Dabar [theme]

He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou find refuge: His truth is a shield and buckler
Psalms 91:4

Be it ours,when we cannot see the face of God, to trust under the shadow of His wings. C.H. Spugeon

Sunday, December 04, 2011

The Debate Continued ...

For Augustine, human will is freed by divine grace to believe, not over powered and dragged to Calvary kicking and screaming.

Charles Wesley wrote, “My chains fell off; my heart was free. I rose, went forth, and followed thee.”

"God enlightens our reason and strengthens our wills so we can respond (this is prevenient grace as I have found it defined in a Catholic doctrine book). The RC catechism says, “Believing is possible only by grace and the interior helps of the Holy Spirit. But it is no less true that believing is an authentically human act.” The council of Trent teaches: “….the Council of Trent declared that the free will of man, moved and excited by God, can by its consent co-operate with God, Who excites and invites its action; and that it can thereby dispose and prepare itself to obtain the grace of justification. The will can resist grace if it chooses. It is not like a lifeless thing, which remains purely passive. Weakened and diminished by Adam’s fall, free will is yet not destroyed in the race...""
“Calvin and Luther argue that God’s electing grace is “irresistible.” Human beings to Luther and Calvin do not have a say in their election to either salvation or damnation. There is no cooperation between human beings and God and human beings cannot resist the sovereign God’s grace when it comes. Wesley parts company with Calvin and Luther here. Wesley understands grace as “resistible”—a person can either receive or resist the grace that creates conviction, repentance, and faith. As moments of opportunity to “believe” happen as people are placed (or place themselves) in the means of grace, and the Spirit of God brings conviction, repentance, and is creating faith—people can choose to cooperate with what God is doing or not. However, if they choose not to cooperate in that given moment, there is no guarantee another moment—the moment in which God is drawing, convicting and convincing—will happen again. To Wesley people can not have saving faith without divine grace from God, but Wesley argues that people can reject or resist this grace from God. Though Wesley claimed he was a “hair’s breadth” from Calvinism these two points of disagreements are the width of that hair.” Keith Drury
“Who makes the decision about the salvation of lost men and women, and where s the decision made? Every Christian theologian is bound to answer: God decides for a person and for his or her salvation, for otherwise there can be no assurance of salvation at all. ‘If God is for us, who can be against us…’ (Rom. 8:31f) – we may add: not even ourselves! God is ‘for us’: that has been decided once and for all in the self-surrender and raising of Christ. It is not just a few of the elect who have been reconciled with God, but the whole cosmos (II Cor. 5.19). It is not just believers whom God loved, but the world (John 3.16). The great turning point from disaster to salvation took place on Golgotha; it does not just happen for the first time at the hour when we decide for faith, or are converted. Faith means experiencing and receiving this turning point personally, but faith is not the turning point itself. It is not my faith that creates salvation for me; salvation creates for me faith. If salvation and damnation were the results of human faith or unfaith, God would be dispensable. The connection between act and destiny, and the law of karma, would suffice to create the causal link. If, even where eternity is at stake, everyone were to forge their own happiness and dig their own graves, human beings would be their own God. It is only if a qualitative difference is made between God and human beings that God’s decision and human decision can be valued and respected. God’s decision ‘for us,’ and our decisions for faith or disbelief no more belong on the same level than do eternity and time. We should be measuring God and the human being by the same yardstick if we were to ask: what, and how much, does God for the salvation of human beings, and what, and how much, must human beings do? To see God and a human being on the same level means humanizing God and deifying the human being. ‘Offer and acceptance’ is a frequently used formula which brings divine grace and human decision on to the same level in just this way. The trivial slogan ‘the church on offer’ turns God into the purveyor of a cheap offer in the religious supermarket of this society of ours, which has set out on the road to ‘the global marketing of everything’. The customer is king, says a German tag. So then the customer would be God’s king too” Jurgenn Moltmann

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What stikes me as most profound is this ... as an Arminian I can move to within a hair's breadth of Calvinism and still remain Arminian, however, as a Calvinist if I move a hair's breadth towards Armininism .. I am no longer a Calvinist.