By Samuel M. Frost, Th.M.
Well, it has certainly been a trying day, but the Lord is God to this sinner that stands in his grace. Sinner? Yes. See, I am a sinner. I live in my flesh, this body of sin, or body of death as Paul called it. It is constantly harasses by sin, and eventually, I will die because of my great grandfather times 100’s of generations removed. His name was Adam (and his lovely wife, Eve). What they did, as Moses instructs us so plainly and clearly it is staggering that any miss it, was transgress the law that God commanded Adam. Adam was given a few instructions (torah). “Be fruitful. Multiply. Take dominion. Eat of all the trees and fruits, and plants of the ground. Except one tree. Don’t eat from this tree. If you do, when you take a bite, you will most certainly die. Got it? Good. Enjoy your life – may it be forever!” We all know the story, or think we do, anyhow. Adam ate from the very tree God told him not to eat. In all ways of Adam’s being (body and soul, one man) his mental perception changed. No need to go into detail here. Several other factors, hitherto not experienced, were now creeping into his being (Adam was a singular, ‘living being’). Guilt. Shame. Fear. Things rooted in a perception that, beforehand, functioned as smooth as created silk, without a hitch, or glitch, or hiccup. Guilt. Fear. Shame. Nudity (we don’t need to go into Augustine here, but the good Bishop had a lot to say about naughty parts). Adam, for his sin, was then cast out of the beautiful Garden God had made for him and his wife, Eve. Strangely, the death that was announced to come swiftly, suddenly and without mercy, didn’t come. Instead, God cursed the ground outside the Garden paradise, and lest Adam or any of his kids (the rest of humanity) try to achieve access into Eternal Life given by the emblem of the fruit of the Tree of Immortality with God as God created Adam and Eve (and their kids) to have (else, why make it?), he cut off all access. God placed a fearsome creature, one that Moses called a Cherub, with a flaming sword. The message was clear: enter, you die. Don’t even try.
So, Adam, Eve, and all born to her and her offspring (that brings us to us today) were in a state of unnerving guilt. The shame they had must have weighed a dock’s ton. Suddenly, a life removed from nothing but eternal security, with all things readily suppled with very little effort (a life of comfort and ease), was now one of insecurity, fear of the unknown, a looming future, and a mind to attempt to figure it out – a mind that dialectically weaves a constant thread between choices of good, and bad, right and wrong, correct and incorrect, good move, or bad plan. The immediate future is unknown. Add to all of this (which is making Psychiatrists and Psychologists billions of dollars to unnerve the nervous), Adam and his kin faced a certain, extra doom: extinction from the ground; a return to the ground. Whatever joy, or happiness, or labor, or accomplishment they might get here and there; a smile from a daughter, a hug from a son, a good laugh from a neighbor, or a intimate time with one’s spouse – would not be experienced anymore. Death would consume it. And Adam knew this. Adam, with all of this mental baggage that not even Freud could handle (and can’t handle, because Freud was in the same situation – we all are), also knew that he would die. That he was mortal. Is this how God’s purpose ends? Is this it? A meaningless existence, then death?
But, the story isn’t over. As Adam’s sons and daughters increased in the land outside the Garden, so did their thoughts. Without God directly revealing his words, Adam’s kids almost immediately began to ‘think for themselves’ (what else were they going to do?). To use the Bible’s terminology, they “did what was right in their own eyes” – not God’s eyes. This eventually became so bad over several generations, that God became grieved in his Spirit that he had made Adam and Eve. Man lived for hundreds of years in the beginning (some of them, anyway), and without any direct words of instruction (law, torah) from God – entirely ‘left on their own’ so to speak. The result was horrendous: ‘Adam’s children, and children’s children entertain thoughts of evil and are on evil deeds continually, all his days.’ Total depravity. God declared to himself: I am going to wipe out every single one of them. As he stated before to Adam, that “in the day you eat, you die”, so he stated now, “I am going to wipe out all mankind from the face of the land.” However….he didn’t. He could have. He should have. He knows in his own righteousness that they deserve it. When Adam ate, he deserved right then and there swift, merciless execution right where he stood while the fruit was going down his God-created throat. God chose a man named Noah, and not only Noah, but Noah’s wife, and their three sons, and their three wives. 8 in all. God’s threat went from “all flesh” to “well, not all…I’ll spare 8.” The same is meant for Adam, too. “In the day you eat, you die” to “let him live a little a little while – many years, then I will command death that he be returned to the dust” (Psalm 90.3, also by Moses). God is righteous. God is holy. God is also full of mercy, and loving kindness. He is willing to suffer along with his own grief, as well as human beings – for a time. Adam broke a commandment, and its penalty has come to every human being as a result: a miserable existence, rooted in unknowabilty, with maybe a few spurts of joy here and there, coupled with a knowledge that death may strike at any moment, or even horribly long in terms of disease. Not too good, is it? Man is not miserable as an individual. He is miserable around others, too. He virtually disagrees with others almost at every turn. Their knowledge of what is ‘right and wrong’ is not the same as his more superior knowledge. Eventually, this aggravates him so much, that the only real solution to the problem is killing the other. In terms of tribes, the solution is wiping out other tribes. In terms of Nations, with a King, the solution is exterminating or enslaving other nations and peoples. Adam and Eve brought this about to everyone. It’s everyone’s condition. Ask a Biden supporter what they think about a Trump supporter. Ask a Muslim jihadist what they think (knowledge) about a Jew. Ask a man who like other men what he thinks about Bible believing fundamentalists. Ask a scientist, surely an expert in what is good, and what is not good, about someone who believes God made the heavens and earth in the span of six days. Go ahead. Ask them. Watch the fireworks. Oh…did I mention The Accuser of Mankind, this malevolent power commissioned by God’s authority to wreak havoc, misery, turmoil, murder and mayhem? Yeah, I forgot that. He is also called “The one who leads the nations into deception”. He lies, and mankind is so messed up, they believe the lie. Not too good, is it?
So, what do we have? Well, Adam didn’t die the day he ate, and neither did Eve. They died hundreds of years later. God is good. He is righteous (they will die), but also gracious (they didn’t die according to the letter of the command that demands their death at every turn). Man is left to his own thinking, without God’s giving him good thoughts to think upon. They love darkness. They eschew the light. Their minds are darkened in counsel. Excuse me….I am talking about me. However, God, in his goodness, sheds light and counsel so that even the wicked, entirely without ever acknowledging it, benefit. God even sheds light directly into some human beings very soul, so much so that it literally alters their course, stops them in their tracks, and causes a mental convulsion of self loathing for their sins. This act of God, that penetrates the darkened mind that hates him by nature, surely alters Adam’s kids lives as certainly as that day when Adam’s mind was altered when he ate. We call it, a change of heart. It brings repentance. A new flush of feelings, affections, and experiences floods his entire being, body and soul. A light bulb went off. A soul operating on an empty tank is suddenly filled with the promise and hope of Life. There is a future to be had! There is a life beyond this life! It’s been right in front of me all this time, I just couldn’t see it! Let us hear our Lawgiver’s words, our beloved Prophet, Moses: ‘If your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there the LORD your God will gather you, and from there he will take you… And the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.’ I would add, ‘live forever as I intended Adam and his children to do. My purpose stands. My people will live in what I have created for eternity.’ Let Moses speak more (for he spoke of the Spirit, that is united to the Son, who is the Eternally Begotten of the Holy Father): ‘For this commandment that I command you today is not too hard for you, neither is it far off. 12 It is not in heaven, that you should say, ‘Who will ascend to heaven for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 13 Neither is it beyond the sea, that you should say, ‘Who will go over the sea for us and bring it to us, that we may hear it and do it?’ 14 But the word is very near you. It is in your mouth and in your heart, so that you can do it. 15 “See, I have set before you today life and good, death and evil.’ This is to each man, woman, and child. To all those who hate him, who do not know him, and who refuse to acknowledge because they can’t, on their own. He is very near you. Our Apostle, quoting these words, says, “that is, the word of faith that we proclaim.” Moses proclaimed a word of faith. Paul preached this word of faith. This word of faith, if God so grants one to receive it, awakens the soul to the Light of God’s Knowledge in Jesus Christ. A slumbering soul. A soul sentenced to die in its sins, but now, through the knowledge that saves, is invited to the Eternal Glory of a new heavens and a new earth.
It is for this reason that Adam was not killed the day he ate; that God did not immediately return him to the dust without appeal. The sentence hangs over every head: you will die in your sins (dead in sin). This leaves God as Just (you will die for breaking my law, and there is not one of you that doesn’t break my law and offend my holiness. No, not one), and the Justifier (I will stay your execution for now, in what little time I have given you, 70, maybe 80 years, so that you might see the Word that is very near you, seek for it, and be found of me before you die. To such a one, even though a sinner, I will raise in the last day into Eternal Glory unimaginable). God is Just. God is Good. God is Holy.
Here, in so many words, we have what is known as the Doctrine of Original Sin. This has been expounded upon since the days of Augustine, who got it from Paul (although not without error in some parts in Augustine, ecce homo). Original Sin, and the ensuing Death by Sin as a result, consumes us all. It’s in our human spirit to sin, and Sin easily activates our very fiber to every form of lust, covetousness, envy, and murder. We are alive to Sin, and easily entangled in our minds, which induces our wills to not only sin, but enjoy it. Our knowledge is in constant fluctuation between certainty, and uncertainty. What we think we know, what we doubt, what we once thought we knew, and what we think we are certain we know now, we think…maybe. We do not know what tomorrow will bring. We are anxious, fearful, terribly mindful of our health, or not mindful (I just gave up smoking two months ago, haven’t touched a drink in near 7 years – not I, but Christ in me – for without Christ, I would not only smoke like a chimney, I would drink like a sailor, lust like a cat in heat, and use whoever I could to get what I want, when I want it). One of my favorite sayings comes from James Montgomery Boice, but I’ll use just the first two words, “But, God…” Lonely? But, God…Depressed? But, God…. Slave of a sin you cannot control? But, God. Boice is better: “May I put it quite simply? If you understand those two words—‘but God’—they will save your soul. If you recall them daily and live by them, they will transform your life completely.” By the light of the knowledge of his truth, God, by the Spirit, penetrates our state of sin inducing death that leads us all to the dust of the earth. It arrests us before we die in sin, and renders us in our dying as dead in Christ. Our very own death is made to conform to his death, and his death was a “death to sin” (Romans 6.10). Jesus died on the cross with faith in God, and a firm hope that God would raise him from the dead. His total life was lived in faith towards his Father. Jesus demonstrated the Perfect Man, without sin, utterly in lock step with the will of God, without fault in thought, word, or deed. I hardly measure up to such a stature as a fellow human being like him. Even in faith, I find myself fail in thought, word and deed. Each failing, deserving of swift death, stemming from Adam’s transgression, and yet, I live another day. He lets me live. This is grace. The righteous will live by faith, and Paul does not have in mind just life in the here and now, but immortal life. The Righteous will live forever because their faith declares it so! Faith takes hold of the life to come in the Age to Come through the knowledge of the Hope wherein we are saved, and therefore persevere through every fire, every hardship, every death in the family, every tragedy, every moment of lapse of judgment, every moment of misunderstanding, every moment of insecurity. Faith takes ahold of the blood of Christ Jesus and washes itself in it by the forgiveness of sins – which occur daily, for every thought, word, or deed I have that is not God’s is sin at work in me (Romans 7).
So, why do I write all of this. Well, because there are some who have knowingly maligned what I believe above as “heresy.” If it is heresy, if what I am saying, in what feeble words I can muster to express the inexpressible in Christ is so filled with damnable wretchedness, I’d like it to be pointed out. I am absolutely sure that I will offend some one. I have used terms that fall in line with God’s election of souls over other souls. I have denoted, clearly, terms that require no act on my part, and every operation on his part to save me, if I am able to be saved. All I bring to the table is sin, evil thoughts, confused notions, a bend in nature towards darkness, and a life, according to Ecclesiastes, utterly meaningless without Him (thanks to my dad, Adam, and my mom, Eve – but even so, these sins are my sins). Yet, entirely by his will, I find that my mind is enslaved to the written word of God, that I believe it, that I find myself yielding to commandments I would not otherwise, in myself, yield to. I also find that there is a deep knowing of how far I have yet to go, sinner that I am, in this body of flesh, this body that is mine, the one he knitted me together with, this body that is me, formed of personality, history, experiences, scars to prove it, and even some tattoos (which I regret getting – those were the days when there was a beer or two, or nineteen). I am a sinner, saved solely by his Grace, not by the letter of His holy, righteous, and good law, for the letter of his perfect, and righteous law would, justly so, kill me as I am typing this essay. Since I am going to die to sin when I do die (and, right now, am dying, heading to the dust heap, with my body corroding into a skeletal hideousness), then the Spirit works in me and through me to even now put to death sin-in-me. What I used to do, some things, I find I have no desire anymore to do. Miracle. Leopards do not change their spots. But, God (there it is again) can change a leopard’s spots into a lion’s fur coat. Some things I struggle with still, like short-sightedness, procrastination…do you have a few hours? And, so, righteous God, grind me to death, for you are righteous in sending me to the grave in whatever way you have willed. Have mercy, Good Father, for thy Son’s sake, Jesus Christ, who I believe with my whole mind, being, thought, and body – my soul, strength, and will, is Lord, King, Savior, Prophet, High Priest and God, the Son. Let me die the death not in my sins, as you have sentenced me righteously so, but to my sins, as graciously bestowed in your Son, given to me by faith, in the hope that in that last day, known only to you, you will raise me incorruptible, full of life, immortal, without sin, without fault, and forever without any inclination whatsoever to sin against you – in this mind, raise me; in this flesh, change me; in this body, transform it anew, so that my faith in what I will be, a new creature, will be made fully manifest because you have given me the true faith to make it manifest in resurrection glory. Even now, Lord, renew my mind toward Thee.
19 thoughts on “Samuel Frost, The Heretic”
I don’t know why I have trouble signing in to your posts for comments, but here it is…
I can relate, Sam… Ah yes, that word ‘change.’ I’ve been told, “You’re always changing!” We might also call it growing: Ephesians 4:14-15…”that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:” 2 Corinthians 3:18…”But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” It is He that makes the change in me. Proverbs 17:3…”The fining pot is for silver, and the furnace for gold: but the Lord trieth the hearts.” Praise God! PennyB firstname.lastname@example.org
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Thanks for the reply, as always!!!
“a bend in nature towards darkness…” that’s your misunderstanding Sam. Adam didn’t have just a bend in nature towards darkness, he was wholly corrupted in his nature and lost the original righteousness that was his, as created, when he fell into sin. It’s called spiritual death. Westminster Confession of Faith 6.2-4, “by this sin they fell from their original righteousness and communion with God, and so became dead in sin, and wholly defiled in all the parts and faculties of soul and body. They being the root of all mankind, the guilt of his sin was imputed; and the same death in sin, and corrupted nature, conveyed to all their posterity descending from them by ordinary generation. From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all good, and wholly inclined to all evil, do proceed all actual transgressions.”
You have joined your voice to the serpent in the garden Sam. I pray that the Lord would humble your heart and bring you to repentance of your error. You are wrong.
“Wholly corrupted” means that the ‘whole man’ was corrupted. That his “bend” (his will) is towards darkness (he loves the darkness, hates the light). He was not “righteous” in that he “sinned.” And, this “nature” of want of God is left to his descendents. Not sure how clear I can make this. But, if you want to insist that I deny it, be my guest. Fact is, though, I don’t. Adam, as the TEXT so plainly teaches us, didn’t die that day. He became “corrupt” and “fell” – and this, due to his sin, “passed” to his seed (me and you).
The apostle Paul as well as historical christianity disagree with you.
And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient. All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else (Ephesians 2:1-3).
That might be one of the more illogical conclusions reached. The “text” is meant to be “read forward”. Paul taught the Scriptures, the Hebrew “Scriptures” – he didn’t add to it, nor subtract from it. In fact, he even states, “To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass.” Paul’s doctrine was “from the Scriptures.”
Thus, again, by ‘spiritualizing’ everything (gnosticism), you fail to see Paul’s grasping of the consummation (faith) and speaking of it in the present (proleptic). This is NOT the historic Christian faith that understands “already/not yet”.
The “TEXT” must be the whole counsel of God. We don’t interpret any verse in the Bible in a vacuum. Scripture interprets Scripture. Unless you want to be a modernist or a biblicist.
Well, I use the “whole counsel” of God. And, I don’t see any so called “spiritual death” going on in Genesis 3. It’s quite plain what is meant in this text by “death” (dust you shall return), and this does not at all contradict Paul’s meaning in Romans 5.12-ff., either.
Sam, don’t put too much weight behind your Th.M. The Lord is not impressed. Hear now God’s inspired, inerrant and infallible Word:
“To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.””
“For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found.’ And they began to celebrate.”
“It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’””
“Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life. He does not come into judgment, but has passed from death to life. Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming, and is now here, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.”
“Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.”
“And you were dead in the trespasses and sins”
“for anything that becomes visible is light. Therefore it says, “Awake, O sleeper, and arise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.””
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If Your hermeneutic is to only read the text forward… thats a bad hermeneutic to hold. Stop making up your own hermeneutic and theology. That is what has gotten you in this mess to begin with. I’m sure your seminary did not teach you these things. If you hold to a “read forward” only interpretive method, you might as well throw out the book of Hebrews, Revelation, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, and every other letter in the New Testament.
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I will let your childish insults stay on here, letting the readers see them for themselves. You have, so far, missed the mark so far that it is apparent that you are beholden to your own thinking. On the other hand, I was trained, and learned, by reading, studying, researching, even opposite views, with great detail. Myopically keeping yourself in your own world of thought, limited to a rather narrow perspective does not hurt me. It is apparent to me that you really have zero interest in any kind of sincere communication. None with any detailed analysis, or thoughtful considerations meant for edification. And, I suppose, everything I am saying now is causing your eyes to roll in your head, and sigh at how misinformed, misguided and ignorant I am; since, after all, I am “making up” things as I go along. Now, this is funny, because I have been criticized for “reading too much” (about five or six books a week); I am too “scholarly”, or “academic” oriented and need to “stick to Scriptures”; and here you say I am “making things up” – when, in fact, I am not. I read. I get ideas from other men and women much brighter than I am, perhaps seeing things I have missed, and taking them on board as possibilities that untie thorny knots created by “systems” that look the other way when faced with a problem. Somehow, in the so called Reformed world, one is not supposed to do this (Calvin never would have made it in the “Reformed” world today – they accused him of the same thing you accuse me of). History unveils many ironies, and this is one of them.
Now, as to a “read forward” only understanding, yes, I start “at the beginning” in Genesis. Perhaps that strikes you as a faulty starting place, but, well, the book is called, “Genesis”. I do not know of anyone that starts in the middle of The Tempest, or Inferno by Dante. Maybe you do. I don’t. Neither does Paul, who hangs out quite a bit in Genesis 1-12. In fact, in my Dissertation for Whitefield Seminary, I wrote along these lines (and was approved, and awarded a Th.M. – Theologiae Magister. A Theologian). My critics may not like this, but, well, who cares? I don’t lose sleep over it.
You wrote, “If you hold to a “read forward” only interpretive method, you might as well throw out the book of Hebrews, Revelation, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, and every other letter in the New Testament.” The logic there is unforgivably bad. Why? Because “reading forward” does not mean “Genesis only.” It means “reading FORWARD” to Revelation. The End. See, you have “The Beginning” and “The End” (I would suggest reading Dr. Duane Christensen here and the formation of the Canon, currently viewing his work for my Doctorates). Now, I did have Milton Terry’s book, Biblical Hermeneutics, which is horribly bad in its Eschatology (hyper preterist) at Whitefield, and I hope they got rid of that book, because it is rather bad – totally not Reformed, and even explicitly contradicts the Westminster Confession – more irony). But, the nature of Seminary is not “you must hold the Dean’s views in every jot and tittle” – and I know of not one Seminary that operates like that. Heck, I was a Hyper Preterist when working FOR the Seminary back in the day! See, when you devour the works of folks like Gordon Clark, Carl F. H. Henry, and J. Gresham Machen, you become very broad in your academic perspective. To suggest that Reformed Theology has no “problems” within it….well, ahem….someone is not paying attention.
Now, here’s another gem from you: “Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.” Now, let me get the way I think you are using this quote straight. Supposedly, I have “died”, and the “members” of my “body” have also “died”, and have been “risen from the dead”, is that correct? And now, I am a risen from the dead, members of my body made alive new creation creature, right? Fully, entirely, wholly (members), and ontologically, right? Answer this: If I am made alive, even the members of my body, why would I have to “present my members of my body” to God? Isn’t that automatic? I mean, do “new creatures” made alive from the onslaught of death have to “present themselves” to God in order to RESIST SIN? Is SIN still a thing that would TEMPT a perfect creation such as this? Of course not. And, I can hear your respond with progressive sanctification, and that we, quoting the Westminster Confession, still have “remaining corruption” in us. How a “new creature” that is “seated in heavenly places” with the Majesty of Christ has ANY “remaining corruption” in them is beyond me, but I don’t make such claims. I am a sinner, who lives in a fallen, world, constantly bombarded by Sin, and on my way to the Grave because of Death. I have FAITH, which is the anchor of my HOPE (future), and thereby I can envision by the “knowledge of the Spirit” that which I will become, which has “not been made manifest yet”. For, “who hopes, for what one already has”? See those two words, “already” and “not…yet”? Key BIBLICAL words. They take in the totality of one’s life, from womb to tomb, and beyond. Pretty standard theology, actually. Good stuff. I certainly work WITHIN that BIBLICAL framework (thank you, George Eldon Ladd).
I suppose I can do one more: ““It was fitting to celebrate and be glad, for this your brother was dead, and is alive; he was lost, and is found.’” This is from a Parable, and illustrates by way of METAPHOR that the jealousy of the older brother is unfounded for his younger brother. It is clearly a metaphor, since the younger brother never died. He lived in abandon, came to his senses, and returned to his dad. Now, if you want to use “spiritually dead” as a “metaphor”, be my guest.
Jesus’ statement concerning “let the dead bury the dead” is profound. It is a rhetorical paradox, meant to cause mental alarm in the hearers. How can dead people bury dead people? Was he calling Mary and Martha “dead”? God forbid! Was he introducing “spiritual death”? Hardly (not a Jewish concept, and one they would not have understood). Maybe another story from Genesis (you know, the Scriptures that Jesus used) might help. Abraham traveled to Egypt and passed his wife off as his sister (a sin, by the way). Well, Abimelech was alerted by God in a dream: “You are a dead man!” (Genesis 20.3). Abraham said of himself, “I am but dust and ashes”. Now, neither of these men were dead, but they were “as good as dead” since, in the Bible, death is inevitable. “We have groped for the wall, and like the blind we have groped as if we had no eyes: we have stumbled at noonday as in darkness, we are in dark places, as dead men” (Isaiah 59.10). Quite true. The “simile” (a trope, or comparison) is true. This is the state of the condition, or the “estate” all men are in. Best to unite “by faith” in the One who Died and Lived Again, Jesus Christ, who God raised from the actual, literal dead, “and so WILL ALSO raise up those who love him”. When? Well, when death is swallowed up in victory. That’s when. I have no difficulties understanding these terms, and do not need an absurd notion like “spiritual death” to describe this state of affairs.
Try a little harder……
“On the other hand, I was trained, and learned, by reading, studying, researching, even opposite views, with great detail.”
Be careful Sam, knowledge alone puffs up. Like a Pharisee you enjoy flaunting your “academic prowess” as you admit to being a heretic while in seminary. Proverbs 11:2 “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” Proverbs 16:5 “The LORD detests all the proud of heart. Be sure of this: They will not go unpunished.” Proverbs 16:18 “Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” This is not the attitude of an elder and in fact disqualifies you from the office, as you have already experienced.
“I do not know of anyone that starts in the middle of The Tempest, or Inferno by Dante. Maybe you do. I don’t. Neither does Paul, who hangs out quite a bit in Genesis 1-12.”
The Bible is not your little piece of classic literature for you to dissect and hold under the microscope of your own autonomy. It is God’s Word… God-breathed. You miss the organic progressive nature of the scriptures. Do we read it forward? Of course we do! But we also read it backward in that the forward reveals more and gives us a better understanding to see what is being more fully unveiled to us by God’s special revelation. It is living and breathing Sam… not some processed document for your “theological” experiments, and not some document used to inflate your own “academic” ego.
“In fact, in my Dissertation for Whitefield Seminary, I wrote along these lines (and was approved, and awarded a Th.M. – Theologiae Magister. A Theologian). My critics may not like this, but, well, who cares? I don’t lose sleep over it.”
Again, look at me! Look at me! Like I said previously, your piece of paper from seminary doesn’t impress the Lord. Don’t make it an idol.
“I was a Hyper Preterist when working FOR the Seminary back in the day!”
So you’re already prone to hold extreme heretical views like a swinging pendulum. The context is becoming clearer now.
“Now, here’s another gem from you:” and “I suppose I can do one more:” and “Try a little harder……”
Again, who is being childish?
I assume you are the Aaron Mize who I have met. Your rhetoric is unbecoming. Your judgments of my motivation, my heart, are equally abysmal. They are not (and I thank God for this) representative of those in “ministry.” As for my not being an Elder (unanimously voted in, with the laying on of hands, and the call of Christ exemplified by Witnesses within the Body of Christ) for this particular local church, the so called “head pastor” (the one in charge of “his” flock) felt as if he had full authority, without any direct face to face conference with me, to send me an email – a most cowardly thing to do. In fact, it was in direct violation of “his” congregations By-Laws, which endorsed the universal appeal to Holy Scripture, the words of our Lord, as recorded by Matthew, his servant, in chapter 18. “Texting” is one thing, “face to face” is manly. Jesus commanded “face to face”. But, this so called “minister” unilaterally urged my resignation, which, in my response back was given “under duress, and in protest” – to which the reply was a simple, “thank you for your resignation” – not even man enough to confront me face to face, after the countless hours of labor and devotion to the facility, and people (all without any pay, whatsoever, purely from love of the Church and sheep that belong SOLELY to God). My family, also duly sworn in Members of this local congregation (which is filled with absolutely lovely people), my mother, my wife, and my son (who equally labored, without charge, in the Library) was not pursued (as a pastor/elder should pursue, regardless of relationship to me – we are Members of the Body of Christ, FIRST, and of the family of God FIRST before biological considerations, which are secondary). Basically, they were brushed off without a care, a call, or a concern. Such reckless example, as I have explained to many other pastors/elders (I know quite a bit), is without excuse, and shameful. The fact that I stood in front of the congregation that very Sunday, with a full approval of endorsing the Westminster Confession before them, only to be told by Wednesday to “resign” by a single, cowardly man, who claims he is “protecting HIS sheep” (sorry, they are God’s sheep, not his – thank God) from me – again without any full, face to face interaction on this issue (we agreed to have one, but that never transpired). Not to mention that I taught that very Tuesday, with this man present. I was preparing Wednesday nights service when, by a “text” on my phone to “check my email”. This is how this coward of a man operates. This is how he thinks he is the boss, how he can willy nilly with the flick of an email text call on an Elder, appointed by the people, called of Christ, and with laying on of hands, with Oaths before God, call on me to “resign”. I am, after much counsel, thankful I did before I got in with this man too deep. His shallow approach to dealing with issues, his lack of a spine, to REPRESENT the unity of the Church before the people in terms of wrestling with me, fighting for my office, making EVERY effort within his power (not his “texts” and “emails” – which violates every known protocol of Presbyterian policy from Cunningham, to Bannerman, Calvin and Bucer) to forge ahead an agreement of sorts between us in terms of STRONG dialogue, only showed to me a man unworthy of the office; one that I want nothing to do with. I have forgiven him in my heart, that only the Lord knows as my Witness, but his continued lack of any sort of leadership, care, or comfort is abysmal. Two phone calls, without my knowledge, were recorded with him from others – and what I heard on the other side of those conversations from this so called “pastor” was shocking, not to mention untruthful, and inaccurate. I call such a man, “a liar.” A disgrace to the office of Minister. Thankfully, after reviewing all of the material, one family decided not to join “his” church, of which “he” is the Boss, the Lone Ruler, accountable to no one but himself – and certainly not to another Elder who exemplified all the hallmarks of calling, vote (unanimous), and appointment through the laying on of hands, with oaths. Not only this, but also as one who administered the Sacraments to God’s people under such authority that comes from this ministry, and baptized his children also under the same Spirit that has been with me my entire life. This man’s reckless sensibilities (not to mention the fact that he sucks dry the donations of the congregation, and I told him this, that he needed to get a job, as so many pastors do because of necessity, and so as not to hinder the growth of the congregation – pastors are not CEO’s with salaries – a horrible model) has no authority over my life as I seek counsel to maintain, with good standing, many pastors, elders and Members of the Body of Christ, once they hear my reasonings.
And, now, let us see what you have also written. Oh, yes, the “pride” thing. If you knew me, face to face, you would see that I am very well aware of my flesh and Sin’s ability “in me” (think Romans 7 here) to goad my flesh to boast of my many accomplishments. Those verses you refer to, I know them well. They are God’s words. What this has to do with learning, education, and earning a degree (I am Reformed, after all, which, rightly so, places great stress on these things), I am not sure. I guess the ‘connection’ you are trying to make (and judge) is that I am “puffed up” and “full of myself” or something. Ask my wife. She comforts me with criticism that I am too hard on myself, and do not “promote” myself as much as I should! Mere flicks of your words here are of no urge to me to “repent” of earning degrees.
Yes, I “admit” to being a “heretic” when I wrote, Why I Left Full Preterism, published by Gary DeMar, and Ken Gentry (who wrote the Foreword). See, I devoted my life at that time to Hyper Preterism. Sold my business (a six figure income), my house, moved my family at the call of a congregation and started an assembly/church. When I believe in something, I believe it, and live it. However, when, through the constant work of Dr. Talbot and other peers, who truly “shepherded” me face to face, the Holy Spirit caused me to see that I was doctrinally WRONG. And, I admitted it, with the specter of losing my reputation as a main Conference Speaker, pastor, and leader within the movement with the other major faces in that ilk. It was a shockwave that is still felt among them. But, the Lord has been quite gracious to me, this sinner, and has allowed me to interact with scores of Hyper Preterists that are now, by the same grace that enabled me, are EX Hyper Preterists. I would call, sometimes face to face, and wrestle, fight, struggle with them until they saw the light. That’s how it’s done. Get in the dirt and mud, and bleed a little.
You wrote, “The Bible is not your little piece of classic literature for you to dissect and hold under the microscope of your own autonomy. It is God’s Word… God-breathed. You miss the organic progressive nature of the scriptures. Do we read it forward? Of course we do! But we also read it backward in that the forward reveals more and gives us a better understanding to see what is being more fully unveiled to us by God’s special revelation. It is living and breathing Sam… not some processed document for your “theological” experiments, and not some document used to inflate your own “academic” ego.” This is, perhaps, driven by Van Tilian concerns (I hear some of his words) that are not a concern to me. Van Til, as you may know, was and is “accused” of all sorts of things, included egregious heresy. He has to be “explained” by others as to what “he really meant”. But, this is little jab of yours, a judgment with which you accuse me, in my heart, before God who sees all things, including my heart, is false. I do not view the Bible, the inerrant word of God, written, to which I have devoted my life (rather, He has caused me to be devoted to it), as a “piece of classic literature” under my own “autonomy.” That is, perhaps, one of the silliest things I have heard. You got all that judgement on my heart because I mentioned Dante, or Shakespeare’s, The Tempest? Now, you have admitted my education, so you must be aware of my personal library and well over 20 works in it on Hermeneutics and the like. And the “organic progressive nature” (this you probably got from G. Vos), where do I deny this? Mr. Mize: you DO realize that not everyone in the Reformed world is beholden to Van Til, right? Not everyone sees Vos, or Cunningham, or Owen (mighty men that had great differences between them – some would say quite serious differences) as “special helps” needed for reading the Bible. They are but mere men, like myself. Mere men. They make mistakes. Errors. Yet, they forged a UNITY as men, not cowards, and battled together. You have “assumed” a Hermeneutic, failed to enter into any serious dialogue with me on the matter (other than spout off some verses – anyone can do that, including me), then try to “correct” me based on your OWN perspective. All within a span of a few “posts”. Really? Is this how it’s done these days? No wonder the Church Leaders are judged as effeminate!
Now, as for the rest of your rather bland “criticisms” (like, “look at me”) are simply childish. Ask my wife. She is the most brutally honest person I know, and I love her for it. She’s brutal, but lovingly, honest with me. She reads this with a smile on her face. As for being “prone to heresy” and a “swinging pendulum” – well, yeah, I left Hyper Preterism 12 years ago. 12. And, if we were to ask my former associate, the so called “pastor”, I read through his material over the last six years…..and he certainly changed. So, changing a view is wrong? Hmmmm. Let me get this straight, you think that I left a heresy 12 years ago (12 YEARS AGO), that it took that long for me only to swing into another? What “heresy” is it? Now, the liar has said that I deny “original sin”. Yet, to this day, he has not proven that whatsoever. Neither have you. I champion the doctrine of Romans 5.12-ff: ALL, EVERY human being is a slave to Sin, and is beholden to Death, in strict accordance with the Law of God and His Righteous Judgment. Why? Because of “the transgression” of “one man”: Adam, my great grandpa. Pelagius denied this. I don’t. But, you appear to think that there is no “discussion” among our History that concerns the details of finer theological points – a History that RESTS on the universal foundation of my beloved Apostle, Paul, that because of the original, first transgression, all men were made sinners (including me and you). See, Aaron, there are things called “finer points”, and when one reads Augustine, then Aquinas, then Calvin, then Luther, then Edwards, then Wesley – all men who AGREED on “original sin”, but DID NOT AGREE on the “finer points” WITHIN this agreement/foundation – do we discount them on that basis? Well, it appears that you and “pastor” Coward do. It appears to me that you have EXALTED your own “understanding” (and training, for you have a M.Div., do you not?), without any serious (and I mean serious) detailed discussion with me. In fact, I would seriously bet that you could not even accurately describe my view in your own words. Before you make such a judgement, “disqualifying” me from being a minister, before God as Witness (who sees all, and searches the heart, including yours), wouldn’t you think to investigate the matter in much greater detail? You know, like the MEN of old did, often times for many years before they resolved something? I mean, this is the way I was trained, and learned, and saw how “they” did it. They did it with great pain, care, time, energy – face to face (or at least a phone call). But, no…you have it all figured out. You have me pegged. You have my entire life summed up, swinging from one heresy to the next, all without a care in the world, treating the Bible as a mere classical piece of literature, full of myself, my ego, my pride, lacing any discernment, any discretion, any amount of any sort of interaction of the Spirit through Jesus Christ, from the Father in heaven. Yep….you have me all figured out, judged before the Tribunal of Aaron Mize’s Chair. I have one hope in this, rooted in fact: You are not my Judge. God is.
I do look forward to your reply.
You posted all your heretic thoughts on Facebook Sam Frost Th.M. – Theologiae Magister. A Theologian. Your own seminary made a statement against you. You clearly denied what the confession teaches that you claim to so boldly uphold. I don’t judge you… you have done that yourself. And now you accuse and malign a pastor who is an undershepherd of the Good Shepherd. He had no need to go to you with two witnesses… there were hundreds on your Facebook feed, including myself. You pegged yourself.
And, to date, note one quote can you provide that proves I deny original sin. Not one. The Seminary’s Dean was equally challenged to produce one quote. None. No response. As for the “pastor” – all facts. All can be proven, with Witnesses. Please, again, provide a proof, with my quotes.
Second, Jesus said to go to “your brother in private.” I guess “social media” now usurps his words. Is this how you “interpret” the Bible these days? “Take two or three witnesses” means “send an email”. I have presented this to several pastors (real ones), including my views on “spiritual death” (posted since 2017, recorded since 2012). I have demonstrated that I affirm “original sin”. Your “response” here is not a response….it’s a pathetic attempt of avoidance. See, I post this publicly, on my very own blog…..because I have ZERO to hide (transparency).
Sam, I am not and have never been interested in playing your intellectual tug of war, or getting together to compare the size of our degrees. I’ll not take the bait. I’m asking you to repent of denying the spiritual death that is affirmed in scripture and reaffirmed in the WCF. It’s clear that in holding to this heretical view that you unite yourself to the pelagians, who also deny spiritual death and think that original sin is just a “bend” in the road rather than total corruption and inability to do anything pleasing to God and to save oneself. Its what the reformed call total depravity. To have spiritual life Sam, you must be raised from spiritual death. It’s called “effectual call” or being “born again” or walking “in newness of life.” John Calvin even comments on Ephesians 4:18 saying, “In both cases the meaning is the same. Our ordinary life, as men, is nothing more than an empty image of life, not only because it quickly passes, but also because, while we live, our souls, not keeping close to God, are dead.” Will you then also disagree with Calvin with your degree from seminary? That is highly pompous and ignorant, don’t you think? Very “unbecoming” of an elder or a “theologian” who claims to subscribe to the Westminster Standards. You can have the last word on your blog. I’ll not respond again.
Well, I do have to respond to the lies (or, perhaps, severe misunderstanding) you have. It is a sin to deliberately misrepresent someone, and I hope in your case you are simply misunderstanding, or perhaps even not paying attention. First off, I am not sure that one has to “agree with” every word written by Master Calvin. I can safely bet that you don’t, either. I am familiar with his usage of “spiritual death” as a term (he got it from Augustine, which, prior to him, was not in use – and it is quite possible that Augustine got it from Plotinus, from who he read quite a bit and incorporated his thinking into his theology). And, you continue to call this an “intellectual” tug of war – which, to me, simply means, “I don’t really care to actually deal with this. I just want to call you a heretic.” The issue, here, is not “original sin” (of which you have not provided ONE WORD from me in denial of), and yet, you continue to, along with the other so called Minister, align me with Pelagius (who was rightly condemned in 418 CE). This, perhaps, betrays that you have no real clue what Pelagius believed. Pelagius denied that there were ANY effects from Adam’s sin which passed on to Adam’s descendants (which would include me and you). I affirm, with Paul, in his marvelous letter to the Romans, that the transgression of Adam was the vehicle “through” which both Sin and Death came “to ALL men”. All men die “in Adam”. Not sure how much further I can state the obvious, which you clearly continue to misrepresent.
Now, “spiritual death” is not “original sin” (two different ideas). I affirm Original Sin (Romans 5.12-ff.). To continue to say I don’t is a lie. Pure and simple. However, “spiritual death” is, so it is argued, an effect of Original Sin (the term, “original” means “first”, or “the first sin”); there are many “effects” of the transgression (sin) of Adam (read your Confession). “Spiritual death” in the Confession is not listed as one of them. Adam “became dead in sins” – and this phrase has been subject to much debate in terms of what it means, EXACTLY. Apparently, in your and the other “pastor’s” world, we are not to question the details – if Calvin said it, that settles it, right?
You wrote, “who also deny spiritual death and think that original sin is just a “bend” in the road rather than total corruption and inability to do anything pleasing to God and to save oneself. Its what the reformed call total depravity.” Where have I written that original sin is “just a bend in the road”? You must have gotten that from the previous attempt on your part to show where I am in error, which I corrected to no response from you (just more hot air). I wrote, originally in the Article above, that Adam’s sin brought about “a bend in nature towards darkness…” when it comes to human nature. You responded with, ” Adam didn’t have just a bend in nature towards darkness, he was wholly corrupted in his nature and lost the original righteousness that was his, as created, when he fell into sin.” To which I replied: ““Wholly corrupted” means that the ‘whole man’ was corrupted. That his “bend” (his will) is towards darkness (he loves the darkness, hates the light). He was not “righteous” in that he “sinned.” And, this “nature” of want of God is left to his descendents. Not sure how clear I can make this. But, if you want to insist that I deny it, be my guest.” I am still not sure how clear I can make this, and your continued insistence, blind to the facts of my very words written, simply astounds me how desperate one must be to “win” an argument as you are. I have proven you wrong on this, and yet you continue to say it, this time with an even more stretch of falsity by saying I believe that Adam’s sin was “just a bend in the road.” Pride refuses to acknowledge when it’s wrong. Now, I can look up the word, “bend” for you, if you’d like. “a natural inclination”; “determined to do or have.” A drug addict is bent when it comes to drugs; in total submission; was straight, is now crooked, bent, bended. Thus, a “bend in NATURE (human) towards darkness” means, as I wrote following this, that man “loves the darkness and hates the light” (quoting John 3). I am not sure how more “depraved” one can get, but loving the darkness, and hating the light is, for me, pretty bent. Pelagius, of course, denied every bit of this. I don’t.
Now, you want to say that the will of man, which is born as a slave to sin (which it is), should also be called a “form” of death (Augustine had three forms, Milton had four forms). I prefer the term “alienation” – which does not ever mean “dead” or “death” in the Bible. One may, I suppose, use it as a metaphor, but the Blessed Saint Augustine, may he live forever, meant an “actual” death – yet, not “really” dead (since the soul is immortal by nature in his view) – but only dead “in the sense” (modo quodam quantulocumque) of loss of communion with God; in other words, Augustine has invented a death which is merely a tautology, and thus, not necessary (and subject to a HUGE amount of confusion). I doubt seriously you lose any sleep over Van Til questioning the use of “Person” for God (a no no), but he did. The so called “outrage” that you and “pastor so and so” have over this issue is feigned. And, clearly, your association with the term “spiritual death” linked to “original sin” has equated, falsely, your continued lie that I deny the latter. They are not the same things. When those who have seriously discussed with me these matters “see” what I am saying, some of them agree, and some do not, but they DO SEE that what I am doing is in no way denying original sin, but in fact, I am affirming it. Now, you and those who HAVE NOT discussed this at any length with me (perhaps because of inability, or your baseless charges by you (plural) have been invested with so much rigor that to apologize to me now would be to admit that you may have over reacted with false, senseless rush to judgment). I mean, the only way that I have seen you and pastor Coward “justify” your actions, and his particularly, is to appeal to “witnesses” on Facebook, and continue to spout the lie that I am following Pelagius, and deny original sin – this is your continued, present “defense” for justifying urging an Elder to ‘resign’ by an email rather than being a man with a spine concerned for his fellow Elder. If this is your idea of “pastoring” and “church mending” – please, opt me out of it. It’s a joke.
Hi Sam, Someone is calling you a heretic? I have not read anything in your post that strikes me as being heretical in any way. Of course, I believe Adam and Eve did die that day, in the person of a slain substitute (Gen. 3:21), and that the ‘day’ was extended to 1000 years; per Irenaeus, 5:23:2. Also, John Lightfoot, “The Faith of Adam,” Whole Works, Vol. 7. It seems like people just want to argue these days instead of go from “faith to faith.” Anyhow, hope you & your family have a wonderful Christmas!
Thanks for the reply, and Merry Christmas to you as well! Blessings! Yes, there are “some” – a small handful, thankfully – who are among the “Reformed” that view my questioning the idea of ‘spiritual death’ as akin to overturning the entire Reformed expression of faith. Silly, if you ask me. They have not taken the time to understand where I am coming from, and have taken this phrase, ‘spiritual death’, to embody an entire set of doctrines. Original Sin, as a teaching, is very broad in its outline and there are varying degrees within that many who accept its basic tenets argue/disagree about. Apparently, though, for a few, taking on the idea of ‘spiritual death’ is a taboo, untouchable, and cannot be debated. Very sad reflection of narrow-minded thinking.
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