Friday, June 07, 2013

Would Somebody Please Explain THIS?

One of my earlier mentors in the insurance business ... and I'm talking about 1959 here ... once told me "A man's position on most issues depends on which set of proven facts he chooses to ignore". I guess a variation of that, or perhaps a good illustration, might be that regardless of how well-thought-out, studied, prepared, and right a thing might be, there will always be somebody who'll be willing to argue, disagree, disapprove, or criticize you.

Man, has that ever proved out in the half-century or so, since George told me that.

Maybe the same is true in Spiritual matters, too. By way of explanation, before becoming Baptists, we belonged to 3 different Presbyterian denominations ... all in sound, evangelical churches. Plus, we've always tended to study the beliefs of whichever church or denomination with which we were involved.

So, we studied the Westminster Confession of Faith, privately and in Bible studies. See ... the W.C of F. has scripture to back up every point it makes, just as does the Baptist Faith and Message. And I recall that in the weeks before we joined FBC of Pelham, I stopped by the pastor's office and, after talking a while, left with a copy of the Baptist Faith and Message, and with Hershel Hobbs' book of the same title. And I studied them.

Hey ... we'd even gotten a copy of the Methodist Discipline, a book which sets forth both the churches' obligations, as well as their articles of faith. And I'd studied that when I was a Methodist, too.

So I know, without doubt, that George Whittier's advice can apply in the Spiritual realm, too: "A man's position on many doctrines depends largely on which Scripture he chooses to ignore. Or choose to explain away".

I was moved after seeing a friend's post on Facebook this morning, to respond by asking some questions. Well, maybe a couple.

Here's the scripture he commented on:

Romans 9:6 But it is not as though the word of God has failed. For not all who are descended from Israel are Israel. 7 Neither are they all children because they are Abraham’s descendants. On the contrary, your offspring will be traced through Isaac. 8 That is, it is not the children by physical descent who are God’s children, but the children of the promise are considered to be the offspring. 9 For this is the statement of the promise: At this time I will come, and Sarah will have a son. 10 And not only that, but also Rebekah received a promise when she became pregnant by one man, our ancestor Isaac. 11 For though her sons had not been born yet or done anything good or bad, so that God’s purpose according to election might stand— 12 not from works but from the One who calls—she was told: The older will serve the younger. 13 As it is written: I have loved Jacob, but I have hated Esau. God’s Selection Is Just.  14 What should we say then? Is there injustice with God? Absolutely not! 15 For He tells Moses: I will show mercy to whom I will show mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion. 16 So then it does not depend on human will or effort but on God who shows mercy. 17 For the Scripture tells Pharaoh: I raised you up for this reason so that I may display My power in you and that My name may be proclaimed in all the earth. 18 So then, He shows mercy to those He wants to, and He hardens those He wants to harden. 19 You will say to me, therefore, “Why then does He still find fault? For who can resist His will?” 20 But who are you, a mere man, to talk back to God? Will what is formed say to the one who formed it, “Why did you make me like this?”

Incidentally, so as to be a good Baptist, that's the HCSB version I quoted above.

Since someone is apt to mention John 3:16, here it is, too: "For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life".

If the United States Olympic Committee were to say that everyone who runs the 100 meters in 8.5 seconds will be on our US Olympic Team, nobody would believe that everyone in the USA could do that. But most seem willing to think that everyone in the world can "...believe in Him...". And, since 1 Corinthians 2:14 says that the natural man cannot perceive ... comprehend ... things of the Spirit, I'm led to believe that no everyone can believe in Him.

Unless God first does something to that person's nature. Until God does something ... regenerate, perhaps? ... God says man can't perceive Spiritual matters.

But then, 1 John 2:2 says "He (Jesus) Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for those of the whole world." We wrestled with this in a Bible study some months ago, and about the only thing we could really decide on was that it did not mean that everybody was going to go to Heaven. What all else it does mean, we'll just have to leave to the theologians.

I think I'd rather explain away 1 John 2:2, than all that stuff in Romans 9. But maybe that's just me.

Labels: , ,

3 Comments:

At 1:20 PM, June 08, 2013, Blogger Christiane said...

Hi BOB CLEVELAND,
i need to comment here since a lot of my responses on SBCVoices (almost all of them) get 'lost in the machine':

(sorry for this, and you can erase this after you read it, if you wish, but here goes:)

""If a church cannot afford to send their pastor, seeing that God is the church’s source of supply, then it must be true that God doesn’t want the pastor to go. Ditto for the pastor."

this time, I disagree with you, BOB CLEVELAND

the poverty that exists among some in the SBC never was something 'sent from God',
but it reflects a situation where the 'haves' count and the 'lesser folk' are not 'as blessed by God' do not count as needed . . . in the Church, there is no one who is not needed . . . there is no one who does not matter

. . . the kind of exclusion you speak of comes from an inability of the SBC to create a convention situation that is not formulated on 'can I afford it' . . .

or it may be some version of 'I've got mine, they are on the outside looking in'

but don't ever think that God approves of a situation where exclusion from an assembly of His people is a matter of 'inability to pay'

This time, it looks a lot more like 'inability to share what comes from God' with the whole faith community . . . and I think THAT inability IS the real poverty here."

 
At 1:42 PM, June 08, 2013, Blogger Bob Cleveland said...

God fed Elijah with ravens bringing him stuff. He can provide a church with the funds to send the pastor, or provide the pastor with the funds.

God proved that to me when He provided for our trip to Haiti in 1970, and it's been true ever since. And He has proven it just as openly, many time, since.

When you look at the members or the geography or the economy, you're looking in the wrong direction.

 
At 8:04 PM, June 09, 2013, Anonymous Lee said...

Most of these questions are ones which I plan to take with me to heaven. I think the corroborating support of scripture lies with the atonement of Jesus being powerful enough, and intended for, all human sin. That this was God's intention is clear, starting with that passage in Romans 1 which says that men are without excuse, because there is enough revelation of God available to know the truth. How that happens, I don't know. And then, in combination with the I John 2:2 passage you cited is 2 Peter 3, which, after a long discussion, Peter declares that God tarries because it is his desire that all come to repentance, and that none perish. Redemption is his choice, perishing is ours. His sovereignty isn't trumped by that. So I tend to think that the Holy Spirit is there, with conviction, and the "mind of Christ" at some point for everyone.

That doesn't change anything in my mind about anyone who believes differently. They're still brothers and sisters in Christ. We'll all worship at the throne one day, and we'll all get the answers to our questions then.

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home