Monday, November 12, 2007

Response to Orthodox: Unfair if Man Unable (and misc.)

Orthodox wrote:


T: 1. God says: "Anyone who repents and believes will be saved."

O: He says more than that, he also says "repent and believe". Which remains
a false offer even if you think they can't do it.

Ro 1:20 says that the entirety of creation is designed so that men are
without excuse. To give men an excuse at the last minute of (a) they weren't
able to repent and (b) there was no atonement for them, would be quite a
contradiction.

And another thing: reformed folks think that there are people who repent
and believe but their faith was deficient in some way that it wasn't caused by
regeneration and was thus a false faith, even though in the mind of the actual
person was sincere.

So the promise is again made null, because these people who believed and
repented have no atonement. So reformed have to come up with this wholly
unbiblical category of people and just kind of wave their hands and say they
don't count.

T: 1. As to the syllogism, item (2) is a non-existent thing. In other
words, there is no hypothetical world in which a reprobate person would repent
and believe.

O: And here we are dependant on the reformed ordo-salutus which is again at
best something not explicitely taught in scripture.


I answer:

I'll take this one line-by-line:
"He says more than that, he also says "repent and believe". Which remains a false offer even if you think they can't do it."

A command is not an offer. The imperative command to repent and believe is consequently neither false, nor an offer. Furthermore, no one is able to be sinless, and yet the law does command that. The law is not a "false offer" because it commands what man cannot do.

An affirmation of man's ability to obey the commands is an affirmation of Pelagianism. If one recognizes that grace is necessary for man to obey, then one must realize that man's ability to obey commands has nothing to do with whether the commands are fair, reasonable, or the like. By rejecting Pelagianism, therefore, we reject this particular objection.

O: "Ro 1:20 says that the entirety of creation is designed so that men are without excuse. To give men an excuse at the last minute of (a) they weren't able to repent and (b) there was no atonement for them, would be quite a contradiction."

I answer:

a) Men are condemned for their sins. It would be no excuse if salvation were not offered, just as it is no excuse that not all have the gospel preached to them, or as well and as clearly to them, as others do. It is no excuse that they were unable to repent, because their inability is intrinsic to them. Man's depravity is an aggravating, not a mitigating, factor.

b) Men are condemned for their sins. Lack of atonement is simply the fact of the matter for those who are not "at one" with God. It's not an excuse, any more than lack of third party payment of debt is an excuse for a debtor.

O: "And another thing: reformed folks think that there are people who repent and believe but their faith was deficient in some way that it wasn't caused by regeneration and was thus a false faith, even though in the mind of the actual person was sincere."

I answer: That's not an accurate picture of Reformed theology. If anyone truly repents and believes, they will be saved. End of story.

O: "So the promise is again made null, because these people who believed and repented have no atonement."

I answer: People misunderstanding the offer to mean something it does not, does not change the offer. The offer is an objective reality. If you truly repent and truly believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, you will be saved.

O: "So reformed have to come up with this wholly unbiblical category of people and just kind of wave their hands and say they don't count."

I answer: That's a misrepresentation of the Reformed position as well as of Scripture.
a) The categories of hypocrites, self-deceived, and wolves-in-sheep's-clothing are Biblical categories; and
b) The parable of the sower provides a great lesson in the distinction between false and true faith.

O: "T: 1. As to the syllogism, item (2) is a non-existent thing. In other words, there is no hypothetical world in which a reprobate person would repent and believe. O: And here we are dependant on the reformed ordo-salutus which is again at best something not explicitely taught in scripture.

I answer: It's really not dependent on any Reformed order of salvation, but even if it were, that would be fair game, given the nature of the counter-objection. In other words, Reformation theology must be criticized for what it is, not what is not. The former approach is a critique, the latter a straw man.

-Turretinfan

P.S. I wonder whether Mr. McBee would concede the relationship between the Reformed order of salvation and the counter-objection to the fairness objection.

4 comments:

natamllc said...

TF,

to this I would only add these verses, which implies possession of FAITH once delivered and for His, the Spirit's reason and judgment, leave it!

1Ti 4:1 Now the Spirit expressly says that in later times some will depart from the faith by devoting themselves to deceitful spirits and teachings of demons,
1Ti 4:2 through the insincerity of liars whose consciences are seared,
1Ti 4:3 who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.


And here is something I can do when I rightly judge and the Spirit judged!

2Ti 3:1 But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty.
2Ti 3:2 For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,
2Ti 3:3 heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good,
2Ti 3:4 treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,
2Ti 3:5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.

GeneMBridges said...


O: "And another thing: reformed folks think that there are people who repent and believe but their faith was deficient in some way that it wasn't caused by regeneration and was thus a false faith, even though in the mind of the actual person was sincere."

I answer: That's not an accurate picture of Reformed theology. If anyone truly repents and believes, they will be saved. End of story.


This is a classic case of Orthodox utterly ignoring what he has been told in the past or pretending the conversation never occurred. Both Steve and I went over this with him many, many times. It would help him to actually interact with that conversation.

Seth McBee said...

turretinfan..
I will be honest...didn't and haven't read all your comments and posts dealing with Orthodox...but I do affirm the Reformed Ordo Salutis and do not believe the common call to all being unfair if they can't believe or if there was no blood spilt for them. It has nothing to do with fairness but everything to do with sincerity.

We have both gone over this so this would just be repeating myself if I continued...

I also completely agree with the part of your post that Gene quoted...

We will get into this I am sure with our debate...as far as the sincerity issue in the common call to all.

Turretinfan said...

Dear SDM,

I don't mean to slam an unbearable reading assignment on you with this flood of posts and comments thereupon.

I just figured that you would be heading in that direction, and thought I'd mention it as an aside.

I won't assume you've read these posts for the purposes of our debates.

-Turretinfan