Sunday, January 01, 2006

A Simple Defense

Thomas Grantham was an English Baptist in the mid to late 1600s. His role in baptist history is importans in that he was a faithful tower in the midst of severe persecution. In my recent studies, however, I have come across a work by Grantham titled Christianismus Primitivus. This work is a simple and straightforward defense of the Christian religion. While I am sure it has many faults, and in today's world it has need of many further developed thoughts, this piece provides some compelling and attractive arguments for Christianity.

His arguments in the first portion may be summarized as follows: History shows Jesus to have a been a real person who was actually put to death. People immidealtey after Jesus' death worshiped Him for His teachings and miracles, which could not have been from one who was evil. The reports of the resurrection are confirmed by sufficient witnesses from before, during, and after Jesus life, and by Christ Himself who appeared to thousands. This resurrection confirms Christ's teachings and His identity and thus establish Christianity as credible.

Not bad, eh? While this is a great argument there is one point on which I would disagree theologically with Grantham. He, being a General Baptist, would not agree that the Holy Spirit must first awaken dead sinners to life in Christ before the will believe the gospel message. And while this may surely be convincing, the Bible does indeed teach that no sinner will accept Christ unless the Father first draws them. Let this not undermine apologetics and defending the faith, but let it be a reminder that we are to pray earnestly for the Holy Spirit to awakend dead sinners.

While Grantham (and the Bible too) teaches us to defend the faith, the Bible reminds us, also, to pray for sinners to come to that faith! Let the Christian be about doing both!


Blogger saint david said...

Hello Pastor Dave,

In regard to this point of theology which you refer to as the Holy Spirit awakening dead sinners to life in Christ,I would like to comment.

I do see what Jesus said in Jn. 16:8 as what the Holy Spirit actually does to the dead sinner as 'reprove the world of sin'.

I do not see that the scripture says that the Holy Spirit acts upon a man against his own will to force him into becoming a believer.
What I do see is the believer is reproved (convicted, if you will) and at that point is in a place where God indeed is forcing not life upon him, but indeed is forcing man into a valley of decision.

It is clear that scripture shows time after time, that while man is here upon this earth, in this life, that he is faced with and must respond and give account of his response to God for all of his decisions and actions based upon his decisions.

It is Joshua, that great man of decision, who said 'choose you this day whom you will serve' Jos. 24:15.

The most known thing about a great leader is that he is a man of action. What made any man a great leader? Don't you readily agree that it is his ability to make a decision and take courage to stand by it, and take responsibility for it?

That is what God does throughout the history of mankind is to place him into a place of decision. Man must decide and then of course take action upon that decision, and of course take all responsibility for that choice and course of action.

Dear Brother in the Lord, surely you would readily agree that you see this ideed is what God does throughout all history of mankind.

Scripture indicates that the first man was placed into a place of decision. His response is referred to within theology and embraced by the Apostle Paul, to be sure. Did that decision which Adam made affect all humanity? The Apostle Paul says that it did and this is true of all men for all time.

God calls us to decide to serve him or not. What does effect the Holy Spirit to go ahead and live within us is our response to this convicting which brings us to the point of decision.

Scripture indicates in II Cor. 7:10 that 'godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation'.

This seems to me that man makes a decision to this reproving of the Holy Spirit (Jn. 16:8) and if he does indeed decide to serve God, he is expressing a 'godly sorrow'.
Do you see this?

Joel is so famous for the term, 'valley of decision' Joel 3:14.

Christians are faced daily to choose to sin, or take refuge in their Savior, I would say every day.
Do you see that God wants to actually see us choosing Him every day,...not just at the time of our 'born again experience'?

God indeed does give us all the choice from the very first time the Holy Spirit reproves (convicts) us of our sin...and guess what ?...this very same ability to choose sin or God goes on every day there after.

God will hold us all accountable for all decisions and will reward all of us for what those decisions bring forth in our lives.

Praise God for His word. Just stay fixed upon His word. You know by now that theology is made by man and each man that advocates a theology is bringing forth only what he understands as truth.

We must see what scripture does indeed indicate, over and over again to be sure that we are actually believing the truth according to scripture, and not according to one of the many theologies there are to choose from, which must bear up under the scripture.

Will you please read this over and think about my response?

Thank you for speaking forth for God. This is the greatest blessing for you, that God is enabling you to be bold for Him and show His love for others.

All blessings to you, Pastor Dave!
st. david.

6:02 AM  

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