A Guide to Christian Theology - Lesson 3

Die, Divide, Debate or Decide

In this lesson, the speaker delves into diverse theological approaches, emphasizing distinct levels of certainty in theological beliefs. Four levels are explored: "die for," where non-negotiable essentials like the Trinity and salvation are affirmed; "divide for," which involves beliefs causing divisions in fellowship, such as women's roles and baptism; "debate for," indicating issues sparking passionate discussions while still allowing coexistence; and "decide for," covering less critical matters. The lesson underscores appreciating diverse interpretations and understanding key terms' differing meanings across theological tribes, promoting effective communication within the Christian community.

Gerry Breshears
A Guide to Christian Theology
Lesson 3
Watching Now
Die, Divide, Debate or Decide

I. Approaches to Theology

A. Deductive Approach

B. Inductive Approach

C. Community Discernment

II. Levels of Certainty in Theology

A. Die For - Evangelical Essentials

B. Divide For - Passionate Commitments

C. Debate For - Areas of Tension

D. Decide For - Non-Critical Issues

III. Key Terms and Their Differing Meanings

A. Sovereign - Different Interpretations

B. Elect - Different Perspectives

C. Free - Varied Definitions

IV. Theological Divisions and Unity

A. Recognizing Tribes and Echo Chambers

B. Understanding Differences in Key Terms

C. Engaging in Constructive Dialogue

V. Reformed vs. Wesleyan-Arminian Perspectives

A. Salvation and Election

B. Sanctification and Sinful Desires

C. Ecclesiology and Leadership


VI. Conclusion

A. Emphasizing Essential Unity

B. Valuing Constructive Dialogue and Learning

C. Acknowledging Different Perspectives Within the Community


  • In this lesson, explore the significance of systematic theology, blending academic insight with personal devotion. Learn to interpret biblical texts, understand how theology shapes beliefs, and fortify your faith against deception. This study fosters personal, biblical, and responsible theological growth, vital for spiritual development and discipleship.
  • Learn diverse ways to tackle theological questions, focusing on Holy Spirit baptism. Understand deductive, inductive, and retro-abductive methods. Acts 17:11 and Acts 15 show how community perspectives contribute to nuanced theological discussions, promoting unity amidst differing viewpoints.
  • This lesson provides insights into theological certainty levels, categorizing beliefs into "die for," "divide for," "debate for," and "decide for," highlighting essential doctrines, divisive issues, passionate debates, and less crucial matters, while underscoring the significance of understanding diverse perspectives and theological terms across different Christian tribes.
  • Explore general revelation through creation and conscience (Psalm 19, Romans 1). Responding leads to God, though not salvation alone. Special revelation possible. Diverse salvation views, favoring knowing Jesus. Seared consciences don't always void salvation.
  • Gain deep understanding of special revelation: history, divine acts, and communication revealing God's character and redemptive plan via Messiah. Lesson highlights Bible's key role, conveying God's nature, guidance, and transformative power, emphasizing ongoing divine-human communication.
  • This lesson delves into the concept of divine inspiration in Scripture, citing 2 Timothy 3:15-16 and 2 Peter 1:16-21. It explains "God-breathed" as a term highlighting God's creative influence on words, rejecting mere concepts or dictation. Inspiration involves human authors, their personalities, and styles, conveying God's message to the entire church.
  • In this lesson, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of the characteristics of God, including their definitions, biblical support, and implications and applications.
  • In this lesson you will gain insight into the Bible's clarity, sufficiency, and authority, and the Canon.
  • In this lesson, you'll grasp a deep understanding of God's character. His foremost quality is compassion, like a mother's love. He's gracious, patient, loving, faithful, and forgiving, extending favor even to the undeserving. Yet, He's just, not sparing the persistently rebellious. This lesson dispels misconceptions, urging contemplation of God's profound blend of love and justice.
  • This lesson delves into holiness via Isaiah 6, emphasizing dedication over separation from sin. It challenges misconceptions and calls for church reform.
  • This lesson delves into the fundamental characteristics of God, particularly the Trinity, emphasizing God's essential relational nature within Himself and its biblical implications, while also addressing theological controversies and highlighting the complexity of the Trinity.
  • This lesson explores different approaches to knowing God, inspired by Thomas Aquinas, discusses the doctrine of immutability, and highlights how God can change in his attitude and actions based on biblical evidence, emphasizing the value of in-depth Bible study and open dialogue in understanding God's nature.
  • This lesson covers key theological concepts: sovereignty, election, and free will. It explores differences between Calvinist and Wesleyan-Arminian views on God's sovereignty, impacting God's plan and human responsibility. Emphasis on defining terms to prevent disputes. Speaker is a "Calminian," blending Calvinism and Arminianism for a balanced perspective. Valuable insights into theological complexities and scripture interpretation.
  • Exploring various theological views and problematic issues surrounding the concept of providence, we will gain a comprehensive understanding of the role of prayer in providence, as well as the compatibility of God's sovereignty and human responsibility.
  • You will gain knowledge about anthropology and its biblical foundations, creation of human beings and the image of God in humans, fall and sin and their implications on human nature, redemption and sanctification, and human destiny and eschatology, including views on heaven and hell and the return of Christ.
  • This lesson offers valuable insights into the multifaceted nature of providence and its profound implications for our comprehension of God's role in the world.
  • The lesson touches upon various types of suffering, categorizing them into six different types: moral evil (e.g., rape), natural evil (e.g., cancer), persecution, sharing the suffering of another, punishment for sin, and suffering caused by the devil.
  • Learn to discern God's will by cultivating a Christ-like character, living by moral principles, seeking counsel, embracing uniqueness, and praying. It's about aligning with your long-term happiness and godly desires, offering a balanced approach to life decisions.
  • Explore Jesus' nature and incarnation. Learn how He balanced divine and human attributes, challenging traditional views. Reflect on His mission and ours, empowered by the Holy Spirit, bridging divinity and humanity.
  • This lesson delves into the incarnation of Jesus, explaining his dual nature as both God and man during his earthly mission, supported by Old Testament, Gospel, and epistle references. It acknowledges the complexity of his divinity and humanity, even after his ascension.
  • This lesson explores Jesus' dual nature, divine and human, delving into emotions, knowledge, sin, and his role as the Second Adam, offering theological insights.
  • Learn about Jesus' life and mission, challenging traditional beliefs like the virgin birth. Explore his spiritual journey, resurrection, and more, fostering critical thinking and alternative perspectives.
  • This lesson provides a comprehensive examination of atonement, its various dimensions, and the theological concepts surrounding it.
  • Learn about the Holy Spirit, baptism, and its role in Christian faith. Understand diverse perspectives on its workings in believers' lives, emphasizing its incorporation at conversion and empowering influence, supported by biblical insights.
  • Gain insight into the relationship between spirit baptism and conversion, the various terms used in Scripture, and the importance of ongoing fillings with the Holy Spirit for special ministry tasks, character, and as a command for all believers.
  • This lesson explores the role of the Holy Spirit and spiritual gifts. It challenges traditional definitions, proposing that any ability empowered by the Holy Spirit and used in ministry is a spiritual gift. The primary gift is the Holy Spirit himself.
  • Learn about the theological debate on spiritual gifts like prophecy and miracles. Explore four perspectives: cessationism, continuationism, functional cessationism, and word of faith. The instructor, a continuationist, emphasizes discernment and scripture while promoting respectful dialogue among believers with differing views.
  • This lesson explores the Bible's view of humanity, emphasizing humans as God's unique creation, made from dust and breath, in His image. It delves into human origins, our role as covenant partners, and the interaction between spirit and body, supported by biblical passages, offering a holistic perspective on being human in God's eyes.
  • This lesson redefines humans as image-bearers of God, emphasizing the role of reflecting divine attributes in all work, gender equality, and growth in Christ-likeness. It promotes dignity for all, with potential for deeper reflection as faith matures.
  • In this lesson you will explore the origin of sin, rejecting dualism in favor of a Christian perspective where sin arises from the choices of morally responsible creatures. The lesson introduces the idea of a pre-creation rebellion by Satan, emphasizing that humans are called to engage in spiritual warfare by doing good and promoting Shalom in the world.
  • You will gain knowledge and insight into the nature, marks, purpose, structure, and sacraments of the Church and learn about the different views and definitions used to define it.
  • This lecture discusses the leadership offices of a church, including eldership, deacons, and church members, and how they function according to biblical principles of polity, which prioritize following what the Bible prescribes, closely following what it describes, and using wisdom and being Spirit-led in matters it is silent about, all with the aim of effectively sharing the Gospel and achieving unity and focus.
  • In this lesson, you will explore baptism's significance, modes, and theological perspectives, and learn its role in church membership, unity, discipleship, and spiritual growth.
  • This lesson provides an overview of the historical, biblical, and theological aspects of Communion, including practical considerations for its practice.
  • You will gain a good understanding of death and its theological implications, including the biblical view of death, consequences of death, and resurrection and the afterlife. The lesson covers the definition of death, cultural views, and the portrayal of death in the Old and New Testaments. You will also learn about the physical and spiritual consequences of death, as well as the Bible's teachings on resurrection and the afterlife.
  • From this lesson, you gain insight into the biblical concept of God's Kingdom, its significance in Christian theology, and its impact on eschatology, social justice, and the Church's role.
  • In this lesson, you gain insight into eschatology, examine biblical perspectives, explore key events like the Rapture, Tribulation, Millennium, and Final Judgment, and learn the significance of eschatology for today's believers.
  • By studying the eternal state, you gain insights into the new heaven and earth, resurrection, judgment, and eternal life, deepening your understanding of Christian hope and assurance.
  • Through this lesson, you gain insight into the crucial role of church leaders, their essential qualities, and the challenges they face, while discovering the importance of support and encouragement for their growth and effectiveness in ministry.
  • In this lesson, you gain an understanding of the nature of Scripture and learn to interpret the Bible within its historical, literary, and canonical contexts while addressing challenges in biblical interpretation.
  • This lesson delves into the structure and authority of a church, examining different leadership models and emphasizing the overarching role of scripture as the final authority, while also highlighting the need for congregational involvement in decision-making processes and the unique nature of the apostles in early church leadership.
  • Learn Dr. Breshears' local church leadership principles: focus on equipping, inspiring, empowering, unifying, exemplifying, caring for, overseeing, and shepherding members. Rooted in biblical teachings, emphasizes servant leadership. The lesson discusses congregational decision-making, women in church leadership roles with respect for differing views.
  • Learn about church leadership principles, roles of elders and deacons, active membership, mutual commitment, gift utilization, and clear processes in this comprehensive lesson.
  • This lesson explores sacraments, focusing on baptism and diverse theological views. Baptism signifies a profound commitment to Christ within a believer community, emphasizing understanding and promptness post-conversion.
  • In this lesson, you'll grasp the essence of baptism, its questions, and debates. Discover belief's role, its confession, and the link to repentance and faith. Explore diverse views on baptism performers, methods, and locations. Gain insights and wisdom for informed baptism decisions in your faith community.
  • From this lesson, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of Communion, also known as the Lord's Supper or Eucharist. It will provide you with insights into the controversy surrounding its terminology and the theological background of Communion, primarily focusing on 1 Corinthians Chapters 10 and 11. You will learn about various theological perspectives on the real presence of Christ in the Communion elements and explore different viewpoints on the frequency, leadership, eligibility, and practical aspects of Communion. Overall, this lesson will equip you with the knowledge to better understand and participate in the Communion meal.
  • This lesson delves into two ends: individual death and the end of the age. It explores human death, material and immaterial aspects (Ecclesiastes 12:7, Genesis 3), fear, loss of autonomy, cremation, death determination, rewards, and urges preparation to meet Jesus, facing the undeniable reality of death.
  • Learn about the Kingdom of God, its aspects, Christ's return interpretations, and key concepts like inaugurated, Messianic, and millennium kingdoms. Emphasizing humility and mission in theological debates, it prepares you for insightful discussions on Christ's return and tribulation.
  • Learn about Christian views on heaven and hell. Hell is punishment for those who reject Jesus; heaven is eternal bliss with Him on a renewed Earth. Explore differing views respectfully.

Understand the core topics of systematic theology, from what we know about God to the future state of humankind. Special emphasis is given to such topics as Christ, salvation, the church, and the future.

A Guide to Christian Theology
Dr. Gerry Breshears
Die, Divide, Debate or Decide
Lesson Transcript

We just were talking about doing theology, how to do theology, and I gave you three different approaches to it. One of them is deductive. Go to Janice or John and who's the authority of your church and ask your trusted person that you know knows quite a bit and just ask them. It's simple, it's straightforward. You can understand it, you can ask questions. The next one is inductive. I don't want human authority. I want biblical authority, so directly to scripture, don't use any help. Don't use any websites. Don't go to a person, go to God and say, what does the Bible say? I'm not going to go through all the things. You can go back and listen to it, but what I suggest to you is ask different people firsthand. Ask for different passages they focus on, different interpretations of key passages, and just look for issues and possibilities when you're talking to other people. Different theological tribe, different cultural backgrounds.

And then with your Bible open, and then when you're done, you stop and ask, in community, preferably, what is the best answer that explains the most biblical data with the fewest difficulties? I think what that does is get us past pre-understandings and it still emphasizes biblical authority, but it realizes I need to negate my pre-understanding. Because I've always read it this way, it's hard to get past that. So I think it's a good way to do things. Another thing that's really helpful to me, and this goes back to when I was in seminary, back in, it would've probably been 1973.

A long time ago. I was sick and I wasn't in classes and I was working through a whole bunch of different theological things, as you do when you're in seminary. And I found myself coming to what I later said, there are different levels of certainty when they're coming to answer theological questions. Sometimes the certainty is really high. Is Jesus God coming in the flesh? Well, yes. Why? Because it says so repeatedly in scripture. It's a firsthand, direct thing from scripture. But there are other things where the scripture doesn't address it directly.

A very famous thing that's going right now is can a woman be a pastor? And the thing of it is the Bible never gives qualifications for a pastor. It does for an elder, but is a pastor and an elder the same thing? Bible never equates those. Now, different denominations do. But see, that's a spot where we're not coming directly to scripture, so my thing is there's a lower level of certainty. Now, there are places the Bible seems to contradict itself. Again, lower levels of certainty. So I got to think about that. Different levels of certainty. I was using Greek New Testament and in the footnotes of the Greek New Testament, the one I was using, UBS text, there are four different levels of accuracy or certainty about textual variance. A, we know this [inaudible]. Yeah, there's variance, but not really.

And then down to D, we have no idea what's there. Could be any one of these and that's where it goes. And so I started talking about A, B, C, D levels of certainty in theology and my friend Steve Walker said, "Gary, aren't you a preacher?" I said, "Well, yeah. I preach sometimes." "You can't use A, B, C." "[inaudible] sound like a mathematician." He says, "Well, it's what it was for a long time." "Oh yeah, but forget all that. You got to be a preacher. God, you got to have alliteration." "Oh yeah, that's right. I forgot. That's what preachers do is alliterate everything. I can't think of alliteration." So he gave me one. Die for, divide for. These are in your notes, by the way. If you've downloaded the notes, you've got them in front of you. If not, get them. Die for, divide for, debate for, decide for.

Okay, four D's. Die for. As you can imagine, that's something that's really clear in scripture, foundational to the faith. God is triune. Father, son, the Holy Spirit. Jesus is God come in the flesh. Things like that. Resurrection is a bodily resurrection. Die for. If I put it that way, if it came right down to it, if somebody put a gun to my head and said, "Deny it or die," I'd say, "Okay, pull the trigger because I'm not going to deny it." I will not deny that Jesus is God come in the flesh. Not likely for that to happen, but that's what we're talking about. So die for is something we're really, really sure about, and there'd be broad scale agreement on this across the evangelicals through time and in the contemporary world. So Jesus is God man is really not something that's debated. That's the die for. The divide for are things that the difference is so important that these commitments are such that good Christians disagree and cannot be in the same fellowship together.

And so when I think about this, I'm thinking about Paul and Barnabas arguing with John Mark and their differences in what to do with John Mark were so sharp that they ended up dividing for it, and I think that happens today. So a divide for is something, I'll see you in heaven, but we can't work together here. We're just so different in what we're thinking about. We can't be in the fellowship. A third level is what I'd call the debate for, and in these cases, we can be in the same fellowship and get along and do well, but when it comes to these topics, the emotions start going up, the smoke starts coming out. I start getting passionate and we start growling at each other. We're still together and we can laugh and play and work effectively in other areas. So these are debate fors, and they're tensions in the community, but they're within the community.

And this fourth level is called the decide for. It's like who cares? It's just not an issue, at least not in our community. Maybe in other communities, but not in our community. So die for, evangelical essentials. To knowingly deny them is to put your salvation in jeopardy. Divide for, passionate commitments that mean we can't be in the same fellowship. We can work together in the city, but we can't work together in the same church. Debate for, we end up growling at each other on these particular issues, but we can work together in the same fellowship and work that effectively. Decide for, whatever. Doesn't make any difference. So let's think for a little bit. What would be a die for? I've mentioned some. Trinity. Salvation, a membership in God's family is a gift to those who receive it.

The Deity of Christ.

The Deity of Christ, humanity of Christ. Actually, I find a lot of people denying the humanity of Christ's reality, not knowingly.


Authority of scripture, for sure. Authority of scripture is an evangelical essential. To deny that is a die for, I think.


Bodily resurrection of Jesus, the return of Jesus. These would be the kinds of things we agree on. What would be some divide fors in the history of the [inaudible]? I'm not saying it should be. I'm saying this is the way it is.

Catholic and Protestant.

Well, let's say in the evangelical circles. Among evangelicals, what would be a contemporary divide for?

[inaudible] methodology.

Well, you're thinking theologically. Think practically. How about style of worship? Liturgical or free church?

I love Anglicans once a year. If I go back to second study, didn't we do this last week? And they say, "Yeah, we do it because we've been doing this for centuries." I say, "Can't you get anything new in here? We do a new holiday every week. It takes eight minutes." See, and I'm being a little lighthearted, but in fact I'm a free church guy. I don't want to read a prayer as a regular practice. I don't read the same prayer every week. So we divide for it. And I'm not anti-Anglican. By this I mean the evangelical version of Anglicans, not that there's liberal Anglicans, too. So that's a divide for worship style.

Where does the necessity of baptism fit?

Baptism is a famous divide for. Now, my background is brethren and back in the reformation area, they're saying, you want to be baptized again? We'll baptize you. They're drowning people. Literally they were throwing them in the river and drowning them for the fact that infant baptism wasn't sufficient. Yeah. Now, I'm glad that's gone away. But do you baptize children of believers or do you baptize adult converts only? I'm baptistic. I think the biblical definition of baptism is somebody who can repent and confess Jesus is Lord. I have lots of friends that say no, children should be included as well. We'll talk about that question, but not here today. I'm just talking about issues. What other kinds of things are divide fors? Baptism, the Holy Spirit, for sure. Pentecostal versus non-Pentecostal. A lot of these divide fors are theological, but a lot of them are actually practical kinds of things, too. And they become so sharp that we can't be in the same church together. What I want to do is keep as few of those as possible, but they are real.

And then we need to have good communication in the town and recognize we're still serving to the Lord most high and do evangelical unity. But I think there's legitimacy to these different kinds of things for style that don't make them battle points, make them division points. Debate fors. Now, this is going to vary by church, but in our church, one of the debate fors is how old is the earth? We've got some ardent young earth creationists and we've got some ardent BioLogos, the earth is 4.8 billion years old and the universe is 13.6 billion years old, and they just see those young earth creationists.

People despise science, so they despise young earth creationists and it gets hot and it gets growly, very growly. But we're in the same thing together. Here a while back I preached the Genesis 1 sermon that my church, Grace Community Church here in Gresham, and afterwards, we had a theological forum and I made them all come to the same forum and they had to say, this is what I believe. And then I moderated the discussion. When we got done, they understood each other better and now they're friends except when we're talking about young earth creationists. Then they get growly. But it brought the temperature down of the debates. I think that a lot of these things we need to work on that. Any other divide fors? Should you stand or sit when you sing?

What's the answer? It's a decide for in most cases. And what used to be a divide for and a fight for is now a decide for in many cases. When I first came to Western Seminary in 1980, we had chapel and if somebody called a song and we began singing some of the songs and somebody would raise their hands, somebody go talk to them and say, "What's wrong?" Portland Bible College, Pentecostal Bible College just up the mountain from us, if when they did chapel and they started singing, somebody didn't raise their hand, somebody would go talk to them and say, "What's wrong?" Now, who cares? Raise your hands or not. It's strictly up to you. Now, if you start waving banners, that may be a little more contentious, but see this? They change. A pretrib rapture used to be divide for. Now it's a who cares in most cases. So these change by time, but recognize there's four different levels of certainty. Right now, the biggest thing is keep the die for, is willing to die for, because people are in this, well, I just don't know what's going on kind of stuff.

And at the decide fors, we tend to put them up and become theological tribes and tend to throw bombs at each other. So when we divide into tribes and we get in an echo chamber where I only talk to people I agree with and only read websites I agree with and only listen to podcasts that I agree with, then we tend to become defensive and attack. And that's where we want to know. Let's talk to each other and when we divide on these things, and some things we will, let's go to the other person and say, help me understand why you do this and why it's so important to you. For me, frankly, I thought liturgical was just dead faith because I grew up with a group that liturgy, which is dead faith. But then later, I met some ardent Anglicans and they were anything but dead faith. They were passionate in their following of Jesus, they just liked doing the same every Sunday. And I think, you guys are nuts, but you're good nuts. So those are some things I think are important is to do that kind of a thing.

Peanut gallery. Questions before I go on here? I've got one more thing I want to say here.

Would you say that one of the divide fors is women in ministry?

Actually, it's not women in ministry, it's women in leadership. Everybody agrees women should do ministry. Everybody agrees women should do ministry. If you say women in the ministry, now it's a divide for kind of thing. But yes, women in leadership is a current divide for for sure because you either have women on your elder board or you don't. You can't be halfway in between if you have an elder board. If you have a senior pastor, can the woman be a senior pastor or not? It's either yes or no. You can't say, well. It will inevitably be a divide for. And unfortunately, it's a big battle point as I'm recording this.

So another thing to watch for in this area, and if you've got your notes, you've got some fill-in-the-blanks for this. There are key terms that have different meanings in different tribes. So some of the terms would be like the term sovereign. S-O-V-E-R-E-I-G-N. I can't spell it right. Sovereign. Another term where there's differences is what is the meaning of election or elect? Another is what's the difference in meaning of free or free will? And what happens is we all have an idea in my head of what that term means. So when I was in my doctoral program at Florida Seminary, I got to know a Dutch Calvinist fellow. And for him, S-O-V-E-R-E-I-G-N was a heart word. It was frightening. He couldn't say it without his brow furrowing, his lip wiggling, and it came from his spleen, two octaves down. And for him, sovereign, then God defines what's good and bad. He decrees every single action. When you say God is sovereign, it means every action of God is controlled by God.

But if I come from a Wesleyan perspective or a Wesleyan-Arminian perspective, they absolutely believe in sovereign, but what it means there is God sets the rules and he judges whether you follow them or not. He's the king and what he does goes, but it doesn't mean everything he does has been planned by him. In fact, it means quite the opposite. He's the judge of those who disobey his will. So both are using the term sovereign, but they mean very different things. Does sovereign means God controls every action or does it mean God judges every action?

The term elect, if you're coming from a Calvinist perspective, meaning God chooses among a group of desperate sinners all headed for hell, okay? You, you, and you, up. The rest of you, do whatever you want, which means down. And that's what elect means, or election. God chooses, but if you come from a Wesleyan-Arminian perspective, elect means God looks down the quarters of the [inaudible]. Ah, I see that hand, ah, I see that hand, to be a bit sarcastic, and he doesn't make anybody do it. They both use the term elect and mean very different things by it. Free. If an action is free, what does that mean? It means, well, I can do A or not A.

That's the lesson Arminian understands. See, from a Calvinist understanding, it doesn't mean that. It's free if I do what I want. As long as somebody doesn't make me do it against my will, it's free. Do I have contrary choice? No. You always do what the prevailing disposition of your heart is. So freedom doesn't mean you make a contrary choice, it means you do what you want. See, the thing it is, and I'm going to is very quickly. We'll spend more time on it later in the course. Same term, very different meaning.

And in theological discussion, sovereign usually, well, elect means, do you believe in election, means do you believe God chooses individuals for salvation? And free means I can do A or not A. I have a contrary choice. And if I take that view of election and that view of freedom, you talk right past [inaudible], because election is Calvinist, freedom is Arminian. And people don't even recognize that they bring a pre-understanding to the word as they use the word as if it had the same meaning, and it doesn't. You've got to look at the fact that on key terms, different theological tribes have different meanings and you can't do good theology until you understand, I've got to defend my view of sovereignty or freedom from the Bible.

And you thought this was going to be easy. No, it's not. But these are some lessons that are really important as we approach theology. Different levels of certainty, good and godly people can divide over issues and still be good and godly, and the key terms are used in different theological tribes with different meanings. We've got to understand that difference. The issue is not do you believe in sovereignty, but what is the biblical definition of sovereignty and what's the best understanding of that term? Okay, questions? I see a hand coming.

I'm sure you can discuss this in more detail later, but can you give a one-sentence summary of what you mean by reform and what you mean by blessing?

In terms of how you get saved, reform means God chooses among depraved sinners. That's the famous tulip. You're totally depraved. God's election of who will get saved is unconditional so that's what I mean by reformed in terms of sociology. Wesleyan-Arminian is going to say no, God never forces anybody. God doesn't make the choice for anyone. He lets you make the choice and does what's necessary to let you make a free choice. So they differ over whether God makes the decisive choice or whether we make the decisive choice. Now, just to give you a heads-up, I am Calminian, and that's a good and godly term. And what it means is God works with different people in different ways. Sometimes God bushwhacks you on the way to Damascus and sometimes he enables you to make your own decision. He works in different ways with different people.

So I have no trouble dealing with the different verses, so I think my position is the best. It's so simple. Just agree with me and it'll be perfect. So reformed in sociology, God makes the choice. Wesleyan-Arminian, we make the choice. There's a differentiation in sanctification. If you're Wesleyan, you'd believe that I can eradicate the sinning nature and have no sinful desires whatsoever after I receive that gift. If you're a reformed Arminian, you say no, those sinful desires are always there, but we have the power of the Holy Spirit to overcome them, so the division over sanctification. There are differences in ecclesiology. Reformed churches tend to be elder-led. Arminian churches tend to be single pastor-led. Now, that doesn't go that far, but there are differences in different areas and we form tribes around those. 


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