"...if anyone makes the assistance of grace depend on the humility or obedience of man and does not agree that it is a gift of grace itself that we are obedient and humble, he contradicts the Apostle who says, "What have you that you did not receive?" (1 Cor. 4:7), and, "But by the grace of God I am what I am" (1 Cor. 15:10). (Council of Orange: Canon 6)


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  • « Book Review: The Walk, by Stephen Smallman | Main | What the Bible Says About Baptism »

    Romans 9

    What convinced me that reformed theology was correct was not the logical arguments (as good as they were), nor the fact that a great majority of the church's great Bible scholars through the centuries believed and propagated it (as impressive as that is). What convinced me was the clear teaching of Holy Scripture.

    Having read many counter positions on passages such as John 6, Ephesians 1, and Romans 8 and 9, I was amazed at what people needed to do to try to avoid the clear teaching of the passages. They could not just stay in the same passage and work through the verses one by one, allowing the writer to flow from one thought to the next. Instead, they had to argue that the writers were at one point talking about one thing and then in the next verse or even in the middle of the same verse, were speaking about something completely different. It was hard to follow, but not because of what the text said, but, as I came to understand it, because of the elaborate methodology being implemented to avoid what the text was actually saying. They ("they" being those who opposed reformed theology) would say that in one phrase he is referring to "nations" while in another he is referring to specific individuals, and then in the very next verse it referred to something else. Even if this was the case, what are "nations" but a large group of individual people? The "problem" they had of a Sovereign God choosing people for salvation does not go away. God still does this if he chooses one nation and not another. If God chose one nation, he is choosing individual people who make up that nation, and is therefore by this act, also not choosing other people. As I say, the "problem" does not go away.

    In contrast to this, when the Scripture writer is allowed to "speak for himself" as to what he means, by simply taking his words, in context, allowing the words to flow from one statement to the next in the passage as he addresses his overall theme, a consistent correct interpretation emerges. This became so very clear to me. I am reformed in soteriology (the study of salvation) because bottom line, this is what I believe Scripture teaches.

    On these issues, I used to have my feet firmly planted in mid air. What I mean by that is that I just didn't know where I stood on these things. Not only did I not know, I thought it was a display of humility to say so. Now, it would be humble if the Scripture was vague, elusive and impossible to understand on these things. Some things are clearer than others in holy Scripture. But when God has made His truth clear, it is actually the height of arrogance to say otherwise. Because there is a God and because He has revealed His existence to every man (as Romans 1 teaches) it is arrogance to be agnostic on the question of God's existence. It would be like standing in God's face and saying "You did not make this clear at all." In the same way, I believe God has addressed the issue of His Sovereignty in the matter of salvation in passages such as Romans 9 and that His truth is clearly revealed here.

    One of the men of God who helped me (under God) to see this, is a man who became my friend in this whole process, the man in this youtube video, Dr. James White. How thankful I am now to be able to see (although much mystery remains) something of the stunning and majestic glory of God in the Sovereignty of God in the salvation of sinners. Here (below) is Dr. James White speaking for approximately 55 minutes in Great Falls, Montana, on the Romans 9 passage. I recommend it highly. - JS

    Posted by John Samson on October 21, 2009 12:17 PM

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