Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Favorite Things

Well, it's that time of year again. It's not quite the Christmas season, per se, but it certainly is holiday season! It's almost Thanksgiving, and then after that, before you know it Christmas will be here! Christmas is quite stressful for many people, but for me personally, I just love the feeling of Christmas. I don't know if I can exactly describe the "Christmasy feeling," but it's a happy warm feeling that goes along with Winter Wonderland songs, freshly baked gingerbread, eating apple pie with friends around a warm fireplace while it's cold outside, hot chocolate, and the smell of pumpkin pie in the oven. So good. It all feel cozy, and happy, and safe, and makes the world seem like not such a bad place after all!

On Thanksgiving, I like to take some time to write down a list of things I am grateful for: things that especially apply to that year in particular. On Christmas, I'm just in the mood to enjoy everything more for no good reason. So anyway, today I've decided to take some time and just make a random list of everything that I really like. Not just things, but also ideas, or activities, or people. I find that I enjoy everything more if I keep track of what I'm enjoying, and I enjoy a lot of things! I tell you, I probably enjoy more things than most people do! But perhaps I don't. You could make a longer list and disprove me. I'd like to read that list, actually. ;)


Things I like:

  • Skipping

  • Cute necklaces

  • Disneyland

  • Dancing

  • Boots

  • Playing paintball

  • Winning games

  • Making Gingerbread houses

  • Surprising people

  • Really smart cars (like go-carts)

  • Warm coats on cold nights

  • Sliding on ice

  • Pithy sayings

  • Creamy, rich hot chocolate

  • Awesome hats

  • Good come-backs

  • The intelligence, skill, style, and wit of spies

  • Arch rivals

  • Russian Coffee Chocolate

  • Being outside while it's snowing

  • Getting into a snowball fight

  • Roasting marshmallows over a fire

  • The smell of cookies baking in the oven

  • River rafting

  • Carmel apples

  • The sound of rain as it hits the roof

  • Splashing in puddles

  • Making music

  • Snowglobes

  • Beaches

  • The Jungle Cruise

  • Popping Bubble wrap

  • Getting a package in the mail

  • A gorgeous sunset

  • Hitting the "Snooze" button a whole bunch of times

  • Comfy chairs, especially rocking chairs

  • Mood rings

  • Dressing up

  • Deep sparkly blue

  • Cute and cuddly stuffed animals

  • Pets

  • Reading a good book

  • Listening to a favorite song on repeat 'til I get tired of it

  • Whacking weeds with a golf club

  • Painting of underwater scenes

  • Getting up early to go somewhere special

  • Thinking of the perfect analogy

  • Funny mistakes

  • Driving fast late at night

  • Almost tripping, but catching myself before I fall

  • Biking down a hill

  • Making a new world record

  • Providing comic relief

  • Poking people

  • Writing letters

  • Picking fresh berries and eating them

  • Secrets

  • Naming places

  • Buying new clothes

  • Looking at a window, when it's dark outside, and seeing a reflection

  • Symbol (like the Black Butterfly!)

  • Brownies

  • Annoying a good-natured person

  • Getting lost

  • Throwing mud

  • Wind-up music boxes

  • Remembering that you remembered

  • Making up "Old chinese proverb"s

  • Singing favorite hymns

  • Getting out of a cold pool and into a hot tub

  • Reading the end of a mystery
  • Tuesday, November 17, 2009

    Confrontation (A Poem)

    Sometimes you'll feel hurt
    And perhaps angry too -
    But before you confront them
    Here's what you should do -

    First check your own heart once
    Or better yet, twice -
    Make sure there's no malice
    Mixed with your advice -

    You need to forgive
    Yes, before you go talk -
    Or your heart will be hateful
    And hard as a rock -

    Then try to be humble
    Before you condemn -
    You could be the problem
    It might not be them -

    Don't go by opinion
    But go by what's true -
    You think that you're right
    That's what they think too!

    So go read the Bible
    Which is Wisdom's book -
    Do you know what it says?
    Let's go take a look -

    If the Scriptures say they are wrong
    You know it's right -
    But then hold your horses
    And don't start a fight -

    You are not enemies, though that's
    How it may seem -
    You're together in Christ
    And that makes you a team -
    Now it will be hard,
    And it won't be much fun -
    But pull them aside and
    Talk one on one -

    Be firm when you tell them
    The truth that you see -
    Also be quick to listen to
    Their humble plea -

    Perhaps things were not
    All that they seemed to be -
    The other perspective
    Might just be the key -

    Never say "Silence!
    I Kill You!" no no -
    Hold love in your heart
    They're your friend, not your foe -

    Now if they read the Bible
    Quite different than you -
    Respect their belief
    It's the kind thing to do -

    They are not rebelling
    Against the Most High -
    Their thoughts are sincere,
    And they don't mean to lie -

    Don't call them stupid
    Stubborn or dumb -
    Why not just be nice?
    And give them some gum?

    Bless your opponent
    Yes, bless and don't curse -
    See, odds are in favor
    Of you being worse!
    But if they won't listen,
    And show you the door -
    Go out and bring witnesses,
    Two or three more -

    At this point, if they still
    Refuse to agree -
    Then bring the church elders
    For them to go see -

    However, if they start to see
    All their wrongs -
    Do not dance a jig
    Singing victory songs -

    No, do not just blame them
    And harp on their flaws -
    But show them the way
    To obey all God's laws -

    If you look for virtue,
    Then virtue you'll find -
    Train them in righteousness
    Gently and kind -

    Show patience and tough love
    For all their mistakes -
    You might be surprised
    At the difference it makes -
    Your sins are paid for
    Your eternity set -
    But loving each other
    Is still our good debt -

    Forgive those who sin
    And forgiveness you'll get -
    And always remember
    Or else you'll forget!

    Monday, November 16, 2009

    Hitting on the person you like: Sweet VS Stalker

    There are many ways to hit on people, some are sweet, and some are just creepy. Me and my sister sat down for a while and made a list. It's rather amusing, and gives good tips to newer stalkers... Are the people you love not creeped out by you? We can remedy that!


    Sweet: Buy them a christmas gift
    STALKERISH: Buy them 364 gifts for christmas (as goes along with the 12 days of christmas song)

    Hug them
    Squeeze them until they can't breathe, while remarking that you never want to let go

    Share your jelly beans
    Send a 20 pd box of jelly beans to their house

    Post a picture of you with them on facebook
    Make a fansite dedicated to them (complete with hundreds of pictures of them, as well as public lists of all their favorite music)

    Drive them home
    Watch them while their sleeping in their home

    Ask for their number politely
    Repeatedly ask "Can I have your number? Can I have it? Can I? Can I have it?" while following them around

    Say "You're cute"
    Engrave "I WANT TO BE WITH YOU FOREVER" on their doorstep

    Sneak up behind them, put your hands over their eyes, and say "guess who"
    Kidnap them, tie them up, blindfold them, and then say "guess who!"

    Helping them with their homework
    Breaking into their house at night to do their homework so that they'll be pleasantly surprised when they awake

    Dedicate a song to them
    Dedicate "One way or another" to them

    Have a picture of them
    Make a life-size statue of them

    Buy them a cute shirt
    Buy them a closet full of designer clothes

    Watch a romance with them
    Watch Twilight with them

    Give them a cute licence plate frame
    Install a GPS tracker on their car without their knowledge

    Buy them an extra ticket so they can join you at a ball game
    Buy tickets to all the ball games they are already planning on going to (that they don't know you know about)

    Be friendly to their family
    Bribe their younger siblings for secret information about them

    Offer to do them a favor
    Do the favor without telling them (example: doing their laundry... "I didn't know you wore a size 10!!!")

    Give them a camera
    Set up security cameras around their house

    Text them about your day
    Email them all your deepest, darkest secrets and stories

    Be there for them when they need you
    Be there for them ALL the time. Literally. All the time.

    Any questions?


    Anatomy of an Apology

    We've all done wrong, and we've made mistakes. In short, we've all hurt one another and need to apologize on occasion. Because of this, it's a good thing to know how to apologize. Now, as we all know and have experienced, there are good apologies, and there are bad apologies. In fact, the bad apologies, when recognized, are generally not considered true apologies at all. There are many benefits to offering a bad apology. For example, you can get rid of guilt without actually repenting. You can spike the guns of your opponent by claiming that you've already apologized, and therefore it would be unreasonable of them to keep complaining about it! And all of this without any damage to your pride. So, if you wanted to apologize sincerely, how would you go about it? On the other hand, what if you want to apologize in such as way as to not admit any guilt, what are the best techniques to use? I will tell you!

    I have narrowed down the subject to seven key parts of an apology, and I'll go over them point by point, starting with the good way to apologize.
    Step One:
    Be sincere
    This is pretty simple. Just actually be sorry!

    Step One, the bad way:
    Be grudging about it, annoyed, or even sarcastic.
    That way, no matter what words you use, they will know know that you aren't genuinely sorry.
    Step Two:
    Take personal responsible for your actions
    It may not always be good to be ego-centric, but in this context it's important. Start the sentence with "I" and not "you." Say "I was unloving" rather than "you made me mad." Taking personal responsibility implies that you could have acted otherwise, but didn't. You are responsible for the action.

    Step Two, the bad way:
    Blame external forces. Or better yet, blame the person you are apologizing to!
    Make it obvious that you really had no choice. You could not possibly have acted other than the way you did. It was all because you were stressed from work, which you couldn't possibly control. It was all because they pushed your buttons.
    Step Three:
    Acknowledge that what you did was wrong
    Yes, admit that it was actually and objectively wrong. It was actually a sin.

    Step Three, the bad way:
    Do not acknowledge that there was anything really wrong about it
    Maybe it was wrong, and maybe it wasn't. And if it was wrong, it was only a little bit wrong: not a big deal. It probably wasn't really wrong, and if it was, it didn't really count cus it was only barely wrong. More like a grey area. Or something.
    Step Four:
    Acknowledge the other person's pain
    Say something like "I know that what I did really hurt you."

    Step Four, the bad way:
    Make them seem over-sensitive
    Imply or suggest that what you did or said wasn't really hurtful, and if they felt hurt by it, it's only because they are irrational, easily hurt, or just overly sensitive to things. In other words, if you must admit that they felt pain, blame it on them.
    Step Five: (Optional)
    Explain the situation
    Once again, this is optional, it's sometimes not the best thing to do, but sometimes clarity does help.

    Step Five, the bad way:
    Justify extensively
    Go on and on about what you choose and why, why it made sense, why there really wasn't any other good options, how you felt badly about what they did to start the situation, etc. Oh, and if they complain, excuse yourself by saying that you are "just trying to explain."
    Step Six:
    Say that you are sorry
    That's right, use the word "sorry." Say something like "I'm sorry," "I'm truly sorry," or "I'm sorry and I will do my best, by God's grace, not to ever do that again."

    Step Six, the bad way:
    Don't use the "sorry" word. But if you absolutely have to, add an "if" or "but" clause at the end.
    You know what I mean... "I'm sorry if what I did was somehow offensive to you in some way." "I'm sorry for saying what I did, but you really shouldn't do awful stuff like that which makes anyone feel like reacting that way." Just make something else to fit the situation! As long as you use the words "if" or "but," the sorry part will count as being said, but won't count toward meaning anything.
    Step Seven:
    Ask for forgiveness, with the attitude that you don't deserve it
    Asking for something is a request, not a demand. Ask for forgiveness and reconciliation in a humble attitude of contrition.

    Step Seven, the bad way:
    Act like they should have gotten over it already
    They should have forgiven you already. It's their moral duty. It was overreacting to hurt about it to begin with, and so it would be just simply ridiculous if they were still holding on to some sort of grudge about the issue which, for the record, you've already apologized about. Make it an implied demand.

    Wednesday, October 21, 2009

    Was C.S. Lewis a Calvinist?

    I found this essay by Rev. Zach Dawes, who wrote to show that Lewis was essentially not a Calvinist. From my point of view, Lewis seems to stick to more traditional Biblical beliefs. Others may call it "Arminian," but personally, I don't like labels like that. Lewis followed Christ, not James Arminius.

    Anyhow, C.S. Lewis is one of my all time favorite authors, and so I found this a very enjoyable read. I was always under the strong impression that C.S. Lewis was not a Calvinist, but now I am convinced that Lewis was actually strongly against the ideas of Calvinism.

    Calvinist and Arminian Christmas Cards

    I know it's a bit early for Christmas, but I stumbled across this:

    Christmas Cards

    Check it out! You will like it! Makes you think too...

    Friday, October 16, 2009

    The Purple Chris Diet

    Forget about Awburgers and Wootbeer, folks, we have something more awesome for you! And by "more awesome," of course, I mean "more recommended by Purple Chris." Today I am writing to introduce to you all a new and rather odd interesting diet. This diet has four simple rules to it. Four simple rules that you absolutely must obey, word for word. If you don't maybe it will work and maybe it won't, who knows? In any case, Purple Chris does not vouch for it.

    Rule Number 1:
    Eat at least two cheeseburgers a week. No, not hamburgers, it's gotta be cheeseburgers. No, there are no substitutions available if you can't eat dairy. Maybe you could buy pills from Walmart that make you able to digest dairy, good luck with that. Cheeseburgers, that's right, and I don't mean MacDonalds "cheeseburgers" either. I'm talking about REAL cheeseburgers, like Nations or perhaps even In&Out.

    Rule One

    Rule Number 2:
    Drink at least two cans/bottles of Pepsi each day. Again, the wording is intentional. It's not two "sodas" it's two Pepsis. No, not coke. Pepsi. Not orange juice. Pepsi. Like I said at the beginning, you can't make substitutions in this diet, and if you do, then it's different diet which may or may not work, but is not vouched for by Chris. Oh! Now, I'm not sure if Cherry Pepsi counts as Pepsi, but it probably does. And diet Pepsi? I don't think that really counts at all, but again, I am not a hundred percent sure.

    Is Awesome?

    Rule Number 3:
    If the first two rules haven't scared you off already, the next rule is that you can eat whatever you feel like whenever you feel like.

    Rule Number 4:
    So many rules!! Don't you feel rather fenced in already? Or rather, do you feel so not fenced in that you feel that the diet can't possible work? In either case, rule #4 is the same, and is very important too: Only eat when you are hungry, and only eat until you are satisfied rather than until you are "full." When you are truly hungry is different from when you simply have an appetite or cravings, and with discernment, you can distinguish between those. Also, to be satisfied is to be content and no longer hungry. This is different from eating too much, and then feeling stuffed, full, or sated, which is what we Americans tend to do. So yeh, eat only when hungry, and only until satisfied.


    Purple Chris says that it works for him. Seriously. That's what he says. He also says "Don't knock it 'til you've tried it!" So yeh, maybe there is some secret and hidden ingenuity in this plan that you have not been able to detect. Or perhaps you have detected why it's awesome. Or perhaps you are quite confident that it won't work for people other than Chris. Otherwise you might feel that it could work, but you are not confident enough to bet your own health and well-being on it. Perhaps you are right. But hey, don't knock it 'til you've tried it. And who knows? Maybe it works and is the awesomest diet ever?

    *Note: I personally do not endorse above-mentioned diet. I am merely publicizing the idea. If you try it and bad consequences follow, I claim no responsibility.*

    Monday, October 12, 2009

    Dealing With Negative Emotions [Gratitude]

    "Say 'Thank You'"

    We all try to "get rid of" pain and stress, "reduce" fear, and "fight" depression. I don't think this is best.

    I've said before that I think we should instead calm fear, empathize with pain, give depression a hug, and negotiate with stress. Embrace each as being a part of you, and treat them gently.

    But one thing I've learned more recently - after you've calmed one, and before you send it away, you should thank it. Thank stress for trying to help motivate you. Thank pain for helping you be connected with reality. Thank depression for helping you express how you really feel. Thank fear for caring and working to protect you.

    And then sent it away... Let go of fear or pain, rather than holding on to it.

    Peace is Deeper than Happiness

    I just felt like writing a random and short blog. I haven't blogged in a couple weeks; I just haven't been in the mood. Writing is like that sometimes - it is an art. In any case, tonight I felt like writing a short blog about happiness. So, yeh, it's not the same style as my other most recent blogs.


    Happiness is awesome. However, there is something more awesome than happiness. What could it be? I'll tell you! It's peace. I think that deep down, we each long for peace much more than for happiness. One can have peace without happiness, and as far as I've seen, it generally looks kinda like manic-depressive systoms. One moment, the person will be truly happy, but the instant that happiness wears off, there is no peace, and so the mood plummets to depression. Not fun. A person who does not have peace will often feel "driven," and many driven people are often happy, but never peaceful. Do we envy them? Of course not! In my opinion, it just kinda sucks to not have peace.

    In Christ, do we all have peace? Yes and no. Insomuch as we "have Christ" we "have peace" for peace is found in Him. However, we often forget how to access that peace. Perhaps it's like that piece of jewelry that I put in a safe place, and then cannot find it years later. I own it, but don't know how to actually find it or put it to good use. In that way, even christian find themselves "without peace" in their lives, and like I said, that sucks. Life without peace is like a nightmare. Litterally. A nightmare has bad situations, sure, but what makes it so awful? In real life, when faced by those same situations, a person probably wouldn't get as worked up. What makes it so awful is the feeling of the nightmare: a feeling so terrifying that you may wake up in a cold sweat. Life without peace contains that same irrational and terrifying feeling. This is feeling that often causes insomnia, as far as I can tell, anyway.

    Lyrics from Enter Sandman:
    Sleep with one eye open
    Gripping your pillow tight
    Exit light enter night
    Take my hand
    Off to never never land
    Something's wrong, shut the light
    Heavy thoughts tonight
    And they aren't of snow white
    Dreams of war, dreams of liars
    Dreams of dragon's fire
    And of things that will bite

    Mainly, I think that a lack of peace is connected to not feeling safe. You'll notice that I used the wording "feeling" instead of "thinking." People can consider themselves sad without actually feeling that sense of safety. Additionally, safety isn't just a physical thing, it's also deeply emotional. If a person feel physically safe, but emotionally in danger, they will not feel safe at all. So, if a person is emotionally and physically safe, why wouldn't they feel safe and calm? Generally, it's because either they never had that internal feeling of security to begin with, or else they lost it because of some traumatic experience(s). How can you feel safe if, on the inside, you are bleeding to death? If someone comes to your house and stabs you in the heart and leave, are you safe? No harm is coming to you, yet you do not feel safe because you are already harmed.

    The other key aspect of peace that I know about is relationships. Babies learn their sense of safety from a mother, and those that don't develop patterns of fear in their lives. We sometimes chuckle at little kids who cry as if the world has come to an end about a dropped ice cream cone, and yet, why do we laugh? For that kid, the world really had come to an end, for they do not have the contextually information to realize that it has not, and more importantly, does not have the emotionally library to be able to access the feeling of comfort and security on their own. We, as adults, can access that information and those calming feelings (most of us anyway). Why should we laugh at those who cannot? This relational aspect must be much deeper than the safety aspect, though, from what I can tell. People who love their family will sometimes calmly and peacefully put themselves in the way of danger to protect their family. They do not feel freaked out by the danger, but count the costs and feel at peace with it. This is why martyrs throughout history have been able to die in peace because first of all, they know that eternally they are not in danger, but a more present feeling than that is the feeling of being near to Christ. Being and feeling near Him gives them that relational peace.

    So, like I said before, a person can be happy without being actually peaceful. Happiness is not bad, in my opinion, but does not stand well alone. Many people who think they are seeking happiness are actually seeking peace, and joy is built off of true peace. Not having peace truly is a quite miserable state of existence, but is much harder to fix than a lack of happiness, for many things can make a person happy, but peace is often hard to come by. I think that most people who call themselves unhappy are more truly unpeaceful, and should strive hard to find that peace. Those who run after happiness usually need peace, and therefore people should generally not run about about after happiness, but after peace. When they have peace, they will realize that they don't need happiness, and after that, they will be able to enjoy a better sort of happiness: a truer joy, brightness, and richer enjoyment of everything. Many times, though, one must go through hell to find peace. This is because often some of smaller "hell" has separated us from that feeling of safety, trust, and love, and to get to those feelings we must first face, work through, and heal from all that stuff. Like third degree burns, the healing process for some things is more painful than the harm itself. We need peace, though, and it's worth it to go through "hell" to get it.

    Friday, October 2, 2009

    Fighting Dragons

    Whenever I'm a shining knight
    I buckle on my armor tight

    And then I look about for things
    Like rushings-out and rescuings
    And savings from the dragon's lair
    And fighting all the dragons there

    And sometimes when our fights begin
    I think I'll let the dragons win
    But then I think perhaps I won't
    Because they're dragons - and I don't

    A poem by A. A. Milne

    Wednesday, September 30, 2009


    Today I want to write about death. Death is associated with black, black is associated with goth people, and some goth people wear skulls on their clothes. Skulls happen after death, so that all makes sense. However, all of that is kindof off-topic. Death is much deeper concept than that - just ask any non-believer what they think happens after you die. You'll get different responses I'm sure. I know I have. Some people think that when you die, you cease to exist as a person. People die like dogs. Other think believe that death is just part of the cycle of reincarnation, and it's just a door you go through. Still others believe in some sort of god or devil that they serve and will be with during an afterlife. Some people simply refuse to think about the subject at all, because it's scary. So what is death? What's the problem with it? What makes it good or bad?

    Because I am mainly writing to a christian audience, I won't spend very long on the second mentioned idea of death. From the Bible we know that reincarnation is not what actually happens after death, for "it is appointed unto man once to die (physically) and after this the judgment." The reason I put the word "physically" in there for clarification is that some people will also experience the "second death" which is being cast into hell. Now, if you think for just a very quick moment, you will realize that the first and the third view of death are quite incompatible. If you cease to exist when you die, you don't go on to an afterlife. Now, why do I bother to point this out? I will be able to explain that more clearly after I explain the third view a bit more. In this blog, I will only go on to explain this view, and in the next blog, I will contrast it to the first view.

    As christians, I think it's safe to say that we mainly believe that there is one God, the God of the Bible, and that no matter what god or gods you serve in this life, there are only two ultimate destinies. There is an afterlife in heaven, in the presence of the almighty and holy God, and there is hell, which is the one place where God is not. With God or without God, those are the only two final options. What does that mean about death? Death is ultimately good or bad depending on where the person's final destiny is. The death of a human is not like the death of a dog, who ceases to exist, but is separation from one place and an entrance to another. As I said, that is good or bad depending on where they will be entering. How does this go along with other deaths mentioned in the Bible, such as the second death?

    The initial death, spiritual death: God warned man not to eat a fruit, and that "in the day you eat of it, you shall surely die." Adam ate, and that particular day he did not die physically. What was this death then? Man was kicked out of the garden, and could no longer just walk with God in the cool of the day. More deeply, in a much more metaphysical sense, man was truly separated from God in spirit.

    Isaiah 59:2 "But your iniquities have separated you from your God."

    The physical death that even non-believers know about: Because of the fall, death entered the world. Not only spiritual death, but physical death as well. This death is not merely the absence of life, as non-believers sometimes think, but another separation. This death is the separation of the soul and spirit of a person from their body. "To be absent from the body is to present with the Lord." For the one writing that verse, to die is to gain. To be separated from this world of temptation and suffering is awesome. However, it isn't like that for everyone.

    Luke 16:22-28 "The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom. “Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment."

    This man was separated from earth, and thereby not only separated from his only chance to repent and beg for God's mercy, but also separated from his brothers so that he could not help them. Again, notice that this story goes against the idea that when a person is dead, they cease to exist. This dead guy is wanting stuff, talking, and asking for stuff. He is separated from this universe, and from his former body, but he is still very much a person.

    Death, as separation, can be good or bad in an eternal sense and even good or bad in a very temporal sense. Some think that the death penalty is wrong, because murder is wrong. However, the death penalty is part of the justice system in the Old Testament. The separation (death) of a family member is usually very sad and painful, but the separation (death) of a psychopathic killer is a relief because the killer can not longer inflict damage. Separating the killer from his body means that he no longer has power to hurt other physical beings.

    Finally, the second death:

    Revelation 20:14 "Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death."

    Even in Hades, a soul had not experienced the second death until that final moment when it was cast into the lake of fire, away from the presence of the Lord.

    Matthew 7:23 "And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’"

    There is no happiness in this death, and no hope. It is the final and eternal separation from God, from Love, and from all that is Good, for God is Good.

    The main idea of death seems to be separation, and going back to physical death for a bit, I just wanted to add a couple awesome death scenes:

    1 - The death scene so moving that it made God cry

    John 11:34-36
    And He said, “Where have you laid him?”
    They said to Him, “Lord, come and see.”
    Jesus wept.
    Then the Jews said, “See how He loved him!”

    Now THAT is something. I mean, it's pretty easy to make me cry, but this guy was God. Jesus wept. That has got to be one of the most profound verses in Bible. Anyhow, given the context that Christ was able to raise Lazarus from the dead, why was He sad at all? I think He experienced the death of a loved one kinda like we experience it sometimes. When your saved little sister died, you are sad not because she has ceased to exist but because she is gone. A person being gone like that can be really sad. Seriously.

    2 - The death scene so tragic that the sun hid its face

    Mark 17:33-34, 37
    Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice... “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last."

    Christ tasted death for us all, and they say that He died literally of a broken heart. That's easy to believe, because that is definitely the most heart-breaking cry ever: My God, My God - Why have You forsaken Me?" It may sound dumb, but even typing that, it makes me feel like crying. Anyway, what was so awful about death? The physical component? The fact that crucifixion is arguable the most painful death invented? What made dying a big deal? It was the separation of Jesus from the Father. The Father turned His face away as Jesus died - God cannot look on sin, and on the cross, Jesus became sin for us. Jesus didn't complain about the pain as He died; the one cry of sorrow that overflowed from His heart was the pain of separation from His Father.

    3 - The death that is no longer sad
    When we as christians die, we leave behind the corruptible for the incorruptible. "O Death, where is your sting? O Hades, where is your victory?” The victory is ours in Christ, for in physical death we let go of this decaying body for eternal life. "And thus we shall always be with the Lord." Death does not have victory over us anymore for though to live is Christ, to die is to gain. Our gain is to be with the Lord, and to always be with Him." Ultimate life is the opposite of separate: it is eternal togetherness in pure Love, for God is Love.

    I just want to end by saying that I wish death had never been a part of this world. I wish that man had never sinned, so that death would never have become necessary. Death sometimes is now necessary, and sometimes is the just and proper thing. Death to us christians is sometimes joy and hope. Death is dark, and yet has death lost it's sting? Death may be many things, but it certainly is, as its core, separation. I think now of people in movies, when another who they care is dying, and they cry frantically "Stay with me - Stay with me." A song also comes to mind, a song of a person who actually wants separation from another and cries in anger "You are dead to me!" This all is what I see of death throughout the Bible, but thanks and glory be to God, we have life through Christ Jesus our Lord. And always remember:

    "Better a live dog than a dead lion."
    Ecclesiastes 9:4

    Death: Inability or Separation (Part 2)

    IMPORTANT NOTE: This is the second part of a two part blog. If you have not had the chance to read the first part, entitled "Death," please do not read this until you have read it. This blogs builds on that one.

    Previously I had mentioned two different views on death. One view is a pagan view that the death of a man is like the death of dog: the essence of the person ceases to exist and death may be mainly called inability. Farmer Frank sees farmer Joe die, and realized that farmer Joe is no longer able to help him with the harvest, or with anything else for that matter. Joe is dead and cannot do anything.

    Farmer Joe

    Another view is that physical death is departure from one place and entrance to another. From this view, you get the phrase "he is in a better place." The Christian view is that second view, with the added note that some people will enter a good place after death while others will be entering a truly dreadful place. All of this was discussed a bit in the last blog.

    Now, I would like to discuss breifly the doctrine of Total Inability. This doctrine, in short, teaches that natural man is dead in sin and therefore unable to have faith in Christ until he is regenerated and made alive. After all, can a dead man have faith? Of course not. A dead man cannot do anything! They support this view with verses such as:

    Colossians 2:13
    "And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses,"

    Ephesians 2:1
    "And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins,"

    There are many verses about the depravity of man, but for the most part, people who believe in total inability will harp on these verses. Man is not dying, they will say, that he can call for help. Man is not sick, so that he can sign a consent form for surgery. Man is not just wounded, but dead. Dead! Spiritually, he is completely dead, and thereby unable to do anything spiritually good! Death, they consistently imply, means complete inability.

    Now, I am not in this blog concerned to debate the whole doctrine of Total Inability, but only to disagree with their interpretation of these couple of verses. Perhaps they can show me that unsaved men cannot have faith from many other verses in the Bible, but they have not shown it to me in these verses. Perhaps you can relate to these verses, and will think to yourself that it makes sense. Dead people cannot do anything; zombies are only legend. From a pagan perspective, that does make sense. Farmer Joe, when he dies, does not seem able to do anything. However, this view, as intuitive as it is, contradicts the Bible. Dead man can do nothing? Farmer Joe can do nothing? What if dead man can do things?

    Luke 16:19-24

    “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day. But there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at his gate, desiring to be fed with the crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table.

    Moreover the dogs came and licked his sores. So it was that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s bosom.

    The rich man also died and was buried. And being in torments in Hades, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.

    “Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’

    This was a story told by Jesus. Yes, a story, not a parable. Here is a dead guy, and this dead guy is completely able to suffer, to think, to talk, to desire, to cry out, and to make requests. Yes, the body of Joe is not able to move itself, but the former body of Joe is not Joe. Joe is a soul, a spirit, and is able to continue to think and act after he is separated from this world. "You do not have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body." There are a great many things I cannot do here on earth that one day I shall be able to do in heaven. When I die, I shall not be unable, but able to do so much more. My body will be limp, but my body is not me. I will be gone.

    Scripturally, the main idea of death is not inability, but separation. Yes, I realize that this is counter-intuitive. It made seem obvious that a dead man cannot do anything, but I would say that to learn from the Scripture, we often need to set aside our own presuppositions. A dead man is able to do many things, and it is only his old body which is thrown off like old clothes. Now some will say to me "yes, death is separation, but it also includes inability. For when you are in heaven, you will be separated from this earth and thereby not able to witness to unsaved people anymore."

    I would agree with that proposition that death includes inability, for even in the example I gave, Lazarus was unable to come to the rich man, and the rich man was unable to go back and warn his brothers. I would even agree that life includes inability, for I cannot fly. Death and life both include inability, but I believe that main idea of death is separation, and that while death can include some inability, it is not an all-inclusive inability. As I said before, life also includes inability, but is not an all-inclusive inability. When I have eternal life in heaven, I will not be able to beat God at chess, but I will be able to do other awesome stuff. Let me go back to what Biblical dead is, briefly:

    • Initial death: Spiritual death, which is the separation of our spirit from God. Isaiah 59:2 "But your iniquities have separated you from your God."

    • Physical death: The separation of a person from this physical universe. 2 Corinthians 5:8 "We are confident, yes, well pleased rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord."

    • Final death: The final and eternal separation of a person from God. Matthew 7:23 "And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’"

    Pop-quiz: Q - What is deader than dead? A - Being cast away from the presence of the Lord.
    The only thing more deadly than death is separation, not more inability somehow. Separation is the core concept of death.

    Going back to Ephesians two
    I would like to look at that the reference to being dead in sin in context a bit. One verse out of context can be taken to mean, well, almost anything you want it to mean! Sadly, I don't have room in this blog to just start quoting the whole thing, but I will spell out a progression of words in the chapter here:
    We were... made alive... dead... fleshly... dead... made alive.... separate... excluded... strangers... without God... far off... brought near... peace... reconciled... etc
    We were dead in sin, and the author does not leave us wondering what point he is trying to make with that. We were dead, separated, far off, and without God. We were dead in sin, for our sin had separated us from our God. This chapter is putting forward the idea of spiritual death as spiritual separation from God. It does not seem to be putting forward the idea of inability. The chapter uses the words "far out," "separate," and "without God," and yet does it once use the word "unable?" No, not once.

    Now I also think that the idea that "dead men can do nothing" in regard to spiritual affairs contradicts itself plainly. For a man will say "can a dead man have faith? No. A dead man cannot even have a little faith! A wounded man may do a little, but a dead man can do nothing." Yet a physically dead man can do nothing physically, whether good or evil. If a dead man can do nothing, then a spiritually dead man could also do nothing, whether good or bad. Just a physically dead man can neither murder nor save, a spiritually dead man could neither accept Christ nor rebel against Him.

    If a man is separated from the physical realm, as in physical death, he would be unable to do anything that has physical significance. In the same way, a spiritually dead man perhaps could act physically, but anything he did would not have spiritual significance. Death is inability. Physical death means inability to do anything. Spiritual death means complete inability, but only in regard to spiritual good? So then a dead man can do evil things? A dead man can do things? Death, then, does not mean inability. It is an argument that contradicts itself, and thereby shoots itself in the foot. They use a faulty analogy to prove that death is complete inability, and then define complete spiritual inability to only mean inability regarding spiritual good, and therefore not complete inability.

    Going back to what I said about life and death both including inability, I want to point out especially that the dead rich man was able to cry out and ask for things. In the same way, I believe that spiritually dead people by the grace of God are able to cry out and ask Him for salvation. The idea that death is mainly stems from the natural understand of death that does not take into account the continued existence of a soul after death. I believe that the christianized version of the "death is inability" doctrine comes from faulty presuppositions that must be checked carefully against the Word of God. Biblically, I see that death is mainly separation, and only includes inability as much life does. One must define specific inabilities separate from the ideas of life or death then. Perhaps a person can prove from the Scriptures that unregenerate man cannot have faith, but I do not see that it is proved by this verse. We were dead in sin and separated from God, and I praise God that He has made me alive.

    Does Faith Precede Regeneration?

    I believe that faith precedes salvation because of the clear meaning of a multitude of verses.

    John 10:9
    I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture.

    Mark 16:16
    He who believes and is baptized will be saved;

    John 5:40
    But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life.

    Romans 10:9
    Ghat if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.

    Acts 16:31
    So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

    Belief here logically precedes salvation. And what is this salvation?

    Romans 3:24
    Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.

    Hebrews 10:10
    By that will we have beensanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

    Romans 8:30
    ... and whom He justified, these He also glorified.

    Titus 3:5
    Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit.

    Our salvation, then, includes justification, regeneration, sanctification, and eventual glorification.
    Salvation is a package deal: We as christians have been saved, are being saved, and will be saved. Unless a particular part of salvation is specified, "salvation" refers not to one part of salvation, but to all of it. Would we be surprised if we read "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved," only to later find out that that "saved" did not include future glorification? If salvation includes justification, regeneration, sanctification, and eventual glorification, then Mark 16:16 is saying that "he who believes and is baptizes will be [justified, regenerated, sanctified, and glorified]"

    Even as far back as the Old Testament, in Psalm 51, when David asks for deliverance and for salvation, he clearly includes His request for "a clean heart." For the sake of clarity, regeneration is also considered to be synonymous with the ideas of being made into a "new creation" or being "born again."

    What else could these verses possibly mean?
    There are a couple of possible interpretations out there. One interpretation is that the word salvation is often used in a narrower sense, and that faith is part of the salvific process, and precedes much of salvation (including justification, sanctification, and glorification) but not other parts of salvation, which could include such things as regeneration, calling, or predestination. Another common interpretation is that all the verses refer solely to justification (Rom 3:8)

    I do not agree with that interpretation, based on the plain meaning of the text, and based on the Scriptural support I have given for what salvation includes. One cannot have "salvation" without having all of those. The plain reading of the text states that faith precedes salvation(including the subsets that make up salvation) Also, I do not agree with that interpretation because it is inconsistant with the rest of the Scripture, in my opinion.

    It is inconsistent with God's loving desire for all to be saved
    If salvation is conditional on faith, and faith is conditional on regeneration, and regeneration is "unconditional," then those who are not given unconditional regeneration are born and die without hope. God never gives them the slightest option to be saved. How does this jive with the verse that says that God desires for all to be saved? Love seeks the betterment of the one being loved, and goes out of its way to help them, like Christ's example of the good Samaritan. To save those extra people, Christ would not need to even go out of His way, or die again, but merely offer extra grace. Not only does Christ not love them enough to die for them, but does not even desire their betterment enough to give grace. How is this consistent with the Biblical view that God loves all, and that indeed He IS love? It is not consistent.

    It is inconsistent with God's strong desire for all to repent
    We know from 2 Peter 3:9 that God doesn't desire that anyone would perish, but wants all to come to repentance. He doesn't want people to perish, but He does let people perish, because they do not come to repentance. Even more than He wants people not to perish, He wants them to repent. If regeneration must precede faith, then not just anyone can repent, but only those who God regenerates. God regenerates the minority of people. If God strongly desires that all come to repentance, why would He give all the ability to come to repentance? It is not consistent.

    It is inconsistent with God's enabling commands
    We know that God is righteous, and is, in the strict meaning of the word, "reasonable." It would be unreasonable for any of us to demand something from someone which they cannot do. I have not seen one case throughout the Bible where God commanded man to do something that man could not, though God's enabling, do. Lazarus was commanded to come from the grave, and Christ's command implied also the supernatural ability given to Lazarus to obey the command and come forth from the grave. If regeneration must precede faith, then God's command to all unregenerate men to repent (Acts 17:30) would be impossible to obey. This is inconsistent with the Biblical picture of God as a just and reasonable Being who enables people to obey and thereby does not insist that we ought to do the impossible.

    It is inconsistent with responsibility/blame
    Throughout the Bible, man is only responsible for a choice that he has made. We are not responsible for things outside of our control that happen, but are held responsible for what we can determine. Virtue and vise are no longer praiseworthy or blameworthy if the actor had no choice. Justice is not condemning Daniel for falling onto the vase, but condemning David for determining to push Daniel with such force that Daniel had no choice but to fall onto the vase, thereby breaking it. We know that God is just, and that He holds man responsible for his actions, for what he determines to do.

    Mark 16:16
    He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

    John 3:18
    He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

    Matthew 12:31
    Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men.

    Romans 11:20
    Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear.

    Luke 13:3
    I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.

    Hebrews 3:12
    Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God...

    Each of verses put forward the same concept clearly: Those who choose not to believe will be held personally responsible for that choice. It is not as though they could not have acted otherwise. Those that are condemned are condemned because they do not believe. It is a causal relationship. Notice the last verse there, which instructs people to "Beware," as though they can do something about it. If regeneration precedes faith, then those that do not have faith could not possible have done anything else! This is inconsistent with the harsh judgment and clear blame of responsibility put on those who choose to commit "blasphemy against the Holy Spirit."

    It is inconsistent with salvation being conditional
    All of these verses, and many more, state that salvation is conditional. (He who meets the condition will be saved) If salvation is conditional, as we see that it is from the verse above, then regeneration, being a part of salvation, is conditional. The idea that regeneration precedes faith makes faith, as a condition for regeneration, impossible. In that way, it is inconsistent with the whole gist of all these verses I have quotes, and more.

    What are some common objections to the interpretation that I believe?
    Many people reject the idea that faith precedes regeneration because they think that the logical implications of such a belief would be disastrous. They think that my belief is inconsistent with Scripture, and object to it. What are some common objections?

    Man is dead (in sin) and therefore cannot believe
    To this I would respond that Biblically, death is not inability, but is separation. I will write a separate blog explaining this point more in depth. Throughout the Bible, we see that we are dead in sin, separated from God, and yet can and ought to believe. (Eph. 2:12, Acts 17:30)

    Man cannot understand the things of God, and therefore cannot have faith
    Unregerate man cannot "see" the kingdom of God, or truly comprehend Scripture concepts. However, Jesus Christ never commanded non-believers to understand. He commands us to have faith - childlike faith. "Assuredly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.” Mark 10:15. Children believe many things they do not understand: they come into the world, trusting, and without a bit of understanding or experience. Not only can we have faith despite a lack of understand, we must!

    Man would get the credit
    To this, I would respond that in no Scripture does man get credit for faith. Man perhaps would get credit if his salvation were by works, but faith is not a work. Throughout the Bible, faith is consistently contrasted with works. (Rom. 3:8) They are never lumped together as one. Not only does man not get credit, in the Bible, for faith, but no christian takes credit for his own salvation. Among the many who believe that salvation is conditional on faith, not one believes that he has earned, deserved, or contributed to his salvation in any way. All say "To God be all the glory!" Salvation is of the Lord, and it so pleases Him to make it conditional, it is still of the Lord.

    What does this all come to?
    To wrap things up, I have put forward several of the many verses in the Bible that teach that faith logically precedes salvation. I have shown that regeneration is part of salvation, and you cannot have "salvation" without it! The request for salvation is not separate from the request for God to "create a clean heart" in us, as David prayed. Unlike what the Catholic church teaches, If you are not born again, you are not truly saved. I have mentioned an alternate interpretation of the verses, and have responded with my objections to them. I have also made mention of some objections to my interpretation, and answered them very briefly here.

    If regeneration precedes faith, then this would make faith unnecessary since the person would already be saved. If a person is regenerated, then he is born of God, a member of God’s family and a possessor of eternal life. If you are a member of God’s family and a possessor of eternal life, then you are already saved. Faith, then, would be simply another fruit of the Spirit, like love and joy - why then the emphasis on salvation being conditional on faith? If faith is part of salvation, and not the condition on which salvation is given, then is the verse really saying "Be saved, and you will be saved?" But that would be repetitious!

    • New life does not come before faith, but after.
      John 20:31
      But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.

    • We are never told to live and then to look, but rather to look and then live. (John 3:14-16; Numbers 21)

    • The Bible teaches that
      John 1:12
      But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.

      It does not say "But as many as have been regenerated, to them gave He the power to believe on His Name, even to those who have become the children of God."

    • Finally we have the command of Jesus Christ Himself, the same commanding voice which granted Lazarus the supernatural ability to obey His command:
      John 14:1 “Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me."

    Ask a calvinist: What about Acts 16:31?

    I've been trying to write about faith preceding regeneration, and have been trying to collect, from multiple sources, other possible meanings of the verse "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. If "saved" includes regeneration, which seems apparent from other Scriptures, then the verse reads "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be [regenerated]" Many people don't believe this, and so I have been trying to understand how they interpret that verse. As of this moment, I have not gotten very far with this.

    Here is my most recent frustrating interchange on the topic:

    I posted this on a overwhelmingly Calvinistic discussion site:

    Does Faith Precede Regeneration?

    I know that reformed theologians will say that it does. I have heard many reasons given, including, of course, the logic that because man is dead in sin, he cannot have faith until he is regenerated.

    My question is this:

    Acts 16:31
    So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.”

    This verse, some will say, clearly states that faith precedes salvation, and that salvation includes justification, regeneration, sanctification, and finally glorification. Hence, faith biblically precedes salvation.

    What do the respected reformed theologians say about this? (IE Calvin, Spoul, Spurgeon, Piper)
    What do you think about this?

    Response by X 40 minutes ago

    If you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ you will be saved.

    The (Calvinist) Doctrines of Grace teach that exact thing.
    Reply by Me 31 minutes ago

    Yes, but supposing that regeneration is part of salvation,
    If you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ you WILL be regenerated.

    "Will" implies it being in the future... after faith...
    Does faith, then, logically precede regeneration?

    Or does "salvation" not include regeneration?
    Response by X 23 minutes ago

    This has already been explained. You hear, the Spirit quickens you and you are given faith (faith is a gift and not from yourself Ephesians 2:8,9). Simultaneously in time, but there is a logical sequence.
    Reply by Me 18 minutes ago

    I still don't understand your interpretation of that particular verse.

    Of course reformed theologians believe that you are regenerated, and then you are given faith - at the same time, but that regeneration logically precedes faith.

    I realize that. However, I am trying to respond to those who put forward that particular verse, in which faith logically precedes salvation.

    Is regeneration, then, separate from salvation?
    Response by X 12 minutes ago

    My interpretation is what the verse says. If you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, you will be saved. It seems what is confusing you about it is that you are reading your theological baggage into a very straight-forward verse.
    Response by Y 8 minutes ago

    Does faith precede regeneration?
    Reply by Me 1 minute ago

    Rev - How do Calvinists interpret this verse? I just don't get it

    Xulon - You claim that this "has already been explained" - Where?
    If your interpretation is all so straight-forward, then why have you not answered my clarifying questions?
    IE Is regeneration, then, separate from salvation?
    Does faith, then, logically precede regeneration?
    Or does "salvation" not include regeneration?


    Just the other day, I came across this strawman summary of the non-calvinist understanding of salvation. I found it interesting, and decided to post pieces of it here.

    Point 1:
    The Arminians adopted views that paralleled the work of Erasmus, believing that man possesses a free and independent will. By this it is meant that in Eden, man's fall only partially affected his ability to choose. The will of man is neutral and not determined by his nature, therefore it is autonomous and free of any binding persuasion toward unrighteousness and sin.

    Point 3:
    The Arminian believes that in order to accommodate man's free will, Christ took to the cross the sins of every human being without exception. The death of Christ does not save any individual, rather it makes salvation possible for every individual. The cross is thereby limited as to its nature, becoming an incomplete work, ineffectual until completed by the free will work of man. It is the free will choice of man to accept Christ's work that completes salvation (e.g. man's decision to receive Christ accomplishes, secures, and completes an atonement which Christ did not "finish" at Calvary Himself.)

    Point 4:
    The Arminian believes that the Holy Spirit merely woos the man, but salvation rests ultimately upon that man's free will response to the Holy Spirit's persuasion. The free will of man can and does thwart and refuse the work of the Holy Spirit in salvation. It is man's volition, or willingness to cooperate with God that can either support or frustrate God's desire to save. With this concept of salvation great importance and weight is laid upon the work of man... The Arminian believes that faith precedes regeneration, and is the cause of regeneration, giving, as it were, the go-ahead to the Holy Spirit to do His assigned work.

    Wow! If that was what I believed... I wouldn't believe it!
    In actuality, I don't believe one sentence of it.
    Either I'm not an Arminian, or else this is a complete misrepresentation of their position.

    Arminianism (clarification)

    Some people read my last note, and requested clarification. So, in contrast to what some Calvinists say that Arminians believe, I will clarify what Non-Calvinist Christians (who I know) believe. I will call them NCC for short. Now, for the record, these clarifications are off the top of my head and are probably not worded "optimally" somehow. I will be happy to further clarify any particular point.

    Point 1:
    "The Arminians adopted views that paralleled the work of Erasmus, believing that man possesses a free and independent will. "
    NCCs believe that man's will is not "free from" a sin nature, but rather that man is the determinent of his own choices. Man is, therefore, a free agent who is responsible or culpable for his actions.

    "By this it is meant that in Eden, man's fall only partially affected his ability to choose."
    Eden effected every part of the being: especially the heart, and what people want to choose. Man will not choose right not because he lacks ability, but because he simply doesn't want to. He also lacks the ability to suddenly come up with enough power to always want to do right. He cannot change that. He can choose his choices.

    "The will of man is neutral and not determined by his nature, therefore it is autonomous and free of any binding persuasion toward unrighteousness and sin."
    Man's nature is defined by what man will always choose to do - His nature is not somehow separate from the heart and the will. The natural man is born in sin, is a slave to sin, and only through God's direct grace, is able to ask God to free him: for he cannot choose to free himself.

    Point 3:
    "The Arminian believes that in order to accommodate man's free will, Christ took to the cross the sins of every human being without exception. "
    The NCC believes that Christ did what He did because of His ultimate purpose and good pleasure - not in order to "accommodate" anything! Christ's blood was capable of covering all people, but only the sins of the elect were "nailed to the cross."

    "The death of Christ does not save any individual, rather it makes salvation possible for every individual."
    The death of Christ makes salvation available to every individual AND saves select individuals. Christ died to provide salvation for all, and to procure salvation for the elect.

    "The cross is thereby limited as to its nature, becoming an incomplete work, ineffectual until completed by the free will work of man."
    The cross is not limited. The cross is a complete work, effectual for all that God designed it to do. For us elect, our sins being paid for, completely and effectually, on the cross was completed long before we were born. No one but God completes God's work.

    "It is the free will choice of man to accept Christ's work that completes salvation "
    Christ completes salvation (regeneration, sanctification, and glorification) and not us. We do not complete any of God's work - and salvation is definitely God's work.

    "(e.g. man's decision to receive Christ accomplishes, secures, and completes an atonement which Christ did not "finish" at Calvary Himself.)"
    God's decision to atone for those who have faith accomplishes and secures an atonement which Christ DID "finish" at Calvary Himself.

    Point 4:
    "The Arminian believes that the Holy Spirit merely woos the man, but salvation rests ultimately upon that man's free will response to the Holy Spirit's persuasion."
    The Holy Spirit does not so much "woo" as, in the Biblical language, "convict of sin, of righteousness, and of judgment to come." The NCC believes that salvation does not rest on man's choice, but rests on God's taking pleasure in saving those who have faith.

    "The free will of man can and does thwart and refuse the work of the Holy Spirit in salvation."
    The work of the Holy Spirit is never thwarted. The Holy Spirit does not purpose to regenerate people who do not want help. In that case, His purpose is to convict - to render them without excuse in the day of Judgment, at which time He(as God) will glorify Himself by doing justice to them.

    "It is man's volition, or willingness to cooperate with God that can either support or frustrate God's desire to save."
    God's purposes are never frustrated. He desires to save all, but desires even more that all should repent. He purposes only to save those who have faith, and to leave the rest. He does not will to save those who do not want to be saved.

    "With this concept of salvation great importance and weight is laid upon the work of man..."
    There is no important in man's works, which are as filfthy rags. The NCC puts great importance upon realizing that, and falling prostrate before the only One who can have mercy on us. They believe that biblically, faith is not a work.

    "The Arminian believes that faith precedes regeneration, and is the cause of regeneration, giving, as it were, the go-ahead to the Holy Spirit to do His assigned work."
    The NCC does believe that faith precedes regeneration. However, they do not believe the post-hoc-ergo-propter-hoc logical fallacy, which states "after this, and therefore because of this." (Seriously - look it up!) The Holy Spirit only waits for the "Go-Ahead" from God Almighty, who chooses who save based on His pleasure and purpose. If the Lord pleases to save those who have faith, we tremble in gratitude and awe - knowing that nothing we did helped with, earned, or deserved salvation. We deserve hell. We take no glory in ourselves, but all glory goes to the Lord Most High.

    Arminianism (a second clarification)

    I suggested in a previous post, without stating it definitely, that this certain source was rather mis-representing Arminianism. Following that post, I first compared the document with Non-Calvinist-Christian doctrine. Now I have actually responded with quotes of Arminius himself. You decide for yourself whether it matches the document, or whether the document misrepresents the Arminian position.

    Point 1: Partial Depravity/Free will

    The Claim: The Arminians adopted views that paralleled the work of Erasmus, believing that man possesses a free and independent will. By this it is meant that in Eden, man's fall only partially affected his ability to choose.

    Arminius says: In this state, the free will of man towards the true good is not only wounded, maimed, infirm, bent, and weakened; but it is also imprisoned, destroyed, and lost. And its powers are not only debilitated and useless unless they be assisted by grace, but it has no powers whatever except such as are excited by Divine grace.

    The Claim: The will of man is neutral and not determined by his nature, therefore it is autonomous and free of any binding persuasion toward unrighteousness and sin.

    Arminius says: Exactly correspondent to this darkness of the mind, and perverseness of the heart, is the utter weakness of all the powers to perform that which is truly good, and to omit the perpetration of that which is evil, in a due mode and from a due end and cause. The subjoined sayings of Christ serve to describe this impotence. "A corrupt tree cannot bring forth good fruit."

    Point 3: Universal Atonement

    The Claim: The Arminian believes that in order to accommodate man's free will, Christ took to the cross the sins of every human being without exception.

    Arminius says: Is not the redemption which has been obtained by the blood of Christ, common to every man in particular, according to the love and affection of God by which he gave his Son for the world, though, according to the peremptory decree concerning the salvation of believers alone, it belongs only to some men? [Thus it was not in order to accommodate man's free will, but rather to please Himself and His love and affection that Christ paid His blood to redeem men.]

    The Claim: The death of Christ does not save any individual, rather it makes salvation possible for every individual.

    Arminius says: That agreeably thereunto, Jesus Christ the Savior of the world, died for all men and for every man, so that he has obtained for them all, by his death on the cross, redemption and the forgiveness of sins; yet that no one actually enjoys this forgiveness of sins except the believer. [Which is to say that the death of Christ does save some. It provides salvation for all, and procures salvation for the believer.]

    The Claim: The cross is thereby limited as to its nature, becoming an incomplete work, ineffectual until completed by the free will work of man. It is the free will choice of man to accept Christ's work that completes salvation (e.g. man's decision to receive Christ accomplishes, secures, and completes an atonement which Christ did not "finish" at Calvary Himself.)

    Arminius says: The strength and efficacy of the death of Christ consist in the abolishing of sin and death, and of the law, which is "the hand-writing that is against us;" and the strength or force of sin is that by which sin kills us. The efficacious benefits of the death of Christ which believers enjoy through communion with it, are principally the following: The First is the removal of the curse, which we had deserved through sin. This includes, or has connected with it, our reconciliation with God, perpetual redemption, remission of sins, and justification...

    The second is deliverance from the dominion and slavery of sin, that sin may no longer exercise its power in our crucified, dead and buried body of sin, to obtain its desires by the obedience which we have usually yielded to it in our body of sin, according to the old man.
    [It is Christ's effective and complete work which results in, among other things, even deliverance from the dominion of sin - which implies it is not man's work, but Christ's completely.]

    Point 4: Resistible/Obstructable Grace

    The Claim: The Arminian believes that the Holy Spirit merely woos the man, but salvation rests ultimately upon that man's free will response to the Holy Spirit's persuasion.

    Arminius says: For all created things depend (rest ultimately) upon the Divine Power

    The Claim: The free will of man can and does thwart and refuse the work of the Holy Spirit in salvation.

    Arminius says: This is therefore called "the sin against the Holy Ghost, not because it is not perpetrated against the Father and the Son; (for how can it be that he does not sin against the Father and the Son, who sins against the Spirit of both?) but because it is committed against the operation of the Holy Spirit, that is, against the conviction of the truth through miracles, and against the illumination of the mind. (This is to say that it is not a refusal of the salvific purpose of the Holy Spirit, but against conviction. This is not "thwarting" but "blaspheming" and is the un-forgivable sin.)

    The Claim: It is man's volition, or willingness to cooperate with God that can either support or frustrate God's desire to save.

    Arminius says: ...Not impelled by necessity, as if He was unable to complete his own work without the aid of the creature; but through a desire to demonstrate his manifold wisdom.

    The Claim: With this concept of salvation great importance and weight is laid upon the work of man...

    Arminius says: From which the former is called "the law of works," but the Gospel "the law of faith," [Weight is laid on faith, and not the work on man]

    The Claim: The Arminian believes that faith precedes regeneration, and is the cause of regeneration, giving, as it were, the go-ahead to the Holy Spirit to do His assigned work.

    Arminius says: ...that we may distinguish it from Regeneration which is "the act of God." [the cause is God]

    That predestination is the decree of the good pleasure of God, in Christ, by which he determined, within himself, from all eternity, to justify believers, to adopt them, and to endow them with eternal life, "to the praise of the glory of his grace," and even for the declaration of his justice. [God caused it because of His own good pleasure]