Reformed Theology: God's Grace

JeffLogan's picture

This discussion will be limited to the discussion of God's grace as it pertains to Reformed Theology.

Barry writes,

I would like to suggest that we explore the topic of "God's Grace " as it relates specifically to the process of one's coming to salvation. I personally am particularly interested in the doctrine of "Prevenient Grace", however, at ElderDad's suggestion which points out our primary forum theme, addressing the RT position termed "Irresistible Grace" first is the more appropriate approach.

So, if this approach is acceptable, I would invite someone to begin this thread by first defining the term, then giving a brief re-cap of the history of "TULIP", and concluding with Scriptural references supporting the concept. That should get us rolling.

Barring objections, I would encourage someone in the Reformed camp to please begin.

Grace and peace to all.

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Suggested Structure: (Best if viewing options set: Threaded Collapsed | Oldest First | 200/page |)

(The first 3 headings are reserved for Reformed Theology Adherents ONLY)

Defining the terms (No opposing views here)
     Irresistible Grace
     Prevenient Grace
     etc...
Brief re-cap of the history of "TULIP" (No opposing views here)
     Early History
     Later History
     Unfolding History/Current Understanding
Scriptural references supporting the concept (No opposing views here)
     Irresistible Grace
     Prevenient Grace
     etc...
1st Discussion: Irresistible Grace
2nd Discussion: Prevenient Grace
3rd Discussion: etc...

Noshic's picture

Over-analysis?

Barry, I feel that sometimes people get too stuck with terminologies like 'regeneration', and then they have difficulty grasping something that does not fit in with those terminologies and how they define them.

Isn't 'original sin' itself a mystery? How did the disobedience of one man (who I presume had true free will to choose between right and wrong - if God indeed created everything 'good') translate into 'total depravity' or 'original sin' or 'fallen nature' of the whole human race? If we can accept this mystery, why can we not accept the mystery of God's grace which works on every human being to enable his will to once again be freely able to choose between right and wrong? It is like a glimpse of the spiritual...some will follow that glimpse to find the vision, while others will simply ignore it again and again (resisting God's grace). When it comes to sinfulness, we think 'all' means 'all'. But when it comes to saving grace, why do we need to redefine 'all' to mean just the believers / all nations etc?

In trying to solve this mystery of how prevenient or actual grace works on an unredeemed person, and how that can fit in with our definition of 'regeneration', we should not artificially create mysteries which are much harder to grasp and go against the whole gist of the Scriptures. Absolute predestination (stripped even of foreknowledge, a scriptural concept - which RT denies in the form that it is understood by most eg Molinists) makes God seem arbitrary, makes scriptures, prayer and preaching seem redundant, and reduces men to a puppet-like existence where nothing they do is of any eternal consequence - a fate worse than death....And yet, you seem happy to embrace these as mysteries!

I know you'll ask for specific scriptural backing for all this. Well, G.K.Chesterton has written that it is very hard for a man to defend something of which he's entirely convinced...for he finds that everything proves it :) In the same way, it is tough to pull out just a few verses of the Scriptures to prove this relation between grace and free will, because to me, the Scriptures as a whole prove it, their very existence proves it...as does logic, as does human experience. However others like Jeff, ML and Justin have tried to give you relevant verses and alternative interpretations...so..:)

Noshi




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