Monday, January 08, 2007

The Sawyer / Johnson Dialogue - Part 4

Part 1 Part2 Part 3

Please see the introductory paragraph to Part 1 of this series for an explanation of the literary license taken in formatting this dialogue.
Phil (continuing his critique of Hodges’ view of James 2): 3. Hodges’ view also only works if you have a semi-pelagian notion of faith. Hodges’ interpretation of James 2 is not only semi-pelagian; it is also in conflict with Paul’s clear teaching in Ephesians 2. If faith itself is a gift and the fruit of God’s regenerating work in us (which it is), and if God has ordained even good works for us to walk in (which he has), then Hodges’ interpretation of James 2 is utterly impossible. On the other hand, if you look at James 2 in that same light, the historic interpretation of James 2 makes perfect sense.

Jodie: On your view that Hodges’s belief about faith is semi-pelagian, I’ll leave that type of categorizing to you. But I would say that I see myself as ending up in an adequate place concerning God being the one doing the saving.

Phil: …which is just what all semi-pelagians think. Scripture repeatedly stresses that salvation is entirely by grace, and that even our good works are ordained by God. Anything less than that is not an “adequate” stress on the necessity and efficacy of divine grace for salvation.

And may I point out how ironic your statement is? No-lordship doctrine, which is supposed to safeguard against salvation by works (though it actually makes faith itself a human work) congratulates itself for retaining an “adequate” (but never quite exclusive) focus “concerning God being the one doing the saving.”

Jodie: I’m not sure if you’re ignoring what I say or accusing me of being disingenuous. Faith is absolutely not a human work!

God exclusively is the One who saves. Your less than rational dogmatism on faith being a voluntary decision is what leads you into this cul-de-sac. Again, I asked you to name a political belief which you are holding voluntarily and that therefore if you chose to you could believe other wise. Just name one that if you wanted to you could change at will.

Needless to say I do believe that our salvation is entirely by grace and that all our good works are ordained by God! Could you be more specific about what you are disagreeing with?

Obviously this is a huge topic, so to show you my own view I’ll repost a sketch of how the sovereignty of God interacts with His saving of sinners. I apologize that the scripture references aren’t unpacked.

a) God sovereignly elects people to regeneration. Eph 1:4 On this topic, God also elects some to the kind of suffering and faithfulness that he will reward at the Judgment seat of Christ. Matthew 20:16 2 Peter 1:9-11 Matthew 19:28 John 21:18
b) All men are effectively deceived by the strategic Satan. 2 Cor 4:4
c) No man seeks God on his own. Romans 3:11
d) All men are drawn to Christ. John 12:32
e) All men are convicted of sin, righteousness and judgment. Jn 16:8
f) Most men do not receive these inner witnesses. Matt 7:14; John 1:11 The Spirit may well cease to illuminate them to the light of the Gospel. Mat 12:31
g) The Spirit continues to illuminate the open-minded elect to the truth of Christ using the instrument of the word of God. 1 Peter 1:23
h) The word of God breaks apart the deception and reveals the truth of Christ as Provider of eternal life and Guarantor of future resurrection. John 11:25; John 6:40
i) When the truth has been fully revealed to the sinner, they do not decide to believe, they believe. This is not a decision. Romans 4:21 Psalm 62:1
j) At the moment of belief, eternal salvation happens: the person is justified and born again, meaning regeneration. Galatians 2:16; Jas 1:18 k) Regeneration is the gift of eternal life, but it is really the life of the second Person of the Trinity. It is perfect and holy and is never part of sin. 1 John 5:20; 1 John 3:9; James 1:17
(To be Continued - DV)