Why Continue Posting?

His clay

Active member
I've been doing some introspection lately. The question stands out as significant. Why post in this forum? Other related questions come up as well. Am I just wasting my time posting? Is interacting in the forum healthy? Are other avenues of interaction more valuable and beneficial? These are important questions, and the answers aren't simplistic.

So here is my attempt, off the cuff, at answering the previous questions.

(1) Objectively judging the value and benefit of interacting in the forum is very difficult to do. Much of ministry to others leaves you in the dark. And much of ministry is more about your faithfulness to God rather than your perception of results. I do not endorse numbers Christianity. Certainly, one could go to the book of Acts and point to the numbers listed there. However, I could go to the gospels and point to the smallness of Jesus' impact upon 12/11 disciples. Numbers follow from the joint working of the Holy Spirit and the faithful proclamation of the gospel.

The faith chapter, Hebrews 11, points to people who believed the promise. However, the fulfillment of the promise did not happen in their lifetimes. Faith preceded the external results. Many died because of their trust in the promises of God. One could make the case that their objective results were disastrous. If "results" were just a human accomplishment in a secular sense, then I could objectively evaluate the impact of ministry. However, God is a person; He is not an impersonal tool to be wielded. He sets the times and the seasons.

These are a few reasons that come to mind in evaluating whether other avenues are more valuable or beneficial.

(2) I've received a few comments that point to others being encouraged. God forbid that I'm just here tooting my own horn. I'm just stating a fact that encourages me. It is truly encouraging when others do recognize the effort and grace that God has given you to serve others.

(3) I've lessened the amount of time posting in the forum. Being very busy has been a way of life for me. We all have priorities, and for me this forum is lower in priority than many other avenues of ministry. Time and priorities are intimately connected.

(4) Why do I like posting in the forum? Putting thoughts out there for others to digest and ponder is fun for me. I enjoy a small degree of debate, provided that it is within acceptable bounds. I don't enjoy extremely hostile interactions. However, I enjoy being tested to some degree; it depends upon the quality of the testing.

A forum is an informal way of getting thoughts organized. I've never been the best at the gift of gab. It takes me time to ponder what and how to speak. Most people who know me personally know that I'm not a chatterbox. Often in my life, conversations point me to many communication obstacles. This is especially true when a person asks you a question, and you realize that you need to give five points to adequately address the issue. However, all five points are needed at the same time, and so you don't know where to start. Writing helps with this communication impasse.

I enjoy reading the thoughts and opinions of others. Of course this takes place with the filter of scripture, languages, hermeneutics, grammar, presuppositions, etc. In short, we all ought to be evaluating all the time

(5) What is my goal for the forum? Why do I post here ultimately? Truth is certainly important. First graders understand how to speak their mind (e.g. "Susie is fat." "Johnny looks weird."). However, their truth telling lacks tact. Tact is important; it doesn't mean that we can jettison truth. However, it does mean that there are better ways of saying things or better ways of expressing disagreement. Being on the side of truth doesn't mean that rudeness and verbal brashness is acceptable. Fighting for truth doesn't need to come at the expense of mistreating others.

Encouraging the propagation of God's word in the lives of others is certainly a noble goal. Teaching takes a lot more work than many imagine. Patience is very important. I often lack in that regard.

Ultimately though, it comes down to my walk with God. God needs to be the One who I am following and obeying by interacting in the forum. God is the One who tells me what to do. My life shouldn't be ultimately governed by my own selfish aims. Paul called himself a bond-servant of Christ. Have I scrutinized my life in light of God's goals and aims for me? In short, (1) spreading a better understanding of the gospel, (2) proclaiming God's word, (3) encouraging others, (4) personally benefiting from deeper scripture study, (5) continuing to develop communication skills, etc. all serve to leave me with the conclusion that my interaction here is something that God wants me to do.

(6) My interaction in this forum has deepened and strengthened my understanding and commitment to the doctrine of the depravity of man. The radical resistance and tenacity in the face of flat scriptural contradiction and logical refutation points to the bondage of the will. I literally do not see how "free will" (in the libertarian sense) has any meaning in light of the adamant impossibility of choosing otherwise than what you believe to be true. It is a practical reality that combats an ideologically naive position. This forum, every single day, refutes libertarian freedom.

Perhaps, the most important element of one's understanding of the nature of depravity is found in the connection between depravity and the nature of faith. If you do not see depravity in scripture, then you are typically focused upon your own ability, what free will can accomplish. "Faith" then becomes an expression of your own ability; it is an action of self-reliance in keeping with the commands of scripture. In contrast, if you do see depravity in yourself and scripture, then you are much less prone toward self-trust. God's strength is more significant, and His grace overcomes human depravity. "Faith" then becomes empty-handed and a dependent focus upon the One who accomplished your salvation upon the cross. I see the divide as nothing short of a watershed issue between a false gospel and the true gospel. The very meaning of "faith" is at issue.

These are a few ramblings that I hope are helpful. God bless you all as you dive into the scriptures and depend upon His grace as you study.
 

ReverendRV

Well-known member
I've been doing some introspection lately. The question stands out as significant. Why post in this forum? Other related questions come up as well. Am I just wasting my time posting? Is interacting in the forum healthy? Are other avenues of interaction more valuable and beneficial? These are important questions, and the answers aren't simplistic.

So here is my attempt, off the cuff, at answering the previous questions.

(1) Objectively judging the value and benefit of interacting in the forum is very difficult to do. Much of ministry to others leaves you in the dark. And much of ministry is more about your faithfulness to God rather than your perception of results. I do not endorse numbers Christianity. Certainly, one could go to the book of Acts and point to the numbers listed there. However, I could go to the gospels and point to the smallness of Jesus' impact upon 12/11 disciples. Numbers follow from the joint working of the Holy Spirit and the faithful proclamation of the gospel.

The faith chapter, Hebrews 11, points to people who believed the promise. However, the fulfillment of the promise did not happen in their lifetimes. Faith preceded the external results. Many died because of their trust in the promises of God. One could make the case that their objective results were disastrous. If "results" were just a human accomplishment in a secular sense, then I could objectively evaluate the impact of ministry. However, God is a person; He is not an impersonal tool to be wielded. He sets the times and the seasons.

These are a few reasons that come to mind in evaluating whether other avenues are more valuable or beneficial.

(2) I've received a few comments that point to others being encouraged. God forbid that I'm just here tooting my own horn. I'm just stating a fact that encourages me. It is truly encouraging when others do recognize the effort and grace that God has given you to serve others.

(3) I've lessened the amount of time posting in the forum. Being very busy has been a way of life for me. We all have priorities, and for me this forum is lower in priority than many other avenues of ministry. Time and priorities are intimately connected.

(4) Why do I like posting in the forum? Putting thoughts out there for others to digest and ponder is fun for me. I enjoy a small degree of debate, provided that it is within acceptable bounds. I don't enjoy extremely hostile interactions. However, I enjoy being tested to some degree; it depends upon the quality of the testing.

A forum is an informal way of getting thoughts organized. I've never been the best at the gift of gab. It takes me time to ponder what and how to speak. Most people who know me personally know that I'm not a chatterbox. Often in my life, conversations point me to many communication obstacles. This is especially true when a person asks you a question, and you realize that you need to give five points to adequately address the issue. However, all five points are needed at the same time, and so you don't know where to start. Writing helps with this communication impasse.

I enjoy reading the thoughts and opinions of others. Of course this takes place with the filter of scripture, languages, hermeneutics, grammar, presuppositions, etc. In short, we all ought to be evaluating all the time

(5) What is my goal for the forum? Why do I post here ultimately? Truth is certainly important. First graders understand how to speak their mind (e.g. "Susie is fat." "Johnny looks weird."). However, their truth telling lacks tact. Tact is important; it doesn't mean that we can jettison truth. However, it does mean that there are better ways of saying things or better ways of expressing disagreement. Being on the side of truth doesn't mean that rudeness and verbal brashness is acceptable. Fighting for truth doesn't need to come at the expense of mistreating others.

Encouraging the propagation of God's word in the lives of others is certainly a noble goal. Teaching takes a lot more work than many imagine. Patience is very important. I often lack in that regard.

Ultimately though, it comes down to my walk with God. God needs to be the One who I am following and obeying by interacting in the forum. God is the One who tells me what to do. My life shouldn't be ultimately governed by my own selfish aims. Paul called himself a bond-servant of Christ. Have I scrutinized my life in light of God's goals and aims for me? In short, (1) spreading a better understanding of the gospel, (2) proclaiming God's word, (3) encouraging others, (4) personally benefiting from deeper scripture study, (5) continuing to develop communication skills, etc. all serve to leave me with the conclusion that my interaction here is something that God wants me to do.

(6) My interaction in this forum has deepened and strengthened my understanding and commitment to the doctrine of the depravity of man. The radical resistance and tenacity in the face of flat scriptural contradiction and logical refutation points to the bondage of the will. I literally do not see how "free will" (in the libertarian sense) has any meaning in light of the adamant impossibility of choosing otherwise than what you believe to be true. It is a practical reality that combats an ideologically naive position. This forum, every single day, refutes libertarian freedom.

Perhaps, the most important element of one's understanding of the nature of depravity is found in the connection between depravity and the nature of faith. If you do not see depravity in scripture, then you are typically focused upon your own ability, what free will can accomplish. "Faith" then becomes an expression of your own ability; it is an action of self-reliance in keeping with the commands of scripture. In contrast, if you do see depravity in yourself and scripture, then you are much less prone toward self-trust. God's strength is more significant, and His grace overcomes human depravity. "Faith" then becomes empty-handed and a dependent focus upon the One who accomplished your salvation upon the cross. I see the divide as nothing short of a watershed issue between a false gospel and the true gospel. The very meaning of "faith" is at issue.

These are a few ramblings that I hope are helpful. God bless you all as you dive into the scriptures and depend upon His grace as you study.
Being here has taught me a lot, most of what I believe has been flushed out here. I've learned how to write because of CARM, and it certainly helps my Gospel Tract Ministry. I've learned how to debate here too. I bring this up from time-to-time because Heretics have also learned how to debate here too. Finally, the Lurkers want to know what the Orthodox have to say. And after 10+ years here with zero Posters changing their Minds, I'm convinced our target audience should be New Converts we can then Teach; not Old Converts who we try to Proselytize...
 
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Dizerner

Well-known member
I post because I want to help people but sometimes I think I'm not doing that efficiently. It's frustrating to feel misunderstood, and realizing that something that seems clear and makes sense to you seem to be trampled pearls makes you tempted to judge the other person as just stubborn, when maybe they are actually blind. I see this judgmentalism instead of compassion towards the lost a lot as well.

Sure, I can argue my points and feel they are valid, but will it open spiritual eyes? If you believe in determinism, you are really nothing but a means to an inevitable ends anyway, so you're just along for the ride. If I believe I actually have a responsibility and my decision actually makes a difference—then I feel a lot more weight to properly represent the truth. But I can still depend too much on myself.

I think I've carried too much of the weight of feeling such a burden that believers would see their weaknesses and grow in the Lord, that it has at times become a pressuring and false responsibility. If I believe the Bible all arenas of doctrine are not a flex match to see who has the best logic, but in fact real and impactful spiritual warfare. Do I run blithely onto the battlefield with nothing but powerless logic?

I hope to God somewhere the Holy Spirit has used me. I have full confidence I know some certain truths. I speak in all the faith I have... and yet my results have often been disappointing. Would Isaiah feel disappointed? Would Paul feel disappointed after speaking to the Greeks? Would even Jesus feel disappointed at times like when so many who claimed to follow him simply packed their bags and left?

You say the sin nature disproves free will. Well, I find that illogical. I believe in free will because I believe grace doesn't have to force itself to be grace. The whole concept of "resisting" grace would be ludicrous and misleading if God is in fact pulling all of the strings behind the scenes. The whole language would be so misleadingly constructed that every phrase has to be elaborately reinterpreted.

The reason you don't believe in free will and the reason I do is not based on these arguments, or eventually one of us could be convinced of the other's arguments. No, the reason you or I believe opposite things is supernaturally based, and that means you or I have a spiritual blindness. Should we treat the other with harshness, judgmentalism, condescension and exasperation? Perhaps not.

I am confident that if we sincerely follow the Lord to the best of our abilities he will lead us to the truths we need, and that is a great comfort to me when I want the best for his people and feel let down. I want to know I did the best I could and even went the second mile, so that even when the results are disappointing, Jesus says "well done." I want to find my true contentment in knowing God.

It's been an honor to engage the more thoughtful and kind opposition such as yourself, and to pray and develop character with those who seem to think their clanging corrections of lovelessness will win them heavenly rewards. I haven't yet resisted to the point of shedding blood, but sometimes depression can seem even harder. As Paul said, "The Lord stood by my side," and that day all will be known.

Peace in Christ.
 

civic

Well-known member
I've been doing some introspection lately. The question stands out as significant. Why post in this forum? Other related questions come up as well. Am I just wasting my time posting? Is interacting in the forum healthy? Are other avenues of interaction more valuable and beneficial? These are important questions, and the answers aren't simplistic.

So here is my attempt, off the cuff, at answering the previous questions.

(1) Objectively judging the value and benefit of interacting in the forum is very difficult to do. Much of ministry to others leaves you in the dark. And much of ministry is more about your faithfulness to God rather than your perception of results. I do not endorse numbers Christianity. Certainly, one could go to the book of Acts and point to the numbers listed there. However, I could go to the gospels and point to the smallness of Jesus' impact upon 12/11 disciples. Numbers follow from the joint working of the Holy Spirit and the faithful proclamation of the gospel.

The faith chapter, Hebrews 11, points to people who believed the promise. However, the fulfillment of the promise did not happen in their lifetimes. Faith preceded the external results. Many died because of their trust in the promises of God. One could make the case that their objective results were disastrous. If "results" were just a human accomplishment in a secular sense, then I could objectively evaluate the impact of ministry. However, God is a person; He is not an impersonal tool to be wielded. He sets the times and the seasons.

These are a few reasons that come to mind in evaluating whether other avenues are more valuable or beneficial.

(2) I've received a few comments that point to others being encouraged. God forbid that I'm just here tooting my own horn. I'm just stating a fact that encourages me. It is truly encouraging when others do recognize the effort and grace that God has given you to serve others.

(3) I've lessened the amount of time posting in the forum. Being very busy has been a way of life for me. We all have priorities, and for me this forum is lower in priority than many other avenues of ministry. Time and priorities are intimately connected.

(4) Why do I like posting in the forum? Putting thoughts out there for others to digest and ponder is fun for me. I enjoy a small degree of debate, provided that it is within acceptable bounds. I don't enjoy extremely hostile interactions. However, I enjoy being tested to some degree; it depends upon the quality of the testing.

A forum is an informal way of getting thoughts organized. I've never been the best at the gift of gab. It takes me time to ponder what and how to speak. Most people who know me personally know that I'm not a chatterbox. Often in my life, conversations point me to many communication obstacles. This is especially true when a person asks you a question, and you realize that you need to give five points to adequately address the issue. However, all five points are needed at the same time, and so you don't know where to start. Writing helps with this communication impasse.

I enjoy reading the thoughts and opinions of others. Of course this takes place with the filter of scripture, languages, hermeneutics, grammar, presuppositions, etc. In short, we all ought to be evaluating all the time

(5) What is my goal for the forum? Why do I post here ultimately? Truth is certainly important. First graders understand how to speak their mind (e.g. "Susie is fat." "Johnny looks weird."). However, their truth telling lacks tact. Tact is important; it doesn't mean that we can jettison truth. However, it does mean that there are better ways of saying things or better ways of expressing disagreement. Being on the side of truth doesn't mean that rudeness and verbal brashness is acceptable. Fighting for truth doesn't need to come at the expense of mistreating others.

Encouraging the propagation of God's word in the lives of others is certainly a noble goal. Teaching takes a lot more work than many imagine. Patience is very important. I often lack in that regard.

Ultimately though, it comes down to my walk with God. God needs to be the One who I am following and obeying by interacting in the forum. God is the One who tells me what to do. My life shouldn't be ultimately governed by my own selfish aims. Paul called himself a bond-servant of Christ. Have I scrutinized my life in light of God's goals and aims for me? In short, (1) spreading a better understanding of the gospel, (2) proclaiming God's word, (3) encouraging others, (4) personally benefiting from deeper scripture study, (5) continuing to develop communication skills, etc. all serve to leave me with the conclusion that my interaction here is something that God wants me to do.

(6) My interaction in this forum has deepened and strengthened my understanding and commitment to the doctrine of the depravity of man. The radical resistance and tenacity in the face of flat scriptural contradiction and logical refutation points to the bondage of the will. I literally do not see how "free will" (in the libertarian sense) has any meaning in light of the adamant impossibility of choosing otherwise than what you believe to be true. It is a practical reality that combats an ideologically naive position. This forum, every single day, refutes libertarian freedom.

Perhaps, the most important element of one's understanding of the nature of depravity is found in the connection between depravity and the nature of faith. If you do not see depravity in scripture, then you are typically focused upon your own ability, what free will can accomplish. "Faith" then becomes an expression of your own ability; it is an action of self-reliance in keeping with the commands of scripture. In contrast, if you do see depravity in yourself and scripture, then you are much less prone toward self-trust. God's strength is more significant, and His grace overcomes human depravity. "Faith" then becomes empty-handed and a dependent focus upon the One who accomplished your salvation upon the cross. I see the divide as nothing short of a watershed issue between a false gospel and the true gospel. The very meaning of "faith" is at issue.

These are a few ramblings that I hope are helpful. God bless you all as you dive into the scriptures and depend upon His grace as you study.
You have a great attitude and one which I could learn a lesson from myself. I know I can come across very brash with certain posters who are heterodox. I believe I treat my Arminian brothers/sisters whom I disagree with respect and dignity . I know I need to work on the other group who I personally consider reprobate since they once believed in the traditional and historical Christian Faith on the essentials. Great OP for discussion .

I like to be challenged in my faith and I have learned allot over the years from both A’s and C’s. I like the iron sharpens iron aspect of this forum and for me it keeps me digging deeper into Gods word on a daily basis with questions and objections from the opposition. That is my 2 cents fwiw.

hope this helps !!!
 
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JDS

Well-known member
Perhaps, the most important element of one's understanding of the nature of depravity is found in the connection between depravity and the nature of faith. If you do not see depravity in scripture, then you are typically focused upon your own ability, what free will can accomplish. "Faith" then becomes an expression of your own ability; it is an action of self-reliance in keeping with the commands of scripture. In contrast, if you do see depravity in yourself and scripture, then you are much less prone toward self-trust. God's strength is more significant, and His grace overcomes human depravity. "Faith" then becomes empty-handed and a dependent focus upon the One who accomplished your salvation upon the cross. I see the divide as nothing short of a watershed issue between a false gospel and the true gospel. The very meaning of "faith" is at issue.

These are a few ramblings that I hope are helpful. God bless you all as you dive into the scriptures and depend upon His grace as you study.

I heard a story one time that reminds me of your conclusion concerning faith and self reliance, etc.

It seems a fellow fell off of a ship out in the sea and he could barely swim enough to tread water and stay afloat for a brief time. He cried out to God, "SAVE ME," and by and by there was a man on the ship who saw him struggling in the water and yelled at him to catch the life raft he is throwing out for him. However, this fellow had the same view of faith as you and he yelled back to his rescuer, "Never mind, I have asked God to save me and I believe he will. Some few minutes later a rescue boat from the ship sped out to where he was located and yelled encouragement and offered a hand, but no, he said, I have asked God to save me and I believe he will. Next, a rescue helicopter came and dropped down a ladder but the drowning man would not take hold because God would save him he was sure.

Alas, the man drowned in the sea and his soul stood before God, bewildered and confused. He asked God why he did not save him from the sea and God answered. I sent a man with a raft but you would not take hold. Then I sent a boat with men to drag you from the sea but you refused their help, and last I sent a helicopter and a ladder to lift you to safety, but you ignored the ladder that I provided. You perished in the sea because of your own way.
 

civic

Well-known member
I post because I want to help people but sometimes I think I'm not doing that efficiently. It's frustrating to feel misunderstood, and realizing that something that seems clear and makes sense to you seem to be trampled pearls makes you tempted to judge the other person as just stubborn, when maybe they are actually blind. I see this judgmentalism instead of compassion towards the lost a lot as well.

Sure, I can argue my points and feel they are valid, but will it open spiritual eyes? If you believe in determinism, you are really nothing but a means to an inevitable ends anyway, so you're just along for the ride. If I believe I actually have a responsibility and my decision actually makes a difference—then I feel a lot more weight to properly represent the truth. But I can still depend too much on myself.

I think I've carried too much of the weight of feeling such a burden that believers would see their weaknesses and grow in the Lord, that it has at times become a pressuring and false responsibility. If I believe the Bible all arenas of doctrine are not a flex match to see who has the best logic, but in fact real and impactful spiritual warfare. Do I run blithely onto the battlefield with nothing but powerless logic?

I hope to God somewhere the Holy Spirit has used me. I have full confidence I know some certain truths. I speak in all the faith I have... and yet my results have often been disappointing. Would Isaiah feel disappointed? Would Paul feel disappointed after speaking to the Greeks? Would even Jesus feel disappointed at times like when so many who claimed to follow him simply packed their bags and left?

You say the sin nature disproves free will. Well, I find that illogical. I believe in free will because I believe grace doesn't have to force itself to be grace. The whole concept of "resisting" grace would be ludicrous and misleading if God is in fact pulling all of the strings behind the scenes. The whole language would be so misleadingly constructed that every phrase has to be elaborately reinterpreted.

The reason you don't believe in free will and the reason I do is not based on these arguments, or eventually one of us could be convinced of the other's arguments. No, the reason you or I believe opposite things is supernaturally based, and that means you or I have a spiritual blindness. Should we treat the other with harshness, judgmentalism, condescension and exasperation? Perhaps not.

I am confident that if we sincerely follow the Lord to the best of our abilities he will lead us to the truths we need, and that is a great comfort to me when I want the best for his people and feel let down. I want to know I did the best I could and even went the second mile, so that even when the results are disappointing, Jesus says "well done." I want to find my true contentment in knowing God.

It's been an honor to engage the more thoughtful and kind opposition such as yourself, and to pray and develop character with those who seem to think their clanging corrections of lovelessness will win them heavenly rewards. I haven't yet resisted to the point of shedding blood, but sometimes depression can seem even harder. As Paul said, "The Lord stood by my side," and that day all will be known.

Peace in Christ.
Even though we disagree on the A/C debate I consider you a good egg 😎

And truth be told you have some valid points and objections against C’s. Others might not see it that way but I do. And if you feel I’ve personally attacked you I apologize for that dizerner. I do not believe our differences are salvific but you might think they are and I hope that is not the case and you consider me a brother in Christ. I enjoy reading your posts even though I may disagree.

hope this helps !!!
 

His clay

Active member
I heard a story one time that reminds me of your conclusion concerning faith and self reliance, etc.

It seems a fellow fell off of a ship out in the sea and he could barely swim enough to tread water and stay afloat for a brief time. He cried out to God, "SAVE ME," and by and by there was a man on the ship who saw him struggling in the water and yelled at him to catch the life raft he is throwing out for him. However, this fellow had the same view of faith as you and he yelled back to his rescuer, "Never mind, I have asked God to save me and I believe he will. Some few minutes later a rescue boat from the ship sped out to where he was located and yelled encouragement and offered a hand, but no, he said, I have asked God to save me and I believe he will. Next, a rescue helicopter came and dropped down a ladder but the drowning man would not take hold because God would save him he was sure.

Alas, the man drowned in the sea and his soul stood before God, bewildered and confused. He asked God why he did not save him from the sea and God answered. I sent a man with a raft but you would not take hold. Then I sent a boat with men to drag you from the sea but you refused their help, and last I sent a helicopter and a ladder to lift you to safety, but you ignored the ladder that I provided. You perished in the sea because of your own way.
Your story is certainly interesting, but it is not representative of my conclusion concerning faith and self reliance. Human action was not excluded. Rather, the issue is how human action is perceived and understood (dependent human action vs self-reliant human action in relation to different understandings of depravity).
 

TibiasDad

Well-known member
I've been doing some introspection lately. The question stands out as significant. Why post in this forum? Other related questions come up as well. Am I just wasting my time posting? Is interacting in the forum healthy? Are other avenues of interaction more valuable and beneficial? These are important questions, and the answers aren't simplistic.

So here is my attempt, off the cuff, at answering the previous questions.

(1) Objectively judging the value and benefit of interacting in the forum is very difficult to do. Much of ministry to others leaves you in the dark. And much of ministry is more about your faithfulness to God rather than your perception of results. I do not endorse numbers Christianity. Certainly, one could go to the book of Acts and point to the numbers listed there. However, I could go to the gospels and point to the smallness of Jesus' impact upon 12/11 disciples. Numbers follow from the joint working of the Holy Spirit and the faithful proclamation of the gospel.

The faith chapter, Hebrews 11, points to people who believed the promise. However, the fulfillment of the promise did not happen in their lifetimes. Faith preceded the external results. Many died because of their trust in the promises of God. One could make the case that their objective results were disastrous. If "results" were just a human accomplishment in a secular sense, then I could objectively evaluate the impact of ministry. However, God is a person; He is not an impersonal tool to be wielded. He sets the times and the seasons.

These are a few reasons that come to mind in evaluating whether other avenues are more valuable or beneficial.

(2) I've received a few comments that point to others being encouraged. God forbid that I'm just here tooting my own horn. I'm just stating a fact that encourages me. It is truly encouraging when others do recognize the effort and grace that God has given you to serve others.

(3) I've lessened the amount of time posting in the forum. Being very busy has been a way of life for me. We all have priorities, and for me this forum is lower in priority than many other avenues of ministry. Time and priorities are intimately connected.

(4) Why do I like posting in the forum? Putting thoughts out there for others to digest and ponder is fun for me. I enjoy a small degree of debate, provided that it is within acceptable bounds. I don't enjoy extremely hostile interactions. However, I enjoy being tested to some degree; it depends upon the quality of the testing.

A forum is an informal way of getting thoughts organized. I've never been the best at the gift of gab. It takes me time to ponder what and how to speak. Most people who know me personally know that I'm not a chatterbox. Often in my life, conversations point me to many communication obstacles. This is especially true when a person asks you a question, and you realize that you need to give five points to adequately address the issue. However, all five points are needed at the same time, and so you don't know where to start. Writing helps with this communication impasse.

I enjoy reading the thoughts and opinions of others. Of course this takes place with the filter of scripture, languages, hermeneutics, grammar, presuppositions, etc. In short, we all ought to be evaluating all the time

(5) What is my goal for the forum? Why do I post here ultimately? Truth is certainly important. First graders understand how to speak their mind (e.g. "Susie is fat." "Johnny looks weird."). However, their truth telling lacks tact. Tact is important; it doesn't mean that we can jettison truth. However, it does mean that there are better ways of saying things or better ways of expressing disagreement. Being on the side of truth doesn't mean that rudeness and verbal brashness is acceptable. Fighting for truth doesn't need to come at the expense of mistreating others.

Encouraging the propagation of God's word in the lives of others is certainly a noble goal. Teaching takes a lot more work than many imagine. Patience is very important. I often lack in that regard.

Ultimately though, it comes down to my walk with God. God needs to be the One who I am following and obeying by interacting in the forum. God is the One who tells me what to do. My life shouldn't be ultimately governed by my own selfish aims. Paul called himself a bond-servant of Christ. Have I scrutinized my life in light of God's goals and aims for me? In short, (1) spreading a better understanding of the gospel, (2) proclaiming God's word, (3) encouraging others, (4) personally benefiting from deeper scripture study, (5) continuing to develop communication skills, etc. all serve to leave me with the conclusion that my interaction here is something that God wants me to do.

(6) My interaction in this forum has deepened and strengthened my understanding and commitment to the doctrine of the depravity of man. The radical resistance and tenacity in the face of flat scriptural contradiction and logical refutation points to the bondage of the will. I literally do not see how "free will" (in the libertarian sense) has any meaning in light of the adamant impossibility of choosing otherwise than what you believe to be true. It is a practical reality that combats an ideologically naive position. This forum, every single day, refutes libertarian freedom.

Perhaps, the most important element of one's understanding of the nature of depravity is found in the connection between depravity and the nature of faith. If you do not see depravity in scripture, then you are typically focused upon your own ability, what free will can accomplish. "Faith" then becomes an expression of your own ability; it is an action of self-reliance in keeping with the commands of scripture. In contrast, if you do see depravity in yourself and scripture, then you are much less prone toward self-trust. God's strength is more significant, and His grace overcomes human depravity. "Faith" then becomes empty-handed and a dependent focus upon the One who accomplished your salvation upon the cross. I see the divide as nothing short of a watershed issue between a false gospel and the true gospel. The very meaning of "faith" is at issue.

These are a few ramblings that I hope are helpful. God bless you all as you dive into the scriptures and depend upon His grace as you study.

For my part, I came to CARM after becoming familiar with it while writing a book on the JW's. Joining the A&C forum was with the intent of testing my own thinking as a Wesleyan Arminian by seeking the observations of those with a Reformed perspective.

I suppose that the prospect of convincing someone is always a pleasant hope, but it's never been an objective for being here. I have learned much in the 7-years I've been here, and you are among the better responders I have found here.

I think my own thinking has both changed and become more certain in this environment, but I've also found my weaknesses, both theologically and in how I present my arguments, exposed, which is what I wanted to discover. I have much ground to make up and improvements to achieve. It's too bad that this is not a local group of students that could meet face to face, as I think proximity would foster some very real and lasting friendships.

It is true that things can get out of hand, and I have been guilty of this too often, but I am trying these days to uses whatever saltiness I may have to both flavor and preserve the integrity of Christian teaching while living in harmony with those whose perspectives, while Orthodox, are very different to mine. Iron sharpens iron, and I am sharper because of this forum!


Doug
 

His clay

Active member
I post because I want to help people but sometimes I think I'm not doing that efficiently. It's frustrating to feel misunderstood, and realizing that something that seems clear and makes sense to you seem to be trampled pearls makes you tempted to judge the other person as just stubborn, when maybe they are actually blind. I see this judgmentalism instead of compassion towards the lost a lot as well.

Sure, I can argue my points and feel they are valid, but will it open spiritual eyes? If you believe in determinism, you are really nothing but a means to an inevitable ends anyway, so you're just along for the ride. If I believe I actually have a responsibility and my decision actually makes a difference—then I feel a lot more weight to properly represent the truth. But I can still depend too much on myself.

I think I've carried too much of the weight of feeling such a burden that believers would see their weaknesses and grow in the Lord, that it has at times become a pressuring and false responsibility. If I believe the Bible all arenas of doctrine are not a flex match to see who has the best logic, but in fact real and impactful spiritual warfare. Do I run blithely onto the battlefield with nothing but powerless logic?

I hope to God somewhere the Holy Spirit has used me. I have full confidence I know some certain truths. I speak in all the faith I have... and yet my results have often been disappointing. Would Isaiah feel disappointed? Would Paul feel disappointed after speaking to the Greeks? Would even Jesus feel disappointed at times like when so many who claimed to follow him simply packed their bags and left?

You say the sin nature disproves free will. Well, I find that illogical. I believe in free will because I believe grace doesn't have to force itself to be grace. The whole concept of "resisting" grace would be ludicrous and misleading if God is in fact pulling all of the strings behind the scenes. The whole language would be so misleadingly constructed that every phrase has to be elaborately reinterpreted.

The reason you don't believe in free will and the reason I do is not based on these arguments, or eventually one of us could be convinced of the other's arguments. No, the reason you or I believe opposite things is supernaturally based, and that means you or I have a spiritual blindness. Should we treat the other with harshness, judgmentalism, condescension and exasperation? Perhaps not.

I am confident that if we sincerely follow the Lord to the best of our abilities he will lead us to the truths we need, and that is a great comfort to me when I want the best for his people and feel let down. I want to know I did the best I could and even went the second mile, so that even when the results are disappointing, Jesus says "well done." I want to find my true contentment in knowing God.

It's been an honor to engage the more thoughtful and kind opposition such as yourself, and to pray and develop character with those who seem to think their clanging corrections of lovelessness will win them heavenly rewards. I haven't yet resisted to the point of shedding blood, but sometimes depression can seem even harder. As Paul said, "The Lord stood by my side," and that day all will be known.

Peace in Christ.
I've taken certain portions of the quoted text above and changed the font to blue. I did this to better highlight what I am responding to with the following.

Determinism
Since your critique is against determinism, then you need to be aware that only three options exist. Either you hold to determinism, or you hold to indeterminism, or you hold to some combination of the two. If you are simply indeterminist with respect to the will/choice of people, then your position reduces down to random chance events, which actually destroys responsibility and meaning. With respect to the combination option, you then face the problem of consistency. If God does determine some choices, then why have a problem with God's determination of all. Also, If God's determination of all is problematic, then how do the problematic reasons not apply during the exceptions. My point here is that your options are limited, and each view has its own problems.

In your view above, determinism entails inevitability, and this is destructive of personal responsibility and choices that make a difference. In my compatibilistic view, it is precisely because of God's determination that human decisions have meaning, and people are responsible. Inevitability does not thwart the necessity of means; therefore, a person's decision does make a massive difference. In fact, it could not be any other way, since God ordains the means as well as the end. What I see at issue behind your words is the commitment to a libertarian view of the will and choices (indeterminism). I do not follow that view. I see the will and choices as inherently determined by a person's own nature; hence, choices and decisions are by nature deterministic. Also, I see God as the ultimate standard of meaning; this obviously excludes human autonomy as a standard of meaning. I can see that these two standards (God as ultimate, human decisions as ultimate) are at odds often in this forum.

I really do appreciate your comment above. While I obviously disagree, I can better see the issue that seems prevalent to your mind.

Practical Refutation
I also highlighted your comment where you say, "You say the sin nature disproves free will." I will now quote my comment in full for the sake of future evaluation of your comment in light of my comment.
"My interaction in this forum has deepened and strengthened my understanding and commitment to the doctrine of the depravity of man. The radical resistance and tenacity in the face of flat scriptural contradiction and logical refutation points to the bondage of the will. I literally do not see how "free will" (in the libertarian sense) has any meaning in light of the adamant impossibility of choosing otherwise than what you believe to be true. It is a practical reality that combats an ideologically naive position. This forum, every single day, refutes libertarian freedom."
I certainly did mention the depravity issue. However, it is severely reductionistic to say that my point was that sin nature disproves free will. The point in my comment was that my forum interaction has shown me that people cannot choose otherwise than what they think to be true. This is a practical refutation of libertarian freedom. It is practical in that this happens every day in the forum, loaded with multitudes of examples. It refutes libertarian freedom in the sense that it gives a real life example of not being able to do otherwise in real decisions. People are not free to choose contrary to what they really believe is truth. Hence, my conclusion was that "This forum, every single day, refutes libertarian freedom." It is precisely this reality in the forum that has deepened and strengthened my understanding and commitment to the doctrine of the depravity of man. I have never seen an adequate response to this reality by advocates of libertarian freedom, and I have looked.

Spiritual Blindness
You spoke of "spiritual blindness." Does this mean that a person's choices are determined by what they can see or not see? Your reasoning seems to assume determinism when speaking of "spiritual blindness."

Closing Thoughts
Thank you again for a thoughtful post. As always, I try by best to not misrepresent you or your thoughts. I see no merit in arguing against straw men. If I have misrepresented, then I welcome correction. We can definitely agree that our choices are meaningful, impactful to the future, responsible. We also agree with regards to our dependence upon God. Yes, God's ultimate evaluation is so important.
 
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Ken Hamrick

Active member
I've been doing some introspection lately. The question stands out as significant. Why post in this forum? Other related questions come up as well. Am I just wasting my time posting? Is interacting in the forum healthy? Are other avenues of interaction more valuable and beneficial? These are important questions, and the answers aren't simplistic.

So here is my attempt, off the cuff, at answering the previous questions.

(1) Objectively judging the value and benefit of interacting in the forum is very difficult to do. Much of ministry to others leaves you in the dark. And much of ministry is more about your faithfulness to God rather than your perception of results. I do not endorse numbers Christianity. Certainly, one could go to the book of Acts and point to the numbers listed there. However, I could go to the gospels and point to the smallness of Jesus' impact upon 12/11 disciples. Numbers follow from the joint working of the Holy Spirit and the faithful proclamation of the gospel.

The faith chapter, Hebrews 11, points to people who believed the promise. However, the fulfillment of the promise did not happen in their lifetimes. Faith preceded the external results. Many died because of their trust in the promises of God. One could make the case that their objective results were disastrous. If "results" were just a human accomplishment in a secular sense, then I could objectively evaluate the impact of ministry. However, God is a person; He is not an impersonal tool to be wielded. He sets the times and the seasons.

These are a few reasons that come to mind in evaluating whether other avenues are more valuable or beneficial.

(2) I've received a few comments that point to others being encouraged. God forbid that I'm just here tooting my own horn. I'm just stating a fact that encourages me. It is truly encouraging when others do recognize the effort and grace that God has given you to serve others.

(3) I've lessened the amount of time posting in the forum. Being very busy has been a way of life for me. We all have priorities, and for me this forum is lower in priority than many other avenues of ministry. Time and priorities are intimately connected.

(4) Why do I like posting in the forum? Putting thoughts out there for others to digest and ponder is fun for me. I enjoy a small degree of debate, provided that it is within acceptable bounds. I don't enjoy extremely hostile interactions. However, I enjoy being tested to some degree; it depends upon the quality of the testing.

A forum is an informal way of getting thoughts organized. I've never been the best at the gift of gab. It takes me time to ponder what and how to speak. Most people who know me personally know that I'm not a chatterbox. Often in my life, conversations point me to many communication obstacles. This is especially true when a person asks you a question, and you realize that you need to give five points to adequately address the issue. However, all five points are needed at the same time, and so you don't know where to start. Writing helps with this communication impasse.

I enjoy reading the thoughts and opinions of others. Of course this takes place with the filter of scripture, languages, hermeneutics, grammar, presuppositions, etc. In short, we all ought to be evaluating all the time

(5) What is my goal for the forum? Why do I post here ultimately? Truth is certainly important. First graders understand how to speak their mind (e.g. "Susie is fat." "Johnny looks weird."). However, their truth telling lacks tact. Tact is important; it doesn't mean that we can jettison truth. However, it does mean that there are better ways of saying things or better ways of expressing disagreement. Being on the side of truth doesn't mean that rudeness and verbal brashness is acceptable. Fighting for truth doesn't need to come at the expense of mistreating others.

Encouraging the propagation of God's word in the lives of others is certainly a noble goal. Teaching takes a lot more work than many imagine. Patience is very important. I often lack in that regard.

Ultimately though, it comes down to my walk with God. God needs to be the One who I am following and obeying by interacting in the forum. God is the One who tells me what to do. My life shouldn't be ultimately governed by my own selfish aims. Paul called himself a bond-servant of Christ. Have I scrutinized my life in light of God's goals and aims for me? In short, (1) spreading a better understanding of the gospel, (2) proclaiming God's word, (3) encouraging others, (4) personally benefiting from deeper scripture study, (5) continuing to develop communication skills, etc. all serve to leave me with the conclusion that my interaction here is something that God wants me to do.

(6) My interaction in this forum has deepened and strengthened my understanding and commitment to the doctrine of the depravity of man. The radical resistance and tenacity in the face of flat scriptural contradiction and logical refutation points to the bondage of the will. I literally do not see how "free will" (in the libertarian sense) has any meaning in light of the adamant impossibility of choosing otherwise than what you believe to be true. It is a practical reality that combats an ideologically naive position. This forum, every single day, refutes libertarian freedom.

Perhaps, the most important element of one's understanding of the nature of depravity is found in the connection between depravity and the nature of faith. If you do not see depravity in scripture, then you are typically focused upon your own ability, what free will can accomplish. "Faith" then becomes an expression of your own ability; it is an action of self-reliance in keeping with the commands of scripture. In contrast, if you do see depravity in yourself and scripture, then you are much less prone toward self-trust. God's strength is more significant, and His grace overcomes human depravity. "Faith" then becomes empty-handed and a dependent focus upon the One who accomplished your salvation upon the cross. I see the divide as nothing short of a watershed issue between a false gospel and the true gospel. The very meaning of "faith" is at issue.

These are a few ramblings that I hope are helpful. God bless you all as you dive into the scriptures and depend upon His grace as you study.
Many excellent thoughts. I've been self-exiled for awhile. I think the key, for me, is to not let the forums become an inappropriately high priority. I once spent 8 hours at one sitting composing a lengthy response to a poster here. But for what? A year later, all that work was deleted to make room for new posts. I have probably poured hundreds of hours of good work into this forum, and all of it is gone now. So it's probably best not to take it all too seriously. The most we can hope for is that God will use us wherever we labor.
 

ReverendRV

Well-known member
Many excellent thoughts. I've been self-exiled for awhile. I think the key, for me, is to not let the forums become an inappropriately high priority. I once spent 8 hours at one sitting composing a lengthy response to a poster here. But for what? A year later, all that work was deleted to make room for new posts. I have probably poured hundreds of hours of good work into this forum, and all of it is gone now. So it's probably best not to take it all too seriously. The most we can hope for is that God will use us wherever we labor.
Welcome back! I was just talking about you...
 

Theo1689

Well-known member
Many excellent thoughts. I've been self-exiled for awhile. I think the key, for me, is to not let the forums become an inappropriately high priority. I once spent 8 hours at one sitting composing a lengthy response to a poster here. But for what? A year later, all that work was deleted to make room for new posts. I have probably poured hundreds of hours of good work into this forum, and all of it is gone now. So it's probably best not to take it all too seriously. The most we can hope for is that God will use us wherever we labor.

Whenever I spend more than 45 min or an hour writing a post, I usually keep a copy for myself, for precisely that reason.
 

TibiasDad

Well-known member
Many excellent thoughts. I've been self-exiled for awhile. I think the key, for me, is to not let the forums become an inappropriately high priority. I once spent 8 hours at one sitting composing a lengthy response to a poster here. But for what? A year later, all that work was deleted to make room for new posts. I have probably poured hundreds of hours of good work into this forum, and all of it is gone now. So it's probably best not to take it all too seriously. The most we can hope for is that God will use us wherever we labor.

Welcome back Ken, it's good to see you again!

Doug
 
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