decisions, decisions

What if you don’t recall the hour of your “decision for Christ”? Or, as this old article at Christianity Today asks, “How can I know I’m a Christian if I can’t remember when I first responded to the gospel?”

The question reveals, I think a faulty view of salvation and assurance of salvation. In light of our recent discussion of revivalism here, I thought the article asked an interesting question.

The whole idea of a “decision for Christ” is largely a revivalistic phenomenon. As the article says:

Much of American Protestantism has been influenced by revivalism, which places great emphasis on "making a decision for Christ" in a public, definitive way. These "moments of decision" often become the crucial evidence that one is saved. Other Protestant traditions, less influenced by revivalism (including some Reformed and Lutheran churches), may be content to leave the conversion experience unclearly identified, putting the focus on identification with the church. Both of these traditions have benefits, as well as potential problems.

In a recent comment, our e-friend Tracy makes a good point, I believe:

If I’m preaching to lost folks, I preach Christ crucified and call for them to close with Christ immediately and publicly. Before I close, I tell them if they have any questions, either they can come to the front at the invitation time or they can see me after the service. I always stress that Christ desires their immediate salvation. So I declare the gospel, spell out its terms, and call them to close with it.

I agree with that. We need to call folks to decisions.

But what about some who can’t remember the specifics of their decision? (Perhaps it was a long time ago, perhaps it was when they were very young, perhaps they remember bits, or perhaps they remember nothing at all.)

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what may the lost know

In a recent discussion, 1 Cor 2.14 was thrown up to me as a proof-text of the doctrine of inability such that:

The natural man can’t benefit from the preached Word apart from the intervening ministry of the Spirit. So we’re back to the inability of the lost to respond to God apart from divine initiative.

The challenge led me to consider what it is that the lost person may know. In thinking about this, I found a sermon by Jonathan Edwards on the passage in question. His comments are quite interesting. [Note: the document is in bad need of editing, the Yale Edwards center has scanned it, put it up for use in its present form, but it has many deficiencies. Enough can be read to get the sense.]

He begins by saying that the lost may know doctrine better than Christians do, and may be able to “out argue” them on theology, and may know the Scriptural teachings concerning sin well enough that their conscience is informed and they are ‘moral’ men (my term).

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a diamond in the rough . . . carpet that is

New Years Eve at our Christmas fellowship, my wife noticed near the end of the evening that her diamond from her engagement/wedding ring was missing. Our 25th anniversary will be this year, so you can imagine her sense of loss. We searched everywhere, that night and then the next day. Nothing.

Today, after church, one of our older men noticed something in the carpet runner in our church hallway. He poked at it with his cane … and thought he saw a glint of light. There it was. Five weeks later, my wife’s diamond was found!

The fellow who found it told my wife, “I’ll sell it to you now!” What a bit of rejoicing! One of our ladies said, “it was a perfect end to a perfect day at church.”

Well, it was a blessing to us. It is just a thing, and we had given it up for lost. But we are rejoicing! Thank you, Lord!

I just thought I would share that with you. I’ll give you the update later.


on daily grace

A post of praise to God for his daily grace: Yesterday, along with many others, we enjoyed Christmas with family. This year we gathered at my brother’s home in Courtenay, BC, a few hours north of us on the Island. Our family made the three hour trek up the Island in the early morning, then headed back down in the evening.

Our journey home was a little longer than expected…

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