Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Modene Answered

Pastor Modene, an Anti-Calvinist pastor if there ever was one was recently contacted regarding a sermon of his by a Reformed guy. The response the Reformed guy got was six questions. I've enumerated them below, with answers to each.
1. When did you become saved?
There are various senses in which we are "saved," all are accurate:
a) When my name was written in the Lamb's book of life.
b) When Christ died on the cross for my sins.
c) When the Holy Spirit changed me from hater to lover of God.
d) When I believed on the Lord Jesus Christ.
e) When God will say "enter into my rest."
2. What happened then?
For each of the senses there is an answer:
a) I was earmarked with name of God; my salvation was planned.
b) Christ paid the penalty for my sins; my salvation was purchased.
c) I was a changed man; my salvation was applied.
d) My status was justified; my salvation was recognized.
e) My entire self will be glorified; my salvation will be completed.
3. Do you believe in being "born again" before you were saved?
Being born again is regeneration.
Regeneration is part of salvation.
It is how we hear, and it is why we understand and believe what we hear.
4. Does God elect people to the Lake of Fire and eternal damnation?
The Bible does not use the word "elect" for that choice of God.
God decides who lives and who dies.
God also decides who goes to heaven and who does not.
That's God's right.
5. Did Servetus get what he deserved?
Every sin deserves God's wrath and curse, both in this life, and that which is to come.
By that standard, Servetus got far better than he deserved.
Servetus did come to Geneva knowing that they had a death penalty for blasphemy and knowing that his teachings constituted blasphemy by Geneva's definition.
Furthermore, there is Biblical warrant for executing blasphemers, though the use of burning is abhorrent to 21st century minds.
That mode of execution was certainly popular in Europe at the time.
The flames of Geneva, however cruel or just, were of limited duration.
The flames of hell are not.
Let us hope that Servetus repented and trusted in Christ before his death, in which case Servetus is not receiving what Servetus deserved. He is receiving mercy.
6. When Jesus and the apostles tell sinners to "believe", are they lying, wrong, or waiting for John Calvin and James White to be born to correct them?Did you ever notice that Jesus and the apostles tell sinners to "repent" and believe?
Did you notice this verse:
Acts 5:31 Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
Or this:
2 Timothy 2:25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;

Do you understand that repentance is a change of heart?
Do you understand that change of heart is the very effect of regeneration?
Of course no one denies that Jesus told people to repent and believe.
We tell them the same thing!
What we also do, though, is give God the glory for conversion.
We pray to God to give people repentence.
We pray to God to open people's eyes and to save people.
And we believe He does that.
Because, just as God can change a man's heart to a beast's:
Daniel 4:16 Let his heart be changed from man's, and let a beast's heart be given unto him; and let seven times pass over him.
So God can also restore, so that while before we were arrogant, we now give God the glory:
Daniel 4:34-37
34And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: 35And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? 36At the same time my reason returned unto me; and for the glory of my kingdom, mine honour and brightness returned unto me; and my counsellors and my lords sought unto me; and I was established in my kingdom, and excellent majesty was added unto me. 37Now I Nebuchadnezzar praise and extol and honour the King of heaven, all whose works are truth, and his ways judgment: and those that walk in pride he is able to abase.
Or as David put it:
Psalm 19:7 The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple.



Anonymous said...

I take it that only the questions are the pastor's and the responses are those of the blog owner. Am I correct?

It surprises me that "being born again" is so often seen by unReformed as a choice, a decision, an action on the part of the sinner. It goes against the whole teaching about it as a work of God on a passive individual.

Turretinfan said...

You have taken correctly. The six boldface questions are the limit of Modene's contribution. The answers are mine, though I hope they would also be those of other Reformed believers.