Saturday, September 08, 2018
Bivocational ministry is often a necessity for pastors in today’s economy.
However, some are choosing bivocational ministry as a means to better know their communities and live on mission in the marketplace.
Whatever the reason, many bivocational pastors are finding unexpected blessings for themselves and their churches while navigating the unique challenges of bivocational ministry.
Here’s some advice from well-seasoned bivocational ministers for those considering a similar path.
Put your family first.
One of the biggest strains of being a bivocational pastor is the stress it creates on your family. James DeBoe, a longtime bivocational pastor and doctor, served 28 years as pastor of a Brethren in Christ church in rural Virginia while running his medical practice.
One of the best decisions in his career was setting a regular lunch date with his wife. The two had been at odds. He was spending too much time at work, causing a strain on their marriage.
In the middle of a medical exam, he says, he felt God tell him he needed to take his wife to lunch. The feeling was so intense he walked out of the exam room—leaving a patient on the table—and called his wife to invite her to lunch.
"After repeating this lunch date a few times, she was much happier," he says.
Finny Kuruvilla, a bivocational pastor in Boston, takes Fridays off to spend time with family. In the winter, that often means ice-skating or other activities. He teaches science to his kids, who are homeschooled, and once a week, he takes one of the kids to a local Mexican restaurant, where they snack and chat.
"We sit for an hour, eat chips and salsa—it costs me $2," he says.
"Guard the hearts of your spouse and children," says Philip Nation, teaching pastor at The Fellowship in Nashville, Tennessee, and director of content development at LifeWay. "Don’t let them be ministerial widows and orphans. Love them well and you will lead better in the church."
Find a second job you like.
Andrew Weaver, pastor of United Lutheran Church in Sunbury, Pennsylvania, has an unusual job for a bivocational pastor. He is a balloon artist, specializing in giant art installations such as a 70-foot-long balloon river—complete with kayakers—he did for a local art fair.
Weaver says having a second job is good for a pastor’s mental health.
"If all the pastor does is serve the church and lives within the church walls, that can be very isolating," he says. "Getting beyond the church walls is important for every pastor."
Remember the mission, even when money is tight.
Most bivocational pastors will hit a rough spot, says Jorge Garcia, pastor of Gracia y Paz Covenant Church in Chula Vista, California. Sometimes money is tight. Sometimes there is too much to do and not enough time.
Don’t give up, says Garcia, who works as a sales engineer during the day. Just do what needs to be done and press on.
"You have the opportunity to serve God as a pastor for a particular flock of people," he says. "If you need to sell pizzas, you sell pizzas."
Learn to say no.
Randy Singer, a lawyer, writer, and pastor of Trinity Church in Virginia Beach, tracks every hour he spends on each job. Those hours add up quickly, and there is usually still work to be done even after he reaches 60 or 70 hours.
Singer has learned to do only the things that matter most. He even pauses before answering an email, knowing he can easily be caught up in a time-consuming conversation. He skips social media and limits meetings.
Sometimes, he says, you have to leave things undone. "You can work yourself to death trying to do both jobs."
Make developing leaders a priority.
Bivocational pastors can’t do it all, says Brian Dye of Legacy Christian Fellowship in Chicago. Dye, who pastors a church plant on the city’s West Side, stresses the importance of sharing responsibility with the congregation and developing leaders for the church.
It involves some risk. Lay people will need time and space to grow into a leadership role, and they won’t always get it right the first time. Having faith that God is at work in everyone at church helps, says Dye.
"Trust that God will raise up leaders to fill the need," he says.
Delegate as much as you can, says Singer. "Find and develop leaders who can run ministries at the church—and let them do their jobs."
Ministry always requires the power of presence, whether a pastor is fully supported or bivocational.
Gary Mitchell, a longtime bivocational pastor and consultant in Louisiana, recalls serving at a small church in the 1980s. A couple in the church asked Mitchell to visit their estranged son, who was dying of AIDS.
Mitchell was afraid. This was early in the AIDS epidemic, when no one understood how the disease worked. The young man, thin and covered in sores, was in an isolation ward.
Mitchell eventually was able to talk and pray with the young man. That made all the difference in the world to the young man and to his parents.
Mitchell believes some pastors forget that caring for people is an essential part of ministry.
Love your work in the "real world."
Or, at the least, learn from it. Many of your church members struggle to even like the job they have. According to Gallup’s 2015 State of the American Workplace report, 68 percent of American workers are "not engaged" or are "actively disengaged" from their workplaces and less likely to be productive.
"It’s a good thing to admit we sometimes struggle like everyone else," says Nation. "It’s a better thing to show how faith intersects our work and guides us through the struggles. In your full-time work, learn how God is shaping your character and leading you to ministry opportunities that would not happen otherwise."
Don’t be too busy for God.
Sometimes even a pastor with two jobs has to slow down and listen.
That’s a lesson John Pippin, who stepped down last year after 30 years as a bivocational pastor at Corinth Church of Christ in Sparta, Tennessee, says he sometimes forgot.
Pippin says he’s thankful for the time he spent in bivocational ministry, but he’s glad for a break. At times, he felt as if he were on a treadmill—always preparing for the next sermon but not growing spiritually.
One of his professors warned him early on that Sunday comes every seven days, and he had to have a sermon ready—or, in his case, two sermons a week, along with pastoral care and visitation.
The deadlines were unrelenting.
Looking back, Pippin says he developed some bad habits. He was spending a great deal of time studying the Bible, but he was always preparing for the next sermon.
"That doesn’t help you grow," he says.
Pippin’s advice for other pastors: Don’t always be in a rush to write the next sermon. Instead, listen to what the Scriptures are teaching you.
"Slow down and give it time to stick," he says. "That’s the part I think I missed."
Some of you reading this post may need to get a new job. At least you may need to get an additional job.
Without a doubt, many churches will always need full-time vocational pastors and church staff. I am not suggesting all of you, even the majority of you, should go bi-vocational. But I do believe more of you should consider this path. Allow me to offer eight reasons why:
1. A secular or marketplace job will put you in the middle of culture on a regular basis. Opportunities to develop relationships with non-believers will be greater. Opportunities to minister to people who would not set foot in a church will be greater as well.
2. Full-time pastors and church staff often get missionally stale in their "holy huddles." Perhaps the best way to break out of that Christian-only huddle is to be employed in a secular position.
3. Smaller churches are increasingly unable to afford full-time pastors or staff. I have written on this site a few times about the flow of people from smaller churches to larger churches. As resources depart from the smaller churches, so does their ability to pay a pastor or staff person full time. But these churches still need pastors.
4. The digital world is offering more opportunities for flexible secular jobs than ever. I recently spoke to an IT professional who is also a pastor of a church. He spends about 25 hours a week in his IT job. He has declined good full-time opportunities in secular jobs because he wants to remain a tent-maker. I spoke to another staff person of a church who is an entrepreneur in the digital world. Those kinds of opportunities are growing every day.
5. More churches are moving toward multiple teaching/preaching pastors. What was once common in large churches is now becoming increasingly common in medium and small churches. Many of these teaching pastors are in churches that cannot afford a second full-time pastor.
6. More churches would like to expand staff, but don't have the resources to do so. This issue is similar to #5 above, but here it refers to bi-vocational positions other than a lead pastor or teaching pastor. By the way, this approach allows church leaders to "raise up" people within their own churches—people they know and trust.
7. A bi-vocational pastor or church staff can have greater freedom than a person in a full-time role. One of the secrets of church life is that many pastors and church staff are hindered from leading because their jobs would be in jeopardy. That is an unpleasant but clear and present reality. If a pastor or staff person has a job with other income, he or she may feel the freedom to move forward without succumbing to such pressure.
8. A bi-vocational pastor or staff person has transferable skills. A number of full-time church leaders have never worked outside of vocational ministry. They don't understand the business and secular world. Bi-vocational ministers have secular skills they can use in their churches. They also have skills to support themselves if they find themselves no longer employed with their churches.
Bi-vocational ministry is a clear and definitive trend in church life. Some of the reasons for its growth are not that healthy. But many are. It is a great opportunity to make a greater difference in this culture in which we live. It is really a great opportunity to be a missionary on the field.
What do you of think of this issue? What are you seeing in your church and others?
Thom S. Rainer is the president of LifeWay Christian Resources. For the original article, visit thomrainer.com.
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By Ray Gilder
Should any pastor be bivocational? It’s a question that has been around for a long time. In order to give an informed answer, it would help to understand what we mean by "bivocational."
The basic understanding of the term is a person who has two vocations. When used in regard to a pastor, it indicates the pastor has another source of income beyond the church.
The term "part-time" is not an accurate way to describe a bivocational pastor. He may be receiving a partial salary, but he is still a full-time pastor. The best way to define a pastor who receives all of his income from a church is fully funded, not full-time.
Here are just a few of the myths about bivocational pastors and churches:
If a bivocational pastor had enough faith, he would just quit his job and trust God to meet his needs.
If a bivocational pastor were a good enough preacher, he could get a bigger church.
A small congregation doesn’t deserve to be called a church.
A church is not a real church if it does not have a full menu of activities.
So, should any pastor be bivocational? The answer is "yes" if any of the following conditions apply:
1. If he is inspired by the example of the Apostle Paul. Paul supported himself by making tents (Acts 18:3) while he focused on preaching the Gospel and starting churches. He refused to be a burden to others (2 Thessalonians 3:7-9).
2. If he is willing to work so a small church can have a pastor.
3. If he does not view this church as a stepping stone to a bigger and "better" church.
4. If he is willing to invest his life in a small church setting which may never be able to pay him a full-time salary.
5. If he is interested in taking the light of Christ into the marketplace of the world.
6. If he would like to see his church invest more of its money in ministry and missions.
7. If he is committed to planting a church in a community where there is little or no Gospel witness.
8. If he feels led to be an intentional bivocational pastor, perhaps because he has a business or career that God had provided and is using to provide for his family. Many of these experience a call to ministry later in life. http://pastors.com/8-reasons-to-be-a-bivocational-pastor/
Calvinism recognizes these great truths.
1. All are lost.
2. Not all will be saved.
3. It is God who saves.
When God created the world, He knew at that time that all mankind would be lost through Adam’s sin. God knew those whom he would save and those whom He would not save. God had already decided – even before Adam sinned – to send Christ to the cross and thereby provide the means by which He would save people. It is God who determined – choose – those whom he would save, those whom He would impart His wisdom, those whom He would build as His church. God did not choose to save all and people thereby complain that God is a bigot and prejudiced. Yet, God is sovereign – we can all testify with Nebuchadnezzar, "I praised the Most High; I honoured and glorified him who lives for ever. His dominion is an eternal dominion; his kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as he pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No-one can hold back his hand or say to him: ‘What have you done?’"
Most of the misunderstandings of Scripture come from a lack of discernment about the nature of fallen man and the freedom of a sovereign God.
What do the Scriptures tell us?
1. God created the world.
2. Satan could not enter the garden unless God stood aside and let him enter.
3. God decreed that Satan tempt Adam/Eve and had already planned that Christ die for the sin that Adam/Eve would commit.
4. God is, and must be, intimately involved with sinners giving them the ability to accept His salvation.
5. Not all will be saved.
6. God knew all of history from the moment of creation to the judgment and He knew it when He created the world and history is playing out according to God’s omniscience.
There has never been a time when God did not know who would be saved and who would be lost – no one ever denies this (except for the Open Theists), and no one says that the Calvinists are wrong when they come to this conclusion.
How can it be that "God desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4) and is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9)" when God has always known that all people would not be be saved and He created the world knowing that many would perish and He knew each one by name? Are the Calvinists wrong to conclude that many have misunderstood these verses in light of God’s omniscience?
It seems you have just made "foreknowledge" and "predestination" synonymous. That is something that divides the Calvinist from those of us who reject Calvinism.
That which God predestines (or decides) then becomes part of His knowledge (His omniscience). Paul says that "God predestined us (His elect) to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ,…" As God made this decision before He created the world, we say that God foreknew that which He would bring about in the course of time. That you think I have made "foreknowledge" and "predestination" synonymous likely reflects personal bias on your part – they cannot be synonymous as they are two unique concepts.
The Calvinist does not worry about who is elect and who is not – "the word of God is living and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart." Calvinists let the Scriptures sort out one from the other.
This is shockingly ignorant; so Spurgeon didn’t care about the lost? Spurgeon didn’t preach the gospel? William Carey didn’t care about missions? How can you explain that it took a Calvinist (D James Kennedy) to create the most effective evangelism method of the 20th Century–which was completely plagiarized by the SBC’s Continuous Witness Training? How can you explain the humility of John Newton? This article is not simply shocking in its error – it is slanderous and assaults the heart of sound theology on multiple points. What a travesty.
Don't be so condescension it is off putting.
Calvinism is a perspective of soteriology that answers questions from specific presuppositions that other views fall short.
Calvinism’s gospel is that expressed by Paul, "Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve." When Spurgeon said that Calvinism is the gospel, he meant that Calvinism accurately expresses that which the Scriptures tell us. If it did not, it could not be described as the gospel.
We all share the same technical definition of the gospel.
"Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,…"
In context, Paul says "Christ died for our sins," as 1 John 2, "Christ is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world." Paul does not say that Christ died for "us" meaning each and every person, In Romans, Paul, writing to God’s elect in Rome says, "While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us [His elect]." John 3:16 says, God so loved the world that He gave His son that those believing [those God knew from the foundation of the world] would have eternal life. God did not give His son for those not believing – for the reprobate [also known form the foundation of the world].
Would you be offended if I were to say that Calvinism was a deficient doctrine?
The extreme deterministic view of Calvinism is evident from the following quotes:
"Even sin – the fall of the devil from heaven, the fall of Adam, and every evil thought, word, and deed in all of history, including the worst sin of all, Judas’ betrayal of Christ – is included in the eternal decree of our holy God." – Edwin H. Palmer, The Five Points of Calvinism
"Even the fall of Adam, and through him the fall of the race, was not by chance or accident, but was so ordained in the secret counsels of God." "And unless the fall was in the plan of God, what becomes of our redemption through Christ? Was that only a makeshift arrangement which God resorted to in order to offset the rebellion of man?" – Loraine Boettner, The Reformed Doctrine of Predestination
Hinduism believes in the compatibility of both free-will and determinism; similarly, does Islam believe in a kind of fatalism and personal responsibility. However, the Bible strictly talks of human responsibility. Nowhere is the sin of Adam or the sin of any human regarded as being predetermined by God.
Why do you call it "extreme"? Let’s take the case of "the fall of Adam."
Does not God protect Adam even as He protected Job so that Satan cannot enter the garden except God decree that he should and then stand out of the way? Is not God present, watching every detail, as Satan tempts Eve and then gives fruit to Adam to eat? Could not God have stepped in at any point and prevented Adam from eating the fruit? That God did not do so tells us that God had decided that Satan should tempt Eve and that Adam freely decide whether to join Eve in eating the fruit. God decided all this before He created the world having perfect knowledge of all that would come to pass. That which God decided was His decree – thereby God decreed the fall of Adam. There is nothing extreme in this; God is sovereign and necessarily decrees all things and did so decree all things before He created the world.
Galatians chapter 5. This is just a wonderful chapter. There’s not a lot of mystery about it. It’s straightforward; it’s clear; it’s preeminently practical. It, at the same time, is very convicting; it’s clear enough to be convicting. It’s also eminently encouraging. So I want to read it for you, starting in Galatians 5:16, and reading down to verse 25.
"But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please. But if you’re led by the Spirit, you’re not under the law. Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, factions, envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit."
Now we’re dealing with the very essence of sanctification, the very, very heart of Christian living, the Christian life.
And our responsibility in the Christian life is summed up in verse 16: "Walk by the Spirit. Walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh."
Now there’s some very foundational reasons why this is critical, and I just want to remind you of them. We face a great challenge,
because even though we have been justified,
even though we have been regenerated,
and even though we’re a new creation and we have a new life and new affections and new longings and new desires, the flesh is still there.
We haven’t yet reached our glorification; not until then will we be free from the sinful impulses that remain in our fallen humanity.
So as believers in Jesus Christ, we need to very clearly understand the dynamics of what’s going on in our lives.
to give you an honest diagnosis of yourself, trying to do a little spiritual pathology to give you a look at what’s really going on in your life as a believer.
And what we came to understand is that there is a standard that has been set for us by God as to how we are to live as believers; and at the same time, we fight against our remaining humanness to even come close to that standard.
Now I want to remind you of the standard that God has set.
Matthew 5 our Lord put it this way: "Be perfect, as your Father in heaven is perfect."
Of course, God cannot set a standard lower than perfection. God who is absolutely holy, holy, holy will always affirm the absolute holy standard as His only acceptable standard. That is why we have to receive full righteousness from someone else, because we can’t be justified by our own righteousness, the standard is too high.
And even in the matter of sanctification, living our Christian lives, the standard doesn’t drop.
Now that you’re a Christian God is not making suggestions, He’s still making commands. The standard hasn’t dropped.
There is grace for us, there is mercy for us. We go to the throne of mercy to find that mercy, to find that grace in time of need. But the standard does not change; God’s standard is still absolute holiness.
1 Peter 1:13. And here is Peter calling the believers to whom he writes to the standard that is the same for us and all believers.
"Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit," – be sober-minded, means understand the divine priorities, have your divine priorities right – "fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ."
Live according to divine priorities, and look for the day when we leave this world and enter into the presence of Christ.
Verse 14, in the meantime, "As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’" And that is taken from a number of places in the book of Leviticus. "Be holy, for I am holy." God cannot set a standard lower than His own holiness.
Verse 17 to say, "If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth." We are to live in the fear of God. The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. We are to pursue holiness at the very divine level.
verse 22 we read, "Since you have in obedience to the truth purified your souls for a sincere love of the brethren, fervently love one another from the heart."
Now these two things sum up the command for the Christian
perfect love and
We are to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength, we are to love our neighbor as ourselves, and we are to be obedient to the law of God perfectly. That standard cannot be lowered.
1 Peter 2:9, we find very similar exhortation: "You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession, so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; for you once were not a people, but now you are the people of God; you have not received mercy, now you have received mercy.
"Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wage war against the soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles," – or the nations – "so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may because of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation."
Again the standard is the same. You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people that belong to God, and you are to proclaim by what you say and what you live, the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. This is a high standard.
Now on our own, we cannot attain to that standard. We know that, because in our flesh we have only the hope of disobedience and death. And yet this standard is established as the standard by which we are to live.
It is defined in another way that I think is very helpful and leaves no doubt what the Lord means.
Listen to 1 John 2:6, "The one who says he abides in Him" – you say you belong to Christ, you abide in Christ, you’re one with Christ – "ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked."
There it is. You’re to live like Christ; that is the divine standard. You are called to holiness, to pure love, and to Christlike obedience; that is the standard.
And because of that standard being so high and because of the weakness of our flesh, our only hope for coming anywhere near that standard is to walk by the Spirit – and that’s what we’re finding in Galatians.
Romans 8:3: "What the law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh."
The reason the law can’t save anybody is because the law depends on human obedience, human potential, human ability. The law offers no help. The law does not empower anyone, it is weak.
In order to overcome that God sent His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh as an offering for sin, and condemns sin in the flesh. "God came, and in the form of Jesus Christ paid the penalty for sin, so that" – verse 4 – "the requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit."
he’s not talking about the fact that the righteousness of God, the law perfectly kept, was imputed to us, accredited to our account – although that is true.
He’s not talking about our standing or our position, but rather he’s saying the requirement of the law can now be fulfilled as we walk not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit.
There’s the bottom line. The only way you can live the Christian life is in the power of the Holy Spirit.
And I know that is sanctification 101, but it needs to be clearly understood.
Thursday, August 09, 2018
THE ORDER OF SALVATION AS WE BELIEVE AS BAPTIST
DOCTRINE OF BIBLICAL SALVATION
the so call five points of calvinism are:
TOTAL DEPRAVITY:- As a result of Adam’s fall, the entire human race is affected; all humanity is dead in trespasses and sins. Man is unable to save himself (Genesis 6:5; Jeremiah 17:9; Romans 3:10-18).
UNCONDITIONAL ELECTION- Because man is dead in sin, he is unable to initiate a response to God; therefore, in eternity past God elected certain people to salvation. Election and predestination are unconditional; they are not based on man’s response (Romans 8:29-30;9:11; Ephesians 1:4-6, 11-12) because man is unable to respond, nor does he want to.
LIMITED ATONEMENT- Because God determined that certain ones should be saved as a result of God’s unconditional election, He determined that Christ should die for the elect alone. All whom God has elected and for whom Christ died will be saved (Matthew 1:21; John 10:11; 17:9; Acts 20:28; Romans 8:32; Ephesians 5:25).
IRRESISTBLE GRACE- Those whom God elected He draws to Himself through irresistible grace. God makes man willing to come to Him. When God calls, man responds (John 6:37, 44; 10:16).
PERSEVERANCE OF THE SANTINS - The precise ones God has elected and drawn to Himself through the Holy Spirit will persevere in faith. None whom God has elected will be lost; they are eternally secure (John 10:27-29; Romans 8:29-30; Ephesians 1:3-14).
Sola (by) scriptura, sola (by) fide, Sola gratia, Solus (alone) christus, and Soli De gloria
Here is what this Calvinist believes about the process of salvation
charles e whisnant
Yes, God does the saving of a lost sinner. A sinner could not be saved without the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the sinner. And the sinner could not be saved without hearing the Gospel presented to him by someone. The sinner needs to know what it means to be lost, what it means to be a sinner, and why he is a sinner and needs to be forgiven.
I believe the person needs to know that he can cannot save himself from the wrath of God, there is nothing he can do that would justify God saving him.
I believe the sinner needs to hear the preaching or teaching of the Gospel maybe a number of times to know what it is that he is to believe. Yet he is not able to believe it because at this point he is unable to respond in his spirit to this idea of being lost and the need to be saved from the wrath of God.
I believe the scripture teaches that only when God opens his spirit to believe will he believe what he has heard about the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Since God does not just zap a person saved without some knowledge of what he is to believe, the gospel must first be preached. But the sinner could not believe the gospel until God opens his heart to believe.
I believe the scripture teaches that when God reveals Himself to a sinner, and opens his mind to the truth, he will believe.
Therefore, a sinner believes because God opened his mind to believe. And whom ever God opens their mind will be saved. Because a man could not believe without the work of the Holy Spirit in him.
I believe the scripture teaches that all those whom God calls will be saved. I do not believe Scripture teaches that a person can reject the inner call of God to be saved. Because God brings about salvation first and then that person is able to believe.
Yes a sinner can reject the presentation of the Gospel, and does. He is unable to receive the truth about himself because he is blinded to the truth. He is unable to believe because he is a sinner.
I believe that the Scripture teaches a person does not have to believe first and then God saves him. He believes because God saves him.
Belief is an inner process. If he has previously rejected in his spirit the gospel of salvation, how could he now believe what he has heard many times? He can not have faith, or trust, or even confidence in someone when he is spiritually dead to the gospel. As hard as he might desire to believe and take faith in, he is unable until the Holy Spirit brings in the light of the Lord Jesus Christ.
And the Lord brings about His saving grace in many ways. God leads others to show what being saved is like. God leads a person to a place where they will hear the Gospel. God uses divine Providence to intervene into the life of a sinner to bring him to salvation.
But what I do not believe Scripture teaches is that a man must first come to a belief of the gospel before God will save him. And I do not think Scripture teaches that man can reject the inner call of God. But that is not to say that he comes to a full understanding of what is happening in his life.
It is possible that God will bring about salvation in one's life and then it may be over a period of time before that person is able to grasp the impact of this new found salvation. Salvation is a process that does take a while to grasp and understand and to obey. And it takes others in their life to bring to reality what God has done for them.
T -Thus we believe that scripture teaches that man cannot on his own bring himself to believe with truth and faith and confidence in Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.
U - And that God before the foundation of the world has chosen those whom He will bring to salvation. Man does not on his own choose to be saved without the work of the Holy Spirit in him to believe.
L - When Jesus Christ died on the cross, He actually provided the means whereby those whom God elected would be saved. Christ's death on the cross was not in vain, Jesus did not die for the whole world, if He had all would be saved.
I - When the Holy Spirt comes into the mind of a sinner, and awakens him from this unbelief he receives it, he does not reject the inner call of God.
P - And God will preserve those whom He has choosen and those whom Jesus died on the cross for.
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