Synergism and Cornelius in Acts 10

Status
Not open for further replies.

baron

Puritan Board Graduate
I'm not sure if I should post this question here. If not will a moderator please move it to the proper place.

I asked the following question under the thread When was Cornelius Saved but there were no response. The reason was at church on last Wednesday night while discussing the Great Commision I was asked when was Cornelius saved. My answer was before Peter's visit. I was told I was wrong.

If he was not saved before Peter came to him then can we say that he cooperated with God? In verse 5 he is told to send men to Joppa for Peter. In verse 7 & 8 he sends a devout soldier and two house hold servants. Could not Cornelius say that he cooperated with God because if he did not send the men Peter would not of came? So then by cooperating with God he helped in his salvation. So am I wrong or am I just confused about synergism?

As I stated above I hold to the view that Cornelius was saved prior to Peters coming.
 

Willem van Oranje

Puritan Board Junior
I believe the proper way to understand this is that Cornelius lived in a transitional period. He had been born and learned to love the God of Israel before Christ had died and risen again, before Pentecost, and before the apostle Peter met him and preached the gospel to him. The means of the reading of the law and faith in the God who was proclaimed in the synagogues, including in the promised Messiah, was the means that God used to convert saints during the period when Cornelius first put his faith in Jehovah. Therefore, he wasn't "unsaved" when Jesus died and rose again. He simply needed the good news of the Messiah's coming death, resurrection, ascension, and the restoration at pentecost to be proclaimed to him in God's timing. By believing the things that Peter spoke to him, he grew in his faith and understanding of that God whom he already knew.

I would add that it is still possible for God's elect to come to faith by being taught the Old Testament promises, and putting their faith in the Messiah whom the OT prophets proclaimed. When God sends someone who proclaim to them more fully the risen and reigning Christ in the clarity of New Testament revelation, they must believe it.
 

louis_jp

Puritan Board Freshman
When Cornelius is first mentioned, he is described as a devout man who feared God (v.2). When the angel of God visits him, he addresses him as Lord (v.4). I don't see how this implies synergism at all. Obeying our Lord doesn't mean that we cooperate in our salvation. It was God's work on his heart that enabled him to recognize God as Lord in the first place. Clearly he was already one of God's people, to whom God wanted to bring the complete revelation of Christ.
 

baron

Puritan Board Graduate
Clearly he was already one of God's people, to whom God wanted to bring the complete revelation of Christ.

This is what I believe but, for those who say that Cornelius was not saved untill Acts 10:44 -48 then when Cornelius obeyed and sent the mesangers to Peter 10:8 would that fall under synergism? Seeing how they say he was not saved in Acts10:1-43.

So if a person was unsaved and had a vision from the Lord he could choose to obey or not? Every one at church in our group said he was unsaved untill 10:44-48.
 

steadfast7

Puritan Board Junior
When Cornelius is first mentioned, he is described as a devout man who feared God (v.2). When the angel of God visits him, he addresses him as Lord (v.4). I don't see how this implies synergism at all. Obeying our Lord doesn't mean that we cooperate in our salvation. It was God's work on his heart that enabled him to recognize God as Lord in the first place. Clearly he was already one of God's people, to whom God wanted to bring the complete revelation of Christ.

Louis, where's the indication that the angel of the Lord was Christ (or am I reading you incorrectly?). It does not say THE angel, but AN angel. Cornelius' use of Lord may simply have been the generic SIR, not divine use.

---------- Post added at 10:37 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:35 AM ----------

I don't see why we need to think that Cornelius, or anyone else, has made any moves outside of God's sovereign grace. Whatever Cornelius did, he was made to do by God's will.
 

Poimen

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Is it really appropriate for us to dwell on the question as to when someone was saved or not saved? The Lord works in our hearts & lives in different ways and different times. What matters is, for our side of things, that we are seeking to learn and to grow in our faith. (cf. Deuteronomy 29:29)

Canons of Dordrecht, 3/4, Article 13 "The Incomprehensible Way of Regeneration"

In this life believers cannot fully understand the way this work occurs; meanwhile, they rest content with knowing and experiencing that by this grace of God they do believe with the heart and love their Savior.

But if one insists on knowing when an individual is saved and, in this case, believes that it happened after Cornelius met with Peter, we need only remember that God is sovereign over everything, including our personal choices that may lead us to faith:

Canons of Dordrecht, 3/4, Article 17 "God's Use of Means in Regeneration"

Just as the almighty work of God by which he brings forth and sustains our natural life does not rule out but requires the use of means, by which God, according to his infinite wisdom and goodness, has wished to exercise his power, so also the aforementioned supernatural work of God by which he regenerates us in no way rules out or cancels the use of the gospel, which God in his great wisdom has appointed to be the seed of regeneration and the food of the soul. For this reason, the apostles and the teachers who followed them taught the people in a godly manner about this grace of God, to give him the glory and to humble all pride, and yet did not neglect meanwhile to keep the people, by means of the holy admonitions of the gospel, under the administration of the Word, the sacraments, and discipline. So even today it is out of the question that the teachers or those taught in the church should presume to test God by separating what he in his good pleasure has wished to be closely joined together. For grace is bestowed through admonitions, and the more readily we perform our duty, the more lustrous the benefit of God working in us usually is and the better his work advances. To him alone, both for the means and for their saving fruit and effectiveness, all glory is owed forever. Amen.
 

fralo4truth

Puritan Board Freshman
Is it really appropriate for us to dwell on the question as to when someone was saved or not saved?


Generally speaking, I would say it isn't necessary. But this thread is kind of a continuation to a thread that I submitted on the time of Cornelius's salvation. The only reason that I asked this question is because of a current controversy in which I find myself. I was recently excluded from the people amongst whom I served for several years for preaching that God uses means in the new birth. They are opposed to this idea and continously refer to Cornelius as the classic example to teach that regeneration/conversion transpires without the use of the Word. They maintain that he was already saved prior to Peter's arrival. So how then could the gospel be used in his salvation if he already was?

Now I know there is a wealth of New Test. evidence which asserts the use of gospel means, but I've been pondering what is the best way to respond to this particular claim.
 

Willem van Oranje

Puritan Board Junior
Is it really appropriate for us to dwell on the question as to when someone was saved or not saved?


Generally speaking, I would say it isn't necessary. But this thread is kind of a continuation to a thread that I submitted on the time of Cornelius's salvation. The only reason that I asked this question is because of a current controversy in which I find myself. I was recently excluded from the people amongst whom I served for several years for preaching that God uses means in the new birth. They are opposed to this idea and continously refer to Cornelius as the classic example to teach that regeneration/conversion transpires without the use of the Word. They maintain that he was already saved prior to Peter's arrival. So how then could the gospel be used in his salvation if he already was?

Now I know there is a wealth of New Test. evidence which asserts the use of gospel means, but I've been pondering what is the best way to respond to this particular claim.


Are they claiming that Cornelius had never heard the word of God prior to his vision? I find that notion more than a little far-fetched.
 

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Brimstone
It is important also to bear in mind that God used the entire episode to make a larger point...

It is hard to overstate the Jewish sense of ethnocentrism at the time. Even years later, we see that even Peter still struggled with it. The Lord used Cornelius - a gentile who would be obedient to Him - to call for Peter. At that same time, Peter is given a vision about not calling unclean what the Lord has called clean. The vision is wrapping up as Cornelius' messengers arrive at the house. Peter understands that the point of the vision was to prep him for this visit with the gentiles. When he gets to Cornelius' home and preaches and the Holy Spirit comes and they're speaking in tongues, the Jewish folks are astonished... and Peter wisely concludes that water baptism shouldn't be withheld.

Long synopsis, but the point is that the Cornelius story isn't about when he "got saved." It is about the church broadening to include the Gentiles.
 

louis_jp

Puritan Board Freshman
When Cornelius is first mentioned, he is described as a devout man who feared God (v.2). When the angel of God visits him, he addresses him as Lord (v.4). I don't see how this implies synergism at all. Obeying our Lord doesn't mean that we cooperate in our salvation. It was God's work on his heart that enabled him to recognize God as Lord in the first place. Clearly he was already one of God's people, to whom God wanted to bring the complete revelation of Christ.

Louis, where's the indication that the angel of the Lord was Christ (or am I reading you incorrectly?). It does not say THE angel, but AN angel. Cornelius' use of Lord may simply have been the generic SIR, not divine use.

---------- Post added at 10:37 AM ---------- Previous post was at 10:35 AM ----------

I don't see why we need to think that Cornelius, or anyone else, has made any moves outside of God's sovereign grace. Whatever Cornelius did, he was made to do by God's will.

The revelation of Christ that I was referring to was God's calling Cornelius to hear Peter preach the gospel. I don't think it actually matters when he was "saved". My point was similar to your last sentence. Cornelius responded in obedience to the Lord, but such obedience was not meritorious toward his salvation, and there is no indication in scripture that it was.
 

cih1355

Puritan Board Junior
It was God's plan that Cornelius would call for Peter and Cornelius was carrying out God's plan. There was nothing in Cornelius's heart that caused God to save him. Cornelius's call for Peter did not compel God to save him. God's choice of Cornelius is what caused Cornelius to call for Peter.
 

fralo4truth

Puritan Board Freshman
Is it really appropriate for us to dwell on the question as to when someone was saved or not saved?


Generally speaking, I would say it isn't necessary. But this thread is kind of a continuation to a thread that I submitted on the time of Cornelius's salvation. The only reason that I asked this question is because of a current controversy in which I find myself. I was recently excluded from the people amongst whom I served for several years for preaching that God uses means in the new birth. They are opposed to this idea and continously refer to Cornelius as the classic example to teach that regeneration/conversion transpires without the use of the Word. They maintain that he was already saved prior to Peter's arrival. So how then could the gospel be used in his salvation if he already was?

Now I know there is a wealth of New Test. evidence which asserts the use of gospel means, but I've been pondering what is the best way to respond to this particular claim.


Are they claiming that Cornelius had never heard the word of God prior to his vision? I find that notion more than a little far-fetched.


To them, whether or not he received the Word in the past would be immaterial. They do not think that God uses gospel means in the new birth. So even if it could be proven that he had already received the Word it would mean little to them.

Many would make the erroneous claim that the gospel was not preached under the Old Testament as further support for their Anti-Means position.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top