Home > church history, church life, evangelism, John MacArthur > Do Unbelievers Really Just Not Understand the Gospel?

Do Unbelievers Really Just Not Understand the Gospel?


From my readings through a devotional book (Daily Readings from the Life of Christ, volume 2), comes this excerpt from the Feb. 21 reading:

Many of the lost fail to embrace the gospel because no one has presented it clearly to them.  That’s because many Christians communicate a muddled gospel that emphasizes lots of secondary issues, thanks in many respects to their leaders’ digressing from the genuine message. A sure way for Satan to weaken the gospel is simply to prevent its clear and accurate presentation.

The devotional’s point was for believers to stay focused on the gospel itself and not chase rabbit trails onto less important, secondary issues. Still, somehow in reading that, I considered the fact that, really (and generally speaking), lost people don’t have a problem of “not understanding” the gospel message.  I’ve been going through S. Lewis Johnson’s Gospel of John series, in which he pointed this out, that people don’t have a problem with understanding the gospel.  Jesus perfectly communicated the saving message, and they understood His message so well that they crucified Him.
Sometimes I think, that people think that if the Lord Jesus were the preacher everyone would respond.  If the Apostle Paul were preaching in Believers Chapel there would be much better results.  Well, I’m willing to grant there would probably be some better results, but let me assure you it would not be because when a man gives a clear presentation of the gospel and gives it in a greater spirit of love, that there must therefore be a response.  Just think for a moment, who was preaching?  The Lord Jesus Christ.  Whoever gave the gospel message more clearly than he?  No one would debate that.  Whoever spoke out of a greater sense of divine love than the Lord Jesus?  What was his response?  Well he was crucified. … The facts are that men are unresponsive to the word of God.  They are unable to come.  They rebel against the Scriptures, for the mind of the flesh is enmity against God.  …  So when those who were listening to the Lord Jesus said, “This is a hard saying; who can hear it?” they were really representative of human nature.
Regarding the idea that believers do not always present the gospel message because they (believers) get side-tracked onto “secondary” issues, and therefore the unbeliever hears a “muddled gospel”: perhaps that does happen, just not within my experience.  Instead, in conversations with unbelievers what usually happens is that the unbeliever likes to throw up objections, and the unbeliever likes to get sidetracked, away from the gospel itself to other unrelated issues.  Here again I recall something that S. Lewis Johnson mentioned sometimes, both from his own experience as an adult unbeliever in conversations with the Christian people around him (including his wife and mother-in-law) as well as the similar advice he was given on this very issue soon after he was saved.  Here is one excerpt from SLJ, describing this:
This reminds me of something that the man who led me to the Lord said when I was just a brand new Christian.  I came to him and spoke to him about a friend of mine with whom I had spoken about the Lord Jesus, and whom I’d sought to bring to faith in Christ, and was totally unsuccessful.  And then he said, Lewis, you’ll notice this about dealing with the lost.  They frequently will come to you with six or eight intellectual reasons why they should not believe the gospel.  He said, you ask them to list them, and they do, and you answer the first objection, and the second objection, and so on down through the six or seven.  And he said, “Lewis, you will notice that when you finish answering the seventh, the last one, they won’t say, ‘well then I’ll become a believer’; as a general rule, they’ll go back to number one again.”

From SLJ’s own experience:

I can remember when I was like that.  Whenever spiritual things would come up, and I would get involved in the conversation, I had about half a dozen things that I thought were things that prevented me from responding to the gospel.  I was in the insurance business, and I prided myself on thinking fairly logically.  And so I had a series of reasons that I would lodge against the Christian faith as it was understood by my mother-in-law and by others.  I usually reduced her to tears.  I won the arguments, and lost the ultimate battle of course.  But anyway, this is what I would do.  I would start with reason number one, why is the Bible the word of God?  How can we know the Bible is the word of God?  And I would go one, two, three, four, five, six.  And if we were in a large group of people, everybody would pounce in and they would answer my question.  So I would move on to number two, number three, number four, number five, number six.  And when I finished number six I would go back to number one again, number one, two.  That’s the way we are.

Unbelievers don’t have a problem of not understanding the gospel.  Jesus perfectly explained it and they still rejected it.  The greater issue is not so much that Christians do not clearly present the gospel and instead present a “muddled gospel” due to being sidetracked into non-essentials, but that unbelievers themselves, by nature, do not want to hear the gospel and will use such “defensive” tactics to distract away from the presentation of the gospel message.

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  1. February 27, 2013 at 8:40 am

    Lynda

    I remember Lewis Johnson saying in one of his teachings on election that his mentor Sperry Chafer did not believe that salvation was 100% of the Lord (the Arminian view). Johnson said that he was confused. But, in most situations I would think that the problem is not bad teaching but bad man.

    Both synergists and monergists confess that Jesus is the Christ and believe “the promise that he made to us—eternal life.” “Receive eternal life” is another way of saying “raised on the last day” of John 6:44, discussed above. Recall what must occur before one can receive eternal life (be raised to life on the last day): “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day” (John 6:44). If a professing Christian says he knows – and loves – the truth and yet believes that once he is born again he can still be lost, this can only mean that does not believe in the Jesus Christ of the Bible. He believes – as he does about his salvation – in a Jesus ultimately of his own making. The question is: “Is he confused about, or does he refuse, the words beaming up at him from the page.”

    Here’s a related question, which a synergist would struggle with: Why does God refuse to open blind eyes and deaf ears, as He says so clearly In John 12:40 (and isaiah 6:9) about the Jews: “He has blinded their eyes
 and hardened their hearts,
so they can neither see with their eyes,
 nor understand with their hearts,
 nor turn—and I would heal them.” The answer lies in another difficult-for-synergists verse: “God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden” (Romans 9:18).

    “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” 20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’ Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?”

    if you say that these verses are not talking about individual salvation, you’re one of two kinds of Arminian: you’re confused or your heart is hardened. And we know from Romans 9 who hardens hearts.

    From Arminians who confuse and refuse: free will in coming to Christ.
    http://onedaringjew.wordpress.com/2012/10/03/arminians-who-confuse-and-refuse-free-will-in-coming-to-christ/

    • February 27, 2013 at 8:55 am

      Thanks, bography, good points about this issue and the difference between confusing and refusing. I’ve heard SLJ often show great respect for Chafer, because Chafer was not a learned man, only self-taught and never had opportunity himself to go to Seminary — but that Chafer viewed education as very important, so that he established the seminary so that other men could get that education that he had not been able to get.

      Agree, there are some who just haven’t really thought the issue through (confused), but others have a very hard-core anti-Calvinist attitude, more of a Semi-Pelagian view, insisting on man’s supposed “free will.”

  2. Pam S.
    February 28, 2013 at 6:39 am

    When I studied the Book of John, the sovreignty of God in predestination and election became so clear to me. Especially in John 8, when Jesus talked to the Pharisees and basically told them that the reason they didn’t believe was because they couldn’t. Jesus was never neutral. Since Jesus knew all things from before the foundation of the world, He knew who these people were. There are two camps of people from the beginning of the Word, Gen.3:15, and we are either in one or the other.He told them that they were of their father , the devil. We all deserve to be in the lost camp but God in His mercy saves some. Jesus came to die for specific people and He told them that they were going to die in their sins

  3. Pam S.
    February 28, 2013 at 6:49 am

    Just to finish, I think that Jesus was making it clear that it is all of GRACE.
    Anyway, that is just the way I understand it. It was all settled before we ever hit the planet.
    We believe because He gives us the faith to believe. We all come in to this world born dead spiritually and He brings us to life, according to His plan.
    Thanks,for your post, Linda!!

    • February 28, 2013 at 9:07 am

      Thanks for your comments, Pam. Yes, the gospel of John is especially good concerning the overall doctrine of God’s sovereignty in predestination and election. Going through this study with S. Lewis Johnson has been good, bringing out a lot of references concerning God’s sovereignty and why some believe and others don’t.

  4. Neil Schoch
    February 28, 2013 at 2:16 pm

    Hi Linda,
    Firstly, i would like to encourage everyone never to stop sharing the message of the gospel with someone, even if they don’t respond. It took me thirty years of sharing with a friend before he believed. He recognised that Jesus was a great man and teacher but could, or would, not believe in His divinity and supernatural powers, especially in the resurrection from the dead.
    One day I sat down with him again to share the message but he beat me to it by proclaiming the full message of the gospel, which he now believed. Praise God! it is only the Holy Spirit who can convict, but we must never give up.
    Secondly, In relation to the teachings of Calvin, I would suggest you need to go to the Word of God, alone. The teachings of man can be good but the final authority must come by the inspired Word of God.
    Here are some verses from the Bible that all of us should read and believe:-
    2 Corinthians 5:15 &19: “He died for ALL”
    1 Timothy 1:15: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” – ALL of them.
    1 Timothy 2:3-4: “God our Saviour, who desires ALL men to be saved.”
    1 Timothy 4:10: “God, who is the Saviour of ALL men.” Not all will respond, sadly.
    John 3:16: “WHOSOEVER believes in Him should not perish.”
    John 6:51: “If ANYONE eats of this bread.”
    Romans 10:13: “For WHOSOEVER calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
    2 Peter 3:9: “The Lord is — not willing that ANY should perish but that ALL should come to repentance.”
    Titus 2:11: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to ALL men.”
    Acts 17:30: “God — now commands ALL men EVERYWHERE to repent.”
    1 John 2;2: ” And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the WHOLE world.”
    John 12;32:” And i, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw ALL men to myself.” & John 6:44. Hebrews 2:9: “that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for EVERYONE.”
    These are just a few passages of Scripture that must be compared with the whole of God’s Word. Selective quoting of partial verses, ignoring the dispensational setting and context, is dangerous.
    The Calvanistic teaching that some people were only created to go to hell is a false doctrine and denies the very nature of God. God is love.
    The verses quoted clearly shows that salvation is available to all mankind as a free gift from God, if only they will believe and accept it.
    The “whosoever” of John 3:16 remains eternally true.
    Yours in Christ Jesus,
    Neil Schoch.

    • February 28, 2013 at 2:32 pm

      Neil, so God is the superlative failure.

    • February 28, 2013 at 2:42 pm

      Neil:

      Responding to different parts of your comment —
      “Firstly, i would like to encourage everyone never to stop sharing the message of the gospel with someone, even if they don’t respond. It took me thirty years of sharing with a friend before he believed. He recognised that Jesus was a great man and teacher but could, or would, not believe in His divinity and supernatural powers, especially in the resurrection from the dead.
      One day I sat down with him again to share the message but he beat me to it by proclaiming the full message of the gospel, which he now believed. Praise God! it is only the Holy Spirit who can convict, but we must never give up.”

      No argument there – we keep praying for our lost friends and family, and I know of similar cases where salvation came after many years of hearing the gospel.

      “Secondly, In relation to the teachings of Calvin, I would suggest you need to go to the Word of God, alone. The teachings of man can be good but the final authority must come by the inspired Word of God.”

      What was said here specifically about “the teachings of Calvin” as though such doctrines were only invented by Calvin? As I’ve posted previously here, the understanding of the doctrines of Grace, including the doctrine of “particular redemption” goes back to the early church, to Augustine and earlier.

      The verses you cite are well-known ones put forth by Arminians, and it would take too long here to go through each of these verses. But these have been answered many times. We have to look at the context of the verse, to understand that “All” does not necessarily mean “every single individual” but often means “all” within a class of people: all as in people from every rank and position, and from both Jews and Gentiles. To take such verses as actually meaning “every single individual” would mean the Bible teaches universalism, which it clearly does not. So are you arguing for that position, universalism: that ALL, every single person who has ever lived, will be saved?

      S. Lewis Johnson’s Bunyan Conference series is one very good series that addresses the teaching of particular redemption aka “limited atonement.” If anyone else knows of any other good series concerning this point, please feel free to mention such here as well.

      “The Calvanistic teaching that some people were only created to go to hell is a false doctrine and denies the very nature of God. God is love.”
      Actually not all Calvinists believe the “double predestination,” that God actively chose some to be saved, and others specifically chosen to go to hell. It can also be understood that, rather, God elected some to salvation while passing by and not electing others, leaving them in their natural condition, the condition we all start out in — God is merciful to some. But He did not show mercy to Pharaoh, or to Esau. The scriptures are quite clear on that point, and that it is because of God’s sovereignty in election. God is love, but God is also just, and we cannot understand His reasons as to why He saves some and does not save others. But clearly He does do so, or else why do some people not believe? Unless, again, you are actually arguing for Universalism.

      “The “whosoever” of John 3:16 remains eternally true.” — Yes indeed, “whosoever will” can and will come to Christ. That is one side of the coin, man’s responsibility as a free moral agent; and those who do come to Christ manifest that they are of the elect. John’s gospel well expresses both aspects: John 6:37 “All that the Father gives me will come to me” (God’s sovereign election of individuals) AND “whoever comes to me I will never cast out.”

    • Pam S.
      March 1, 2013 at 4:47 pm

      Hey Neil, I think I opened this can of worms but I am just going to make one more comment. It concerns John 3:16. If you study in context and then do the correct translation you will find your clue to what it means. Whosoever is not translatable from the Hebrew. There is no such word. What the proper translation there is” In the same way, referring to the scripture before about the bronze serpent, God loved the world, meaning those outside the chosen nation of Jews, that he gave his only Son, so that the believing in Him, would not perish but have everlasting life. In other words, God is going to save some people that are not Jewish. The Jews thought that they were the only ones who would be God’s chosen people.
      A study of the word world and all, taken in context is a good one to do. Also because of the Fall, all come into the world born dead. No one comes to God on his own. God causes it. He saves some and He passes by others. Jesus died for those God gave Him. It was effectual, not dependant on some man’s opinion or choice. Jesus spoke more about heaven than hell so not all people are saved. It is all of Grace. No one deserves it. God will not share His glory with anyone. We believe because He causes us to believe. What mercy and grace when what we ALL deserve is hell.
      Hope this helps.

      • March 1, 2013 at 11:19 pm

        Pam, John 3:16 and all the other “whosoevers” in the NT are (bad) translations from the Greek. The Greek says “the one who.” In English, a common connotation of “whosoever” is “whoever CHOOSES.”

        About “world” in the NT, there are about ten different meanings, for example “hey look the whole world is running after Jesus” (the people in Borneo as well?). But this is the one that shows that “world” in John 3:16 cannot mean everybody without exception:

        John 17:8-9
        I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. 9 I pray for them: I PRAY NOT FOR THE WORLD but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine.

        So, John 3:16 can only mean that God so love the world (in contrast to other parts of his creation, e.g. angels, Mars) that ….”

  5. February 28, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    Neil, your “Praise God! it is only the Holy Spirit who can convict.” True, but in your view this He does to Tom, Dick AND Harry. So, what’s so amazing, in your scheme, that He convicted your friend? And say the Holy Spirit convinced/ persuaded (a step after “convicted”) your friend, is there another step (or steps) involved? If so, what happens after whosoever is persuaded?

  6. Neil Schoch
    February 28, 2013 at 7:06 pm

    Greetings!
    I have greatly enjoyed your web content so it is not my intention to enter into a never ending debate/arguement on this matter, so I will only comment on a few points.
    As to Pharaoh you will find that despite the witness of God’s people in his midst he himself is mentioned three times as hardening his own heart. There are two aspects here, the judicial aspect of God’s sovereignty and the personal, which speaks of mans responsibility toward his Creator.
    Take the Nation of Israel in the days of the Lord on earth. Nationally they rejected the King who was in their midst, but, many Jewish people believed on Him and were saved. Because of this we read in Romans 11 that God “has not cast away His people” (V1) but in verse 25 we read that “blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” The “in part” is vital as individual Jews are coming to saving faith in Jesus Christ in quite large numbers.
    God does not reject any individual Jew who comes to Him in faith, or any other nationality for that matter. God will again deal with the Nation of Israel after the calling up of the Church.
    Jesus Himself clearly says in John 6:35 “He who believes in Me shall never thirst.”
    V 36 Many saw Him but chose not to believe, no doubt just as people do today.
    V37 “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.” There is no contradiction here with John 12:32.
    V40 ” And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life.” Believes in Him. This is the key – many choose not to and God will not force them to.
    V47 “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life.” Notice the tense – “has.” It is an immediate possession, present tense.

    Trying to distort the very words of the Saviour – “whosoever” and “all” to a certain select few is surely a serious matter. The words of Jesus are divinely inspired as are all scripture. (2Timothy 3:16)..Jesus said it – I believe it.
    I don’t understand how anyone professing to be a follower of Jesus would say that God didn’t mean what He said when He declared that He is “not willing that any should perish but that all may come to repentance.” Surely it should be just accepted.

    As to the reference to steps, I am not sure what the gentleman means..I have been many times a “link in the chain” so to speak, ie one of many people who have witnessed to others before they are eventually convicted of sin by the Holy Spirit. The only important aspect is that we all played our part in being used of the Lord. Once becoming a Christian there is a life of step by step living and learning more of our dear Lord.
    May God bless,
    Neil.

    • March 1, 2013 at 12:05 am

      Neil, as you say, this is a huge topic, so assume that you are right, this must mean that the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit fail – and miserably so – to fulfill the plan of salvation. That was what I already asked you. What is your view on this issue?

    • March 1, 2013 at 9:09 am

      Thanks for your comments, Neil. I realize that these are not easy issues to consider, and, as Phil Johnson well summed it up, “I’m Calvinistic enough to believe that God has ordained (at least for the time being) that some of my brethren should hold Arminian opinions.” Just a few observations and responses here. For ease of reading I am highlighting quotes from you in a different color, for the reading flow.

      “As to Pharaoh you will find that despite the witness of God’s people in his midst he himself is mentioned three times as hardening his own heart. There are two aspects here, the judicial aspect of God’s sovereignty and the personal, which speaks of mans responsibility toward his Creator.”

      Yes, Pharaoh hardened his heart — but the scripture first says that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart (Exodus 7:3). We all agree that man is still responsible toward his creator. The issue is that man, apart from the enabling power of God, is unable to respond to God, for as the scriptures say, “the natural man cannot receive the things of God” and elsewhere, “they that are in the flesh cannot please God.”

      “Take the Nation of Israel in the days of the Lord on earth. Nationally they rejected the King who was in their midst, but, many Jewish people believed on Him and were saved. Because of this we read in Romans 11 that God “has not cast away His people” (V1) but in verse 25 we read that “blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.” The “in part” is vital as individual Jews are coming to saving faith in Jesus Christ in quite large numbers.
      God does not reject any individual Jew who comes to Him in faith, or any other nationality for that matter. God will again deal with the Nation of Israel after the calling up of the Church.”

      Again no disagreement, that is what we also believe. Yes, those who come to Him in faith, show that they are the elect of God, as stated before, John 6:37 — “All that the Father gives me will come to me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.”

      “Trying to distort the very words of the Saviour – “whosoever” and “all” to a certain select few is surely a serious matter. The words of Jesus are divinely inspired as are all scripture. (2Timothy 3:16)..Jesus said it – I believe it.”

      As we’ve said before, this is a huge topic and these scriptures have been addressed in detail, so no point in trying to discuss it here in general terms. But no one has said that “whosoever” and “all” is limited “to a certain select few.” As I’ve written here before, including quotes from Spurgeon, the Bible is quite clear that the number of the saved will not be a select few but a vast multitude that cannot be counted.

      “I don’t understand how anyone professing to be a follower of Jesus would say that God didn’t mean what He said when He declared that He is “not willing that any should perish but that all may come to repentance.” Surely it should be just accepted.”

      Yes, we recognize that aspect of God’s will, while also recognizing the difference between God’s secret will (His election of His people, from before the foundation of the world) and His revealed or decretive will, what actually occurs in history.

      Back to what Bography has mentioned: if God cannot fulfill what He says — “the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit fail – and miserably so,” and if God is thwarted by man’s “free will” to reject Him, then we have a frustrated deity, a God who is not really in control, since man is sovereign in his final say, not God.

    • Pam S.
      March 2, 2013 at 5:38 am

      Neil, they come in faith because God chose them before the foundation of the world, to come to Him. A dead man cannot chose to have life. It must be given to him. He must be raised from the dead. No faith without life first. The Bible gives the description of mankind in Romans3:9-18. The Bible says that the names were written in the Lamb’s Book of Life from before the foundation of the world. Read Ephesians1:3-14.
      If it is any other way, then it is not GRACE. God gets all the glory.
      Hope this helps.

  7. Neil Schoch
    March 1, 2013 at 10:58 pm

    Greetings again!
    Man was created in the image and likeness of God – and God saw that it was very good.
    Man was created for communion and fellowship with God. Before the fall man was an eternal being, with no prospect of death.
    Adam and Eve were only given one command as to what they could not do, eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.
    That they chose to disobey God demonstrates beyond any shadow of doubt, that God in His wisdom, pedetermined counsels and foreknowledge created them with what can only be called “free will” no matter how much some reject that truth.
    They chose to disobey – they didn’t have to.
    They were eternally safe but they chose sin, resulting in death entering the world.
    God is omniscient (all knowing) and therefore it is obvious that from the very beginning His plan was for man to voluntarily choose to obey Him and receive eternal life, or to disobey and suffer not just physical death but spiritual death ie eternal seperation from a loving God.

    God, whose very nature is love, put into place His predetermined rescue plan which is seen in the fact that He clothed them in animal skins. Although not specifically stated, this would have involved the first shedding of an animals blood, which was a signpost to the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary, without which there can be no forgiveness of sin.
    All who have been born since then have that sinfull nature (Psalm 51:5-6).
    Gods nature is eternally unchanging and He has always lovingly sought mans voluntary free will choice to obey Him and fellowship with Him.

    No one would accuse God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit of failing in His predtermined counsels of creation even though Adam and Eve disobeyed, so there is no possibility whatever of God failing in relation to salvation from then onwards.
    The rescue or redemption of fallen mankind has been available ever since the fall.
    Did Adam and Eve refuse the offer of atonement (a covering) through the type of Jesus Christ in the animal skins? No they accepted it and will be with us in eternity, just as will all who have come since, who have accepted Gods plan of redemption.

    Throughout Gods Word we find God desiring mans willing obedience and therefore fellowship and blessing.
    Leviticus 1:3 “– he shall offer it of his own free will.” This was a bunt offering, a sweet aroma offering speaking of the coming offering of Christ.
    Jesus, speaking to the most unlikely convert of all, the Samaritan women in John 4:23 said the Father is “seeking such to worship Him.” Yes God hasn’t changed, He is still “seeking” worshippers to worship Him. What an amazing and beautiful picture of God’s heart of love.

    God, in creation, could have made man as some automated robot who could never fail but to please Him. Praise God, in His wisdom He chose us fallen sinners, who through faith can be cleansed of sin and be found worthy in His sight. We are still sinners but sinners saved by grace.
    Ephesians 2:6-8: ” For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.”
    Grace alone saves. Salvation is the gift, but it must come by us putting our faith in the shed blood of Jesus Christ.

    How greatly can God save? Hebrews 7:25: “Therefore He is able to save TO THE UTTERMOST those who come to God through Him. Those who come by faith – no restrictions whatever – no limitations – just belief in the Lord Jesus Christ.

    We have three sons who have come to faith in Christ and been baptised. We have two very young grand-daughters. The Bible says that children are a gift from God. Would a loving God give the gift of children to men and at the same time predetermine that no matter how often they heard the gospel preached by loving parents and grandparents, one or both of my grand-daughters are predeterminedly doomed to Hell?

    That is not the God of love I find in my Bible.

    It was mentioned that Calvin was influenced by Augustine. Old false doctrine never becomes right over time. Augustine beieved that Christ was present in the emblems (transubstantiation) and that baptism was essential for salvation.
    Calvin also believed this – you can check it out in his writings
    Beware of another gospel which is not a gospel. See Galations 1:8-9.
    “WHOEVER calls on the name of the Lord, WILL BE SAVED.” Praise God!

    I am simply speaking the truth in love as God’s Word commands, and I thank God for you all and pray that He will richly bless you all.
    God bless,
    Neil.

  8. March 1, 2013 at 11:35 pm

    Neil, God, in your book, is a colossal failure because for you he is unable to save a large section (few are chosen – relatively) of humanity. So he predestinates himself to fail because he is a “gentleman” not a dictator? Right?

    May I be bold to say that you will never say God is a failure.

  9. Neil Schoch
    March 2, 2013 at 1:29 am

    You are so right there – I will never say God is a failure – that would be blasphemy.
    Jesus Christ preached even to the religious leaders of the day. A few believed on Him but most rejected Him. That was mans failure not Christ’s.
    Ultimately they crucified Him and no doubt called Him a failure, but instead He conquered death and rose again.
    You are really not making much sense dear friend.

  10. March 2, 2013 at 2:05 am

    Let me try again then. According to you, God does not (fails to) get what he wants, which according to you is to save everybody in the world.

  11. Neil Schoch
    March 2, 2013 at 6:17 am

    It is not what I say that matters but what God says:- God “is not willing that any should perish but that all may come to repentance.” Scripture points out repeatedly that not all will be willing to repent, but that does not change the attitude of God’s heart of love.
    God gets exactly what He wants. As I have pointed out He gets the willing fellowship and heartfelt praise and worship of sinners saved by grace, who respond in obedience to Him, because, as scripture points out, “we love Him because He first loved us.”
    It is not a forced respnse nor just some ritualistic religious observance.
    True worship is an effervescent outpouring of the believers soul and spirit as we more and more appreciate the greatness of what God has done for us in and through Jesus Christ.
    Would He love to have more of mankind responding like this?
    Certainly, as we see Him patiently waiting in grace with hands outstretched to bless all who will belive on Jesus Christ through faith.throughout the pages of scripture.
    Hebrew 11 gives us just a brief glimpse of some of the multitude of Old Testament saints with whom we believers in this day of grace will share Heaven.
    Revelation 7:9-17 tells us of a multitude that can not be numbered who will come to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, although at the cost of their own lives, after the Church is raptured. Then there will be another multitude born during the 1000 year reign of Christ on earth and they also will share with us in the New Heavens and New Earth..
    Eternity will be so wonderfull for us, but also for God. As Isaiah 53 prophetically says of the Lord Jesus:- ” He shall see of the travail of His soul, and be satisfied.”
    Even though the heart of God is love, God will be absolutely righteous and just in granting the wish of those who have refused His offer of salvation through Jesus. They have refused the offer of a place in Heaven and therefore will spend eternity in Hell, in torment. See Revelation 20:11-15.
    The Lord Jesus Christ is the righteous Judge sitting on that great white throne. The fact that they are standing before that throne of judgement means that there is no more hope for them, the opportunity has been eternally lost.
    They are judged according to their works, one of which will be their refusal to accept the Lord Jesus. But notice that the book of life is also opened even though there is no hope for them. Why is this so? To me it is just as if the loving Saviour opens that book with His nail scarred hands, longing for their to be some mistake.
    But God never makes mistakes or fails in any way way. He is a “rewarder of those who diligently seek Him,” and gives them eternity in His blessed Presence.
    As a holy and righteous God He is just as diligent in giving the Christ rejecting sinners their rightfull reward, eternal seperation from a loving God, in the presence of Satan.

    How this should spur the hearts of all believers here and now to be obedient to that great commission to go out into all the world, preaching the gospel and “making disciples of all the nations.”

    May we be like the Bereans of old, and search the Scriptures daily, to see if these things are so. God bless!

  12. March 2, 2013 at 10:18 am

    Neil, don’t fudge. In your scheme, God fails to get what he wants.

    With regard, “all”

    Setting – shelter for the poor, lunch.

    (Very rich) Manager addressing the diners slurping their soup, moving his hands across the room.

    “I’m not willing that any should go hungry but all should have a solid meal.”

  13. Neil Schoch
    March 2, 2013 at 3:30 pm

    Brother – you’ve missed the point – it’s not my scheme at all – it is God’s redemptive plan as divinely inspired in the Word of God.
    I have no plan of arguing with you about it, however. I would rather spend my energy sharing the good news of the Gospel with the lost.

    • March 2, 2013 at 4:28 pm

      Setting – Hospice

      Preacher (P) to dying man (DM) – the good news is that God loves you and has a great plan for you.

      DM – I know, but what worries me is that most of my family believe nothing.

      P – God wants to save them but as you know the Holy Spirit is a gentleman and so he won’t interfere with their free will.

      DM (cough, splutter) – Can’t God do something like change their hearts or something?

      P – Well, we can only go on our knees and ask God to change their hearts?

      DM – So can God change their stony hearts!

      P – Only if they’re willing.

      DM – But then what’s the point of praying that God will grant them repentance – that is what you mean by change their hearts, innit? – if he can’t do it unless they give him permission?

      P – Well the Bible says we must ask God to change people’s wills, aagh, I mean hearts, and it also says that the people who hate him or are indifferent to him must first give him permission. God wants it that way.

      DM – So, if they don’t believe, God loses out.

      P. I’m afraid so. That’s what the Bible clearly says.

      DM – Blessed assurance! As for yours truly, I won’t disappoint God.

      P – Blessed are you for flesh and blood has not revealed that to you. If you like I’ll contact members of your family. Do you have a phone number.

      DM – Don’t phone them, they’ll phone you.

  1. March 7, 2013 at 4:07 am

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