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Christian involvement

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Loyal
There are three prevailing beliefs in Christianity today.

Monergism. - God does it all. Everything that happens is totally out of our control.
Generally these are things like predestination. God decides who gets saved, it is out of our control.
Irresistible grace. The Holy Spirit controls your thoughts and actions, it is out of our control.
Total depravity - None of us seek God on our own volition, if we seek Him.. He caused it 100% it is out of our control.
Once saved always saved. Once you get saved. God controls (all or enough) of your thoughts and actions to make sure you never lose your salvation. It is out of your control.

Synergism - It is a joint relationship between you and God. God does some of it. But some of it is up to you.
(how much differs between believers... anywhere from 10% to 99%) But even if God does 99%, 1% is still up to you. . We can't be saved without God/Jesus guiding us, leading us. We can't be saved without God's grace and mercy, and we certainly can't do it on our own. But we still have free will and are able to rebel against God if we so desire.

Autorgism - It is all you. God really doesn't get involved at all. As Bette Midler's song says.
God is watching us from a distance. All circumstances and decisions are controlled by you and you alone.
These people don't deny God exists. But rather He sits back and watches what we will do. He doesn't really
help you, lead you or guide you at all. If you make good choices, that's great. If you don't. That's too bad.

There are Bible verses that can be taken t support the first two views. They are common in Christianity today.
The last one is more difficult to support from scripture, but still many people believe that way.

extreme Monergism - There are some people who take the belief that God is totally in control to the point, that they believe even when you sin. It is God that ultimately caused you to sin.

I believe that how you view God's "involvement" determines how you walk your Christian walk.

Now of course I've said this as a blanket statement, and there are people who cross these lines in different parts of their theology, but for the most part this seems to be the case.

.. to be continued ...
 
Loyal
Probably one of the most commonly used passages to support the view that God doesn't give us a choice is from Romans 9.

Rom 9:10; And not only this, but there was Rebekah also, when she had conceived twins by one man, our father Isaac;
Rom 9:11; for though the twins were not yet born and had not done anything good or bad, so that God's purpose according to His choice would stand, not because of works but because of Him who calls,
Rom 9:12; it was said to her, "THE OLDER WILL SERVE THE YOUNGER."
Rom 9:13; Just as it is written, "JACOB I LOVED, BUT ESAU I HATED."
Rom 9:14; What shall we say then? There is no injustice with God, is there? May it never be!
Rom 9:15; For He says to Moses, "I WILL HAVE MERCY ON WHOM I HAVE MERCY, AND I WILL HAVE COMPASSION ON WHOM I HAVE COMPASSION."
Rom 9:16; So then it does not depend on the man who wills or the man who runs, but on God who has mercy.
Rom 9:17; For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "FOR THIS VERY PURPOSE I RAISED YOU UP, TO DEMONSTRATE MY POWER IN YOU, AND THAT MY NAME MIGHT BE PROCLAIMED THROUGHOUT THE WHOLE EARTH."
Rom 9:18; So then He has mercy on whom He desires, and He hardens whom He desires.
Rom 9:19; You will say to me then, "Why does He still find fault? For who resists His will?"
Rom 9:20; On the contrary, who are you, O man, who answers back to God? The thing molded will not say to the molder, "Why did you make me like this," will it?
Rom 9:21; Or does not the potter have a right over the clay, to make from the same lump one vessel for honorable use and another for common use?
Rom 9:22; What if God, although willing to demonstrate His wrath and to make His power known, endured with much patience vessels of wrath prepared for destruction?

It seems God had a plan for Jacob and Esau before they were even born. ( Gen 25:23; ) The older will server the younger.
Verse 13 is always controversial. Did God hate Esau? ( also see Malachi 1:3; and Hebrews 12:16; )
If God planned this before they were born, did God plan to hate Esau before they were born?

Some take verse 15 to mean God will have mercy and compassion on some people, but not on others. ( Exod 33:19; )

Verse 16 is probably the key verse to Monergerists. This is taken as "nothing depends upon the man or what he wills,
but on God who has mercy".

It seems the potter (God) makes some vessels "for honorable use" and some vessels "for common use". ( verse 21)
That was a little tricky for me... so I looked at few other translations of that verse.

(AMPC) Has the potter no right over the clay, to make out of the same mass (lump) one vessel for beauty and distinction and honorable use, and another for menial or ignoble and dishonorable use?
(GNB) After all, the man who makes the pots has the right to use the clay as he wishes, and to make two pots from the same lump of clay, one for special occasions and the other for ordinary use.
(GW) A potter has the right to do whatever he wants with his clay. He can make something for a special occasion or something for everyday use from the same lump of clay.
(HCSB) Or has the potter no right over the clay, to make from the same lump one piece of pottery for honor and another for dishonor?
(KJV) Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?
(NLT) When a potter makes jars out of clay, doesn’t he have a right to use the same lump of clay to make one jar for decoration and another to throw garbage into?

This verse leads into verse 22. It says here some vessels of wrath "are prepared for destruction". Is it possible God made some people
to be "saved" in advance before they were born? Is it possible He made others to be "destined for wrath" before they were born?

Jesus says something similar.

John 6:44; "No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.

God the Father decides who gets saved and who doesn't?
If God "is love" ( 1 Jn 4:8; 1 Jn 4:16; ) does He love those "common vessels" destined for wrath?
It seems Paul later disagrees with this.

1 Tim 2:3; This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior,
1 Tim 2:4; who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Peter says something very similar.

2 Pet 3:9; The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance.
 
Loyal
Here are a few more verses that seem to support predestination.

Rom 8:30; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.
Eph 1:5; He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will,
Eph 1:11; also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will,

Now keep in mind there were people in the Bible who "thought" they were saved. But it ends up they really weren't.
If God predestined this... how do any of us know for certain we will always be saved?

Matt 7:21; "Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.
Matt 7:22; "Many will say to Me on that day, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in Your name cast out demons, and in Your name perform many miracles?'
Matt 7:23; "And then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.'

Matt 25:11; "Later the other virgins also came, saying, 'Lord, lord, open up for us.'
Matt 25:12; "But he answered, 'Truly I say to you, I do not know you.'

Acts 5:3; But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and to keep back some of the price of the land?
Acts 5:4; "While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not under your control? Why is it that you have conceived this deed in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God."
Acts 5:5; And as he heard these words, Ananias fell down and breathed his last; and great fear came over all who heard of it.

Jesus Himself chose Judas...

John 15:16; "You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.

Matt 10:1; Jesus summoned His twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every kind of disease and every kind of sickness.
Matt 10:2; Now the names of the twelve apostles are these: The first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; and James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother;
Matt 10:3; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus;
Matt 10:4; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, the one who betrayed Him.

Heb 12:17; For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.

Some people say "well he never truly repented". Maybe so... but either way, Did God predestine this as well?

... to be continued ....
 
Loyal
I will add another "big word" here. "molinism".
I used to think this is a separate things from the three views in the OP... but maybe not? It is close to synergism.

When I was a teenager. I used to read these "role playing" books. This was back before the Internet and Cable television :)
For example.... You read about 10 pages into the book, then you have to make a choice.
You either save the girl from the pirates or you run away. If you run away... just go to the next page... where you die.
If you save the girl... turn to page 13, where you read 5 or 6 more pages and then make another decision.

There were many books like this, I think I had a dozen or so. You are a cowboy fighting the indians, or a space hero fighting space pirates,
or a marooned castaway fighting prates... so on and so forth. It seems there is always "a girl" involved. (what else is new)
As I read these books... I usually died a lot when I read the first two or three. The good thing about the books is can you always go back and "start over". But as I read more and more of these books I started to see a pattern. Don't run away... do "the right thing".

I wish real life was like those books sometimes. Many times I wished I had "a do over". Sometimes God is gracious
and gives us a do-over. Sometimes it seems He doesn't. But we all the have the "main" do -over" to accept Jesus, and start all over
again today.

The thought with molinism is... God is the author of your salvation. He writes your book. He knows all the possible outcomes.
He may even know the choices you are going to make... but that doesn't mean He makes them for you. In fact, it wouldn't be a
"role playing" book at all if there were no choices. You may be born a black man in Africa, or a white woman is Germany.
You might move to Alabama and marry Kate.. or you might move to Alaska and marry Bonnie.

But either way... you won't make any decisions that aren't in your book. You will never move to Florida and marry Donna,
because that isn't in your book. Most molinists believe that everyone eventually comes to the place in their book
where they have to choose salvation... or not. Many believe this isn't a one time thing... maybe you are given many opportunities
to come to Jesus in your book. But eventually your book quits giving you an opportunity.
 
Loyal
Synergism.... are we required to do... anything at all?

Jas 2:14; What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?
Jas 2:15; If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food,
Jas 2:16 and one of you says to them, "Go in peace, be warmed and be filled," and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that?
Jas 2:17; Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself.
Jas 2:18; But someone may well say, "You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works."
Jas 2:19; You believe that God is one. You do well; the demons also believe, and shudder.
Jas 2:20; But are you willing to recognize, you foolish fellow, that faith without works is useless?
Jas 2:21; Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up Isaac his son on the altar?
Jas 2:22; You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected;
Jas 2:23; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "AND ABRAHAM BELIEVED GOD, AND IT WAS RECKONED TO HIM AS RIGHTEOUSNESS," and he was called the friend of God.
Jas 2:24; You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.
Jas 2:25; In the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out by another way?
Jas 2:26; For just as the body without the spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.

Some people believe this contradicts Eph 2:8-9; However Ephesians 2, doesn't have the word "alone".
James 2 does. We aren't saved by works "alone". But we aren't saved by faith "alone" either.

Hebrews 11 is often called the Faith chapter. These people must have had faith.. but did they have to do anything?

Heb 11:4; By faith Abel offered to God a better sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained the testimony that he was righteous, God testifying about his gifts, and through faith, though he is dead, he still speaks.
Heb 11:5; By faith Enoch was taken up so that he would not see death; AND HE WAS NOT FOUND BECAUSE GOD TOOK HIM UP; for he obtained the witness that before his being taken up he was pleasing to God.
Heb 11:6; And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him.
Heb 11:7; By faith Noah, being warned by God about things not yet seen, in reverence prepared an ark for the salvation of his household, by which he condemned the world, and became an heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.
Heb 11:8; By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed by going out to a place which he was to receive for an inheritance; and he went out, not knowing where he was going.
Heb 11:9; By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise, as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise;
Heb 11:10; for he was looking for the city which has foundations, whose architect and builder is God.
Heb 11:11; By faith even Sarah herself received ability to conceive, even beyond the proper time of life, since she considered Him faithful who had promised.

Heb 11:17; By faith Abraham, when he was tested, offered up Isaac, and he who had received the promises was offering up his only begotten son;

Heb 11:24; By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh's daughter,
Heb 11:25; choosing rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin,
Heb 11:26; considering the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt; for he was looking to the reward.
Heb 11:27; By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king; for he endured, as seeing Him who is unseen.
Heb 11:28; By faith he kept the Passover and the sprinkling of the blood, so that he who destroyed the firstborn would not touch them.
Heb 11:29; By faith they passed through the Red Sea as though they were passing through dry land; and the Egyptians, when they attempted it, were drowned.
Heb 11:30; By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they had been encircled for seven days.
Heb 11:31; By faith Rahab the harlot did not perish along with those who were disobedient, after she had welcomed the spies in peace.
Heb 11:32; And what more shall I say? For time will fail me if I tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets,
Heb 11:33; who by faith conquered kingdoms, performed acts of righteousness, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions,
Heb 11:34; quenched the power of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, from weakness were made strong, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight.

It seems almost every one of the "hero's of the faith" had to do an "act of faith" in order to qualify for the Faith "hall of fame".

.... to be continued ...
 
Loyal
At the end of Jesus's longest and most famous sermon, He ends with these words.

Matt 7:24; "Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock.
Matt 7:25; "And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.
Matt 7:26; "Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.
Matt 7:27; "The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall."


The parable below would suggest that we aren't just asked to contribute to the kingdom, but it is an absolute requirement.

Matt 25:14; "For it is just like a man about to go on a journey, who called his own slaves and entrusted his possessions to them.
Matt 25:15; "To one he gave five talents, to another, two, and to another, one, each according to his own ability; and he went on his journey.
Matt 25:16; "Immediately the one who had received the five talents went and traded with them, and gained five more talents.
Matt 25:17; "In the same manner the one who had received the two talents gained two more.
Matt 25:18; "But he who received the one talent went away, and dug a hole in the ground and hid his master's money.
Matt 25:19; "Now after a long time the master of those slaves *came and *settled accounts with them.
Matt 25:20; "The one who had received the five talents came up and brought five more talents, saying, 'Master, you entrusted five talents to me. See, I have gained five more talents.'
Matt 25:21; "His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.'
Matt 25:22; "Also the one who had received the two talents came up and said, 'Master, you entrusted two talents to me. See, I have gained two more talents.'
Matt 25:23; "His master said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.'
Matt 25:24; "And the one also who had received the one talent came up and said, 'Master, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you did not sow and gathering where you scattered no seed.
Matt 25:25; 'And I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the ground. See, you have what is yours.'
Matt 25:26; "But his master answered and said to him, 'You wicked, lazy slave, you knew that I reap where I did not sow and gather where I scattered no seed.
Matt 25:27; 'Then you ought to have put my money in the bank, and on my arrival I would have received my money back with interest.
Matt 25:28; 'Therefore take away the talent from him, and give it to the one who has the ten talents.'
Matt 25:29; "For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away.
Matt 25:30; "Throw out the worthless slave into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.


So much theology is built on this one passage.

Eph 2:8; For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;
Eph 2:9; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast.

People like to add the word "alone" here. You are saved by faith "alone". But the word isn't in any of the Bible I have, if anything, it should say ... not as a result of works alone.

Jas 2:24; You see that a man is justified by works and not by faith alone.
 
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