Old 04-21-2018, 05:14 PM #1 (permalink)
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Default My confession

Below is a document that i wrote for seminary some years ago. i still hold it to be true although i think it could have been written more gently. i used the same format as the Canons of Dort, because i believe it can be easier to explain things when you say what you do believe and what you do not believe. everything is scripturally referenced.

Confession of faith

It is difficult to know where to begin and where to end in writing a confession of faith. In summary I agree with the
Westminster confession of faith and the Three Forms of Unity. I believe that God's salvation comes to dead sinners by His
mercy alone, through the shed blood of His Son Jesus Christ, and that He binds this upon His people by the deposit of the
Holy Spirit. I will attempt to be more specific in the remainder of this document, and will use a “belief versus rejection”
format, similar to that of The Cannons of Dort, to do so.

Of God
I Believe that...
...God is perfect, holy and righteous, in His character, actions, and judgments1. God exist in three persons; God
the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit2. While each person of the trinity performs specific aspects of
salvation they all work together as one in perfect unity. As such what can be said about one can be said of all.
...God is omnipotent, His will is never thwarted or altered3.
...God is omniscient, as such nothing is hidden from His sight and nothing is beyond

His knowledge4...
...God is omnipresent, God is in all places5.
...God is the creator of all things6.
...God is the author of and perfecter of salvation7.

I Reject...
...that God is a created being and as such is limited in His scope and presence.
...the notion that God is only an idea or concept that exist in all man.
...that God does not inflict His will upon His creation.
...that God is dependent upon the creation in any way.
...that God in all His forms was and is not perfect and holy without sin.

Of Man

I Believe that...

...God created Adam and Eve in his own likeness in the Garden of Eden, and that they fell into sin as they where
tempted by Satan. That on account of this fall all mankind has inherited a sinful nature and that this nature is the
natural course of our will8.
...God did not passively observe the temptation and fall of man but that He caused it to come to pass for His own
glory, yet remains wholly blameless of of sin, the entire guilt and condemnation belonging to man9.
...every inclination of the fallen man's heart is evil all the time10.
...because of sin we are selfish, self centered creatures who seek to take God's glory for ourselves11.
...we are not merely tainted by sin but completely corrupted unto death by it12.
...men will always carry their sinful flesh with them as long as they walk this earth13.

1 Rev.4:8
2 1Jn.5:7, 2 Cor.13:14
3 Rev.19:6
4 Mark 4:22
5 Psalm 139
6 Jn.1:1-5
7 Heb.12:2
8 Gen.1-3
9 Phil.2:11
10 Gen.6:5
11 Rom.1:23
12 Eph.2:1-3
13 Rom.7:18

I Reject...


...the idea that mankind has a spark of goodness in them.
...the idea of a will that is free to choose anything other than to act upon it's own sinful nature.

Of Justification
I Believe that...

...Jesus Christ the Son of God took on the very humanity of His people, and lived completely with out sin. He then,
in His perfection, willingly offered Himself as the sacrifice for each and every one of His people. God accepted this
sacrifice and raised Him from the dead, He now sits at the right hand of God the Father making intercession for
His people, having completely satisfied all the requirements of salvation for those chosen by God the Father14.
...the Holy Spirit effects the work of salvation in those whom God the father has elected, those whom Christ died
for15.
...justification is wholly the work of God16.
...justification is Gods work alone; His legal declaration of righteousness, applied only to His elect17.
...God the Father has ordained before the foundations of the earth the justification of His people, and this
justification occurs in time by the instrument of faith18.
...justification is solely a work of God's grace and is not dependent in any way upon man19.

I Reject...
...any notion which ascribes any role to men, where justification is concerned.
...the concept that God's grace provides the opportunity for justification to all men.
...the idea that Christ blood was shed universally for all men.
...statements that declare that that justification or any other benefit of salvation depend upon a condition the the
sinner must fulfill.
...the idea that because our salvation does not depend upon us that, that in some manner this allows us to sin that
grace may abound.

Of Sanctification

I Believe that...
...as justification is wholly God's work, so is sanctification20.
...our sanctification is expressed as we daily, see our need for the salvation of Christ, and are caused to repent of
ourselves21.
...we do make decisions as we walk through our Christian lives ,and yet anything that is good and true and right, is
to be ascribed wholly to the work of God, while anything that is sinful is completely of our flesh22.
...our days will be characterized by our struggle against the flesh, and that the Gospel of our Lord and Savior is
our only means of combat and ultimate victory23.

14 Heb.2:9-11
15 1Cor.1:21,22
16 Rom.8:33
17 Rom.3:21-26
18 Eph.1:3-6
19 Eph.2:8-10
20 Eph.2:10
21 1Pet.2:24
22 Rom.7:15-25
23 2Cor.10:3-6

I Reject...
...the idea that our sanctification is a corporative work between God and man.
...the doctrine that our justification merely “cleans the slate” and that it is now up to us to keep it clean through
confession and obedient living.
...the concept that the sinful flesh of believers is renovated and improved to be able to perform good works.
...the idea that we can in any way do anything good outside of seeing our need for Christ.
...the idea that we can now in some way attain to the perfection of the moral law as we walk on this earth.
...the doctrine that denies the existence of the flesh and the need that I have to regularly hear the Gospel of God's
grace and repent of myself.

Of Glorification
I Believe that...
...as in justification and sanctification, glorification is a work wholly belonging to God24.
...all who are saved in Christ will be raised from the dead and will one day serve before the throne of God in
perfect worship25.
...that Christians long for the time when they will be done with this body of sin and death, and will instead be with
Christ in the perfection of a sinless humanity26.

I Reject...

...the idea that Christ will not return for his saints.
...that there is no afterlife.
...that Christians become “ripe for glorification” by the accumulated fruit of “progressive sanctification” through
their life on earth.

Of Eternity
I Believe that...
...the souls of men are eternal, and that as it was given for men to live, it is also given for them to die, to be judged
by God, and to be sent by Him to spend all of eternity in either heaven or hell27.
...heaven is the home of God, the angels and His chosen people28.
...in heaven God will be worshiped for all eternity and in His presence no sin will exist29.
...heaven will not be about us, but that it will be about the perfect worship of our Savior30.
...hell is the eternal pit of condemnation, where Satan and his demons will be eternally punished, with all whom
God has not chosen to lavish His grace upon31.
...hell is the rightful place of all men, and the fact that God in His infinite mercy has chosen to save some from the
pit, while rightly judging others to spend eternity in their condemnation, does not in any way make Him unjust32.

24 Rom.8:30
25 2Pet.3:13
26 Rev.12:3,4
27 Heb.10:22-24
28 Rev.4
29 Rev.7:9-17
30 Rev.15:4
31 Ezk.32
32 Jn.5:24-29

I Reject...
...all doctrines that declare heaven to be a state where man is free to enjoy every indulgence of the flesh without
consequence.
...the notion that heaven is intended to be a place of family reunions and never ending buffets.
...that Satan is the prince of Hell, and is thereby immune from the eternal punishment of God.
...as arrogant and self disillusioned those who would question Gods decree that all men are worthy of eternal
condemnation.
...the doctrine that teaches that there is no afterlife.
...the doctrine of limbo or purgatory.

There is, of course, much more that could be said. I am hopeful however that the above statements convey for all who
would read this document the complete sovereignty of God as the creator of all humanity. It is by His will that we are born,
that we live, and that we die. It is for the sake of His glory that we are either delivered unto His salvation or that we are
condemned for all eternity. For God is glorified by the praise of His saints, as He chooses to wash them clean in the blood
of Christ. And He is glorified in the just condemnation of those who would seek to steel His glory for themselves. In all
things God is glorified as the true and holy Lord of all. To Him alone be praise. -Amen
Attached Files
File Type: pdf Peter Confession of faith.pdf (98.3 KB, 9 views)
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Old 04-21-2018, 06:01 PM #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: My confession

It reads like the doctrine of Calvinism in that there is an elect. Does that mean we don't have free will to accept Jesus and His salvation? We are predestined no matter what we believe? Paul struggles with this in his letters.

Are all the elect "known by their fruit?" If we produce no fruit, can we still be part of the elect?

I believe God allows us, through free will, to accept Him or reject Him. It sounds easy and "His grace is sufficient." If we accept Him we do so by admitting we are sinners and turning away from sins (repentance.) Acceptance is the easy part. Repentance is the hard part. It's easy to regret our sins but much harder to turn away from them because we are ego. We are self-centered and flawed.

Jesus preached a lot about good works, about kindness, about helping others. He admonished those with pride.

The truth, for me, is I don't know. Some of the books of scripture were thrown out during the reformation. Martin Luther also wanted to omit others, The Book of James, for one.

These days I focus on the red letters. I ask the Holy Spirit for guidance and answers. I have hope for a future. For eternity.
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Old 04-21-2018, 06:35 PM #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: My confession

Hi Kim, I am reluctant to say much as I do not want to offend. Paul did not struggle with election instead (as it is with the rest of the Scriptures) he clearly states that men are saved only by God's choosing of them. Yes it has been come to be known as Calvinism because Calvin, with Luther, Knox and others during the reformation so clearly articulated the difference between works and grace.

The problem with the doctrine of Free Will is that it takes salvation away from God and Christ and makes it a work of man. The idea is essentially that Jesus died for everyone in the entire world and that the only thing that decides who is saved and who is condemned is the persons choice. So salvation is about man choosing God and not God choosing Man. Paul rebukes the Jews for this thinking in Romans chapters 8-10 and clearly states that salvation is of God who chooses.

God is Sovereign He controls all things and His will always comes to pass. If God sent Christ to die for the sins of the whole world, including every man woman and child then all of them would be saved and there would be no need for Hell. Free Will attempts to explain the need for Hell by turning it into mans choice to save himself which at the same time makes man his own savior and Christ a tool to accomplish the job with.

The Bible never speaks that way. Instead it states very clearly that God saves those whom He sheds His Sons blood for. And that He chose who to save before the foundation of the world was set in place.

Works come from thankfulness for the work of salvation that Christ accomplished for His people. Many people including the Pharissees a Saducees did "good thing" but Christ condemned them as dead works because through them they thought that they were earning merits into heaven. But they were simply another form of works.

I hope I did not offend you.

Sincerely,
Peter
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Old 04-21-2018, 08:08 PM #4 (permalink)
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Default Re: My confession

I'm not offended. I just wanted to understand your opinion on scripture.

One last question: Do you believe you are one of the elect. If so, why?
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Old 04-22-2018, 07:24 AM #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: My confession

Ultimately God has chosen people from every group, tongue, and nation to wash in the blood of His Son. In so many places in the Scriptures He states that He chooses the lowly, the weak, and the smallest to call His own. Israel in the Old Testimate was an illustration of a tiny nation that He chose to make strong, that He chose to deliver to the promise land.

Later Christ will say repeatedly that only those who are sick need a doctor. God through His grace has chosen to remove my heart of stone (obedience to the 10 comandments) and replace it with a heart of flesh (that born of Christs work) (Ezekiel 36). in doing so He has caused me to see that all I have ever merited, earned, or accomplished for myself is damnation.

The testimony about man throughout all of Scripture is that we are evil sinners who will only ever choose selfishness over righteousness, see Romans 3. When God convicts a man of this truth about him or herself, and they are laid naked before Him knowing that no amount of begging or pleading will save them. that no matter how often they went to church, how man orphans they served or how many donations they gave will bring them to heaven, -then He reveals to them that the good news is that even as much as they are hopeless in their condition He has provided salvation for them by pouring out His wrath for all their sins upon His own Son.

i am saved because God has chosen to show me (like Paul on the road to Damascus) that i in and of myself am a worthless sinner deserving only of damnation. and yet a miracle has occurred, not because i asked for it or did anything to earn it, but because He chose to make this piece of dung beautiful by washing me in Christ blood. i give Him all the glory and credit for this. it was not my asking for it or choosing of it. He knocked me on my rear with the truth of my earned damnation and then told me that He was going to sentence another - His Son - for what I deserved.

And so He did. When Christ died for every single one of my sins. No matter the size of the sin; be it lying, adultery, rape, or murder, everyone of them was paid for. Christ Jesus redeemed every sinner that He spilled His precious blood for. And every sinner that He died for will be saved.

Now all my sins are washed away. even those i have yet to commit are removed from me. and i am guaranteed because Christ Jesus took my punishment on the cross to be in heaven one day soon. I hate my sin and that on account of it my Savior had to die. For this reason I seek not to continue in them, i fail miserably and continue to sin each day, but because of His work i know that i am already forgiven.

So yes, God chose to save me by His grace. The reason why He chose me is unknown to me. But i am certain of it because He makes me to see that it was all His work and that i receive no credit for it whatsoever. i simply deserve damnation but have been given eternal life at the great expense of Jesus blood.
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Old 04-22-2018, 07:30 AM #6 (permalink)
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Default Re: My confession

attached is a document that shows the issues with the doctrine of Free Will (Armineaism). It was written by a gentlemen in Georgia that I respect.
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Old 04-22-2018, 08:06 AM #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: My confession

I've expressed my core beliefs in another post and some have responded.

These beliefs come from a life time of asking for understanding. The church did not provide this understanding and my weak faith gets in the way of a full acceptance of scripture.

I envy you, Pete and Kim, and others that I have met in my life's journey. I was not blessed with the faith and understanding that you have. And I do think you are blessed.

I believe there is a voice (holy spirit?) that speaks to us and if we listen ("those that have ears let them hear") we can receive guidance.

Lastly, if we can believe that everlasting life is given only to those who understand and subscribe to the tenants of a book that remains locked in time then I believe heaven will be a lonely place.

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Old 04-22-2018, 08:28 AM #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: My confession

Understanding/knowledge is not a prerequisite for salvation, if it were than salvation would be base on something of or in the individual and not soley on God. I apologize if i made it sound that way.

God through the Holy Spirit breaks a mans heart and makes him to see that his only hope is found in the saving work of Christ. In the Gospels it equates the understanding of salvation to the understanding of a child.

I have often given the biblical definition of a blessing as "anything that directs you away from hope in yourself and to hope in Christ". All things that come from the Spirit are consistent with the scriptures. All true faith and blessings also direct us to turn from our own selfishness and toward His perfect standard of righteousness. I know I will sin in this but am thankful that God through Christ has forgiven me.

Salvation is not a "system of doctrine" but it is a God given belief that God and God alone saves those that he grants repentance to through the blood of Christ.
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Old 04-22-2018, 05:18 PM #9 (permalink)
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Default Re: My confession

In 1999 I went to Mayo Clinic. They thought I had either pancreatic cancer or pancreatitis. I was unable to digest fat and in pain. I was there for 10 days and they ran all kinds of tests. I had to take a leave of absence from work and I was terrified. I started reading scripture and watching Charles Stanley on TV. A man who worked for me at the college took me to his home every Friday night. He, his wife, and their son just let me feel safe. It was there that I started asking questions.

After the final test at Mayo, I was driving home and started to panic. I had to return the next day to get the results of the tests they did on my pancreas and some other tests.

Early the next morning I called two of my friends. The man who worked for me and a woman. Both were strong believers. They arrived at about the same time. I was sitting at my dining room table, Bible in hand, crying and I just had to tell both of them all my sins. I couldn't stop crying and I couldn't stop talking. I felt the power of the Holy Spirit come down and my whole body was on fire. My friend held my hand and said it felt almost too hot to touch. I only weighed 100 pounds and was skin and bones so I was always cold.

Then Allen handed me the Bible and I turned to John 3:16. I read the scripture and felt an overwhelming peace flood my body. I felt strong and ready to face anything.

Allen offered to take me back to Mayo for the results. When I arrived, the gastro said "this is the strangest thing I've ever seen." Every one of your tests came back normal. We have no idea why you aren't digesting fats but we are out of tests to run.

I was broken. I knew it. I asked Jesus to take over and I believe with everything in me, he did. I also believe I was healed because I had not accomplished God's purpose for me.

I never question God on things. I got much better than I deserved or will ever deserve.

I also believe my sins: past, present, and future are washed away by His blood. I think, because of this gift, I am able to give to others and serve others with a happy heart.
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Default Re: My confession

Ernie,
I'm sending you a message.
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Old 04-27-2018, 02:12 PM #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: My confession

My theological leanings are Reformed, and I believe in election. One of the big reasons is that I KNOW that without the working of the Holy Spirit I would never have placed my faith in Christ. The Holy Spirit drew me to Jesus. That being said, I still believe that we have free will. How that works I have no idea I just take it on faith and figure it is one of those things my puny little human brain can't comprehend. "Who has known the mind of the Lord?" Romans 11:34 I don't need to understand the way it works to know that I am His.

Mary
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Old 04-27-2018, 05:11 PM #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: My confession

Mary,

Freewill does exist but it is limited to our nature. what that means is that the choices that we make will always be with in our nature of being humans. just like a dog or a cat will always make choices that they as dogs or cats are able and capable of choosing. Proverbs 26 says "As a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool repeats his folly". part of the point is that a dog will always do what a dog will do, and a human will always do what a human does. A dog cannot choose to be or act like a human so they make choices that are with in their nature as dogs.

humans are the same. we can only choose to do things with in our nature. And this is where the problem of "free will", as used in many religious circles, comes in. Most assert that "free will" allows us to choose to accept God into our hearts or not. However according to the Bible the humane nature is not capable of making the choice to be saved by Christ or not. One example is in Romans 3 where Paul describes what our nature as humans is:

"9 What then? Are we better than they? Not at all. For we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks that they are all under sin.

10 As it is written:

“There is none righteous, no, not one;
11
There is none who understands;
There is none who seeks after God.
12
They have all turned aside;
They have together become unprofitable;
There is none who does good, no, not one.”[b]
13
“Their throat is an open tomb;
With their tongues they have practiced deceit”; [c]
“The poison of asps is under their lips”; [d]
14
“Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness.”[e]
15
“Their feet are swift to shed blood;
16
Destruction and misery are in their ways;
17
And the way of peace they have not known.”[f]
18
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”[g]

19 Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin."


Given this and many other places it becomes obvious that our nature as humans does not allow us to make the choice to be saved. also as i said earlier if it were up to us to choose to be saved the we would be our own savior and Christ would simply be a tool that we use to get there.

so yes we make choices, but those choices are limited by our nature. and because of the fall and sin, our nature is not capable of making the righteous decision to save ourselves.

please feel free to ask any questions
Peter
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