was it god, or an angel? the author of exodus says it was god. however, the jewish philosophy changed over time such that, reflected the targum, memra utterly replaced the thought of a god that directly interacted with the material. stephen gives his account before his death. the tradition has now been completed because stephen says it was an angel in the burning bush. logos is also similar in philosophy. but this also implies that any memra, any logos, cannot be homoousia because the material world is corrupt. memra/logos is a mediator so god’s will can be done in the material world, but no by god himself least he be defiled.

      there are hoards of defects in scripture and loads of contradictions.

      if you think there aren’t, i only imagine you have yet to read it.

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      1. Steven,

        It is neither here nor there whether God or an angel spoke to Moses from the burning bush.

        That is because the angel’s mission is to speak what God speaks.

        So whatever was said to Moses by angle or God Himself, would be exactly the same thing, with the same meaning.

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        1. Steven

          Your comments are not germane to the post. Apparently, you are just trying to show us Christians how dumb we are. That sort of arrogant behavior usually backfires. It is boneheaded.

          Scripture refers to an Angel of the Lord. That Angel of the Lord is apparently a manifestation of God. Instead of smugly pretending you or some so-called Bible scholar has discovered an error, why don’t you just look it up?

          Scripture makes it quite clear our little minds could not bear the sight of God. So the Bible does not record anyone actually seeing God.

          Stephen also makes it quite clear God spoke to Moses. Read Acts 7:32.

          Anyway, the text in Exodus 3 is in agreement with the text in Act 7.

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        2. funny, but i’m a christian too. there are plenty of errors in scripture. it’s a book. i’m not smug. i have no pretentions.

          an angel of the lord is not god. and of course moses heard the voice of the lord, but the burning bush was an angel of the lord, not the lord (acts 7:30)

          the comment is germane to your comment that we christians understand the bible is inerrant. well no, only fundamentalists see it that way and you all are in total, much like a freckle on an elephant’s butt. meaning, an absurd few christians think that way.

          as for folks seeing god, it sure seems that moses, jacob, and job have. but again, this goes back to the hebrew bible and the developing idea of memra. you can see in the targum each direct reference to god being altered to state “angel [or other mediator] of the lord”. and so naturally, it begs the question: was scripture developmental, or final in form once the quill touched the papyrus. it’s developmental of course.

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        3. @Steven

          Storm is the one who called the Bible inerrant, but I agree.

          The Bible is only a Book? Then why is it important to you that we conform to your opinion of it?

          I am not into answering arguments fired with a scattergun with my own scattergun. I think it is is more productive to discuss one thing at a time. So I will.

          Does what Stephen said in Acts 7 conform to what is recorded Exodus 3? Yes. In Acts 3, Stephen says Moses encountered an angel in a burning bush. That angel claimed to be God, making that angel, The Angel of the Lord.

          So what do you do when you are called on YOUR error? It looks to me like you don’t admit the mistake.

          We all make mistakes, but God doesn’t. When you try pick on somebody (not a good idea under any circumstances) you cannot beat, it just shows a death wish. Doubt you see it that way, but you ought to think about it. You don’t win any these arguments. You just don’t investigate enough.

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        4. it is a book. i never said it is important to me that anyone confirms to my opinion of it. i simply laughed out loud at the idea that christians all think the bible is inerrant. i explained why initially. in the end, i quantified the irony of your statement; that the bulk of christians believe the opposite. my reaction is telling you that you don’t get to dictate what christians are or are not not think or don’t.

          so, where did the angel claim to be god in scripture and, is that theophany or mediator?!

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        5. Steven,

          In logic if A = B and C = B, then it follows that A = C.

          Consequently, from Moses’ point of view there is no difference in content or meaning whether something is said by God or an angel.

          The Bible, the Word of God exemplifies reason and faith and where they meet in passionate embrace.

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        6. from moses POV?!!!

          you’re staying the law of identity. that’s an ontological statement. speech acts are not ontological. you’re equivocating my complaint about WHO said something with WHAT was said.

          i’m saying that given what we know of exodus, moses was speaking to god and god to moses. stephen has moses speaking to an angel of the lord.

          the bible is not the WORD of god! jesus is. LOGOS is divine mind, intent, will, plan. in other words, john saying jesus is the logos, hodos, alethea, and zoe is literally translated from the greek as jesus being the way god had intended all of humanity to be; jesus is that intended (logos) way of being in the world (hodos), the revealed truth of our full humanity and its relation to divinity (alethea), and the mode that way of being in the world takes (zoe).

          what was said to moses is completely non sequitur. WHO was doing the speaking is what matters. let’s not move the goal post, eh.

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    2. Storm,

      Our individual understanding of scripture has no connection to its true meaning.

      We study subjects taught by masters because left to our own devices, each person and each generation would always begin anew from a total state of ignorance.

      Jesus trained His Apostles and taught them everything they needed to know.

      The Apostles in turn, passed what they had learned to others who did the same thing again, to others, all the way down through history.

      Our understanding of the Word of God rests on the shoulders of the Apostles and the saints who followed them.

      Therefore, the properly trained Christian thinks with the mind of the Church, since his own mind is given to personal bias.

      The submission to personal bias is precisely why Christianity has become a monstrous Tower of Babel whose gibbering, noxious voice combines with the heathen voice of mankind in its zombie slouch toward Gomorra.

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      1. @Som

        May I point something out and offer some correction. You said this:

        –Jesus trained His Apostles and taught them everything they needed to know.–

        Not completely true. The same Lord we are speaking of said to them: I have many things to say unto you, and you cannot bear them now, however, when the Spirit of truth is come, He shall guide you into all truth.’

        MANY THINGS of which He spoke were drum roll please: brought to the apostles courtesy of the apostle Paul, who was given revelation that the others were not. Peter, James, and John were in no position to understand the mystery of the body of Christ with a rejected Head in heaven. It took years for this to sink in. This is factual and doctrinal. It was Paul who rebuked Peter for his hypocrisy, remember.

        The apostles knew nothing of election, Israel’s setting aside, and the big one, Gentiles brought into the fold, a truth that Peter argued against, but this ministry was given exclusively to Paul. And this point alone is the strength of the post above regarding salvation to one and all. So we ask: what is salvation?

        But truth is handed down through faithful men, who taught faithful men. The truth of God never changes, as the scriptures are God’s word’s to mankind. I hold in esteem the word of God above any denomination, and you should too.

        And for what it’s worth, it appears Peter was married while Paul was not, an important distinction when we consider ex cathedra.

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    3. Is scripture perfect? Yes. Do we interpret it correctly? Do we translate it correctly? No and no. Nevertheless, it is obvious even from our imperfect translations that the Bible is the Word of God.

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      1. I have said to people CT that even the poorest of translations has truth enough to convict a soft heart, and enough balm for the weary.

        God knows our need, and speaks in languages we understand.

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      2. Citizen Tom,

        Jesus explained the meaning of scripture to his disciples and the Jewish ruling class.

        Stories from the Gospels, in particular the Road to Emmaus make this clear.

        Therefore, the Bible has already been interpreted and explained to mankind by the Lord, Himself.

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        1. I generally don’t think the Bible is that difficult to understand, but we do have our disagreements. Even the apostles had to discuss things, but they prayed whereas we sometimes fight.

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        2. Citizen Tom,

          If the Bible were easy to understand there would be only one sect of Christianity and no need for Bible study.

          The Bible is a collection of literature written over the span of centuries by people long, long ago and far, far away.

          If the Jews needed Jesus to explain the Bible to them, there is no way that modern man, by himself, can gain but a grain of understanding of what the Bible truly means.

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        3. @silenceofmind

          The Bible does speak of the ministry of the Holy Spirit and of teachers.

          There are a couple issues here, I think.

          The first issue is what are we to do with what we do understand. Anyone who reads the Bible will understand something of its wisdom. Without careful study, we won’t understand much, but most people at least know the story of Jesus’s death and resurrection.

          Our first response to the Bible should be a desire to know more about Jesus. Why did He die for our sins? What did He teach? What is this thing about loving our neighbors?

          Our second response? That comes when we believe Jesus is our savior. Then we try to obey Jesus’ commands? Then we study the Bible both to know God and to please Him.

          Is the church important? I think that is the focus of your concern. Yes, but Catholics and Protestants define the church differently, but I don’t see the argument as all that important.

          We sometimes forget that the church belongs to Jesus, that it is not our creation. Jesus created the church for us. We did not create the church for Him.

          Sometimes we get into arcane arguments over scripture as each side tries to prove that they have the true church. That misses the point. How? What did Jesus expect of the church?

          Was Jesus’ church about an organization or about fellowship? In the struggle to spread His Gospel, what matters most? Is it a small group of persecuted souls who meet in secret to share the Word or a large group who meets an hour each week in an expensive building?

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  4. Debates as this brings to mind the interpretation of this proverb which is, No one knows for certain God’s judgement and punishment according to this proverb.

    The balance and true scales are Yahweh’s concern; all the weights in the bag are his affair. (Proverb 16:11)

    Regards and goodwill blogging.

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