Clete's POTD 3-17-06

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Jim Hilston asked Philetus...
Do you pray for people's salvation? If so, what are you asking God to do?​

Philetus said:
Greetings Hilston,

God gives wisdom to those who ask in faith. He gives bread to the hungry. He moves molehills and an occasional mountain. He raises the dead, but more often heals the sick. He occasionally gives sight to the blind and is forever opening blind eyes. He sets captives free, lifts the lowly, removes obstacles, and makes a way where there was none; makes the crooked straight and levels uneven playing fields. Often, God does all these things without being asked; sometimes, God does so because He is asked.

What, about God doing something because we ask him to, is so hard to understand? I said understand not accept.) I know … in your view God is already doing everything, so I have to ask, Jim, Why do you pray at all? It sounds like Paul has it all covered in your view. Just say ‘amen’ and take it as it comes. If God is already in control of all the flour, yeast and bakeries in the universe … why ask God for daily bread or anything if God is already doing or has done everything God can? I pray in agreement with Paul everyday. But, there is so much more than just praying ourselves into understanding and agreement with the fullness of God in Christ so we can live above the cares of the world. Seeking the mind of Christ is also for the purpose of knowing what to ask for and developing the proper motivation and faith to come before the throne of almighty God in order to make our requests and petitions know with confidence that God not only hears, but that he will also answer.

Jim, I have great respect for your scholarship. You probably have a better grasp of the content on both sides than I do. So, we could continue to restate each other’s comments from our respective and opposing views, accusing the other of making God too big or too small, like it matters. I can reject your view because I understand it. Not because I don’t. You can reject the OV if you understand it and from your first post I read, I have believed you understand, but refuse to accept the OV. You’re smarter than that and we all expect more. Just admit it. . It is OK.

But, in my opinion, what is missing from your view is simplicity: a child like faith in a loving Father who would not give a snake to His children if they asked, but would not withhold any good thing from them if they ask. I am convinced that in North America at least, there are far more unbelievers than believers who are wrongly convinced that your view of a non-relational, distant and unresponsive God is the way God really is, saving those who He will, but denying grace to them in particular. Why else would it be so important to you for me to say “I pray for the lost to be saved” so you can make lite of it and continue to dismiss this role and responsibility to give an accurate and complete witness to the full counsel of God? Until you admit that you understand OVT as well as you understand your favorite philosopher, your debate is not with me but with yourself.

You see, we have a fundamental difference in our understandings of how God’s plan of salvation is fulfilled. I am convinced that you do not really want an answer to the question you asked in twenty versions, each stating it in a way that precludes an answer that dismisses the OV. In your stated opinion, you’re just taunting a jackass. I’m combating a warped interpretation of scripture that distorts the true Image of God and has many lost people convinced that God won't hear them when they pray. This fundamental difference is what separates us. I can not answer your question within the framework of your view and you have already dismissed the OV as Luciferian theology. You can not or will not accept the answer. You don’t want an answer. You want fodder for your fire for burning heretics. You have too much already invested in your position. You have too much to give up. I know, because I have already given it up and I miss the pay check. But, all that I once thought was gain is dog doo-doo compared to knowing Christ in the dynamic power of His resurrection.

So, OK. Burn this. I feel the heat already.
God desires to save everyone, but God doesn’t, unless they ask (repent and believe the Gospel). Could He? Of course: God can do anything. What God has done to make salvation available is everything He could do without compromising the ultimate free-will of individuals. Not ‘could do’ in the sense that God is unable, but ‘could do’ without compromising His own divine nature or the freedom to accept or reject His offer and provision.

Is God doing everything God can do to ensure the salvation of everyone? Yes and no. Everything God can do has been done to ensure that nobody is saved apart from His pre-described, preordained, foreknown and made-known plan for redemption through Jesus Christ. What God is not doing (though He can if He chooses) is meticulously controlling and micro-managing His universe in such a way as to eliminate the ‘whosoever will’ aspect of our existence and salvation. Is God doing everything God could do to ensure the salvation of everyone? Maybe not, in that there are apparently those who do not care enough about their lost neighbors to at least pray for their salvation and an opportunity to share the Gospel with them. Perhaps, God has done all He intends to do without our participation in going and giving evidence of the Hope we have in us. Can God do more? Yes. It remains to be seen if He will in every situation.

God can do anything. God chooses to do only those things which he wants to do; things consistent in everyway with His attributes, all of His divine attributes. No open theist denies that God is able. God is omnipotent. God can. That is why one must say that God is not doing every thing that God in his unlimited and unrestrained power could do.

In the open view, God has given Himself to creation without compromising Himself or His creation. Creation is compromised in that creatures have rejected God as God and have chosen to act in rebellion toward God within the boundaries and limitations of license that God has set. God is not compromised by this negative response to Himself nor does the rejection exaggerate or minimize the risk involved. In giving Himself to creation God has entered into a ‘give and receive’ relationship with humanity in general and persons in particular. (I prefer the term ‘receive’ to ‘take’ as used by other Open Theist.) Some giving is without asking, and some is in response to faith. All receiving is response to freely given. Love does not coerce or force.

God has furthermore given Himself to creation in His Son; the ultimate gift, so that whosoever believes and receives (asks for forgiveness) receives life in the Son. I don’t have to speculate as to whether or not God saves those who never hear the Gospel. I’m not responsible for those. God is competent and can do as it pleases God in their case. I’m responsible for the person in my pathway. So I pray for all those things listed in the link you provided, that catalogue Paul’s prayers. (Thanks; it’s good.) But, I also pray that God will open hearts and minds to hear and grasp the Gospel. I pray for God to remove limitations, open doors, provide resources and direct my path. I pray for the lost.

I pray that God will do the miraculous in the lives of people who are wrongly convinced that God doesn’t care about them (perhaps due to a misunderstanding of the nature of God as unmovable or that He has already predetermined that they will not have food for breakfast in the morning or even that their poverty is the result of ‘God’s will’.) I ask God to reveal Himself to them in such a way that they will know that it is a ‘God-thing’ if and when He does it. And you know what, Jim? God does a lot of those things and more, and you will never convince me that it is not in some small way, because I ask. When, an unbeliever is aware of our request and God responds, people know that God is among them seeing to their every need and God gets all the glory. That is the greatest evidence on the planet that your view of God is just plain wrong and that those who call upon the name of the Lord will be saved.

One more thing God may do: Lately, I have asked God to speak through a jackass to a ‘prophet’ who is full of himself. Let’s see if He does.

A brilliant and eloquent response, Philetus! :BRAVO:

Here's a link to the thread: Open Theism


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This one deserves at least one more trip down the active threads list!

If you haven't actuallly read it, you should!


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That is an outstanding response!

Thank's, Clete, for pointing it out.

And good job, Philetus! :thumb:
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