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  #1  
Unread 19th May 2004, 09:34 AM
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Question Irresistible Grace & Luther

Good Day, to my Lutheran Brothers & Sisters

Back in the old P/R/E I was trying to understand the Lutheran view of Grace being resistible as it refered to the elect of God. I do believe that Lutherans will up hold the Election of some, and not of others.

All things whatever arise from, and depend on, the divine appointment; whereby it was foreordained who should receive the word of life, and who should disbelieve it; who should be delivered from their sins, and who should be hardened in them; and who should be justified and who should be condemned.
- Martin Luther


Therefore the mercy is past finding out by which He has mercy on whom He will, no merits of his own preceding; and the truth is unsearchable by which He hardeneth whom He will, even although his merits may have preceded, but merits for the most part common to him with the man on whom He has mercy. As of two twins, of which one is taken and the other left, the end is unequal, while the deserts are common, yet in these the one is in such wise delivered by God's great goodness, that the other is condemned by no injustice of God's. For is there unrighteousness with God? Away with the thought- Augustine


The question I have is if grace is resistible by the elect. How are the elect brought in to an understanding of the "word of life". Given Luther's view of the will of man " bound in sin" and his inabilty to seek God as well as that man's desire to not seek God in is natural state.

Would this be fair defintion of:
Irresistible Grace - Indicates that because the grace of God in electing some to salvation is sovereign, it is not possible that the elect will effectively resist his grace. Nevertheless, for reasons known only to Himself, God may sometimes allow this work of grace seemingly to be delayed.


Peace to u,

Bill
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Unread 19th May 2004, 09:01 PM
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Unread 19th May 2004, 10:47 PM
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Originally Posted by BBAS 64
Good Day, to my Lutheran Brothers & Sisters

...

The question I have is if grace is resistible by the elect. How are the elect brought in to an understanding of the "word of life". Given Luther's view of the will of man " bound in sin" and his inabilty to seek God as well as that man's desire to not seek God in is natural state.

Would this be fair defintion of:
Irresistible Grace - Indicates that because the grace of God in electing some to salvation is sovereign, it is not possible that the elect will effectively resist his grace. Nevertheless, for reasons known only to Himself, God may sometimes allow this work of grace seemingly to be delayed.
Hey Bill! Welcome to our new home!

I don't always understand the questions you pose. The problem is mine, so please forgive me when I head off in the wrong direction. I do not understand the part in the definition you list pertaining to "delay". How is "delay" indicated?

I am going to start out by saying that I believe Calvinists in particular have difficulties with the Lutheran perspective on the doctrine of election because the Calvinist theology draws logical conclusions...conclusions that Lutherans will not make because they are not supported by Scripture.

Scripture tells us that the elect will not fall away and that some will resist God's grace. But we can not take the leap to say that because the elect will not fall away that God's grace is irresistable because Scripture also tells us some will resist.

The following information comes from the WELS website (fast becoming another favorite of mine). It may help explain the position a bit better.


Originally Posted by WELS Q&A

The Lutheran church accepts the statement of Scripture that those who are elect to salvation cannot fall away. It also accepts that statements of Scripture that say that some believe for awhile and then fall away. It does not try to find a rationalization for how both of these statements are true. It simply accepts the testimony of Scripture.

The Bible teaches very clearly that it is possible to fall from faith (1 Corinthians 10:12). It also assures us that God will protect us from falling (1 Corinthians 10:13). The first passage warns us when we are complacent. The second comforts us when we are troubled. Among the other passages that deal with this are, Matthew 13:18-23, Hebrews 10:26, and John 10:27-29.

Since Calvinism is thought of as a logical, orderly system of doctrine, it is surprising that when it presents alleged scriptural evidence for a limited atonement, Calvinism violates one of the most elementary rules of logic: "A positive statement about A does not deny B." For example, if I say, "I visited New York," this does not deny that I also visited Boston and Philadelphia. To deny that I would have to say, "I visited New York, not Boston."

It does not matter how many passages you cite which say "Jesus died for believers." No matter how many of them you pile up, they do not answer the question, "Did Christ also die for unbelievers?" To make a scriptural case for a limited atonement, you have to cite a passage which says, "Christ died for believers, not for unbelievers. There is no such passage in Scripture. On the contrary there are many passages which say that Christ died for everyone, including unbelievers. A few of them are:

1 Timothy 4:10--"God is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe." Here "all men" is clearly a category that is larger than "those who believe."
2 Peter 2:1-- "False teachers...introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them, bringing swift destruction on themselves." Those going to destruction were bought by God.
2 Corinthians 5:19--"God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them." God forgives the sin of the world.

These are just a few of the many passages that explicitly say that Christ paid for the sins of everyone. These in no way contradict passages that say he died for believers, because none of these say Christ died only for believers.
Does this help to begin to address your question? -----R
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Unread 19th May 2004, 11:28 PM
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A dispute about predestination should be avoided entirely... I forget everything about Christ and God when I come upon these thoughts and actually get to the point to imagining that God is a rogue. We must stay in the word, in which God is revealed to us and salvation is offered, if we believe Him. But in thinking about predestination, we forget God . . However, in Christ are hid all the treasures (Col. 2:3); outside him all are locked up. Therefore, we should simply refuse to argue about election.
Such a disputation is so very displeasing to God that he has instituted Baptism, the spoken Word, and the Lord’s Supper to counteract the temptation to engage in it. In these, let us persist and constantly say, I am baptized I believe in Jesus. I care nothing about the disputation concerning predestination.
-Martin Luther


Unfortunately, I am not so wise.


No, we do not believe in irresistible grace.

I like how Martin Chemnitz addresses the topic:

Thus when they say: Because it is necessary that a man assent and recieve grace, therefore man himself does not do altogether nothing, we can rightly reply with Augustine: "It could be understood in a good sense, if it were not spoken by those whose opinion is known." For let there be added that man has this, that he wills and is able to assent, accept, and act in conversion, or in spiritual matters, not through his own natural powers, either entirely or in part, but that he recieves it from Him who works both to will and to do, then there will be no controversy. For it is certian that we will to assent, accept, act, etc., but God works to will and to do. For what do you have which you did not recieve? Augustine shows that it is Pelagian to understand this statement of natural gifts. Although they could easily have explained these ambiguities with a few words, what shall we consider the reasons to be why they preferred to play with these generalities, unless it was in order that, with these actors' stilts fitted to both feet, they might be able to bring back into the theater for unwary spectators the ancient fable of the masters of sentences.
But what they seriously try to prove, that a man can dissent and reject grace when it is offered, is, sad to say, only too true. For we do not suppose that grace is so thrust upon the will in conversion that no matter whether he is willing or unwilling, he is compelled to have it, as when a brand is burned into the body. But this is what we say, that it is a gift and work of the Holy Spirit that grace is recieved with desire, delight, and joy. But that it is repudated, rejected, and wasted is the corruption and ill will of our flesh.

This also is not said clearly enough, that the free will of man, moved and incited by God, cooperates by assenting when God incites and calls. For it is necessary that Augustine's distinction between operating grace and cooperating grace be clearly explained, namely, whether free will cooperates with God throught its natural powers, so that, when God works in us to will and assent, some natural power or efficacy of the old man cooperates to produce that willing or assent. Or when grace moves and incites the will, that then the assent emerges through the natural powers of the will. Augustine certainly says: "That we will God works without us," as has been explained above. But there is no doubt that once the firstfruits of spiritual gifts have been recieved, the regenerate will is a co-worker of God through the capabilities which it has recieved from the Spirit of regeneration.
Besides, the deceitful equivocation in the word "to assist" must be observed. Augustine says clearly in De correptione et gratia, ch. 1: "If the Son has made you free, you will be free indeed. Not in such a way that when someone has been freed from the condemnation of sin, he no longer needs the help of his liberator but rather in this way, that hearing Him 'Without Me you can do nothing,' he also himself says to Him, 'Be Thou my Helper!'"
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Unread 20th May 2004, 06:53 AM
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What a great Luther quote! I have saved it...you may see it again some day. An obsession with election in any other way than to draw comfort is one thing that sets me off. Unfortunately...though I may rant about it, Luther has a bit more credibility!!!

Peace
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Unread 22nd May 2004, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Luthers Rose
Hey Bill! Welcome to our new home!

I don't always understand the questions you pose. The problem is mine, so please forgive me when I head off in the wrong direction. I do not understand the part in the definition you list pertaining to "delay". How is "delay" indicated?

Good Day, Rose

I am sorry I am so tardy on this it has been buzy around heer. The Delay which has been accounted for the definitionis there to reply to some whom make statements such as, " I have heard the Gospel preached overe and over again and never responed to the gospel even though I knew I should have, then one day I responeded". People will some times put this forward as a instance that they resisted grace. IMO this is flawed.

I am going to start out by saying that I believe Calvinists in particular have difficulties with the Lutheran perspective on the doctrine of election because the Calvinist theology draws logical conclusions...conclusions that Lutherans will not make because they are not supported by Scripture.
I do not have a problem with the Election as seen by Luther, I think on that point we agree. That is why I included that quote, because that is a fore gne conclusion. As to one drawing logical conclusion from Scripture I think all belevers to some extent do it Luther included, the question becomes how nessary are those conclusions and are they logical.

Rose, A little example: Did Peter's mother-in law have a daughter?

Scripture tells us that the elect will not fall away and that some will resist God's grace. But we can not take the leap to say that because the elect will not fall away that God's grace is irresistable because Scripture also tells us some will resist.

The following information comes from the WELS website (fast becoming another favorite of mine). It may help explain the position a bit better.



Does this help to begin to address your question? -----R
A little yes and no, it does have some impact on "if" and how IG relates to the perservence of the saints.

My question is around the means God uses in making election sure, and not about election it's self. If man can resist grace from God then that means that the grace is not absoutly effective to bring God's elect unto salvation.

So the question is by what means does God absolutely bring the elect unto salvation.

Hope this helps,

Bill
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Unread 22nd May 2004, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by BBAS 64
Good Day, Rose

I am sorry I am so tardy on this it has been buzy around heer. The Delay which has been accounted for the definitionis there to reply to some whom make statements such as, " I have heard the Gospel preached overe and over again and never responed to the gospel even though I knew I should have, then one day I responeded". People will some times put this forward as a instance that they resisted grace. IMO this is flawed.
The resistance I speak of is not a delay it a complete rejection unto death.

I do not have a problem with the Election as seen by Luther, I think on that point we agree. That is why I included that quote, because that is a fore gne conclusion. As to one drawing logical conclusion from Scripture I think all belevers to some extent do it Luther included, the question becomes how nessary are those conclusions and are they logical.

Rose, A little example: Did Peter's mother-in law have a daughter?

A little yes and no, it does have some impact on "if" and how IG relates to the perservence of the saints.

My question is around the means God uses in making election sure, and not about election it's self. If man can resist grace from God then that means that the grace is not absoutly effective to bring God's elect unto salvation.

So the question is by what means does God absolutely bring the elect unto salvation.

Hope this helps,

Bill
I don't have an answer for you. Recall the original quote from the WELS site.

The Lutheran church accepts the statement of Scripture that those who are elect to salvation cannot fall away. It also accepts that statements of Scripture that say that some believe for awhile and then fall away. It does not try to find a rationalization for how both of these statements are true. It simply accepts the testimony of Scripture.
We simply accept God at His Word and we do not attempt to probe His hidden nature.

Sorry, thats the best I can do. Maybe someone else has a better take on the subject.

Thanks-----R
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