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"...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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    We are a community of confessing believers who love the gospel of Jesus Christ, affirm the Biblical and Christ-exalting truths of the Reformation such as the five solas, the doctrines of grace, monergistic regeneration, and the redemptive historical approach to interpreting the Scriptures.

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    TULIP: The Fairest flower in the Garden

    The beauty of the TULIP is that it gives witness to the work of Jesus Christ alone in our salvation. How glorious it is to fellowship with him knowing that Christ is not only necessary but sufficient to save us to the uttermost. All of the blessings found in the TULIP do not exist apart from Christ's work on the cross. Consider the TULIP as a chiasm with the L at the top. Without the L, all the other benefits would not be possible. True biblical soteriology is Christocentric. So taking the "L" out" of the TULIP is like taking Solus Christus out of the Five Solas. It is an impossible supposition because it removes all benefits of the doctrines of grace from their source found only in the the work of Christ, who lived the life we should have lived and died the death we justly deserve.

    Consider this: because of "T" (total depravity), man is unable to save himself. Therefore, in His great mercy, God the Father "U" unconditionally elects a particular people IN CHRIST, who comes to redeem them in history "L" and are then gathered up by the Holy Spirit who regenerates and unites them to CHRIST, who preserves them to the end "P". To put it simply: Unconditional election is done in Christ (Eph 1:3,4). Perseverance is IN CHRIST (1 Cor 1:30) and Irresistible grace is IN CHRIST (John 6:63-65). Anyone who removes the L, therefore, bifurcates the work of Christ from the grace of Christ. Such would have us believe that the graces of election, irresistible grace and preservation can be had apart from Christ. No, our salvation is Christocentric from first to last. The three persons of Trinity work in harmony to bring about every redemptive blessing.

    Posted by John on April 15, 2010 04:48 PM

    Comments

    Why is it, then, that any believer professing this only true gospel would say to those who openly deny the exclusive sufficiency and definitive effectuality of Christ's person and work to fully and freely save all for whom it was accomplished, why would any believer say of those who deny this that such deniers are fellow Christians?!

    As we cannot know the heart, and can only approve or disapprove the mouth-profession, to call those who deny "L" a brother is to lie about what the gospel is.

    We cannot hold the TULIP as the fairest flower, and treat it as dispensable.

    Baus,

    I don't think perfectly consistent theology is the test of whether or not someone is regenerate. We are all inconsistent in some areas - and should strive to ever be more God-honoring in our thinking of Him. So called four-point Calvinists are likewise inconsistent in their thinking. On the one had they believe in irresistible grace and on the other they reject particular redemption. This is an impossible supposition, because this grace (given only to the elect) could only have its source in Jesus Christ - it is not some generic grace given APART from Christ. So, in reality, they already embrace particular redemption without knowing it. IN fact, to embrace irresistible grace IS to embrace particular redemption. They are the same thing seen from different perspectives. However, if someone were to outright REJECT the fact that irresistible grace finds its source in Jesus Christ, then they better reexamine what they believe. Frankly, most of them have never considered this.

    Of course there is NO test for whether someone is regenerate. As I said "we cannot know the heart, and can only approve or disapprove the mouth-profession."

    In reality, neither you nor any one else can know what a denier of the gospel might embrace other than what they profess to embrace.

    Certainly these deniers ought to reexamine what they believe! How much more should those who embrace TULIP reexamine the fact that a pretense to knowing the hearts of others and/or offering a "charitable" judgment in the face of a denial of the gospel in any part is a tragic failure to hold fast to our profession.

    According to The Moody Handbook of Theology:
    Total depravity means that depravity “has extended to all aspects of man’s nature, to his entire being.” Calvin defined man’s depraved estate as follows: “All men are conceived in sin, and born the children of wrath, indisposed to all saving good, propense to evil, dead in sin, and the slaves of sin; and without the regenerating grace of the Holy Spirit, they neither are willing nor able to return to God, to correct their depraved nature, or to dispose themselves to the correction of it.” Total depravity indicates man’s utter inability to do anything for his salvation. God must initiate the process if a person is to be saved.
    From his writings Calvin’s is appealing to Ephesians 2....
    {Eph 2:1-5 And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins, 2 in which you once walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience, 3 among whom also we all once conducted ourselves in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, just as the others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5 even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),}
    According to Calvin we were dead in sin, could not hear, understand, see, or believe, but according to Calvin God reached down and regenerated, gave life to those dead in sin. According to Calvin we are so dead in our sins that we cannot understand the Bible.
    {1 Co 2:14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. }
    These seem to be the basis for this belief that man is so totally depraved that the only way we can possibly be saved is that God made us alive first, and then after we are made alive we are able to believe therefore, faith follows salvation. Faith is not the condition by which we get salvation but salvation is the means by which we get faith.
    One has to read the entire context to understand what is being said. Note vs. 8 in Eph 2,
    {Eph 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.}
    Notice it is received through faith for by grace one has been saved through faith. If you have been saved through faith what comes first logically, the salvation or the faith? If you are saved by faith, faith comes before the salvation. This is in comparison to the Calvinist who believes salvation the regeneration comes first and then the faith. Justification comes by faith. Not the other.
    {Romans 5:1 Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,}
    {Acts 16:29-31 Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. And he brought them out and said “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”}
    Everywhere I look in the New Testament it speaks of believing and then receiving salvation it does not say the opposite. Nowhere does it say that God must first zap someone with salvation in order for them to believe.
    It is a misunderstanding of “dead in trespasses and sins”. Dead can be understood as either annihilation or separation. In the Bible death is not viewed as annihilation but separation.
    {Is 59:2 But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear. }
    Death brings a wall of separation. The soul separates from the body.
    {2 Co 5:8 We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord. }
    { Php 1:23 For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.}
    For all practical purposes Calvinist believe it as spiritual annihilation. That we are not spiritually there in any sense of the word, unable to understand the message, to receive the message, therefore God has to give life where we were totally departed from Him.
    The Bible says death is separation from God but in this separation man is still in His likeness, able to hear God, to understand Him, and cognitive enough to receive or reject Him.
    {Ge 9:6 “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed; For in the image of God He made man. Don’t kill and person even unsaved because he is in the image of God.}
    The image of God is effaced in fallen man not erased. For all practical purposes the Calvinist states that the image of God is erased, it is not there, you are so dead there is no capacity to receive the message of God’s grace. The best way to understand the Bible is by the Bible. In Genesis chapter 2 it states that if one eats of the fruit one will surely die.
    Does the consequence of eating the fruit parallel with Calvin’s description “without the regenerating grace of the Holy Spirit, they neither are willing nor able to return to God, to correct their depraved nature, or to dispose themselves to the correction of it.”
    {Ge 3:9-10 Then the Lord God called to Adam and said to him, “Where are you?”
    So he said, “I heard Your voice in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; and I hid myself.” }
    Please note, though Adam was still dead he can hear God, had the cognitive ability, to understand what God was saying therefore; in our fallen state we still have the image of God within us, the ability to hear God, the capacity to understand Him, and the ability to make cognitive choices in receiving and rejecting Him.
    { Ro 1:18-20 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, 19 because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. 20 For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,}
    Note that they have the ability to suppress the truth, that God’s invisible attributes have been clearly seen from the creation of the world. Unsaved people who are dead in their trespasses and sins can clearly see, have the ability to choose and in so chose to reject God truth revealed in general revelation. They are without excuse, and if without excuse then the responsibility lies with them and not with God. Death does not mean that they are unable to perceive the truth it means that they are unwilling to receive the truth. While man understands the truth in his mind he is unwilling to receive it in his heart, To recap.
    1.You are not saved in order to believe, you believe in order to be saved.
    2. We are not so dead that we cannot perceive the truth, we are so separated that we do not receive the truth.
    Therefore Total Depravity according to the Calvinist is unbiblical.

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