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Thread: Battle Royale X Critique thread - Does God Know Your Entire Future?

  1. #31
    Who is the stooge now? novice's Avatar
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    First off, kudos to Sam and his new found formatting!

    But please tell me Sam didn't use 1st Samuel 15:29 as a proof text.

    Sam, be careful not to simply pluck verses out of the Bible without looking at the their context. 1st Samuel 15 might be one of the strongest chapters in the Bible for showing that God CAN and DOES repent/change (1 Samuel 15:11 & 1Samuel 15:35) yet has the ability to NOT repent in certain circumstances i.e., His turning from Saul.

    It is my opinion that this is a monumental error in Sam's 2nd round post.

    1st Samuel 15 is a "repent sandwich", one instance of God not repenting from a specific judgement sandwiched in-between two instances of God repenting from a decision He had made

    God changes His mind about His decision to set-up Saul as King...

    1Samuel 15:11 It repenteth me that I have set up Saul to be king: for he is turned back from following me, and hath not performed my commandments. And it grieved Samuel; and he cried unto the LORD all night.

    Saul prays that God changes His mind about changing His mind...

    1Samuel 15:25 Now therefore, I pray thee, pardon my sin, and turn again with me, that I may worship the LORD.

    God says He will not change His mind about changing His mind...

    1Samuel 15:29 And also the Strength of Israel will not lie nor repent: for he is not a man, that he should repent.

    God affirms that He changed His mind.

    1Samuel 15:35 And Samuel came no more to see Saul until the day of his death: nevertheless Samuel mourned for Saul: and the LORD repented that he had made Saul king over Israel.

    The "repent sandwich" adds up to nothing but trouble for Sam and his theology.

    Otherwise, I like Sam's spunky new attitude.
    Oh, wise guy eh?

  2. #32
    Maximeee's Husband death2impiety's Avatar
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    Thirdly, Bob states that the “Psalms ignores or downplays the Greek and Roman philosophical attributes of the OMNIs . . . .” The Greek philosophers to whom Bob refers did not exist at the time of the writing of the Psalms and so it is impossible to downplay that which does not exist. This is the equivalent of saying that Abraham Lincoln ignores or downplays the speeches of Martin Luther King Jr.. He could neither ignore nor downplay them because they did not exist yet. The Psalms were written much too early to have been influenced by the philosophers that Bob mentions.
    Is this a straw man or what? Bob didn't say that the Psalms were influenced by the philosophers but that philosophical, Calvinist interpretation of God is shown to be erroneous by using the good, loving, personal, etc. model displayed in Psalms and other parts of the Bible.

  3. #33
    TOL Legend Clete's Avatar
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    Dr. Lamerson's second post is an interesting one.

    I was first struck by what I took as his lowering everyone's expectations of his performance in the debate. I give him points for making an attempt to endear himself to the audience with a personal anecdote but I suspect (and could definitely be wrong) that his intent was to mitigate the audience’s expectations of a mind-blowing performance in the debate. I really do hope that I've misunderstood his intentions here.

    Secondly, while I agree that Bob's opening post was less than completely responsive, I also think that Lamerson attempted to milk that fact a bit too much. It's not as if Bob didn't give plenty of material with which to work and to know in what direction was best to take the debate in round two. I suspect that because of this reaction to Bob's "unresponsiveness" that Lamerson will be dealing in future rounds with more responsiveness than he presently thinks is possible.

    Thirdly, while I think that the bulk of Lamerson's arguments were decent enough, I think he made a serious error in the following paragraph...
    Quote Originally Posted by Samuel Lamerson
    ...Bob states that the “Psalms ignores or downplays the Greek and Roman philosophical attributes of the OMNIs . . . .” The Greek philosophers to whom Bob refers did not exist at the time of the writing of the Psalms and so it is impossible to downplay that which does not exist. This is the equivalent of saying that Abraham Lincoln ignores or downplays the speeches of Martin Luther King Jr.. He could neither ignore nor downplay them because they did not exist yet. The Psalms were written much too early to have been influenced by the philosophers that Bob mentions.
    This argues Bob's point for him by admitting that nothing significant of the Omni's can be found in the Psalms. Lamerson makes the mistake of thinking that God's OMNI attributes, if they exist, came into existence with the Greeks. In other words, if the Omni's are true you would expect the older Psalms to mention something about them even if in different terms than the Greeks used. Lamerson all but admits that it does not do so which concedes Bob's entire point.

    Dr. Lamerson then unleashed a barrage of rhetorical questions, I think assuming that the answers being obvious enough to make his point without those answers needing to be articulated. This is another grave error on the Dr.'s part. I don't know how many, if any, that Bob will decide to answer directly since they weren't listed as questions at the close of the Dr.'s post but I think it would be fun to see him answer them all. Perhaps, Dr. Lamerson should wrap his head in duct tape before reading Bob's next post though. That way, if Bob chooses to respond to all those rhetorical questions, when the Dr.'s head explodes, the duct tape will make it easier to collect all the pieces!

    Resting in Him,
    Clete
    Last edited by Clete; August 5th, 2005 at 02:36 PM.
    "The [open view] is an attempt to provide a more Biblically faithful, rationally coherent, and practically satisfying account of God and the divine-human relationship..." - Dr. John Sanders

  4. #34
    Formerly Shimei! Servo's Avatar
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    With all this discussion about God and His character, one should keep this verse in mind:

    1 Corinthians 14:33
    For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.

    The author of confusion is man....

  5. #35
    Over 1500 post club GuySmiley's Avatar
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    The good about Lamerson's 2nd post:

    It can be read in one sitting without my head hurting! And I thought the comment "I feel sort of like a lion in a den of Daniels" was hilarious! His point about the attribuites of God not being transliterations was good. His story about the Greek professor who told them to always answer 'context' was funny.

    The bad about Lamerson's 2nd post:

    He dismisses Bob's answer to his question as 'read it in context' as too broad, but I think its really the best answer. Isn't that really his own answer to verses which show evidence for the OV, that God used that language in context to make a point?

    In his answer concerning 'God is living' he begins by stating 'given the fact that God is neither all-powerful" but Bob never said this. This stands as a basis for the rest of his argument, but its a strawman since Bob never said God is not all powerful.

    He also goes on the question that why cant God change his mind on the attributes Bob listed if the OV is correct. I think (to me) the point is that those are the attributes of God that will not change. So no, He cannot change his mind about being loving for instance. He also goes on the use examples such as God "having me marry a particular person." He's sort of locked into a closed view position and I think he doesnt get that free will would say that God does not have you marry a particular person, its your free choice.

    All of his three new questions can be easily answered by the fact that Bob never stated God is not all powerful. God proclaims what he will do in the future, and makes it come to pass.

    Greg

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    Over 1500 post club Vaquero45's Avatar
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    God is immutable, that is, unchanging (Mal. 3:6; Ps. 102:27; Heb. 1:12; 13:8; James 1:17), not absolutely but in His goodness. “The goodness of God endures continually” (Ps. 52:1), because of His commitment to righteousness (Jer. 9:24; Ps. 33:5). Thus His counsel (His will) is immutably good (Heb. 6:17-18),
    Copied and pasted from Bob's first post.

    This answers most of the problems Dr. Lamerson brought up with his questions, in my opinion. OV people don't want to make God untrustworthy anymore than Dr. Lamerson, and plain scripture shows we do not need to worry about God going bad.

    I thought his "lion among Daniels" remark was funny! I admire his courage to come into a forum were the "peanut gallery" is so lop-sided. I do like the man. Looking forward to Bob's response. I don't foresee any trouble for Bob so far.

    Jeff
    Marge: "Aren't you going to give him the last rites?"
    Rev. Lovejoy: "That's Catholic, Marge - you might as well ask me to do a voodoo dance."



    "Oh bother" said Pooh, as he chambered the next round.

    Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety. - Benjamin Franklin

  7. #37
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    It seems somewhat unfair of Dr. Lamerson to imply that if one uses historical studies for whatever reason they fail to use scripture as a standard. If the bible has been misinterpreted by incredibly influential individuals, thus making a huge historical impact on how scripture is understood throughout the ages by so many then it would be vital for these historical studies to be revealed in the debate.

    Dr. Lamerson goes on to list the attributes that Bob gives for God, asking how do we know for sure that God won't change in these areas. We know that God is good. Nobody would deny this to be the very nature of God. One thing that Bob does show is that God is unchanging in His goodness and His righteous character. From one end of scripture to the other we see this extremely vital characteristic of God. God's goodness, God praising goodness, God being triumphant over evil, God being pleased with those who do good. It is simply who He is. "I AM", the God who is and goodness go hand in hand. And in this faith that we have in His righteous character never changing, we can also have faith and peace in knowing that God will never change by ceasing to do that which is good.

  8. #38
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    Thank you, Sam, for your thoughtful, diligent reply. I do not feel it is persuasive and may display a lack of understanding of the depth of Open Theism. Some texts brought up are standard proof texts that have alternate, plausible understandings from an Open Theism perspective.

    1) I have read enough documentation of the Greek philosophical influences on Christianity through Augustine and others. Origen is a classic example of someone with Hellenistic, negative influences. The development of doctrine did not occur in a vacuum. Even traditional, classical theologians are rethinking the classic doctrines. We are not saying the traditional view was absolutely influenced or identical to Greek philosophy. Open Theism also has to guard against philosophical influences such as Process Theology (finitism).

    See "The Untamed God" (non-Open Theist; difficult book to get through)

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0830...68#reader-link

    (click on next page for contents)


    2) Num. 23; I Sam. 15; Mal. 3 These are typical proof texts for strong immutability (wake up, CONTEXT is king!). In fact, all they show is that in some vs all stituations God will not change. He is faithful to His word and will not change in a fickle, capricious way. As pointed out, I Sam. 15:11, 35 should also be taken literally. Weak immutability reminds us that God does not change in His essential attributes and character, but He does change in relations, actions, thoughts, emotions, and experiences.

    It was good that Sam clarified immutability, since it is not identical to the pagan Greek concepts.

    3) Omnipresence and omniscience are related, though the latter is the crux of this debate. I think Bob's understanding of omnipresence needs tweaking for clarity (it is a difficult concept at the best of times).

    4) Sam could add Is. 46:9-11 to 40 and 48:3. Though used as proof texts against OT, in context, they actually support the idea that there are two motifs in Scripture: some of the future is knowable/settled (what God purposes and brings to pass by His omnicompetence) and some of the future is unsettled/uncertain. The mistake is to make the second set figurative or to assume because God brings some of the future to pass that He must meticulously vs providentially bring all of it to pass (cannot extrapolate beyond the text).

    5) Ps. 139:4 refers to God's perfect past and present knowledge.

    Dr. Gregory Boyd gives a plausible alternate understanding of v. 16

    (p. 40 "God of the possible)

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0801...68#reader-link

    The text does not have to imply that God foreknows everything exhaustively. Like Jeremiah and Paul, God had intentions for their life plans. We cannot extrapolate salvific issues (TULIP...election/non-election) from this text. Unalterable decrees or God knowing everything/all things is eisegesis/preconceived theology. This poetic passage is about God's providential care, not a doctrinal treatise on metaphysical issues.

    The Hebrew is ambiguous here. Just as God changed Hezekiah's days of life (added 15 years in response to prayer), so the Psalmists future was open vs closed. Intentions are not certainties. A life call is not an unalterable blueprint.

    6) Jn. 13:19 deals with proximal knowledge that the Father reveals to the incarnate Christ, not remote knowledge from eternity. It also cannot be extrapolated to prove God controls or knows all things. Perfect past and present knowledge does not prove exhaustive foreknowledge of future free will contingencies. The past is fixed, but the future is open. They are not identical unless you buy into 'eternal now' eternalism vs presentism (timelessness vs endless time...A theory vs B theory of time).

    7) God IS good, in both views. We cannot underestimate God's omnicompetence (Cosmic Chessmaster), even if all of the future is not certain/known (nature of future vs deficiency in God).

    It seems Sam is wrongly assuming a blueprint, meticulous control model of sovereignty vs the warfare model seen in the ministry of Jesus (He opposes evil, but does not affirm it as God's will...see Boyd "Is God to blame?" http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0830...8#reader-page). click on next page

    "Decision Making and the Will of God" by Garry Friesen is an older book and not from the Open Theism camp. God's will is not a bulls-eye (except His moral will). There is much freedom within God's moral will for us to make free, equally valid choices. It deals with your marriage analogy. There was not just one person I could have married to be in God's will. It is His will that I marry a believer, not a blond.

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/1590...68#reader-link

    God's character and attributes do not change, but His knowledge, relations, actions, thoughts, and emotions do change. He is dynamic, not static ("Living", personal, relational). He is omnicompetent and righteous. There is no reason to doubt His providential vs meticulous sovereignty.

    Is it a Calvinistic assumption (Enyart will also disagree with me on this point) that eternal life is unconditional (TULIP)? The grounds of salvation (reason for which) are grace and the person and work of Christ. The conditons of salvation (not without which) are repentant faith and continuance in the faith.

    "Life in the Son" by Robert Shank deals with the doctine of perseverance (conditional vs unconditional eternal security):

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/1556...68#reader-link

    I do not believe God knew who would be saved or persevere from eternity past. TULIP is problematic to libertarian free will and the impartial love and holiness of God. It is hyper-sovereignty vs biblical sovereignty. Our destinies are open, not fatalistically fixed. If we are in the Son, we have assurance of eternal life. If we become apostate or do not receive the gift of eternal life, we do not have false assurance.

    8) The Open View does not compromise the classical attributes of God, properly understood:

    http://www.gregboyd.org/gbfront/index.asp?PageID=506

    Boyd affirms and defends his view for his Baptist Conference concerned peers.

    I agree with Sam that God's attributes are related vs separate. Bob would do well to reaffirm agreement. We cannot pit or prioritize God's self-revealed characteristics. We can understand that justice, for example, flows out of the love, wisdom, and holiness of God.

    9) Does God have false beliefs (Sam)? No, but what is possible may not end up being actual. What is true today as an object of knowledge may be false after contingencies change tomorrow. God correctly knows reality as it is and distinguishes possible from actual.

    e.g. God correctly knows that I am alive today. This is true until I die. He does not know or see me as dead before I actually am. When I die, He will know that I am no longer physically alive.
    Just because I get up early today, does not mean God knows I will get up later 10 years from now. He knows things as they are and as they unfold. I may truthfully dislike mushrooms today, but may like them when I get older. Then it will be true I like vs dislike mushrooms. Truth statements can change as contingencies change.
    Last edited by godrulz; August 5th, 2005 at 12:53 PM.
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  9. #39
    Gold level Subscriber Bob Enyart's Avatar
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    A thank you to the grandstands!

    I want to thank the insightful folks posting on both sides of the debate in this BRX Critique thread. It adds to my ability to analyze Sam's posts, and it also helps me decide where to increase or decrease emphasis. And of course, I may occasionally steal a few ideas from here and there (victims, you will know yourselves). And if Sam reads this, I'm hoping that he will feel free to take support from posters here and Calvinists anywhere. Because my hope is that this debate will work through the strongest arguments available, and not capitalize on the weakness of either participant. Thus, if I can provide a stronger argument for a point than Sam provides, I will try to go ahead and do so, and I invite him to do likewise. Finally, I think this critique thread is one of the most *valuable* threads I've seen in a long time. Knight's rule against dialoging would be diasterous in most threads, but in this kind of controlled setting, it's superb! So we should refrain from quoting other posts in here, but only quoting BRX! The value to me already is great. Thanks to all and especially to Sam!

    -Bob
    Last edited by Turbo; August 5th, 2005 at 03:03 PM.
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  10. #40
    Old Timer Chileice's Avatar
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    Personally, I was pleasantly surprised by Sam's post. I think it got pretty well to the point, even if it did milk Bob's lack of response a little too much. I think he has left some very important questions on the table. If God is not truly all-knowing, how can we put our complete faith and trust in his promises? That is perhaps the biggest question I have had about the OV view. I find this debate fascinating because I really have been going back and forth on this particular issue for some time.

    As far as debate style goes, this was a great post. It was easy to read, well organized and really set the points of difference clearly on the table. I appreciated the direct references to scripture, which should be our standard for coming to a correct conclusion on this topic.

    Just a note to godrulz... I always enjoy your contributions at TOL and you are one of my favourite posters... but YOU aren't debating Lamerson, Bob is. Your post almost sounds like he is debating you.
    Blessings of Peace,Chileice
    "Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15.13

  11. #41
    Silver Member kmoney's Avatar
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    Sam's 2nd post was definitely strong. I also thought that Bob barely touched on what Sam said in his first post.

    I think all the talk on greek philosophers won't really get anywhere. Sam's paragraph:
    Thirdly, Bob states that the “Psalms ignores or downplays the Greek and Roman philosophical attributes of the OMNIs . . . .” The Greek philosophers to whom Bob refers did not exist at the time of the writing of the Psalms and so it is impossible to downplay that which does not exist. This is the equivalent of saying that Abraham Lincoln ignores or downplays the speeches of Martin Luther King Jr.. He could neither ignore nor downplay them because they did not exist yet. The Psalms were written much too early to have been influenced by the philosophers that Bob mentions.
    I don't think this really helped Sam's cause at all, BUT I didn't really think Bob's point about it was any good either. Basically all the greeks introduced was some new vocabulary. I don't think you can say that the concepts weren't there prior to the philosophers. Also, like someone else said, this could be seen as Sam agreeing that the ideas of the "omnis" were introduced after the scriptures were written and I think that can do his side some harm, but I don't think that was what he was saying. There are clearly scriptures that can be interpreted as God having some of the "omni" characteristics so the "omni" ideas were not new to the greeks. In my opinion the whole greek philosophy part of the debate so far has been useless for the most part. Maybe someone can explain to me otherwise in the "battle talk" thread.

    Overall though I think Sam gave some good points. I'm looking forward to Bob's reply.

    Kevin

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    In defense of his initially weak showing, Sam writes, “[T]here are others who are more qualified than I am. However, I am the one who has been asked to engage in the debate (I was asked, I did not seek this out, nor would I have sought it out) and so I must do the best I can with what I have.
    If Sam were to admit that he got caught flat-footed and wanted time to better prepare for the challenge at hand, I would understand. But instead he floats the thinly veiled accusation that Bob sought out an under-qualified opponent just to look good.

    I am looking at the two men’s bios and the truth of the matter is that Bob claims none of the credentials of Sam. Bob’s claim to understanding the Bibles is his longtime passion to know God’s Word. Sam boasts a lengthy history of learning from the “masters” and has even presented his position at a theological symposium.

    I think that Bob would agree that Sam has the bulk of Church history, Christian academia, and public opinion in his corner. He certainly has the resources to put together a vigorous presentation of the Settled View. If Sam feels he is behind, he should ask the assistance of his friend, “Andre the Giant.” If Andrea is not available then Godzilla, King Kong, Superman or any of the other Calvinist super heros will certainly help him squash this “theological mutiny.”

    Sam makes much of Bob not answering all of the questions in his first post. I believe that Sam knows that in a debate each side is allowed to presenting their position in opening. Bob needs to address all of Sam’s questions. At the same time he deserves the opportunity to make a coherent and systematic presentation of his own position. That he has not responded to all of the questions yet is not a legitimate criticism.

    I have read many critiques of the Open position, all of them ruthless. When it comes to truth we as Christians should not pull our punches. That is why I find Sam to be artificially cordial and a bit disingenuous. The matter of this debate is paramount to the nature of God and should be vigorously defended on both side. I would suggest to all listeners that what they are reading is in fact the best both side have to offer.

  13. #43
    Old Timer Chileice's Avatar
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    I think Sam was stating a fact. Some people want a more "well-known" personality in the debate. But I think he was being straightforward. God can't use those who are not willing and able. Others might be more able, but weren't willing. Others were willing but unable. At least Sam is both willing and able and I think has shown himself to be worthy. Who needs a name if you are a capable thinker. I almost think it would be more "fair" if no one knew Bob was on the other end. It would be fun to have an "anonymous debate where neither the parties debating nor the audience knew who they were other than as a moniker. Then we would all have to pay attention to what was said rather than our pre-conceived notions of who we liked.
    Blessings of Peace,Chileice
    "Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." Romans 15.13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chileice
    Just a note to godrulz... I always enjoy your contributions at TOL and you are one of my favourite posters... but YOU aren't debating Lamerson, Bob is. Your post almost sounds like he is debating you.
    I need some guidelines. I do not know how detailed we are to be in this thread. I responded to ideas that I felt I could critique, positively or negatively. This is a critique thread, but I do not want to be the debater.

    Any practical suggestions for limits to what we post here? I tried to go point by point on the things that caught my eye. Bob and Sam's opinion would be appreciated (and Knight).
    Last edited by godrulz; August 5th, 2005 at 06:47 PM.
    Know God and make Him known! (YWAM)

    They said: "Where is the God of Elijah?"
    I say: "Where are the Elijahs of God?" (Ravenhill "Why Revival Tarries")

    Rev. 1:17, 18; Jer. 9:23, 24

    "No Compromise!" (Keith Green)

    The Pledge: He died for me; I'll live for Him.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chileice
    I think Sam was stating a fact. Some people want a more "well-known" personality in the debate. But I think he was being straightforward. God can't use those who are not willing and able. Others might be more able, but weren't willing. Others were willing but unable. At least Sam is both willing and able and I think has shown himself to be worthy. Who needs a name if you are a capable thinker. I almost think it would be more "fair" if no one knew Bob was on the other end. It would be fun to have an "anonymous debate where neither the parties debating nor the audience knew who they were other than as a moniker. Then we would all have to pay attention to what was said rather than our pre-conceived notions of who we liked.
    Both parties can do their general homework. They also have the tools and skills to think critically and prayerfully through the issues. I am not an expert. I am a student, not a scholar. I can spot a strong or weak argument based on general Bible knowledge. This biggest challenge is to put aside preconceived theologies that are accepted uncritically.

    It is certainly helpful to be familiar with the literature on both sides of the issue. I have found anti-open theists often misunderstand or misrepresent the view (equate it too much with Process Theology, which we disagree with), use proof texts out of context, or assume Calvinism must be identical to biblical Christianity. There is a political element that wants to defend Reformed Theology as the big power broker in Christianity. They oppose Arminianism or Catholicism as much as they do the new 'heresy' on the block. Open Theism should not be seen as an attack on Calvinism alone, nor should Calvinism be assumed. It is begging the question/circular reasoning to uncritically assume Calvinism is true and anything else simply is false. We must demonstrate what we believe and why from Scripture.
    Know God and make Him known! (YWAM)

    They said: "Where is the God of Elijah?"
    I say: "Where are the Elijahs of God?" (Ravenhill "Why Revival Tarries")

    Rev. 1:17, 18; Jer. 9:23, 24

    "No Compromise!" (Keith Green)

    The Pledge: He died for me; I'll live for Him.

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