If you Flush Your Old Conversion, Does that mean that You will Probably Also Flush your New Conversion?

I experienced a “real” conversion to the false Arminian gospel when I was twelve years old. I went three days and three nights without sleep or food, because I was a very serious and sincere person convinced that Christ’s death for all sinners depended on the sinner to make it work, and that I had to make a decision. After three days, the decision was emotional, cathartic. Now I had signed the check and so “jesus” would save me, and my faith I did not consider a work, but I knew that my faith was the difference between saved and lost.

When I was 45 years old, I learned what the true gospel was. I learned that God had either already imputed the sins of a sinner to Christ or not. I learned that Christ’s death saves the elect. Over a process of time, I came to repent of my idolatry. I grew to become ashamed of the things I once gloried in. I never gloried in my immorality. I never thought my immorality recommended me to God’s favor. But from the time I was twelve I had gloried in my “conversion”.

In analogy to Paul’s testimony in Philippians 3, I learned to “flush” my old emotional conversion. I don’t try to reform it, redeem it, explain, re-narrate it, polish it. I count it as nothing. I count it as dung. Surely my repentance from Arminianism has not been without emotion. It cannot be dismissed as “mere assent”. But God’s effectual calling always has its object the true gospel and effects a turning away from the false gospel.

My story does not prove anything. Many Arminians would agree that “conversion” to a Mormon gospel or a Roman Catholic gospel does not result in lasting life from God. But the “what is the true gospel” question can never be escaped. If we tell our children that they are already born into the new covenant and the church, then we are teaching them a false gospel.

But if we tell  sinners a false gospel conditioned on the sinner, and promise them that they will be saved if they believe it, then we have not told the truth and we have not given the glory to the God revealed in the Scriptures.  Even though Christ indwells the justified elect, they do not look inside themselves for the righteousness. THIS IS AN EITHER OR. We need to trust in the righteousness that is in heaven, which is the merit (value) of Christ’s death and resurrection (outside us events). .

If I look inside, despair. If you tell me to look both out and inside, despair. If you tell those who look out to look in, and those who look in to look out, despair. Assurance is found in Christ’s death. Not in our finding and not in our flushing.

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12 Comments on “If you Flush Your Old Conversion, Does that mean that You will Probably Also Flush your New Conversion?”

  1. markmcculley Says:

    self-righteous after I became a “Calvinist” who never needed to repent of “evangelicalism”

    That stuff about imputation and election, well it was only the extra, the cherry on top of my ice cream sundae experiences. “Becoming a Calvinist” was like having a “second work”, an exciting “more” added on to my other s—-.

    I flushed. I flush.

    Phil 3:8–”I am counting them as rubbish to gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness.”

    Romans 6:17—”You have become obedient from the heart to the standard of doctrine to which you were handed over, and having been set free from sin, have become slaves of righteousness…

    Romans 6:21–”But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M8Wt3dhF4fU

  2. markmcculley Says:

    the adjective becomes adverb

    temporary faith becomes temporary believing

    “born in the covenant” becomes “but never even the once justified”


    o how does it come about that in Scripture faith is ascribed to the reprobate when Paul teaches that faith is a fruit of election? The answer he gives is ‘though there is a great resemblance and affinity between the elect of God and those who are impressed for a time with a fading faith, yet the elect alone have that full assurance which is extolled by Paul, and by which they are enabled to cry, Abba, Father.’ (Inst. III.2.11)

    Here’s one significant difference in Calvin’s treatment of the nature of perseverance; true faith, the faith which continues to the end, persevering faith, is assured faith. (III.2.11) ‘However feeble and slender the faith of the elect may be, yet as the Spirit of God is to them a sure earnest and seal of their adoption, the impression once engraved can never be effaced from their hearts, whereas the light which glimmers in the reprobate is afterward quenched.’ It is not only that Calvin features assurance and Augustine doesn’t; his understanding of assurance is that it is a distinctive impression made known to the believer through introspection, self-knowledge, which tells him that however weak his faith may be it can never be extinguished. By contrast, in referring to ‘perseverance’ (Calvin never uses the word in this discussion, though he had earlier (II.3.10-13) referred approvingly to Augustine’s remarks on merit and perseverance), Augustine never mentions assurance as far as I can see, but uniformly refers to ‘piety’ as the sign of perseverance, indeed as what perseverance is.

    The prominence that Calvin gives to assurance as an interior impression suggests that he reckons that the believer knows that he will endure to the end, because he presently is favoured with an infallible sign of his adoption as a child of God. By contrast the use of the language of ‘perseverance‘ by Augustine suggests a linear progression, a walk, a race, a fight, a climb. Then the answer to the question of personal belief is grounded on the fact that the Lord continually makes the person to stand. That is, the Lord enables him to press on as a Christian, to have ‘pious thoughts’ which produce faith which works by love. (Gift of Perseverance, ch.20) There is also a suggestion of regeneration through baptism.

    Augustine refers to the laver of regeneration which both those who persevere and those who come not to, enjoy, but this need not be to have any more sacramental implications (or less) than Paul’s ‘washing of regeneration’. There is no suggestion of baptismal regeneration in Calvin, And this continuation of the believer’s ‘standing’ is expressed by Augustine in terms of obedience, virtue, and continued communion with visible church.

    In my view this emphasis, rather than Calvin’s on assurance, makes much more sense of Scripture’s warning passages. This is another difference between Calvin and Augustine. The Bishop of Hippo discusses the warnings of the New Testament as integral to the question of perseverance, but Calvin is silent on them in the Institutes in his treatment of temporary faith. The reason for Calvin’s silence is presumably that if someone has a God-given, infallible assurance that he is adopted into God’s family, one of the elect, what need of warning? Nothing that could happen to him could dislodge him, for having the inward impression he can be confident that no-one can pluck him out of the Father’s hands.

    In his treatment of I Cor. 10.12, which Augustine also discusses, Calvin says ‘we must not glory in our beginnings’, [that is, our ‘conversion story’]. And he is concerned about the Papists [who]

    wrest this passage for the purpose of maintaining their impious doctrine of faith, as having constantly doubt connected with it, let us observe that there are two kinds of assurance. One arises from reliance on the promises of God which yet keeps in mind its own infirmity, casts itself upon God, and with carefulness and anxiety commits itself to him. This kind of assurance is sacred, and is inseparable from faith…..The other arises from negligence, when men, puffed up with the gifts that they have, give themselves no concern, as if they were beyond the reach of danger, but rest satisfied with their condition’. (Comm. I Cor 10.12, italics added.)

  3. markmcculley Says:


    Philip Cary—-For Augustine and the whole Christian tradition prior to Calvin, it is perfectly possible to have a genuine faith and then lose it. Apostasy from the true faith. For Calvin, on the contrary, there is a kind of faith I can have now which I am sure not to lose, because it comes with the gift of perseverance. What is more, I can know that I have such faith rather than the temporary kind.

    For anyone who adds to an Augustinian doctrine of predestination the notion that we can know we are saved for eternity will necessarily believe that we can know we are predestined to be saved. For if Augustine is right about predestination, it is logically impossible to know you are saved for eternity without knowing that you are predestined for such salvation. That is precisely why Augustine denies you can know you are predestined for salvation.

    Philip Cary—To require faith that you are predestined for salvation before admission to the sacrament is… to make faith into a work

    mcmark—I am reminded of Socinians, who argued that if the object of faith was penal satisfaction, then the object of faith could not be forgiveness. Cary is saying that faith must have as its object present faith but not future faith AND not penal satisfaction . The idea of sins having already been paid for by Christ’s death has no place in his discussion. Cary also is caught in a discussion about the nature of faith, in which he says that other people’s faith is a work, because he thinks the object of other peoples’ faith is not true.

    Philip Cary—Catholics don’t worry about whether they have saving faith but whether they are in a state of mortal sin—so they go to confession. Reformed Protestants don’t worry about mortal sin but about whether they have true saving faith—so they seek conversion.

    Luther points here to the words “for you,” and insists that they include me. When faith takes hold of the Gospel of Christ, it especially takes hold of these words, “for you,” and rejoices that Christ did indeed died for me

    In this way the Gospel and its sacraments effectively give us the gift of faith. I do not have to ask whether I truly believe; I need merely ask whether it is true, just as the Word says, that Christ’s body is given for me. And if the answer is yes, then my faith is strengthened—without “making a decision of faith,” without the necessity of a conversion experience, and without even the effort to obey a command to believe.

    For what the sacramental word tells me is not: “You must believe” (a command we must choose to obey) but “Christ died for you” (good news that causes us to believe).

    It is sufficient to know that Christ’s body is given for me. If I cling to that in faith, all will go well with me. And whenever the devil suggests otherwise, I keep returning to that sacramental Word, and to the “for us” in the creed, where the “us” includes me. Thus precisely the kind of faith that is insufficient to get me admitted to the Puritan sacraments—which is to say, mere belief in the truth of the creed and trust in my baptism—is all the faith I have. If Luther is right, it is all the faith I can ever have, and all the faith I need.

    the Reformed tradition generates pastoral problems that cannot be helped by the sacrament, because neither word nor sacrament can assure me that I have true saving faith. The logic of the matter, it seems to me, makes it impossible to split the difference between these two positions and get the best of both.

  4. markmcculley Says:

    A godly contrition (repentance) can come only in light of the Gospel wherein Christ and His righteousness is revealed as the only difference between saved and lost . This godly contrition includes new knowledge concerning the character of God (Who He is) and concerning the one and only reason God is just in justifying the ungodly elect.

    This godly contrition is a change of mind concerning our best religious efforts to remove the guilt and defilement of sin, our old efforts to recommend ourselves to God, our deeds motivated in the interests of attaining, maintaining, and entitling us to salvation.

    The Apostle Paul illustrates this clearly in Philippians 3:3-10. In true Gospel contrition a sinner comes to see and trust that Christ’s righteousness alone entitles him to all of salvation, including the subjective work of the Spirit, BEFORE he makes any efforts to obey God and persevere.

    The godly contrite come to see that before faith in the true gospel, their best efforts at obedience, all that they highly esteemed and thought was profitable in recommending him unto God, is no more than “dung” (Philippians 3:7-8) in contrast with Christ’s obedience to death.

    What they before thought was pleasing unto God and works of the Spirit, the contrite person now sees as “flesh” (Philippians 3:3-4). What they once highly esteemed, they are now ashamed of(Romans 6:21) and now, in light of the Gospel, counts it as fruit unto death, DEAD WORKS, and evil deeds.

    The contrite person now sees that before believing that Christ’s righteousness alone entitled them to all of salvation, their thoughts of God were all wrong. In repentance, the contrite person turns from that old Arminian idol to serve the true and living God (1 Thessalonians 1:9).

    This kind of true godly contrition can only come in light of the Gospel as it takes this light to expose the sin that deceives us all by nature (John 3:19-20). Before we hear and believe the Gospel we are all deceived by sin (Romans 7:11). The sin that deceives us all by nature is not our immorality, but trusting in our trusting and contrition. We must repent of our old evil repentance.

  5. markmcculley Says:

    the church wants you to “expose yourself” and repent but in the following carefully prescribed way

    “god loves you unless you do not respond to god’s love in the right way”

    the church wants you

    the church replaces Jesus

    “your penalty has been paid, and now all we need is your credit card”

    the church wants to control you

    “your penalty has been paid, and now all you have to do is acknowledge his substitution for you. Say after me, I accept the fact that Jesus died because of my sins. ”

    every person for themselves, we can’t wait for everybody else

  6. markmcculley Says:

    Rilke–TO GO FORTH now
    from all the entanglement
    that is ours and yet not ours,
    that, like the water in an old well,
    reflects us in fragments, distorts what we are.

    From all that clings like burrs and brambles—
    and see for once, close up, afresh,
    what we had ceased to see—
    so familiar it had become.
    To glimpse how vast and how impersonal
    is the suffering that filled your childhood.

    Yes,TO GO FORTH, hand pulling away from hand.

    Go forth to what? To uncertainty,
    to a country with no connections to us
    and indifferent to the dramas of our life.

    What drives you TO GO FORTH? Impatience, instinct,
    a dark need, the incapacity to understand.


  7. markmcculley Says:

    Hebrews 9: 28 so also the Messiah, having been offered (ON EARTH) once to bear the sins of many, will appear (ON EARTH) a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are WAITING for Him.

    how many times do the justified elect go to heaven? none
    how many times does Jesus come to earth? twice
    what does Jesus do between His two comings to earth?

    Hebrews 9: 24 For the Messiah did not enter a sanctuary made with hands (only a model) but into heaven itself, in order to NOW APPEAR in the presence of God FOR US.

    x lax and flush

    were you going to “let go” all at once?

    or in gradual stages?

    if you try to do it in gradual stages, you have not yet really let go

    if i let go now, will i still need to let go tomorrow?

    am i just going to have keep letting go the rest of my life?

    is there some way i could let go of all this future letting go?

    Come to me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matthew 11:28).

    “I am certain that I will see the LORD’S goodness in the land of the living. Wait for the LORD;
    be strong, and let your heart be courageous.
    Wait for the LORD.” Psalm. 27:13,14

    Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you” (Psalm 55:22).

    “I wait for the LORD; I wait
    and put my hope in his word.
    I wait for the LORD
    more than watchmen for the morning–
    more than watchman for the morning.” Psalm 130:5,6

    Even to your old age I am he, and to gray hairs I will carry you. I have made, and I will bear; I will carry and will save” (Isaiah 46:4).

    “From of old no one has heard or perceived by the ear, no eye has seen a God besides thee, who works for those who wait for him (Isaiah 64:4).

    not a one and done casting our anxieties( Keswick closure by surrender) , but a moment by moment humbling under His mighty hand

    God is not anxious about me

    but God knows and cares about me

    my anxieties distract me from God’s having taken responsibility for me

    when i “give God my anxiety”, God does not become anxious

    God is not reacting to my imputation or “my giving” (the anxiety or the rest from anxiety is in my mind)

    I do not give God my sins, I do not give God my bad dreams

    I wait, I do not rush, not even to the end (when I am dead and waiting on resurrection)

  8. markmcculley Says:

    Deconstruction was coined as a portmanteau by tJacques Derrida to describe a critical method employed in his early works, including Voice and Phenomenon, The Origin of Geometry, and Of Grammatology. First, one locates a binary opposition assumed by a cluster of statements, with one pole of the opposition held to be parasitic upon and inferior to the other. Think, for example, of the dyads ‘pure and impure,’ ‘sanity and madness,’ or—to make the political implications of this clear—‘white races and non-white races.’ In each case, the binary is set up on the presupposition that the first term must be preserved by the exclusion and eventual elimination of the second term

    Second, one inverts the value system of this binary by showing that the prior term in fact depends upon the second term for its existence, such that the ideal is actually parasitic upon the excluded. Since the binary has been set up on the premise of its implicit evaluation, this inversion therefore has the effect of dissolving the binary itself and thereby shifting the accepted significance of its terms (it’s worth emphasizing that this is more than simply changing one’s evaluation within the binary—the inversion is geared towards dissolution of the terms as they have been structured). Finally, one can do the constructive work of making claims which no longer rely upon such underlying value judgments.

    We must doubt that we know what we’re talking about before we doubt anything else. We must doubt we know what the words mean. But if we try to doubt everything before we learn the story of the words, then we compound the error. The meanings we doubt become the meanings that determine us, and they are false meanings. Even when one must leave whole systems of teaching behind, then, (re)learning must come before fundamental doubt. Doubt is, of course, necessary to motivate this relearning—but it must be doubt of our teachers, rather than absolute doubt regarding the subjects they have taught.

    There is a way of doubting which presumes to know more than it does about what is doubted. As such, before something can be doubted, asserted, denied, or deconstructed, its history and its life must be learnt beyond what has been taught.If we don’t, we’ll entrench the idea that the falsity we were taught has always been the norm, when it has only ever been a distortion of the norm by poor or misguided teachers. There are few more dangerous things than false accounts taken as normative for truth—for whether we are trying to affirm or deny them, as long as they are normative, they will have power over who we try to be.

  9. markmcculley Says:

    what if i already got saved, how can i get saved again?

    what if I already got saved by agreeing that Jesus died for me?

    what should I do now?

    do I now need to get unsaved?

    do I need to repent of believing the false gospel?

    do I need to believe a different gospel, a gospel which is the true gospel?

    or do I perhaps need to hear the same gospel but hear it in a different way this time?

    do I need to believe the gospel this time while also turning from my sins and making a commitment to live right?

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