Theological Problems With Faith as God’s Gift

Thanks to a wonderful friend, Terry Treude we publish this excerpt from Dr. Charlie Bing. This treatise demolishes the illogical concept of Calvinism, Reformed teaching and Lordship Salvation. Please read this; don’t be fooled and drawn away into those false doctrines.

Those who view faith as a gift interpret man’s condition, described in Ephesians 2:1 as “dead in trespasses and sins,” as a total inability to respond to God in a positive way. But that phrase describes man’s total separation from God, not his inability to respond to God. Sinful man is totally separated from God and therefore without eternal life. Man retains the image of God to some degree; it was severely marred in the fall, but not totally destroyed. Acts 10:2 describes Cornelius before he came to know Jesus Christ as Savior as a devout man who feared God, gave alms, and prayed to God (and God heard his prayers! Acts 10:31). In Acts 17 the Athenians did not have the proper object of faith but worshiped idols. Paul encourages them to seek to know their “unknown God” which of course is Jesus Christ. Men can seek God in their unsaved state as God draws them (John 6:28-29, 44-45).

Another theological problem with the view of faith as a gift of God is that it misunderstands the nature of faith. Faith is not (as they claim) a divine energy, a special power, or an infused dynamic. That confuses faith with the power of the Holy Spirit. Faith is simply faith. It means that one is convinced or persuaded that something is true so that there is a personal appropriation of that truth. There is not a special kind of faith for eternal salvation. There is only a special object of faith—Jesus Christ. The kind of faith one might have in Buddha is no different from the kind of faith that one can have in Jesus. The only difference is the object: Buddha does not save; Jesus saves. To make faith the power of salvation is to confuse faith with the Holy Spirit. According to Ephesians 2:8 grace is the grounds of salvation and faith is the means by which we appropriate that grace. Properly speaking we are not saved by faith, but through faith.

To show that faith is not a meritorious work, the Bible contrasts faith in Christ with meritorious works in both Ephesians 2:8-9 and Romans 4:4-5. Faith means exactly that we can do nothing for our salvation. We can only receive salvation as a gift. Faith is like an empty hand that simply accepts a gift.” ~Dr.Charlie Bing, GraceLife Ministries (excerpt from full article provided at the link)

Dr. Charlie Bing: Is Faith in Jesus Christ a Gift of God? << Click

82 responses to “Theological Problems With Faith as God’s Gift

  1. I came across this article and some of the comments, when looking up someone else. Kind of nice to re-read some of Jack and John’s older comments 🙂

  2. Thanks again John. Wilkin’s take seems pretty standard and I can’t discount it completely. I could be making too much of “works of righteousness” —maybe I am misunderstanding Peter by reading too much into what he says.

    I know I have never heard nor read the “take” I was expressing. That’s not always bad but rarely good.

  3. RAS, I read an article by Bob Wilkin that asserts that the idea of being accepted by God, in this context, means that God will bring the saving message to that person.

    In other words, God is influenced to bring the saving message to unbelievers who genuinely seek Him.

    I don’t necessarily agree with this explanation, and do not like the fact that Wilkin goes to such great lengths to avoid equating the gospel with the saving message.

  4. Thanks for your reply John. Every sermon and commentary that I am familiar with claims that 11:14 proves that Cornelius was an unbeliever (and they are probably correct). I admit I may be guilty of reductionism but I keep asking myself how positive volition made Cornelius’ alms and fasting acceptable works of righteousness (10:35) if he were an unbeliever and merely a “God fearer”.

    I guess the shift I see occurring in Acts 10-11 is not that uncircumcised gentiles are now granted everlasting life (not a mystery) but that they are to become joined together with Jewish believers (the mystery). And the gift I see being given is the Holy Spirit—which could happen if he was an OT Saint or a new believer. “Repentance to life” may be to the life of Christ with the indwelling Spirit (not granted to OT Saints)—the One New Man. “Saved” in 11:14 could mean other than justified seeing that in the epistles believers are in need of salvation and exhorted to “work out (their) own salvation”. Meaning salvation is not always equal to justification.

    I’m not sure but it has been on my mind all weekend since studying Acts again.

  5. RAS, I had thought that Cornelius was an unbeliever, and that repentance unto life in verse 18 is equivalent to believing on the Lord Jesus Christ in verse 17.

    I had never considered that Cornelius may have had faith (like that of an Old Testament believer) before this event, but the text doesn’t seem to rule that out.

    In any event, Acts 11:17 confirms that salvation is by believing in Jesus.

  6. I’d like to get some thoughts about what took place with Peter and Cornelius (Acts 10-11). My questions stem from a free grace, dispensational perspective (not Calvinist- gifted faith-regeneration proceeding faith).
    We know that being Jewish, or a proselyte, or that keeping or trying to keep the law is not how one justified. Also we know that Cornelius is not the first gentile to be justified by grace through faith, regardless of when he believed.
    My questions: Is Cornelius, while being “a devout man and one who feared God”, an unbeliever at the time Peter is sent to him? Was he a pagan who had positive volition towards God and in need of the gift of everlasting life? Or was he a believer, an OT Saint (like the disciples of John the Baptist in Acts 19) in need of the gift of baptism of the Holy Spirit to be in the Body of Christ? Being in the Body is necessary for justification and sanctification in this age. Believers were not in the Body of Christ before the baptism of the Spirit (Pentecost).
    If he was an unbeliever how were his prays and alms acceptable to the Lord (10:4)? How could he possibly work righteousness? Is positive volition enough to be acceptable before God (10:35)?
    If he was a believer what does “saved” (11:14) and “repentance to life” (11:18) mean? Could these not refer to experiential sanctification as in other epistles?
    I have always held that Cornelius was an unbeliever until the Holy Spirit fell on him. Now I am not sure. Any help is appreciated.

  7. You know what’s funny John? I think she understood why at one time, and used to love Fred Chay’s teaching. All those passages are typical comments in John MacArthur’s ‘bible’ or shall I say the Bible according to John MacArthur. I am saddened to see, I guess it can happen to those who are ‘serving’ who might not be taking time to sit at the feet of Jesus and hear His Words. I think she spends time in the Word, but according to men’s direction and commentaries. You know, ask a child who has believed, what the gift is in Eph 2:8-9 and they understand and know….

  8. Holly, I think you might ask your friend why she thinks the book of James was written.

  9. Not all Curtis. I lost yet another over on Facebook today, I have been friends with her for several years, sadly she felt I was pulling the speck out of other’s eyes with a “log in my own.” And she said she was tired of me falsely accusing others. Of course, no specifics, just general. She ‘deleted me’. That’s a pretty common occurrence, yet still makes me sad of course, not for me, but that I might not see or hear from them again, may someone else plant or water in their lives.

    Thank you for the Scriptures, I appreciate it very much.

    For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe. 1 Thess 2:13

  10. Amen Holly
    Thankfully God has your friends open to dialog with you.
    keep sharing The Simple Gospel message and keep planting seeds.

    Isa 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

    2Th 3:1 Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you:

  11. I would ask if you would join me in prayer as you read this. I do love her, and my heart is in grief for her and her husband who I love as well. But beyond that, I worry for those too who may be mislead, and I pray the Lord will chasten her quickly and bring her back into the truth.

  12. Curtis, I had to smile as I read your choice of Scripture.

    My teen daughter is quite a fast talker. I have no idea where she got to be like that, I consistently try to get her to slow down, less is more…. But she is a little dynamo and that is one of the verses I have used on her on more than one occasion. One day when she had done something that required some chastisement, she said in all seriousness, “but Mom, shouldn’t you consider that in the multitude of words sin is not lacking?”

  13. John – I noticed how aptly she seemed to avoid the question, and to use the standard proof texts to answer what was a honest question for her to consider. Not sure what or if I will answer. I am praying, and grieved for her, and angry at the men who have brought error, angrier in some ways at those who have allowed error in by their compromise. May the Lord forgive them, and may I continue to pray for them, and weep for the lost that are not willing to come to Him.

  14. Pro_10:19 In the multitude of words there wanteth not sin: but he that refraineth his lips is wise.

    my own personal translation is :
    ” In the multitude of words error is not lacking”

  15. Holly, your friend had quite a long-winded way of saying that works are required in order to receive eternal life.

  16. Interesting, so much this last week from people this week regarding ‘faith’ being the gift of Eph 2:8-9.

    Another ex-FB friend, posted to another, stating Jesus did NOT die for the world, only ‘people types of all nations’, and that Grace and Faith were the GIFT, not eternal life.

    A third one, a previous Bible study teacher wrote me back this week, when I informed her of John MacArthur adding confessing sins to the gospel, and I reminded her it was one of the 613 commandments of the Mosaic law, and could not be. You may find the response interesting (but sad).

    “Re: your question re: Numbers 5:7 – yes, I’d include it in the 613 commandments God gave to the children of Israel. We have to keep in mind that the law is perfect – because Scripture tells us it is (Psa. 19:7); it reflects Who God is. The law restores the soul because it shows us our need of Jesus. The problem with the law is the flesh – us (Rom. 8:3). We cannot keep even one of the 613 commandments faithfully 100% of the time.

    I agree with you that we’re saved totally by grace through faith. That faith is even a gift from God.

    I must tell you that I heard one of MacArthur’s sermons re: the long “hard” list and I was very dismayed!!!

    OK – re: repentance, while many understand the word to mean “turning from sin,” that’s not the Biblical definition. Repent means “to change ones mind.” Check it out in Strong’s; I did so in relation to what Jesus said in Luke 24:46-57 – Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise[h] from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. Strong does state that it’s a change of mind. So, to “repent,” in relation to salvation, is to change your mind about Jesus. In Acts 2 we read Peter’s sermon on the day of Pentecost. He calls for the people to repent (Acts 2:38). Repent from what? Peter is calling out to the men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, many of whom rejected Jesus (Acts 2:36) – to change their minds from rejection to faith in Him. Repentance and faith may be understood as two sides of the same coin, so to speak. It’s impossible to place your faith in Jesus as Savior without first changing your mind about Who He is and what He has done. Whether it’s repentance from willful rejection or repentance from ignorance or disinterest, it is still a change of mind. Biblical repentance, in relation to salvation, is changing your mind from rejection of Christ to faith in Christ. Acts focuses on repentance re: salvation: Acts 2:38; 3:19; 11:18; 17:30; 20:21; 26:20. Repentance, change of mind about Jesus, will cause our sins to be wiped out (Acts 3:19-20).

    Additionally, only God can give a person the gift of faith. It’s not of works – lest any man should boast (Eph. 2:8-9). And, we find that even the works that we did are prepared beforehand by God (Eph. 2:10). Salvation is 100% of God.

    II Tim 2:25 teaches that God is the One Who grants repentance. So, it cannot be considered a work of man. No one can change their minds and come to God unless God pulls that person to Himself (John 6:44). Acts 5:31 and 11:18 indicate that repentance is caused by God. It’s only possible because of His grace. God’s longsuffering leads us to repentance (II Pet. 3:9) as does His kindness (Rom. 2:4).

    I Corinthians 15:3-4 – . . .that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. . . . Our sin put Jesus on the cross. As God changes our minds and gives us faith, we should hate our sin. We should hate what killed Jesus. As God causes us to change our mind about Jesus, we change our minds about ourselves. We then have a Biblical view of God and a Biblical view of man.

    Jonah 3:10 – the people of Nineveh believed and it resulted in specific actions which God states as “works”. But, again, the works that result from a changed life have been prepared by God! James talks about faith without works is dead – meaning – that the actions following coming to faith in Jesus are evidence that the faith was truly saving faith.”

  17. John… After reading Spurgeon’s “Turn or Burn” sermon, I was forever turned off to anything he might say. I thought of how many must have been completely discouraged (the ones who had believed), and the nonbelievers had to be thoroughly turned away, because no one could live up to the requirements of Spurgeon’s gospel.

    People either get puffed up by knowing or reading these men, or their assurance is decimated, rendering them ineffective, or worse, the lost stays lost and turned off to hearing anything that identifies itself as “Christian”.

  18. Holly, I read a sermon from Spurgeon in which he told unbelievers to pray for repentance.

  19. Just sickens me how many are turning… So don’t they remember where faith comes from? Did they ever believe in the power of the gospel?

  20. So saddened to see a past teacher at a Bible study, who started changing one she got a John MacArthur Study Bible She was talking about one who was “not yet a believer in Jesus. He said to her, “You’re telling us that Jesus died for sin. How does that work for me?”

    She said she shared with him from Scripture then he said to her, “That takes faith.”

    She then told him that faith comes from God and that he needed to ask God for the faith to believe. She said she prayed and told him to pray.

  21. Johninnc, interesting you should say that, today as I looked over my files and some of the many, many Paul Washer quotes, and then the Alistair Begg ones, the Spurgeon quotes of the day, the J.C. Ryle quotes, etc., it’s like they the ones today are all vying to be the next ‘prince’ of preachers… so much twisting in their own clever quotes, just is frustrating to see that people hang on every word of man, yet seem to not want to be noble (Acts 17:11) and if you are, they chastise you for touching their anointed…

  22. Holly, I think a lot of these guys like to “coin phrases” that are unbiblical, and then they can write books about the new phrases and draw disciples after themselves.

  23. John,

    As I know you definitely know, there is much deception in the church buildings today, and many deceivers. Most of them are the pastors and elders of many of these churches. One of the big Bible churches in Scottsdale, AZ, (where Fred Chay teaches out of) has gone Purpose Driven and new-Calvinist. They just advertised the ‘Daniel Plan’ (new age diet movement by Rick Warren). Last year they were doing the Masonic looking bulletin, one-eye, checkered background with the “I AM’ statements….

    Kind of funny, Wayne Grudem goes there and preaches there too. Sort of a mish-mosh of whatever tickles the ears. Can’t seem to make up their mind as the new pastor seems to re-invent himself yearly like Madonna, blown about by every wind of doctrine.

    The old pastor, was teaching Revelation there this year, a seminary class they offered for free out of Phx. Seminary. interestingly his sons are preachers in a sister Bible church (one of which was my childhood church), this pastor teaches post trib. The father seemed to find it sort of amusing and said they were ‘pan-trib’ (the tired old joke of it all panning out). This same father was in the paper not too long ago, where he is practicing yoga with his wife. (He is the teaching pastor for one Bible church also).

    I think people have somehow misunderstood ear tickling to be some sort of licentious liberty teaching and that can certainly be one with our young, restless and reformed movement. But they forget how MUCH it tickles their ears and appeals to their flesh to be holier than thou in their works. These same people that fruit inspect with their pious daily quotes on facebook and via email, would be the same people who likely would defend a murderous Calvin… beyond me…

  24. Holly, you said: “I know ‘church people’ who have used 1 John 2:19 to identify someone that left the church. Can you imagine? Did they ever think it could be that they left the doctrine, and they might be the ones spoken of?”

    My comment: Exactly! If this line of reasoning is prevalent within a church, that would be reason enough to leave it.

  25. Some are open in that mixture, but I’m noticing people sneaking it, just like the Word says. One guy came undercover to me, but they can’t help themselves, they just want to teach you. You barely know them, and they want to give you this or that article they wrote, and tell you to get back with them. This one guy who did this worked at at university and I watched him with this other mixed-grace-4 pointer and they worked the crowd, and then like I said, congratulated themselves at the end, while the more under cover guy seemed kinder, he would reassure his Calvinist friend at the end that eventually if the people were believers they would get it, but ‘it would take time and they needed to be patient with them’….

    Shaking my head. I do hope they come out of it, but in the meantime, they mislead others. If they are fellow believers, they should still be called out in public for these beliefs.

    The excuse of the one is just how he ‘looks back’ at how he came to belief… it’s just nonsense, and he’s spits out the theological terms as if they are curse words, a couple a sentence. I finally suggested to them both they might want to try great plainness of speech. They didn’t understand…

    I guess I am not patient at times, because the truth is being maligned as far as I can see, and they’re gathering followers after themselves. And it breaks my heart to see, especially when it’s close to home and a young believer follows after them, or a lost person gets caught up in their pseudo-intellectualism.

    May we make a difference with some…

  26. You know I figure if the guy realized he was channeling Jesus, Jesus didn’t need to have proof by the person’s works, He knows exactly where they stand.

    Good deeds and bad deeds will prove an individual’s faith… What a scary thought. I just know that these people if saved, are worse than confused, and don’t realize the severe damage they do to other believers. and the damage they do to the lost, who look ahead, and say, “I can’t live that life, I’ll never be able to do it”.

    I know ‘church people’ who have used 1 John 2:19 to identify someone that left the church. Can you imagine? Did they ever think it could be that they left the doctrine, and they might be the ones spoken of?

  27. Holly, you said: “Here is the troubling thing I’m seeing. A hybrid mixture of ‘grace-Calvinists’, ones that claim to adhere to free grace and varying points of Calvinism.”

    Following is a great example from a HUGE church in my city:

    From “Core Beliefs”:

    Here at Forest Hills Church, we believe…

    That our salvation is wholly dependent upon the work of God’s free grace. Those who put their faith alone in Christ for Salvation are children of God and heirs of eternal life.

    From “The Daily David” (this is the Senior Pastor’s blog – in the following quote, he is channeling Jesus, and speaking from Jesus’ purported persective):

    Through my obedience, my Father has given me the final authority to execute judgment over all humanity. One day, everyone will hear my voice and appear before me in final judgment. Don’t marvel at this saying. It is true. This judgment will solely depend on those who have believed in me. John’s gospel repeatedly states this truth (3:16;5:24,25; 14:6). However, good and bad deeds will prove an individual’s faith. If good deeds aren’t there, it proves faith isn’t present. These people face eternal judgment. If good deeds are there, it proves faith is present and they are granted eternal resurrection life.

    My comment: This pastor is obviously going to have a confused congregation. On the one hand, he says that salvation is by grace alone. On the other hand, he (purportedly channeling Jesus) says that good and bad deeds will prove an individual’s faith. This is “fruit inspection 101”!

    I was in a Bible study with a couple of members of this church. One of them said that there was a difference between head faith and heart faith. He also said that a true Christian will always come back (to the faith). The other guy was doing a study with his small group on the book “The Hole in Our Gospel.” These confused members are the fruits of their pastor’s admixture of grace and Calvinism.

  28. John – I think that is an excellent blog idea here. Simply, Questions for Calvinists.

    Is it really evil, if God has ordained it? I’m still baffled over the James White rape thing.
    Why does it take a village to ‘stay saved’ if God chose you for salvation John Piper?

    But I’ll leave the more difficult questions to those that have a much better handle on it.

    One thing though I’d really like to ask them from just a woman’s point of view. If they think they are Gods, why they are so harsh, so unkind, so rude, so smug? Where are their tender hearts? They are not gentle, patient, meek, they are curt to others, mocking and condescending, When they are alone after they have decimated other people with their words, do they ever wonder, feel sorry, or just high five each other?

  29. Jim, if our depravity is to the point that we are talking total inability to respond, how is it that Cornelius had already been seeking but hadn’t been regenerated? Drives me crazy, was Jesus condemning Himself for His lack of enough gifting to the disciples when He said “Oh ye of little faith”?

    Some of those guys are out trolling for a fan base, followers who were follow there pernicious ways….they say they are on the same side, but some (as you know) are simply under cover, they won’t answer the simple questions. So puffed up with their theological peacock feathers, and their ‘teaching videos’ (forgive me Lord, but it’s the way I see them sometimes).

    They think of men beyond what is written, they have their guys they love to quote, their standard proof texts, and they commend themselves with each other. They measure themselves by themselves, and compare themselves among themselves, but the Bible says they are not wise.

    And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. 1 Cor 2:1-5

  30. Abe, to me, it’s all part of the enemy’s plan, and I’m kind of guessing you all think so too. Here is the troubling thing I’m seeing. A hybrid mixture of ‘grace-Calvinists’, ones that claim to adhere to free grace and varying points of Calvinism. And some are very low-key about it as one of my teachers was. Eventually, the language comes out, things begin to change. The last exchange I had at class was about this subject, several older women kind of clucked and laughed and mocked a bit when I said faith was not the gift spoken of. Another gentleman was asked his position, as I framed the dilemma with that viewpoint. But he did not agree with them, so the conversation ended abruptly. Many times I hear them speaking later of how maybe ‘eventually’ we will ‘get it’ when we get more spiritually mature. Sad… not for me. It makes me sad for them, as I don’t know if it is that they don’t know him, or they are being deceived. But I know this, if you just wait around until God chooses to make you believe, and the proof is in the pudding, then you’re going to have a long wait to figure out whether He really gave you the gift or not….

  31. Jim, there are lots of “isms” with these guys. The Calvinists will tell you that you are responsible for whether or not you trust in Christ, even though God predestines some to heaven and all others to hell. If you object to this logically absurd position, they will tell you you are “leaning on your own understanding” instead of “trusting in the Lord with all of your heart.”

    The reality is that Calvin(“ism”) is just one more of the philosophies described in Colossians 2:8:

    Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.

    Questions for Calvinists:

    Why is it that Satan takes the word away from people, lest they should believe and be saved (Luke 8:12)? How are people who have not yet believed (but may believe later) condemned already (John 3:18)? Why does the god of this earth blind people to the truth, lest they should believe (2 Corinthians 4:4)? Why does it matter if we distort the gospel (Galatians 1:9), when God has already decided who will respond? How can you know you are saved?

  32. Abe,

    You are right it is a miserable theology and he, when confronted about determinism, started going on about compatibilism.

  33. “I basically told him this but in his construct he had so dramatically elevated man’s depravity that to him man could not believe the gospel”

    Yes, that is the Calvinist way around it.

    I’m not sure why any Calvinist debates anything. The fatalism that is built into the system, would drive the thinking person to assume that every thought, word, and deed is completely controlled by God, and programmed in by God, including all sins and evil. Wouldn’t that bother them, eventually?

    Then I guess they’d have to conclude that their being bothered by this, was also programmed in by God.

    What a miserable theology.

  34. ^^ that man could not believe the gospel.

  35. Abe,
    ” FAITH IN JESUS IS REMOVED COMPLETELY by the false gospel of Calvinism, because in Calvinism, faith has to be put into, “Am I part of the elect? ”

    I basically told him this but in his construct he had so dramatically elevated man’s depravity that to him man could believe the gospel. When pressed on things he becomes a walking contradiction but he won’t see the error.


    Yes, I have read through that on Clear Gospel’s site but had forgotten about it. I doubt he’ll read it all though.

  36. Speedy,
    “He has indeed ALREADY given/ dealt to EVERY man a measure of faith ro12.3…”

    He used this verse to try to support that faith is a gift.

  37. hollysgarcia, very well said. What you said in your Feb 4 @ 5:10 pm post, is the key. FAITH IN JESUS IS REMOVED COMPLETELY by the false gospel of Calvinism, because in Calvinism, faith has to be put into, “Am I part of the elect? No way to know since God’s choosing is random, and I can only give myself a bit of assurance by walking rightly, but if I’m honest I might backslide, since if one stands let one take heed lest he fall…”….and they don’t believe the promise for eternal life based on Jesus Christ dying for our sins and risen from the dead.

  38. I ask them sometimes, “Aren’t you afraid? How do you know you were chosen? What proof do you have? What if you change down the road, and you were never chosen after all?”

  39. They also argue since salvation is all of God, they somehow include man’s responsibility of believing as part of what God also has to do, and that is, make man regenerated first, so that he can believe. They say a dead man cannot believe, and they frequently use Lazarus, but I say, if a dead man can hear Jesus call him, so I’m guessing if he can hear, he can believe 🙂 Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word…

  40. Because they do not know His character evidently, they do not see it as maligning, they frequently use the passage in Romans 9, about 20-24, along with several verses excised out of context to somehow make their case.

    But indeed, O man, who are you to reply against God? Will the thing formed say to him who formed it, “Why have you made me like this?” Does not the potter have power over the clay, from the same lump to make one vessel for honor and another for dishonor? What if God, wanting to show His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath prepared for destruction, and that He might make known the riches of His glory on the vessels of mercy, which He had prepared beforehand for glory, even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?

  41. “Evidently he decided that God had chosen them for hell since they were not convinced by his gospel.”

    Which is a terrible way for them to malign the character of God, who wills that all men would be saved.

    Calvinism is so illogical. For supposedly being the “intellectual” theology, it is totally against logic. It leads to the robotic fatalistic viewpoint. As in, God ordained me to say that, and made me say that, and His “will” was done by me saying it, since I had no choice anyway.

    So silly, and so against the love and character of God.

  42. Jim, I am not aware of any scriptural passage that places regeneration before justification. I looked in the KJV and only found the word regeneration twice, as follows:

    Matthew 20:28: And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.


    Titus 3:5: Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;

    There is a thorough discussion of regeneration at Clear Gospel Campaign that may be useful, though I think you may already be familiar with it. Please find link below:

    The most compelling scriptural references have to do with one becoming born again, and thereby becoming a child of God. In every case, being born again (becoming sons of God) is predicated on belief in Jesus.

    John 1:12-13:
    [12] But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
    [13] Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

    One becomes a child of God (born of God, born again), by believing (faith) in Christ. In verse 12, receiving Him (through belief) results in becoming sons of God (born again). We see in verse 13 that once one believes in Christ as Savior, he is born of God.

    We also see this theme in Titus 3:5-7, in which the term “heirs” is used, rather than “sons”. Pay particular attention to Titus 3:7, which places justification by grace through faith before being made heirs:

    [5] Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
    [6] Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
    [7] That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

    In John 3, Jesus explains to Nicodemus that a man must be born again in order to enter the kingdom of God (John 3:3, 5, 7). Then, in John 3:16, Jesus explains to Nicodemus how to be born again – by believing in Him.

    The regenerated man (the new nature) is sinless, as is clearly set forth in 1 John 3:9:

    Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.

  43. He has indeed ALREADY given/ dealt to EVERY man a measure of faith ro12.3…

    it’s just where we place it that makes all the difference!

  44. John,

    I was just debating this with a Reformed Pentecostal on facebook. He claimed to not be LS as far as perseverance of the saints but I told him that regeneration before faith and free grace are not compatible. What are the best post here on Expreacherman that refute the whole reformed notion of regeration preceding faith?

  45. Holly, this faith as the gift of God thing really blows my mind. Both Ephesians 2:8 and Romans 6:23 (and lots of other verses) preclude this from even being a possibility.

    The belief that God chooses some for eternal life and others for hell is idolatry. It replaces our perfectly righteous, just, holy, loving, and merciful God with a fabricated god that holds people accountable for a belief or unbelief that this false god decrees.

  46. Here is a quote from a newsletter today, from an ex-Catholic who is sadly Calvinist. He was talking about how a bunch of zealous Roman Catholics, came in to argue at their church. That they had come under the auspices of wanting to be ‘evangelized’ and hear what these ‘non-Catholics’ had to say about “their” Bible. He said he opened with a 25 min. Biblical Gospel presentation. Then opened up to questions but see they were not there to hear. That God’s Word was not falling on fertile soil. All is good so-far right?

    Then he says he was reminded of 2 Biblical truths. One was that they were powerless to convince people to believe the gospel (He used 1 Cor 2:14). The second truth he said was 2 Cor 4:4 (the god of this age blinding them).

    Then of course the next thing he said for the lack of anyone coming to faith was that God was the only one who could open their eyes and is granted only to those who are recipients of His sovereign grace.
    Evidently he decided that God had chosen them for hell since they were not convinced by his gospel.

    Tragic, tragic, I want to weep. He says he is forever indebted to God for His grace (so am I) but he means, for choosing him for heaven instead of hell…

  47. Abe, it was funny, each passage I found myself thinking of the Lordship doctrine, and the similarities. Not too distant cousins I am afraid…

  48. “Spent a day doing a blog on Hebrew Roots. And it just touched only on us not being under the law. But it sure applies with all these Lordship people too, whether they don’t think so, they are adding law to their salvation message, which is no gospel at all.”

    Interesting observation. The “Hebrew roots movement” is just LS run to the extreme of elements of the OT law. It is LS on steroids.

  49. There’s lots of good stuff here Jack, have been meaning to do it, and will continue combing through. Spent a day doing a blog on Hebrew Roots. And it just touched only on us not being under the law. But it sure applies with all these Lordship people too, whether they don’t think so, they are adding law to their salvation message, which is no gospel at all.

  50. Hi Holly,

    Glad to see you roaming through and enjoying our posts from last and previous years. The Truth still stands, right?

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  51. Funny I should run across this in reading tonight, I shared Bing’s article elsewhere yesterday, but think I’ll share this too.

  52. Dime,

    Jack and I will answer these questions jointly:

    Your first question reads:
    “In the Old Testament, every time the Holy Spirit fell/came upon someone, he did supernatural miraculous things. I heard R.C. Sproul argue that if that same Holy Spirit lives inside believers, how can there not be any change at all? I know he is basically arguing that there must be evidence that one is saved, but can you just touch upon what you think about what he is saying?”

    Answer from Jack:

    The Holy Spirit came upon OT folks for special reasons and purposes only and then He was taken away. In our dispensation, we are indwelt and sealed with the Holy Spirit at belief, never to leave.. But the miracles and sign gifts of the Holy Spirit, which were primarily for the Jews, would gradually disappear (1 Corinthians 13:1-10) until:
    1 Cor. 13:10
    But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

    Some believe “that which is perfect” applies to Christ’s first advent or resurrection, others the beginning of the Church and others the completion of Scriptures. I am not cast in stone where I land — but all have been completed – which should be a valid point.

    From Bruce:

    Dime, based upon and building upon what Jack said in his response to you, and applying it to your quotation from Sproul, I would say that Sproul can be indicted for making a false analogy (in terms of the indwelling of the Spirit) between an Old Testament follower of God and a present day believer in Christ, the latter, as Jack indicated, having the constant ongoing never-to-leave presence of the Holy Spirit indwelling him personally. Having devised this inaccurate comparison in his own thinking, Sproul uses his comparison to attempt to support his brand of Lordship Salvation teaching. Not only is his analogy flawed, but so are his conclusions. As we have spoken about on other posts, when LS advocates set themselves up as fruit inspectors, the resulting questions and problems are manifold. Examples:
    1. How long must one serve the Lord consistently to be considered “a genuine believer?”
    2. Are any periods of backsliding ever allowed? If so, for how long?
    3. Who sets the standards of behavior? Other sinners? For LS advocates like Francis Chan, failure to support the poor, or failure to live some contrived radical over-the-top existence for God would relegate someone to the scrap heap of the lukewarm. According to Chan, guess where all of the lukewarm end up?
    4. What about changes of heart in a young believer not evident to those outside but certainly known by God, such as remorse over sin or the desire to overcome addictions.
    5. What about biblical examples of men who were certainly backsliders for long periods of their lives, but, nevertheless, are declared in Scripture to be believers: Samson, Lot, David, Solomon, Peter and Jonah come to mind quickly.

    Question 2:

    Another question is on 2 Timothy 2:25 where Paul says “may God grant them repentance…”. Since it is established that repentance involves man’s change of mind, and not God forcing a man to repent, how is this verse within its context interpreted? All men have the opportunity/ability to repent, so I would like to ask you for your help on this.
    Thanks, Dime 10/4/12

    This question was answered well, by Jack, on another discussion at Expreacherman:

    Dear – – – – -,
    Thanks so much . . . .
    I noted one thing in your note that I want to explore. You said that “God grants repentance.” Repentance is a change of mind for which the individual is responsible, not God. That phrase “God grants repentance” is not in the Authorized KJV Bible but it is in the ESV Bible (a Calvinist favorite) and the NIV (error prone), both of which we have proven to be, in many cases, interpolated, inaccurate and misleading. Calvinist John Piper uses that phrase from his ESV to justify his false “salvation” message of election, “God grants repentance for some.” In the KJV (2 Timothy 2:25) the correct wording is “God gives repentance,” which in this particular context (in the Greek didomi) means “to suffer or allow.” God, by His Grace, allows us to change our mind (repent) about a myriad of things. Repentance to believe in salvation by Grace in Jesus Christ alone being one of the greatest and that is our responsibility. But God also allows us to change our minds daily about many things Biblical as we grow in Grace and learn His word – as you so beautifully illustrate in your personal life.
    ——, thanks again and I appreciate your discernment and passion for the Truth. That is rare. We thank the Lord we have many folks here at ExPreacherMan who care deeply and comment regularly about Biblical discernment.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  53. Mike, I think Chafer wrote some good things and some that are confusing. Chafer was staunchly against commitment salvation, public confession for salvation and asking for salvation, but a little fuzzy (in my opinion) on man’s ability to respond to the Gospel. One of the better Chafer articles is called “Preaching the Gospel in its Accuracy”. See link below:

    Click to access GFJ%201998%2001%20Preaching%20The%20Gospel%2000%20Chafer.pdf

  54. The root of every doctrine that comes out of Calvinism centers upon one claim: man is so depraved that he is unable to choose God for himself. If that is disproved then all of Calvinism is disproved. There are verses in the bible that sometimes seem to support Calvinism, but if they do, they are in contradiction to God’s attributes. And through Jack’s blog, I’ve come to understand that these assertions like faith is God’s gift, LS, regeneration precedes faith, etc. all revolve around man not being able to choose God for himself. And nowhere in scripture does it say that man is not able to believe through his free will. It is only implied by them through misuse of Ephesians 1, Titus 3, etc.

    Jack, I do have two questions for you. In the Old Testament, every time the Holy Spirit fell/came upon someone, he did supernatural miraculous things. I heard R.C. Sproul argue that if that same Holy Spirit lives inside believers, how can there not be any change at all? I know he is basically arguing that there must be evidence that one is saved, but can you just touch upon what you think about what he is saying?

    Another question is on 2 Timothy 2:25 where Paul says “may God grant them repentance…”. Since it is established that repentance involves man’s change of mind, and not God forcing a man to repent, how is this verse within its context interpreted? All men have the opportunity/ability to repent, so I would like to ask you for your help on this.


  55. Mike,

    I have not read or studied much about Chafer. See my comment above as well as John’s and Jim F before that:

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  56. I am a big fan of lewis chafer great free grace preacher no lordship salvation I do not believe he was a calvinist do you and are you a big fan of chafer jack ? thanks mike t

  57. Thanks John,

    I know what you endured before and have after you trusted Christ as your Savior. But thankfully your experience has given you a very keen and rare sense of Discernment which we appreciate.

    And, yes, as a child, we put salt on a snail, (slug carrying its own house) And indeed — the salt made them quickly disintegrate and dissolve before our very eyes. The damage was done — you simply cannot wash off the salt from a dissolved pile of snail mucous. That is sorta like favorably recommending Spurgeon — the damage is done.

    Way back in the late 60s and early 70s and maybe even since, I may very well have quoted Spurgeon. But my excuse would be that in those days there was no internet – no search engine to find and dig into sermons and quotes from such as Spurgeon. We often took the word of those whom we trusted and if the quote or the message did not contradict scripture, it was OK (much like Seymour’s reasoning). I think today, Grace teachers have no excuse except ignorance of whom they quote.

    Years ago in one of my very first web articles, January, 2006, I quoted the philosopher Socrates:

    Later I worried that others may think I endorsed his philosophy over or equal to God’s Word. Maybe mentioning Socrates is not as bad as endorsing Spurgeon because my article was directed to a dear unsaved, secular, very intellectual friend. (He never responded). Also it may be OK since Socrates is not idolized in “religious” circles as the “Prince of Preachers.”

    In Jesus eternally, Jack

  58. Jack, thanks for pointing this out.

    I think it is a shame when people whos life’s work is proclaiming the Gospel undermine their witness by favorable references to guys like Spurgeon.

    After escaping the pernicious lies of LS and accepting God’s Grace through Christ Jesus, I spent a lot of time reading information on so-called free grace websites. When I would read their often glowing references to Spurgeon, it naturally made me want to read some of his work. Then, once I did, I was extremely confused.

    Promoting Spurgeon while trying to preach Grace is like putting salt on a slug and then trying to rinse it off.

  59. John and Jim F,

    In my note mentioning my friend Dr. Richard Seymour, I should point out that with all of his discernment in many things theological, John found a quote from Spurgeon on one of Seymour’s works. I thought it only fair to post Seymour’s answer (inadequate in my mind) to the challenge of him quoting an apostate like Spurgeon:

    Dr. Richard Seymour on using Spurgeon:

    I also quote Spurgeon twice in my book, Fishing For Men (pages 325 and 337), because, for one thing, they are great quotes that clearly express things we must give serious attention to. I will sometimes quote works that I do not agree with, as even the apostle Paul did in Acts 20:28 and in Titus 1:12, 13.

    I noted that Acts 20:28 does not address the question at all but in Titus 1:12,13, as we see in the quoted verses below, we are told to rebuke the false teachers sharply, not praise them as “great quotes” or endorse them as words to which “we should give attention.”

    Titus 1:12-13
    One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;

    Dr. Seymour is still a dear friend and Brother in Christ but on this we disagree. Therefore, I would not recommend that book or any other books in which he may give credence to or acknowledge without rebuke, teachers like Spurgeon who preach abominable error. That is a shame because I would like to give a blanket approval to Seymour’s works, but without checking each work, I cannot.

    Is error excusable? Possibly because we are all human and make mistakes but we should acknowledge it as a mistake, not justify it. I am happy my recorded and printed sermons from 40+ years ago are not available today because no doubt I could have misspoken or recommended questionable folks. But I have grown in grace and knowledge of God’s Word and would be happy to acknowledge and correct any errors I have made. Thankfully I did not write a book that needs correcting.

    However, I know I can give a blanket approval and endorsement to the works, teaching and preaching of a Bible scholar like our friend, Dr. Tom Cucuzza. And Tom would be the first to acknowledge and be willing to correct an error in theology or judgment if one were discovered. We love you Tom and hope I did not put words in your mouth.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  60. Dennis,

    We welcome you to our discussions.

    Your note is so very encouraging to us here at Our mission is to share the clarity of the Gospel of God’s Grace — and expose those who would change it into “another gospel” which is no Gospel at all. (Galatians 1:7-8)

    We will pray for your continued encouragement in God’s Word and also invite you to continue participating in our discussions.

    As you illustrate, it is a lonely world out there when we are surrounded and intimidated by those who would pervert God’s Word. You will find many like-minded friends here at ExP who have experienced (and still are) just what you described.

    We will pray for you and likewise will appreciate your prayers for us individually, this ministry and our “virtual” fellowship of discerning believers in God’s free salvation by Grace alone through Faith alone in Christ alone.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  61. Dennis, welcome! I am delighted that you are here. You may have already read the booklet by Dr. Tom Cucuzza called “The Permanence of Salvation”, but if not, I heartily encourage you to read it and share it. Please see below:

    Click to access cucuzza-the-permanence-of-salvation.pdf

  62. I have been reading the material on your website. This is like manna from Heaven. For so long I have had so many questions. If I cannot earn my salvation, how can I lose it? It is a logical inconsistency. Yet, there are many who are quick to say that I can lose it. They yell and pound their fists, speaking hellfire and damnation into my life if I struggle with my fallen nature.

    So, I have prayed and prayed and He has led me here, through a circuitous and sometimes tortuous route. But here I am. And this is like the pure, sweet water that flows freely from the throne of the Most High.

    I have been refreshed and invigorated; filled with love for the Lord Jesus and the Father’s ineffable gift of pure love. Thank you so very much, my beloved brothers (and sisters, I assume) in Christ. Thank you.

  63. John and Jim F,

    Interesting observations about Lewis Sperry Chafer.

    Just as a quick thought without too much detail, my friend Dr. Richard (Dick) Seymour taught Systematic Theology at Florida Bible College (my Alma Mater) and he used Chafer’s “Systematic Theology” as the text. I believe I recall Dick mentioning that he found some ever-so-slight Calvinist tendencies in Chafer’s writings and tried to teach around it. Later, he started writing his own “Systematic Theology” text to use instead. Not sure he ever finished or had it published.

    Both of you have brought out what only few others have noticed (or dared to say) that was a problem with Chafer’s teaching. Of course, that teaching does not “make” Chadfer a Calvinist but I believe those errors may have influenced and confused a lot of students — and it shows in some graduates of Dallas Theological Seminary. However, not all Dallas Grads were so influenced. There have been many great Dallas grads who are straight anti-Calvinist teachers, Ron Shea or Clear Gospel Campaign is one great example.

    Great work and analysis!! We must always remember, souls are at stake!!

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  64. Jim F., thanks for your insights. I had very similar thoughts when I read some of this.

  65. John,

    Chafer could have been talking about illumination that help the person understand the truth of the gospel but I think the way he said it might well mean that he was implying that faith is a gift because it is tied into salvation. I’d have to spend more time looking into what he said more closely.

    I noticed that earlier he also said the following:

    “Much has been written on previous pages regarding the overwhelming testimony of the Bible to the utter inability and spiritual death of the unsaved. They are shut up to the one message that Christ is their Savior; and they cannot accept Him, the Word of God declares, unless illuminated to that end by the Holy Spirit. Saving faith is not a possession of all men but is imparted specifically to those who do believe (Eph 2:8).” I’m not comfortable with the last line especially. “Saving faith” is imparted? And to those who believe (have faith)?

    Chafer had some good things to say but I also had trouble with this part. “Every feature of man’s salvation from the divine election in past ages and on through successive steps—the sacrifice of the Savior, the enlightenment by the Spirit, the immediate saving work of God in its manifold achievements, the keeping work of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, the delivering work of the Spirit, the empowering work of the Spirit, and the final perfecting and presenting in glory—is all a work so supernatural that God alone can effect it, and, therefore, the only relation which man can sustain to it is to trust God to do it.” That doesn’t sound right really. I would change and clarify that quite a bit. It almost comes across as a total Calvinist thing to say minus the Lordship part.

  66. Jim F., agree. By the way, in his article “The Terms of Salvation”, Chafer said something that perplexes me:

    “Apart from the new birth, the unsaved ‘cannot see the kingdom of God’ (John 3:3), their minds are blinded by Satan (2 Cor 4:3-4), and they can exercise faith toward God only as they are enabled to do so by the Holy Spirit (Eph 2:8).”

    Is Chafer saying that faith is the gift of God?

  67. Thanks John,

    What falsehood! What you just shared illustrates the ugly side of the false teaching of faith being a gift. They say that if God can give it then he can take it away. I think they need to go back to a basic definition of eternal life. If a believer with eternal life can die spiritually then there is no such thing as eternal life and it makes a mockery of God and the Bible.

  68. Upon the recommendation of a friend, I looked into the beliefs of the Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod (WELS). I was dismayed at the false teachings, cloistered in grace. Among them are:

    1. Faith is a gift from God, nurtured through reading of the gospel and through sacraments

    2. There is no eternal security. They believe salvation can be lost through neglect of faith, including sacraments. See Q&A below:

    Q. Many Christians believe the doctrine of “once saved, always saved” – that once we’re born again, we can never lose our salvation. I know as confessional Lutherans we believe Christians can forfeit their salvation, as 1 Corinthians 10:12 warns. But others contend that really the Corinthians had just fallen out of fellowship with God, but they hadn’t lost their salvation. They argue: Can someone who is born, become unborn? My question is, can a person who has truly been born again, become spiritually unborn?

    A. People who have been born can die. People who have been born again can die again. The Bible speaks often of people who have fallen from faith. The Bible says both that people can fall from faith and that God will keep us safe. We have to let both of these truths stand.
    Among the many passages about this are Galatians 5:4 and Matthew 13:18-22. These passages do not say that the people who fall are just out of fellowship for a while, it says they have fallen from grace. We have to remain with what the Bible says, not with what our theory requires. See also Hebrews 6:4-6.

    3. Salvation can be lost through sin – not sin, per se, but because the Holy Spirit will leave you. See Q&A, quoted below:

    Q. If a person deliberately goes on sinning, is that person still saved? How long can a person continue in the sin before salvation is lost?

    A. Strictly speaking, what causes a person to lose his or her salvation isn’t the sin, per se, but the loss of the Holy Spirit with his gift of faith in Jesus as Savior (Romans 8:9-14). In Scripture God doesn’t set a time limit for how long a person can continue in deliberate sin before faith and salvation are lost. Scripture simply urges us to turn away from our sin, trust God’s forgiveness, and take up the battle against sin every day so that this won’t happen to us.
    Salvation can be lost; but lost salvation can also be restored. (The case of King David is instructive here—see 2 Samuel 11 and 12.) A person who trusts that God forgives sin because of the atoning work of Jesus has God’s gift of salvation—no matter what he or she did beforehand or how long the sin continued.

  69. John,

    We agree, it is both — but I believe it goes beyond that

    1) Prestige of a large “active” church, regardless of doctrine.
    2) Prestige of offering/gaining personal responsibility and power in the church.
    3) Being born into a false doctrine family.
    4) Swayed by a marriage partner.
    5) A big church is “good for business.”
    6) Cozy “church family.”

    In many of those cases, the doctrine of the church is irrelevant or unknown.

    And there are probably many more reasons — all of which really fall into your premise of “both,” either or.

    I have family members who adhere to Calvinist doctrine for many of those reasons. They will not consider Biblical free Grace – as they have their own definition of Grace — and they like being “chosen for salvation.” For some reason it is easier for some to believe the lie than the Truth of Jesus Christ.

    Despite that, I love all of those sweet family members dearly and pray for them daily.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  70. I agree with you John, it is both. It is like the ongoing cycle of deception since the serpent deceived Eve. The devil used enough of God’s words in order to twist them and trap Eve in his deception. Many people today are being trapped by false teachers spreading false gospels. Not all who teach false things at times are of the devil because we know that even Christians can be deceived, especially for a time. Believers have a responsibility to properly and carefully handle the Word of truth. There is the idea in scripture that things will generally progress for the worse as far as the majority of the world goes. Paul’s exhortation to Timothy in 2 Tim 4:2-4 comes to mind.

    2 Tim 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
    4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
    4:4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

  71. Jack, the thing I wonder about is cause and effect. Do people accept false gospels because they misinterpret scripture or do people misinterpret scripture because they accept false gospels? I guess both.

  72. Jim F and John,

    John Piper is simply quoting Calvinist teaching which he believes and teaches. He is a doctrinaire Calvinist — and it is shocking (when put in the context of John’s note) that reasonable folks believe it. But the apostate religion of John Calvin is spreading like wildfire through many main-line churches – through ignorance and intent.

    In Christ eternally, Jack

  73. Jim F., interesting quote – it constitutes another gospel – in order to believe, one must believe that he can’t believe.

    The Philippine jailor would have been told “Wait and see if God grants you faith in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.”

    John 3:16 would say “whosoever receives belief in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life.”

    John 6:29 would say “…This is the work of God that ye receive belief in Him who hath been sent.”

    This “misinterpretation” is idiotic beyond belief! In fact, it is disbelief!

  74. I found the following quote from a 1999 article from John Piper: “Faith is a gift from God, so that no one may boast. Or, as Romans 12:3 says, so that we will not think too highly of ourselves. The last bastion of pride is the belief that we are the originators of our faith.” It seems that He and others do truly refer to faith as something given specifically to those who they call the elect. This takes away from the total importance of the object, that being Christ alone.

  75. Jim F., regarding grace as an infused element, Clear Gospel Campaign has this:

    The Doctrine of “Infused,” “Sovereign,” or “Irresistible” Grace. We believe that the fundamental meaning of “grace,” from the Greek word “charis,” is the disposition of a giver to offer something freely, out of the beneficence of the giver, its closest equivalent term in Hebrew being “hesed,” God’s loyal and unconditional love. We note that, throughout the progressive history of the church, the very meaning of grace was transformed from its lexical roots into a sensual quality or an ethereal vitalizing element (e.g. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica, Part 1 of the Second Part, “Treatise on Grace,” questions 109-114). Through this progressive distortion, bizarre and complex schemes of “grace” have been developed, including “prevenient grace,” “actual grace,” “common grace,” “effectual grace,” “sovereign grace,” “sanctifying grace,” and “irresistible grace.” We observe from church history that the corruption of “grace” into an ethereal vitalizing substance, though often starting with the seemingly “innocuous” view that “grace” vitalizes the lost sinner to belief in Christ, deteriorates, almost inevitably, to the belief that the effects of grace, being sovereign or irresistible, will ultimately empower man to “repent of his sins,” to perform certain acts of righteousness, and/or to “persevere to the end” in faith and good works. Finally, we observe that the frequent conclusion of this heresy is that, if permanent and significant lifestyle changes are not manifest in the life of a sinner, God’s “grace” was never received.

    As a consequence, we believe that such a corruption of the meaning of the word “grace” historically portends a grave likelihood, if not a virtual certainty, of a theological system deteriorating into a system of salvation by “Christ plus works,” (Romans 11:6-7, Ephesians 2:8-9), the very opposite meaning of the word “Grace.”

  76. Jim, I’ve seen repentance defined as given to us by God. This is common in LS and Calvinist teaching.

  77. Hi Jim,

    Not so much from the LSers, but I’ve often heard the term “faith force” coming from the Word-Faith preachers like Kenneth Copeland, Frederick Price, Kenneth Hagin, et. al. Of course, this is a false and unbiblical teaching that indicates that through drumming up enough faith you can twist God’s arm, so to speak, to accomplish great feats, get healthy, become rich—you know the drill.

  78. “Faith is not (as they claim) a divine energy, a special power, or an infused dynamic. That confuses faith with the power of the Holy Spirit. Faith is simply faith.” It seems people do this with grace as well. Does anyone have some quotes of Lordship proponents claiming that either faith or grace are some kind of special power given to us by God?

  79. John,

    As a child, I was a family victim of Calvinism which I abandoned for atheism at about college age. I thank the Lord someone saw me as an “opportunity for evangelism.” At age 35 I heard the Gospel and trusted Jesus Christ alone as my Savior. I thank the Lord that there were some Believers who cared enough to simply share Christ with me.

    Tragically today we see Christians and falsely religious folks who call themselves Christians, pleading for behavioral “salvation” by works (Calvinists and Lordship Salvationists) who pretend to care but confuse the clear Gospel of God’s Grace. They are either blind to Truth or simply pretend to care for the eternity of folks around them.

    In Jesus Christ eternally, Jack

  80. Bruce,

    Wonderful addition to the Bing excerpt. Excellent explanation!!

    In Jesus eternally, Jack

  81. Jack, those who view faith as a gift from God err grammatically, logically and theologically. They also create another gospel and redefine grace.

    To borrow from an old adage, some people would rather climb a tree to embrace a false doctrine than stand on the ground and believe the truth.

    Anyone holding onto this error should be avoided as a source of Biblical teaching and viewed as an opportunity for personal evangelism.

  82. Thanks Jack for your timely posting of Dr. Charlie Bing’s article. I encourage everyone to read it in its entirety. In the article, Dr. Bing also points out the fallacy of the LS/Calvinist position that misinterprets Ephesians 2:8-9. LS/Calvinists frequently cite that text as a “proof” that faith is a gift from God, YET, they wrongly exegete the passage, diverting or ignoring the gender of the Greek [is this an intentionally dishonest act?]. Dr. Bing explains from the same article that Jack mentioned above:
    “It is claimed that the demonstrative pronoun ‘that’ refers to ‘faith’ as a gift of God (the words ‘it is’ are not in the original language, but are supplied by the translation as shown by the brackets). But ‘that’ cannot refer to ‘faith’ (nor to ‘grace’) because in the original Greek it would have to be in the feminine gender. But ‘that’ is neuter which shows that the best antecedent is the concept of salvation by grace.”