A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

The Warning Passages in Hebrews

Scot McKnight gives his take on these controversial passages:

Both Calvinists and Arminians agree on this point: each person needs to persevere. The oddest thing has happened in American Evangelicalism: it has taught, whether aloud or not, the idea of "once saved, always saved" as if perseverance were not needed.

In other words, it has taught that if a person has crossed the threshold by "receiving Christ" but then decides to abandon living for Christ, that person is eternally secure. This is rubbish theology. Perseverance is an indicator of what faith is all about: a relationship that continues, that is marked by steady love. No one equates marriage with a wedding day statement of intent, and no one should equate faithfulness with a decision.
You can read Scot's entire post, here.


Dennis Sanders said...

So, then does that mean we can damn ourselves?

Michael Teston said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Michael Teston said...

I think Dennis you are absolutely on target. Yes, of all creation, it is only the human being who has the capacity to say to the One who loves with a depth of love that shows up in Jesus, "NO!" "NO" to the overtures of mercy, grace, love, compassion, "NO!" It is only the human's who can spit in the face of such love. It is remarkable and tragic all at the same time.

Bill said...

Okay, long winded commentary from the Moody student:

I believe this message is two fold, that if Armininists and Calvinists would just get together and talk things out, well, that isn't happening because they'd argue. I personally believe if someone truly professes that Jesus Christ is their Lord and Savior and offers up 100% of themselves to God, then they would never fall away (this is where I believe this commentary is flawed). The Holy Spirit, given when received, lays claim to this promise. When we give ourselves totally to the Holy Spirit, we become one of Gods sheep. And what did Jesus state about this......Matthew 18:12–14

“What do you think? If a man owns a hundred sheep, and one of them wanders away, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go to look for the one that wandered off? 13 And if he finds it, truly I tell you, he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that did not wander off. 14 In the same way your Father in heaven is not willing that any of these little ones should perish."

Others who seem to receive God as as a half measure means they don't offer themselves up. They are prone to wonder away because they kept some of their self from accepting the Holy Spirit. I believe that is where Hebrews is fitting in. Those who say they are Christian, but do not do what Christ processes are in danger of falling into many categories of wandering. In terms of free will, when we accept the Holy Spirit, He isn't letting us go and we will have no desire to leave because we become of a transformed heart. We become new in Christ and despise wickedness. No one who fully commits their life to Christ, in my opinion, will ever wonder away. The Holy Spirit is too powerful. On the other hand, something that this commentary didn't touch on, which is probably the most scary passage in Hebrews, is 12:17-18...when God rejects those who are saved, but knowingly sin. See sermon link below. This I believe to be a warning to us all. The Holy Spirit will not keep us from sinning, but will discern for us what is right and wrong. Those who listen to the Holy Spirit's discernment will be able to take notice of sin and from their try to delete the sin out of their lives. This is where I feel free will comes in...because we still sin. Though, someone who fully commits him/herself to Christ will know and do all they can to erase sin cycles from their life.

I believe that both sides are correct to an extent, but the problem with both sides is #1 it creates petty arguments, and #2 it places God in a box. In my study at Moody, I have fond too many flaws on both sides. I've very skeptical when reading something that is purely Arminian or Calvinistic, because its like asking a Republican or a Democrat how is the best way to run our country. When I went for my tour of Moody's campus, they said that arguments between Calvinists and Arminianist stay in the freshman level, because they are petty. I believe that is where it should be kept. The Gospel of Christ reaches beyond the disagreements of the reformers. I have to agree with Moody on this.

I really recommend this sermon. I have to nominate this as the best sermon I've heard. It hits Hebrews around 15min mark:


"Today if you hear his voice, don't harden you heart!"

Gary Lyn said...

I'm a bit wary of the image of threshold. On one side of the threshold I am not saved. On the other side of the threshold, I am saved. What is problematic is that there are lots of definitions, and lot of people willing to offer definitions, of what is the exact make up and nature of the threshold.