Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Men May Boast about Anything! (But can they do so legitimately?)

A man is hit in the face by a much larger and stronger man's fist in full force.

He falls back and down on the ground.

How can the man who has been hit boast?

He did what anyone who was hit in the face by a much stronger and larger man would have done: fall back and on the ground.


being hit in the face by a much larger and stronger man


being open to the powerful and convicting, Holy Spirit persuading gospel message


falling back and to the ground


the passive response of faith that comes as a result of being persuaded/convinced of the gospel message

The question is:

How can someone legitamately boast about a passive act that would be the universal reaction of anyone found in the same circumstance? And the answer is clear: he cannot do so.

The question is not if someone can boast.

Boasting can come from anywhere, at anytime, in any circumstance, no matter what.

Cases in point:

Cannot the insane man boast that by his power the world revolves around the sun?

Cannot the liberal boast that the great state of the American economy is due to the fiscal policies and taxation of the Democratic Party?

Sure they can boast! So the question does not have to do with boasting, per se.

The question precisely has to do with "legitimate" boasting. The above two examples are not cases of legitimate boasting.

God, in the infinite and wise counsel of His own will and desire, has determined that all who believe that they are eternally secure :) by trusting Christ through His gospel promise will receive His grace, justification, and eternal life.

There cannot be any legitimate boasting on the part of one who is completely helpless relying solely upon the grace of another.

God has prescribed the way in which one is to completely rely upon Him for eternal :) life.

By taking Him at His word.



sofyst said...

I don't understand how these two are comparable. Yes, in a strange sense of the word 'falling back' is something the man does, but it is not something the man can help. He had no choice in the matter whether he could fall back or not.

I am sure you don't want to make the comparison in this way. If you say that the passive response of faith is comparable to the falling back and to the ground, and if falling back and to the ground is something that man has no choice whether he does or not, then you are necessarily drawing the conclusion that the passive response of faith is something that man hasn't a choice in.

Your scenario breaks down and proves fatal to your belief in choice...I'd rethink it a little. Man can boast in his faith, as he is the one who had the faith. He is the one who believed. Whether the faith is passive or not, it is still attributed to man as something he did. No one else had the faith. As he is the only one that can take credit in believing, he is the only one that can boast in his faith.

sofyst said...

Another question arises from your post. You said this,

How can someone legitamately boast about a passive act that would be the universal reaction of anyone found in the same circumstance? And the answer is clear: he cannot do so.

Are you claiming that faith is the 'universal reaction of anyone found in the same circumstance'?

If so, then wouldn't it necessarily mean that all people are not found in the same circumstance, as not all people have faith?

You'd either have to recant your claim, and say that some people do react differently in the same circumstance, that faith is not the universal reaction.

OR you'd have to claim that not all people are put into the same circumstance...meaning God does not call all people equally.

Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

Hey, Antonio why the new blog? What was wrong with your old one?

I know I post on six blogs, but they are all specialised apart from my main one? Why this new one?

Antonio said...


passivity means that the subjected is acted upon.

I have never said that belief is a choice.

When we by an act of our will are open and considerate of communication, we are in essence giving that communication permission to act upon us in such a way as to persuade us; and once persuaded, faith results as a passive action.

The man in my illustration could move away and dodge the punch, which would be likened to hardening ourselves to the gospel message and the ministry of the Spirit. In such a case one willfully chooses not to consider the communication.

Men have faith the same way that the man in the illustration falls back and to the ground:

as a passive result of another phenomena.

Men have faith as the passive result of being persuaded.

Men fall back and to the ground as a passive result of being hit full force by a much larger and stronger man.

As to your second comment:

you provide a false dichotomy.

The circumstance is being persuaded.

Every person found in the same circumstance, being persuaded, will believe as a passive result.

The evidence, in a sense, traps him.

Haven't you ever believed something against your will?

Sure you have.

Well why?

Because whatever the communication was, it persuaded you, even if you did not want to believe. A good example would be in the death of a loved one.

Communication falls on our ears, and if upon being considered it persuades us, faith will result.

Thanks for dropping by.


sofyst said...

I did respond to your post, and your subsequent comments, upon my own blog. I'd be ever so delighted if you were to make a counter-response.

Kc said...

Antonio, I commented on Adam's site as I am in agreement with his point. I really think this could be a productive debate and I know you're equal to the task. ;-)

Antonio said...

Hey Casey,

I have two comments awaiting moderation on the protestant pub.

They have been that way all day!

So we'll see when he oks them...


Rose~ said...

You're right, brother. The point is the "legitimacy" of such a charge. It is wholly illegitimate to boast about faith, grace or salvation.

Kc said...


I think Adam must be quite busy. Your comments came through but my reply is still awaiting moderation. I'll offer it here to ease the suspense. ;-)

I have read your article numerous times, as I do most of your articles, but I read it again and I “believe” I understand your position. (grin)

I would like to examine belief aside from our contention regarding the object of our faith but again for the benefit of those who read here [the Pub] I do consider you a dear brother in the Lord and a gifted teacher and I do not hesitate to recommend you as such.

I would agree that faith is not volitional, in that it is not a matter of our will, but the scriptures offer too many examples of men who, by virtue of reason, either believed or believed not. Indeed whenever we discuss our beliefs the single consideration is our reasoning and we ask, “why do you believe?” Granted to our Augustinian brethren there are those who believe simply because they desire to believe but even their desire is predicated by a belief of what is or what is not and so I find that belief, in a scriptural sense, is neither a matter of our will or of our desire but one of reason based our value of the evidence at hand. This is the one thing that God gave us that sets us apart from the animals and the one thing He requires of us in salvation. With respect to saving faith it is our value of the Holy Spirit testimony alone in opposition to our pride, false hope and understanding and we must determine to accept His proposition concerning Jesus Christ, the Son of God without any further evidence than His word. The evidence of God is clear even in creation but it is God who testifies of His Son and we must agree with Him in that or remain condemned. We cannot know Christ apart from the Holy Spirit’s testimony and so in no way can we consider our faith or our salvation to be by our own will. As an aside this truth also excludes any possibility of a “spurious” faith in that no man can come to the Son except by the Father. Men simply cannot believe in Christ Jesus except that God, by His grace, first reveal Him however, as evidenced in the scripture, the revelation of Jesus does not insure belief in Him. Many are called but few are chosen. God gives Christ those who both see Him and believe in Him.

While I understand you do not agree with IG as do most who hold to it I must point out that your understanding of belief carries with it many of the same implications as IG. If faith is indeed an automatic response to the hearing or persuasion of the Gospel then there are numerous scriptures to contend with concerning God’s will and acts. For the record I do believe in IG but not in irresistible faith.

I offer my thoughts here, not as a thesis, but for consideration and critique.

Trevor said...

I agree that a man cannot choose what to believe and that this applies to any aspect of life.

But he can choose whether or not to be open-minded to the presentation of the evidence (or dodge the fist being swung at him). Those who drop all bias and pride before hearing the saving message, will hear the message and be saved. The belief that results is not a choice, but the initial open-mindedness WAS.

But even this choice is hardly something for the saved man to boast about either: he made himself 'less' in order to accept that he was wrong.

Interesting that this can be linked to irresistible grace. Would I be right though in saying that this is a million miles from the 4th point of Calvinism? After all, the Calvinist rids man of all choice in the process. But the man who chooses to be open-minded clearly has a choice, and this choice is not 'irresistibly' imposed upon him. Only the consequences of his choice become irresistible.