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Saturday, June 16, 2012

A Statement of Woven Theology

We affirm that God's sovereign plan exists outside out time and in the realm of eternity. God's plan is set out, preordained and can never be thwarted or undone.
Romans 8:29, Ephesians 1:5, 11, Acts 4:28, Isaiah 46:9-11, Psalms 102:27

We believe that God's eternal nature is higher than man's ability to comprehend and to fathom. We only relate to this nature and aspect of God in prayer and worship. God's eternal nature does not change, and His plan and will does not change.
Numbers 23:19, Malachi 3:6, Isaiah 55:9

We affirm that the concepts of predestination, election, prophecy and the end times are based upon this aspect of God's nature and character. All good things, all gifts and all holiness come from God and He receives all the glory, honor and praise.
James 1:17, Romans 8:29, Psalms 99:5, Hebrews 12:28, 13:15, I Thessalonians 1:4

We believe that God interacts with us in a relational and temporal nature in which we interact with in a very personal way. We see this all through scripture where God's nature and attributes connect with His creation in a very relational way.
I John 4:10,19, Jeremiah 31:3, James 2:23, Isaiah 41:8

We affirm that God related to Moses, Abraham, David and others in a relational way, working in time and with them in relationship. God connects with His creation in a way to build and grow relationship and understanding.
Exodus 3:12, Exodus 18:19, Genesis 18:17, James 2:23, I Samuel 18:14

We believe that Jesus Christ came to the earth and existed temporally and connected with the creation is a temporal, relational way. In this nature, we see that Jesus interacted with people in a relational way.
John 15:9, John 14:10, 11, I Timothy 1:15, Matthew 9:13, 36, Luke 7:13

We affirm that human kind exist with a sinful nature, tainted with the consequence of the original sin, understanding right and wrong and choosing wrong and sin and rebelling from God at our first recognition of evil.
Romans 3:23, Romans 6:23, Psalms 14:3, Psalms 51:5, Romans 7:8-11

We believe that we are responsible for our sin, and it's our sin and our choice that condemn us to hell. We have made a choice to rebel against God, our sin nature that is ingrained in all mankind draws us into rebellion against God, and we believe that ever person has sinned and in in rebellion against God left to their own. They are incapable of being free from sin, from seeking God and from any works that will save themselves.
Romans 3:12, Romans 6:17, Romans 7:7-11, Genesis 3:6, Hosea 6:7

We affirm that man does not work for, earn or merit salvation. Salvation is a work of God and comes only when the Holy Spirit convicts of sin and calls. In God's eternal plan, those individuals who are saved have been seen and predestined from God's eternal nature outside of time and before the foundation of time. Salvation is a gift of God, and God receives all the glory and honor for salvation.
Ephesians 2:8-9, John 15:16 Romans 9:22-24, Ephesians 1:4, Romans 8:28-30, Acts 13:48

We believe that man has a responsibility to trust Christ and put our faith in Christ. We have the responsibility to allow the Holy Spirit to work in our heart, not to reject His call through blasphemy. We are responsible for our actions and reactions in the context of salvation, our openness of ears, eyes and heart.
Romans 10:9, 13, Acts 16:31, Hebrews 4:11, Acts 2:37-39, Acts 7:51

We affirm that the process of salvation in an intersection of God in His sovereignty, power and foreknowledge and man's responsibility and response. It seems there is contradictions in this nature, but we see that God's eternal attributes in Salvation and not comprehensible, yet God's temporal nature interacts with us making salvation a relational experience. They intersect in a way that fit together in God's eternal plan and our relationship and responsibility.
John 14:15-29, John 17:6-12, II Corinthians 5:11-20

We believe that salvation always occurs from conviction of sin. Without the Holy Spirit bringing conviction of sin and enlightening the sinner to their true nature, the sinner will not repent. Without repentance, true salvation will not occur.
Luke 13:3, Acts 2:38, Acts 3:19, Acts 8:22

We affirm that when a sinner takes the responsibility for sin and places their faith in Jesus Christ, then The Holy Spirit will regenerate their spirit, and once they Holy Spirit indwells the believer, they are secure in that Salvation for eternity. They no longer are their own, they are now a child of God, and in God's sovereignty that child will never be lost.
Romans 11:29, John 10:28 - 29, Jude 1:24, Romans 8:38-39

We believe that once the Holy Spirit indwells a believer, God's relational nature works in that individual in the process of sanctification through learning, faith, the church and through good works. Good words come through salvation and sanctification for the purpose of the believer experiencing God in a real way and touching the lives of other.
John 21:15-17, John 15:26, I Corinthians 12:3, Acts 10:47, Hebrews 2:4

We affirm that God uses His people to reach out and share faith. God's nature is relational and He chooses to use us to build relational unity in His Church. Salvation is a connect and intersection of God's plan and our responsibility and evangelism is God working through us and in us.
Matthew 28:18-20, Acts 1:8, Romans 10:14-15, Luke 24:47

In summary, we believe that man's responsibility and choices are woven together with God's eternal attributes, sovereign plan and predestination. This interaction brings God's plan and will to pass in a way that builds relationship and connects His people in His Church for His purpose and glory.

If you would affirm this theology, please sign your name, your city and how you serve God in your local context.

18 comments:

  1. "We affirm that the process of salvation in an intersection of God in His sovereignty, power and foreknowledge and man's responsibility and response."

    I thought you were doing pretty well. But some of the statements like this one, are akin to Catholicism.

    Participatory salvation is not what God is after. He is a real God who is quite capable of saving us, all by Himself.

    Other than that aspect of your work, I thought you did very well.

    Thanks.

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    1. Thank you for your comment Steve. It's not so much participatory salvation as much as it is relational experience. God is capable of saving us all by Himself, and in that eternal attribute of His nature, He does just that. It's in the temporal attribute of who God is that He is building relationship and gives us responsibility. We can't have one and not the other, which is where we are separated from Catholicism. They focus on the aspect of one in neglect of the other. What you seem to be saying is focusing on the eternal nature and aspect, but neglecting the relational aspect of man's response. Man doesn't respond because it's required for God, but because we need it. God allows us to respond for our growth.

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  2. Dan,

    Paragraph 2 states:

    "We believe that God's eternal nature is higher than man's ability to comprehend and to fathom. We only relate to this nature and aspect of God in prayer and worship."

    Doesn't God reveal Himself in other ways (i.e. nature and scripture)?

    God be with you,
    Dan

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    1. Of course, but we still are unable to fully comprehend the scope and depth of eternity. Romans tells us that God's eternal nature is shown in creation, but we can't completely fathom.

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    2. But in a "fully comprehend" sense, we can't realate to God through prayer and worship either. Why do you say we can we relate to God in prayer and worship, but not scripture and nature?

      Statements like this make me think of those who place strong emphasis on the emotional aspects of religion and downplay the intellectual aspects.

      God be with you,
      Dan

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    3. I am not sure I am following your logic which means we must not be communicating. I don't think I said, and I defiantly don't mean that "we can relate to God in prayer and worship, but not scripture and nature". I am not even sure what that statement is trying to communicate. What I said is we don't relate to the eternal attributes of God which exist outside of time, but we relate and interact with the temporal attributes of God which exist in relationship with His creation. I am not sure how you got my main point so lost. We relate to God and have relationship with God in prayer, worship, nature, scripture, the Church, in Christ, in fellowship, in Communion, in Baptism, in service, in Evangelism, in service. We relate to God in His work in His Church in those attributes which are with us in time, while His eternal attributes are unfathomable for us.

      The key is not what we do for or with God, but what God does for an with us.

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  3. In the same vein as Steve Martin: Responsibility fulfilled equals merit. Those who chose or act responsibly have something to boast about over those who don't. But our boast is ONLY in the Lord, thus we have no responsibility in the salvation process [in getting saved].

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    1. I understand your point, and I do think that sometimes we get too the "choosing" aspect that become merit, but my focus is not on the choosing as much as the responsibility that builds relationship. The responsibility isn't because God needs us too, but because that aspect builds relationship. It's not because God needs us to respond, but He invites us to respond.

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  4. I don't think so. Salvifically, we respond because we see. Salvifically. we respond because we have experienced His love. Certainly AFTER salvation, we have responsibility in building our relationship, in loving Him back by obedience. He commands us to respond, but even so it is an invitation, one necessitated by love. So is that paragraph about our initial salvation or our ongoing deliverance?

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    1. I agree Michael, but I think you are looking at one aspect and missing the picture of the relational aspect. We are so intent on putting things in order and in the timeline, yet with a God who works and exists outside of time, why are we so set on the when? I think it's a human limitation.

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  5. Also, there seems to be a typo or something in that paragraph, I will space it out where i see it.....
    We affirm that the process of salvation in an intersection of God in His sovereignty, power and foreknowledge and man's responsibility and response. It seems there is contradictions in this nature, but we see that God's eternal attributes in Salvation

    and not comprehensible,

    yet God's temporal nature interacts with us making salvation a relational experience. They intersect in a way that fit together in God's eternal plan and our relationship and responsibility.


    if that is the way you want it, could you explain what you are saying?

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    1. I can try Michael, I don't feel like we are connecting, so I am going to try to fit this together as best as I can.

      For our example here, you have to separate God into two natures, this is an artificial separation, but we do it for our understanding. The first is God's eternal attributes. These are the attributes in which we see all of God's Sovereignty. This is where God ordains, predestines, elects and ultimately saves. This is where the call of the Spirit begins and works in our lives to Salvation. This aspect is probably where you are theologically and is usually where the Calvinistic doctrine centers. You can probably take TULIP and attribute those attributes to the eternal nature of God. In this nature, God has a plan, it cannot and will not be changed, thwarted or altered. This is God's eternal nature, outside of time.

      God is relational, and He also steps into time to work with us and through us. We have the opportunity to make choices and have responsibility. It would be a logical fallacy to say that any of God's works DEPEND on us, but He ALLOWS us to be involved for the sake of the relationship. In an incomplete analogy, it's like letting my son help me work on the car. I could do it better alone, but I want to build relationship with him. God does not need us to choose Him, He calls and elects us in His eternal nature, yet chooses to work through a calling, a drawing that includes our response. If you notice, I didn't put anything about "will" into it, because our response is not attached to our will, but it is our responsibility.

      I sense you are having a hard time with the concept of God in an eternal nature and temporal nature, and this theological system may not fit your belief system and I respect that. Thank you for your interaction and letting me talk through and flesh out some of these things.

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  6. "Salvation is a work of God and comes only when the Holy Spirit convicts of sin and calls."

    With regards to this particular sentence, I like it because it repudiates the doctrine of baptismal regeneration that's favored by Confessional Lutherans and other Churches/denominations.

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  7. Looks like there are a few typos here:

    We believe that Jesus Christ came to the earth and exited temporally and connected with the creation is a temporal, relational way. In this nature, we see that Jesus interacted with people in a relational way.

    Should it be:

    We believe that Jesus Christ came to the earth and existed temporally and connected with the creation in a temporal, relational way. In this nature, we see that Jesus interacted with people in a relational way.

    David

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    1. Thanks David. Typos happen unfortunately.

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  8. Thanks Dan for your reply. But how can we have responsibility without our will being a part of that responsibility? Responsibility is moral. Willing is how we choose to act responsibly. How can we be responsible if our will has nothing to do with it?

    If our response is not attached to our will, are we forced to respond? When you said that, it made me think of hyper-C's.

    We willingly respond to the Gospel call, do we not? The question is why do we respond the way we do.

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  9. Michael, much of your question is focused on us. I think our flaw may be where our inital focus lies. God is the focus of Salvation, not us. It's His plan and for His glory. We are the object. The second problem is you are forcing an either or. Either God does or we do. You are putting this all inside a box, composing if-then statements.

    Much of what I have composed is like quantum mechanics as apposed to Newtonian physics. In Newtonian physics, you throw a ball up, it comes down. In quantum mechanics, contradictory things are true at the same time, the ball comes down yet never comes down. This happens because of the way time flows, or doesn't flow. Since God exists both in and out of time, the whole question is turned on it's side. Which comes first, the chicken or the egg? Without time there is both a chicken and an egg, it just depends on which order you want to put them in. From our limited vantage, we argue which comes first, the calling, the ordaining or the decision. Does God call and then we respond? Of course. Then we argue, would God call if we weren't going to respond? That is a question locked in time, because in eternity, we have already responded. There is no "going to" because there just is.

    That makes your last question of "why" a hard one to answer. Maybe it's irresistible Grace, maybe it's because God calls those through foreknowledge, but I think you can't separate the call and the response because we are responding in Spirit, which is eternal and existence before the foundation of the world. I know that's pretty muddy, but it's a muddy thing when we realize there is not really and order.

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  10. You: "We only relate to this nature and aspect of God in prayer and worship."
    I would add "...based on His self-revelation through creation and His Word."

    You: "In God's eternal plan, those individuals who are saved have been seen and predestined from God's eternal nature outside of time and before the foundation of time."
    This a good safe way of putting it. Being reformed I'd say it differently but this should be acceptable to those non=reformed types.

    You: "We believe that man has a responsibility to trust Christ and put our faith in Christ."
    "Our" faith? We have no faith outside of what we are given in order to believe.

    You: "We believe that salvation always occurs from conviction of sin. Without the Holy Spirit bringing conviction of sin and enlightening the sinner to their true nature, the sinner will not repent. Without repentance, true salvation will not occur."
    Very Good. But it is true with Faith as well. Without Faith it is impossible to please God. Righteousness only comes by Faith. So un til the Holy Spirit grants us Faith we cannot be saved.

    You: "We affirm that when a sinner takes the responsibility for sin and places their faith in Jesus Christ, then The Holy Spirit will regenerate their spirit,"
    Well there goes any hope of a bridge building statement. ;-) I'm sorry, Woven... This is definitley a strand in the weave that comes from one batt of twine that is rejected by the other.

    You: "We believe that once the Holy Spirit indwells a believer, God's relational nature works in that individual in the process of sanctification through learning, faith, the church and through good works. Good words come through salvation and sanctification for the purpose of the believer experiencing God in a real way and touching the lives of other."
    A couple things here: "through learning", learning what? Through learning God's Word perhaps. Faith and Church are exceptional teachers, but Faith comes through the Word. Just thinking this would be a great place to shore up a weakness in your statement in respect to God's Word.
    Then, "Good words come through salvation..." Typo maybe? Good Works?

    I know you worked hard on this and much of it is very good. I'm just wrapping up an introduction to Systematic for the lay person, I KNOW this can be hard wirk.
    ( I threw in a little typo myself... its a freebie!)

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