Wednesday, April 6, 2016

My Conversations With Father (III)

In a conversation just a few years ago, I read to dad this statement from Elder Sylvester Hassell.

"Jesus is the Great Preacher, and, by His omnipresent Spirit, He preaches His gospel savingly to His people (Isa. 61:1-3,10,11; Luke 4:16-30; Heb. 2:11,12; Psalm 110:3)." (I have cited this numerous times in several postings, giving the larger context)

This was cited by me in the context of our discussion about the question "will all the elect hear the gospel and believe?" That question has been a matter of some discussion in recent years by some. I said to dad - "how can you claim that all the elect will not hear the gospel and be in line with Hassell?" Dad responded - "well I know what Hassell meant." He went on to explain that all Hassell meant was that all the elect, in "regeneration," would "hear" the "voice" of Christ "speaking" to them and calling them out of spiritual death into spiritual life. He would conclude - "that is all Hassell meant."

He would also say the same thing about Elder David Pyles who came close to saying the same thing as Hassell. Both believe that all the elect will hear the gospel spoken to them personally by the Lord, apart from preaching through men or angels. So, they deny that all the elect will hear the gospel as preached through creatures, on the one hand, and yet affirm that they will all hear the gospel and be brought to faith via the direct personal speaking/preaching of Christ,

My retort to dad was to say that at least he could see how Hassell was reflecting the view of his forefathers in uniting elements of "regeneration" with that of "conversion"; And, that he did not make regeneration or the new birth something on the subconscious level, or non-cognitive, an event wherein the person did not "learn" anything of the Father (John 6: 45)

I would often challenge dad to tell me how he could, on the one hand, make "regeneration" to be an experience wherein one learns and believes, and yet make it non-cognitive? I would ask dad - "what do the elect 'learn' when they are 'drawn' by the Father?" He often refused to answer. And, whatever answer he may have given at times, like saying "they learn that there is a supreme being and that he is a sinner." To which I would respond - "so infants who are 'regenerated' learn these things?" Again, he would often avoid answering. Further, in his later years, I tried my best not to push him to raise his blood pressure. In the last few years we both tried not to get into heated arguments, though I must say, I tried harder. It was simply dad's nature not to run from a fight. I would also ask him in response - "so all who believe in a supreme being are elect and regenerated?" And, "so only atheists are lost?" And, "is it a knowledge of facts about just any 'god'?" 

This would often lead me to ask dad - "are all who are 'regenerated' brought to 'love' and 'know' God?" He would often say "yes." I then would reply - "but how can one love and know another on a subconscious level?" And, "how can one love a person they know nothing about?" Generally, at this point, emotions often got involved and the discussion would end.

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