Baptism, and ‘free will”…

Here is a class/bible study that I’ve edited (just to shorten it a bit) , but still left the gist of the class in tact.

It’s about 40 minutes, but is long enough to ruffle a few feathers and maywho's in chargebe open some eyes.

No doubt there will be detractors…and that is quite alright.

Listen in to Pastor Mark Anderson as he starts us off with some general descriptions of the sacramental view, the symbolic view, and the Lutheran view of baptism, along with a critique of ‘free will’ theology.

  click on baptism, ‘free will’, and other good stuff 

   If you enjoy it…pass it along. Thanks!

Advertisements

35 Responses

  1. Free Will is an interesting topic. My ideas about man having “free will” are becoming less and less until we get to various areas…

    ‘The bad fish are going to be gone.’ A comment like that (along with all those who fight against (and lose) God in Revelation lead me to believe there is some Free Will. People go to Hell because they choose not to accept God’s gift. Is that an accurate statement? I”m not sure. I would like to believe that there is no free will…

    Baptism and the Holy Sacraments—my favorite topics.

    Baptism in Christ Jesus (Baptized into His death) stays with us throughout our lives. Death and Resurrection. Old/New. Dirty/Clean.

    Returning to Baptism daily is trusting God (in His promises). That word TRUST again.

    “The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned.”

    Baptism – it does not rely on me. I trust God’s promises. “I forgive your sins and you belong to me.” TRUST.

    I really appreciate Pastor Anderson’s comments about pride. It’s true. We are so much about “what I have done.” “I did it.” “Look what I did.” Pride.

    We are raised in new life because God changes the desires of our heart. God works in us. Daily life sometimes gets more difficult as a Christian. The closer we are to God the more our sins stand out. Repenting (change) takes place and growth happens. Dying daily to sin. it’s a life journey.

    I love these words, ‘the word of God is its own ministry’ … Amen.

    God’s Word and Sacraments is where it’s at IMHO (the rest is fluff!)

    It is refreshing to hear a man call nonsense … nonsense. 😉

  2. Magdalene,

    You and I are probably a lot alike in the area of ‘free will’.
    The more I look at it the less I feel that we have it. Not just in the area of choosing God, or not, (I have been thoroughly catechised to the point where I do believe what I’ve been taught and believe what the bible says about choosing, or not choosing God to be true ) but also just as a matter of fact in my own life. So many of my “choices” are molded by forces that are ouside of myself that I wonder just how free ny will actually is.

    We are not free to accept God (No one seeks for God, St. Paul tells us in Romans), but we are free to reject Him.
    Actually, we are not even free to reject Him. Our will is bound to reject Him. Left to our own volition, no one will choose God. No one. How free is that?

    Without Christ and being called and chosen by Him…we are all “bad fish”.

    That’s the picture that the bible paints, anyway.

    Thanks Magdalane:D

    – Steve

  3. I really like the way Luther works through free will in “the Bondage of The Will.” He affirms the idea that there is some sense of freedom within which man operates, but that it can’t be said that people really have “free will” in salvation the way that the phrase is thrown about in normal contexts. My will isn’t free to live a sinless life or even to make myself believe the gospel in the same sense that it is free to choose french fries over onion rings. There must be a spiritual rebirth that occurs apart from my exertion before one can ever talk about a free will in the positive sense. That’s why Luther states, and I agree, that to refer to human volition as it relates to salvation as “free will” is an erroneous term. Dead people don’t bring themselves to life. It has to happen outside the individual. It’s the same with regeneration. Our spiritual deadness must have life breathed into it through the Holy Spirit. Dead hearts can’t convert themselves.

  4. Good morning, Steve.

    I love this thread (thanks). It makes a person think about many things.

    Mark 16:16 “The one who believes and is baptized will be saved; but the one who does not believe will be condemned.”

    Re: Free Will

    A person hears the Gospel of Jesus Christ and denies it. The same person denies the opportunity to be Baptized. This person dies denying Christ and will be condemned.

    I hope Pastor Anderson will explain a situation like this regarding free will.

    I sure enjoyed this study. †

  5. Steve wrote: ‘We are not free to accept God (No one seeks for God, St. Paul tells us in Romans), but we are free to reject Him.

    Actually, we are not even free to reject Him.’

    Steve, then wouldn’t that mean God rejects people? (an even scarier thought!) I agree, God seeks man.

    It would be very helpful to understand the example I posted above, and all those in Revelation who God chases (even punishes trying to change their mind), but their hearts will not soften.

    I do believe God has complete control. I am justing trying to understand it.

    My mind is open…

  6. Adam,

    Pastor Anderson’s take (which I like, but don’t fully understand) seemed to be…

    It’s either a little bit of God and a little bit of me…

    or

    It’s all God.

    I adore Luther… but I’m with God all the way.

    Adam, I agree with your post but…

    This is difficult to understand. What comes to my mind is that it would be no fun forcing someone to love and accept you. Like courting a woman. You win her soul through love. She was first a stranger, you won her heart (changed her heart). It was sort of her will, but not all. 😉

    God definitely courts us! (His Bride)

  7. Adam,

    Of all of Luther’s writings, and there are a lot of them (by some counts over a hundred volumes) Luther liked his ‘The Bondage of the Will’ ,the best.

    His disagreement with the great Catholic scholar and theologian Erasmus was the catalyst for this book. In it, Luther attempts to answer the question, ‘Who chooses whom?’ Do we choose God or does He choose us?
    I also think Luther did a great job in the book and his use of scripture ans accompanying illustrations are fantastic along with his biting and sarcastic wit.

    If anyone here hasn’t read this one, it should be a must. (how’s that for the law!?)

    Thanks Adam!

    – Steve

  8. I may purchase that book. Thank you for the tip!

    Luther struggled deeply with God (the Holy Spirit). I love Luther’s honesty. He holds nothing back. Yesterday, I read a thread (I believe it was Howard’s site) that was excellent … about Luther’s life as a Monk. During Luther’s time as a Monk, he struggled deeply with “free will”.

  9. Adam, then why doesn’t God do this (He has the power…)

    Re: non-believers (those who refuse Baptism)

    You wrote, ‘Our spiritual deadness must have life breathed into it through the Holy Spirit. Dead hearts can’t convert themselves.’

  10. Magdalene,

    A very good morning to you!

    I can’t answer explicitly for Pastor Anderson, but I have been around him long enough to say what I think he would say to your questions.

    I think he would say that we don’t know why God chooses some and not others. This is one of the mysteries of God that cannot be answered by us.
    As St. Paul says in Romans, “Who are we to tell the potter how to shape the clay?”

    We can only be thankful that He has chosen us, and spread the Word when and where we can of His love and forgiveness, and leave the rest up to Him.

    Not maybe the answer you were hoping for, or maybe not even the best answer, but right now it;s the best I can do.

    Maybe someone else can elaborate, or set me straight.
    I would appreciate the help!

    Thanks!

    – Steve

  11. God’s mysteries…

  12. Magdalene,

    We only know about God what He has chosen to reveal to us in the scriptures.

    I don’t know of any bible verse that explains why God chooses some people and not others. It may be there, but if it is, I’m not the only one who’s missed it.

    I think what we know about God in relationship to His true essence and nature, might fill a dixie cup in an ocean of knowledge.

    Luther called it “the things below and the things above.”

    There are many things above us that are just none of our business. (but we’d sure like to know anyway!)

    – Steve

  13. I think one thing we have to be careful of in the conversation on Free will verses bound will, is the idea that God chooses in effect some for damnation. God explicitly says that he wants all men to be saved. He would convert all if he could. But He deals with us in time from eternity through the means of grace. We must be careful here to realize eternity is not as simple as time going on forever, eternity encompasses time, all of it. God is in fact outside of time. So that he chose us from eternity does not mean somewhere way back long ago before he said let their be light.
    People are given the power to reject God, they can choose death, they can’t choose life. Like a man rescued and given cpr by a lifeguard, he is given life, he doesn’t choose it, but there is always the possibility he will go home and shoot himself. And not all people hear the word of God in the first place. They aren’t even given the chance, and that is sad. The harvest is ready, but the laborers few.

  14. Bror,

    ” People are given the power to reject God, they can choose death, they can’t choose life. ”

    I like that way of putting it, Bror.

    Thanks!

    – Steve

  15. I like the above statement too!!

  16. The spiritual growth comments (and fruit) are really, really good.

    Man continuously tries to flip the credit from God to man.

  17. There’s nothing like the Book of Concord to delve into free will, baptism, Law and Gospel etc., particularly the Solid Declaraton of the Formula.
    And, if you want a more thorough exposition of Law and Gospel, get C. F. W. Walther’s “The Proper Distinction Between Law and Gospel.” It’s his series of 13 Friday evening lectures to his students at Concordia Seminary. A little “heavy” but well worth the effort. I think CPH is still publishing/stocking it.

  18. I have that book from Walther, and will get back to it after I have a basic understanding first! It was too hard to start with that, I went backwards!

  19. Califlowan,

    Found it (thank you).

    Free Will (pg. 477) Book of Concordia

    “Since the fall into sin, the will of mankind is so blind and corrupt that we can chose only to do evil. We are spiritually dead by nature, enemies of God and naturally hostile toward Him. While we are free to choose in earthly matters, we have no power, ability, or free will in spiritual matters. Before conversion we are entirely incapable—in any way—of responding to or cooperating with God’s grace. After conversion and because of Christ, the new man in us does in fact respond to and cooperate with God the Holy Spirit.”

  20. 1 Corinthians 2:14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”

  21. John 15:5 “apart from Me you can do nothing.”

    BofC: “With these brief words the spirit denies free will its powers and ascribes everything to God’s grace, in order that no one may boast before God…”

    Also: 1 Corinthians 3:5-7

  22. Califiowan,

    Thanks for stopping by and bringing the reading recommendations.

    – Steve M.

  23. Magdalene,

    With all those greatscripture verses talking about our condition as sinners, unable to make a decision for Christ, it truly is amazing that our ‘free will’ brethren refuse to see it!

    Proof positive that the old Adam dies hard!

    Thanks Magdalene!

    – Steve

  24. Martin Luther was the great Protestant Reformer whom God by the Spirit of Jesus had raised up to reform the Church which was suffering under the yoke oofff the Babylonian captivity so that set free once more, the Gospel can truly shine again to the liberation of souls from darkness into light.

  25. Magdalene,

    This is difficult to understand. What comes to my mind is that it would be no fun forcing someone to love and accept you. Like courting a woman. You win her soul through love. She was first a stranger, you won her heart (changed her heart). It was sort of her will, but not all.

    Yes, but if my beloved had been a corpse there would have been nothing that I could have won her over to. In a similar manner, God doesn’t win over dead people. He breathes life into them through the gift of the Holy Spirit. He continues His work in us after regenerating our cold, dead spiritual carcasses (imagine me saying that with a chew and a Southern accent), but we must always remember that we were dead…kaput…we slept with the fishes. Think of Lazarus. Did Jesus win him over or did He have to give him life? It’s the same with us spiritually.

    If one looks at it through a lens of spiritual death, I think it shifts the focus a bit. The necessity for wooing works only if a person still holds to some level of spiritual life within the sinner. When the Bible says that man is dead spiritually, it means dead and life is, therefore, entirely a gift.

    As it relates to Luther, I may not have explained his position clearly. Luther agreed that there was absolutely nothing we could refer to as “free will” as it relates to regeneration. Man cannot revive himself. He granted to Erasmus that there might be something unique about man in some hidden sort of way, but this uniqueness does nothing to improve our standing before an Almighty, Holy God. His argument, therefore, was that referring to anything as “free will” is erroneous. It just doesn’t exist when we’re speaking about regeneration.

    Adam, then why doesn’t God do this (He has the power…

    I suspect my answer will be as uncomfortable for you as it is for me…because He chooses not to. He gives life to those whom He will give life and He allows others to remain dead in their sins. On the one hand “God so loved the world” and on the other hand some are left to their spiritual death. I don’t know why and I don’t particularly like it, but I believe that to be the Scriptural answer.

    Blessings in Christ,
    Adam

  26. Adam,

    I faltered in understanding being completely dead in sin. Your example below is very good.

    “Yes, but if my beloved had been a corpse there would have been nothing that I could have won her over to. In a similar manner, God doesn’t win over dead people. ”

    Genesis 8:21 “The intention of man’s heart is evil from his youth.” (and Gen. 6:5).

    Adam, you are correct. Man is dead in sin (a corpse) and evil from his youth (birth).

    You wrote: “He breathes life into them through the gift of the Holy Spirit. He continues His work in us after regenerating our cold, dead spiritual carcasses…”

    Amen (this is beautiful). Our Lord is beautiful—how He works.

    and, ” (imagine me saying that with a chew and a Southern accent), but we must always remember that we were dead…kaput…we slept with the fishes. ”

    Yuk! I am not fond of “chew”. lol 😉

    So… we are dead, therefore, no free will could possibly take place—like Lazarus (good example).

    Life is a gift.

    Adam, the answer you give me in your closing paragraph is one I would expect from a devoted disciple. I appreciate your honesty and very much appreciate your comments. †

  27. Yuk! I am not fond of “chew”. lol

    Ha-ha! Neither am I, but when I was kid I’d stuff my face full of sun flower seeds to make it look like I had a “chaw of baccer.” I thought it made me look like one of those cool Major Leaguers. 🙂

  28. Not so much has changed — the kids today also love the sun flower seeds, baseball and imitating their favorite players. 😉

    While on my morning walk, I pondered our conversation about free will. The more God opens our eyes (heart), the less focus is placed on man. More understanding comes to light—His gift is truly given freely (a gift).

    It will be interesting to read Steve’s response regarding “free will” after he has a chance to read the comments.

  29. Yes, I’m learning more and more that the only thing I add to my salvation is increased confusion. My prayer anymore is almost always, “Lord I believe; help my unbelief!”

    It’s been great speaking with you, Magdalene. 🙂

  30. He made us, He loves us, He calls us, He chooses us, He gathers us, He justifies us, He sanctifies us, He keeps us.

    I guess that’s my version of t-HE-ology.

    Thanks to all of you for your terrific contributions to this post. Lot’s of great idesa to ponder!

    – Steve M.

    PS – Im sure I left out a few hundred other things He does for us!

    – Steve M.

  31. “He made us, He loves us, He calls us, He chooses us, He gathers us, He justifies us, He sanctifies us, He keeps us.”

    If only YOU!…………….yada, yada, yada…………..

  32. If only YOU would come over and help me with my roof!

  33. Steve,

    Amen. Amen. Amen…

    This is my idea of a perfect thread!

    Adam, you as well. 😉

  34. Read Romans!!!!
    …line by line, premise by premise…and follow the flow of thought…

    many of our questions will be answered…and much of our nonsense will be silenced!

    truth in love,
    danny

  35. Danny,

    Amen to that.

    A right understanding of Romans is the key to unlocking the whole of scripture. As far as baptism, and free will is concerned…Paul couldn’t do anymore unless he smacked us right between the eyes…which is what he essentially is trying to do.

    Thanks Danny!

    – Steve

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: