Decision Theology

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Kurushii Drive
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Decision Theology

Post by Kurushii Drive » January 23rd, 2017, 12:19 pm

The more and more I go to 'contemporary-styled' American churches, the more and more I see that those churches push a 'decide to follow Christ' theology. I'm not saying that the people who 'choose' to follow Christ aren't really saved, but isn't salvation more than just deciding to follow Christ, or saying a 'sinner's prayer', or even marching down the rows of the sanctuary for an altar call?

I wanted to spark this discussion of how true salvation would work, aside from 'deciding' to follow Christ. In my opinion, it's more about if God opens a person's heart to be led to repentance and thereby confess the truth of Jesus Christ, calling on Him to be saved with true faith, according to the famous Romans 10:9-10, Romans 10:13, John 3:16, and other foundational verses. Does salvation in Christ lie in a decision that humans make to be committed to God's path (in other words, salvation completely based on free will), predestination to a path of eternal life or damnation (God saves, but ultimately some people are already bound for hell or heaven), or does He destine everyone for salvation in a certain way, with a certain purpose, that the person must repent in a moment of truth and thereafter become aligned with God's purpose as opposed to their own ambitions?

I hope that this will be a healthy discussion as it pertains to a topic that can mean life or death for any person, believer or not.
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Re: Decision Theology

Post by Reconize » January 24th, 2017, 3:07 pm

Salvation is delivered if and when a person dies in a state of Grace. It is always given and never earned. That being said, there is much more to salvation than just 1 decision as you said.

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Re: Decision Theology

Post by Kurushii Drive » January 24th, 2017, 4:44 pm

Reconize wrote:Salvation is delivered if and when a person dies in a state of Grace. It is always given and never earned. That being said, there is much more to salvation than just 1 decision as you said.

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Can you clarify on what you intend to say by "when a person dies in a state of Grace"? I thought salvation begins in the initial moment of God's saving you.
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Re: Decision Theology

Post by Michael Fedora » January 25th, 2017, 10:38 am

Armenianism vs Calvinism is never a healthy debate.. hah!

I think everyone would agree that salvation is more than mere words. It's a change of heart that can only be done by the Spirit, and which evidence thereof (that is, of faith) is the good works (not that we are saved by works but they are simply the evidence) and fruits that are shown after... that's in James, if I recall correctly, but I know Paul speaks about it too.

Regardless though, in a very small way it is a decision. To the layman, he must decide if he's going up to the front, or raising his hand, or saying the words with heart... whether you want to philosophically argue if that freedom of choice is even present is up to you, but to the layman it rather is, and is sometimes quite hard ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

As for what you and Reconize are talking about... it all depends if one can lose this salvation... which is another really fun topic (☞゚∀゚)☞
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Re: Decision Theology

Post by Kurushii Drive » January 25th, 2017, 11:54 am

Michael Fedora wrote:As for what you and Reconize are talking about... it all depends if one can lose this salvation... which is another really fun topic (☞゚∀゚)☞


Huhuh yeah, let's leave that for another day. The current topic is already too broad and significant in Christianity in general.

Michael Fedora wrote:Armenianism vs Calvinism is never a healthy debate.. hah!

I think everyone would agree that salvation is more than mere words. It's a change of heart that can only be done by the Spirit, and which evidence thereof (that is, of faith) is the good works (not that we are saved by works but they are simply the evidence) and fruits that are shown after... that's in James, if I recall correctly, but I know Paul speaks about it too.

Regardless though, in a very small way it is a decision. To the layman, he must decide if he's going up to the front, or raising his hand, or saying the words with heart... whether you want to philosophically argue if that freedom of choice is even present is up to you, but to the layman it rather is, and is sometimes quite hard ¯\_(ツ)_/¯


Yes the fruits are mentioned in Galatians 5 I believe, and likely mentioned to some degree in James, too. But check out this verse from Matthew 7:16 :
"You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they?" (NASB).

I know that the context is being able to discern false teachers, but nonetheless I think the verse is germane to this topic, in a way. However, it's important to say that perfection in producing these fruits is never achieved by us; we are just the implements God uses to grow fruits among the surrounding thistles, and in the end, it's safe to say that God does all of the work in salvation in us.

David in Psalm 51:12 prayed this to God:
Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me (NIV).

Based on this alone, I would say that all God really wants from us is a willing spirit to submit to Him, which He will use to sustain us.

Now, the burning question is: is this willing spirit rooted in a decision? Or does God simply open a person's understanding to make them willing? That's what I would like your thoughts on.

Oh yeah and Michael, about that Armenianism vs Calvinism debate...I supposed I have trapped myself into that xD
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Re: Decision Theology

Post by Michael Fedora » January 25th, 2017, 3:29 pm

But that's Armenianism vs Calvinism ┻━┻ ︵ヽ(`Д´)ノ︵ ┻━┻

Kind of. I mean that's basically free-will vs "irresistible grace" (i of tulip). You could say that Paul was an example of this, he didn't really make a decision... haha. God overcame his resistance and through that he was saved. Many modern day preachers will leave it up to the person to raise their hand, etc, as I said before, but... is that right, I guess, is the question you are asking?

What would your altar call be instead? :thinking:
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Re: Decision Theology

Post by Kurushii Drive » January 26th, 2017, 12:24 pm

Michael Fedora wrote:But that's Armenianism vs Calvinism ┻━┻ ︵ヽ(`Д´)ノ︵ ┻━┻

Kind of. I mean that's basically free-will vs "irresistible grace" (i of tulip). You could say that Paul was an example of this, he didn't really make a decision... haha. God overcame his resistance and through that he was saved. Many modern day preachers will leave it up to the person to raise their hand, etc, as I said before, but... is that right, I guess, is the question you are asking?

What would your altar call be instead? :thinking:
Hmm...it's hard to say...there wasn't any example of this in Scripture so I don't know. But what I think it is is being baptised (i.e., water baptism). That alone is a public declaration of allegiance to Christ. Altar call seems to be the same thing but rather unnecessary, IMHO, since water baptism fulfills the same purpose.

Now of course, if you're a Nicodemus who's asking 'how can I be saved?', Jesus did not respond to Him, 'Make a decision that can mean life or death'; instead, He pretty much said, 'Believe in Me or you will perish.' Here, I'll put the whole thing so that you guys can see:
John 3:1-21 wrote: There was a man from the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews. 2 This man came to Him at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that You have come from God as a teacher, for no one could perform these signs You do unless God were with him.”

3 Jesus replied, “I assure you: Unless someone is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

4 “But how can anyone be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked Him. “Can he enter his mother’s womb a second time and be born?”

5 Jesus answered, “I assure you: Unless someone is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God. 6 Whatever is born of the flesh is flesh, and whatever is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Do not be amazed that I told you that you must be born again. 8 The wind blows where it pleases, and you hear its sound, but you don’t know where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”

9 “How can these things be?” asked Nicodemus.

10 “Are you a teacher of Israel and don’t know these things?” Jesus replied. 11 “I assure you: We speak what We know and We testify to what We have seen, but you do not accept Our testimony. 12 If I have told you about things that happen on earth and you don’t believe, how will you believe if I tell you about things of heaven? 13 No one has ascended into heaven except the One who descended from heaven—the Son of Man. 14 Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, 15 so that everyone who believes in Him will have eternal life.

16 “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world that He might condemn the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 18 Anyone who believes in Him is not condemned, but anyone who does not believe is already condemned, because he has not believed in the name of the One and Only Son of God.

19 “This, then, is the judgment: The light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone who practices wicked things hates the light and avoids it, so that his deeds may not be exposed. 21 But anyone who lives by the truth comes to the light, so that his works may be shown to be accomplished by God.”
So, obviously, faith will give a person this salvation, because of the grace of God in sending His Son Jesus Christ to die for our sin, but I don't get the impression that faith is a choice, like 'pick God or world,' since everyone who doesn't already believe in the Son is already hellbound (written as 'condemned' here).

I don't know if I'm making any sense here, but I just think it robs God of the glory to say that choosing to follow Jesus makes you saved, and that your choice, not God's predestination, led you to the altar, or to your knees, or wherever your salvation 'started'. What do you think?
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Re: Decision Theology

Post by NeoJabez » January 26th, 2017, 12:50 pm

I would say the opposite...It gives God glory when, despite your free will, you still choose God.
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Re: Decision Theology

Post by Michael Fedora » January 27th, 2017, 10:19 am

I agree with Neo, here ^_^

Paul does specify that the faith was given to us to be able to believe anyway... so it's all rather complicated it seems. But in any sense it does work, and we are saved, and I feel like my point still stands:

In your original question, as to whether or not it is healthy for contemporary pastors having an alter call and make salvation seem like a choice, I believe it is rather okay as the layman sees it as his (sometimes rather hard) decision to raise his hand, or go up to the front, or get baptized; you can certainly argue over the philosophical trait of free will or if God overrode his resistance and drew the man to Him by his powerful love and thus nullifying said free will, but to the layman, in that particular moment, he is making a choice, and one that will change is life. *shrug
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Re: Decision Theology

Post by NeoJabez » January 27th, 2017, 10:49 am

Yep, Michael is trying to illustrate that, to the layman at least, Jesus has won his heart and mind.

That produces Glory for God, perhaps far more than God forcing Himself on people, don't you think?

My main problem with today's Christianity is that people miss the point of certain things, like...You don't just say a prayer and get saved. It doesn't happen that way. Anyone can recite words, it takes a true and sincere heart professing those words in pure belief for salvation to be the true result, in my opinion. The prayer is simply an earthly manifestation or communication of a truth conceived of in the soul.
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