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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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  • « Bart Ehrman's New Essay Lacks Historic Substance | Main | Answering a Critic of Reformed Theology »

    Easy Believism and Semi-Pelagianism

    J. I. Packer once rightly said, "sinners cannot obey the gospel, any more than the law, without renewal of heart."

    So with that in mind the "easy believism" (no-lordship) folks have completely misunderstood the biblical concept of grace. They scoff at Lordship because they think it is regeneration by faith and works, all the while touting their self-generated faith. Fact is, if God has done a work of
    grace in us, then faith and works (both equally impossible for man) will exist because it is God who is the author of both. Jesus is the "author and finisher of our faith."

    "easy believism" is a doctrine that is pretty much a debate that came from certain groups of Dispensationalists who think that you could have prayed a prayer to accept Jesus 10 years ago and now have become a Buddhist monk ... but since you prayed that prayer, you are "once saved always saved" no matter what you are doing now. Reformed persons have ALWAYS believed in the biblical doctrine of the preservation of the saints, that is, that God will preserve his people and make them persevere to the end.

    Second of all easy believism people embrace the false doctrine that faith is not a gift of God .. i.e. they reject the biblical teaching that faith springs from a renewed heart (John 6:63-65, 37). So easy believism actually ends up being a form of semi-pelagianism because they attribute their faith and repentance to their own wisdom, humility, sound judgment and good sense.

    Also as John MacArthur has noted, "grace is not merely God's response to the sinner's initiative. Quite the opposite. Because He is gracious, God takes the initiative, drawing the sinner (John 6:44, 65), granting repentance (Acts 3:26; 5:31; 11:18), and awakening the heart to faith (Acts 13:48; 16:14). Every aspect of the believer's response--conviction, repentance, and faith--is the result of God's gracious work in the heart. "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God" (Ephesians 2:8).

    The easy believism folks reject the above idea of "grace-wrought faith" outright ... so it could not be further from what the Reformed tradition believes. Easy believism is a self-generated faith, apart form the grace of God, which makes it semi-pelagian at best.

    The Bible declares that Belief (or faith) is not difficult but IMPOSSIBLE for the natural man. So the opposite of easy faith is not "difficult", but much more; an act that the natural man is utterly morally impotent to carry out. So those who think faith is "easy" or "difficult" are both wrong, according to the Bible. If someone thinks faith is "easy" or even possible, apart from grace, then they do not understand our condition as human beings or our real need of grace. Those who think faith is something easy are making the same mistake as those who think good works save. Both are trusting in some self-generated meritorious act, rather than Christ alone who provides everything we need for salvation, including a new heart to believe and obey.

    J Hendryx

    Posted by John on December 13, 2012 10:16 AM

    Comments

    Do you believe you are saved by faith alone or must you also turn from sin and committ some or all of your life to serving,BEFORE Christ will save you.Can we stay on the subject of salvation and how to receive it,and not jump to how we are going to live if we are truly saved

    Nick,

    You obviously were so eager to say what you wanted to say that you did not read the post. Both faith and good works are the result of the grace of Christ, not the cause of it.

    So the answer is a resounding "No" you don't need to turn from sin and commit your life BEFORE Christ will save you. Christ saves you UNTO these things. The Bible repudiates both easy belivism and any other semi-pelagian ideas such as these.

    John H.

    Wow. I read it, and asked the same question as Nick. I wonder if I will get reprimanded as well?
    I have recently had some discussions on this topic with the haughty Reformed Theologian trenders, and find myself very frustrated. I am a calvinist, I get it how we are saved by grace and works are evidence. But in these discussions I keep finding a flaw... staunch Re. Theo. folks say God chooses and it is about grace, BUT then insist that the gospel can't be easily believed. Huh? The attitude toward those who are giving the simple gospel message, and those who may or may not respond, is that they are making it too easy, and therefore the responders are deceived. I want to know how to give the gospel... the HARD version... that is Re.Theo. approved... and produces real conversions. Re. Theo. folks tell me you have to almost disciple them first, you have to explain to them how hard it is to follow Christ. What? Is this a work of God or not?
    Favorite scriptures used by my Re. Theo.trend friends, are Christ calling His disciples, which really flakes me out because that happened before the church and the cross. That was still OT system times... what makes "follow me" suddenly the new gospel message? Or is it just something that is added to the gospel?
    I thought... if I give a kid let's say... the Roman's Road... that kid, COULD by the GRACE of GOD and the work of the Holy SPirit, find out he was a sinner, that Christ came to save sinners, and confess that he would put His trust in Christ to save Him.
    Is that not good enough? It needs to be harder? God doesn't use a simple gospel message???

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