Saturday, May 10, 2014

Wovenist Answers, Can Man Choose God on His Own?

The question we need settled is, will man choose God on his own? There are many who say that yes, man is capable of free will, meaning that man has the ability to choose good and bad on his own, without assistance or divine intervention. This is the point on which everything hinges. With God being outside of time (and inside time to interact with man), predestination is a truth from man's point of view, since there is no “before” or “after” for God, just now. Without having to worry about “before” the if it is God who initiates salvation, He does so at the beginning of time, at the moment of faith, and at the end of time simultaneously, since it's all the same to Him. You could say that if you are in Christ, you are saved, you have been saved and you will be saved. Christ died to pay for your sins outside of time (since it's God who forgives) and you just are saved. So, if time doesn't matter to God, then the key question is, who initiates Salvation, man or God?

Many would say that man hears the word, repents, cries out for forgiveness and is saved. I agree with this, that from our perspective, a person hears the Word and is broken for sin. After being broken and convicted of sin, the person then cries out to God for forgivingness. Is this action all initiated by man, what part does God play in Salvation? Does God only interact when called for, or is He present before? It's ultimately a question of depravity, does man seek God on his own? Those who reject the idea of total depravity

I have been told by bloggers (in public forums, not in private) statements like:
By contrast, Trads affirm that man, though totally depraved and full of sin, is nevertheless made in the image of God with a capacity for reason and choice. We further affirm that God truly desires all men to be saved and that his Holy Spirit draws men through the gospel in such a manner that they can indeed respond to His offer of salvation to all by either ACCEPTING or REJECTING His grace.
-Rick Patrick

I do not believe in total depravity or inability. I do not believe God regenerates ANYONE nor are faith and repentance gifts from God… these are responses from anyone who belongs to Him. It is the cross that compels us to turn to Him; God does not regenerate us to save us; He saves us through regeneration which is His response to us because of our response to His self revelation of who He is and what it is that He has come to do for us and with us… IF we will hear His voice and come to Him in obedience.
-Bob Hadley

The question becomes, what is God's involvement in the salvation of individuals? Is God active or passive? Those who say that man accepts God on their own, using free will that God is passive. He has created all the parts together and then lets man do whatever man wants to do. The other side of this coin is that God initiates Salvation, and man then responds to God's call. Does man initiate salvation or does God initiate salvation?

This brings us back to the first question, can man accept God on his own? As a Wovenist, there are always two perspectives we need to examine. What is happening outside of time, what is happening inside of time? From the eternal perspective, those who are saved are saved and God has set them apart. We are more concerned with what is happening inside of time. Inside of time, the process happens over and over, we can witness it and many of us experience it. We are open to the idea of being in a place where God is working. Most of us, it's church or an event, revival or other place where God is being preached and proclaimed. Sometimes it's one on one, sometimes in a group, God is being preaching and the word is opened. The word being preached reaches the heart and the Spirit of God moves, bringing conviction. God is initiating salvation by moving in the hearts of the hearer and bringing conviction. Man is drawn to God by the realization of his nature and his place before God. This realization bring man to the point of repentance, where man cries out to God and God answers, bringing the Holy Spirit to enable the individual to confession and repentance, faith and trust and ultimately regeneration. This process is a process, like planting a seed. The word is preached, the seed is planted in the heart and the person responds to the conviction of the spirit. The person is moved towards faith, and either grows, having faith and trust and bearing the fruit of salvation, or the care of the worlds, temptations and problems kill the plant before it grows and bears fruit. This process has caused some to believe that an individual can lose their salvation, but Jesus tells us the plant dies before it bears fruit. God calls, man responds, God fills, man gains faith. From the eternal point of view, the individuals who spout and die are not saved, are never saved and never have been saved. Their is no calling from this eternal perspective, because God's eternal calling creates “the called out ones” or Church. God moves as His word is preached and there is a movement of th spirit that happens in the heart of many, but they are not saved. They reject, they are choked out, scorched out and never bear fruit.

As a response, we preach the word, we preach to everyone, knowing that some will be saved and some won't. We don't know who will be saved and who will not, but it's a reality. Those who are anti-Calvinist look at this through determinism, that those who are saved because of predestination have already been saved, meaning that some can't be saved. As a Wovenist, we understand that predestination is simply a way to explain that God has already called from the eternal point of view. It's not that they can't be saved, it's that they won't be saved. No preaching, teaching, pleading or crying will work. There are those who will be saved, but we need to preach, teach, plead and cry. We don't know who is who, so we preach, teach and lead everyone to Christ.

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