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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7 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”

    http://paulhelmsdeep.blogspot.com/2013/02/the-temporary-christian-calvin.html

    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:

    https://afkimel.wordpress.com/2014/10/23/clinging-to-externals-weak-faith-and-the-power-of-the-sacraments/

    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.


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