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Undervaluing Pentecost - R. C. Sproul

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  • Undervaluing Pentecost - R. C. Sproul

    This is a very good lecture from one of the Strange Fire conferences.

    Quote: "Now it’s that particular point that I want to address today because I think the fundamental weakness of neo-Pentecostal, or Charismatic theology is that in my opinion its view of Pentecost is too low and that it’s understanding of the significance of Pentecost in redemptive history differs from the Apostles understanding of that experience."

    Sproul goes over the Holy Spirit's reclamation of Jews, the God-fearers, the Samaritans, and the Gentiles in the Acts following Pentecost.

    Sproul doesn't connect the modern peoples' names with the Old Testament names, one for one, Genesis with Acts in detail. Michael Heiser shows this very well. I will post the Heiser lecture later under this topic if I can find it, as I found this redemptive work of God one of the most interesting "scholarly" things I've learned. It is an easy thing to scatter; but this reclamation is a mighty demonstration of faithfulness by God.

    There is a transcript here. https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/TM13-3

    https://youtu.be/f37jFQlb6aQ


  • #2
    Baruch,
    Just finished reading the presentation by R. C. Sproul at the Strange Fire Conference.
    R. C. Sproul is of such popular spiritual stature that what I say might not be considered worth while unless I agree with him, but I do have an issue on his presupposition and his interpretation. On the other hand, I do wish it was a clear and certain as he presents his view because it wraps up several issues in a nice tight package.

    Agreement or Disagreement:

    R. C. Sproul takes the liberty to include all present would agree;

    Now one thing I hope we all agree on is that
    the baptism of the Holy Spirit may indeed be
    distinguished from the work of the Holy Spirit in regeneration.
    It may also be distinguished from the indwelling work of the Holy Spirit,
    and also distinguished from that process of sanctification by which synergistically we work together with the Spirit of God in our progress of being conformed to the image of Christ.
    And so the significance of the baptism of the Holy Spirit has to do principally with the Holy Spirit’s empowering Christians for ministry.

    While he might be correct about those attending the Strange Fire Conference, I cannot be in agreement about these distinctions. These distinctions divide or part and parcel the Holy Spirit of God as if the relationship and Presence of God can be received as various spiritual prescriptions for particular illnesses. Discipleship is complete and total immersion and not just the spots that get sprinkled.

    Presupposition:

    R. C. Sproul assumes there is not a second blessing after the four people groups are recorded in Acts as receiving the Holy Spirit.

    Interpretation:

    The chronology of Acts as presented by R. C. Sproul is selective to support his presupposition. The R. C. Sproul chronological has the inauguration event for the gentiles to receive the Holy Spirit to be in Acts 19 while the Apostle Paul is in Ephesus.

    Acts 19
    “So when they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus and when Paul laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. And the men were about twelve in all.”

    However, gentiles first came to be believers in Acts 14 rather than 19.
    For R.C. Sproul’'s hypothesis to be water tight it needs to be recorded in the Bible for those gentiles in Acts 14 to have received the Holy Spirit as is recorded in Acts 19, but Luke does not record such being the case.

    Conclusion:
    I see R.C. Sproul’s hypothesis as a insightful one. It is necessary to apply some extraneous interpretation of why Luke did not record the gentiles of Acts 14 as having the Holy Spirit come upon them resulting in speaking in tongues. By extraneous interpretation it is meant that an explanation has to be manufactured and imported to explain the text. This kind of interpretation is practiced regularly but is nothing more than reasoning to fit in a presupposition. R.C. Sproul could be right, but I could not firmly state that this view of his is biblical.

    Comments:
    Generally speaking, the R.C. Sproul presentation is similar to the argument made that the Holy Spirit gifts ceased with the completion of recording the canon by the NT writers. The same assumption is made about the ceasing of miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit. The assumption could be correct but an honest, unbiased Bible student has to ask is that what the Bible teaches? What I find in such interpretations are reasoning to prove a presupposition. As previously stated, such is a commonly used process to prove a point not made in the Bible.

    Contrary to my liking, I see the Pentecostals winning the argument that the Bible does not record the ending of miraculous gifts and apostles and prophets. On the other hand, neither does the Bible record there is an extension after the apostolic era of apostles and prophets with associated signs. The Pentecostals loose this argument. Arguments from both sides manufacture and import reasoned ideas to make their supposed interpretation.

    For me the only biblical argument for the ceasing of apostle and perhaps prophets, is:
    (1) that the Church is built upon the foundation upon which the names of the 12 apostles are placed.
    (2) This figurative expression indicates the basis of the Church are the work (eye witness testimony to the resurrection) of these early apostles (not necessarily just the symbolic number 12) with Jesus Christ the reason and purpose (cornerstone) for the Church.
    (3) Figuratively, once a foundation is in place others build upon that foundation rather than building other foundations.
    (4) Modern apostles, if credited with the task of the first apostles of the Lord Jesus, would be placing new or other foundations which would be a different or separate Church from the one started by the first apostles.

    Sanctification and Second Blessing
    This issue, at both the level of historical origins and the devotional life, is about sanctification and why the life of Christians can appear so very worldly. There are three modern movements which have addressed this issue. These three are related but are in two different categories. Apostleship might be said to be under Second Blessing as letter “c.,” but those claiming such a position make apostleship out as something special for them and not for every believer, therefore, not a second blessing.
    1. Lordship Salvation
    2. Second Blessings Sanctification
    a. Complete sanctification or Holiness
    b. Baptism in the Holy Spirit.
    Last edited by glen smith; February 6, 2018, 01:44 PM.

    Comment


    • #3
      Glen wrote, "These distinctions divide or part and parcel the Holy Spirit of God as if the relationship and Presence of God can be received as various spiritual prescriptions for particular illnesses."

      I don't see it the way you describe. The Holy Spirit has a robust ministry, and Sproul describes some of it there, presumably in an attempt to articulate that and set His (the Spirit's) baptism as a work in its own context, but related to and interdependent with the other works He does.

      As far as I can tell, Second Blessing is a Pentacostal doctrine. If we're going to discuss Sproul's lecture, it is most helpful in my opinion to use his vocabulary. If we discuss this lecture using a Pentacostal vocabulary, we're going to have a confusing time communicating.

      It's my understanding (and we can see this from the context) Acts 13-15 is the conversion of the "God fearers", those who heard the readings and exposition of the law in the synagogues but did not submit to circumcision. We can see that this was the reason in Acts 15 for their instructions to abstain from particular things:

      Act 13:15 After the reading of the Law and the Prophets, the leaders of the synagogue sent word to them, saying, “Brothers, if you have any word of encouragement for the people, you can speak.”

      Act 15:13 After they stopped speaking, James responded: “Brothers and sisters, listen to me.
      Act 15:14 Simeon has reported how God first intervened to take from the Gentiles a people for his name.
      Act 15:15 And the words of the prophets agree with this, as it is written:
      Act 15:16 After these things I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent. I will rebuild its ruins and set it up again,
      Act 15:17 so the rest of humanity may seek the Lord— even all the Gentiles who are called by my name— declares the Lord who makes these things
      Act 15:18 known from long ago.
      Act 15:19 Therefore, in my judgment, we should not cause difficulties for those among the Gentiles who turn to God,
      Act 15:20 but instead we should write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from eating anything that has been strangled, and from blood.
      Act 15:21 For since ancient times, Moses has had those who proclaim him in every city, and every Sabbath day he is read aloud in the synagogues.

      Sproul refers to the Gentiles in Acts 19 as the "un-God fearing". Contrasted against my previous paragraph we can see the difference.

      Comment


      • #4
        Glen, here is the Heiser material. Please read through post #1 and judge whether you want to skip the 30-minute intro. If you're not that familiar with the Divine Council I recommend watching "Divine Council Intro". The presentation on Babel-vs-Acts is the 45 minute "Introducing the Divine Council Worldview".

        https://forum.lounewton.com/forum/in...ncil-worldview

        I note that Heiser has some peculiar views on sovereignty, election, and foreknowledge. He isn't easy to pigeon-hole and refuses to label his theology, but he's definitely not Calvinist. He also seems to lean towards post-Millennial, but he refuses to commit to an eschatological view, as well.

        Comment


        • #5
          Sorry for the confusion with terms.
          The one I used which R. C. Sproul did not use is Wesleyan Holiness sanctification.
          Let me provide the reason I used it along with other comments.

          Charismatic theology

          R.C. Sproul use the terms Charismatic Movement and Charismatic theology.

          Quoting Sproul:
          Not everybody in the Charismatic Movement shares exactly the same theological understanding of it.

          Comment:
          Correct. What is meant by charismatic is

          Quoting Sproul:
          Not everybody in the Charismatic Movement shares exactly the same theological understanding of it. Yet at the same time, there are some basic ingredients that have become pretty much central to neo-Pentecostal theology. And I’m not going to deal with all of them today.

          Comment:
          This is too vague to criticize this statement, but central to the Pentecostal theology is the filling or baptism of the Holy Spirit is a second blessing additional to salvation which is accompanied by the sign of speaking in tongues. This is different from the Charismatic Movement. (subject continued in next quote)

          Quoting Sproul:
          But one of the most significant aspects of the emerging Charismatic Theology was the idea that it is normal or even normative for people to have what is understood as the baptism of the Holy Spirit after their conversion. It is admitted (by chairismatics) that some people can have conversion or regeneration simultaneously with the so-called second blessing, or the baptism of the Holy Spirit. But in the main, the usual, normal process is understood to have some kind of time differential between conversion or regeneration and the receiving of the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

          Comment:
          This may be what R.C. Sproul has observed but it is not the same as my experience. To what is quoted above I would qualify, emphasize, and add to the basic tenant of the Charismatic movement. I do not know of any seminary that has established itself upon the tenants of a Charismatic Theology. I have never seen or heard of a systematic Charismatic Theology. Charismatics hold in common the belief that miracles have not ceased and many charismatics make no distinction between conversion or regeneration and the receiving of the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Many charismatics do not speak in tongues and most are in mainline denominations, not Pentecostalism. For these charismatics the issue is more about biblical interpretation than a second blessing. My associations with charismatics have for the most part been this last kind. I know charismatics who hold to a Reformed theology and to Arianism. There are Catholic charismatics and Orthodox charismatics. There are Episcopal, Presbyterian, Methodist, and Baptist charismatics. Considering how I understand the charismatic movement, I consider myself a charismatic.

          Confusion between Pentecostalism and the Charismatic Movement.

          Many Pentecostals are embarrassed to confess they are Pentecostals, but will admit to being charismatic. All 1500 Calvary Chapel congregations are Assembly of God Pentecostals in their doctrine, yet they are most often labeled charismatics. This adds to the confusion between Pentecostal and charismatic. What either R. C. Sproul or I have stated is about as accurate as one can be without extensive research and of such research I know not.

          Rehashing:

          R.C. Sproul is referencing the laying on of hands and the resulting speaking in tongues as the inauguration event for four (4) different people groups. His point is that once these inauguration events for each group has been performed the Holy Spirit is, thereafter, received at the time of salvation. The presentation by R.C. Sproul is denying any future second blessing after these four (4) inauguration events.

          The idea of a second blessing (a term which Sproul uses) as used by Pentecostals takes these same four (4) events as indicators of an additional experience or spiritual blessing after salvation:
          There are two (2) significant, modern second blessing doctrines.

          (1) Pentecostalism is not the first of the modern second blessing doctrines but is the one today with the largest number of members. The second blessing comes after salvation and is being baptized or filled with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues. Leaders of the Azusa Street Revival Pentecostals were influenced by the Wesleyan Holiness sanctification movement within Methodism. Soon after the formation of the Pentecostal associations these Pentecostals competed with the Wesleyan Holiness churches for members just as denominations compete today using their unique doctrines to sway people. Because of this competition the Pentecostal-Holiness movement was originated. With the Pentecostal-Holiness members could claim the second blessing enabling sinless perfection with the evidence of speaking in tongues as the sign of being sinless.

          (2) Wesleyan Holiness sanctification a second blessing movement which R. C. Sproul leaves out for reasons undetermined. Possibly it might be that the second blessing of from Wesleyan Holiness sanctification is sinless perfection.
          There are twenty (20) are more Wesleyan holiness denominations including:
          The Salvation Army,
          Church of the Nazarene,
          Wesleyan Church,
          United Methodist Church (certain districts and local churches),
          Evangelical Methodist Church,
          Free Methodist Church,
          Primitive Methodist Church,
          National Association of Wesleyan Evangelicals,
          Congregational Methodist Church,
          Freewill Baptists,
          Southern Baptist Convention (certain congregations and associations),
          Evangelical Christian Church
          Evangelical Church of North America
          Congregational Methodist Church,
          Evangelical Christian Church,
          Evangelical Church of North America.

          What are the terms you would suggest to identify what R. C. Sproul is arguing against and for?
          Last edited by glen smith; February 7, 2018, 03:12 AM.

          Comment


          • #6
            What is a Charismatic?
            a different view than R. C. Sproul

            "The charismata" are spiritual gifts given to Christians. The term comes from the Greek word for "gifts." Some of these gifts are seemingly "natural" such as teaching or leadership, while others are more supernatural or miraculous in their nature. In regards to these latter types of charismata there is a difference of opinion as to whether they were just for the Apostolic Age or if they are still operating today.

            Three lists of the charismata are given in Scripture.

            1Corinthians 12:8-10:

            Word of wisdom
            Word of knowledge
            Faith
            Healings
            Divine workings of miraculous works
            Prophecy
            Discernment of spirits
            Tongues
            Interpretation [or, translation] of tongues

            1Corinthians 12:28:

            Apostles
            Prophets
            Teachers
            Miraculous powers
            Healings
            Helpers
            Leaders [or, administrators]
            Tongues

            Ephesians 4:11-12:

            Apostles
            Prophets
            Evangelists
            Shepherds [or, pastors] and teachers

            Opinions also vary as to the exact nature of each gift. And how one defines each gift will affect one's opinion on if it is still operating today.

            What is a Charismatic?
            A charismatic is a disciple of Christ who believes some of the gifts which are supernatural continue to operate today. Some may believe that all of these gifts are operational.

            How does one distinguish between a charismatic and a Pentecostal?
            For the Pentecostal the second blessing comes after salvation and is being baptized or filled with the Holy Spirit with the evidence of speaking in tongues as a sign.

            How does one distinguish between a charismatic and Wesleyan Holiness sanctification?
            The holiness movement is not concerned with gifts or charismata, but with sinless perfection.

            More replies to the post by Baruch when time allows.
            Last edited by glen smith; February 7, 2018, 03:04 AM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks for the explanations, Glen.

              My contention depended on this: "These distinctions divide or part and parcel the Holy Spirit of God as if the relationship and Presence of God can be received as various spiritual prescriptions for particular illnesses." Which I did not see as fairly representing Sproul's point of view. It was a paraphrase from the other perspective which changed the meaning.

              In my personal opinion, Continuationism and Cessationism are extreme views trying to be doctrines. God does as He pleases, it is His creation. Our doctrines don't define God, and if they describe Him inaccurately that is unhelpful at best and potentially dangerous.

              In order to approach this video in the spirit it was intended, you have to at least acquire the point of view (even if you disagree) of the Strange Fire conferences. They are intended to speak out against "charismania", which is a very real problem, and an obvious one to many but by far not enough professing Christians. In fact, the spread of obvious error is so marked it demands an increase in caution against it; it's better to err on the side of caution in this case (seeing how immensely popular NAR, Word of Faith, IHOP and those guys have become, and recognizing they are Azusa Street all over again). The Strange Fire conference was mostly attended by people who already understood and agreed with this general observation about the visible church: much of it is sliding off the path to worship other gods. Sproul is speaking foremost to his audience in this lecture.

              If I recall correctly, I don't think he agreed with Wesleyan Holiness.

              Comment


              • #8
                Baruch,
                Those attending the Strange Fire conference would be sympathetic to what R.C. Sproul presents. However, pulling the following from my posts I don’t think I am antagonistic.
                ----------------------------------
                I do wish it was a clear and certain as he presents his view because it wraps up several issues in a nice tight package.
                I see R.C. Sproul’s hypothesis as a insightful one. It is necessary to apply some extraneous interpretation of why Luke did not record the gentiles of Acts 14 as having the Holy Spirit come upon them resulting in speaking in tongues.
                Generally speaking, the R.C. Sproul presentation is similar to the argument made that the Holy Spirit gifts ceased with the completion of recording the canon by the NT writers. The same assumption is made about the ceasing of miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit. The assumption could be correct but an honest, unbiased Bible student has to ask is that what the Bible teaches?
                Contrary to my liking, I see the Pentecostals winning the argument that the Bible does not record the ending of miraculous gifts and apostles and prophets. On the other hand, neither does the Bible record there is an extension after the apostolic era of apostles and prophets with associated signs. The Pentecostals loose this argument.
                ----------------------------------
                I agree, there are serious issues with Pentecostalism and the Holiness movements – both theologically and spiritually. But of which branch (denomination) of the Church of Christ can this not be said about? For me, I have looked past my bias to find their elementary motivation which was a Church without power. Using scripture they found cause to simulate the power of the Holy Spirit. In the case of John Wesley, I can not even think I could present a contrary position against him in person. No one since the first century has done more for the gospel of the Lord Jesus and the Church than he has.
                There is not even a close second place. To such men we must compare ourselves unfavorably and learn.

                Just because we disagree, the Christian opposition must be held to be legitimate in faith and honesty. It might be they have something to teach us.
                Although, not all the opposition is Christian and this is a larger problem for Pentecostals than any other group. For example, I find many members of the Assemblies of God or Calvary Chapel rather haughty as if they are saying, “I have something you aint got!” While I find many members of the Church of the Nazarene loving, humble and self sacrificing.

                Baruch posted:
                Continuationism and Cessationism are extreme views trying to be doctrines.

                Reply: Your post #7 demonstrates spiritual wisdom. If I might qualify either Continuationism and Cessationism I could agree with either. As you said, they are extreme. Honest Christians desire to be biblical, faithful while being objective. It is a battle against ourselves.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Baruch,
                  If the Holy Spirit is working in a separate context or a context of His own does this become an exclusively context of the Spirit? If we say God the Father was not present on the Cross (nor could He have been) what does that say about the nature of God and the nature of the Son and His plan of redemption? There are enormous issues with either position of God in Christ on the Cross or God not being in Christ on the Cross. This might be an argument for the Oneness doctrine. When the Bible names the Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit not the Holy Spirit of God? On the other hand, isolating the acts of God to each single being of the triune God might lead to tri-theism.

                  It is systematic theology which forbids making too much through the parceling out the Plan of Redemption by assigning particular aspects of the divine plan of redemption to specific benefits of salvation or to individual beings of the triune God. There is already much in scripture which reveals specific relationships and acts to one or the other of the beings of the triune God -– estimated to be about 700 times – of which 284 concern God the Father. Some will claim that each of the beings of triune God do not act as one but as individual beings with separate tasks? I see why they do, but I do not see it this way.

                  Maybe the best way to address this is with a catechism. It is hoped that this catechism will demonstrate why the plan of redemption is a single spiritual act with many events working in unison and not just related ones. Each event is necessary for there to remain a whole from creation to everlasting life. Remove one and there is no plan of redemption.

                  A Catechism of the Plan of Redemption

                  1. Question: Why did God create the cosmos?
                  Answer: To display His glory

                  2. Question: When was the divine plan of redemption made?
                  Answer: Before the creation of the cosmos

                  3. Question: Why is there a divine plan of redemption?
                  Answer: To bring glory to God

                  4. Question: What purpose does Genesis 1 through 11:9 serve?
                  Answer: Reveals God made the cosmos perfect and corruption entered the cosmos through the sin (rebellion) of man. The fall of man necessitates the divine plan of redemption.

                  5. Question: What purpose does the rest of the Old Testament serve?
                  Answer: The purpose of the Old Testament is threefold:
                  a. Preparation for the inauguration of divine redemption through a chosen people.
                  b. Preparation for the inauguration of divine redemption through types.
                  c. Preparation for the inauguration of divine redemption through examples.

                  6. Question: Where is the establishment of the Plan of Redemption revealed?
                  Answer: In the Lord Jesus as recorded in the New Testament.

                  7. Question: What does God do to affect the plan of redemption?
                  Answer: God sent the only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus.

                  8. Question: How does the Lord Jesus establish the divine plan of redemption?
                  Answer: There are six (6) accomplishments (works) of the Lord Jesus to establish the divine plan of redemption.
                  a. Through the Incarnation
                  - - - - i. being born without sin
                  - - - - ii. through His death on the Cross
                  b. Through the exaltation of the Lord Jesus
                  - - - - i. through His resurrection
                  - - - - ii. through His ascension to the right hand of God the Father
                  c. Through the sending the Holy Spirit of God
                  d. Through the creation of new bodies to enter into life eternal for those who remain alive in Christ when He returns and also for those in Christ resurrected of the dead
                  e. Through the Great White Throne Judgment where death, Hades and those whose name are not found written in the Book of Life are destroyed.
                  f. Through a new creation where “all things new” includes a new heaven and earth and the New Jerusalem.

                  9. Question: What completes the divine plan of redemption?
                  Answer: The divine plan of redemption is completed for eternity with two (2) events.
                  a. The Church is presented as the pure Bride to the Lamb of God. (Revelation 18-22).
                  b. Christ hands over (delivers) the Kingdom of God to the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24).

                  According to the Bible, may any of these events enumerated above be removed from the divine plan of redemption or must these events operate in unison, not just interdependently, for there to be a salvation unto eternal life? Mankind has only one spiritual illness and one spiritual treatment. Salvation is all of the above.

                  Baruch, thank you for the replies. This exchange is good for me. I pray that it is for you. Keep up your position because that is where we learn the most and change rather than from accepting the opponents replies.
                  Last edited by glen smith; February 7, 2018, 08:27 PM.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by glen smith View Post
                    Baruch,
                    Those attending the Strange Fire conference would be sympathetic to what R.C. Sproul presents. However, pulling the following from my posts I don’t think I am antagonistic.
                    I'm sorry! You have a factual style of writing, and sometimes I find it hard to tell how you mean it. :) Maybe I should come up with a polite way to ask.

                    ----------------------------------
                    I do wish it was a clear and certain as he presents his view because it wraps up several issues in a nice tight package.
                    I see R.C. Sproul’s hypothesis as a insightful one. It is necessary to apply some extraneous interpretation of why Luke did not record the gentiles of Acts 14 as having the Holy Spirit come upon them resulting in speaking in tongues.
                    Generally speaking, the R.C. Sproul presentation is similar to the argument made that the Holy Spirit gifts ceased with the completion of recording the canon by the NT writers. The same assumption is made about the ceasing of miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit. The assumption could be correct but an honest, unbiased Bible student has to ask is that what the Bible teaches?
                    Contrary to my liking, I see the Pentecostals winning the argument that the Bible does not record the ending of miraculous gifts and apostles and prophets. On the other hand, neither does the Bible record there is an extension after the apostolic era of apostles and prophets with associated signs. The Pentecostals loose this argument.
                    ----------------------------------
                    I agree, there are serious issues with Pentecostalism and the Holiness movements – both theologically and spiritually. But of which branch (denomination) of the Church of Christ can this not be said about?
                    This is fair. And what follows, as well, very astute.

                    For me, I have looked past my bias to find their elementary motivation which was a Church without power. Using scripture they found cause to simulate the power of the Holy Spirit. In the case of John Wesley, I can not even think I could present a contrary position against him in person. No one since the first century has done more for the gospel of the Lord Jesus and the Church than he has.
                    There is not even a close second place. To such men we must compare ourselves unfavorably and learn.

                    Just because we disagree, the Christian opposition must be held to be legitimate in faith and honesty. It might be they have something to teach us.
                    I admit I have trouble with this, and a sort of wistful envy of those who can filter out the peripheral dead issues and get to the living heart.

                    On the other hand, maybe a Wesley was a double whammy: blessing and curse. He was very successful. But the Holiness movements brought in a lot of people that arguably harmed the congregations; like Constantine creating a state religion forced an empire of goats into the pews. But where is cause and effect? God decreed it or let it happen. I wish to see His hand in such things, and learn His wisdom. His thoughts and ways are so far above mine.

                    Although, not all the opposition is Christian and this is a larger problem for Pentecostals than any other group. For example, I find many members of the Assemblies of God or Calvary Chapel rather haughty as if they are saying, “I have something you aint got!” While I find many members of the Church of the Nazarene loving, humble and self sacrificing.
                    You remind me there are a great variety of congregations. Each one has its own features. What's paramount is that the Holy Spirit is giving them life, severally and as a body. Calvary Chapel is interesting, a loose association of locally autonomous churches that carry the name and abide by a confession of sorts. Thus, not all Calvary Chapel are the same.

                    Interesting that you mentioned Calvary Chapel. I recently discovered that since the decline and passing of Chuck Smith, Calvary Chapel has very clearly been taken into relationship with other gods. Not all of its many member churches are on board with the program. But I expect it will begin to splinter. What a sad affair.

                    Baruch posted:
                    Continuationism and Cessationism are extreme views trying to be doctrines.

                    Reply: Your post #7 demonstrates spiritual wisdom. If I might qualify either Continuationism and Cessationism I could agree with either. As you said, they are extreme. Honest Christians desire to be biblical, faithful while being objective. It is a battle against ourselves.
                    Very kind. Thank you, brother. I am enjoying the exchange!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by glen smith View Post
                      Baruch,
                      If the Holy Spirit is working in a separate context or a context of His own does this become an exclusively context of the Spirit?
                      No.

                      If we say God the Father was not present on the Cross (nor could He have been) what does that say about the nature of God and the nature of the Son and His plan of redemption? There are enormous issues with either position of God in Christ on the Cross or God not being in Christ on the Cross. This might be an argument for the Oneness doctrine. When the Bible names the Holy Spirit is the Holy Spirit not the Holy Spirit of God? On the other hand, isolating the acts of God to each single being of the triune God might lead to tri-theism.

                      It is systematic theology which forbids making too much through the parceling out the Plan of Redemption by assigning particular aspects of the divine plan of redemption to specific benefits of salvation or to individual beings of the triune God. There is already much in scripture which reveals specific relationships and acts to one or the other of the beings of the triune God -– estimated to be about 700 times – of which 284 concern God the Father. Some will claim that each of the beings of triune God do not act as one but as individual beings with separate tasks? I see why they do, but I do not see it this way.
                      This is an excellent comment. I can't place it at this time...there was a sermon or article that showed in the scriptures how the three Persons of God were each said to do the same in their ministry. This demonstrated to me that they are one in subtle, even mysterious ways I don't understand yet. I'll look for this needle in a haystack.

                      True, you can't cleanly separate ministry of Father, Son and Holy Spirit as men like to separate them. They are, probably in many ways, inseparably one.

                      Maybe the best way to address this is with a catechism. It is hoped that this catechism will demonstrate why the plan of redemption is a single spiritual act with many events working in unison and not just related ones. Each event is necessary for there to remain a whole from creation to everlasting life. Remove one and there is no plan of redemption.

                      A Catechism of the Plan of Redemption

                      1. Question: Why did God create the cosmos?
                      Answer: To display His glory

                      2. Question: When was the divine plan of redemption made?
                      Answer: Before the creation of the cosmos

                      3. Question: Why is there a divine plan of redemption?
                      Answer: To bring glory to God

                      4. Question: What purpose does Genesis 1 through 11:9 serve?
                      Answer: Reveals God made the cosmos perfect and corruption entered the cosmos through the sin (rebellion) of man. The fall of man necessitates the divine plan of redemption.

                      5. Question: What purpose does the rest of the Old Testament serve?
                      Answer: The purpose of the Old Testament is threefold:
                      a. Preparation for the inauguration of divine redemption through a chosen people.
                      b. Preparation for the inauguration of divine redemption through types.
                      c. Preparation for the inauguration of divine redemption through examples.

                      6. Question: Where is the establishment of the Plan of Redemption revealed?
                      Answer: In the Lord Jesus as recorded in the New Testament.

                      7. Question: What does God do to affect the plan of redemption?
                      Answer: God sent the only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus.

                      8. Question: How does the Lord Jesus establish the divine plan of redemption?
                      Answer: There are six (6) accomplishments (works) of the Lord Jesus to establish the divine plan of redemption.
                      a. Through the Incarnation
                      - - - - i. being born without sin
                      - - - - ii. through His death on the Cross
                      b. Through the exaltation of the Lord Jesus
                      - - - - i. through His resurrection
                      - - - - ii. through His ascension to the right hand of God the Father
                      c. Through the sending the Holy Spirit of God
                      d. Through the creation of new bodies to enter into life eternal for those who remain alive in Christ when He returns and also for those in Christ resurrected of the dead
                      e. Through the Great White Throne Judgment where death, Hades and those whose name are not found written in the Book of Life are destroyed.
                      f. Through a new creation where “all things new” includes a new heaven and earth and the New Jerusalem.

                      9. Question: What completes the divine plan of redemption?
                      Answer: The divine plan of redemption is completed for eternity with two (2) events.
                      a. The Church is presented as the pure Bride to the Lamb of God. (Revelation 18-22).
                      b. Christ hands over (delivers) the Kingdom of God to the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24).

                      According to the Bible, may any of these events enumerated above be removed from the divine plan of redemption or must these events operate in unison, not just interdependently, for there to be a salvation unto eternal life? Mankind has only one spiritual illness and one spiritual treatment. Salvation is all of the above.

                      Baruch, thank you for the replies. This exchange is good for me. I pray that it is for you. Keep up your position because that is where we learn the most and change rather than from accepting the opponents replies.
                      I like that catechism. Indeed, all of those points are necessary. I could not see one that could be removed.

                      I also like to ponder how God created the cosmos so that the Father could give His Son an inheritance, a kingdom of His own. In my mind this could have been done in no other way.

                      Thank you again for this conversation, Glen. I agree it has benefited me. I'm not so set on keeping my position for its own sake. I intend to hold it as long as I can see it is true. We're in the business of buying the truth, and selling it not! Ever reforming.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Hi Baruch,
                        Both my wife and my son, who is a gifted writer, is less kind than you about my writing. Writing is the hardest thing I have ever done. I like to write because it is such a tremendous challenge to write down clearly and precisely what I think. Doing my best, there is nothing competent about how I write.

                        You again show spiritual wisdom. Being able to recognize the positions I suggest will guide you in constructing a theology.

                        You posted:
                        This is an excellent comment. I can't place it at this time...there was a sermon or article that showed in the scriptures how the three Persons of God were each said to do the same in their ministry. This demonstrated to me that they are one in subtle, even mysterious ways I don't understand yet. I'll look for this needle in a haystack.

                        True, you can't cleanly separate ministry of Father, Son and Holy Spirit as men like to separate them. They are, probably in many ways, inseparably one.

                        Reply: This does not answer any issues for the theologian, in fact it creates more issues while being aware that the divine nature as revealed in the Bible cannot be stated simply or rationally. This is why it took the Church 400 years to come up with a explanation which still does not answer all the issues.

                        A Thank you,
                        It is your challenges that gave me the idea and motivation to compose A Catechism of the Plan of Redemption. It is your points that determined what the catechism must contain. I have longed to write A Catechism of the Plan of Redemption but could never focus on the essential content. You made me focus on something I thought was going to be much more difficult.

                        By the way - I am still working on replies to your post #3.
                        Last edited by glen smith; February 8, 2018, 11:45 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          This is a response to demonstrate that not just Jews and God fearers were converts to Christianity in Acts 13 & 14 but also the pagan gentiles. Acts 14:27 states this clearly probably because it is an issue which is under review. That review takes place in the next chapter at the very first general council of the Church.

                          Acts 13 and 14

                          The Witness in Cyprus and Southern Galatia (13:1–14:28)

                          A. In Syria the Antioch church commissions Paul and Barnabas (13:1–-3)

                          B. Paul and Barnabas witness on Cyprus (13:4–12)
                          5 When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John to assist them.
                          6 When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos,

                          Note: Who the message is being presented to in verse 6 is inconclusive but the whole island is not just made up of only Jews and God fearers.

                          C. Paul preaches in the synagogue of Pisidian Antioch (13:13–41)
                          14 but they went on from Perga and came to Antioch in Pisidia. And on the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down. . . . 16 So Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said: “Men of Israel and you who fear God, listen. . . .

                          D. Paul turns to the Gentiles (13:42–52)
                          43 And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism (God fearers) followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke with them, urged them to continue in the grace of God.
                          44 The next Sabbath almost the whole city (Including gentiles?)gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45 But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him.
                          46 And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you (Jews). Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles.
                          48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.

                          Note: Since this chapter has already differentiated between Jew and God fearer, the gentiles must be neither of these and not just God Fearers.

                          E. Paul and Barnabas are rejected at Iconium (14:1–7)
                          Now at Iconium they entered together into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed. . . .
                          4 But the people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews and some with the apostles. 5 When an attempt was made by both Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to mistreat them and to stone them,

                          Note: Since the previous chapter has already differentiated between Jew and God fearer, the Greeks and the people of the city must be neither of these and not just God Fearers.

                          F. Paul and Barnabas witness in Lystra and Paul is stoned(14:8–20a)

                          Note: Apparently there were converts in Lystra because in 14:23 elders are appointed to every church in Lystra to Iconium and to Antioch in Pisidia.

                          G. Paul and Barnabas witness in Derbe (14:20b-21a)
                          and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe. 21 When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples,

                          H. Paul and Barnabas return to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch in Pisidia (14:21b–23)
                          22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. 23 And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

                          I. Paul and Barnabas return to the Roman Province of Pamphylia and to the capital city Perga.
                          25 And when they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia,

                          J. Paul and Barnabas journey to the seaport of Attalia to sail to Antioch of Syria
                          27 And when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles.

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