The Potter’s Promise: A Commentary on Romans 9

“Confused by the issues surrounding Calvinism? Does Romans 9 teach unconditional predestination? Want to cut through some of the red tape? Then read Leighton’s book. He is charitable but gets right to the point, making a strong, biblical case for a God who is glorified by sacrificing Himself for creation and not by sacrificing creation for Himself. He makes a strong case for the God of Jesus Christ. Chapter 5 is one of the best point by point refutations of a Calvinist reading of Romans 9 that I’ve read, and I’m very grateful for this work. It will be a blessing to the church.” – Austin Fischer, author of Young, Restless and No Longer Reformed

A former Calvinistic Reformed Baptist minister and now a Professor of Theology, recounts his theological journey in and out of Calvinism. In so doing, Professor Flowers sets out to help his readers understand a non-Calvinistic “Traditional” Southern Baptist interpretation of one of the most quoted and relied upon chapters for defending Calvinistic soteriology: Romans 9. Flowers writes,

“Paul is not attempting to distinguish between those vessels eternally blessed with effectual salvation and those vessels cursed with reprobation; instead, the apostle is drawing a distinction between those vessels blessed to carry out the noble purpose of fulfilling God’s promise and those vessels hardened in their rebellion in order to ensure the fulfillment of that same promise…it is all about The Potter’s Promise to bring the Word to all the families of the earth!”

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312 thoughts on “The Potter’s Promise: A Commentary on Romans 9

  1. Arminianism, which Mr.Flowers preaches, denies the following essential truths of salvation taught in the gospel of God:
    * salvation by grace alone
    * saving faith is a component of grace, and is given as a gift to the elect
    * that each individual who is saved is saved because of God’s choosing of that person by the good pleasure of His will.
    * that salvation is not of the will of man
    * that unsaved mankind, within themselves, will never come to Christ
    * Predestination unto salvation
    * Reprobation
    * the Son of God succeeded and will succeed in saving every soul given Him by the Father
    * Particular atonement of Christ
    And more… Study the Word of God, and ask God for mercy that precious truths not be stolen from you by false teachers.

    To redefine a key word, like “grace” and strip it of its reaching power to specifically save

    1. Lord, I sincerely pray right now that if what my brother Roy believes is true then you will change my heart and cause me by your grace to accept it and preach it for the rest of my days. And Lord if it is not true then give me the grace and love to accept Roy as my brother and friend who is on a journey in discovering who you are. I pray this in all sincerity and love for truth and my dear brother Roy. Amen.

      1. Dear Mr. Flowers, I also pray your prayer for myself, that if I am blinded or misguided by how I am reading Scripture, that God’s mercy will deliver me.
        It must be our essential preoccupation to know the truths of our salvation and how it occurred. Imagine if you were out swimming with a group of people….you all decided to swim out and around a very long pier. Somewhere during the swim, you blanked out, and woke up in the hospital. One person walks in and tells you that you were 1 of only 10 people rescued from the swim. You see, a large rip tide came as you were all out there swimming, and all of you were unable to get to shore. Now, here is the problem…one person tells you one story of how you were saved and the 90 drowned, and another person comes in and tells you another story that contradicts the first one. Would it not be your preoccupation to get to the bottom of this? Particularly when you find out that the lifeguard who saved you was the precious son of the chief lifeguard, the only son, and who drowned in the process of saving you. Imagine this: here are the two stories given you…
        one person told you that the lifeguard came out on a boat with a capacity of 100, and yelled to everyone to grab the rope and get on the boat. 90 of the swimmers ignored the call and the warning of the lifeguard who said that the rip current is insurmountable by swimming–furthermore, this boat is the last boat that can make it out there to save these people, as a hurricane is approaching. The lifeguard gets 10 on board, pleads with the 90, who laugh and arrogantly ignore the warnings and attempt to continue the swim. You were one of the 10 with the good sense to get on the boat. You fainted from exhaustion after getting on the boat, and that is how you blanked out.
        So, in shock, you absorb this amazing story and believe it. But then, 2 hours later, another person comes in and tells you another story. Everything is the same as the first story, except some very key components. The difference is that the father of the lifeguard that saved you was sent by his father to save 10 specific people, and your name was on that list. You were the 10th one. And when the son came out to the 100 swimmers, all were unconscious from a lightning strike. Just prior to this lightning strike, a boat came, with another lifeguard boat capable of saving them all, warning of the dangers of the lightning, the insurmountable rip tide, and the approaching hurricane. You and all of the other 99 all scoffed in unbelief. Then came the lightning. Then came the son of the chief lifeguard, and pulled you, unconscious, onto the boat. Rescuing the 10 people was exhausting for the son, and he died as the boat reached shore with the ambulances waiting.
        I hope you could enter the full emotion of this story. Do you see the diversity of these stories? Do you see the massive different feelings you would have based on which of these stories was true? Do you see the unfathomable indebtedness of gratitude you would have to the father and son who saved you? On the other hand, if the first story was the true one, you would look at the whole situation entirely differently. Now this illustration fails to be perfect, but I hope you get the point. For me, when I look in the mirror and ask “why am I saved?”
        I have one answer. GOD’S MERCY. If Arminianism is true, you must necessarily admit that God’s mercy alone did not save you. In fact you must insists that God’s mercy alone can save NOBODY. God’s mercy can only OFFER salvation—I needed my good sense, prudence, wisdom to accept and believe this offer and receive it. So it is mercy and my good sense that saved me. I can only look in pity at the others who failed to use their good sense and prudence. By the way, have you ever thought of this?—> Lets assume Arminianism is true. I ask you, as we see in the Book of Job concerning the ostrich, and how it forgets her young, and how God proclaims it is He that has deprived the ostrich of that good sense. So, who then deprived all the lost who died in unbelief of the prudence, good sense, wisdom to make the right choice you made? God. You see? You cannot escape the sovereign unconditional choice of God in salvation–even if you move the yardstick over to man’s will. Because God created every atom of every man. In your system of belief, since God knows the future, you have the same double predestination situation that you so dislike in so called Calvinistic salvation. Does God hope for the salvation of those He knows will absolutely never believe? Do you see that even in your system, your salvation was locked up before you were born in the foreknowledge (as you define foreknowledge) of God? I hope you can answer this last point, as I have yet to get an answer from a studied Arminian on this.
        PS-Having said all that, I agree with you on the error of God’s decreeing all things that come to pass. Unfortunately, this doctrine of decrees gives people an excuse to reject the doctrines of salvation in Calvinism, which are sound (on the P, I respect the warnings, and believe God will take the life of a believer who presses into unusual sin, in order to save his soul. I do believe believers can fail greatly, and I embrace the warnings in Scripture.)

      2. Acts 18:27 “And when he was disposed to pass to Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him; who when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace.” Do you see that? Believed through grace. Believing is part of grace.

        Psalm 65:4 “Blessed is the man that Thou chooses, and causes to approach unto Thee.”

        Early in my apprehension of God’s choosing in salvation, and of effectual calling in salvation, I came upon this passage, which clearly gives a window into the truth of salvation. This passage forever settles effectual calling, God’s particular hand selection of those who will be brought into Christ. Here it is. My notes in ((( )))

        1. Corinthians 1:26-31
        “For you see your calling, brethren
        (((Notice the particular calling upon the brethren)))
        that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:
        But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to counfound the things that are mighty; and the base things of the world, and the things that are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and the things which are not, to bring to nought the things that are:
        (((Notice here how clearly God is hand picking primarily people who are unwise and foolish for His own purpose. Notice also we have emphasized a particular calling. There is no universal calling here. An Arminian cannot engage this passage because there is no way to re-exegite it. For those who want to only know what God is saying, the meaning here is plain. Only when a tidal wave of emotional and philosophical denial of these truths can lead someone to reject this passage. I challenge Mr. Flowers to bring an Arminian view out of this text. Please, submit to the Word of God. Let God speak, let us be silent, receive it, and say only “amen”. )))

        May God be merciful to many to allow these precious truths to be received. God deliver us from 2nd guessing God, and God deliver us from delusional views of mankind, and imagining doctrines of salvation that fits our romantic notions.

        Please Mr. Flowers, please exegite all these Scriptures and tell me how Arminianism stands through them.

        Thank you,
        Roy Lange
        PS-I am behind you on your opposition to the broad doctrine of meticulous decrees. Your arguments hit their error on the head. Press them for answers about the reality of Christian’s choices. What a strange doctrine to believe that whatever I do,as a Christian, FREED from sin, I HAD TO DO IT!!! How can I feel remorse? How can I learn from errors? Why do not these Calvinists get on CNN and defend Ariel Castro and say HE HAD TO DO EVERYTHING HE DID! Even the unbeliever, though it is true he MUST sin, he still has a great deal of choice within that slavery. And this bizarre doctrine of decrees says that God is caring about everything that happens in gay bathouses in San Francisco! This doctrine of decrees (and cessationism) are the errors of Calvinism.

        PPSS-One big error of both Calvinists and Arminians is trying to say this is an “in house” debate among “brothers”….no, THESE ARE 2 DIFFERENT GOSPELS FROM TOP TO BOTTOM, and the one that is wrong is a heretic. We know form Paul that if anyone preaches ANY other gospel, that a double accursation from Christ is declared, that these people will NOT inherit the kingdom of God, and John condemns anyone who bids Godspeed to those who do not bring the doctrine of Christ. If we bid Godspeed to heretics, we are partakers with the heretics! Does that mean we hate each other? No, but we do not call each other brothers, pat each other on the back, or say “God bless you”… The gospel is at stake, and we harm our opponents.

      3. Any careful and honest reading of the Scriptures plainly reveals that God is the unilateral, particular initiator and the one who always and completely saves the individuals that He chose before the world began. This is the very foundation of Biblical Christianity. If you take away this foundation, you are no longer standing in Biblical Christianity.
        Simply reading the Gospel of John ends this dispute–at least for those who truly look to the Word of God for truth.
        As soon as chapter 1 verse 12 and 13 we see the blueprint of salvation. “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name, who were born, not of blood, nor the will of man, but of God.”
        Only the ones born of the will of God will receive and believe on Him. Being born of God comes first. And if anyone doubts this plain Scripture, and the sequence, they can go to the 1st Epistle of John chapter 5 verse 1. “Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and everyone that loveth Him hat begat loveth also that is begotten of Him”.
        “Whosoever believeth” is an unfortunate failure of the King James to communicate what the original Greek text is saying. The original Greek renders this “everyone believing” (present action). Because “whosoever” in English came into being 1000 years later and has adopted its own definition, people read that as “Whosoever will choose to believe”…or “Whoever makes this choice to do this out of their own will and resources”. And since there is a large group of professing Christians with a deep seeded hatred of God’s choice in salvation, they will press, push and promote this idea. But for those who are concerned with the meaning of the text to know what God means, we see that it is plainly “everyone presently believing” which says nothing about universal ability, or that “if you do this, then you will be born of God” as modern false Christianity has presented the gospel. Now, “is born of God” in 1. John 5:1 also fails to communicate the tense…
        the tense in the original is a past completed action. So “has originally been born of God” is accurate to the original Greek. So what is being said here is “Everyone believing that Jesus is the Christ has originally been born of God.” Being born of God is the “soil” from which the “plant” of believing springs forth. Now this, as I said, is highly offensive to the natural man, who is obsessed with self determination.
        It means that each man is powerless to initiate the new birth. I could go on to chapter 3 of the Gospel of John, where Jesus brings this to the forefront of truth to Nicodemus, telling Nicodemus that he cannot initiate his own new birth, and that the new birth is necessary FIRST before he can see or enter the kingdom of God. And when Nicodemus presses Jesus on how, Jesus points Him to God’s unilateral will and FIRST ACTION on the soul in the new birth….”the wind blows where it listeth, you hear the sound thereof, and know not where it comes from and where it goes, so is it with everyone who is born of the Spirit.
        ****Everyone who passes over this first principle, set forth in the Gospel of John (and other places in Scripture),will end up in fierce opposition to this core truth of Christianity, and fall into the cult of Arminian theology, which is a systematic rejection of every core truth of salvation. **** Everyone who opposes what I wrote here has an obligation to explain to me John 1:12,13 and 1. John 5:1. I predict I will get none

    2. You said:
      Notice here how clearly God is hand picking primarily people who are unwise and foolish for His own purpose. Notice also we have emphasized a particular calling.

      This passage absolutely does not indicate “hand-picked” individuals. The reason these kinds of people believed the Gospel is because of the humility and spiritual poverty necessary to accept Christ’s work on the Cross, which is why Christ said it’s hard for the rich to enter. The rich and powerful find it more difficult to humble themselves and seek treasures in heaven, and accept the power of God in the foolishness of the message God ordained. There is no particular redemption in this passage whatsoever.

      You said:
      We know form Paul that if anyone preaches ANY other gospel, that a double accursation from Christ is declared, that these people will NOT inherit the kingdom of God, and John condemns anyone who bids Godspeed to those who do not bring the doctrine of Christ.

      Paul’s Gospel emphasis was not on the secret behind the scenes ways God works that we don’t even really need to know about. It was on what God commanded men to believe and do. This absolutely *is* an in-house debate, for we both believe the essential way the Bible tells us to be saved by the Gospel. The Bible *no where* says you have to know the behind-the-scenes secret ways of God’s working to be saved.

      You said:
      If Arminianism is true, you must necessarily admit that God’s mercy alone did not save you. God’s mercy can only OFFER salvation—I needed my good sense, prudence, wisdom to accept and believe this offer and receive it.

      Scripture agrees that you need this good sense to accept mercy to be saved. The wise man built his house on the Rock, and the foolish man built his house on the sand. What made the difference between the destiny of those two men’s houses? God’s mercy? Proverbs tells us wisdom calls to the foolish to change their ways. Proverbs tells us we can accept or reject that call. It tells us if we listen to wisdom, we become wise, and save our lives, but if we reject wisdom, we are foolish and will perish. What makes the difference in Proverbs between the man who listens to Wisdom calling out and the one who doesn’t? God’s mercy? Indeed Scripture tells us we can “judge ourselves unworthy of eternal life.” Does that sound to you like God’s decree to never allow a man to ever have the possibility of believing and being saved?

      You said:
      I can only look in pity at the others who failed to use their good sense and prudence.

      Indeed, Scripture tells us “You will only look on with your eyes And see the recompense of the wicked.” But we wil not brag about God offering us a chance to do something that saves us, yet is not meritorious. No one brags about receiving a gift.

      You said:
      In your system of belief, since God knows the future, you have the same double predestination situation that you so dislike in so called Calvinistic salvation. Does God hope for the salvation of those He knows will absolutely never believe?

      Yes, my God does hope for that. And he will weep streams we mere mortals will never know nor understand at the loss of his creation. However I do not in any way have the same “double predestination” by virtue of foreknowledge. Foreknowledge is observation, it does not affect the thing it observes.

      1. Hello Dizcerner, What is your name, age and how long have you been a Christian? I am 54. My name is Roy. I have been a believer since 1982.
        I copied your message below with my new comments in ((( )))

        (((You skipped over the first two Scriptures I gave you in Acts and Psalms. Please explain those two in light of your view.)))

        You said:
        Notice here how clearly God is hand picking primarily people who are unwise and foolish for His own purpose. Notice also we have emphasized a particular calling.

        This passage absolutely does not indicate “hand-picked” individuals.
        (((I beg to disagree. It is plainly stated that God has chose, God has chosen. If the doctrine of salvation was as you believe, this is how Paul could have simply written it.

        “Now you see the people who have believed, brethren, that not many mighty, not many wise, not many noble have believed. This is because they did not have the spiritual poverty and humility necessary.” Paul would have said NOTHING about calling, NOTHING about God choosing. You are in denial about this passage. I ask you to return to this passage and explain it in detail. Explain why it says God chose if it has nothing to do with God’s choice, but man’s choice. Explain about calling referred to here also. Thanks )))

        The reason these kinds of people believed the Gospel is because of the humility and spiritual poverty necessary to accept Christ’s work on the Cross, which is why Christ said it’s hard for the rich to enter. The rich and powerful find it more difficult to humble themselves and seek treasures in heaven, and accept the power of God in the foolishness of the message God ordained. There is no particular redemption in this passage whatsoever.
        (((I did not say that particular redemption is here. That topic is the atonement. I have plenty of proof texts on that topic. This Scripture in 1. Corinthians is about God’s choosing and effectual calling. Also, read to the end of chapter 1 of 1st Corinthians. It says that is is BY HIM (that is God) that they are in Christ. God brings each person into Christ, 100%. No help needed. God gives eternal life to whomsoever He pleases.)))

        You said:
        We know form Paul that if anyone preaches ANY other gospel, that a double accursation from Christ is declared, that these people will NOT inherit the kingdom of God, and John condemns anyone who bids Godspeed to those who do not bring the doctrine of Christ.

        Paul’s Gospel emphasis was not on the secret behind the scenes ways God works that we don’t even really need to know about. It was on what God commanded men to believe and do. This absolutely *is* an in-house debate, for we both believe the essential way the Bible tells us to be saved by the Gospel. The Bible *no where* says you have to know the behind-the-scenes secret ways of God’s working to be saved.
        (((These truths are not secrets at all. These truths are set forth plainly as Biblical truth. I beg to disagree. This is not an in house debate. One is true, one is a lie.))))

        You said:
        If Arminianism is true, you must necessarily admit that God’s mercy alone did not save you. God’s mercy can only OFFER salvation—I needed my good sense, prudence, wisdom to accept and believe this offer and receive it.

        Scripture agrees that you need this good sense to accept mercy to be saved. The wise man built his house on the Rock, and the foolish man built his house on the sand. What made the difference between the destiny of those two men’s houses? God’s mercy? Proverbs tells us wisdom calls to the foolish to change their ways. Proverbs tells us we can accept or reject that call. It tells us if we listen to wisdom, we become wise, and save our lives, but if we reject wisdom, we are foolish and will perish. What makes the difference in Proverbs between the man who listens to Wisdom calling out and the one who doesn’t? God’s mercy? Indeed Scripture tells us we can “judge ourselves unworthy of eternal life.” Does that sound to you like God’s decree to never allow a man to ever have the possibility of believing and being saved? (((All these verses quoted to claim that man can freely choose to be saved and actually do it, actually only say that they ALWAYS NEVER DO IT. So these verses only prove total depravity toward God in salvation without the first work of God on a soul. It would be so easy for God to have taught the Arminian gospel in the Bible…SO easy…but He does not do it.
        And about your question about God never “allowing a man to ever have the possibility of believing and being saved”….
        You have the same problem, even in the view that God passively watches man’s free choices. God brought into this world billions of people that He knew with 100% certainty would never believe.In God’s sight, all of these people have NO CHANCE to believe in reality. You will not face it, but “doomed from the womb” is still right there with you. You and I can go out preaching the Gospel, and God could, if He wished, tell us that the person we are speaking to will never believe. That person is doomed. That person is deprived of wisdom. Wisdom comes from God. It is not something man has by nature.)))

        You said:
        I can only look in pity at the others who failed to use their good sense and prudence.

        Indeed, Scripture tells us “You will only look on with your eyes And see the recompense of the wicked.”
        (((That verse says nothing about the pity I mentiond.)))

        But we wil not brag about God offering us a chance to do something that saves us, yet is not meritorious. No one brags about receiving a gift.
        (((Where did you get the good sense to make the right choice? Why did the guy who died yesterday in unbelief go to hell?Why was he so stupid? Did he create himself? Did you get this prudence to be saved from somewhere other than God? What do you have that you have not received? )))

        You said:
        In your system of belief, since God knows the future, you have the same double predestination situation that you so dislike in so called Calvinistic salvation. Does God hope for the salvation of those He knows will absolutely never believe?

        Yes, my God does hope for that.
        (((What? God hopes for something that He knows is impossible? How does a person that He knows will never believe, believe?)))

        And he will weep streams we mere mortals will never know nor understand at the loss of his creation.
        (((I read that God will laugh at their calamity in Proverbs 1. I do not read of God weeping for eternity about the damned.)))

        However I do not in any way have the same “double predestination” by virtue of foreknowledge. Foreknowledge is observation, it does not affect the thing it observes.
        (((You still are refusing to face it. The point you make here has nothing to do with the point I am trying to bring to your attention. God is the creator of every atom of every man. God knew, before I was born, my final destiny–even in your doctrine! Nothing can change that destiny.
        You are in denial. We could go to an indifferent atheist and he would agree with me. Any honest logical person knows that he only way out of double predestination is open theism in which God does not know the future choices of men.)))

        Please do not skip over verses or comments if you reply. Please engage directly.
        I will add one more to exegite.
        “We are bound to thank God for you, brethren, beloved of the LORD, because God, from the beginning, has chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.” 2. Thessalonians 3:12
        I wait.

    3. I will take things one at a time because these are a lot of separate unrelated things.

      You said:
      And he will weep streams we mere mortals will never know nor understand at the loss of his creation.
      (((I read that God will laugh at their calamity in Proverbs 1. I do not read of God weeping for eternity about the damned.)))

      In fact the Bible almost quotes what I said verbatim.

      But if you will not listen to it, My soul will sob in secret for such pride; And my eyes will bitterly weep And flow down with tears, Because the flock of the LORD has been taken captive.

      Can you explain this verse if God himself casually decrees for people to disobey him and thus gets exactly what he wants (I guess it’s possible God wants to be sad?)?

      There is another witness to God’s tears.

      and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.

      Being selfish humans, we don’t consider the tears God will wipe away from his own eyes. Note also that anger and sadness are not necessarily emotions exclusive of each other.

      You said:
      You still are refusing to face it. The point you make here has nothing to do with the point I am trying to bring to your attention. God is the creator of every atom of every man. God knew, before I was born, my final destiny–even in your doctrine! Nothing can change that destiny. You are in denial. We could go to an indifferent atheist and he would agree with me. Any honest logical person knows that he only way out of double predestination is open theism in which God does not know the future choices of men.

      I am facing it head on. I am not in denial. My point had everything to do with what you brought to my attention. Foreknowledge of what FREE human creatures WILL DO is not CAUSATION of their actions. We all lock ourselves into our fate by our free choices, because we can’t freely choose contradictory things, we can only choose one course of action in each instance. Yes history will always only be on way since God created it, but our free decisions are the causal agent of the determinism, not God’s decree. I don’t think all atheists would agree with your logic by any means. I am an honest person. I don’t think the only way out is Open Theism, that’s complete hogwash and preposterous. Just because our free wills can only pick one thing in the course of events, doesn’t mean God is the one that locked us into what we freely choose. Our free choices locked us into our free choices, and nothing else. Otherwise, according to your faulty logic, it is not even possible for God to create free creatures if he passively knows their choices. But that’s obviously logically fallacious, because I can know your action you did yesterday, but that knowledge doesn’t “lock you into your action” nor does it “cause you to do that action.” Your free choice locks you into it. I could go the route of saying “You are refusing to face the truth, you are in denial, you are avoiding logic, you are not sticking to the point, blah blah blah.” Instead I’ll just stick to rebutting your logic.

      1. Also, you did not tell me your name, age and how long you have been a believer. If you do not want to tell me, I do not wish to talk with you. I want to know if I am talking to a 18 year old cheerleader or a 78 year old grandfather. Thanks.

    4. You won’t discourse with my exposition without knowing who I am “according to the flesh,” which very thing is condemned by Scripture. Roy I find you rude, misrepresenting me and disrespectful of the clear Words of God. Until you get a Christ-like attitude of humility and honoring others, I think you’d agree I’m wasting my time discoursing with you. But I pray the best for you and God bless!

  2. Hey Leighton! I just woke up, read chapter 1 of your new book and am enjoying it. Here are my favourite things you’ve had to say so far:

    “God is most glorified not at the expense of His creation, but at the expense of Himself for the sake of His creation.”

    “Please understand. I am not attempting to deny that God has every right to mold and use any man to do whatever He is pleased to have them do. I am not denying God’s power or prerogative as God to do anything! I’m only questioning His willingness to do so in light of the character I see revealed in Christ.”

    A few comments:

    1. “Calvinists believe God’s glory is best displayed through the attribute of control (typically referred to as “sovereignty”)”

    I’m pretty sure my Calvinist friends would disagree with this (despite meticulous sovereignty being a key doctrine they hold to). They would say that God’s glory is best displayed through the cross where God’s perfect justice and perfect love are manifest. Perhaps in the printed version you could quote some Calvinist authors to support your point?

    2. “non-Calvinists are convinced by Christ’s revelation that God’s glory is best displayed through the attribute of mercy”

    I tend to think that God’s glory is best displayed through his love, but of course love and mercy are closely related 🙂

    Keep up the good work bro. God bless!

    1. Great feedback. I need more comments like this.

      1. I agree to an extent. After all is not the cross brought to pass by His sovereignty? If so doesn’t that make it the ultimate source of his glory?

      2. It is certainly worth mentioning both.

      Thx

  3. Roy, I can’t understand why you have a problem with God decreeing people to sin yet you are ok with Him decreeing people to be damned eternally? The fathers of your Calvinist movement were at least consistent, and applied their version of how God’s sovereignty works across the board. And I’m starting to wonder if anyone even knows what a heretic is anymore, as you have believers spouting “heretic” over the silliest things. If you go back far enough, you will find we were all heretics at one point in history. What was heretical in one generation was orthodox in the next.

    1. But your doctrine of salvation has the same predestined damned people. Don’t you realize that? And I’d like to ask another question. If God had not decided to send his Son into this world at all, is He evil or unjust to send everyone to hell? I wait your answers.

  4. I disagree. God’s foreknowledge does not equal causation. I believe everyone is given a genuine choice at some point to accept God’s drawing. Otherwise, God would be dishonest to claim that he wants none to perish. The fact (if it is a fact) that God knows who will respond and who will not is irrelevant to whether the offer is real. You second question is also irrelevant because we don’t live in that world and any answer would be mere speculation. I’m not God’s judge.

    1. I did not assert that God’s foreknowledge equals causation. I reject that doctrine also, by the way. I am saying in the “genuine choice” view, you still have the double predestination, because God knows beforehand the choices people make.
      So, I ask you now to re-visit the question….do you see how everyone is predestined in YOUR view in GOD’S sight?

      God never stated that He wants none to perish. Please read 2. Peter 3 from the beginning of the chapter and read it carefully. Notice there are TWO groups being spoken of…#1 the “them” who are the scoffers, and #2- the “us” “usward” the elect. Go to chapter 1 of 1. Peter to know who Peter is addressing…it is a big mistake to take Scriptures written to believers and apply them to everyone. If you give your family debit cards to your bank account, and say “everyone can use these cards and take as much money as they want out”, and I overheard you on the phone (me being a non relative) and grabbed a card and used it….see? The “you” in your statement was directed to your family, not everyone on the planet.”
      So 2. Peter 3:9, rightly read, affirms particular redemption and now makes perfect sense. We KNOW that there are MANY God does not want to repent…for example: The Antichrist…he is a MAN…a SPECIFIC man….. another example…Gog and Magog….if these people repent, God’s word fails.
      I encourage you to really study this in the Bible…you will find, if you are one of His sheep, that God chooses in salvation, that He chose every single soul before the world began that He plans to save, that Christ will infallibly save all of them, that the grace of Christ was given to everyone of them before the world was made, that they all were predestined unto salvation.
      This is Bible Doctrine.

      1. Hey Roy, I hope you don’t mind me jumping in this conversation. I just like to when a favorite verse of mine is being discussed! 2Peter 3:9 has two indefinite pronouns (some, any) that contextually better point to the “them” of the larger context than the “us”. And the “willing” of God in this verse is actually about His plan. He has never planned for “any” who scoff at the delay of His coming to perish, but has planned for all of them to be brought to a place of repentance. If they do not enter into the salvation by faith once they’ve been enlightened and convicted (John 1:9, 16:7-8, Heb 6:4), God is not obligated to keep calling, they are now without excuse, like – “I was never able to hear!”

        I find Hebrews 3:7-8 still hard for Calvinists to reckon with… for if an elect person truly hears God’s voice, he would not harden his heart or be warned not to. And of course according to Calvinism, a non-elect person cannot truly hear God’s voice, and do not need to be warned to not harden their heart, since they cannot do anything but stay hard in heart. I hope this helps!

      2. I think this debate can be moderated greatly (and many philosophical challenges avoided completely) when we consider that God does not do everything He CAN do. I love that zzz Leighton brings this our as a fundamental assumption since it’s so frequently ignored. Is it not possible that God “hides His eyes” as it may please Him to do so? I certainly do that while playing cards with my kids. The outcome is much less predictable/determined/whatever that way and usually brings me much greater joy. Many issues leading to foreknowledge, predestination, and open theism seem to fade away and we are free to submit to what has been revealed in God’s Word and in our observations about how God interacts with His Creation.

  5. No, I don’t see how I still have double predestination when God’s knowledge does not equal causation. If this is true, then, God is not randomly selecting people for hell, they are choosing it for themselves.
    I read 2Peter 3 and it still says anyone. It does not say “any of you believers” but anyone. But, since you brought it up, why does Peter keep warning them to be careful how they live? Why does he indicate that in fact, it is possible for them to fall away from their secure position? If they are all pre-destined from the beginning of the world, how can they fall away?
    I have really studied the Bible, without putting on any doctrinal lenses, and find that I can’t see the Calvinist interpretation, especially, in Romans nine, which clearly has to be read in conjunction with the chapters around it to be understood.

    I suspect there are many potential antichrists, but we don’t want to get into eschatology, that’s a whole nother animal, and I don’t claim to have any special insights about it. There are what? Over 100 different interpretations of end times? Probably they are all wrong.

    1. I will just be honest with you. I am not impressed at the amount of attention and thought you are giving to this matter.
      I have copied what you said below and my comments will be in [[[ ]]]
      No, I don’t see how I still have double predestination when God’s knowledge does not equal causation.
      [[[ Again, I never said that the foreknowledge in YOUR belief system means causation. I am assuming that God is passively foreknowing the free choices of people. Now, I want you to think. Lets say the man’s name is Wally Ford. Wally Ford has not been born yet. God is looking at Wally Ford. God knows Wally Ford will ultimately freely choose to reject the gospel. Now I ask you Wildswanderer, when God brings Wally Ford into this world, is God wondering what Wally will do? Is God hoping that His own perfect foreknowledge was wrong?
      The fact is that Wally Ford is doomed from the womb. Wally Ford is predestinated to damnation because God has seen Wally’s life played out, and he rejects Christ. This is my point. You complain about Calvinist’s double predestination, and you have it yourself in your own doctrine! On the flip side, God foreknows those who will freely choose to believe, and those people are personally predestinated unto salvation. They absolutely will come to Christ. So,Wildswanderer, you have to deal with this. o a Calvinist, anyone they meet could possibly be saved, because we as humans are not given the information as to who God chose to save. These doctrines are for the blessing of those who have already come to faith, to know how their salvation came about.
      So, I ask you, do you now admit and see your dilemma and inconsistent thinking on this?
      I do not need to repeat the other point I made, which was that God created every atom of ever person, and every aspect of their decision making sensibilities–so you are trapped also in God’s particular choosing for salvation and damnation.]]]

      If this is true, then, God is not randomly selecting people for hell, they are choosing it for themselves.
      [[[Everyone has chosen to turn away from God. Nobody knows who the Son is except by personal revelation. Dont you remember when Jesus asked Peter who He was? After Peter’s great confession, Jesus said “Blessed art thou Simon Barjona, for flesh and blood has not REVEALED this to you, but my Father which is in Heaven. We have many statements by Jesus about the doctrine of personal divine revelation at the discretion of God the Father. Read the Gospel of John. Jesus invented the doctrines falsely titled “Calvinism”. Calvin taught Jesusism. I want to remind you I reject the doctrine that God decrees everything that happens. Nobody is forcing you to believe that. But, you are required to embrace the core doctrines of salvation in the Bible. If you reject them, you reveal that you are not yet saved. ]]]
      I read 2Peter 3 and it still says anyone. It does not say “any of you believers” but anyone.
      [[[I disagree. I do not see the word “anyone” anywhere in the passage. I use the King James Bible. Let me show you the quote where the “any should perish” is the elect….”God is not slack as some men count slackness, but longsuffering to USWARD, not willing that any should perish, but all should come to repentance.” See? USWARD. Who is Peter’s audience? THE ELECT. This is in perfect harmony of Jesus parable of the 100 sheep. He will leave the 99 to rescue the 100. Now can you look at this world and see Jesus trying to save everyone? Can you live with a Jesus who fails so badly? Who does not even try with all North Korea? Is it hard for God to strike dead the president of North Korea so the gospel gets in? It is shocking to me that you can look at the Bible and think God loves everyone the same, and Christ died for everyone and tries to save everyone. It is nonsense. It shows complete denial on your part. The Assyrians were the rod of God’s anger. Is that how God speaks about people He loves in His dear Son? ]]]]

      But, since you brought it up, why does Peter keep warning them to be careful how they live? Why does he indicate that in fact, it is possible for them to fall away from their secure position? If they are all pre-destined from the beginning of the world, how can they fall away?
      [[[This is another doctrine now, the preservation of the saints. Now there are many warning Scriptures for believers, and each one needs to be studied. I believe these warnings, but also I believe that Jesus said that those who believe in Him will NEVER PERISH. Do you believe that? I see no conditions in that verse. I believe, as we see with the man who went into incest with his mother or mother in law, a horribly depraved thing to do, worse than homosexuality, yet, that man did not lose his salvation…but he lost his physical life.
      Do you believe you can lose your everlasting life? You can go to hell now as a believer? I thought Christ paid for all your sins?]]]

      I have really studied the Bible, without putting on any doctrinal lenses, and find that I can’t see the Calvinist interpretation, especially, in Romans nine, which clearly has to be read in conjunction with the chapters around it to be understood.
      [[[You will not admit it, but you approach the Bible with an intense bias and set of rules that God must abide by. You then close your eyes to every Scripture that contradicts that view. I, on the other hand, want only to see harmony in Scripture and not have a Bible filled with brazen contradictions. I already diffused 2. Peter 3:9 to show you it means the opposite of your doctrine. And I can do it with any other proof texct you give me, because I have laboriously studied these doctrines for 4 years.

      I suspect there are many potential antichrists, but we don’t want to get into eschatology, that’s a whole nother animal, and I don’t claim to have any special insights about it.
      [[[This completely misses the point. I am not asking you to tell me who the Antichrist is. I am saying that he is a man, and he is future. And you claim God wants to save EVERYONE. I have proved that clearly God does not. God is almighty. He will give eternal life to whoever He wants. He already chose. have you EVER read the Gospel of John?]]]

      There are what? Over 100 different interpretations of end times? Probably they are all wrong.
      [[[No comment. Irrelevant.]]]

  6. Sorry for the double post, but I was trying to really study this verse and try to understand how the Calvinist sees it. “He is patient with you (you who have already been irresistibly forced to repent and can’t fall away) not wanting any to perish (that is any of you who he has already assured salvation for, so there is not way you can perish) but everyone to come to repentance. (that is, everyone of you that he has already irresistibly forced to repent.)

    Sorry, doesn’t compute.

    1. Your comments below with my new comments inside ***** ******’
      Sorry for the double post, but I was trying to really study this verse and try to understand how the Calvinist sees it. “He is patient with you (you who have already been irresistibly forced to repent and can’t fall away)
      ***** What you said here is a very slanderous depiction of regeneration, election and salvation. God does not “force” people to repent.
      God raises from spiritual death, grants repentance, and the Spirit of Christ born in the believer cries “abba Father”….and your comment about “cant fall away” I already answered. God will take a believer’s life before he can fall away to an extreme.
      Now about where you say “He is patient with you”….why do you not understand? The subject of this chapter is why Christ has delayed His coming. It is simple. Christ cannot return until every last one of His elect comes to faith. He is patient toward His elect for this to happen.
      I hope you understand now. *****

      not wanting any to perish (that is any of you who he has already assured salvation for, so there is not way you can perish)
      *****some WOULD perish if Christ returned before they came to repentance. But this is the whole point of the passage…
      it is IMPOSSIBLE that Christ will return before He gathers every one of His 100 sheep *****

      but everyone to come to repentance. (that is, everyone of you that he has already irresistibly forced to repent.)
      *****The word is not “everyone”….it is “all”….the context is all of the elect. Please do not dispute the fact that “all” must be defined and rarely, if ever in Scripture means every single human who ever lived in the numerous times “all” appears in Scripture.****

      Sorry, doesn’t compute.
      ****Now it should compute, unless you are unwilling to understand because of the implications****

    1. I have not read the Book. But I have listened to about 90 minutes of Mr. Flowers and have caught a great deal of his view. I do not think that doctrines of this importance should be sold, particularly because today, with the internet, it costs ZERO to publish a book online.
      A C bomb? No, a Word of God like a hammer that breaks a rock in pieces bomb. A bomb of contending for the faith.

  7. Roy,
    Reading your posts it is clear that your reasoning regarding “double predestination” and foreknowledge is both confused and mistaken. You make it clear that you hold to the calvinistic understanding of double predestination (i.e. God preplans and chooses who will be saved and lost before he creates the world, so in this scenario the elect will come to faith by necessity as will the reprobates remain in unbelief also by necessity). It is your choice to believe this scenario and you make this choice freely. Others have made the same choice as you, hence they are also calvinists as you are. What is not right however, is for you to claim that the non-calvinist also holds double predestination just as you do. This is false, an intentional misrepresentation of others by you, and not acceptable. If you want to claim that your undersanding is true and others is false, I understand that. But to claim that both sides hold to double predestination is false. In Christian thinking predestination involves God preplanning and desiring for something to occur before it occurs. Now in calvinism it is true that God predestines both election and reprobation in this sense: it is not true that non-calvinists believe that God predestines both election and reprobation in this same sense.

    A mistake you appear to be making is that you seem to think that if the outcome is the same: then it does not matter how that outcome came about. So you claim that in calvinism the nonbeliever ends up going to hell (the outcome) and that in non-calvinism God foreknows who will end up going to hell (the outcome), so SINCE THE OUTCOME is the same, it does not matter how those outcomes come about. Non-calvinists believe there is a big difference in how the outcomes come about: with calvinism the reprobates/nonbelievers are people that God wanted to be nonbelievers and God ensures their unbelief, makes sure that it goes according to what he preplanned for them (i.e. God hates them from eternity and hates them while they are this earth and then hates them and punishes them eternally for being and doing exactly what he wanted them to do. In non-calvinism God loves even the nonbelievers, desired for them to be saved, but they freely and repeatedly choose to reject him for their entire lifetimes. So the outcomes come about very differently according to the two perspectives.

    Now most of us understand that it does matter how outcomes come about, that the outcome alone is not the only important thing to be considered. Take you Roy as the example. You say in one of your posts that you are 54 yrs old and I assume you are employed. Say the actual outcome next Friday is that Roy is NO LONGER AT HIS JOB. Does it matter how that outcome occurs for Roy? Most of us would think so. If Roy won the lottery and 10 million dollars and so he chose freely to quite his job so that he no longer was at his job, that would be one thing. It would be quite another if Roy raped a co-worker and was fired from his job so that he was no longer at his job. It would be ridiculous reasoning to claim that the two different scenarios amount to the same thing since the actual outcome is the same with both. And this kind of think could be multiplied endlessly. One student studies hard, prepares, does not cheat and achieves an outcome of a 95 on a test: another student cheats and arrives at the same score of a 95 on the test. Would any of us really say that it does not matter how they arrived at the outcome, the only thing that matters is that they arrived at the same outcome???

    LIkewise it does matter how someone ends up going to hell: whether freely choosing to reject the love of God for a lifetime or never having a chance to be saved and having God himself preplane their life of sin and outcome of hell. So Roy when it comes to double predestination we don’t believe the same thing, our views do not amount to the same thing. And it is both false and misleading for you to claim that we both believe in and hold to double predestination. In our view God loves the nonbeliever, wants them all to be saved but they keep freely rejecting him for a lifetime and those actions result in hell. In your view God hates the nonbeliever, preplans their damnation, never wanted them to be saved and makes sure they never could have been saved.

    1. Hello,
      Thank you for writing.
      You made several misrepresentations in your statement.
      Also, my point about your belief in absolute double predestination in the sight of God is also correct and valid. I made my statement clearly, so there is nothing more I can say to help you see it. Of course in the two scenarios, the story on “how” men and women came to their destinies is different. But, my point remains valid.
      I would like to ask you, has God changed? There are many passages in the Bible in which it plainly states that God hates certain people.
      For example, He hates those who sow discord among brothers and liars. Did God change since the Scriptures were written and now He loves everyone?

      1. Roy: The way you put your argument indicates that it is worthless entering into discussion with you. Leighton has expressly said he is not Arminian. He may hold some views in common with Arminians, but then, so do you!

        But if the main thrust of your argument is that God hates certain people, rather than loving all, then you are labouring under a serious misunderstanding.

      2. “having loved His own, He loved them unto the end.”
        A God that loves everyone in Christ is a God of your own imagination. I encourage you to read your Bible.
        The gospel that says that God loves everyone in Christ, and that man chooses his salvation is a grossly false, counterfeit gospel. It is another gospel, another Jesus, another spirit, that Paul warned about.
        Unfortunately, the world loves this false gospel and it is wildly popular.
        Leighton certainly holds to the core Arminian doctrines.
        If you labor under the belief that God loves everyone in Christ, I encourage you to read the Gospel of John. If you really focus on John 15-17, you will see that The Father and Son’s love is upon His own, and the world is a spectator.
        The Scriptures say “For whom the LORD loves, He corrects, and chastises every son who He receives.” I ask you, do you see that God is correcting and chastising every person on earth?
        Jehovah’s Witnesses preach another Jesus and another gospel. Mormons preach another Jesus and another gospel. Arminians (those who oppose: That God chooses particularly in salvation. That God effectually calls everyone He calls. That Christ died for the church. Only. That all mankind is by nature hostile toward God and has without exception, (no not one), chosen willingly to turn from God. That those to whom God has given everlasting life will never perish. That God selectively reveals His Son and gives Eternal life to whomosoever He pleases. Reprobation.
        I take comfort that all of His elect among you who are opposing these doctrines, that God will correct you mercifully. For the others, unfortunately, you were ordained to the condemnation of living your lives opposing the Gospel, deceiving and being deceived by that Satanic counterfeit.
        I want to assure you, that God does not love the Antichrist, nor does He have any desire, hope, plan or provision for his salvation.

    2. Robert, I am very disappointed that you accused me of saying “Calvinism is the gospel”. I never said that. Nor did I say that I believe in the doctrine of divine determination or decree of all things that come to pass (I oppose that doctrine, except for those things that God secretly or by Scripture has decreed to occur such as Genesis 50, Isaiah 10, Acts 4.)

      So, please show me where I said “Calvinism is the gospel”. I reject the moniker “Calvinism” entirely because #1-it implies that the gospel originated from John Calvin #2-People have many different ideas of what “Calvinism” means.

      I wait your reply.

      PS-I do stand behind what I said in the very top post on this page, that a gospel that denies those core truths of Scripture is clearly another gospel, and I will go further, and call it heresy. There is no hand holding, “agreeing to disagree” among brothers about these CORE elements of Christianity.

  8. Roy, I don’t expect to change your mind about anything, and I know many “Arminians” also have your view of eternal security. As I alluded to before, I read the Bible for many years, several decades actually, without ever looking at it through the lenses of either Calvinism or Arminianism, and never found concepts like double predestination or eternal security.

    You said:
    [[[This is another doctrine now, the preservation of the saints. Now there are many warning Scriptures for believers, and each one needs to be studied. I believe these warnings, but also I believe that Jesus said that those who believe in Him will NEVER PERISH. Do you believe that? I see no conditions in that verse. I believe, as we see with the man who went into incest with his mother or mother in law, a horribly depraved thing to do, worse than homosexuality, yet, that man did not lose his salvation…but he lost his physical life.
    Do you believe you can lose your everlasting life? You can go to hell now as a believer? I thought Christ paid for all your sins?]]]

    Simply put: No, I don’t believer a believer can fall away as long as he truly believes. I do believe a believer can become a non-believer and be eternally lost if he persists in his non-belief.
    The problem for us who see supposed believers commit horrible sins, is, we do not know the true condition of that person’s heart, no matter what he may say with his mouth.
    I also wonder if you think that all the great Christians who died as Arminians are lost, because that seems to be what you are saying. Will John Wesley be in your version of heaven?

    1. Hello, Wildswanderer, I copied your text below and added my words in ((( )))

      Roy, I don’t expect to change your mind about anything, and I know many “Arminians” also have your view of eternal security. As I alluded to before, I read the Bible for many years, several decades actually, without ever looking at it through the lenses of either Calvinism or Arminianism, and never found concepts like double predestination or eternal security.
      (((About double predestination, I want to be Biblical. The term predestination is used only on the personal salvation side. Reprobation is a more accurate Biblical term for those who are not elect of God. I encourage you to study Ephesians 1 carefully and Romans 8 and 9.
      I believe it requires effectual grace to overcome the hostility of the human heart toward predestination. I do not know how you can look at passages like this in 2. Thessalonians and deny personal predestination “But we are bound to thank God for you, brethren, beloved of the LORD, because God, from the beginning, has chosen you to salvation and belief of the truth.” I do not know how language can be more clear.
      Can you please provide me another exegesis of that Scripture? I have yet to hear one from any Arminian, or anti predestinationarian.

      I would refer you to a wonderful Bible expositor, the best I have ever heard. His name is Martyn Llloyd Jones. You can find his 1700 sermons at http://www.MLJTrust.org…click on “sermons”….He preached over 230 sermons on Ephesians ALONE! This tells you his attention to detail. If you just start at the first sermon on Ephesians, I think you will be blessed. I believe this is important enough for you to consider doing that.
      About eternal security, I am surprised that you think a person can be a believer, and therefore God begins a work in that person, and the unconditional promise that God will continue to perform that good work can be voided. If your Christian life is driven by your own personal resolve to believe and continue believing, and you are not being carried by the Spirit of God, I think you should examine your faith.
      I have already given other points on this below. So, I will leave the eternal security topic here for now. )))

      You said:
      [[[This is another doctrine now, the preservation of the saints. Now there are many warning Scriptures for believers, and each one needs to be studied. I believe these warnings, but also I believe that Jesus said that those who believe in Him will NEVER PERISH. Do you believe that? I see no conditions in that verse. I believe, as we see with the man who went into incest with his mother or mother in law, a horribly depraved thing to do, worse than homosexuality, yet, that man did not lose his salvation…but he lost his physical life.
      Do you believe you can lose your everlasting life? You can go to hell now as a believer? I thought Christ paid for all your sins?]]]

      Simply put: No, I don’t believer a believer can fall away as long as he truly believes. I do believe a believer can become a non-believer and be eternally lost if he persists in his non-belief.
      (((So, I return to to address Jesus promise that the believer will never perish. It seems that you say he can and Jesus said he can’t. How do you resolve this? If there was a condition, or if a believer could perish, why would Jesus not qualify His statement? Seems irresponsible to me. )))
      The problem for us who see supposed believers commit horrible sins, is, we do not know the true condition of that person’s heart, no matter what he may say with his mouth.
      (((I agree. I think Martin Lloyd Jones dealt with this the best in saying that a true believer is always miserable in his sins, even though the flesh is momentarily pleased. All true believers will always return to the LORD in repentance. )))
      I also wonder if you think that all the great Christians who died as Arminians are lost, because that seems to be what you are saying. Will John Wesley be in your version of heaven?
      (((I believe that if John Wesley never repented of some statements he made about Biblical truths of salvation, that he was, and always was lost. God is the only one to handle these matters. I will stick my spiritual neck out and say that Arminianism is another gospel, another Jesus, and heresy, and we have clear declarations of accursation from Christ, of not inheriting the kingdom of God for those who do these things (Galatians 5. John Wesley said that God was worse than the devil below….You tell me…can someone say that, and never repent, and be saved? Here is a quote I found of Wesley.
      Predestination, he says, “destroys all His attributes at once. It overturns both his justice, mercy and truth. Yea, it represents the most Holy God as worse than the devil…. But you say you will ‘prove it by Scripture’. Hold! What will you prove by Scripture? That God is worse than the devil? It cannot be. Whatever that Scripture proves, it never can prove this….There are many Scriptures the true sense whereof neither you or I shall know till death is swallowed up in victory. But this I know, better it were such say it had no sense at all than to say it had such a sense as this….No Scripture can mean that God is not love, or that his mercy is not over all this works. (“Free Grace,” quoted in Maddox, 39.)” )))

  9. I actually have not problem taking this verse you quoted: “But we are bound to thank God for you, brethren, beloved of the LORD, because God, from the beginning, has chosen you to salvation and belief of the truth.” at face value. Yes, God has chosen me. He has also chosen all who believe. There is no conflict.
    The spirit of God carries us, true, but we can choose to reject the Spirits leading and become reprobate. I don’t believe as some seem to, that you can lose salvation like losing your car keys. But we can blaspheme against the Spirit by utterly rejecting him and lose our secure position.
    I would agree with Wesley that Double predestination makes God worse then the devil.

    1. Dear Wildswanderer,
      I have copied your message below and added my comments with [[[ ]]]
      I actually have not problem taking this verse you quoted: “But we are bound to thank God for you, brethren, beloved of the LORD, because God, from the beginning, has chosen you to salvation and belief of the truth.”
      [[[First, what version of the Bible reads the way you wrote it above? Or, are you changing the Scriptures because of what it says?
      That Scripture says that God chose the Thessalonian saints from the beginning through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.”
      Secondly, you cannot find one verse in the Bible that says that God chooses based on foreseen faith, can you? I would like to see it.]]]

      at face value. Yes, God has chosen me. He has also chosen all who believe. There is no conflict.
      [[[Has God chosen everyone to salvation in your view?]]]
      The spirit of God carries us, true, but we can choose to reject the Spirits leading and become reprobate. I don’t believe as some seem to, that you can lose salvation like losing your car keys. But we can blaspheme against the Spirit by utterly rejecting him and lose our secure position.
      I would agree with Wesley that Double predestination makes God worse then the devil.
      [[[This last statement is shocking and blasphemous. You have blasphemed the most precious truth of The Bible. You are deceiving yourself that you are in the faith. You hate it. You have gone with an invented counterfeit gospel that is refuted over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over in the most clear language conceivable. We are not talking about texts of Scripture that are not clear—we are talking about ridiculously clear Scriptures. After your last statement, I must turn away from our conversation. ]]]]

      1. There is something that I would like to see from Calvinists, but I never see happen.

        Some calvinist comes into a thread like this one and pulls the “Calvinism is the gospel” card (i.e. they claim that Calvinism ******is****** the gospel, they also claim that all others who are not calvinists hold to a false gospel. Now I hear all this talk by calvinists that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ, even if we have some disagreements regarding soteriology, determinism, etc.

        Ok, then why don’t you calvinists ever publicly confront and correct a calvinist such as Roy Lange who is engaging in this extremely divisive, hostile, and false claim regarding the gospel????

        Roy Lange made this false claim that Calvinism is the gospel earlier in the thread and now he makes it yet again:

        “This last statement is shocking and blasphemous. You have blasphemed the most precious truth of The Bible. You are deceiving yourself that you are in the faith. You hate it. You have gone with an invented counterfeit gospel that is refuted over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over in the most clear language conceivable. We are not talking about texts of Scripture that are not clear—we are talking about ridiculously clear Scriptures. After your last statement, I must turn away from our conversation.”

        I want to see other Calvinists publicly confront Roy Lange about his behavior here.

        Until I do, one could think that the rest of you calvinists share Roy’s opinion, you just don’t want to voice it publicly. Your talk about supposed unity with non-Calvinists but it appears to be just a sham.

  10. “But we are bound to thank God for you, brethren, beloved of the LORD, because God, from the beginning, has chosen you to salvation and belief of the truth.”

    Roy, I copied that verse from your post above, so if you don’t care for that version, you’re arguing against yourself, lol.
    I have not yet read Flowers book, so:
    Without consulting any other teachers, but just reading the text, I tend to believe that all this talk of choosing would have been viewed far differently by the jews and gentles of the day. Israel , was God’s chosen. Now, God is doing a new thing, and must spread the world to the Gentiles that they are now among the Chosen, in a new and better way. Not by the old Law, but only by faith. Can you imagine how it would feel to find out that you, a pagan, are now called to join Yahweh’s kingdom on earth and in heaven? I can, because I’ve experienced it. And not by coercion, but by merely choosing to accept our calling? That’s the true Gospel, and it really is good news! Much better news then a gospel that says my being chosen is the result of someone else being damned. May God richly bless you anyways, his grace is far wider then we can imagine.

  11. >Roy, I copied that verse from your post above, so if you don’t care for that version, you’re arguing against yourself, lol

    Hilarious. And I don’t see any Biblical proof that you have to believe complete Divine determinism to be saved. The word “chosen” is not proof of Divine determinism, but only election.

    1. It is interesting that Roy made such a Freudian slip in misquoting 2Thess 2:13 in a way that supports his Calvinism – “chosen you to … belief of the truth.” I have found that not only do they not adequately deal with the preposition “through” in this verse, which Roy skipped, but they do not adequately deal with the word “beginning” from Paul’s use, but immediately think Paul must mean before creation. Philippians 4:19 is a better idea that Paul had in his mind here.

      1. Hello, You said I committed a Freudian slip and misquoted 2. Thessalonians 2:13? I am looking at my King James right now…
        It says CHOSEN YOU TO SALVATION THROUGH SANCTIFICATION OF THE SPIRIT AND BELIEF OF THE TRUTH.
        The passage says thank God for YOU….because God has CHOSEN YOU TO SALVATION….
        Nobody ever asked my about the preposition “through”….it changes nothing at all. Can you please tell me your exegesis of 2. Thessalonians 2:13 from your view of salvation being by man’s choice? I have never heard one. Also, I have no idea what Phillipians 4:19 has to do with . Thessalonians 2:13. I wait your explanation. Thank you.

      2. Brian this is a common theme from our Reformed brethren. They love the Bible, but only in parts.

        Rom 5:12 they often quote “so death spread to all men” ….. but leave off because all sinned.
        Eph 2:8 by grace you have been saved ……. but they part it from through faith, normally by inserting a comma where there shouldn’t be one.
        And here we have being chosen to salvation isolated from how God actually works in people’s lives. As ever it comes down to faith in the truth.

        I have no objection to mystery either, but not at the expense of understanding God’s word as it should be read. Too many of the so called ‘tensions’ in God’s word are figments of Reformed misunderstanding. This process is not mystery, it is mystification!

      3. Barker, I have to confront you. You are making utterly false accusations against those who think God chooses in salvation, that Christ died for the elect, and that faith is a component of saving grace…
        You said…
        Rom 5:12 they often quote “so death spread to all men” ….. but leave off because all sinned.
        ((( My comment: I have NEVER heard anyone leave off “because all have sinned”. Also, there is nothing to avoid in that verse, on EITHER side of this debate. There is no need to twist that verse by the Anti Arminian.))))

      4. Roy, Looking at your KJV right now for its translation of 2Thess 2:13 is not the problem! You need to look at your misquotation above, earlier in this blog (4:50am), if you want to see the Freudian slip! Are you willing to do that and admit your misquotation of the KJV?

        As for my understanding of this verse, Paul is thanking God for choosing, sometime before the Macedonia vision given to Paul (cf. Acts 16:9, 10) those who are now in the church of the Thessalonians (1:1), back at the beginning of the gospel in Europe (cf. Philippians 4:15, sorry for the wrong reference before!), to be enabled to receive salvation by the presalvation-sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit (cf. 1Cor. 7:14, Heb 10:29, Jn 1:9, Jn 16:7-8, Heb 6:4) and by their active personal faith after hearing the truth (cf. Eph 1:12-14). I hope this helps you consider a more reasonable understanding of this verse then the theological eisegesis brought to it by Calvinists.

      5. I did go back and look at my 4:50 post and I do deeply apologize for the misquotation. I am normally very careful. I have a sleep problem these days, and my mind is not always clear. So, you conclude that the reason I made this mistake was for what purpose? Is it the case that every time you make an error in speech or typing that there is an underlying secret motive?
        My focus on the passage is God’s choosing particular people from the beginning. Can you please tell me how to exegite that verse from the Arminian perspective? I have never heard one…I am waiting.

      6. [From Roy: “Can you please tell me how to exegite that verse (2Thes2:13) from the Arminian perspective? I have never heard one…I am waiting.”]

        Not exactly an exegesis, but basically this is another corporate vs. individual election issue — the view is that he’s writing to a church, corporately (“you” is plural). He is saying that “you who fit this description” or “who are in this category” etc. will be saved through sanctification.

        If this is a proof text for Calvinists, it seems it would be more one for perseverance than for election. It seems clear to me that he’s talking to a group of believers and addressing their ultimate fate — it doesn’t necessarily say that they will certainly persevere, but that’s not the point of your question. As to being elect to salvation, we all know that “salvation” often has one of two different things in view (and sometimes both) — (1) the initial saving that comes from belief (the mutability of which can be debated) that we might call “justification” and (2) the “saving” from the power of sin in your life (which some believe can grow as we are sanctified)

        I think Paul’s point is that the end determined by God for those who already believed (his audience) was determined to be a growing in sanctification through which we would be saved and ultimately glorified. (note the “whereunto” in 14) and then he encouraged them to attain to this salvation (possibly implying one might not) by standing fast and holding the traditions, etc. (note the “therefore” in 15). This isn’t necessarily implying that the initial saving (1, above) was what they were unconditionally elected to). God elected that “His people” (identified by their faith) would grow in sanctification and be glorified.

        This is at least one man’s brief answer, which I haven’t thought about in a while and which may well have holes. But, I suspect you haven’t looked very hard to find an exegesis consistent with this view.

      7. 2. Thessalonians 2:13 is plain and clear. It is about Paul, thanking God for particular people, whom God chose, from before the foundation of the world (2. Timothy 1:9,10 Ephesians 1, Romans 8, Romans 9, Matthew 24:35, Psalm 65 and many more places in Scripture.)
        If you reject the pinnacle crown jewel of all Biblical truth concerning salvation, do not deceive yourself that you are in right standing with God.

      8. Look also earlier in the Chapter. In talking about the reprobate, Paul says “That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” It doesn’t say “That they all might be damned not to believe the truth…” Paul consistently discusses the fates of those who believe and those who don’t. He never indicates either the Saint or the Reprobate’s “belief” was predetermined, only the result of their belief/disbelief.

      9. We do not claim that the rejection of the love of the truth is not real and organic. We agree with the text as written. It changes nothing.
        Nothing is inserted. Study your Bible, and mainly the many many many Scriptures that contradict you. Maybe God will grant you repentance to your opposition of the gospel unto the acknowledging of the truth.

      10. Roy, I really must ask, “are you wearing camels hair and eating locusts and wild honey? ” You really need to pray about your attitude and choice of words and the way you treat believers.

      11. I don’t see the bible saying I need to believe the gospel. The gospel is nothing more than the good news to those who believe, it isn’t the thing we are required to believe in. We can have a good number of wrong beliefs about a good number of things, even things central to the teachings of the apostles, and still be Christians. We should avoid doing that, of course, but it’s inevitable. You say we have a different Jesus. I hate that phrase. There is only one Jesus, and he is not the sum total of our beliefs about him. Our belief in his death, burial and resurrection, and our willingness to surrender to his Lordship over our lives Are all I see taught as belief requirements. It is you who are adding to Scrioture, here, by suggesting otherwise. We should be seeking to understand and correct each other as we are being led together into truth, but you are way out on a limb here, my good man.

      12. Roy, You must be sleepy! Get some rest! 🙂 If you will look above your last post, at mine again, you will see my exegesis of 2Thess 2:13, so I am not quite sure why you asked for it again.

        A Freudian slip is not about secret motives but about subconscious understandings and beliefs that come out in our speech and counter other evidence that we may have professed. 2Thess 2:13 does not teach being chosen to have faith in the truth. See my understanding above. I heard Sproul once ask the question – “What is everyman’s greatest need? … to be saved.” Of course that is Biblically true, but Calvinisticly inconsistent. For the Calvinist it is only the elect’s need to be saved and the reprobate’s need to burn in hell for ever for the glory of God! I think Sproul made a Freudian slip because he was revealing his biblical subconscious!

      13. Your exegesis of 2. Thessalonians is unbelievable! Why would God arbitrarily begin planning to save them at the point of Pauls trip? This makes me laugh. You have several more Scriptures that prove that “from the beginning” is referring to “before the world was made”. See 2. Timothy 1:9,10. We see it again in Ephesians 1. We see it again in Matthew 25:34.
        You are brazenly rejecting clear truth.
        If you reject this pinnacle crown jewel truth of Christianity, do not deceive yourself that you stand in the faith.

      14. Hi Roy! You are making a common mistake that I have seen from Calvinists! You are saying “from the beginning” always means “before creation.” The word “from” does not mean “before” and emphasizes only “at” and “after”. The verses you listed do not even have the word “beginning” in them. Here are all the verses the use this exact phrase (Gk. απ αρχης) (Mt 19:4,8; 24:21; Mr 13:19; Lu 1:2; Joh 8:44; 15:27; Ac 26:4; 2Th 2:13; 2Pe 3:4; 1Jo 1:1; 2:7,13-14,24; 3:8,11; 2Jo 1:5-6).

        You can do your own study to see that many of these verses mean FROM the beginning of creation FORWARD, but a good number mean from the beginning of another event in human history, like Christ’s first coming. There are other verses that use the word “beginning” without this preposition “from”, like the one I pointed to in Phil 4:15. That one fits well with the use of this word in 2Thess 2:13 since Thessalonica is in Macedonia and Paul is speaking about the beginning of his gospel ministry there in both references.

        I hope you will not remained closed to reasonable contextual meanings just to maintain your loyalty to Calvinism! God’s payment and offer of salvation mercy to all made in His image is what I believe as the “pinnacle crown jewel truth of Christianity”!

      15. I was going to remain silent, but what you said was unbelievable! We were originally talking about 2. Thessalonians 2:13 meant by “from the beginning”. I then proceeded to give you THREE texts that say that salvation, grace, and the kingdom was all 3 given and prepared for the elect before the foundation of the world. Then, you answer that by ignoring those 3 texts that refute you directly, and then think that trying to say “from the beginning” in 2. Thessalonians means something else! I answer this by SO WHAT? Does that refute and overturn the other 3 verses I gave?
        Brian, I know you have a lot to say. But you have two eyes. You stand before God. These Scriptures that presents the doctrines you reject are right there in the Bible you claim to believe. But you are BRAZENLY mishandling the Scriptures to try to make them say something else. If the Scriptures will not correct you, I certainly cannot. And your attempts to correct me, I have to be honest, are laughable grasping for straws. You preach another gospel. I read a dire result for you from Paul, which he repeated twice.
        You reject, not Calvinism, but the Gospel itself.
        You are a living, walking demonstration of where man’s “free” will and choice takes him in relationship to the gospel. Into a god of your own imagination.

      16. Roy, If someone makes the word “from” mean “before”, wouldn’t you say they are twisting the meaning?

        You said – “I then proceeded to give you THREE texts that say that salvation, grace, and the kingdom was all 3 given and prepared for the elect before the foundation of the world.” One of the texts, Matt 25:34, says “from”. God did not say the kingdom was prepared “before”, and in fact it is more natural to understand His preparation of the kingdom that the future elect will enter according to this verse only started at creation and is still being prepared (cf. John 14:2).

        The other two verses do say “before”, (though, remember, 2Thess 2:13 does not). Both of these verses also say God’s actions for “us” were “in Christ Jesus” or “in Him” (2Tim 1:9, Eph 1:4). Since we did not exist before creation, Paul could only be speaking anachronistically about himself and believers. Here is a good example – Any Jew could say – “We were chosen in Abraham before Israel became a nation to possess the land of Canaan in the Millennium.” He would not be emphasizing being chosen as an individual back when Abraham lived. He would not even be guaranteeing that he as an individual he would enjoy that future benefit of possessing the land. But he would be telling the truth about his election!

        Praise the Lord, however, that there is a guarantee that each one who becomes one of the elect in Christ through personal faith in His redemption knows with certainty that he will enjoy the future blessings that were promised and given to the Son of God before the foundation of the world! Any believer, member of Christ’s body, can say with confidence, “We were chosen in Jesus to stand blameless before God in the final judgment!” “Grace was given to the Son, who would become the Christ, for us to enjoy now!”

  12. Just another thought on predestination and causation, and the like. I think we have to cling REALLY loosely to our thoughts on this matter when we are considering God’s reality. Even within our Creation, our understanding of something as fundamental to our lives as causation is understood really poorly. Consider how much our understanding is seemingly confounded when we consider quantum physics or approach something like the boundary of a black hole. How much more is God’s existence outside of and standing above Creation complex in ways we can’t possibly understand.

    This is EXACTLY the right place to rest on mystery.

    1. I agree that we are told to beware of philosophy. I also believe that how God can know the future is something so far beyond our ability to comprehend, that it is beyond ridiculous. How can we possibly even scratch the surface of a being who meticulously knows and sustains every atom in the universe and knows all things at all times, and all the while sustains and upholds it all.
      This is where James White blows it when he tries some simple formula on how God knows the future, assuming He must control His creations choices and they cannot do otherwise, as a conclusion. Who in this world lives their lives thinking that everything that they do, they HAD to do by the decree of God? This would eliminate all learning from mistakes. This would eliminate any possibility for remorse for presumptuous sins, because, I HAD to do it…I could NOT under any circumstances done differently. Jesus told the Pharisees “these things you ought to have done, and not leave the other undone.” Clearly, “ought to have done” is not a reality in a deterministic view.
      Now, God DOES predetermine many things that He has determined to do within His own secret counsel and revealed Word. That cannot be denied and must be respected.

  13. Arminians, when they do a puzzle, bring scissors. Really, it is astonishing to me the grasping for straws that Arminians attempt with the MOUNTAIN of Scriptures that oppose them.
    Lets look at Ephesians 2:8-10.
    The antecedant of “that” is “faith”. Why would God say that something that IS of ourselves, is NOT of ourselves? Does our God have grammar problems?
    What the Arminian WANTS Ephesians 2:8-10 to say is this, and God WOULD have said it like this if it was the true thing He was saying.
    “For by your faith are you saved through grace, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works lest any man should boast.”
    The fact is that The Arminian’s grasping for straws in saying that it is grace or salvation that is not of ourselves is ridiculous. Everyone knows that grace comes from God and grace toward ourselves cannot come out of ourselves! Or, if you say that salvation is the gift of God in this passage, who on earth would think that salvation is of ourselves…but actually, now that I think about it, it is the Arminian that believes that salvation is determined by something of ourselves.
    I have found a wonderful effective terminology that hits the real issue at hand about faith. The Arminian believes that faith is something that is in every person and is separate from grace. The people who believe the Bible’s definition of grace believe that faith is a COMPONENT of saving grace. God’s love and grace is a whole package that gives saving faith and raising to spiritual life to the ones on whom that grace and love is given. The Arminian denies that the love of God raises from spiritual death unto life (saves) the one on whom it is bestowed. The love and grace that the false God and Christ of Arminianism demands that it can only make salvation “available” and it must stop there.

    GRACE SAVES (It does not only make it available)
    GOD’S LOVE IN CHRIST QUICKENS THE DEAD ON WHOM IT IS BESTOWED (It does not merely make it available)
    FAITH IS OBTAINED (it is not intrinsically in every human being)
    REPENTANCE IS GRANTED AT GOD’S DISCRETION

    Praise God that He will save every soul who He intends to save!!! Praise God that The Lord Jesus said “IT IS FINISHED”….and not
    “IT HAS BEGUN AND I HOPE THIS WORKS”.

    1. Hi Roy, The antecedent of “that” (Greek demonstrative pronoun in the neuter gender) cannot according to Greek grammar be “faith” (Greek noun in the feminine gender) for in God’s inspired grammar of the NT the demonstrative pronoun must be of the same gender as its antecedent. The best way is to take this neuter “that” as pointing to the whole first clause – “For by grace you have been saved through faith” which has as its underlying thought a Greek word for “salvation” which is also neuter.

      Salvation is all of God. We did not think it up or start looking for it. He came looking for us and gave us the opportunity to accept or reject His gift of it. It is easier to believe that there is no merit in accepting a gift by faith than it is to believe that God only allows only a few to be able to irresistibly get the gift and then damns all the rest who never were able to hear His offer of it to them.

      1. I have heard that neuter point before. I also heard that this is not a hard rule in Greek grammar. I plan to do some research with some unbiased Greek experts. Leaving that point aside, I now look at the alternative….it is really bizarre to think of that…..That the Apostle, by The Holy Spirit would have to remind the reader that grace is not of themselves, or that salvation is not of themselves.
        What you are proposing that I believe about this verse makes it a very very strange verse…. First of all, the subject of the verse is HOW a person’s salvation occurs….why then would Paul suddenly change subjects completely in the middle of the sentence and suddenly talk about the DERIVATION of salvation itself?
        I have many other texts also in Scripture that affirm my view, in spite of this neuter rule that I will get to the bottom of.
        Take a look at 2. Peter 1:1
        “Simon Peter, a servant and an apostle of Jesus Christ, to them that have OBTAINED like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Savior Jesus Christ:”
        Why would Peter, by the Holy Spirit say “obtained” if it was not obtained at all?
        Also, we see in the Book of Acts another clue by the Holy Spirit as to the nature and derivation of saving faith.
        Acts 18:27 “And when e was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorted the disciples to receive him: who when he was come, helped them much WHICH HAD BELIEVED THROUGH GRACE.”
        Here we see again proof that faith is an included part of the package of the Grace of God in Christ given only to the elect.
        I would like you to explain away these two verses to your view.
        You know what the difference is between you and I when we study this? Your most powerful driving force is a philosophical rejection and disdain for God’s selecting who will be saved, and it keeps you from letting the Scriptures speak to you and teach you. For me, I WISH YOU COULD PROVE YOUR VIEW because 90% of Christians believe it. It is a sorrowful reality for me. But this wish will not compromise my being honest and respectful to the text. I will believe what the Scriptures say even if I am the only one on the planet who believes it.
        I want to know what God is saying and I DO NOT DARE ANSWER BACK TO GOD, OR JUDGE GOD’S HOLINESS, or say unimaginable blasphemy as I heard from Wesley and the person here on this blog.

      2. Hi Roy! I will comment on these other verses… but will not explain them “away”. 🙂 You will have to tell me what you thought of my comments on 2Thess 2:13, though I wouldn’t call them an Arminian view of that verse. 🙂 There are more choices than Calvinism and Arminianism! 🙂

        From my ministry experience I have seen good reason to challenge those who profess to have already obtained salvation to remember that it is not by works (Eph 2:8-9)! It is because many who profess, do not yet truly possess salvation because they are actually trusting in some good work or ritual (baptism, sinner’s prayer) for their salvation. You must confess, Roy, that many in Christianity today, like Roman Catholics, are trusting in works of righteousness.

        As for 2Peter 1:1, I think you are probably aware of the NT use of faith in two main ways – “the faith” (cf. Jude 1:3) and personal “faith” (Eph 1:13). In this verse and elsewhere in this chapter Peter is talking about “the faith”, the revelation of God concerning our salvation (1:3, 1:19). He does talk about personal “faith” in 1:5.

        As for Acts 18:27, I believe the Scripture teaches that no man can express saving faith without God’s enlightenment and conviction which He gives at sometime to every man (cf. John 1:9, 16:7-8). They must take the opportunity to commit their faith in Christ in those times of enlightenment and conviction. The warning “Today if you hear His voice do not harden your heart!” (Heb 3:7-8) demonstrates the seriousness of rejecting such a call! This warning in Hebrews does not fit into Calvinistic thinking, for a true calling cannot be hardened against by the elect and the non-elect can not even hear a true calling, so they do not need such a warning (cf. Acts 17:30).

        You said – “Your most powerful driving force is a philosophical rejection and disdain for God’s selecting who will be saved, and it keeps you from letting the Scriptures speak to you and teach you.” Actually I do not in anyway disdain God’s electing of individuals according to His plan of salvation! I rejoice! I just do not see the Bible supporting the plan of salvation that Calvinism teaches, that the individuals were all chosen before creation, put on a list, and the rest damned, God having to then predetermine every event of human history forever to bring it all about! The electing of individuals comes after their individual calling (cf. Matt 22:14). All human individuals did not exist before creation to be chosen from. The only the individuals existing back then were in the Godhead. And one of them was chosen before creation to start a humanity who would individually and universally have the opportunity to be joined to Him by individual active faith and to be presented blameless and holy before the Godhead at the end of time (Eph 1:4).

      3. Your clever sleight of hand to dodge what I said about your disdain of God’s personal choice in salvation has been caught by my eye.
        Brian, I have to go with my beliefs. You have been blinded by God to the gospel. You are doing all kinds of gymnastics to deny what the Scriptures I give you say. There is no profit on our conversation.
        I must follow the rule “a man that is a heretic, after the first and second admonition, reject…”
        I do not take Arminians as serious Bible students, nor lovers of the truth. They have these basic problems: #1-Deep down they do not believe than mankind is as gravely guilty as Romans 1 and 2 state. #2-They fear the loss of self determination…they must have a God who will do what they want and necessarily offer everything to them and all mankind #3-they made the fatal error of replying back to God as the objector in Romans 9 is rebuked by the Holy Spirit through Paul is. #4-They allow themselves to be dishonest with Scriptures. and #5-They are not yet converted. #6-They abhor the idea that God chooses who He loves and they abhor the idea that God can hate people.
        I encourage you to read John 15-17. You will see the particular love of Christ for those given Him of the Father, and the world is excluded as an observer. If you do not believe Jesus’ own words about the nature of His love, do not tell me you are a Christian. Millions of cultists are in full time ministry, and study the Bible diligently. But they are lost.
        “Having loved His own, He loved them unto the end.”
        “Blessed is the man that Thou choosest and causeth to approach unto Thee”
        “God has made everything for Himself; yea, even the wicked for the day of evil.”
        You have believed “another gospel”, and “another Jesus” and “another spirit”….
        Jesus said that His sheep will not follow strangers, but will flee from them.

      4. Hi Roy! I am truly sorry that you honestly feel that I am not saved. I do, for your sake, openly affirm Jesus is my Savior and Lord, and I love Him deeply and am very grateful for His salvation grace which in no way I deserve, but deserved damnation instead! I also, for your sake, openly reject holding the six falsehoods that you listed as relating to me in your last post. I love His truth! And truth will set you free from those who have you bound by their twisting of Scripture in such a way that you cannot even recognize a child of God!

        And since I know this information is important to you as seen in your request above – I am a month from turning 60, a professing believer since 1962, and so grateful to have had the privilege to serve such a wonderful Savior in fulltime ministry of His Word since 1974.

      5. Which Jesus do you serve?
        The one who died for everyone?
        That’s a false Jesus.
        A Jesus who does not know His sheep?
        That’s A false Jesus.
        A Jesus who says everyone is His sheep, tries to save them all, but fails?
        That’s a false Jesus.
        A Jesus that does not have particular people given Him By His Father?
        That’s a false Jesus.
        I am sorry for you that you have been opposing the gospel all these years. You will give account to God in the end for all those you stumbled, misled and offended.
        I read about a millstone.

      6. I am praying for you Roy! The Jesus I am trusting was the propitiation for the sins of the whole world (1John 2:2). He knows His sheep and does not say everyone is His sheep. In fact He knows when they become His sheep, when they are given to Him by His Father which is after they are drawn and they personally believe. He never fails is saving any who come to Him in faith.

        Thank you for showing some mercy and concern for me in the end. Like Paul, I have chosen not to judge the value of my service for Him before the time! I am surprised that you are so quick to judge it, condemn it, based on the doctrines fabricated by men! I hope all is well in you family!

      7. You have been a believer since 1974. Certainly you know what the other side says about 1. John 2:2. What do they say about it?

      8. Roy, There are a lot of “other sides” with people giving all kinds of meanings to all kinds of verses to make them fit their theology! What does this verse say? Well, what does propitiation mean? That Greek word is only used in NT, one other place, in 1John 4:10. What does “whole world” mean? Look up this phrase in this same epistle – 1 John 5:19 “And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.”

        It is natural to believe, from checking out how John used these words, that John meant that Jesus paid for the sins of the whole wicked world in 2:2! Any normal reader would get that idea that Jesus paid for everyone’s sins, until someone comes along and tells them “world” has a very unique meaning here! It means “all Gentile believers”, or “all future believers”, or “all the galaxies and stars”. I have heard all these twistings of the normal reading of this verse. I choose to believe that God is not the author of confusion, and that the normal meaning based on the original language and original context is the best meaning!

        I hope this helps you some, Roy, though I am not sure why you are asking me, since you think I am an unsaved, false teacher…

      9. There is another passage, by the same writer John, speaking specifically in greater detail, what He means in 1. John 2:2.
        This is the main and most powerful point that the other side brings to this Scripture. There is further proof in this other passage because the sentence Scripture with the Key word “only”, and “also”.
        I think the fact that you do not know what this other Scripture is shows that you have not studied this thoroughly as you most certainly should as a teacher of God’s people, if not for yourself..
        These two Scriptures must say the same thing. John does not have the prerogative to contradict himself.
        If you take the time to study one doctrine and one question “For whom did Christ Die?” The answer to this question proves which side is true and which is a lie. I commend to you 2 sermons on youtube, both with the same title “For whom did Christ Die?”, one by Angus Stewart and one by John Macarthur. These sermons are packed with Scriptures (and they only cover about 80% of the Scriptures on this.
        But if you will not let the Word of God teach and correct you, I do not see how any sermons or more Scriptures will help you.
        The other Scripture to shed light on 1. John 2:2 is Gospel of John 11:49-52.
        Now you know what 1. John 2:2 means.
        Notice also the reaction in the next verse to particular atonement in John 11:53!
        Election really brings out the people who want to kill the messengers! See the same think in Luke 4 when Christ preached election.
        You will never get much persecution telling people “God loves you, Christ died for you”…but you will be guilty of lying, because non of us know who the elect are prior to their conversion.

        I must discipline myself now. This is my sin…going on too long with people who are dead set in their ways.

        I will have to end our talk now. I hope you have a Road to Damascus experience in your mission against precious Biblical doctrines of the Bible.
        Good Night. I will bite my tongue now…

      10. Good night Roy! You can respond in the morning if you wish. You have two problems in using the John 11 passage to get the meaning for 1John 2:2. John interprets the high priest’s words as declaring Christ’s death would be for the nation, which would normally mean to the reader for everyone in that nation. The second thing is that John also wants to include those of the nation of Israel that have been scattered abroad. He makes no reference to the rest of the Gentile nations in this context, like he does in 1John 2:2, nor does he limit Christ’s death for only an elect remnant of Israel, but for the whole nation and all the dispersed of Israel.

      11. Since the Scriptures say that Caiphas words were anointed by God, do you really think that God would say that Christ died for every single Israelite? And beyond that leave out the entire Gentile world? Is it not God choosing Gentiles that infuriated the Jews? Do we not see this fury immediately in the following verse? Do we not see the same fury in Luke 4 where Christ refers to election of Gentiles? In fact, is it not election that drove Cain to kill Able? Is it not the reason Joseph’s brother’s would try to kill Joseph?

        Here is a more educated comprehensive statement from those who believe the Bible plainly teaches particular atonement.
        (By the way, I have many, many plain texts that affirm over and over particular redemption. Those doctrine is extraordinarily easy to see is overwhelmingly taught in Scripture to any unbias reader.)

        “He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.” (1 John 2:2)

        The preceding passage is often cited as a case against Limited Atonement, and has caused much confusion for the Calvinist. What does this passage mean?

        The heart of John’s Epistles concerns the Judaist heresy. Over and over again, he warns that “No one who denies the Son has the Father. Whoever confesses the Son has the Father also.” (1 John 2:23). It also appears as if he was writing to Jewish Christians in particular, those who had been “anointed by the Holy One” (1 John 2:20) and knew the truth (1 John 2:21). John was writing to those who had the “old commandment … from the beginning” (1 John 2:7), most likely referring to Jewish converts (the Gentiles did not have the old commandment from the beginning).

        So when John tells us that Christ “is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only”, he is using the pronoun “ours” to refer to Jewish Christians. Those who push this passage to favor unlimited atonement must assume that “ours” and “the whole world” consists of a dividing line between Christians and non-Christians, and that is a huge assumption. John Gill comments:

        “1Jn 2:2 – And he is the propitiation for our sins,…. For the sins of us who now believe, and are Jews:

        and not for ours only; but for the sins of Old Testament saints, and of those who shall hereafter believe in Christ, and of the Gentiles also, signified in the next clause:

        but also for the sins of the whole world; the Syriac version renders it, “not for us only, but also for the whole world”; that is, not for the Jews only, for John was a Jew, and so were those he wrote unto, but for the Gentiles also. Nothing is more common in Jewish writings than to call the Gentiles עלמא, “the world”; and כל העולם, “the whole world”; and אומות העולם, “the nations of the world””.

        We have, on many occasions, examined the phrase “the world” in it’s limited sense. For example, if “the world” in 2 Corinthians 5:19 were meant to refer to every single individual on planet earth, we are stuck with universal salvation.

        John, in his gospel, was a little clearer in his belief concerning the atonement.

        “He did not say this of his own accord, but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, and not for the nation only, but also to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.” (John 11:51-52)

        It is quite clear that John did not hold that Christ died for every single individual, but for “ours” (the nation – Israel), and not only for “ours” (this nation only), but for the “whole world”, (the children of God who are scattered abroad.) 1 John 2:2, when taken in context, is no threat to the Biblical doctrine of Particular Redemption, but instead is a powerful passage supporting Unconditional Election. Christ’s death on the cross has secured eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12), and His work saves all that He intended to save.

        Back to Roy Talking.
        What you WANT 1. John 2:2 to say is “And He is the propitiation for believer’s sins, and not for believer’s only, but for unbelievers.”
        (Side note: I can hear the universalist right behind you, who you have to deal with on this verse by qualifying it, just as I have to qualify it; or we are all forced universalists by the plain reading as it reads in the Bible, stiffly read, HE IS THE PROPITIATION. IS IS IS..)

        What you really WANT it to say to protect yourself from the universalists, is “And He is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also CAN POTENTIALLY BE THE PROPITIATION for anyone in the whole world who chooses to believe.”
        Propitiate means to turn away wrath. We KNOW that the wrath of God ABIDES on unbelievers. We see elsewhere that it says Christ is the propitation THROUGH FAITH.

        In all our talks, I do not see one concession on either side, both of us setting forth our most powerful persuasion Scriptures. It is clear that one of us is deceived, and holding firmly to our deceit.

        I know my eternity is at stake. I do not think God is going to give only a slap on the wrist on the ones who are wrong in this debate between Scripture and the Arminian gospel. I think my side does things to harm this debate and muddy the waters and distract from looking at the Scriptures only. My skin crawls when I hear people on my side (or either side) says that this an “in house brotherly debate”….it is NOT AN IN HOUSE DEBATE. Also, They call these Biblical doctrines “Calvinism” and themselved “Calvinists” which clearly implies they are derived and originated from Calvin and they are follwers of Calvin (I do agree that meticulous divine determinism did come from Calvin, and is a false doctrine) and #2-my side, in taking that title disobey plain Scripture that condemns this to say “I am of him, or I am of him”. And they package together determinism with the doctrines of TULIP–many people think they must accept determinism if they accept the doctrines imperfectly and overly compressedly Titled TULIP.

        I cannot say I do not get deeply saddened by these debates, because I do. But then I remind myself that Satan is not playing games and his counterfeits are not the easily detected ones of Jehovah”s Witnesses or Mormons, but counterfeits so good, so subtle, so enticing to the natural man, and the humanistic spirit in the flesh of fallen humanity, that it requires careful reading of God’s word to reveal the falsity.
        I also know that whom the LORD loves, He corrects. So, in your view, God loves everyone, and corrects everyone. I look at Hugh Hefner and I just don’t see God chastising him and correcting him. Nor do I see it beyond God’s own sheep, His elect people, whom He hand picked. Anyone reading 1. Corinthians 1:26-31 can see God is hand picking those who are called.
        In conclusion, if your view were true, it would be SO EASY for God to SAY it!

        It all comes down to honest reading of Scripture. You think you honestly read Scripture, and so do I. One of us is deceived. Only God’s particular mercy on the one who is wrong here will save him from judgment.

        Watch those sermons, please that I referenced “For whom did Christ die?” You will need a pen and paper if you plan to overturn what they say-every point and Scripture must be answered.

        God does not love the Antichrist. To say Christ died for the Antichrist is blasphemy. The Antichrist is one MAN who is a glaring example of someone that God has no intention to save, who was predestined for destruction, and does not want to come to repentance.

        With respect to your time, I think we should stop now, because I see zero movement on both sides here. It is not profitable.

        I encourage people to lay aside emotions, and accept the Scriptures, no matter how difficult, and ask God for mercy and correction when you read Scriptures.

        Finally, I recommend again to you and others here to go to www>MLJTrust.org, click on sermons, and you will see over 230 sermons on Ephesians alone and on Romans. I think Ephesians is the place that Arminians need. Start with chapter 1. Martyn Lloyd Jones is the best Bible expositor I ever heard. He was born in 1899. These precious sermons were preserved even when audio technology was in its infancy.

        Of course http://www.247ChristianRadio.com streams powerful preaching to your cellphone, tablet or PC.

      12. Good morning Roy! I hope you slept well. How is your family? I think you like being combative because it gives you a sense of superiority, and you get a buzz from that. I’ve seen that in myself all to often. That is why I ask, how’s your family.

        You really should be very calm, if a Calvinist! None of the elect will be lost by my teaching how Christ paid for the sins of the world!

        John did say nation, not elect. And the scattered more normally points to the Diaspora. The wrath was towards Christ’s claim about Himself in this context and Luke 4. The gospel including the Gentiles was still a mystery to be revealed. Read Acts and Ephesians.

        God does provide the reconciliation for the whole world, as clearly stated in 2Cor. 5. If man goes to hell it is because of his rejection of God’s mercy in Christ. He dies in his sins because He rejected God’s enlightenment and conviction to bring him to that mercy!

        Believe it or not, I am very upset at how these so-called doctrines of grace have made your speech so ungracious. Read 2Tim 2:22-26 and Col 4:6 before responding to me again.

        And, yes Jesus did die for the individual who becomes the Antichrist. 2Pet. 2:1! A person is not predetermined to become the Antichrist. But God will sovereignly choose to remake a vessel who rejected His mercy into him so that He can display His power and make His final call to the whole world!

    2. Can you give me *one* Scripture that says I *must* believe complete Divine determinism to be saved. Just *one* will do. It has to explicitly say I must believe *complete Divine determinism* (aka Calvinism) to be saved. Because the Bible describes salvation as believing that Christ was sent by God to die for my sins and resurrect for my new life. No mention of damning those who reject complete Divine determinism *anywhere*. And you claim that *is* the Gospel, the fact that there is no creaturely freedom but that God Divinely determines every person’s choice. Yet the Bible describes that Gospel as believing on Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection to be saved. That’s not unique to Calvinism. It’s such a huge lie to call the Gospel itself Calvinism. *Even if* Calvinism were true, it would only be a *part* of the truth *behind* the Gospel, not the Gospel itself. The Gospel is believing on Christ’s work to be saved, regardless of your belief about God’s mysterious and secret workings behind all things. That’s very clear in Scripture and I don’t think you can prove otherwise (even if you *could* prove Calvinism, which we obviously dispute, it wouldn’t prove that you have to *believe* in Calvinism to be saved). And so your pet doctrine is something you are using to condemn others to hell and create division and strife in the body of Christ.

      1. If Jesus drawing “all men” to himself means everyone who ever lived, please explain to me how Christ drew the Egyptians and Pharaoh, before Christ was even lifted up on the cross…and all the people today in North Korea who live and die never hearing the gospel. How are they drawn?
        Also, have you studied the peculiar way that “all” and “all men” is presented in 1st century Greek? Do you contend that “all” and “all men” always means everyone who ever lived?

      2. Roy he said clearly “if i be lifted up.” Only where Christ is preached and exalted can he draw men. I agree all has contexts, but sometimes it does mean literally all.

  14. Calvinism is very much Gnostic in it’s origins. It’s a result of mixing in ideas from Greek philosophy about how God must run things. The earlier church fathers, including Clement who was friends with Paul were not “Calvinists”. In fact, they fought against these ideas of no free will that came from the Gnostics. Unfortunately, Augustine was able to successfully corrupt the church with them later.

  15. “I know my eternity is at stake. I do not think God is going to give only a slap on the wrist on the ones who are wrong in this debate between Scripture and the Arminian gospel.”

    Roy, you are not being consistent wit your beliefs about election. Obviously, if you are elect, in your view, your eternity is never at stake. Ever. And if we are non-elect, as you have already decided we are, then there is nothing we can do about it. If your view is right, this entire debate is pointless.

    1. Good comment Wildswanderer! Though there is still the good point for such debate that hopefully seeds of truth will be planted and used by the Holy Spirit to enlighten and soften such a hardened opponent.

  16. Brian, thanks and I am glad there are guys like you on here who have studied all this extensively. I believe these conversations do a great deal of good, if not for Roy, then perhaps others who have been indoctrinated in these beliefs.

  17. I am reading “Potters Promise” and will comment as I go through it. I have not gone through the above comments, so maybe I reprat what others have said. Because I have the Kindle version, I cannot cite page numbers. Anyway, you write:

    “If the all-powerful One chooses to refrain from meticulously ruling over every aspect of that which He creates, that in no way denies His eternal attribute of omnipotence,…” (Chap 3, Para 7)

    In this section you are confusing God’s “meticulous rule” over His creation with the expression of His omnipotent power. God cannot refrain from meticulously ruling over His creation; God can refrain from exercising His omnipotent power in those activities in which that creation engages.

    Your example of the father and child in the next paragraph illustrates this. The father chooses whether to exercise his power over the child and force the child to do as he pleases or to refrain and allow the child to do as the child pleases. In both cases, the father still exercises meticulous control as he has the final say on anything the child does – the child can do only that to which the father agrees. Thus, you state that the more “sovereignly free” situation as – “the father who is freely able to use physical strength or refrain from using physical strength in any given circumstance as he so chooses?” Your focus here is on the exercise of power and not meticulous rule.

    As you stated before this, “Sovereignty, therefore, can be described as the expression of God’s power, not the source of it.” Sovereignty is, by definition, meticulous rule but meticulous rule does not require that the sovereign exercise (express) his power to force His will in order to maintain meticulous rule.

    Thus, you are wrong to say, “It is the Calvinist who denies the eternal attribute of omnipotence, by presuming the all-powerful One has no alternative to meticulous deterministic rule over His creation.” The Calvinist presumes that God has no alternative to meticulous deterministic rule over His creation. The Calvinist allows that God, in exercising meticulous rule, chooses when and where to exercise His power.

    1. R Hutchin: You say “Sovereignty is, by definition, meticulous rule but meticulous rule does not require that the sovereign exercise (express) his power to force His will in order to maintain meticulous rule.”

      You are wrong in this and also confusing two separate points. Omnipotence is an eternal attribute of God and I think we will agree that God is indeed all powerful. However, he does not and indeed chooses not to always exercise this power. If you insist that sovereignty is the meticulous exercise of power, then there is no difference between omnipotence and sovereignty.

      Sovereignty is concerned with the exercise of power. So God is sovereign yes, but he is only sovereign where his power is exercised. As I’m UK based, I’m pleased to confirm that we still have a sovereign, whereas (you) Americans decided to go it alone! The result is that the Queen exercises her sovereign power (limited though it now is) in the UK, but most US citizens would be a bit uptight if the Queen interfered in the internal affairs of the USA. The Queen does not exercise any rule in the US, so she is not sovereign over the US.

      The Lord’s Prayer is a good reminder that God’s will is NOT being done here on earth as it is in heaven. Which is why we are asked to pray that it WILL be done here on earth! This is also reflected in the many passages which speak about the kingdoms of this world. They basically fall into one of two categories. Either the Kingdom of God or the Kindgom of Satan. Whichever one you are in determines which sovereign state you come under. When we are born again we pass from the kindgom of darkness to the kindgom of light etc.

      All this does nothing to diminish God’s omnipotence, but his sovereignty? That is limited to where his rule is acknowledged. One day every knee will bow and acknowledge Jesus as Lord, but that day has not yet come.

      1. Barker’s woof writes, “If you insist that sovereignty is the meticulous exercise of power, then there is no difference between omnipotence and sovereignty.”

        God is sovereign and thereby He meticulously rules His creation. If not, then someone else rules some part of God’s creation and God cannot be sovereign.

        As sovereign, God can meticulously exercise His power but can do so as He wills. For example, God wills not to exercise His power to save Stephan from being stoned and then exercises His power to free Peter from prison. Thus, God exercises meticulous rule but differentiates in the meticulous use of His power, There is a clear difference between the meticulous rule of the sovereign and the meticulous exercise of power by the sovereign.

        That God’s will is not done on earth, reflects a decision by God, as sovereign, to permit His creation (man) to make decisions and act contrary to His will. Satan rules the world only by permission of God and only to the extent God wills. Satan is not sovereign over God and cannot act independently of God.

    2. The problem with the doctrine that God decrees all things that come to pass goes much further than what you describe as “meticulous”.
      The doctrine of divine decree says that everything that happens, HAD to have happened, and nothing otherwise could have happened.
      This is extraordinary. Certainly, God has secret decrees that He insures come to pass, and God has revealed decrees in Scripture that will come to pass, but the extrapolation that every decision of man (and Christians) was decreed by God means that if I, as a believer, yield to temptation and commit a presumptuous sin, afterward, I would have to believe that I HAD TO DO IT. I would have to believe that it was IN MY SCHEDULE before I did it. It would eliminate regret, remorse, and feelings about not doing something we should have done, and make those feelings illusions that should be discarded. God does not have Christians living their moment by moment existence believing such things, and it is clear for example when Jesus told the Pharisees “these things you ought to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” I believe this doctrine of comprehensive decree ( I am NOT talking about Genesis 50, Isaiah 10, and Acts 4—these are situations with Gods eternal purposes) is a “foolish question” and a ridiculous attempt by man to try to explain how God can know the future in a creation of billions of people who make countless real decisions every day. God never asked us to make this a doctrine or explain this.
      In conclusion, I believe this doctrine finds its erroneous foundation in Ephesians 1:11b-12 where they cut the sentence in half and stop at the end of verse 11. Look: “being predestinated according to the purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will: that we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ.” I believe “his will” in this passage is defined specifically as one thing: “that we should be to the praise of His glory.” To cut the sentence in half to say “God works all things after the counsel of His will” is wrong.

      1. Roy Lange writes, “if I, as a believer, yield to temptation and commit a presumptuous sin, afterward, I would have to believe that I HAD TO DO IT. I would have to believe that it was IN MY SCHEDULE before I did it. It would eliminate regret, remorse, and feelings about not doing something we should have done,…”

        That God knew you would fall to temptation and sin tells us something about you. It tells us that you desired to do this sin and that your act of sin was intentional. It also tell us that you purposely ignored God and did not ask Him for help to resist the temptation – you disdained Him – still, God was standing there beside you and your request for help would have received an immediate response. And yet, you are not ashamed that God knows you so well and you have no regret or remorse over this. Are you certain that you are a believer? On whom are you wanting to put the blame for your sin since you do not want to blame yourself?

      2. Roy Lange writes, ” I believe this doctrine of comprehensive decree…is a “foolish question” and a ridiculous attempt by man to try to explain how God can know the future in a creation of billions of people who make countless real decisions every day.”

        The this doctrine of comprehensive decree states a truth. God actually does know the future decisions of billions of people and not one decision goes forth unless God decrees that it should. Should we think that God is deaf and dumb as you portray Him?

  18. Here is a Scripture about the question: For whom did Christ die?I would like to ask people: Who is the “us” in this Scripture?

    Romans 8:32-34
    He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not by Him freely give us all things? Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifies. Who is he that condemns? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.”

    For you who believe that Christ died for everyone, the “us” necessarily must be everyone. This would mean everyone (including Adolf Hitler and Ariel Castro) is God’s elect, nobody can lay anything to their charge, that God justifies them, and they are promised that all things will be freely given to them. It also means that Christ made intercession to the Father for them.

    Study the Scriptures. Or false teachers will slander the truth and tell you what to believe.

    1. Hi Roy, What does the “me” in Gal 2:20 mean? Of course it means Paul. So I guess that verse proves that Christ only died for Paul! Calvinists make this logical mistake a lot. Just because a verse talks of God’s redemption for the elect or the church does not exclude it being for the whole world also (2Cor 5:19, Heb 2:19, 1John 2:2). If a verse said, He gave Himself “only” for the elect, you would have proof.

      God redeemed Israel out of bondage, but it would be wrong to say that only their “fathers” were baptized into Moses at the Red Sea (1Cor. 10:2) for there was also a mixed multitude that had joined them from among the Egyptians (Ex.12:38).

      1. brianwagner writes, “So I guess that verse proves that Christ only died for Paul! Calvinists make this logical mistake a lot.”

        Where did you get this wacko idea?

        Galatians 2:20 reads, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.”

        This is Paul’s testimony and he speaks personally of himself (unless you see something in this verse I don’t). Absent anything else, we might conclude that Christ only died for Paul. However, doesn’t Paul himself gives us much more information on this subject and don’t others also write on this subject? Calvinist make no logical mistake in their exegesis of the Scripture – they insist that the full counsel of God be studied to determine truth. Shouldn’t we also?

        Paul, in his letters, often speaks of Christ dying, not just for him, but for God’s elect. Do you think the Calvinist make the logical mistake to conclude that Paul has expressed truth – that Christ died for God’s elect?

      2. God’s elect! (That’s what I get for trying to answer from my phone… 🙂 )

      3. About your point concerning Paul saying that Christ loved him personally, and gave Himself for him….Certainly we both believe that.
        Now, we also see “Husbands, love your wives even as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it.” So, can both of those Scriptures be believed without contradiction? Now, does common sense say that the 2nd verse is the broadest, most comprehensive declaration of the scope of the death of Christ? Yes, particularly because we have numerous Scriptures that limit the scope of His death to the elect.
        So, I can believe in particular redemption without any contradictions. You, however, in attempting to increase the scope of the death of Christ to all mankind, now create massive contradictions in the Word of God. You now have a Christ that does not give full disclosure…a Christ who speaks partial truths…a Christ with two brides! The fact of the matter is that if Christ’s death was for all mankind, the Scriptures would say it in every place where the scope of the atonement is mentioned. “Husbands, love your wives even as Christ loved everybody and gave Himself for everybody.”????? God forbid. But this is Arminianism–happy with contradictions galore, and a refusal to trace clear patterns in the use of “the world”, “all” and “all men”.
        Here is an example. “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to ALL MEN, teaching us that denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously and godly in this present world.” I ask you…has the grace of God that brings salvation appeared to everyone who ever lived and now lives? Everyone in North Korea? If so, our job is DONE! No need to preach the gospel to anyone anymore…in fact, that has been the case for 2000 years.
        But, if you read that verse in CONTEXT we see, once again, the “all men” is clearly defined as: aged men, aged women, young women, and young men….all ages. And also slaves……Those are the PLAIN definition of “all men” in Titus. We see this pattern often in The New Testament…we see the list of the kinds or types of people, then “all men”.

        The Armininian’s mind and concept of God is so pitiful that I am utterly astonished. The spirit of Arminianism is to savor the things of man more than God–it says that everyone DESERVES MERCY and GOD MUST OFFER MERCY TO EVERYONE if He gives it to ANYONE. And we know where that spirit comes from. The Arminian SAYS everyone deserves hell, but then when the rubber meets the road in God’s extension of mercy to whom He pleases, then the Arminian steps in and rebukes God for unfairness, and blasphemes a God who would do that. If you truly believed everyone deserves hell, then you would not flinch or insanely 2nd guess God or judge Him for HIs freedom to show mercy on anyone He chooses…

        If I were to convert to Arminianism, I would fry my mind, my conscience, and end up with a God who wants something, but does not lift a finger to do it.

        The gospel and the understanding of it is given by divine mercy and revelation. The Arminian will remain utterly blinded to the gospel, offended by it, and will cling to his utterly counterfeit gospel as the real—-forever, unless God shows him mercy. There is a video on youtube of a former Arminian who came under conviction and repented publicly…you can find it by searching “anti Calvinist repents”…

        When I see a Scripture that presents difficulty to my conclusions about doctrine, I can see when I am starting to come up with answers that are grasping for straws, and I check myself on it. But I do not see this in Arminians….they refuse to say “wow” “that is a tough one!” Also, their conspicuous avoidance of detailed exegesis of ALL the Scriptures that opposes them shows me, even as a neutral observer, which side is the dishonest one, which side is not making Scripture their foundation.

        “Take heed that the light that is in you is not darkness…”

        Satan’s counterfeit gospel is very appealing…the world hears it….it does not have the offense….and worst of all…it cannot save….

      4. I’m praying for you toy Roy. God has always used creation and conscience to draw all (Rom 1, 2) and His Spirit (Gen 6). Look at Acts 17:26-27 to see how God’s intention was always for all to seek and have the possibility of finding Him.

        His redemption is broader than Paul, broader than the church and includes the sins of the whole world (1John 2:2) and even apostate teachers (2Pet 2:1).

        I am sorry that you feel to support your own individual election you have to denigrate the clear presentation of God’s universal offer of mercy. I really wonder how well you know and love the Lord who prayed “Father forgive them!” Do you truly think Jesus was only praying for particular elect individuals who happened to be among the soldiers who crucified Him and the crowd who m mocked Him?

        I pray that the scales will fall from your eyes my friend!

      5. brianwagner writes. “God’s intention was always for all to seek and have the possibility of finding Him.”

        I don’t think any dispute this. Even Jesus said in John 6 – “my Father’s will is that everyone who looks to the Son and believes in him shall have eternal life.”

        Against this we read, “As it is written: “There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God.”

        Even though God provides means and encouragement for people to seek Him, the end result is that no one seeks Him. Thus, we read where Jesus also says in John 6, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him.”

        God has given people the freedom to do what they want. There is an universal offer of salvation. Despite God’s intent that people should desire Him and seek Him, we find that none do so unless God takes direct action to cause people to seek Him.

        The doctrine of election states that God chooses whom He will draw to Christ. As not all are saved, we can conclude that those not saved were never drawn to Christ else they would have been saved.

  19. 1. Corinthians 1:26-32 For you see your calling, brethren,how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called: But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God has chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty; and the base things of the world, and the things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea and the things which are not, to bring to nought the things that are: that no flesh should glory in His presence. But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: that, according as it hath been written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the LORD.”

    Here is a Scripture that plainly shows that #1-God hand picks each person in the church, #2-that there is an “effectual calling”…a specific people called to be saints, called to be saved, and all of them will be saved. #3-this calling is redemptive. #4-that God is the reason anyone is in Christ (not human determination) Any honest reader of the text can see this.

    The people who despise God’s choice in salvation really are corrected here (if they submit to Scripture).

    Study your Bible. Learn Biblical Doctrine.

    1. Hi Roy, The passage in 1Corinthians does not help your view that God’s choosing is unconditionally. It appears He picks out certain ones because of who they are… which is exactly what He does. He chooses all the poor in spirit that trust Him, and they usually are also among the physically humbled and not among the humanly wise and mighty! Nothing in the passage suggests a choosing of individuals before the foundation of the world, when no individual human actually existed or would have had any opportunity to be among the poor from which God could choose.

      1. brianwagner writes, ” The passage in 1Corinthians does not help your view that God’s choosing is unconditionally. It appears He picks out certain ones because of who they are… which is exactly what He does.”

        we read, “…not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called:’…” So, some wise were called, some mighty were called. As all the wise and all the mighty were not called, we can conclude that a person was not called because they were wise or mighty. God’s choosing was not conditional on a person being wise or mighty – in this respect, it would be unconditional.

        Then, God has chosen foolish things, also the weak things and the base. Again not all who are fools or weak or base are called. Thus, God does not call a person because they are foolish, weak, or base as He has called some who are wise and strong. God’s choice of whom to call seem not to reflect anything about the person given these verses – thus supporting Lange’s position that God chooses unconditionally.

        That God chooses “all the poor in spirit that trust Him” says nothing as there would be those who are poor in spirit who do not trust in Him unless you meant to say, “He chooses all the poor in spirit, because the poor in spirit are those who trust Him…” The question can then be asked, Can one be poor in spirit and another not by any means other than by God’s grace?

      2. Hi Roger! Good chooses real people in real time based on their meeting real conditions that He planned and provided for them to meet… But not predetermined before creation and not irresistibly. You are very aware that the word calling by Paul has a variety of nuances, and you do believe in a universal call, though you must interpret it as not being universal in its intention, making God appear insincere to most people’s understanding of a universal offer.

      3. brianwagner writes, “Good chooses real people in real time based on their meeting real conditions that He planned and provided for them to meet…”

        I agree. These are God’s elect. God choose His elect – based on conditions He provided for them to meet. Such cannot be said for the reprobate who never meet God’s conditions because god did not provide for them – they were passed over. As God planned and provided the means for His elect to be saved, nothing prevents God having planned all this before he created the world. Or are we to think that God must plan on an ad hoc basis?

        Although there is an “universal call,” it is described better as an universal command. People are commanded to repent and believe the gospel. God is as sincere in commanding people to repent and believe the gospel as He was in commanding Israel’s obedience to the commandments He issued through Moses and as sincere as He was in commanding Adam/Eve not to eat the fruit. Adam/Eve found out how sincere God was through their disobedience as did Israel. So will those disdain God and refuse to repent and believe the gospel.

  20. Roy says:
    “Here is a Scripture about the question: For whom did Christ die?I would like to ask people: Who is the “us” in this Scripture?
    Romans 8:32-34
    He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not by Him freely give us all things? Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifies. Who is he that condemns? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.”
    For you who believe that Christ died for everyone, the “us” necessarily must be everyone.”

    Again, there is no conflict here for us. God has delivered him up for us all, (everyone) but not all believe, therefore, not all become elect. If you take off your Calvinist glasses for a moment, and just read the scripture simply, you wouldn’t jump to these conclusions.

    1. wildswanderer writes, “Again, there is no conflict here for us. God has delivered him up for us all, (everyone) but not all believe, therefore, not all become elect.”

      It may be that God did deliver Christ for all. However, Romans 8:32-34 only speaks to God’s elect – the “us” to whom Paul is writing the letter. To further discussion, you might offer those verses that you have found that you think tell us that God delivered Christ for all – both elect and non-elect.

      1. Christ died for all who meet a certain condition. No one is excluded directly by God from meeting this condition. I’m continually puzzled by Calvinists saying this is a logical conundrum (James White especially). James White believes the contradictory belief that the elect were under the wrath of God at a point in time, yet the work of Christ needs no human action to apply it. *That* is a real contradiction, not that Christ died for all yet all are not saved, because there is a condition upon salvation. *If* the work of Christ needs *no* human cooperation and is once-for-all-time completed and nothing can undo it, then the elect can *never* be under the wrath of God, from birth to death.

      2. dizerner writes, “*If* the work of Christ needs *no* human cooperation and is once-for-all-time completed and nothing can undo it, then the elect can *never* be under the wrath of God, from birth to death.”

        Close. Lose the comma – “…the elect can *never* be under the wrath of God from birth to death.” Both conclusions are valid.

        This is the conclusion of the Calvinists. People are born sinners and under the wrath of God; God then delivers His elect from the power of darkness and translates them into the kingdom of his dear Son. There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus. Through faith, the righteous – God’s elect – now live. As it is God who declares that the elect were under His wrath until He saved them, that is our starting point.

        While it is true that “Christ died for all who meet a certain condition,” the issue is how some are able to meet that condition and some are no when all are equally depraved sinners.

      3. Wait, are you Calvinist? I was under the impression you were.

        If Jesus “actually saves” and not “potentially saves” as James White would have it, no elect could ever be a sinner or lost. That’s just logic 101. Obviously White would say God allowed the elect to be sinners for awhile before the work of Christ was applied to them. Why then does he throw a huge fit that “potential salvation” is unbiblical? Why does he insist that the work of Christ “actually” saves, for if it did, no elect could “actually” ever be lost. The Calvinist position has the odd effect of removing the real meaning behind “if” in thousands of Bible verses.

      4. For Christ to save sinners requires that a person be a sinner. If “Jesus actually saves” means that the elect were never sinners, then Jesus actually saves no one. It is only if the elect were sinners that Christ can be said to have saved them. So, your Logic 101 is creating a strawman against which to argue.

        As Paul attests, Jesus came into the world to save sinners of whom Paul said that he was one. By Paul’s own account, he was a sinner and was not brought to salvation until Jesus confronted him on the road to Damascus. So, when Jesus died on the cross, did he actually save Paul at that point or potentially save Paul. Paul’s salvation was never in doubt after Christ’s death – only the working out of Paul’s salvation remained.

        When James White says that “Jesus actually saves,” he means that Christs death on the cross made the salvation of God’s elect certain. He objects to “potentially saves’ because it suggests that the salvation of God’s elect is possible but not certain. However, even you agree that the salvation of God’s elect is certain and has never been in doubt, don’t you? To say that “Jesus saves” is to say that Jesus actually saves and not potentially saves.

        I think the real issue is one of definition. What does the term, “Jesus potentially saves” mean? Resolve the definition and you resolve the issue James White has with it.

      5. Would you say Paul as a sinning Pharisee was actually saved by Jesus or potentially saved by Jesus. If he died at that point in time, do you think he would go to heaven according to Scripture? Because I think Jame White’s language is completely disingenuous (as is most of Calvinistic language, lol, shoot they even call not-really-free will as the term free-will). He wants to make a super big deal out of Arminian “potentiality” when Scripture itself is completely full of the language of potentiality. And no I don’t believe in eternal security, all the promises of security in Scripture are conditional upon something.

      6. Paul tells us, “For in him we live, and move, and have our being;” We go to sleep at night and wake the next morning because God, in His grace, has granted us another day. Thus, Paul lives by the grace of God. So Paul writes, “…when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace, to reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen;…” It is God who fixes the day of each person’s birth and of their death. God brings each person’s life to an end either to call them to judgment or to glory. God “works all things after the counsel of his own will.” Thus, we have confidence that God purposed that Christ die for those whom He had chosen to save and, like Paul, God draws His elect out of the world in the course of time.

        God’s elect are secure for Paul writes, “He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?” and “[God] chose [His elect] in [Christ] before the foundation of the world, that {His elect] should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated [His elect] unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;…” Salvation is by grace and nothing can undo what God has done. So Christ promised, “this is the Father’s will who has sent me, that of all which he has given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.”

  21. So, if you get up in church and say “Christ died for us all.” I’m supposed to assume you only mean that he died for the people in that room? My natural assumption would be us all means everyone, not just the people present.

    1. I guess this means that you can’t think of any verses that say that Christ died for the non-elect.

      Given the circumstances, if I were to get up in church and say “Christ died for us all.” you should assume I only mean that he died for the elect. Of course, I probably would not say that Christ died for us all unless I was reading a Scripture that said that.

      We should not let natural assumptions govern how we define words, like “us,” that we find in the Bible. My natural assumption is that “us all” means “not the Jew only but the gentile also.” I can support my natural assumption with Ephesians 3. Can you support your natural assumption with anything you have read in the Bible?

  22. Lol, only every verse that says Jesus died for sinners. Who are sinners? Those who are not yet among a group of people known as the elect. How does one become elect? He believes. It’s not that complicated, but some people can complicate making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I suspect these are the same people who think you need a theology degree to understand the Bible.
    “16 “For God so loved the world,[i] that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.”
    What is the qualification here? Belief. Not belief in TULIP, but in Christ.

    1. So, all you can come up with is that Christ died for sinners, to which all agree. That is a general designation. More specifically, the Bible says that Christ died for God’s elect – hose who believe in Christ. John 3:16 tells us that God gave His son so that only those who believe would not perish. Those not believing will perish as was always intended. This is one theme of Pastor Flowers book – God judicially hardens those whom He does not want to save. It was for those whom God wanted to save that he sent His son.

      The distinction between those who are saved and those not saved is belief. Calvinists say that God chooses whom to save and brings them to belief. Pastor Flowers says that God chooses whom to condemn and hardens them so that they will not believe. What do you say?

  23. I say exactly what scripture says, that it is by grace through faith. That they can’t come if no one tells them. The scriptures tell me that men can and do resist God’s will.
    Acts 7:51 “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye.”
    We are told in Ephesians that we were once objects of wrath. What made the difference? We made a free will choice to believe. God can and does allow free will and still brings his overall plan to completion.

    1. Hello Wildswanderer,

      I believe that you are right about the scriptures teaching that at times people can and do resist God’s will. Beside the text that you brought up: a great example is Israel in the Old Testament. I have never understood why some argue that we never resist God’s will when it is both plainly stated in scripture AND we experience it in our own lives. If believers who have the Spirit continue to sin, and sin is definitely going against God’s will, then how can anyone argue cogently and rationally that we never resist God’s will?

    2. wildswanderer writes, “The scriptures tell me that men can and do resist God’s will….We made a free will choice to believe. ”

      The natural state of people is to resist God and the gospel. However, some people make a free choice to believe. Pastor Flowers says that God judicially hardens some people taking away their free will resulting in their rejection of the gospel and condemnation. Calvinists say that people are born totally depraved having no free will – being slave to sin – and always reject the gospel until regenerated and given back a free will which they exercise to believe the gospel. What is your take on this? The Flowers view, the Calvinist view or your own brand?

  24. rhutchin,
    I lean toward the Methodist or Wesleyan view of prevenient grace.
    Free will is actually a bit of a misnomer, as God frees our will so that we are able to respond. My view of total depravity is also not as total as the reformed view. All our facilities are depraved, but that doesn’t mean that a non-believer can never do anything unselfish or good, but that he can never resist sinning consistently.
    Just for the record, the Pelagian view that we can choose good without God’s help consistently is very misguided. Shameless plug-actually my lost post on my blog goes into all these topics, and I try to insert stories and humor to keep it interesting instead of sticking to dry theology.

    1. If God frees a person’s will so that they can respond to the gospel, the person will exercise that freedom to accept the gospel. To reject the gospel, under any circumstances, is to chose irrationally and irrational choices mean that the person has no freedom of will.

      1. I kind of understand what you mean about irrational choices, but I’m not so sure we can understand why people choose what they do. I knew of a girl who continually said “Satan possess me,” even with continual prayer, being in a Christian home, and a relative of mine spending a lot of time with her. There was a moment when she realized that the consequences of what she was doing, I’m absolutely sure of it; yet she chose to continue on that path anyway. We might even think a lot marketing and consumerism banks on people’s free will acting irrationally (buying things they don’t really need). All the factors that go on in a free will choice can seem quite mysterious at times. I can say in my own life I’ve never felt anything close to “irresistable grace.” Living for God has been a terrific and painful struggle for me, laiden with sacrifices (granted those things are dung compared to Christ). I would still give all the credit to God’s grace at work in me, yet I feel like I did make real life choices to allow and pursue that grace—like the wise man building his house, or the fool listening to wisdom in proverbs. I took those things seriously, and I don’t think a person is “forced” to take those things seriously. Maybe one day I’ll have the privilege of experiencing irresistible grace—I would love it!

      2. The only real choice that we need consider is the salvation choice. people can choose to accept God’s salvation if they have libertarian free will. This is described as the ability to choose otherwise or contra-causal freedom. We can describe libertarian free will as the following:

        1. The person is aware that he has a choice and can choose otherwise (thus, he understands he faces a choice between eternal life and eternal death);
        2. The person understands the difference between the choices he faces (thus, he understands the benefits to eternal life and the great loss from eternal death);
        3. The person is able to reason and make a rational choice (reflecting his being made in the image of God).

        The person regenerated by God to have libertarian free will easily chooses eternal life – it is the rational decision. The person who is still dead in sin and a slave to sin does not have a free will – he chooses eternal death.

        If you find Christ irresistible, then you have experienced grace (or Christ) and it has proven irresistible. Grace is not a feeling; it is God working in you to remove your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh; to open your heart to believe the gospel; to reveal Christ to you, and any other things God does that affects a relationship between you and Christ. If God explained the things He had to do to enable you to “choose” Christ, you would be dumbfounded. Of course, one of those things was to restore a libertarian free will within you.

      3. I think some people are saying rational means you have reasons, but not necessarily the best reasons. So maybe your use of rational is confusing to people. Another strange thing, under Arminianism, you get some believers thinking that their free will choice is actually something God made for them. It doesn’t really matter in practice—as long as people keep choosing Christ, it doesn’t hurt to think that you’re not the one doing it. But then you assume that anyone that knows Christ is compelled to choose him, and history does not bear that out.

      4. Rational has nothing to do with reasons; even irrational choices can be made for reasons. Rational means that the choices made are consistent with the information on which the choice was based.

        So, the salvation decision is based on the person’s choice between eternal life and eternal death. Unless the person views that situation as foolishness (per 1 Corinthians 1 and indicative that the person’s freedom to choose has been compromised), the person with libertarian free will always chooses eternal life. At least, those who are believers would come to that conclusion. An unbeliever might argue differently, but unbelievers are screwed up to begin with so their reasoning is not to be trusted.

  25. “If God frees a person’s will so that they can respond to the gospel, the person will exercise that freedom to accept the gospel. To reject the gospel, under any circumstances, is to chose irrationally and irrational choices mean that the person has no freedom of will.”
    This might make sense to you in theory, but it’s not reality. I rejected the Spirit’s leading many, many times. It’s not irresistible. Prevenient grace is not coercive.

      1. Darin,

        How do YOU define rational?

        It seems to me that when we freely make a choice we make the choice for reasons in light of what is important to us.

        If we choose for reasons, if reasons are involved, then it is a rational choice.

        Can you make a rational choice and yet be mistaken? Sure. I have various reasons for going to the Acupulco Mexican restaurant for dinner tonight. So I plan what time to leave (for reasons), I plan what route to take (for reasons). And so I am acting very rationally making my choices for reasons. But then when I get there I find out that it is closed for renovations or closed for a private party. Did I make freely made choices for reasons? Yes. Was I mistaken about going there? Yes.

        Did Adam have reasons for not eating the fruit? Yes. That clearly would be a rational decision (if rational is defined as choosing for reasons). Did Adam have reasons for eating the fruit? yes, he wanted to be like God knowing Good and Evil. Now we immediately say but he made a mistake. And he did. But the question was: was it rational for Adam to eat the fruit? What this shows is that mere rationality is not enough. God made us so that most of the time when we choose we do so for reasons in light of what is important to us. But rationality must also be accompanied by ethics (and as believers we would go even further and say that our ethics ought to be derived from what God says). An atheist can be brilliant in logic and make all sorts of rational claims and know all about logic: but if that reasoning is divorced from ethics, separate from what is good, in rebellion to God, that it is worthless. God does not evaluate our choices by the sole criteria of whether or not they are rational: No he evaluates our choices in reference to His character and His Word.

        Adam was rational in eating the fruit: he was also wrong to do so, so his rationality in that instance did not mean much.

      2. Robert, that was meant as a rhetorical question for wildswanderer. I would look to him for his definition of “rational.” Whatever his definition, that’s what I would ask him as to Adam’s choice. Armed with complete information and understanding, neither the reprobate nor Adam could be seen as having made a rational choice. Since all have incomplete information or incorrect understanding in measure, we are able to be wrong without being irrational.

        wildwanderer’s comment:

        “If God frees a person’s will so that they can respond to the gospel, the person will exercise that freedom to accept the gospel. To reject the gospel, under any circumstances, is to chose irrationally and irrational choices mean that the person has no freedom of will.”
        This might make sense to you in theory, but it’s not reality. I rejected the Spirit’s leading many, many times. It’s not irresistible. Prevenient grace is not coercive.

      3. I don’t personally think it was rational for Adam to eat the fruit. I don’t think sin can ever be rational in the light of revelation. Can we make irrational choices? Our will is free, so we can decide whether to be rational or not. That’s up to us, even if for some people it doesn’t seem like much of a choice. But then we get to deception—and what causes it. With varying degrees of deception we lose sight of some truths, and certain things start to seem more valuable than they really are, like a mirage. So we are rational within the framework of our deception, but usually that’s a deception we began to allow somewhere, to entertain and it grows in our thoughts. I think Adam’s sin was the most irrational act of any human being for all time, because none of us saw and fellowshipped with God as directly as he did, or had the amount of blessings he did. And he let one tempter deceive him out of paradise and a God he knew, to bring a horrible life and hell to billions, all because of his betrayal and his high treason. Yet at the time, he felt pressured by betraying his wife and he felt the deception she was experiencing, that God had perhaps withheld the best thing from them, or they could even be on a level or above God. We would have to go back to Satan’s betrayal to find the most irrational act, in the full light of seeing who God is, to rebel against him—and that when he had one of the most privileged positions. I know the Calvinist will argue that following your own desires is what you consider rational, but a lot of people will suppress their desires in the light of a greater cause.

      4. Eating the fruit was an irrational decision. Adam could not discern truth from a lie and that lie compromised his free will – in effect he choose without a truly free will. That is why Jesus said that if we learn of Him, we will know the truth and the truth will set us free. To the extent that one knows the truth he is free; to be bound by lies is to be a slave and not free.

    1. Any person who rejects the leading of the spirit regarding Christ does so because he is a slave to sin and his will is enslaved to sin and not free. However prevenient grace is defined, it’s purpose was never to ensure that a person would come to Christ. If prevenient grace did not regenerate the person, it did nothing of value.

  26. Dizerner,

    I am going to post some more things on open theism over at the line by line thread. I looked at the website that you made reference to (including posts by an open theist named “Paidion”: and I really liked your visual graphic of how God sees everything at once, you are making some good statements in defense of the standard view of God’s omniscience). so keep an eye on that thread so we can discuss your interactions with the open theists a bit more over there.

  27. Darin, if you’re responding to this part of my quote: “If God frees a person’s will so that they can respond to the gospel, the person will exercise that freedom to accept the gospel. To reject the gospel, under any circumstances, is to chose irrationally and irrational choices mean that the person has no freedom of will.”

    that’s not me talking, it’s rhutchin. It doesn’t make sense to me to say that irrational choices mean no freedom of will. It’s precisely because we have freedom that we can choose irrationally. When any of us choose sin, we know on some level that it’s irrational, IMO.

  28. Seems to me that if this discussion of rationality is to indeed be rational, then folks need to define what they mean by “rational”.

    I gave my definition: making a choice for reasons.

    It also seems to me that some are defining it something like the best use of reason or the most reasonable choice. If **that** is your operating definition then most of our choices are irrational as we do not always makes choices based upon the best use of reason, or we do not make the most reasonable choice. Again I define it as making a choice for reasons and whether it was a good or bad choice, then goes into the areas of ethics. Regarding Adam’s decision to take the fruit, it was rational, but it was wrong. The better choice, the good choice would have been to not take the fruit and obey God about it. In either case whether he chooses to take the fruit or not take the fruit if he does so for reasons he **is** acting and choosing rationally (just not ethnically, ethnically speaking his choice was wrong, it was sin).

  29. I am finding Chapter 4 interesting. (No page numbers because I have the Kindle edition).

    You write, “Men are very much capable of hearing, seeing and repenting when confronted by the powerful gospel truth if…”

    The issue we face here is why any person “confronted by the powerful gospel truth” would reject the gospel and refuse to repent. The Calvinist concluded that this results from the person’s depraved condition that makes the person unable to respond. Your solution is that God intervenes to hide the truth of the gospel from a person thus making them unable to respond to the gospel. We can follow your line of thought and conclude that Satan is God’s agent to accomplish this “judicial hardening” when we read in 2 Corinthians 4, “…if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not,…”

    Thus, it is God’s choice that a person dies without believing the gospel as it is God who makes the decision to withhold the truth from them. Should God deny Satan power to blind the person, the person would respond to the gospel and be saved.

    You essentially say this, “[God] simply lets man continue down his already contra-causally-free, self-hardened path and [God] makes sure no revelation convinces him to repent prior to the sovereign redemptive purpose being served.” If God continues to do this until the person dies, then the person perishes.

    Do I understand your position correctly – That people go to hell because God blinds them to the truth of the gospel? So, God chooses whom to blind and whom to send to hell. Without God’s blinding, all who hear the gospel would be saved.

  30. You write in Chapter 4, “Hendryx denies that people ever have the ability of contra-causal choice (the ability of the will to refrain or not refrain from a given moral action).”

    I have not read Hendryx, but I suspect you should have written it this way, “…ability of contra-causal [free] choice (the ability of the will to [freely] refrain or not refrain from a given moral action).”

    Later you write, “[God] simply lets man continue down his already contra-causally-free, self-hardened path and makes sure no revelation convinces him to repent prior to the sovereign redemptive purpose being served.”

    So, are you justified in using the word “free” here? Is Contra-causal choice necessarily “free.” The Calvinist says that a person’s wants and desires determine the choices they make. So even though a person has contra-causal choice – as your examples of your daughter and the speeder – they choose according to their desires. This is what the Calvinist says and this is what people get upset about.

    What about “freedom” in conta-causal choice? You write, “Pharaoh contra-causally chose to rebel against God. God chose to blind Pharaoh from the truth…”

    Jesus told His disciples, “If you continue in my word…you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Given that you have God denying the truth to Pharaoh (and to all who reject the gospel), aren’t you actually saying that people who reject the gospel do so because they have no free choice. If a person has freedom to choose, isn’t it because they have not been blinded to the truth of the gospel?

    The Calvinist position is that people have no free will and this explains why all reject the gospel. It is only when God regenerates the person, reestablishing free will, that the person then responds to the gospel. You seem to be taking this position from a different direction – People are free to choose unless God withholds the truth from them in which case they are no longer free to choose and thereby reject the gospel.

    It seems to me that you have not sorted out what it means to be “contra-causally free” to choose and just flippantly throw that term out there without thinking about it.

    This whole idea of “freedom to choose” is muddled, but you have introduced the idea that God withholds truth from certain people and God’s action affects the “freedom” people have to choose. I think you are arguing that God – by blinding certain people – can take away a person’s freedom to choose (despite saying the opposite) and this explains why some people choose to reject the gospel.

  31. I would like a Calvinist to explain how it is that all the early church fathers believed in free will. The men who were personally acquainted with the apostles, somehow got this issue totally wrong?
    For example: Iraneaus AD 177 in against heresies: “God only Blinds the minds of those who chose not to believe and have already rejected him. In Romans 1, those who would not retain God in their knowledge He gave them over to a reprobate mind. In 2 Thessalonians 2, strong delusion is sent to to believe the lie.”
    “God made man a free agent from the beginning. This is the ancient law of human liberty, for there is no coercion with God. In man, as well as in angels, He has placed the power of choice. The Gnostic teaching that some men are born good, and others born bad, is wrong. Everyone has the power to reject the gospel.” Can’t get much clearer then that.

    1. What definition of “free will” is in view here? Spontaneous free will, libertarian free will, or what? Or are we talking about “human liberty, for there is no coercion with God,” (The Calvinist definition and explains how it is that all the early church fathers believed in free will. ).

      I don’t think it gets much clearer than that which you quote. My problem is that I think you are clueless about what is going on. Are you?

  32. This is what I see again and again with Calvinists-they re-define words to mean something other then their natural meaning, so they can fit them into their doctrine. The only exception is the hyper Calvinist who has no problem flat out denying free will and have no problem with God causing all evil. Apparently irresistible doesn’t actually mean irresistible, lol

    1. You’re absolutely right about Calvinists’ constant doublespeak. It’s quite frustrating to dialogue. Free will becomes not really free will, irresistible becomes changing our free will (that’s not really free), responsibility becomes not able to respond autonomously. One thing I think humans know intuitively, is that if you use some outside force to override, not just a person’s will, but also their autonomy in choosing, you have violated something sacred about the person (and I would argue the very image of God). In any fairy tale if the protagonist uses a love potion, the reader knows that true love has been violated no matter how genuine the love then seems from the victim. I honestly wouldn’t mind being a robot/puppet with no autonomy of my own, yet I’d never say that involves true freedom, love or responsibility. We’d have to redefine those words into oblivion, losing all their core meaning.

      1. Where do you get such notions?

        “Free will becomes not really free will…” So how does slavery to sin afford any real “free” will other than freedom to do as one desires – to sin?

        “…irresistible becomes changing our free will (that’s not really free),…” Irresistible, under Calvinism, is imparting true freedom of will to a person.

        “…responsibility becomes not able to respond autonomously.” This is autonomously with respect to ones self but not with respect to God (as God cannot be sovereign if people act autonomously of His rule).

        “One thing I think humans know intuitively, is that if you use some outside force to override…” Sin overrides the person’s will enslaving it to more sin. Under Calvinism, God overrides sin, restoring freedom to the will..

        ” I honestly wouldn’t mind being a robot/puppet with no autonomy of my own, yet I’d never say that involves true freedom, love or responsibility. We’d have to redefine those words into oblivion, losing all their core meaning.” Only a person ruled by sin would accuse God of being a puppetmaster; such is the deceitfulness of sin.

      2. You say:
        Only a person ruled by sin would accuse God of being a puppetmaster

        So you admit that you think the core idea of God overriding, decreeing or controlling human autonomy is inherently repugnant? I would think under Calvinistic Divine determinism that only a saint could describe God as a puppetmaster (indeed more or less this is what most Calvinists say—that only the grace of God can make you accept Divine determinism). [And to be honest I personally wouldn’t mind a Calvinistic God, I just don’t think it’s biblical.]

        You say:
        So how does slavery to sin afford any real “free” will other than freedom to do as one desires – to sin?

        I think you’re making a big logical mistake here. Slaves, in general, are forced to do things *they do not want to do.* Slavery without a free autonomous will loses real definition, for there is nothing “enslaved.” There has to be a real “something” to be enslaved, a real autonomy. If a kid gets to play games and eat ice cream, would any sane person say that kid is in slavery, enslaved to his “kidness.” No, he’s getting to act freely, there is no slavery. Slavery to sin, the Bible clearly describes, is doing the will *of another person* not merely your own will. Thus only a free will can be enslaved, there’s no logical contradiction of terms anywhere. No, a slave who is forced to do something can still choose freely to like his slavery or his master (indeed the Bible describes a slave like this as one who gets his ear pierced—if slavery means you have no choice, why can a slave choose to love his master, whom he is forced to serve anyway). It’s remarkable to me that the leaven of Calvinistic Divine determinism can so saturate one’s thinking that they think they are making a real cogent argument when there is no real logic backing their point at all.

        You say:
        Irresistible, under Calvinism, is imparting true freedom of will to a person.

        True freedom of will by definition has a real choice, A or B, accept or reject, chocolate or vanilla.

        You say:
        as God cannot be sovereign if people act autonomously of His rule

        If you dictate the terms by which God can be sovereign, than you are impinging on God’s sovereignty. God can be sovereign *any way he pleases,* including creating autonomy. No man has the right to define what sovereignty is for God, that is man-exalting and sheer arrogance.

      3. Dizerner writes, “So you admit that you think the core idea of God overriding, decreeing or controlling human autonomy is inherently repugnant?”

        No, the idea of “human autonomy” is repugnant. The idea behind human autonomy is that people can be independent of God. If that were possible, God could not be said to be sovereign over His creation because He would not be sovereign over those independent of Him. Under “human autonomy,” God is powerful but not sovereign.

        Dizerner writes, “Thus only a free will can be enslaved,…”

        The will can be enslaved. Once enslaved, the will cannot be said to be free. When Adam sinned, his will became a slave to sin; he was no longer free – at least, not free as he was before he sinned. In a sense, sin has violated something sacred to the person (as you said earlier) – it has violated the person’s relationship to God by destroying that relationship. When Adam sinned, his relationship to God was destroyed as was that of his children as no one had access to the garden anymore. Regardless, an enslaved will cannot be described as free.

        Dizerner writes, “God can be sovereign *any way he pleases,* including creating autonomy.”

        That is flat out wrong. Either God is autonomous and sovereign or man is sovereign and autonomous; both cannot be sovereign and autonomous at the same time. God cannot be sovereign any way He pleases. God is sovereign because of who He is and He cannot change who He is. Autonomy is not something that is created. Autonomy describes a relationship. People cannot be independent of God. God can allow people to act “freely” (choosing according to their desires) but even that would be within the constraints God establishes.

        Your problems are not with Calvinism; your problem is that you don’t understand God – who and what He is.

      4. You said:
        God cannot be sovereign any way He pleases.

        I want you to stop and think about what you said for 5 minutes. Just meditate on this statement. You are literally telling God what he can and cannot do. You are literally putting God in a box. You are dictating how God must run his universe. That’s why I call Calvinism ironically man-exalting, man-focused and man-glorifying. Because it’s man that wants to not be truly free, so he can feel secure without a sense of anything having been put beyond God’s control and without any real ability to respond independently. And that man-centered selfish desire for security motivates people to build the huge kingdom of Calvinistic deterministic theology, were they never have to consider or worry about autonomous actions and the mystery this brings in how God runs the universe or the real responsibility this puts on their autonomous libertarian free choices. That does not exalt God, it puts God in a man-made box.

      5. dizerner wriyes, “…it’s man that wants to not be truly free, so he can feel secure without a sense of anything having been put beyond God’s control and without any real ability to respond independently. And that man-centered selfish desire for security motivates people to build the huge kingdom of Calvinistic deterministic theology, were they never have to consider or worry about autonomous actions and the mystery this brings in how God runs the universe or the real responsibility this puts on their autonomous libertarian free choices.”

        Where are you getting this philosophy?

        We get our concept of God from the Scriptures and it is these Scriptures that you seem not to be aware. The word “sovereign,” is a shorthand term that describes God’s rule and control over His creation. It reflects that found here:

        “Our God is in heaven; he does whatever pleases him.” (Psalm 115:3)
        “For the kingdom is the LORD’S: and he is the governor among the nations.” (Psalm 22:28)
        “[God] is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;” (1 Timothy 6:15)
        “[God] rules over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes.” (Daniel 4:25)

        God is under no rule or law outside of His own will and nature; God is a law unto Himself; He is under no obligation to give an account of His actions to any. Thus, we say that God is “sovereign.” “Sovereign” describes what the Bible says about God regarding His rule over His creation. God is not sovereign in any way He pleases, but He is sovereign in the way He has described Himself in the Scriptures. As those Scriptures are not subject to change, we cannot now change our understanding of the sovereignty of God except as we discover more from the Scriptures. You do not seem to have discovered anything about sovereignty in the Scriptures but have let your imagination run wild on this subject.

    2. The issue is not whether irresistible means irresistible but whether it is coercive. That grace is irresistible speaks to its desirability. So, what about grace did you conclude was undesirable?

  33. What does free agent mean if it doesn’t mean men are able to resist God’s drawing? Hiding behind capabilism is pointless, the end result is the same, God creating some to be saved and some to be damned.

    1. The issue for free agency is not whether man is able to resist God’s drawing but how one person with free agency will resist God’s drawing while another does not resist – What is the difference between the two that allows two radically different responses?

      1. The Bible squarely places the responsibility for responding to grace from God squarely on the shoulders of the recipient of God’s grace, not on God himself. This is consistent throughout, from the call of wisdom in Proverbs, to the warnings in Hebrews, from the Prophets calling the people to repentance, to the man who built his house upon the Rock, those who hear and heed God’s words are those who are wise, and they will shine like the stars forever in the kingdom. It is solely and only and squarely the free autonomous choice of “yes” to God’s grace that makes the difference between the eternal destinies of the target of that grace. Yet this free will faith is not meritorious, because the Bible says it’s not meritorious. The Calvinist wants to define meritorious as anything whatsoever done by autonomy. However that contradicts the Bible’s definition of meritorious, that’s not how the Bible defines it. So the Calvinist by bringing in his own eisegetic definitions and forcing it on the Bible can make the Bible’s declarations of the free choice of man fit into the Calvinistic monergism and somehow become “meritorious.” However, it is wiser to trust the Bible’s definition of what is meritorious than the man-made man-exalting theology of monergistic Divine determinism. Saying yes to grace, does not earn the grace. We are but unworthy servants who will one day cast our crowns, not because we deserved them, but because we said yes to God’s grace. And not a single saint in heaven will describe that yes as meritorious, but merely obedience to grace.

      2. Dizerner writes, “The Bible squarely places the responsibility for responding to grace from God squarely on the shoulders of the recipient of God’s grace, not on God himself.”

        That is not the issue and is not in dispute. The issue is whether God, in extending grace unto salvation, must also provide a person with the free will necessary to respond to that grace. Calvinists say that God must do this with the result that all who are given free will (part of regeneration) respond by believing the gospel. Those who reject the gospel demonstrate that they have not been given free will by God’s grace.

        Dizerner writes, “It is solely and only and squarely the free autonomous choice of “yes” to God’s grace that makes the difference between the eternal destinies of the target of that grace.”

        True except it is not autonomous. It is the free choice of those in whom God has, by grace, enabled such freedom. No one with free will rejects the gospel.

        Dizerner writes, “The Calvinist wants to define meritorious as anything whatsoever done by autonomy. ”

        No. The Calvinist defines as meritorious anything that one person does that another person does not with God then respecting the one person because of this and not the other. Free will is not meritorious because God grants the person free will which the person is then able to exercise to believe God; all to whom God grants free will respond the same – by believing God.

        Dizerner writes, “it is wiser to trust the Bible’s definition of what is meritorious.”

        OK. So what do you see as the Bible’s definition of what is meritorious?

  34. “Calvinists say that God must do this with the result that all who are given free will (part of regeneration) respond by believing the gospel. Those who reject the gospel demonstrate that they have not been given free will by God’s grace.”
    How can you not see the absurdity of this statement? If all who are given free will have no choice but to respond by believing, then there was no free will involved.

    1. wildswanderer writes, “If all who are given free will have no choice but to respond by believing, then there was no free will involved.”

      Actually, people with free will have contra-causal choice. They understand the choices before them – eternal life vs eternal death – and are able to consider fully both options and then make a rational decision. The rational choice is always to believe God. It is people who have no free will who then make irrational decisions including the decision to reject salvation.

  35. God is sovereign over his sovereignty. The natural definition of sovereignty is not total control . You are limiting God to your understanding of how He must work.

    1. wildswanderer writes, “God is sovereign over his sovereignty.”

      What does “sovereign over his sovereignty” even mean. I think you are losing it.

      wildswanderer writes, “The natural definition of sovereignty is not total control.”

      Here, we are dealing with God – not the natural world. God is described as “sovereign” because He exercises absolute, total control over His creation.

  36. Sovereign over his sovereignty means that God does not have to use all his power. He does not have to minutely control every aspect of man’s will. he can if he chooses, but he can also choose to limit himself. Sovereignty does not automatically mean complete control. It means that no one else is more powerful, more all-knowing, etc. Jesus obviously limited himself when he was on earth. Did that make him less then sovereign?

    Your idea that people will always choose God when they have free will and understand the choice, just doesn’t work in the real world. I knew the choice inside and out, experienced God’s conviction many times and still chose not to believe, and know others who did the same. If that were the case, Christians would never sin. We still have free will, we still know right and wrong and we still sometimes choose wrong.
    Irenaeus: against heresies: “Man has the ability to distinguish good from evil….God does not compel people to salvation, so those who have apostatized have done so through their own fault….”

    1. wildswanderer writes, “Sovereign over his sovereignty means that God does not have to use all his power. He does not have to minutely control every aspect of man’s will. he can if he chooses, but he can also choose to limit himself.”

      Your issue here is how a sovereign God rules and not that He is sovereign. As you say, “he can also choose to limit himself.” There is no issue here. It is God who chooses how to exercise His power and not man who acts independent (autonomous) of God. God exercises His power directly (e.g., the destruction of Sodom/Gomorrah, the impregnation of Mary), or through secondary causes or agents (e.g., Satan’s temptation of Adam/Eve; Satan’s manipulation of Judas) or God leaves people to their own devises to act without interference from Him (e.g., Cain kills Abel; David gets Bathsheba; the stoning of Stephan). In all these instances, it is God who rules and God who chooses how He will rule. People act only within the limits imposed on them by God and never autonomously – outside God’s rule. You seem to be confusing what God is – sovereign – with how a sovereign God rules – the exercise of His power.

    2. wildswanderer writes, “Your idea that people will always choose God when they have free will and understand the choice, just doesn’t work in the real world. I knew the choice inside and out, experienced God’s conviction many times and still chose not to believe, and know others who did the same. ”

      This only reveals that you have an active imagination. What do the Scriptures tells us, “the god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not.” You see yourself in control of your life thinking that you were free to do as you please not knowing that Satan was manipulating you all the time. It was only when God freed you from Satan’s grasp that you were then able to humble yourself sufficient to submit to Christ. Perhaps, in the future, you will humble yourself to believe the Scriptures that you now still strive against.

      Where Irenaeus said “Man has the ability to distinguish good from evil,” the Baptist said, “A man can receive nothing, except it be given him from heaven.’ The ability to distinguish good from evil must be given to a man by God. Else you have the plight of man before the flood, “every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”

  37. Are we wasting our time, dizerner?
    So, what I’m getting here from rhutchin is that all those times when I thought the Holy Spirit was convicting me, it was actually just my imagination and not God at all.
    No one is saying we are in complete control of our lives. No one is saying that it isn’t God that frees our will. That’s what previnient grace is. Sitting up straw men and knocking them down doesn’t avoid the issues in your view. You can’t talk about God leaving people to their own devices under the definition of sovereign you just gave. Under Calvinism, David only commits adultery because God wants him to. Which is why Wesley was right in saying it makes God worse then the devil.

    1. wildswanderer writes, ‘Under Calvinism, David only commits adultery because God wants him to.”

      When David commits adultery, God is present watching everything that happens – Nothing is hidden from God. Because God is sovereign and both David and Bathsheba are subject to His rule, their adulterous actions require that God make decisions. God must decide whether to intervene to prevent their adultery or do nothing and let David and Bathsheba continue with their sin. God decides that He will not intervene. The result is that David and Bathsheba commit adultery because that is exactly what they want to do. It is also that which God has decided they should do unimpeded by Him – thus it is what God wants them to do. God’s decisions express His will.

  38. Why run all the way around Robin Hood’s barn? Why not just say, as Augustine and Sproul and Piper and others did that God needs evil to make Himself more glorified? Which , as horrible as it sounds and is, is the logical conclusion to draw if you start from unconditional election. Of course, this totally cancels out the clear teaching of the Word, that God battles against evil, hates it, and will ultimately get rid of it.
    It’s very easy to look back at Church history and trace the line of Calvinism from Luther back to Calvin, back to Augustine and then back to the Manicheans, the cult that Augustine was a member of for 8 years before he converted.

    1. wildswanderer writes, “Why not just say, as Augustine and Sproul and Piper and others did that God needs evil to make Himself more glorified?”

      I’m pretty sure that they never said this. However, if you have a citation, I will look it up. Absent a citation, I will take your claim to be another example of your very active imagination.

  39. “And thus evils, which God does not love, are not apart from order; and nevertheless He does love order itself. This very thing He loves: to love good things, and not to love evil things—and this itself is a thing of magnificent order and of divine arrangement. And because this orderly arrangement maintains the harmony of the universe by this very contrast, it comes about that evil things must need be. In this way, the beauty of all things is in a manner configured, as it were, from antitheses, that is, from opposites: this is pleasing to us even in discourse.”
    Augustine

    “It is not proper that one glory should be exceedingly manifested, and another not at all … Thus it is necessary, that God’s awful majesty, his authority and dreadful greatness, justice, and holiness, should be manifested. But this could not be, unless sin and punishment had been decreed; so that the shining forth of God’s glory would be very imperfect, both because these parts of divine glory would not shine forth as the others do, and also the glory of his goodness, love, and holiness would be faint without them; nay, they could scarcely shine forth at all.” Jonathan Edwards
    I’ll find the others, might take some time.

    1. What you wrote is that “God needs evil…” That is not what these men are arguing.

      The above quotes say that “…evil things must need be…(because this orderly arrangement maintains the harmony of the universe by this very contrast)” and “…it is necessary, that God’s awful majesty, his authority and dreadful greatness, justice, and holiness, should be manifested. But this could not be, unless sin and punishment had been decreed…” The purpose is to explain why it is that God has allowed sin to enter His creation. The answers above – in the arguments presented by Augustine and Edwards – state that evils are needed by man if man is to come to know God and glorify Him.

      In other words, evil contrasts with God and without evil, a person could not really perceive God. At least, that is the best reason they can discern for God to allow sin. It does help to explain why those that God frees from sin’s hold upon them so readily run to Christ for salvation. It also helps to explain how Adam/Eve could so easily sin when they were still ignorant of sin.

      Obviously, you don’t like the above arguments of these men. That’s fine, but do you have anything better to offer?

      Nonetheless, these statements do not argue that “God needs evil…” At least, I don’t see how you came to that conclusion form the above.

  40. I see nothing in there about MAN needing the contrast of evil to God’s goodness. What they are clearly saying is that these are needed for God’s glory. In other words, God would not be complete without evil, whether man exists or not. Regardless, this makes the concept of God’s goodness meaningless.

    1. wildswanderer writes, “What they are clearly saying is that these are needed for God’s glory. In other words, God would not be complete without evil, whether man exists or not.”

      Certainly God has ordained evil for His glory but He did not do this because He needs evil. God needs nothing being self-sufficient in himself.

      The first question in the shorter catechism of the reformed churches is.

      Quest. 1. What is the chief end of man?
      Ans. Man’s chief end is to glorify God, and to enjoy him for ever.

      I’m pretty sure that Augustine and Edwards, in context, are speaking of God’s bringing man to the point where man glorifies Him and that evil is necessary to this.

      So, how about providing me the citations so that I can look at the larger context and see if you are selectively quoting these guys.

  41. I mentioned Sproul earlier. R.C. was wise enough to admit that we don’t know why evil exists:
    “Herein lies the problem. Before a person can commit an act of sin he must first have a desire to perform that act. The Bible tells us that evil actions flow from evil desires. But the presence of an evil desire is already sin. We sin because we are sinners. We were born with a sin nature. We are fallen creatures. But Adam and Eve were not created fallen. They had no sin nature. They were good creatures with a free will. Yet they chose to sin. Why? I don’t know. Nor have I found anyone yet who does know” (Chosen by God [1986], p. 30).

    But his son is a different matter. He claims that: . The “culprit” who created sin is God himself, who “introduced evil into this world” (Almighty over all, page 51)
    He says: “God is as delighted with his wrath as he is with all of his attributes” (52) “What I’ll do is create something worthy of my wrath, something on which I can exhibit the glory of my wrath” (pp. 52-53)
    “It was [God’s] desire to make his wrath known. He needed, then, something on which to be wrathful. He needed to have sinful creatures” (p. 57).
    His answer to objections? “Shut up! He’s God, and he can do what he wants” (p. 56)

    This is not just over the top. It borders on blasphemy, to say that God somehow needed evil to make himself complete. But, really, it’s only Sproul Jr. taking his father’s theology to it’s logical conclusion

    1. I don’t think Jr. is near the intellect of his father.

      Regardless, the term, “evil,” is an adjective; it is not a noun – a person or thing. Only that which God describes as evil is evil. So God has given us laws to follow and said that disobedience to His laws is evil – sin.

      We know that:

      – [God] works out everything for his own ends…” (Proverbs 16:4)

      – “[God] works all things after the counsel of his own will:” (Ephesians 1:11)

      – “[God] forms the light and creates darkness, He brings prosperity and create disasters; [God does] all these things.” (Isaiah 45:7)

      – “When a trumpet sounds in a city, do not the people tremble? When disaster comes to a city, has not the LORD caused it?” (Amos 3:6)

      So, things that are described as evil are part of God’s eternal plan. Does God need evil – all agree that He does not. Why does God use evil; apparently to bring people to a right perspective of Himself.

  42. Either evil is a separate creation from the delegated sovereignty of autonomous libertarian contra-casual self-determining free will, or evil is exactly what God desires, plans and methodically forces to happen regardless of any one else’s choice. Every sin, every horrible pain, every mind-numbing cruelty is exactly what God desired from before the foundation of the world, under Divine determinism. Satan, under Divine determinism, can not in any real sense be called an “enemy” who “rebels” against God’s will, for he is the servant of God fulfilling everything that God himself decreed and desired from before the foundation of the world. None of this is what the Scripture teaches us.

    1. dizerner writes, “Either evil is a separate creation from the delegated sovereignty of autonomous libertarian contra-casual self-determining free will, or evil is exactly what God desires, plans and methodically forces to happen regardless of any one else’s choice. Every sin, every horrible pain, every mind-numbing cruelty is exactly what God desired from before the foundation of the world, under Divine determinism.’

      Evil is not a thing or an entity that God created. Evil is a word we use to describe certain things – mostly sinful actions of people. Nothing is “evil” until God declares it to be so. Mostly evil refers to sinful actions; people who sin can be described as evil. As sovereign, God has the final say on everything that people do. If a person wants to sin, he can do so only by God’s permission – this is because God always has the right to say, No. It is only if God decides that a person should be able to sin without interference from Him that a person can then proceed with their sin. Even you cannot explain that away and have not tried to do so.

      dizerner writes, “Satan, under Divine determinism, can not in any real sense be called an “enemy” who “rebels” against God’s will, for he is the servant of God fulfilling everything that God himself decreed and desired from before the foundation of the world.”

      As we learn from Job, Satan cannot do anything to Job unless God decides that he should. God limits Satan’s actions, so that Satan can go so far and no farther. Similarly, Satan does not enter the garden to tempt Adam/Eve except by God’s decision/decree. Satan does not tempt David to number Israel except by God’s decision/decree. Satan can certainly be described as an “enemy” because his desire is to destroy God’s creation. That Satan ends up doing that which God wanted reflects God’s sovereignty over His creation – nothing happens without God’s knowledge of it and His decree that it should happen. Even you cannot explain that away.

      It is precisely because Scripture teaches us that God is sovereign and nothing happens outside His will that we conclude these things.

      1. You said:
        nothing happens without God’s… decree that it should happen. Even you cannot explain that away.

        But you insist God cannot “decree” free autonomous choice for his creation, and so limit and box in God. In so doing, you explain away 95% of Scripture that clearly shows creation has free choice to which God responds relationally. I don’t feel like I have anything to explain away except one chapter in the Bible: Romans 9. And I’m willing to “walk through it” and show it still allows for creaturely freedom.

      2. dizerner writes, “But you insist God cannot “decree” free autonomous choice for his creation, and so limit and box in God.”

        God cannot undo His sovereignty – He cannot decree that man is sovereign and not Him. The issue is how God exercises His sovereignty.

        dizerner writes, “In so doing, you explain away 95% of Scripture that clearly shows creation has free choice to which God responds relationally.”

        None disputes that people have free choice. The dispute is over how free people are. God responds relationally to people exactly as He has laid it out – obedience is followed by blessing; disobedience is followed by curses. This says nothing about how free people are. I don’t think you understand the free will issue.

        dizerner writes, “I don’t feel like I have anything to explain…”

        You need to be able to explain how the goofy things you propose actually work in the Biblical context. So far, you complain about the conclusions Calvinists draw but cannot explain how those conclusions are wrong and you have no viable alternatives to offer that you can explain. You’re are like an angry old man who complains just to complain.

  43. Rather then simply echoing what dizerner said above, I thought I would add this excellent quote from Robin Phillips:
    “If, as Sproul maintains, God is the author of evil, then we would have to say that He fosters wickedness in people’s hearts. But if so, then God is sinful by the Biblical definitions of sin and evil. Consider that in the Proverbs, the ones who incite and tempt to evil (like the fool’s friends or the prostitute) are as morally guilty as the simple man who falls prey to those temptations. James says that God does not tempt us, but if God is the author of evil then He is doing a lot more than merely tempting us: He is fostering the evil in our hearts and inciting us to sin.

    Under this scheme, the words “God is good” are no longer intelligible, as God is violating His own self-revelation of what constitutes “goodness.” Consequently, if God really is the energizing principle behind both the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent, then we would have to conclude that the Biblical categories used to describe God are ultimately non-descriptive. Moreover, it would make a mockery of the antithesis that we find throughout the war-Psalms, if God is the causal force behind both sides.”

    1. “If is true that in some sense God foreordains everything that comes to pass, then it follows with no doubt that God must have foreordained the entrance of sin into the world. That is not to say that God forced it to happen or that he imposed evil upon his creation. All that means is that God must have decided to allow it to happen.” (Chosen By God, p.31)

      R.C. Sproul explains: “In spite of this excruciating problem we still must affirm that God is not the author of sin.” (Chosen By God, p.31)

      So, Robin Phillips starts with a false premise. Has Robin Phillips deliberately lied in order to make his argument? Why?

      1. Hi Roger –

        You said – “Nowhere do we read that Israel was charged with taking that word to the world. Had Paul meant that – and was actually was addressing Israel’s failure to take God’s word to the world, he should have been clear in this – he is not.”

        Are you suggesting that in Paul’s illustrating God’s of sovereignty concerning the specific choices that He made to reject or harden was not to demonstrate God’s concern for the salvation of the world, both Jew and Gentile? I think Flowers makes a great point in showing that the chapter starts with an apostolic example of the heart of God for all Israel’s salvation. Though I think Flowers should also have pointed more to verse 17 in support of his argument – “that My Name may be declared throughout all the earth.” How was God’s name to be “declared throughout all the earth” if not by Israel being formed to be that light to the nations? This verse sounds like Israel’s noble purpose was evangelism to me! Flowers does mention this, though not enough in my opinion. Look again at what he says about verse 17. And Chapters 10 and 11 confirm this noble purpose in God’s choosing and hardening! Read Paul’s summarization about God’s purpose in hardening Israel in 11:11-12. It was the same purpose for hardening Pharoah.

        These chapters, 9-11 are for those Gentile Christians in Rome who might be wondering will God fulfill His promises to them concerning being one of the elect in the body of Christ, since God’s election seems to have failed concerning Israel at first glance. That is why Paul takes the time to discuss the two types of election and the universal desire God has to show mercy to all (11:32). God’s salvation is for “whosever”. There is no pre-planned group of already chosen individuals before, but God does guarantee that there will be a group based on personal faith, and He is actively choosing vessels and hardening vessels to make His mercy available to all and to whosever! He is such a Great and Merciful God!

      2. brainwagner writes, “Are you suggesting that in Paul’s illustrating God’s of sovereignty concerning the specific choices that He made to reject or harden was not to demonstrate God’s concern for the salvation of the world, both Jew and Gentile?”

        I thought I was clear in saying that it is all about salvation – of the Jews. Paul is not dealing directly with the gentiles in chap 9.

        The issue is whether the Jews were commanded (even if implied) to evangelize the world. Pastor Flowers offers no argument for his position that they were. Absent that argument, he builds on a false premise.

        brianwagner writes, “How was God’s name to be “declared throughout all the earth” if not by Israel being formed to be that light to the nations? This verse sounds like Israel’s noble purpose was evangelism to me!”

        “…sounds like…” is not an argument. We don’t find God’s word being declared to the world until after Christ’s death. Paul writes in Ephesians 3 of the mystery hidden until that time – that the gentiles were co-heirs in the promise. If it was a mystery hidden until Paul explained it, how do you conclude that Israel should have known and should have been evangelizing the world? You have not presented a Biblical argument for this position. Pastor Flowers should have developed that argument – and given his comments on his debate with White, I’ll guess and say this was one of the reasons White harped on a lack of exegesis by Flowers.

        In Romans 9-11, Paul is dealing with the present and not the past – especially as he relates the Jewish situation to the salvation of the gentiles..

      3. First off, Calvin himself says: “[M]an falls, the Providence of God so ordaining …that by the will of God all the sons of Adam fell into the state of wretchedness in which they are now involved … Nor ought it to seem absurd when I say, that God not only foresaw the fall of the first man, and in him the ruin of his posterity; but also at his own pleasure arranged it.”
        You are splitting hairs. If this isn’t God authoring sin, what would be?
        Second, Phillips was responding to Sproul Jr. saying that there are ultimately no “bad” things, since God is completely sovereign.

      4. wildswanderer writes, “Calvin himself says: “[M]an falls, the Providence of God so ordaining …that by the will of God all the sons of Adam fell into the state of wretchedness in which they are now involved … Nor ought it to seem absurd when I say, that God not only foresaw the fall of the first man, and in him the ruin of his posterity; but also at his own pleasure arranged it.”

        So, what of the above that Calvin says do you say is erroneous and what do you say is truth?

        wildswanderer writes, “You are splitting hairs. If this isn’t God authoring sin, what would be?”

        For God to be the author of sin, He must force the person to sin where the person clearly has no existing desire for sin. When God decreed that Satan should have his way to enter the garden and tempt Adam/Eve, God knew the end result. If by being the author of sin, you mean that God watches people do the most heinous acts of sin and makes a conscious decision not to intervene to prevent the sin, then on that basis, God is the author of sin. Is that what you mean when you say that God is the author of sin?

        wildswanderer writes, “Second, Phillips was responding to Sproul Jr. saying that there are ultimately no “bad” things, since God is completely sovereign.”

        I don’t think Jr. is necessarily wrong. Nothing is “bad” unless God first declares it to be bad. If God does not call something, “bad,” then it is not bad. Adam/Eve could have freely eaten of the tree of knowledge except that God said “Do not eat.” Had God not said that, there would have been nothing wrong with eating that fruit. So, it is with all things. Unless God declares something to be “bad,” it is not bad.

      5. _______________________________
        In spite of this excruciating problem we still must affirm that God is not the author of sin.

        That is not to say that God forced it to happen or that he imposed evil upon his creation. All that means is that God must have decided to allow it to happen.

        If by being the author of sin, you mean that God watches people do the most heinous acts of sin and makes a conscious decision not to intervene to prevent the sin, then on that basis, God is the author of sin. Is that what you mean when you say that God is the author of sin?
        ———————————————————————————————

        Calvinism logically leads to complete Divine determinism, that is, God is the real cause of all things. They will introduce secondary means, by which they then use the words “permission,” “responsbility,” and “free will.” But all those words lose any meaning of autonomy under Divine determinism, and one could easily argue that those words inherently include the idea of autonomy, normally, until they are redefined under Calvinism to remove those ideas. So we say, “Calvinists, stop playing word games. If God is the cause, autonomy does not exist. Make that clear in your theology and stop using confusing terms that Arminians use.”

        The question is, if God directly decrees all sin and evil, do secondary means and permission really mean anything at all? If you are the original author of the action, you are always the one culpable for the action. The Bible clearly indicates this. King David used secondary means to allow Uriah to die in battle. Uriah simpy went to war and died in battle. From Uriah’s perspective, his death was his own doing. King David was not excused from culpability just because he did something indirectly—just because he murdered through secondary means. If you are the initiator, you are the culpable one.

        If God gives us a desire due to nothing of our own autonomous actions, that desire is not our own autonomous choice, and logically, we can not truly be culpable under any sense of real justice. Yet the Bible says the evil actions come from the hearts of men, not that they come from God himself. Every good and perfect thing comes from the Father—not every sinful and imperfect thing. And it is said there is not a shadow of turning in God, no darkness at all. Darkness spiritually represent sin and evil (John 1), and there is no darkness in God. God is not the direct or indirect author of sin and evil, and it is biblically blasphemous to say so.

      6. dizerner writes, ‘Calvinism logically leads to complete Divine determinism, that is, God is the real cause of all things.”

        In other words, God created the world. As Paul wrote in Ephesians, “[God] works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,…’

        Even you are not so bold as to deny this.

      7. God creating all things, does not mean that God creates the decisions of the autonomous creaturely freedom. That’s simply a logical non-sequitor. Freedom is a thing God creates. To describe it with a great quote from A. W. Tozer:

        God’s eternal decree decided not which choice the man should make but that he should be free to make it. Man’s will is free because God is sovereign.

        So I see Scripture as indicating that the free moral creatures decisions are something God often has to work around. Since God truly and genuinely desires all people to be obedient, his judgments are never his first and primary desire.

      8. dizerner writes, “Calvinists, stop playing word games. If God is the cause, autonomy does not exist. Make that clear in your theology and stop using confusing terms that Arminians use.”

        I believe Calvinists are on record as saying that autonomy does not exist (people are not autonomous creatures who exist independent of God). What word games are Calvinists playing? Maybe, it’s your definition of the term, “autonomy,” that is the issue here.

        What definition of autonomous are you using when you say, “If God gives us a desire due to nothing of our own autonomous actions, that desire is not our own autonomous choice,…”

  44. In Chapter 5, Pastor Flowers presents some comments on Romans 9. It is here that he diverges from those who say that Paul’s concern in Romans 9 is with the salvation of Israel. We read–

    “By showing that not every Israelite from the seed of Abraham is chosen for the noble purpose of carrying the words of God, Paul seeks to prove that God’s promise to Abraham has not failed: “… in you all the families of the earth will be blessed” (Gen. 12: 3b).”

    “In other words, there is a blessing to being an Israelite but not all of the Israelites are the ones chosen to carry that blessing. Not all Israelites are given to be prophets or apostles to bring the Word to the world.”

    “Is it fair that God has chosen to entrust some unfaithful Israelites to bring His Word, while blinding other equally unfaithful Israelites from seeing it in order to fulfill His redemptive promise? Paul spends the next three chapters telling his audience why this is not only just, but abundantly merciful (Rom. 11: 32).”

    So, is Pastor Flowers correct? Does Paul really say that Israel was to preach the word to the world? Is that Paul’s focus in Romans 9. Pastor Flowers needs to spend more effort explaining how he arrived at this conclusion. The text does not say this – It says that God treated Israel differently from all other nations and gave them His word. Nowhere do we read that Israel was charged with taking that word to the world. Had Paul meant that – and was actually was addressing Israel’s failure to take God’s word to the world, he should have been clear in this – he is not. Paul’s concern is with the salvation of Israel – which he clearly says in the first verses and even Pastor Flowers understands this.

    It is true that God promised Abraham that all nations would be blessed through him. However, we don’t read in the OT or in Romans 9 that this involved Israel taking the word to the world. Pastor Flowers has jumped to a conclusion that is not supported in the Scriptures and then ends up building his view of Romans 9 on a false premise. His argument here needs more support if it is to be taken seriously by the reader.

    1. Roger – You ignored the point I made from Rom. 9:17 just because I said “sounds like”! Really? Can you at least respond with your opposing view as to what God meant by hardening Pharaoh so that His name would be declared “throughout all the earth”? I contend that is would naturally point to the forming/releasing of Israel as a nation as a result hardening Pharaoh. Would it not make sense that God is interested in having His name declared throughout all the earth because of His mercy for everyone that bears His image? What benefit is there of telling His name throughout the earth to a bunch of damned reprobates? And in this age – proclaiming the good news to every creature, is certainly not good news to every creature according to Calvinism! Nor is the purpose of everyman to enjoy God forever, no matter what the West. Conf. says, if Calvinism is correct.

      1. brianwagner writes, “Can you at least respond with your opposing view as to what God meant by hardening Pharaoh so that His name would be declared “throughout all the earth”?”

        Rahab says to the two spies, “I know that the LORD hath given you the land, and that your terror is fallen upon us, and that all the inhabitants of the land faint because of you. For we have heard how the LORD dried up the water of the Red sea for you, when ye came out of Egypt; and what ye did unto the two kings of the Amorites, that were on the other side Jordan, Sihon and Og, whom ye utterly destroyed.”

        So, that which God did was declared to Rahab. All this without Israel saying a word. The question is whether Israel was to be a vehicle for declaring God’s name throughout the earth. This specific command was given by Jesus to believers, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations,…” So, at the least, this marks on point for God’s name to be declared throughout the earth. Paul says to the believers in Rome, “I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.” We might suspect that their faith is spoken of among fellow believers everywhere.

        The cited passage is satisfied when all that happened in the OT was made known to the world by believers who would spread into all the world following the death of Christ.

        Was Israel also to be the vehicle for spreading the word? You contend such and ask questions as if such questions call for the answers you want. At some point, you have to support that which you contend with the Scriptures. You have not done that because, I suspect, you cannot. Romans 9 says nothing about Israel spreading the word to all the world. If it had, or if the OT had done so, we would read about it in Pastor Flowers’ book – we don’t. Basically, you have crafted an unsupported claim for no other reason than to oppose Calvinism. Why must we expend energy dealing with claims people just dream up?

      2. brainwagner writes, “Nor is the purpose of everyman to enjoy God forever, no matter what the West. Conf. says, if Calvinism is correct.”

        It is the purpose for which man was created. Man did not want to do so, and God allowed man to decide. Adam was created to enjoy God forever, but Adam gave it all away. That’s what free will is all about isn’t it – doing your own thing on your own despite what God would like to do with you.

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