The Traditionalist Statement of Faith (Part III)



Article VII: The Sovereignty of God

We affirm God's eternal knowledge of and sovereignty over every person's salvation or condemnation.

We deny that God's sovereignty and knowledge require Him to cause a person's acceptance or rejection of faith in Christ.


Agree:

Agree with the affirmation on the surface. We’ll disagree with what is meant by the statement.


Disagree:

We deny the denial.


By the very definition of what sovereignty means, it absolutely requires Him to cause faith or rejection.


Sovereignty is a category of “being.”

Sovereignty means that God doesn’t respond or react to anything outside of Him. Rather, He is self-acting in every sense. He acts only from the center of His own will and pleasure, and never in reaction to something outside of Him.


A good example: Rom. 8:28-30 “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; and these whom He predestined, He also called; and these whom He called, He also justified; and these whom He justified, He also glorified.”


Notice, God is the actor in every sense. It is one-sided. He does nothing in response to a person’s faith or acceptance of Him.


These are indicatives. It is accomplished truth of what God has sovereignly done from the center of His own desire.


Psalm 115:3 “But our God is in the heavens; He does whatever He pleases.”    

It’s impossible for God to do something that doesn't please Him.


As such, on the flip-side of this, what can we say about people He eternally condemns? Are they there against His pleasure?


So we would say about the denial... “God’s sovereignty and knowledge not only require Him to cause a person's acceptance or rejection of faith in Christ, but it’s the cause of those things on the basis of  His own sovereign pleasure.”


Article VIII: The Free Will of Man

We affirm that God, as an expression of His sovereignty, endows each person with actual free will (the ability to choose between two options), which must be exercised in accepting or rejecting God's gracious call to salvation by the Holy Spirit through the Gospel. We deny that the decision of faith is an act of God rather than a response of the person. We deny that there is an "effectual call" for certain people that is different from a "general call" to any person who hears and understands the Gospel.


Agree:

We would not argue against a “free will” in itself. 


Every person freely makes choices, but nothing in this statement is something we would agree with.


Disagree:

At issue here is a deficient anthropology and hamartiology. To try to deal with this without grasping the limited nature of any person and the massive effects of sin is folly.


We already dealt with this in the above sections so it is sufficient to say that every man freely rejects God.  That is our nature. What we can’t do is break free from that nature and somehow make the “right” decision.


In essence this position is saying, “God wants to save you.  He is able to save you. But you must be first willing to let Him.  So will you?” It puts salvation in the hands of man and not God. I am saved because I believed and I believed without God.


Fascinating use of some prooftexts.

Gen 1:26-28  Somehow because we have the image of God we are free?  Are we sovereign too? Are we almighty too?


Esther 3:12-14 ????


Roman 10:9-10 confuses the means of salvation with the ability to be saved.


Article IX: The Security of the Believer

We affirm that when a person responds in faith to the Gospel, God promises to complete the process of salvation in the believer into eternity. This process begins with justification, whereby the sinner is immediately acquitted of all sin and granted peace with God; continues in sanctification, whereby the saved are progressively conformed to the image of Christ by the indwelling Holy Spirit; and concludes in glorification, whereby the saint enjoys life with Christ in heaven forever.

We deny that this Holy Spirit-sealed relationship can ever be broken. We deny even the possibility of apostasy.


Agree:

This is a decent statement and could agree with it.


Disagree:

We disagree with the phrase “responds in faith,” as they’ve defined it. But in terms of security of a true believer, we agree. Note: this a Traditionalist distinction the parts from a classic Arminian, who believe salvation can be lost.


Note: It’s worth noting, this AandD is logically inconsistent with their position on free-will. This statement is arguing that prior to salvation you have a fully free will but after salvation you lose it.  You can freely choose to be saved but cannot freely choose to then reject that salvation.


Article X: The Great Commission

We affirm that the Lord Jesus Christ commissioned His church to preach the good news of salvation to all people to the ends of the earth. We affirm that the proclamation of the Gospel is God's means of bringing any person to salvation.

We deny that salvation is possible outside of a faith response to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.


Agree:

Good statement. No disagreement.

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